Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vegas Summer League Game One: Nuggets 100 – Knicks 90

Ah the summer league…

All potential. No consequences. It’s kinda neat actually. Instead of the sturm und drang of LeBrocalypse/obsessively following twitter for rumors about gossip about hearsay, one can watch an actual basketball game. Novel idea, I know

For those who missed it (or, you know, have a life), the ‘Bockers lost to the Rocks 100 – 90. SL games tend to be a rather haggard affair and this tilt was no exception as the Nix engaged in a bit of a hack-a-palooza, compiling 46 fouls in 40 minutes of play. But before your humble correspondent focuses his oh-so keen powers of observation and/or scouting acumen upon our hardwood heroes-to-be, lemme spew a few random/general observations…

Oddly enough, the game played out in eerily similar fashion to the Nix regular season affairs for the past few years. They quickly fell behind by double digits, crawled back with some hot shooting, couldn’t get over the hump, and then lost by ten. They also didn’t play a lot of defense and scored primarily from the perimeter/threes. Strange. Considering these cats have only been in Vegas for a few days, it’s impressive/vaguely nauseating that they’ve managed to absorb the Knicks’ basic DNA so quickly.

Was Kenny Atkinson wearing parachute pants?

For some reason, the Knicks didn’t have uni numbers on the front of their jerseys. This isn’t an SL-wide phenomenon as the other teams seem to have managed to iron-on some plastic onto their very YMCA-looking shirts. Did someone forget? Is it some convoluted, “You have to earn a front number” motivational technique? I must have this information!

Seriously, I think Kenny Atkinson was wearing parachute pants. And to make matters worse, they were practically riding under his armpits. Kenny, Dude!

Ty Lawson is hella good. Knickerblogger-istas far and wide were royally pining for this guy a year ago and, hot damn, it’s not hard to see why. He truly toyed with the Knicks out there, penetrating at will, finishing w/ease, and finding teammates all over the court. He pretty much controlling the game to the tune of 28 points, 10-16 from the field, 7 dimes, and 5 steals. Lawson then proceeded to plug the oil spill in the gulf, reveal the identity of the second gunman on the grassy knoll, and develop a diet soda that actually does taste as good as the real thing. He’s just a got a complete and polished game. If I were Denver, I’d send him home ASAP. He really has nothing to learn/prove here.

They were beige parachute pants too. Ugh.

THE GOOD

Toney Douglas did what Toney Douglas do. His jumper is silky smooth and effortless, even from 30 ft. out. He snuck into the passing lane a few times and converted a really acrobatic and-one on the break on the way to amassing 27 points, 6 boards and a couple of steals. As far as PG skills, eh. I counted at least four occasions where he missed a cutter in the lane. His tendency, still, is to look for his own shot first. The Felton signing, though, will allow him to be a score-first PG off the bench – the role he’s really best suited for.

Landry Fields has a really nice nose for the ball and tends to play within himself (Wow. I’m really starting to master the use of these bball/sportswriting clichés. It’s like sticking a hatpin in your cerebral cortex. Stuff writes itself!) Where was I? Oh yeah, Fields Landry or whomever looks like a nice small forward, though nothing about his game jumps off the page. His jumping, ironically, does.

THE BAD

Andy Rautins sure was channeling his inner Eddie House today. Like Free Eddie, he shot with utter impunity but aside from a stretch in the 3rd, was laying serious bricks. During the regular season, unless he’s Steve Kerr-ing it at a 40% or better clip, it’s hard to see him getting a lot of pt.

Jerome Jordan – It’s still hard to avoid typing Jerome James – is raw.  He is both big and tall and long and those things tend to come in handy. Aside from that, it was hard to tell what the skill-set he brings to the court might be.

THE UGLY

Tweet! Bill Walker just fouled somebody again. Aside from Asst. Coach Atkinson’s aforementioned sartorial splendor, the ugliest part of this afternoon’s tilt was the game that last year’s late-season find, Bill Walker had. He seems to have lost a lot of weight and with it his ability to play professional basketball. His jumper was strangely high-arced and he generally was sluggish and seemingly disinterested out there, leading to 9 fouls and 7 turnovers. Granted, game one, but the SL is a setting where a cat like Billy Sky Dubs should dominate.

C’est tout. Next time hopefully Charles Garcia and PEJr. get some spin.

Okay – maybe they weren’t parachute pants, but if not, they were some oddly wide, beige sweats that he for some ungodly reason insisted tucking his polo top into.

Can someone please run to The Gap in Vegas and buy this man a set of khakis?

88 comments on “Vegas Summer League Game One: Nuggets 100 – Knicks 90

  1. Brian Cronin

    Please tell me that’s a one-time sarcastic mocking of the concept of “first post,” and not something that we’ll actually see with any regularity in the future.

  2. BigBlueAL

    Highlight of the game was Clyde saying “Fields wheels and deals”. The man is a genius.

  3. JK47

    Teams that should be administering very hard fouls every time “Miami Thrice” touches the ball or goes near the lane: Cleveland, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, Orlando, Boston. I hope the Eastern Conference gets back to its 1990′s roots.

  4. Z-man

    Maybe the foul Walker committed on a Denver driver for an and-2 + ball flagrant foul was practice for that. One of the dirtiest fouls I’ve seen in a long time, caused the poor guy to crack his head and back on the floor. That would have erupted into a brawl in the regular season.

    To embellish, RS, I thought:
    JJ did not really move well, he did get up and down the court but dragged his long legs to the point where they didn’t seem like they were under the control of his brain. Raw? His knick-name should be Steak Tartar. I suppose you could call him a poor-man’s Hasheem Thabeet.

    Fields did show nice touch around the basket as well. He made a gorgeous up and under reverse move and a nice turnaround fadeaway 15 footer on the right baseline. Has a professional smoothness about him and seemed cool, calm and collected until he self-imploded dribbling up the court.

    Rautins can clearly shoot, and could be a specialty player this year. Moved pretty well but absolutely no chance he could guard anyone this year to the point where he would get anything more than cameos here and there. All in all, both Rautins and Fields are what you want in a mid 2nd-rounder… guys with some NBA skills that may be a year or two away from figuring it out with smarts and good work ethic. Still think we should have taken only one of these guys (from what I’ve seen, Fields), gambled on the other going undrafted, and taken another big with the other pick. But all three of these guys have a chance to be NBA players, although Jordan needs mucho (years) D-league work.

  5. Z-man

    http://realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/68071/20100711/knicks_to_explore_trading_chandler/

    I like this press leak in that it will light a fire under WC’s ass. I have been higher on this guy than most, and to be fair, he has improved more than many here thought he would. This is a make-or-break year for him, and this rumor confirms that he needs to do something special to stay in NY. I’ll be interested to see how how does against Heat’s big 3, since he will clearly have defensive responsibility for one of them.

  6. Brian Cronin

    Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress for the Suns, trading Leandro Barbosa, Dwayne Jones and the trade exception they got from the Knicks.

    Those are some nice pick-ups right there!

    And Toronto got involved, flipping Jones (who they got from the Suns with Barbosa) to the Bobcats for Boris Diaw (who I am sure Colangelo the younger likes).

    Turkoglu would fit in pretty perfectly with Steve Nash – although boy, that’s not a good interior defensive team at all now, is it? Just Robin Lopez to fend for himself, it seems.

  7. Mike Kurylo

    @6 In light of that – does anyone remember what Chandler said during the interview about reading trade rumors? I don’t want to get it wrong, but I thought he said he normally doesn’t pay attention to such stuff, except for this year.

  8. Caleb

    We have five promising or semi-promising wing players – Randolph (who could play either forward spot), Gallo, Chandler, Azubuike and Walker. Chandler is the obvious trade candidate because he’s the first one up for potentially medium- or big-money.

    It’s the first season in a while when winning and making the playoffs is really the #1 goal. The next big subplot is how we strategize for Carmelo or one of the star PGs – or do we? Subplot #2 is the competition among these wing players. They could ALL be pretty good, some very good, but there isn’t enough money to go around. If we’re paying Amare $17+ million next year, and $19+ million in 2012-2013 — that probably leaves about $25 million, tops, for the wing players – IF Walsh leaves room for another big FA.

    Looking ahead to 2012-2013 — the most likely scenario is big extensions for Gallo and Randolph – and a smaller contract for another one of those guys. At least one, probably two will be gone next season. It’s competition time…

  9. DS

    @9 – I think Ill Will said something to the effect that he prefers not to listen to any rumors but that sometimes they’re so prevalent that they’re hard to ignore.

  10. cwod

    I like that Mozgov’s contract is only one year guaranteed and Felton’s is two. Savvy.

  11. DS

    Robert –

    I think when you write the first article about the Summer League you need to mention that they’ve been a very poor indicator of how a player will perform during the regular season. Also, there is close to zero low post or mid range game.

    Rautins’s -14 was scary but he did not sour me on his ability to be a 5-10 min/per game 3 point specialist too much. Jordan looked far more lost IMHO. Fields looked timid at first and then settled in very nicely.

  12. Mike Kurylo

    @13 – Are there any studies to back that up?

    I’m asking because I don’t find that to be true. Nate had a few good summer league. Lee too IIRC. Now a handful of games will have a higher variation, but overall I think summer league is a good yardstick for separating the wheat from the chaff.

  13. cwod

    Granted, DWTDD shot terribly in last year’s summer league. He still looked mostly competent out there, though.

  14. Z-man

    Don’t know if this was posted yet but here’s Givony’s take on Mozgov:
    “The athletic 7-1 center had an outstanding campaign under David Blatt with the Russian national team in the European Championships in Poland this summer, averaging 11 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 23 minutes per game, helping his team far exceed expectations despite missing most of their big name players. He seems to be making big strides in his game year after year and is clearly not a finished product at this point. With his outstanding physical attributes and especially the way he runs the floor, it not out of the question that he could be a much better fit for the more up and down style of play that is found in the NBA than he is for Europe.

    Right now he’s seeing limited playing time on a Euroleague team in Khimki, but is gaining very good experience against the highest level of competition to be found on the continent. His stats in the Russian league and VTB United League are generally more impressive. We will likely follow up on his progress later in the season as we acquire more film.

    Mozgov is reportedly interested in playing in the NBA, but has two more years on his contract after this season. He does have an NBA out clause after 2010-2011, with a buy out. It’s doubtful that Khimki would look to sell his rights this summer considering how valuable his domestic passport is to them. Russian league rules state that two local players must be on the court at all times.”

    My guess is that he immediately moves past Jordan on the Depth chart at C.

    On another note, anyone check out the “Amar’e in 60″ game on MSG? It was a home game vs. Suns when we had Frye, Crawford, etc. (2007?) tha tI think I attended. Anyway, Eddy Curry had a really good game and was actually running the floor better than I remember. It made me wonder again whether he can be a good contract-year player for us. Supposedly he is down to 275 and healthy and there is still 3 months to go before training camp. If winning is the #1 goal and he is something close to what he was then, and your options at C (other than our PFs) are Turiaf, Mozgov and Jordan, don’t you HAVE to give him a legit chance to play?

  15. Caleb

    NO DATA ALERT!

    But I would say a negative performance is more telling than a positive one. Playing well in summer league doesn’t mean you’ll be successful in the fall & winter, but if you’re bad in summer league, you’re not gonna cut it when the games start (at least, not any time soon).

    This is pretty intuitive – summer league competition is a lot weaker, so a real NBA player like Lawson (or Douglas) should look great.

    I also think you can learn a lot more about athleticism, defense and court savvy, than you can about shooting ability. The sample size is so small, there’s a lot of variation: Douglas shot badly for five games, but he’d shot well for 4 years at Florida State, so there was no reason to think he forgot how to do it. But for a lot of players, e.g. Rautins or Fields, it’s the first time they’ve matched up against a team full of players with NBA-level (or near-NBA level) speed, strength, etc… it can be telling.

    Also the game is very different – when you can get 11 fouls without having to sit, it inherently changes the way you play defense. Also teams have players focus on new things, like – say – playing PG full-time, or taking a lot of jumpers even when you’re not good.

    Add it all up and you know that Jordan is not helping this year, if ever. Shouldn’t be a shock, as he was the #44 pick and only started playing his senior year of high school. Athletically, I don’t think the other 2nd round picks really looked better or worse than expected… Fields looks like he can keep up – so far.

  16. Caleb

    re: Curry – I used to think that if he was motivated and in-shape, he could be a valuable role player – he is/was very good at one thing, i.e. scoring in the low post.

    But I’ve changed my mind… basically, he is totally worthless if he’s not shooting the ball. Terrible rebounder, terrible defender, turnover machine when he tries to pass. To use Curry “well” you’d have to spend 15-20 minutes a game, feeding him the ball every time down the court. That would screw up the flow of the offense; meanwhile, he’d be sharing the court with an even better scorer – Amare.

    So, I don’t see Curry getting on the court at all. (I don’t think JJ or the Russian is likely to play, either, unless Mozhov beats out Turiaf for 15 mpg spelling Amare).

  17. Z-man

    I also see sumer league as reality check for players, defining what they need to work on before preseason 3 months in advance. For a guy like Jordan, it’s not enough time, but Fields and Rautins will have some perspective.

  18. Z-man

    Caleb, Agree for the most part on Curry, but hope he gets at least a legit shot in preseason to prove us wrong.

  19. Mike Kurylo

    @17 & everyone else who copies & pastes from another article:

    Make sure to provide a link to the other site. Also make an attempt not to post the entire article.

    I ask this because I don’t want other people doing the same. Hence they would be reading my articles on another site without having the benefit of seeing my reader’s witty comments. ;-)

  20. supernova

    All the reports were that Jerome Jordan was raw, but had skills. Based on his first game it sounds like those reports were on target.

    Seems like Jordan might be a good candidate to send to the D-League. With Amare potentially playing center, he will probably not see too many minutes with Turiaf, and now Mozgov also ahead of him on the depth chart.

    I believe you can send a guy down to the D-League and still retain his rights? Correct? Also if you send them down does that still count as a space on your NBA roster?

  21. Mike Kurylo

    @26. Yes. and Yes. NBA rosters go up to 15, but only 12 are active.

    As per the D-League rules:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Development_League

    “Each NBA team can assign two first or second year players to its affiliated D-League team. If more than two NBA players are assigned to a team, the team must reduce the number of D-League players to keep the total roster size to 12… NBA teams can call up players as many times as they choose, but a player can only be assigned to the NBA D-League three times in a season.”

  22. Ted Nelson

    “If winning is the #1 goal and he is something close to what he was then, and your options at C (other than our PFs) are Turiaf, Mozgov and Jordan, don’t you HAVE to give him a legit chance to play?”

    I’m sure that Eddy Curry will get a chance to earn a rotation spot. If he’s clearly a better option than the other 3, I doubt D’Antoni holds him back out of spite… Winning is #1, and if Curry can gain any trade value besides his expiring contract that will help the Knicks win beyond whatever he actually contributes this season.

    That said, I’m mostly with Caleb. Turiaf is a good NBA player. The Russian may or may not be a good NBA player. D’Antoni took an immediate liking to Barron, and if Amare’s on the court D’Antoni may want a jump-shooter at the 5.

  23. Doug Chu

    @28

    goddamnit I believe I just jizzed in my pants

    Amare/Melo/CP3/Randolph/Gallo… gahhhh.

  24. Frank

    Meanwhile I love that Mark Cuban is putting his money where his mouth is, again, and offering Haslem the full MLE just to screw Miami over. In fact, I really want some collusion between pissed-off owners where they 1) find out how much $ Miami is offering these veteran-hangers-on that the Heat want to play with the Golden Girls, then 2) overpay them so that the Heat are left with guys like Ricky Davis, Kwame Brown, and Jamaal Magloire to fill out their roster. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Lebron drive the lane, dish to Kwame, who then kicks the ball out of bounds.

    Even though Chicago is better than we are, I’d like to see them offer Mike Miller $8M or something also. Too bad it’s Reinsdorf. If Cuban owned that team too, they would definitely do taht.

  25. DS

    Mike & Caleb –
    This is a nice year by year summary: http://www.insidehoops.com/vegas-summer-league.shtml.
    I’m not going to run a study but the thing that popped out was that CP3 did not tear up the Summer League. But essentially I agree with Caleb’s assessment (with Maciej Lampe as the most prominent example).

    @28 – That’s great and all but if stealing 40 – 60% of your starting lineup from other teams through free agency or severely unbalanced trades becomes the only way to contend in the NBA, it’s going to be lame.

  26. Ted Nelson

    Frank,

    If Haslem wasn’t any good I doubt Cuban would offer him that contract. Haslem is a very good defensive 4, solid rebounder, low TO, and decent scorer. He’s worth the mid-level.

    Reinsdorf paid MJ over $30 mill per year, so I don’t think he minds paying money when it makes sense to do so. With Korver I don’t know that they need Miller. Where does he get the ultra-cheap reputation? Chicago has acquired big money players like Ben Wallace, Boozer, Jalen Rose… even when they were just throwing their money away.

  27. Caleb

    @34
    We have the ’09 Vegas scoring champ in the fold! Eat that, LeBron..

    p.s. thanks for the link

  28. Ted Nelson

    cgreene,

    I don’t think D’Antoni is the best coach for a rebuilding team, but I don’t think the Knicks are really “rebuilding” either. Their rotation is pretty much built, but they do have flexibility going forward and will probably have to make improvements. And they’re pretty much built in D’Antoni’s image, so I see him as a good coach for them.
    He seems pretty happy in the interview to me. Just how he is I would say.

    @ DS

    By and large the guys who put up the best stats, via that link, are the guys you’d expect. The biggest exception on a consistent basis being guys who scored a lot, but lacked NBA athleticism. In general I do think that veterans and good rookies play well.
    CP3 is one guy, but he was 2nd in apg and 3rd in spg. He was 2nd team All-League.

    Free agency and financially motivated trades have been a part of the NBA and US sports in general for a long time, haven’t they? (Poor teams dumping their good players in baseball goes back at least to the St. Louis Browns always selling players. Babe Ruth himself was sold.)

  29. Frank

    @33 – I think you’re reading too much into that interview. I didn’t get that impression at all listening to it. He’s probably bummed we didn’t get Lebron but he has to be happy at how plan c, d, or whatever this was worked out. Felton is much closer to his ideal PG than Duhon is. He’s got Amare who, no matter what people here say, is far superior to Lee as a player in this system (ie. where the ball is controlled by a PG and not a point forward/center out of necessity), and we have a lot of nice young pieces here who seem to love to play defense.

    @35 – that whole post was pretty much tongue-in-cheek. Haslem IS a good player which is why it is even better that Dallas is taking him away from the real housewives of miami. And while Reinsdorf may spend some money, he has a reputation of being frugal — whereas Cuban would probably throw millions around just to make a point or piss someone off.

  30. Ted Nelson

    A little late here, but reacting to the Felton news… I’m not high on him and think he’ll disappoint anyone who is, but I don’t actively dislike the move either. Especially depending on the details, has the deal been finalized/published?

    As people have pointed out: Knicks look a lot better defensively this season, Felton may play a bit better in transition given his athleticism, and this move allows Toney Douglas to fill a role that might be more ideal for him. Heck, maybe Felton even keeps up his 1-year wonder 3P%. I just don’t see him as a big improvement over Duhon, but they Knicks don’t necessarily need a big improvement over 08-09 Duhon if some other guys step up. It’s better than counting on both Douglas AND Rautins. I think Douglas will be a good rotation player, but asking him to be a full-time PG might not be best for either he or the team. Rautins is a wildcard. While they might have found a bargain PG who could contribute just as much as Felton, they might not have. And you have to overpay for certainty.

    The best part of the interview cgreene posted, to me, was D’Antoni talking about the system and Nash. It’s something I had wondered a bit about, but pretty much assumed was the way D’Antoni felt (on days where I’m optimistic about him, anyway). The system operated the way it did in Phoenix to suit the talent on hand. He’s not going to entirely try to shove round pegs into square holes. He’s going to conform to the talent on hand to some degree (whether he’s any good at that remains to be seen). He’s not likely to entirely change his philosophy (especially with this roster), but it’s not going to be exactly like Phoenix.

  31. massive

    @39,

    D’Antoni sort of showed that he can conform to the talent on hand last year by running the offense through David Lee. Duhon should have been on the bench, but I don’t think the team we had was worth more than 29 wins. And in all honesty, I think Duhon started over Douglas because he was more comfortable with the pick and roll, and Douglas seems clueless running it.

  32. massive

    Okay so Toronto and Charlotte are working on a deal sending Jose Calderon and the Bosh trade exception for Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler. Larry Brown to coach Jose Calderon? Weird.

  33. Caleb

    You can’t send a trade exception to someone else…

    i think what you mean is that Toronto can absorb more salary than they take on, because they have the trade exception.

    They’ve totally remade their team – with Diaw and especially Chandler the defense will be a lot better. On the other hand, with Bosh and Calderon gone, they can’t score. Barbosa will help. On the third hand they now have no PG, unless you count Jarrett Jack…

    Charlotte on the other hand – they are gonna be hurtin’.

  34. Frank

    so what was this? a salary dump by Charlotte? very bizarre. They still have DJ Augustin, let Felton go, bring on Calderon? Ty Thomas + Nazr in frontcourt? Maybe we can leapfrog them into the playoffs.

    I am sort of liking what Toronto is doing, making lemonade out of lemons. Chandler, if healthy, is a great fit next to Bargnani.

  35. JK47

    I don’t think you can really have Amar’e and Curry on the floor at the same time very much, because their games don’t complement each others at all. I think you’d need one of the shot blockers on the floor at all times.

  36. Ted Nelson

    massive re: 40

    He should that he *will* conform to the talent on hand, but he’s never shown that he can successfully do so. I think he can, but we’ll see. It’s pretty subjective to just say, “I don’t think the team we had was worth more than 29 wins.” Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. Considering how little he used above average NBA players in Nate, Hill, and Toney and a bit below average player in Darko and how awful the defense was and how much he used Duhon… hard to imagine they couldn’t have won more games with a different coach. How many? I have no idea.

  37. Doug Chu

    the Times article on the Mozgov signing says that few NBA teams were even aware that he was willing to break his contract with his Russian team.

    I’m not sure what to feel about the Knicks potentially outsmarting other NBA teams for once.

  38. Spree8nyk8

    Donnie has really done a bang up job despite not getting one of the big 3. He spent the money wisely. Built an actual “team”. One that should thrive in D’Antoni’s system. And did it while staggering money so that there is potentially a max slot next year and a max slot the year after.

    nice…

  39. JK47

    @46 I think this year’s roster should be easier to manage. You put Amar’e in the frontcourt with one of the shotblockers (Randolph and Turiaf) flanking him most of the time. Gallo gets most of the SF minutes, with Chandler picking up 25-30 minutes a night alternating between the 2 and 3. SG is manned by Azubuike and Chandler when the opposing SG is a bigger guy, and Toney D against quicker SGs. PG is Felton occasionally spelled by TD. Rautins, Fields
    and Mozgov get garbage time, Curry gets DNPs.

    Seems pretty simple to me. There’s no “veteran blocking the good young player” scenarios like last year, so hopefully we’ll
    see the roster used more wisely.

  40. Frank

    Meanwhile, I think Donnie should start distancing himself from any connection with his “protege” Kahn over their in Minny. Now he’s trying to dump his 3rd PG (Sessions) so he can pick up another for the same price (Ridnour)? What in holy hell is going on over there?

  41. massive

    @46,

    Point taken. Our roster probably could have gotten more than 29 wins, but I don’t see anything D’Antoni could have done to make us significantly better. I do believe that D’Antoni can win with this new roster because I feel that the players we have are good (or upgrades) defensively, but can still get out and run with in D’Antoni’s system. This is probably the strongest team Mike has had defensively, so it should be interesting seeing what the team can accomplish this year.

  42. JK47

    @50 And by acquiring players who would not be difficult
    to move for cap space if a CP3 or a Melo became available earlier. This is a flexible roster. I’m impressed with Donnie’s moves.

    I never understood the “This is New York, you can’t rebuild” mindset. People still come to MSG after a whole decade of losing basketball. The fans are really going to appreciate and love a team that gets incrementally better year after year. This is going to be a fun season, even after the colossal bummer of the LeBrocalypse.

  43. Ted Nelson

    Definitely agree Raps defense will be much improved. (Chandler, Diaw, Amir Johnson… No telling if he’ll be any good, but Ed Davis is also considered more of a defender than offender. DeRozan has good defensive potential on the wing. Calderon and Hedo are additions by subtraction on D.) Jack played as well as Calderon last season, so I would count him as a PG. Colangelo had enough faith in Bargnani to take him #1 overall and seriously overpay based on historical production, so he probably wants Bargnani to carry the offense. Plus DeRozan to step up. Bargnani, Leandrinho, Jack… Diaw’s passing… Chandler/Johnson efficient low usage… Belinelli, Jack, and Bargnani shooting from outside… Might not be a terrible offense.

    Charlotte’s a weird organization, but what do you expect from MJ + LB??? Bobs needed a big offensive upgrade and were the best defense in the NBA. Calderon should be a serious offensive upgrade over Felton… though also a serious defensive downgrade we’re talking PG not C. (As much as Knicks fans don’t want to hear that… http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=feltora01&y1=2010&p2=caldejo01&y2=2010)
    I guess Tyrus Thomas makes Diaw expendable. A little weird they were so willing to part with Tyson Chandler without really replacing him, but he was their 7th man in the playoffs and they were platooning him with Nazr and Theo Ratliff. Between Nazr, Theo (or another Ratliff type veteran), and Diop they should have a serviceable defensive C platoon.

  44. massive

    Is there any chance we can snag Jason Richardson now or at the deadline? Gives us a veteran leader to help the younger players, is a clear upgrade at the two, played a LOT better than Joe Johnson did in the post season, and expires at the end of the year. Not to mention Phoenix has Josh Childress, Earl Clark, Jared Dudley, and Grant Hill on the wings now, seems like one of those guys is expendable. Here’s hoping we can land J-Rich (by the way, he’s the same age as Joe Johnson, a guy Walsh was planning on offering a max deal).

  45. Ted Nelson

    @47 Caleb,

    They are trying to reconstruct the Knicks… Duhon, Harrington, Q…

    @51 JK47

    Agree. That seems like the most likely scenario, but there is always room for a coach to screw things up. For example… what if Raymond Felton pulls a Duhon (very possible considering his career production… I mean on his career his offensive production is basically Duhon last season plus a few more assists and less outside shot). If TD plays like last season and Felton doesn’t magically get better than he’s ever been before, does TD get any of Felton’s minutes?
    It’s not particularly clear how to allot minutes on the wing or in the middle either… If Randolph doesn’t step up, how much do you play him vs. Turiaf, Russia, maybe Curry, maybe even Jordan? The Knicks apparently told Amare he’d be playing the 4 primarily when they recruited him… Does D’Antoni stick to his word even if it’s detrimental to the team? Does Amare get mad a. if he doesn’t and b. if he’s technically at the 4 but actually playing with Randolph and guarding 5s? On the wing there’s a good amount of depth. Any coach could play the wrong guys, and D’Antoni specifically might also end up playing nothing but wing players at some points and have Bill Walker defending the 4 again… never know. He does love to play wings.

    @53 massive

    I agree.
    D’Antoni had some good defensive players in Phoenix (Bell, Diaw, KT…) and one or two above average defensive teams. I’ll be interested to see how this team does on both sides of the ball… a lot of x factors.

  46. ess-dog

    Hey guys,

    Give lots of summer league updates: I don’t have NBAtv.

    Sounds like Fields is a good all around player. Maybe we see Garcia today?

  47. Ted Nelson

    Mavs adding Mahinmi for $2 mill per, second year team option… Would have REALLY liked to see the Knicks do that. No commitment, but upside…

    massive,

    I sort of doubt the expendable guy is Richardson… He’s their #1 scoring option now that Amare’s gone and was their best player in the postseason. Also, what would the Knicks have to trade to get him? This may change as the season goes on, but right now their only premier trade chips are Gallo and Randolph… also their young core. And is that where you lock up your long-term cap space? I like Richardson, but he’s not an absolute top of the line player and may end up being overpaid. Maybe they don’t want to re-sign him and like the Knicks young guys, but they didn’t dump Amare even when they didn’t want to re-sign him.

  48. Spree8nyk8

    @55 I live in Charlotte and they hate T. Chandler here. He’s super overpaid and contributes nothing. They would trade him for a Millie Vanilli tape and a Dave Chappelle season 2 dvd….

  49. Spree8nyk8

    I don’t think we wanna get involved with Jason Richardson at all honestly. He just had a terrible season, and we have our chips in play right now to be able to snag Melo/CP3. Last thing I wanna do is bust up a young promising nucleus with a guy that just came off a crappy season and could obstruct the real goals of this team which should be our own big 3 project….

  50. Captain Merlin

    Mahinmi is bound to be a career shlub. Sit back and watch over the next ten years, recalling this as you do.

  51. massive

    @60,

    I was thinking he could do for us what John Salmons did for the Bucks (and Salmons outplayed Johnson, too. SO glad he stayed in Atlanta). We could offer some front-court depth and young players like Chandler and Azubuike. A deal like Turiaf, Chandler, and Azubuike for Jason Richardson sounds reasonable. Adding Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress to Phoenix could make Richardson expendable, but like you’ve said, it depends on how the season plays out.

  52. Caleb

    Richardson’s deal is expiriing so Phoenix isn’t going to trade him unless their season has tanked, and they move him for a draft pick or hot young prospect. Why trade him for Chandler, when they could sign Wil over the summer?

    On our end, why give up a real asset for a guy on the wrong side of 30, we won’t want to re-sign next summer?

  53. DS

    Haslem’s staying

    Fisher?-Wade-LeBron-Bosh-Udon Bench: Miller, Chalmers

    Not much depth nor muscle but I think you definitively have to call Miami the favorites now. At least in the East.

  54. JK47

    Getting physical and shoving the Golden Girls around is going to be the key to beating them. I’m all for acquiring big, nasty, physically imposing players, especially in the paint. Turiaf/Rabdolph/Mozgov is a nice start. I’d love to get a Bowen-esque wing so the harrassment can extend to the perimeter.

  55. rohank

    Jerome Jordan looking really good today. Alley-oop earlier in the game, and he just had a strong drive and dunk+and1

  56. Jafa

    JK47,

    We’re just trying to get to the playoffs and your talking about getting physical with the Golden Girls? Even with the thin depth the Golden Girls have, I still see us losing 3 out of 4 to them.

    Our competition right now isn’t the Golden Girls, or the four musketeers (the Celtics, with Rondo as D’Artahan) or Stan’s gang (Orlando). Those are eastern conference title contenders. Our competition is that Jennings kid we didn’t get (Bucks), our former head coach who took a lot of Dolan’s money (Bobcats), the “top FA” we were glad we didn’t get (Hawks) and that team that Isaiah gave all our draft picks to (Bulls). Those are the teams we need to be better than (or as good as) to call this season a success.

    And please, no Jason Richardson. We are young right now. Lets keep it that way. The only old guys I want on this team are Steve Nash (for obvious reasons) and Ray Allen (again, obvious reasons). Other than that, keep it young until we get a superstar.

  57. Ted Nelson

    massive,

    I think Richardson is an interesting idea. I just disagree about how easy he will be to acquire this season. I think he’ll be their #1 scoring option, unless Childress got a lot better in Greece (which is possible, he improved year 1 Greece to year 2 Greece). Historically Hedo has mostly been a medium-volume scorer and Childress a low-volume scorer. Earl Clark did nothing last season. Dudley is ok. Hill isn’t really a long-term option. They moved Barbosa and lost #1 scorer Amare. They might look to cash in Richardson for guys they think are more affordable long-term… but they may find themselves really relying on his scoring to compete for the playoffs this season. As Caleb said, Chandler and Azubuike will be free agents next offseason. Phoenix would probably go for them only if they see it as an immediate upgrade on Richardson. Turiaf may be superfluous with Frye, Lopez, Warrick, Hedo, and maybe Amundson, and maybe Earl Clark, Gani Lawal, and/or Dwayne Collins.
    If nothing else Richardson might be a more realistic, and hopefully significantly more affordable 2011 free agent target than Melo… especially if NYK’s young wings don’t step up and they have a gapping hole there.

  58. JK47

    @71 I mean in the long run. Of course we aren’t competing
    with the Heat this year. Add a CP3, a D-Will or a Melo in the next few years and we’ll close the gap a bit. Eventually, we’re going to have to beat them. I’m not willing to concede the next decade to those D-bags. I question the toughness of MeBron and Bosh and think out-toughing them– in the long run– will be the key to beating them.

  59. Z-man

    I may have to revise my harsh criticism of Jerome Jordan. He looked much better today. Still a project, but looked more like a prospect today than a clueless stiff.

  60. Z-man

    Walker was much improved too. Wittman showed his beautiful stroke, although his name was misspelled on the back of his jersey (Whittman).

    Glad we didn’t draft Caracter, he looked short and lazy.

  61. nicos

    @39 Ted, I think the key number to watch for with Felton isn’t 3ptfg% but eFg% in close- his number last year was a pretty good .582 but the year before it was about the same as Duhon- .471. If Felton can finish at the rim he’s going to be much more successful running the pick and roll than Duhon was- how many times did Duhon dribble into the paint, tip-toe along the baseline and head right back out to the top of the key? Felton’s still going to have to knock down some mid-range jumpers to keep teams honest but with his quickness he’s going to be able to attack the paint off of the screen in way Duhon never could (and he’s a better passer to boot). Of course, if he reverts to 2008/9 numbers and can’t finish in close he’s probably going to be a huge disappointment.

  62. Caleb

    @78
    I mostly agree with you but “huge” might overstate it – Felton had four near-identical seasons before 2009-2010 – he’ll always be much quicker than Duhon, a better playmaker and a strong defender… whether he earns his contract or not quite, depends on which shooter is the real Felton.

  63. Ted Nelson

    nicos,

    Good call. It’s not just 08/09, but his entire career before 09/10. Maybe his quickness means he can sustain his eFG% close. However, it looks like an aberration. If he can’t shoot and he can’t finish, he might be an offensive downgrade from Duhon. If it was lack of effort that hurt him previously, maybe coming to NYC on a smaller, shorter deal than he wanted will keep the fire under his ass lit. If it was just luck then Felton is probably the new Duhon.

  64. Ted Nelson

    His jump shot eFG% improved somewhat marginally from his career #s in 09-10, but his close eFG% shot up.

  65. Caleb

    @81
    I totally agree – even his player card on ESPN just mocks his finishing skill, or lack of it.

    I’m just saying he is a low-volume guy, and provides value as a passer and especially defender – maybe not $7-8 million worth if he reverts to form, but a lot more value than Duhon even then.

  66. nicos

    @78 Huge probably does overstate it but if struggles in the p & r then Amar’e’s going to struggle as well which would be very bad for the Knicks.

    On today’s game- Fields looked like the best player on the floor (certainly outplayed Ebanks by a wide margin) but I still wonder if he has the quickness to be a regular rotation guy in the NBA. I’m also encouraged by Walker keeping his head up and looking to pass- he only had one assist but he made a terrific lob off the p & r to Jordan and a couple of nice passes to Boateng that led to free throws. If he’s going to see significant minutes at the two he’s going to have to move the ball better than he did last year. PEjr has to improve his handle but was very active/effective on both ends- still hard to see him as more than an end-of-the-bench guy though.

  67. Loathing

    Caleb – D’Antoni doesn’t need a finisher at point.

    Everyone who sez you need to out-physical the Heat: Also need to punish them inside…lots of Amar’e dunks. I think Walshie knew what was going on and grabbed the right guy to bust them up inside…short of Dwight Howard.

  68. Kikuchiyo

    Well, I for one am going to miss the two slabs of slightly different orange that used to grace the front page of Knickerblogger.

    I fear change.

  69. DS

    Someone posted an article about how much the Knicks will be improved using stats. I believe it was from ESPN New York. Can anyone re-post? I’m having the hardest time finding it. Is it restricted for some reason?

    Thanks!

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