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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Washington Wizards 110 – New York Knicks 113 – Game Recap

“What can change the nature of a game?”

Some of you might have recognized the origin of the broad strokes of this question. You know I’m a gamer, and in 1999 (already 20 years ago! Damn I feel really old) a revolutionary RPG came out for PC thanks to Interplay, trying to exploit the success of Baldur’s Gate in 1998. The name of the game was Planescape: Torment, and while it was kind of a commercial blunder at first (becoming profitable in subsequent years thanks to its cult following and an Enhanced Edition that came out in 2017 at the hands of remastering wizards Beamdog) it quickly became a mainstay in every Top 10 list of games, especially RPGs because of its philosophical depth and extreme care in character arcs. To this day, it’s without a doubt the most literary (in a good sense) game I ever played and it’s responsibile for 33% of the fact that I love the english language.

I won’t spoil it for you if you ever decide to give it a go (and I remember some of you already played it; the others, well I definitely recommend it), but essentially the game goes like this: you die, but you never really die. Everytime you died before the game you lost your memory, and it probably happened a thousand times. The main goal is then to understand who you are (were?), why you ended up like this, and how do you become normal again.

Moving forward on you quest, you discover that some of your previous incarnations left behind some memories, even journals, while others have done everything they could to erase their traces.

At some point, you learn that there were three of these previous incarnations that are important in the game: the Good Incarnation, the Practical Incarnation, the Paranoid Incarnation. More on them later*.

Since I won’t spoil the game for you (even though, well, 20 years…), I’ll just say that the question “What can change the nature of a man?” lingers throughout the whole game and stayed with me for a long, long time. To this day, if you asked me that question, I don’t know what I’d answer.

But, back to us: What can change the nature of a game? 

Answer this question, well, I can: having clinched the worst record in the NBA while your opponent might still benefit from losing one here and there.

If you watched this game (and I bet you didn’t, you sane person), you saw how the Wizards did what they could to basically throw the game. Not the players, but well… the coaching staff didn’t exactly send its best units out there again and again. Jeff Green scored 19 in the first half (18 in the second quarter) and never saw any second-half action. Bradley Beal “acted” his way out ot the floor falling around here and there. OAKAAK Chasson Randle shot 11 times at the basket. I mean, Washington competed, but didn’t really… uhm… try its best, you know? And that’s all good and well, especially considering the fact they’re tied for wins with the Mavericks, and the fewer chances for the Mavs to jump in the top five the better for us in the long run.

So, yes, we’re facing a good win. An interesting game culminated in a win, at a time when winning is gladly accepted around here. I don’t think we could have asked for more.

*Writing about those incarnations I couldn’t shake the thought that there’s a bit of them in every savvy, modern Knick fan.
The Good incarnation: hey, we should win every game we can and we’ll be better rooting for every young guy that dons our jersey, even if it’s a sucky French guy who can’t stay on the floor and can’t hit shots (let it be known that I’m still team Frank, even if it makes zero sense).
The Practical incarnation: wait, we’re better off tanking and ditching young guys at their peak trade value. So, yeah, let’s play Knox a lot and then let’s trade him as soon as possible!
The Paranoid incarnation: DOLAN’S RAZOR. MUDIAY IS A RFA. WE’RE GOING TO SIGN BOOGIE.

A few notes about the game:

– Is it a coincidence that Fiz pretty much nailed rotations in the first game in the whole season where a win wouldn’t have mattered at all? Probably so (also, see again: Wizards tanking), but give me all the silver linings you got. It was bizarre: we only went eight deep but everyone contributed and nobody really sucked.

– Is this the end of the Mudiay era? Let’s hope so. The thought hit me in the second quarter, and it immediately lightened me up. I have nothing against Mud as a human being (in fact, I think he probably is a good guy), but I can’t stand watching players in Mud’s mold playing as if team ball isn’t a thing.

– If you paid a bit of attention to how Mario played the point, you knew why Mudiay is a horrible playmaker. Hez tried a lot of times to pass the ball very near the rim, and even if he didn’t record a lot of assists (just 5 tonight), sometimes people didn’t convert the looks, some other times they got fouled, sometimes they passed the ball again outside for an easy look from the perimeter. Hezonja is not a good point guard (how could he be?), but he’s miles better than Mudiay and Ntilikina at this point, and I fear he might continue to be. Good for him that he’s pretty much guaranteeing himself another shot in the NBA with these last games: in the last three, he’s going for 25/10/7 on 53.7 FG%. Hez has long been the meister of the garbage time, but this is just another level. Hope he sticks around for the worst team in the NBA every year. He’s also posting for the first time in the season a positive WS/48! Good things all over.

– DSJ was able to play again, even with a sore back. His game was pretty bad, but every minute he spends on the court it’s a minute that serves as a reminder that we don’t need Mudiay at all. 15 points on 12 shots, 5 assists, 5 turnovers. Very very mediocre.

– Kornet had a great game! 17 points on 11 shots, 4 threes, 4 blocks, 7 boards and a team-high +9 plus/minus. It’s only the 102th time in the history of the NBA that a guy who connects on 4 threes also swats 4 blocks.

– Mitch was his usual self: 11 points, 11 boards, 3 blocks. The streak goes on! The third block especially was beastly, he met a dunk/layup attempt from Randle with fierce authority and corralled the board like it was nothing.

Two to go, and a pretty much guaranteed win against Chicago. Let’s hang tight, guys!

 

 

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77 comments on “Washington Wizards 110 – New York Knicks 113 – Game Recap

  1. Owen

    Good stuff! I really enjoyed that third block. I love blocks when the guy comes from out of the frame to snuff out a shot. Beautiful.

    Hezonja has really been something. Will be interesting to see who puts their foot on that land mine….

  2. Grocer

    Thanks Farfa.

    It actually makes sense that more teams are tanking this year. The changes in odds make it more likely that teams not in the bottom few can move up or even win the lottery. The NBA’s solution is literally incentivizing more teams to tank.

    If you’re gonna say shit like this back it up with some numbers. Also: it’d be dumb for the league to incentivize a constant state of win now. It’d be dumb for the league to punish bad teams to try and force them to be good. Most of these lottery schemes seem designed to create a permanent underclass of teams that always suck, forever and ever.

    Tanking isn’t a problem. It’s just not.

  3. geo

    and, the answer is: evolution can change the nature of man…

    which is to say – check back in a few tens of thousands of generations…

  4. geo

    do you ever feel like a t-shirt should come along with the end of the season – I survived another season as a knick fan

  5. Farfa Post author

    Of man, yes. But a man? I mean, a specific man? I think my nature can’t be changed. My habits, yes. My values, a strong maybe. But my nature? I really don’t know.

  6. Brian Cronin

    If you’re gonna say shit like this back it up with some numbers.

    It’s right there in the plain numbers. There are now four picks up for grabs rather than three. That, right there, is a 33% increase in the odds of a team in the middle of the pack moving up.

    Here were the odds for the #6 seed in 2018:

    6.3% chance at #1
    7.1% chance at #2
    8.1% chance at #3
    ZERO CHANCE at #4
    ZERO CHANCE at #5
    43.9% chance at #6
    30.5% chance at #7
    4% chance at #8
    1% chance at #9

    Now, that same place in the standings has the following odds:

    9% chance at #1
    9.2% chance at #2
    9.4% chance at #3
    9.6% chance at #4
    ZERO CHANCE at #5
    8.6% chance at #6
    29.8% chance at #7
    20.5% chance at #8
    3.7% chance at #9
    1% chance at #10

    The team at #6 has now gone from a 21.4% chance at a top four pick to a 37.2% chance. That’s a major new incentive for the middle of the pack teams.

  7. Hubert

    Here’s all you need to know about Strat’s team building philosophy: when pressed for the 1,000th time about who exactly he would target with his fail-proof “just make good trades and signings” strategy, he finally identified Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nikola Mirotic.

    While Strat may not be the greatest talent evaluator when pressed for examples, I’ve read his team building philosophy enough times to know it doesn’t merit this level of ridicule. It’s literally the same philosophy being followed by Jerry West in LA and Sean Marks in Brooklyn.

    Even with Mitch and a 14% chance for Zion, I would swap places with either of those teams in a heartbeat.

  8. geo

    that’s very true signore…behavior, habits, while difficult to adjust – still possible…who we are though, much trickier…

    all the genetic and early environmental coding that goes on inside which drives some of our more instinctual thoughts and actions – probably not so easy to alter…

    not to say some extreme event (health factors, like dementia and alzheimers come to mind) can’t cause a paradigm shift in folks…

  9. JK47

    It’s not a philosophy at all.

    It’s like if somebody asks you how to make an omelet, and the answer is “there are several ways to acquire eggs, you can buy them at a supermarket, you can go foraging for them or you can start a farm and raise chickens.”

  10. d-mar

    Even with Mitch and a 14% chance for Zion, I would swap places with either of those teams in a heartbeat.

    Hubert, you’ve been saying this about the Nets for a while now (and even more so back when they were winning a ton of games against bad teams) Obviously, they’re the better team today, but I’ll trade in a perennial 4o win team for a team with Mitch, a top 5 pick and cap space for 2 max free agents in a heartbeat. The Nets have a good (but overrated) PG in Russell, a nice player at the 5 in Allen and solid players in LeVert, Dinwiddie and Harris. But tell me, unless they somehow attract a major free agent this summer (and you have to concede our odds are better than theirs) where are they 2-3 years from now? 7th seed in the East? Nets management has done a superb job recovering from the Boston trade debacle, but they’re no different from the Hornets, Pistons or Heat right now.

  11. Grocer

    It’s right there in the plain numbers. There are now four picks up for grabs rather than three.

    My fault, I was unclear. I was taking issue with the idea that more teams are tanking than ever before, not the lottery odds. Seems to me 4-6 teams are tanking every year. Teams tank based on individual circumstances, not what the lottery odds are.

  12. lavor postell

    Nets management has done a superb job recovering from the Boston trade debacle, but they’re no different from the Hornets, Pistons or Heat right now.

    I thought the real forward looking move for them would have been to explore what DLo’s value at the deadline would have been. I understand why they didn’t of course, but I wouldn’t feel great about paying him something like $20m+ AAV for the next 4-5 years.

  13. Brian Cronin

    My fault, I was unclear. I was taking issue with the idea that more teams are tanking than ever before, not the lottery odds. Seems to me 4-6 teams are tanking every year. Teams tank based on individual circumstances, not what the lottery odds are.

    Ah, gotcha. Yeah, that’s probably fair. Like you note, there are usually 6-7 teams tanking this time of year anyways, so the new odds didn’t really add to the total amount of tanking teams despite actually giving more of an incentive to get to that #6 spot than ever before. Teams already were trying to get to the #6 spot because it was better than the #7 spot. It’s just that they have even more reason to do it now.

    In any event, the main thing is that these new rules did not nothing to actually stop tanking. It basically just fucked over the worst teams, which might have been the real motivation in the first place.

  14. Bruno Almeida

    Yeah, the Nets still have to show us they aren’t just the Brooklyn Pistons. There’s a chance and they have more young talent that could develop, but it could just as well not work out.

    It’s been an impressive job by Marks, but you know what the difference is? He seems like a good GM. If the Knicks has a guy I’m confident can pull this off, I would be fine with the Nets strategy towards building a team. It working with Jerry West and Marks means literally nothing for the Knicks, while getting lucky and drafting a superstar works even for a team with a terrible GM (see Cavaliers, Cleveland), then all you need is a dude who won’t be too terrible at his job.

    Perry could be that guy, maybe? I’m not confident still. Every good thing the Knicks front office has done has been either through drafting or by not signing players / trading them away, but the actual signings and trades for players have yielded nothing, maybe DSJ and that’s it.

  15. Owen

    It’s not a philosophy at all.

    It’s like if somebody asks you how to make an omelet, and the answer is “there are several ways to acquire eggs, you can buy them at a supermarket, you can go foraging for them or you can start a farm and raise chickens.”

    I am not even sure how I feel about Strat but I love this.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how Mitch’s conditioning improves over the offseason and how he changes physically in the next couple of years. He looked winded playing so many minutes. He looked amazing still of course.

    Also, the Garden was awesome last night, fans were going nuts. Going to be so much fun if we get good.

  16. Brian Cronin

    It’s been an impressive job by Marks, but you know what the difference is? He seems like a good GM. If the Knicks has a guy I’m confident can pull this off, I would be fine with the Nets strategy towards building a team. It working with Jerry West and Marks means literally nothing for the Knicks, while getting lucky and drafting a superstar works even for a team with a terrible GM (see Cavaliers, Cleveland), then all you need is a dude who won’t be too terrible at his job.

    Yeah, I like the Nets’ odds because Marks is sadly probably in the top third of NBA GMs just by being a fairly decent GM. Just not being a moron puts you much higher than most NBA GMs. Perry, for instance, might be the first not actively terrible GM since Grunwald and Walsh, who both had their negative issues as well, but had to deal with Dolan a lot more than Jackson, Mills and Perry have, so there might be some instances where Grunwald’s worst moves weren’t really his own (like the Bargs deal). Before Walsh, Thomas and Layden were both terrible.

  17. thenoblefacehumper

    As others have pointed out, the Nets’ situation is really only good compared to where they were 3-4 years ago. There’s nothing particularly desirable about it in a vacuum. To be sure, Marks has done a hell of a job just to get them to where they are now. There’s just not a whole lot to be gleaned from their situation besides that due to how unprecedented the whole thing was.

    The fact that the Clippers have continued to win at a solid clip has obscured the fact that they’ve basically done exactly what Strat hates. Between last season’s Griffin trade and this season’s Harris trade, they’ve consistently shown that they understand it’s often necessary to get worse in the short-term in order to improve your long-term flexibility and asset collection. This can be true even if your existing team is decent because of the whole win curve thing Strat refuses to take 30 seconds to google. They’ve continued to win at a rate that likely surprised even their own front office, but the idea is exactly what people here have been advocating.

  18. Brian Cronin

    Citing the Clippers, in particular, is amusing since they did with Paul and Griffin what Phil Jackson actively refused to do, which was to sell off Melo at his peak value. The Clippers got a ton of value for Paul and Griffin and Jackson…gave Melo a no-trade clause and a Mega Max extension. Imagine if the Clippers had given Griffin a no-trade clause!

  19. djphan

    marks is probably way higher than just top third… not having any high draft picks and managing to get some very useful young players despite that is quite an accomplishment… its better than masais job in toronto…

    lot of folks here probably dislike russell but hes still probably the best rfa since.. maybe tmac? youd be crazy not to give him a ton of money… its not like 22 yo allstars grow on trees..

    they have other legitimate young pieces on that squad and i feel way more confident about their next 5 years than ours.. yea mrob and maybe dsj is nice but even with the distinct possibility of starphucing our way to 45 wins… they are in much better shape….

  20. lavor postell

    they have other legitimate young pieces on that squad and i feel way more confident about their next 5 years than ours.. yea mrob and maybe dsj is nice but even with the distinct possibility of starphucing our way to 45 wins… they are in much better shape….

    Like who? Who are the super legit young pieces? Allen is nice, but I think he’s become wildly overrated. He’s allegedly some elite rim defensive center yet the team’s defense has been significantly worse (giving up +7.5 points per 100 possesions more with him on the floor). Levert’s fun, but is 24 and has an injury history going back to his time at Michigan that’s troublesome. Dinwiddie is a good player, but is he elevating you significantly? Then there’s the reality that DLo, Levert and Dinwiddie all operate in similar capacities, but their pairings are all negatives on the floor for the season, so how much can you afford to invest in keeping all three?

    ot of folks here probably dislike russell but hes still probably the best rfa since.. maybe tmac? youd be crazy not to give him a ton of money… its not like 22 yo allstars grow on trees..

    An All-Star alternative in the East. He’s turned himself into a good player, but the calculus of how good he is and how valuable what he provides is changes when he’s off his rookie scale deal. Then his middling efficiency, high usage volume scoring isn’t as fun. I wouldn’t pay somebody like him more than 17-18m/yr, max, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get well above that this summer.

    its better than masais job in toronto…

    Not even close to as good as Masai’s job in Toronto, which is more a credit to Masai than any kind of knock on Marks.

  21. Brian Cronin

    marks is probably way higher than just top third… not having any high draft picks and managing to get some very useful young players despite that is quite an accomplishment… its better than masais job in toronto…

    I dunno, top third means he is a top 10 GM. That’s pretty far up there. Just off the top of my head of guys I’d definitely put over Marks, I’d say:

    Masai
    Ainge
    Buford
    West (not technically a GM, but basically the GM)
    Morey
    Myers (I’m a bit torn here, but fuck, he did add KD to the team)

    Then you get the guys with a bit more iffiness about them, but I think I’d still take over Marks:
    Riley
    Presti
    Connelly

    That would make Marks #10.

    I think Lindsey is a tough guy to put below Marks, as well, but it’s close enough that I’ll give it to Marks just to go with my original “top third” comment. Top ten is pretty darn good.

  22. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    its not like 22 yo allstars grow on trees..

    The All-Star selection process is literally a popularity contest.

  23. Hubert

    Hubert, you’ve been saying this about the Nets for a while now (and even more so back when they were winning a ton of games against bad teams) Obviously, they’re the better team today, but I’ll trade in a perennial 4o win team for a team with Mitch, a top 5 pick and cap space for 2 max free agents in a heartbeat. The Nets have a good (but overrated) PG in Russell, a nice player at the 5 in Allen and solid players in LeVert, Dinwiddie and Harris. But tell me, unless they somehow attract a major free agent this summer (and you have to concede our odds are better than theirs) where are they 2-3 years from now? 7th seed in the East? Nets management has done a superb job recovering from the Boston trade debacle, but they’re no different from the Hornets, Pistons or Heat right now.

    I get what you’re saying. In this particular instance, I’m only saying if we swapped everything with the Nets I think we’d be a lock to sign two max free agents this summer.

    You can’t call them a perennial 40 win team when they could have just as much cap space as us. They’re a playoff team, with Jarett Allen (who it Mitchlike) and Carais LaVert, and they can sign two max free agents, too.

    The only thing we have over them is a 14% chance of Zion and the nebulous value of playing in MSG, both of which are more than offset by Dolan.

  24. lavor postell

    I also think the biggest drivers of the success the Nets are having this year are Joe Harris and Ed Davis. Their low usage, high efficiency production buoys the offense which for major stretches has been orchestrated by middling-to-low efficiency, higher usage players like DLo and Levert.

    Dinwiddie’s scoring efficiency has gone up in a big way which has helped a ton also, albeit his assist rate has dropped significantly.

    I think this is a team with a lot of good pieces, but there’s nobody I’d feel comfortable about hitching my wagon to entirely and building around.

  25. Brian Cronin

    I get what you’re saying. In this particular instance, I’m only saying if we swapped everything with the Nets I think we’d be a lock to sign two max free agents this summer. I think they’ve taken a better approach than us.

    I don’t disagree with that, but the Knicks are still the Knicks. It sucks for the other teams, but mediocrity from the Knicks is much more attractive than an above average rebuild by another team (that is not the Lakers).

    That’s what is so funny. Knick GMs just have to not clog up the cap and star players will eventually want to play here. And Knick GMs have proceeded to clog the cap for something like 21 of the past 23 seasons.

  26. Hubert

    It working with Jerry West and Marks means literally nothing for the Knicks,

    I know this. I’m just saying if you pay attention to strat’s philosophy, he describes the plan that those two are currently employing. Ergo, it’s a reasonable option that is currently being employed effectively, not the ridiculous notion we often chide him for espousing.

  27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    PPG leaders, 2018-19 with ASG status

    Harden STARTER
    George STARTER
    Giannis STARTER
    Curry STARTER
    Embiid STARTER
    (LeBron) STARTER
    Leonard STARTER
    Booker
    (Lillard) STARTER
    Durant STARTER
    Lillard RESERVE
    (Davis) RESERVE
    Beal RESERVE
    Walker STARTER
    Griffin RESERVE
    Towns RESERVE
    Irving STARTER
    LaVine
    Mitchell
    Westbrook RESERVE
    Thompson RESERVE
    Randle
    DeRozan
    Doncic
    Holiday
    Aldridge RESERVE
    Russell RESERVE
    McCollum
    Conley
    Hield
    Vucevic RESERVE
    Harris
    Jokic RESERVE

    Legacy Picks

    Wade
    Dirk

    Players not in the top-30 on the AS team

    Simmons
    Oladipo
    Lowry
    Middleton

    I think we know what drives All-Star selections.

  28. Hubert

    I don’t disagree with that, but the Knicks are still the Knicks. It sucks for the other teams, but mediocrity from the Knicks is much more attractive than an above average rebuild by another team (that is not the Lakers).

    I get that.

    Again, this wasn’t meant to be a Knicks vs Nets thing.

    It was about everyone always acting like Strat’s plan is a joke. It’s the same plan the Nets and Clippers have been employing. My point is that he’s not crazy for supporting it, and that if we had employed it, we might be in better shape than we currently are.

    If we had the Nets roster and record this year, don’t you think we’d have a better shot at Durant and Kyrie? That’s what I was saying today. Not that the Nets have a better shot than us.

  29. JK47

    It was about everyone always acting like Strat’s plan is a joke.

    It’s not even that Strat has a “bad” plan. It’s that it’s not a plan at all. His plan is “get good players.” I mean, yeah, that would probably work! No shit, if you make trades where you get better players than the ones you got rid of, and you sign free agents that give you surplus value, and you draft guys that are good, you’ll probably be good!

    The problem with this is that the first two things are really hard to do. It’s hard to fleece teams out of giving you really good players when you don’t have much to offer in return. It’s also hard to get surplus value out of free agents. By nature, you’re paying market value for them, you’re paying for what they did in the past. You’re prolllly not gonna get $30M of value out of a $15M free agent. You’re going to get $15M of value, maybe a little less, maybe a little more.

    The third way, “find players in the draft” is the EASIEST way. If you have lots of draft picks, you’ll hit on more of those. If you don’t try to acquire assets, and instead try to build your team through trades and free agents, you get fewer bites at that apple of finding a true star in the draft. Next year we’re probably going to get $20M+ of value from Mitch Robinson’s $1.5M contract. We had an extra draft pick, and we hit on one. See? THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT.

  30. Hubert

    I’m not going to speak to Strat’s plan, he can come on and do it himself.

    My impression of it, though, has always been that he advocates a series of small wins and long-term planning over extreme measures like tanking and trading everyone for cap space.

    I’m not saying it’s the best plan. As the Nets are showing, even when you win one (like Russell) you have to pay him rather quickly. It’s hard to plan long term these days.

  31. Bruno Almeida

    If Russell wasn’t drafted by the Lakers he would get far, far less attention and I dare say no all-star spot at all. The media drives a lot of those storylines and shitting on the Lakers is a huge one.

  32. djphan

    without the benefit of a top 20 first rder… they managed to find 3 to 4 viable starters in this league… thats more than what masai got and he had a couple lotto picks thrown in… they got dinwiddie and russell for nothing…

    that their team and these players are imperfect has nothing to do with marks… even with benefit of hindsight are you able to build a better team than marks did?

    theres a large bias here against players who arent perfect…. most players not named harden or giannis arent perfect… jarrett allen is not the best center out there but hes still pretty good… and certainly pretty good for a 2nd year player… how many centers are you taking over him? russell isnt the best player out there and maybe not really an allstar… but out of the players that will be rfas whos going to be have this much talent relative to their age AND be available in the next 5 years?

    rhj… dinwiddie.. levert.. kurucs… none of these are worldbeaters… but is there a team who has more volume of younger talent? at 24 or younger.. nope..

    the nets built a playoff team by accident… just think about that… they only wanted to set themselves up well long term… and they are actually in the playoffs now.. thats an incredible achievement…

    even if the knicks manage to get durant and irving or whoever… they are gonna have a pretty tough time finishing ahead of the nets… and if the nets manage to get someone good in FA then they might be the best team in the east for a long while…

    thats how good their moves have been up to this point…

  33. d-mar

    rhj… dinwiddie.. levert.. kurucs… none of these are worldbeaters… but is there a team who has more volume of younger talent? at 24 or younger.. nope..

    The Kings? The Mavs?

    “even if the knicks manage to get durant and irving or whoever… they are gonna have a pretty tough time finishing ahead of the nets”

    Now you’re really going overboard

  34. djphan

    they certainly have better just based on fox and doncic alone… but volume? no.. no one has more… not even boston and boston had all of the nets picks…

  35. Bruno Almeida

    “without the benefit of a top 20 first rder… they managed to find 3 to 4 viable starters in this league… thats more than what masai got and he had a couple lotto picks thrown in… they got dinwiddie and russell for nothing”

    I’m really lost here, you think the Raptors don’t have 4 or 5 viable starters? Ujiri arrived in Toronto after the 2012-13 season, so literally only Lowry from their current roster was on the team.

    The only high picks he had were DeRozan and Valanciunas, both of which he traded away, one in a great deal and the other in a decent deal at least. they probably traded away more viable starters than the Nets have had in these years.

  36. thenoblefacehumper

    Literally no one disagrees with the idea that you should make good value trades when you can, make good (i.e. aligned with your win curve, which is the part Strat doesn’t understand) signings when they’re available, and obviously make the best draft picks possible.

    The problem, like JK47 said, is it’s ridiculous to suggest that there will be enough opportunities to do the first two to build a contender. I mean, just how many teams and players do you think you can rip off? The other teams want good players too, you know, and players aren’t exactly dying to take below market value contracts. It’s just so absurd to suggest that constantly trying to rip everyone off is a coherent team-building strategy. No shit you’ll have a good team if you can find, like, 5 different sucker GMs and 4 different sucker players. This is why when actually pressed for examples the very best ones Strat can come up with are Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nikola Mirotic, both of whom would extremely obviously make the Knicks’ long-term position worse.

    To contend in the NBA you need elite players, and it’s factorial that those tend to be found at the top of the draft. Of course it’s possible to find them by other means, but it involves getting insanely lucky in the draft (i.e. having to rely on other teams passing up on your guy) or being attractive to multiple elite free agents…which is literally impossible if your cap sheet is clogged up with the Courtney Lees and KCPs and Nikola Mirotics of the world.

  37. thenoblefacehumper

    without the benefit of a top 20 first rder… they managed to find 3 to 4 viable starters in this league… thats more than what masai got and he had a couple lotto picks thrown in… they got dinwiddie and russell for nothing…

    That’s the point though. Their position is only really impressive if you consider where they’re coming from. There’s not much of a lesson in it for the Knicks or any other team unless they’ve already traded away all of their first rounders. If they haven’t done that, there are better ways available to build a successful team.

    It was about everyone always acting like Strat’s plan is a joke. It’s the same plan the Nets and Clippers have been employing. My point is that he’s not crazy for supporting it, and that if we had employed it, we might be in better shape than we currently are.

    I guess I’ll just repeat myself; if the Knicks did what the Clippers did and traded multiple good, prime-age players because they didn’t align with their win curve Strat would be inconsolable. The Clippers have constantly fetched future assets for expensive, productive players they didn’t think aligned with their win curve. It’s pretty much the opposite of what Strat advocates. I mean, he didn’t even like the KP trade and both Harris and Griffin have been much more productive than KP.

    There’s really no there there when it comes to his “strategy.”

  38. Hubert

    I mean, just how many teams and players do you think you can rip off?

    Quite a few, actually. And I think you can keep on going back to the well for a while.

  39. Brian Cronin

    It’s the same plan the Nets and Clippers have been employing.

    In the case of the Nets, they were in a very bizarre situation, so normal rules did not apply to them. If they had their own picks, they would have tanked like every other team. I give Marks high marks (pun intended) for getting them into as good of a situation as he has with where he started, but if he had taken over and they hadn’t traded away all of their picks, they’d have been tanking like everyone else.

    In the case of the Clippers, they traded their star players at their peak value, which Phil Jackson specifically did not do, and Strat approved of Phil Jackson’s overall plan, so saying that his suggested plan is the same as the Clippers plan doesn’t hold water.

  40. Grocer

    In any event, the main thing is that these new rules did not nothing to actually stop tanking. It basically just fucked over the worst teams, which might have been the real motivation in the first place.

    I figure the motivation was the public complaining about tanking, not the actual tanking. That’s only a problem for the league when everyone is talking about it.

  41. Brian Cronin

    I figure the motivation was the public complaining about tanking, not the actual tanking. That’s only a problem for the league when everyone is talking about it.

    Yeah, I think you’re correct. Essentially, if Hinkie hadn’t been so blatant about “The Process,” he’d probably still have a gig and the NBA wouldn’t give a shit about the lottery rules. The league rewards people for keeping quiet and not making waves.

  42. lavor postell

    how many centers are you taking over him?

    A lot?

    russell isnt the best player out there and maybe not really an allstar… but out of the players that will be rfas whos going to be have this much talent relative to their age AND be available in the next 5 years?

    The framing of this is strange. Why does it matter? Is he going to be justify the money he’s about to get with his production? I don’t think so. I also don’t know how to answer this question over the next 5 years. Maybe Ingram takes a leap, but the Lakers aren’t sure they want to give him a max. Maybe Jaylen Brown makes a leap, but because the Celtics are already pushing up against the luxury tax they don’t choose to keep him.

    rhj… dinwiddie.. levert.. kurucs… none of these are worldbeaters… but is there a team who has more volume of younger talent? at 24 or younger.. nope..

    RHJ isn’t good and may not even be on the team next year given he barely plays. Dinwiddie’s 25. Kurucs and Levert are nice pieces. Nobody said otherwise.

    even if the knicks manage to get durant and irving or whoever… they are gonna have a pretty tough time finishing ahead of the nets… and if the nets manage to get someone good in FA then they might be the best team in the east for a long while…

    If the Knicks sign KD and Kyrie they’re going to comfortable be better than the Nets.

  43. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    If I were Strat, I would be very frustrated with this board. Everything he says gets distorted into unreasonableness. He says Phil Jackson wasn’t as bad as he is often made out to be; that gets turned into Phil Jackson was good. He says it can work to build a team slowly by getting incrementally better, then that isn’t an actual detailed plan and is impossible anyway. He says we need more time to determine if Ntilikina can be good, then he thinks Ntilikina is already good, which he clearly doesn’t.

    I used to work for IBM, whose founder put “Think” signs on everyone’s desks because he knew people have a tendency to react rather than thinking things through. This is a great blog and often very thoughtful, but we could still use some “Think” signs.

  44. Grocer

    If I were Strat, I would be very frustrated with this board. Everything he says gets distorted into unreasonableness.

    Not really.

  45. Bruno Almeida

    @45

    People have given him a fair chance multiple times, but he sticks to it in an incredibly stubborn way every time for what, 1 year already? While he distorts everyone’s arguments to the contrary by “joking” that people just want to lose for 10 more years.

    Yeah no. Tnfh and jk47 specially have gone into super long arguments with him pretty much pointing out inconsistencies and terrible ideas over and over, and it has changed literally nothing. If he’s just willing to talk but not willing to listen, I suggest a wall might be more receptive than we are.

  46. MBunge

    The team at #6 has now gone from a 21.4% chance at a top four pick to a 37.2% chance.

    They’ve also gone from a 4% chance at picking 8th to a 20.5% chance and the likelihood of moving down to 9th is increased as well.

    This is basically the tanking argument in a nutshell. It’s not that tanking is always wrong but that the pro-tanking side continuously ignores/underestimates the downside of the strategy.

    I’ve made this point before but no one has or likely ever will tank harder or longer than Philly just did. What did they get for it? Well, if Kawhi resigns in Toronto and Boston pulls their head out of their collective behind, the Sixers reward for tanking like no team had ever tanked before could very well be to spend the next decade as the third best team in their division.

    MIke

  47. JK47

    The whole “tanking” argument is, sorry to say, really fucking dumb.

    If you suck, you should be looking to ACQUIRE ASSETS. You should not be looking to add pointless MARGINAL WINS. Trying to go from a 17-win team to a 29-win team by signing the Kentavious Caldwell-Popes and Courtney Lees of the world is LITERALLY THE DUMBEST STRATEGY you can pursue.

    Don’t think of it as “tanking.” Think of it as “rebuilding.” It’s what every team that was shitty and then got good has done for many, many, many years.

  48. Hubert

    I know the final 4 shouldn’t count more than any other two games, but man is Culver having a bad pair of games. It will probably knock him down a bit.

  49. abk

    Maybe Culver. It’s tough to knock someone for a few games, but he looked pretty bad in the first half. Really bad turnover and Hunter looks quicker than him. Both of them are forcing bad shots though.

  50. Brian Cronin

    I’ve made this point before but no one has or likely ever will tank harder or longer than Philly just did. What did they get for it? Well, if Kawhi resigns in Toronto and Boston pulls their head out of their collective behind, the Sixers reward for tanking like no team had ever tanked before could very well be to spend the next decade as the third best team in their division.

    Do you think Kawhi will be on Toronto next year? Did Philadelphia have a worse record than Boston this year or better? Seems like a big leap to then say “Philadelphia is going to be the third best team in their division despite currently being second, because Boston will be better than them next year for…reasons.” Not even getting into the question of whether Kawhi will be on Toronto next year (which seems unlikely, but hey, it is still pretty early. Would he seriously walk away from them if they make the Finals? Probably, but it not a clear cut thing).

    Then again, they’re all going to be behind the Durant and Kyrie-led Knicks next season, of course. ;)

  51. chrisconley

    Culver has been so unimpressive this tournament. He sucked against Gonzaga and Michigan State and put up a mediocre 22 pts on 19 shots against Michigan.

  52. JK47

    Yeah this is kind of a bunch of bad games in a row for Culver, and he didn’t play super great in conference play this year either. I dunno, he still seems like a pretty good prospect because of the defense and the boxscore-stuffing ability but his offense is questionable.

  53. abk

    De’Andre Hunter is just an absolute monster when it comes to on-ball defense. He doesn’t create splash plays, but he’s shut down every Tech guard he’s been on all game. Glad to see both he and Culver are stepping up on offense too.

  54. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    I’ll take Hunter over Culver all day.

  55. abk

    This is the draft I’d be looking to trade back. If we’re #2 or #3 and someone falls in love with Barrett or Morant, I’d rather have Clarke/Culver/Hunter/Williams and a top 10 pick next year than Barrett/Morant. Not sure our FO would do that though; they probably like the pure scoring.

  56. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’m high on Morant, but the Knicks need more lottery tickets and are threadbare at 4 of 5 positions. If the price were right, I’d trade down, especially at #3 with Barrett the “obvious” pick there.

  57. Bruno Almeida

    I don’t believe anyone is trading up for anyone not named Zion and Morant, there’s a very low chance any team is much higher than we are on those guys, Barrett being the only possible exception. Nobody is trading up for Culver or Clarke.

    We’re still screwed if we don’t get a top 2 pick in my opinion, with 3 being a ok situation (I’m fine with Barrett and there’s a chance he’s picked before Morant if the right team is number 2), and 4 and 5 being absolute disasters.

  58. djphan

    this is the draft where you dont want to trade back… esp if youre the knicks who are probably trading back for the wrong kind of player….

    i wouldnt be so down on culver after a couple of bad games… and they were basically cold shooting nights… hes still the second or at worst third best prospect in this draft…

  59. abk

    Nobody is trading up for Culver or Clarke.

    Huh? That’s not what I said at all. I said I’d trade down from #2 or #3 so that I could pick up someone like Culver/Clarke and more picks.

    We’re still screwed if we don’t get a top 2 pick in my opinion, with 3 being a ok situation (I’m fine with Barrett and there’s a chance he’s picked before Morant if the right team is number 2), and 4 and 5 being absolute disasters.

    I don’t agree at all. #4 or #5 is still the expectation. That’s the reward for tanking. Anything better is because we just got lucky in the lottery. Framing it as a failure is ridiculous, when it’s been the likely outcome all season and is out of the team’s control. The failure would be blowing the #4 or #5 pick on Cam Reddish.

    i wouldnt be so down on culver after a couple of bad games… and they were basically cold shooting nights… hes still the second or at worst third best prospect in this draft…

    I agree. Culver and Clarke are still great bets to succeed. Hunter probably too. After that maybe there’s a tier drop but tons of interesting guys like Jontay Porter, Bol, Coby White, Garland, Hayes, Horton-Tucker, Grant Williams…

  60. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    If I were Strat, I would be very frustrated with this board.

    I try not to let it bother me, but I do wonder why I still post here. I don’t mind being in a contrarian role. Fashionable thinking often gets wildly overdone (as it has with tanking and boxscore models here), but it would be nice if people would stick to what I actually say instead of attacking what I am not saying to make a point.

    The 76ers ignited a “tank” movement. Every bad management and no nothing basketball writer loves tanking now and is trying to sell it to fans.

    But there’s plenty of data demonstrating how long and difficult a task it is to tank and rebuild.

    Even the 76ers that took tanking to an extreme that will never be duplicated again (because of the injuries that helped them, rule changes that resulted as NY is finding, and the progressively lower age of the kids being selected) are 6-7 years into it and only have a great C (that could break down at any moment) and a point forward that can’t shoot to show for it.

    That’s not a model to be anxious to copy.

    If you are in that starting position, you screwed up badly somewhere.

    IMO, smart teams scan the landscape and try to figure out what everyone else is doing wrong. They try to exploit inefficiencies created by fashionable thinking that has gone too far.

    IMO, picks have become overvalued.

    Teams should probably be selling picks in an effort to bring in young players with measurable quality -with a preference on packaging them for potential stars. Dallas has done a lot of boneheaded things since their championship, but they have the right idea now. They used a pick to move up in the draft to get Doncic and 2 picks to help get KP. Now they are 1 star away. The bad contracts they took on are inconsequential. Those players will be gone by the time their young players are peaking.

  61. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Don’t think of it as “tanking.” Think of it as “rebuilding.” It’s what every team that was shitty and then got good has done for many, many, many years.

    It doesn’t matter what you call it.

    If you were in that bottoming out position 3 years ago, made a #4 pick, #8 pick, a #9 pick, and had 20 million of cap space on top of it, but you are still in that position now, you screwed up badly.

    The draft picks, free agents, and other moves you made over that 3 years should have you well into the turnaround by now.

  62. JK47

    If you were in that bottoming out position 3 years ago, made a #4 pick, #8 pick, a #9 pick, and had 20 million of cap space on top of it, but you are still in that position now, you screwed up badly.

    The draft picks, free agents, and other moves you made over that 3 years should have you well into the turnaround by now.

    GAAAAAAAHHHHHHH (Pulls tuft of hair out)

    That was NOT a rebuild for crying out fucking loud. Year one after the 17-win season the innovations were to bring in Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams. NOT something you would do if you’re rebuilding. But Phil Jackson is a moron, so what are you gonna do.

    Year two after the 17-win season, the brilliant plan was to trade for Derrick Rose and sign Joakim Noah’s corpse and Courtney Lee. Do those sound like rebuilding moves to you? I mean, what the actual fuck. Are we living in the same timeline on planet Earth? That bum-ass team won 31 games, pretty much the worst case scenario. As a result they got a shitty draft pick and drafted a shitty player.

    And the thing we learned was… that rebuilds suck? We didn’t even TRY a rebuild. We went with “get some guys who were good five years ago and teach them the triangle.” Yeah, big surprise, we’re not very far along after all of those horrible, indefensible moves blew up in Phil Jackson’s mustachioed face. The Tim Hardaway contract was an unfortunate cherry on top of the sundae, yes, I agree with you on that one. I hated that shit the moment it was announced. But still. WE SUCK BECAUSE WE INVESTED SEVERAL YEARS IN SHITTY VETERANS. NOT BECAUSE A REBUILD FAILED.

    I just… I can’t anymore. My brain is attempting to flee my skull. Nothing personal, Strat, you seem like a decent and patient person. My apologies. But for the good of the board, I gotta start ignoring you. This is bad for my health.

  63. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Strat, please keep posting. I enjoy your posts.

    And JK47, I think Strat just said the Knicks management screwed up badly, since they didn’t get anywhere in the last three years. So you two agree on that.

  64. thenoblefacehumper

    And JK47, I think Strat just said the Knicks management screwed up badly, since they didn’t get anywhere in the last three years. So you two agree on that.

    What he said was the Knicks didn’t get anywhere after “bottoming out” three years ago, which is nonsense. They did whatever the polar opposite of “bottoming out” is outside of that one 2014-2015 season (which was a total accident, Phil Jackson’s stated goal was making the playoffs before starting the season 5-35).

    After that, Phil immediately shifted to trying to win as many games as possible. The only saving grace is he was so fucking bad at talent/production evaluation that we still found ourselves in the (late) lottery, but we blew the picks on Ntilikina and Knox respectively.

  65. Brian Cronin

    Phil Jackson’s stated goal was making the playoffs before starting the season 5-35

    I still love how that was the point where Jackson determined that the season was over. “Okay, when we were 5-30 and had lost 10 in a row, I thought it was too soon to make a move, but 5-35? This is too far gone now.”

  66. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    That was NOT a rebuild for crying out fucking loud. Year one after the 17-win season the innovations were to bring in Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams. NOT something you would do if you’re rebuilding.

    Please join the real world. PHIL TANKED to get Porzingis. It doesn’t matter whether that was his original intentional or not. He cleaned house other than Melo. You are simply disagreeing with aspects of his rebuild.

    We know Phil’s philosophy on rebuilding a team in general terms. He thought you could rebuild adding both young players via picks and free agency, veterans via free agency and trade, and he liked to roll over cap space when he couldn’t get a player he wanted. We don’t know what specifically what he would have done going forward. We just know he made mistakes.

    That’s OVER.

    Current management inherited 20 million of cap space, KP, Frank, and picks when Phil was fired.

    1. They blew the 2om on horrible contracts
    2. Blew 6 million on Hezonja
    3. Let a productive player like O’Quinn walk for nothing
    4. Made a suspect trade for Willy
    5. Drafted Knox
    6. Are stifling Frank’s development
    7. Made no other productive trades or FA signings
    8. Produced such a terrible team KP wanted out and we had to use him in part to move the terrible contract in part 1.

    That’s not Phil fault.

    A good management team would have used the 20 million properly, used the 6 million well, made some kind of positive trades or signings along the way, got something positive for any other leftover assets we did have, drafted Mikal Bridges, and developed Frank properly.

    If they did, we’d have a MUCH better team now, we’d be young, have loads of upside, plenty of cap space to add quality players, and all our picks.

    We are in double dip tank.

    IF we escape this year, we won’t draft out way out of it for a LONG LONG time. We will FREE AGENT VET PLAYER our way of it.

  67. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Strat, please keep posting. I enjoy your posts.

    All they’ve got is PHIL MADE MISTAKES.

    That’s what makes the conversation frustrating and unworthy of continuing.

    I agree that Phil made mistakes. Many of my views were detailed at the time they happened. They just can’t get past the fact that I defended him on some aspects of what he was trying to accomplish even if I disagreed with the execution. It’s all because he didn’t follow their alternate 10 year rebuilding plan that is a different demonstrably bad idea.

  68. lavor postell

    1. They blew the 2om on horrible contracts
    2. Blew 6 million on Hezonja
    3. Let a productive player like O’Quinn walk for nothing
    4. Made a suspect trade for Willy
    5. Drafted Knox
    6. Are stifling Frank’s development
    7. Made no other productive trades or FA signings
    8. Produced such a terrible team KP wanted out and we had to use him in part to move the terrible contract in part 1.

    1. This was Mills. Perry wouldn’t have floated the boat for THJ. If you want to score it against them since Mills is still POBB that’s fair, but I seems obvious that Perry’s been running the show since he was hired and I highly doubt he’d have done that.
    2. They took a chance on Hezonja for 6m for one year. They weren’t interested in going long-term on anybody. This was a zero risk signing on a former lotto pick in an obvious rebuild/tank year. What were they going to do with 6m that would have fundamentally changed this season?
    3. There’s nothing to suggest they were even offered anything valuable for KOQ. Still, if you want to mark this against them it’s reasonable.
    4. Nothing about that trade was suspect, and if Kemba leaves those 2nd rounders are going to be more valuable than Willy was. He’s a Kanter-type big that is at best a decent reserve big that plays zero defense.
    5. I’m not putting this as a negative against them yet. Knox is/was a project. If he’s shown zero progression next season I’ll join the growing movement.
    6. Possibly, but Frank hasn’t helped himself either. Even though I don’t think they’ve done right by him, the reality is Frank is posting a sub-40 eFG%. Even if he was Dennis Rodman and Gary Payton on defense it’d be tough to just let him play through it.
    7. This is wrong. Trading Melo was productive. Signing Trier was productive. Trading KP was very productive IMO.
    8. Literally don’t care about this at all and I think you’re being extremely favorable in painting KP as some victim and nuanced basketball…

  69. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    @74

    Yeah, I’m wrong. They took a team that won 31 games, had 20 million of cap space, all it’s picks, in 3 years turned it into a 16 win team that doesn’t have the best young player they started with, and will use the very free agency vets that everyone hates to try to fix it. Good job.

  70. lavor postell

    Yeah, I’m wrong. They took a team that won 31 games, had 20 million of cap space, all it’s picks, in 3 years turned it into a 16 win team that doesn’t have the best young player they started with, and will use the very free agency vets that everyone hates to try to fix it. Good job.

    You’re just beng disingenuous because the injury to that very young player is specifically why they were doomed to suck this year, even if they used this $6m in space on somebody better than Hezonja.

    And yeah, I disagree KP is a burgeoning superstar, but the reality is he’s never even going to be a top-5 player at his position. For the foreseeable future he’ll be behind the likes of Embiid, AD, Jokic, Giannis, and KAT at the bare minimum. After that it’s debateable whether you’d rather have JJJ, Siakam, Turner, and Markkanen among others. At a guaranteed full max, which is apparently what he wants, he’s a major risk with a diva attitude to boot.

    Also the team that won 31 games was “lifted” to that largely by guys like Rose and Melo who were gone by the start of next year. THJ was added, which was dumb, but up until KP got hurt the team looked poised to beat that mark last season, which I guess would have demonstrated progress?

    Once KP got hurt and then decided with his “team” to sit out this entire season, please lay out to me how the Knicks were going to not suck ass and/or show progress?

  71. Nick C.

    Knox and Frank have been unproductive to date. Had they not spent half of each season operating under the notion that they were going to improve the team, they may have been in a better draft position and been able to draft more productive players. As for KP, my impression was he was sour before the previous regime came in and all you can fault them for is not changing his mind. Unless you think he tuned back out over l’affaire de Kanter.

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