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Friday, October 31, 2014

What I Liked From Preseason Game 1

Last night the Knicks played their first preseason game, a 113-111 loss to Toronto. It was the first impression Knick fans would get of this new regime, and there was a lot to like.

The first thing that struck me was the movement on offense. True to the 7 second offense, the ball never stayed in one place very long. This occurred as soon as the Knicks secured an defensive rebound. The rebounder would immediately look for the outlet pass, and there were many occasions when the Knicks quickly pushed the ball upcourt.

But this ball movement also continued in the half court set. No player held onto the ball for more than a few seconds. Under the D’Antoni offense it seems that the player holding the ball is mandated to pass, drive, or shoot. At first it was odd to see slow and deliberate players like Randolph or Crawford react immediately upon receiving the ball. However by the second half this became so commonplace, that it was odd if a player held on to the ball for too long.

On offense the movement wasn’t just limited to the ball. On nearly every play, the players were moving. Earlier this week I made a comment about the New York offense being stuck in the 90s with isolations and post play. D’Antoni’s offense is the anti-90s. Frequently when a player had the ball his teammates were cutting to the hoop or rotating around the perimeter. Because of the constant movement, both of player and ball, the Knicks frequently created easy shots from nice passing. Last night New York had 29 assists, a mark they only matched once last season.

Another positive from yesterday’s game was the frontcourt play. Lee played 30 minutes, and in turn racked up a team high 22 points (on 9-13 shooting). Randolph had a less efficient 19 points, but grabbed 13 rebounds and had 5 assists. More importantly the pair played well together, even finding each other with a few nice passes for easy scores. It’s yet to see how Curry will fit in with this duo, but it seems that D’Antoni’s offense complements this pair as well as any offensive scheme could. Chandler and Richardson both played 23 minutes. While Q-Rich was more efficient (12 points on 5-9), Chandler did a better job filling the spreadsheet (6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK) and may push the veteran for playing time.

The final positive was D’Antoni’s coaching style. During his tenure, Isiah Thomas was frequently criticized for his lackadaisical approach, whether it was staying in seat during the game or failing to draw up plays during time outs. During last night’s game, at the end of the half the Knicks had the ball and held it for the final shot. D’Antoni was animated on the sidelines, yelling instructions to the players and waiving his arms. It was like he was channeling Arturo Toscanini and it felt as if at any moment he might just run onto the court, grab the ball, and run the play himself.

But before Knick fans get too giddy about yesterday’s performance, the 7 second offense caused the Knicks to cough up the ball 20 times. They only did that 7 times last year. Both point guards were to blame. Marbury turned the ball over 5 times (in only 22 minutes), and Duhon had more turnovers (7) than assists (6). Duhon played especially poorly, hitting only 1 of 7 shots, and that doesn’t bode well for a team trying to move Marbury into the 6th man role.

Ultimately there were many positives. The Knicks lost, but the team is expected to do that a lot this year. However the loss was entertaining. The offense was interesting and kept the game going at a fast pace. There were many easy shots for the Knicks, including a Nate Robinson dunk from the baseline. There were enough minutes for Lee, Chandler, and Robinson to keep me interested. Overall the team looked competent, something which hasn’t been said of the Knicks in years.

80 comments on “What I Liked From Preseason Game 1

  1. Z-man

    Excellent analysis, Mike. I agree with everything you said.

    I am very concerned that Duhon is not good enough. Aside from his shooting woes, he didn’t seem particularly fast, nor a very good ball handler for a PG, and nothing special on D. He’s clearly not as good as Nate, who should start and play 30+ a night. I hope Collins gets off the bench on Friday.

    Lee looked bigger and faster. Seems like every aspect of his game improved.

    Toronto killed us from the perimeter.

  2. Italian Stallion

    D’Antoni had a funny line about Duhon’s game last night. He said he almost had a triple double but unfortunately one of them was turnovers. LOL

    I think Duhon is feeling some pressure. We’ll learn more as they all get more used to the new system.

  3. david

    Duhon will be alright. His is one of the few new guys, in the first starting role of his career, AND dealing with the pressures of the Marbury benching. The fact that he pulled down 10 boards should be very encouraging, as it shows that he can contribute even when he is otherwise struggling. Look for Duhon to settle in nicely in the next few games.

  4. ess-dog

    This is why players love playing for D’Antoni: he lets them play. It will be great for these players and great for bringing in free agents… I’m pshched! As for Duhon, it doesn’t seem like he has the physical gifts of Marbury or Nate, so if those two really up their game, Duhon could take a seat on the bench. Were Lee’s points mostly fast break pts? Was he shooting from outside? Discouraging about Randolph, but shot selection can be learned. I think it needs to be pummeled into him. I still see a problem being interior defense, and they (especially Crawford) need to defend from outside (the 3 pointer) or else we will just lose a lot of 147-153 games. But at least it will be fun to watch!

  5. david

    ess-dog: After all those Isiah years, I would LOVE to watch some 147-153 losses. Wins/losses aren’t our main concern this year. Just want to see some Knick basketball I can watch!! Have something to look forward to after work. Very exciting.

  6. Italian Stallion

    ess-dog

    Lee hit a couple of outside shots. Honestly, he couldn’t have looked any better. His willingness to take those shots was a positive sign. That he hit them is really encouraging. He may be rounding into almost an all star quality player. The more minutes he gets the better. Curry and Randolph should be fighting for minutes with Lee.

  7. ess-dog

    Someone said that Randolph should be benched when he takes stupid shots… that would be the best usage of Curry. When Randolph needs to take a head-check. Lee can easily slide over to PF or Center. While the Defense should be ugly (I have hopes for Chandler though) at least we can watch some fun high-scoring games…

  8. George from Scottsdale

    Mike, your analysis was right on! noticed the cuts this year were toward the basket, not away. Randolph is a better passer than he’s showed because there was actually someone to pass to.MD DOES teach D, not only did the team switch well, they held doubles better and mismatches under the basket were fouls on the floor, not shooting fouls.Glad to see Bosh and O’Neal shooting from outside and not dunking.Best starting team might be: Lee, Randolph,Chandler, Robinson and Marbury.Good start, let’s see how it goes from here!!!

  9. Sly Williams

    Yes, patience is important. Mike D’Antoni NBA coaching record: 1st year with team: 35-76 .315; after 1st season: 232-96 .707.
    Italian league record does not have the same pattern, but his record:
    288-101 (.740), is excellent.

  10. Trucker

    Marbury can’t start for this team. He can’t even be our 6th man as he is still playing Starbury basketball and hasn’t bought into D’Antoni’s system. Last night’s game was great. Our front court is in good shape with help maybe coming (Gallinari and Jeffries). But there is little in our backcourt after Duhon, Craw and Nate.

  11. Kobayashi

    Marbury can’t start for this team. He can’t even be our 6th man as he is still playing Starbury basketball and hasn’t bought into D’Antoni’s system. Last night’s game was great. Our front court is in good shape with help maybe coming (Gallinari and Jeffries). But there is little in our backcourt after Duhon, Craw and Nate.

    I agree 100 percent with Trucker. Last night Duhon and Marbury had the same per minute turnover rates, while Duhon had the higher assist rate. The Knicks need a distributor at the point who doesn’t turn the ball over. Hopefully Duhon gets a better feel for his new teammates in the remaining pre-season games and cuts down the turnovers.

  12. Count Zero

    If there is such a thing as an encouraging loss, that was it.

    Honestly? If the only real gain this season is that I don’t have to watch somebody pound the ball on the floor for 10 seconds straight during every other halfcourt set, I will be ecstatic.

  13. Hooped Up

    Stat Of The Night:
    Zbo – 5 assists.

    Your right! Maybe Zbo can play the role of Diaw with better shooting, rebounding, passing and eating ability.

  14. Z-man

    We have to be careful not to overreact to the PG paly in this first game. PG is clearly the most revealing position in this (or any?) offense. While last night both Duhon and Marbury struggled, some of their TO’s were on kick-outs that were not really available, i.e within the overall scheme. I am guessing that it would take any PG other than a Nash or a Kidd some time to find out what this offense consistently opens up and where the D tends to react to it. You can’t get much out of scrimmaging, compared to going up vs. other teams. I expect the PG play in general to get a lot better during the next weeks and months. I also think that there will tend to be more turnovers in general due to the pace of play.

  15. daaarn

    I’m actually not too concerned about the PG play yesterday. I don’t know why, but even when I saw that many TOs, I wasn’t too flustered. I guess it’s partly b/c I understand that we don’t have an actual “permanent” PG on the team at the moment, so I let it slide. I mean, one way or another, Marbury will be gone after this season, and I don’t see Duhon being our PG of the future either, unless it’s in a reserve role. I guess there’s always the chance Nate could be slotted into the point, but again, I don’t see him claiming it full time.

  16. Zbo
    Stat Of The Night:Zbo – 5 assists.

    Your right! Maybe Zbo can play the role of Diaw with better shooting, rebounding, passing and eating ability.

    \

    My eating ability is unparalleled. I actually ate Boris Diaw after last night’s game, and topped it off with a speedy claxton and brevin knight.

  17. joeyd

    Duhon will be alright. His is one of the few new guys, in the first starting role of his career, AND dealing with the pressures of the Marbury benching. The fact that he pulled down 10 boards should be very encouraging, as it shows that he can contribute even when he is otherwise struggling. Look for Duhon to settle in nicely in the next few games.

    ladies and gents, chris duhon has no chance on this team, the only way he can get playing time is management trying to prove that he was a good signing. He is a backup pg, and will always be that. No one can tell me that duhon is better than marbury, crawford, nate or mardy, maybe roberson!!! He is the 5th best guard on this team and wont make the rotation if the coaches are fair. The 3 guard rotation should be nate, jamal and steph, with mardy as the 4th, duhon isnt as good as any of those guys

  18. Z-man

    Joeyd,
    You raise an interesting point. Will these guys give Duhon more leeway simply becaude they signed him?

    I hope Mardy gets some playing time tomorrow. I have only heard positive things about him since Summer league.

  19. Italian Stallion

    I think people are being WAY too harsh on Duhon. Last night was not an indication of what we should typically expect. It was his first game in a brand new system. Historically, he has a decent assist to TO ratio. Besides, he did other things last night. He got a lot boards and a good number of assists. Anyone that was expecting him to come here and light up the scoreboard had unrealistic expectations. He’s not a scorer or a terrific outside shooter. He’s not a star, but he’s solid and steady PG.

  20. Count Zero

    I think people are being WAY too harsh on Duhon. Last night was not an indication of what we should typically expect. It was his first game in a brand new system. Historically, he has a decent assist to TO ratio.

    Gotta agree — the guy is in a new city, with a new coach and all new teammates and people want to write him off after one preseason game?!? I’m not saying he’s going to turn into Nash — he may very well end up collecting splinters on the bench. But geez — one frickin’ preseason game! At least wait until 10 games into the season before you start slamming the guy.

    And you wonder why they say you can’t rebuild in NY…

  21. Mel

    Truth is nate and marbury are better athletes , better scorers, shooters , and in a vacuum simply better players .

    but the knicks aren’t in a vacuum, they are a team that is filled with scorers and have a derth of guys who are team 1st , leaders , defenders, overall smart players.

    Duhon for all of his talent or lack therof, has all of those attributes, and he is what the team needs …the game was an abberation with the turnovers , his shooting however is rather streaky..and yesterday was a bad day …he will have alot of those.

    also Curry will start …he would be wasted on a 2nd unit with marbury and nate , they are out there to get baskets…he’s much better off with duhon and crawford both of whom have shown they know how to get him the ball.

  22. jon abbey

    while Duhon couldn’t have looked much worse and might never look that bad again in a Knicks uniform, he still had 10 boards and 6 assists. seriously, give the guy a chance. boo him in December if he still sucks, but I don’t think he will.

  23. Ben R

    One thing people also have to realize is that in D’Antoni’s offense the PG’s will get alot of turnovers. Nash saw his turnover rate increase by quite alot once he entered into D’Antoni’s system.

    His average tov% the three years prior to Pheonix: 15.2
    His average tov% the last four years in Phoenix: 20.5

    Duhon and Marbury will probably both see career highs in turnovers per minute but their assists should go up as well.

    My guess is that Duhon’s turnovers increase from the 2 per 36 he has been averaging to more like 2.5-2.8 but his assists should also increase.

    Overall Duhon is nothing more than average but with him on the team it allows Crawford, Marbury and Robinson to be more aggressive and creative because it will not force them to run the offense as much.

  24. Bob Cook

    Hey, only one pre-season game

    One of the ways that the Knicks sucked me into paying for the NBA Direc TV package was doing well in pre-season. But then, well, you know what transpired. It is never the less interesting to see the pathetic optimism for this year on this blog. And I resemble that remark.

    But. I refer everyone to a post I made some weeks back which pointed out that while everyone thought that Z-bo should not just be traded but should perhaps be tortured and killed, maybe that’s an overstatement of even a mistake. Yes, I saw how he killed us last year with empty statistics. But how many guys can produce 20/10? Maybe, I said at the time, he could be converted into a contributor who makes full statistics. I didn’t necessarily believe that but I thought it was a point of view that should logically be considered during the wave of antipathy towards Zach. And in his first game he gets 5 assists? I believe he had 8 all of last year. I didn’t see the game as I reside in Texas. Was he observed playing any defense.

    And I hear Lee made a J. Will wonders never…

  25. Ray

    Duhon looked kinda stale to me. He really needs to get that J to fall. I like the way Nate had a lot of open shot. Im pretty sure he will knock those down in due time. D Lees jumper was crisp. Im glad to see he worked on that during the offseason. He is going to be one to watch this season. I hope Danillo gets better I want to see him play too.

  26. foliveri

    The reactions to the first game and Duhon specifically seems like the reactions of a hormonal teenager.
    The man is being asked to run an offense he has never been in, a particularly fast-moving offense, and this was his first game situation in which to do it. It was preseason game 1, and there already are people saying he will never make it.
    Incredible.

  27. Rob

    If Lee doesn’t end up a starter this year, it will be baffling. If they can start him at PF anf put in Chandler at SF, this team will be excellent 20 games into the season. The fact that Chandler is already drawing even with Q with only a few years of experience shows that an investment of playing time in him will have him only end up getting better.

  28. DS

    I was thinking Nate could fill the starting one spot.

    Frank Isola of the Daily News seems to agree.

    I know plenty of people on this site tend to disagree. What specifically are your reasons? Poor court vision? Too many turnovers? More effective as a 2 guard?

  29. foliveri

    Maturity was his big problem before. His size also is a problem on D.
    Oh, and he fights with his teammates.
    Oh, yeah, and he shoots 42 percent from the field.

    But I think he has always shown great potential. Maybe D’Antoni will make him better.

    Nate has shown greatness in a game here and there. But he’s never been consistently great, or at times consistently good.

  30. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Maturity was his big problem before. His size also is a problem on D.
    Oh, and he fights with his teammates.
    Oh, yeah, and he shoots 42 percent from the field.

    But I think he has always shown great potential. Maybe D’Antoni will make him better.

    Nate has shown greatness in a game here and there. But he’s never been consistently great, or at times consistently good.

    Are you really using FG%? His TS% is equivalent to Jamal/Stephon. I don’t hear anyone saying their poor shooting should prevent them from starting.

  31. TDM

    Well, its nice to see the Knicks held Brand to only 17 points in the first quarter, and Andre Miller to 9 assists. . .

  32. Italian Stallion

    What I Liked From Preseason Game 2: Andre Miller and Elton Brand.

    Well, its nice to see the Knicks held Brand to only 17 points in the first quarter, and Andre Miller to 9 assists. . .

    I hope this isn’t our new system. ;-)

  33. joeyD

    Couple things

    1. My feeling about duhon being the 5th best guard on the team isn’t a reaction to his performance in the first game, its a reaction to the his college and pro career. He just isn’t an nba pg in my opinion. He obviously isn’t as good as heinrich. I do see the logic in having a pg that focuses more on running the offense more than finding his own shots, but in the nba your pg must be able to knock down shots unless you have a top 5 nba player,which at this point we don’t. If we want a G to run the offense and not look for shots I would rather the 6’6 mardy collins do that.

    2. As for nate, I think he has HUGE potential at either position. His shooting percentage is actually average for nba guard, maybe a little above average. His size is not an issue as jr smith could tell you. He may be pound for pound the best athlete in the world this side of lebron. Really, That’s not an exageration. His vertical has to be close to 50 inches and he is phenomally strong. He plays good D, which will improve as his iq improves. He will emerge this season if he can get 30+ minutes.

  34. Italian Stallion

    Our bench seems to be able to outplay the opposition’s bench, but we get very outplayed when the other team’s stars are in. That’s not a good sign for the season.

  35. Italian Stallion

    what channel is the game on ? I cant find it on Time Warner Cable????

    It’s on MSG2. I can’t get it either because I have Time Warner too. I am listening to the live call from NBA.com and looking at the boxscore. Knicks in 60 will be on tonight at 11:00.

  36. ray

    Awww…man this sucks…i dont want to watch the rerun Stallion…they should have cleared out oone of the hockey games. We are supposed to have MSG2. Typical.

  37. Italian Stallion

    You can listen to the live call and follow the stats at NBA.com. It’s not the same, but for addicts like us it’s better than nothing. LOL

  38. Italian Stallion

    Stallion …i found it…its on channel 51 !!!!! You owe me one man!!

    I don’t have it. 51 is TVG for me (TV Guide). Rats!

  39. Italian Stallion
    Stallion …i found it…its on channel 51 !!!!! You owe me one man!!

    I don’t have it. 51 is TVG for me (TV Guide). Rats!

    Wait a minute. I do have it. YES!!!!!! Thanks man.

  40. Italian Stallion

    David Lee is looking great. He was good the past two years, but with the addition of a mid range jumper his game is at a whole new level now. Not only will he score more, he’s going to be able open things up for his teamates now that defenders can’t cheat off him anymore. There are clearly some encouraging signs in the ball movement too. I still see some very bad possessions (usually involving Randolph), but you can just see that this is a much better team now than last year despite basically having the same players.

  41. jon abbey

    “Our bench seems to be able to outplay the opposition’s bench, but we get very outplayed when the other team’s stars are in. That’s not a good sign for the season.”

    this has been my point recently, we don’t have any really good players with the possible exception of Lee. I just saw ESPN’s fantasy rankings and the highest Knick was Lee at 91, which means other teams on average have 3 players on the list before we have our first.

  42. ben bow

    I really liked what i saw from the knicks. personally, my two worries are that Duhon and Curry will play alot more than they deserve this year. i think we should run:
    1.nate
    2.jamal
    3.chandler
    4.lee
    5.randolf

    with steph, q-rich, and when he’s back gallinari off the bench. thats a solid 8 person lineup with lots of talent. i think randolf will excell in D’antonis lineup, and so would alot of other players. i’d personally love to see Balkman with this, and it sucks we traded him.

  43. mase

    that was the best played game I can remember. Lee was money. Zach was a load. Chandler was tough as usual. Duhon was the man. Very promising game

  44. Thomas B.

    “Our bench seems to be able to outplay the opposition’s bench, but we get very outplayed when the other team’s stars are in. That’s not a good sign for the season.”
    this has been my point recently, we don’t have any really good players with the possible exception of Lee. I just saw ESPN’s fantasy rankings and the highest Knick was Lee at 91, which means other teams on average have 3 players on the list before we have our first.

    Jon, I dont think anyone would argue that the Knick starting five is below average, you nailed that one. But I don’t know a team in the NBA that has a five man rotation. A team is not just its starting five. There are 4-5 bench players that can contribute. You spent a good deal of time talking about the Knick starters but what about the reserves? Are our reserves also below average? I think the reserves are above average.

    How many teams have players like Robinson, Chandler, Marbury, and Curry/Jeffries as reserves? Money aside, I think alot of teams would like to have Robinson, Marbury, and Chandler as reserves. Curry and JJ, not so much.

    If the startes are below average and the bench is above average, does that help to balance the team? Plus the coach is above average.

  45. jon abbey
    “Our bench seems to be able to outplay the opposition’s bench, but we get very outplayed when the other team’s stars are in. That’s not a good sign for the season.”
    this has been my point recently, we don’t have any really good players with the possible exception of Lee. I just saw ESPN’s fantasy rankings and the highest Knick was Lee at 91, which means other teams on average have 3 players on the list before we have our first.

    Jon, I dont think anyone would argue that the Knick starting five is below average, you nailed that one. But I don’t know a team in the NBA that has a five man rotation. A team is not just its starting five. There are 4-5 bench players that can contribute. You spent a good deal of time talking about the Knick starters but what about the reserves? Are our reserves also below average? I think the reserves are above average.
    How many teams have players like Robinson, Chandler, Marbury, and Curry/Jeffries as reserves? Money aside, I think alot of teams would like to have Robinson, Marbury, and Chandler as reserves. Curry and JJ, not so much.
    If the startes are below average and the bench is above average, does that help to balance the team? Plus the coach is above average.

    the starters matter way more, though. if I had to break it down, it’d be something like this:

    single best player: 30 percent
    second/third best players: 20 percent
    other two starters: 15 percent
    bench: 30 percent
    coach: 5 percent

    so even if we have an above-average bench (I’m not positive about this, but I’ll agree for now), it doesn’t come close to making up for the lack of a franchise player and the rest of the seriously subpar starters.

  46. Ted Nelson

    What’s up with all the Randolph love??? (Bob Cook, ben bow, mase…) I’m looking forward to him putting up strong per game stats on a semi-competent team so that he has SOME trade value, but he’s still a high-volume/ low-efficiency bigman. Through 2 games Zach’s put up 37 points on 31 shots, while Lee’s put up 41 points on 23 shots. Zach’s at 1.19 pts/FGA (up from 1.15 last season and in line with 1.18 for his career) while Lee’s at 1.78 (way up from 1.42 last season and maybe not sustainable considering it’s Dwight Howard territory).
    Zach is actually a good passer who was even compared to Magic when he got to Michigan State (obviously a bad comparison, but it just speaks to his passing ability). His 2.5 apg through 2 games isn’t a far cry from his 2 apg last season. I’d really like to see Curry come back in decent shape (as unlikely as it is) and eat into Zach’s FGAs but not Lee’s. Considering the Knicks’ D, they need their bigs to put up efficient points.

    Wilson Chandler’s shooting looks as bad as I thought it would, but he’s filling out the box score nicely and should be the starting SF if he starts to limit his FGAs (so far last season’s chuck-fest doesn’t seem like an aberration or Isiah’s instructions to shoot everytime he touched the ball…).
    With Danilo and Jeffries out, SF is looking like the Knicks’ weakest position and trading Balkman is, as ben bow alludes to, looking even stupider (hard as that is to imagine).

    So much for Duhon being the new Mardy Collins: his averages (besides TOs and rebs which both seemed like abberations in game 1) for the first 2 games would be a nice season: 12 ppg, 5.5 apg, 1.33 pts/FGA, 43% on 3pa…

    I’m encouraged that Jamal Crawford has been limited to 11.4 FGA/36, he struggled shooting in the first game, but 14 pts on 10 FGAs was a great showing for him last night.

    Jon Abbey has a point about no star power (unless Lee keeps this up), but as Thomas B. points out their depth is impressive offensively. Especially if Marbury and Crawford limit their shots and are relatively efficient. If only D’Antoni could limit Zach and Wilson’s shots…
    I’m finally drinking the D’Antoni kool-aid and could see the Knicks as a top 10, top 15 offense this season (to complement their bottom 5 defense). The Wiz were the 12th most efficient offense and 24th defense in the NBA last season and won 43 games, so I’m still holding out hope that the Knicks can contend for the 8 seed most of the season (and maybe even get it if things break their way).

  47. Z-man

    Observations:

    1. Mardy has to stay. He has clearly worked his ass off and so far looks like he can provide a different look at PG (size and defensive presence) without hurting the offense much.

    2. The Zach-Lee tandem is formidable. If they can just defend better on the perimeter, they can match up with many F-C combos around the league. Some, like Orlando and Portland, might kill them, but they will kill most teams.

    3. Zach had more of those slow jab-step moves than in the first game. I don’t mind him going aggressively to the basket several times a game, but he’e got to get into his moves faster.

    4. While playing well for the most part, Steph got into a funk in the final 2-3 minutes and made some incredibly stupid plays on both ends. Worrisome.

    5. Chandler’s athleticism and versatility is reminiscent of Scottie Pippin, only the shot is missing. Q’s gonna have to work to get on the court at SF if Wilson keeps improving.

    6. The effect of the coaching change is really pretty incredible so far. This team is really competing and has clearly bought into the system, at least for now.

    7. David Lee’s J is a tribute to his work ethic. Still looks funky, but it’s going in! His post-game interview was most impressive.

    8. I can’t stomach the sight of Malik Rose on the court. Please cut him!!

    9. You could feel that D’Antoni wanted to win that game badly. I wonder if he will let Jerome, PEJ and Grunfeld play next game.

    10. I have no desire to see Eddy play.

  48. Italian Stallion

    I agree with Jon Abbey.

    I think to be a major contender a team needs 3 all star caliber players (or close) or 2 super stars plus a decent supporting cast. The Knicks don’t have any players of that caliber now unless Lee continues to blossom. That’s what’s going to make it so difficult to turn things around unless Chandler, Gallinari, or our next draft pick also blossoms into an all-star caliber player. If we have 2 players like that heading into 2010 and retain some cap room, we can buy the 3rd. But if none of these guys develops to the extent required, we are 3 players away. It’s going to be tough to get 3 all star caliber players when one of our other #1 picks is going to Utah.

  49. nj hoop

    You can never get too high or too low about any preseason game, but what I really like is the ball movement. The game looks so simple when you whip the ball around and find the open man, as opposed to last year’s “dump it down low and stand around” offense. I think the happiest man on the Knicks right now would be Lee, who will get major minutes and thrive in the uptempo game

  50. joeyd

    I agree with Jon Abbey.
    I think to be a major contender a team needs 3 all star caliber players (or close) or 2 super stars plus a decent supporting cast. The Knicks don’t have any players of that caliber now unless Lee continues to blossom. That’s what’s going to make it so difficult to turn things around unless Chandler, Gallinari, or our next draft pick also blossoms into an all-star caliber player. If we have 2 players like that heading into 2010 and retain some cap room, we can buy the 3rd. But if none of these guys develops to the extent required, we are 3 players away. It’s going to be tough to get 3 all star caliber players when one of our other #1 picks is going to Utah.

    I think we do have the stars on this team, the one thing isiah did well is draft. The disappointment is, these guys didnt get enough playing time while we were losing. Here is my crystal ball

    1. nate robinson
    if and when nate lands in the right system he is capable of being a perrenial all star and a pop culture icon. He is arguable pound for pound one of the best athletes in all sports. Combine that with excellent skills and he can be a 20ppg player in this league. Probably better suited as a 2 that plays with a big pg, kinda like iverson and snow

    2. david lee
    a player that may be just a notch below all start calibur, but the kind of player that will get to 3-4 all star games during his career. you can see his potential in the rookie sophmore game when he won the mvp, that was not an aboration

    3. wilson chandler
    chandler’s combination of size, skill and activity is hard to match, i think he is potentially an all star, probably not a true superstar, but an excellent 2nd or 3rd option

    4. galinari
    this guy is why balkman was traded, while i think balkman may develop into a premier defender, similar to dennis rodman maybe, galinari has the game to be a true nba superstar. Although we have only seen one game, he showed a skill package that could make him a top 10 player. His shot is top nop notch and so is his handle, if that develops into him attacking the basket and shooting pull up mid range shots he will be unstoppable.

    5. mardy collins
    personally i like what mardy brings to the table, a legitimate point man at 6-6 is hard to find, although he is not a good shooter, the intangibles are strong. will probably never be an all star, but can run a good team and set the tone defensively

    its not a coincidence that over the past few years the baby knicks have been dominating summer league, its just baffling that isaiah didnt have confidence in his own players and continued adding more players to the team instead of letting these guys build chemistry. Even dantoni was suprised by the level of talent on this team. The one good thing about the isiah coaching era is he got us dantoni and galanari.

  51. Ted Nelson

    Jon Abbey,

    I think the Knicks lack of pop at the top of the roster hurts them more against actually good teams than against teams like Atlanta, LAC, GSW, Charlotte, Milwaukee, NJ, Sacto, Memphis, Minnesota, Indiana, Washington without Arenas, Cleveland a. if LeBron’s out and b. if everyone else falls apart around him, Denver, maybe Miami and/or Chicago, OKC, Sacto. Teams with #1 and 2 players who aren’t that great and/or no depth.

    Basically enough teams to win 35-40 or so games if they play up to potential and most of the teams they’ll be contending with for the 8th seed. One thing that’s killed the Knicks recently is losing, often badly, to bad teams, if they can beat all the bad teams and sneak up on a good team every now and then I think they can get to 40 wins. That’s only if the Knicks play about the best basketball they’re capable of, which obviously isn’t that likely.

    If Lee is the Knicks best player, I’d say most likely Charlotte (Okafor? JRich? Gerald Wallace?), Memphis (Mayo? Gay? Gasol?), and OKC (Durant), and possibly Milwaukee (Redd/RJ), Minnesota (AJ, Love, Miller?), GS (Ellis), Sacto (Kevin Martin), Indiana (Ford/Granger/Dunleavy), NJ (VC?), and Washington less Arenas (Butler/Jamison) won’t have someone who plays as well as Lee in 2008-2009. If Lee plays 36 mpg and takes 13+ fga/36 with a TS% of 60, a reb-rate of 18, and adequate D. So, in any given season I think he might be the 6th worst best player, although there’s definitely a chance he could be the worst best player on any team if everyone else in contention has a big year and he struggles.

    I’m note even going to take a stab at breaking down the %s of how much your best player vs. 8th man helps you during the regular season, in part because I think it’s really a case by case basis. I’d give LeBron 50+% for Cleveland, but we saw the Bulls win 50 games without MJ. I’m talking regular season, I’d also say that the playoff seem to come down to stars (although I have nothing to back it up).

  52. Ted Nelson

    In the short-term no one is talking about the Knicks contending for anything more than the playoffs, even that is more than most people expect… So, I’m not sure your point is directly related to Jon Abbey’s.

    A true “championship-level franchise player” is hard to get without a #1 pick or maybe top 3-5. Certainly not impossible, though. But over the next few years there are plenty of ways to pick up a couple of All-Star caliber players. Look at the championship contenders around the league right now:

    Boston had Paul Pierce (a former #10 pick), drafted Rondo with a #21 pick they bought, and traded picks and raw prospects for KG (a championship-level franchise player to everyone in the world besides Jon Abbey) and Ray Allen. They picked up Posey through free agency and their bigman rotation in the late 1st/ 2nd round. They traded the pick that netted (after a swap) Brandon Roy for Sebastian Telfair and still won a title.

    LA already had its “franchise player” (Kobe, picked up #13 for Vlade Divac), then picked up #2 (Gasol) in what was basically a salary dump for a few mid-1st to 2nd rounders, #3 (Bynum) with a #10 pick, and #4 (Odom) with a trade. Ariza was acquired for Mo Evans and Brian Cook, Walton with a 2nd, VladRad and Fisher as low-cost free agents, and the rest mostly with unspectacular draft position.
    (Just from the 2 2008 finalists the Knicks could have drafted Rondo and Bynum with picks Isiah made, not to mention Roy with a pick he traded away. Hindsight is 20/20, but if you make the right moves there’s your 3 potential future all-stars right there. Plus, they literally did draft Ariza.)

    Utah had AK from the #24 pick in 1999, drafted Deron Williams #3 (after a trade up from #6), signed Boozer and Okur as free agents, and drafted Ronnie Brewer #14. Most of those moves were not greeted as immediate successes, the Boozer signing was the most widely praised and he proceeded to spend 2 seasons injured. Millsap was a mid-2nd rounder.

    Detroit built a strong defensive team with underrated and mostly unwanted veterans (including Ben Wallace), then slowly signed (Billups), traded (Hamilton and Sheed), and drafted (Prince, Okur, Stuckey, etc.) their way to permenant status as a contender.

    New Orleans drafted Chris Paul #4, got Tyson Chandler in basically a salary dump for an agin PJ Brown, signed Peja and Mo Pete as free agents, and drafted David West #18 only to watch him struggle for 2 seasons before developing an NBA pulse.

    So, the Knicks are going to have to get lucky (LeBron signing, KG-like trade, and/or incredible draft pick lucky) to win multiple NBA titles, but to be a legitimate contender for 5-10 seasons they’re just going to have to make the most of their opportunities. I really think you just have to build to contend, if you luck into a MJ, Shaq, TD, etc type competitor/ahtlete/player and have a contender around him then you’ve got a dynasty.

    Talking about the specifics on the Knicks getting a “championship core”… I think Lee can be the 3rd or 4th guy on that team, I like Danilo’s chances developing into a 3rd or 4th guy as well (at least before the back thing, which is scaring the crap out of me considering I root for a team that employs QRich). Obviously the goal is for LeBron to be the #1 guy after being signed or sign-and-traded for in 2010. This year’s draft pick gives them one shot at #2, as does the potential trading off of Randolph, Crawford, Curry, etc. His rebuilding effort flopped after a few seasons, but maybe Walsh can work his magic with undeveloped young players like JO, Artest, and Brad Miller. Robinson and Chandler both look like young players who could help fill out the rotation, along with a strong defensive bigman; although, I don’t think we’re so worried about how the Knicks will get their 6th-8th man as their 1st and 2nd.

    Maybe the Raptors or Heat implode over the next couple seasons and the Knicks get a free agent haul of LeBron and Bosh/Wade… Yeah, that last one is a dream, but with the draw of playing for D’Antoni and Walsh calling the shots I like the Knicks’ chances. I hope that Walsh is grooming some kind of young protoge to take the reigns from him as well.

  53. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I agree with you other than I’m not particularly optimistic about the Knicks trading any of our riff raff for young talent or draft picks. I think a lot is riding on the development of what we already have plus next year’s pick, otherwise this is going to be a much longer turnaround than any of us would like. For now, I really don’t care too much about this season other wanting to see some of those players showing enough progress to hold out hope for next year. Seeing Lee take and hit jumpers couldn’t be more encouraging. This is what I expected of him last year, but I’ll take it now. ;-)

  54. Ted Nelson

    I don’t think the Knicks’ fortunes ride on what’s on their roster today.
    I can be optimistic enough to expect Lee to put up 20/10 for the next 7 seasons, Gallinari to develop into an All-Star, Chandler to develop into a strong defender on the wing who limits his shooting substantially, Nate to be a 6th man of the year candidate, Mardy Collins to finally hit his Aaron McKie potential, heck even Eddy Curry to lose weight and be a dangerous scoring option or Jared Jeffries to develop into an interior defensive presence… for a strong core to develop from what’s on the roster. And certainly the 2009 first rounder is one of Walsh’s biggest chips in the short-term.
    However, I don’t think Walsh took the NYK job to turn around Isiah’s team. Over the next few seasons I expect him to turnover about 2/3 of the roster. Theoretically, each of these 10 new faces has the potential to be a core member of a contending Knicks team. It doesn’t have to be Zach Randolph for expiring contracts and a lottery pick… it could be buying the Suns 1st rounder or getting an underappreciated young player in a sign-and-trade if Jamal opts out, trading one the young players we’re waiting to develop for a young player who develops into a much better player or signing the next Ben Wallace/Bruce Bowen/Brad Miller undrafted free agent. I obviously can’t predict how it’s going to happen, but I’m sure there will be a few opportunities that Walsh either takes advantage of or misses.

    The thing I was trying to get across by listing how various contenders acquired their core parts is that you never know how it’s going to happen (might also be interesting to list the misses of lottery teams although way more subjective). A well used/ lucky early lottery pick seems to be the surest way, but members of 2009 contenders’ cores have been added with late 1sts, through trades (primarily salary dumps or when they were young and unproven), and through free agency (from max-deals to MLE and lower signings). The Knicks directly lost the opportunity to have 5 key young pieces through Isiah’s mismanagement (Ariza, Bynum, Rondo, Roy/Aldridge/etc., Noah/Young/etc.… could include former Knicks and current strong reserves Frye, Udoka, and Matt Barnes as well).

    Obviously in the moment it’s a lot harder to make the right call, but even if he had just been 2 out of 4 the Knicks could, say, have two strong young defenders in Ariza and Rondo (I’m a Balkman fan, but certainly have to give Rondo the edge on career to date as well as long-term potential) with Frye possibly still around and, best of all, no Zach Randolph.
    Ok, it’s futile to talk about “what if Isiah had drafted Rondo or Bynum or …” But the biggest change from Isiah to Walsh (as far as I see, and other than professionalism) is patience. If Isiah hadn’t been constantly looking for the quick fix or if Walsh had been the GM all along it’s easy enough to say that there would be no Curry deal resulting in the loss of 1.5 1sts (add Aldridge/Ty Thomas/Roy/etc. and Noah/Thaddeus Young/etc. and cap space, subtract Curry and Wilson Chandler), no Francis deal (add Ariza, Frye, and cap space, subtract Randolph).

    So, what’s my point?
    1. If Isiah wasn’t constantly shooting himself in the foot, even he was in a position to build an exciting young team that either could have developed into a contender or been used to go after the KGs, Gasols, etc.
    2. A few misses are ok, as long as you have the direct hits as well. The opportunity cost of drafting Darko or trading the Roy pick for Sebastian Telfair might be the different between a playoff team and contender, a contender and champ, a champ and dynasty… but even seemingly incompetent GMs can recover from it with some shrewd moves and luck. Isiah could have made most of the boneheaded moves he did, but a couple of different calls and the Knicks are in 100x better shape today (say Bynum and Rondo instead of Randolph and future 2nd rounder, or Aldridge and Thaddeus Young instead of the Big Bacterial Infection and Wilson “I love to shoot and miss” Chandler).
    3. Walsh will have plenty of chances to add the pieces, and in a few years we’re going to be able to look back and analyze his moves that turned the Knicks into a contender, the new Clippers, or somewhere in between.

  55. ben bow

    Ted Nelson you are crazy saying that David Lee is better than some of those players. Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, ESPECIALLY Kevin Martin and Al Jefferson, Danny Granger, Monta Ellis, Caron Butler, Antwawn Jamison. every single one of them is better than david lee is. i’ll admit a few of em are older, like Jamison, Jefferson and Redd, but all the others have a better upside now, and in the future.

  56. Ted Nelson

    I don’t think that it’s crazy to say that in any given year David Lee could be better than half the players I listed. In my orinigal post I said he could be the 6th worst best player (meaning 5 teams have a worse best player) in terms of 08-09 productivity with the stipulation: “If Lee plays 36 mpg and takes 13+ fga/36 with a TS% of 60, a reb-rate of 18, and adequate D.” I would also add, if he stays healthy.

    You haven’t mentioned Vince Carter, Kevin Durant, or anyone from Memphis or Charlotte, so I’ll assume you’ve rated him as 5th worst. Ellis misses 30 games with a suspension and he’s exactly where I claimed: the 6th worst best player in the NBA… I think he could jump up the rankings a bit depending on how he and others play:

    RJ is the only ones that is generally viewed as above average defensively, while a few others are considered somewhere around average, and a few are considered downright liabilities. I think Lee fits into that somewhere around average group, meaning we’re looking mostly at offense (which is convenient since defensive stats are so much harder to interpret).

    RJ was a strong all-around offensive player a couple years ago, but is a bit injury prone and has generally fallen off since. I have no idea if he’s going to regain that form in Milwaukee.

    Redd and Martin are among the best sharp-shooters in the NBA, Martin being more efficient. They’re also pretty solid in other areas, but scoring efficiency is the key to how good their seasons go. With Martin looking pretty lonely in Sacto and Redd playing in a Skiles offense it’s easy to see one or both struggling a little.

    Al Jefferson is a strong rebounder (like Lee), but a higher-volume, lower-efficiency scorer. While he blocks more shots than Lee, he’s considered a weak defender. Whether he’s more productive than Lee this season is going to depend largely on Lee’s scoring volume. If Lee can score 18-20 pts/36 on a TS% close to 60, while AJ repeats his 21 pts/36 for last season on his career TS% of 54, with very similar rebound numbers I’d assume the edge goes to Lee (pace and other factors would also play a role). I’ve felt Al Jefferson has been overrated for a couple seasons, but he’s been getting better and Minnesota has a couple of legitamte NBA players around him now so we’ll see.

    I think TJ Ford will replace Mike Dunleavy as the Pacers’ best player, although Granger is an efficient scorer who could have a better year than Lee if he has a career year. I’ll be suprised if Dunleavy doesn’t fall off from last season, and comparing Ford to Lee is tough given their skill sets.

    Monta Ellis has improved every season and was an efficient scorer last year. However, he’s missing almost half the season due to suspension, he’s a guard with no outside shot, and I’m waiting to see how he responds to a possible role change running the offense.

    Besides his age, Jamison is an inefficient scorer and a worse rebounder than Lee. His only advantage over Lee is scoring volume, and I’m making the assumption (as I said) that Lee ups his scoring volume pretty significantly. Caron Butler had a career year last season where his scoring efficiency and assist numbers where way out of line with his career averages, and he only played 58 games. I’ll wait to see if he can do it again, and maybe in over 60 games.

    So, if Lee plays as I’m assuming he will (maybe a big if) I think he can finish between the 5th and 11th worst (19th to 26th best) best player on his team in the NBA.
    If Lee has an identical season to last and we have to debate whether he, Crawford, or ZBo was more productive overall then it seems fair to assume the Knicks had the worst best player in the NBA.

  57. ben bow

    Alright i see what your saying about a few of the people. i really do think that redd and kevin martin are definitely better than him. especially martin, seeing as he will now be the clear number one option, getting more looks, and probably more points. and Danny Granger is just getting better, so he’s going to be better too. if Lee really does somehow get up to like 18-20 ppg then yeah i could see him as better than some of those guys, but i doubt he’ll improve that much. i see it more as a 14-16 ppg year. also, lee actually got worse last year in most aspects, so we dont know for sure he’ll improve at all. i do think his jumper will up his scoring, but we cant know his rebounding will get back up, or his field goal percent goes up. it might go down because he probably cant shoot a jumper as efficiently as his up close shots. last year he went down in rebounds by like 1.4, and had dropped from 60% to 55% fg shooting. also lee has yet to be anything of a defender. at BEST he’s average, and hasn’t improved in blocks or steals yet. last year he played about 1200 more minutes than his rookie year and only had nine more blocks. thats a pretty weak stat. also i guess we view efficiency differently in terms of scoring. theres no way a small forward’s scoring like Richard Jefferson is going to be as efficient as someone whos close to the basket all the time. Jefferson had a great scoring year last year, and wasn’t injured all season.

  58. ben bow

    Oh yeah theres also Charlotte, Memphis, Seatle, and the Nets. i’d have to say these ones are pretty close. He’s probably better than anyone they have right now, but Devin Harris, Rudy gay, and Durant will soon become better players than lee is. also on charlotte, i think i’d go with okafor or gerald wallace before i took lee, but its close at least. okafor rebounds as well as lee, and is a monster shot blocker.

  59. Thomas B.

    the starters matter way more, though. if I had to break it down, it’d be something like this:
    single best player: 30 percentsecond/third best players: 20 percentother two starters: 15 percentbench: 30 percentcoach: 5 percent
    so even if we have an above-average bench (I’m not positive about this, but I’ll agree for now), it doesn’t come close to making up for the lack of a franchise player and the rest of the seriously subpar starters.

    Yeah I could see how you would think to distribute the percentages that way. I think I have read a statement from you about the NBA being player driven.

    I tend to agree with you on the importance of a star/franchise player. I agree that weak starters tend to let the team get down by 20 points by the end of the first half and rarely can the bench rally the team back. SO I do see the importance of starters in that reguard. Star players are essential to a tema looking to have a shot at a title. I dont think that is as important to a team that is not going to be a top competitor. The Knicks can’t be a top team as they lack the star players. But the Knicks can be a fair team with what they have.

    I think the coach matters a bit more than 5%. The coach prepares the players, manages the game, designs the plays, ect. The caoch has to resolve conflicts. I have seen a number of teams show marked improvement when nothing moe than a coach is changed. In short, the coach is more than a walking suit on the sidelines. I would say the coach is 20%.

    As for the Knick reserves, we will have a clear picture by the end of November.
    —————————————
    I noticed a few posters stating that the Knicks lack the defensive players the Suns had (Marion, Bell, Barbosa, ect…) well yeah, sure the Knicks don’t have the D. But the Knicks arent going to be a 57 win team. On just offense, in a weak East, the Knicks can be a 37-40 win team. That is such an improvement of last year that I will ahppily take it. Poor D and all.

  60. Ted Nelson

    Ben Bow,

    -I am being pretty optimistic about Lee’s scoring volume going up. However, he only took 9.4 FGA/36 minutes last season, compared to 17 for Randolph, 15.7 for Crawford, 15 for Nate, 13.1 for Malik Rose, 12.8 for Curry, and 12.7 for Wilson Chandler. Basically, if Lee takes as many shots as Rose did last season and continues scoring 1.4 pts/FGA he’d score 18.2 pts/36, if he dips to 1.3 pts/FGA he’d score 16.9 pts/36. If Lee takes 15 FGA/36 he should be able to score 20 pts/36 and PPG easily.

    -I think you’re really underestimating how incredibly efficient Lee was in 06-07. Last season, in his “bad” 07-08 season, he was 18th in the NBA in TS%, 22nd in eFG%, and 22nd in rebound rate. I don’t know where he ranked in 06-07, but if he had put up his 06-07 numbers last season he would have ranked 3rd in TS%, 7th in eFG%, and 3rd in reb-rate in the entire NBA. It’s pretty likely that 06-07 was a career year that he won’t repeat, but at his career averages he’s a terrifically efficient player (.621 TS%, .575 eFG%, and 18.3 reb-rate).

    -Blocking shots doesn’t make you a good defensive player. Okafor, for example, blocks a grand total of 2 shots/36 minutes (compared to Lee’s puny 0.5, but only 1.5 shots more over the course of a game). That’s not to say Okafor is a bad defensive player or worse than Lee, but that blocked shots are an imperfect way to measure defensive ability: a player might average 3 bpg but go for 10 head fakes and commit 5 fouls to get there, thus hurting his team’s D more than helping it. Of course, a good shot blocker can also help a defense a lot… Okafor has a TS% of .518 on his career, or exactly Zach Randolph’s career mark… which is why I don’t consider him to be better than Lee. It’s hard to quantify the difference in defense, though. Wallace and Richardson are also pretty good players.

    -FG% certainly favors bigmen, but eFG% factors in a 3-pointer being worth an extra point and TS% measures how many points a player scores with his possessions. Of the top 30 in the NBA in TS% (who played at least 20 mpg for 41 games) there were 8 Cs, 6 PFs, 6 SFs, 6 SGs, and 4 PGs. So, it’s a bit stacked towards bigmen, but not so much that someone like Jamal Crawford has an excuse when Nash, Billups, Manu, Calderon, and Deron Williams all make the top 30 in the league. The top 10 of the eFG% rankings is dominated by Cs, but after that it gets very diverse (this is all available on the stats page here, under league leaders).

    -Devin Harris is 2 months OLDER than David Lee… I don’t think Rudy Gay really stands out, he had a strong season but nothing special: he’s a medium-efficiency, high-volume scorer who doesn’t really bring any other stand-out skill to the table. Durant will probably be better down the road, but the question was how good will Lee be compared to other best-player-on-their-teams in 08-09. Durant could take a huge step forward, but unless his entire team does I think he’ll have too much weight on his shoulders. Which is the same reason I could see Kevin Martin potentially levelling off or having an off year.

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