Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What They Saying In the Mainstreamosphere

http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/basketball/knicks/blog/2008/01/fallibility_is_sexy.html

From beat the Newsday beat writer:

As for David Lee….I’ve often suggested to him privately that he needs to be more aggressive with his moves to the basket. David knows he’s not a top three option when he’s on the court. He’s an active rebounder, that’s his main role. I think he’s developed just fine. He had 13 boards last night. When he gets minutes, he gets rebounds. Sometimes with players you see them reach a certain point and that’s when you have to decide: is this what they are? Can they be better? I think David can be a double-double guy, but more of a 10 and 10, like last season, or, at best, a 15 and 10. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a 20-10. Not his game. But there’s a reason why a lot of GMs out there ask for him, first, whenever there is a discussion regarding personnel.

First it must be great to be able to talk to the players and give them advice. I mean it’s like you’re an assistant coach or something. Second it’s nice to know that a lot of GMs think David Lee has value for their team. Imagine the column said “a lot of GMs out there ask for X first” where X is: Jeffries, James, Randolph, Marbury, Richardson, Rose, Curry, etc. I can’t.

Now for the illustrious New York Post:

http://blogs.nypost.com/sports/knicks/archives/2008/01/jamal_nate_must.html

There was a lot of talk about Kobe at practice today but also a lot of talk about where Eddy Curry stands right now within the offense. Curry was ticked that he didn’t touch the ball in the fourth quarter in the Golden State loss. Jamal Crawford’s response: Curry wasn’t open.

Stephon Marbury was a much better post passer than either Nate or Jamal. The Knicks, who get the Lakers tomorrow night, are getting too comfortable with the idea Curry doesn’t have to dominate games.

The article was titled: “Jamal, Nate must find Curry” which is just wonderful for one reason: I didn’t know you could separate two entities with a comma. Wow, I’ve been typing out the word “and” all these years.

That being said I’m probably in the minority here when I say I agree that the Knicks should go to Curry just about every time he’s on the floor. That’s because he doesn’t do much else than score. So if he’s on the floor and he’s not scoring, he’s hurting the team. Of course I also think Curry should only be playing 15-25 minutes a game, coming off the bench.

The second odd thing is how Berman thinks Marbury is a better post passer than Jamal or Nate. That’s laugh out loud funny, especially in Crawford’s case. Jamal has a better rapport with Curry than anyone else, due to the pair being teammates for nearly their entire careers. On this issue I have to agree with Jamal. Despite facing a smaller frontcourt at Golden State, the Knicks bigs did a poor job getting open in the paint.

96 comments on “What They Saying In the Mainstreamosphere

  1. Seth

    “The second odd thing is how Berman thinks Marbury is a better post passer than Jamal or Nate. That’s laugh out loud funny, especially in Crawford’s case. Jamal has a better rapport with Curry than anyone else, due to the pair being teammates for nearly their entire careers. On this issue I have to agree with Jamal. Despite facing a smaller frontcourt, the Knicks bigs did a poor job getting open in the paint.”

    I second that. Remember the latter part of last season, when Crawford went down with the stress fracture, Curry’s performance went to shit as well. Also, I can’t remember a single successful Marbury-Curry alley-oop.

  2. gbaked

    here is another funny quote from Thomas himself (he was talking about Kobe):

    “I find it amazing that he hasn’t been the MVP yet,” Isiah Thomas says. “Was it last year he got 81 (points)? Two years ago? (It was Jan.22, 2006.) Boy that’s when he should have been the MVP. He should have been the MVP on that game alone.”

    I think that comment in itself shows why he is such a bad coach.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/2008/01/29/2008-01-29_isiah_thomas_gushes_over_kobe_bryant.html

  3. Roshi

    Exact same thought I had gbaked. Isiah’s quote pretty much summarizes his attitude about what constitutes greatness in the NBA….POINTS POINTS POINTS.

    Certainly you need to be able to score to be the MVP, but you need to have an all-around game and be a leader. As the Jet said during the Knicks-Warriors broadcast…a superstar can affect the game in four different ways. Scoring is only one of them.

    The only saving grace is that Kobe happens to be a guy who can do other things and is a superstar.

  4. Alec

    I agree with Mike, that in order for Curry to be productive he needs to score. That’s all he can do; and to be honost, he isnt that bad at it.

    I am a huge David Lee fan, but I think his value as a trade cannot be overlooked. His contract is due up and if the Knicks give him a huge contract it will cripple us even more. If we can get something valueable, I think we need to explore that option.

  5. Pete

    I’m going to stick up for Alan Hahn here – the first writer you cited. The quote is from his blog which is unusual for mainstream media “blogs” in that he replies to posters and answers questions. A recent example concerned insurance issues on the Curry and Q contracts. The Lee comments came in response to some posters who were critical of Lee’s value – you know, the “he’s just a hyped role player” line of reasoning – and were suggesting he be traded for the likes of Artest. Admittedly his comment is Captain Obvious stuff, but at least Captain Obvious with a purpose. As for the comments to Lee, Hahn often shares his interactions with team members on his blog. A lot of people who, if they had regular access to the Knicks and (presumably) a decent relationship with some of them, would want to talk on-court stuff. Its not like the Team Weasel coaching masterminds are breaking new ground in player development.

    Berman on the other hand… based on the small sample pool of “times I’ve had the misfortune of accidentally reading one of his articles,” he seems to have huge man-crushes on Marbury and Brown that not only preclude him from being able to comment objectively on them, but can lead him to make statements that are outright wacky. Marbury is a better post passer being one, Nate’s development this season is due to having been coached by Brown being another that comes to mind.

  6. jon abbey

    wow, impressive. the hilarious line about Marbury’s post passing and Isiah’s quote about the 81 point game were exactly the two things I noted in my quick perusal of the papers today, well done.

  7. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “As the Jet said during the Knicks-Warriors broadcast…a superstar can affect the game in four different ways. Scoring is only one of them.”

    If anyone remembers this – it’s prime bad-Kenny Smith. He has his moments, but the bad ones are awful. In this instance he was talking about Baron Davis being an All Star but not a Superstar. Kenny’s definition was that a Superstar has to affect the game in 4 different ways: scoring, passing, rebounding, and defense. Gus took him to task on the comment stating Baron Davis was good in all four of those. Kenny responded saying Davis was good on defense, but did not game-changing good on defense. Kenny started naming players that fit the criteria, most of which were centers (Shaq, Duncan, Hakeem, etc.)

    So Gus asked him whether Steve Nash was a superstar, and Kenny said something about leadership being one of the qualities. Of course while all this is going on Baron Davis made 3 or 4 awesome plays.

    It was a funny moment between the two, definitely one of those arguments you would have at your local pub after a few pints. But the thing that gets me about Kenny Smith is that he says stupid things and then fails to retract them. In fact he’ll go out of his way to support them. I swear during the Nets game he said Jason Kidd is still one of the top 3 fastest players in the NBA.

  8. Thomas B.

    Marbury = Good post passer. What have you been putting in your Kool-Aid?

    Marbury has not exactly racked up the dimes feeding Curry the last two years. Curry has been most *ahem* “effective” off Crawford lobs. Marbury is a transition/penetration dime guy. He has never been a great post passer becuase he is not a great half court offense player (other than pick and role). Too bad his injury keeps us from trick Miami into taking him. He might do well on pick and role plays with Haslem.

  9. Greene

    SO if Lee has trade value and is admittedly more of a complimentary piece than a building block let’s propose some trades that make sense. Would you give him away in a deal that includes Jason Kidd? Pau Gasol? Ron Artest? I always thought the Andre Miller (who is definitely on the block in Philly) would be a great fit for the Knicks and could really help pull them together. How about Lee and Randolph or Curry for Andre Miller and Dalembert?

  10. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Pete – don’t get me wrong – I liked Hahn’s piece. It’s cool to see that he has a way to interact with the players – and has positive things to say about Lee. Additionally I really like to hear inside things happening with the team. I don’t believe a lot of the quotes, because for the most part the players know that what they say to the press is different from what they feel (ala Bull Durham). So it’s interesting to hear that a beat guy is telling a player how good he is & giving advice.

  11. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “Jason Kidd? Pau Gasol? Ron Artest?”

    No. Maybe, but probably not. No.

    “How about Lee and Randolph or Curry for Andre Miller and Dalembert?”

    No. Dalembert’s contract is just as long as Zach’s.

  12. Greene

    Mike – Let’s get real. We are not going to be able to make any great trades because of David Lee. We could make some good ones and ones that change the style and focus of the team. Bringing in Miller gives you an excellent and under rated floor general. If you give up Zach or Curry Miller gets the one left involved and runs the offense properly. Dalembert also gives you another TYPE that we have been craving which is a defense minded interior player. The Knicks main weakness on D is that Zach, Eddy AND Lee are not good interior or help defenders. Again, who would you want if you traded Lee.

  13. cwod

    “The article was titled: ‘Jamal, Nate must find Curry’ which is just wonderful for one reason: I didn’t know you could separate two entities with a comma. Wow, I’ve been typing out the word ‘and’ all these years.”

    That’s not really fair. I have to do this all the time for my job (space concerns). It’s journalistic convention or something.

    How do some of these guys get beat jobs? Maybe some of them are pretty nice guys, but I think the majority of the people on this site know more about basketball.

  14. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Greene – I am being for real. The Knicks are on pace for 27 wins (rounding up!). What is Ron Artest or Andre Miller going to bring us? To 30-something wins? To the 8th seed?

    Why would the Knicks trade their best asset in order to achieve mediocrity?

  15. Greene

    Mike – I agree that Miller or whomever we get for Lee do not deliver a contender. Nothing we get for Lee will unless it is an unprotected first round pick that winds up being something great. My point here is what do you do with an asset like Lee? He is not a guy you build around. He is complimentary. We need to totally revamp the team. We need a point guard and a better scenario than Curry/Randolph. We need to start breaking it down now and rebuilding it. How do we begin to do that with Lee as the best asset? Kidd, Gasol and Artest are game changing talent. You did not like that. Miller and Dalembert are smaller pieces that fit immediate needs. Again how do you use your best asset in Lee to begin to revamp this awful situation? If you think that keeping him is the only thing to do then I guess that is ok. But again he is not someone you build around.

  16. z-man

    I think Spider Cider summed it up well in earlier commentary, Lee’s value is largely determined by need and the makeup of the team he is on. Turkoglu, for example, is unquestionably a better fit on Orlando than Lee would be for the next 3 years.(I actually think he is a better player, period, but I can understand how others [not GMs] might differ. I strongly stand by my contention that he is overrated by some folks on this blog and that his ranking would be somewhere in the mid 70’s by any measure that discounted salary and age-related decline past 2 years out. I reiterate that on many teams much of Lee’s production would come at the expense of the production of others. In man-to-man defense, he is often left unguarded by opposing PF who helps out in post and on penetration. Against zones, he has no ability to stretch the defense to create openings for scorers. His defensive positioning and instincts are solid (not great) but he blocks only .3 shots a game. He gets almost no assists because he never draws a double team (even Zach gets way more assists per minute lately than he does!) That is why he needs to be on a team that needs no scoring, shot-blocking, or assists from the PF position.

    The Knicks desperately need an intimidator on D, and it is never going to be Lee. Can you think of a championship-caliber team that doesn’t have a strong defensive presence in the middle, either from PF or Center? If you get one that is not an offensive threat (e.g. Dalembert) and you expect Lee to play 35-40 minutes, you fixed one problem and created another. Unless you have a “big 3″ situation like the Spurs or Celtics, you can’t get away with 2 offensively-challenged role players on the court for major minutes and expect to win more than half your games.

    If we get a shot-blocker and keep Lee, he becomes a 25 minute guy, which is what he is now.

  17. Brian Cronin

    If you think that keeping him is the only thing to do then I guess that is ok. But again he is not someone you build around.

    Keep Lee unless you can get someone better than him who’s not on the downswing of his career (Artest, for instance).

    Since usually no one trades players like that, then yeah, keeping Lee is basically the only option.

    Keeping Lee does not mean you have to “build around” him. He’s young enough to be part of the next good Knicks team without being the centerpiece of the next good Knicks team. So trading him for slight increases in the here and now makes no sense when the whole concept of the Knicks should be to rebuild in a couple of years.

  18. Pete

    Mike – I wasn’t offended or anything – just giving a little context for the one beat guy I think is a bit different from the rest.

    Greene – if Gasol is “game changing talent”, why is Memphis so horrible, and why has he been supplanted by Rudy Gay as the go-to scorer on this horrible team? Someone did a statistical comparison between him and Lee a couple of posts ago on this site, and there wasn’t a whole lot of difference. Yes, he can draw a double team on the block, but its not like that has reversed the Grizz’s fortunes. Arguably his supporting cast there is not really any worse then it would be here. And he makes a ton of money.

    Kidd is another player who could be a nice piece on a contender, but at this point in his career doesn’t have many good seasons left and wouldn’t make that much difference here short term. A few more wins, maybe, and for what?

    Lee is a valuable asset – if he is to be traded is should only be for something really significant – like a top interior defender.

  19. Frank

    couldn’t agree more Z-man. Lee is great at what he does but until he becomes more useful on the offensive end, he is better on our team of chuckers than on just about any other team.

    You know, watching him around the basket makes me wonder how good he could really be if he could just shoot a 15 footer with confidence. He’s gotten a bit better at that this year but he still shoots it like he’s expecting to miss. But his ability to finish and rebound in traffic makes me think that with more offensive polish he could be a poor man’s Carlos Boozer. What Boozer has on him is the fact that defenders need to check him out past the free throw line rather than sag in and muck up the lane.

    Now bear with me here — I always chuckle when people put out crazy trade scenarios and then present their lineup with Kobe, Garnett, and Duncan on the Knicks, but here it goes for me:

    What I’d love to see for next year (besides getting a top 3 pick and landing Beasley or Rose) is for them to sign Artest to the MLE (which he already said he would do, for what that’s worth) and find SOMEONE who can guard the rim — maybe even someone in Diop’s class of player. I still remain a huge fan of a trading Zach for Ben Wallace– that would be good for us even if Wallace is on the decline as he’s still a world better on defense than anyone else in our frontcourt. Then next year we could field a lineup like this:

    PG: Jamal
    SG: Artest
    SF: Balkman
    PF: Wallace
    C: Curry

    Lee, Wallace, and Curry could split minutes at the 4 and 5. If we need more scoring Nate can come in with Jamal sliding to the 2 and Artest to the 3. Now that could be a seriously contending team, possibly even a championship level team IMHO. Talk about upgrading defense with 2 former DPOY and one beast in Balkman. Add to that what could be top 5 draft pick and I think we have the makings of something.

  20. Brian Cronin

    Not for nothing, but if the season ended today, the Knicks would be behind FIVE other teams for the worst pick in the lottery.

    Meanwhile, they’re four games out of not having a lottery pick at all.

    Just noting that there is a good chance that the Knicks will not have a very good pick this year. And honestly, since this is a top-heavy draft, the Knicks might as well try to win as many games as they can (because there’s no way they’re making it into the Bottom 3, not with Miami, Minnesota and Seattle in the league).

  21. cwod

    “Keeping Lee does not mean you have to ‘build around’ him. He’s young enough to be part of the next good Knicks team without being the centerpiece of the next good Knicks team. So trading him for slight increases in the here and now makes no sense when the whole concept of the Knicks should be to rebuild in a couple of years.”

    I think this is what some people need to consider — the larger picture. Sure, he’s not the greatest player in the NBA, and sure, he might be overrated on this site, but he’d be a good player to keep around for when the Knicks eventually do land a superstar (hopefully). Trading Lee for a slightly more talented but much older player doesn’t make sense at this point if the ultimate goal is to contend. That kind of move just ensures that the Knicks will be, at best, mediocre, rather than a legit threat, for that much longer. So, until someone offers a package for Lee centered a youngish star, I think the Knicks would be wise to pass on trading him for Ron Artest or Pau Gasol.

  22. Roshi

    Bringing in Jason Kidd would be a disaster. I had him on my fantasy team earlier this season, so I constantly monitored his production. While the media is quick to note his constant triple-doubles, nobody is talking about the erosion of his ball control and shooting. Kidd’s never been a great shooter, but this year he is abominable, almost Q-rich bad. His turnovers per 40 have also spiked to the point that he can no longer be consider an efficient, top-caliber PG. I would bet my life that in the next few years his ability degrades rapidly, much like Shaq. Is he really worth $20m a year for another few good seasons, at best?

  23. Luke

    Jamal and Eddy are close buds but jamal also knows what many of us have been saying all season.Eddy is out of shape and lazy.It was a time when teams feared fronting Curry because they knew Crawford woulkd throw that alley opp from anywhere at anytime but even jamals knows Curry cant catch it becauses overweight which takes away a huge part of Currys effectiveness in drawing fouls which was using that lob to get behind the defense and forcing a foul.

    Another thing that stands out about the bigs is the total absence of them rolling to the basket .Last year Eddy would at least roll to the basket 2-3 times a game and just overpower people but now when he sets a pick he doesnt move making the double team of the guard even more effective .

    If anyone catches the hornets games check out Tyson Chandler who was known as hands of stone in chicago but now sets that screen for paul and hauls butt to the front of the rim for the lob or at least the offensive rebound and it causes absolute havoc.

    Zach and Curry hardly ever do this and on the occasions when they do the team looks fantastic .However Lee,Balkman,and Jefferies do this all the time because it basically comes down to hustle.

  24. Gregson

    Another aggravating Kenny Smith-ism (among many) is his tendency to rank everything. In addition to Kidd still being one of the Top 3 fastest players in the league, he argued that Sean Williams was the Nets best athelete w/o question. Another recent Jet argument was that Chris Paul was not one of the fastest point guards in the game, that he was just quick. Breen toyed with him on that one. Kenny’s obsession with superlatives and needless ranking gets him the Worst Sportscaster Award (ever, in history, no one even comes close).

  25. Frank O.

    you learn pick and roll in prep-league. That Curry and randolph don’t do it is just another indication of why they belong on the bench, and that Zeke is a shit coach.

    Zeke making trades= kid with handgun

    I laughed when I read the Marbury passing in.
    And like others I had to chuckle at the Kobe MVP thing.

  26. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “In man-to-man defense, he is often left unguarded by opposing PF who helps out in post and on penetration. ”

    This is not true. The only player that is “unguarded” by the opposition is Balkman on the perimeter. David Lee is, after Curry, the Knicks best finisher around the hoop. No one is leaving him wide open.

    And I also disagree with your assertion that he hinders the offense by his lack of offense. Lee provides offense – rebounding, holding on to the ball, efficient scoring. You don’t need every player on your team to draw a double team or hit a 15 footer to have a good offense. The 2006 Pistons ranked 4th on offense with Ben Wallace playing 35 mpg. Ben Wallace makes David Lee look like Karl Malone on offense.

  27. Owen

    I don’t dislike Kenny in the studio, but his in-game stuff is bad. I still prefer him to Mark Jackson, though a lot of people seem to like Jax’s work, he drives me insane. The combination of Van Gundy, Breen and Jackson the other night was making me retch.

    David Lee has had a really rough first half of the season. They brought in someone else to play PF. His minutes have been on a yo-yo string. He rarely goes into a game knowing he is getting 30 minutes. They have played him at center and small forward a bunch. And yet he is still 21st and climbing in ts% and 20th in rebounding.

    Lee is a lot better than Turkoglu. Lee is a lot better than Bowen. Lee is a lot better than many of the people on the list you posted in the other thread.

    Player perception is driven by how much you score, how good you are, and how good your team is. There are a lot of decent players in this league who look very good because they are next to true superstars. Hedo is a perfect example. People seem to be talking about him as if he has made the jump to being a true star this year. Really, not that much has changed. He is playing more minutes, taking one more shot per 36, shooting 2% ts% better than his career average, and crucially, playing next to a man who can’t be talked about for five minutes without using the word freak.

    Any player who gets to play next to Dwight Howard with the way he has been playing this year is going to look a hell of a lot better than he did before.

    Same thing for anyone playing next to CP3. Is David West, with his 52.8% ts% really such a great player? Is he better than Lee? No way in my view, but the fact that the Hornets are playing lights out right now is always going to swing the argument in West’s favor.

    No one cared about Marion or Stoudemire much before Nash arrived, same idea, although those guys are genuinely talented.

    No player in this league is good enough to make his team good all by himself. Lebron, who is awesome, has three excellent players in Varejao Gooden and Ilgauskas to back him up. That matters. Since Varejao returned they are 15-7 actually, which is fair anecdotal evidence of the importance a complementary piece can have.

    To have a great team, you need a premier talent like a LBJ, CP3, Duncan, Howard, Nash, Kidd, Billups etc. But you also need a few undervalued or underpaid stars, like Manu, Chandler, Bynum, Varejao, Prince, Calderon, etc. These guys are in a sense even more crucial to a team’s success than the max contract guys. It’s their ability to produce without consuming huge amounts of salary that actually allows the rest of the team to come together. Lee can be one of those guys in that category, a secondary star on a modest salary.

    The Knicks have made very poor choices for their max contract players for a while now. Houston, Francis, Marbury, Randolph. Four players who are basically average basketball players overall. We need to get a real superstar in here, that will happen in a few years when salary constraints allow, and then put Lee and Balkman next to him, two guys any superstar would love to play next to.

    That at least is the only way forward I can see. With current roster, we are a 500 team at best.

  28. jon abbey

    “Kenny’s obsession with superlatives and needless ranking gets him the Worst Sportscaster Award (ever, in history, no one even comes close).”

    I’m sorry, Billy Packer and Brent Musberger have long since retired this award.

    I don’t expect much insight from Kenny the Jet, and that’s what I usually get. I kind of like him.

  29. retropkid

    during the Indiana game, Breen went out of his way to praise Tinsley…”He’s a terrific talent, Clyde, don’t you think? Really under-rated…”

    Clyde grunts “uh, yeah…” and you know he’s thinking…”Tinsley??? Mike, have you lost your marbles?” You just wish Clyde would say it instead of planning the next rhyme…”Mike, Tinsley couldn’t have carried my jock strap, I woulda schooled that chump!”

  30. Spider Cider

    This is mostly directed at Owen, but for the record, I’ve been a fan of David West’s for several years, and have always considered him one of the most underrated players in the league. I certainly think he’s better than Lee, regardless of the Hornets record (and I’d have said the same thing last year, and the year before).

  31. Owen

    Spider Cider – West has nice +/- minus numbers thus far this year. And I think four player combo fo CP3, Chandler, West, and Stojakovic probably represents some of the best team design I have seen in a while. They give you everything you want in a basketball offense, rebounding, penetration, long range shooting, mid range shooting, inside finishing.

    That said, I don’t think David West and his 52.8% ts% is all that special. I think if Lee were in his place on that team, and West were here riding the bench behind Zach, this conversation would have an entirely different texture.

  32. Spider Cider

    That’s quite possible, Owen. The other thing I mentioned in the other thread was that evaluating which basketball players are “better” than any other is tricky, because so much rides on the player’s role, how they fit into the team, etc. You know, “chemistry”, as they say.

    However, as much as TS% is a good indicator of how effectively one has scored, it can also be somewhat misleading if used to compare player productivity. You couldn’t ask David Lee to go out there and score almost 20 PPG while shooting 60% every night and expect it to happen because the type of scoring opportunities Lee excels at (tip-ins, put backs, “garbage” buckets) are limited. There are only so many opportunities in a game for those types of plays. What separates West from Lee in my mind is that West can score those “garbage” baskets (maybe not quite as effectively, Lee is very good at it) while also having the ability to step outside and nail jumpers, or take his man off the dribble. This too, however, is somewhat of a double-edged sword, since many guys with those abilities settle for using them too often (think Zach Randolph, for instance). But now we’re getting into the age old usage vs. efficiency debate, and that’s a can of worms I’m not terribly interested in opening.

    To repeat myself once again from the other thread, I think at the end of the day David Lee is a very good player, but not an elite one.

  33. Frank O.

    My God.
    Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee.
    Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee.
    Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee.
    Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee.
    Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee.
    Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee.
    Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee. Lee.

    By far, the best player on this team is Nate Robinson. He plays all aspects of the game. He can play point and the two. He is shooting in the high 40s this month. He has a good 3 pt shot. He can penetrate and score or penetrate and dish. His passing has gotten way better. His TOs are down. Per 40 he would get better than 5 rpg.
    His only drawbacks are his silly fouls from time to time (read youth, exuberance) and his size. His pressure defense is very good. He is learning to fight through picks.
    I mean, the guy is the main reason the Bricks aren’t just a walk over this month.

    When Lee gets his minutes, he’s a solid double double. He could be a 15 or 16 ppg with 12 rpg. That is a nice PF. Certainly one of the better ones in the league because of his efficiency. I also think his shot would become more reliable over time. Hell, if Oak could develop a reliable 10-15 footer, this kid can, too.

    Balkman is another one that would be very productive given the minutes. It also might help his growth to play more.

    But when these guys have slackers starting ahead of them, it is utterly demoralizing.

    How does Q start over Balkman?
    How do Collins and Jones start over Robinson?
    How does Zach start over Lee? (That should trigger yet another Zach rave from a few people on this board who seem to think 20-10 innoculates you from the need to play the rest of the game. These same folks still think Kobe is an MVP *snicker*)

    Of course, if Kobe ever discovers his teammates he could be an instant MVP…

    But is it possible that we’ve worked this Lee debate over enough? I mean, if Lee was pasta you were rolling out, he’d be at best paper thin right about now, and at worst pressed into the grain of the surface upon which you were rolling him…

    Tortured metaphor…apologies.

  34. Spider Cider

    So because Nate Robinson has had 1 good month in his thus far incredibly average NBA career he’s all of a sudden better than David Lee? I don’t buy it. If Nate keeps it up, then it’s legitimate. But to me he looks like exactly the same player he’s always been, except now he’s getting more minutes and is on a hot streak in terms of shooting (every player goes through hot and cold spells). The fact that both of these things are happening in conjunction is making Robinson look much better than (I believe) he really is.

  35. Spider Cider

    Anyone ever heard the song “Lee” by Tenacious D? It should be this board’s theme song, playing constantly on a loop while viewing this page.

    I had a friend named Lee
    he cast a spell, a spell on me
    and me and Lee and KG could be free
    flyin’ free, tenaciously
    skinny dipping in a sea of Lee
    I propose an effigy
    to Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee

  36. W. C.

    I agree with Z-Man and Spider. I think Lee is no better than last year and agree that he is mostly overrated because people enjoy his high energy play.

    I was expecting at least a small amount of improvement this year, maybe a little jumper that he could hit here or there.

    As it is now, he is solid bench player that needs to be on the court with some outside shooters because he can’t score except on garbage baskets.

  37. Frank O.

    Spider Cider:

    I think you’re wrong about Robinson.
    I realize he has his critics.
    I love Lee. I think he is very good. But Nate right now is the team standout. Period.

    But your choice of background music is impeccable…:)

  38. Ess-dog

    Frank, i like Nate a lot too, but his last 2 games isn’t he like 8-27 from the field? He’s still too streaky, but I think he does more things than the also streaky Crawford.
    Speaking of which, is anyone here really comfortable with Crawford as the starting 2 guard? I’m not. I’d like an upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the biggest problem on the team or anything, I just would prefer someone with more solid D and less turnovers and a better shot selection.
    Any chance the Wizards trade Arenas?
    The real question is: Is it worth trading Lee in a package in order to get rid of Curry/Randolph?

  39. Brian Cronin

    Obviously, we dig Lee here. That said, the constant Lee discussion specifically does not come from us bringing the guy up all the time. It comes from people dropping by to take shots at Lee, at which point we defend the guy from (practically entirely) baseless shots at him.

  40. MattyXL

    In what has been yet another horrible season for the knicks we have been made to believe that our young players are actually better than they are.

    Nate Robinson who I like will never be the point guard of the future, he is a gunner, a good 6 or 7th man and energy guy, but please lets cool it on how good he is. Ill take Beno Undrich for him in a second

    We all love lee, I like him alot to but you guys thinking that he is going to be a 16 and 12 man is a bit for fetched, 10 and 10 is what he is and he can take a million jump shots in a week and he will never have a good J, because HE WILL NEVER TAKE A JUMP SHOT IN A GAME. If there is a chance to get artest for lee you have to do it.

    Balkman is another nice player and is the one guy I agree with becoming a starter. Its not like we are getting any offensive production from Q so we might as well put someone in the lineup that may give other 3′s fits.

    So basically, keep Balkman and Nate (as a energy guy off the bench) and trade Lee while the gettings good, as I think he will always be what he is a very good rebounder, an ok offensive player and a guy with serious defensive deficiencies.

    I would rather have balkman than lee. Basically if they played the same amount of minutes there points and boards would be about the same yet Balk would have more blocks and play better D.

  41. frank

    did someone just write on this board that David Lee is better than Bowen? That is just crazy talk. There might be 4 people in the world that think that and they are all on this board. Bowen is a classic example of a guy whose impact cannot be judged by stats. It is just mind- boggling that someone could actually think that. He’s an integral piece of an NBA dynasty which is far more than any player on our sad team.

  42. z-man

    Mike,
    Do you really feel comfortble comparing Lee to Ben Wallace, who has been named defensive player of the year 4 times? Lee is not nor will he ever be the impact player that Ben Wallace was or Dennis Rodman was because he is not an athletic “freak” (Owen’s term for Dwight Howard) that these guys were. These are guys that terrorized teams defensively and allowed teammates to take chances on defense. On offense, they, like Lee, were more interested in folowing missed shots and keeping the ball alive than creating their own shot, but Lee is not in their class as an offfensive rebounder because he is not nearly as strong and athletic. My guess is that if Wallace or Rodman concentrated on defending and outrebounding Lee and vice versa, Lee wouldn’t get anywhere near a double-double and those guys would have 15-20 plus boards. Look what Biedrins did to him (and everyone else). Your comparison, like Owen’s earlier comparison to Scottie Pippen, more than makes the case that Lee is being vastly overhyped here.

    By the way, Mike, as far as being “left alone,” I obviously don’t mean that Lee is ignored and forgotten about under the basket, simply that he does not command a double team ever, and that his defender will give him more space than a PF with an offensive game, especially on the perimeter. Lee often doubleclutches and shortarms good looks from 10+ feet, or swings the ball rather than shoot, forcing other guys to shoot late in the 24 second clock. He has a great understanding of the game and his role, which is good news and bad, since the mental part of the game is often what triggers further development as a player more than talent. It is possible that Lee’s lack of development this year is not due to anything but his own talent limitations. He is still averaging more than half a game of playing time, so the excuse that he is getting erratic minutes doesn’t play like it does for, say, Renaldo, who is really getting jerked around.

    I love Nate and think he’s the Knick’s best player, but you won’t see me comparing him to perennial all-stars and present or future hall of famers, nor do I make a case for him being a top-50 player in this league at present or for the next 2 years. I like him more because he is more athletically freak-like than Lee, has developed significantly since last year compared to Lee, and has, for his size, a stronger all-around game than any player on the team.

  43. Gregson

    The Worst Sportscaster Award of All Time, Ever

    “I’m sorry, Billy Packer and Brent Musberger have long since retired this award.”

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. By saying Kenny was the worst in history, I was engaging in a little unconvincing superlative talk too. Jet’s not the only one!

  44. Frank O.

    I try to sprinkle through everything I write that as much as I like Lee, Balkman, and Robinson, there are a lot of people who are a lot better.

    I speak in the context of the Bricks.

    I try to determine what in my view is the best starting five and then the next three.
    I do this because I do not feel Isiah making deals will help this franchise anymore.

    I also don’t feel that I know the entire league very well because I simply do not have time to watch all the games.

    The best lineup I can find for the Bricks,in my view, I also say is only a .500 club.

    So while I say I think Robinson is the best player on the Bricks right now, he is the best player on a generally bad team.

    I also get much more enthused watching young players develop than cheering for a bunch of selfish mercenaries.

  45. Ben R

    I think Nate is doing more than simply shooting well this month. His assists are way up this month and his defense is looking better. When he is passing well and playing solid defense he is a very good player. His ts% was over 55% last year which is good for a guard. I think ideally he is a very very good sixth man playing 30 minutes a game providing offense off the bench. There is no way I take Beno over him.

    frank – Bowen is not the player he once was, maybe a couple of years ago on the right team he was better than Lee but not anymore.

    As for Lee averaging 16 and 12 I do not think that is too far-fetched. Last year he averaged 13 pts and 12 rebs per 36 minutes. As he enters his prime I do not think it is unlikely he will add 2 or 3 points to his average. He obviously works on his game and his jumper while still shaky is looking better than last year and it should look better than that next year.

    I personally think we have three players that could be major contributors on a great team in Nate, Lee and Balkman. I can live with Jamal for now as I can live with Curry and Jones in a limited role, if Jeffries could completely replace Zach backing up Lee and Curry, and we could get 15 good minutes from either Collins, Q or Chandler at the three I think we would be okay until we get the true centerpiece we need to move forward.

  46. Frank O.

    Lee and Robinson come on the floor and the Bricks surge back into the game.
    At least Zeke is recognizing when his starters are losing the momentum game. He’s subbing the young guys more quickly.
    They were getting hurt in the paint. Curry the pedestrian.

  47. Frank O.

    Lee 9 points and 2 boards in 6 minutes
    nice

    Wish I could have seen robinson’s layup. Gus was screaming.

  48. Brian Cronin

    Without Bynum, the Lakers look ordinary.

    Don’t get me wrong, that’ll probably still be good enough to beat the Knicks, but it is notable how much of an impact Bynum has had on them.

  49. MarkG

    I think the Knicks are covered better by their fans than by the professionals in the media- MSG included. I get the impression that the Knicks organization is not real good at making players available to the media, that there is some sort of bunker mentality in place.

    I would like to see a lot more coverage on the basketball vs. the fluffy “Page 6″ type of coverage that the Post seems to favor. Not trying to bash that paper in particular it’s just the one I happen to read the most.

  50. Z

    Despite my pledge after the Knicks-Clipper’s game in November not to go to the Laker game when the Knicks came to town again, I found myself once again at Staples watching the Train Wreck Knicks. Turned out it was a much better game that the Clipper one, even if the end result was the same.

    I’m not sure if the MSG cameras picked up the scuffle that Robinson and Balkman got into after Nate’s T. Balkman was trying to keep Nate away from the ref and Nate started pushing Balkman and yelling at him. Balkman then skulked to the bench and stewed. They didn’t talk during the next time out. I thought for a moment it would be the newest low point of the season– two teammates going at it at center court. In the end it seemed to be a non-event, which was good.

    On the drive home I listened to the post game report on the radio. The host was recapping the game. He was dumbfounded by the fact that Lee played 37 straight minutes, only to be replaced by Curry for the final 4 1/2 minutes. I agreed when Lee came out that it wouldn’t pay off. It was nice to hear a west coast host, who I’m sure knows very little about Lee, recognize the effect that he has on a game.

  51. Z

    One other thing– the security at other arenas is not nearly as draconian as it is at MSG (Dolan’s goons have no jurisdiction in LA): There was a disgruntled Knick fan giving Isiah hell for much of the game. “I hate you Isiah” “You ruined the Knicks” “Stop blackmailing Dolan” “Isiah and Dolan go back to hell”… stuff like that. Screaming it. For quarters at a time. I know Isiah heard it all because the fans sitting right behind the Knick bench kept turning to look at the guy and smiling (and because LA fans are so quiet for so much of the game that the guy was drowning out the sound of people typing on their Blackberrys).

    Point is, if you want Isiah to know how you feel but don’t want to be manhandled by security guards and put on an MSG blacklist, do it in LA.

  52. Larry

    I was at the game tonight and i figured if Renaldo Balkman is hitting a three, that’s a sign for a win. But once they were unable to gain more seperation from 101-90, i knew the other shoe was going to drop. And I know David Lee needs a breather, but can it come when they have the nine-point lead and then he could come back in crunch time. The offense seems to slow down when Curry’s out there and that’s what happened tonight in my opinion.

    On a side note, the Laker intros are cool. They come out to “Sympathy for the Devil” and Baba O’Riley”

  53. nj hoop

    No big surprise, the reason we lost this game was defense, esp. against the scrub Vujacic. I’ll give Odom and Kobe their points, but you can’t let guys like Vujacic and Turief beat you. 121 pts.?? That tells you all you need to know.

    Here comes the inevitable 0-5 Western trip. Our one winnable game is a 4th game in 5 nights. Game over.

  54. Ray

    HEy listen if we win and make it to the playoff we go out in round one!! No doubt about it. If we lose we get a nice shiny draft pick. That what im looking foward to. Its time to break the team down and start building correctly. Coach is looking at getting J Kidd…and that is not going to happen. Thorn wont let it. We are not going to win a championship with Dalmebert. Get real…there has to be another way. Nate has been on fire. You can see the frustration in him though…the kid just wants to win. He cant complain because he does get his mintues. We cant deal Zach and Curry…we need a post presence. It has to be one or the other and at this point ill take Zach. I just wish the deadline was here so we can see what moves might take place already.

  55. Jeff

    You guys put up a good fight last night-I thought we were doomed when Renaldo started shooting threes.

    I just gotta say this about Curry. Kwame scored on him once after getting him to bite on a head fake.

    WHO THE HELL BITES ON A KWAME BROWN HEAD FAKE??

    Seriously- I was kind of stupified after watching it.

  56. Frank O.

    Bricks fans are perpetually stupified by Curry.

    What’s more impressive is that Curry moved at all.

    The one challenge the Bricks face with their young guys is composure. Both Nate and Renaldo last night made some very stupid plays and lost their heads.
    But that is youth.
    At least they are intense and care about the outcome.

    I’m certain Lee was reading this blog yesterday. He had a strong game.

  57. Owen

    Just watched the fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford had a terrible final frame last night, on both ends of the floor. I don’t know if he was really to blame for the most part. It looked like Isiah told him to double team Kobe when possible (because when Kobe scores its worth double.) Crawford was moving towards him nearly every play, letting Vujacic have a field day.

    Kobe had a big impact. And Balkman was not all that successful at guarding him.

    Overall, the Lakers just played very well in the fourth quarter though. With a healthy Bynum, they are legitimate NBA contenders I think.

    Good game from Lee. Hopefully he can keep it going in Utah tonight….

  58. Nick

    How many painfully awful plays were there by Curry on defense? The “he thought they were still playing zone” one that merited an immediate time out to be yelled at was priceless.

    Every time I kinda almost start to think they might be decent you get these games that we have seen over and over and over.

  59. Alec

    I don’t understand how Dolan can spend so much money on a roster and not hire anyone to improve their D. There has to be someone who can teach the Knicks how to defend. Take it back to 7th grade and have them do some defensive slides or maybe a ball-you-man drill.

  60. Roshi

    My lasting impressions for this game were that:

    1) Z-bo killed us
    Off the top of my head, I think he went like 7 for 20 from the field, and a good majority of those were deep jump shots with a defender on him. During that run the Knicks were passing effectively, but when the Lakers made a push, they inexplicably went back to Z-bo in the post and he was just plain awful.

    2) Crawford’s defense was awful
    It’s been mentioned already, but I’m remembering a bunch of plays where Crawford severely sagged off Vujacic and Fisher in order to keep a closer eye on Kobe, who was being kept relatively under control. I don’t know if Isiah told him to do this, but I swear everytime a Knick hit a 3, Crawford’s man immediately hit a big shot on the other end to quell the momentum.

    3) Curry being brought in for scoring punch towards the end was not in itself a bad move
    Sure, Curry sucked wind in the game, but the Lakers made a huge run and took the lead late in the game, and with Nate and Z-bo misfiring, we needed a bucket badly. Curry came in, they fed it to him in the post twice, and he scored once, and got fouled the other time. This is exactly what Curry should be used for. If he’s on the floor, give him the ball. Of course, it should never have gotten to the point where we blew that 9 point lead.

    4)Q looked respectable
    He still shouldn’t be starting, but his defensive effort was pretty good and he had a few nice jump shots, and more importantly was crashing the offensive boards for put backs. If he plays like this consistently, I wouldn’t be opposed to him remaining in the rotation. Anything to get Mardy Collins off the floor is a plus.

    Other than that, it was a typical Knicks game, although more competitive than usual. Giving up 120 something points to the Bynum-less Lakers is pretty much par for the course for the Knicks. We can’t win unless Nate and Crawford are on fire.

  61. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “Do you really feel comfortble comparing Lee to Ben Wallace, who has been named defensive player of the year 4 times? ”

    Way to build up that strawman only to knock him down.

    Here’s my quote:

    “And I also disagree with your assertion that he hinders the offense by his lack of offense. Lee provides offense – rebounding, holding on to the ball, efficient scoring. You don’t need every player on your team to draw a double team or hit a 15 footer to have a good offense. The 2006 Pistons ranked 4th on offense with Ben Wallace playing 35 mpg. Ben Wallace makes David Lee look like Karl Malone on offense.”

    If you can find where I compared Lee to Ben Wallace either overall or on defense, I’d like to see it.

    My assertion is that not every player needs to draw double teams, hit a 15 footer, or create his own offense to make their team better on offense.

  62. Z

    “As for Lee averaging 16 and 12 I do not think that is too far-fetched”

    I don’t think it is far fetched either, but I am curious why he has to average such numbers to be considered worthy of being built around. Even with Lee’s apparent step back since last season, he still represents everything the Knicks stand for– preparation, hard work, passion, desire to win… That is the stuff you build a winner around.

    Charles Oakley only averaged 12 rebounds a game for the Knicks once. Oakley’s rebounding peaked his second year in the league. His FG% declined every year he was in the league. Oakley was a guy that the Knicks built a winning team around– a perfect complimentary player. Something that is almost as hard to find as a superstar.

    There is absolutely no reason to believe that Lee’s development as a player is complete. Even if his gaudy rebounding numbers don’t get gaudier, and his TS% dips here and there, I can all but guarantee that when he retires he will be considered a good defensive player.

    I am also certain that he will play a major role on a winning team someday. Maybe with the Knicks, maybe without them…

    While making Oakley comparisons, I came up with another player that I think Lee has the makings of emulating the career of. An under appreciated complimentary player who quietly put together a remarkable career:

    “…one of only seven players to achieve 16,000 points and 13,000 rebounds in his NBA career and ranked fourth on the NBA’s all-time list in games played (1,307), eighth in minutes (42,464) and 10th in rebounds (13,017). His honors and achievements are numerous: NBA Rookie of the Year (1982), NBA All-Defensive First Team (1990, 1991), NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1988, 1992), starter in two NBA Finals series, three-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA field goal percentage leader and league leader in minutes played for the 1984-85 season. His career scoring average was in double figures, his career field goal percentage was .549 and he appeared in 80 or more games in 12 seasons…”

    …Buck Willaims.

  63. Caleb

    Lee isn’t nearly the defender that Oak or Buck Williams were — but he isn’t bad, and he’s a better offensive player than either. I fully agree that he’s still improving too.

    To say we should build around him, and players like him, doesn’t mean I think he’s one of the top 10 players in the league…

  64. DS

    I think we can all agree that Lee fills the role of a Thorpe, Oakley, Rodman, or Buck better than a lot Knicks fill their intended roles. I worry that Isiah thinks Curry can be Olajuwan (or even Ben Wallce) and that Crawford is Drexler (or even Rip Hamilton).

  65. z-man

    Mike,
    My point is that in evaluating where a player falls you have to consider the degree to which his minuses cancel out his pluses. Ben Wallace was such a freakish defender and rebounder that he made everyone on his team better on both ends. David Lee is not freakish. He is average to below average athletically at his position and intimidates no one defensively or offensively.

    I like the Buck Williams comparison, although I think Buck’s post defense, shot blocking and offensive game were clearly superior to Lee’s. That’s the big question…will Lee develop to that level. Again, Buck was simply more athletic than Lee and shot better (not counting dunks) right from the start (except FT’s.) As such, Buck was more of an impact player, as his early awards suggest.

    I agree that Lee would be highly valuable to a playoff powerhouse with lots of weapons. The two questions are: is it easier to get a replacement for him (a role player with a the same or a different skill set, e.g. a Turkoglu) or to get a superstar? Z’s contention that they are just as hard to find is totally ludicrous.

  66. Owen

    “Z’s contention that they are just as hard to find is totally ludicrous.”

    It’s not ludicrous. Tim Duncan is a great player, but without David Robinson, and then Manu and TP, he is not winning any championships.

    Shaq wasn’t going to win any championships in LA without Kobe, who was being paid much less than him at the time.

    Jordan couldn’t win an NBA title without competent complements.

    I agree it’s harder to find a Manu Ginobili or a Scottie Pippen than a Tim Duncan, Jordan, or Shaq.

  67. Thomas B.

    The ongoing debate about David Lee continues…

    I agree that it is a moot point, moot meaning “worthy of debate”, which is proper use of the word, rather than the popular use, that being “not worthy of debate.” Anyway, We have seen what Randolph can do as the starting PF on this team over 41 games. Randolph has range on the jumper, soft moves around the basket, and is a strong rebounder. Randolph is also selfish on offense, indiffrent on defense, and just plain lazy as he only does what comes easy to him and he has not committed himself to top notch conditioning.

    Randolph has had his chance. This is Lee’s third year with the team. I think he deserves his chance to start 40+ games. Then the fans will have an accurate measure of what Lee can do. We will see if his “lack of range” is a problem for the offense. It is my opinion that a PF does not need to hit a 15-18 foot jumper on this team. I think it is a detriment to the team to have your PF doing that. For example: Randolph is the leading rebounder on this team, his defensive rebounding skills should allow him to be a good offense rebounder as well. He should not be settinng up at 18 feet because he is now too far from the basket to help the offensive boards in the event that Robinson, Crawford or Q take a bad outside shot (highly likely).

    Lee on the other hand is constantly moving on offense. This makes him ready to get in position for an offensive board. This also allows him move quickly to the basket if a guard gets to the hole and needs a big to hit. “Randolph can do that” you say? I say thee nay!

    When was the last time you saw Randolph pass the ball then make a hard cut? It doesnt happen. First of all he is reluctant to pass, second he is much too lazy to cut. How much offense does Randolph create for his team? How many high screens do you see him set for Crawford or Richardson? How often has he played pick and role? He does not. I do not know how much of that is Isiah fault for not putting that in the play book, but with his range Randolph should be a decent pick and role player. He isnt becasue pick and role requires a good deal of effort, cooperation, and conditioning to perform effectively. The big on this team most likely to bring effort, cooperation, and conditioning to the floor is clearly David Lee. I think it is bat shit crazy to say that Lee will hurt the offense when he brings all the little things that help an offense. He passes out of doubles, he crashes boards, he sets picks, he take high percentage shots, he cuts to the basket. Who gives a phlying phuck if he can’t hit an 18 footer?! I’m sorry for cursing but i am just chocking on my own rage here.

    I don’t think David Lee is perfect but he gives his best effort. I want to see effort the rest of this season, even if it cant hit a 15 foot jumper. Lee, Balkman, and Robinson for all their flaws, they try. They don’t mail it in on defense. They don’t sit and wait if the play doesnt call for them to take the shot. They try. i’d rather watch those guys try that watch the “more talented” players mail it in.

    God, I need a drink.

  68. jon abbey

    that was a cheap and unnecessary play, I agreed with the announcer at the time and was shocked he didn’t get a flagrant foul call (was there even a regular foul called?).

  69. z-man

    Owen,
    It is not surprising that you are bringing up Lee in the same light as David Robinson (like Pippin, a top-50 of all time player) Tony Parker, Ginobili, and Kobe (a top-50 of the 21st century lock). Who’s next, Clyde (either one), James Worthy, Joe Dumars, Kevin McHale, John Havlicek…

    I’d stick with guys like Oak, Buck, Otis Thorpe, Horace Grant, John Salley, Bobby Jones and Robert Horry as upside complimentary guys on a level that Lee can aspire to (but probably never reach).

    Unless via luck in the draft, you use David Lee-types in packages to get superstars. Al Jefferson is a better young talent than Lee, but the Celts were horrendous until they traded him and other young players for Garnett and Allen. All of a sudden, Kendrick Perkins and Rondo are pretty good starters. Superstars can make many an average role player look good, that’s why the Lakers had a bum like Rambis in the starting lineup. The Spurs can put anyone in at center and still be great because of the superstar and two all-star scorers. The perennial contenders often run through complimentary guys but once they lose the true superstar, they decline.

    You might also notice that when guys like Buck and Thorpe played on better teams, their scoring stats tended to go down. You could argue that Lee’s stats are inflated by playing on a terrible team that was often down by 20 and played many of his minutes against second unit guys in situations that didn’t matter.

    Another question about Lee is his durability. He already missed a bunch of time with a mysterious “stress reaction”. Could he physically hold up with 36 minutes per night vs. 26?

  70. z-man

    One more thing, Owen,

    On the Bulls, every “complimentary” player was replaced along the championship run, and several times at some position. The only two constants were Jordan and Pippen (oh, I forgot, Pippin is a complimentary player like Lee, not a superstar.) Run through the rosters and then tell me again how hard it is to find complimentary players.

  71. Owen

    Z-Man – It’s just wierd. Did I say Lee was as good as David Robinson? No.

    I was making a totally different point. That you need to talent to win in the NBA. Specifically you need talent of the underpriced variety to go along with the high usage, max contract talent.

    Duncan was making 3 million when he played with Robinson. Kobe was making 10. Manu is making nine. Ben Wallace was making 5 I think.

    The Bulls had not only Pippen, but also Rodman and Kukoc, and to a lesser extent Kerr and Harper. It took all of them to make the best team of all time.

    I don’t really know what is so contentious here. Lee is a very good player. He is a very efficient scorer, great rebounder, he doesn’t commit turnovers, and plays solid defense. And he doesn’t need to have the ball in his hands to be effective. Finally, there is a good chance that he will be signed to a reasonable contract.

    On this team there are only two players I see being part of a championship caliber squad, Lee and Balkman. No one else. That’s really the point of this. At some point, Curry will expire, Crawford will expire, Marbury will be gone, and we can think about hiring a real star and getting on with having a winning record for once. Lee has shown he can be a big piece of the puzzle.

  72. z-man

    I agree with your last post (although Nate and Jamal can be good too in the right mix). The curse of the Knicks has been that we have had bad GMs for decades and that we have been laothe to rebuild. However, rebuilding (keeping the Lees and waiting for the superstars to come via the draft) is not always a winning proposition either. Look at the Bulls post-Jordan and the Celts post-Bird, 2 big market teams that floundered for years. The main question we differ on is whether Lee is more valuable as a future piece of our puzzle or as a trade pawn for a true superstar. My take is that you build around superstars and fill in the blanks with the best players you can get. If it costs Lee to get LeBron (I love) or Kobe (I hate) then as a GM you have to do it. Until we do, believe it or not, I will enjoy watching Lee as much as you. I just won’t overrate him or consider him untouchable as many here do.

    As for the contentiousness, I think it’s fun and hope you don’t take my disagreements personally. Hopefully we’ll be arguing about who should start in game 7 of the conf finals soon.

  73. discipleofclyde

    I think Alan Hahn is the only mainstream knicks beat guy with a worthy blog. the giving lee advice comment is somewhat obnoxious, but overall he’s bery observant.

    as for the articles, the elephant in the room is that eddy curry is losing fans every day (including me) and may be the worst starting player in the league. the writers need to rip him to shreads more than they have been.

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