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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who Is the Second Most Valuable Knick?

It’s indisputable that the Knicks have been bad in the post-Camby days. One sign of a weak team is the lack of a definitive best player. That is the team is led by a few third or fourth fiddles which allows for discussion and debate on who is actually the team’s best player. For instance, who was the best player of the 2003 team, Houston or Sprewell? Perhaps during the mid-00′s you might claim that Marbury was the Knicks best player, but I’m sure there are some that would deny it on the basis of his poor defense and non-existent leadership ability. I would say that David Lee was their best player for a couple of seasons, but at the time Crawford & Curry seemed to be the Knicks future and for the latter years some others would choose Al Harrington.

Needless to say this year’s team doesn’t have this identity problem. In 2011, Amar’e Stoudemire is unquestionably the team’s best player. For Knick fans this is probably a good sign, but for those that enjoy the debate sports affords this is less than ideal. However with the top spot spoken for, I’ll turn my attention to the next position. That is who is the Knicks next most valuable player? Here are the leading candidates:

Danilo Gallinari – The Knicks are 6-2 when Gallo scores 16 or more points and 6-1 when Gallo hits 3 or more treys. Obviously Stoudemire, like any other star in the NBA, needs a second scorer to take the load off his shoulders. Gallo is the only Knick with both a TS% above 60% and pts/36 above 17 (60.4% ts% and 17.1 pts/36). Even though he’s commonly thought of as a downtown bomber, Gallo is making his mark from the free throw line. He’s increased his attempts per 36 minutes from 4.0 to 6.5, good enough for second best on the team and almost double that of the next player.

Wilson Chandler – Has Wilson Chandler finally turned the corner? To be honest I haven’t been high on his odds on him becoming a quality NBA starter. This year Chandler is averaging career highs in blocks (2.2 blk/36), points (18.7 pts/36), 3p% (33.8%), and TS% (53.7%). Although Wilson is not as efficient as Gallo, he’s second on the team in points per minute and adds an element of defense in shot blocking that Gallo doesn’t provide. His improvement has been visible to the naked eye, and he’s been a much more exciting and root able player to watch.

Ronny Turiaf – I was doubtful that Turiaf could provide enough production to become the team’s starting center. However it appears that his lack of health that has been the only thing that has limited Turiaf. So far this season, he’s played in only 319 minutes, good enough for the 7th best. He’s first in the team in true shooting percentage (64.2%), despite his limited scoring (7.9 pts/36). But it’s his defense that puts Turiaf in the discussion. He leads the team in blocks (2.6 blk/36), and according to 82games.com the Knicks are 7.8 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor.

Raymond Felton – Admit it, if I didn’t put Felton on this list you might have forgotten him. While many concentrate on Felton’s failures in D’Antoni’s offense, his yield is far beyond what he’s produced in his career. The former Tar Heel is playing out of his mind. He’s second on the team in PER (19.4) and is shooting a robust 58.4% TS%. Felton is playing so well, that if he is having a career month and heads into a nosedive, his decline will be noticeable.

Honorable Mention: Landry Fields – I love him. You love him. I’d be curious of any Knick fan that doesn’t. He plays an extremely intelligent and efficient brand of basketball. He’s a low volume (13..3 pts/36) high efficiency (62.7%) player coupled with excellent rebounding (8.6 reb/36). It took Knick fans 3-5 years before they warmed up to David Lee, but maybe his departure has given New York an appreciation for such talents. As much as I like him, I don’t think he’s the second best Knick. At least not yet.

Who is the Knicks Second Best Player?

  • Raymond Felton (60%, 340 Votes)
  • Danilo Gallinari (20%, 112 Votes)
  • Landry Fields (10%, 56 Votes)
  • Wilson Chandler (7%, 42 Votes)
  • Ronny Turiaf (3%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 563

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41 comments on “Who Is the Second Most Valuable Knick?

  1. Abasi

    Gallo has the *potential* to be the Knicks second best player, but he is not because of his inconsistency. Felton is the second best, based on their performance so far this year.

  2. Nick C.

    I gave Felton my vote since the title was valuable and while some may quibble with how he runs the offense read the in game comments when he is out. Gallo would be 2nd best…but is it for 3 games a week or is it one? I wonder if the 6 FTA in the last 3 games is an anomaly or a sign that he won’t get the call anymore when he stumbles thru the lane half-looking for one. Fields would have been the easy choice.

  3. Thomas B.

    Interesting question. Landry keeps coming up big in the fourth quarter. Have you noticed that when the offense lags, Fields is there with a calming jumper or a put back when we need it? And don’t get me started on the clutch rebounds. I like the Fields makes the great use of his low volume. He is smart and efficient player but at times he looks passive. He has a nice shot and I’d love to see him featured more in the mid range game. But he needs to show at bit more aggression perhaps to take the next step.

    I sort of think TDDWTDD deserves to be in the discussion. His offense is much needed off the bench and his defense is helpful too. TD looks to create offense where Fields creates it when the opportunity comes. I cant say one appraoch is better than the other. I guess the knock on TD is consistency on offense and too much gambling on defense (plays passing lanes but goes under screens). If he could just the the TDDWTDD thing with greater consistency and stop running under screens, oh and run the offense a bit better. Hmm now that I’ve said that I guess you were right to keep him out.

    I’ll go with Gallanari. He is playing closer to the player that I want to see him become. Getting to the line and showing more grit in crunch time. I love that he is getting to the rim now.

  4. NYK Ewing

    Felton, unquestionably.

    Fields and Turiaf are solid. Turiaf is a good roleplayer, but nothing more. Fields will be good, but he (rightfully for a rook) hasn’t received enough touches to be called second best.

    Chandler would be my third. He is our best on-ball defender (until Randolph can stay in the game long enough to prove otherwise) and an amazing slasher. His mistake so far is that he’s been shooting way too much when he should be driving to the lane and picking up fouls. But he’s the person the Knicks rely on to score when Felton and Stoud aren’t on the court, and rightfully so.

    I can’t believe Gallo is 2nd after Felton. I like him as a roleplayer but so far he’s been nothing but inconsistent. He is a *horrid* defender who is way too slow to keep up with quick 3s and too weak to stop strong post-up 4s (the one good thing I can say about him is that he’s good at not fouling). His offense is comprised of hitting open threes, doing the Paul Pierce-patented lean-in to draw fouls off shot blockers, and driving to the lane to get fouled off of bad drives (because he never goes up strong which is why he never gets the 3 point play). People seem to just remember his late-game scoring and forget that he’ll start off by bricking 4 open threes.

    Felton has his flaws, and I love that article that you posted about his failures on the pick and roll. However, I think he’s been getting much better as the season has progressed. He’s a sub-par defender, for sure, and too slow to keep up with quick PGs. However, he’s strong enough to be able to switch to bigger guys, which has helped against certain teams. I’m mainly picking him because he’s our most reliable scorer outside of Stoud. He’s our best 2pt jump shooter, he’s done great from downtown, and he’s been great at penetrating (to score, he still has to learn when to kick out). And, importantly, he’s been good from the charity stripe. Maybe it’s because I’m subconsciously comparing him to Duhon,…

  5. André

    Felton, in terms of performance. But, if Knicks want to be a contender, Gallo and at least one more player must thrive. IMO, Marc Gasol would brig to Knicks exactly what Turiaf brings, without being injury prone. Turiaf would be the perfect back up and he would be ( and is ) an excellent tutor for the young guys.

  6. misterma

    GALLOOO
    On offense, he’s been ridiculously efficient, even when his shot’s been off, and he hardly ever turns it over. He’s made a big improvement AND HE’S 22 <333

    Honorable mention for Ray-Ray because he's not Chris Duhon, he plays with a lot of heart, and because he and Toney Douglas have been a huge part of the suddenly ballhawking Knicks D.

    GALLO IS 22 <333

  7. Michael Cline

    Seems like a lot of us have the same sentiment. Our hearts yearn to say Gallo, but the production makes us say Felton. At what point to we stop waiting for the drop off and just start enjoying it?

  8. Frank

    Mike Kurylo:
    Seems like if we want a winner, we should trade Amar’e for Reggie Evans or Kris Humphries? Or is that just a list of great rebounding players with high efficiency (without respect to scoring volume)?  

    Ergo this definition of “skill curves” at BR (referencing Dean Oliver):
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=1120

    Skill Curves: Since 100% of team possessions must be used by the offense at all times — and there is an inverse relationship between %Poss & ORtg — there is a lot of “extra” offensive value (beyond a player’s ORtg, that is) in simply creating shots and using those possessions. This is the idea behind what Dean Oliver called “skill curves” in Basketball on Paper… Basically, as a player’s role in the offense increases, his efficiency will go down because he’s having to take shots of increasing difficulty; at the same time, he’s boosting his teammates’ ORtgs because they don’t have to take those tough shots anymore. This is why someone like Michael Jordan was so valuable — he was able to maintain an ORtg of 120-125 even while assuming 30-35% of the Bulls’ possessions when on the court, which in turn diverted defensive attention away from his teammates and created easier chances for them as well. So here are some rules of thumb: Players who have both a high ORtg (>110) and a high %Poss (>23) are offensive stars; players with a high ORtg and a low %Poss (<17) are good role players who may be able to take on more possessions and still maintain a reasonable efficiency level; players who have a low ORtg (<104) and a high %Poss are probably not suited well for their role and need to shoot less; finally, players with low marks in both categories are either defensive specialists or scrubs.

    This is why the endless debate of Melo vs. X has no answer. Most low usage high eff guys could not exist without…

  9. TheRant

    I can’t dispute the wise things that have been said between Gallo and Ray Felton. But I’ll still insist it is a tie between Fat Eddy’s contract and Clyde on the mic.

  10. ess-dog

    For those who say Landry, Gallo or Eddy’s contract: you are all right, because this should roughly be the package headed to Denver for Melo in February.

  11. taggart4800

    Would anyone consider a swing at DeMarcus Cousins if there is anything substantially wrong in Sac-town. If so what would be a reasonable offer?
    He brings a lot of what we need and at the same time a lot of what we don’t.
    Bill Walker and sell high on chandler?

  12. NYK Ewing

    taggart4800: Would anyone consider a swing at DeMarcus Cousins if there is anything substantially wrong in Sac-town. If so what would be a reasonable offer?He brings a lot of what we need and at the same time a lot of what we don’t.Bill Walker and sell high on chandler?  (Quote)

    No way. The last thing a rebuilding team needs (especially one with chemistry issues more than talent issues) is someone to tear it all apart with a bad attitude. I don’t care how talented the kid is, but we don’t have the kind of staff or system to calm him down. They also wouldn’t accept that trade.

  13. André

    It seems there is a good relationship between the players. Especially, Felton, Amare and Turiaf seems to be positive leaders. The young core is talented and they are trying to understand each other. So, I wouldn’t like to see any blockbuster deal right now.

  14. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Off topic but KB worthy:

    http://www.48minutesofhell.com/why-dejuan-blair-might-not-work-for-the-spurs

    This sounds counter-intuitive, but DeJuan Blair is best suited to play in a transition offense that boasts a bevy of shooters. Blair would thrive in the NY Knicks offense, for example. He makes smart outlet passes, is fast enough to run the floor with smalls, and is always happy to clean the offensive glass and reset the clock for a surrounding cast of jump-shooting specialists. San Antonio can field these sort of lineups, but they’ll never do so in the closing minutes of the game.

  15. taggart4800

    Yeah the more i looked at it the more he is just a chemistry nightmare.
    Fully engaged he would be a nice piece alongside Amare, may clog the lane though.
    But he did smack of Eddy II, I’m from the Isiah school of GM’ing

  16. BigBlueAL

    I dread of seeing this team play an entire 48 minutes w/o Felton playing PG. Say what you will about him but all of the 4th quarter meltdowns have happened when TD is playing PG which usually leads to Felton only getting a couple of minutes of rest because D’Antoni brings right back into the game because the other team is on a 9-0 run.

    Ive mentioned this many times during game threads but TD makes Felton look like Magic Johnson when it comes to playing PG. The Knicks only have 1 PG on the roster and its Raymond Felton.

  17. Robert Silverman

    Felton got my vote, but you know, problems w/Berri’s system notwithstanding, Fields has been amazing. If hypothetically Walsh had taken who many of us (including myself) wanted in the 2nd round (Ebanks, Alabi, etc.) who’d be our starting 2 this year? Roger Mason? DWTDD? His value above any theoretical replacement — he defends the opposing team’s best wing, he’s the best rebounding guard in the league, he’s a plus athlete, he raises his play in the clutch — is so enormous, that I think he’s worthy of being in the discussion above “honorable mention” status.

  18. Frank

    @21 – it was a really tough call for me too — I chose Felton also because of how horrible the team would be if TD was playing the point full-time. But Fields has really been a revelation – he fits so perfectly into what the team needs him to do, which is to be that low-usage guy that picks his spots exactly when the team needs him to. In his short career he has already become one of my favorite Knicks because of how just brings it every night. Paraphrasing Seth from P&T, he loves Turiaf and Fields so much he wants to push them around in a tandem stroller. I feel the same way.

  19. Nick C.

    Robert that is a good point about Fields since I amongst others voted for Felton in part b/c of the “look what happens/who is in there when he is out” argument. The team would be treading water without Fields to play 2 guard until Azu gets back and perhaps beyond since who knows how Azu is when he gets back.

  20. Frank O.

    I love Landry, but right now the Knicks are winning because Felton has had a great year to date.
    He’s had his issues figuring out a new team and a new system, but he is far better than anyone could have hoped and appears to have an upside we all missed.
    He’s tough as hell. Played the last game sick as a dog and pulled more than 50 minutes. That’s a man.
    He’s played with a hurt back.
    I mean, who could imagine that his impact would have been so great?
    And it’s hard to ignore the drop off of the team when he isn’t out there. He hits big shots, makes big passes – even if he misses a few, as I have been noting – and plays very tough defense.
    He’s my number 2.

    Now, Landry Fields has been a blessing. He has been absolutely clutch late in games. His boards have been huge. His effort is fantastic. He makes few rookie mistakes (recall him getting a abused by a shooting guard with a good pump fake).
    He also hits very big shots. He is way more athletic than any of the scouting reports indicated.
    I think in time, he may become easily a better option that Chandler.

    Gallo has shown us something these past few games, but he hasn’t been consistent as of yet. If he continues like this, he’s got the tools to be a number 1, to be honest.
    He’s 6’10, isn’t afraid of anyone. Breaks down defenders off the dribble and he draws fouls like flies. And when his stroke is good, it is very good. But he shouldn’t fall into a specialized role. He should be doing better, and maybe he will.

  21. Robert Silverman

    The thing that could really elevate Gallo’s play is a mid-range game. Right now, his offense consists of threes and layups (or getting fouled and flopping like a decapitated chicken [pun intended] attempting a layup). A consistent mid-range jumper (like a certain German utilizes while fading away could/would make him an all-star)

  22. cgreene

    Robert Silverman: Felton got my vote, but you know, problems w/Berri’s system notwithstanding, Fields has been amazing. If hypothetically Walsh had taken who many of us (including myself) wanted in the 2nd round (Ebanks, Alabi, etc.) who’d be our starting 2 this year? Roger Mason? DWTDD? His value above any theoretical replacement — he defends the opposing team’s best wing, he’s the best rebounding guard in the league, he’s a plus athlete, he raises his play in the clutch — is so enormous, that I think he’s worthy of being in the discussion above “honorable mention” status.  

    Guess the honorable mention should include Walsh. What a tremendous tremendous pick. Make it a triplets stroller with Donnie in the 3rd seat.

  23. cgreene

    ps: I too picked RayRay. Just love the guts. Can’t see any reason why he doesn’t actually get better as a distributor as the season goes on and he gets more comfy. That plus maintaining his efficiency and D = a darn good starting PG.

  24. Frank

    Robert Silverman: The thing that could really elevate Gallo’s play is a mid-range game. Right now, his offense consists of threes and layups (or getting fouled and flopping like a decapitated chicken [pun intended] attempting a layup). A consistent mid-range jumper (like a certain German utilizes while fading away could/would make him an all-star)  

    Agree completely. I know it’s hard to be a pro basketball player and all, but I actually can’t see any real improvement since last year. I thought he worked on “his body” and “explosiveness”, but he looks exactly the same and it’s not clear that he is any different than last year. Contrast that with David Lee who seemed to pick up a new thing just about every offseason. FT shooting, then jump shooting, then passing/ball handling etc. I just worry that while Gallo’s handle is good and his first step is acceptable, he is completely unable to finish drives due to probably inherent lack of body control in traffic, thereby hoping the refs bail him out — that’ll work some nights and not other nights, especially come (hopefully) playoff time.

    His lack of body control/touch around the rim is really an issue — especially when compared to guys like McGrady, who can still finish when he gets to the basket on 0.3 legs. Not sure that is something that can be taught.

  25. david

    I’d say Felton is now, but the team will finish above .500 only if the answer is Gallo by the end of the season. Felton is playing about as well (or better) as one could expect, but Gallo has shown flashes that he might be an excellent second offensive threat — his ability to get to the line has, among other things, allowed him a bunch of open looks from 3 (which he’ll hit more of, I hope).

    If he becomes a true sidekick, we have a chance to be a really decent team, a seven seed that isn’t a total pushover for a Orlando/Miami/Chicago (a team we match up well with). Right now, we’ve had a pretty easy schedule, allowing us to work into form, but we are not likely to stay where we are against the late december/january schedule unless we continue to improve If Felton is our 2nd best player by year end, we’re right on the line of the 8 seed and an easy out for a top team….

  26. NYK Ewing

    Robert Silverman: The thing that could really elevate Gallo’s play is a mid-range game. Right now, his offense consists of threes and layups (or getting fouled and flopping like a decapitated chicken [pun intended] attempting a layup). A consistent mid-range jumper (like a certain German utilizes while fading away could/would make him an all-star)  (Quote)

    I agree, but I think the weaknesses I pointed out before prevent him from having a strong mid-ranged game. People compared him to Nowitzski but he’s SO much stronger than Gallo, which allows him to post up enough to get that pretty fadeaway. Gallo can’t hope to have that type of shot. Another common way to get the open shot is the pick-and-pop, but he’s just too slow for that to be effective and his shot just isn’t good off the dribble. Last, he can spot up for the jumper – which, considering his height, he should be doing a lot – but his first step is so slow that his opponents smother him inside the arc, and he can’t get anything off. Since he’s too slow to beat them off the dribble, they step up and give him no room.

    The only way he’s hitting midrange shots is when he’s left open after a penetration or a double team, and he’s made those so far.

  27. david

    Also, if we can get Cousins (and we can’t — we don’t have the pieces), we should — he’s going to be a fantastic player and the character risks are well worth it. The difference between getting Cousins and an Isaiah move is that Cousins is underpaid and good (according to advanced stats and just a general feel too), while the Curry’s of the world weren’t worth what they were paid in addition to having psychological issues. Not to say that character issues don’t matter, but rather — like any negative trait in a player — they are a cost, not a complete bar, to signing someone. If you’ve got a player as good and as cheap as Cousins, it is more than worth it to pay that cost…

  28. NYK Ewing

    Frank: Agree completely. I know it’s hard to be a pro basketball player and all, but I actually can’t see any real improvement since last year. I thought he worked on “his body” and “explosiveness”, but he looks exactly the same and it’s not clear that he is any different than last year. Contrast that with David Lee who seemed to pick up a new thing just about every offseason. FT shooting, then jump shooting, then passing/ball handling etc. I just worry that while Gallo’s handle is good and his first step is acceptable, he is completely unable to finish drives due to probably inherent lack of body control in traffic, thereby hoping the refs bail him out — that’ll work some nights and not other nights, especially come (hopefully) playoff time. His lack of body control/touch around the rim is really an issue — especially when compared to guys like McGrady, who can still finish when he gets to the basket on 0.3 legs. Not sure that is something that can be taught.  (Quote)

    While I agree on everything else, I can’t label his first step acceptable. Scouts have been listing it as one of his big weaknesses since before he came into the league and he’s only marginally improved on it. A big reason why he’s been putting off soft shots is because he’s only barely beat his defender to the basket, but he also doesn’t go up strong, which you pointed out. His crappy first step also explains why he constantly gets beat on D.

  29. Spree8nyk8

    Gallo easily and i’ll sum it up very easily why…..

    If Gallo has a bad night the knicks lose…..And it’s just that simple. Everything that happens on the inside happens because they are scared to death of that man on the outside. If he doesn’t have it going everything else shuts down in a hurry. But when he is going strong this team is next to unbeatable. I really don’t see how it could be any other player. And that being said I love everything that Felton has done this year, but the knicks go as Gallo goes…..

  30. NYK Ewing

    One great trait I forgot about Gallo on D is his ability to cause turnovers by flopping on offensive fouls. The refs seem to love that guy (I still think a lot of the fouls they call on him when he drives are BS softies). As much as I can’t stand that playstyle, I gotta give credit that it’s a huge help to the team.

  31. nicos

    Went with Felton though if Turiaf hadn’t missed so much time he’d have probably been my choice. After that, I’d say Fields, Gallo, and Chandler have been pretty even- Obviously, both Gallo and Fields are far more efficient than Chandler but Chandler has been much, much better than either of them on the defensive end. Gallo’s been too inconsistent and hasn’t been good on the defensive end at all (okay man defense but poor in transition and non-existent as a help defender). Hopefully, Gallo will get more consistent and move into the 2nd spot on the list by the end of the season but I wouldn’t completely rule out Chandler- his TS% is slowly creeping up and if he can get it to the 56-57 range his added value on defense could push him past Gallo and Fields. Fields has been a great find but he’s not a particularly good defender and his relatively low volume on offense makes it tough for me to see him as the number 2 guy.

  32. d-mar

    I have to go with Ray Ray as well, because as some others have pointed out, when he’s not at PG, we look awful.

    Re: Fields – how does an opposing coach game plan for him? With some rookies off to hot starts, you might say “make him go to his left” or “let him shoot, don’t let him drive” or “he never drives to the basket, play up on him” How do you slow down a hustle guy who grabs rebounds on both ends, has a nose for the ball and just really understands the game? It’s hard to see him becoming less effective due to adjustments by other teams, the only downside may be the 82 game schedule vs. college schedule.

  33. BigBlueAL

    As to Gallo, to me he is 500X quicker this season than I have ever seen him before. Have you seen how he is running the floor on fastbreaks?? I have seen him start by his own basket and by mid-court be ahead of everybody.

    His quickness to me is much, much, much improved.

  34. crazchino

    during this win streak, i’ve got to say felton. The whole team seems to be playing with better chemistry, but especially between stat nd felton. the first couple weeks of the season had me worried because felton and stoudamire never seemed to be on the same page but lately they seem to have a great 2man game goin. especially tonight vs the nets. but it’s not just him nd stat, but him nd the rest of the team. the knicks play incredibly when felton’s playing well, and the O goes stagnant when he’s not.

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