Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wizards 93 Bizzaro Knicks 105

There’s something odd with me. I got off a plane, and traveling in that manner usually messes you up. Either you’re jet lagged from a time zone difference, you’re exhausted from sitting in a tin can for half the day, or American Airlines accidentally ships your luggage to a country that ends in “guay”. Even if your flight lands without a hitch, there’s always something else that could make sleeping in your own bed again a foreign feeling. It could be the three mile hike to exit the airport from the terminal, boxing out the family of 13 at the baggage claim (do grandma and the twins really need to take up prime real estate at the carousel?), or the inevitable bumper to bumper traffic filled taxi ride to your door.

Even if those things don’t occur, there could be something at your house that causes you to feel off kilter. For instance the milk could be spoiled. Or the team that’s won a quarter of their games beats the snot out of another team.

In a way the Knick team I saw tonight is much like the team I’ve wanted to see all year. On offense no single player was dominating the ball. Just about every player was looking to make the extra pass, and yet the turnover count was low. Jamal Crawford was taking reasonable shots. Nate Robinson had 8 assists. Balkman was a basket and a board from a double-double in just 18 minutes. On defense they held the other team to a 45.1% eFG.

I need to get a full night’s sleep.

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
WAS 85.0 109.4 45.1% 24.7 32.6 10.6
NYK 123.5 57.9% 12.2 35.3 12.9

108 comments on “Wizards 93 Bizzaro Knicks 105

  1. Ess-dog

    I’m not sure who, but either Curry or Randolph needs to be traded. Jeffries is a great defensive presence, Lee has good D and can board and run. The post is really crowded right now, especially b/c neither Curry or Randolph will accept coming off the bench. But a lineup where you start one of them and give them limited minutes could really work- but you can’t do that with both. Now most people favor Curry I think, but he rarely shows up on the boards and he doesn’t contest the better centers in the league on offense or defense. Zach is much more consistent on offense and on the boards, but really struggles on D and doesn’t move the ball even as well as Curry. It’s a tough call.
    Who do you move and who stays?

  2. jon abbey

    did you see the Randolph trade that Milwaukee supposedly turned down in Vecsey’s column today? from memory, it was Villanueva, Simmons and Gadzuric for Randolph and Balkman.

    the point being: no one wants Randolph or Curry, at almost any price. get used to them.

  3. Mulligan

    Well, Curry has a much better contract compared to Randolph.. so my feeling is, if someone wants Randolph, let’s do this.

  4. Frank O.

    i think you move zach because you can and you have a strong player, probably the Bricks best all around player, in lee to play PF when Zach is gone.
    Curry isn’t going to get traded I think because no one will want him. He does one thing. That’s it.
    and I believe Jeffries should start at center, with Curry coming from the bench as a scoring option. Jeffries simply does more on the court. he plays D, rebounds, blocks shots and moves well.

    Zach has value for a team like the Bucks, which need an inside threat to help their perimeter game.

  5. Frank O.

    but I don’t think giving up balkman is worth moving zach.
    I think in showcasing balkman, Isiah is seeing his realworth.
    But I think like jon abbey that the bricks may be stuck with both.

  6. Roshi

    I had to leave at halftime, so I was left with my disgust at finishing the 2nd quarter on such a bad note, with Curry, Randolph, Q, and Crawford on the floor.
    Good to see that they won though. Did Isiah put back the Robinson-Jones-Balkman-Lee-Jeffries lineup in the 2nd half? They were the ones that built the big lead in the first place. If so, do you think Isiah has finally learned the optimal strategy for this team?

  7. Latke

    the bucks have no reason to trade for randolph. He would not make them real contenders… maybe they’d slide into the playoffs as a low seed. And they are committed to Yi Jianlian. And they have promised him 25 mpg. There’s no way randolph is a bench player behind Yi, and there’s no way Yi develops as much with randolph as the starter. The bucks are not desperate.

    They are settled on being a middling team, and rumors in the past have hinted that they’d even trade Redd were the right offer come along – presumably that offer being one that includes young players and picks.

    You need a team that is ready to take risks and has a hole up front. A team like the lakers, who are good, but need another scorer to really be contenders. Or the heat, who have no hope, no young players for the future, and may as well try to win now.

    The nets and the bulls are two other possible destinations, but less likely. New Jersey doesn’t have much to offer, and the bulls refuse to take in bad chemistry players. But they are both possibilities.

  8. Z

    Nene just had surgery to remove a tumor in that place that shall-not-be-mentioned. Not sure what his recovery time is, but the Nuggets are in the thick of things in the west and have nobody to score in the post outside of Carmelo. I say dump Zach on them while you can and take back whatever they give you. (Nene, incidentally, may have the only contract in the league worse than Randolph’s– he has the option to make $12 million the year after Randolph’s expires. That said, I’d still take him or KMart off the Nuggets hands if they’d just rid us of Randolph (maybe we could throw Kenny “That’s Not Gonna Get It Done” Smith in there too…)

  9. Latke

    also worthwhile to note that both these teams were coming out of emotionally exhausting situations. Wash had just beat Boston twice in a row, and detroit was finishing a 4 game in 5 night road trip in which they had just beaten san antonio.

    I like the assists numbers though, and I like that a lot of the scoring came off easy baskets. This is how too much talent can hurt a team – many players are capable of hitting difficult shots, so they settle for them. Last night they definitely did not.

  10. Brian Cronin

    I really cannot believe that the Knicks were prepared to give up Balkman just to get rid of Randolph.

    Now, I want Randolph gone for pretty much anything in return (save Larry Hughes and, I guess Kenyon Martin), but I don’t think he’s SO bad that I’d give up Balkman just to lose him.

    I’d rather the Knicks just cut Randolph than give up Balkman to get rid of him.

    By the by, could it possibly be true that Balkman WAS hurt, and it just healed now?

  11. Z

    “could it possibly be true that Balkman WAS hurt, and it just healed now?”

    Brain– can’t you flash some Knickerblogger press credentials at the Garden and ask that basic question that the print media has completely neglected?

  12. cbrooklyn

    did anybody see Q’s breakaway dunk? it took him like a half an hour to get up the court…lets trade him fast while his value is up,,lol,, all in all i loved seeing the knicks actually play ball for a change,,,hope they keep it up…..

  13. Z

    I just glanced at the Western standings– you need to play almost .600 ball to make the playoffs! If the playoffs started today, GS would be the 8th seed at .590. That makes for a competitive spring (and a slew of potential Zach Randolph takers?!?)

  14. Brendan

    It would indeed be really nice if the competition out West opened up a Zbo market, but ask yourself this- you’re the GM of a team playing .600 ball; you’re a pretty smart guy. How drunk do you have to be before the following sentence crosses your mind: “you know, we’re a really good team, but Zach Randolph of the Knicks would be the thing to push us over the top!”

    I’m just not seeing it. The only way to move him right now would be to take back something even worse (like Larry Hughes-level bad), and there’s a line about when to stop digging which covers those sorts of situations. The Bulls would only take him for Wallace, which does no good. The Nets won’t take him, they justly love Sean Williams and have nothing to offer in return, and Thorn and Kiki aren’t exactly great fans of the Knicks right now anyway.

    The nice thing about having Balkman back and playing so well of late I’d say is that in addition to making the team substantially more watchable, he makes it clear the Knicks have about 3 or 4 non-embarrassing players under contract. The best thing to do right now, I’d say, would be to put those guys front and center, accept that this is a bad team and will be for a while, and concentrate on at least not being a shameful mess.

    Start letting the contracts of the worst problems run down, and maybe they’ll be a bit more movable with less time on their deals. Write off this season and, frankly, probably the next two. Stockpile draft picks. I just don’t see any useful trades to help the team being out there, especially since given Isiah’s history half the league probably assumes they’re entitled to swindle the Knicks on any deal they make.

    Or to quote John Hollinger’s ESPN chat today: “I’ve given up trying to figure out what these guys are up to. Let’s just say that between now and whenever Isiah is fired, the fewer trades the better.”

  15. Paul

    How about try and work out a deal with Chicago where Randolph is traded for Ben Wallace. Plus whoever else is needed to make it work.

  16. Johnny Twisto

    “could it possibly be true that Balkman WAS hurt, and it just healed now?”

    Then why was he kept active for 5 weeks, to play 3 minutes a game? How does that help him heal?

    No, the simple and obvious answer is that The Smiling Prophet is a complete and utter fucking moron. Gee, Balkman finally gets play for 2 games, and we beat 2 good teams. What an amazing coincidence!

    Alas, I saw just a bit of Sunday’s game, and none tonight.

    Whoa! Morris played! Clap clap Weasel, you’re an American Hero!

    Looks like Fred Jones has been sucking some good dick lately.

  17. jon abbey

    “The nice thing about having Balkman back and playing so well of late I’d say is that in addition to making the team substantially more watchable, he makes it clear the Knicks have about 3 or 4 non-embarrassing players under contract. The best thing to do right now, I’d say, would be to put those guys front and center, accept that this is a bad team and will be for a while, and concentrate on at least not being a shameful mess.”

    yes, and CAN WE PLEASE SEE IF MORRIS AND CHANDLER CAN PLAY ALREADY? thank you.

  18. Ben R

    I think if Balkman had stayed in the rotation we would have won at least 3-4 more games maybe more than that. The energy he brings is contagious.

    As for this game we played great. Randolph is still a black hole but at least he is only halting ball movement some of the time rather than all of the time. Also despite unimpressive numbers from Curry he was very quick to pass the ball which let the Knicks actually take advantage of the doubles he drew.

    When he is patient and lets the game come to him, passing the ball before the double, Curry creates open looks.

    Crawford has another great game without Marbury. He plays so much better when Marbury is out of the game. Also Nate is turning into a dominant player before our eyes. I wanted to move him this summer, I am so glad we did not. He has 25 assists and 4 turnovers over the last 5 games.

  19. Brian Cronin

    Brain– can’t you flash some Knickerblogger press credentials at the Garden and ask that basic question that the print media has completely neglected?

    I can just hear it now… “Sir, that press pass is obviously written in crayon!”

  20. Thomas B.

    Forgive me for putting my lips on the butt on this site, but I have to say thank goodness for Knickerblogger.net.

    I spend most mornings reading hoops related articles on sites like hoopshype and insidehoops. I am often struck by how poorly many of the articles are written. This is especially true when it comes to fact checking. Today and article in the Sacremento Bee described Lee as an “athletic second-year big man.” Lee is in his third season is he not? I saw a similar mistake in the Chicago Sun Times that mentions the Knicks’ 2005 first round draft picks. There was no mention of David Lee. They mentioned him later as a second round pick. These are supposed to be top sources for information yet they don’t check facts or employ a compentent editor. Thank goodness for a site that knows my team, presents interesting articles, explains stats in a manner that I can understand, and is free of annoying, blinking, dancing ads. Thank you Knickerblogger.net.

    Now where did I put my chapstick?

  21. flitzy

    im not even a knick fan, and i dont watch every game, but i do watch a decent amount. I was at the game last nite, and albeit the absence of a true point guard, and less talent, the lineup of Robinson, Balkman, Lee, Crawford, and Randolph seems to be far and away their best lineup. I was ten rows up center court and could see everything, and cant understand for the life of me why lee doesnt play 40+ a game.

  22. flitzy

    And how about a move i was thinking from at least a PR standpoint, get rid of curry and find a way to get shaq in there? I understand the team wants to get younger and everything, but currys gonna suck the next 2 years anyway and shaq is basically done, might as well have someone in there thats at least funny though.

  23. Frank O.

    It’s a testament to Lee’s impact on the game that he scored few points last night but still posted a strong +/- (+14).
    I still think Randolph throws up a lot of ill-advised shots. Only last night some of those actually went in. There are times he just forces shots for no good reason.
    Crawford does seem more effective at the point with Marbury out, but there were several plays where Wizards’ guards were able to catch, square up and shoot with little more than Crawford trying to cover the 10-feet or so between him and shooter. His D is just pathetic.
    But he was just killing it from 3 pt range last night.
    Nate’s game is just outstanding over the past few weeks. I think his confidence grows when he gets burn and he’s less desperate to show himself when he gets time. And he plays defense.

    I have been reading some blogs from people who are at Bricks’ practices and the knock on Balkman is that he goofs off too much.
    He doesn’t work hard at his shot. He doesn’t work hard improving his foul shooting. He’s just not entirely professional in his preparation.
    Physically there has been nothing wrong with him. He just hasn’t matured yet.
    But what he does well right now is run his ass off chasing the ball, defending and finishing around the basket. He nearly got a double double last night and profoundly affected the game in some glue-like ways.
    I just hope he takes his practice off the court more seriously so that his game progresses. He needs to shoot better from the field and the line.

    But for what he does for the Bricks right now, I think he has great value. Every team needs a guy that is skidding around the floor, contesting shots and pulling on shirts.
    I think also that Lee is playing much better defense and helping the flow with the team as it currently is constituted. He’s not scoring much lately, but he’s doing other things to help the team.
    I also think Jeffries is playing an important role. He had two blocks last night in 11 minutes. Having a guy in their swatting shots has an immediate impact on the way the other team plays. He also contested a bunch of other shots. With his length, it makes the Bricks interior defense more credible.
    For example, if you have Curry or Randolph on the court, it’s good to have Jeffries out there to bolster the defense. Lee also balances well with Curry because he can attack the boards, whereas Curry attacks muffins, mostly.
    I also like Jones being out there as a pure distributing point guard. He plays defense and doesn’t need the ball so much.

    Q is a real conundrum for me. He played an important role last night, but his inconsistency is maddening. He hit his first five shots in the 1st period and then went 2-10 the rest of the way. Now he had a bunch of assists, and his early shooting made the Wizards respect his shooting, but, in general, I see him as a liability. With 13 points and 7 assists you would think he had a very strong night, but he was actually only +2, which to me is no big deal.

  24. caleb

    Frank I mostly agree with you, but I think you’re underselling Balkman…

    Sure he’d be better with a jump shot, and I don’t know anything about his practice habits, but as he is right now he’s head and shoulders above Jeffries or Q… he’s probably one of the top few defenders in the league at his position, and the best rebounder… His offensive game is obviously limited but he doesn’t make mistakes either — doesn’t give it to the other team with turnovers or bad shots.

    Jeffries on the other hand is an abomination on offense and only adequate on the other end — which, granted, is a lot better than most of his teammates…

    How about a vote — what will happen first: Curry blocking 4 again, or JJ blocking 2?

  25. Frank O.

    My point on Jeffries is that he plays defense.
    Neither Curry nor Randolph even make attempts.
    And, frankly, this team for balance sake needs a few defenders out there who can offset those scorers that play no defense.

    Like I said:
    I think a starting lineup of
    Jeffries at center
    Lee at PF
    Balkman at SF
    and Guards of Robinson, Crawford and Jones
    could play .500 the rest of the way.
    that’s not sensational, but certainly it’s better than what we have seen in New York for years.
    And in that time, you get to develop young players, who likely will improve.
    Already those folks are far more energetic and team-minded than the Curry/Randolph/Q/Crawford/Marbury lineup.

    So Caleb, I agree that they are limited and Jeffries isn’t outstanding. I think, however, he can play a solid role on this team.

  26. Frank

    I still think we need Curry or Randolph on the court most times to give balance to the offense. A completely perimeter oriented offense is ok sometimes but sooner or later the shooters will go cold and you need the inside meat. And regardless of how limited they are offensively, both Curry and Randolph open up opportunities for the outside shooters. I think we could go with Jefferies/Lee/Balkman frontcourt for 10 minutes at a time for energy and defense, but I think we’d be best served with a those three rotating the 3 and 4 with Curry and Randolph at the 5 for the most part.

    I’d still like to see Curry, Lee, and Balkman up front with Nate and Jamal in the backcourt. Lee and Balkman will make up for Curry’s rebounding liabilities, and it would get our two best 3 point shooters on the floor with Curry. Nate has been great at distributing and only taking shots when they come in the flow of the offense, so that leaves just Crawford and Curry as the high volume shooters on the floor. Balkman can man up with the other team’s best swingman, partially covering Jamal’s weak D.

    When Randolph is in, Jefferies can play because the rebounding we lose in going from Lee/Balkman–>Jefferies is not as big a deal with ZBo in there.

  27. jon abbey

    I don’t get all the Jeffries love, I want to see Chandler get his minutes. Jeffries is a proven mediocrity (being generous), let’s see what Chandler can do.

  28. retropkid

    let’s not get too excited, we beat two tired clubs…the Knicks have a four game stretch coming that is similar to what Washington just went through…welcome to the NBA.

    That said — Balkman getting burn and showing his stuff…we win without Starbury…gotta like that. Balkman should be in the starting five so we have a shot at being in the game from the start more often…

    Most amazing stat line: Q actually made six shots AND had 7 boards (or was it assists? 7 of something that wasn’t turn-overs…).

  29. Latke

    to me, chandler, in limited minutes, appears to be somewhat talented, pretty athletic, and not very bright. He plays with energy but takes a lot of dumb shots. He really likes to shoot.

    And morris, in all the time he had last year, was not really impressive. He seems a serviceable backup center, has a few post moves but no go to move, is kind of slow on defense but not as dreadfully slow as curry/randolph.

    I like balkman and am happy he’s getting more minutes, but I think the last thing Isiah needs to do is start randomly shuffling more players into the rotation. 9 players (jeffries, robinson, lee and balkman off the bench) is already a larger rotation than any successful team. If you can move Q and randolph, take back an overpaid bench player, with a long, but less per year contract, and some expirings, and maybe get a serviceable 3, I leap on that deal. Here’s a big 3 way deal that I think is conceivable – the knicks get mickael pietrus, a good shooter and defender.

    To the warriors: wilson chandler, tyrus thomas, quentin richardson

    to the bulls: monta ellis, zach randolph, patrick o’bryant, fred jones

    to the knicks: ben wallace, mickael pietrus, matt barnes, kosta perovic

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult?players=3032~885~1765~2751~3019~3021~2173~3194~1718~1017~703&teams=9~18~18~4~4~18~18~9~4~4~9&te=&cash=

  30. Frank O.

    I agree with Frank that the Bricks need to rotate Curry and Randolph into the game.
    But I just believe those guys kill the flow if they’re out there too long.
    I can’t tell you how many times the ball is passed into one of them and the rest of the team just stops moving because they know the pill isn’t coming back out.

    The Bricks are better when the ball moves; not when some lug forces a shot up.

  31. Roshi

    I agree with jon. Latke’s trade proposal is not feasible, being that the Warriors get crap in return for giving up Monta Ellis, a potential future allstar. It’s not like GS is rebuilding, they are trying to get over the hump in the West playoffs.

  32. Latke

    um tyrus thomas is not crap. #2 pick. huge potential. Defensive presence that can play and defend multiple positions. Ellis expires after this year and GS can’t afford to pay him. Azubuike has proven more than serviceable. It took ellis a while to steal his starting role. GS has proven via Azuibuke, and Barnes, that when you play their style, any swingman who can shoot is going to put up numbers. What they are lacking is big men who can have an effect on the game in the style that they play. If anyone doesn’t do that trade, it’s the knicks. Pietrus is expiring and has been injury prone, wallace, though his contract is shorter than randolph’s is going to be pretty worthless due to age in his last year. I still do it though.

  33. jon abbey

    “Ellis expires after this year and GS can’t afford to pay him.”

    what’s the latter part of that based on? I thought they changed the rule about resigning your own second round picks, and GS looks like they’ll be under the cap this year and potentially way way under in two years if you’re talking about some kind of luxury tax thing.

    “What they are lacking is big men who can have an effect on the game in the style that they play. ”

    not really, they have Biedrins and Harrington. also, they’re 22-10 since Jackson came back from his suspension, pretty doubtful they’d want to tinker with their chemistry. Ellis and Biedrins are both so young, I’d think those are the two basically untouchables on the team (unless they really can’t resign Ellis, but I don’t think that’s actually accurate).

  34. caleb

    I think Latke’s come up with a really interesting idea there… it’s defintely feasible, although it depends how much GS likes Thomas (and Chandler)… some teams will be high on them, others won’t… I’m sure a solid majority would take Thomas over Ellis straight up.

    I think the Bulls would consider a straight Randolph for Wallace deal, and this is much sweeter for them.

    It’s also better for us, in that we get Pietrus… although I don’t think he’s nearly as good a prospect as Balkman (or Chandler), he still has some value… And Barnes has a cheap deal, making him tradeable…

    If this ever happened I’d probably try and take it one step further, try and flip Barnes and/or Pietrus to another team, for draft picks or a young point. Memphis for Lowry?

  35. caleb

    p.s. They CAN re-sign Ellis; the league changed it — call it the Gilbert Arenas rule.

    I agree Biedrins is probably untouchable but not Ellis – I mean, he’s a good prospect but Thomas is still just 20, and 25 out of 30 teams would take a power forward over a combo guard… On the other hand, Golden State might be one of those 5… Nellie loves the little guys.

    p.p.s. I don’t think Harrington is much of a player and definitely not a “big man” — no rebounding, no interior defense and too slow to play on the perimeter… but then I probably have the minority opinion here.

  36. caleb

    The main benefit of this trade, obviously, is dumping Zach Randolph’s contract… barring other stupidity, it would pretty much clear our cap space by 2010… for 2010-2011 we’d only be committed to $40-50 million (Curry/Crawford/Jeffries/assume Lee & Balkman, this and next year’s first rounder, and maybe Nate)… cap will be around $60m by then, probably.

  37. jon abbey

    “25 out of 30 teams would take a power forward over a combo guard”

    we’re not talking about the draft, Ellis has had a way more successful career than Thomas so far, and he just seems to be getting better. in the game Sunday against Indiana down the stretch, he honestly looked like Iverson with Shawn Marion’s jumping ability, it had to be seen to be believed. IMO, they keep him unless they’re really overwhelmed by an offer, and Tyrus Thomas (who I do like still) isn’t going to do it.

  38. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I’m not getting the whole “Thomas is valued higher than Ellis” thing at all.

    Sure, teams like power forwards more than combo guards, but not if the combo guard is a lot better than the power forward.

    Otherwise, the Knicks would be dealing Malik Rose for Kevin Martin.

  39. Latke

    jon, you’re right. They will be like 21 million below luxury tax threshold so they could give biedrins and ellis the 8-10/year that they each probably would demand, and still have something left over. I still think even don nelson knows that there are only two engines on his team that really matter – Baron Davis, whose talents drive their team, and Stephen Jackson, whose heart drives their team. This deal, however, leaves them in better financial shape, because thomas’s rookie contract runs through next season, and I think my argument still holds that the guards beyond baron davis are pretty much interchangeable as long as they can shoot and finish at the rim.

    Thomas is a unique talent. He is probably one of the top 5 best athletes in the league, and there’s a perfect spot in the rotation for him behind biedrins and harrington. And it’s not that Nelson doesn’t like big men. He just doesn’t like big men who aren’t versatile. He likes guys who can play multiple positions and who don’t slow down his wing player driven offense. Thomas fits that bill perfectly, which makes him even more rare in the eye of nelson.

    I mean, it’s all just talk anyway. Big trades like that don’t happen these days anymore. Unless a superstar demands a trade. I’ve always liked pietrus though. He seems kind of like a shane battier type player, can shoot, and plays great d and plays within himself.

  40. Ben R

    This is completely off topic but I am just curious. Do you think Toronto would be willing to move Calderon? It seems that Ford is still their point guard and with Calderon’s contract expiring I do no think he will resign with Toronto unless he is the starter. I am guessing he will get money in the 7-9 million a year range.

    Would you trade our first round pick for him. I am just wondering how high people are on him. I would, I think Calderon is already one of the best point guards in the NBA and would take him over all but about three or four point guards in the league.

    Do you think Toronto would do our first unprotected plus Jones for Calderon? Would You? I think he is already as good as Rose or Mayo might be, so I would.

    Sorry to change the topic but I have been watching him and am really impressed. I am just curious what you guys think.

  41. Brian Cronin

    I think it is more likely that Toronto just tells Ford (who is already locked up) that Calderon is just going to stay the starter.

  42. ben bow

    I was lookin at some stats on the knicks and i noticed somthin. lead the knicks at a monster .53 blocks a game was eddy curry. i mean seriously. .51 blocks a game was our tops. our interior defense is terrible. i know its not all about blocks but we have no presence. there were at that time 73 players getting more blocks then eddy curry. right above eddy was baron davis. i mean baron davis, as in a point guard. i think we should trade zach randolf to chicago for ben wallace. i know we get a terrible contract, but we also actually get some defense. chicagos personally getting kind of desperate. they were a pick to win the east. there biggest problem is having no inside scorer. personally zach randolfs definition is inside scorer. the rebounds of the two are pretty close so that isnt a problem. if u saw our team last night, they were great. we could have a lineup like this

    1.jamal/nate
    2.nate/jamal

    they are both combo guards, and if we need them to get breaks, we can put in Q-rich or balkman at the two.

    3.Balkman/jeffries
    4.lee/jeffries/curry
    5.wallace/curry

    it does have 5 players playing the big positions, but if we put balkman at guard sometimes, we could get them more minutes. personally, that actually looks like a good backcourt. we could use another player at the guards, so i was thinkin maybe we could trade curry or jeffries, or even both, for someone like deshaun stevenson of the wizards. i like the idea of givin them jeffries. their team needs better big men, and he’s a great defender, their other biggest problem. deshaun for us, on the other hand, gives us 3 points shootings, and a great defender as well. i dont know if washington would do that, but we could also give them fred jones, or randolf morris. we would need to take on a salary, so we could take etan thomas, who might never even make it back to the nba. even if he did, him and haywood always fight, so it would finally fix that problem. with those 2 trades, we are in the playoffs. in the weak east it would be easy.

  43. Owen

    They just played a clip of Isiah talking about why Balkman hasn’t been playing. He said “it’s good to have him back.” When asked about why he was out, Isiah said, ask Balkman. When Balkman was asked, he said, “Ask Isiah.”

    Sort of a giant mystery, one that all of us at Knickerblogger have been wondering about for a while, no doubt….

    MSG not really clearing anything up, but at least the conventional media is asking the question, I guess….

  44. Ess-dog

    What a comeback. Nate needs to play 40 minutes a game from now on. I still don’t know who’s a bigger liability, Zach or Curry. Curry has 3 turnovers, and can’t board, but Zach continues to be a black hole (who first came up with that term? it’s perfect) and the offense stops so he can shoot over a double team. I would have to say lose Zach. His stats are misleading. Who would wan’t him though?
    Is Jeffries ok?

  45. Ess-dog

    The rotation should be:
    starters:
    1. Nate
    2. Jamal
    3. Balkman
    4. Lee
    5. Curry

    Curry can start, but get pulled early for Jeffries if he’s not working. We can trade Zach for a solid defensive 2 guard (and maybe a draft pick) to spell Jamal if he’s not working. That’s a 7 man rotation right there. If Q’s ok shooting, he can spell Balkman for a few minutes at SF.
    Still really only a .500 team…

  46. Frank O.

    just tuned in. what has been happening. from the box it looks like Isiah fell in love with his old starting lineup again, randolph, curry, q, crawford. Jones is the only new one.

    What gives?

  47. Latke

    so i guess the question you ask now is, Was Marbury the real cancer for this team? The SL’s +/- #s are hot. D Lee is -11…

  48. Thomas B.

    Nice quarter…

    Knicks outscore the Nets by 11…

    Jamal Crawford has 25 already…

    Jason Kidd fell of his 40 ast pace…

  49. Brian Cronin

    I love that Gus Johnson actually waited until AFTER Randolph hit the second to tell us his percentage, so as to not jinx him.

    How hilarious is that?

  50. Ess-dog

    What a wierd game. Not sure what to make of it… one of those Crawford goes nuts nights. He out-gunned Vince. I’m happy with the 3 in a row, but I’m still worried about our lack of a complete star player. I know we’re all excited, but maybe this is the opportunity we need to raise the value of all our players to get a real star. I mean, this was the GOOD Crawford… he’s streaky. Curry still can’t board. Zach upped his game a little tonight, but will that effort last?
    Any thoughts on this?

  51. caleb

    What a game, huh? The offense is starting to look pretty solid… as much as we’ve improved in all areas, I’d say the biggest is cutting turnovers. Tonight was a little higher but still better than league average, and the last few games were incredible if you’ve watched this team the past two years. Factor #2 is probably Richardson coming to life — maybe he went to see the witch doctor.

    Earlier I was thinking more about that Chicago-GS-Knicks trade someone threw out…
    Thomas has been labeled a bust but that’s totally unfair – a lot of people just make the mistake, again and again, of ignoring the age factor. Players that young almost always improve… a lot. So don’t believe the hype. (Of course Ellis is only 22, and a terrific prospect too… but Thomas is a year younger).

    Strictly looking at stats…

    Ellis has a huge edge in scoring efficiency this season, TS of 56.1 vs. Thomas’ 45.2. But that might be misleading; Thomas was at 52 last year and I would bet a lot of money he ends up close to that again.

    Thomas is a pretty good rebounder – rebound rate of 15.2. (Randolph 18.2, Lee 17.3, Balkman 13.9, Curry 11.0). But his biggest potential looks to be on defense – he’s averaging more than two blocks per 40, and 1.5 steals, too. That’s’ an impressive combo. Once he learns what he’s doing he’ll be an elite all-around defensive player. Also, while his TS has tanked, he’s dramatically improved his passing and decision-making since last year. He’s almost doubled his assists while cutting turnovers by a third; the end result is that he has more assists than turnovers. In fact he has almost as many assists per minute as Ellis, and his ratio isn’t much worse. Pretty good for a power forward.

    Doesn’t mean I’m not an Ellis fan – he looks very good – and yeah, Thomas has a rep has a jerk, so maybe he’s lazy and will never improve the way most 21-year-olds do… but between the two, I’d take Thomas, easy. He’ll always be a little underrated, because his main contribution will be on defense, but even then I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t make multiple All-Star teams, starting within 2 or 3 years.

  52. Ray

    3 in a row. Thats nice. Dont want to show much emotion because thats when things snap back to reality. This is really messing up our draft position though. I though we were a lock for Michael Beasley until I saw Minnesotas record. Now we might end up with OJ Mayo. Its on to Washington.

  53. jon abbey

    some people here owe Jamal some apologies IMO, I continue to think he needs to be the Knicks’ best player for them to even think about being mediocre.

    “Thomas is a unique talent. He is probably one of the top 5 best athletes in the league, and there’s a perfect spot in the rotation for him behind biedrins and harrington. And it’s not that Nelson doesn’t like big men. He just doesn’t like big men who aren’t versatile. He likes guys who can play multiple positions and who don’t slow down his wing player driven offense. Thomas fits that bill perfectly, which makes him even more rare in the eye of nelson.”

    guys with no jumper can’t play for GS or Phoenix, their whole concept is predicated on beating the other team downcourt (Thomas would be fine here), and pretty much everyone being able to shoot from deep (Biedrins is a rare exception). do you watch GS much? again, I like Thomas, and depending on my roster, I might consider trading Ellis for him, but my original point remains that there’s no way GS would even consider that seriously, IMO.

    3-0 against NJ, 9-26 against everyone else, pretty funny.

  54. Ess-dog

    Hey I don’t think Phoenix or GS have the recipe for a title. You need lockdown D and a halfcourt game – speed and athleticism. With some money shooters. Not really the Knicks. I’d rather have Thomas b/c I think he has more potential at his position and there are more available point guards.

  55. Giligan

    daaarn Said:
    January 16th, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    holy crap, we have a winning streak going on (this can’t be good for our draft positioning…)

    —–

    Don’t worry we’re going on another 8 game losing streak. This was just a mirage.

  56. Thomas B.

    I am not prepared to say the Knicks are a good team, not even an okay team, but I do think it is time that the sports world get off the Knicks and focus on the true stinker in the Eastern Conference…Miami.

    Miami is on an entirely new level of awful. I think they lost by 30 tonight. Fire Riley.

  57. Ben R

    A couple things about the game tonight.

    The refs were horrible. Not favoring either team really but just a terrible job officiating. Too many whistles and alot of bad calls.

    Also Isiah made two really poor subs.
    - At the 6 minute mark in the first quarter he brought in Rose rather than bringing in Jeffries or Balkman. In the 6 minutes Rose was in the game the Knicks were outscored 14-5. I cannot say it enough Rose should never play.
    - Then in the fourth quarter while Robinson was really creating matchup problems for Carter he took him out and in the next five and a half minutes the Nets outscored the Knicks 15-4. When Nate came back in we finished the game on a 11-6 run.
    Also Richardson played too much. Both Jeffries and Balkman brings more defense and rebounding.

    Overall though we played well tonight and for most of the game completly outplayed the Nets.

  58. jon abbey

    “Miami is on an entirely new level of awful. I think they lost by 30 tonight. Fire Riley.”

    he owns part of the team, he’ll have to fire himself (which may happen).

  59. Ben R

    Jamal has been a different player with Marbury out this season.

    In 24 games with Marbury:

    17.3 pts 51.9% TS%

    In 13 games without Marbury:

    24.2 pts 56.2% TS%

  60. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “could it possibly be true that Balkman WAS hurt, and it just healed now?”

    Brain– can’t you flash some Knickerblogger press credentials at the Garden and ask that basic question that the print media has completely neglected?

    I actually applied for press credentials, but was denied on the basis that blogs aren’t allowed to have press credentials.

    But Owen is correct – during the game they showed the press asking Isiah Thomas that question. Thomas told the press to ask Balkman. Balkman said he had no idea to ask Isiah. At this point you just have to read between the lines – which means it’s probably a practice issue. Hard to believe considering how hard Balkman plays on the court.

  61. caleb

    I always cringe when I see someone trying to make a long-distance medical or psychiatric diagnosis, so take this as barely informed speculation…

    …but if the rumors about Balkman’s practice habits are true, and he really does have this weird, scattered pre-game routine… it makes me wonder if he really might have some version of attention-deficit disorder. Trouble focusing or sticking to a plan, being scattered and disorganized… all typical symptoms. It would also be normal for the symptoms to diminish when faced with an adrenaline-inducing, highly-directed situation — like a basketball game.

    Obviously I know way of knowing if Balk really has this problem. I was just wondering…

    I also read something the other day about Chris Kaman having an attention problem, for which he’s taken medication on and off for years. Supposedly when he was off it (a few years ago) the coach would draw up plays in a timeout and he would forget it 10 seconds later.

  62. doclinkin

    Not to knock the win streak but… A guy can win a mint in Vegas betting against any team playing it’s 4th game in 5 nights. Any amount of points will do.

    During the streak the Knicks have played two: Detroit & DC.

    It would be interesting to see if the streak defibrilates them ‘bockers and resuscitates the muscle memory on how/why to win. Sometimes all you need is a taste to remind you how much fun the winning can be, make it worth the effort. Futility is a horrible motivator. The truest adage in sports: first you win, then you get good. You got to discover good habits (and in the absence of leadership, invent those habits on your own). Win streaks, whatever the assistance of the schedule gods can prove to be just what a team needs.

    Will it? Well the improved ball-movement goes a long way. But better defensive presence — in the middle especially– is what the team needs most. So I dunno. But it’s a good start.

  63. Owen

    Caleb – I saw that piece about Kaman, but I thought the conclusion was that he didn’t have ADD, that he had been misdiagnosed. They showed him doing some sort of brain training exercise which supposedly has helped him to deal with the real issue. I forget the details though… That said, perhaps that is the issue with Balkman. You wouldn’t think a guy who plays as hard as he does would have bad practice habits, but it’s definitely possible.

    Re Crawford – Not ready to apologize to him, he shot us out of a lot of games early in the year, but the numbers are eye-opening of late, he has been really really hot. 27-60 from three in the month of january. His ts% is up to 53.7%, closing in on the 54.4% that he averaged under Larry Brown. In the last six games he has a ts% of 65% I believe, from my back of the envelope calculations. That is outstanding.

    I hope he keeps it up….

  64. Roshi

    Last night’s victory was bittersweet for me. Sure we won the game, but we did so via Crawford’s streak shooting. Nate has done a great job cutting down turnovers and controlling the offense, and the increased playing time of Balkman has stabilized the defense a bit.

    With that said, we still should have lost this game. We built a pretty solid lead, and then for the 2nd game in a row, Isiah subbed in Curry and Randolph, which led to the Nets charging back. We only won the game because Crawford hit some timely shots. I’d be content if these were good shots, but most of them were heaves with hands in his face. As someone previously said, this was just one of those nights when Crawford went hogwild. 9 times out of 10, we blow this game.

    Isiah is getting closer to utilizing the optimal rotation, but despite these wins, I don’t see that we’ve turned a corner.

    By the way, is anyone else thrilled that Z-bo is demanding a trade?

  65. retropkid

    With our third win in a row, we really put some distance between us and Miami for the cellar…and are only 19 1/2 games out of first, and only 13 clubs ahead of us for a play-off spot. We’re rolling now…

  66. oboogie

    Nate has been playing much better. His asst/to ratio is just under 2 and hes averaging less than a turnover per game (21 min on avg). His days of wildly driving to the hoop seem to be behind him. I am not sure if Nate will ever be a starting pg, but I would be very happy with him as a solid backup/rotation player.

  67. jon abbey

    so, let’s see, the two primary possibilities for Balkman being buried seem to be 1) he didn’t practice as hard as he should or 2) the Smiling Weasel buried him for reasons unknown to anyone but him. I know which one I’m leaning towards…

  68. retropkid

    Our smiling leader likes to take credit for slyly drafting Balkman (probably could have had him a round later) AND then for craftily burying him on the end of the bench for the best interests of the franchise….

    Only Zeke can have it all ways! I hate to say I found myself rooting for the Nets to win — anything that helps Zeke stick an extra day is toxic for me..

  69. Ray

    Crawford is a smart guy. He speaks well and give to the community and flaw in his game are mental. During this streak we are seeing him take his mental game to another level and hes understanding the meaning of leadership. Its also helps when Nate comes off the bench and begins to distribute the ball and hitting the J with accuracy. All they have to do is move the ball and have confidence.
    Clyde has been saying it all year. Keep it up Knicks. The city is a better place when the team wins.

  70. Frank O.

    From Newsday Bricks’ Reporter Hahn on Balkman:

    Nothing more amusing than walking into the shoot-around and seeing Renaldo Balkman and Jerome James having the time of their lives while shooting free throws. It really should be termed “practicing” free throws, but, really, let’s not call it what it isn’t. At least while he continues to work hard in his rehabilitation, Jerome can set a good example for young players.

    Wait, let’s not call it what it isn’t.

    This doesn’t reflect well on Balkman, I think.

  71. brian quinnett's left nipple

    hey jon. i’m a knicks fan living in the bay area and who has adopted the warriors as his west coast representative. i catch most of their games. honestly, monta’s been playing 2-guard mostly because that’s the only way they can get him on the court, next to baron. and even so, when they play together, baron’s off the ball a fair portion of the time with ellis running things.

    my point? baron’s the lead guard. no question. and monta’s not a point guard yet, but he’s not far away at all. he’s got a good idea about who to pass to and when, how to space the floor, and when to push. it’s coming to him. and he’s only what, 22?

    the dude’s for real.

    now back to your regularly scheduled knick snarkiness.

  72. Z

    “This doesn’t reflect well on Balkman, I think.”

    Balkman’s FT shooting is alarming. He hasn’t improved at all. Lee sucked his rookie year, worked hard, and came back his second year an 80% shooter. I wish Balkman had done the same. Oh well…

  73. Roshi

    If this team had a decent coach, who the players respected, Balkman’s work ethic would not be an issue. You can be damn sure that Popovich would have Balkman practicing shooting until his arms fell off. It would also help if the Knicks had a player leader who keeps the other guys in line and demands accountability. Unfortunately, Garnett is not available, and no one on our current roster fits the bill.

  74. Frank O.

    And I think Zeke has kept Balkman on the bench primarily because of his practice habits, if you don’t mind me trying to see into the labyrinthine mind of Isiah.
    Zeke said Balkman was having a greater impact last year as opposed to this year, and I suspect he’s speaking in the broader context of games and practices.
    And Zeke has been benching guys for performance issues to send a message.

    Perhaps his message to Renaldo is: stop reading your press and the blogs and start sharpening your weak points (foul-shooting and mid-range jumper) so that you’re not just an energy guy, but a well-rounded contributor. Some young guys waste their physical talents by failing to develop actual skills.

    I think at SF, you need a jumper and you need to get to the line. He defends, rebounds and handles the ball well. It shouldn’t be too great a leap to get better shooting the ball in general.

  75. jon abbey

    the bottom line is that Balkman’s play on the court makes it obvious he deserves more minutes. with the way he’s been jerked around by Isiah, I personally don’t get too upset if his practice habits aren’t ideal. now, if he gets 20+ minutes for a stretch of let’s say 20 games or so, and his shooting and FT shooting still stay awful, then I’ll have much more of a problem. but to me, he’s done enough on the court to prove that he should get regular minutes right now, and maybe the shooting will improve along with that.

  76. Frank O.

    If he had been doing this, he would have easily displaced Q by now.
    That guy is a waste of space.
    Lest night again, he had a very quiet 34 minutes of play.

  77. Frank O.

    I agree with jon that Balkman should be playing. I still think he is better than Q.
    I was speculating, with some reporting support from the mainstream media, that Balkman’s issues with Isiah may be more about his practice habits.
    But there is no doubt in my mind that he should be on the court 30 minutes a game now. The Bricks need people who will defend and cause havoc.
    And he finishes likes few players in basketball can.

  78. retropkid

    Yep, Balkman should get 25 – 30 minutes a game.

    If he is showing disrespect for Zeke in practice, that reflects back to Zeke’s character too. I agree that Popovich would have that kid working on his shot, his FTs, and contributing regularly…

  79. Owen

    Balkman has made the Knicks 9 points better on defense thus far, almost exactly what he did last year. If Isiah wants to keep his job, which is arguable, he should be playing Balkman more…

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