2007 Preseason Game 4

In last night’s loss to the Nets, the Knicks went with a shorter lineup. For most of the game, they played with only 9 guys. The Knicks starters were: Crawford, Richardson, Jeffries, Randolph, and Curry. From the bench, Isiah rotated in Lee, Chandler, Nate Robinson, and Fred Jones. For garbage time, Isiah brought in Nichols, Jordan, and Morris. Like the night before, the Knicks started off poorly, but cut the lead to 1 point by halftime. Unfortunately the Nets exploded for 38 points in the 3rd quarter, and never looked back.

The Nets front court of Kristic, Collins, Magloire, and Allen frustrated the Knicks. Randolph only hit 3 of 9 shots, while Lee shot an embarrassing 1 of 8. Curry scored 23 points, but was clearly frustrated by Magloire’s physical play, and earned a technical foul shoving Jamaal in the second half. Crawford was one of the few Knicks that played well, again continuing his preseason improvement of moving towards the hoop instead of settling for the jumpshot. He scored 22 points on 15 attempts, but did turn the ball over 5 times. The other Knicks that played well was Wilson Chandler. The rookie showed an all around game, doing everything but blocking a shot. He was active from baseline to baseline.

The Knicks were defeated by their lack of defense. They let the Nets shoot 61% (eFG) and were led by Jefferson and Carter. The duo amassed 47 points on just 21 shots with only 4 turnovers.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

74 thoughts to “2007 Preseason Game 4”

  1. Someone please give me a reason to think that this will not be 2006=2007 all over again. Please I am a die hard fan and i just don’t think I can take another horrible season.

  2. I gotta tell ya, Mr. Black, that all things said and done, I think this is shaping up to be a WORSE season than 06-07.

    Then again, this is all without Renaldo, and at least Houston is playing himself off the team, which is good.

  3. David Lee just looks awful, btw…..bet last year was a fluke….the teams defense seems worse and more disorganize then ever — Curry is so counter prouducitve, Randolph a life time loser who’s no better than Curry obviously, just the same….nothing to look forward to here, the team will barely win 30 games, somewhere between 25 and 33 wins, which, sorry to see, won’t have any affect in the positive, Dolan too stubborn and clueless to start fixing the ship..

  4. “I think this is shaping up to be a WORSE season than 06-07.”

    I remember last year the first and third quarters were the ones where we dug ourselves deep holes. In Boston, and again in NJ, the trend seems to be continuing. Main difference– last year we were able to actually dig ourselves out and make the final minutes meaningful…

    Still, it’s preseason, so I won’t say we’re only winning 33 games again. But the bad D and the early deficit indicates that 6 months and a whole lot of talk later, not a whole lot appears to have changed.

  5. You guys are freaking out too much – it’s preseason, and our best (by far) defensive player is out hurt.

    But I guess I am smirking a little at those who said getting Randolph would make us a contender…

  6. It is painfully clear that the Knicks need a backup point and a shot blocker off the bench. Crawford should be coming off the bench and running with the second unit. Balkman needs to start and Chandler should be his backup. This team is so flawed. I see Curry hates contact he truly is one of the softest big men ever. Isiah will be gone by the allstar break. Too many pieces that don’t fit.

  7. Did you see Vince Carter’s block on a David Lee shot? …it may be pre-season, but Vince barked at him afterwards like it was the play-offs…for a guy who has a rep of sometimes coasting, Vince put on a good show —

    Without at least one superstar, it is tough to win in the NBA, real contenders have at least two…

    Knicks? Zero.

  8. Jeffries’ line looks good enough. I assume 6 for 6 on FT’s mean he was aggressive and that his stroke looks a little better. MSG was static-y last night so I didn’t catch the game. Any overall commentary on how he did?

  9. I have not watched any preseason games and I know the preseason doesnt count. But I think the team’s performance in the last two games predicts what is to come.

    Yes I think Balkman will make a difference but he cant defend for an entire team.

    Is there any package we could put together for Marion? Would D.Lee, Malik Rose and a player be enough?

  10. I’m sure you’ll get some guffaws but that’s an interesting trade offer… but I think you’d need a 3rd team, because Phoenix won’t want to take the salary of someone like Crawford, and they would want a decent defender in return, and we could only offer Balkman, which would sort of defeat the purpose of the trade.

    YOu don’t think the Suns would take Curry, do you?

  11. I bet you could make that deal by offering Lee, Rose, Chandler and Jeffries or Q… plus our 2008 lottery pick.

    But I wouldn’t do it. Marion wouldn’t improve us that much – I’d rather see us add the pieces bit by bit.

  12. the biggest problem for Jeffries is not his own line but Richard Jefferson’s line. I assume Jeffries was the one guarding (trying to guard) Jefferson? And Q was on VC? Those guys are supposed to be our best defenders aside from Balkman, but they let carter and jefferson go 15-21 from the field. That is pathetic.

    I just looked and Jeffries only played 13 minutes, so maybe he’s not at fault here. Anybody who saw the game got any comments on this?

  13. First time here, great to see a normal Knick conversation on the web. I can’t agree more with the guy calling Curry the softest big man ever. He doesn’t even look awake. And then he has those games and you ask “why can’t he just do THAT more often?”. Sooo frustrating to love the Knicks….
    I’m probably late on the conversation, but what’s the though on getting rid of a lot of our junk for Kobe? We know it’s not a money problem.. As much as I’ve traditionally HATED him, I can’t help but daydream when I see all those headlines…

  14. Geoff, What about this deal for Kobe.
    Curry, Crawford, Lee, Balkman, Collins, Jeffries, Jones and a #1 pick for Kobe and Bynum.
    The Knicks starters would be:
    Marbury, Kobe, Q/Chandler, Bynum and Randolph.

  15. Geoff – I don’t know. This was one of those games Curry has frequently, where you look at the box score and say, that’s as bad as you can play while scoring 23 points on 9-13 shooting. He went 5-12 from the ft line. He had four turnovers, once again equaling his rebound total. Yes, two blocks, a rarity, but no steals and no assists. I won’t tell you his Win Score, but it wasn’t good.

    Did anyone watch the game. Why did Lee go 1-8. Was he playing small forward with Curry and Randolph? Was he shooting jump shots? At least his rebounding was up to snuff. Still, Lee had exactly on game with a negative win score last year, and that was when he played 2 minutes while injured, so something must have been up last night…

  16. Well, I watched some of the game last night and hope greatly that we didn’t see the new David Lee. If Owen saw this game, I think he’d even have to admit that he was absolutely outplayed and outhustled by, of all people, Jamaal Magloire, who beat him to numerous loose balls and rebounds, and then stuffed him into a jump ball when Lee tried to go to the hoop on him. And he shot 1-8, missing pretty badly on a few 15-18 footers. And he didn’t play good defense. He did NOT look like the best player on the Knicks last night– not by a long shot.

    Re: Curry, I actually don’t think he played that badly. Rebounding #s will be tough when the other team shoots 60%– just fewer rebounds to go around. And he looked a bit more cognizant of double teams coming. He and Crawford had a few nice alley-oops. But his defense still sort of sucked and he did turn the ball over 4 times. And you’d think that his FT shooting would have been a top priority in the off-season, but 5-12 just doesn’t cut it. But I’ll take 23 points on 13 shots any day of the week.

    What really killed us last night was the turnovers. Jamal is just not a point guard — I think there was a series of possessions where he turned it over 3 times in a row and missed another early shot on the next possession. I guess he played much better in the 2nd half — didn’t get to watch it as Grey’s Anatomy was on and my wife owns the TV for that hour.

  17. bmj320, that’s a pretty interesting scenario. And I just took a look at that “Kobe Myths” link that Owen sent. If there were any type of major deal, it would be fantastic to see Marbury out (as if anyone would take him). Personally, I’m such a fan of Balkman and Lee, I’d hate to see either of them go.
    Owen – Your commentary on Curry is hilarious (because it’s TRUE unfortunately!). How does a guy that size who lives under the basket get only 4 rebounds?
    And yeah, I’m curious to know why Lee went 1-8. That’s unusual. Missed the game as well.

  18. I wrote a long breakdown of some of the Knicks? problems yesterday, and as far as I can tell, it still seems fresh today after the debacle against the Nets.

    The guards’ and interior defense are just horrible. Mediocre teams come in and shoot 60 percent against the Knicks. Good teams do even better.
    A couple thoughts on D:
    – Crawford is so weak on D, it’s just not even worth talking about.
    – Jones has been an average to mediocre player his entire career, so don?t let the Isiah rhetoric on him fool you. Remember what Owen, Caleb and a few other stat-head dudes on this site have pointed out over the year: statistically, these folks don?t tend to change much at this stage in their career. They are what they are.
    – Robinson has improved a lot, but he is still in many ways a defensive liability due to his size.
    – Collins is a decent defender, but he is raw, and kind of average in a lot of ways. He also hasn’t recovered from his injury.
    – Houston is done. Time to move on.
    – Jordan is the only very good passer on the team, but his foot speed and strength make me concerned that he would get used on defense. Having said that, I love pure point guards, and we don?t have any other than him. And with so many guys that need the ball to find them, he would be a plus.
    – We?re stuck with Randolph and Curry. But, frankly, I think they will be more effective playing separate of each other, than together. I?d rather have Lee on the floor with either of the scorers, than having two scorers that need the ball to be effective. Lee complements both their games.
    Because neither plays defense well someone will need to be on the floor that has some defensive presence.
    – The only guy that is showing that kind of presence right now is Chandler. At 6?8 and 230, he is formidable and a physical freak.
    – Lee will be what he was last year. Hopefully, he knows the defense better and will be more comfortable contributing there.
    – Sorry guys, last I saw Balkman didn?t have an ?S? on his chest. He won’t save this team. He?s a nice role player. He?s still a bit of an unknown. He showed signs of being a lock down defender this summer, but he was playing against rookies. Not sure what we have there, although I?d give him a shot starting at small forward. And his particular injury is one of those quirky ones that could degrade him all year. Remember, a big part of his game is his hustle and physicality.
    – Nichols is a project. I don?t see him having a big impact this year.

    If I had my druthers, I would take some risks with this line up. You can?t simply say this guy makes this much so he is starting. We have too many structural problems with the big money guys to have them on the floor together.
    Isiah would do well to almost treat this team like a hockey club. The Knicks should have several packages. By risks, I mean he should start some people in unfamiliar positions, and play guys that are young and inexperienced, with the idea that they will develop and improve the team. When the falter, we have some vets to run in there to stabilize, but not for too long.
    Here?s a suggestion

    C- Curry/Lee/Morris
    PF ? Randolph/Lee/Balkman
    SF ? Balkman/Q/Lee
    SG ? Chandler/Crawford/Q
    PG ? Marbury/Robinson/Jordan

    I know there will be people that think Collins should be ahead of Jordan. I think Collins is an okay passer, poor shooter, and okay defender. He’s also hurting.
    To me Jordan is an excellent passer, a weaker defender, and a decent shooter.
    I think passing on this team is more important than anything else.
    To me Chandler affects the game already, and he?s brand new. I love his aggression and physicality, and he is fearless. He blocks shots better than any Knicks player right now. I think he would be a formidable two, even though that is not his natural place. Him next to Balkman on the court is intriguing as hell. Since Crawford is primarily a scorer, he would be effective off the bench, where he will take fewer shots and has a short leash if he goes cold.
    Balkman is weak offensively, but we don?t need scoring; we need defense and rebounding. He has shown the potential to provide both, plus a lot of energy. This team needs that energy.
    We are stuck with Curry and Randolph, but if Isiah mixes and matches his lineups he can have Lee play off one or the other and deconflict them.
    The tragedy in all this is that Lee is again the Moses in the mix, forced to wander the desert of a front line player with no place to call home. He will get his minutes like his baskets: wherever he can find them.
    And he’ll grab his rebounds. I think it is a mistake if he tries to do too much. Right now, he?s trying to be a shooter. That?s a mistake. He?s a worm who knows his way around the hoop. You ask him to do more, and his core capability is going to be degraded. He needs only to show that he can hit from 15 feet. We don?t actually want him shooting from there that much. I fear he’s been reading this blog too much.
    Robinson could play himself into a very prominent PG role this year, if he continues to grow. This is important because Marbury has a lot of mileage and he has broken down toward the end of the year.
    If he survives the cut, Jordan would be a solid back up PG. If I were a betting man, though, I suspect Jordan will be cut and Collins will stay.

  19. Geoff – It’s actually a well rehearsed schtick. I have probably made 125 similar posts in the last year. I am actually going to the Catskills this weekend to hit the Borscht Belt circuit with my Curry material and my manlove for David Lee.

  20. Actually Frank O. reminded me that I forgot to mention Chandler in my recap of at least the 1st half of the game. He looks really quite good– other than a clumsy drive to the hoop where he had the ball stripped, he looked reasonably competent out there. He has a beautiful shooting stroke, hit a long 3, looked active on D. And getting stuffed by Vince is nothing to be ashamed of– they were both over the rim by probably 18-24″ when it happened– not too many people will be stuffing him on dunks in the future.

  21. Lee seems to be hindered by 2 things. First as noted by many, his expanding game. Lee took at least 2 jumpers last night, one that went in & out. I think this is a great thing to work on in preseason. It’s not impossible for a forward to expand his repertoire to include shooting from the outside. Just look at Mr. 4-point play. LJ didn’t crack 26% on his three point percent until his 4th season. I think this is a great aspect for Lee to work on, and I hope he can solidify his jumper.

    The other thing that I think is hurting Lee is what I call the “Sweetney Event”. To recap for those that weren’t KB readers in the days of yore, I had a man-crush on Mike Sweetney, one that made Owen’s feelings for Lee look like mere puppy love. Sweetney was a good rebounder and low post scorer, something the Knicks certainly lacked at the time.

    Anyway, when he moved to the Bulls, I thought he would break out playing next to Tyson Chandler. However his eFG plummeted from 53% to 45%. What was the cause? From the games I saw, Sweetney was playing a lot of center. His 82games page showed him to be playing slightly more minutes at C.


    Hence I felt that the 6-8 Sweetney was able to overcome his lack of height at the power forward spot, but center was too much of a stretch for him. Taller players could use their length to prevent Sweetney from being as effective. Watching last night’s game I had the feeling that the Zach/Lee front court might cause Lee to experience the “Sweetney Event” – that he’d be playing more time at center (or against centers) and hence his stats would diminish slightly.

  22. “You guys are freaking out too much – it?s preseason…”

    The proof is in the numbers, ya dig?

    2001 30-52
    2002 37-45
    2003 39-43
    2004 33-49
    2005 23-59
    2006 33-49

  23. “other than a clumsy drive to the hoop”

    This was really foolish of Chandler. It was a 3 on 3 break, and all three Nets were under the hoop, and Chandler decided to try and take all of them on. Definitely a rookie mistake.

  24. Mike K – good point on Sweetney – Lee similarity. I loved Sweetney coming out also — great touch around the hoop, good rebounder. Lee definitely looked a bit overmatched physically against Magloire who probably is 4 inches taller and with much longer arms. He is much quicker than Magloire but it’s tough getting around a guy that much bigger than you in close space around the rim. Hopefully those Lee vs. Center matchups won’t be happening too often this year.

    And re: Sweetney, he makes Big Snacks look like the “winner” of the Biggest Loser. That might have had something to do with why he stunk up the joint in Chi-Town!

  25. “They just cut Allan Houston”

    a tiny step in the right direction, at least, although the whole idea was absurd from the start. now send Marbury home to Coney Island for the winter!

    (a man can dream…)

  26. Lee took about 4-5 15′ jumpers – which resulted in his terrible FG%. As it was preseason, I didn’t mind him firing them up (they were wide open shots) just to put the idea in opponents minds that he can/might take the open jumper.

    Regarding getting beaten on the boards, Magloire was positively MAULING both him and Curry while the refs (I assume there isn’t much betting in these games, so I’ll assume they just suck, as opposed to being crooked) kept their whistles in their pockets.

    Magloire beat Lee on the boards only because he was allowed to grab/shove/hold/push him out of the way. Now one could fuss about Lee’s lack of strength, but when the other guy is allowed to foul at will, it renders the whole argument kind of moot.

    Chandler had some nice moments as well. He’s not as explosive and is a better shooter than Balkman (though that’s not saying much), but he looked good.

    But once again, even Chandler’s success only brings up one of Isiah’s chief problems – he only seems to want to acquire 3 types of players (Shoot-first combo guards (Marbury, Francis, Crawford, Robinson), Athletic, non-shooting SF’s (Ariza, Balkman, Jeffries, Chandler) and Low post scorers who can’t defend (Curry, Randolph).

    If you took ONE member from each group – for argument’s sake let’s say

    Combo guard – Robinson
    Athletic SF – Balkman
    Low Postie – Randolph

    And combined them with…(NOT necessarily THESE PLAYERS per se. Obviously I’m using the best of ‘type’, the all-stars or near all-stars. No way to get em)

    1. a shotblocking, rebounding defensive center (Camby/Wallace [in his prime], Tyson Chandler, Dalembert)

    2. A great shooting, smart 2 Guard (Ray Allen, Redd, Allan Houston circa 1999-02,

    3. A tough, pass-first PG/floor general – Derek Harper, Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Andre Miller)

    Well then, add in a dash of David Lee, a pinch of Crawford (because I loves me some Jamal) and a soupcon of QRich and you have a freaking TEAM instead of a collection of talent.

    Taken the worst players of the above archetypes, wouldn’t this rotation beat the stuffing out of the current roster?

    C Dalembert
    PF Randolph/Lee
    SF Balkman
    PG Miller/Robinson
    SG Richardson/Crawford

    Way back when, Knickerblogger described the Francis acquisition (and I’m paraphrasing here) like a guy who buys an expensive couch , then see the same couch on craigslist for 1/5th the price but buys it anyway b/c it’s such a good deal. That’s Zach Randolph all over again. Yeah, he’s a great low post scorer, but he and Curry are the same guy. And now these two giant ottomans are cluttering the crap out of the living room and I keep bashing my shins into them trying to get to the bathroom.

    Actually, looking at my mythical roster, it’s doable. Call up Billy King (The only GM as loopy as Isiah) and offer this…

    PG Marbury, C Curry, C Morris to Philly for PG Miller, SG Green and C Dalembert.

    It’s a reasonable trade for both sides – Philly cuts $$ off their cap – Curry, Marbury and Morris all have longer deals than the Philly trio. Philly gets the low-post scorer they do need in Curry. The Knicks get better defensively, and most importantly, the pieces WORK together. Ugh. This isn’t freaking brain surgery…so frustrating

  27. Lol, truly excellent post.

    I don’t honestly see what Philly gets out of it, but if they could be convinced it would be a great deal for us. That roster would be a top four team in the east easily…

  28. And thanks for that info about Lee. While I think its fine for him tom experiment with shooting from the outside, he is so effective without doing so that it makes me think he shouldn’t bother. The last thing we need is Lee trying to be the next Channing Frye.

  29. Well, my thinking regarding Philly’s interest would be that they dump the last 4 years of Willie Green’s contract and Marb’s/Curry’s contract is a year shorter than Dalembert’s/Miller’s. Considering the ‘core’ of a Philly contender is going to be made up of Iguodala/T. Young/Carney/Future draft picks – it makes sense to getcap space ASAP.

    And that having Reggie Evans (like Lee) would make up for some of Curry’s deficiencies on the boards. It’d give them a low post threat (which they’re completely lacking now).

    Now clearly I wouldn’t have thought the trade up if I didn’t think it’d benefit the Knicks most, but most GM still value a player like Curry more than Berri/Oliver/Statheads – hence Philly’s possible willingness to do the deal

  30. He didn’t give Houston a chance. Good luck Allan. You’re a class act all the way, unlike like Isiah.

  31. Owen Said:
    October 20th, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Lol, truly excellent post.

    I don?t honestly see what Philly gets out of it, but if they could be convinced it would be a great deal for us. That roster would be a top four team in the east easily?

    “Top four team in the East easily”?

    Owen are you being funny or did you mean east as in FAR EAST (China)?

  32. I’ll second Owen that the deal would be great but Philly woulnd’t go for it in a million years. Philly could easily be a playoff team this year: they have a young core but their future is now. Despite a horific start, they still finished the season as the league’s 15th ranked defense. I don’t see them giving up two of their best players for two overpaid bad defenders and cap space down the road.

  33. Mr Black – No, not being funny. I think the Knicks would be a top four team in the East if you replaced Curry with Dalembert and Marbury with Miller. But it’s not worth discussing since that trade will only happen in my wildest fantasies…

  34. I don’t think Philly is ready to win more than 30 games, though I like the roster ok.

    And aside from that Isiah would never trade Curry for Sam D., remember that LB actually got to see Curry up clos. I don’t think he was impressed.

    It would be a great trade, though – I actually wasn’t convinced by the last thread that Dalembert is the better player, but he’d fill a huge need and it would free up the ball for the other Knick scoring ballhogs.

    A Miller for Marbury trade, on the other hand, is about as likely as trading Crawford for Emanuel Ginobili.

  35. I just read this in a Newday story about the Knicks trade assets:

    “The Knicks could offer their No. 1 in 2008 (which they owe to Utah, by way of Phoenix from the Marbury trade, but only if the Knicks have one of the four best records in the league). They can send another one in 2013 (because the first-rounder owed to the Jazz, if not delivered by 2010, is unprotected in 2011 and you can’t trade first-round picks in consecutive years).”

    I didn’t realize we were still on the hook for the Marbury trade. If this is true, we could send a lottery unprotected 1st round pick to the Jazz in 2011! He could be two years into playing for Modena in the Italian league at that point, but still hurting the Knicks…

  36. Caleb – Philly won 35 games last year, and they were above 500% after the Iverson-Miller trade, so I would be surprised if they won only 30 this year. Granted, the East has improved. Charlotte will be better, Boston will be better, but I don’t think that’s enough to make them that much worse. I don’t know, their efficiency differential I think was a bit weaker than their record would suggest, so maybe you are right, but they aren’t a terrible team.

    I think Reggie Evans will really help them. He is one of those WOW statistical anomalies, a seemingly incredibly productive player who languishes on the bench. Obviously he is going to get the chance to play, since his outstanding skill, rebounding, was the signal weakness of the Sixers last year, who got murdered on the boards last year.

    Also, the Sixers give 25 minutes per game to Willie Green, who is absolutely horrible (ts% of 46%). If he were tear his acl you might expect them to win 3-4 more games providing they could find any live body to replace him.

    Berri had a great post on the Sixers imho…

  37. You’re right, Philly was a decent team the last 2/3 of the season, and I was too dismissive. BUT…

    It was also somewhat a case of everything going right, which never happens twice. Dalembert and Miller were great, but over the years they’ve been a bit inconsistent and injury-prone. There isn’t much depth. They dumped Joe Smith, who was no star but they didn’t even bother to replace him. Iguodala is a borderline all-star, but at an age where I don’t expect him to get much better. Reggie Evans has value as a great rebounder, but unlike most of the guys you and Berri love, he turns the ball over a lot. He’s also a bad defender, I think.

    beyond that… as you point out, Philly’s record was 4 games better than their point differential would suggest (The Knicks overperformed by 2 games, fyi), and they didn’t add any immediate help through the draft (though I love Thad Young for a few years down the road). Meanwhile, the rest of the division did improve. (though this factor is overrated – the strength of schedule is pretty similar for everyone in the league).

    On top of that, it’s still the same management which as you point out gives Willie Green 25 minutes a game, and gave him that ridiculous contract in the first place. Anyone calling Isiah the worst GM in the league needs look no further than the other side of Jersey. And Larry B is there which will only make it worse, so I expect they’ll make a few stupid moves.

    Bottom line – I’d peg them for between 30 and 35 wins.

  38. Okay Owen I see that you are serious about the “Miller, Dalembert” Knick line up. If that is to be a top 4 team in the East, then which of the following teams gets bumped in favor of your new top for Knicks?


    I like Andre Miller but I dont think he and and average defensive center put the Knicks near the above mentioned 4 teams.

    On another subject…. A rant by Mr. Black.

    This season will be the last that I give GM/Coach Thomas the benefit of a doubt. We are going into the fourth full year of his stewardship. By now we should have put together a competitive team. He needs to get it done this year.

    I want a meaningful season.

    I am tired of the talking heads at ESPN using NY as a punchline.

    I’m sick of the two digit power rankings, I’m sick of the 20 point losses, I’m sick of the season being over in February.

    I want a playoff run.

    I want to see a team that cares.

    I want defense.

    I want rebounding.

    I want a player that ENJOYS driving to the hole and dunking on someone, and no, Nate Robinson doesnt count!!

    I want Jamal Crawford to stop those idiotic shake and bakes when all he plans to do is take an off balance jumper.

    I want a starting line up that makes sense.

    I want this team to treat free throws like they matter. How the hell do you play basketball for 20 years without developing the ability to hit at least 7 out of 10 free throws?

    I want players that come to camp in Ben Wallace shape, not Oliver Miller shape. Yes, Jerome, or as I call him, BURGER King James, I am looking at you!!

    This is it. We need to get it done THIS YEAR!!

  39. Well, I agree Miller is probably an upgrade over Marbury, but I’m altogether unconvinced that Dalembert would be that great an acquisition, other than that he has no offensive game and would open up shots for Zach. While addition by subtraction does work sometimes, it’s not exactly the way to make good value trades. Dalembert is so amazingly inconsistent even on the defensive end, which is supposedly his strength, not to mention foul-prone. And for pete’s sake, Isiah’s never going to trade Curry– he’s basically staked the hopes of the entire franchise on the acquisitions of Marbury and Curry and I highly doubt that unless he could get Kobe in the trade that he is ever going to move them.

    I hope I am wrong of course.

    And Mr. Black — I hear what you are saying about free throws. That is the most maddening thing about pro and college basketball. I understand that players are tired and the crowd is there etc. but if I were a pro basketball player (which I am exactly the opposite of), I’d shoot 500 free throws a day in the offseason or shoot Rick Barry style if it meant my scoring average might go from 19.5 –> 23 ppg like it would for someone like Curry, or from 27 –> 35 ppg for someone like Shaq in his prime. It’s just ridiculous that they can’t hit 7 or 8 out of 10.

  40. “Dalembert is so amazingly inconsistent even on the defensive end, which is supposedly his strength, not to mention foul-prone…”

    True, but on his worst day he’s still better than Curry. And don’t forget, he’s a good rebounder, too, unlike our boy.

    “He has no offensive game and would open up shots for Zach.”

    You’re underrating the value of this! When Curry isn’t shooting, he’s worthless. Sam would offer rebounding and decent to excellent defense, depending on his mood. I know some posters here would argue you can’t have multiple non-shooters on the floor at the same time, but I say – we have no shortage of guys to throw it up there.

    “And for pete?s sake, Isiah?s never going to trade Curry? he?s basically staked the hopes of the entire franchise on the acquisitions of Marbury and Curry and I highly doubt that unless he could get Kobe in the trade that he is ever going to move them.”

    Sad but true.

  41. Caleb – Yes, Yes, and Yes, I agree…

    Mr. Black – As I said previously, that trade will never happen. But I could see the Cavs faltering if they don’t resign Varejao, and if Ilgauskas gets injured, as he is prone to do. I have been wondering when the Pistons will run out of steam, but probably not this year.

    I like your list, although I think you could simply have said, I wish Oakley and Ewing were in their prime and playing for the Knicks, and that would have covered all that territory. (although it would have been much less fun to read.)

  42. Not to take the glow off of our collective nostalgia for the Ewing era, but if I remember correctly, Ewing drove me nuts as a player (though yes, I had manlove for him), b/c for all his rep. as a defender, he was CONSTANTLY getting beat on head-fakes/pump moves. And he always missed free throws at crucial moments.

    Oakley rocked (just for the purple/mustard/checkerboard suits he’d wear on the sideline), but until he was at the very end of his career, he couldn’t hit a jumper to save his life (the Garden crowd would literally groan when he put up a shot that wasn’t a layup/putback).

    And both Van Gundy and Riley (holy saints as coaches around these parts) ran the most unimaginative, boring, predictable offenses in the league. They dumped the ball into Ewing and 4 guys stood around the perimeter (replace “Ewing” with “Curry/Randolph” and you’ll get an idea of what it was like, [w/o a Crawford/Marbury/Robinson who could penetrate off the dribble] for all Knickerbogger-ites under the age of 20).

    Yes Isiah galls me both as a person and an executive. And yes this collection of “talent” the team currently has would only really be interesting if they all started acting like Stephon in his interview tour this summer and just going completely bonkers. But let’s not completely romanticize the past to the point that we all forget what the reality was.

  43. Owen,

    Had Larry Brown not moved to a front office job in Philly, I could have seen that trade happening. Never underestimate Billy boy the Philly boy. He has made some stinker moves. When a marginal player shows up to sign a big deal on crutches, maybe you want to renegotiate. I think they would do it just to free up space in 2009 to make a run at Wade or King James. But with larry there, you can put that to rest, thank god. I like your creativity Owen but i still dont like that deal.

  44. Boy no one could hold the ball for 15 seconds in the post like Ewing could. Yeah the offense was frustrating back then, but the league was like that. For the most part everyone played isolation. I don’t miss the constant illegal defense calls. Thank goodness for allowing zone defense (and the hand checking rule).

    And granted Ewing wasn’t the most mobile C, especially laterally and towards the end of his career. Patrick was one of the slowest guys up the court. In their prime there’s no doubt Eddy Curry could beat him in a foot race. But he could block and rebound. Patrick could make up for his mistakes, and the mistakes of his teammates. At the age of 24, Ewing averaged 3.2 blk/48 to Curry’s 0.7.


  45. Oh sure,

    Ewing in his prime was clearly better than Curry is (or ever will be) – I wasn’t suggesting that. but when Ewing was here, he was ripped for his flaws (took too many jumpers, bad hands, failure to come up big in big games) – perhaps unfairly so. I just wanted to point out the tendency we all have to romanticize the past. It’s normal considering the present round these parts has been so poopy.

  46. I don’t know that I am romanticizing it that much. Those early nineties teams were the best defensive teams of all time. It was ugly, but I enjoyed it. They were definitely competitive, which is more than you can say for the Knicks right now…

  47. Yeah, we all recognized the warts on the old Knicks teams back then, but we also knew that they were amazing in one aspect – defense.

    And really, if there’s one pretty darn consistent thing in the NBA, it is that the best teams usually have top rate defenses (I think the amount of Top Five Defenses that have won NBA titles in the past two decades is staggering).

    I wish this Knicks team would play better defense.

  48. You don’t really have to romanticize 14 straight playoff appearances. Sure they weren’t one of the greatest teams of all time and their offense was mediocre, but I’ll take a decade and a half of playoff appearances.

    Mr. Black,

    Philly started last season 10-29 before finishing 25-18. They missed the playoffs by 5 games last year. I’m not saying that success will necessarily carry over, but you have to be pretty optimistic if you’re Philly. I don’t see why you insist they’d be looking to rebuild. Especially with a guy who has proven he’s not a franchise player, let alone a good basketball player, or the hope of landing a once a decade free agent when they already have one of the league’s most promising young cores that’s already proven it can win.

  49. “In their prime there?s no doubt Eddy Curry could beat him in a foot race.”

    I dunno how old you guys are, but I get the feeling the formative years for most posters here were the late 90s, the Houston/LJ teams – so yeah, the image of Ewing dragging himself upcourt is pretty vivid.

    But in his prime – he wasn’t quick enough to play forward like Robinson or Olajuwon, but he was easily faster-than-average going up and down the court. (and of course he and Oakley were great help defenders, sliding over)

    He caught a lot of flack in the press, and the fans ran hot and cold… but that doesn’t mean the past wasn’t as good as we remember; it’s a reminder to appreciate great players when they’re around.

    I’d say Ewing at his peak was the equal of Malone at his peak (Karl just maintained it a lot longer than anyone), and better than Barkley, who was awesome on offense and the boards, but as I recall played very little D.

    Does that start an argument?

  50. Let me fall back on the WOW, always my default. Berri had an interesting post on the Dream Team. He posted the players WP48 for 90-91. Ewing at age 28 was a .273. Malone was .290. Barkley was a .375.


    I have pored over Ewing and Oakley’s statistics in the past. My conclusion, Ewing was a great player, a hall of famer, but not quite in the elite echelon of all time greats. There were a lot of players he played against in that era who were better than him…

    I don’t see Curry beating Pat in a foot race at age 24.

    Brian – I think there is something in BOP on that. I think he does analyze the importance of Defense and OFfense in winning championships….

  51. “Let me fall back on the WOW, always my default. Berri had an interesting post on the Dream Team. He posted the players WP48 for 90-91. Ewing at age 28 was a .273. Malone was .290. Barkley was a .375.”

    I hate to posit something that is not provable one way or the other – not good science – but my point is that Ewing (and also Malone) offered significant value on defense, at least partly closing the gap between them and Barkley.

    You said the early 90s Knicks were (at least among) statistically the strongest defensive teams of all time. Substantially better than average. Whose contribution made them so? I would say Ewing played a major role, which is barely measured by Berri (only via blocks & steals, and indirectly with rebounding #s – no measure of how reduced was the opposing team’s FG%).

    I know we’ve debated this before, griping about the lack of good defensive measures. Just a guess, though — Ewing doesn’t suffer quite as much by the limitations of defensive stats, since as a shot-blocker his contribution was more measurable than it was for, say, Oakley.

  52. “My conclusion, Ewing was a great player, a hall of famer, but not quite in the elite echelon of all time greats.”

    I would agree with this… to me, Barkley was just overrated… and the most amazing thing about Malone is that he played at a high level for so long, not that the level was ever one of the 2 or 3 best players in the league.

    For the late 80s and 90s era – post Magic & Bird – Jordan was clearly head and shoulders above everyone else. It’s unfair he didn’t win MVP every year. After that, I’d say Olajuwon and Robinson were the next great players. Moving later in the decade, you’d have to put Shaq at or near the top of the list. Garnett and Duncan, too, but their prime was a different era.

    Behind those guys, though, I’d rank Ewing as high as anyone – Malone and Barkley being the main competition.

  53. “but when Ewing was here, he was ripped for his flaws ”

    Absolutely. It was a crime that some fans never forgave him for not living up to his draft hype. I hated the Knick fans that booed him – and there were plenty. Amazing that such a great player was criticized so much.

  54. Re the Knicks, two editions of their team in the early nineties were actually the best defensive units of all time. That was one of the most interesting factoids in BOP. And this obviously had a lot to do with Ewing.

    Wins Produced would credit Ewing somewhat for his non-boxscore defense. Opponents field goals missed is part of the model. I believe they create a credit or a debit, depending on whether you are above or below average in the league. Given that the Knicks were the best team in the league on defense, Ewing would have received a large credit there. In Berri’s system defensive credit is divided up evenly among players according to minutes played. So to the extent Ewing was better than everyone else on the Knicks on defense he is being shorted a bit. But still, its not like non-boxscore defense isn’t in the model.

    I think Malone really was an all time great, who happened to be around in the same era as the best player of all time. The Utah Jazz teams of the mid 90’s were some of the best of all time. Unfortunately, they were matched up against literally the best teams of all time.

  55. “Wins Produced would credit Ewing somewhat for his non-boxscore defense. Opponents field goals missed is part of the model. I believe they create a credit or a debit, depending on whether you are above or below average in the league”

    It’s better than nothing, but still… I’ll have to do some math (and research) to try and figure out the scale of what we’re debating, i.e. how much of the “better than average” performance is accounted for by box-score stats.

    This post from Dan Rosenbaum explains much better than I could, the weaknesses of Berri’s method of extrapolating team stats to individuals.


  56. As yes,

    The Ewing Draft hype. I still have my “Patrick Ewing Growth Chart” Poster in a closet somewhere. It’s a 7+ foot lifesize photo fo Ewing with the feet measuring up the side so one could see how tall one was in relation to Ewing.It was a Garden giveaway (in either ’85-’86 or 86′-87′) when the team was laughably bad post-Bernard knee injury. And the Knicks were getting blown out and Ewing was having a lousy game, so, in protest, a chunk of fans on the front row near the bench began ripping up their free posters in the team’s face. Ugly, just ugly. (I clearly didn’t rip mine).

    But yes, the fact that Ewing wasn’t Bill Russell like we all thought (dear god, this was pre-interwebs/ESPN uber-coverage. Ewing would be disemboweled if he came out now.) he’d be clearly took a toll on Ewing. He was a recluse to being with, but the NYC Bile machine probably (and I’m royally speculating here) made him more secretive, defensive (personality-wise, not B-ball wise), and unapproachable.

    This seeming hostility/indifference to the fans made them demand more from him/be more critical when he came up short, which made him more hostile, which made them more critical and on and on and on…

    So yeah, I remember it well.

  57. I think that the knicks should restart the whole team and rebuild. Cause they just ain’t gettin it done.

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