2008 Game Thread: Knicks at Wizards

Check out this article by Kevin Broom on the Arenas-less Wizards


This season, the Wizards are indeed a bit better than they were last year — overall. The improvement is not in any of the commonly cited reasons (improved ball movement, better shot selection, more “sharing” of the ball), however.

Has the team’s shot selection changed significantly? According to 82games.com, this season, 68% of the team’s field goal attempts have been jumpers; 26% have been “close”; 4% dunks, and 1% tips. The numbers for last season are identical. In broad terms, the team is getting the same kinds of shots they’ve always gotten.

Is the team’s shot selection “better”? This is tougher to quantify because “better” can be subjective. One of the best ways is to look at results. And here again, the numbers don’t support the notion of better. Last season, the Wizards had an effective field goal percentage (which accounts for the effect of the three-point shot) of 49.2%. This season — it’s 48.7%.

Shooting percentages on dunks and tips are basically unchanged. This season, the Wizards are shooting worse on jumpers (.407 to .424), but a bit better on close shots (.605 to .586). This change is almost certainly related to Arenas being out. Wizards jump shots are now being taken by less proficient shooters, while a greater proportion of the inside shots are being taken by higher percentage guys such as Brendan Haywood.

Are the Wizards “sharing the ball” more this season? Again, the numbers say no. Last year, 54% of the team’s field goals were assisted — this season, it’s 53%. In addition, the Wizards are turning the ball over more frequently without Arenas. In 06-07, they were second best at protecting the ball; this season they’ve dropped to eighth.

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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).

84 thoughts to “2008 Game Thread: Knicks at Wizards”

  1. I’m watching here in DC and I can’t express how frustrating it is watching the Bricks play defense.
    Literally no on contests shots. No one put a hand in the shooter face.
    No one.
    Curry has watched smaller guards drive in for layups at least three times and hasn’t once contested the shot.
    Jeffries in the only guy that has tried to block shots. He got one, but the Wiz got the ball back because the bigs watched.
    lee is entirely out of sync, this is mostly because of some really bad shots by Crawford, Randolph and Q.
    the worst thing that could happen is that Q got a little hot. But he has cooled an shot some bricks.
    Randolph and Curry can’t D up

    Very frustrating. the defense is just horrible.
    Zeke falls in love with scorers and you quickly realize the Bricks lose games like this because they can’t get a stop.
    I still hold out hope that he will see the defense lacking.

  2. amazing how zeke falls in love with their scorers an next thing you know the other team is shooting 60 percent and the bricks are down by 12

  3. down by 4 at the half and now after 3 down by 12
    defense was nothing and still is, and the offense also fell apart
    WSH shooting at 60%. Damn damn damn.
    Is playing defense that hard to understand??? I wonder…

  4. is it me or was it disgusting watching randolph go for that loose ball virtually standing upright?
    i mean oak would have been all over the floor to get that ball.
    they just have no heart tonight

  5. if u ask me he isn’t half the man he was last year before his injury
    pitty, cause i’m a big lee fan

  6. All good things must come to an end. The boys didnt play that bad. They just didnt get enough stop combined with timely shot. Plus, Antwan en fuego. Good to see Jerome James back…we might see him get some minutes against Shak tommorow. I think they can get the W tommorow…but we’ll see.

  7. that Chad Ford thing is pretty accurate, a few quibbles, like he doesn’t like Balkman enough, I think.

    but the main thing, which I haven’t seen written about much, is that Isiah’s general plan was actually the correct way to go given the awful roster and cap situation he inherited. what has been remarkably flawed has been his execution, and a lot of this stems from his impatience and inability to wait for the right move, but instead jumping on tiny immediate upgrades regardless of the long-term impact. for instance, the Marbury deal, two weeks after he took the job. NY needed a guy to build around, and Marbury was certainly better than anyone on the team at the time. but if he’d waited until later that season, Baron Davis became available at much less cost (in terms of trade value), that kind of thing.

  8. I thought the best part of the Chad Ford article was that he pointed to the fact that IT makes moves like he’s running a fantasy squad. Perfect analogy. Instead of finding players that compliment each other, IT just looks at the “value” of a player in a vacuum.

  9. “Some nights, you just run into a team that’s playing a little better than you are,” Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said, “and tonight the Wizards were playing better than we were.”

    Some nights!

  10. I agree with Jon that Thomas’ strategy as sound in theory. The only value the Knicks players had came as their contracts were drawing to a close and Thomas tried to capitalize on that, he just failed to do so because he brought in all the wrong players. As he continued to move those ending deals he continued to bring in all the wrong players and the cap situation steadily got worse.

    I would have preferred it if he had rebuilt by just letting those contracts expire and being more conservative with his spending, but I see the logic in his strategy as well.

  11. “I would have preferred it if he had rebuilt by just letting those contracts expire and being more conservative with his spending”

    You mean do the exact thing that everyone knows has to be done now? Why wait 5 years to do that, especially considering that when Isiah took over, the Knicks were going to be under the cap in less time than it will take for them to get under it now.

  12. Ditto TDM.

    I was amazed this morning to read Isiah saying he wasn’t unhappy with the Bricks play at all last night.

    Looking at my posts from last night,I can see how negative I was feeling throughout the game. I actually spent a night watching the Bricks feeling as if they might have turned a corner with Marbury gone and Zeke playing Jeffries, Lee, Balkman and Robinson more.

    But for me last night was a major regression.

    Zeke again fell in love with his scorers, and utterly forgot about defense. The idea that he left Randolph on Jamison all night and expected to survive 70 percent shooting from their PF is ridiculous. Despite giving up two inches, Balkman should have been assigned to shadow jamison as soon as it was obvious he was going to light up Randolph, which is to say immediately.

    Lee was ineffective in part because Randolph and Curry, Q, and Crawford were all battling to see who would get a shot. Shots were going up and Lee appeared to be suprised a shot was going up. Sometimes it looks like the Bricks play around him. That made me think about what Gus Johnson said about Lee on the Bricks: he said that Lee doesn’t have any good friends on the Bricks and basically doesn’t hang with anyone.

    It looked like that on the court. Sure Lee made some mistakes, i.e., a couple bad passes, but he seemed not to be in the flow. His defense was weak, too, but again he seemed to not be in the flow, like the starters don’t work with him. Or probably more likely, the starters play no defense at all. If they played defense at all last night they would have scored enough to win.

    And Robinson in my view is the most dynamic ball handler on the team, and yet Zeke seems to think that Crawford needs to handle the ball more. Still, Nate had a terrible shooting night, which from the offensive end, hurt.

    SI.com did a poll of NBA players and Curry was ranked third among players who have the most talent but utilize it poorly.

    That was obvious last night. Here’s this mammoth guy, clearly the most physically dominant figure on the court,and yet guards and SFs were driving right to the hoop past him. Never once did he rise up to attempt a block.

    In fact, I can recall only a few times when Bricks players actually made an effort to put a hand in the face of a shooter.

    And is there ever an attempt to deny someone the ball?

    I was reminded how poorly this team handles fundamentals. That’s just poor coaching. And the veterans on this team have shitty basic skills. That can’t be helping the young guys.

    Yeah Zeke, there was no reason to be unhappy with last night.


  13. And while the Knicks are getting uninspired play from its bigs, Patrick Ewing is sitting on the Orlando bench helping Dwight Howard become the most dominant center in the game.

  14. I agree with Jon that Thomas’ strategy as sound in theory. The only value the Knicks players had came as their contracts were drawing to a close and Thomas tried to capitalize on that, he just failed to do so because he brought in all the wrong players. As he continued to move those ending deals he continued to bring in all the wrong players and the cap situation steadily got worse.

    The trading away of what turned out to be two high draft picks for Eddy “Muffins” Curry sealed this team’s mediocrity for many years. Curry is not the kind of player you build around. That was a fatal mistake and the Randolph trade was like firing another bullet into the corpse.

  15. It also goes to show how thin is the line between competence and incompetence. If the picks in the Curry trade were protected even a bit — say, top 3 the first year, lottery the next… we would be in perfectly decent shape. We’d probably have either Aldridge, or Brandon Roy and another decent young player… plus maybe Noah in this year’s draft. We’d still be on the hook for next year’s pick, but it would be a late lottery at worst.

    Just with that one careless decision (I don’t believe for a second that Paxson would have turned down the trade, even with protection), cost us a lineup of — maybe –:

    David Lee

    Craw, Curry, Q off the bench.. that’s a nice group. (I’ll be starry-eyed and say we might not have traded for Randolph, so we’d still have our long-term cap space,too)..

  16. Frank – stop excuses for lee plz .he was just ineffective last night I dont see the needs to blame the others for shooting the ball when Lee is not a scorer.His game ios based on hustle and last night he got out hustled by Songalia,Blatche,and others.Songalia had 5 boards in 9 mins while Lee had 4 in 19 mins .It was an off night for Lee but it happens sometimes .

    I saw plenty of contested shots but the wizards were making them .You cant tell me that on several occasions in the second half you didnt see Randolph right there in jamisons face and he still nailed .Jamison was just outstanding.

    The knicks are lacking perimeter depth with Marbury out as the wizards got contributions from 4 guards while the knicks from 3 and 2 of the knicks guards had off nights shooting the ball.

    You wondered why isiah has Crawford handling the ball more well last night he played Balk,Lee,and Robinson on the floor at the same time . You suggest that starters dont work well with lee and admit he had some turnovers but the knicks were up 6 when he got that trio on the floor together last night and that lead was gone in two and half minutes.

    the knicks lost because of several reasons but this is the game where next week when they have 3 days off after Bos Isiah should be showing in a film session.This should be a training video on the difference between winning and losing games

  17. Q-Ric has become the Jason Giambi of the Knicks. Sometimes he plays sometimes he don’t. It’s pretty pathetic. If we get the 8 seed the NBA is a joke

  18. “Q-Ric has become the Jason Giambi of the Knicks. Sometimes he plays sometimes he don’t. ”

    yeah, kind of the worst thing that can happen is for him to have a great half here and there. not only does that mean he’s almost definitely going to kill you in the other half, but it also means that Isiah will keep starting him.

  19. after coming in a bit late and watching the second part of the 1st quarter, i think (am pretty sure) the heat losing streak will end tonight.

  20. not sure if watching curry play is comical or just plain sad. He has the worst hands I’ve ever seen for a basketball player. Was that curry lecturing Nate on how to help D for crawford when his man went right by him to the rim? Too funny!

  21. “not sure if watching curry play is comical or just plain sad.”

    Eddie Curry may not be much fun to watch while he is playing basketball, but he sure is entertaining when he snarfs down a big bowl of Spaghetti-O’s.

  22. Can we trade Curry AND Zach? I would be fine with Jeffries at center and Lee at PF. Billionaire Jerome James can give minutes at center (he should be fresh) and we can pick up another PF to back up Lee. That Randolph trade is killing me! Can anyone gage his value? could we get a draft pick and an expiring contract for him at the deadline to a desperate team? If we had a shot-blocker in the lane to back up Nate and Crawford, we would be alright b/c any given night one of those two will be on fire.

  23. By the way, the guy I wanted to get over the summer in a sign and trade, Gerald Wallace, had 28 pts,6 boards, 6 assists, and 7 STEALS! Charlotte looks pretty damn good…

  24. also, we shot 40%. The only reason we won is because Miami shot worse than that. We won, but we still suck.

  25. “not sure if watching curry play is comical or just plain sad. He has the worst hands I’ve ever seen for a basketball player. ”

    all of their big men have just awful hands, especially pulling down boards, even Lee. I’ve never seen so many balls not cleanly pulled down, only secured after a tip (and sometimes by the other team).

  26. A few points…

    1. Yeah, I like when the plus/minus matches up with what we all are pretty sure is the truth (Nate, Lee and Jeffries good – the starters bad), but I wouldn’t be so quick to tout individual plus/minus performances as the end-all/be-all, because then Lee might have a -12 game, and people will be all, “See! Lee sucks!”

    2. Similar to that point, if Lee has a bad game, fine – whatever, the guy has a bad game. It’s pretty funny that each of his games are gone over with a fine tooth comb (for both the positive AND negative). Some people – “Lee had a good game! See! He’s awesome!” Other people – “Lee had a bad game! See! He’s terrible!”

    3. Jon’s right – it’s nuts how bad the Knicks’ big men are at just holding on to boards.

  27. The Knicks are finally playing like the .500 team they were projected to be. At least they are fun to watch now, especially when the starters are watching too (except Jamal, of course). Nate is the best all-around player on the team, I would not trade him since he cannot be replaced. He might be the most athletic guy lb. for lb. in the league. He is the most consistent shooter on the team and is a terror when he plays under control, which is happening more and more these days. I think he still has lots of upside. I get excited anytime he has the ball. Everyone else on the team can be replaced, with the possible exception of Crawford, who is versatile and tough in crunch time when hot but has a flawed game on D, especially against premier 2 guards, and is inconsistent on O. Lee has the most trade value because he is so likable he might bring back more value than his lunchpail game merits. Considering Steph’s expiring contract, this is the best trade position we have been in since I can remember. Hopefully Isiah won’t screw it up by pursuing anything less than a top-shelf player who isn’t a head case. If we continue to play well, everyone’s trade value will go up (except Eddy, Q, and Jerome…who would want them?). Even if we stand pat with Lee, Craw, Nate, Zach & Balk (my fave 5) the most glaring need is a shotblocker to help Nate and Craw play more aggresive man-up d on the perimeter. Who fits this bill and can be had?
    People keep bringing up Artest, another head case. I’ll be pissed if we trade anything involving these five for Artest. If we cant get him for free or for one or more of the remaining scrubs (jefferies, jones, Q, Mardy mix nd match package or even Eddy would be OK with me) I don’t want him.

  28. If a trade goes down there are certain people we should keep. Nate, Lee, Crawford…maybe Balkman, Jones.. Jeffries can go, Q, Curry, Zach, Jerome, Marbury. Then you keep the kids…Chandler,Morris and let them develop or send them to the D-League. One of the things about getting rookies is seeing them develop. At least for me as a fan I like to see what our draft picks can do. So far we have a little bit of insight from the summer league and that it. Let them play in the D-League and work on their game. How effective is it to just participate in NBA practices? You wont find more hungry players than in the D-League. Those guys play as if their life depends on it …because their life does depend on it. A contract from an NBA team will change their life. Send the kids down there to play!!! We’ve also got to manage the cap carefully so that we can be players in the free agent market for people like a Deron Williams who I think is a free agent next year. He would be great here.

  29. You know what strikes me as odd?

    Thomas once OWNED the CBA, yet he refuses to send any of his guys to the D-League.

    That’s weird, right?

  30. Ray,

    I haven’t given up on Zach yet. He is still young and has responded well to some of the hea Isiah has put on him, particularly in passing out of doubleteams. Quietly he has been a big part of this latest streak. He is a real PF (not a tweener like Lee, Balk and Jeffries) and a ferocious rebounder. His most glaring defect is on D, but I have seen improvement there lately as well. I don’t think there is better than him out there in terms of his trade value. You would need to replace his 10-12 boards and 15-25 points. Who else at PF confidently makes that open 18 footer in the clutch like he did in last minute against Miami…certainly not Lee, Balkman, Curry or Jeffries. It was nice to see Zach dunk that put-back, would love to see him attack the rim more like that. He certainly has the tools to become a stud, the question is, can he develop the mindset. I recommend watching him closely over the next 20 games or so. KG tomorrow is a good test, I liked what I saw when Zach and KG went at it in that one late very intense preseason game before the s–t hit the fan shortly thereafter.

  31. I think Balkman is a better defender than Artest right now, not to mention where they’ll be in a few years now that Ron is on the wrong side of 30.

    I also think Jeffries’ plus-minus numbers look good because he’s playing with Lee (especially) and sometimes Balkman… not that he’s driving those numbers himself. I really don’t think he offers much of anything.

    It’s also wishful thinking to think Randolph will improve more than marginally. He’s already 26. He is what he is. His points could easily be replaced just by letting other players shoot the ball – split those shots between Curry, Lee and Nate (even Crawford) and we’re in better shape. We’d lose a bit on the boards if Zach were gone, because Curry and Jeffries would get some of those minutes, but Lee and Balkman would also play more and it would pretty much be a wash.

    That said… the one move that would do most to help our team would be to just let Balkman play. The difference between him and our backup SFs (Q & Jeffries mainly) is bigger than the difference between Randolph and Lee.

    Long-term, it’s better to let him sit because then we pick up more lottery balls.

    Also long-term, the most important thing to do is dump Randolph — not because he’s our worst player, or anything like that, but because he’s the biggest thing killing our long-term flexibility to make moves that would improve the team.

  32. Caleb,
    I agree on Balkman, he should certainly get more minutes than Fred Jones or Q. I disagree about Zach because his skills are already there, he just has to learn how to become a better team player and better defender. As far as “he is what he is,” 26 is not exactly old and to be fair, he hasn’t been playing in the most nurturing environment. He has clearly responded well since well-deserved benchings. I see him as a similar project to Nate and would like to see whether he develops along the same lines. Lee and Zach are good for each other once Eddy is out of the way, and Jeffries and Renaldo can be interchanged according to need. I also think you underestimate how important it is to have a player that requires double-team attention to open it up for guard perimeter-penetration game. Lee NEVER gets double-teamed (in fact he is generally dared to shoot outside of 10 feet). A major factor in recent wins is Zach’s passing our of double-teams (still doesn’t do it often or well enough, but there has been progress.) Even with the double-teams and bonehead play over the first 30 games, his PER is higher than Lee’s right now (I’m not a big fan of these stats, but I couldnt resist!). Without Zach’s interior presence, Nate, Lee and Curry could possibly score less, not more (well, Curry might score more, but your assessment of “he is what he is” seems much more applicable to him and his deficits, so he would be the first to go for me, I doubt he will ever get much better than he is right now.

    All these guys will be tested big time tomorrow.

  33. I wanted to address a little bit of what Luke had to say about my comments on Lee.
    I preface this with the point that, clearly, I do not wish to quash Luke’s right to be wrong…:)

    I was reading the NY Times this morning and there was this note at the bottom of the story:

    David Lee is not one to complain about his role or his playing time. But ask him about his decreased production, and Lee has a simple response: It is the minutes. Heading into Saturday’s game, Lee was averaging 26.3 minutes a game, down from 29.8 last season. That partially accounts for the declines in scoring (9.3 points, down from 10.7 last season) and rebounding (7.8, down from 10.4). “As far as the minutes, they’ve been a little more inconsistent this year,” Lee said, pointing to the Knicks’ heavy reliance on Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph. “And mentally, I’m just trying to do the best I can when I get in there. It’s been a little more difficult in that sense.”

    This may support my observation that Lee does not seem to get into the flow as much.
    One way or another, he is arguably one of the more complete players on the Bricks and he gets fewer minutes than guys who literally play only one or two aspects of the game and are glaringly absent in all other elements.

    Jamison got off that night because Zach played horrible defense. In most cases where Zach appeared to contest shots, he was having to close from 5 feet away and then leap at Jamison. One way or another, if your defense is lax, your opposite is going to gain in confidence that you are not going to put forth the best effort and therefore will shoot much better.

    Luke, you should stop making excuses for Zach.
    Jamison played well offensively, for sure, but why is it that virtually every PF that Zach guards usually has a great night? Is that merely coincidence.

    Another note about Lee’s fortitude: in the fourth quarter last night 6’11 Curry sat and 6’9 Lee banged with Shaq, who had zero points in the fourth.

    Nontheless, when Zeke just let’s the offensively minded players play most of the minutes, the Bricks score better than 100 points, but the other team usually outscores them. To whit: in Bricks games where both teams scored more than 100 points, the Bricks are 3-6. Of course, with the Bricks most comparatives show a losing record.

    Except when you look at games that the Bricks hold the opposition under 100 points. In those games, the Bricks are 9-7.
    That means this is better than a .500 team when they play some defense and don’t simply run and gun.
    And that means you have to have some defensively-minded,team-oriented players on the court with at least one offensively-focused player.

    With Randolph, Curry, Crawford and a briefly hot Q on the court, the Bricks will just suck…everyone is looking for their own shots and not one of them plays decent defense.

    Over this run where the Bricks seem to be playing well, it is obvious that Zeke has been giving more minutes to Robinson, Lee, Balkman, Jeffries, and Crawford.
    And it is paying off.

    Over the past 10 games:
    Robinson is +59
    Lee is +41
    Balkman is +26
    Jeffries +16
    Crawford is +11

    and over the same period:
    Curry is -11
    Randolph is -20
    Richardson is -50
    Marbury was -80

    Robinson appears to be a real difference maker. It should be no surprise that he is getting more minutes than each of starters Randolph, Curry, or Richardson.

    But Lee is also getting comparable minutes to Curry and Randolph, or just slightly less.
    Balkman and Jeffries minutes have also climbed during this run.

  34. ZMan, you’ve made a bunch of comparisons worth talking about. As far as Curry goes, I agree he is less of a player than Randolph, but a) he makes a lot less money (a lot, but still a lot less); b) he’s two years younger; c) he’s not taking minutes from the best player on the team.

    Yes, I do think Lee is the team’s best player — and yes, I know, that’s not saying much. I see Randolph as an excellent rebounder, slightly above average scorer and passable passer… but maybe the worst defensive power forward in the league. Lee is just as good a rebounder (better last year, slightly worse this year), and while he isn’t a shutdown defender, he’s at least decent — by the 82games numbers, he was actually above average last year. That makes up for a lot. One limitation of PER is that it barely measures defense at all; another is that it blindly rewards quantity over quality. For example, if Zach took an extra five shots a game and made none of them, his PER would actually go up. SO he’s partly being rewarded by volume. Combine that and the defense, and I think Lee is easily better.

    “I also think you underestimate how important it is to have a player that requires double-team attention to open it up for guard perimeter-penetration game. Lee NEVER gets double-teamed (in fact he is generally dared to shoot outside of 10 feet).”

    It is hard to estimate this impact, but I think most people actually overestimate it. For example: for all his flaws, Curry is clearly a better low-post scorer than Randolph. Extreme high percentage down low, high-volume — it’s the one thing he does well. You’d think that would open it up for other players — but last year, Lee’s scoring and rebounding were UP when Curry was off the floor. (Curry’s numbers were UP when Lee was ON the floor). I don’t know exactly why, but it’s hard to argue that Curry was helping Lee — and Randolph is much less of a low-post presence. He’s also not much of a jump shooter; unfortunately, he seems to think he is. (He’s actually shootiing a lower percentage on his jumpers this season, than Lee). For whatever reason, he and Curry hurt each other when they’re out on the floor.

    As for age, a 26-year-old player isn’t likely to decline for a few more years, but isn’t likely to get much better. The guys who make big leaps – Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith – those guys are 20 or 21, not 26. As for Nate (who, like Lee and Balkman, is only 24)… I love the guy, but if he was making $60 million for the next four years, I’d be pushing him out the door, too.

    One other thing..
    “Jeffries and Renaldo can be interchanged according to need”

    What do you envision? I can’t think of any scenario where Balkman is breathing (and hasn’t fouled out), that we’d need Jeffries in his place…

  35. Its not that I dont like Zach. What he brings to the table is stellar. Double doubles on auto and a mos def scoring threat. You can see in him that he likes to get in shootouts going to to toe with an opposing player on the offensive end. Thats when he becomes a black hole and the ball stops moving. Theres always those point in the game where the Knicks lose that ball movement . Clyde is always quick to point it out as he sees the body language change. He has been moving the ball better which has led to wins. Some say his improved play is a result of him being on the block some say his decision making is just improving. All i care is that we get wins. Now if we dont make it to the playoffs Id rather we loss and have gotten a better draft pick than to win enough to just miss postseason. On another note…if you put Balkman in the game and give him decent mintues he will block shots for you. Its just a matter of giving him sometime to get into the rhythm of things. What he needs is that 10-15 foot jumpshot which would put him on another level like a poormans Grant Hill. He can play the point foward and he can play D. The brother just cant shoot.

  36. “What he needs is that 10-15 foot jumpshot which would put him on another level like a poormans Grant Hill. He can play the point foward and he can play D. The brother just cant shoot.”

    tru nuff. But neither can Gerald Wallace — that’s probably about the best comparison I can make to Balkman right now — and Balk is a better rebounder and even better defender. Of course… Wallace has done it for 2-3 seasons, Balkman barely gets PT… but I’m pretty sure he’ll be getting plenty of attention soon, whether or not he’s still a Knick.

  37. Gerald Wallace has 47 made 3s this year at a 33.3 percent rate, Balkman is 0-7 for the year (5-34 career). the difference between Wallace and Balkman shooting from outside is roughly the difference between Balkman and me.

  38. jon, you’re right, I hadn’t realized that Wallace has turned himself into an average 3-point shooter… before last year he never hit 30% and had 32 3s n his whole career…

    It’s a nice dimension to add but I would still argue that almost all his value lies in the other stuff… where Balkman is a good match.

  39. Caleb and Ray,
    I agree on Balk for the most part, and Ray, I agree on Zach. Caleb, the difference between Balk and Jeffries is that Jeffries is longer and a better defender/shot blocker in the post, at least until Balk develops more, a better choice for interior D/rebounding against longer players. I wrote harsh commentaries on Jeffries earlier but lately he (like everyone else) has been playing the intangible role better.

    I disagree with Caleb on Lee, he is not the Knicks best player (most enjoyable to watch, maybe, but not the best.) He is, however, the best established in his role as a 6th man energy guy and looks good compared to others in their respective roles. He will probably never be an all-star in this league, unless by default/injury. He draws no defensive attention and is a major liability against the premier PFs in the league (Garnett, Bosh, Duncan, Boozer, Nowitski, to name a few). I am interested to see how the Knick PFs/Cs do against Garnett. As to Zach vs. Curry, while I agree that Eddy is more dangerous once he receives the ball down low, he is 1) useless outside of 8 feet 2) an unreliable FT shooter, 3) a horrible rebounder and defender 4) invisible in any up-tempo game 5) prone to OFs, steals and travels. I am hoping that Zach and Lee can develop some synergy via 30 minutes on the floor together. I am hoping that Nate’s emergence makes them both better (he’s my “best player” candidate, for reasons mentioned in today’s earlier post, more upside than Lee in my opinion.)

  40. I dunno why you think he’s a major liability — not a great defender, but a lot less of a liability than Randolph. Plus, the offense is better when he’s in, somehow…

  41. my thoughts on a few of the topics above:

    Best player on the team right now without a doubt is Nate. Capable defender, good rebounder from the pg position, one of our better shot blockers, equal or better distributor to craw, much less turnover prone, hands down best shooter on the team (this one is not evenclose), and I wager the player on the knicks that puts the most pressure on the other team.

    Balkman a better defender than artest? Caleb, you must truly be smoking something. Balk is a good defender, one of the best on the team, but artest is in another league. Doesn’t mean I want to trade for him… I’d rather just let him sign the mle next year.

    And can someone remind me again why jefferies is ever allowed to shoot from more than 3 ft away?

  42. Caleb,
    I don’t think David is a major liability. On the contrary, he is also one of my favorite Knicks. I think the best way to describe him is the least underachieving (or most overachieving) player. He also (thus far) is the best (or at least most consistent) at making other players better. I just think he would be overwhelmed at 35-40 minutes a night unless on a team with a superstar or two at other spots. He is the ultimate complimentary player with enormous trade value because the teams that already have the superstars would love to have him. I can’t see him ever averaging more than 25-30 min per night on a well above 500 team unless he improves his all-around game, and frankly, I am not very impressed with his development this year. It’s not like he’s been banished to the bench, he is still averaging well over 20 minutes a night. Can you honestly say that he has improved since last year? Not to mention, he has certainly had his opportunities this year with Curry and Zach in the doghouse. For example, he had loads of minutes against the Raptors and was scorched by Bosh just as bad as Zach was, if not worse. This being said, let’s see how Zach and David do over the next 20 games or so, now that a definitive rotation seems to have been set.

    Frank, I totally agree with your take on Nate, I hope his minutes are increased at the expense of Fred’s. I like Fred in small doses, but he really shouldn’t get any more than 8-12 minutes unless Nate or Craw are off their game.

    Has anyone’s stock fallen as much as Mardy’s?

  43. seriously, Artest played Curry one on one tougher in the post than almost anyone has this year, definitely tougher than the corpse of Shaq did last night. I don’t see Balkman being capable of doing that, much as I like him.

    it’s a joke that RB still doesn’t get consistent minutes, though. maybe someone needs to go Jeff Gillooly on Q? nah, our lovable weasel would probably just go to Malik Rose…

  44. If anyone knows can they please say what our proposed trade with milwaukee for randolf was? Also, there’s alot of trades i’d love to make with him. Randolf for Ben Wallace is my favorite. The only other thing in my plan would be to play Balkman more.

    1.Crawford/Nate/Fred Jones
    2.Nate/Crawford/Fred Jones
    Jones would get like 10 min a game wit the others at around 35.


    The offense would be a little down, beacuse we really have only 2 shooters on the floor, but we would finally have a defensive presence in the middle that would make up for currys problems. The team would finally have good defense all around, because we lose one of the worst in the league for one of the best. I think chicago would accept the trade because they really need a post player, and thats exactly what randolf is. We would get the short end talentwise, but gettin lots of talent hasn’t exactly worked out, has it? Randolf is a better rebounder at this point, but lee would finally get minutes to make up for it. People say lee’s numbers are down because of minutes, but also, the minutes he’s on with randolf, randolf gets rebounds over him, where as he would have gotten them over curry. with that lineup, i think the knicks are a .500 team, and in the east thats means playoffs. Also, because it wouldnt happen this year, we are too far behind already, we would get a great draft pick to build around. We could get someone like Beasley, a real pg like Rose, or even if we get a bad draw, we could get one of my fav’s in eric gordon. he could play all of fred jones’s minutes, and we could run 3 guards at once with him taking jarret jeffries minutes. he is a great shooter which is one of our needs.

  45. ben bow,
    I wouldn’t do that deal because I think Wallace is on the decline. Everyone thought he was the missing piece in Chicago, how has that worked out?

    I say wait and see what Zach produces now that team has stabilized and Isiah has toughened up on anyone who doesn’t give defensive effort and share ball.

  46. balkman is not gerald wallace. Almost all of Balkman’s points come on either rebounds and put backs or on fast break type finishers around the rim. Balkman’s greatest strengths are rebounding and his long and incredibly active arms. A good player to compare him to is Jerome Williams. In Williams’ prime he was quite a good player, big steals and blocks, good rebounder. Balkman is quicker, and is an excellent ball handler. His speed with the ball is amazing for a guy his size. And Balkman is the superior athlete. He has better hops, and blocks way more shots.

    What Balkman lacks, though, is any kind of way to contribute in the halfcourt. He is not big or strong enough to take the ball, despite his ball-handling, to the rim and finish. He does not have the body control of a Gerald Wallace (or stephon marbury, or even jamal crawford) to put a good shot up after contact. And while his body type and active hands make him a great contributor on defense, he is not a technically skilled defender, and relies too heavily on his athleticism to cover his mistakes. This is why he gets into foul trouble in a lot of games. Any smart player will know how to take advantage of his laissez faire one on one defense.

    Gerald Wallace, before he developed the offensive game he has today, dedicated much more energy to defense. In 05-06 he averaged 2.5 steals and 2.1 blocks. The only other player in the NBA to put up similar numbers in those two cats was Andrei Kirilenko, way back in 03-04, when he avged 1.9 steals and 2.8 blocks (and I had him on all my fantasy teams…).

    SO in conclusion, I don’t think balkman will ever develop into a good offensive player, but he does enough other things to be a very good starter. He won’t ever be as good as gerald wallace is though.

  47. I like the Randolph for Artest and a first round draft pick deal. Then you let Artest walk at the end of the year, clear a bunch of cap space, and you have two very good draft picks.
    I know Randolph does a few things well, but I agree with caleb that he’ll probably never be the team player Zeke envisions (although look at what happened to Rasheed Wallace after he left the Blazers… how old was he?)
    If you look at the teams in the finals, you see 2 teams each with a star with a great all around game, and a bunch of players that play their role and work within the system. San Antonio won b/c Parker elevated his all around game to become a #2 star on that team.
    The Knicks obviously don’t have that star and should do whatever it takes to locate him and get him. If that means clearing cap space and getting multiple draft picks, so be it. If it means trading David Lee, so be it.
    Does anyone on the knicks now have star potential? You could say either Crawford or Nate, but something tells me they will be lucky to get to the Tony Parker level or star.
    Balkman? He’s a great energy player but will never be better than a Barbosa (Gerald Wallace is a whole other category as he can create his own shot, etc.)
    Also, I think Jeffries can become an interesting complementary player. He’s not the pure talent at SF that Balkman is, but he is long and can defend pretty well anyone from the 3 to the 5. We haven’t really seen his real game yet because of injuries. I’m not saying he’s worth what we paid for him, but I think he’s a good player to have on a team.
    As for Curry, he just breaks my heart (no pun intended.) He’ll never be a real center, just a post scorer. He claims to be a starter in this league, but you can’t start if you pull down 4 rebounds a game and play no D. I would like to draft a real center and maybe have him come off the bench or else trade him/let him walk when he’s up.

  48. Unfortunately ESs
    There arent too many real centers left. In my wildest dreams I think of how different it would be if we had Camby right now. He been playing like a beast. Putting up incredible numbers in this stage of his career. Maybe Isaiah can get him..and send Eddy to Denver?? Camby and coach are still close. Just a thought. I hope if any deals are made we dont sacrifice our pick in the draft this year. Depending on our record at the end of this season we could get a real game changer. We will have to wait and see what happens. Ive been hearing things about a center named Brook Lopez? Anyone heard of him? Im not even sure thats his name..

  49. Bucks trade that they supposedly turned down:

    “the Bucks had summarily rejected the Knicks’ proposal: Randolph ($13.333 million /$14.666M/$16M/$17.333M) and Renaldo Balkman Renaldo Balkman ($1.280M/$1.369M) for Charlie Villanueva ($2.715M/$3.448M), Bobby Simmons ($9.28M/$9.92M/$10.56M) and Dan Gadzuric ($5.751M/$6.25M/$6.749M/$7.248M); two part-time outside shooters (31 and 30 percent from 3-point range, respectively) seeing inconsistent minutes and an athletic third-string center.”


  50. Did I just hear Renaldo Balkman’s ceiling compared to Gerald Wallace and Leandro Barbosa?

    Let’s be serious for a second. Balkman is a decent player and contributes in many ways, but he will never be a good scorer. Gerald Wallace is a borderline allstar, who can go off for 30pts on any given night. Barbosa is one of the most explosive slashers in the league. Comparing Balkman to them is like comparing KG to Shavlik Randolph. Well…not quite that bad.

    On the Knicks, Balkman is starter quality, but on a good team, he would be 2nd guy off the bench.

  51. Gerald Wallace did take a long time to develop also, Sacramento gave up on him and left him exposed in the expansion draft (so stupid, I called that one at the time), and he didn’t develop until getting consistent minutes for a few years. I agree that Balkman probably doesn’t have anywhere near that kind of offensive potential, but I think the point is that we’ll never really know until he gets consistent minutes, that’s how guys develop in this league.

    mentioning Barbosa is just dumb and not worth commenting on.

  52. Interested to see how the “sharing” bricks fare against the Celtics this time around.

    I’m actually going to watch this game, so I apologize in advance if i’m the jinx. :)

  53. If you want a Barbosa comparison, look at Nate Robinson.

    Wallace and Balkman are actually very alike. Yes, Wallace has added a bit of a shot the past two years, but look at the rest.. These are Balkman’s lifetime numbers, vs. Wallace last year. I did it that way because Wallace played a few years as a teenager which brings down his lifetime #s; this year his numbers are about even with last (a bit more scoring, a bit less rebounding) so I just used the full season):

    All these numbers are per/40

    Balkman 11.6
    Wallace 19.7

    As for efficiency, Wallace’s TS% was 55.4 last year; Balkman’s was 53.. .down this year, but coming up fast.

    Balkman 10.5
    Wallace 7.8

    Balkman 1.6
    Wallace 2.8

    Balkman 1.7
    Wallace 2.4

    Balkman 2.0
    Walalce 2.2

    Balkman 1.6
    Wallace 1.0

    Balkman is a better rebounder; both are big blocks & steals guys. Balkman fouls too much, but his plus-minus numbers are off the charts.. better than Wallace. Both are big impact defenders.

    Wallace gets to handle the ball more, but they seem about even in that ability. Wallace is much more of a scorer, but the difference might not be as huge as some would say. Let’s see how Balkman does in more minutes; if he can be even a 60 percent free throw shooter, his TS will probably be right in the Wallace neighborhood.

    Plus, he’s two years younger, and when Wallace was Balkman’s age he couldn’t shoot at all, either…

    As far as trade value goes, don’t forget Renaldo has two more years on a rookie contract while Wallace is pulling in $10 million per. In other words, that proposed trade with Milwaukee is one of the stupidest ideas ever… if Milwaukee really turned it down, their GM should be fired and we should pray that it never comes up again.

  54. oh yeah… Wallace is another good example of people being fooled by age. Sacramento gave up on him when he was just 21.. any fool should have known that 21-year-olds improve a lot, almost always.

  55. that bucks trade actually seems like a bad trade involving Zach (I guess there are some out there) unless Simmons and Gadzuric are up soon. I kind of like Charlie V’s game, but he’s kind of a younger Randolph but with better passing and shotblocking. I would love to see what the market is for Curry is right now. Any idea?

  56. I’d do Zach straight up for Gadzuric and Simmons… they’re not up soon, but they are done in 2010, a year early… in time to free our cap space for a free agent run. We might take a slight hit in the meantime, but I think it’s well worth it. I don’t even think it would be much of a short-term hit… Curry would get Zach’s shots, and Lee would get his boards.

    My problem with the trade is swapping Balkman, who I love (for the above reasons) for Charlie V. (who might be a decent prospect but is, like you say, Zach-lite).

    I am also interested in the Curry market… I keep reading that it’s below zero (since he’s uninsurable) but I wonder… he’s been healthy for a few years, is only 24, and his contract isn’t THAT bad. Chad Ford just posted these suggestions, which might or might not be likely… but it’s nice to know someone smart thinks Curry might be unloadable:

    From ESPN’s Chad Ford:
    “First I’d hit up the Hawks, who are making a push for the playoffs. Although Al Horford has been great for them in the middle, he’s much more suited for the power forward position. A deal that sends Zaza Pachulia and Tyronn Lue to the Knicks for Curry (or if the Hawks won’t part with Pachulia, then Lorenzen Wright) would give the Knicks cap relief.

    Another team that might be willing to take Curry is the Magic. They have Dwight Howard dominating in the middle, but he and Curry could play together in the front court. Two expiring contracts (take your pick of Carlos Arroyo, Keyon Dooling, Keith Bogans and Pat Garrity) along with J.J. Redick might be enough for the Knicks.

    They may also try to entice the Wizards with a deal of Curry and Malik Rose for Antawn Jamison, whose contract comes off the books at the end of the season.”


  57. Of course I’d try and hit the Bucks up for more – future draft pick, maybe… but even if it’s just Gadzuric and Simmons (and their shorter contracts) it’s worth it. Don’t know if we’ll ever get another chance to trade Zach – you saw what the market was last summer, and that was coming off his career year.

  58. I think that Chad Ford article also mentioned the Lakers as a potential trade partner.

    Curry for Kwame, and a guard or two. Kwame has worse hands than Curry if you’d believe it, but if the Lakers would kick in Jordan Farmar, it’d be a boondoggle. That kid has great court vision. Getting Trevor Ariza back is also an option.

    I think Kwame’s contract is expiring soon, so cap relief is also avail. The Lakers have a need right now for a post scorer like Curry, since Bynum is out for at least 2 months.

  59. I don’t think they’d take 4 years of Curry just to make up for missing Bynum… .I guess if they thought Bynum could play side by side with Curry, they might conceivably trade Kwame for Curry, if we also took Radmanovic, something like that.

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