2007 Preseason Game 2

In bullet point form. Boxscore here: http://www.nba.com/games/20071011/TELNYK/boxscore.html?gamestatus=3

  • To start the game, the Knicks defense was pretty bad (Marbury, Crawford, Richardson, Lee, and Randolph). Zach was pretty poor on the block, getting muscled by Marcus Fizer. According to my notes, Fizer got the better of Randolph on offense a few times. On one play Zach bit on a crossover 15 feet from the basket, earning him a needless foul. Randolph wasn’t the only New Yorker that performed poorly on defense. Knick guards really didn’t fight through any screens. In contrast, in the first quarter one Maccabi Tel Aviv player went above a double screen (set by Lee & Randolph) and stayed with Marbury. The only Knick I saw to go over a screen was Fred Jones.
  • I have to say I was impressed by Jamal Crawford. While he did launch one of his trademark “crossover-step-back-threes”, he consistently took the ball to the hoop. If Crawford uses his deceptive dribble to get to the paint consistently, as opposed to hurling off balanced jumpers, he may become a more consistent scorer.
  • The Knick offense, aka the Quick, seemed to be more fluid. There were some good give & go plays, and there was more passing the ball. It may have been the absence of Curry holding the ball in the post, but hopefully Isiah has refined his offense in the offseason.
  • The Knicks ran a full court press to end the first half. I would love to see this team press/trap more, especially with the second unit.
  • Chandler reminds me of Lee and Sweetney in their rookie campaigns in one respect: all looked lost on defense. Chandler seemed to switch to the wrong player a few times. In one of the in-game interviews, David Lee was talking about how he doesn’t have to expend so much mental energy on defense because of his experience. It seems that it does take some time for some rookie forwards to learn the defense.
  • Jared Jeffries seemed less timid. On one play, he grabbed an offensive rebound, shifted his weight and shouldered up against his opponent, and confidently made a layup. He didn’t play much, but he seemed more comfortable. Let’s hope it lasts (if he makes the team).
  • The Knicks went small a few times. One lineup had Nate, Crawford, Collins, Jeffries, & Rose; another had Chandler at power forward and Lee at center. I didn’t see any big lineups.
  • Rose saw a lot of playing time. Even guys that play half way around the world don’t bite on his head fake. I wondered the whole time whether Isiah had him out there so long to see if he was useful in consideration of cutting him, or if Zeke wanted Rose to be ready for the next season. After yesterday’s game I think the latter is true.
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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).

20 thoughts to “2007 Preseason Game 2”

  1. Mike,
    Your blog is spectacular. Everything else is just a fanzine. I especially appreciate the streams on the court case. All the other blogs are convinced that IT is the victim. Thanks for getting it right.

    But back to the court. I thought that Z-Bo was right in the thick of things when the Knicks took over.

    The Knicks have great young talent but everybody else does too. This is not our fathers NBA. There aren’t alot of Chris Dudleys around (except for Jerome James). There are lots of High Schoolers and Eurpean veterans who are athletic, fundamental and savvy, filling out rosters.

    As to veterans, we know that we usually don’t have the best player on the court. We have nice balance, but we probably don’t have the best coach either, so we’re not going to win with Xs and Os. We, also, don’t seem to have a squad that wants to play the Hubie Brown style of the early 80s Knicks, where we slowed it down, scratched and clawed on D and won with guys like Ed Sherrod and a one legged Paul Westphal. That was the way Pat Riley was, too, but those teams did have superior talent. Of course the early 80s teams had Bernard King, but little else.

    I think we have a couple of ways that we might be competitive this year. One is that David Lee might reach his potential, and then some, and turn into a guy who can be the best player on the floor on a given night. He doesn’t have to score alot but he has to rebound prolifically, pass, block shots, get steals, and finish on the break. Attainable, I think. He was a spectacular per minute rebounder last year, no?

    The other possibility, and it probably has to happen in addition to the former, is that the players need to take it upon themselves to pass the basketball creatively. That was how Sacramento became a force. Of course they had Webber and Bibby and Vlade, who was an exceptional passer, and they had Pete Carrill. We have to really take advantage of people with our depth and throw changeups. Feature Curry, yes, but take what the defense gives us. The players on the Knicks have to take it apon themselves, though. There’s no Tex Winter. I think this is attainable. I’ve noticed Nate is markedly improved and had some beautiful passes in game 2. They did move the ball well as a team.
    Sorry if this response isn’t very thoroughly researched or if I spelled Carrill wrong. I know you guys are sticklers for detail.

  2. danvt:

    Good insights.
    I think the Knicks have some nice players, but maybe one that might be transcendant.
    The entire team has been developed on calculated risks:
    Second round talent with upside.
    Veterans with character issues.
    And supreme athletes that haven’t ever realized their potential.
    In total, long-shots at best.

  3. And their head coach and GM…
    an aggregiously flawed person (see harrassment suit), once a great player, with an uncommon eye for spotting young talent (Lee et al), an inability assess that talent outside the context of his own ego (Crawford), and unfortunately, a simplistic and flawed desire to create a team modeled on his glory day teams (Detroit).

    And while I remain hopeful that he and Dolan eventually are dumped by Charles Dolan, I’m also hopeful that Lee, Balkman, Robinson, Curry, Chandler, Jeffries, Nichols, Morris and the other young ones develop into a solid nucleus until Marbury, Rose, and several of the other expensive limited contributors sunset.

  4. Some interesting stuff over at True Hoop on the Maccabi game and the Knicks big men in general…

    Here is the snippet.

    Chris Mannix of SI.com talks to a scout about the Knick big men Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry: “Then there is the matter of defense. ‘Randolph doesn’t play any,’ the scout said. ‘Neither does Eddy.'” Alan Hahn of Newsday: “Zach Randolph had a good line (15 and 7) for just 20 minutes of action. But you can see that as hard as he works, he doesn’t have great defensive instincts. Marcus Fizer, who is a load at 6-8 and easily 270 lbs, was bodying him around and getting position.”

    Here are the links:



  5. it’s hard to draw too much from exhibition games, and even more so against non-NBA teams. Randolph certainly may not “have great defensive instincts”, but he also is almost definitely not bringing his A game right now, and he shouldn’t be, the season’s too damn long.

  6. “Randolph certainly may not ‘have great defensive instincts’, but he also is almost definitely not bringing his A game right now, and he shouldn?t be, the season?s too damn long.”

    The Knicks peaked in preseason under Larry Brown (mainly because he played the rookies (and there was reason to be excited)). They were pretty good last year too, then started the real season terribly. Still, there is something to be said for having a strong pre-season. Winning is internalized and if they come out of the gate on all cylinders they may not put themselves into the position they did last year and have to make up games at the end that they lost early on. When should Randolph bring his A game– the playoffs? Randolph admitted he wasn’t in great shape at the start of camp. It’s not that easy to turn it on and off without a natually fit body. He needs to work hard and this seems like a good time to start (especially with injuries to Curry and Balkman).

  7. Randolph doesn’t really have much to prove, he’s not an unproven rookie and he’s shown he knows what it takes to put up superb numbers over the course of a season. the team does need to start the regular season strong, but how hard or cohesively they play against Maccabi now has very little to do with that, IMO.

  8. Good defense requires teamwork>
    Good teamwork comes with time.
    Randolph just arrived and has only played a short while with this squad.
    And if he isn’t sharp and the rest of the folks on the floor are subpar defenders, his problems only will be accentuated.
    This will take time.

  9. I just wish to note that I find it kinda funny to make a big deal out of having the NBA teams play foreign teams, and then have the Elite’s two star players be American NBA rejects.

  10. One thing I didn’t mention is that watching Lee, I was reminded of how good he is. After an offseason of his detractors stating that he’s simply a role player, I found him to be more capable on offense than he’s given credit for.

    You’d think he was Dennis Rodman (who was comical on offense) by how some people described him. But he put the ball on the floor a few times, and one time he beat his defender off the dribble. Lee’s very good finishing around the hoop, either by scoring or drawing a foul (which should have been obvious from the box scores). He moved well without the ball, at least twice receiving good passes from Nate & Jamal as they broke down the defense. In essence, Lee was an active participant in the half court set.

  11. Completely agree. His finishing/foul drawing is superb. The same is true of his offensive positioning. One of Lee’s best skill (I am of course a serious connoisseur of those) might be his ability to make himself available for passes. That is a skill, just as passing is. He is unbelievable at getting to the low block at the perfect moment for his teammates to find him. If he gets the pass he usually converts or gets fouled. If a shot is taken he is is ready to board. He really moves well without the ball, much better than any other Knick. He has a knack for being in the right place.

    So far, through two completely meaningless preseason games, it looks like his offense production might be distracting him from rebounding. But he actually has been almost as effective as ever. He seems to be bizarrely efficient at whatever he is focusing on, whether it’s rebounding or scoring.

  12. Lee also has the vision and ability to rack up 3 or 4 assists per if he wanted to. He averaged 1.8 last year at 30 mpg. I mean let randoph drop 15 footers. That and picks are more effective when you have the ball alot of times the defender doesn’t see it coming. Lee could bump most 5’s out of position. but what would really be effective is lee setting the pick randoph coming off of it leaving the other teams 3 and 4 out of position causing the 5 to rotate leaving a floater for randoph or a dunk for curry. It’d be better than just tossing the ball in from the wing.

  13. “So far, through two completely meaningless preseason games, it looks like his offense production might be distracting him from rebounding.”

    I hate to say this, but it’s entirely possible that some of Lee’s rebounding prowess was due to playing next to poor rebounders in Curry & Frye. During the preseason games I saw him compete with Randolph on one rebound, and Chandler on another. I wouldn’t be surprised if his rebounding dropped a notch this year, especially if guys like Zach, Balkman, Chandler, Collins, and Nate see more playing time. There’ll just be less rebounds to go around.

    One other thing I noticed is Lee releasing down the court on one play (earning a fast break basket). Maybe with all the rebounders on the court, he’s able to (either on his own or by design) run more.

  14. I agree his rebounding numbers may go down. Still, so far he has posted a winscore of 11 in 32 minutes against philly, and 12.5 in 24 minutes against Maccabi So for those two games, in which he didn’t rebound will, he posted a per minute win score of .420. The average for a power forward is .215. So to get esoteric, his PawsMin is .205. Last year, it was .184. Basically, despite not rebounding particularly well, he has still been 12% more productive in these (meaningless) preseason games than he was on average last year.

    Of course he has had to post a ts% of 80% to do it, which isn’t going to happen over the long run. But it’s weird. Watching NBA ballers, and looking at their numbers, I often sense there is something almost like a basketball quanta for players , some sort of constant, a production quotient they are bound to more or less achieve no matter what there role is on the court is or who they are playing with.

    Let’s hope it works out that way with Lee’s transition to being more of a scoring player, which is what seems to be in the works…

  15. I think Lee is one of those players that gives the team what it needs when it needs it.
    If they need him to score, he can score. If they need him to rebound, he rebounds.
    Last year, he was the tam’s primary rebounder.
    With Randolph and others working the boards, he’s going to be competing with them for boards.
    In some ways he reminds me of Shawn Marion, but he’s not there yet.

    One key thing to note on defense:
    Crawford is horrible. A classic matador.
    A player goes by and he gives up. It’s like playing with a bad defender in a pick up game: always looking for the handoff.
    He doesn’t fight picks. He doesn’t stay with a player if they make a move to pass him.
    It’s pathetic for a guy that is supposed to be athletic.
    I have to say: I don’t like him.
    Sadly, I think Marbury is often guilty of the same thing: he gives up and tries to hand off.

  16. “The Knick offense, aka the Quick, seemed to be more fluid. There were some good give & go plays, and there was more passing the ball. It may have been the absence of Curry holding the ball in the post, but hopefully Isiah has refined his offense in the offseason.”

    I agree. The offense is really starting to shape up. I was reading on MSG’s Game On! that Thomas thinks the team’s chemisrty is good right now.
    I think they need to get better at reading each other defensively before the chemistry is truly “good.”

  17. Nice concise insights Mike, thank you. Agree with all, with the small exception of Malik Rose…I don’t think he is long for the Knicks, he won’t get much PT on this team but could still be a strong role players for a title contender, ironically, if he can get the time.

  18. Sorry to be so late on my comments here. I didn’t see the Maccabi game but the SI snippet Owen posted is intriguing as it dovetails a bit with something I saw re: Randolph.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised by how active Randolph was in the opener vs. Philly. He moves quite a bit. He certainly wasn’t dogging it in the game I saw. He was playing hard. I think there may be something to his having poor defensive instincts. I didn’t see a lack of defensive effort. I saw a guy with a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time–poor anticipation that leaves him reaching a lot.

  19. I think you retain a players rights unless you bring them to training camp and then cut them, which it seems like that would be the case with Jordan. If so I dont think the Knicks can just let him go to europe now that they have brought him to camp and then be able to bring him around next year.

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