2010 Game Thread: Knicks at Pistons

I will actually miss the game as I have the “privilege” of seeing Carrie Fisher’s one-woman play tonight (how’s the phrase go? “The things we do for love”?).

But you luckier folks will be here to discuss the Knicks match-up tonight against the Detroit Pistons in Detroit. This is an important match-up for the Knicks in their desire to make a move in the crowded bottom half of the Eastern Conference. The Pistons are currently tied with the Knicks in the standings, and both teams trail the #7 team by one and a half game.

This would be a great road win.

Go Knicks!

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145 thoughts to “2010 Game Thread: Knicks at Pistons”

  1. omg big blue al i thought of the same exact thing b4 i even read your comment. At the very least, her hair should be in the “Danish buns” style

  2. Yea, me too. But the way the coach is leaves little hope. I’m banking on the rotation players actually showing up to play today. Was Bender injured last game?

  3. Hope he’s a factor tonight. Detroit’s got its big three back too (Wallace, Prince, Hamilton), but last game they were rusty… Fingers crossed…

  4. Gallo showing some grit going up to try and block that. I like that we’re not just giving up dunks.

  5. it seems like the knicks play better when they attack the defensive boards….or do i have the cause-effect reversed?

    Anyone know what the knicks’ record is when they outrebound their opponents?

  6. ARGH mental mistake by hughes. how many more times are we going to have to say that this season?

  7. Pistons are lucky to be down 6. If the Knicks didn’t have a few really terrible turnovers, it’d still be double-digits.

  8. Maybe its just my general dislike of hughes but I feel like since the groin he has made a ton of lazy plays.

  9. cause I’m THREE…THREE FALLIN’

    It is such a relief to see the three pointers start dropping for a change

  10. this is just a wild thought which has nothing to do with tonite’s game, but….
    I keep reading about Andrew Bynum not exactly playing to expectations in the triangle. I hear things like: Phil wants him to board more and play better defense or he can’t function like he wants to when Gasol’s around..little things like that. So..I propose that DW offers up Lee, Hill, and Duhon in a package for Farmar (who Phil reportedly doesn’t favor) and Bynum. Or something close to it. I know Bynum makes alotta cake, but it seems like he & Lee would fit better if they were to trade teams. LA would have their rebounder who doesn’t need the ball, and we would have a legit big man who shouldn’t bog down the offense and can be surrounded by shooters and a true star if we can buyout or trade Curry. What yal think?

  11. The difference between Lee and Bynum might be more marginal than we think.

    how is Bynum’s defense

  12. Lee kind of disappeared for a few minutes there, but he has been amazing otherwise. Nailing jumpers in traffic, driving and finishing with contact. Awesome.

  13. Really? Has Ill Will hit a shot from beyond point blank tonight? I may have not been paying attention, but I feel like he’s always busting out some unnecessary spin move and then clanking the front rim.

  14. 17-5-3 for D Lee in the first half. If he can keep it up, we’ve got a good shot at a W. This Pistons team sucks.

  15. Completely off topic but in anticipation of God of War 3 coming out for the PS3 in March I bought the God of War collection and just finished beating God of War 1.

    Must say an amazing game especially considering it was made in 2005 for the PS2. Dunno why in the world I never bought the God of War games for PS2 but am damn happy they put them out now for the PS3. OK back to the Knicks game.

  16. Doug,
    Bynum’s defense has been decent this season. He is getting 1.7 blocks a game, although sometimes I wonder if he gets those b/c he has other good defensive players on the floor with him to make it easier. But he’s a big man who is not limited to just the paint. he doesn’t quite have Lee’s jumper, but he can step out to 12-15 feet if needed. So I agree with u in the fact that the difference between Lee and Bynum may be smaller than we think. If Lee keeps up this season’s performance, there is no way we can re-sign him for 8-10 mil a year, even if LBJ signs and we have the cap room. I just think we need a big who’s effective on offense and willing/able to defend the paint regardless of what system we use.

  17. My point was that he has been hitting from point blank. He’s not having a good scoring game, but he’s actually getting to the basket. He’s a bad shooter. He’s been a bad shooter, and I expect him to continue to be a bad shooter. Why D’Antoni allows him to take more than 1 or MAYBE 2 3-pters per game and so many shots period is beyond me. He’s been doing a good job of keeping his 3s down and getting to the basket more recently. He’s got 3 stls and 1 blk in the half tonight.

    8 shots in 8 minutes is not what I want to see (in fact, it’s exactly what I don’t like about Chandler), but all his makes are coming at the basket and he’s giving a strong overall effort. I made that comment after 2 of his makes and a steal or two came close together.

  18. Agreed Ted, Chandler has been driving alot more lately and being much more active defensively and on the boards.

  19. Man, I hope we can keep Lee. He’s finally turning into everything he promised to be his first couple of seasons.

  20. Word up Ted, certainly Wilson has been playing better of late, but I still don’t think he’s gonna amount to much.

  21. Nice 3 by Duhon — my single favorite thing about his game last year was that it seemed like so many times when a team was starting to make a comeback he would have a big three pointer, even after being quiet the whole game. Needless to say there’s been a lot less of that this year.

  22. Another beautiful D Lee play. Rising for the long deuce, spots the open man underneath. Loving it.

  23. tasycake,

    I’m not TOO high on Chandler, but he can be a useful rotation player if his efficiency improves and/or he shoots less.


    I like the Bynum idea. There may be something there for both sides, but I wonder if an agreement can be agreed upon… Bynum is such a big boy and so young and the Lakers are already so good that I wonder if they are willing to trade him for anything less than a knock-out deal. He’s just turned 22 a couple of months ago, so he can still be a big part of their team after Pau, Kobe, and Phil Jackson are gone and they can win it all with him in the meantime. If I’m them I would be pretty hesitant to move him. The deal also has to work with Lee’s BYC restrictions (no idea if yours does). Lee, Hill, and Duhon seems like a good package to me, but maybe the Lakers want more.

    I think Bynum is a significantly better defensive presence than Lee (still not great or even very good, but at least good) and could be a good piece to lure LeBron. I don’t know if he’s better than Lee, but he’s younger. For a rebuilding team a franchise center may be a better fit than a borderline All-Star PF. And maybe the Lakers prefer Lee (plus Hill and Duhon) to Bynum…

  24. lol @ wilcox.

    Knicks getting to the rim a lot more tonight than usual – i think that’s giving them extra confidence –> 3s falling.

    TD getting hughes minutes? awesome!

  25. Lee can really dish it out of the double-team, so it’s exciting that his O is progressing to the point where teams actually have to crowd him to get the ball out of his hands. If only Fraggle could shoot like Gallo.

  26. Looks like Indiana has been making a bit of a comeback to Chicago. If the bulls loose and we win, we move into 9th.

  27. We’re gonna win — as long as Harrington doesn’t start chucking 3’s. He’s played efficiently tonight thankfully.

  28. tastycakes,
    there has just been alotta chatter about Phil’s possible displeasure with Bynum’s fit on the team-meaning Phil problee wants him to be more of a defender/rebounder as opposed to being the 20-10 big man that he’s certainly capable of.

  29. my internet is limited today..maybe b/c of some leftover ice or whatever, so I can’t watch the game-I hafta catch the gamecast on espn thru my phone-but wow..lookin at Lee’s line-that kid is killin it out there

  30. Mase, that’s a tough one. They both suck but Jeffries has been a revelation of late. If we can shed Jeffries without taking on salary, we do it, I don’t care if we’re getting a bucket of garbage in return.

  31. This is a good road win. A real no-doubter.

    I was worried the Bockers would regress after tough losses to the Bulls and Spurs where a few guys didn’t show up.

    Who’s next, the Nets?

  32. Great game for the Knicks!! Fantastic D and Lee was a beast. Lee was by far the best player on the court tonight. Knicks played a great team game.

    I was also happy to see Douglas playing and he actually looked like an NBA PG tonight in brief flashes. Perhaps Dantoni saw something in practice and felt he had progressed.

  33. On a side note, the Pistons are a mere shadow of the tough physical team they were in recent years. They are pretty soft.

  34. What I like best about this game is how they took the lead and never relinquished it. Such a refreshing difference from the usual falling-behind-then-dramatic-comeback, only to fall short.

  35. I thought Lee was the best player on the court against the Spurs too. He’s on fire lately. I hope they continue to feed him .. the whole “Knicks don’t run plays for D Lee” common wisdom just ain’t true anymore.

  36. Lee has been creating his own offense lately too by blowing by slower defenders. Not strictly operating off pick and rolls and garbage buckets any more.

  37. Looking at the standings, it should be possible to move into 7th position since we’re only 1 game behind Charlotte.

  38. I sense Lee is hungry and very determined. You can just see it. He has always played hard but he has taken that fire to another level. It always feels great when you see a player you’ve followed for a long time just starting to get it and reach another level.

  39. Tasty…Not just on fire. Fundamentally sound. I hate the idea of the Bynum trade. It’s true, their numbers appear similar. However, AB has had a serious injury. He also may have some maturity issues. When all is said and done, Lee has done everything possible the Knicks have asked, and more. I’m not talking simple loyalty, but Lee has done all this on a franchise that has been abysmal. This demonstrates mental toughness. He’s gotten better and better each year. He’s like the kid from the bad family that excels. In my view, objectively, Lee is a good piece to a good team. Trading him, even for a player that might be marginally better, is IMO w/o merit and a really risky move. Of course if the LBJ/Wade tandem is available, different story, all bets are off.

  40. “Lee has been creating his own offense lately too by blowing by slower defenders. Not strictly operating off pick and rolls and garbage buckets any more.”

    Dan, I never thought I would say this, but Lee is becoming really difficult to guard. You can’t leave him open for the 10-15 footer any more, and his ability to finish with either hand means the defender can’t play him to go one way. It also seems like he never misses when he’s within 5 ft. of the hoop. I’m a D-Lee-ver!

  41. “would walsh trade for tmac if it the rockets asked for jj, curry, gallo, lee?”

    You’re kidding, right? Even Isiah wouldn’t make that deal.

  42. D-Lee playing out of his mind these days, again I hope Owen saw this one.

    another key was a rare mid-game adjustment by D’Antoni who thankfully never put Hughes back in after he was dreadful in the first half. it’s pretty silly to play your starters as much as he did in a 17 point win with another game tomorrow, but happy to get the W.

    now beat the Nets tomorrow and get the first 10 win month since 2003!

  43. D-Lee-ver – I love it! Happy to say I’ve been one since his first year.

    (Then again, I’ve believed in Nate as well, so…make of that what you will.)

    Just read the article in the Times about T-Mac. Beck takes seriously the possibility that some team may trade for him “for a playoff run.” Really? Really??? Unless Layden came back into the league or Isaiah is secretly pulling the strings somewhere, would any GM possibly believe T-Mac is the missing piece of any puzzle??????

    The Rockets would be lucky to get Harrington, Jeffries, and Hill for him. They should be grateful for that deal. Their second-best option will be simply to let his contract expire and join the free-agent game next summer…

    …which is what I predict they’ll do, rather than let Jeffries’ contract mess them up. It’ll be our privilege to keep him and Curry and, after being rejected by LBJ, Wade, and so on, sign Lee and not have any money left over for anyone else.

    “Course, there’s always CP3 in 2011….

  44. Carrie Fisher did, indeed, wear the buns at the show.

    The show was pretty funny, really, although not something I’d see of my own volition.

    Anyhow, great win! Wow, a possible 10 win month? Nuts.

    That Beck article was horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible. “The Rockets only want expiring contracts, so that rules out Jeffries and Curry” – Beck falls into the same trap Simmons did in his article – “The Rockets only want expiring contracts” automatically equals “The Rockets will not take non-expiring contracts,” which is not necessarily true at all.

  45. I heard the show was funny. All for the best that she no longer wears the gold slavegirl outfit, though….

  46. I am at best lukewarm to a T-Mac deal unless Curry is part of it. There is no evidence that he is anywhere close to the player he was. We are finally playing well for an extended stretch. Bringing in a player of his magnitude without being certain that he can perform might derail the chemistry we have right now, and Jeffries is a big part of that chemistry. Since we have no draft pick, making the playoffs is an important consideration and a draw to free agents. Unless you are convinced that T-Mac gets us there, I would pass. And I don’t see how D’Antoni or Walsh could be convinced based on the limited action T-Mac has seen with the Rockets this year.

    The Rockets are playing very well in a tough conference with Ariza playing extended minutes despite shooting way worse than Wilson Chandler ever did. They are currently the seventh seed and are one losing streak away from being on the outside looking in. If they don’t see T-Mac as a guy to get them over the top at the expense of Ariza, that’s pretty telling.

  47. From what I understand Rockets only want expiring contracts back supposedly but that greatly limits trading partners considering not too many teams have that much money in expiring contracts available. They could of course just let McGrady walk at the end of the year and get nothing in return for him. But if McGrady is heathy he might press them into a trade in which case they might ease up on their demands.

    As far as I’ve heard on the rumor mill, the one FA Houston is said to have a good shot at is Bosh.

  48. the rockets don’t want expiring contracts? why?

    Ha! Yeah, I, of course, reversed what I meant to say. They only want expiring contracts.

  49. “My point was that [Chandler] has been hitting from point blank. He’s not having a good scoring game, but he’s actually getting to the basket. He’s a bad shooter. He’s been a bad shooter, and I expect him to continue to be a bad shooter.”

    “Word up, Ted, certainly Wilson has been playing better of late, but I still don’t think he’s gonna amount to much.”

    Ted and tastycakes,
    I just don’t get the backhanded compliments you guys give WC. He has played very solid offensive basketball for this entire month. He is shooting around 50% from the field, and many of those made shots have been jumpers. He shoots 85% from the line, not a stat associated with perennial bad shooters. He has been a huge part of this run and generally is taking nearly as many shots as he was before. Yes, he is being more selective, taking less 3’s and going to the basket more, but still takes and makes plenty of jumpers. According to 82games.com, he shoots even better in crunch time, especially from outside. To make statements like the ones above about a 22 year-old coming off surgery after he has given us a month of consistently good shooting (and even better overall play) is pretty harsh.

  50. in my view, and this is a conversion for me, Lee has become a player the Knicks must resign. He is homegrown, he plays well in this market, and, imo, he’s one of the best power forwards in the league right now.
    The development of his mid-range jumper has made him almost undefendable. Soon teams will need to double him routinely.
    He can go to glass, shoot with both hands and dribble past slower defenders. He stretches the defense, and if he can keep his D adequate, he will be as complete a player as one can expect short of super stardom.
    There, said it.
    Owen’s man-love for Lee has been justified by Lee’s development. He also flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says a player at his stage doesn’t change much, but in fact he has changed a lot with his outside shot.
    The great players develop various aspects of their games, like when Jordan developed his fadeaway floater as his physical talents declined.
    Lee has shown an ability to change and develop and there is every reason to believe he will continue to improve his game. I suspect his defense will be the next important development.

    I think keeping Lee will be as important to attracting a max FA as attracting some other FA.
    Lee has become essential. He’s the soul of this team.
    Who would have thunk it?

  51. Jeffries is playing fine (for him) but if you don’t think we could find a better way to spend that $6.8 million next summer….

    Of course for that reason it seems unlikely that Houston would take him. Some team might use him to fill a role but Houston has a glut of forwards who can defend – better than Jeffries. And they are way, way too smart to take Curry.

    IMO the Houston talk is either a) sportswriter doodling; b) Walsh floating trial balloons.

    The best to hope for is finding a team that a) has no real hope of a big FA this summer, so is willing to take Jeffries; and b1) wants to dump someone with a big expiring contract or b2) really likes Jordan Hill. I’m in no way a Hill fan, but from what I’ve seen of D’Antoni, benching a player doesn’t mean the guy can’t play. So I’d say the jury is still out on that.

    re: Andrew Bynum, if he could ever make it through a season without being hurt, it would be a no-brainer – he does what DL does except he’s 7 feet tall, a good defender and four years younger.

    But… he does get hurt. And probably because of that, he hasn’t come close to his rebound or assist numbers from two years ago. Seems like chronic problems. And of course he’s not cheap. That trade would be a tough call.

  52. Who would have thunk it?

    More than a few people here.

    I don’t mean to be snarky there, Frank, it just struck me as funny to ask “Who would have thought David Lee would be great?” on Knickerblogger, David Lee’s personal Fan Club site. :)

  53. Frank,
    Completely agree, Lee is the soul of this team. All the more evident now that the me-first attitude is finally starting to leave this team (cough… Mr. Harrington… cough…). Would Gallo be the pituitary gland as we’re still growing? Insert butt jokes here.

    Gotta say, am I missing something in this whole FA mess? Granted we would need to find our own Kevin Mchale, but don’t the contracts of Curry and JJ become much more palatable this summer (team’s apparent willingness for a one year rental)? So while I think we have a golden opportunity with T-Mac, as long as we don’t give up too much, we have SOME time.

  54. If we can resign Lee for less than max and a max agent I’d be completely happy with Lee being the number 2 or 3 guy. He’s proven he can address the weaknesses that led people to be wary of a big contract last year, and it’s not like this is the first year he’s worked hard in the offseason and returned with a new facet of his game (see his free throw shooting for example), but it is the most dramatic. And the best part is that Lee is taking advantage of his newfound jumper to start driving to the basket and creating his own shots. Some people were worried before he might “fall in love” with a jump shot and his percentages would decline, but if anything he’s been using it to get better shots off close to the basket as well. His FG% is ridiculous right now considering he’s averaging 18 PPG on a team without a star to distract the opposing defenders.

  55. Continuing the Lee love-fest…

    To me, the Spurs game was the real eye-opener, with Lee basically outplaying Duncan. What PF would you trade straight up for D Lee today? Here’s a list of the top PF’s right now, I may have missed someone:

    Josh Smith

    Boozer – no. Garnett and Duncan are obvious HOF locks, and are better today, but their future is limited. Gasol is a tough call, and I think you’d have to take Bosh right now, although it’s a lot closer than it used to be. Smith gives you that crazy blocked shot ability, but can be an erratic scorer. It’s mind boggling that we can even have this discussion, I give TONS of credit to Lee for working on that jumper and improving his skill set year after year. We definitely have to figure out a way to sign him.

  56. d-mar you left out Dirk who I know is sort of like a hybrid player but he is mostly known as a PF.

  57. I floated Bynum out there b/c he’s a legit big who’s not one dimensional like Curry, but I would like to see us be able to keep Lee. But he’s playing out of his mind and we may hafta sacrifice him to get better. There is no way we can afford him and get a mega star like LBJ or Wade and a 2nd tier star-even if we lose Curry or Jeffries. Jeffries, IMO, brings enuf to the table to keep him. But if the right trade comes along, DW would be foolish not to move him. Back to Lee, if we were somehow able to keep him-it is imperative that we get a physical 5 so Lee won’t hafta guard them. Who is out there that would fit in? That question is the biggest reason why I would look into trading Lee-we will get alot for him. Draft picks, cap room, young players with loads of potential-all of them would help. And Lee is the best way to get them. In the case of Curry, I think a team like Portland is more suited to trading for him as opposed to Houston. Houston expects Yao back at some point, so why would they want a player like Curry when he doesn’t defend well and they already have a franchise player in Yao who scores in the paint? Portland on the other hand, problee can use low post scoring even with a healthy Oden. That said, I still think buying out Curry is a more likely option than trading him. If Curry REALLY wants to play and prove that he’s worth a few millions, then he’ll accept a buyout b/c it’s becoming increasingly apparent that he won’t play in Mike D’s (shout out to Beastie Boys lol) rotations-ever. Curry can accept DW’s offer (which will problee be the total amount of the rest of this year’s salary), sign with a team that will use him and re-establish his rep as a 20 ppg scorer in the paint and raise his value on the 2010 market at the same time. This will do wonders for our cap becuz 201 is an option year for Curry, so if Walsh can buy him out then he only has to buy out this season’s salary. I don’t think Eddy has lost his game, I just think he’s a very bad fit in this system. At some point Eddy has to show the faith in his skills that he speaks about so often, so I expect for DW to press hard for a buyout. Eddy’s gotta know he’s a bad fit for D’Antoni’s system. Now, as far as T Mac goes…
    If he’s healthy an can still get around 20ppg a game, how about offering a package that gets him outta Houston but doesn’t really offer any additional cap space? That is of course if we can trade Curry elsewhere or buy him out. I don’t think Houston would be interested in Harrington b/c they have Scola. But Darko, Mobley, Duhon, Hill and Nate for T Mac, Cook, Lowry and a first rounder makes sense to me for this season. Or if Houston won’t give up a first rounder then substitute Lowry and the first rounder for Aaron Brooks and a second rounder-which is problee the better option. Then if we don’t have enuf guys that D’Antoni feels comfy with in his rotation, DW can use the Lee chip to add even more stuff to the war chest. Obviously the key to this is Curry. If by some miracle Walsh were able to do this or anything similar then there is almost no chance that a Mega Star won’t want to sign in NY. We’d have cap room, young quality rotation players in Chandler, Rooster, Brooks or Lowry, and Douglas-and the greatest arena on earth to play in. Not to mention a draft pick in 2010 (a good one if the Brooks option works) and a coach the megastars love to play for. That’s my 2 cents lol..more like a whole dollar-sorry for the long winded post. Overall, I think that Walsh should look into moving Lee now b/c I think he’s played his way out of our budget. Like I said, we may hafta move him to get better-not necessarily b/c of on court performance, but b/c moving him now can bring us more assets whether it’s cap room, players or picks.

  58. Caleb,
    Buying Curry out would take him off our cap b/c 2010 is an option year for Curry so we would only be buying out this season’s salary. Well at least that’s what I read somewhere, I may be wrong.

  59. It Is an option, but it’s a player option, so unless you think he’s going to walk away from $11 million to find a better deal, we’re stuck.

  60. “Ted and tastycakes,
    I just don’t get the backhanded compliments you guys give WC. He has played very solid offensive basketball for this entire month.”

    A whole month, really? I don’t think it’s at all harsh to criticize a guy who takes a lot of shots and doesn’t make many of them. I had no problem criticizing Crawford and Randolph for the same thing. He’s 22, but it’s his third NBA season. If a guy can’t score but limits his shots and helps the team in other ways, I won’t criticize him. If a guy takes 20 FGAs in a game he’s opening himself up to criticism.

    He is not a good, consistent scorer. I don’t see how you can argue that. His strong FT shooting suggests to me he should concentrate on shooting from mid-range and in, because he clearly can’t shoot from the perimeter. I still hold out hope that he can become a medium-efficiency scorer, but until he puts up a TS% above 52% over a full season I won’t be convinced.

    I sort of regret saying the nice things I did about Chandler after he went out and took 20 FGAs last night and only scored 23 pts. His TS% was 52.8% on the night. That’s better than he’s ever done for a season, but really weak for the guy who leads your team in FGAs. Not when you’ve got several (Lee, Gallo, Harrington, Douglas, Nate, ?Bender?, ?Hill?) more efficient scorers at your disposal. Having your least efficient scorers take the most shots is not usually the way to run an effective offense.

    I’ve tried to be pretty consistent in my criticism on Chandler: learn to shoot/score well and/or stop shooting so much. Last night he did neither. Recently he seems to be shooting slightly less (or at least improved shot selection) and slightly better, which was promising. I’ve been encouraged by his play, and don’t feel my compliments have been backhanded. He’s not a good perimeter shooter, I base that on facts not my opinion. Plenty of good NBA players were/are not good perimeter shooters.

  61. Not only would a buy-out not take Curry off the cap in 2011, you are specifically not allowed to buy out a player option.

    The player has to choose to opt out on their own, and it has to be evident that they’re doing it on their own accord, and there’s no way that the league would buy that Curry was voluntarily opting out of his contract.

  62. I think that through all this it’s worth giving credit where credits due to the management, from coach to the front office. Walsh could have pulled the trigger on the TMac deal, if it was available, earlier in the year. Whether it was faith that D’Antoni would turn it around or not is fairly irrelavent because coach d has this team playing playoff caliber ball of late. As a result, for the first time in a long time the knicks hold a commanding position in any trade talks with anyone as they don’t HAVE to trade to win. The rockets can pontificate all they want but they have no right to demand what they want. They are not the team they were and there is not exactly a glut of teams that have the trade peices the knicks have to offer. Before december i would definately have been in the camp that said everyone bar gallo would be available. However Lee’s efficiency would be lethal with LeBron or Wade or anyone else for that matter. But all in all well done to walsh for his business savvy and to d’antoni who has instilled a much more professional attitude into the ball club, however unpopular!

  63. The one problem I have is what seems like a consensus that Lee has suddenly made this huge jump out of no where. He’s been consistently improving his game since he got in the league. I agree that it’s really all coming together for him now, but he hit a similar eFG% on jumpers two seasons ago. He was taking less jumpers, but the notion that he couldn’t ever buy a jumper before is unfounded.

    Lee is a valuable piece, but I don’t really go for the whole “Knicks have to be loyal to him” line of reasoning. If he gets a better offer from another team, he’s probably out of here. So, if the Knicks can get a better value in free agency they should take it. I can’t tell you who is going to be over- and under-valued in free agency yet.

    “He’s the soul of this team. Who would have thunk it?”

    Ummm… anyone who has watched the team for the past several years.

    “Gotta say, am I missing something in this whole FA mess?”

    Two of the top 2-5 players in the NBA are available THIS SUMMER. Plus several other very good players. The only real hope for bringing in a top 5 player through a trade is Chris Paul. There’s certainly a chance NO trades him, but no matter how cheap they are I don’t think they do until they absolutely have to (i.e. they are soon going to lose him to free agency… and he’s not a FA until 2012… and he still may prefer to stay with NO who can offer him more money than anyone else unless they really piss him off).

    Having one top 5 player makes you a contender, having two makes you a favorite. I’m not as star obsessed as a lot of people, but this is a league where true super-stars dominate. It’s also a league where true super-stars are seriously underpaid because of the max salary.


    Your point is well taken: it’s amazing how high Lee has climbed on the pecking order at a really deep position. Defense is half the game, though, and an area where a lot of PFs have Lee beat so that also has to be a consideration.
    I take Blake Griffin, I think, based on upside. I do take Bosh and Gasol, all else equal. Kevin Love is a lot younger and may be comparable. Anthony Randolph also has tons of upside, but I’m not crazy about him (I am crazy about his upside, just doubt whether he reaches it). Scola is someone I probably wouldn’t take over Lee (scoring efficiency down this season), but I think deserves to be in the discussion… Carl Landry too. Millsap isn’t rebounding this season (nor is Landry) and hasn’t improved much on last season, but also could get his name in there and may be more prominent once Boozer leaves Utah. Dirk enters the discussion, but like Duncan and KG is old. I’ll take LeBron at the 4 over Lee, I think, not that I want LeBron at the 4.

  64. Caleb & BC..thanx 4 clearin me up on the buying out of Curry. So basically Curry would hafta decline his option b4 we can buy him out? Let’s hope he has enuf faith in his skills to do so, lol. But he’s got 2 know that he won’t play in NY unless he can take his game out to at least 10 feet and play some D.

  65. Also, Lee is a 5 right now. It’s not at all obvious to me that D’Antoni will ever play him at the 4. In this context–the only one that’s relevant for the Knicks right now–defense becomes more important and there are that many more players you have to compare Lee against (both 4s and 5s).

    I didn’t mention Horford or Amare at the 4.


    Like I said, like the Bynum idea. I fooled around for a few minutes and couldn’t find a realistic combo that worked under the cap rules, though, due to Lee’s status as a BYC player. I just messed around with the trade machine and didn’t actually look at the numbers, though.

    Agreed that the Knicks should at least get an idea of Lee’s trade value. Saw a good criteria for assessing trades over on RiverAveBlues, a Yankees blog. Something like: a. is that the most value you can get? and b. are you a better team after making the deal? Pretty obvious, but pretty useful I think. You might as well know the answer to the first question to see what you think about the second.

  66. The one problem I have is what seems like a consensus that Lee has suddenly made this huge jump out of no where.

    Agreed. I was arguing that point on the previous thread – I disagree with the notion that somehow Lee has silenced his critics this year.

    It is more a case of his critics being off-base in the past, and now his increased usage makes him look better, but he’s basically the same guy he’s always been, which is an All-Star caliber player.

    But yeah, if the Knicks could get someone better than Lee, I’d dump him, as well.

  67. Not to go all Hollinger on you but doesn’t his increased usage mean he is better, especially considering the percentage numbers are more or less the same? He moves form to be extreme the land of Joel Pryzbilla offensively to thhe the land of (fill in the blank b/c I am too lazy too look up a “superstar” PF/C with high TSP and usage).

  68. A sense a little snark about my “who would have thunk it” comment about Lee.
    But see, I think most of us, most of us not named Owen, saw Lee as a nice piece for a decent team. He has been an efficient scorer who was able to score mostly by eating off the land, put backs, lay ups, back doors, etc. He wasn’t helping the Knicks win games…
    The one big thing was he was unreliable from 12-15. You can go back and look at the level-headed critiques of Lee here over the past few years. They all noted two drawbacks that kept him from being an elite power forward: his defense and his mid-range jumper.
    So, suddenly this year, his mid-range is killer. It has opened up the floor for him, and, as a result, his efficiency has actually improved.
    What’s more intense is his ability to score from the PnR. He has become very good in the PnR, to the degree that now the team doesn’t leave him to feed off the land…the offense runs through him.
    I’m not sure anyone not named Owen saw Lee as the feature guy through which the Knicks could run their offense.
    His basketball IQ is terrific. He’s making passes and decisions that are making his teammates better. the fact that guys are saying he’s playing out of his head is a testament to how much better he is than many thought possible.

    It’s one thing to say Lee was a good player with nice efficiency and great boards, but not a guy who can carry the team, not an all star.
    It’s something entirely different to say Lee will lead a pretty decent Knicks team (based on their December run of .600+ ball) and a likely All Star…No one, not even Owen foresaw that.

    What’s different now between last year and this year, aside from better efficiency, is that the Knicks feature him. Teams now know to expect he’s going to get the ball. It’s one thing to play off a bunch of bricklayers and feeding off their misses or dump offs. It’s another thing entirely to be featured. He gets the ball in a PnR, or on the perimeter and he then attacks. And his efficiency improved: eFG% 58.2 v. 54.9 and TS% 61.9 v. 59, PER 21.5 v. 19.
    And this year he’s 5th in total rebounds, 5th in field goal percentage, 3rd in defensive rebounds, and 7th in rebounds per game.

    Of course, this could be an aberration. In January he could settle down and become the nice role player he’s been his entire career.
    The fact is, the Knicks probably wouldn’t have paid more than $9 mil for him, and apparently no one else in basketball thought he was worth that much last year on the restricted FA market.
    Well, if his play continues, and there is every reason to believe it will, he’s gonna get $10 mil or more. He’s turned into a 20-10 guy, who can pass, has great hands, plays well within a team concept, and he’s a double-double machine. You know what teams pay for consistently productive big men?
    And he’s doing this out of position.

    I know it’s early, but with his efficiency and ability he could be getting more touches. I’m just not sure it’s worth losing his rebounding, which I think suffers at some point if his focus is scoring.

    Anyway, I suspected I’d read some folks acting as if this was predictable, but I don’t recall anyone reasonably making a case that Lee would be an all star.
    So, I make the case. cheers.

  69. The more i look at lee’s stats the more i feel ashamed. Not that i ever hated lee but i was nievely underwhelmed by his game. But since his rookie year he has only dropped below .600 TS% once! Tim Duncan’s offense is not all that different to Lee and he has never reached that mark. That majorly puts it in perspective for me. Although Lee’s defensive woe’s are not covered up by basketball reference! Tim Duncan on D he is not! But he does deserve more recognition than he is already receiving. Check it out, its really quite suprising.

  70. Nick C.,

    I definitely agree that he’s improved. My point is just that it’s been a fairly gradual and not entirely unexpected (though maybe best case) improvement. I could go back in the KB archives to prove it is not unexpected, but am also too lazy. I will say that there was a discussion a few years back where Owen was not completely alone in saying he would not trade Lee for Kobe. Others may not have been quite as adamant (I really don’t remember, maybe they were), but were sympathetic to Owen’s point of view.
    His usage jumped last season, his first under D’Antoni, and his efficiency remained strong despite a fall off in his jumper. The only thing I am disagreeing with is the sense I am getting that Lee suddenly got good this season (or in the past few weeks even) out of no where and no one in their right mind expected it.

    Frank O.,

    I honestly wasn’t sure if you were being sarcastic with that comment or serious. A lot of people here thought Lee was a nice piece on any team, including the best teams in the league. And a young guy with room to grow, how much no one could exactly say. I for one am not really surprised with how Lee is playing. He’s reaching his maximum potential, maybe, but even the Knicks are bound to get a guy who does that occasionally.

    D’Antoni’s arrival has really helped him blossom. His usage went up last season more so than this season. His role changed and he adapted. For the three seasons before that he was not asked or even allowed to take a larger role in the offense.

    Plenty of people thought Lee should, but probably never would, be an All-Star… especially if he kept developing. He was strongly in the All-Star discussion last season, and his agent claims he was the next alternate should someone else have gone down. He’s playing better this season, but it’s not out of no where. The play around him is improved more than his play, I would argue.

    “What’s different now between last year and this year, aside from better efficiency, is that the Knicks feature him.”

    That’s not true. They feature him more, but his usage was only a bit lower last season.

    The league may not have viewed him as a $10 million per player and you might not have, but most of the voices around here did, all else equal. I mean no one wanted to pay him $10 mill if you could have him for $7, but I personally remember pointing out many times that based on the market for Gordon and Turkoglu, Lee is a $10 mill plus player.

    “He’s turned into a 20-10 guy, who can pass, has great hands, plays well within a team concept, and he’s a double-double machine.”

    The only thing that wasn’t true about that 2 years ago was the 20 ppg. He jumped that up to 16.5 per 36 last season (following increases every season before that ending in 13.4) and up again to 18.8 this season. I agree that he’s improved a lot, I just resent the notion that no one saw it coming when a lot of people on this blog have spent several years seeing it coming.

  71. To back up what Frank and some others are saying, the reason some of us are a bit more enthused about Lee lately is that he’s diversified his game in meaningful ways beyond his already outstanding shooting around the basket. This is not an attack on Owen (whose posts I’ve always enjoyed, even the most fanatical pro-Lee ones), but he specifically posted his skepticism about a Lee transformation into a David West-type player in D’Antoni’s system, and hasn’t been shy about his contempt for jump shooting PFs. But Lee’s increased confidence in his jumper and in his ability to facilitate the offense from the elbow (as well as his continuing improvement in creating lanes for himself in the pick and roll game and fielding difficult passes) makes him more valuable to the Knicks and more attractive to other teams in the league.

    Not to mention his improvement on defense — yes, he’ll never be a great defender, but he no longer seems indifferent, steps into passing lanes, and talks on defense much more.

    I’m not “surprised” at Lee’s evolution, and I still place him in the same pecking order as Ted does relative to other PFs/Cs, but it’s nice to see him with the confidence to take over a game lately. I always saw him as a role player previously, because I felt his ability to impact a game beyond rebounding and garbage buckets was limited, no matter how good that aspect of his game was — and I didn’t necessarily expect he would evolve this way, since even talented players like Milsap are still pretty one-dimensional.

    I still think Lee could cut down the turnovers (he’s not a great instinctive passer the way Duncan is), and I’d like to see him get even better with his hands on defense (both help and post), but I’m very pleased at the way he’s improved.

  72. The big thing with Lee and what is so nice is that he adds a little piece to his game every year. FT% year 2. PnR and a little jumper last year. Now he’s taking and making jumpers with the shot clock expiring. So I guess its a little of both. Not everyone does that, in fact not many do.

  73. Since Houston only wants expiring contracts, how about Walsh trades Mobley, Darko and Nate for Mcgrady. Houston saves some money on Mobley (insurance is paying for his salary).I am sure Rick Adelman would be able get someyhing out of Darko, cuz come on, they start a 6’7″ center plus they get a scoring punch off the bench Nate. Only works if Nate agrees to it.

    The trade works in espn trade machine.


  74. My feet are still firmly planted on the ground with regard to a good month-in the big picture it really is nothing more than that for this team-eerily similar to the month that got Isiah extended. I am not predicting a similar demise-but then again I didn’t last time, either.
    -I completely agree with Ted; Lee’s improvement has been nothing but steady over each year of his career. Yes, he is in his best offensive groove of his career and it is a pleasure to watch. And, given the Knicks relative success and his solid play I believe he has elevated himself to all star status. His production can not be ignored and unlike most of the D’antoni tenure, the game pace is not inflating his recent stats.
    STILL, and I think this is hugely important if what we are talking about is being part of winning baskteball-the only way he belongs in the elite group at his position-whether you consider him a 4 or a 5-is if he devotes this offseason to defense. Guarding his own man better and especially providing a little help inside on penetrators-then-and only then-does he belong in the conversation of elite players.
    I am continuing to enjoy Gallo’s emergence as well-I think he along with Duhon have the best basketball IQ on the team-again-I believe this is greatly underrated when it comes to actually winning. I just love seeing the increased ft attempts, some blocks, and soem very nice (bounce) passes; he really is a smart player.
    It was nice to see Chandler have a good game-and he has had a couple-but I still think he should stay within 15 feet, drive more, and PASS the ball sometimes, in order to elevate his game.

  75. Maybe you’re right, Ted. My who’da thunk it was in part tongue in cheek…but, again, I’m not sure this kind of blossoming in a 5th year player is common.
    But it seems unusual and therefore hard to predict that a 5-year player would see a jump of 3.3 percentage points in eFG, 3 percentage point jump in TS and 2.5 jump in PER. Frankly, that seems like a different player.
    And his usage has increased significantly, from 19.2% last year to 22.2% this year. His jump in usage from 08 to 09 was 3.6 percentage points compared to a jump of 3 percentage points last year to this year.
    If he could get his FT% back to what it was in 07-08 and his turnovers down to what it was that year, he’d be approaching stats comparable to some of the best PFs in the game.
    If you do that, he starts putting up advanced stats that are in the conversation with Karl Malone, or Kevin McHale. He’d be comparable to Chris Bosh this year if he saw another significant jump in his usage.

    One thing that is notable about some of the best PFs ever: it often was their 5th year where they began to blossom. So maybe this guy is special. Let’s see how it plays out.

  76. BK,

    I don’t disagree with your first paragraph. I agree that Lee has taken his game to another level. I just disagree that he’s suddenly diversified his game overnight and that no one saw it coming.
    I would take Lee over West in a heartbeat, and the great thing is that he has not become a West type player: he’s twice as good. West is a medium-to-low efficiency scorer and a weak rebounder. He’s overpaid, too. He’s like a shorter LaMarcus Aldridge.

    I don’t think the defensive difference from Lee is all that pronounced. I think it has to do a whole lot with role. He was a respectable defender at the 4 before playing for D’Antoni. D’Antoni moved him to the 5 and largely asked him to anchor the defense like a 5 would. Recently the team defense is a lot more active and Lee is being helped to anchor the middle rather than standing in there alone. One of the bigger beefs myself and others have had with D’Antoni has been his use of Lee defensively, and it’s great to see that he’s addressed that to some degree. He’s not always quick on the uptake, but D’Antoni is not nearly as stubborn as I feared.

    I think the problem is the dichotomy between “role” player and “go-to” or “franchise” player that is unnaturally imposed on the game. This is something I have been discussing here pretty much since I discovered the site. On the one hand, teams end up lumping all semi-useful players who don’t score 20 ppg together and calling them “role” players and giving them all $6-8 mill, and, on the other, they give anyone who can score 20 ppg over $10 million and think he is the answer to all their prayers. So much is lost in this simplification that I find it largely useless. We end up going all Hollinger, as Nick C. said, and assuming usage = value. David West and LaMarcus Aldridge are great because their usage is in the low-to-mid-20s, and Millsap is a one-trick pony who only gets garbage buckets even though his usage is actually 18.7 on his career and has been consistently around there… even though he’s taken 53% jumpers this season and hit an eFG% of .466 (better than Lee or Aldridge or West).

    I think confidence is a great word to use with Lee. He’s playing with more confidence in his ability. In part because his ability has improved, but I also think (know even) that previous coaches were not getting the most out of him. Here I would be willing to say that coaching might be making a difference. If only D’Antoni would start coaching Chandler more, which I thought he was up until last night.

  77. Frank O.,

    I agree that Lee’s development is close to the best case you could have hoped for with him. His overall game is not that different, though, and if you told us 2 or 3 years ago that Lee would move into a motion offense with a PG who looks for him and a coach who encourages him to become a bigger part of the offense, this is I think a lot of people would assume this is where he’d be.
    I am not as surprised as others about the jumper, because he hit a similar % of his jumpers 2 seasons ago. His jumper has improved since then (he’s taking a lot more of them…including as the shot clock expires which was a knock a lot of people used previously.. and still hitting a similar %, slightly better), but it didn’t come out of no where and outside shooting seems to be something that players who do improve in the league do improve on. The assists have also improved, but his TOs have also gone up by a similar amount (meaning he’s not necessarily a better passer, just getting the ball more and/or trying to make more happen) and his passing was always passable for a bigman (the standard for Billy Donavan bigs).

    As far as improvement in the 5th year, I don’t have anything but my gut and observations to go on. You yourself say that PFs blossom in their 5th year. I would say that Lee has mostly had very good efficiency and rate stats throughout his career, so that’s not a surprise: a lot of people took for granted that just about any 6-9 guy could put up a TS% of .600 if he were at Lee’s former usage or rebound as well if he weren’t a focal point offensively, which a lot of us took a lot of time to point out just wasn’t true.
    I would say that plenty of guys experience jumps in their 5th year, or a whole lot later, which are not necessarily repeatable. Stats are somewhat consistent, but most players have ups and downs, career years/fluke years and down years.

  78. StevenU — I can’t help but feel the same way, we’ve had little runs that have disappeared due to infighting, injury, general collapse, etc. But this does seem the most encouraging of all the runs — the team has changed its whole approach to offense and defense, it’s not just dumb luck, and hasn’t let tough losses break its momentum. Of course injuries are unpredictable so predictions are futile, but at the very least this looks like a pretty good trend.

  79. Ted,
    I have no problem with criticizing Chandler when he deserves it, just when the criticism extends to the rest of his career. You have consistently labeled him as a bad shooter who probably won’t get better. You even went as far as to suggest that the team would have been better off giving Landry his minutes when they were 4-14. You seem to acknowledge Chandler’s improvement of late, but at the same time express doubts that he can/will improve much further.

    Last night, he shot 10-20, which is 50% and can hardly be considered a bad shooting night. He has shot .505 from the field for the entire month of December, and .557 from inside the arc. The low FT attempts stat, while not a good thing, seems to indicate that he is taking a fair number of 10-20 footers, so it’s not like he’s either making lay-ups or missing. He is clearly on the right track lately, i.e. better shot selection, less 3-pt attempts, more driving to the rim.

    Everything I hear about the kid indicates that he is as dedicated and as coachable as anyone, so I just don’t get the skepticism about his future. Many players improved their perimeter/3-pt shooting over time. Chandler has played less than 2 seasons worth of games, is 22 years old, and spent the entire summer recovering from ankle surgery. Developing range on one’s shot is something that can be worked on during the off-season (see David Lee) and shooting well from FT line bodes well for that kind of development. Drawing fouls can also be worked on, and even though he is still not getting to the line enough, he is making an effort to put himself in better position to draw contact.

    Chandler may never be an all-star, but I think D’Antoni’s patience with him has been more than justified and I expect that he will continue to develop in all areas, including shooting.

  80. “Since Houston only wants expiring contracts, how about Walsh trades Mobley, Darko and Nate for Mcgrady. Houston saves some money on Mobley (insurance is paying for his salary).I am sure Rick Adelman would be able get someyhing out of Darko, cuz come on, they start a 6?7? center plus they get a scoring punch off the bench Nate. Only works if Nate agrees to it.” – Jay

    Hey Jay, what team are you on? That trade only works for Houston, and its pretty much a wash for NYK (trading expiring contracts for expiring contracts). And it give Houston financial relief (Mobley’s contract is being paid by an insurance contract) and gets us nothing in return for that asset.

    Now, do the Rockets have a first round pick…

  81. Plus, we have the upper hand when it comes to trade negotiations with Houston, as we don’t mind paying the rest of McGrady’s $23 Million contract (thanks to MSG’s deep pockets) but we also have large enough contracts to trade in return that will come close to the 125% salary threshold.

    I say Donnie Walsh patiently waits them out until the realize at the trade deadline that they have no other options and agree to take Jeffries off our hands.

  82. Jafa,

    “I say Donnie Walsh patiently waits them out until the realize at the trade deadline that they have no other options and agree to take Jeffries off our hands.”

    The other option they have is not to trade Tracy McGrady at all.

  83. Jafa,
    Even if McGrady is not McGrady of the past due to sugery and such, I am sure him coming if the bench would be better option than Hughes any day. Right now I am all for a playoff push so that Gallo, Will, TD, Hill, landry get some post season experience and make us more attractive to free agents. Nate or Darko may never get off the bench.

    I think the trade works due to our trade exceptions for Richardson, Roberson and Rose or theirs for Alston Francis and White.

    Btw Knick fan here. Been lurking the blog since Isiah days.

  84. I can’t believe I am missing all the Lee related fun. Awesome to see him playing so well, sorry that I haven’t seen him play. I do agree with Brian thought that I am not all that surprised by his play. Yeah, usage is up, more jumpers, but basically same same but same.

    And very juicy thread, a few wins definitely livens things up, I wish I had more time to wade in. One thing I will say about Chandler is that few people do less with a 50% fg% in terms of ts% than he does.

  85. I can’t believe I am missing all the Lee related fun. Awesome to see him playing so well, sorry that I haven’t seen him play. I do agree with Brian thought that I am not all that surprised by his play. Yeah, usage is up, more jumpers, but basically same same but same.

    And very juicy thread, a few wins definitely livens things up, I wish I had more time to wade in. One thing I will say about Chandler is that few people do less with a 50% fg% in terms of ts% than he does.

  86. Jay –

    T-Mac looks done, like Allan Houston after the microsurgery. There is absolutely no reason to bring on damaged goods when the team appears likely to make the playoffs in a crappy conference anyway. Unless we trade for cap-relief – which means Jeffries, since no team will take Curry, no chance, nohow. And while Jeffries is making a contribution, and trading him could cost us the playoffs (can’t believe I just said that), the cap room is infinitely more important.

    Because…if we don’t trade Jeffries, we lose Lee next summer. No matter who the max FA we sign is.

  87. Z-man,

    To shoot 66%-74% (66% this season, 74% last season) jumpers at a usage rate of 20 and be an efficient scorer, you have to be a very good jump shooter. Maybe his jumper improves to that point down the road, but as long as it is not at that point (which it hasn’t been to date) why not take less jumpers and try to get to the basket more? That seemed to me to be what Chandler was doing during the successful stretch, with last night being a bit of an exception.

    My problem with Chandler is not that he’s an inconsistent shooter, plenty of good NBA players are inconsistent jump shooters. My problem is that he’s a high usage, heavy jump shooting inconsistent jump shooter.

    I would have preferred to see Chandler start his career as more of a slasher and then develop his jumper in time. He’s pretty much done the opposite, with poor results. I’d have liked to see him come out as a low usage player and shoot more as he earned it, but he came out firing and . I feel like he’s been misused, not sure if that’s initially his fault or the coaches. He’s done it with Isiah and D’Antoni, so I put some of it on him. The coach has to correct it at some point, though, which maybe D’Antoni is trying to do (not quite forcefully enough for my tastes). You can be patient without giving someone free reign.

    “Everything I hear about the kid indicates that he is as dedicated and as coachable as anyone, so I just don’t get the skepticism about his future.”

    This is just my observation, but a lot of medium-to-high usage, low efficiency players who sit around and shoot jumpers never become efficient, no matter how lovable they are. Crawford was loved by every coach he has in NY, but was still a bum in NY. He finally is efficient now, but needed a change of scenery and better talent around him to do it.
    I have never said he can’t become a valuable piece. I think he can. I’ve just said that IF he continues to shoot a ton of long jumpers he will never be a valuable piece. He either has to pick his shots better, or just shoot less. Which I thought he was. The problem with chuckers, though, is that you think they get it but they rarely do. At this point I have labeled WC as a chucker, but I would love to see him prove me wrong.

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