Knicks Morning News (2015.07.18)

  • [New York Times] 2-Week Quest for Minutes, Eyes and Contracts (Sat, 18 Jul 2015 01:44:51 GMT)

    The N.B.A. Development League has fielded a summer league team for seven years to provide a stage for the league’s players and coaches in their pursuit of an N.B.A. contract.

  • [New York Post] Knicks have kept Carmelo in the loop — even if Phil Jackson hasn’t (Sat, 18 Jul 2015 01:02:50 -0400)

    LAS VEGAS — While Phil Jackson said he hasn't debriefed Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks' modest free-agent haul this July, at least someone prominent from the organization has. According to…

  • [New York Post] High praise for Kristaps Porzingis: Knicks may not be ‘a joke’ (Sat, 18 Jul 2015 00:10:53 -0400)

    LAS VEGAS — Knicks 7-foot-3 rookie wonder Kristaps Porzingis looked good enough in four games during the Las Vegas summer league that — as one scout put it — "Maybe…

  • 27 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2015.07.18)”

    Oh, well. Thanks, anyway.

    Meanwhile, the Knicks of two seasons ago appear in “Trainwreck.” Amar’e’s actually in several scenes, and gets to be funny (albeit not nearly as funny as LeBron), and towards the end of the movie, you see him playing in a game with Tyson and Melo, and with Woodson still as the coach.

    Interesting article from the WSJ yesterday afternoon about the young Knicks:

    I like Herring’s coverage a lot. His assessment of Early unfortunately seems about right. You’d hope for more in his second season, even if he was injured for a lot of the first.

    Yes, I’m going to add the WSJ Sports to my list of sites to browse daily. The article seems like a fair assessment.

    After looking over the roster again, I hate to see it, but we may be stuck with Melo at SF- unless Phil can find a starting SF elsewhere. I’m starting to think that given the options at SF, that the PF rotation is gonna be Williams/Porzingis/Amundson, with Zinger getting every chance to start. That might not be so bad, considering the need for Porzingis to develop as quick as possible. God I hope Melo is healthy. I definitely don’t think playing on the wing is best for him at this stage, but I don’t see anyone else on the roster capable of starting there. Copeland is still out there, but I doubt we can meet his price.

    I think that the starting lineup as of now should be Lopez/Melo/Williams/ Afflalo/ Calderon. Porzingis, Galloway, Grant, O’Quinn off the bench adding energy and seeing plenty of minutes. This is not a bad team! Need another rebounder.

    O’Quinn will likely be getting some minutes at the 4 as well. I don’t really think the rotation of a revamped roster is something that even the Knicks will decide in July, though. Just have to see what various guys show when it starts to actually count.

    I don’t know if the 4 is the best place to play Melo. If you have an up-tempo team with a bunch of perimeter talent, maybe, but that’s unlikely to be the Knicks (28th in pace last season, not a ton of perimeter talent). Melo isn’t really a 4. A lineup with him at the 4 gives the Knicks some advantages, but it’s also going to open up some vulnerabilities.

    82 games has Melo playing over 70% of his minutes at the 3 last season, and I’d guess he’ll get the majority of his minutes there again. He could very well get some time at the 4 in small-ball lineups, though. And a guy like Williams potentially gives them the flexibility to have a hybrid F on the floor with Melo, switching up defensively based on match-ups.

    I think the whole “Melo needs to play the four” thing is not as much of an issue as people make it out to be. The bottom line is that most of the time he’s going to be defended by the opposition’s best defender at 3/4 regardless of who the Knicks put out on the floor. Obviously the more shooting you can surround him with the better but the last season or two it’s not like the Knicks have shot a whole lot better when they’ve gone small. If Williams can hit corner threes or Porzingis plays well enough to warrant a decent amount of playing time Melo should be better off than he was last season despite playing the three. Defensively he was horrible rotating out to the three point line last year but I think some of that had to do with the injury and the team’s horrible record- hard to bust your ass defensively when your team is 5-20. The thing is he’s just as bad rotating inside- he offers absolutely nothing in the way of rim protection so it’s kind of pick your poison- maybe now with a better rim protecting big in Lopez his issues inside would be less of a problem than his inability to cover the three but I don’t think there’s a giant difference either way defensively.

    I’d really like to see Thanasis and Ndour make the 15 man roster. Effort is contagious and these two appear to be two very hard working guys which I think is exactly what we need at the end of our bench. I’d sign each to 4 year min deals with team options on the 4th year.

    C RoLo, O’Quinn, Amundson
    PF Melo, STAPS, Thomas, Ndour
    SF Afflalo, Williams, Thanasis
    SG Calderon, Galloway, Early
    PG Grant

    That makes 14. I’d pass on Ledo. Maybe throw something more than the min at Seth Curry…

    The scary thing about this season is the team’s most likely gonna be reliant on either Williams or one of the rooks to be that 3rd scorer. Phil needs to grab a shooter or 2. Maybe fill those last 3 spots with John Jenkins, Chris Copeland, and Ndour or another big body.

    So Melo had better be healthy and ready to lead the league in scoring.

    Phil needs scoring. Grant can score but looks to pass. Calderon can’t be viewed as a # 3 scorer. Neither Williams nor O’Quinn are known for filling it up and Afflalo as a # 2 scorer hasn’t scored 18 a game in years. Too early to place scoring burden on kP.

    Melo? Sure. Let’s say 24 per. Yet unless the bench is good to light it up on a regular basis we will lose close games.

    So we signed Thomas and probably prematurely. Caspar Ware (if available) or Elliot Williams look like they can provide a spark and probably better than Ledo. Pass on Thanasis and Ledo if one of those two can be secured. Prefer the spark plug – even at 5 -10″ he will provide needed points. We gave up on Jamal Crawford too early.

    You know..the more I think about Melo, the more he puzzles me. On the surface he’s an extremely gifted and effective player. Statistically, he’s averaged 25 ppg, 6 rpg 3 apg and 1 spg on 45% FG 35% 3FG 81% FT. That’s a helluva line! What I don’t understand is how/where a guy who puts up numbers like that, night in and night out, goes wrong (for lack of a better term) and doesn’t have any postseason success. Of the stars that MJ beat up on his way to 6 chips, I think they were all postseason staples. Malone..Barkley..Ewing..Drexler..Payton..Kemp..Stockton. So is it really a matter of Melo not making guys better? Or is it more or less his teams not being built well? It’s confusing. I mean..I know..we all know how talented Melo is. Hell..Iverson carried a team to the Finals!! All he had was defense 1st guys. No wait..he had a helluva coach too. Can that type of team win games in today’s NBA? It looks like Phil’s trying to build a similar style team. Does Melo even have it in him to carry a team like Iverson carried Philly at this stage of his career? It is indeed frustrating to think about.

    I think Melo and Zinger at the forward spots could potentially be a nightmare for defenses.
    If you defend Melo with a smaller 3, he will post you up quite well or pass it out to Zinger et al for the three.
    If you put your pf on Melo, then Zinger has a huge height advantage and you lob it into him or he simply shoots over the opposing sf.
    Clearly Zinger needs to improve in some areas, but it’s a nice fit offensively.

    The future of undrafted 6-foot-9 power forward Maurice Ndour (9.6 points per game, 51.1 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds) of Ohio University is unclear. The Senegal native, who played Japanese high school basketball, impressed with his energy and mid-range shot, but Fisher indicated his camp invite could come with another team that affords more opportunity.

    “Maurice was solid, he brought energy and activity to our game,’’ Fisher said. “He showed ability to shoot fairly well and defend, block shots, rebound. He represented himself well. We may not be able to keep him. Our roster’s filling up pretty fast.’’

    I don’t like the sound of this. I think he shown enough to at least get a roster spot. What else is there out there. He might not ever become a good player but at least find out if a young player of his length, athleticism, and shooting can improve.

    Can you really let Lance and Amundson get in the way of exploring a young talent?

    That does seem to be a bit of a shame. Is there really not a roster spot for him right now?

    They have two roster spots left and I assume they want to use it for a true center and another PG. I guess they want to keep Ledo but I wouldn’t keep Ledo over N’dour but I wouldn’t have signed Lance or Amundson yet let alone give them more than the min.

    Keeping Lance Thomas and Ricky Ledo over Ndour seems very dumb to me. They don’t do anything well, but Ndour displays the ability to affect the game positively from a few spots, and at the very least will bring a ton of activity to practices. Ndour is the athlete and effort guy that can have a long career in the NBA, and may end up being another Demarre Carroll in a few years.

    Keeping Lance Thomas and Ricky Ledo over Ndour seems very dumb to me.

    Yeah, I think we are doing it wrong. I mean who knows if Ndour will be an NBA player, but signing him to a four year Hinkie contract where he gets $1.7 or so guaranteed over two years & the Knicks get two option years is the kind of bet we should be taking if we think he’s even a decent longshot. Focusing on positional needs for this year with the 14th or 15th roster spot is myopic. The marginal win value of these end of bench players is likely to be very low this year, and the marginal value of a win itself is likely to be very low compared to a future year when we are more competitive.

    And if roster spots are the issue, it makes the Afflalo/Williams deals even worse. Not only did we write put options, but we took up two roster spots that may turn out to be more scarce than I would have imagined because of our love for Lance Thomas (who seems like a great guy but really is not an NBA player) and positional balance. I mean, forget the Sixer-Kings deal that we missed out on as anomalous and think about Amir Johnson instead. For a bit less money than Williams/Affalo, we could have a player that will likely outproduce those two guys in 15-16 without (a) writing $13m of 16-17 put options (b) using up a scarce roster spot that could have been used to buy some option risk from a guy like Ndour.

    I mean, forget the Sixer-Kings deal that we missed out on as anomalous and think about Amir Johnson instead.

    The funny thing about that deal is if we did it instead of signing Williams and Afflalo, I’m not sure I’d feel much worse about the team for the upcoming season. We’d have Landry instead of Williams, and we have every reason to believe that would be an upgrade. Afflalo will likely outproduce Stauskas this year, but a) maybe not enough to make up for the Landry-Williams difference and B) that draft pick, swaps, and Stauskas sure could go a long way towards consoling me about losing 3 more games or whatever…

    I’m not sure there’s any advantage to handing Ndour a roster spot right now. Unless another team is going to sign him, you postpone the decision as long as you can. Retain some flexibility. You get to see what else becomes available to you and see what Ndour looks like in camp against actual NBA players rather than SL level competition. Handing him a multi-year deal seems especially unlikely, when it’s not even clear if he’s good enough to make the roster this year. Maybe Ndour really does deserve a roster spot, but fans also tend to get irrationally attached to the guys already in-house even if those guys are replacement level players (Galloway seems like another example of this).

    Also, I doubt Derek Fisher has that much say over the roster. Generally that’s determined by a front office with some input from the coaching staff.

    Focusing on positional needs for this year with the 14th or 15th roster spot is myopic. The marginal win value of these end of bench players is likely to be very low this year, and the marginal value of a win itself is likely to be very low compared to a future year when we are more competitive.

    The marginal value of Ndour over Lance Thomas or any other scrub is also likely to be nothing.

    I actually think the value of a marginal win might be higher this coming season, when one win could be the difference between playoff revenue and no playoff revenue. And the chances the Knicks are any better in the medium-term are only so great anyway.

    think about Amir Johnson instead. For a bit less money than Williams/Affalo, we could have a player that

    I feel like this is a bit of an oversimplification of roster construction. Minutes are arguably the scarce resource, rather than roster spots. Maybe they could become a defensive team (though they don’t really have the perimeter talent), but otherwise it seems likely you’d get diminishing returns from RoLo and Amir together.

    Ndour is the athlete and effort guy that can have a long career in the NBA, and may end up being another Demarre Carroll in a few years.

    I’m not particularly concerned about whether Thomas and Ledo make the roster, but I’m also not convinced that Ndour is nearly as likely to have a long NBA career as he is to have almost no NBA career at all. I’m intrigued, sure, but I think the approach of bringing him to camp and seeing if he forces his way onto the roster is the right one (unless another team wants to sign him, forcing your hand). I think fans might be making too much of pick-up games where the talent level is essentially a step up from D-League.

    I can see the comparison to Carroll, and there’s a remote possibility Ndour follows a similar career path… but Carroll also didn’t come totally out of nowhere. He was a late 1st round pick, and the consensus was he’d be gone by the late first/early 2nd.

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