Knicks Sign Kevin Seraphin; Comparison To Derrick Williams

According to multiple sources, the New York Knicks have signed F/C Kevin Seraphin to a one year deal worth approximately $2.8M.

Seraphin’s per minute stats show him to be a good offensive rebounder (2.9 oreb/36) and mildly voluminous scorer (15.2 pts/36). Although his career ts% is poor (51.2%), 3 of his 5 seasons were over 53%, including the last two. The bulk of his shots seem to be between 3-16 feet, and he’s only attempted 3 NBA treys. His weaknesses seem to be defensive rebounding (5.9 dreb/36), turnovers (2.5 to/36), and fouls (5.2 pf/36), with the latter being consistent with bench big men who tend to rack up more than their starting brethren.

Some more red flags appear when you look at Seraphin’s +/- from last year. The Wizards were 6.9 points per 100 possessions worse with Seraphin on the floor. Now this may be due to Washington’s other big men being the defensive minded Nene and Gortat, which would distort the numbers somewhat. Yet with 6-9 Kris Humpries, the Wizards were only 2.9 points worse. The year prior, Seraphin’s defensive +/- was a neutral -0.8, so it’s unknown exactly how good (or bad) he is defensively.

Seraphin may compete with Derrick Williams at the power forward spot for the minutes left by the departed Jason Smith. A comparison of the three players:

Player FGA FG% 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Kevin Seraphin 12.9 .491 0.0 .000 2.0 .712 2.9 5.1 8.0 1.2 0.5 1.7 2.5 5.2 14.1
Jason Smith 11.6 .462 0.5 .300 2.7 .782 2.5 4.9 7.4 1.6 0.7 1.3 1.8 4.6 13.0
Derrick Williams 12.2 .429 3.2 .301 5.0 .703 1.6 5.3 6.9 1.0 0.8 0.5 1.7 2.2 15.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/4/2015.

Williams has an edge by being a diverse scorer with the ability to stretch the defense with his three point shot, and earning a lot more free throws. He also fouls at a much lower rate. Seraphin is superior with rebounding and blocked shots. They have similar true shooting percentages, with both players having higher rates in recent years.

Both are flawed players, and it’s possible they’ll be in competition for minutes this year. The Knicks don’t really have many options at small forward other than Carmelo Anthony (Cleanthony Early, Lance Thomas), so it’s possible that ‘Melo will see most of his time at the 3. Center will likely be manned by Lopez, O’Quinn and Amundson, which will leave fewer minutes at forward for them. Porzingis may not see a lot of minutes at age 20. So if Fisher doesn’t give the starting job to O’Quinn, or play small with Anthony at the 4, then it’s possible one of these two players will start at forward for New York. And they’ll see even more minutes if Carmelo gets hurt again this year.

46 replies on “Knicks Sign Kevin Seraphin; Comparison To Derrick Williams”

An undersized center with poor scoring efficiency who doesn’t rebound? Where do I sign up for that?

Where have you gone, Cole Aldrich? Our center rotation turns its lonely eyes to you…

Weird deal. I was hoping Phil would hold on to that exception slot for a better player. That said, I do recall watching a Knicks game where I was impressed with Seraphin’s offense down on the block. He has very soft touch and good range on his hook shot, sort of the anti-Cole in that regard.

This reminds me something Stan Van Gundy said. He said that the media evaluates signings differently than he does. I don’t remember the exact salaries he used (and he was quoting from a particular example), but I’ll use ones that illustrate the point. If he signs someone for $6m and the press thinks that person is only worth $4.5m, the media will hammer the deal as a bad one. But if signed another player that was only worth $3m and only cost $3m, the media would rate the deal highly. But since the first player is a better player, he gets a better team even if he did sign him for more than the media thought he should. Van Gundy would rather have the better team.

In this case, Seraphin cost more but was probably better than whoever else was available, even if they were cheaper. And I don’t think there was any decent guard that Phil could spend that salary on, even if he wanted to. It’s just not very much money in today’s market. So maybe Seraphin is the best that could be done.

What if you added Mudiay instead of Porzingis to this team as it now stands? I like Porzingis long term but we would be dynamite right now with Mudiay! Imagine him and Grant both on our team with all of those young veterans around them!

@7 Let’s have that discussion when Mudiay’s TS% breaks the .500 mark…probably around 5 years from now.

@reub – I totally disagree. Mudiay is much further away than Porzingas in terms of immediate value. He would be a bigger project. Time will tell.

I happen to like Seraphin as big-man depth and I think he’ll work out better alongside our scoring forwards by picking up the rebounding and defensive burden.

Aldrich/Seraphin: half the rebounds in double the minutes!

So If I’m coach of the Knicks, my starting lineup is:
Lopez
O’Quinn
Melo
Afflalo
Calderon/Grant?

But I like Melo at the 4. So a small-ish lineup might be based on opponent:
Lopez (really any big here O’Quinn, Amundson, Porzingis?, Seraphin)
Melo (Porzingis?)
Afflalo (gulp – Lance?, Early?)
Grant / Galloway
Calderon / Galloway

When Melo comes out:
Lopez?/Amundson
O’Quinn/Porzingis?
Afflalo? (gulp – Lance?, Early?)
Grant / Galloway?
Calderon /Galloway?

The problem seems to be finding adequate replacements at SF. Although I’d rather play Afflalo 39 minutes a game this year than Melo. Is it me, or are we PF/C heavy in a guard-driven league?

According to basketball reference, Seraphin had a TS% over .600 on Tuesdays. So hopefully the Knicks have a lot of days off between Wednesday and Monday each week.

@ 1

I literally almost spit my drink out laughing out loud at that comment. good stuff. At least he isn’t bargs or Jason smith tho right?

Good players: Melo, Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn

Veterans coming off down seasons hoping to rebound: Afflalo, Calderon

Rookies: Porzingis, Grant

Reclamation projects: Sasha Vujacic, Derrick Williams

Fringe players: Seraphin, Lance Thomas, Amundson, Early

Anybody else who makes the roster will very likely be in that “fringe player” category. I dunno, there sure seem to be a lot of pretty shitty, low-upside players on this roster.

im watching some of his post highlights and they arent terrible. Just no jumpshots please

Picking up Not Terrible Players – it’s what we’re doing now to improve over last year’s train wreck.
Not a bad pick up, he’s young, another big body who can score a little, rebound not so much, and has 6 fouls to give off the bench.

as mentioned above -the front court looks pretty good, especially the depth

I am worried about the backcourt, it is looking really thin

Seraphin’s defensive dashboard isn’t so bad. Guys shot 4.4% worse at the rim when he guarded them last season and 9.7% worse the year before. That combined with his 1.7 blocks/36 suggest that he is a pretty solid rim protector. So that’s something, I guess.

Well, I will say this: rim protection should be a team strength. RoLo, Amundson, Zinger, O’Quinn and Seraphin are all shot-blockers, and they’re all guys (well, except Zinger) who will put a body on people. It’s too bad there are not more good rebounders in that bunch, but this frontcourt is a lot more imposing than what we ran out there last year with Jah, Bargs, Stat, Cole and a disinterested Sam Dalembert.

@20
+1 – that’s a real Pu Pu Platter that was run out there last year

Well, I will say this: rim protection should be a team strength.

I don’t know, if I was a rim, I wouldn’t feel very well protected with Amundsen and Seraphin shooting at me. The net, on the other hand, should be feeling pretty safe.

And getting a slightly better Jason Smith is better than having Jason Smith, especially if we keep him on the bench a lot

According to basketball reference, Seraphin had a TS% over .600 on Tuesdays. So hopefully the Knicks have a lot of days off between Wednesday and Monday each week.

How many times did the Knicks play the Wiz on a Tuesday?

It sure looks like Jackson has placed roster flexibility above all else this season when it comes to the fringes of the roster (with RoLo and O’Quinn being his only long term investments), presumably to take another crack at the free agency market next season. Seraphim is not a useless player, but it is pretty weird to hold on to the room exception this long and then not bring it into the season to use on interesting waived players. Oh well, at least Seraphim is a better signing than Jason Smith was! Gradual improvement! 🙂

How many times did the Knicks play the Wiz on a Tuesday?

Just one time.

But Seraphin shot 6/7 and 3/3 from the line.

lol

I’m not sure how to feel on this signing. But..it seems to fall in line with Phil’s Bulls teams, though one could always argue that the bigs were more talented. But if I remember correctly, Phil always had 3 centers with different skills and they all got minutes- mostly to play physical D regardless of fouls. I’m not sure how good Seraphin is with rim protection, but at first glance of his per 36’s he looks passable. One thing that I don’t like out of the centers on the team is they all are not very good defensive rebounders. However, I do remember Phil’s teams grabbing a good percentage of offensive boards. And with Melo carrying most of the load, that may not be so bad. Another thing I think it means is Porzingis is being viewed as a 4, and will probably play the 5 sparingly- as I believe that Seraphin will play center more than PF. I can definitely see he and Porzingis being interchangeable at the 4/5. Eh..what the hell..I’m cool with it. If only there were a 3 and D swingman capable of knocking down shots from deep available for cheap. That would definitely complete the roster.

Seraphin is 26, Williams 24.

There’s a decent chance, not likely, but decent, that one of those guys finally turns their ability into production.

Williams was a pretty good offensive player last season, but he didn’t rebound. If he rebounds like he did early in his career, improves his 3-pt shooting a bit, all of a sudden he’s a pretty good, dynamic player, although he’ll never be a plus defender.

Most of the good teams in the NBA have a few guys who made significant leaps from early in their careers.

Demarre Carroll was a pretty awful NBA player his first three seasons in the league, but he showed enough tools that he was able to make rosters and develop. His first good year was his fourth in the league.

Tristan Thompson goes from below average his first three years to excellent his fourth.

I’m not talking about Zach Randolph, Chauncey Billups or a Gerald Wallace kind of transformation, but a higher than projected jump.

Even if we use the basic statistical models as a baseline, which no one really does anyway, they are completely useless at helping discover anomalies, or in helping us understand how player/team interactions/functionality affects production/efficiency.

Williams, and Seraphuin to a lesser extent, are still before their age primes and have tools to be good players.

If not, no big deal…

I don’t mind this signing, but now that I look at the full team, we aren’t very good. We may even be bad if several players under perform like they did last year either due to the system, coaching, or whatever.

@27 I agree that a lot of his moves seem geared towards flexibility, but then why the player options for Williams and Afflalo? That’s $13 million that has a good chance to be tied up in a way we aren’t happy with. I think most of Phil’s moves can be rationalized (not in ways I would agree with, but rationalized nonetheless) but not those two. Just makes no sense.

@27 I agree that a lot of his moves seem geared towards flexibility, but then why the player options for Williams and Afflalo? That’s $13 million that has a good chance to be tied up in a way we aren’t happy with. I think most of Phil’s moves can be rationalized (not in ways I would agree with, but rationalized nonetheless) but not those two. Just makes no sense.

I think he believes that with an exploding free agent market, there’s no way that they both don’t opt out, even if they are both terrible again. Williams would have to be hitting vet minimum levels of performance for him not to be able to get, like, 3 years/$9 million on the open market, and that’s better than 1 year/$5 million (can’t you hear GMs saying “He’s only 25!” next year?). Similarly, I find it hard to believe that Afflalo can’t get 2 years/$12 million on the open market next year. I think that they were wastes as signings and I agree that giving them player options was not a good idea, but I think he still looks at both of them as basically one-year deals and he’s likely correct.

In other words, he wants the Knicks to be decent this year but with the flexibility of signing more guys next year, and he didn’t think he could get Afflalo or Williams (who he thinks will help the Knicks be decent, even if he’s wrong) to sign outright one-year deals, so he was willing to give them player options

I agree with the second paragraph, Brian, but I disagree that he thinks of them as one-year deals. I would guess that he thinks of them as good risks and expects the 2 years to be worth the investment. He is risking getting screwed in a worst-case scenario for the chance that both will be good players for the life of their contracts, especially Afflalo, who is a good player when healthy and utilized correctly. I am predicting that he makes out well on the Afflalo contract and not well on the Williams contract, but at worst, Williams at $5 mill for one year is trade filler. Afflalo as a bust will be harder to unload at $8 million at his age.

U know…looking over the roster again, I realize that I may be very rong about the “expected” starters and rotation in general. I can totally see O’Quinn beating out Derrick Williams for the starting PF spot with his rim protection and shooting out to 20 feet. That would change my expected rotation quite a bit. Hopefully Williams can put his length and athleticism to good use while scoring like he did last season at PF and start there. But, if he can’t put it all together, I can totally see O’Quinn starting there.

And yes..I spelled “wrong” wrong on purpose as a corny way to illustrate my error..or possible error.

Maybe we needed a Senegalese player to soften the blow of losing Ndour

Maybe, but Seraphin is from South America, so Phil missed by about 2700 miles.

I remember really wanting Seraphin when he was drafted. I think he could easily handle the back up C minutes.
Personally, I’d want to start O’Quinn with Lopez, Melo and Afflalo/Grant as guards. It’s a slow team, but good passing and sort of ok defense.
Williams makes more sense to me as a breather for Melo who can bring energy on the offensive end. Like an Al Harrington “lite”.
Zinger can nab minutes at either big spot or O’Quinn could play some C with a small ball lineup. And now we have Seraphin in case someone gets injured.
The guards still suck. Would be great to replace Calderon asap, but doubt that will happen. Hopefully Grant will come on after 20 games or so.

Calderon can still shoot well which will have value if he can stay on the court. He’s our best shooter by a long shot, even assuming Vujacic still has something left.

Speculation Warning!

I definitely think Jackson wants Williams slotted as the backup 3. Real old school triangle setup with a 3 who’s more interior oriented. Fish might have other ideas though.

Thanks, Z-Man, very interesting. I think it really boils down to what we’ve known for awhile – he needs to be stronger. Let’s hope it happens, because if it does, this kid could be really special.

I agree with the second paragraph, Brian, but I disagree that he thinks of them as one-year deals. I would guess that he thinks of them as good risks and expects the 2 years to be worth the investment. He is risking getting screwed in a worst-case scenario for the chance that both will be good players for the life of their contracts, especially Afflalo, who is a good player when healthy and utilized correctly. I am predicting that he makes out well on the Afflalo contract and not well on the Williams contract, but at worst, Williams at $5 mill for one year is trade filler. Afflalo as a bust will be harder to unload at $8 million at his age.

But how can he think of them as two-year deals when if either player plays remotely decent they will opt out? For him to consider them two-year deals, he would have to think that their second year options would be enticing enough to keep them here, but for that to be true, they’d both have to play pretty poorly in their first year. I don’t think he is signing anyone with the intent for their first year to not be a good one (as he is very motivated to make the Knicks good quickly), so I think it is more likely that he thinks that they will perform well the first year and opt out, but the players have that player option back-up plan in case something goes terribly wrong. I think it all goes towards his desire to have maximum flexibility for next offseason while still being competitive this season.

Brian, I didn’t express my thoughts clearly. I think he believes that the most likely level of production is around what they are getting paid. He considers the possibility of 2 years of underperformance and loss of cap space unlikely, but I doubt that he’s thinking that if they suck, he can count on them still opting out based on the cap increase. Should they outperform their salaries and opt out, it’s a loss, but no worries, it would mean that he looks smart and the team is improving and more desirable for FAs, so in that sense, he does think of the contracts as one-year deals in a “best-case” scenario. Just not in a “worst-case” one.

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