2016 FA Roundtable: Head Coach Jeff Hornacek

PLUGH: This was an “out of the blue” hiring for Phil, at least according to all the narratives about him being on vacation. I don’t really want to rehash that ugly period in Knicks media/fandom, but suffice it to say the moves he’s made have confused, surprised, and sometimes pleased the people in orbit of the team. The tone has shifted in the discourse around the Knicks, and much of that shift occurred when Jeff Hornacek came aboard and word came out he wouldn’t have to be a Triangle-orthodox coach. We’ll see how that plays out, but he’s been likable in his short time in front of the media. Training camp and the pre-season are where we’ll really get a sense of his stamp on the team, but he’s a breath of fresh air after Fisher’s robotic tenure and Rambis’ Tweedledumbery. I said many times before the offseason that Phil’s next coaching hire would be the single biggest indicator of his success/failure in New York (the second being his ability to get a superstar in free agency). Hornacek is a solid, smart hire, but it remains to be seen how he handles adversity. He’s likeable, but likeable doesn’t necessarily make for effectiveness in the boss’ seat.

CRONIN: He’s definitely more likeable than the previous Knick coaches, but he also said one of the dumbest things we’ve heard from a Knick coach since Isiah was in town, which was a repeat of the whole “you can’t rebuild in New York” claptrap.. I’ll forgive him for that, though, as I’m sure he’s just spouting off the company line. I was so, so happy that Phil Jackson didn’t hire Kurt Rambis, so Hornacek has practically a blank check from me, to be frank.

MA: Thanks for that Brian, I had almost blissfully forgotten about Kurt Rambis. Jeff Hornacek will be a mystery until opening tipoff. His tenure in Phoenix soured, but it’s not clear how much blame goes to him vs. management. His teams played attractive basketball. The Knicks have the personnel (when healthy) to play an up-tempo style, but how much will Phil impose Triangle principles?

FISHER-COHEN: The hallmarks of Hornacek’s offense in his 48 win season were pick/pop/roll with two good shooting smaller bigs in Morris and Frye alongside two excellent attacking guards in Bledsoe and Dragic. Hornacek’s Suns didn’t just have a surprisingly high win total in common with the 12/13 Knicks. They were the uptempo version of that Knicks team with a focus on strong passing from the perimeter via two point guard lineups and strong shooting from smaller bigs.

It’s hard to see any similarity between our core and that 13/14 Suns team. Our lineup will be big and slow with Melo again at the three where he’s best in the post, and outside of KP, lacking in effective pick/roll/pop type players both up front and at the guard positions. The Triangle Offense is not going away, it seems, if Jackson can help it, and either Hornacek will do what Fisher couldn’t and figure out a way to make it work or he’ll have to convince Jackson to let go of the geometric dream. With Jackson now a lame duck, Hornacek might win such a power struggle, which is something I’d be happy to see.

UDWARY: As everyone else said, Hornacek is not Rambis, so I’m definitely cool with it. A coach needs good players who can stay on the court to win, and I’m not sure the talent dictates this team to any more than 45 wins, healthy. This team is HIGHLY unlikely to stay healthy. Hornacek seems to be a fine coach, but he is not in a very good position with this roster.

KURYLO: My theory on NBA coaches is that there are few great coaches that can make a group of players outperform their opponent, and you can count the living ones on one hand, and have a few fingers left over. Then there are bad coaches who will make a team suck no matter who is on the roster, and we managed to get two of them instructing our boys last year.

Really the minimum a front office needs to do with head coaches is not hire from the latter group. I think the third time will be the charm for Phil.

Liked it? Take a second to support Mike Kurylo on Patreon!

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).

274 thoughts to “2016 FA Roundtable: Head Coach Jeff Hornacek”

  1. What?! Isn’t this guy like, 52? He’s too old to play! But, I guess the last time we won 50 games, Melo had old guys on the team. Hahahahahahahaha
    In all seriousness though..

    I thought Hornacek DOESN’T have to run the triple post. Yet here we are with Rambis a lead assistant and Sasha at the end(presumably) of the bench. It doesn’t feel like “we’re gonna run some elements of the triangle(like nearly every other team does)”. What’s the use of putting a zebra in the zoo, then telling it to be a giraffe? My biggest fear is that Hornacek gets “forced” to run so much triangle that guys are gonna be on the court thinkimg instead of making the defense react. Just like year 1 of the Fish, we have too many new players to run a heavy amount of triangle sets. And let’s be honest, with Melo/Rose/Jennings, the triangle isn’t the best offense to run. Don’t get me wrong- Melo/KP/Lee/Noah will be fine in that offense. But Hornacek likes the ball in his PG’s hands. I really hope I’m wrong and Hornacek ends up with an effective hybrid offense that resembles what he ran in Phoenix

  2. Then there are bad coaches who will make a team suck no matter who is on the roster, and we managed to get two of them instructing our boys last year.

    To be fair, Fisher had his team at .500 beyond the halfway mark (with Melo playing some of the best team ball in his career) which is more than anyone (including you, Mike) expected at that point. Then Melo got hurt and it all turned sour. So I’m not sure yet whether Fisher falls into that group.

    My theory on NBA coaches is that there are few great coaches that can make a group of players outperform their opponent, and you can count the living ones on one hand, and have a few fingers left over.

    Jax is one of those guys, right? Obviously he hasn’t yet been able to translate that ability as a GM, but again, the overperforming for over half a season with a clunky roster under an iffy coach at best deserves mention as a positive for Jackson. The hope is that his special coaching ability will translate even better with a more well-rounded roster and a (somewhat) more experienced and less triangular coach.

  3. i’m pretty sure with the trade for rose that it was a concession that we’re going to have to change our philosophy a good deal… i don’t think we make that trade if we’re still heavily invested in the traditional triangle… jerry sichting was hornacek’s offense guy in phoenix and the combo of bringing him in and not bringing back cleamons gives me confidence that we’re ditching a lot of it….. rambis on the bench i guess is a compromise to transition the old offense to the new so i think we’re going to still see some sets…

  4. off topic but…….I saw that Tim Duncan gets paid for this year, even though he retired. WTF!!!! I knew he was a selfish bastard.

  5. I will not bring up how ridiculously hot Hornacek’s daughter is , it would be completely inappropriate for this site.

  6. From the previous thread:

    The problem was that these guys would get 1 year deals and then leave NY the next year. I like the signing.

    True, Donnie, though it’s also fair to say that some of those players only had success with the Knicks. Shawn “Extra E” Williams is the best example, but Novakaine has been buried on the bench. (Will he still be in the league this coming year?) On the flip side you have Lin and Coletrain (sort of). It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Gallo this coming year. I’m rooting for him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he continued to be less than average.

    As for Hornacek, that was some pleasant vindication after protesting that posters lambasting him for Rambis didn’t make any sense when it hadn’t happened yet. I think he’ll at least be competent, which, like Courtney Lee, is indeed a step up for this team.

  7. The period when it looked like Rambis would stay was dark like London in 1349. Recognizing this, I joined a procession of flagellants that traveled from town to town and, by publicly beating ourselves and one another with heavy studded leather straps, appeased the angry basketball gods. It is to these righteous actions that the hiring of Hornacek should be attributed.

  8. The way this board shits on quality role players, we don’t deserve to have the Knicks sign a decent find beyond a rookie deal.

    Cronin, isn’t our last rookie-deal resigning Charlie Ward or something crazy like that?

  9. lol, Anthony Bennett to the Nets

    Is Sean Marks on Plan F at this at this point?

  10. lol, Anthony Bennett on a two-year vet’s minimum, which is probably still too much for him

    NBA front offices have proprietary metrics and analytics systems that we could only DREAM uv

  11. As a Brooklyn native, I really wish there was a way to arrest Billy King for what he did to the Nets for fucking Paul Pierce, Gerald Wallace, and Kevin Garnett.

    The 2012 1st rounder to Portland for Gerald Wallace. They turned that pick into Dame Lillard, and Andre Drummond was still on the board.

    KG and Paul Pierce for the 2014, 2016, and 2018 1st round picks with the right to swap 1st rounders in 2017.

    I honestly believe those decisions were worse than anything Isiah Thomas did as a GM (especially with Isiah Thomas’ failure as a reference point). The Nets are going to struggle to win 32 games for the rest of the decade, and it’s all Billy King’s fault.

  12. The Nets are going to struggle to win 32 games for the rest of the decade, and it’s all Billy King’s fault.

    Well, it’s hard to argue that he’s a shitty GM, but I guarantee you Prokhorov had a lot to do with that Boston deal. We’re all familiar with meddling, stupid owners.

    (And the worst part of that deal is all those draft picks may help Boston land Westbrook, they’ve probably got as good a shot as anyone)

  13. @Cock Jowles

    David Lee was the last player we re-signed off a rookie deal, but it was only for a year. Ward is the one before that. Pretty sure we’ve never had another 1st rounder play the full 4 years with us in that span. Wilson Chandler came the closest.

  14. ….and that’s a big reason why the Knicks haven’t been able to build a consistent winner. They trade their young low cost drafted assets too soon and/or for too little in return.

  15. Man would it suck if the Celts got Westbrook. Historically speaking, he’s really not a Celts kind of player. But yeah, they’d be really good.

  16. Westbrook won’t go to the Cs, or at least he won’t sign an extension there. Thomas, Westbrook, Crowder, Amir Johnson, and Horford sounds great but there is zero shooting, and that shooting gets worse if they have to trade Isaiah Thomas in the process (Thomas and Oladipo would be a great back court). A starting five of Westbrook, Bradley, Crowder, Johnson, and Horford is probably worse than a starting five of Westbrook, Oladipo, Roberson, Kanter, and Adams and it has the same weaknesses with one less ball handler. I don’t think Boston is where Westbrook wants to be ultimately.

  17. ESPN’s Ian Begley reports:

    The Knicks are the NBA’s most valuable franchise, according to Forbes magazine. Forbes values the Knicks at $3 billion, a 20 percent increase from last season. New York has won just one playoff series in 16 seasons, so on-court success certainly isn’t driving the bottom line. Forbes says that the Knicks’ value is tied to high ticket prices and valuable sponsorships.

    This team is not about building a consistent winner.

  18. Forbes values the Knicks at $3 billion, a 20 percent increase from last season.

    You can’t rebuild in New York. You can, however, get your ass kicked for 15 straight years.

  19. Being in “win now” mode without actually winning now is a big part of what we do here

  20. If you’re young this statement won’t make sense to you — it boggles my mind that I’ve seen San Antonio, Golden State, Dallas and Cleveland win championships before the Knicks. Also the expansion team that had Rory Sparrow has won 3.

  21. The Knicks are product for Cablevision, and the need to have entertaining product most likely was the driver of many transactions during Dolan’s reign. That would include the Melo trade. One can fairly speculate that PJ has to work a straddle. One one side mollifying Dolan’s need for brand name players,who put brand name celebs in courtside seats and creates buzz. The other side is using current best practices towards the end of winning a Chip. PJ’s
    transactions this offseason seem to support this straddle and if this supposition is true, then PJ has done a pretty good job of meeting both needs.
    The teams winning Chips in @21 were not so compromised as the Knicks. Malcom Gladwell called Dolan the worst owner in sports.

  22. “if this supposition is true, then PJ has done a pretty good job of meeting both needs.”
    Agreed

  23. @22 then that would be some horrible business strategy. I doubt that many people watch the Knicks solely b/c they have Carmelo. Plenty of people watched when our best players were Lee, Gallinari and Nate and we were losing anyway. And when the team is winning, it doesn’t matter who the names on the backs of the jerseys are. The best thing Dolan could have done is build a perennial 50+ game winner, like they had for that stretch in the ’90’s. Championships are gravy. He made a fortune on those ’90’s teams with one star, and a drafted one at that. Not that those teams were managed well either.

  24. That the Knicks are the most valuable NBA franchise only serves to validate Dolan’s business model, to the detriment of the fanbase, and makes it almost impossible that the team will be sold. He certainly does not appear to be the type of uber wealthy owner ( Cuban, Dan Gilbert), who see building a championship team as a complement to their business triumphs.

  25. I think it’s fair to say that Phil has been better than the last 5 GMs, if only by not trading picks. Much of this team’s decline since the heyday of the ’90s is due to squandering picks and young assets in crazy trades. The Rose trade reeks of that, but there are mitigating factors here (some return, cache with other FAs, 1-year commitment to Rose, Holiday and 2nd round pick coming back, dearth of PGs on market) compared to, say, the Bargnani or Curry or Francis trades. So if Phil has been a C+ (and I think a B+ is more fair, but will stipulate) he hasn’t been the D- (Walsh) or F (Isiah) that his predecessors have been.

  26. The Knicks are product for Cablevision

    Well, this part really isn’t true today in any way since (1) MSG and the Knicks have long been spun off from Cablevision (2) Cablevision has been sold to Altice and the Dolans have been Langston Galloway’d.

  27. If there is anything the Knicks’ ownership should teach you it’s that corporate interest and control ruins everything pure about the world.

  28. I disagree. I think Dolan desperately wants a championship, but is too stupid and egotistical to let go of the reins and too incompetent and spiteful to either get there himself or hire the right guys to do the job. Hiring Jackson is the closest he has come, and I think that Jackson has more autonomy than anyone since early Isiah (who preached that the cap doesn’t matter if you make the right moves to get stars and marquis coaches and don’t worry about the luxury tax.)

  29. Dolan is a starfucker who is really impressed by famous people. He longs to be cool and have famous friends. I truly believe that is the motivation to have “star” players, more so than having a good product for Cablevision. It was also the motivation for hiring Phil Jackson, and I don’t say that as a knock on Phil.

  30. A B+ for Jackson’s tenure?

    Are you joking? I think you’re joking. Please tell me you’re joking.

    No-trade clause, trading a good player for one of the bottom 3 players in the league during a fucked-up cap year, managing to put together a 17-win team (!) while actually trying to compete?

    How low are these standards?

  31. There was a thread going the other night about what stats Derrick Rose would have to put up for the trade to be deemed a success. One person threw out a .500 TS% and 1700 minutes as a reasonable barometer. Apparently Shane Larkin level production is the breaking point for whether or not the Rose trade is a success.

    The expectations around here can’t get much lower.

  32. @27 Doesn’t the revenue from the cablevision contracts go to MSG and in turn increase the value of MSG?
    @29
    Hard to imagine him being that stupid, even if everything he has he was handed to him by his father. If one does a case study of winning franchises it is clear that the model used by the Knicks does not bear fruit. While I’m sure he has many thirsty sycophants in his ear ( Isaiah), if his goal is to win and he has an ego, he has to be aware that he is regarded as one of the worst owners in pro sports to people who think the objective is to win first and build value second. He does not seem to to a Jerry Jones type who thinks he is both a brilliant businessman and an astute team builder. In the end, it’s all speculation.

  33. There are women’s bridge games that have less complaining than what goes on here.

  34. JK and Jowles,

    1) NTC only matters if you actually want to trade Melo. There has never been a hint of that discussed. The fact that it matters to you is admitting that he actually has significant trade value, which means that his contract is decent. Not so for Amare, Houston, or Bargnani, did it matter that they didn’t have NTCs?

    2) We’re still waiting for you to define: at what level of production does the Rose deal “break even?” Let’s see YOU set the bar. Forget that it’s Rose, tell us…what level of production from a 1-year former MVP (plus getting a rotation player on a minimun deal and a potential #31-40 2nd round pick in a deep 2017 draft) would make the grade for this trade a “C”? I say “top-10 starter” production is the break-even point. That would mean 2000+ MP at a WS/48 of .120 (last year, Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison were tied for the 11th highest WS/48 @.119 among PGs. Is that a fair bar for a C? Would .150 be a fair bar for a B+?

    3) When is the last time this team had every one of its 1st rd picks going forward AND had two max and a near-max player on the roster?

    4) When was the last time the Knicks had the second most valuable sophomore (trade value-wise) from an historically deep draft on their roster? A guy that the most sought-after FA since LeBron went out of his way to praise among this rookie class?

    5) Please stop with the “managing to put together a 17-win team (!) while actually trying to compete” nonsense. At most, Jackson said that that team might compete for the last playoff spot, and only because the EC was historically weak. He envisioned a team with 38-42 wins. My recollection is, YOU, THCJ, predicted 37 wins!!! When everything that could go wrong went wrong early on, he decided to pull the plug. The result? Porzingis.

    Yeah, B+ is about right to me.

  35. Hard to imagine him being that stupid, even if everything he has he was handed to him by his father.

    I’m pretty sure he’s not a dunce at business since he was able to end run his father for control of Cablevision in a pretty neat palace coup.

    In business, we keep score with money, and if Msg is the most valuable franchise in ther NBA , Dolan has won.

    Dolan must love Jackson as he has kept the building full at a historically low (for MSG) payroll expenditure.

  36. Much of this team’s decline since the heyday of the ’90s is due to squandering picks and young assets in crazy trades. The Rose trade reeks of that, but there are mitigating factors here (some return, cache with other FAs, 1-year commitment to Rose, Holiday and 2nd round pick coming back, dearth of PGs on market) compared to, say, the Bargnani or Curry or Francis trades.

    The Rose trade only reeks of that if you consider grant a “young asset”. Which I do not and according to reports, Phil soured on Grant almost from jump street.

  37. 2,000 minutes and a .120 WS48 would be a reasonable place to set the bar, since that was roughly Lopez’ level of production last year. So I would say the deal worked out if Rose puts up numbers like that. That would put him somewhere around Jeff Teague level.

    The odds of him actually achieving that seem incredibly low to me, but that does seem like a reasonable bar.

  38. I’m writing from my phone so I can’t respond in full, but what does a max contract represent about a player? Rose is paid like a max player but we know how productive he’s been. Noah is a worthy max player if it’s 2013. (It’s not.) Carmelo is a max player who is most certainly not productive like a top tier star. So who cares that we have three max or near-max players on the roster?

    And what’s the point of talking about Carmelo’s perceived value (which is much higher than his actual production according to nearly every statistic we have) if his NTC makes his contract unmovable?

  39. And haha if Derrick Rose surpasses .120 WP I will never criticize Phil Jackson again. Mark that.

    It has virtually no chance of happening.

  40. Can someone please explain to me why giving Melo a NTC is a bad thing, while he could walk away for nothing like LBJ/KD both did ?

    Am i missing something here ?

  41. “And haha if Derrick Rose
    surpasses .120 WP I will never
    criticize Phil Jackson again. Mark
    that.”

    How will you breathe?

  42. Can someone please explain to me why giving Melo a NTC is a bad thing, while he could walk away for nothing like LBJ/KD both did ?

    Am i missing something here ?

    Because he was never going to walk away for nothing. He was either going to re-sign here without a NTC or he would have been S&T to Chicago for multiple assets.

  43. People who continue to attend games, but merchandise, and patronize the team’s sponsors are complicit. The fact that MSG has gained value during Dolan’s reign shows us just one thing: that Bew York fans aren’t the smartest fans in the world, as they so often claim to be. Guys like reub, who criticize the naysayers while heaping praise on the policies of Dolan, are a lot more of the problem than they care to imagine themselves to be.

  44. Can someone please explain to me why giving Melo a NTC is a bad thing, while he could walk away for nothing like LBJ/KD both did ?

    Am i missing something here ?

    Anthony walking away for nothing would have been bad, considering what the team paid to acquire him, but it wasn’t the worst scenario at the time, given all the options.

  45. Because he was never going to walk away for nothing. He was either going to re-sign here without a NTC or he would have been S&T to Chicago for multiple assets.

    So, you’re actually saying that he tricked/fooled PJackson ?

  46. Anthony walking away for nothing would have been bad, considering what the team paid to acquire him, but it wasn’t the worst scenario at the time, given all the options.

    Which could be the worst scenario at the time ?

  47. In a league where Ryan Anderon is on 4/80, Evan Turner 4/70, Bradley Beal gets 5/125, Chandler Parsons of the recently had microfracture surgery on his knee which nobody is sure about gets 4/94, Michael Conley Junior gets 5/153, Jamal Crawford gets 3/42, etc. the remaining 3/78 on Carmelo Anthony’s contract isn’t a big deal. Can’t wait for next summer when people will still complain about Melo’s contract as CJ McCollum gets a higher AAV deal.

    If he wants out it’ll happen without much difficulty. If he wants to stay and he’s as average a player as many seem to believe we shouldn’t worry about it as long as we keeps our picks because he wouldn’t do much to affect our win total. How is this still even something that gets discussed every day?

  48. Also if you consider Melo as “overpaid”,
    how would you call Mike Conley’s 153m contract after his Achilles injury ?

    i came up with those two:
    “THE WRATH OF GOD”
    or due to his Achilles:
    “THE TROJAN HORSE”

  49. If you want to compare Melo’s contract to the worst contracts in the NBA, then no, it’s not that bad.

    The point is that if you want to really win in this league, you have to be better than “not the absolute worst.” Melo made $23M last year, and for that $23M the Knicks got a bunch of mediocre-efficiency scoring, okayish defense and decent rebounding and passing. He also played 2500 minutes. So sure, he was pretty good. But $23M for “pretty good” is not the path to winning championships. There is just no way Melo is ever going to be able to outplay that $23M contract, because he has never played at that true superstar level in his 32,000+ minute career.

    He looks like a bargain compared to some other bad contracts, sure. But so what.

  50. He looks like a bargain compared to some other bad contracts, sure. But so what.

    I’m not telling you it’s a great bargain. I’m saying that with the money being tossed around it’s stupid to keep harping on it as if it’s one of the worst deals in the league.

    If he wanted to leave you really think the Knicks would have trouble moving him? If you don’t then why does this matter? If the Knicks blow chunks like many suspect we will this year he’ll be gone and the Knicks will be just fine.

  51. And haha if Derrick Rose surpasses .120 WP I will never criticize Phil Jackson again. Mark that.

    Shoot, that would be no fun. It’d be like the Notorious RBG swearing she will never criticize The Donald again.

    How about you simply promise to post one of the following two sentences:

    1) I, Cock Jowles, was totally wrong on the Derrick Rose trade, and Phil Jackson was totally right, and I will never criticize him again for this deal.

    2) reub is my daddy.

  52. There is just no way Melo is ever going to be able to outplay that $23M contract, because he has never played at that true superstar level in his 32,000+ minute career.
    He looks like a bargain compared to some other bad contracts, sure. But so what.

    Maybe he can play at that superstar level if you put 2 allstar caliber players around him as every other superstar in this league has.
    [and i don’t mean TChandler type of allstars…]

  53. Donnie Walsh, please don’t be a liar. I’ve never mentioned Dolan.

    I didn’t say you’ve mentioned him. I said you’ve enabled him, along with all the other fans that continue to put money in his pockets, which isn’t a lie. It is true.

  54. I’ve “enabled” Dolan? A little bit out there, aren’t you? What have you been smoking? If you’re this desperate now I can’t wait to see what you write when the Knicks start winning lots of games.

  55. I’d like to publicly apologize to Mr. Dolan for all those times I called him a fucking idiot and reiterate my availability to serve as Knicks General Manager once Phil Jackson retires.

  56. Rose was putting up another .200+ WS/48 season when he blew out his ACL. In comparing last year’s stats to those, a couple of things stood out:

    1) his overall FG% was nearly identical (.008 difference) but the similarity belied the fact that both his 2pt% and 3pt% went down. That seemed weird, but it happened because he cut his 3pt attempts/36 almost in half. He took his usual 18 FGA/36 but his usage went down 3 ticks.

    2) his FTr was literally cut in half.

    3) His assist rate was drastically lower, from a career-high 40.3 to a career low 25.5.

    4) all of his other stats were relatively in line.

    So to improve his WS/48, he should:

    1) Get more assists. This might be tricky, especially if Hornacek runs lots of triangle which distributes assists more evenly. If he can get up to 6+ per 36, that would help.
    2) Take a higher proportion of 3’s and hit at least 30% of them. That’s his career average, so it should be doable.
    3) Get to the line more. Here’s where those gimpy knees collide head on with his contract year. He probably could go harder at the hoop and draw more fouls, but can his body hold up to that style of play?

    I think Rose has these marginal improvements in him, certainly enough to hit .120 WS/48. The question is, for how long before the knees either get sore or fail altogether? Will Jennings and/or perhaps another guard play well enough to limit Rose to, say, 24 MPG and allow for a night off here and there as needed?

  57. Donnie Walsh resorting to blatantly lying he’s so desperate to see the Knicks fail. You can do better than that.

  58. On the subject of Phil Jackson’s grade so far, let’s do some simple math. The average NBA team plays .500 ball and has all its draft picks. Mathematically this must be so. In terms of cap space, I would say that teams typically are at the cap because they spend what they are able to to get the best team possible. The Knicks are thus typical in being at the cap, but not much over it. If you assume the Knicks have a reasonable shot at 41 wins this year, then they are average in that regard, and they have their picks going forward so they are average in that regard too. So it’s fair to say they are now an average team. This means that Phil has taken a lousy team, both in assets and record, and improved it to an average one over three seasons. Since there are some GMs who make their teams worse, and there are many who don’t improve their teams much, I would say this makes Phil at least an average GM. Of course, if you think our team is going to be horrible this year, you will disagree with this conclusion. But even if the team is below .500, and we are all disappointed in the record, it’s still better than where we were two years ago. So I give Phil something like a B for his performance so far even though, like many of you, I wish he hadn’t traded for Rose.

  59. But even if the team is below .500, and we are all disappointed in the record, it’s still better than where we were two years ago. So I give Phil something like a B for his performance so far even though, like many of you, I wish he hadn’t traded for Rose.

    Jackson was responsible for the roster in 2014-15. Here are his transactions before the season began:

    March 20, 2014: Signed Shannon Brown to a contract for the rest of the season.
    April 16, 2014: Signed Lamar Odom to a contract for the rest of the season.
    April 21, 2014: Fired Mike Woodson as Head Coach.
    June 10, 2014: Hired Derek Fisher as Head Coach.
    June 25, 2014: Traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, a 2014 2nd round draft pick (Thanasis Antetokounmpo was later selected) and a 2014 2nd round draft pick (Cleanthony Early was later selected).
    June 26, 2014: Selected Cleanthony Early (2nd round, 34th pick) and Thanasis Antetokounmpo (2nd round, 51st pick) in the 2014 NBA Draft.
    June 27, 2014: Traded cash to the Indiana Pacers for Louis Labeyrie.
    August 6, 2014: Traded Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Tyler to the Sacramento Kings for Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw.
    October 27, 2014: Traded Travis Outlaw and a 2019 2nd round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Arnett Moultrie.

    How can you give a B to a guy who created the worst team in franchise history merely because his second year was not as bad as the first?

  60. I’ve “enabled” Dolan? A little bit out there, aren’t you? What have you been smoking?

    It’s something called a ‘boycott’ (?boi?kät/ verb 1. withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.)

    But I guess you’re right, that’s something for Commies and Hippies to waste their time with. You prefer the age old battle cry:

    What do we want?
    MEDIOCRITY!
    When do we want it?
    WHENEVER!

  61. rama, Hornacek’s a good hire. What else is there to say at this point about him? Rose is clearly the lightning rod right now.

    The good news for Rose is that expectations are so low, he only has to not stand out as a negative to pass muster. Everyone else knows that it’s Melo and KP’s team.

  62. I finally was able to watch the whole video of Melo, CP3, Wade, and LeBron from last night. I’ll take Melo on my team anyday. Can’t say he doesn’t try to be a leader. Good on him and those guys for being a rational voice. Proud of all of them.

  63. Jowles, you mean the team you predicted would win 37 games? And you were more pessimistic than most here, but oddly, right in line with me? Why do you keep ignoring that he thought pretty much the same thing about that 17-win team going into the season as you did?!

  64. We are not average Knicks fans. Maybe reub comes close, but we are not average Knicks fans.

    Most people go, don’t know who the 6th man is, have a few $12 beers and head home. They don’t think about who’s on the Knicks beyond a few star players. There’s nothing wrong with this.

    “We” cannot boycott the Knicks. The courtside ticketholders are there to see and be seen, not to parse the difference between 52 and 56 TS% players.

  65. Right now Anthony’s very effective efforts to get figures in sports media to talk about race and policing issues in a constructive way dwarfs any interest I have in roster strategy or other Knicks topics. At a moment when prominent political figures are somehow able to get away with legitimizing open bigotry and profiling, it is truly important to have respected and responsible voices force the conversation about these things to persist beyond whatever natural life they’d otherwise have in the news cycle. It’s a delicate maneuver to pull off without unintentional negative consequences. He’s been consistently knocking it out of the park IMO.

    Mike, what do you think about having a round table on these topics or on Anthony’s efforts to draw attention to them?

  66. A B+ for Jackson’s tenure?

    Are you joking? I think you’re joking. Please tell me you’re joking.

    No-trade clause, trading a good player for one of the bottom 3 players in the league during a fucked-up cap year, managing to put together a 17-win team (!) while actually trying to compete?

    How low are these standards?

    Well they’re Knicks standards. Graded on a Knicks curve he’d probably get a b+. Otherwise known as a Spurs F-.

  67. You mean the same Spurs who signed one LaMarcus Aldridge to a megamax deal? That’s about as Knicksy as you can get.

  68. Hornacek will be a good Coach for this team; there is enough of a mix of Vets and youth that he will be able to focus on his main goal; the development of Porzingis as a Franchise player. His is acutely aware that his ability to connect with KP in order to take him to the next level overshadows all of the noise the Knicks made this summer, and will ultimately determine his fate. This roster will be completely overhauled in 3 seasons, so that bonding is critical. My curiosity lies in his Assistants; I would liked to have seen a veteran defensive coach on the bench with him. I criticized Phil for not having a 3rd Point Guard (a minimum salary veteran) on the team beginning last season and I will do so again if he doesn’t have one in this training camp.

  69. LMA was by all accounts excellent last season. The Spurs made a good signing and now have a nice group of Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and LaMarcus Aldridge. It’s only a Knicksy signing when you don’t have the greatest head coach ever on your roster.

  70. Jowles,

    You gave a long list of transactions that Jackson made that you didn’t like as part of your argument. I didn’t pay attention to that part of your note because my argument specifically avoids looking at individual decisions, it only looks at the overall result of all those decisions combined. This is analogous to you looking at players overall TS% without thinking about the team around the player and the circumstances he played on or analyzing that player’s shooting form. Phil Jackson took over the team late in a 37-45 season. So that is his baseline. I am saying that was a below average team and had below average assets. Of course he tore it down and rebuilt it, that’s what almost all new GMs do. How do you compare the situation then and now?

    If you say it was a lousy team then and just as lousy a team now and the assets change is just noise that any GM could have accomplished, I understand you and we agree to disagree. My case is that we have an improved team and situation (but clearly not a great team), and this represents improvement. Without considering the details of any of his decision, that is an actual result I think it’s fair to judge him om.

  71. There were some interesting angles in the roundtable that I’ll pay attention to as the season progresses. I’m really curious about Hornacek. Without him having run a single practice, there’s no way to judge him. His first test will be to see if he tries to bamboozle everyone into thinking that he’s running the triangle when he really isn’t.

    As for rating Phil Jackson, I can’t give a good grade to a GM that has brought us zero playoff appearances. For this season – and his legacy, for him to ever be successful, the team needs to win 45+ games. The Knicks can’t just limp into the playoffs. (Limp being a very carefully chosen word).

  72. I think that despite their gaudy regular season record last year, the Spurs are in the first stages of decline. The team is old and slow, and Pop is old and probably soon to retire.

  73. @81 that’s fair. I totally agree that if this year’s team doesn’t make the playoffs (injuries or no injuries) it would be very disappointing (far more than the last 2.5 years.)

  74. The pantheon of Knicks execs, post Checketts&Grunfled, looks like this:

    1: Glen Grunwald. He put together the only good season of the past 15 years. And, apparently, he was fired for opposing the Bargnani trade.

    2: Donnie Walsh. His plan was high risk, high reward, and it went bust. Still, made a few good moves to go along with his bad moves. Failed most at managing Dolan.

    3: Phil Jackson. Too soon to judge. Could end up much higher on the list or much lower. So far, results have been bad (like, worst Knick team ever bad).

    4: Ed Tapscott. Yes the man whose only move was to pass over Ron Artest for Freddy Weis is a middle-of-the-packer on this list. At least he didn’t trade the pick away!

    5. Steve Mills. The architect of the Brown Saunders defense strategy, and the sycophant behind the Bargnani deal.

    6. Scott Layden. The list of infractions is long. But he managed not to sexually harass any MSG employees, so that’s something.

    7. Isiah Thomas. Spent billions to lose hundreds upon hundreds of games. Undoing his damage took years. his specter still looms over 34th and 8th Ave.

  75. I think that despite their gaudy regular season record last year, the Spurs are in the first stages of decline. The team is old and slow, and Pop is old and probably soon to retire.

    Did you miss the part where they have a legit MVP candidate?

  76. Brandon Jennings:

    “I seen @kporzee doing some sick dunks
    today off the euro step. Owwwweeeee”

    And unlike some posters on here, Jennings doesn’t li

  77. Jowles: “We are not average Knicks fans. Maybe reub comes close, but we are not average Knicks fans.

    Most people go, don’t know who the 6th man is, have a few $12 beers and head home. They don’t think about who’s on the Knicks beyond a few star players. There’s nothing wrong with this.”

    Take out the cost of beer, and sounds like your description of an NBA general manager. Because let’s remember, this is always the most important narrative.

    The only logical way to do business is to pay players commensurate with their WP score, and only TRUE, KNOWLEDGEABLE fans appreciate players that way, which is the only way in which the game can be TRULY understood.

  78. Mike, what do you think about having a round table on these topics or on Anthony’s efforts to draw attention to them?

    We can barely have a civil discussion about basketball…

  79. “LMA was by all accounts excellent last season.”

    Shattered his career highs in TS, WS and WP .

    No interaction effects to see there.

  80. He stopped taking unassisted midrange jump shots (the ones that created all the spacing in Portland). Is that an interaction effect? Good coaching? A fluke?

  81. I have no doubt that Pop and the SA system create interaction effects. I have many doubts that Carmelo’s fadeaway twenty-footers create substantial interaction effects.

  82. “Melo made $23M last year, and for that $23M the Knicks got a bunch of mediocre-efficiency scoring, okayish defense and decent rebounding and passing”

    So, basically an ok player?

    He was third among ALL qualified small forwards in RR.

    Fourth among SF in assists per 48 and assists to TO ratio.

    When Lebron James, Leonard and Durant all play the position, that seems more than ok.

    He’s 37th among hundreds and hundreds of qualified players in WS/48 and BPM since he became a Knick. That screams really, really good.

    He’s 16th in OBPM, and 24th in VORP among a very large sample of players during the same time frame.

    It’s one thing to say he’s not on the same plane as Lebron, Durant, Curry, etc., but just ok?

    Those players’ values FAR exceed their max contracts.

    Having Melo, a really, really good player on a salary roughly commensurate with his value, surely does nothing to PRECLUDE you from winning competing for a championship.

  83. “I have no doubt that Pop and the SA system create interaction effects. I have many doubts that Carmelo’s fadeaway twenty-footers create substantial interaction effects.”

    Again, preposterous to reduce my argument to this. You fucking suck at arguing and critical thinking.

  84. “He stopped taking unassisted midrange jump shots”

    So, we’re one the same page then. Good.

  85. @40 Jowles So who cares that we have three max or near-max players on the roster?

    The marketing people. Any informed discussion about the Knicks and I guess most of the NBA should take them into account. Especially in the off season.

  86. Russell looking very good so far.

    Of all the terrible things to do a rookie like Russell, giving him Byron Scott as his rookie coach is waaaay up there. We’re finally getting to see the real Russell (on the court, that is – off court the guy seems to be a super weirdo – recording your teammates? For serious?!)

  87. Anger will not make Your Precious better at basketball, ruru.

  88. For my money, Isiah and Donnie Walsh are in a class of their own of historically bad GM’s. Donnie would have been better off giving Amare’s money to Crawford or Z bo…yikes

  89. Anger will not make Your Precious better at basketball, ruru.

    he’s not angry, just trying to engage you in an actual conversation that doesn’t devolve into “Your Precious” and name-calling.

    I, on the other hand, have learned (after many relapses) not to engage your troll-ish side.

  90. LaMarcus Aldridge is literal statistical proof that players can improve by improving the situation around them. Without actually getting better at basketball, LMA put up by FAR the best season of his career. So yes, synergy is a real thing that has effects on players’ production.

    To use a crude example: when I go to the gym and play pick up, sometimes I’m on a team that doesn’t work and I play like shit. Is this an indicator that I suddenly became worse at basketball? When I play better on a different team the next day, did I suddenly become better?

  91. Of all the terrible things to do a rookie like Russell, giving him Swaggy P as a teammate and access to a smartphone is waaaay up there

    Fixed that for you.

  92. And yet Popovich is one of the few coaches who manages to have a quantifiably positive impact on the players he coaches. San Antonio is the shining supernova in the NBA universe. Using them as an example of what can be accomplished is fine. Using them as an example of what your team will do is a little… optimistic.

    I mean if we’re using small samples and anecdotal evidence, let’s talk about Chandler as the star center for a team that beat the Miami super-friends before coming to the Knicks, where he replicated his production to a T, followed by another strong year after being jettisoned back to Dallas. Or let’s not.

  93. He’s 37th among hundreds and hundreds of qualified players in WS/48 and BPM since he became a Knick.

    Those players’ values FAR exceed their max contracts. Having Melo, a really, really good player on a salary roughly commensurate with his value, surely does nothing to PRECLUDE you from winning competing for a championship.

    He’s ranked 6th, 5th, 5th, 4th and 3rd in salary paid in those season, and hasn’t once performed commensurate to his paycheck or justified what we traded to have the right to overpay Carmelo. We paid for a guy who should be one of the 10 best players in the NBA and we got a guy who ranks 37th in WS/48. I don’t understand what’s so hard to accept about this. Has the presence of Melo prevented the Knicks from competing for a championship? Of course not. The other stupid moves the Knicks have made have played a large part in that. But what we paid for is the type of player that makes it relatively easy to assemble a contender. Having a legit top 10 player increases your margin for error when building the rest of the roster. Having Melo reduced ours.

  94. Fixed that for you.

    Ha! The presence of easy-to-use recording devices definitely aggravates things, but I think you need to have a very specific type of thought pattern to do what Russell did. But yeah, Swaggy P is definitely a lame dude, in and of himself. Did you see the video of Gilbert Arenas mocking his old teammate, Swaggy P? Hilariously weird (especially as Arenas is saying it all while apparently staying at Young’s house as a guest).

  95. “He stopped taking unassisted midrange jump shots”

    So, we’re one the same page then. Good.

    Are we? For the last few years the narrative around LaMarcus was that he was an all star despite his relatively middling scoring efficiency because he was the guy commanding the double teams and taking the tough shots that allowed his teammates to be better. I argued that he took too many stupid shots, and that wasn’t particularly helpful for his team. He went to San Antonio, saw his shot attempts fall, saw the percentage of assisted baskets he scored rise significantly, and lo-he had a very good season. And most interestingly, the team he left went from 8th in the league in offense to 7th in the league in offense. It turns out they didn’t need his shot creation to be good.

  96. @DRed

    Come on, they replaced his shot creation with McCollum’s and there were so many wholesale changes on the team aside from LMA leaving. I get the point, but there are way too many factors to boil it down to just that.

    We’ll see just how good LMA is this season starting next to a total defensive shit show like Pau. Spurs generally don’t make mistakes, but that move made zero sense to me.

  97. I mean if we’re using small samples and anecdotal evidence, let’s talk about Chandler as the star center for a team that beat the Miami super-friends before coming to the Knicks, where he replicated his production to a T, followed by another strong year after being jettisoned back to Dallas. Or let’s not.

    You are using an example of a player who changed teams and maintained his production to say that players can’t change teams and improve their production. I don’t think I have to explain why your Chandler example is not analogous to me saying a player can play badly for a certain team and then play much better for a different team because of fit.

  98. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that the Spurs are an NBA anomaly. LaMarcus is exactly the example of a player being absorbed into a next-level offense and seeing a peak year at age 30. It’s weird, but so are the Spurs.

    My attitude about Chandler is that he simply needs penetration from a serviceable ball handler to do what he does best. Most NBA teams have this capability. Would he have been better off with Chris Paul than Ray Felton? Of course. But that would be (and is) reflected by Chris Paul’s godly assist rate and would be reflected in Chandler’s shot efficiency.

  99. “LaMarcus Aldridge is literal statistical proof that players can improve by improving the situation around them. Without actually getting better at basketball, LMA put up by FAR the best season of his career. So yes, synergy is a real thing that has effects on players’ production.

    To use a crude example: when I go to the gym and play pick up, sometimes I’m on a team that doesn’t work and I play like shit. Is this an indicator that I suddenly became worse at basketball? When I play better on a different team the next day, did I suddenly become better?”

    I’ve stated this exact point on here before. The statistics are useless and ridiculous. It’s all about talent, situation, and leadership.

  100. Jowles,
    You seem to purposely forget that the other coach on that very short list is Phil Jackson, so I will remind you of it again. Obviously being a GM is not the same as coaching, there is a learning curve and a degree of separation, but at some point does his influence in building a team and choosing a system and a coach translate to produce the same effect?

    Let’s harken back to January 2016 when the Knicks were the surprise team in the NBA playing .500 ball despite a brutal opening schedule, a team built on Melo+ a star-to-be but raw rookie+ a ragtag collection of average (RoLo, by your definition) to below-average (Afflalo, Calderon) to previously terrible (Lance, DWill) to still terrible (Seraphin, Vuj) youngish with potential but not good yet (Lance, Jerian, KOQ) players, and a soon-to-be-fired coach with a 17-65 record going in to the season?

    Everyone knew at that time that the success was very fragile, and lo and behold, Melo steps on a ref’s foot and it all unravels.

    But was anyone on this lofty site doubting Jax when we were way, way overachieving at 22-22? When Melo was playing the best team ball of his career, and Lance was draining 3’s, and DWill was thundering to the hole and getting to the line, and KP was winning consecutive rookie-of-the-month awards, and Afflalo was playing to his contract, and the triangle was clicking? What was your narrative at that point, O Wise One?

  101. I’ve stated this exact point on here before. The statistics are useless and ridiculous.

    There’s only one thing that is useless and ridiculous around here.

  102. I’ve stated this exact point on here before. The statistics are useless and ridiculous. It’s all about talent, situation, and leadership.

    Statistics are useful in terms of quantifying players’ production and efficiency and comparing amongst players. That said, statistics other than wins are not able to account for certain extremely important interactions on the court. Namely, the way that people play together (what I think people have called synergy) is of paramount importance to the game of basketball. It’s why the Melo-Amar’e combination never worked and it’s why certain teams like Hornacek’s 13-14 Suns play greater than the sum of their parts.

    Anyone who has played basketball competitively knows this.

  103. I think the problem with using the Knicks as an example of a team that overachieved was that they only overachieved for half a season and then they hit rock bottom over the second half when they went 10-28 the rest of the way. They were not able to keep up that level of play which ultimately shows it to fizzle out as the streakiness of basketball. I thought last year’s Knicks would win 43 games and I would have been right if Melo didn’t step on a ref’s foot or if LT didn’t get injured of if the Knicks gave KOQ those minutes over Seraphin and blah blah blah. Basketball is a sport where injuries and hot streaks happen, and even though the Knicks overachieved early on, they could not combat statistical regression in the end.

    I really wish the 44 game sample of last year’s Knicks were the real Knicks, and if we kept Galloway and D Will we might have really had a great team this year. It’s fun to think that Phil’s otherworldly coaching genius will find its way into the box score, but there’s just as much evidence from last season to the contrary. The Knicks need to get more turnovers, shoot more threes, and get fouled more often if they want to improve. I think we have a good chance at doing that with this roster.

  104. He’s ranked 6th, 5th, 5th, 4th and 3rd in salary paid in those season, and hasn’t once performed commensurate to his paycheck or justified what we traded to have the right to overpay Carmelo. We paid for a guy who should be one of the 10 best players in the NBA and we got a guy who ranks 37th in WS/48. I don’t understand what’s so hard to accept about this. Has the presence of Melo prevented the Knicks from competing for a championship? Of course not. The other stupid moves the Knicks have made have played a large part in that. But what we paid for is the type of player that makes it relatively easy to assemble a contender. Having a legit top 10 player increases your margin for error when building the rest of the roster. Having Melo reduced ours.

    Melo was a top 10 player in 12-13 and 13-14

  105. and he got hurt in the first game the next year in cleveland where the Knicks won lol

  106. The statistics are useless and ridiculous. It’s all about talent, situation, and leadership.

    That’s why at the end of the game, the team with the most points doesn’t win, the team who showed the most talent and leadership wins.

  107. Come on, they replaced his shot creation with McCollum’s and there were so many wholesale changes on the team aside from LMA leaving. I get the point, but there are way too many factors to boil it down to just that.

    This is pretty much my point. It’s not that anyone can step in and drop in buckets at a league averagish clip (Knicks fans should be all too familiar with this) but there are a good number of guys who can do it for cheap. It’s not worth paying a premium for.

  108. “let’s talk about Chandler as the star center for a team that beat the Miami super-friends before coming to the Knicks, where he replicated his production to a T”
    You keep bringing up Chandler as the star of the Knicks’ 54 win team, yet you continue to ignore the fact that the team had a much better record that year in games when he was out sick or injured than when he played and that they had a much better record when Melo played than when he was out sick or injured. Doesn’t fit your narrative, so continue to ignore it…

  109. The Knicks won 17 games the season after they traded Tyson Chandler (a move I supported). Is that good? This is how it works, right?

  110. but there are a good number of guys who can do it for cheap. It’s not worth paying a premium for.

    Who are the guys that do this for cheap other than guys on rookie contracts? Volume scoring is likely overpriced, but that’s the market for it. If you don’t have a Lebron, Durant, Curry or Kawhi type scoring talent that can maintain high efficiency at higher usage then the best you can do is sometimes high volume, league average efficiency guys.

    You need players that can create shots for themselves, because it allows guys who are efficient to stay in their lower usage lanes and thrive. That reality might put a cap on how far your team can go, but sometimes the alternative of just letting a player like that walk and replacing him with ? isn’t that appealing or clear either.

    People here love Masai Ujiri who seems like a very good GM and overall smart guy. He just droped 5/139 in Demar DeRozan’s lap. Is it because he thinks DD is an elite offensive player or because that he feels there’s value to his volume scoring in helping other guys on the team maintain high efficiency, lower usage roles and that if he let him walk there wouldn’t necessarily be a clear upgrade to be had? I don’t think the decisions are often as simple as “guy has 53 TS% on high usage so let’s just dump him and get a couple of lower usage guys with higher efficiency”.

    I don’t think that’s necessarily what you were saying, but was just trying to argue why I think teams value what players like Melo or LMA bring to the table.

  111. That season was a shit-show from the get-go. A billion little things went wrong, starting with Calderon’s calf, then Melo’s knee, then JR’s funk, then TH2’s regression, then Dalembert’s awfulness relative to his previous season, and on and on. Keep in mind, nobody, and I mean NOBODY predicted a 17-win debacle. I was (shockingly) among the most pessimistic going into the season, predicting 38 wins. If I recall correctly, Jowles predicted 37.

  112. Tyson Chandler is a great player. He was a huge part of our 54 win season. But do you really think that the reason we went from 37 to 17 wins b/w 2013-14 and 2014-15 is solely because we traded Chandler? Here are our top-ten guys in terms of minutes played in 13-14 (WS/48 in parens):
    Melo (.172), JR (.073), Felton (.053), Shump (.048), Hardaway (.080), Tyson (.143), Amare (.124), Prigioni (.127), Bargs (.058), Kmart (.090).

    Here is the same list for 14-15:
    Shane Larkin (.045), Jason Smith (.032), Hardaway (.023), Gallo (.043), Melo (.097), Quincy Acy (.063), Calderon (.033), Lance (-.022 lol), Cole (.107), Amare (.120)

    That team was terrible, but not just because Chandler was gone. We replaced a combined WS/48 of .516 amongst our top 6 (chose top 6 to include Tyson), with a WS/48 of .303. Our top minutes getters were fucking Shane Larking and Jason Smith. That’s why we sucked. Tyson would’ve helped but even if you put his best season into that lineup, where he produced 10 win shares, we’d still have finished 26th in the NBA at 27 wins. Behind the Sacramento Kings.

  113. It’s not that hard to figure out that Pop realized that LMA is a shitty mid-range shooter but excellent at finishing near the rim, and that it would be a real good idea to get LMA to stop taking so many of those mid-range shots. Hornacek seems to grasp this kind of thinking, but the problem is he lacks the offensive talent to work with. San Antonio takes as many mid-range shots as the Knicks, but they make them at a much higher clip because they have talented players who can knock those shots down. And San Antonio also has players who can convert at the rim, while the Knicks don’t.

    Hornacek will probably help the Knicks’ efficiency a bit by getting them to take more high-percentage shots, and to encourage shooters to ditch shots that aren’t effective, but it will probably be a marginal improvement because of the lack of talent.

  114. Would he have been better off with Chris Paul than Ray Felton? Of course. But that would be (and is) reflected by Chris Paul’s godly assist rate and would be reflected in Chandler’s shot efficiency.

    Nice try but from a scoring standpoint Chandler was without question better with Ray Felton- slight decrease in usage but more than made up for by increases in TS% (helped by better ft% but still had better overall fg%) and a decrease in TOV% (no doubt helped by Felton’s crisper passing). Chandler owes his entire career to playing with the three best point guard of his era- Paul, Kidd, and Raymond Bernard Felton Jr.!

  115. @88 Mike

    We can barely have a civil discussion about basketball…

    I suspect that the topic might actually unite more than divide, but I trust your judgment re what makes for a good roundtable.

  116. But do you really think that the reason we went from 37 to 17 wins b/w 2013-14 and 2014-15 is solely because we traded Chandler

    No, I’m taking a ridiculous position to highlight the folly of that sort of overly simplistic analysis

  117. Another argument about Tyson Chandler. noooooooooooooooooooooo
    I feel like Sisyphus some (most) of the time here or at least this place does.

  118. Another argument about Tyson Chandler. noooooooooooooooooooooo
    I feel like Sisyphus some (most) of the time here or at least this place does.

    Word, at least the 800 or so posts devoted to Derrick Rose were about a player actually on our current roster.

  119. “No, I’m taking a ridiculous position to highlight the folly of that sort of overly simplistic analysis”
    You’re right, it is simplistic, but it is no more or less simplistic than looking at a single stat (like some people around here often do) like TS% or ORR, or even the supposedly all-inclusive stats like WS, WP, ORtg, DRtg, etc. and concluding that high number = great player, medium number = mediocre player and low number = bad player.

  120. With or without Butler?

    Before or after the all-star break/fractured face/eyepatch?

  121. You’re right, it is simplistic, but it is no more or less simplistic than looking at a single stat (like some people around here often do) like TS% or ORR, or even the supposedly all-inclusive stats like WS, WP, ORtg, DRtg, etc. and concluding that high number = great player, medium number = mediocre player and low number = bad player.

    Well, I can tell you what I try to do: I try to look at all of a player’s stats, try to glean as much information I can about his defensive reputation and then take other intangibles into account. Take all the information that is available and weigh it accordingly. WS is valuable if you know its limitations. WP is valuable if you know its limitations. TS% combined with usage is probably the best overall indicator of a player’s offensive value, but it’s not a be-all, end-all.

    I think, in general, this is the approach that the more statistical-minded of us on this blog tend to take. There may be some here that tend to value WP over other metrics– I personally do not. WP has some issues at the extremes of the usage spectrum. That doesn’t mean it’s a useless stat, it just means that you have to take that into consideration. I believe there are many aspects to basketball that the box score does not measure well, and that players who excel at these things don’t get their just due. I try to give those things some weight when evaluating a player.

    But I will tell you this: I know for damn sure that a guard with a sub-.500 TS% who takes around 18 or 19 FGA per 36 minutes is a shit player. And I also know for damn sure that the guys who rank at the very back end of the WS48 and WP48 leaderboards are not guys you want on your team. Generally they get those low rankings by missing hella shots and not doing a whole lot else.

  122. Arguing about players statistics that used to be on our team is definitely a Knickerbloggery thing to do, but it’s better than more Rose trade discussion! Onward with the Chandler chat!

  123. When the Knicks won 54 games the two most productive players on the team were Chandler and Kidd. They were both critical parts of a championship team before coming to NY. The team they left took a step back when they left and we took a significant step forward when they arrived. Then we took a step back again when each left in consecutive years. So the results on the court verify measurements like Wins Produced, Boxscore Plus Minus and others. Now granted, they were not scorers. So the Knicks needed a guy like Melo on that team to be successful. But while Melo’s scoring prowess is broad, it is not highly efficient. So while he was critical to the success of that team, other scorers in various combinations could have been just as successful or even more successful if we got an elite one in the mix. The two critical components were Kidd and Chandler.

  124. Speaking of Box Score Plus Minus, I keep looking at Enes Kanter and don’t understand why he rates so poorly on that metric vs. others. Everyone knows that Kanter is suspect defensively. That’s what that metric is saying. But it’s still a boxscore stat and all the other boxscore stats are looking at the same things. The weights may be slightly different, but I don’t see how that accounts for the massive difference between BPM and all the others. Anyone?

  125. I’m no expert but I think the difference between productivity stats like PER, WP, and WS vs. BPM, RPM, RAPM, SPM, etc. is that the former don’t take on/off numbers/point differential/ortg/drtg numbers into account when assessing a players contribution. Meanwhile the latter ones start from on/off numbers that are then subject to regression on the basis of priors established by the assigned weighted values of advanced box score metrics like TS% and STL%. Win shares and other all-in-one productivity metrics are also usually deterministic formulas, not statistical ones.

    Since the all-in-one formulas don’t take on/off numbers into account and punt on defense by judging team defense more than individual defense, it becomes clear why Kanter ranks better on those metrics than on BPM, RAPM, and RPM (all where he scores badly): Enes Kanter’s defense is so bad that it’s not adequately captured by those all-in-one metrics, and his negative defensive contributions are captured more accurately in BPM because it takes on/off statistics into account, where he is seen as a break-even player at best, and more likely a net negative (not to say that BPM is a perfect characterization of a player’s defensive acumen–it isn’t, but it’s better than WS/WP.)

    People more knowledgeable about statistics than I should feel free to correct me.

  126. Jose Calderon seems like a good guy.

    I’m gonna miss Jose. Couldn’t play defense for shit, but he seems like a great teammate, and I enjoyed rooting for him.

  127. I’m really interested to see how the metrics are used to dissect the upcoming Knicks season. In particular, how did they win 60 games when everyone on the team is either washed up, overpaid or green?

  128. Just read this over at the ringer:

    Phil Jackson was heavily linked to Okafor before last year’s draft, and acquiring a low-post center with his skills would allow the Knicks to ascend to Triangle Heaven. Kristaps Porzingis is a better fit as a 5 in a modern NBA offense, but Phil seems determined to play him as an oversize 4 next to another traditional big man. Porzingis and Okafor could form a devastating high-low combo; Porzingis’s ability to shoot 3s and protect the rim could cover the two biggest holes in Okafor’s game. The Knicks could ease Okafor into a role behind Joakim Noah, and he would completely dismantle smaller big men on opposing second units. They don’t have much in the way of assets for the 76ers to acquire, but they could send Kyle O’Quinn to make the trade’s salary numbers work and give up a future first-round pick.

    lol fuck you no

  129. Jahlil Okafor will be a very good pro. A .536 TS% on a 27.3% USG as a rookie is nothing to sneeze at. Rookie seasons where a player had a TS% above .530 and a USG% above 25% have only happened 21 times in NBA history, and Jahlil Okafor was the second youngest rookie to do it behind Kyrie Irving. Now I wouldn’t trade a first round pick for Okafor because we’re not at a stage where that makes sense, but there is little doubt in my mind that if someone is smart enough to move Okafor to the 4 that he’ll be a perennial All Star.

    EDIT: Here’s the link I used for the information in this post. http://bkref.com/tiny/VfikW

  130. Okafor is not a particularly good rebounder and he’s slow on defense. He’s a one-dimensional player. The player he most reminds me of is Eddy Curry.

    TRIANGLE DOE

  131. You mitigate a lot of those issues when you move him to the PF. Do you have a good basketball player if your power forward posts a .580 TS% while grabbing 9 rebounds per 36?

  132. @150 you have that wrong. BPM doesn’t use on-off data at all (other than in the initial regression to determine the boxscore coefficients). ESPN’s RPM does; it is a hybrid stat. BPM does include a team adjustment but it is not on/off and it is not what’s hurting Kanter’s DBPM.

    If you look at the coefficients, it’s pretty clear that Kanter is hurt by his combination of very low steals, blocks and assists (yes, there is an interaction effect with rebounds and assists that affects the regression’s view of your *defense* if at least one of those variables is unusually low). The fact that his defensive on-off data is also terrible is purely a coincidence (or, if you like, a confirmation of the regression’s effectiveness in evaluating Kanter). If you reversed Kanter’s defensive on/off last year his DBPM would not change.

  133. Wait, there are people who seriously wouldn’t trade next year’s first rounder and Kyle O’Quinn for Jahlil Okafor???

    KOQ is a dime a dozen back bencher, and even if the Knicks intensionally tanked the coming season for a high pick it’s unlikely they’d end up in a position to draft someone as talented as Okafor. That trade is so lopsided in our favor, it’s laughable. Okafor managed to maintain nearly .54 TS on more than 27% usage (both numbers higher than our lord and savior Porzingis btw) as a 19 year old in the context of an absolutely, positively, incomprehensibly awful Sixers team that featured no professional point guard for most of the season and no outside shooting. Porzingis perfectly covers for his weaknesses (he can stretch the floor on offense and protect the rim on defense), and Okafor is a phenomenally talented post scored and passer. Those two would be a fearsome combination for years to come, particularly if Noah can teach Okafor a few things about defense. You’d have to be huffing paint to turn down that deal, which of course will not happen, because it’s too good to be true.

  134. You mitigate a lot of those issues when you move him to the PF. Do you have a good basketball player if your power forward posts a .580 TS% while grabbing 9 rebounds per 36?

    Moving him to PF and playing him alongside a strong rebounding C does mitigate the rebounding issue somewhat, but the sluggish defense is perhaps even more of a problem at PF, especially with so many stretch 4’s in the league now. I do think he will eventually get to that .580 TS% though, because he seems to have fixed his free throw shooting. He shot almost 70% last year from the line, a big improvement from college.

  135. @158 That’s the other thing– a future #1 and Kyle O’Quinn certainly does not get it done for Okafor.

  136. Idk, I think I’d bite, even though I’m traumatized by even echoes of eddy curry in a player. Okafor wasn’t very good this year but he stands to improve and he does fit very well with Porzingis, even if he plays like a dinosaur. It would have to depend on where our pick would be–top 10? Probably not? Past that, you’ve got me mulling it.

  137. You mitigate a lot of those issues when you move him to the PF. Do you have a good basketball player if your power forward posts a .580 TS% while grabbing 9 rebounds per 36?

    As JK47 suggested he’s really going to hurt you if every team makes him defend PNR’s on the perimeter every time down the floor. And I’m not sure you’ll see a lot of .580 TS% seasons from him- the low post just isn’t a particularly efficient spot to operate from anymore. Neither Al Jefferson nor Zach Randolph have ever cracked .560 TS%. I’d say his most likely comp is going to be Brook Lopez- he’ll probably wind up being a bit better rebounder though he won’t block as many shots. That’s not a bad player but you’ll eventually have to max him out because he’ll give you 20 and 8 every night (while forcing you to run your offense around him in the post). If you could get him for KOQ and a top 10 protected first that’s not a terrible deal but I’d much rather surround KP with more versatile players.

  138. @150

    Since the all-in-one formulas don’t take on/off numbers into account and punt on defense by judging team defense more than individual defense, it becomes clear why Kanter ranks better on those metrics than on BPM, RAPM, and RPM (all where he scores badly):

    Your explanation makes perfect sense and would account for it perfectly, but I was under the impression that BPM uses the team point differential not the on/off stats. That’s why Kanter’s rating didn’t make any sense to me. Maybe I am just wrong.

  139. There’s no way a Knicks #1 is enough to land Okafor. Okafor is still considered future top star. The Knicks are expected to make the playoffs next year. Even if they don’t, they aren’t going to be a high lottery team. I like O’Quinn more than most and think his contract is good value, but that’s nowhere near enough to get it done.

  140. Fwiw, I think hernangomez can come in and give us a lot of what Okafor will, plus he can rebound.

  141. 560 TS w/ 9.3 to% on 35.6 usage isn’t efficient? Lol

    .184 WS/48 and a team leading 9.5 win shares just ok, too.

    Just kind of a guy who took some shots.

  142. RE: Okafor,
    1st..why is he still listed at 6’11” 270?????? No way he’s 6’11”. When he went into Duke, he was all of 6’9″. Nerlens Noel is listed at 6’10”, and he looks taller. That said, whether you play him at the 4 or 5, he’d make a great tandem up front with KP. I’d trade next year’s 1st for him. The bigs in that draft probably won’t be as good as him coming out. I think he’s got good ability and IQ on defense, he’s just not very nimble. He’s definitely not Eddy. Eddy didn’t even box out! Okafor’s got the good frame and short area quickness to become a more effective defender and rebounder. Plus he’s smart enough to pass out of double teams. Yea..you make that trade if the offer is on the table.

  143. He’s definitely not Eddy. Eddy didn’t even box out!

    Eddy Curry, TRB%, rookie season: 13.8
    Jahlil Okafor, TRB%, rookie season: 12.8

    Curry was also a year younger at the time, as he turned pro straight out of high school.

    I think Okafor will probably end up having a lot better career than Eddy Curry, because Eddy Curry was one of the most unmotivated turd sacks to ever play in the NBA, but there is a distinct resemblance between their games.

  144. i wouldn’t give up a 1st rd pick for okafor… guys like him are going to be perennially overrated because … pointz… and because he’s a 5… or most likely a 4.. so you need something close to amare like offensive production to sort of mitigate his defensive shortcomings…..

    the investment that you need to make into a guy like okafor is not going to justify the amount of effort to accomodate for those deficiencies…

  145. I think I would rather have Nerlens Noel but that’s just me. I do think Okafor can still be a good player. His offensive game might not be like Carlos Boozer or LaMarcus Aldridge but I think he could have a similar impact as those guys when they were young PFs who were also defensively challenged. Boozer was able to rebound but Aldridge only recently started rebounding like he should.

  146. OT:

    Has anyone been able to watch Thon Maker play in the SL? What do you think?

  147. 560 TS w/ 9.3 to% on 35.6 usage isn’t efficient? Lol

    .184 WS/48 and a team leading 9.5 win shares just ok, too.

    Just kind of a guy who took some shots.

    I think people really overestimate the value of Kidd on that team- he was amazing to start the season when the Knicks got off to such a great start, was pretty meh during the rough middle stretch and had little to do with the JR fueled close to the season (which was almost as good as their hot start). And, if you want to pick a playoff goat, he’s absolutely first in line.

  148. I would not trade next year’s #1 pick for Okafor. That is just repeating the same stupid shit the Knicks front office has been doing since the turn of this century. How about they keep their draft picks for a change and draft some low cost controllable talent to actually build a young exciting team? That would be completely different and so un-Knicks. Worst case they stockpile some assets for future trades when they are actually close to being a good team again.

  149. i saw maker one game… and it’s about the same as the youtube clips of him previously and what everyone’s been saying… he’s wildly athletic but has no idea what to do with it…

    he’s probably not as far away as most ppl thought but he still a ways away from being good…..

  150. Idk if he’ll be any good, but I’m definitely buying tickets to Bucks games this year. No way Giannis + Thon can’t be exciting to watch.

  151. How about they keep their draft picks for a change and draft some low cost controllable talent to actually build a young exciting team?

    In what way does adding Jahlil Okafor on his rookie deal not accomplish exactly this?

    Knicks fans are so traumatized by the past 15 years some of us seem to take it as a given that trading picks is bad no matter the return. This attitude is no different from Dolan refusing to trade Shumpert and a future 1st for Lowry just because Masai robbed us in the Bargnani trade.

  152. in a vacuum, trading the 2017 1st for Okafor is ok, but he doesn’t seem to fit what Hornacek is building. He seems to want very mobile big men, to play fast and attack the basket. Okafor is a good post player and passes pretty well, but I wonder whether he’ll ever be a really efficient scorer unless he really does some work with his release point. And he seems a bit clueless and uninterested on defense.

    Combo of Eddy Curry and Al Jefferson, who while young, seems to be a bit of knucklehead too. I’d pass on that.

  153. If you were reasonably certain the Knicks were gonna finish around .500 that would be a good deal. I don’t know if Okafor is ever going to be that good, but there’s a solid chance he scores a lot and that at least is an asset. But there are a number of plausible scenarios where the Knicks are really bad next year and not having a lottery pick in what’s supposed to be a good draft for yet another one way player doesn’t make sense to me

  154. I would not trade next year’s #1 pick for Okafor. That is just repeating the same stupid shit the Knicks front office has been doing since the turn of this century.

    I don’t have much of an opinion on Okafor, but I will tell you that trading a 1st round pick for a 20 year old with 3 years left on his rookie contract is not at all like trading a 1st round pick for the right to pay Andrea Bargnani $23,000,000 or trading two unprotected 1st round picks for the right to give Eddy Curry a giant contract.

    If the idea is to collect young talent that can come of age together, then it is not at all like he stupid shit the front office has done this century.

    All that said, as stated earlier, it’s moot because it makes no sense for the Sixers to make that trade. The one thing they don’t need is more future draft picks. And if picks were what they wanted, they could get better ones from someone else. (What the heck is The Ringer anyway? The new home of speculative journalism now that Bleacher Report has gone legit?)

  155. I feel like Colangelo is a moron and might actually make a trade like that, but yeah, any competent GM would not take O’Quinn and a first for Okafor.

    The Ringer is Bill Simmons’ new site after Grantland went on out.

  156. I find the ringer pretty shitty so far, which I don’t get because I liked grantland

  157. I feel like Colangelo is a moron and might actually make a trade like that, but yeah, any competent GM would not take O’Quinn and a first for Okafor.

    But Colangelo is, presumably, looking to trade a young player like Okafor for a veteran to lead the kids he inherited, right?

    (Which kind of makes me wonder why he didn’t out bid Phil for Derrick Rose.)

  158. Yeah, it’s wierd about the ringer. I was expecting interesting long form journalism but instead it seems to give short pieces designed to have snappy headlines.

  159. The winds of change are flying in Colangelos face. He needs to trade bigs, and they are not as popular or needed as they used to be.

  160. I thought the Knicks can NOT trade their 2017 first rounder?

    Yeah, The Ringer pales in comparison to Grantland, so far.

  161. I think you’re right about not being able to trade the 2017 pick, The Ringer article now has some footnote suggesting a previous version made the mistake of suggesting it could be traded.

  162. Thank you, Ted Stepien!

    So, if the Sixers were inclined to deal with the Knicks, it would have to be a 2018 first rounder. Seems like they’d want more than just that. OQ would just be to match the salaries.

    Speaking of stats, apparently Asdrubel Cabrera of the Mets is now like 0 for his last 30 batting with runners in scoring position. That’s unimaginably bad.

  163. Guys we really have no business trading 1st round picks. I love Jahlil Okafor and I always will (unless he proves to suck at some point), but a first round pick is extremely valuable up until it’s actually cashed in. Besides, the 2017 Draft has a player by the name of Harry Giles. He’s currently projected to go #1 and rightfully so because the kid is the second coming of KG, but he’s had two knee surgeries in high school. If that kid’s health scares off enough teams and he falls to us in the draft, I think it would make a ton of sense to draft him if we’re picking in the late teens/early 20s. Giles and Porzingis would be the greatest thing to happen to my fandom as a Knick so long as those knees hold up.

  164. Not to mention, the Knicks need more help in the back court not up front. With Kristaps, Noah, Melo, and Willy they seem to have a pretty good rotation of bigs. Last I checked Okafor does not play guard. Let’s see how it plays out and use the draft pick next year.

  165. We can trade our 2017 pick. You can’t trade successive future first round picks. We can’t trade the 2017 AND the 2018 pick, but we could trade either one of them individually. The fact that we traded our 2016 pick doesn’t matter now that the 2016 draft is done with.

  166. It’s interesting that so many people are bringing up Okafor and Curry in same sentence. Before the draft, that’s who I compared him to and it seemed most people thought I was nuts. I think he’s going to wind up being a lot better than Curry for the simple reason that he won’t eat himself out of career, but there are similarities.

  167. To put it in contemporary terms it seems like Okafor is going to be Enes Kanter without the rebounding (and with a bit of passing). That’s certainly a tactically useful player, and fine on a rookie deal, but I wouldn’t be rushing to trade for that either.

  168. While I think Okafor is worth a #1 pick, I don’t think he fits a need for us. I’d rather be a par tof a 3-way deal.

  169. No more trades. The moves for this off-season are done, if anything find a decent 3rd PG. But just go into the season with the current roster and see what happens. If they do well and make the playoffs great, if they suck we have a lottery pick and cap room (assuming they suck in part due to Rose and the Knicks just let him go). Just don’t do anything to possibly jeopardize the future like trading draft picks especially for someone like Okafor who while I like and think will be a solid player in the future he is the total opposite of what this roster needs.

  170. It it just such a nonsense trade rumor that it really doesn’t even merit discussion. It’s like, “Would you deal a 2018 first rounder and Derrick Rose for Russell Westbrook?”

  171. Jahlil Okafor puts up 21 and 8 per 36 in his rookie campaign and people are writing him off as if he’s destined to be a bum. Doesn’t move well? The issues with his rebounding and defense are both valid, but this is not a slow or immobile man. I feel like a couple of you are ganging up on the kid without watching the kid’s film and saying “yeah this guy sucks.” Group think is a powerful thing, I guess.

    I’m not advocating for a trade because we have no assets and Philly would never trade us Okafor when the rumor was Philly was not going to let Okafor or Towns fall to us no matter what happened in the draft. Simmons, Okafor, and Embiid would be a ridiculous front court despite their lack of three point shooting touch. Okafor can play, and at the very least he makes sure a quarter of your offensive possessions have a .509 eFG%.

  172. I’m not looking for any trades for a big right now. I’m looking to let this team gel. If there’s anything that I worry about it’s 1) The health of key players 2) Keeping the team on track to rebuild.

    After next season, Rose, Jennings, Vujacic and Holiday are unrestricted free agents. What is clearly noticeable is that’s most of the back court and all of the point guards. We might have put a band-aide on the point guard situation for 2016-17 (I know that’s very debatable) but it’s not a long-term solution.

    Trading for a big is nothing that I care for. What I would look for is a promising young point guard that we could control for at least the duration of the Porzingis contract. We need a point guard to develop alongside him.

  173. Aside from Porzingis, we’ve got 3 players 25 or under- Ndour (24), Plumlee (24) and Big Billy (22). It would be good to have any young guards or wings who might develop into good players.

  174. I think we need to sign Chasson Randle asap. It’s unlikely we’ll find anyone better for the 3rd pg spot. He seemed to do everything asked of him in Orlando, and then some.

  175. Why Randle instead of Baker? I don’t know enough about either of them, but I know Baker played point guard for the Knicks in Summer League, so he’s an obvious alternative. I’m curious how they compare.

  176. They both should be kept. I see Baker as a Hornacek type of player and Randle as a Conley type. Hornacek is the perfect coach to develop them too. We can shuttle them back and forth to Westchester and let them develop. I was impressed by both of them in terms of their potential although obviously not finished products.

  177. Unfortunately, if I understand our roster situation correctly, we only have room for one of them

  178. We would have to cut Plumlee to fit both but it doesn’t look like we’re gonna be doing that.

    I bet we sign Baker. Can we give Randle a partial guaranteed contract and put him in the d league for the eventual call up?

  179. I mean, what is there to say about Hornacek? He’s better than Rambis in his sleep, but with a completely different rotation with completely unpredictable (unless you are self-professed savants like , well, lets cal them tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum) player outcomes, it’s not even worth wieghing in on Hornacek until preseason.

  180. Baker isn’t a PG, we tried it in summer league and the two games he was our point guard we put up less than 50. He was a SG in college. Randle is a PG. He was one of the best PGs in the nation his senior year of college.

  181. Henrik Stenson…what a performance! Phil put up a manly battle, but just got run over by a freakin’ birdie machine. Great stuff!

  182. I like both Randle and Baker. I’d love to see them trade/cut a big and sign Randle.

  183. I saw an article on Randle a couple of days ago. He said he was only at about 70% during SL, and could feel some tweaking to his injury. He’s resting now and waiting for a call from someone, so it doesn’t sound like he has a training camp invite from anyone, yet.

    Baker has said that he will be with the Knicks in training camp.

  184. Well, Baker already has a partially guaranteed contract, so it’s a lock that he’ll be there in training camp. I really liked what I saw out of him…he’s cut from that Hornacek/Havlicek/Dellavadova cloth…balls out for 48 minutes, plays bigger ant tougher than he is, won’t back down from anybody. I bet he makes the team at some point, maybe from day one.

    This is gonna be a highly rootable team, with a bench mob of annoying, pesky, lanky defenders…Thomas, O’Quinn, Ndour, Baker, Vujacic, Holiday, Plumlee, + BJ, Kuz, and Billy.

  185. Eddy Curry, TRB%, rookie season: 13.8
    Jahlil Okafor, TRB%, rookie season: 12.8

    Curry was also a year younger at the time, as he turned pro straight out of high school.

    I think Okafor will probably end up having a lot better career than Eddy Curry, because Eddy Curry was one of the most unmotivated turd sacks to ever play in the NBA, but there is a distinct resemblance between their games.

    Indeed the numbers are very similar. But I think Okafor has the work ethic that Eddy didn’t show until he was injured and in Miami. I wouldn’t worry about him being a post specialist who’s not crazy athletic. A true post game is refreshing to me. And at closer to 6’9″, he’s kinda like a Sullinger or Mailman with less range on the jumper and better rim protection. KP’s presence mitigates any concern for his “not great” paint defense and his offensive skillset. Having someone working the paint who passes out of double teams opens the floor up way better than multiple perimeter threats of the non Golden State variety. Say Phil hypothetically trades next year’s 1st and OQ for him, his ability to score in the paint opens lanes for Rose drives, Melo mid range, KP’s all over the court game, and Lee’s 3’s. Wouldn’t be a bad move.

  186. Why would Philly do that trade?

    I hope Knicks can sign baker and randle. Any time you can sign young players that show some talent cheaply you should do it

  187. I’ve read a few things that say Chasson Randle isn’t much of a pg, more of an undersized sg. He might work as a 3rd pg option, but I’d like to remind people that SL isn’t exactly filled with world beaters. And we really need a strong 3rd pg given Rose’s injury history.

    Give Randle a camp invite, but I’m not as bullish on him as others.

  188. Why would Philly do that trade?

    I hope Knicks can sign baker and randle. Any time you can sign young players that show some talent cheaply you should do it

    Agreed and agreed. Maybe Philly would consider it if Embiid is back. But his health is a huge wild card, so there’s literally no chance of it happening. Sasha should be released in favor of Baker and Randle. Out of all our end of the bench players, he’s the most expendable when you’re adding youth to the roster. I’m kinda anxious to see how Holliday does. Maybe Lee takes him under his wing and he turns into a younger version of Lee, which would give Phil the option of moving Lee for another pick or something.

  189. Randle showed an awful lot in SL in a short time. We could use what he offers on our team.

  190. Here’s a serious question: how would you feel if right now the Knicks and Spurs traded rosters? I see the Spurs taking a big step back this year, only so much Pop can do and I think once he realizes that he’s not coaching a contender any more he’s gonna step down.

  191. Here’s a serious question: how would you feel if right now the Knicks and Spurs traded rosters? I see the Spurs taking a big step back this year, only so much Pop can do and I think once he realizes that he’s not coaching a contender any more he’s gonna step down.

    I would hate it. Kawhi is better than anyone on our roster, but we have KP to develop and a favorable cap/draft situation moving forward. Without Pop, an aging Manu, Parker, and 31 year old Aldridge really aren’t that good. I’m not saying that they aren’t talented, but clearly Pop knows how to maximize their talents in that system. I don’t think they would be as good in Hornacek’s system.

  192. Whether it’s Randle or a kid from a different summer league team, I want to see the kids with promise on the D-Leauge team, not on the pro team. We need to develop them and the bench isn’t the right place for that. Holiday hasn’t shown himself to be anything more than a fringe player in the league. I see him competing for playing time with Kuzminskas at the end of the rotation. They both might lose time to Vujacic but the key word is lose. I see Vujacic as the fallback option.

  193. I had read that Holiday took the job near the end of the season and was their best defender while becoming an excellent 3 pt shooter. He has a huge wingspan and a great attitude. I agree that it would be optimal for Baker and Randle to be under our control at Westchester while signing another PG. The more depth there the better. Who’s left out there? Blake, Dinwiddie, Chalmers, Hinrich? Am I missing anybody?

  194. Yeah Totes, its pretty weird that the Spurs just won 67 games and swapped Duncan for Gasol, which is pretty much of a wash, and yet they seem to be nothing special on paper. Oh, they lost the Boban and Boris, that must be it.

  195. If Baker is a Jeff Hornacek type player he should lead the team in minutes played, because Jeff Hornacek was one of the best 2 guards in NBA history

  196. I don’t want an old scrub like Heinrich or Blake. Dinwiddie is horrible. Chalmers might not be available until December and we’re already stocked with recovering from career-threatening PGs. I’d like to have our third-stringer be a young guy with potential. Randle is more of a SG by trade, but he has a good handle, can shoot, and went to Stanford (i.e. he’s smart.) Maybe not the best answer, but I’d prefer him to tying up a roster spot on a scrap-heap veteran.

  197. Yeah Totes, its pretty weird that the Spurs just won 67 games and swapped Duncan for Gasol, which is pretty much of a wash, and yet they seem to be nothing special on paper. Oh, they lost the Boban and Boris, that must be it.

    Short of Kawhi, who is an amazing player, I don’t think any of their guys would be amazing in other systems. Aldridge would still be an all star, but he’s not much different from Melo as a top option. Parker is the perfect PG for the sets they run in SA. If there was a roster switch but not a coaching/system switch, we’d be complaining just as much about Aldridge as we do Melo. Kawhi would be our good kid a la KP. And we’d be almost as concerned if not just as much concerned with Parker’s health and outside shooting as we are with Rose. Honestly, talent-wise, the rest of the roster comp is pretty much a wash except Pop is a coaching God. Not to mention the system and culture that they have in San Antonio is incredible. Our roster out there would probably win 50-60 games because KP in that system would be nucking futz and they would have Pop minimizing Melo’s shortcomings while maximizing Noah, Lee, and Rose.

  198. Randle shot over 42% from 3 on his Czech team last year, he moves the ball well, and he at least tries on D. Everyone was bemoaning the loss of Jerian Grant, but this guy seems to have more skills overall.
    I like Baker too (who IMO is more of a Craig Ehlo type) but he’s no point guard, despite having a nice handle. Only thing is, he has a slow shot release like Landry Fields did (Landry who?), while Randle has a nice, quick release.
    Maybe they’ll trade O’Quinn for the extra roster spot? KOQ just doesn’t seem like a good fit with Horny.

  199. Whoa, DRed, I just meant in terms of style of play. I will say this: he has been underestimated at every level. I watch this video and see everything I want in an undrafted prospect:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fDgiYepWUM

    The “weakness” video says the obvious: he has trouble finishing vs. length and needs a floater. But I think we got a legit player, if only due to his grit in going from a walk-on to a top-level NCAA player and high B-ball IQ. He seems to know how to overcome low expectations. I really, really like him.

  200. Craig Ehlo is a good comparison (probably bigger than Baker, but similar look to him.)

  201. I’m not saying that Randle won’t end up being the best choice, what I am saying is that lots of SL stars turn back into pumpkins after SL. We should invite other young pg’s to battle for the backup spot or at least keep an eye out for other options.

    There’s other warning signs too, Randle doesn’t handle pg duties in the Czech league and plays more like a sg (He has the wingspan not all that different than Gallo’s). But we need a pg, he’s a better fit there than Baker, but I’d rather have Baker longterm.

  202. Maybe they’ll trade O’Quinn for the extra roster spot? KOQ just doesn’t seem like a good fit with Horny.

    KOQ is the only veteran backup big on the roster. Until Willy or Ndour or Plumlee proves themselves playable, the team isn’t going to ditch him.

    Plus, he’s in The Best Shape Of His Career thanks to hot yoga!

  203. small sample and the age thing really works against randle….. baker’s defensive numbers alone throughout college alone probably makes him more deserving of a nod than randle for that last spot….

    baker is pretty intriguing and kind of reminds me of the sg version of tj mcconnel who i loved last year and had a decent rookie yr last year…

  204. If we switched rosters with San Antonio I would be ecstatic. That would give us a core of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and LaMarcus Aldridge in New York City where they would attract one of CP3, Westbrook, or Lowry. Hornacek is a good coach, and I think he’ll show that in New York. Kristaps Porzingis could become a HOF player and still never be as good as Kawhi Leonard is on both ends of the court. Taking a step back from a 67 win isn’t the worst thing in the world; those guys are still going to be great next season. That team has long been set up for the departure of TD as they still have all of their five leaders in minutes played from last season, and Kyle Anderson should take another step forward this season. The Spurs are still great; I just hope Poppovich has a capable successor in mind for his eventual retirement as the GOAT coach.

  205. Kristaps Porzingis could become a HOF player and still never be as good as Kawhi Leonard is on both ends of the court.

    I disagree.

  206. I love how the guy defending the Derrick Rose trade is the guy talking shit on a 67-win team’s roster.

    Hilarious.

  207. It’s not really a statement one can disagree with. Kawhi Leonard is extremely good at basketball. He’s a super efficient volume scorer and the world’s best perimeter defender. The guy is like Super Scottie Pippen. It’s really hard to be better at basketball than Kawhi Leonard. Melo is a HOF level player who will likely never post a better season than The Claw, and his 2013 and 2014 seasons were off the charts.

    I think Porzingis is going to eventually develop into a perennial DPOY guy and top 5 offensive player in the league. I’m talking 24 points on a .608 TS%, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks a night. I think he’ll be a top 3-7 player in his prime, but we have to acknowledge that may never happen. He can still be great and not be better than Kawhi Leonard. That’s a true statement.

  208. He can still be great and not be better than Kawhi Leonard. That’s a true statement.

    Indisputably

  209. He can still be great and not be better than Kawhi Leonard. That’s a true statement.

    True. Equally true: he can be great and be better than Kawhi Leonard.

  210. Absolutely. I believe KP will someday be better than Kawhi, and I’ll be disappointed if he isn’t the first European born player to win multiple MVPs. Kawhi is a .200 WS/48 guy and a .300 WP48 guy though. Those guys are really hard to get your hands on.

  211. Well, Jowles, let’s take a closer look:
    Their Big 3:
    Kawhi Leonard: top-5 player in the NBA
    LMA: someone who you essentially described as Carmelo West before last year
    Danny Green: 2016 TS%=.492, WS/48=.099

    Not old and good:
    Patty Mills

    Over The Hill Gang:
    Tony Parker: 34 YO, terrible in playoffs last 2 years, not great the year before that either
    Manu Ginobili: 39 YO, down to 1100 minutes last year (19MPG)
    Pau Gasol: 36 YO 2016 TS%=.529

    The rest:
    Assorted scrubs and young, unproven guys (including the great Kyle Anderson)

    Sound like a 60+-win team to you?

  212. i am fine with trading our team with the Spurs but would be just as happy to trade front offices…

  213. re: Pop, as the late Bum Phillips would say, “He’ll take his’n and beat your’n, then take your’n and beat his’n.”

  214. Are we really comparing San Antonio’s roster with the Knicks’?

    Btw, I hope Porzingis keeps improving, but his entire season does not guarantee or even project stardom. Just a word of caution.

  215. Theo,

    That’s not how this board operates. He’s tall, athletic and skilled — unlike the rest of the NBA, which is full of scrubs like Ray Felton who’s so fat that he can barely convert a layup.

    He had a good rookie season and a poor season relative to the average NBA player. He could become a superstar or he could become an average starter. This board will not agree with us on these points.

  216. We all do plenty of hand wringing over this roster, but there are some things to like about the roster/coach setup. We have 3 big time players in Melo, KP, and Rose. And a 4th player who can score in bunches and make plays with the ball in Jennings. We also have 2 upper level defenders at their positions in Noah and Lee. Assuming reasonable health, Melo and Rose don’t have to carry a heavy load and be the consistent 25-30 ppg threat that they had to be in their best seasons. That should help KP grow his feel for the game on offense as his game matures. Also, 6th man for a healthy Jennings should be a perfect role for him, but he really needs to take better shots. As long as guys stay healthy, Hornacek’s gonna have some useful weapons at his disposal. Between Melo/KP/Rose, there should be plenty of opportunities to spread the workload around. I also expect there to be better 4th quarter performances for those 3 now that the heavy lifting will be shared. That’s great because at his best Melo is really clutch when he’s healthy and has energy.

  217. San Antonio’s roster is not what it was, even last year. Other than Leonard. Aldridge and Mills, everyone else on the team is either rapidly aging, unproven in a more prominent role, or at best an average player. The’ve lost several players that to some degree contributed to their success last year. Diaw, West, Boban, and some guy named Duncan, to name a few. Green also had a very mediocre year last year. Unless someone steps up, like the great Kyle Anderson, their string of 50+ win seasons will come to a screeching halt.

  218. Leonard is a LeBron-level talent. He really is. There’s no part of his game that’s not elite. As long as he is on the Spurs, they will have to go out of their way to not hit 50 wins.

    Will they win 65 every year? Of course not. Will they make deep playoff runs for the next five? Absolutely.

  219. The Spurs 50+ streak could come to a screeching halt and they could still win like 15 games more than the Knicks. The Spurs have a better roster because they have a legit young superstar. We have a potential young superstar.

  220. Is the Jeff Hornacek Round Table thread going to take us all the way to training camp?

  221. I want to remind you, Z-man, how crazy you look when you say the 67-win team is in trouble and the lottery team is in a much better position.

    Again, you’re talking shit on pocket aces and talking up the 4-9 off suit. It makes you look delusional or unhinged.

  222. Leonard is a LeBron-level talent.

    http://bkref.com/tiny/KNb88

    Not really. But keep thinking that if it makes you feel better.

    I want to remind you, Z-man, how crazy you look when you say the 67-win team is in trouble and the lottery team is in a much better position.

    Again, you’re talking shit on pocket aces and talking up the 4-9 off suit. It makes you look delusional or unhinged.

    So you sound like a guy who is betting on the cards from last hand. The deck has been reshuffled and both teams have a new hand. But you keep on enjoying living in your miserable, cynical, Groundhog Day existence in which the Knicks will always suck and the Spurs will always be great.

  223. I would ask this question, Z-man: how come you have a pesimistic view of San Antonio’s future but feel the Knicks will be the lucky recipients of every possible break?

    Do you really believe replacing a greatly diminished Duncan with a declining Gasol will make a 67-win team collapse?

    Why will advancing age cripple San Antonio’s good players but it won’t affect the Knicks’ questionable recent acquisitions?

    Is it reasonable to expect Rose to be better than Parker, Noah better than Gasol, Melo equal to Kahwi, Porzingis better than Aldridge and Hornacek better than Popovic?

  224. Let me also remind you that in 2014-15 the Spurs couldn’t get a win to secure home court advantage and lost in the first round. Last year they lost handily in the second round. I would hardly call those deep playoff runs. Now, are you seriously gonna tell me that the team is stronger now than it was then??

    But yeah, Kawhi will lead them to the finals again because he’s a LeBron-level talent. Okay.

    And he’s telling me that I sound delusional. Wow.

  225. Theo, I explained my reasoning re: the Spurs in @242. If you want to refute anything I specifically said, feel free.

    As to the Knicks, I am very cautiously optimistic, but fully aware that Any of Rose, Noah, Jennings or Melo could break down at any time. But I’ll put the question back to you: why do some assume that the Spurs will continue to be very good to great and that the Knicks will always fall victim to the worst case scenario and that every transaction reaffirms that they will never improve? Even though they have probably the second most valuable player (market value wise) under age 21 in the league on a rookie deal, all of their first round picks for the first time since probably the ’70s and no crippling long-term deals? Why do the Spurs get every benefit of the doubt even when after two hasty exits from the playoffs, their personnel situation has likely changed for the worse?

    Not to mention that Rose is 27 and Noah is 31. Look again at Ginobili, Parker and Pau’s ages.

  226. Rose is only signed through this year-he doesn’t matter. The Spurs and the Knicks have some dodgy players on the books for a couple years. Noah, Parker, Melo, Pau. The Spurs are unquestionably more talented now-they won more games last year than the Knicks did the previous two seasons, but in the future would you prefer a superstar in the hand or one in the bush?

  227. Legitimate questions, Z-man. I believe that San Antonio’s roster and performance will continue to be far better the Knicks’ based on data collected over many games and seasons. They just won 67 while the Knicks did not even make the playoffs.

    My estimate assumes both teams will have an equal share of good and bad breaks.

    In my view, San Antonio is a vastly superior team vs the Knicks. The same way Leonard, at 25 is a better, much more complete player than any version of Melo that ever existed. Leonard, like Porzingis, is an improving player, btw.

  228. As to “expectations,” I thinks it’s possible for Rose to be better than Parker, for Melo to be as good as Aldridge, for Porzingis to be as good as Kawhi was in his second year, for Noah to be better than Gasol, for Lee to be better than Green, and for Jennings to be close to as good as Mills, and for the rest of our bench to be as good as the rest of their bench. I would never expect Hornacek to be anywhere as near as good as Pop, but that actually helps my argument. If the Spurs whimpered out of the playoffs two year in a row despite Pop’s brilliant coaching, what does that tell you about their personnel? Is it that outlandish to say that they’re not infallible?

    The entire argument against the Knicks is based on the premise that Noah, Rose and Jennings are permanently crippled, despite their young ages, work ethic and extended off-season recovery time. Is it that outlandish to challenge that assumption?

  229. Leonard is firmly planted on Popovic’s hand. Porzingis lives in the bushy bush for now.

  230. So why did they lose in the second round last year and in the first round (as a 7 seed) the year before that? Do you seriously think that if they had LeBron instead of Leonard, all else being the same, that they would have met the same fate? That’s what Jowles apparently thinks.

  231. “Possible” is much different than “likely”, Z-man. It’s possible for Porzingis to have a better next season than Leonard. But it’s also highly unlikely.

    When working with projections and expectations, odds matter. Odds are based on data, not hope.

  232. The Spurs lost in the playoffs because they faced teams that outperformed them. It happens: the Warriors lost, too.

    Losing in the Western Conference playoffs does not lower the Spurs to Knicks’ level.

    Kawhi being or not being in Lebron’s league is irrelevant to this conversation. He only needs to be far better than any Knicks. He is better than any Knicks player as of today.

  233. I get it but there are things for which the data is less useful. In the case of the Spurs, there is no data for a Spurs team without Tim Duncan playing at least 1500 minutes in the last 19 years, or Boris Diaw at least around 1400 for the last 4 years. There actually is data that suggests that Parker , Gasol and Ginobili are very likely to decline due to age even if healthy, but there’s no data for the impact that would have on wins. . In the case of the Knicks, there is no data for Noah’s current relative level of health, or Rose’s, or Jennings; only data about how they played while either injured or not fully recovered. There is no data on this current roster mix for the Knicks, or this current coach with this roster. All the data you are using assumes “best line”fit from past results, even though the makeup of both teams has significantly changed.

    I agree that the odds are that the Spurs outperform the Knicks, but there’s a pretty wide spread of reasonably possible outcomes for both teams, with overlap in the low-40’s to low-50’s for wins.

  234. I thinks it’s possible for Rose to be better than Parker, for Melo to be as good as Aldridge, for Porzingis to be as good as Kawhi was in his second year, for Noah to be better than Gasol, for Lee to be better than Green, and for Jennings to be close to as good as Mills, and for the rest of our bench to be as good as the rest of their bench

    Sure. If everything goes right for us and everything goes wrong for them. But they’re starting from a better position, mostly because Leonard is better than anyone the Knicks have had in 20 years. In two years? Who knows, but they’re almost certainly going to be better next year. How many Knicks are you confident can give the team 70 games of solidly above average production next year?

  235. Actually, in the NBA playoffs, the better team almost always wins. This is especially true when the better team has the better coach. The Spurs were the seventh seed in 2014-15, and lost in the first round as they should have. They got better last year by signing LMA. Won a lot more regular season games. Swept a decimated Griz team, then lost to a much better OKC team, despite great play from their two “stars.”

    The LeBron reference is relevant because of Jowles’ assertion that Kawhi is LeBron-like, which is quite a stretch.

  236. DRed, I’m not “confident” about anything, just, as I said, cautiously optimistic. I also don’t think that everything has to go right, only that if something goes wrong that Plan B works good enough to keep winning. For example, If Rose goes down, can Jennings pick up the slack? Can a back-up that’s not on the team yet surprise? Can one of the young minimum guys step up in a major way (Ndour? Kuz? Willy? Baker? TBD?) like Lance did last year?

  237. There is an entire season’s worth of data on the Spurs winning 67 games in spite of Duncan playing at least 1500 minutes and producing at a vastly dimished rate. There is every indication that the Spurs will continue to be a top NBA team this upcoming season without Duncan and without any lucky breaks. The Knicks will need all the luck in the world just to stay healthy and hopefully make the playoffs. I for one, feel replacing capable journeyman center Lopez with the more expensive carcass of Joakim Noah harmed more than helped the team.

    It’s very telling that Chicago replaced Rose with a cheaper Rondo. Food for thought.

  238. Yeah, I think Kawhi trumps anything else. He is really good, not Lebron level, but top 10 good definitely, and you can expect to be that good another 5 years (at least). You can field a competitive team around Kawhi for one or two years, as long as Parker and Gasol last, and then you can rebuild as they own all of their 1st rounders.

    If you want to say that the Knicks are ahead of the curve rebuilding, then with the SA roster you could possibly trade everyone but Kawhi for assets, tank, and be in a similar situation, but in one where Kawhi is the player you want Porzingis to be.

    I agree that it is much closer than the 67 vs 32 wins say, and it’s true that SA might be for a reality check, specially because their guard rotation is starting to be very suspect. But i am not very confident in the Knicks situation. A lot of things have to go our way for me to feel we are in a better shape than the Spurs, not only Porzingis developing as we hope. Maybe it is because last year I got tired of saying that Rose and Noah were done, and always thought of Lee as a very mediocre player, and I dont want to change my tune because they are here.

  239. It’s very telling that Chicago replaced Rose with a cheaper Rondo. Food for thought.

    Not really. Chicago’s moves this off-season have sucked *ss.

  240. iserp, your take is very fair. I just think that definitively saying that 27 ad 31 year olds are “done” when they have had injuries that many players have recovered fully or nearly fully from is quite cynical, especially when physical evidence from their workouts is largely positive. It’s also cynical to assume that Phil Jackson made the deals without having his scouting staff look thoroughly into the state of Rose’s and Noah’s health.

    I get that the cynicism is grounded in what has been the “reality” for the past 2-4 years. But we’re not talking microfracture surgery here, and we’re not talking 36 years old here.

    As to the Spurs, they have problems in the backcourt (Parker’s age-related decline being #1) but what about their frontcourt? They have Aldridge and who else? Gasol?

  241. Z-man, the bad news is Rose is not coming off the injured list. He was fairly healthy for the last two years. He was pretty bad, too.

    Orange is the new black and objectivity the new cynicism. Tracy McGrady, Baron Davis, Bargnani, Stat. I have seen this movie. Never ends well.

  242. Really, Theo?

    Tracy McGrady was acquired in a salary dump at the cost of first round picks, etc. There was no expectation whatsoever that he would play well or recover.

    Baron Davis was a waiver wire vet’s minimum pickup. He had a herniated disc when we signed him. Again, very limited expectations.

    Bargnani’s health was the least of his problems. Can we really compare him to a former MVP?

    Stat was a 5-year max commitment who had had microfracture surgery. His contract was uninsurable.

    So no, you haven’t seen this movie before. This is a 1-year flyer on a 27-yo who was “fairly healthy” the last two years and pretty bad, but who seemed to be getting closer to the guy who was not just “pretty good” but the MVP of the league when he was fully healthy. He’s in a contract year, essentially playing for $100+ million next season. It may in fact end badly, but I really don’t get how anyone can say that it’s comparable to past situations. It’s the best chance Phil had of getting a very good lead guard during Melo’s remaining years (and KP’s formative years) w/o risking all on a long-term deal for a guy like Conley. It’s a good gamble with a palatable worst case scenario. This was not true of Bargnani or STAT, and McGrady was a totally different kind of deal, a shrewd lopsided salary dump engineered by the genius of Donnie Walsh to make room for LeBron, like that ever had a chance to work.

Comments are closed.