Knicks Morning News (2016.08.14)

  • [SNY Knicks] New-look Knicks get national exposure with 2016-17 schedule
    (Saturday, August 13, 2016 11:41:46 AM)

    With the release of the 2016-17 season NBA schedule, here’s a look at what figure to be some very key matchups for the new-look Knicks.

  • [NYTimes] U.S.A. Basketball Is Already Cruising in Rio. Now, to Take the Court.
    (Sunday, August 14, 2016 2:14:20 AM)

    The men’s and women’s basketball teams are again avoiding the athletes’ village at the Olympics for security reasons, although other high-profile athletes do not share the concern.

  • [NYTimes] Highlights-Day Eight at the Rio Olympics
    (Saturday, August 13, 2016 8:45:33 PM)

    Latest news from the eighth day of competition at the Rio Olympics on Saturday (times London time):

  • [NYTimes] Basketball: As Good as Gold, Argentina Beat Brazil in OT
    (Saturday, August 13, 2016 8:54:28 PM)

    Argentina may not win gold in Olympic men’s basketball but gave their fans the next best thing, beating bitter rivals Brazil 111-107 in double overtime on Saturday, to all but end the host’s hopes of reaching the knockout round.

  • [NYDN] How a dentist brought Joakim Noah and Phil Jackson together
    (Saturday, August 13, 2016 8:31:10 PM)

    Daniel Rudolph, a 71-year-old with a thick New York accent, was the facilitator of the unusual relationship.

  • 43 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2016.08.14)”

    I’m going to start this thread off by saying I have concluded that the key to the Knicks season will be how productive Kuzminskas and Hernangomez are off the bench and more importantly how much Prozingas improves. Other than that, I don’t see them as being a playoff team.

    First they need to play well enough to get on the court. I’d say Billy is 3rd in the center rotation (behind Noah and Kristaps) and if Kuz is a 3 he’s got Thomas, that guy from the Bulls & Melo ahead of him.

    I do not think Willy will be a productive player in his first year. His defense and general adjusting to the game might take a year or so.

    O’quinn needs to step up for when Noah gets injured/rested or we are going to have a tough time.

    Kyle O’Quinn is, to me, the clear first big off the bench. Fisher didn’t like him so he lit like 1,000+ minutes on fire by playing Seraphin over him. Hernangomez’s defense is too poor to play the five and it will likely keep him from playing a lot of minutes. I’m expecting to see O’Quinn for around 20 minutes a night, and that should be good news for us.

    I’m just going to get it out of the way now and say that the Knicks are going to use Kuzminskas poorly. Instead of playing Hernangomez’s super rebounding as the back up four, we’re going to see Kuzminskas and his 4 rebounds per 36 primarily at power forward because floor spacing and “Hernangomez isn’t ready to play.” That is going to hurt his value the same way it took away from some of Derrick Williams’ value last year. Kuz is going to play. Hernangomez will not. It’s probably going to be a big point of discussion, too. I can see it now:

    Stats community: “Hernangomez has excellent numbers per minute and needs to see more playing time.”

    Non-stats community: “Yeah but Kuzminskas spreads the floor for Derrick Rose in ways Billy can’t, and Billy is a clueless defender.”

    SC: “Derrick Rose sux though. Spreading the floor for him isn’t gonna make him play better so we might as well play our young guy who is actually really promising. His numbers compare closely to David Lee, and he couldn’t play a lick of defense either. This is really dumb.”

    NSC: Shut up, Jowles!

    SC: Bargnani trade!


    Knicks as presently constructed are a team with a Woodson’s Hawks ceiling (as in “if everything works out”).

    There are only 2 or 3 starting-caliber players on the roster. Porzingis should be coming off the bench (and would have been coming off the bench on a good team last year), but our team has been so bad his development has been accelerated. Cortnely Lee is a perfectly fine bench player and so is Brandon Jennings. Noah, if healthy, is a legit NBA starter. Rose may or may not be starter quality at this point, but his ceiling is serviceable point guard. The old Rose is gone. Melo continues as our only legitimate great player. The rest of the team is mostly scrubs, suspect rookies and big question marks.

    35 wins with a 3-game error margin. That’s my mostly positive outlook.

    If Noah is healthy he’s a top 15 player in the NBA.

    DeAndre Jordan is a terrible Olympian, bro. Like on both ends he’s bad.

    If Noah is healthy he’s a top 15 player in the NBA.

    He is part of the Knicks now, so the rules don’t apply to him anymore. Problably better than LeBron, Davis, Irving, Curry, Thompson, Love, Leonard, Whiteside, KAT, Durant, Green, Westbrook, Harden, Aldridge, Jordan, Chris Paul, Griffin, Lillard, Cousins, Butler, Parker, McCollum, Lowry, etc.

    He is clearly better than Melo, too. But if not, the Knicks have two of the best 15 players in the NBA. Possibly 3 if we include Porzingis!

    A healthy Joakim Noah is without question better than Kevin Love, Dame Lillard, CJ McCollum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and Tony Parker. And Carmelo Anthony is not a top 15 player in the NBA.

    But sure, straw man away.

    Well okay. He might not be better than Irving. But here’s how I rank the tiers in the NBA assuming everybody is healthy.

    Tier 1 (not in order):
    LeBron, CP3, Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry, Russ Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis

    Tier 2 (not in order):
    Draymond Green, Kyle Lowry, Hassan Whiteside, DeAndre Jordan, James Harden, Karl Towns, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Rudy Gobert, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond

    Tier 3 (not in order):
    Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldrige, Carmelo Anthony, Al Horford, Klay Thompson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Wall (I guess), Paul Millsap, DeMar DeRozan, Dwight Howard

    You cannot discount Joakim Noah as an elite defender, passer, and offensive rebounder. When Joakim Noah is healthy and making lay-ups, he is a super star.

    Never thought I’d need to defend Melo, but the best Noah (the version that does not exist anymore) was not even close to Melo.

    But now he is a Knick, so teams would love to trade any of McCollum, Irving, Lillard, Love, Aldridge, Thompson, Cousins, etc. for the rights to Hakeem Noah!

    Phil Jackson for Executive of the Year: he just signed one of the top 15 NBA players to a 4-year, 72M contract!

    Joakim Noah would have trouble making the top 15 NBA *centers* today. Perspective.

    But then again, if Derrick Rose is healthy and back to his pre-injury days, the Knicks are a super-team, indeed. Warriors and Cleveland, beware!

    Big fella the only thing Carmelo Anthony has historically been better at than Joakim Noah is scoring the basketball. He is a superior rebounder, defender, and passer to Melo. You might not know as much basketball as you think you do. I like Melo, too, but Joakim Noah is a special player when healthy. If we have a healthy Joakim Noah, he is going to lead the Knicks in win production.

    Got news for you, Massive: not only can’t Noah carry Melo’s jockstrap, his entire career is not even better than Tyson Chandler’s. Check the stats.

    But now he is a Knick, so he joins the fan-glorified circle of comatose NBA careers coming to die a wealthy death hobbling around the unofficial basketball cemetery called the New York Knicks.

    My name is Theo, I’m a pessimist and I approve this reality.

    I’ve seen many predictions about how the upcoming season. I just don’t see how the Knicks aren’t expected to be a playoff team. I’m not super optimistic about this roster, I just don’t expect the team to suck. Here’s my reasoning:

    1. KP. I think it’s reasonable to expect a rise in his level of play in year 2. And not a tiny one. Given that notion, even if Phil kept Calderon, Rolo, and Grant while just signing Lee/Jennings/Billy/Kuz/Baker/NDour/Thomas/Randle/Derrick Williams- that’s at least an 8 seed in the East on the strength of Melo & KP. Sure, Cleveland/Boston/Toronto/Detroit are better teams right now. But I believe the hypothetical roster I mentioned can compete with Washington/Charlotte/Chicago/Miami/Indy (may be even better than I expect with a healthy core of PG/Teague/Turner) , putting us right in the thick of a race to the 6-7-8 spots.

    2. Hornacek. Not the greatest coach, but you gotta believe he would be able to get the most out of Jennings/Grant/Calderon with his preferred style of play- particularly more PnR

    3. By all accounts, Noah would have ended up a Knick anyway, unless GS really went after him. That would give us a main C rotation of Noah & Lopez. 2 really really good defensive anchors that don’t care about numbers.

    IMO, Rose isn’t a big deal. But he’s on the squad now, so we have to hope for the best. It wasn’t necessary for Phil to add him to see improvement, yet his addition may yield positive on court results. Most likely will if Hornacek and staff can successfully manage he and Jennings’ minutes and on court roles.

    So guys, we’re at least an 8 seed, right? Not a great outcome considering Melo’s expectations and the “flashy” names, but it’s a playoff team.

    Noah was both an elite rebounder (19.3/48, by far a career high) and an unfathomably bad scorer last season. Rare to see a guy that dominant on the offensive glass without an “inflated” eFG% due to dunks. But tip-ins are much more volatile than the flush.

    Prime Noah is (was?) definitely better than Melo. I don’t understand how that’s some kind of optimist/pessimist distinguishing factor.

    Prime Noah is likely better than prime Chandler–prime Noah was a top 10 player in the league, easy. That’s pretty much indisputable on even a cursory analysis of his stats. With that being said, it’s pretty unlikely that we’re getting any of that sweet sweet >.200 WS/48 productivity out of Jo this year.

    I think willy will be solid but flawed in limited minutes and Kuz will be a diamond in the rough and take minutes from Thomas who very possibly could regress in his 3 pt shooting

    Prime Noah is likely better than prime Chandler–prime Noah was a top 10 player in the league, easy.

    Maybe, but Noah’s never come close to Chandler’s low-volume dominance. In 2012-13, they scored the same number of points per minute, but Noah required 33% more shots to get those same points. Depends on whether you think it’s important that your center is creating assists and giving up turnovers. Anecdotally, sounds ok, but prime Chandler was also a top-10 player.

    This is Noah’s age 31 season coming up. His age 29 season was mediocre, and his age 30 season was a weird, injury-riddled outlier. I think it’s not really outrageous to think that even a “healthy” Noah has declined from the peak seasons he enjoyed at ages 25-28. If he plays like he did in his age 29 season he doesn’t really seem like a large upgrade over Lopez to me.

    Even if Noah plays at his 2015 levels, that guy was a great rebounder, defender, and passer who anchored (along with Jimmy Butler) a 50 win team in Chicago. That guy is still better than Lopez.

    Definitely better than Lopez. Just older, more injured, and more expensive. In production, he’s an improvement — unless he can’t stay on the floor.

    I think Noah vs Chandler is basically a wash–I’d take Noah, but choosing between both of them in their prime is probably contigent on your priors or the team in question. That being said, I think Noah’s game might translate better into old age, so I’d probably take Noah over Chandler as they currently are.

    Still not particularly excited about Noah or the team’s overall prospects, but at least this iteration will be an entertaining bad team rather than just a bad team.

    Noah when healthy is for sure more productive than Lopez, but at this stage of his career idk if he’s more productive on a per dollar basis or not. I’d still say Noah probably but it’s more of an open question.

    Yeah, the Noah contract was a dumb one. He is unlikely to play healthy and productive ball for the length of the contract, but I’d bet Noah produces more wins than Lopez the next two seasons.

    Hopefully there is an amnesty clause in the next CBA. At the least I think Phil anticipated that when deciding to give Noah that contract.

    It still doesn’t explain offering a similar aged Courtney Lee a deal for the same length.

    I guess. Lee will be a year younger when the contract is up and much less of an injury concern.

    Massive coming in hot today.

    And yes, I think it’s fair to say we will be more entertaining this season. Definitely going to be a lot to talk about at KB.

    An injured Noah could be great for this team too. If KP progresses, we could slide him to the 5 and Melo to the 4. Then you put Thomas or Kuz at the 3, and you have 4 3-ball threats around Rose and an unclogged lane. Yes, Rose could still suck, but that lineup makes it harder for him to suck.

    Our all Euro front line combination should have a lot of synergy….even if Willy just rebounds well and sets picks.


    Pretty fascinating article, Owen, thanks. Hadn’t ever considered that re: heads/tails, but it’s hard to argue with the statistical analysis.

    It also jibes with personal experience: occasionally I’m lucky enough to get in a zone, and you know when you’re there. Usually it’s brief, but one time it was crazy – I just couldn’t miss. My team was down big so my teammates keep feeding me. I brought us back with a 3 pointer every time down. The defense started playing right up on me, so I started shooting from 3 feet past the line. I fed teammates open under the basket. It was so easy, I took 2 shots from half court, made them both, the second being a game-winner. Totally insane…and it kept me from ever embracing that paper about no hot hand. NFW.

    So, glad for the new discovery. It’s more like a “not cold” hand, but it’s a start.

    Wish I had more extended “not cold” streaks, but no such luck!

    31 year old Noah could be good. He could even be really good. But 32-35 Noah is going to get worse and worse.

    But we’ll always have 2016-17. They can’t take that away from us! (Just like they can’t take ’12-’13 away, right?).

    (re:amnesty, we are the New York Knicks! We amnestied Jerome Williams under the ‘Allan Houston Clause’, and we amnestied Chauncy Billups under the ‘Amar’e Stoudemire Provision’. So you be damned sure that next time around we are waving Willy Hernangomez under the ‘Joakim Noah Get Out Of Jail Free Card’).

    Thanks for the article Owen. I think that basically they still ignore the human side but agree that in short sequences, such as number of shots a player takes in an NBA game, the hot hand effect has a basis in the statistical way of looking at things.

    rama @39, I also had a similar afternoon once, when I changed from a mediocre soccer player to a Maradona who can do no wrong. I knew it was happening while at it but I had no idea why and how. A friend, who knew my low skill level asked me how am I doing it – going around several players with shoulder fakes and perfect ball control and kicking accurately time and again – and I had to say I don’t know. It was a complete mystery.

    Probably a topic for monday morn…

    I actually mentioned this last year when the original paper came out.

    July 10, 2015 at 8:21 am
    I apologize that this is not directly related to the two purposes of this board, the Knicks and whether Ted Nelson has read Getting to Yes. But for any other general stat-heads reading, I thought Andrew Gelman’s recent post linked below was really interesting.

    In short, conventional empirical research originally found that En Fuego was a myth: There was no such thing as having a hot hand in the NBA. This went against the instincts of almost anyone who has every played basketball, and seemed like a good example of the failure of the eye test (so to speak). But then a lot of people found and documented contextual reasons to doubt the research. Maybe shooters take harder shots or are guarded more closely after hitting, warping the data. This allowed for a very modest hot hand effect in some cases, but still way, way less than almost everybody’s intuition.

    But Gelman (really someone else named Josh Miller) is making a new argument. It is kind of amazing, if you like this shit. I won’t repeat it here because he explains it very well for anyone interested. But the point is that if this argument holds up it means that everyone for years has been incorrectly evaluating the make-miss data by overestimating what the “neutral” % of makes should be after a streak. Adjusting for this error materially increases the hot hand effect and could represent a kind of victory for the eye test over the “thinking slow” types that was missed despite years and years of attention. If you think the lesson is that measurement is worthless and instincts rule, good luck with that. But getting things right can be really, really hard.

    @ptmilo – I remember you mentioning it, but I must not have clicked on the link, sorry! I always appreciate the knowledge you bring to discussions, but glossed over that one. Maybe too tired from wading through Ted talk.

    @Ingmarr, It’s weird that at times we can all access genius; it’s just difficult to sustain unless you live there day in day out. All the many hours of mindful work makes it easier to be mindless, and that makes it easier to enter The Zone.

    We amnestied Jerome Williams under the ‘Allan Houston Clause’

    With the Knicks, there’s always a lower level of hell.

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