2017 Knicks Roundtable: The Opening Day Roster

If you’re the GM, the roster is Melo, Noah, Rose, Porzingis, Lee, O’Quinn, Hernangomez, Jennings, Lance, and which 6 players?

Kurylo: I’m going with Ndour, Randle, Baker, Kuzminskas, *sigh* Justin Holiday, and *sigh* Plumlee. Yes I would leave veterans Amundson and Sasha at the door. But then again I don’t see the Knicks seriously competing for the playoffs this year. So my thinking they should get as many young guys in the hopes 1 or 2 develop that they can use in the future. BTW I don’t put Cleanthony Early on the list of young hopefuls. He hasn’t shown to be able to score efficiently in the NBA or the D-League.

Honestly I like both Randle and Baker, and can see both sticking around the NBA at least as bench contributors. And yes I realize that Randle, Baker, and Holiday give the Knicks essentially 5 SGs, when the team really needs PGs. Randle is sized like a PG, but really is a SG. From his draft profile:

Charged with being the first offensive option for the Cardinal, Randle often had the ball in his hands in the frontcourt. He was an efficient scorer as he posted a 55% effective field goal percentage, but he struggled to create for his teammates at a high rate. He had only 2.4 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted last season and posted an unimpressive -2.24 pure point ratio, one of the lowest rates among point guard prospects in our database. Randle struggled to find open teammates on drives which caused him to turn the ball over in traffic. When he did try to distribute, he wasn’t able to find the proper pace and placement on his passes to allow his teammates the ability to catch and create. He will need to improve his passing skills significantly to complement his scoring skills and become a serious draft prospect.

Nonetheless I didn’t build this roster, so don’t blame me when the Knicks are suffering from lack of depth at the one. They’ll still need a PG a year from now, but maybe they’ll have some depth at SG.

Plugh: The remaining six I’d like to see are Randle, Baker, Kuzminskas, Holiday, Plumlee and I’m a little torn between Ndour and Sasha. That’s a shocker since I hope Sasha never, ever plays. In truth, I never want him on the team, but I’m so concerned with guard depth I’d almost rather have him on the bench being a Euro-buddy and performing mop up duty than carrying another forward who won’t get many minutes in the end.

I like Ndour’s game a lot. It’s noteworthy that Real Madrid started to go away from Hernangomez during the middle of last year’s ACB season, after they signed Ndour. The coach liked to stretch the floor and, at least in theory, Ndour is better at that than Willy. He’s active and athletic and he has dreadlocks.

I confess to enjoying Sasha’s pestering of opposing players. I like when he acts indignant that the other guy elbowed him in the face, after a solid five minutes of grabbing, humping, and underarm tickling. I suppose in the end Ndour is a better choice, but I’m mainly ambivalent. Flip a coin.

Kurylo: Since Mr. Plugh and I have the same roster (if he chooses Ndour), I give 0% chance this actually occurs. In fact I fully expect Sasha and Amundson to be on the roster, and I give 50% chance that someone else makes the top 15 that I wouldn’t consider like Inglis. Because Knicks.

Plugh: weeps dramatically

Bryan Gibberman: I’m going to include Sasha even though I wouldn’t keep him to be realistic. To be fair, the guard that drives us all nuts is easier to take when he’s making three-pointers. That leaves me five to play with. I’ll fill out the bottom of the roster with Baker, Randle, Ndour, Kuzminskas and Justin Holiday. I have to give Phil some credit here — he’s found some legitimately interesting young pieces that have positive traits and attributes you’d look for in NBA players. Losing one of them to keep Lou Amundson would be a crime and I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that they’re smart about who they keep.

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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).

99 thoughts to “2017 Knicks Roundtable: The Opening Day Roster”

  1. Sasha is 100% on the roster, and he deserves to be. He had an absolutely awful start to last year but post-ASB had a TS of 60 on a reasonable usage of 15.7, averaged about 13/6/3 per 36. He’s not a great defender but he is big for what he does, which is play combo PG/SG.

    This preseason in 13.8 MPG he’s shooting 55/44/83. He is by all accounts a great teammate. I don’t know what else you want from a minimum salary 4th or 5th guard.

    Re: Ndour – I like his game in theory. He’s tall, ridiculously long arms, jumps, and has theoretical rim protection and shooting characteristics. I’m just not sure if he’s actually shown any of that in the preseason. He looks like a taller Thanasis right now – tons of physical ability but not a good basketball player. I wouldn’t be sad if he was cut.

    I like Baker a lot, and hope he makes the team over Randle if it comes down to choosing between the two. I see Randle’s CEILING as Gary Neal. Baker looks to me a lot like Kirk Hinrich, or even someone like George Hill. He’s just solid on both ends of the floor (although he did have trouble with Lin last night). He looks like a plus shooter, great court vision, and just knows where to be. I would much rather have a semi-Hinrich or semi-Hill than a maybe Gary Neal — especially on a team with a bunch of high usage players. Randle is a bit of a chucker.

    I think the last roster spot will come down to Plumlee or NDour. Losing either wouldn’t bother me so much either way. I guess I’d rather have NDour just because of the physical tools, then send him to the D-league for marinating. I think Amundson and Tokoto will be cut.

    So final roster:

    PG: Rose, Jennings, Randle
    SG: Lee, Holiday, Baker, Sasha
    SF: Melo, Thomas, Kuz
    PF: Porzingis, NDour, KOQ
    C: Noah, WillyBilly

  2. I mentioned it last night in the game thread but I have a lot of worries about Kuzminskas on defense. They went at him repeatedly last night, getting open layups. He can’t guard anyone in iso and they back cut him about 40x. I think he’s better than Derrick Williams on offense but is somehow worse than DWill on defense.

    by the way – I know he’ll prob only play about 50 games, but I freaking love Joakim Noah.
    In 54 preseason minutes – he has 19 points, 18 rebounds, and 8 assists, which translates into a per-36 average of 12.7 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists. I was a little concerned about how easily Brook Lopez scored on him in the early part of yesterday’s game, but he really gave Brook a hard time after the first few minutes. He’s turned the ball over more than I’d like (4 TOs/36) but a lot of those look like no-chemistry TOs, meaning he and the recipient just aren’t on the same page yet.

  3. I agree with what you said in the previous thread about Kuz, his man defense isnt good, but can be a decent team defender with work. What he brings to the table, though, is the ability to run the floor, hit three and attack the basket. Also he has solid experience playing professionally.
    Perfect guy to give you 10 hard minutes a game, off the bench. I think he fills this role better than DWill.

  4. I think you need time to let Kuz adjust to the physicality and speed of NBA players before you can properly judge his individual D. But it hasn’t been good.

    His awareness on D seems alright enough, though. Which is a good sign.

  5. Sasha’s making the team, without question, and as others have noted, he deserves to. I feel pretty confident Baker makes the squad, too. The injury complicates things with Randle, but Hornacek and Melo have both been effusive in their praise of him.

    I think the final roster decisions depend on the answers to these questions:

    1)Did Amundson not play much in the preseason because the team only signed him in case all their backup big men prospects failed, and thus he’s toast given the preseason showings of Willy, KOQ, and even Plumlee? Or did he not play much because his roster spot — as good locker room/practice guy, and in-case-of-emergency big man — is already sewn up, and everybody knows what he can (and can’t do), whereas the team needed to learn more about the young guys?

    2)Does the team consider Plumlee or Ndour to be the better prospect? Does the team think one is less likely to be claimed on waivers if they try to stash him in Westchester? And since the team already has four roster locks — Noah, KP, KOQ, Willy — whose best position is center, does that give Ndour an edge even if the team likes Plumlee more?

    I’d cut Lou in a heartbeat and then one of Plumee or Ndour in order to keep both Ron and Randle, but we’ll see if Phil and company agree. And if they’re only cutting one guaranteed contract, I’d keep Ron. his probability of becoming a useful NBA player seems much higher, and his specific strengths (defense, court awareness, off-ball movement) better fit a roster that now has a bunch of high-usage players.

  6. I’m going with Randle, Baker, Kuzminskas, Justin Holiday, Amundson and Sasha.

    Ndour and Plumlee to D league

    I can see substituting one of those for Amundson, but no way I’m leaving Sasha off.

  7. A second unit consisting of Jennings, Holiday, Lance, O’Quinn and Kuz should be an effective and interesting group to watch. NDour, WillyBilly, Sasha and Baker can be sprinkled in too.

    I favor keeping NDour because of his length and mobility with the skills to defend on the perimeter as well as to pressure the ball. He has a good shot btw.

    We might be able to cut Randle and re sign him for Westchester because of his injury.

    To me, its time to say goodbye to Lou and retain Plumlee who has a future.

    So my cuts are Lou, Tokoto and Randle.

  8. In a portion that got cut out, Max Fisher-Cohen pointed out that I didn’t include Kuz in my default roster, because of his guaranteed contract. Honestly I left him out because I wanted to give the option for someone to leave him off. He hasn’t looked all that great out there in the summer league, granted I haven’t seen every minute nor have I only spent the time concentrating solely on him, but I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with a bone to pick with him.

  9. Surprised at the Sasha hate from the smart people. He’s turned me around. How many are commenting having not watched every minute of the last two preseason games? Summer league? Really?

    Joakim Noah=Knicks>last year

    I’d keep Baker, Randle, Holiday, Sasha, N’dour, The Min-Dog!

    Coaching looks really solid and the roster varied and talented.

    “But then again I don’t see the Knicks seriously competing for the playoffs this year.”

    That’s just depressing because you’re usually right but I don’t see this as such a lock. I haven’t watched other teams, of course. Are there eight other rosters in the conference demonstrably better than NYK?

  10. Keep Sasha, Baker, Randle, Holiday, Mindy and Plumlee. Cut Tokoto, Lou and Ndour.

    Ndour and Plumlee seems like it should be the only tough choice.

  11. You have to keep Baker, Sasha, Kuz, and Just Holla. I like Randle, too, but the other four guys have proven to be NBA players while everyone else is a hard maybe.

    N’Dour and Randle should stick if we HAD to keep 15, but I’d have zero issues cutting both and giving them D League deals. Jarret Jack just got cut and Chalmers never got signed. We can use either guy for PG depth while developing younger guys on the farm.

    Joakim Noah and Kristaps Porzingis are going to give offenses such a tough time and I’m very excited about that. I feel like this season is going to be very fun.

  12. O’Quinn has been beasting the last 2 games. He was a dynamo on the offensive board which was very encouraging. He got himself in great shape and deserves kudos.

    Justin Holiday is playing great.

  13. O’Quinn has been beasting the last 2 games. He was a dynamo on the offensive board which was very encouraging. He got himself in great shape and deserves kudos.

    Well I spent the offseason working out with him, although some people might describe that as bringing my kids to a basketball camp where he attended, but either way.

    That’s just depressing because you’re usually right but I don’t see this as such a lock. I haven’t watched other teams, of course. Are there eight other rosters in the conference demonstrably better than NYK?

    Better question – last year New York won 32 games, and the 8th seed won 44. Did they improve by 13 wins in the offseason?

  14. Given that C is our deepest position (4 bonafide Cs guaranteed to make the roster) and that we’re not hurting for the veteran leadership I think it would be slightly crazy to keep Lou. Plumlee to me is slightly pushed down by the same logjam at the C spot, and I think there’s a decent chance we can stash him in Westchester, so he goes too.

    The last spot is the most difficult to me. I think it’s between Randle and Ndour (Sasha has earned his spot and can play 1 in a pinch – a pinch we’re fairly likely to be in at some point), and to me the tiebreaker is Ndour’s potential. Despite the fact that he’s been probably the least impressive in the preseason, big wings (i.e. 3s who can play 4 if you go small) are maybe the most coveted NBA commodity at the moment and Ndour has the body type and potential in his game to fit that role perfectly. By contrast, backup level small guards are a lot easier to track down. To my eyes Randle is the better player today and is definitely the safer bet to have some kind of NBA career, but Ndour has the potential to become a truly valuable commodity and Randle will never be more than a depth guard who can give you some scoring punch off the bench. I’d make the upside play.

  15. Joakim Noah and Kristaps Porzingis are going to give offenses such a tough time and I’m very excited about that. I feel like this season is going to be very fun.

    Watching Noah stuff 2 of Lopez’s shots back in his face warmed my heart. He’s such a tenacious and pesky defender with a high motor, and I used to HATE him for that when we played the Bulls. Glad he’s on our team now.

  16. Pessimistic prediction for the season- if we can’t learn to defend the 3 point line (like at ALL ) then we are not sniffing the playoffs. The 3 point defense has been terrible.

    And someone please tell Jennings to stop taking pull up 3s. Those aren’t even close. His floater in the lane is better than I thought it would be though.

  17. I said it earlier but…

    PG: Rose, Jennings, Baker
    SG: Lee, Holiday, Vujacic
    SF: Anthony, Thomas, Kuzminskis
    PF: Porzingis, KOQ, NDour
    C: Noah, Hernangomez

    If they go 15, I would add Plumlee but I think the Knicks would add Amundson

  18. @ 16 – I think we’ve improved 13 games but also does 44 have to be what we get this year to make the playoffs? Miami is worse. Charlotte is most definitely worse than last year. I see improvement from Philly but not much. I see improvement by Brooklyn but not much or maybe none at all. Celtics are probably the team most likely to improve. Raptors are the same, maybe a bit worse. Detroit might improve a bit but could be the same or worse. Point is when I look around the East The Knicks are the one team where I see obvious improvement (health being the wild card of course). But we’ve theoretically improved our bench, improved our guard play and improved our starting center position plus we have the internal growth of KP plus better coaching. Of course all of this is in theory and as a fan of The Knicks I’m obviously biased. But I don’t see the same major upgrades roster wise to any other team in the East. And I see some regression by playoff teams from last year. So yeah I think we can jump up to 44 wins. I don’t think 50 is out of the question if everything goes right for us. But I also don’t know if 44 is the baseline this year. Maybe its 42 or 40.

    Edit – forgot about the Hawks with Dwight. That could be big for them. But they could end up being the same too.

  19. Edit – forgot about the Hawks with Dwight. That could be big for them. But they could end up being the same too.

    IMO the loss of Horford > the gain of Howard for 2016/17

  20. I don’t get all the randle love. If you want to get rid of Sasha (which is not happening) to keep a spot open to try young guards out, I get it, but Randle is a small 2-guard who can’t do anything but shoot. There are worse things to be, but given our likely roster he’s pretty useless.

  21. I don’t get all the randle love. If you want to get rid of Sasha (which is not happening) to keep a spot open to try young guards out, I get it, but Randle is a small 2-guard who can’t do anything but shoot. There are worse things to be, but given our likely roster he’s pretty useless.

    Agree. What i am about to say has no basis in any kind of evidence, but I feeeeeel like it’s more useful once ya get down to the last 3 guys on the roster to at least have guys who are reliably above average at some shit, even if they suck at other shit. Randle is above average at what? For all Sasha’s awfulness, he can shoot from the 3 and can run the triangley shit we have passably. You can play Sasha with like…courtney and Lance and somewhat mitigate his awful defense for bench units. Plus the whole good teammate/mentor yadadada

    Again this is splitting hairs of which players are less horrible, but yea

  22. Holiday does look like a terrific find by Phil, though. He’s looked terrific recently in all aspects.

    O’Quinn has looked possessed and I love his new-found tenaciousness on the offensive boards and in contesting shots. His shot is very accurate (except from 3).

    Jennings for all of his faults ignites the team and and is a definite positive.

    Willy is a keeper. Plumlee is a crusher. NDour a long, athletic energizer bunny with a nice shot btw.

    Baker is a god.

    I like Kuz a lot more than DWill because of better shooting, spacing and passing. And we still get the dunking.

    We really seem to know a lot more about our bench than we do about how our starters will mesh together. I wasn’t crazy about iso Melo last night tbh. We need daddy Melo now.

  23. also i don’t see the Ndour love. He has useless athleticism — he doesn’t box out and rebound much for all his athleticism, and he isn’t an average defender/scorer around the hoop. What is his athleticism actually helping him with? Even on fastbreaks, he’s a mess.

  24. Better question – last year New York won 32 games, and the 8th seed won 44. Did they improve by 13 wins in the offseason?

    Fair question:

    Horny>>> Rambis/Fischer

    ’17 KP >> ’16KP

    Noah >> Lopez

    Rose/Jennings >> Calderon/Gallo

    Lee>>> AffLOLo

    Melo = Melo?

    I know it is expected to be negative here as well as objective, but I like this team much better than last year’s team.

    The coaching was a disaster last season. At least Horny has had some success in the league with a poor to middling roster in PHX until management eviscerated the roster with the Morris mess.

    I don’t think Noah gets his due here as a player who is better than Lopez by a bunch. His passing and rebounding are all world (for a 5). His defense is better by a lot and he can move to defend outside the paint without being lost on switches. He is just a terrific player who lost a year with a shoulder injury which shouldn’t be a chronic issue. Plus… he doesn’t need to play crazy minutes on this team like Chicago as the 5 is the deepest spot.

    I expect (and see in preseason) great improvement by KP

    Lee has so much a better overall game then affLOLo it isn’t even debatable.

    Even though they are chronically low efficiency players both Rose and Jennings can penetrate and initiate an offense, create mismatches and create open looks for team mates which Calderon/Galloway couldn’t do.

    As to soundness, Rose logged a complete season after getting his face smashed in camp last year and Jennings looks fully recovered from surgery quickness-wise.

    The bench has guys one can mix and match with. Holiday has very quick hands and can actually move his feet and defend. Willy and Kuz both have developed offensive skills. N’dour can defend

  25. Assuming Lou goes and Baker is in then it comes down to Plumlee, NDour, and Randle for the final two spots- Given that Randle is hurt and is the guy who’d probably benefit most from d-league minutes (to be anything more than a bit player he’s going to need to be able some point) I’d waive him. If he looks great down there then you can waive either Plumlee or NDour and sign him. Plumlee is what he is- an end of the bench big who’s probably destined for an Amundson-like 10-12 year career of bouncing around- does that make him worth keeping over Randle? I do think he’d get signed by somebody looking for a big body so for now I guess so. NDour hasn’t looked great in the preseason but that 1.5 steals pg in 15mpg while still playing good position defense looks pretty good- if he can shoot at all he’ll be solid so I’d keep him.

  26. Ndour rebounds fine for a hybrid forward, although if we’re playing him strictly as a 4 (does anyone know what position he’s been playing in the preseason?) he’s a liability. He gets lots of steals. He seems to play good defense. If he can develop a shot he’ll be a useful player. I don’t know how to evaluate his chance of that, but he was a pretty good shooter in college.

  27. Keep Ndour cut plumlee and Randle leave one spot open for the waiver wire throughout the season or for Randle when he’s off injury

  28. swiftandabundant
    October 21, 2016 at 11:41 am

    … Miami is worse. Charlotte is most definitely worse than last year. I see improvement from Philly but not much. I see improvement by Brooklyn but not much or maybe none at all. Celtics are probably the team most likely to improve. Raptors are the same, maybe a bit worse. Detroit might improve a bit but could be the same or worse. Point is when I look around the East The Knicks are the one team where I see obvious improvement (health being the wild card of course). … So yeah I think we can jump up to 44 wins. I don’t think 50 is out of the question if everything goes right for us. But I also don’t know if 44 is the baseline this year. Maybe its 42 or 40.

    http://knickerblogger.net/knicks-2016-season-preview-overunder/#comment-509172

    swiftandabundant
    October 28, 2015 at 10:51 am

    44 wins is my prediction. I think Melo will have a bounce back typical Melo year and good chemistry, decent defense and a strong/young bench will allow us to sneak up on teams. I think teams like Atlanta, Toronto and even Washington will take a step back. Cleveland is going to coast most of the season as they try to get healthy. …

  29. Knicks team strengths:
    -Interior defense/rim protection, assuming Noah can stay on the floor for 2000+ minues
    -Potentially deep and versatile bench
    -Length
    -Coach who seems to grasp modern basketball principles

    Knicks team weaknesses:
    -Too many inefficient scorers
    -Injury proneness
    -Lack of wing defenders who can contain penetration
    -Lack of ball hawks who can generate turnovers

    Somewhere in the middle:
    -Perimeter shooting
    -Rebounding

    In terms of the Four Factors, on offense I expect the Knicks to struggle greatly with eFG% and probably be around league average in the other three factors. They might see a slight uptick in FT/FGA and possibly offensive rebounding, but I think overall the offense will be somewhat similar to last year’s, and rank somewhere from 20-25. I don’t really know what to make of them on defense. They were the #18 defense last year and the strength of the defense was eFG% prevention, which they should be pretty good at again this year. Overall the roster is maybe a bit more defense-oriented last year, and if I had to guess I’d say maybe the Knicks end up ranking somewhere from 12-17 in defensive rating.

    League average defense with below league average offense looks something like a high 30’s win total, like most of the projection systems say. To do better than that they’ll need either a breakout performance from Porzingis, or return to form seasons from Noah and/or Melo, or a miracle comeback by Rose, or unexpected productivity from a handful of the bench guys.

  30. Knicks team strengths:
    -Interior defense/rim protection, assuming Noah can stay on the floor for 2000+ minues
    -Potentially deep and versatile bench
    -Length
    -Coach who seems to grasp modern basketball principles

    I’ve been thinking about the team in this way a lot recently and generally agree with your list, but the bolded point is the one I keep coming back to. Coming into the preseason I had assumed depth was a major weakness for this team – we just have so few guys with any kind of NBA resume really. However, it’s indisputable that a lot of the depth guys have looked really good in preseason.

    Is that enough evidence to conclude that the bench is a strength for this team? I honestly don’t know but I think a lot of whether this team ends up being good this year will ride on it. We’re definitely an injury prone group, and our top level of talent is good but not great. If we’re successful it will have to be because the team has sneaky good depth and gets contributions from a lot of guys. For now I’d probably argue the bench belongs in the “Somewhere in the middle” category.

  31. We play the Cavs on Tuesday night. What have the Cavs done with their roster in the offseason? I know that they lost Dellavadova, which helps us. Mozgov too. What else have they done? Are they not quite as good without them?

  32. However, it’s indisputable that a lot of the depth guys have looked really good in preseason.

    Is that enough evidence to conclude that the bench is a strength for this team?

    No, but it’s better than the bench playing like shit in the preseason. O’Quinn & Jennings have NBA track records that suggest they’ll at least be good bench players. Thomas is a little sketchier. Same with Sasha. The kids were all at least good at lower levels, and we really only need one or two of them to contribute if we have some injury luck.

  33. I’m puzzled by the pre-season, non-existent defense. We have a number of good defensive players (Noah, Lee, Porzingis in the starting lineup). So why has it been so weak?

    I’m thinking that it wasn’t a priority for the coaching staff. If we can tighten it to the tune of 4-5 pts per game, then there’s a lot of hope for this team. The offense looks solid.

  34. Lee is probably not that good on defense anymore. The rest is hopefully due to some combination of vets not wasting energy on D and the team fielding 3 new starters.

  35. We play the Cavs on Tuesday night. What have the Cavs done with their roster in the offseason? I know that they lost Dellavadova, which helps us. Mozgov too. What else have they done? Are they not quite as good without them?

    Mo Williams also retired, leaving them really short at PG. Mozgov didn’t really play for them last year, but while Delly is kind of a punch line and got phased out of the playoff rotation towards the end he was really, really good for them last year in the regular season. Only notable addition is Dunleavy. Kay Felder I guess is their backup PG now although rumors have them exploring a trade. Until they make one I think their roster is a little off balance – particularly for regular season play where they don’t want to overtax Lebron and Kyrie.

    edit: Looked it up and Mozgov played way more than I remembered at the beginning of the season, just got phased out as the season went along. Still not a major loss I don’t think. Hurts their depth somewhat.

  36. Twitter saying that Ainge is offering up either RJ Hunter or James Young for a 2nd round pick. Would anyone here bite? Young was the #17 pick in 2014 and Hunter was the #28 pick in 2015.

    Also FWIW Bobby Marks is saying that Randle is likely to be kept over Baker. Not sure if he really has sources or not.

  37. Is that enough evidence to conclude that the bench is a strength for this team? I honestly don’t know but I think a lot of whether this team ends up being good this year will ride on it.

    Well, I did say it was a potentially deep bench. If a couple of those guys come out and have stinker type seasons, and it turns out the young guys can’t hang in the NBA, then no, it’s not going to be a deep bench. I do like the versatility of the bench– you have a legit good backup PG in Jennings, some shooting in Sasha and (hopefully) Lance, a decent looking wing defender in Holiday, a young big with some scoring punch in Hernangomez and another big who can rebound in O’Quinn.

    None of those guys are awesome all-around players but that’s a pretty decent smattering of useful abilities. There aren’t too many guys on the roster like Seraphim or Jah Smith who just look like complete zeroes as NBA players. So that’s 11 guys deep, and then there are a couple of guys at the back of the roster who are at least a little intriguing in Kuz and Baker. I’m not too high on the Plumlee/Ndour/Randle/Amundson/Whoever group, but they’re battling it out for the 14th and 15th roster spots.

    The problem with the depth though is that the only one of those guys who could passably play starters minutes in case of injury is Brandon Jennings. He is the only guy on the bench that is any kind of viable NBA starter. If you have to start giving 2000+ minutes to Sasha Vujacic or Kyle O’Quinn because of injuries you’re probably screwed.

  38. I’m puzzled by the pre-season, non-existent defense. We have a number of good defensive players (Noah, Lee, Porzingis in the starting lineup). So why has it been so weak?

    Melo took the preseason off defensively- barely bothered to rotate at all. KP got lost on the perimeter too which hopefully is correctable. Of course, you also have multiple guys (Sasha, Jennings, Baker and Kuz) who have trouble keeping anyone in front of them- that’s not so correctable but who knows how many minutes those guys (besides Jennings) are going to get.
    Don’t like James Young at all, and Hunter might be an upgrade over Holiday (and he’s a lot younger) but since Holiday looks like the Knicks best perimeter defender I wouldn’t make that move either. I would trade a second for a decent point guard prospect though.

  39. I think Baker is our best bet to cut, and stash in the D-League. The thought is there won’t be immediate suitors for him at this stage, while Ndour, Plumlee or even Randle could get a look somewhere else.
    Amundson should be gone…

  40. Twitter saying that Ainge is offering up either RJ Hunter or James Young for a 2nd round pick. Would anyone here bite? Young was the #17 pick in 2014 and Hunter was the #28 pick in 2015.

    I don’t really like either of those guys too much. When’s the next second round pick we have, anyway, like 2093 or something?

  41. Well, suspense is over:

    @ShamsCharania: Sources: Knicks waived guard Chasson Randle, plan more releases to clear likely roster spot for Ron Baker. Randle two weeks away in return.

  42. Horny>>> Rambis/Fischer

    ’17 KP >> ’16KP

    Noah >> Lopez

    Rose/Jennings >> Calderon/Gallo

    Lee>>> AffLOLo

    Melo = Melo?

    I know it is expected to be negative here as well as objective, but I like this team much better than last year’s team.

    this is exactly what i’m putting hope in (plus an improved bench) – who knows what’ll happen in the next x amount of months – or, how many wins they’ll end up with…

    more importantly for me though – it looks like we have a good team to root for (decent human beings whom will play hard, with some interesting personalities – plus Kuz’s gf :-), with also a few exciting young players…only one team gets the chip – everyone else has their season end in disappointment at some time…i want to have fun rooting for the team during their journey this season…

  43. Lou released. Small thing but good for them being willing to give a good guy guaranteed money then make the right basketball call.

  44. Amundson and Tokoto gone also, per Ian Begley. Looks like NDour will make it as well as Plumlee?

  45. If everything else is equal, you have to give Ndour and Plumlee an edge over Lou because they both have multiple minimum salary option years. You’re not just getting them now, you’re getting them two or three years from now at the cheapest possible price.

  46. Good calls all around. Lou definitely should have been the first cut, and I’d rather secure Baker than Randle, both for immediate health and fit. We gave Randle a partially guaranteed deal, so hopefully the injury keeps other teams from signing him and we can stash him in Westchester for a bit until we have a better sense of what the bench is.

  47. I wonder if they find a spot for Lou on the coaching staff- Phil seems to really like the guy.

  48. “What have the Cavs done with their roster in the offseason?”
    They kept Lebron James so, regardless of whatever else they did or didn’t do, they will be very good.

  49. holy cow…this may be one of the only sites up and running today…the world just gets crazier by the moment…

  50. RJ Hunter is definitely worth a 2nd round pick. This kid can shoot, lights out. Get on the phone Phil.

  51. What, Boston doesn’t have enough picks already?

    I can see the headline now: “Celtics acquire Westbrook for Crowder, Bradley and 16 first and second round draft picks”

  52. It’s the Russians. Or Hillary.

    You all laughed when The Donald said only he could fix America’s problems. Well it’s not so funny when you can’t Instagram that awesome breakfast you ate. MUHAHAHAHA!

  53. Randle had formed an alliance with Melo so he had to go.

    I see that happen all the time on the show Survivor too.

  54. I’m fine with this roster. Curious who the first 4 off the bench are going to be.

    You got Jennings, Lance and Kyle with either Baker or Holiday playing backup 2. Bakers good but I like Holidays defense as well.

  55. Internet must be crashing since Lou got cut.

    ^this^…thank you sir – needed a good laugh :-)

  56. I’m fine with this roster. Curious who the first 4 off the bench are going to be.

    To start, Hornacek was talking about an 11-man rotation to start the season and then maybe paring it down to 10. I expect that Baker, Vujacic, Kuzminskis, N’dour and Plumlee will struggle to get playing time. I don’t expect N’Dour and Plumlee to dress. There are enough good bigs on the roster.

  57. I like the final roster, too. Ndour may have been in danger, but keeping him over Randle is okay. I hope Randall plays at Westchester.

    Of course, changes may yet happen, but adding Hernangomez, Kuz, Baker, and Plumlee after having no picks in the draft is pretty nice. If I’m not mistaken, don’t the Knicks have 3 picks in 2017?

    Like others, I’m kind of surprised at the lack of love for Sasha. He’s won me over. He played well late last year and had a good preseason. I think his $ are vet minimum? He’s a good guy and definitely worth it as a 3rd string combo guard.

    Very happy about Ron. I believe someone else would pick him up if he were released.

    Awhile back I speculated that Lou was signed as insurance. Well, no one got hurt, so he’s out. The guaranteed contract may have been a respect thing as well as an understanding that if there is an injury to a big that he will be brought back.

  58. Now that teams are waiving players the Nets can stock their team. I just hope they don’t take Randle.

  59. I wonder if they find a spot for Lou on the coaching staff- Phil seems to really like the guy.

    You got to figure giving him a million bucks just for the heck of it was a nice enough thing for him to do. :)

  60. I really hope Ron Baker and Billy Ball get 20 minutes a night. I honestly believe they will be starters on these Knicks for 7-8 years once Lee and Noah start to fade.

  61. I’m not so sure about that, but yes, I’d love to see them get a nice chunk of playing time to see what they have with them. Baker is sure easy to root for.

  62. IMO they’re going to be a big part of our offensive efficiency. They should both post eFG’s over .500. I like their basketball IQs and I think they’re athletic enough to play uptempo ball and eventually become plus defenders. If not starters, they should be valuable rotation players the entire time they are Knicks.

  63. What has Billy shown to make you think he’ll be a plus defender? Offensively, he’ll be fine, but he doesn’t look like much of a defender so far.

  64. BTW anyone notice that the guy I was lobbying for us to buy a pick and draft, Kay Felder, has been named the backup PG for the defending champs?

    sigh

  65. I like this.
    Figure Sasha will get 15 min a night since we only have 2 real pgs, and both are fragile.
    I like having NDour in case/when O’Quinn shits the bed, and I really think Hernangomez will get a shot at backup minutes as they’ll want to keep KP at the 4.
    So if no one gets injured, the backup squad should be Jennings, Vujacic, Thomas, KOQ, and maybe Billy.

  66. Kay Felder, has been named the backup PG for the defending champs?

    I like Felder, but that’s in significant part because they have nobody else.

  67. I did not see Randle getting waived coming. But I completely understand keeping Baker over him:
    1. He’s healthier.
    2. At 6’4″ 220, he can legitimately play both spots without too much concern on both ends.
    3. He is savvy as shit! He seems to always make the right play even when he’s being flashy. He’s an underrated ballhandler too.

    I like Randle a lot..but there’s no way I can argue with keeping Ron Baker over him. Sasha’s a different issue. I’m not sure I would keep Sasha over Randle with Baker in tow. But again..Sasha’s healthy. Hopefully another team won’t pick him up because we can use him in Westchester until he develops enough to be called up.

  68. BTW anyone notice that the guy I was lobbying for us to buy a pick and draft, Kay Felder, has been named the backup PG for the defending champs?

    sigh

    Yeah, I agreed with you on Felder! He has looked pretty good so far.

  69. Interesting discussion on Zach Lowe’s podcast with Ethan Strauss about Draymond. Dude sounds like he’s got a bit of a party problem.

  70. Better question – last year New York won 32 games, and the 8th seed won 44. Did they improve by 13 wins in the offseason?

    I’m gonna say yeah. Hey, now is the time to be hopeful anyway, right? Still, I really think that the Knicks are getting disrespected on this board and, of course, in the national press. Noah and Lee are huge upgrades over Rolo and AA. KP has improved and will continue to and who knows what the ceiling is there. Melo, not being LBJ, but being pretty good, may finally have the talent around him to win. The PGs are fast, can get in the paint, and just have to play smart. The kids look for real. O’Quinn has definitely improved (as has Sasha and probably Lance too).

    I think KP and Noah are gonna give people a very hard time defensively. We got tons of blocks over the last couple of games. We’re gonna look good against other starting lineups and our bench is gonna do damage against the Joe Thornton’s of the world. Yes, 10-15 games better and a playoff birth.

  71. I think Billy is just smart enough to be good on defense. It didn’t work for Jose, but at the five defense is more about awareness and positioning. I have faith in my guy.

  72. deandre jordan is the first to come to mind although while he was clueless in terms of the non-box score related stuff at first like rotating and defending the pnr… his rebounding and shotblocking was still good enough to be considered an ok defender….

    but aside from that it’s fairly difficult to be considered a good defender without having box score value AND being dumb on top of that… at one point amare was probably a passable defender just based on his shotblocking ability and average board rates but he was never considered a good defender…

  73. I hate to say this here..but has anyone seen the new alternate Nets uni? DOPE! When our Knicks do an alternate uni..it’s mostly throwback. Kinda hard to do a whole lot with blue & orange and still get creative with our logo while still givin a nod to yesteryear. But man..I really like those alternate Nets unis. Our throwback unis for this season are pretty sweet tho

  74. Anyway..back to the Knicks. I like our roster flexibility this season. Plenty of young legs that are smart basketball players to balance out our vets with high mileage. 3 leading scorer/alpha types in Rose/Melo/Jennings may be a bit much, but we saw Melo play team ball while Rose and Jennings seem committed to playing the same way and are genuinely excited about being Knicks. I think team chemistry is going to be fantastic this season. You usually have a…”knucklehead” type on a team that you put up with because of the talent he/she has that helps more than it hurts. That x factor type that your happy is playing with you rather than against you. Rodman..Captain Jack..MWP..Birdman, etc. The crazies, if you will. The closest thing we have to that are Noah and Jennings, but they tend to be the good crazy for their team. I pray for good health on this team because it can be really good this season

  75. Spencer Dinwiddie got released by the Bulls. He was their best point Guard during Pre-Season. Dude is a 6’6 point guard, Good shooter. We should pick him up.

  76. Re: unis,
    I like the Knicks hardwood classics a lot. Throwback without getting too hipstery about it and with a nice, clean design. Will be a good look on KP.
    The Nets’ are good but have that signature Nets “trying too hard” feel.

  77. The Knicks can do a lot of good alternate jersey designs if they so chose to. They can do a Big Apple away jersey with a deep red base with white and green trim. They can do a sky scraper themed home jersey that has a grey base with black and orange trim. They can do a navy and blue alternate jersey. They can bring back the jersey they wore that half season when Melo first got here. I think the Knicks are just too corporate to mix up the jerseys.

  78. Any other interesting cuts from other teams people might consider grabbing at the expense of Plumlee or, dare I say it, Ron?

  79. Don’t get me wrong…I love our base design and colors. I think it’s befitting of what the team should be. No need to be super flashy, but says what it needs to say powerfully enough, y’kno? But sometimes..SOMETIMES..I would like to see a dope alternate that’s not a hardwood classic- though I am smitten with this season’s throwbacks.

    RE: Dinwiddie

    Spencer Dinwiddie got released by the Bulls. He was their best point Guard during Pre-Season. Dude is a 6’6 point guard, Good shooter. We should pick him up.

    Who would you suggest that we dump for him? I agree that Phil should take a flier on him, but he should let him develop in the D League. I’m not sure there’s anyone on the current roster he should replace.

  80. Is it weird that I am still looking at Spurs box scores to see what TIMMAY did? Man…2 surefire HOF’ers and arguably the best PF’s ever retired in the same offseason. Maybe I’m still in denial as a pure basketball fan..but we may not see another KG or TIMMAY. Well.. KAT and Anthony Davis will probably be damn close to prime KG. But Duncan’s a hard match. He didn’t blow you away with 3 point range, guard-like handles, or fantastic athleticism. But will there ever be another big that is as consistently great as TIMMAY? The quietest 20 and 11 ever.

  81. Looks like the NBA are going to do the Clippers a big favor. They new CBA will push the Over 36 rule to the Over 38 rule, so the Clippers will be able to offer CP3 an extra max year.

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