2016-17 Game Thread: Knicks @ Magic

This is a big game for the tank, as the Magic have been playing a little better since their roster became more balanced following the Serge Ibaka trade and the Knicks will be without Billy tonight. So this is a lose-able game for the Knicks, but it is a borderline lose-able game, so it can be a tricky one.

Let’s go? Knicks!

How is Porzingis Doink?

On this blog, there’s been some good debate on the growth and potential of Kristaps Porzingis. I thought I’d dip a little into the stats to get a better understanding.

Porzingis’ detractors point to his disappointing rebounding numbers as a red flag in his growth. Per 36 minutes, his rebounds have dropped from his rookie rate of 9.3 to 7.8. The decline on the defensive portion to 5.9 dreb/36 is what’s most worrisome. While there have been successful centers with this low of a rate (Kareem, M. Gasol, Ilgauskas, Miller, Cartwright, Smits, Okur, etc.) it’s not an ideal trait in a franchise player.

However that number may not be indicative of Porzingis’ lack of glasswork. Porzingis shares front court duty with Noah, O’Quinn, or Hernangomez, and those three are averaging 14.2, 13.5, and 13.1 rebounds per 36 minutes respectively. Hence it’s entirely possible that Zinger is playing with better rebounders who are negatively affecting his personal stats.

On the other hand, the Knicks are 30th in the league in defensive boards. But according to 82games.com, New York is +1.6% better at defensive rebounding with Porzingis on the floor.

In other words, it’s a bit murky whether or not Porzingis is a sub-par rebounder or merely average. Either way he could silence the debate with stronger numbers, but it’s unlikely to get significantly better than his current rate. So let’s leave it that he’ll never be great at capturing misses, and look at the other stats.

Rating his defense is another difficult proposition. However he’s averaging 2.2 blk/36, and again 82games.com has New York’s defense as -3.3 points per 100 better with him on the floor. Of course this isn’t exactly definitive one way or another, but these numbers could be worse. Almost certainly he’s an average defender or better.

Finally let’s look at his offensive efficiency. Here Kristaps has seen an increase in his ts% from 51.8% to 54.9%. Again we need some context for this, so I looked at all 21 year old sophomore big men since 1979. Our center ranks 24th in eFG our of 77 players from the list. Again it’d be nice if Porzingis were in the top 3 with Shaq & K.A.T., but he’s in decent company with the top 3rd.

It’s unlikely that Vienradzis is a generational talent, as most HOFers begin to excel by their second season. However to write him off as a regular NBA-er is a bit shortsighted. It’s very possible that Porzingis becomes an All Star, although it’s not going to happen as an elite rebounder. Taking that list of sophomore centers, and Zinger is 9th in points/36. Of the top 15 sorted by points, all have made an All Star Game except for Porzingis and Larry Hughes. That’s not bad company to be in.

Post script: Which center would you rather have?

  Age R/36 P/36  B/36 TS%
A 20  6.1  14.5  1.0  49.1%
A 21  6.5  17.6  0.8  56.4%

B 20  9.3  18.1  2.4  51.8%
B 21  7.8  19.9  2.2  54.9%


Based on that, Player B (Porzingis) is the better option. Player A is Nowitzki.

Just sayin’…

Knicks Morning News (2017.03.01)

  • [NYPost] Willy Hernangomez replaces Porzingis as Knicks’ injury worry
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 4:03:17 PM)

    The Knicks figure to welcome Kristaps Porzingis back to active duty Wednesday in Orlando. So naturally they plan to be without center Willy Hernangomez. Apparently there is a ban on too much happy news for the Knicks. While Porzingis practiced Tuesday in Tarrytown after missing two games with a sprained right ankle, Hernangomez sat out…

  • [NYPost] Larry Brown to Phil Jackson: Quit pulling strings and coach the Knicks
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 2:50:49 PM)

    Peering into the Knicks’ power structure, Larry Brown has a message for Phil Jackson: If you want the triangle offense, be the coach. The former Knicks head coach said it’s wrong for Jackson to force his style of play on current coach Jeff Hornacek, as the Knicks place a bigger focus on the system Jackson made famous. Brown,…

  • [NYPost] Amar’e Stoudemire under fire for gay ‘joke’ days after tolerance award
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 2:25:53 PM)

    Two days after winning Israel’s prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his work with underprivileged children, Amar’e Stoudemire suggested in a video posted Tuesday his goodwill does not extend to all types of people. The former Knicks forward, who is playing with Israeli basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem, said (joked?) he would avoid a theoretical…

  • [NYPost] Carmelo Anthony is asking for another talk with Phil Jackson
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:22:14 PM)

    Carmelo Anthony wants to sit down and chat with Knicks president Phil Jackson later rather than sooner. “I don’t think right now. Right now we’ve got to sit down and kind of finish these games and go back down to the drawing board after this season. But not right now,” Anthony said about hashing out…

  • [NYPost] Knicks turning rest of season into triangle auditions
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 10:48:16 AM)

    The Knicks are coming full circle. Or is full triangle more appropriate? Coach Jeff Hornacek admitted Tuesday the final two months of the season basically will contain triangle-offense auditions for players as the Knicks utilize more of team president Phil Jackson’s preferred roots. “We’ve gotten better,” Hornacek said in Tarrytown after the Knicks prepared for…

  • [NYDN] Knicks to evaluate players based on ability to grasp triangle
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:02:02 PM)

    It’s back to Square One. Or should we say, Triangle One.

  • [NYDN] Doesn’t seem Amar’e Stoudemire would be OK with gay teammate
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:11:40 PM)

    Amar’e Stoudemire would be better off keeping his mouth shut.

  • [NYDN] Larry Brown: Knicks prez should coach if he really wants triangle
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:26:38 AM)

    Larry Brown thinks Phil Jackson should either cease forcing the triangle on Jeff Hornacek or coach the Knicks himself.

  • [SNY Knicks] GEICO SportsNite: Drama continues to follow the Knicks
    (Wednesday, March 01, 2017 12:10:19 AM)

    Drama follows the Knicks after a heartbreaking loss to the Raptors on Monday night after releasing Brandon Jennings.

  • [SNY Knicks] Should Knicks make Lee, Thomas available this offseason?
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 1:00:57 PM)

    After signing a four-year deal, Lee obviously won’t be waived. But his value as a veteran, versatile player could be more useful to contending teams.

  • [SNY Knicks] Report: Knicks may target Jrue Holiday in free agency
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 10:30:10 AM)

    The Knicks may target Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday in free agency this summer, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

  • [NYTimes] Knicks’ Big Question for Rest of Season: Who Fits the Triangle?
    (Wednesday, March 01, 2017 4:33:32 AM)

    With the team in a no man’s land between a playoff berth and a top draft pick, the final six weeks will be used to evaluate players in a system the Knicks have solidified their commitment to.

  • [NYTimes] The Knicks Are Bad. This Is Not New.
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 11:18:39 PM)

    Here is a look at the 10 most despairing, demoralizing Knick seasons of all time.

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks’ aptitude test will be learning the triangle
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:56:00 PM)

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Want to play for the Knicks next season? You better learn to love the triangle.

  • [ESPN] Wednesday’s Knicks News: Sprained ankle may force Hernangomez to miss games
    (Wednesday, March 01, 2017 4:47:37 AM)

    Wednesday’s Knicks News: Sprained ankle may force Hernangomez to miss games

  • [ESPN] 3 missed calls in last minutes of Knicks-Raptors
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:56:53 PM)

    3 missed calls in last minutes of Knicks-Raptors

  • [ESPN] Sources: Jennings agrees to join Wizards
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 6:01:48 PM)

    Sources: Jennings agrees to join Wizards

  • [ESPN] Brown: Phil should coach if Knicks run triangle
    (Tuesday, February 28, 2017 5:47:42 PM)

    Brown: Phil should coach if Knicks run triangle