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’…

109 replies on “How is Porzingis Doink?”

I still maintain confidence in our man from Liepaja, but if he doesn’t make a leap to ~.150 WS/48 next year I’m gonna start sounding the alarm.

We need more pieces than KP to hope to compete in the next few years. Bring on the tank!

I think another good question to ask is: Just how good and important to this team is Willy going to be? Might he actually end up better than KP?

I think the answer so far has been yes but it remains to be seen.

It seems to me very unlikely that a player gets worse at rebounding in technique or capability at age 21 than at 20, unless there is some serious injury. If his rebounding numbers go down, it’s much more likely it’s because of how he is used or the people around him that is causing it.

I don’t know how good he will be, but already he’s a decent power forward, he’s only 21, and he has the sort of game that could age well. He’s also a two way player. I like him a lot better than Gallinari, who was drafted only two spots lower.

I’m confused is he being compared to Centers, Power forwards, or all bigs?

I would have a lot of confidence in KP’s progression if it wasn’t for all the triangle bullshit, because quite frankly what I think this team needs is a talented PG running pick and rolls all over the place with him and Hernangomez… Willy seems to be a good passer and he can definitely finish inside with good touch, and it allows KP to have an impact as a threat with or without the ball.

the unintentional tank will decide everything, to be honest… if we tank enough that it’s a no brainer to draft a PG in the draft, I’d say things are going to be fine in the long run… if we draft Bridges, Monk or another non-PG guy and overpay Teague for example, it gets a lot harder to discourage the triangular obsession.

Anyone see Amare’s “joke” about having to shower across the street if he had a gay teammate? I could never like that guys personality.

I love KP and his mindset, and it’s a good thing that he doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed as another tall white euro guy. But in the process he is trying to become Kevin Durant (he has said this in the past) when he just doesn’t have the quick-twitch athleticism that Durant has — and he never will. He should concentrate more on becoming Dirk offensively, and when he’s done that, try some of the other stuff. The crossovers, dribble-drives, etc. are not working for him. Even an average PF can defend him when he puts the ball on the floor.

He should shoot 3’s, use his height on Dirk one-foot stepbacks, and learn some basic post-moves a la Rik Smits. Sure, learn a 1- or 2-dribble pull-up if defenders completely sell out on running you off the 3 point line. But all his dribbling into traffic is not working. And there is no way in the world Marcus Smart should be able to guard him when he’s literally a foot taller than him.

@10

that was disgusting… he was already fined for calling someone a fag on twitter iirc.

I’m kinda glad he’s done as a player.

(Not that it is a defense of Amare) but I tend to believe he isn’t a bad guy just completely ignorant. It is hard to understand how he could remain so ignorant while being exposed to everything that he is exposed to — fashion, kabala…doesn’t make sense.

Reposting here since it’s more relevant:

And to Bruno Almeida, who is throwing the straw man out there – no one ever said that Jokic is not going to be amazing. It’s just that he is (at least so far) a liability on the defensive end of the court. I challenge anyone to come up with a championship team (or even a near-championship team) that had a center that was a clear minus on defense.

Yeah, I wasn’t saying yesterday (which may have started this) that Jokic isn’t very good, but to say he’s a ‘top 5? player while being a minus on defense is ridiculous in my opinion, especially as a center. He may have great numbers, great advanced stats, but I still hold my opinion that his ‘greatness’ is yet to be seen. To call a sophomore a “generational talent” that’s not good defensively is ridiculous, and should be reserved for guys like Dirk (even then it took a while).

Also, parsing the offensive stats Jokic is objectively better than KP. Porzingis takes a shit-ton of long twos (double Jokic), with less assisted shots, and finishes better at the 3 and at the rim. Not saying Jokic is playing better because of better point skills because it’s Mudiay, but the scheme/ball-movement is objectively better if you’re getting more assisted shots and closer to the basket. I really do think KP would be look better if in a better offense.

All this because I posted “non-superstar Jokic” was having a great game?

How is that “throwing the straw man out there”? It was just a small, ironic joke, nothing more, chill out a bit.

I wasn’t the one who said Jokic was a top 5 player in the league, he’s obviously not in my opinion… there’s at least LeBron, Paul, Durant, Giannis, Harden, Gobert and Kawhi ahead of him, and an argument can be made about players like Curry, DeAndre Jordan, Lowry, Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook in terms of sheer production…

he’s an insane offensive player, a generational talent, yes, on that end, and defense is something that is pretty fickle… even Dirk had good defensive seasons when he was surrounded by great talent, and the Nuggets start minus-defenders on pretty much every other position…
I hear all the time arguments being made that players get burned inside because of the lack of perimeter defense, and Jokic, playing heavy minutes with Jameer Nelson and Gary Harris / Will Barton doesn’t get that luxury, it’s him who’s trash?

“and an argument can be made about players like Curry”

Cmon — this is an insane statement. There is no comparison between Curry and Jokic. I don’t even need stats to back up this statement.

@17

Curry was supposed to be in he first group I mentioned, but I only realized it after there was no more time to edit the post.

my god, why is everyone so on edge about this subject?

1) Phil wants to emphasize the triangle
2) SOS is relatively favorable for the Knicks to go on a “playoff run”
3) KP’s WS/48 is lower than in his rookie year

Yesterday, a poster mentioned it may be time to jump ship. Maybe he was on to something after all.

I’ve been watching the Jazz, Bucks and Nuggets quite a while lately, I don’t think I’ll ever completely jump the ship (unless Phil does something like re-sign Rose to a 4-year deal) but the NBA has had many fun options lately.

I actually really like this debate, because all of the weaknesses of current advanced stats are being evaluated, because they all scream Jokic. Defensive parameters, situational vs. player-specific evaluation, sample size, age/athleticism/ceilings, whatever those really mean.

Maybe “evaluating the players for ability to run triangle” is code for playing the young ones more for tanking purposes?

Problem is, they’re better than the vets.

so… the fact that Jokic is superior in all advanced stats shows the weakness in advanced stats because they disagree with your own ideas?

how exactly should we evaluate defensive contributions in a meaningful way then? the fact that no advanced stat seems to properly explain defensive contributions is not because they don’t care, it’s because I don’t really think there are good parameters available to reliably tell a player is objectively producing better on defense than another one, just vague stuff like efg% against in certain positions (which is highly dependent on a lot of stuff, like teammates, defensive schemes, opposing players, etc) or traditional stats, like rebounding / blocked shots / altered shots / points against.

for example, Jokic has a better DBPM than Porzingis this season, but how reliable DBPM really is?

Jokic could be the worst defender in the world and still a better choice than KP. It’s much harder to find an offensive talent like Jokic than it is to cover for one bad player’s defensive deficiencies, which in the case of Jokic are being exaggerated for the purpose of trying to defend the asinine position that Porzingis is better.

Guys, there is a better young player out there than Porzingis. That’s fine. It says nothing about how good Porzingis will or will not be, which is all we should care about.

I’m not saying the advanced stats “disagree with my own ideas,” meaning my eye-test or whatever. I’m saying they don’t work well on defense, and to a small extent, situation-specific markers. Players that are very good defensively often don’t show up in WS, VORP, DBPM too well. Again, who I deem ‘good defensively’ isn’t borne out of any good stats, so feel free to disagree, because there’s the weakness in my argument.

Damn it, I’m not saying he’s worse than KP. I’m saying his value is inflated by our metrics.

@29

In my opinion, that’s why advanced stats focus so much on offense, because it is a lot easier to measure offensive contributions than defensive ones… there’s no real good way to know which players are really good defenders and unless something extremely unexpected happens, there never will… but the results show that those metrics are generally very accurate in portraying who the best players in the game are, so I would still rather use them as useful tools with the flaws they have.

Biggest red flag to me is I don’t see very many specific areas of improvement from last year for KP. Obviously the big one that people will point to is the increased scoring efficiency, but a lot of that is being driven by the increased 3 point shooting (both volume and accuracy). That can be a bit of a noisy stat and he’s actually shooting quite a bit worse on long 2s than last year (suggesting that it may not be accurate to simply say his jumper has improved).

Something its worth considering is that the Knicks have a bit of a track record when it comes to guys who looks really promising out of the gates and then really fail to develop. Shump and Fields come to mind immediately. And I struggle to really come up with a single example of someone on the other side of the ledger, a player development success story. I worry that our player development is as borked as the rest of the organization.

Last year KP looked better than Jokic, this year Jokic looks better, at least on offense. Next year, who knows?

@33 Jokic blew KP out of the water last year according to multiple metrics as well. Unless your definition of “looked better” has to do with something other than basketball.

Accurately measuring KP’s progress (or lack thereof) is next to impossible considering the radical change he’s had to endure from season 1 to season 2 of his career. Three different head coaches in less than two seasons, six different starting teammates, major fluctuations in offensive systems and defensive assignments have all coalesced to really create a lack of stability. What’s even more problematic is the failure by our front office and coaching to effectively build around his skillset with ball stopping team mates and a deviation from a PnR/motion oriented to a triangle offense. I simply do not see the point of even beginning to chart his career trajectory until 1.) Melo and Rose are gone and 2.) we actually gear our offense to fit his talent rather than fit his talent to Phil’s preferred offense.

In my opinion, that’s why advanced stats focus so much on offense, because it is a lot easier to measure offensive contributions than defensive ones… there’s no real good way to know which players are really good defenders and unless something extremely unexpected happens, there never will… but the results show that those metrics are generally very accurate in portraying who the best players in the game are, so I would still rather use them as useful tools with the flaws they have.

Oh absolutely. But still, I’d rather be aware of the inadequacies of the tools I use- so if you have an amazing offensive player who’s a huge minus on defense, are we representing them as ‘best players in the game?’ Like Harden, who is objectively and subjectively awesome- he is insane offensively but terrible defensively- maybe someone like Westbrook is better since he’s better defensively, and less efficient offensively, but overall better? I would say Harden is ABSOLUTELY better, as would most of you, but I do think the stats are inadequate enough to double-think just rating people based on WS48/TS and not taking defense into account at all.

Obviously the top 5 WS48 players would be amazing: Durant/Leonard/Paul/Harden/Gobert, but are they the BEST FIVE in the league? I don’t know, maybe Curry/Harden/Giannis/Leonard/LeBron sweep the floor with them. I’m not saying anything definite, just saying we will probably do better one day.

WS/48 comes down to production. Perhaps it isn’t fair to say Rudy Gobert is better than Lebron James. However, a very strong argument can be made that Gobert has been more productive than Lebron this year according to various metrics. Abstract terms like “best/better”, “potential”, “ceiling”, “talent” will never measure up to empirically analyzing actual production.

KP needs to spend more time closer to the basket to post up smaller defenders and take advantage of his ridiculous length. He spends far too much time out on the perimeter negating one of his biggest strengths. To that end having a point guard to get him the ball down low would really, really help. In the meantime KP in learning mode and the team getting dreadful play at the one (for like the 20th year in a row) is helping the tank – embrace it, that’s all us Knick fans have right now.

I know it’s been said before, but let’s evaluate Porzingis when he plays with an actual PG who doesn’t put his head down and drive recklessly to the basket every possession. A few dunks per game off of dribble penetration by a decent pass first PG will do wonders for KP’s efficiency.

Ambrosenyk: agreed, but people act like it’s the end all be all metric, and say A>B because WS48 A>B, and I just disagree with that use of stats.

d-mar: agreed 100%, but people act like most stats are player-specific regardless of situation. I think I looked it up, and players that joined Chris Paul, John Wall, and Jason Kidd ended up with much better stats. So I agree, but most wouldn’t.

It should be noted, though, that 538’s system doesn’t know that Sac traded Boogie, that Minny lost LaVine, or that Philly lost Embiid and Noel. So the predicted records for those teams are probably too high.

I think Towns, Jokic, Turner, and Embiid have ALL been better than Porzingis this year.

For the record, part of the reason he was a better rebounder last year was that he was playing with Robin Lopez. RL is more interested in boxing out bigs and allowing his teammates to get rebounds than he is in padding his own reboundings stats. I think KP’s rebounding stats for this year are more indicative of his actual ability to rebound. In other words, he’s poor. While we are at it, he’s also a pretty bad playmaker and defender. The only thing he does well on defense is protect the rim on help defense. He gets beaten on the perimeter by small PFs all the time and he can’t defend the bigger stronger Cs yet either.

As of right now, he’s way closer to a young Bargnani than Nowitski. Now granted, Bargnani was an even weaker rebounder and his game slowly deteriorated over time due to injury and other factors until he became the mess the Knicks got to see. If KP gets better (which we all expect), he’ll be a fine ballplayer. But right now the hype FAR EXCEEDS the reality of his game.

Yea, because David Lee definitely has a comparable assist %..

Also, what’s with the shots at David Lee? His career WS/48 has never dipped below league average and, at .150, is higher than “future hall of famer” Carmelo Anthony. In my estimation, David Lee has been one of the top 3 most productive Knicks since 2000.

People here have to stop comparing every young bigman in the league to David Lee. Nikola Jokic is 21 years old his second year in the NBA. David Lee was 23. Those two years of physical-basketball maturation are huge. Please, lets all take a step back and consider how young each of these players are.

Z-Man, what was that supposed to demonstrate? It shows that Lee, who did have a great NBA career, was significantly worse in his second season (though still very good, that’s how good Jokic is) despite being two years older. It’s a great argument in favor of Jokic, if anything.

The only thing he does well on defense is protect the rim on help defense.

Um, that’s a pretty big deal and he does it really really well.

1. Whatever offense the Knicks are running, it does not do a very good job of getting easy buckets for KP. So when he gets the ball in his hands he’s doing a lot of his own “shot creation” with mediocre results.

2. Defensively the Knicks are a complete shambles, as opposing guards waltz into the lane with impunity, forcing the Knick bigs to contest shots and thus be out of position for defensive rebounds. The Knicks are the worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA despite having a number of players who are at least in theory good rebounders.

3. It seems clear to me that Porzingis’ rookie year rebounding stats were helped a lot by playing with Robin Lopez, who excels at the art of boxing out. The poor containment of penetration and constant out-of-placeness of Knick bigs as a result (see #2) combined with the absence of RoLo and Porzingis’ nagging injuries all seem to be factors in KP’s rebounding going into the toilet.

4. KP’s body language and attitude seem off from last season. He made the point early on in the season– correctly– that the team was not as good as its record and had lots of flaws. He has also made subtle comments about the Knicks’ poor teamwork and lack of sharing the ball. I think the guy has a good basketball mind and he is well aware that the Knicks do way too much heroballing. Sometimes it’s almost like he’s saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and is looking to put the ball on the deck and force a shot up every time he touches it, just like his famous teammates.

Lets all play a game of “Who Else Can We Compare David Lee To!”

Yesterday it was KP. Today its Jokic. Tomorrow I bet it will be Willy.

It’s definitely fair to speculate that the Knicks’ decision to build a team that seems almost intended to impede player develop did in fact do so in the case of Porzingis. I’d love to see what he could do with a point guard who looks to set him up like, say, Jerian Grant.

David Lee is good, I would love to be compared to him.

But do we have to compare every young white big man to him?

I am yearning for the Theo/Cole Aldrich days.

Z-Man, do you actually not believe that Jokic is a star-caliber player? I mean, come on. KP is my favorite player in the league, but Jokic is averaging 21/12/6 per36 with a .637 TS%, 22.7 USG, and WS/48 of .223. And he’s TWENTY-ONE.

Explain to me how that’s not star caliber production. It’s not even an exaggeration to say the guy could be a top5 player in a few years.

And, BTW, the one guy we should be comparing Lee to is Willy.

Here is a breakdown of their 22 year old rookie seasons:

PER: Willy 18.6, Lee 15.4
TS%: Willy .583, Lee .607
TRB%: Willy 20.0, Lee 16.3
AST%: Willy 1o.4, Lee 6.5
STL%: Willy 1.3, Lee 1.4
BLK%: Willy 2.8, Lee 1.5
TOV%: Willy 17.0, Lee 15.2
WS/48: Willy .129, Lee .116

Jokic is really good. Is that being argued?

I am happy for DLee. He got a chip, has had a great career, and has an awesome girlfriend apparently. His defense is still horrible but he’d have made a better Knick than Melo.

If Hernangomez can add a consistent enough perimeter game that you can’t give him space, IMO he has good chance to be a better player than KP. The things that KP is better at than WH at can be learned (other than height). The things WH is better than KP at are more intuitive and harder to learn. WH might be better than KP as soon as next year. Some people might argue that once he got past his very rough start with TOs this year he has already been the better player. I am one of those people.

First of all, people said he is a top 5-10 player RIGHT NOW. Second of all, I don’t know what “star-caliber” means anymore. Third, yes he’s twenty one, but let’s see how he looks with a larger sample size, and see if he can make it to .500 some day with better teammates because his defense is piss poor.

I think Jokic is very, very good. I’m not willing to label him a superstar just yet.

There’s an alternate Knicks history from 09 on where they extend DLee instead of signing Amare and never traded the farm for Melo. Is there any way the last 7 seasons don’t go better under those conditions?

@62 Absolutely they do. Maybe that’s why everyone’s throwing David Lee’s name around lately; we’re subconsciously yearning for the days where we weren’t an ISO heavy snooze-fest.

Yeah, David Lee and Jokic are pretty much the same player–what’s really the difference between 2.2 and 6.0 assist per 36 or 15% vs 22% usage?! I bet you could run your entire offense through David Lee as point center and that he can stretch the floor to boot! It’s not as if they’re a different age or anything!

Fwiw David Lee was the second best Knick of the last 15 years behind Chandler soooo…qed?

I don’t understand how people can look at Jokic’s stats and not say “this is a top 10 NBA player.”

It’s absolutely absurd! He ought to be an MVP candidate for Christ’s sake!

howdy reub – hope your trip with cpt theo went well :-)…now ya got me curious…where in the world are you off to next?

this comment from frank really stuck with me yesterday…

Not sure this is notable, but I have fully embraced the tank, not just from an intellectual standpoint (I’ve been there for a while), but from an emotional / fan standpoint. I literally was wishing and hoping that Melo would miss that shot last night. And was happy when he did. That feels like a milestone.

i know a lot of you are able to detach yourself a bit from your fandom and look at the situation rationally/objectively (in a pythag kinda manner)…

i’m guessing come next year now that i’ve actually started participating on the site, and i’m a little more tuned in to the group mindset, i’ll be a little quicker to notice and believe some of the warning signs of a bad season/team …shoot, those signs were in abundance before the season even began…

i think you were right though jowles not to bet the under…always better to have a little bit of hope and faith in life then a few extra dollars…

@geo

I’d like to think that all the losing we’ve endured with this franchise is what started the domino effect into viewing basketball in a more analytical manner instead of an emotional one. But then again, what percentage of MSG’s sellout crowds know what basketball reference is?

I don’t understand how people can look at Jokic’s stats and not say “this is a top 10 NBA player.”

It’s absolutely absurd! He ought to be an MVP candidate for Christ’s sake!

He’s a clear cut negative defender at this stage. If you combine both sides he’s still a terrific player, but his boxscore stats overrate him.

Im fine with Jokic being compared to David Lee because I’ll go to my grave defending David Lee as a very good player.

The Durant news is interesting. It sounds good on the surface, but it also sounds like the sort of thing we’ll revisit in a month and it will be worse than we think. Sort of like his foot injury. A MCL sprain is a weird injury, in that you can recover from it just fine, but it can also go bad, as well.

I think it’s overall fine for the Warriors… without the pressure of getting record wins, they should be resting their stars quite a bit anyway, they are 4 games ahead of the Spurs and 8.5 ahead of the Rockets… they should even allow Durant to take games off in the first round if necessary.

@72

while I agree with pretty much the entire article, the author makes a particularly good point at the end: what free agent will ever want to go play for a team where he knows he’ll be forced to play the damn triangle, that nobody has any experience with and nobody wants to run?

another cherry on top of a shit cake.

Hi geo. I’m actually still away. Was in beautiful St. Lucia yesterday inside a dormant volcano and presently am in St. Kitts. Captain Theo has been very strict with us and condescending as well. He feeds us and then calls us all fat. St. Maarten tomorrow.

What do people think of Jayson Tatum? I know people compare him to Melo but I caught a few glimpses of him last evening and he looks pretty talented.

In Phil’s warped mind he believes the Triangle is a plus for recruiting free agents, not a minus. That’s how far gone the man is.

David Lee was a very good player, even if all he did was tap in Eddy Curry’s misses

I think the Triangle stuff is code for tanking and intended to demoralize the team. Seriously. Phil pushes to pull and vice versa. He’s such a jerkoff of a person.

I hate to be the guy to defend the Triangle, but is it really a problem?

Last year our offense was slower and yes that was bc of the Triangle but our defense was better. This year we supposedly upgraded the team talent wise (I believe that) and scrapped the Triangle for the most part. Early on it looked like we might be better but now we may end up being worse. We traded better defense for better (if not aesthetically pleasing offense). I ultimately believe Phil isn’t Triangle rigid (anymore at least) but if the season is lost, does it hurt to practice it again (secret tank strategy?) I believe he still believes in Hornaceck and their ultimate vision is more pick and roll/spread offense with the Triangle as the back up plan. He wants a team that plays team ball and triangle is code for that, so he’s having them do it the rest of the way bc he wants the players that do stick around to know it so they can go to it sometimes. I just think the media has completely blown this triangle stuff out of the water. If Phil’s triangle didn’t make MJ, Shaq, etc…great…it also didn’t keep them from being great, right? The idea that the NBA has just moved beyond the Triangle bc of efficiency and stats seems absurd to me. In sports there are always trends on offense and defense. A team does something new, has success, it spreads throughout the league (Dantoni suns to the modern day). Then some team comes along and tries something different and they have success.

I agree with Stat that Lopez’s focus on boxing out could have meant another rebound or two for KP last year.

We are talking about a guy who is 5th in the league in blocks and shooting 3’s at the same % as Kevin Durant. He plays with shoot first PGs who cant’ run a pick and pop or roll. We never run plays for him. And, I think he’s been hurt.

I hate to be the guy to defend the Triangle, but is it really a problem?

Last year our offense was slower and yes that was bc of the Triangle but our defense was better. This year we supposedly upgraded the team talent wise (I believe that) and scrapped the Triangle for the most part. Early on it looked like we might be better but now we may end up being worse. We traded better defense for better (if not aesthetically pleasing offense). I ultimately believe Phil isn’t Triangle rigid (anymore at least) but if the season is lost, does it hurt to practice it again (secret tank strategy?) I believe he still believes in Hornaceck and their ultimate vision is more pick and roll/spread offense with the Triangle as the back up plan. He wants a team that plays team ball and triangle is code for that, so he’s having them do it the rest of the way bc he wants the players that do stick around to know it so they can go to it sometimes. I just think the media has completely blown this triangle stuff out of the water. If Phil’s triangle didn’t make MJ, Shaq, etc…great…it also didn’t keep them from being great, right? The idea that the NBA has just moved beyond the Triangle bc of efficiency and stats seems absurd to me. In sports there are always trends on offense and defense. A team does something new, has success, it spreads throughout the league (Dantoni suns to the modern day). Then some team comes along and tries something different and they have success.

So the offense got better and the defense got worse and that’s an argument for using the Triangle more…how? It’s only an offensive system. And going away from it coincided with offense improving a lot.

Secondly, it’s hard to give him credit for not being Triangle-rigid based on him allowing Horny to go away from it when he has now down a 180 on that decision.

Anything that pisses off player is a liability. And the triangle seems too.

http://deadspin.com/its-time-for-phil-jackson-to-get-the-hell-out-of-here-1792835509

People, including the writer of that article, always seem to overlook the Kobe/Gasol Lakers. They won two titles using the Triangle and they were recent enough that I think they count for the “modern NBA.” So I don’t think it is a case of the Triangle not being able to work in the modern NBA, although I would prefer to see other systems instead (while working in certain Triangle sets). However, I think the problem is pushing it where it doesn’t fit and, more importantly, pushing it when this specific offense improved a lot when it went away from the Triangle! With a coach who isn’t a Triangle coach!

Don’t be foolish folks. Phil knows how to win and he will win. He should have our full support always.

Prominent free agents being repelled by the triangle sounds too good to be true. Freshly minted max-player Jeff Teague will be singing its praises come July.

Yeah, I agree that while NBA players might be wary of the Triangle and they might not want to play for Phil or work for James Dolan, when it comes down to it, their bankbook will be a huge determinant for a lot of these guys.

You can chose to believe what the coaches say or not but they did say that they wanted to implement the Triangle bc of the defense. I don’t have time to look up the specific passage but if you read Phil’s Book (11 Rings) he talks a lot about the Triangle and how it affects the defense a team plays. They are related.

You can chose to believe what the coaches say or not

Not. Definitely not. I mean, come on, we’re really supposed to believe that Jeff Hornacek suddenly loves the Triangle? “Oh man, it’s so great. I tried to get away from it as much as possible all season long and our offense improved dramatically, but I’ve just been dying to get back into it and actually start judging players by how well they adhere to it!”

Also, my point is it doesn’t matter if he’s going away from it now bc we are not competing anyways. If the ultimate goal is a hybrid system (Horn’s offense to start things off, Triangle if the easy shots aren’ there) then it makes sense to also spend time in games working on the Triangle. And if the season is lost then what better time to work on it? So just bc Phil says “we’re doing Triangle the rest of the season” doesn’t mean that is ultimately all we are doing forever going forward. They went away from it most of the season when they were trying to compete. But teaching a team oriented style of basketball to the younger players who get to work on it in game situations is not a bad thing. The media just love to shit on it bc LOL Triangle Phil phail.

I’m obviously an optimist who defends Phil but I am pretty ambivalent about him going forward honestly. I think there is plenty to criticize about his tenure here (although I think there’s a lot to like that is getting overlooked now bc we haven’t seen the results yet). But the Triangle thing to me is the least of our worries. I don’t think its rocket science and impossible for young players to learn. Plenty of NON MJ/Kobe/Shaq/Gasol players played on those teams too and were average players who learned it. I think having it in the arsenal is a good thing esp if we aren’t rigid with it.

Actually I think the media narrative towards Phil was very friendly until he proved beyond all reasonable doubts that he’s utterly incompetent.

Something about the spacing in the triangle offense that allows for better transition defense IIRC.

The Triangle could also be to develop KP. Get him making quick decisions, don’t let him dribble so much, etc.

I think Phil or Jeff was recently quoted saying that their cuurent offense leaves players poorly positioned to get back on defense and they think the triangle could help that

@92

I’m not questioning the statement, they might have said that, but how come other teams with great defenses don’t run the triangle ever and still get back on defense properly?

this is the kind of bullshit I hate the snake oil salesman Phil for.

Lonzo Ball seems like the perfect modern-triangle player with the way he’s able to direct traffic, keep the ball moving, and stretch defenses from outside the three point. We’d have to get pretty lucky to end up with him, but I could imagine building a pretty cool triangle-y offense around him, KP, and Willy.

@78 and @88 +1

However, I think the problem is pushing it where it doesn’t fit and, more importantly, pushing it when this specific offense improved a lot when it went away from the Triangle! With a coach who isn’t a Triangle coach!

I rarely want to contradict Mr. Cronin, but most likely Phil thinks whatever “improvement” the offense made going away from the triangle is based on quick fix hero ball that won’t lead to a successful team effort for the long haul. I agree with him. Rose and Melo will win you a game here and there with desperation playground shots, but that’s not the master plan for any of us, right?

Of course Phil leaves himself open for criticism because he brought in Rose and Noah when Rolo and Grant might have been better suited to his preferred system.

Nevertheless, I would love to see the team play ONLY triangle sets for the rest of the season and bench everyone who refuses to do so or who sucks at it. That should simultaneously help the tank, prove Phil or his haters correct (up to a point) and determine which players can pass, cut, defend for next year. Plus KP likes it. I bet Willy likes it. Let’s see what happens.

an adaptation of the triangle is fine. It’s just that it’s also the least of the Knicks’ problems, and when you keep talking about it every time things go bad, what you are implying is that the reason for the Knicks’ failures is their lack of triangularity.

That’s just not the case. The reason the Knicks still suck after three years is because Phil Jackson won’t sacrifice the present. Ever. Even when he trades for young players, he trades picks (Hernangomez) or other young players (Jerian Grant). He is fixated upon the short term, pay day loan type solution — free agency.

All the solutions Phil prefers as team president (that’s you’re job, Phil. You’re not the coach), actually undermine the team from achieving the big picture goal of the triangle, which is intelligent, selfless play. You bring in these older players on one year deals or guys who have egos or guys who simply aren’t going to be able to compete at a top level all that much longer, you are creating a chaotic environment. You dictate from afar to your coach that the team has to play a certain way, you neuter him, making it harder for him to implement any system.

Conversely, if you bring in guys who can play a long time with the team and structure the team to emphasize their growth (giving them lots of shots and minutes while not making moves that suggest short term growth is paramount), you give the team a chance to develop and grow into the selfless, system oriented, smart team you want.

Phil’s teams all had this. Shaq, Kobe, Lamar, Bynum, MJ, Pippen all were young or at least youngish when Phil became their coach.

@96 — totally agree.

This is the most perplexing thing about Phil’s tenure. I think he truly believes a roster of “no names” that buys into his triangle system can beat most teams in the NBA. What I don’t understand is why he has failed to assemble that exact roster of “buy in” guys over the long haul. And instead keeps up the chaos you rightly describe with one year idiot rentals. Is it Dolan? Or is Phil just a hypocrite trying to have it both ways.

Since no one else seems to have said it…
Mike,

I found your take on KP enlightening. It bolstered my view expressed yesterday that there is more perhaps than would appear this season.
I also think we all underestimate how a young player plays while hurt, particularly when his team is sucking, and how that hurts his personal stats.
KP is a hard worker by all description and when healthy he is a game changer defender and he has a killer instinct.
His body needs to strengthen and thicken. I maintain that Giannis is the best comparative. It too Giannis into his third year to become what he is today. He too is a physical freak.

Frank,

I made the point yesterday that the Knicks schedule is one of the easiest (I thought the easiest, but apparently the Sixers have an easier time), but, as expected, there are those that think the Knicks spiral will continue. I maintain that the Knicks could actually end up about two games under .500 in the end, but that is an absolute best case.

This team plays hard. They have played well enough to win several close losses this season.

Still, I know my view is optimistic. It is just as likely they merely play .500 ball down the stretch, or worse.

Omri Casspi was waived by the Kings. His contract is for $3M a year. They waived him because he broke his thumb in the first game. I feel for him. Now probably no one will pick him up and he has no support structure from a team while he heals and gets ready for next season

He can still rehab with the team, no? Some players have done it before I believe.

At this point, “Triangle” may be code for “something that Carmelo Anthony really really does not want to do.”
🙂

I mean, Phil could have just used the words “defense” or “good shots”, but I guess triangle works too in that situation.

Mike-thanks for your review. We’re no longer looking at Porzingis through rose-colored glasses, and neither should the Knicks, which is a good thing, because now (hopefully) begins a realistic assessment of his weaknesses and a determination as to his development and best utilization. As I’ve stated before, I think most of his problems stem from (a) conditioning; (b) footwork and positioning; and (c) in-game utilization. Clyde has stopped saying he will always be a mismatch, but that statement may still be true. No matter what, I think that there is no doubt that he has not reached his full potential and won’t for a few years. He does have a lot of bad habits to overcome, as well as better (a), (b) and (c) referred to above. He is not a 2-guard or a 3, so he should not be positioned on the 3-point line on both ends of the court. He is a 4 right now and maybe eventually a 5 as well. He needs a big-man coach; and having a build similar to the great Abdul-Jabbar, the Knicks could do worse than hiring Kareem to help him practice 1000 sky-hooks daily. But any good big-man coach could conduct a clinic and overhaul KP’s game.

Yesterday I commented that I won’t argue that KP is a tad overrated. I just wanna say a little more about that:

The biggest reason he may be overrated at this point is because he came to us an unknown PROJECT, then proceeded to blow our expectations out of the water. So now we expect him to be Dirk 2.0 or what Sabonis should have been if he hadn’t got injured, when his body hasn’t caught up with his amazing skillset for a guy that size. Not to mention that the environment he’s in isn’t really helping him develop the mental side of the game. But make no mistake, he’s too skilled and has too good a work ethic to be less than a perennial all star at the 4/5. The biggest question for him is how negatively the things he can’t control goink to effect his growth. I cannot stress enough how imperative it is to get this kid with some good leadership. It’s gotta start at the top, and it’s gotta start now. Think about it- this kid has seen the starting PG go AWOL with no real repercussions, he’s seen 2 of his head coaches practically eviscerated by a front office “leader” hell bent on having another triangle team- but he won’t coach it. And as a result he’s had 3 head coaches and what must feel like millions of voices instead of one. He’s seen his front office “leader” nitpick and take potshots through social media and other mediums at the best player. This whole situation is ape shit bananas. I hurt for the kid because he probably doesn’t know any better right now. It really sucks because Phil was a GREAT leader as a coach. It’s kinda counterproductive to tell the subordinates looking to you for great leadership to “do as I say not as I do”. Those 11 rings weigh a ton and he has no clue how to wield them in his current capacity.

In other news…unless Okafor morphs into Dream, there is no way we pass Philly on the way to the bottom for tanking purposes. No way.

Keep it 100, Totes. The lack of respect and the pathetic work ethic which seems to pervade the entire organization must not be allowed to influence KP’s mindset. It must be confusing when he sees the organization’s star player treated like shit. Then again, why does Dolan need to worry about developing a good organization: the Garden’s always sold out! And why does Phil need to worry about burning the midnight oil to complete trade paperwork or call Thibs back about Kuz or even respect Jeff enough to let him coach his way, when he gets his paycheck regardless.

FWIW KP has come out and said he is happy to be focusing more on the triangle. I think the whole “triangle” thing has been a bit overblown and we get that confused for just playing any kind of system basketball. I mean when you watch the team on offence, I would say they would be running triangle sets at most 50% of the time. I think KP acknowledges that he is better utilized in a system that involves ball movement as opposed to have the PG cannonball his way into the paint.

On KP’s development, I think we all acknowledged early on that he was a working progress and probably wouldn’t hit his straps until about year 4. Admittedly he has has stagnated according to the numbers, but I don’t think that’s cause for alarm bells just yet. Would love to see a big man coach spend a summer with him working on his game. It seemed last summer the big focus was on him getting stronger and putting on weight.

I do agree with you Totes… while I think KP has to realize by himself some of the stuff he needs to get better at, the Knicks might just be the worst team in the entire NBA to develop young players. They either get traded, ignored, or are kept in such a horribly disfunctional circus that it must hinder their development.

The problem is, the Garden is always sold out and it will always be, that’s just the nature of being in New York, top shelf tourist destination, central arena, famous name, etc. The real issue is that if we think it’s bad that this franchise sucks ass for almost 20 years, there are no indications besides wishful thinking that it will get better.

For all we know Phil might get fired tomorrow, then Dolan forces the new GM to trade the 1st rounder for Rudy Gay and Tyreke Evans on draft night… the worst part about rooting for the Knicks is always expecting the worst to happen at every possible situation.

For all we know Phil might get fired tomorrow, then Dolan forces the new GM to trade the 1st rounder for Rudy Gay and Tyreke Evans on draft night… the worst part about rooting for the Knicks is always expecting the worst to happen at every possible situation.

Ha! True

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