Knicks Morning News (2017.10.22)

  • [NYTimes] Pistons 111, Knicks 107: Knicks Falter in Second Half and Lose Home Opener to the Pistons
    (Sunday, October 22, 2017 5:21:51 AM)

    The team is now 0-2 in its first season after trading Carmelo Anthony. There is no sense of progress yet, but there are 80 games to go.

  • [NYDN] Knicks blow a 13-point halftime lead, fall to Pistons, 111-107
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:36:09 PM)

    Another clunker from Tim Hardaway Jr. and a second-half collapse doomed the Knicks in their home opener.

  • [NYDN] The Knicks have a center dilemma, but don’t blame Jeff Hornacek
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 12:06:59 PM)

    Jeff Hornacek has a problem and it’s not his fault.

  • [NYPost] Knicks’ big-ticket item off to a rocky start
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 11:05:21 PM)

    Tim Hardaway Jr.’s contract doesn’t look any better yet. Two games into his second stint with the Knicks, Hardaway already is struggling to carry the weight of his four-year, $71 million contract. In his return to Madison Square Garden, the team’s biggest free-agent acquisition became no more popular with the skeptical fanbase, hitting just 4-of-16…

  • [NYPost] Knicks’ rebuild already stalling as benched building block stews
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 8:37:06 PM)

    Throughout the summer, the Knicks spoke of their impending rebuilding around a core of young players — draft-pick point guard Frank Ntilikina, athletic free agent Tim Hardaway Jr., All-Rookie Team center Willy Hernangomez and New York’s favorite unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis. Finally, the rebuilt squad was ready for its home unveiling Saturday as the Knicks, after…

  • [NYPost] Porzingis can’t keep Knicks from blowing big lead in MSG opener
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:45:30 PM)

    The Knicks likely will find a lot of ways to lose this season. In their home opener, they decided to tease the sellout Garden crowd by taking a 21-point lead late in the second quarter, with Kristaps Porzingis dominating the half, before the club blew all of it. In their first home opener without Carmelo…

  • [NYPost] Why the Knicks remain excited despite Frank Ntilikina’s injuries
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 1:44:58 PM)

    Though Knicks fans are frustrated with rookie Frank Ntilikina’s fragility, coach Jeff Hornacek continues to see good signs beyond the spate of injuries regarding his basketball IQ. But for now, it’s becoming a pattern. After a rough, scoreless, seven-minute NBA debut Thursday in Oklahoma City, Ntilikina was declared out for the Knicks’ home-opening 111-107 loss…

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks unable to stop Pistons’ second-half rally
    (Sunday, October 22, 2017 2:34:29 AM)

    The Empire State Building was illuminated in orange and blue Saturday night to celebrate the Knicks’ home opener. By game’s end, the Knicks were blue and had nothing to celebrate.

  • [NY Newsday] Latest Knicks’ rebuild is in awkward stage
    (Sunday, October 22, 2017 2:33:29 AM)

    A tale of two rebuilds was on full display last night at Madison Square Garden.

  • [NY Newsday] Frank Ntilikina upset he can’t play, glad ankle sprain not serious
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 9:20:01 PM)


  • [ESPN] Porzingis getting used to being the Knicks’ top option in clutch
    (Sunday, October 22, 2017 3:21:30 AM)

    Porzingis getting used to being the Knicks’ top option in clutch

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks squander 21-point lead, fall to Pistons 111-107
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 10:38:46 PM)

    NEW YORK (AP) Tobias Harris scored 22 of his 31 points in the second half, and the Detroit Pistons erased a 21-point deficit to beat the New York Knicks 111-107 on Saturday night.

  • [SNY Knicks] Frank Ntilikina to miss Saturday’s game with sprained ankle
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:41:16 PM)

    Frank Ntilikina (sprained ankle) will not play in the Knicks’ home opener on Saturday night, coach Jeff Hornacek said.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks set to host Pistons in regular-season home opener
    (Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:30:00 PM)

    Knicks top draft pick Frank Ntilikina suffered a sprained ankle in Friday’s practice and is expected to miss the matchup on Saturday, robbing New York fans of their first live look at their projected point guard of the future.

  • 75 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2017.10.22)”

    An assessment of my feelings so far.

    If you’d asked me for a good season outcome before the start of the season I’d have listed: 1) progression for kp; 2) losses; 3) signs of upside and progression in the rest of our young core.

    On that basis, on the very early returns, we look great on 1 and 2. But the rotations plus Frank’s health make it hard to see much progress or signs of life on 3. As per previous posts, I’ll be making no judgements on Frank himself till we have a lot more data. But for the rest of the young crop I really hope rotation minutes aren’t too far away. Free Willy!!

    It would be nice for Willy to play, but the problem is that the 2 centers and KP have been by far our best players so far. O’Quinn is posting a .248 WS48!! I see no issue with lighting a fire under Willy, essentially saying that if you are one-dimensional, then Kanter is better than you right now at that one dimension and O’Quinn is 2-dimensional.

    I’d like to see Kuz and Dotson crack the rotation; there’s nothing good happening in front ot them right now, so why not?

    shooting is volatile and TH2’s 2-game % is basically irrelevant. but anyone who thought he became a decent to pretty good defender in Atlanta either watched these two games and experienced severe pangs of doubt or should watch them again.

    Regarding Willy, I agree with Z-man. Willy has got to earn those minutes amongst the embarrassment of riches at the 5.

    I do disagree about who plays the 3. I’m okay with Lee and McD getting minutes there, especially Dougie D, who’s been surprising aware on both O and D.

    McDermott has some potential, but he hasn’t really done anything yet. He’s had some highlights (that block was nice!) but his overall stats are not good He should certainly be in the mix, but so should Kuz.

    As to Baker, his essentially .000 WS48 is probably a product of a very small sample that is polluted by a 3-8 FT nightmare. He’s averaging 8.5 assists and 2.8 steals (but 4.7 TOs) per 36. He seems to steady the team and makes the smart fundamental pass. He does some intangible things, like setting hard off-the-ball screens in the lane for cutters. He’s going to be a reasonably solid back-up combo guard for this rebuilding team, and might develop into a good NBA rotation player on a good team.

    One thing I don’t get is that Baker was +4 vs. OKC and +7 vs. DET and yet his BPM scores in B-R are all very negative. How the hell does that work??

    Didn’t get to see the game, but Sessions’ line doesn’t look all that bad. Obviously bad shooting 2-8, but he got to the line 8 times, had 7 rebounds, 5 assists and only one turnover.

    What am I missing?

    He wasn’t terrible, and played well early, but made some bad decisions down the stretch and the opposing PGs went off a bit. I think it’s more about him having such a low ceiling as a starter, especially down the stretch of close games. More generally, he’s got a terrible assist rate for a guy who can’t really shoot or defend.

    I agree that Baker has been a net positive so far this season. If that continues, he really should be playing ahead of Sessions. If that continues.

    Like others here, it would be great if Frank were playing. But nagging injuries is of those things that just happens. I’ll wait until he’s back and gotten some (any) healthy playing time.

    Regarding McD’s stats, it looks like he’s focused on playing with the system. I’d like to him get some serious burn, maybe 30+ minutes. I think he’d do well. I can see your point regarding Kuz, but just think McD has been this season the better all around player.

    no that’s RPM. RPM combines BPM (a semi-secret variant of it) and ridge regressed plus minus (sometimes known as RAPM).

    I think you still defer to Sessions as a starter, but start pulling him earlier and playing Ron more minutes and playing him at the end of close games unless Sessions improves. Sessions was pretty good as a backup on a good team 2 years ago and was hurt most of last year. If he can get to that form, he’s still probably the best PG on this team, even if Baker marginally improves. But yeah, if he continues to look like he’s in decline, then by all means, play Baker (and eventually Frank) more.

    One thing we seem to need is a tough, ultra-physical defensive wing forward, like a Tolliver, or like Booker on the Nets. Sort of a poor man’s Draymond Green. Tolliver was very effective on KP last night, and we need a counter to that.

    Thanks, pt. So what’s the stat that seems to punish Baker the most? Is it how his positional opponent does while he’s on the floor? High TO%? Poor TS%

    Thanks, pt. So what’s the stat that seems to punish Baker the most? Is it how his positional opponent does while he’s on the floor? High TO%? Poor TS%

    for these two games it’s his TO%. but bpm over a few games is a jumping bean.

    One thing we seem to need is a tough, ultra-physical defensive wing forward, like a Tolliver, or like Booker on the Nets. Sort of a poor man’s Draymond Green. Tolliver was very effective on KP last night, and we need a counter to that.

    the meanest thing ever said about lance thomas is that the knicks really need their own anthony tolliver.

    I feel like we should be talking more about how the number 1 pick in the draft whose main talent is scoring chucked a free throw that landed where you might like to place a lefty layup.

    The Knicks plays seemed so ineffective when Sessions was conducting them, I dont know why. It seemed everytime he would dribble and call for action, Detroit, not a great defensive team by any means, would instantly read the movements and deny the passes, so the Knicks would always be scrambling to just make basic passes. With Baker, the offense seemed to flow a lot better, as he at least used screens better and made some nice passes here and there.

    Sessions was brought in to run the offense at least competently. If the offense is being ran better by Baker, it’s a no brainer to give him more minutes simply on the basis that he is younger. Baker still has a lot of issues and looks like he doesn’t belong half the time, but isn’t this year about playing the younger dudes anyway?

    I have no issue with Willy having to earn minutes, I just think he earned that last season. I love O’Quinn and he’s very useful for any team, but there’s no reason he and Kanter couldn’t play 5 minutes less each so Willy sees the court for 10 for example.

    @16 totally agree. We also need to run more plays when KP is obviously struggling against an individual defender as he was to keep him in rhythm and not iso.

    Seeing our 4/5 rotation matched up against a smaller front line in OKC and a traditional big in Drummond confirmed that KP definitely benefits from not guarding 5s and that our frontcourt is going to be a strength on most nights.

    As much as I love Willy agree with sentiments above…unless having players “earn” minutes gets Joakim Noah anywhere near playing time. Though it’s probably a pipe dream to think he won’t get significant burn.


    One thing we seem to need is a tough, ultra-physical defensive wing forward, like a Tolliver, or like Booker on the Nets. Sort of a poor man’s Draymond Green. Tolliver was very effective on KP last night, and we need a counter to that.

    Maybe that’s why they signed Hicks to a two-way contract. He seems like a longshot to ever be that guy, though.

    It’s not going to be long before the media stirs up the players unhappy with their minutes. Willy is already unhappy. What are the Knicks going to do when Noah comes back? Kuz?

    We don’t have one guard with a positive WS48 thus far. Kind of a problem.

    WS takes actual team wins and then assigns it to individual players. If they start 0-10 the WS48 numbers will look extra bad.

    BTW, today I can’t find recap videos. Do you know where else to see game video recaps?

    Did you change the date back to yesterday (Saturday)?

    Yes, I tried to watch them through the mobile app, and the web page. Perhaps there are some new region restrictions (I live in Spain).

    EDIT: OK, I found them now, nevermind. But it seems the videos are no longer directly accesible from the game recap.

    Thanks for the link, strat, and for the clarification, pt. It seems that if you’re a low-usage player who commits a lot of turnovers, you’re not going to measure up well even if you gets lots of assists and steals.

    It’s also a shame that these box score metrics don’t directly credit a player for making valuable basketball plays that don’t show up in the box score. Examples:
    -boxing out effectively, enabling teammates to get rebounds (Robin Lopez is excellent at this)
    -going over rather than under screens
    -setting effective off-the-ball screens to free up teammates for higher % shot
    -preventing ball penetration
    -hockey assists

    or conversely, that penalizes players for bad basketball plays that don’t show up in the box score:
    -not boxing out
    -going under screens
    -going recklessly for steals and blocks that throw the defense off and hang teammates out to dry
    -not spacing the floor properly, causing a situation where a teammate is easy to double-team or trap

    I know there are other stats for these kind of things, but it just makes things like BPM only partially valid in my mind.

    If we don’t improve the backourt, this will be a the tanktasktic season so many here have longed for. My concern is that is will facilitate Zingus developing into a longer version of Melo because the PGs are so poor at orchestrating an offense. I see a little too much of the pass to Z and everyone stand around watching him go iso. Is that what we want???

    Baker is a barely marginal NBA prospect and only looks half way decent relative to the other dregs playing the position for the Knicks. I see nothing in his play so far to justify giving him the contract he has.

    I still have hope for Timmy but he hasn’t looked very good so far. I think he is trying a little to hard to play up to his contract. Hopefully he will settle down and just ball. He is another player who suffers from our miserable PG play.

    I really really hope that Frank pans out and that whoever we draft next year makes me forget about how terrible the Knicks look this year.


    There are definitely many things that don’t show up in a box score. I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’d like to see somebody to for the NBA what Pro Football Focus does for the NFL: they grade every player on every play. So if a QB throws a perfect pass to a WR and the WR drops it, that is graded as a good play by the QB and a poor one by the WR. If a TE misses a chip block and the opposing defense gets a QB pressure, that’s a ding against the TE. If a linebacker fails to seal the edge and the opposing offense gets a big run play, that’s a ding against the LB.

    I would guess the more advanced stat-oriented NBA teams probably have something similar in place where they grade each player on each possession.

    Baker is a barely marginal NBA prospect and only looks half way decent relative to the other dregs playing the position for the Knicks. I see nothing in his play so far to justify giving him the contract he has.

    Baker had 5 asts to 1 turnover last night. That’s definitely much better than marginal NBA prospect level of production.

    For all his warts, Ramon Sessions is definitely better than marginal NBA player. Baker outplaying him shows definite promise.

    Whether or not Baker lives up to his contract, he’s averaging 8.5 assists per 36 minutes. Perhaps an unsustainable rate, but he’s definitely showing that he deserves a chance.

    I wonder if KP is trying to get Hornacek fired. He seems to be undermining him a) by publicly saying that Willy (his best friend on the team) should be playing and b) by saying that he will need to see more changes before he commits long-term, it sounds like he hasn’t forgiven Horny yet for calling him a pussy, and associates him with Phil, who he wound up hating. The clock may have already started ticking, and a slow start might justify a move.


    They probably do, the camera tracking technologies probably can even do it automatically with the correct algorithms. The issue I have with the criticism that advanced stats don’t capture the entire player’s impact is that well, you can’t ask a stat to do more than what it’s supposed to do.

    A statistic that intends to analyze box scores needs data, and something needs to be quantifiable to fit in that standard. We can somehow quantify what’s a good boxout or the number of hustle plays but there’s some stuff that literally won’t ever be quantifiable period. It’s once again a matter of how effective they are in comparison to reality / results and my take is that they’re still quite effective.

    @35 agreed that they do a pretty good job and that the stats do what they do. But there are many players for whom important data does not make it into the box score. Every conceivable box score-based metric is going to conclude that LeBron is great and Bargnani sucks. Its for guys like Steve Novak that the metrics may miss lots of important stuff.

    Ultimately, the question in my mind is: how much does an individual player contribute to team outcomes, both positively and negatively?

    My best analogy is in football. We all know how important offensive lineman are in football, but is their impact reflected in the box score? Or the defensive lineman that gets double-teamed on every play, creating sack opportunities for his teammates? It’s not fair to compare them to players at other position by the same metrics. But in basketball it seems more okay to do so (with positional adjustments) since roles overlap a lot more than in football.


    That’s mostly the issue. Comparing to a sport I’m more familiar with but you guys might not be, which is Soccer. Analysis in soccer media is literally based on raw data (goals scored, assists, number of saves, tackles and passes made / missed, plus some other smaller stuff like distance traveled, successful headers / crosses etc), and even the small amount of data gathered is generally very much considered less important than the eye test, unless it’s an overwhelming statistic (Cristiano Ronaldo scores 35 goals in 36 games, for example).

    Soccer is an inherently harder game to gather data from. Games can go 0-0, teams can go through long stretches without the ball and in pretty much every league there’s a bigger discrepancy between the top teams and the worst teams than on the NBA. Basketball, on the other hand, has a set shot clock, every team gets roughly the same amount of posessions every time and there’s 10 dudes on the court at each given time.

    I respect eye test approaches much more when it’s about soccer than when it’s about basketball, because the parameters for basketball are much better defined and it’s much easier to gather data and process it in a meaningful way. They don’t include everything that matters, but its a strong enough sample size most of the times that inconsistencies will be recognizable. You can’t account well for example for a striker who had 40 chances at the goal and had 20 of those shots blocked by incredible goalkeeper plays in comparison to a dude that got the same 40 chances with many mistakes from goalkeepers happening; you can account better for NBA players taking 1000 shots at a basket.

    Roles are an issue with basketball stats that intend to capture full impact on the game, I agree. But with such a strong amount of data available I think they do more good than bad.

    I’ll pass on Bledsoe unless he comes basically for free. His contract expires after next season and is relatively ok (15 million flat per year) so if he would come for a package based on Lee + O’Quinn or something it wouldn’t be terrible, but giving any real asset for him would be a no for me.

    Why not Kanye for Bledsoe and get KP a competent pg and allow willy or koq to start. If you don’t resign him you free up money

    I would love for us to trade for Bledsoe but I don’t think we have the assets unless we part with our 1st which isn’t worth it, unless it’s very protected.

    I’d do a trade similar to the Dallas one for Noel where you trade a first but protect it so much it is in reality a couple 2nd rounders.

    So O’Quinn + Thomas + a top 20 protected 1st that becomes 2 2nd rounders. I don’t think that does it though.

    I could see Cleveland throwing together a package for Bledsoe. Not sure if PHX bites unless that #1 from BKN is included. Could also see ORL trying to do something, or maybe NO.

    All kidding aside, what about Bledsoe for Frank+filler?

    Re: Bledsoe for Frank, never mind. He’s not great statistically and very injury-prone. Pass.

    The problem is that the Suns have no reason to add veterans like Kanter, they are terrible and likely won’t be competitive for what, 2-3 years at least?

    Unless they just want to get rid of him, which they have no reason to do so, there’s no way they’re accepting offers without decent picks at least.

    PHX might not have much leverage in a trade. Most of the good-great teams already have a solid PG. Other than CLE (if Isaiah doesn’t recover) and maybe Milwaukee, who really needs him that will overspend for him?

    Kanter is 25, so he is a reasonable target for Phoenix. But I guess they would be looking further into the future, and some other team will offer picks.

    I really don’t get the Free Willy situation. In his limited minutes, his D seemed fine. And while he may not be as good as Kanter on offense, he’s pretty damn slick, and Kanter gives up SO MUCH on D. So…really, he can’t earn minutes? It’s just baffling.

    As for Baker, it’s hilarious to read the comments here. So many people say they are into stats to get a complete picture of a player, and then substantiate their pre-conceived notions with the eye test. Reality: his positional awareness is excellent; his man-to-man D is adequate; his help D is excellent. I’m sure the Knicks keeps stats that show that he’s almost always in the right place, affecting passing lanes, going over screens, recovering quickly, etc. He actually reminds me a lot of Galloway. Difference is, Ron can’t shoot, and Gallo can. Neither is better than perfunctory at the point – you won’t see any brilliant court vision from either one – but they are adequate at the point for 15 minutes a game. I have no idea whether he’ll get his shot back, but if he does, he’s a nice player. If he doesn’t, well, so long Hustlebunny. But at least he isn’t a freaking sieve on defense, which is a refreshing change.

    But I’m praying Ntilikina is the real deal, or we lose so many games because of poor guard play and bad substitutions that we can draft the real deal. Then Ron is in the right situation: low cost guard who won’t crap the bed in 15 mpg.

    That’s really outrageous. What the fuck? Who does that? “You mean our tanktastic team is 0-3? Better fire the coach!” Assholes.

    As for Baker, he hasn’t looked great, but he’s looked good enough to get more minutes. Play the younger players!!! See what you have in Baker. I’ve been saying that about Baker since last year. Even if he turns out to be nothing, play him and find out!

    Sounds like Watson lost the locker room, but that suggests they’ve got some crappy vets and personalities. No leadership.

    I’m ok with Ron’s minutes thus far. He missed nearly all of training camp and preseason, so probably isn’t in great shape yet. My guess is that his numbers increase gradually, unless his play declines.

    Isn’t that why Tyson is there?

    I doubt he’s much help. He’s almost certainly miserable there. Reminds me a bit of Robinson Cano, where as soon as he signed the deal, it was like, “Okay, that’s way more money than I thought that you’d get, so I get why you would take the deal, but just know that the money better be really important to you, since you are going to hate it there.”

    Looked like an illegal screen by towns ….look out for the NBA two minute report tomorrow. Lol

    Russell looks like he’s stepping up a bit with Lin out for the season. He knows that there’s no real back-up – the job is all his.

    No Bledsoe. No marginally competent players who push us closer to that #6 spot in the draft but are not part of the long-term future. Keep tanking. If there was ever a year to tank, this is the year.

    I’d gladly deal Kanter for Bledsoe. Then Bledsoe could have a mysterious injury and come back next year. 😉

    The Thunder are sure looking as if you got Melo and PG from last year and just inserted them into the lineup. Some nice moments, some awkward moments, and the team still kinda lives and dies by Westbrook.

    No Bledsoe. No marginally competent players who push us closer to that #6 spot in the draft but are not part of the long-term future. Keep tanking. If there was ever a year to tank, this is the year.


    Lee and O’Quinn also gets the trade done for Bledsoe, and seems like a pretty reasonable deal. We clear up the frontcourt logjam a bit and can, as Brian said, simply sit Bledsoe out for most of the year. Trading Kanter for Bledsoe would also be sweet.

    Since Bledsoe is 27, that goes against Knick management stated goal of only getting young players. The Clippers have a $7m trade exception, which I think let’s them acquire one player (although the ESPN trade machine won’t let me use it, for reasons I don’t understand). They could use another center. We could trade them O’Quinn and get back one of their rookies or second year players plus a pick of some sort. That might help both teams.

    I’d do Lee and OQ for Bledsoe, if only to then flip him elsewhere for a first rounder or good young player (PG or a legit 3 with some size would be nice). But why would Phoenix do that?

    Also, the NBA is a business, but why would we want to do that to those two poor guys? They’d be sending them to another, possibly lower, level of hell.

    I don’t understand why Phoenix would trade Bledsoe for lee and Koq. They get worse now and worse later. If they did that everyone else should be fired now.

    I’d like Bledsoe on this team – plays both ends, would immediately be the best pg here in years, isn’t so old that he’ll be washed before we’re trying to be good. I do accept he hurts the tank though. And I don’t think there’s a deal we can offer that they would take that doesn’t give up real future assets, which is a nonstarter for me.

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