Knicks Morning News (2017.12.14)

  • [NY Newsday] Frank Ntilikina playing fearlessly, meeting challenges head on
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:24:49 PM)

    Jeff Hornacek tried to keep a straight face when he said he didn’t think rookie Frank Ntilikina had some extra juice when he played against the more hyped Lonzo Ball Tuesday night. But no one was buying it.

  • [NY Newsday] Enes Kanter will play through back and hip pain
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:59:00 PM)

    Enes Kanter estimates he’s only “40-50 percent” healthy, but he doesn’t plan on sitting out.

  • [SNY Knicks] Loud Mouths: Is The Garden blooming again?
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:07:51 PM)

    Michael Rapaport and Jon Hein discuss the atmosphere during the Knicks’ overtime win over the Lakers at the Garden on Tuesday night.

  • [SNY Knicks] After historic night, Porzingis still only focused on playoffs
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 9:25:22 AM)

    Kristaps Porzingis lived up to his “Unicorn” moniker as he did something in Tuesday night’s overtime win over the Laker no NBA player has ever done.

  • [SNY Knicks] The French Prince outplayed Lonzo Ball down the stretch on Tuesday night
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 9:00:57 AM)

    NEW YORK — With all the hype surrounding Lonzo Ball and his family on Tuesday night in a nationally televised game at Madison Square Garden, it was easy to forget about the Knicks own soft-spoken rookie point guard, Frank Ntilikina.

  • [NYDN] Knicks won’t shut down Enes Kanter despite nagging injuries
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 9:23:40 PM)

    Enes Kanter expects to play on Thursday night in Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean the Knicks’ chatty center is operating at maximum capacity.

  • [NYDN] Nas takes subtle dig at Lonzo Ball following Knicks win
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:34:59 AM)

    Lonzo Ball may think the world is his, but rapper Nas disagrees.

  • [NYTimes] On Pro Basketball: Jahlil Okafor Gets a Second Chance, and Nets Get a Bargain
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:49:20 PM)

    Okafor, the No. 3 draft pick in 2015, lost his spot to Joel Embiid in Philadelphia but now has the opportunity to develop in Brooklyn.

  • [NYPost] Maybe a trip to Brooklyn can cure Knicks’ travel ills
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:41:38 PM)

    The Knicks are about to experience perhaps the most accursed four-letter word in their vocabulary. Road. OK, they’re going to Brooklyn on Thursday and it’s not a six-hour journey — although it can be with traffic — but the road so far has made for some very long nights for the Knicks. They are an…

  • [NYPost] ‘You know he’s 19?’: Knicks rookie growing before their eyes
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:51:38 PM)

    Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina stood up to LeBron James, even — gasp! — shoved the King. He went up against fellow rookie Lonzo Ball, who has about three tons of hype on him. Ntilikina outscored Ball, 7-2, in the fourth quarter and overtime. Ntilikina improves by the hour. But perhaps the most impressive aspect about…

  • [NYPost] Why hurting Enes Kanter won’t stop: the season of heartbreak
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:36:13 PM)

    Enes Kanter is barely over 50 percent healthy with a sore back and hip. Yet the Knicks center wants to keep playing. Why? The 2014-15 season. He finished that season with the Thunder, who missed the playoffs through a tiebreaker with the Pelicans. So Kanter sees every game, even those in November and December, as…

  • [NYPost] Instagram model takes Porzingis pursuit to courtside
    (Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:06:56 AM)

    He shoots, he scores? After Kristaps Porzingis started following fitness model Jen Selter on Instagram, the Knicks’ beloved unicorn made his presence known by doling out a handful of likes to the “belfie” queen. Selter ultimately returned the favor, and the two then were within distance of each other Tuesday night. Selter sat near LaVar…

  • 47 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2017.12.14)”

    Just looked at last nights box scores. OKCs big three shot 10-45. Is that good? That’s not good, right? I mean I’m English, and we’re not really a basketball nation, but my sense is that’s quite bad…

    Not bad if you win.
    But more than half of possessions being wasted by big three on 23% shooting and you still win. Wow.
    Their supporting crew seems to be ok.
    I fear a 40-45 shooting night from big three on saturday.

    Steven Animals had 9 O-boards and 18 more FTA (Ind had 6FTA)as a team seem to decide the victor.

    how much does it suck to be a bench player on OKC and have to pander to those three wasnt bad enough when RWB was the one man band

    Well, it’s becoming quite clear at least that Adams is a complete beast and probably their best player.

    If not for his performance they would have lost by 20.

    Facing Houston at home on Christmas might be OKC’s Waterloo. If they get embarrassed at home, during prime time, by a team they were (hilariously) supposed to be neck-and-neck with all season, it will be hard to come back.

    er might finally have to concede that Chris Paul is just a tad better than Carmelo Anthony.

    OKC’s defense is legit though = #2 in DRtg, and by reports Carmelo is even trying on defense. If I’m Sam Presti, I don’t know that I panic and trade PG away. You’re not going to get much at all for PG as a rental that is likely going to the Lakers, and you basically close the door on the next several years as Melo will certainly opt in, and between Melo, Westbrook, Roberson, and Adams, they’ll basically almost be capped out just with those 4 players, and even if/when Melo leaves after 18-19, they’ll only have a little (prob <15MM) cap space. They also don't have much in the way of draft assets or attractive young players at this point.

    Presti pushed all-in with these moves and they can't stop now. They are going to have to figure out how to get the offense going.

    There’s no theory of basketball I am aware of that suggests that if you combine 3 scorers (2 of which are moving to a team with a better PG) that the efficiency of all 3 will decline significantly.

    At one extreme there will be people that argue player stats don’t change much even when they change teams or teammates.

    At another extreme there will be people that argue they’ll learn to play off each other, face fewer double teams, benefit from not having to create as many tough shots on their own late in the clock, and benefit from playing with a better PG.

    In the middle there will be people that argue for some benefit, but that it’s hard to tell how much because they are individuals.

    I’m in the middle. It’s a mystery to me how they all got so much worse in terms of scoring efficiency. I guess you can argue that Melo is declining and George played over his long term average last year, but the drops are very significant. I’m not buying that as a full explanation given there should have been at least some benefit to offset those things. Something is amiss in the way they are being coached or they are not listening to him.

    er might finally have to concede that Chris Paul is just a tad better than Carmelo Anthony.

    I might as well learn to speak German because my English isn’t understood.

    I thought Melos efficiency would go up with Westbrook but he just looks done at this point. Glad we traded him before this became obvious.

    I think its obvious. Russell Westbrook and Melo and PG are not a good fit. Westbrook is not a PG. He can create and open things up for people but he’s not a pass first, look to hit the open man PG. He’s allen iverson on steroids. It worked well with Durant bc Durant himself is a top 3 player and they could take turns and they had some two man synergy but basically they are trying to recreate the Westbrook/Durant/Harden trio magic but with two far worse players (Melo and PG). And Melo is an iso scorer himself but in steep decline. Melo was at his best when he had a good team first PG like Billups or Kidd that could allow him to do his iso stuff from time to time but also was good enough and respected enough by Melo to get everyone else going too. And Melo was way better back in those days too.

    We absolutely fleeced OKC. They would be better this year without Melo or PG because they would have a much stronger bench and role players and Westbrook could just do his thing. He’s shooting worse because he is torn between doing what he does best and trying to get Melo and PG involved but that’s just not who he is.

    OKC will probably get it together . . . to a degree.

    Here’s a theory of why they are where they are. They’re fat and soft.
    For a lot of people, when they get old and have a lot of money, it’s hard to work as hard as when they were young and hungry, and got nothing. Ron Baker worked his ass off for his contract. That’s the Lance Thomas story. He too, worked his ass off to make it in the NBA. There was no Plan B.

    Melo and PG are “trying” to work hard. But, like old rich guys, the the fire is gone. Combine that with an iso mentality, and their current record is not that surprising.

    I think its obvious. Russell Westbrook and Melo and PG are not a good fit.

    It’s more like Melo and PG are not good. That’s a bit unfair to George, who is a good player, but it’s closer to the truth. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Russ this year. Is he hurt? Just losing athleticism?

    The issue with Melo’s drop in efficiency is two fold for me: he’s shooting less free throws than ever and 53% at the rim (and a mind boggling 17% from 3 to 10 feet on only 23 attempts so far)
    Last season with the Knicks he shot 56% at the rim and 41% on 3 to 10 feet shots.

    This statistical profile is that of a player who’s done physically. He has 357 jumpers against 49 layups + dunks.

    He should see an upwards trend in efficiency a bit towards his career averages but I don’t see it improving much with the way things are looking.

    OKC will live and die by their defense and Westbrook still.

    If I remember er’s point, it wasn’t that melo was better than cp3, it was that melo would move the needle more than cp3 because dantoni is a moron and Paul’s style of play won’t fit with Houston.
    Still a ridiculous point, but let’s not put words in the man’s mouth.

    Wonder what PG’s trade market is right now… because you know what team he’d be perfect on? the New. York. Knicks.

    Give them Courtney Lee, KOQ, and Chicago’s 2nd? My guess is that’d be the best offer on the table for a rental. Can add in Willy if we must. Then run out Kanter, KP, PG, THJ, Frank as a starting lineup, and a closing lineup of KP, PG, McDermott, THJ, Frank. That would be super fun.

    Okc needs to let westbrook do his thing and have melo come off the bench to lead the 2nd team’s offense. I think it’s possible that if u can limit melo to 20 to 25 mins a game he’ll be more effective, like a mediocre starting pitcher becoming a bullpen force due to going all out for short stretches.
    PG has enough skills other than scoring to be a nice complement for westbrook.

    Give them Courtney Lee, KOQ, and Chicago’s 2nd? My guess is that’d be the best offer on the table for a rental. Can add in Willy if we must

    So basically the 2016-2017 Knicks plus Westbrook and Adams? 🙂

    Yeah, RWB is like a cyborg. He’s a basketball machine but he doesn’t strike me as a guy that makes his teammates better. Kanter’s skill set is more suited to maximizing his value. They really miss his offensive rebounds. Russ misses a lot of shots. He needs people to get him the ball back. He needs shooters as well so they probably miss McDermott. I’m really happy with those two guys on NYK and with the CHI pick. Nice trade, Scotty.

    Also good to see Frank making progress. He looked rough for a couple of weeks there. Maybe the Knicks get better from here. The narrative seems to be that we’ll fall off a cliff eventually but maybe there’s a win streak in the offing. Hey, I’ve been saying it. This is a brand new team.

    The win over LAL was great. The only thing that concerns me is that they’ll add a lottery pick and a stud FA in the off season and we’ll come back relatively the same next year. It’s very frustrating how, in the NBA, there’s a reward for losing. Thread after thread is all about this Hobson’s choice. Shouldn’t have signed Hardaway, should trade Lee, let’s lose five more games for more ping pong balls. When I turn on the game I just don’t want to be faced with that though. Still I can’t shake the feeling that the two franchises are going in opposite directions.

    @19 if u included McDermott they might go for it if they have some candid talks with PG and he indicates he’s leaving after the season

    The one thing the knicks should NOT do is trade their young assets for a short-term veteran “superstar”. What they SHOULD do, is use their tradable assets for a high level, young(ish) PG. Then look for an athletic 3 to finish the puzzle.
    Depending on how good those new parts are, that makes the knicks a three seed at worst, and potentially competitive for an Eastern Conference title, especially if Lebron is gone.

    i don’t think melo is done…. his shot mix has changed but most of his shots are being assisted which means he’s at least trying to fit in… anecdotes not withstanding.. the problem is that those shots aren’t falling… shooting more 3’s is a function of getting older and outside of a couple of career years in ny… he hasn’t been all that great at it… it’s pretty clear that those years were outliers and that melo’s 3pt shooting is decidedly mediocre….

    the main okc problem is that folks overrated pg and melo to begin with and westbrook has been the one really struggling…. he’s the one that’s seen the most fall off and looks like it’s just a result of some bad variance on midrange shots and poor performance at the line…

    okc probably will surge once those shots start falling but it wasn’t really going to go as expected for them to begin with….

    Westbrook without the ball is just like Rondo, Iverson or Rose w/o the ball – pretty useless

    er might finally have to concede that Chris Paul is just a tad better than Carmelo Anthony.
    I might as well learn to speak German because my English isn’t understood

    So, are you saying Dirk is better than Carmelo Anthony?

    Interesting thing I saw on twitter:

    A hypothetical team with the league’s best offense and worst defense would still be good (+4.6 net efficiency), while a team with the best defense and worst offense would be bad (-4.0 net efficiency).

    Give them Courtney Lee, KOQ, and Chicago’s 2nd? My guess is that’d be the best offer on the table for a rental. Can add in Willy if we must

    This is essentially trading a (probably good) 2nd round pick to dump Courtney Lee’s salary, and it might make the Knicks worse this season. I’d rather have the pick, although you can make an argument that it’s easier to get more production with 11 million dollars than it is with a second round draft pick. That’s an interesting one.

    edit: adding in Willy is a no go

    Yeah overall offensive production is much more variable this year and thus more important as a differentiator. it isn’t usually true to this degree. Changes to the game are probably a part of it and there may be some sample noise but the entirety of the story is unclear.


    A hypothetical team with the league’s best offense and worst defense would still be good (+4.6 net efficiency), while a team with the best defense and worst offense would be bad (-4.0 net efficiency).

    Is that Mike Dantoni’s twitter feed?

    Danvt I hear ya but I don’t believe you think us and the lakers are headed in opposite directions? I could see thinking they are heading in the right direction faster than us, but by that statement you think we’re heading in the wrong direction. I just don’t see that.

    the main okc problem is that folks overrated pg and melo to begin with and westbrook has been the one really struggling

    I think that’s true of conventional wisdom among experts, but it’s not true in my case. I think both Melo and George are overrated, but George is better than Melo on both ends. I’m still surprised how bad OKC has been on offense.

    The Lakers don’t have their pick this year and they haven’t landed any star with their cap space in years. I don’t see any reason why they’re “ahead” of us in a rebuild. I’d say we’re roughly in similar place with some nice young pieces, but with a lot of questions yet to answer.

    you have to admit it’s weird that both Vince and Manu have more dunks than Melo this year


    Yeah, it’s not ideal or perfect by a long stretch but if we’re taking a long view I’m okay. The only thing that really bothers me is the Noah deal, otherwise I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen of Porzingis, I am a very big believer in Ntilikina’s potential and I like some of the potential long term supplementary pieces we have in place or can retain like THJ, McBuckets, Kanter, Willy, Dotson, Baker, all of our 1sts, etc. It’s not an overwhelming collection of super talents like Philly, but I honestly prefer it to some of the other young cores of teams that have been tanking/unintentionally sucked balls (the Knicks method) for awhile like Orlando, Sacramento, Phoenix, LAL, Minny, etc.

    All things considered, if we keep our eyes on 2019 and beyond we should be alright.


    We need 2 more legitimate star players.

    We have all our picks.
    We have a few young players with upside.
    We have Frank, who could exceed expectations and become a legitimate star 2-way star on his own.
    We have the ability to selectively add role players via free agency.
    We could have cap space 2 years after this season depending on what else we do.

    Those 2 stars do not have to come via the draft or from among the talent we have now. We can use the assets we have and those we accumulate going forward to make deals also.

    Look at Houston. They got both CP3 and Harden via trade.

    Boston accumulated assets via both trade and draft.

    Plenty of contenders are built using all available options. The key is accumulating good players on fair/attractive contracts. That way, whether we want to grow organically or trade our way into contention, we have the assets to pull off the important deals. Of course, we’ll have to be good enough to attract star players. No one serious is going to come to a tanker.

    Houston has the 6th best defense in the NBA so far, but I guess it would work for Houston last year.

    Edit: Cleveland v OKC works really well


    I was pleased to see this.

    “He’s actually shown to be both a willing and capable passer, as expected, with plus vision who can make the two most important passes for a modern point guard: the pocket pass and the skip pass.”

    It seems to me that during the Isaiah years there were discussions about being able to make entry passes and such as being something that not everyone is competent at it.

    It may be that there is a lot of importance in being able to execute basic fundamental passes that may not be eye catching but get the offense moving.

    These are Melo’s FG% on different shots this year, along with his rank among 125 eligible players:

    Drives — 41% (96)
    Catch and shoot — 44% (21)
    Pull ups — 36% (85)

    These stats don’t bode well for Melo’s recovery. He’s always been a good catch-and-shoot guy, and still is this year. But his drives and pull-ups are garbage now. Those are the kind of things that get worse as you age.

    If he can’t get more efficient on drives and pull-ups, the only thing he can do is take less of them.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — thank god we’re not hostages to Melo’s decline anymore. Whether we narrowly won the trade from a value perspective or narrowly lost it, we’ve already won.

    It may be that there is a lot of importance in being able to execute basic fundamental passes that may not be eye catching but get the offense moving.

    Yep. A lot of the people who question is ability to stick at PG underrate his fundamentals as a playmaker/passer.

    The other thing worth noting is the author’s astute observation that Frank’s pull up shots fall short when he doesn’t use his momentum going to the basket. To me, that is a tell-tale sign he hasn’t built up requisite leg strength. In my opinion, him developing stronger legs through maturation and physical training will be huge to his development in the upcoming years. I predict you will see more explosiveness and improved range on his shot with steady work and growth as his frame will allow him to get bigger and stronger.

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