Knicks Morning News (2018.09.09)

  • [NYDN] Manhattan rooftop bees are making this bakery’s Rosh Hashana honey
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 3:00:00 AM)

    There’s a lot of buzz around this Manhattan bakery leading up to Rosh Hashana.

    For the first time in its five-year-history, Breads Bakery is using its own beehives on a rooftop just north of Union Square to make honey for the high holiday that kicks off Sunday.

    “We’re really excited about it,”…

  • [NYDN] The message Miss America is missing without a swimwear category
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 3:00:00 AM)

    With the 2019 Miss America finals this weekend and leadership controversy surrounding the pageant, it’s easy to forgot the nostalgia of how it all started — a swimsuit competition 97 years ago.

    But for the first time, this year’s pageant does not feature a swimsuit component.

    The organization announced…

  • [NYDN] Duped by diversity: Colleges corrupt their curriculum to satisfy modern progressive sensibilities
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 2:00:00 AM)

    Another new college year, another opportunity to teach students that “America was never that great,” to quote Gov. Cuomo. From the moment that college students set foot on campus, they will be inundated with the message that the United States in particular and Western civilization in general are…

  • [NYDN] The ones we let in made us great: An immigrant story
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 2:00:00 AM)

    In the early 1900s, immigrants and refugees streamed into the U.S. from Europe. My grandmother, Asunta (Susie), was one of them. She was 11 years old, but she had a sty on her eye that made the Italian customs officials wary of her potentially poor health. They turned Susie away, leaving her in…

  • [NYDN] State Senate picks: Brooklyn
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 1:10:00 AM)

    Yesterday, we offered our recommendations in state Senate primaries across Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. Today, we turn to Brooklyn.

    In the 17th district, (Borough Park and Midwood), incumbent Simcha Felder — a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans — is facing a challenge from lawyer Blake…

  • [NYDN] Pray for justice: The gears of accountability are turning in New York
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 1:05:00 AM)

    The aftereffects of Pennsylvania’s stunning grand jury report on decades-long abuse of minors by Catholic priests have rippled across the border: State Attorney General Barbara Underwood issued civil subpoenas to all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in New York and announced the formation of a tip…

  • [NYDN] The sunlight state: A police transparency lesson from California
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 1:00:00 AM)

    California is the rare state even worse on the police misconduct transparency front than New York, where a statute known by the shorthand 50-a makes most personnel records secret.

    Landmark legislation passed last week out West would change that: It allows the release of records in use-of-force…

  • [NYDN] Families of FDNY members who died of 9/11 illnesses fight to have names listed on ‘line of duty’ memorial wall
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 1:00:00 AM)

    The families of some FDNY firefighters who died of 9/11-related illnesses have begun a quiet push to get the department to change the way in which their loved ones are honored.

    In a letter sent to Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, the families — among them the widow of venerated Firefighter Ray Pfeifer…

  • [NYDN] CARIBBEAT: Police shooting of St. Lucia-born man in Dallas and Trinidad native’s lawsuit against NYPD are making international news
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 1:00:00 AM)

    Both are making news — the controversial shooting death of an unarmed black Dallas business executive by white officer and a lawsuit by a New York business owner who says he was wrongly arrested while aiding a white customer.

    And the Caribbean connections of the news are further fueling interest…

  • [NYDN] Readers sound off on Cory Booker, illegal immigrants and ‘Anonymous’
    (Sunday, September 09, 2018 12:00:00 AM)

    Judging Cory Booker’s misjudgments

    Dumont, N.J.: I turned on cable news last week and I wasn’t sure if I was watching the Judge Kavanaugh hearings or the Daytime Emmys. What a joke! Led by that presidential wannabe Cory Booker. What a self- promoting phony! I’d love to see Booker submit himself…

  • [NYDN] Gleyber Torres is on a tear again after enduring rookie slump and fighting through it
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 10:55:00 PM)

    SEATTLE — Gleyber Torres knows how to adapt. After an All-Star first half, the rookie infielder had struggled coming back from missing 15 games on the disabled list with a hip injury. Over the last three weeks, though, he has shown that he is able to weather the slumps and make the changes he needs…

  • [NYDN] Ackert: Dellin Betances keeps bleeding, and though he is fighting through it, Yankees have to make sure the injury doesn’t worsen
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 10:40:00 PM)

    SEATTLE — Dellin Betances can’t stop the bleeding. The Yankees interim closer was able to handle a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday night, no problem. But the raw tear on his right ring finger is proving to be a tougher issue.

    Betances worked his way out of the jam to…

  • [NYDN] Mailer from Cuomo-controlled state Democratic party hits Nixon on Jewish issues; draws outrage
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 9:50:00 PM)

    ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo drew heat Sunday after the state Democratic party he controls sent out a mailer attacking his Democratic primary foe Cynthia Nixon on Jewish issues.

    “With anti-semitism and bigotry on the rise, we can’t take a chance with inexperienced Cynthia Nixon, who won’t stand strong for…

  • [NYDN] The Mohawk Valley ripper
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 9:00:00 PM)

    John Hopkins lowered the curtain on his wasted life on March 11, 2000, in his cell at Great Meadow state prison east of Lake George.

    He used a razor to carve deep gashes in the back of his legs, mining for a branch of his femoral artery, then slashed both wrists. He was chalk-faced and drained…

  • [NYDN] The horror behind ‘The Real Lolita’
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 9:00:00 PM)

    All she wanted was to be one of the cool girls.

    Sally Horner was not quite 11, an honor-roll student and kind of a goody-goody. So in 1948, when a popular clique dared her to shoplift from the Camden Woolworth’s, she held her breath and pocketed a five-cent notebook.

    And stumbled into nearly two…

  • [NYDN] GRIDLOCK SAM: Be ready for fewer lanes at RFK Bridge ramps
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 9:00:00 PM)

    Sept. 9-Sept. 15


    RFK Bridge Bronx ramps alert! Starting Tuesday, only one lane of the northbound RFK Bridge exit ramp to the Major Deegan and the westbound Bruckner ramp to the bridge will be open — until about Nov….

  • [NYDN] Daily Horoscope — September 9, 2018
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 9:00:00 PM)

    Via Tarot Astrologers

    General Horoscope for September 9, 2018

    We enter uncharted emotional territory when seductive Venus slips into secretive Scorpio this morning. We might resist the change of venue at first, but the sensible Virgo New Moon at 2:01 pm EDT encourages common sense over complex…

  • [NYDN] Porn princess: Daughter of ‘70s Times Square sex king tells what life was really like on ‘the Deuce.’
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 9:00:00 PM)

    Swimming pool orgies, rampant drug use and a zonked-out prostitute breastfeeding her cat.

    Welcome to the teenage world of Romola Hodas, who watched her father, Marty, grow from a poor nobody to become the lord of New York’s sleazy sex business in the 1970s.

    In Romola’s memoir, “The Princess of…

  • [NYDN] Billie Jean King comes to Serena Williams’ defense, calls out ‘double standard’ in tennis
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 8:50:00 PM)

    Serena Williams has Billie Jean King in her corner once again.

    The tennis legend showed support for Williams after the 24-time Grand Slam champion got into an argument with the chair ump and lost Saturday afternoon’s U.S. Open final against Naomi Osaka.

    Hours after offering congratulations to Osaka,…

  • [NYDN] Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup whipped cream can soon be yours
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 8:00:00 PM)

    Raiding your kid’s Halloween bag isn’t the only way to get your Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup fix.

    The sweet treat will be available in whipped cream form nationwide starting in October along with a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate flavor.

    Kraft Heinz teamed up with The Hershey Company for the tempting new…

  • [NYDN] Noah Syndergaard takes sharp line drive off the ribs and is forced to exit Mets’ win over Phillies, but X-rays come back negative
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 7:25:00 PM)

    Noah Syndergaard admitted he was scared when he saw a line drive coming straight for his chest.

    “That’s been my nightmare since I started playing baseball,” he said.

    Luckily the Mets escaped a real nightmare when X-rays on Syndergaard’s ribs came back negative after he was nailed by a Cesar Hernandez…

  • [NYDN] Mayor de Blasio’s endorsement in governor’s race? No one.
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 7:20:00 PM)

    Mayor de Blasio is staying out of the governor’s race.

    Hizzoner revealed Saturday night that he’s abstaining from endorsing either Gov. Cuomo or challenger Cynthia Nixon.

    “I believe endorsing a candidate in these races is, at this moment, counterproductive,” de Blasio said. “My vote Thursday will…

  • [NYDN] Serena Williams calls chair umpire a ‘thief’ in wild scene at U.S. Open; Naomi Osaka wins first Grand Slam
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 5:35:00 PM)

    Facing a younger and harder-hitting version of herself, Serena Williams lost her poise and, ultimately, the match, 6-2, 6-4, to Naomi Osaka in a contentious U.S. Open women’s final Saturday.

    Fulfilling her dream of defeating her idol, Osaka, a 20-year-old from Japan by way of Elmont, Long Island,…

  • [NYDN] Ackert: Austin Romine makes the most of his opportunity, but Gary Sanchez should still be the starter come postseason, despite his defensive issues
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 4:45:00 PM)

    SEATTLE — Austin Romine made the most of his opportunity. With Gary Sanchez back from the disabled list, the chances for the backup catcher to play are now rare, but with a day game on Sunday, he got the start Saturday night against the Mariners.

    Romine hit his 10th home run of the season in the…

  • [NYDN] Trump lawyer, in new court filing, says he won’t try to enforce hush-money deal between Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen
    (Saturday, September 08, 2018 4:35:00 PM)

    Stormy Daniels is free to talk — because President Trump doesn’t want to.

    The President’s lawyers told a California court Saturday that he won’t try to enforce the $130,000 hush-money deal between the porn star and Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen.

    Trump “will not bring any action, proceeding…

  • 56 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2018.09.09)”

    How did Mo Cheeks just now get into the Hall of Fame? That’s weird, right? Who’s sitting around thinking, “Oh, man, you know who just suddenly looks good after not looking good for years? Mo Cheeks!”

    I mean, good for him. He’s a nice guy and all and he clearly was very happy about getting in. It just seemed odd to put him in now.

    Mo Cheeks was one of the guys I tried to play like growin up..obviously I’m short lol. But guys like him, Zeke, Mookie Blaylock, Stockton, Charles Smith (the PG from Georgetown lol), and even Starks and Gerald Wilkins to a lesser extent are guys I tried to emulate. Good for’s about time. I didn’t think he’d make it

    In the wake of Ginobili’s retirement, someone on this website compared Ginobili to Kobe. I couldn’t help playing around on B-R comparing Manu’s advanced stats to Kobe’s, comparing ten-year runs, best individual season, championship seasons.

    I came to the conclusion that you can make a strong case that Ginobili was the better player. Last week, I was hanging out with a crowd of bball junkies, some of whom played college bball, and they thought I was crazy. I don’t think I am. Am I?

    I think Kobe was a more valuable player because he played more games and at a much higher minutes load (1161 vs 1057 games over a 15 year period and 37 mpg vs 27 or so respectively both of which are reflected in his much higher career VORP) but on a per minute basis, yeah I think the case for Manu having a better peak or being a better player per minute during their respective primes is a very compelling one. But because Kobe had much more longevity and usage I think he gets the edge when you’re ranking the top 50 players or what have you.

    I am quite sure Ginobili was the better player overall. A lot of Manu’s stats and production are underrated by casual fans because the counting stats are affected by his bench role and the fact that he had few season where he was completely healthy. Kobe had some excellent seasons and was overall a very very good player, but I would take prime Ginobili on my team over him.

    you can make a strong case that Ginobili was the better player.

    You can pretty much pick any thread from the KB archives between 2007 and 2010 and read this debate.

    Manu’s per minute production is better, but minutes played count too. He never played 2500 minutes in a season. Kobe played 2500+ minutes a year for 14 consecutive years.

    Yeah, Manu vs. Kobe debates have to have a spot on the Knickerblogger Greatest Hits over the years.

    I would frame the question like this.

    You are trying to build a championship team and either Kobe or Manu is going to be your #1 scoring option. They will be accompanied by secondary and tertiary scoring options and role players.

    Who would you take?

    It’s a good debate that brings up all kinds of interesting sub-debates (longevity vs peak, usage/efficiency, etc.).

    Personally I’d take Manu to start a team because Kobe, even at his peak, required a relatively particular kind of team around him to succeed. Namely you needed medium-to-high usage bigs who scored very efficiently and rebounded the hell out of the ball. Those…don’t exactly grow on trees.

    There’s no doubt that Kobe was a great player who contributed in a major way to wins within that framework, but you could plug Manu right into literally any team and he’d be a stud.

    At Kobe’s peak he was a really tough defensive player, a guy who could play some really tough hounding and harassing defense without fouling. He stopped being that guy around age 30 or 31 and coasted on his reputation a lot after that, but when he was really playing balls out on defense he was very effective. Manu has the better career and is the kind of well-rounded player who often gets short shrift, but I think I might take peak Kobe over peak Manu because it came with the strong defense.

    Yeah, I was just about to point out that Kobe was a legit good defender in his prime. If I had to build my team around one of them, I’d pick Kobe, even if Manu had a better career overall.

    I loved Manu. He was very effective. However, I would take Kobe and it’s not even close for me. Defense would be part of it, but I think Kobe had a much bigger impact on a consistent basis because he could score effectively in so many ways. The downside of Kobe was the occasional terrible shot, but between his superior defense and greater scoring prowess I think he was simply a better all around player. I even remember a couple of games where D’Antoni asked him to be more of a PG. He was piling up assists with brilliant passes.

    I would probably pick Manu because I think it would be easier to build a team around him that works on a consistent basis.

    Kobe was a fantastic player, but the gameplan has to revolve around him most of the time. Manu was a guy who could be similarly effective while being able to slot into lesser roles if necessary for the improvement of the team. That of course if I could create very good teams around both. If I had to pick a single star and then role players, then yeah, the choice is probably Kobe.

    Prime Kobe is a better player but if I’m starting a team with one of them I would pick Manu.

    Kobe would demand a max salary from day one and Manu while expensive never really was perceived as max player around the league. So I would have more money under the cap to build a team.

    Manu Ginobilli was a “Carlos Beltran” type of player. Guys like Beltran, who are incredibly well-rounded, don’t get the accolades like guys who are incredibly great at one thing.

    It also depends on whether I get the player for today’s NBA or the time they were actually in their prime. For today’s NBA I would give the advantage to Ginobili for sure, as he was a much better 3 point shooter than Kobe and I think he would excel in a James Harden type of role.

    Yeah, for sure, if Manu and Kobe switched teams, SA would have less championships and LA would have more. For sure.

    I mean, we’re not replacing Shaq with Manu, it’s Kobe we’re talking about.

    I have zero doubts those Shaq Kobe teams would beat the Pacers, Sixers and Nets in the finals (while robbing the Kings) if Manu was there instead of Kobe, which isn’t really even a fair question as Ginobili arrived in the NBA in 2002-2003. 2010 they probably win too, as Manu had a better year than Kobe all around. It’s only 2009 against the Magic that is a real question, as Manu was injured for most of the season and the playoffs.

    Unless you count some mysterious intangible reason for why Kobe is so much better, there is a real argument to be made that both would have had similar outcomes. In fact it’s even weird to imagine Kobe fitting the Spurs well with Duncan and Parker on the team, as we have no idea how his personality and style of play would have meshed with the Spurs.

    The MPG argument is a good one in favor of Kobe. At his peak Kobe had freakish conditioning, and exerted an incredible amount of energy on both ends of the floor for a crazy amount of minutes. Kobe played 3,000+ minutes in a bunch of seasons, and Manu never played 2,500+ minutes in any season of his career. So you’re getting an extra 600-800 minutes of Kobe in a given season. That’s pretty significant.

    To put it in perspective, Kobe averaged more than a full quarter of game action per game than Manu in both the regular season and playoffs for their entire respective primes. Not to mention that Manu had two seasons where he played in more than 75 games while Kobe had 9. It’s a ridiculous apples-to-oranges comparison. Manu played pretty much his entire career on a minutes restriction.

    The minutes argument is definitely a very legitimate point in Kobe’s favor, as is his vastly superior defense in his (shorter than people remember) prime. This is a case where the classic cop out answer “it depends heavily on who I already have” applies.

    Yeah, for sure, if Manu and Kobe switched teams, SA would have less championships and LA would have more. For sure.

    I’m not sure who you’re responding to specifically because nobody made this point. The truth is it’s simply impossible to know what would’ve happened if they switched places due to the one million other factors. However if you read what I said, you’ll see that I acknowledged that Kobe was an excellent player for the teams he was on. Quite possibly more beneficial than Manu would have been on the same teams. The reason I would take Manu if I was clueless about the other 14 players on the roster is because he would succeed on literally any kind of team, though.

    Kobe? I’m not so sure. I feel like I could imagine plenty of team scenarios in which you wouldn’t want a player with a 55-57 TS% posting 30+ USG% annually.

    I hated Kobe because the hype was so exaggerated for a player with his efficiency but I buy the comparison to Paul Pierce offensively, and a Pierce on offense with all NBA defense is an amazing player. Kobe was first team 9 times and overall 12. I wish the Knicks finish the next decade with so many selections as a team.

    In the wake of Ginobili’s retirement, someone on this website compared Ginobili to Kobe.

    That had to be me. #somethingsneverchange

    I have always said that if you had five minutes left and had to choose between the two, it’s got to be Manu. But you can’t ignore Kobe’s (early) defense and his overall productivity. I’d say whichever way you go with it, it’s closer than most would think.

    Also, Manu arrived in the league at age 25. At the same age Kobe had been in the league for seven years.

    Manu is such a legend. How many guys have a Gold Medal, an NBA title, and a Euroleague Triple crown? I may go to Springfield for his induction.

    I wrote a really long post about how Manu could have possibly turned the 2001 and 2002 series into competitive ones (Derek Anderson, Terry Porter and Avery Johnson were all but useless against Kobe on both ends), but, eh, I don’t care. Kobe was very good for a long time. Manu was very good for a long time. They each won a ton because they were very good in the playoffs, and had great teammates. Swapping them is a fun thought experiment, but the stats say that they were similarly productive players at their peaks, and their production came over a very, very long period of time.

    Put Kobe on the Spurs and they win a bunch of championships. Put Manu on the Lakers and they win a bunch, too. The only ideas that should be shot down, IMO, is that Manu was not a legit all-around superstar and that Kobe was a GOAT contender.

    This is a case where the classic cop out answer “it depends heavily on who I already have” applies.

    It’s a cop out, but IMO it’s the right answer. That’s why earlier in the thread I was specific and said “if and he’s going to be your #1 scorer”, who do you take.

    Kobe was one of the most versatile scorers to ever lace up. Manu was also versatile, but he’s more of a #2 option. Also, not mentioned is that Manu was a 6th man. As such, he probably played more minutes against backups than Kobe did even if Manu was on the court down the stretch.

    So for me, if I was building a team from scratch and needed a #1 option, I’d take Kobe and it’s not even close (better defender and more versatile). However, if I already had Durant, Nowitski, Jordan or someone like that on my team and I was looking for Robin, It’s a much tougher call. Kobe is still the better player, but I’d be able to count on Manu to play his #2 role efficiently whereas Kobe might keep gunning some bad shots even if his usage was lower.

    dudes we are like 2 weeks from training camp!

    We are probably going to suck until KP comes back and hits stride (assuming he does), but I haven’t been this optimistic about our position in a long time. Setting aside the Hardaway and Baker overpays, we are positioned exactly where we should be given where we were when Mills/Perry took over. I haven’t agreed with every move, but they are mostly good moves and I like our draft a lot.

    ya huh

    Is that supposed to convince me of something?

    There’s probably a Frank Ntilikina highlight video on Youtube that makes him look like a versatile scorer too. 🙂

    Manu was very versatile, but I think if you asked every player that ever covered both of them who was tougher to guard, it would be unanimous even if you included Manu and his family members.

    But if role and situation matters the discussion is kinda pointless, as in hypotheticals we’ll never know what’s Manu’s career would have looked like in other circumstances. He was the unquestioned #1 on an Olympic gold team and played heavy minutes against the other teams best players in 4th quarters his whole career. He had around 26-27% usage in his peak and specially when Parker was younger he carried the creative load for these Spurs for the most part. Now, was he a sixth man for his whole career because that’s his best role or because he happened to be drafted by the Spurs with Duncan already on the team? I have no idea, but my guess is the second option.

    Kobe was also always better when he had a more talented teammate alongside him, with Shaq, and he was pretty good as a #1 option but he had amazing teams around him too when he won. People really underrated how amazing the Lakers core was on their two last titles, Gasol was easily a top 15, maybe 10, player and Odom, Ariza, Bynum and even Artest when he joined were very strong players.

    I think Pop is smart enough to know you need scorers on the court to actually score (even with his team oriented approach). He had enough scoring on the court with Duncan, Parker, and whoever his 3rd option was at any given time. So he could use Manu off the bench to lead the 2nd unit to make sure that unit was productive and then maximize the team down the stretch by playing all three.

    It’s offensive and/or borderline stupid to imply that Manu wasn’t defended like he was a #1 option. He was a volume scorer in the playoffs from ‘03 through the end of the decade. His ridiculously good playoff performances are a sign that he was on a deliberate restriction in the regular season, which is a silly thing to knock him for. The guy showed up to ball and no one was better at the SG position for the greater part of that decade.

    Manu was very versatile, but I think if you asked every player that ever covered both of them who was tougher to guard, it would be unanimous even if you included Manu and his family members.

    Literally two weeks ago Raja Bell said on a podcast that he tells people that Kobe was harder because that’s what they want to hear (lol, it you!), but Manu was the hardest assignment he’s ever had.

    Google it, lollllll

    Deng signed with the Wolves.

    Is there anything less than a 100% chance that Thibodeau would sign Noah if we bought him out? I wouldn’t even offer you 1-25,000 odds because I would never throw away a dollar like that.

    Hopefully he wants to play bad enough to leave some money on the table like Deng did.

    The interesting thing about this conversation is I’m imagining how Kobe might have actually developed if he had been drafted by San Antonio, coached by Pop instead of Phil, and had strong veteran leaders like Duncan and Robinson to keep him in check.

    It’s quite possible that Kobe’s nature would have trumped San Antonio’s ability to nurture. But it’s something to consider for those who assume the Spurs would have won less with Kobe. We might have had a less wasteful Kobe had he been developed in San Antonio.

    His ridiculously good playoff performances are a sign that he was on a deliberate restriction in the regular season, which is a silly thing to knock him for.

    I’m not knocking it as in “he was just a bench player”.

    I am suggesting that when you come off the bench, you are defended by bench players. At the margin I think that helps your boxscore stats. It’s kind like playing in the G league helped Burke’s stats. The impact is just smaller in the NBA because NBA rotation players on average are much better than G League players.

    Kevin McHale was in a similar role at times. He was great player too. He came off the bench because given the makeup of the Celtics, that was the best way to maximize the output of both the 1st and 2nd unit. After he retired, McHale was asked how he felt about that role. He said he loved being defended by bench players and laughed.

    You and I both value stats.

    The difference is we value different stats.

    I view the boxscore in the same way I view the final time of a horse race. The final time of a horse race tells you how fast a horse ran. That’s one of the most important pieces of information. But it doesn’t tell you what the pace was, whether he was inside or outside on the turn, whether he was all out late, whether the track favored his style etc…

    All that supplemental information is called “trip handicapping”.

    It’s the next step after you learn how to use final time figures. It’s kind of like basketball in that it’s very difficult to quantify some of these things. You can underweight something, overweight something, not fully understand it and all the inter-relationships etc… It’s a learning process. But the one thing you can’t do is ignore it. If you do, you will be wrong a lot of the time.

    but Manu was the hardest assignment he’s ever had.

    Google it, lollllll

    Manu’s mother disagrees. 🙂

    Manu not being able to start has always been so dumb to me since he finished every game when it counted. He wasn’t the Ironman that Kobe was, that is for sure. But it always seemed a thin line between being a 28 and a 34 minute per game kind of guy. I don’t know why Pop chose the former so much when Manu was clearly the second best player on the team. Whenever Manu had to play the extra minutes, his numbers never suffered. It just seems like one of those things that became a thing without ever being all that real.

    But anyway, I would go live in Manustan if I could. So anything that I say on the matter needs a large grain of salt. I hope he comes back to coach.


    It had absolutely nothing to do with where Manu ranked in the pecking order on the team. It was a lineup construction issue. Adding a scorer like Manu to the starting lineup wouldn’t have helped the 1st unit as much as having Manu coming off the bench helped the 2nd unit. They already had scorers like Duncan and Parker in the starting lineup. They could afford to put a role player out there with them without killing the offense. Manu was a good enough scorer to carry the 2nd unit. Then of course down the stretch you put your 5 best players out there.

    I am suggesting that when you come off the bench, you are defended by bench players. At the margin I think that helps your boxscore stats.

    Manu actually played over 12,000 minutes as a starter in his regular season and playoff career. His per 36 numbers and efficiency in those games are statistically identical (actually modestly better) to his numbers coming off the bench. Evidence beckons.

    If anyone listened to the recent Lowe post podcast with Howard Beck they talked Manu and one of the interesting nuggets was that they said that Spurs officials when you ask them whether Manu could have held up as the #1 option playing a heavier minutes load would tell you “Probably not” which both Lowe and Beck thought was surprisingly honest. I thought that was pretty interesting and relevant to today’s convo.

    I think peak Manu had the skills to be a pretty devastating #1 option and he often was for the Spurs down the stretch in playoff games. Put him in the current Rockets offense in the Harden role ( I know it’s a bit of a trite comparison because of the lefty thing, but still) where the floor is always spread and you’re having him always attack downhill in the PnR or get a switch and go to work against a big and I think he would be pretty unguardable. Wonderful passer, very good shooter and so effective cradling the ball and getting to the rim on his left.

    Only question for me is the workload. For that reason and the D I would also lean Kobe overall but agree that it’s much closer than consensus would have you think and that it’s a matter of circumstance. Given that Manu seemed to be a wonderful guy and beloved teammate he’s got the edge in all of the “soft skills” categories as well.

    The Kobe hype train was so huge by his supporters that it created a backlash where now a lot of people I think underrate him. But I think one of the things that kind of hold’s him back is the fact that during his peak, his teams weren’t very good. I mean, he had a horrible supporting cast after Shaq left and before Phil and Gasol came back but that was also his peak. His teams usually made the playoffs bc he was that good but they never got far. I think that kind of hurts him in the eyes of some fans cause his early success people attribute to Shaq and then after his later two rings, which were more of an all around team effort, his teams really fell off very quickly.

    Manu actually played over 12,000 minutes as a starter in his regular season and playoff career. His per 36 numbers and efficiency in those games are statistically identical (actually modestly better) to his numbers coming off the bench. Evidence beckons.


    I’m making the case there are lots of things that impact boxscore stats “marginally”. They are difficult to isolate & measure because there are offsets and complex inter-relationships.

    In racing, if a horse runs wide on the turn, there’s no doubt he ran further, but there will be days when those outside paths are fastest, some horses prefer running outside, the pace matters etc…

    I know for certain that ground loss matters in racing. The problem is it could be swamped by other factors for a given day/week/month, at a given racetrack, for a specific horse etc… The data will sometimes show ground loss not only doesn’t matter, but that it’s an advantage. It will obviously be wrong. We at least know the math for ground loss.

    There are similar things going on in basketball. I personally think there are many advantages and disadvantages to playing with better or worse teammates that impact boxscore stats.

    Typically there are marginally better players in the starting lineup. So it’s more likely you’ll be defended by a better player playing against starters than bench players. This is the case you were also making about Burke and the G league. The difference being that the G league impact is large enough to swamp other factors and stand out more often.

    Unfortunately, there’s a 0% chance I can isolate everything that was going on with Manu that impacted his stats as a starter vs. bench player. But I’m not going to suspend my belief that he benefited on offense from being defended by bench players because it’s not easy to find in the data any more than I’d abandon my ground loss example. Impact is just small enough to be hidden by other factors.

    The Kobe hype train was so huge by his supporters that it created a backlash where now a lot of people I think underrate him.

    I agree with the hype train aspect of it, but I also think the advanced stats revolution played a big part in the negative perceptions. People started looking at the results of their favorite boxscore model and because he didn’t score as well as perceptions, it created backlash.

    IMO, most boxscore models underrate him because they don’t measure some of the nuances of scoring properly. Most of them set some “break even point” and then it becomes more about your efficiency above the break even point than other factors. I don’t think that’s right. There is no fixed break even point. It varies depending on the conditions. I think efficiency, usage, who you play with, how you are defended, the system you are in etc.. all matter.

    It’s messy, but I would guess the reality is that he was better than the boxscore models but not as good as the hype train.


    But then you would have to also acknowledge that Manu, while he faced weaker opposition coming off the bench, also played in lineups with overall worse players, as his minutes were often staggered early in games with Duncan and Parker. He was playing against worst players, but also with worst teammates, and yet his production remained excellent in both scenarios.
    I would also argue the actual difference is in fact minimal because of two factors: Manu always closed games for the Spurs as a de facto starter, and the years he came into the NBA was a time when superstars played major minutes. Kobe himself averaged 40+ mpg many times in his career, just like Iverson, Pierce, McGrady, Carter, pretty much all of the elite guards / wings Manu faced. Even a guy like Raja Bell averaged around 37-38 minutes in those years. Considering all of those guys played crunch time minutes and Manu did too, which brings a lot of overlap, the actual window where he was facing weaker players is probably around 4-7 minutes at the most. I agree it could be significant but all things considered, it’s far from the most important thing (as also, opposing superstar guards would have a 5-6 minute window at the start of games where they wouldn’t have to defend Manu).

    I would still remind you that missed field goals are worth zero points, and the teams with the best scoring efficiency are almost always the best offenses in the league.

    But how many assists Kobe generated going 6 for 24 in that game 7 clutch performance? That’s what I want to know.

    I’ve received threats of violence for the words “six for twenty-four”

    I had forgotten how awful that game was until looking it up. Ray Allen went 3/14, Metta somehow shot 18 times and hit only 7, the entire Lakers team combined for 11 assists and 11 turnovers, Kobe somehow ended with 15 rebounds and Gasol with 18 and the Lakers shot 20 more free throws than the Celtics. I remembered it was a garbage game but not this bad.

    I’m all for contextualizing statistics as much as possible, but the purpose of doing so is defeated if people carry on with “well he played against bench players” when the empirics pretty much definitively prove that wasn’t a factor.

    There are good arguments for Kobe. I’d even go as far as saying I could potentially be swayed. But we’re not going to get anywhere if the response to Manu’s starter numbers not suffering is something about the nuances of horse racing.

    I don’t buy the “he was advantaged by playing against bench players” argument either. What I DO buy is the argument that he did not play anywhere near the same amount of MPG argument, and to me, that argument makes all others moot. Again, look at their head-to-head numbers in the playoffs. Kobe played 14.4 mpg more than Manu! So regardless of whether they were both in at the end of games, one player was in after getting 5.3 minutes of rest and the other was in after getting 19.7 minutes of rest. Not to mention that Kobe had a far more prominent role on both ends than Manu, requiring more energy.

    The pointzz argument is stupid as well because it is so utterly one-sided.
    37 vs. 15
    27 vs. 17
    39 vs. 8
    35 vs. 13
    36 vs. 7
    20 vs. 10
    31 vs. 11
    15 vs. 15
    22 vs. 17
    42 vs. 21
    22 vs. 8
    26 v. 16
    27 vs. 10
    22 vs. 7
    30 vs. 30
    28 vs. 7
    39 v. 9

    Oh, btw, Kobe shot .472 in those games. Manu shot .449.

    Case closed.

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