Knicks Morning News (2018.09.29)

  • [Hoops Rumors] Knicks Notes: Trier, Porzingis, Hezonja, Kyrie
    (Friday, September 28, 2018 1:11:27 PM)

    The Knicks are currently carrying rookie guard Allonzo Trier using one of their two-way contract slots, but promoting him to the 15-man regular season squad isn’t out of the question, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Trier has made a good early impression on head coach David Fizdale, who called the former Arizona standout […]

  • [NYPost] Knicks trying to keep up with David Fizdale’s speed-ball vision
    (Friday, September 28, 2018 3:18:21 PM)

    Trey Burke has never played in a faster system in his first five seasons. Every coach likes to talk about running more, but Knicks first-year coach David Fizdale isn’t paying lip service to this goal. It’s happening in Tarrytown, and players are trying to keep up. “It’s a little fast right now, still getting adjusted…

  • [NYPost] Two reasons to believe Mudiay is ready for Knicks’ breakout
    (Friday, September 28, 2018 1:04:15 PM)

    Less turnovers. Less pounds. That’s been point guard Emmanuel Mudiay’s modus operandi during the first week of Knicks training camp. First-year coach David Fizdale said Mudiay has the lowest turnover rate of anyone during the first week of scrimmages. Mudiay’s loss of 10-15 pounds since the regular season finale has helped with stamina and adjusting…

  • 57 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2018.09.29)”

    people like to say that defense is about effort and fitness. coaches, because it is the part they think they can will upon their players but rarely can. announcers, because they speak like truck stop versions of fortune cookies. fans, because people like to simplify, hope and blame. but effort and fitness are only a small part of defense. some of the most fit and high-effort players have been worthless defenders. Just on the Knicks we had David Lee, Amar’e (yes, he tried), Chris Duhon, Hubert Davis, Gerald Wilkins, Johnny Newman. These guys worked hard and were almost always in shape. But they were missing abilities no less innate than Kenny Walker lacking handle or Mase lacking a jumper. Trey Burke and Enes Kanter are as likely to become Olympic swimmers as they are to become plus defenders. there are margins to be had, for sure, but good defense is not just there for the taking as all the self help bobby Knight aphorisms pretend. It’s mostly talent, which, like offensive talent, can sometimes be obliterated by sloth or indifference.

    All that poetry is mostly true, but I will say this: Jeff Van Gundy turned Marcus Camby from a bad defender to a great defender, over the course of one season, instilling in him only fitness and effort.

    Camby had immense defensive talent which he proved under many coaches including that guy in Denver whose name I can’t remember playing with a very non JVG style. two examples that most stand out to me of guys who didn’t seem to have elite defensive talent but really became strong defenders are Kurt Thomas and to a lesser extent Kenyon Martin (bc he had more talent).

    Mudiay is an interesting case study because he has enough athleticism, size, and length to be a good defender. If you have that, then knowledge, motivation, and fitness could be the problem. The latter three can change. I’m not necessarily predicting that, but the chances of him improving defensively are probably higher than for Burke. I

    Individual defense:
    30% physical attributes
    20% conditioning and effort
    40% speed of reading and reacting
    10% coaching

    Most poor defenders are a step behind the offense. Most great defenders are a step ahead of the offense.

    Amar’e is a great example. When he guessed correctly, he was very capable. He just processed what was coming at him too slowly, especially in reading screens and angles. He was always either completely out of position or just too late.

    Larry Bird was physically overmatched quite often, but he was mentally a step ahead of the offense so it didn’t matter much.

    Lots of gloom here tonight.

    Welcome to year 2 of “build exclusively through the draft”.

    I wonder what the mood would be like if we drafted Jahill Okafor in 2015 and Malik Monk in 2017. We’ve actually done fairly well given we didn’t even have a 2016 pick. However, we are so young, even 3 years from now we could conceivably still be pretty bad and discussing the lottery.

    Of course, the other possibility is that KP comes back and has taken a step up, Frank is playing high level defense, hitting 3s at a 37% clip, penetrating and rebounding better with his stronger frame, Knox is among the top 2-3 rookies in the class, and the Knicks add a legitimate all star in the off season. Then next year could be pretty good.

    To the extent that there is doom and gloom here (I’m not really seeing it but whatever), it has more to do with the roster holdovers from the time(s) when we were trying the “just sign players to contracts you think represent good value” strategy that you love.

    Seriously, people would be way more excited about this team if it was KP, Frank, Mitch Rob, Knox, expiring Kanter and just about nothing else (2nd rounders and flyer contracts, etc.). Moreover, had we not signed Lee/Noah/Thomas/THJ/Baker it’s quite possible that Frank would be Jonathan Isaac and Knox would be Wendell Carter (this is far from a guarantee but it also doesn’t need to be true for my point to be valid).

    Ron Baker does give maximum effort but if he doesn’t improve his 3 point shooting he will have a short NBA career.

    Baker is an above average defensive player, but not good enough to be a legit NBA rotation player w/o improving both his shooting and finishing. He turns to ball over too much as well. I hope he plays well enough to stick around on a minimum deal.

    Looks like the Rockets are frontrunners for Butler, or so I read. Morey, for all his faults, can be a real wizard. If they give up Eric Gordon and a bunch of whatever for a top-3 two-way wing, they immediately and inexplicably have as good as starting five as any in the league.


    That is a nasty “small” lineup on both side of the ball.

    From what I’ve read the offer is really just Gordon, filler and picks, which would be crazy. I feel Minnesota is slowing things down and using the Rockets as leverage to get more from Miami, but who knows. Morey once traded Kevin Martin, who was like Eric Gordon before Eric Gordon, and a bunch of picks for Harden, so who knows.

    Great (but smallish) starting lineup. questionable bench. Why would minny send him to a wc team?

    Here’s the link:

    Burke: all-star?
    Mudiay: less smelly garbage than last year, but still garbage
    Hezonja: intriguing, bigger/longer than I thought
    Knox: not terrible
    Robinson: not not terrible, g-league bound
    Dotson: on fire
    Vonleh: brick shithouse, looks like backup 5 material
    Trier: interesting, very aggressive, look/game resemble a taller lou williams
    Timmy, Kanter, Baker, Kornet, Frank: same ol’ same ol’
    Lance, Lee: DNP
    other s rubs: who cares?

    Dotson: on fire

    I’m glad I’m hearing all positive things about him today. He disappointed the hell out of me in summer league because I was convinced he was going to be a terrific 3 & D player that’s also excellent on the boards (which is what the Knicks need in some lineups). It’s not over yet. I may still be right.

    I have to think Minny wants Gordon and Tucker. That’s still a winning deal for Houston because they are easily getting the best player, but they would have lost so much depth (especially on defense) between Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, Gordon, and Tucker that they might not have enough off the bench to hang with GS. If they can away with just moving Gordon and picks that’s a homerun. Either Houston or Miami seems destined to be better.

    Hezonja was perfectly cromulent last season. If he improves more he’ll be useful and we should be able to dump him at the deadline.

    I’m assuming Robinson was guarding Kanter??? We saw what happened to him on defense against non-entities in summer league. He doesn’t have the strength or knowledge to handle big guys inside. Kanter is a beast inside. It’s probably going to take time, but he’s a good fit with KP long term if he can develop.

    Robinson: not not terrible, g-league bound

    Kanter is a terrible matchup for someone as skinny as Mitchell. He’s one of the best offensive centers in the league and he’s way too big.

    If the Knicks can’t sign a legitimate young all star caliber player with their max space next summer and Hezonja moves forward solidly this year, I don’t see why he can’t be part of the long term core. If there’s a good deal out there, that’s fine, but I have no problem bringing back players like Hezonja and Burke if they play well and the price is fair.

    A few people told me Knox looked really good. 🙂

    Same old Frank. 🙁

    If he can at least add a reliable 3 this year I’ll be OK with that.

    I’m a bit high on Hezonja, the only thing I didn’t like was the 1 year deal with no team option or anything. I think he has the potential to be a good starter, sometimes euro players take a while to develop and he’s just 23 with all the physical tools you could ask for his position.

    But if he looks good it will be very hard to keep him, as a lot of teams will have cap space for next season and will be looking for role players to fill their roster when some of them inevitably fail to attract free agents. It could be us doing that, but well, let’s see how he performs.

    Hezonja was below average but playable last year (probably). I suppose I’m skeptical that he has much more upside, so while an average player is a perfectly nice thing to have paying a free agency premium for average players is not worth it when your team sucks.

    I suppose I’m skeptical that he has much more upside, so while an average player is a perfectly nice thing to have paying a free agency premium for average players is not worth it when your team sucks.

    You said “average player” and “paying a premium”.

    I said “moves forward solidly” and “price is fair”.

    So I guess we agree but are talking about 2 different scenarios. We’ll see what kind of player he is and what the market is and then decide. I’d just be opposed to automatically assuming we have to get rid of players like Hezonja and Burke when we are going to need a backup PG like Burke eventually anyway.

    Assuming we don’t trade him we’d have Hezonja’s non-bird rights, which I think would mean we can offer him ~8 million. If he plays pretty well I’d think some team would offer him more than that, no?

    I guess so, but he turned down a better offer to be here this year. So who knows what’s going to happen.

    You got me, DRed, I had to look up cromulent. Hezonja is 23, so still time to make a significant improvement. I remember him looking very unbridled as a rookie but he seems to have gotten himself under control. Nice mechanics in his shooting and ball handling. seems skilled with both hands. I really didn’t notice how big he is until today. He’s got great size for a wing.

    I’m assuming Robinson was guarding Kanter??? We saw what happened to him on defense against non-entities in summer league. He doesn’t have the strength or knowledge to handle big guys inside. Kanter is a beast inside. It’s probably going to take time, but he’s a good fit with KP long term if he can develop.

    I was about to make a comment about just this, when I read your post. I watched some of the link. Yes, Robinson was guarding Kanter, and he had his hands full. But I don’t think he was awful at it . Kanter did score on him, but also got the ball in positions where defending him was very difficult and Robinson still stopped him a couple of times. So I think he’s better than reviews indicate. It’s probably great for his defensive game that he has to practice against Kanter. I would also say that Dotson did look good, Baker looked like he can’t hit a shot when he has to do it at NBA speed, Hezonja looked pretty good and, believe it or not, Mudiay showed signs of being able to shoot. As for Frank, he was excellent on defense as usual. Watching him I realized he has a kind of deliberate style and pace on offense, that tends to make you think he can’t handle NBA speed. But when he was double teamed, he made a beautiful fast pass to Robinson down low, and the couple of time he shot he looked good. So even though he wasn’t blowing by people, I thought he was effective. I’m curious to see what happens when he’s against actual NBA teams that choose to accept his taking the shot by defending someone else. I think there is a potential this year he could make them pay for that.

    Another point is that the announcers on the tape were wondering who would be the backup center, which was a good question, because Kanter was clearly the best center and Robinson and Kornet didn’t look ready. I suspect Vonleh is not really a center against most teams because he is too small. I’m not sure Kornet will ever be ready, so that leaves Robinson. If he is the backup center it’s going to be fun to watch. If he’s not guarding the Kanter’s of the world, I think he could have an impact.

    Camby had immense defensive talent which he proved under many coaches including that guy in Denver whose name I can’t remember playing with a very non JVG style.

    Camby had skills, but the reason he sucked in Toronto, both on offense, and most notably on defense, was because he lacked fitness and didn’t exert the effort necessary to be effective at the NBA level. The change happened in front of our eyes between the fall of 1998 and the spring of 1999. It was probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen as a Knick fan. So, yeah, “effort and fitness” isn’t gonna fix everything, but it does make a tangible difference.

    Robinson also fouled everyone in sight, seemed close to traveling every time he had the ball, and kind of wandered around. He clearly hasn’t played very much and needs to, probably in the G-League for a good stretch. I love the guy but he seemed extremely raw.

    I love the guy but he seemed extremely raw.

    That’s what everybody who closely studied the summer league film said about him. The blocks and putbacks were exciting, but he’s awful at pretty basic fundamental defensive stuff. It’s going to take him a while, even with all that athleticism.

    Hezonja had 3 statistical issues last year: 3-pt % (probably fixable) rebounding (although not terrible for a wing) and passing (low a/to ratio and ast%). I thought he would have a higher usage%. Seems like the key for him is shooting and making more 3’s. His DBPM stats weren’t terrible, seems like it mostly comes down to 3’s

    Kings and Hawks fans should not watch this Doncic video. My goodness.

    yeah, he put a hurtin’ on those ducks!

    I have a feeling Doncic will take a while to adjust, some of the stuff he was doing today is not gonna cut it in the NBA, and he’s clearly not in top shape, a full offseason on NBA level training will do wonders for him.

    But you can see flashes everywhere with him, some of the passes, the handles, the 3 pointers, how big he is yet very smooth and under control. I know I’m going to be watching a lot of Mavs games this year, as much as I generally dislike them.

    yeah, he put a hurtin’ on those ducks!

    Is this sarcasm?

    Bruno, If you recall, I disowned DSJ the minute it was revealed that he refused to show his medical records, which is why his workout for the Knicks never happened. But I would still trade Frank for him straight up. Would you?

    Jowles, are u joolin again?

    I do, but he’s been quite healthy so far. And no, I wouldn’t. If I wanted to watch budget Derrick Rose there’s YouTube so I can watch highlights from the real one in his prime.

    Fair, but who would you say has more trade value right now, considering that they were equally putrid as rookies?

    I’d still take Frank over DSJ.

    I already know Frank is going to be an excellent multi-positional defender and good play maker. If he improves his 3 pointer, he’s a good player. If he adds more than that he can be very good. DSJ has all that athletic talent, but as far as I can he’s not good at anything yet other than creating bad shots. The Knicks have Porzingis and Knox to do that. 🙂

    Frank is also a little younger.


    Oh, that’s gotta be DSJ. He’s the best asset and should have more trade value, teams are still in love with the kind of athleticism he has. I don’t think he should be the best asset, but he certainly has more trade value in terms of perception around the league.

    Last night he made the most DSJ play ever, he missed a completely wide open 3, so short it hit the front of the rim and bounced back to him, then he picked it up and delivered a huge tomahawk dunk that became a highlight lol. The kid’s athleticism is truly something else, but he’s still so clueless everywhere else.

    I just have to remind y’all that Doncic is 19. You can’t teach what he has.

    Fizdale says he has not settled on a starting lineup for tomorrow’s game. Worth noting though the players in blue jerseys at practice: Burke, Hardaway, Knox, Hezonja, Kanter.

    That’s what I’m assuming the starting lineup will be. That defense…

    That’s the 30th ranked defense in the NBA.

    IMO, Burke/Frank or Frank/Hardaway is a much better backup tandem when you have other scorers in the lineup, but Hardaway probably deserves the SG slot on merit over any of the others.

    Eventually I’d like to see Burke/Frank or Frank/Hardaway with Knox, KP, and Kanter. If Robinmosn can beat out Kanter at some point, that would be nice too, but I don’t see it for awhile.

    Worth noting though the players in blue jerseys at practice: Burke, Hardaway, Knox, Hezonja, Kanter.

    Definitely a horrific defensive lineup that also looks shaky on offense. It will be a mediocre eFG% lineup and a terrible FT/FGA lineup.

    This team gon’ be bad. And I am totally okay with that! I am actually somewhat excited to watch this bad team for once.

    Good thing the unavoidable tank came just in time for flattened lottery odds. I love it!

    Good thing the unavoidable tank came just in time for flattened lottery odds. I love it!

    Dolan’s Razor is real

    So, Fizdale says he doesn’t want to play Hardaway at SF because he’s too small…

    Aside from channeling the ghost of Mike “The East Is Big, Man” Woodson, this statement is puzzling… I mean, didn’t he get Phil Jackson’s memo that Hardaway is 6’8”?

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