2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Future Knick Lonzo Ball’s Team

The Knicks head to the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Pelicans, with the Knicks facing off against Zion Williamson for the first time ever!

We saw RJ Barrett up his game during the clutch against the #2 pick of the draft where Barrett was taken third, so will he do the same against the #1 pick from that draft? Let’s hope so!

Let’s go win four in a row and a make a move to avoid the play-in game entirely, Knicks!

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287 thoughts to “2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Future Knick Lonzo Ball’s Team”

  1. Let’s go win four in a row and a make a move to avoid the play-in game entirely, Knicks!

    Avoid the play-in would be awesome, Brian. ;)

  2. I want to see how Thibs sets up to defend Point Zion. I think RJ or Randle will get the assignment.

    To the extent anyone has stopped him, the key has been picking up above the arc. It is a challenge to stay in front of Zion that far out. But, when he is given a cushion and gets a running start towards the rim, he is virtually unstoppable.

  3. Julius!!! Suck it Adams

    Will be interesting to see how our defense does without any of the guys we think make it good

  4. The Pelicans floor/lighting is no good

    I thought something might be wrong with my TV

  5. Taj 42 minutes? Randle is out because he’s playing some center tonight.

  6. Thibs benched Randle after a bad pass just like Obi!
    Maybe its a PF treatment! ;-P

  7. i don’t know what the %s are.. but when payton/rose/quickley run these no pass running floater sets…. we aren’t scoring too often….

  8. I wonder if Obi got in trouble for that Adam’s dunk… but if he didn’t close out quick enough on his wide open man in the corner, he’d still be in trouble …

  9. That was one of the quickest quarters I can ever remember watching. Three foul shots total.

  10. Was Randle supposed to set a screen there or something and RJ would do that slow play in the lane… that was no bueno

  11. Obi the big three minutes.

    Burks flops around out there like an injured bird but somehow makes great plays.

  12. Obi missed his rotation on both Adams’ drives. I went back and watched frame-by-frame. He got caught ball watching both times.

    Thibs will not play anyone who can’t defend.

  13. ephus:
    Obi missed his rotation on both Adams’ drives.I went back and watched frame-by-frame.He got caught ball watching both times.

    Thibs will not play anyone who can’t defend.

    Those were two horrible defensive sequences…

  14. We are suddenly so thin at center… by the way, has anyone seen Bobby Portis’s efficiency numbers this season??

  15. Max: Those were two horrible defensive sequences…

    Defense is something Obi will need to really work on.

  16. DS: We are suddenly so thin at center… by the way, has anyone seen Bobby Portis’s efficiency numbers this season??

      

    I will never miss Portis’s eyes. They still haunt me.

    We’re not thin at C with Pelle. He’s 6’10” and 230.

  17. I think the Knicks have been playing Zone, but it is hard to tell because the Pelicans do not move on offense.

  18. James Johnson shoots 36% from three. Who knew.

    Wow, Zion there just went through Bullock. Freight break.

  19. KJG:
    I lied

    yeah…probably don’t want to use “total control” and “knicks” in same sentence…

  20. As I wrote up-thread, you cannot back off Zion when he gets the ball in transition. Once he has momentum, he is unguardable.

    Bullock tried to pick him up at the foul line and was roadkill.

  21. We’re shooting well from 3… they aren’t … and Randle also enjoying these consecutive misses

  22. Put the starters back in and you know how it goes…

    Randle 1-12 after the hot start…

  23. That was five minutes of some of the worst offensive sets I’ve seen on the Knicks, and that’s really saying something.

    When “Take a three with five seconds off the clock” is actually a good play by comparison, something’s not right.

  24. randle has carte blanche to fire away….he has to realize launching brick after brick is sub-optimal…

  25. Okay, that was weird. Watching Rose shooting short jumpers with a little red medicine ball. Can’t imagine that’s a good idea. Then he finally switches out for a regular ball and cans two threes.

  26. This game has all the ingredients to be a very good win or an infuriating loss, no middle ground…

  27. I’m ok with RJ throwing up a clunker now and then, but it seems like he’s had more lately.

  28. Win tonight would be huge considering Charlotte is beginning to struggle with all their injuries.

  29. RJ’s with back to back bad shooting night,
    Randle already with 20 shots…

    P.S. Thanks RJ!

  30. Knicks not gonna win a shootout with the Pelicans, they better decide to start playing some defense soon.

  31. Pelle played admirably but the team is missing Noel in a big way.

  32. Has anyone asked Wally about how he feels about being thrown under the bus at the end of the Doordash bit?

  33. DS: The +/- of the bench players vs. the starters tonight is something…

      

    As is the division of minutes…

  34. Derrick Rose has been critical for this team. He’s made a number of great passes. He plays tough defense even if he’s lost a step. He’s a capable and confident scorer. Without him the team would not be winning as much as they do.

  35. Knicks sending the entire team at Zion on D and Burks looking like Jordan is a great recipe tonight.

  36. GoNYGoNYGo – Tired of Tanking:
    Derrick Rose has been critical for this team. He’s made a number of great passes. He plays tough defense even if he’s lost a step.He’s a capable and confident scorer.Without him the team would not be winning as much as they do.

    Yeah I hated watching Rose on his first stint with the Knicks. But he really seems a totally different player this time around.

  37. KB Apprentice: Yeah I hated watching Rose on his first stint with the Knicks. But he really seems a totally different player this time around.

    Well, not that different…

  38. Z-man: Well, not that different…

    Haha. Well I don’t remember seeing Rose close out on a three with a block that first time around. His whole effort and focus seems different (to me). But I respect that we don’t do “seems” here. ;-)

  39. What the heck was that from Zion

    Randle hit a tough shot over him before that but his defense has been pretty garbage overall

  40. Yeah, this was almost as good as the Memphis win. Very nice win. Two games over .500! Woohoo!

  41. Very good win,
    I’d like that Thibs kept Payton and Barrett chained to the bench for the entire fourth quarter,
    Rose and especially Burks were instrumental to the win as was Bullock.
    Another 30-plus night for Randle (albeit with a lot of missed shots), 13 solid minutes for Pelle…

  42. First four-game win streak of the season! We are, for the most part, winning the games we should win.

    I wonder if Burks has priced himself off this team with the way he’s played. This is a different situation from Morris last year, in that he’s contributing to winning, and thus I’m fine with us not flipping him at the deadline. But we got both him and Noel on these super valuable make-good deals, and they have, well, made good.

  43. Very impressive that they pulled it off w/o Mitch or Noel vs. Zion and Adams… the bench won it.

  44. It’s still very confusing to me how good teams around the league didn’t bother giving Burks or Noel actual contracts. Great for us, of course, but there’s so many scrubs out there making much more than those guys and providing way less.

  45. If nothing else, the Burks, Noel and Bullock signings (and to a lesser degree the Rose trade and the Taj and Payton signings) demonstrate that the FO knows how to assess value. You can say the same about transactions they didn’t make, like overpaying for Hayward. I would guess that those opportunities are going to be available every year, so if we lose Burks, Noel and/or Bullock, there is reason to believe that they will find the next generation of undervalued guys. Churning the bargain bin for one-year value deals is probably better than tying guys like Burks and Noel for 3yrs/$36mill.

    But yes, I’d like to keep some of them!

  46. Bruno Almeida:
    It’s still very confusing to me how good teams around the league didn’t bother giving Burks or Noel actual contracts. Great for us, of course, but there’s so many scrubs out there making much more than those guys and providing way less.

    After years of wildly overpaying guys like Portis, it’s really gratifying to see that our front office was smarter with its money than others this time. And makes me feel reasonably confident that if Burks and/or Noel leave for more lucrative pastures next year, that Aller and company can find similar bang for the buck elsewhere.

  47. Adams is confusing, he looks so big, strong and mobile but he doesn’t seem to rebound, defend or score especially well.

  48. I truy believe that even if all our starters went off and Thibs picked 5 guys from Rucker park we’d still have a chance vs any team.

  49. It’s been like that for years with Noel, 5 million is the most he’s ever earned in a season.

  50. Noel is pretty bad on offense, but he’s a terrific defender he’d be a good fit for a lot of good teams, I don’t understand why he doesn’t get more interest.

  51. When I went to the TOR game last week, seeing the defensive intensity live was eye-opening. They are playing defense at a very high level, both strategically and effort-wise…everyone is playing very hard all game long. And Noel really stands out.

  52. Alan:
    Adams had a bad game. Anecdotally, it feels like he usually beasts against us.

    I love Mitch, Noel and Taj, but the Knicks do not have someone that can belly-up to a really big, big.

  53. there’s obviously a limit to what I would pay them but I really would like to see Burks, Bullock, and Noel back.

    obviously if a star falls into our laps, take him. But if we bring the gang back, we could be a 48 win team just based on internal improvement and the addition of the three draft picks.

  54. Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.

    yes, indeed raven…

    Ingram and Zion remind me of Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street.

    this kind of insight in to the human condition, is not easy, well done ephus…

  55. I like burks taking over the point for the last 5 minutes of the game…credit to thibs and the staff for working that out…

  56. Obviously didn’t want Dallas to win but that was an insane shot by Luka and a tremendously funny choke job from Grayson Allen.

  57. So… even though few/none of us mention him, we agree that Thibs is a factor in everything being discussed, right? (Vets being a bargain, Rose’s play seeming like an asset, having a chance every night, the defense, even Adam’s being less of a factor. )

    I haven’t been around, maybe that’s just obvious to everyone else.

    P.S. Miami losing to Denver, sans Murray, moves us into sixth!

    P.P.S. I still can’t believe we can be better than Boston or Miami (still wrapping my head around Toronto and Indiana), so I’m looking up at Atlanta in the standings.

  58. I was impressed with Randle’s defense on Zion. No one’s gonna shut that guy down, but Randle made him work for it on most possessions, and was stout enough at the point of attack for Thibs’ trapping scheme in the fourth quarter to work.

  59. Churning the bargain bin for one-year value deals is probably better than tying guys like Burks and Noel for 3yrs/$36mill.

    I’m not so sure guys like Burks will be available every year in the bargain bin.

    There’s two ways to look at it:

    1. this is a sign of the front office’s acumen and they will be able to replicate this success consistently.

    2. we were very fortunate to find Alec Burks sitting there unemployed.

    I lean towards 2. I don’t think we’re going to find a guy of his caliber every year. His ability to run the point in a pinch is the clincher for me, and a 3 year deal in the $30mm range seems very fair. It wouldn’t cripple us, and he could likely be moved if we need to make space.

    For Bullock and Noel, I would try to do something with non guaranteed 2nd years. I’ll give each of those guys $8-9mm next season if I could waive them in the 2nd year. Between our abundance of cap space this summer and the lack of great options, I’m cool with those numbers.

    I’m also pretty open minded about it so if Jowles or anyone wants to tell me I have endowment bias they could be right. For all I know, guys like Burks could actually grow on trees. But I’ve become a fan.

  60. Macri had a decent idea in today’s newsletter: present Mitch and Noel with the same reasonable offer this summer, and keep whoever signs it first. Then troll the bargain bin for their new backup. (Or see if somebody like Pelle can become that backup.)

    Burks is a different issue, both because we don’t have two players like him (Bullock has played well this year, but they have different skillsets) and because wings in general are more valued in today’s NBA. So there’s probably going to be more of a market for him in the offseason. That said, it wasn’t like we waited until late in FA and scooped him up on a bargain deal. He was literally the first player we signed, after he had a pretty solid season. So his market may be less robust than we think, given how many teams are moving to stars-and-scrubs roster building philosophies.

  61. Re: how we got Burks – yes it was a little weird he was still available, but without a doubt, his previous relationship with Johnny Bryant was a big part of him signing with the Knicks.
    https://sny.tv/articles/johnnie-bryant-was-a-big-reason-why-alec-burks-chose-the-knicks

    Similarly, part of why Noel signed with the Knicks was the relationships with the other Kentucky guys on the team as well as Kenny Payne.
    https://sny.tv/articles/nerlens-noel-talks-familiarity-with-kenny-payne-wants-to-be-mentor-to-mitchell-robinson

    This is the benefit of having Rose and Wes calling the shots – apparently they know what makes guys tick and understand how agents and players make decisions — ie. maybe better to take a slightly smaller deal to get in the right situation with the right people. It’ll be super interesting to see what happens this offseason, since it seems likely Noel and Burks both will be up for big raises. Have to imagine we might have to choose between Burks and Bullock.

    One can only hope that all 3 of these guys (Noel/Burks/Bullock) have basically been journeymen their whole careers, and that maybe they will take discounts to stay in a good situation on multiyear deals.

    Re: Zion – it is crazy how short he looks out on the court. He’s not particularly long-armed either – just has otherworldly twitchy muscles. But there are not many teams that have someone like Randle, who is similarly sized and won’t be bowled over as easily.

    I am cautiously optimistic that we are going to avoid the play-in. This defense is seriously legit, now up to #3 in the league, and the offense is slowly coming around. Last 15 games we have the #19 offense and #2 defense and a net rating of +5.6 (5th best over that stretch), essentially the same as the 76ers (some of those games without Embiid). Meanwhile, we’re all waiting on the Heat to make their move, but they’re a -4.2 over the last 15 games, tied for 25th. They might just not be good.

  62. I am cautiously optimistic that we are going to avoid the play-in.

    We have 16 games left. 5-6 of those are against teams who are better than us (Dallas, Phoenix twice, Denver, the Clippers, plus the Lakers game if LeBron and/or AD are back and at full strength by then). Houston is the only real gimme remaining, though other teams like may either have gone into the tank by then (Toronto, San Antonio), be too injury-riddled to match up with us (Charlotte), or may simply be resting guys because their playoff seeding is secure. But in the majority of our games, we’ll at least have a fighting chance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Thibs grinds our way into winning 1-2 games against the more elite teams.

    So while the cold, rational part of me is saying the best outcome for the season is for the Knicks to lose in the play-in round, I would not be at all surprised if we finish 5th or 6th in the East.

  63. Randle’s defense has impressed me all season and is part of why I want to keep him. Not many players step up on defense and offense in the same year and maintain the same intensity on both ends. Sometimes Randle does start looking tired but then he’ll step up next possession and give 110%. Randle just wants to win really badly and it shows.

  64. Alan: We have 16 games left. 5-6 of those are against teams who are better than us (Dallas, Phoenix twice, Denver, the Clippers, plus the Lakers game if LeBron and/or AD are back and at full strength by then). Houston is the only real gimme remaining, though other teams like may either have gone into the tank bythen (Toronto, San Antonio), be too injury-riddled to match up with us (Charlotte), or may simply be resting guys because their playoff seeding is secure. But in the majority of our games, we’ll at least have a fighting chance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Thibs grinds our way into winning 1-2 games against the more elite teams.

    So while the cold, rational part of me is saying the best outcome for the season is for the Knicks to lose in the play-in round, I would not be at all surprised if we finish 5th or 6th in the East.

    I was just looking through the schedule and thought the same thing, but we have the toughest strength of schedule amongst teams near us. I didn’t look through each team’s schedule but they have a few more gimmes or a few more winnable games than we do.

    Miami has the 3rd easiest schedule remaining and Bos, Cha, & ATL are top-15 easiest.

    Knicks have 6th hardest.

    We can make it, but we’re going to need to ball out for the remaining games.

    Fun fact: Mavs have the easiest schedule. They probably pass Portland and won’t need to play in.

  65. I have a question for all of you. Does it seem like the Knicks have gotten better as the season has progressed?

    I ask because I think that’s what should happen with a bunch of new players, a new coach and a short pre-season. My instinct is yes, and not just because they added Rose. But it’s only an impression on my part, it’s hard to point out exactly in what way they are better, so I’m wondering, is my impression just that.

  66. I think it’s reasonable for the Knicks to go 8-8 the rest of the way:

    W: NOLA, CHA, TOR, CHI, @HOU, @MEM, CHA, BOS
    L: @DAL, ATL, PHO, @DEN, @PHO, @LAC, @LAL, SAS

    Maybe add a game or two if you’re feeling confident. But the Celtics and the Heat have cakewalk schedules the rest of the way and we’d lose the tiebreaker against the Heat (Celtics TBD). I’d think we have go at least 11-5 or so in this stretch to have a shot at the 6th seed

  67. The last game of the season against Boston may really be for the 6th seed. I agree with the wins Igno-Bot wrote above, but also think we will beat San Antonio, which is not a good team at this point and if smart will be tanking (although that’s not in Pop’s DNA). Also I think we will beat Atlanta. Trouble with Atlanta is they finish the season with 4 games against tanking teams – Washington, Orlando, Houston.

  68. A few things.

    1. As a tortured Knicks fan, part of me keeps waiting for the bottom to fall out. So every one of these wins feels better than it probably should. This team is tough!

    2. I was wrong on Burks. I liked the signing, but he’s better than I thought or at least having a better season than I expected. It’s kind of hard to describe, but imo he has an impact on winning more often that his overall stats suggest. He makes a lot of winning plays and shots at critical times.

    3. I’ve been arguing for the longest time that a smart management team can find value oriented free agents and make winning trades to rebuild a team quicker. Then they can subsequently roll those players up into the required star(s) when available. Our problem previously has been that we were valuing players poorly, and even worse, making the assumption that stars would come to a terrible team. It’s only one year, but so far the evidence indicates that we have a management in place that values players well, fits them together well, and has the discipline to avoid panic buying. We also have a coach that gets as much as possible out of the players he’s given to work with.

  69. I have a question for all of you. Does it seem like the Knicks have gotten better as the season has progressed?

    I think we’ve had peaks and valleys, both as a team and in terms of individual players. Randle was playing better before the All-Star break, for instance, and is still terrific but much less efficient than before. RJ is for the most part leaps and bounds above the start of the season, but still capable of having bad games like last night. A couple of weeks ago, we were playing so badly on offense that we were all starting to debate the possibility and value of even missing the play-in round. We’re on a nice streak now, but we could just as easily go back to unwatchable with the schedule ahead of us.

    If we’ve improved as a whole over the season, it’s been more about player availability. Burks was hurt for a while early on, and then ineffective as he worked himself back into shape. Rose has made the second unit look better, and provided a cushion on the many nights when Elf looks like trash. Taj has been a godsend, and seems ageless.

  70. Knick fan not in NJ: I have a question for all of you. Does it seem like the Knicks have gotten better as the season has progressed?

    I think it is a really good question. I believe the answer is yes, but cannot point to a meaningful team metric to support it. Which makes me think that part of the reason I think so is my early season thinking after a win (is this real) or loss (they are playing to their talent level) changed to expecting them to play like a .500 team. If I had expected them to play .500 ball from the get-go, perhaps I would be be-moaning the lack of objective measures of improvement.

  71. RJ is for the most part leaps and bounds above the start of the season, but still capable of having bad games like last night.

    I think the real breakthrough for RJ is going to come when he expands what he can do well. Right now he has more skills than the typical role player, but fewer skills than required to be a consistent #2 option. His productivity will vary from night to night depending on the matchup, how focused the defense is on taking away what he’s good at, and then of course some randomness. When they effectively take away some things and he can effectively do other things, he’ll make it tougher on the defenses and we’ll see a more consistent player.

  72. I missed the game last night – do we think this was a good win or did we get lucky from 3? Sounds like our volume of threes was much higher than it usually is and we did a decent job of stopping Zion (with both our center and backup center out!)

  73. Hubert: I lean towards 2. I don’t think we’re going to find a guy of his caliber every year. His ability to run the point in a pinch is the clincher for me, and a 3 year deal in the $30mm range seems very fair. It wouldn’t cripple us, and he could likely be moved if we need to make space.

    Sure, it might be just good fortune, here’s an option 3: Thibs has coached Burks, Noel and Bullock up. It’s possible that they would not be as good on another team for another coach. It’s also possible that if they sign long-term deals elsewhere, the teams signing them will eventually be disappointed. Situation matters for these types of players.

  74. Luka much wow

    He hit a crazy game winner, basically an IQ floater but from three point range.

    Should be a Knick

  75. Macri had a decent idea in today’s newsletter: present Mitch and Noel with the same reasonable offer this summer, and keep whoever signs it first. Then troll the bargain bin for their new backup. (Or see if somebody like Pelle can become that backup.)

    I don’t like that idea at all. I think Mitch has some unexplored upside that Noel doesn’t and he should be treated a little better. Also, Mitch is poor relative to his peers and much more likely to thumb his nose at a low offer.

    There’s really no reason we can’t pay all these guys as long as we get them on fair deals. Free agency isn’t going to offer up a pair of stars any time soon. And we have so much space.

    The way to level up right now is nailing the draft and through internal improvement. Mitch is one of the guys with room to improve.

  76. Another bad game for Hali last night.

    My emotional reaction to not drafting him has shifted slightly from inconsolable to pretty pissed

  77. I think Mitch has some unexplored upside

    I think given full health, Mitch is the better player, simply because he can catch the damn ball on a lob and Nerlens can’t. But how much more of his upside do we expect him to reach at this point? He’s definitely become a more complete defender this year, and full credit to him and Thibs and Payne for figuring that out. But he’s still not Gobert on that end, and his offensive game has not evolved in the slightest over parts of three seasons. I love the guy and want him to get paid, but one of the worst things a FO can do in the modern NBA is to overpay a center with a limited offensive repertoire. We got Noel for peanuts. We grabbed Taj off the street. It is a buyers’ market for defensive specialist centers.

  78. Conveniently, Wasserman has a story today about Noel’s strong year that includes this passage:

    He seems to fit the Knicks locker room from a chemistry standpoint as well. President Leon Rose has made a clear effort to surround the young cornerstones with tough veterans willing to embrace mentorship roles or fluctuating minutes, a job description Noel accepted when he signed.

    Noel also just turned 27 years old this month, so it’s not crazy to think he’s entering his prime. Though Robinson is 23 with more theoretical upside, he’s shown no offensive growth and questionable durability.

    Noel hasn’t been a threatening scorer, either, frequently dropping passes and avoiding eye contact with the hoop. He still similarly offers the Knicks’ playmakers a big lob target and put-back threat. He isn’t a post option or shooter, but a push shot (outside the restricted area) or short-corner jumper occasionally surface.

    Rose will eventually have an interesting decision to make about how to handle Noel’s free agency and Robinson’s contract, which will be entering its final year in 2021-22 (team option). Opposing teams figure to be monitoring the situation as both big men are now attractive targets.

  79. Igno-Bot 3000:
    I missed the game last night – do we think this was a good win or did we get lucky from 3? Sounds like our volume of threes was much higher than it usually is and we did a decent job of stopping Zion (with both our center and backup center out!)

    Definively a good win,

    we’re 8th on 3PFG% so it’s not only “luck” just as bad shooting nights aren’t “unluck”,
    game by game three point accuracy varies a lot in the league, but we have gone a long way from the start of the season on that category.

    The way we defended and contained Zion without Mitch and Noel. the anchors of our defense and our best rim protectors, was really something.
    The coaching staff prepared the game perfectly and the players did a really good job.

    And is not that every Knicks played super well,
    Barrett is in a 4-21 slump,
    Randle was very inefficient in the first half,
    Rose didn’t shoot well, Toppin was unwatchable on defense more then usual.

    A really good team win fueled by Burks, Randle, some timely basket from Rose and IQ, the good work from our backup centers and a solid Bullock (Payton had his moments too).

    I’m less bullish on the next games than many here,
    while I’m very happy for the winning streak I’ve taken a game by game approach
    (you know, I’m still mad about Minnie’s loss weeks after the fact… :-) )

    When focused we could play with nearly every team, while as soon as we think we’re good and try to be fancy we get burned.

  80. These are all great points, Alan. The only thing I would say in response is: why either/or? We only have $48mm in payroll committed to next year and there’s no bumper crop of free agents coming up. What can we realistically do with the money saved by choosing? I’d bring them both back if we can get fair deals. Eventually one would be our starter and the other would be part of a trade we hope to make.

    Now maybe I’m underestimating the market for them. I’m operating under the assumption that Noel’s best offers are going to be MLE deals from contenders and Mitch isn’t going to get Clint Capela money.

  81. Noel also just turned 27 years old this month, so it’s not crazy to think he’s entering his prime. Though Robinson is 23 with more theoretical upside, he’s shown no offensive growth and questionable durability. Noel hasn’t been a threatening scorer, either,

    Someone should tell whoever wrote this about Nerlens Noel’s injury history, and note that Mitch is actually a threatening scorer.

  82. DRed: Someone should tell whoever wrote this about Nerlens Noel’s injury history, and note that Mitch is actually a threatening scorer.

    I was just going to say, I think people are underrating Mitch’s abilities with the ball near the basket (he would be even deadlier with a guy passer like Lonzo on the team). Noel is probably a better overall defender at this point, but Mitch is improving (his rebounding, too), and when you factor in age, there’s really no contest over who to keep. That said, it would be amazing to keep both. But also, maybe Pelle matures into a backup role? He seems pretty damn good already.

  83. I have the same opinion now as I had all along. Mitch gives you a little more on offense and has more upside. Noel is a little more experienced defensively and will make fewer defensive errors. Overall, I don’t think there’s a huge difference now even if Mitch is better. Ideally we can keep both, but I think Noel still has the contract he turned down in the back of his mind and Mitch has obviously not been pleased with his agents and his contract. I think we are only going to be able to keep one.

    That was why I threw out the idea of potentially trading Mitch. If we traded Mitch, he could be part of deal that upgraded another position significantly. Then you could sign Noel to become the new starter and have a better overall team.

    As it is, when Mitch is playing we aren’t getting full bang of Noel at limited minutes (even though it’s a luxury we have all loved this year). I’d rather have 2 starters than 1 starter and 1 guy that could be a starter on the bench. Naturally though, it would depend on who that other player is and how old he is.

  84. I don’t have any issue with signing Mitch and Noel. Either should be movable on a reasonable contract and would fit well into a package for a star.

    If Turner is still on the market that might change the calculus a bit, since Turner kind of seems like the end product of what we’d hope Mitch becomes.

    If we’re choosing between them, Mitch 100%.

  85. Alan:
    Oh my. LaMarcus Aldridge is retiring immediately, after experiencing an irregular heartbeat after a game.

    Smart choice for a man that earned close to 200M in his career,
    he was only 49 points shy of 20K and choose the Nets to win a ring so it would have been pretty to get there,
    but it looks like he took a big scare during that last game…

    Very good player, nice career, best wishes for his health and life after basketball.

  86. Smart choice for a man that earned close to 200M in his career,
    he was only 49 points shy of 20K and choose the Nets to win a ring so that would have been pretty to get there,
    but it looks like he took a big scare during that last game…

    Under the circumstances, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a ring in the event Brooklyn wins the title. Elgin Baylor got one when the Lakers finally broke through after he retired at mid-season, and while he obviously meant a lot more to that franchise than LMA does to the Nets, this is the kind of circumstance where you act magnanimously.

    And, yes, the heart is not something to mess around with. The right decision for him every time.

  87. Also? Not only was Aldridge drafted with one of the picks we gave up in the Eddy Curry deal, but Curry also had heart issues. (But played through them. Kinda.)

    Is Aldridge the best player taken with one of the many picks we gave away over the last 20 years?

  88. Fell asleep again, but watched part of the 2nd quarter, and as baffling as this sounds, i think Randle was playing good defense on Zion, but anyway he was still scoring a lot. Impressive.
    Felt great checking the score in the morning, but i have to warn you guys that in the middle of a winning streak Thibs is the greatest coach in history, so let’s keep our expectations on a reasonable level. :P

  89. Alan:
    Also? Not only was Aldridge drafted with one of the picks we gave up in the Eddy Curry deal, but Curry also had heart issues. (But played through them. Kinda.)

    Is Aldridge the best player taken with one of the many picks we gave away over the last 20 years?

    I actually forgot that Jamal Murray was drafted with our pick which is brutal. Joakim Noah was also pretty good until his surprise retirement in 2016

  90. Alan: I would not be at all surprised if we finish 5th or 6th in the East.

    I would, but for a change it would be pleasantly surprised. ;)

    Frank: The last game of the season against Boston may really be for the 6th seed.

    On my dream outcome for the season we enter the last game of the season trailing BOS for the 6th seed by 1 game, and then we win the game for the tie and that win is the tiebreaker. :D

  91. Alan:
    Oh my. LaMarcus Aldridge is retiring immediately, after experiencing an irregular heartbeat after a game.

    Oh man, that is tough, but a very wise decision. The retirement was near anyway, no need to gamble with such a serious issue. I always liked him, seemed like a non-flashy dude, a la Duncan, and was rooting for him to do well (although he was on the Nets). Best wishes for him.

  92. man, it’s amazing how good our picks have turned out. Aldridge, Noah, Gordon Hayward, Jamal Murray… even Jakob Poetl is alright.

    At least Royce White didn’t hurt.

  93. Alan: Is Aldridge the best player taken with one of the many picks we gave away over the last 20 years?

    The list goes like this (bold for players that have standout):
    2001 Jason Collins (HOU)
    2002 Nene Hilario (DEN)
    2004 Kirk Snyder* (UTA)
    2006 LaMarcus Aldridge (POR)
    2007 Joakim Noah (CHI)
    2010 Gordon Hayward (UTA)
    2012 Royce White* (HOU)
    2014 Dario Saric (PHI)
    2016 Jamal Murray (DEN)

    * – who?

  94. Hubert: even Jakob Poetl is alright

    Poeltl was 9th in 2016, the same draft as Jamal Murray. We can’t have 2 picks (of our own) in the same draft.

  95. Lots to add.

    Alan:
    Oh my. LaMarcus Aldridge is retiring immediately, after experiencing an irregular heartbeat after a game.

    This is the main reason for the visit. I wish him all the best. I’ve coveted him on the Knicks for a long time. Health comes first. He’s had a great career.

    Igno-Bot 3000:
    I missed the game last night – do we think this was a good win or did we get lucky from 3?

    In addition to the Knicks being 8th, the Pelicans are 23rd in 3pt defense. It was by-design.

    cybersoze: as baffling as this sounds, i think Randle was playing good defense on Zion, but anyway he was still scoring a lot.

    He scored but he showed his weaknesses. He can’t shoot 3’s. The Knicks won because they bottled up Zion in the 4th quarter, sometimes sending 3 guys at him. He went 1 for 4.

    Knick fan not in NJ: I have a question for all of you. Does it seem like the Knicks have gotten better as the season has progressed?

    Absolutely. Stats don’t tell the story. It’s the chemistry, especially on defense.

    Frank: I am cautiously optimistic that we are going to avoid the play-in.

    I would describe my sentiment as “hopeful” for that. It’s amazing that we’re even discussing that – like the playoffs are now a foregone conclusion! I’ll say that I am “hopeful” that the Knicks make the play-in :). Honestly, I think this Knick team is…

  96. Poeltl was 9th in 2016, the same draft as Jamal Murray. We can’t have 2 picks (of our own) in the same draft.

    We couldn’t have gotten both players, but we did trade both picks. We traded the 7th pick to Denver for Melo, and we traded the 9th pick to Toronto for Bargs.

  97. No, it was a pick swap as part of the Melo trade, and then we traded our actual pick (or Denver’s pick, depending on which was worse, given Denver had swap rights) for Bargnani.

  98. And as Brian has been pointing out, the Knicks do well when they don’t play, so for tonight we can place our bets on the Lakers (cause if they beat the Celtics, we’ll be tied for the 5th place). :)

  99. @hoopshype:
    Nate McMillan has the best winning percentage of any NBA coach this season.

    McMillan: 76.2 percent
    Quin Snyder: 74.5 percent
    Monty Williams: 72.2 percent
    Doc Rivers: 69.1 percent
    Tyronn Lue: 68.4 percent

    The Hawks were 14-20 when he took over.

    Quite the turnaround!

    :O

    He wasn’t all that great for IND, so they let him go and are having the season we all know. It’s much more amusing when it’s the other teams doing dumb decisions, and not the Knicks.

  100. Impressive stuff, though.

    after ranking 30th in fourth-quarter net rating under Pierce, Atlanta has posted the second-best mark in the final frame during McMillan’s time at the head of the bench.

  101. from Berman

    “Knicks dumping John Henson as Norvel Pelle emerges..”

    further down in the article..

    “Whether the Knicks use their final roster spot is unclear, and they may decide to soldier on with the Noel, Gibson and Pelle trio.

    One power forward the Knicks have considered is Kenneth Faried, the rugged rebounder and former Denver Nugget. Faried, 31, who recently played in China, is from Newark. But the knock on Faried is he’s still a poor shooter.”

  102. Norvel Pelle has an 11.8 BPM, good enough for #1 in the NBA if he played enough minutes. Max him now.

  103. Bring back KOQ!

    Might as well use the last slot on a prospect, but we don’t really give the players at the bottom of the roster any playing time anyway so it probably doesn’t matter much what we do with it.

  104. Seems like we have two options for that last roster spot:

    1)Sign a veteran who can provide competent spot minutes if we’re thin with injuries. Faried would fit that bill, as would another shooter, or an emergency point guard who is not Frank or Jared Harper.

    2)If there’s an available G-leaguer who could potentially be useful next year, maybe we bump Pinson up to a full-time contract for the rest of the season and give the new guy a two-way.

  105. @wojespn
    Chicago Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine is expected to miss several games after entering into the league’s health and safety protocol, sources tell ESPN.

    The Magic may wind up with a pretty nice draft pick from the Bulls this season…

  106. Early Bird: Norvel Pelle has an 11.8 BPM, good enough for #1 in the NBA if he played enough minutes. Max him now.

      

    With you there. He’s at 11.3 Pts, 13.5 RB, and 6.8 blocks per 36.

  107. Holy shit, signing Faried would be hilarious from the perspective of the history of this board. For old time’s sake, if we do, can we have at least one multi-day argument about whether or not he’s better than Carmelo Anthony?

  108. What about round 2 with Trier?

    Maybe he has matured. I just don’t know if he’d buy into Thib’s new defensive culture.

  109. Norvel has a interesting backstory indeed. He’s Antiguan-Lebanese. This is from the story of his signing his second 10-day deal. Various questionable bits, he’s listed here as 6’10” but elsewhere he’s 6’11”, and as Frank notes, he never played at Iona.

    The 6’10” 27-year-old went undrafted out of Iona in 2014. He then played overseas, in Taiwan, Lebanon, Italy, and Beirut, in addition to occasional stints in the then-Developmental League, now the G League. He made his first appearance in the NBA with the Sixers for the 2019/20 season.

    Join me on the Pelle Train….

  110. taking an after vaxx day off…just made it through what’s available for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and was very pleasantly surprised…

    in particular the inclusion of two specific actors/characters (db and nw) into the show have made it a ton of fun…

    gonna try to watch WandaVision again, first try just couldn’t muster the patience for the payoff to whatever the heck is going on initially…

  111. Z-man:
    I’d be partial to a Jeremy Lin reunion…

    This would be a smart move, but the team likely sees L-frid, Rose, Burks, & IQ as enough at the PG position even if we have some injuries.

    Faried probably got mentioned because PF is our thinnest position now that Pelle looks capable.

  112. I agree that power forward is now our thinnest position. But it’s hard to think who they should pick. They should definitely fill the spot, because this season you have to worry about COVID and about injuries, so you need depth.

  113. Early Bird: This would be a smart move, but the team likely sees L-frid, Rose, Burks, & IQ as enough at the PG position even if we have some injuries.

    Faried probably got mentioned because PF is our thinnest position now that Pelle looks capable.

    Burks and IQ aren’t really PGs and since we are only talking about another month, having a do not break glass type of backup veteran PG would be smart. It would be a good PR play as well in the context of violence against Asian-Americans, etc. As to PFs, I’d rather run Obi and Knox out there than Faried at this point, but whatever they decide is fine with me. This has already been such a positive season that it doesn’t really matter.

  114. Knicks started the season in scrappy mode, upsetted a few good teams and became the ultimate overachievers depending on their D and selfless offense.
    Everyone but the crazy optimists expected a collapse during the season…that hasn’t come yet.
    At the recent game vs Memphis the team showed character and it felt like the next level ain’t far away.
    I wouldn’t be surprised watching the Knicks fire in all cylinders till the end of the regular season and establishing a mid eastern conference playoffs status as also a 5th or 6th seed.

  115. Honestly, I don’t totally understand why they don’t renew Henson. He should recover from his injury.

  116. Having 4 D-oriented Centers plus a PF who can play Center in a smallball dominated league is a good reason to not sign one more!

  117. Knew Your Nicks:
    Having 4 D-oriented Centers plus a PF who can play Center in a smallball dominated league is a good reason to not sign one more!

    If they want to find someone else, I suspect it will come from G-League. I don’t see there are many useful ex-NBA players out there.

  118. geo:
    taking an after vaxx day off…just made it through what’s available for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and was very pleasantly surprised…
    in particular the inclusion of two specific actors/characters (db and nw) into the show have made it a ton of fun…
    gonna try to watch WandaVision again, first try just couldn’t muster the patience for the payoff to whatever the heck is going on initially…

    geo…i am up and down on falcon and winter soldier…the budget is there so the cgi/sets, etc. are cool…characters are good ….the lines are a bit cheesier than the movies…but I am definitely waiting for the next episodes…it got my attention…have not watched wandavision..yet.

    othoh…i made it throught Justice League Snyder cut…waaaayyy better than the pile of dung that Joss Wheadon put out…after watching Snyder version…I understand why the truncated version sucked…4 hrs could have been like 3:15 and still good and i did it over 4 nights…not sure if you checked that out yet…

  119. We let go/traded many nba players so far like MKG, Rivers, Brazdeikis, DSJ, Spellman, Ferguson, Poirier so i guess that Thibs/FO are looking for specific characteristics before adding/keeping one player.

  120. Something I’ve noticed with RJ is when he plays bad it seems it’s because he isn’t that involved on offense. Last night he took a 3pter in the 1st minute which he missed and I honestly don’t think he touched the ball on offense for another 5 mins. When that happens he seems to force things whenever he does touch the ball where as when he is constantly involved he plays at a much better pace and is a much more willing passer too.

    I dunno could just be false eye test observations but I at times get frustrated and yell at the TV to get RJ involved on offense more.

  121. Honestly, I don’t totally understand why they don’t renew Henson. He should recover from his injury.

    I don’t know NfniNJ, maybe new york city has changed a whole bunch from when I remember (yikes, that’s all from last century) – but, I gotta imagine showing up to work in a flannel, t-shirt and jeans might not go over so well…

    mister henson should have dressed to impress…

  122. geo…i am up and down on falcon and winter soldier…the budget is there so the cgi/sets, etc. are cool…characters are good ….the lines are a bit cheesier than the movies…but I am definitely waiting for the next episodes…it got my attention…have not watched wandavision..yet.

    hey pepper :), man after I posted that I realized I messed up one of the actors initials whom I was thinking about…for some reason I always get noah wyle and the guy who’s actually in the series names crossed up in my head…trying best to do no spoiling…

    without those two particular characters/actors I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the show as much…I like that they aren’t really targeting a younger audience…to be honest, I’m not sure kids (pre-teen) would be in to it at all…

    I’m up to episode 7 or 8 or something now in WandaVision…wow, those first few episodes are pretty challenging to get through…really well done, quality production, just, the whole first few episodes you’re waiting for the “punchline”…

    I’ll tell ya though, both of these marvel series are a stark contrast to what we got from The Mandalorian…I am excited though for The Bad Batch when it comes out…

    hopefully the next star wars live action series hits a more “mature” tone…kind of glad Gina got sacked, she just made the whole series even more campy with her acting than it already was…

    hey al, if you’re reading, hope all is well for you and the family…

    hey man, you ever write a really critical review of someone or a show and gotten some negative feedback for it from the folks involved?

  123. Don’t look now but we are one (1) game out of a tie for fourth place and have already clinched the tiebreaker with ATL. And that last game vs. Boston will determine the tiebreaker vs. them. Put another way, we are battling with Boston, Atlanta and Miami for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

    Can someone pinch me?

  124. Knew Your Nicks:
    We let go/traded many nba players so far like MKG, Rivers, Brazdeikis, DSJ, Spellman, Ferguson, Poirier so i guess that Thibs/FO are looking for specific characteristics before adding/keeping one player.

    I agree completely. It’s most obvious at the center position, where all their personnel is picked for defense first and they seemed not to heavily pursue other styles of available centers like Cousin’s or Drummond. I don’t know if thats because they just want the center to fit the current system or they believe defense gives more wins than offense.

  125. Hubert:
    man, I don’t think I’ve heard a proper chris russo rant since I was in college. This is entertaining as hell:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/MadDogRadio/status/1382437209475854340?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1382437209475854340|twgr^|twcon^s1_&ref_url=https://d-3740583233874199273.ampproject.net/2104022034000/frame.html

    Mad Dog is an absolute piece of shit, but the NBA really needs to better way to address load management. On any given night there are not many competitive games due to injuries or load management. The product is suffering. I don’t blame teams and players for taking care of themselves given the circumstances, but the schedule is too packed – they need to really think about shortening the schedule and then consider how to disincentivize teams from resting players when they’re healthy.

  126. they need to really think about shortening the schedule and then consider how to disincentivize teams from resting players when they’re healthy.

    I mean, this is a particularly weird season because of COVID. Normally, they’d have 10 more games, but thirty-three more days in the season. That’s nuts.

  127. @Alan:

    Yep, Elgin Baylor got a championship ring from the Lakers even after retiring midseason.

    Decades later he put it to auction alongside a trove of memorabilia. The first reaction of many people was “WHAT, ELGIN BAYLOR GOT A RING?”. Grantland had an article about it.

  128. Mad Dog is an absolute piece of shit

    I literally forgot about the guy and haven’t followed him in 20 years, so pardon me if I overlooked some scandal he was involved in. I just saw that in my news feed and clicked on it. It’s a quality rant!

    He’s not wrong, either. Maybe guys like Ewing and Jordan had misplaced values and a toxic work ethic, but you’d never see them pull this stuff.

  129. One reason that i don’t gamble is this:
    – if in the beginning of the season some fellow had come to me and said that he wanted to bet that more than 3 quarters of the season in, the Knicks would be sitting 6th only a game behind the 4th spot in the east, i would probably betted all my money and even go for a loan of 1M extra to take advantage of the less aware of NBA rankings fellow! LOLOL

  130. hey al, if you’re reading, hope all is well for you and the family…

    hey man, you ever write a really critical review of someone or a show and gotten some negative feedback for it from the folks involved?

    It’s happened a few times, yes. Not my favorite thing, but comes with the job.

  131. Hubert: I literally forgot about the guy and haven’t followed him in 20 years, so pardon me if I overlooked some scandal he was involved in. I just saw that in my news feed and clicked on it. It’s a quality rant!

    He’s not wrong, either. Maybe guys like Ewing and Jordan had misplaced values and a toxic work ethic, but you’d never see them pull this stuff.

    I think “buffoon” is a more apt description of Russo than “piece of shit.” I have never heard anything about him that indicated he was anything beyond a hot-headed brat at times. He is certainly not an authority on anything sports related or otherwise.

    As to his opinion, I’m in between. If science has proven that strategic rest is beneficial, sure, go for it. I feel similarly about pitch counts. But the old days were simply better in that regard.

  132. Re: the resting of players

    there’s no good mechanism for it since teams can always fall back on some random injury – and it’s not like they’d be lying since every NBA player is nicked up in a one way or another at this time of the season.

    Honestly – I think it’d have to come down to a league wide thing and its national TV contracts — ie. there are 15 all-NBA players (or I guess you could say 24 All-Stars). If those players play collective <X% of nationally televised games, then the contract gets cut by X (with some disclaimer for serious injury). That would incentivize the league to come up with a way to force teams to play their stars.

    Or something even more explicit, like if an all-NBA player misses a nationally televised game and didn't sit the game prior, he has to sit the next 2 games or something like that. Get your rest, sure, but that puts 3 games at risk, not just 1.

    The problem with teams like Brooklyn that are so good is that literally the regular season means nothing at all – especially during pandemic when the crowds are small and the homecourt advantage is less. They've got 3 stars and if 2 of them play, they'll win 80% of their games, so why not just rest one of them all the time?

  133. Tonight’s game is a huge indicator game. If we can beat Dallas on the road, that would suggest that we can pick off a couple of good teams on that last road trip.

    I’m also really interested in how we fare against teams like ATL and PHX…good teams with young cores. Now that the playoffs are in sight, the intensity should be high.

  134. Yeah, should be a fun game tonight, and I’m hoping it might provide a happy distraction for me from the tooth pain I’ve had this week.

    Speaking of which, anyone with experience/advice in dealing with severe tooth pain? My appt. with the endontist to deal with a cracked molar and infection is not until Wed. morning. Meanwhile, the hydrocodone/acetaminophen mix I have runs out tomorrow. Prior to starting the meds (inc. antibiotic) two days ago, I was in agony the previous day and am not looking forward to that resuming. The hydrocodone has softened the pain a bit.

    I’m thinking of taking an ibuprofen and acetaminophen mix once the good stuff runs out, with a full ibuprofen and 1/2 aceto mix.

  135. That is a tough one, Clash Fan. Your endo should be willing to see you sooner if you’re in so much pain. I would be clear about the pain you’re in and the need for more immediate assistance. If they’re unwilling to accommodate you, can you seek an endo that has availability today or are you locked in to this one? If not, and you’re confident you can continue taking the pain medicine without forming dependency, ask for just enough medicine to get you to Wednesday. That is literally the least they can do for making you wait.

  136. Something I’ve noticed with RJ is when he plays bad it seems it’s because he isn’t that involved on offense. Last night he took a 3pter in the 1st minute which he missed and I honestly don’t think he touched the ball on offense for another 5 mins. When that happens he seems to force things whenever he does touch the ball where as when he is constantly involved he plays at a much better pace and is a much more willing passer too.

    Part of this could be what I was saying above about expanding his game over time. The smartest teams scout players, know to very fine detail what they are good at, and try to take those things away. His job is to keep expanding his game so it gets to the point where he’s close to impossible to stop one on one and the defense has to help or double him etc. Then other people will flourish when he starts hitting the open man. That’s kind of where Randle is now with the addition of a 3. You can’t give him much of anything anymore and he’s finding the open man better when they try to stop him.

  137. I just listened to that Mad Dog rant. rotflmao

    #NoLiesDetected

    He’s obviously correct about the players. He’s just not taking into account that sports medicine and our current views have changed since then. A byproduct of that has been way fewer great competitive games.

  138. Hubert:
    That is a tough one, Clash Fan. Your endo should be willing to see you sooner if you’re in so much pain. I would be clear about the pain you’re in and the need for more immediate assistance. If they’re unwilling to accommodate you, can you seek an endo that has availability today or are you locked in to this one? If not, and you’re confident you can continue taking the pain medicine without forming dependency, ask for just enough medicine to get you to Wednesday. That is literally the least they can do for making you wait.

    Hey, thanks! This Endo group is recommended by our dentist and also did a root canal for my wife a few years ago, which went well. They claim that if there’s a cancellation before Wed., they’ll offer that slot to me. Yeah, still frustrating. By then it’ll have been 8 days of tooth pain.

    I may call the dentist in a bit and see if they’ll give me a second pain prescription to get me through Tuesday. Maybe switch to Oxycodone?

  139. I agree with Hubert. Don’t wait. Tell the endo you have to get in there faster. That’s their entire job.

    Also, laterally, everyone raise your kids to be endodontists somewhere other than NY or Miami. It’s an astonishingly lucrative job. My brother in law and sister in law both do it and they make ridiculous amounts of money. Like astonishing. They all retire at 50 with sore backs and gigantic bank accounts.

    Hubert knows this because half of his clients at one point were absurdly wealthy endodontists.

  140. Hubert: I literally forgot about the guy and haven’t followed him in 20 years, so pardon me if I overlooked some scandal he was involved in. I just saw that in my news feed and clicked on it. It’s a quality rant!

    He’s not wrong, either. Maybe guys like Ewing and Jordan had misplaced values and a toxic work ethic, but you’d never see them pull this stuff.

    I don’t have any context besides this video. He seems like a mouth breather stuck in the 20th century.

    I don’t know if there are stats on this, but look at all the injuries across the league right now to some of the best players – LeBron, AD, Harden, Giannis. Embiid and PG have been in and out. Jamal Murray is going to miss two years of the playoffs due to an ACL injury. And I’m supposed to entertain a rant from someone who wants these guys to play more?

  141. What Mad Dog leaves out is that the nature of NBA basketball is very different from what it was back in the day. Defending everyone and everything within 30 ft of the basket is relatively new. For reference, watch the game 5 Knicks-Celts game from 1990. Defenses dropped back to the top of the key and gave nearly everyone the 3-pt shot. Now the toll on both ends is much higher….teams have to work much harder to get open shots and defenses have to work much harder to deny them. Lots of starts and stops, lateral movement…running over screens, etc.

    I mean, there was wear and tear in the old days too, but the types, distances, and intensities of movements have certainly increased.

    (or not, cue ptmilo to shoot all of this down)

  142. This all boils down to do you think the game is now “soft” compared to back in the day.

    I used to be firmly in the “yes” camp with that but my thinking has changed recently. I think it is softer in some ways but also much harder in other ways. Ways that Z-man pointed out above.

    Back in the day, the game was much more physical. If you drove into the paint, you could basically get mauled by the defense and not get a foul call. This was especially true when you faced The Knicks or the Pistons. But even “soft” teams like the showtime Lakers or The 90’s Bulls had dudes who were very very physical and you coudl not get away with that type of stuff today. And there is more flopping, jumping into dudes for foul calls, etc. I wish they would do something to cut back on that stuff for sure.

    But in a lot of ways the game is much more physically demanding in the ways Z-man talked about above. I think the conditioning alone that most NBA players have to have these days is way more than what they did back in the day. And while I sometimes get annoyed with how many 3’s are now hoisted up in a game, it does make the defense have to work harder in some ways. They have to cover more ground.

    And I think the athletes play above the rim more. I think the wear and tear on knees and ankles in particular is probably a lot more.

    But yeah, its sucks when teams sit their stars. I think the idea that if they do it, they have to do it for at least 2 games makes a lot of sense. It would stop teams from sitting a star against a bad team to save them for the next game against a good team.

  143. ^ Yeah, both of these posts make sense to me regarding the different types of movements demanded by players now relative to the 90s

  144. Fun Mitch stat I just came across: he’s tied for 3rd in the league in rebounding his own missed shots (8%). Zion is #1 at 10%.

  145. Yeah, it’s the same as in baseball, where pitchers’ arms are babied more in terms of pitch count, but injuries haven’t gone down because everyone is now throwing much harder than guys did in the 70s or 80s. Sports today are demanding so much more of the human body than was asked for when guys like Russo were growing up, so the way athletes are cared for has to be different.

  146. Well, sports were also demanding back then (like when Wilt played all 48 minutes of 5 games in 5 nights and averaged like 50 points and 20 rebounds) and many careers were shortened or derailed by injury.

  147. i don’t think its as simple as they are asking more of their bodies per se, I mean you could argue that hockey, football and basketball were much more physical and violent in the last century and rules have been changed to protect the players…in baseball they were throwing the ball as hard in 1950 as they are now…

    I think one fact that is disucssed on this point is that by the time these atheletes get to the professional level…given the proliferation of youth sports traveling teams/leagues/pressure to win…that their bodies have been put through much more rigor and possibly seeds have been sown for earlier or more often break down as the body is not really equiped to deal with the type of usage at younger ages..

  148. They were demanding in different ways. Yes, travel was primitive (and guys like Wilt and Elgin had to deal with rampant and unapologetic racism in ways that LeBron does not as a rule), training methods are better now, diets, etc. But you watch videos of old basketball games, and the level of effort on individual plays is nowhere near what it is now. Leave aside our guys playing for a maniac like Thibs and just turn on a Celtics-Pacers game, and you’ll see dudes exerting themselves far more consistently and at greater length than even the Riley Knicks did.

  149. BigBlueAL:
    Fuck, Burks is out tonight for Covid protocols.

    Yup. Our chances just went way down, unless IQ has one of his periodic hot games.

  150. BigBlueAL: Fuck, Burks is out tonight for Covid protocols.

    So, if it’s covid protocols, he might miss several games or can it be just this one?

  151. The torn ACL in basketball is new to the 21st century. Before that, there were a few rare cases (Bernard, of course, and Danny Manning) but it wasn’t endemic like it is now. But is the frequency of ACL injuries a product of a changing game? It would seem so because high profile players are suffering them. But starting in 2001, a bunch of lesser-famed players started suffering them, well before the game had “opened up” and become the penetrate and kick game of today. Guys like Bonzi Wells, Al Harrington, Al Jefferson, Jason Smith, Kendrick Perkins, and a bunch of others pre-2010. These aren’t all penetration-centric athletes that play too fast. Some are, and some are lumbering bigs. Some were really young when they tore the ligament, some were even in college. Some played a lot of minutes per game, some didn’t. There doesn’t seem to be any tangible connection between minutes played, games per week, possessions per game, or anything else to quantify why 2000 saw the rise and sustenance of ACL injuries in the league.

    Maybe there’s something to the highly competitive youth leagues damaging the bodies of these guys. That certainly happened to baseball pitchers back when I was a kid getting run out there for complete games every game for the little league coach to “win now”. Maybe that happens in basketball now, though I think it’s easier to see a correlation between elbow damage and throwing sliders and change ups before your arm is ready than to see a correlation with fighting through screens and setting up the corner 3 too young.

    Or, maybe the American food industry really has weakened the interiors of an entire generation of humans. Genetically modified crops became a thing in 1983. And chemical companies taking over the food industry really could have a noticeable impact 18 years later, maybe not on you and I, but on 6’10” high-performance vehicles, perhaps.

  152. Hope we get to see Frank guard Doncic tonight. Figure Bullock will start on him.
    I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Knox tonight also. Feel like Knox would do a pretty decent job on Porzingis and would get more shooting on the 2nd unit with Burks out.

  153. Well, it happened to Fournier when he joined the Celtics, missed 1 game and then it was ruled a false positive freeing him to play the following 4 games. But then he was again held out in covid protocols missing 6 games and i think he has not been cleared to play yet. Let’s hope Burks is just a false positive and can get back quickly.

  154. Sign me up to give minutes to Frank and Knox, in Burks’ absence. Maybe this makes the FO re-think the plan to spend the last roster spot on a big.

  155. Via Berman at the NY Post

    One point guard on their radar is a longtime European standout, Mike James, who has played the last two seasons for CSKA Moscow, shooting over 40-percent from 3-point range.

  156. Burks absence hurts a lot. Hopefully we get more Quickley, and the good version at that, otherwise the offense could be a real slog.

    Those of you suggesting we replace our best bench scorer/offensive player with Frank Ntilikina…I do not agree.

  157. Or, maybe the American food industry really has weakened the interiors of an entire generation of humans. Genetically modified crops became a thing in 1983. And chemical companies taking over the food industry really could have a noticeable impact 18 years later, maybe not on you and I, but on 6’10” high-performance vehicles, perhaps.

    that’s interesting, no doubt nutrition is playing some role…it would be interesting to see injury stats versus player origins, see if it is mostly an american thing…

    personally, my first thought is that athlete’s muscular systems have advanced considerably in the last couple of decades, ligaments, tendons and bones – not so much…

  158. It’s happened a few times, yes. Not my favorite thing, but comes with the job.

    that’s interesting al, the challenge being – how do you as a person not make your critique personal…kind of like saying: you fucked up in this instance, but you yourself are not a fuck up…

    been thinking a bunch about elf and the feedback he receives through social media, that’s just got to be brutal for him some days (sort of like his play out on the court at times :)

  159. Maybe there’s something to the highly competitive youth leagues damaging the bodies of these guys.

    i know an expert who is convinced that excessive specializing in certain sports at too young an age is a contributing factor for increased acl risk later on.

    and now for something completely stupid. i watched the murray injury game and i swear i kept thinking how off he seemed. not that he was limping or favoring a leg or anything but more that he seemed to be sort of flailing himself around as if he were an exhausted or exasperated kid. there was even one play in q3 where he maybe tripped over kevin looney but maybe just fell over think air and kind of got up looking quizzically at his knees. it is here.

    https://tinyurl.com/fccfr6rb

    i am not saying it was obvious he shouldn’t be playing nor that the nuggets should be blamed for rushing him back or keeping him in. you might even say i am not saying anything at all.

  160. ***i know an expert who is convinced that excessive specializing in certain sports at too young an age is a contributing factor for increased acl risk later on.***

    Does this expert also believe that playing 35 minutes per game rather than 40 minutes per game as adults lessens the likelihood of the injury? Or that playing any minutes on back-to-back days increases the risk? If the youth league hypothesis is correct, what can be done at an nba level to mitigate the injury when players are arriving damaged? Because all the caution in the world that teams take on these players doesn’t seem to be having much impact. As minutes played go down, ACL injuries are still going up.

  161. thenoblefacehumper:
    Burks absence hurts a lot. Hopefully we get more Quickley, and the good version at that, otherwise the offense could be a real slog.

    Those of you suggesting we replace our best bench scorer/offensive player with Frank Ntilikina…I do not agree.

    That a very good point, but I assume he’ll be playing with Quick (who should get a lot of minutes tonight for his scoring) or Rose. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing all three at the same time. That would be a real change of pace and put Frank at SF and maybe guarding someone like Hardaway. If not he can guard Brunson if he’s getting the best of someone else.

  162. Also, the thing that has changed the most since the 90s isn’t the game and how it’s played. It’s the size of the contracts. Teams are a lot more careful to protect their $200,000,000 investments today than they were to protect their $500,000 investments in the 80s. For example, Pascal Siakam was in the covid protocol for over three weeks recently without actually having covid. There is no way that he needs a rest day this week, let alone two. But he’s in the first year of a $140,000,000 contract, and having him tear his knee ligament in a meaningless game would be disastrous. If he was only due $500,000, my guess is that he’d be playing. (But, ultimately, it seems like unsound thinking to play a guy selectively to avoid catastrophic injury. Either put him in street clothes until the games are important, or play him. Because that injury can come at any time apparently, with or without contact.)

  163. my sense about these injuries is that players are all bigger faster stronger than they were, likely because of better nutrition and more specialized training regimens. I mean look at the average fastball speed in MLB. It used to be that a 95 mph heater was amazing. Now literally everyone throws 95 and Jacob Degrom is casually tossing 101 mph fastballs no problem.

    As they train their muscles to fire with more and more force, the things that are not trainable (tendons, menisci, ligaments, etc) are failing. That’s why I’d be very worried about Zion – he is an extreme outlier in a sport filled with outliers in terms of his speed and strength.

  164. The truth is that 82 not so meaningful games in 6 months may be traditional and good for nba’s income and fan’s addiction but ain’t very rest friendly.

  165. the NBA is just so much more star-centric than the other sports that it hurts the product when the top players are either injured or resting and that everyone involved needs to do as much to mitigate both of these things, even though they completely contradict each other. Whoever can figure out how to get a better handle on torn ACL prediction has billions of dollars waiting for them (Separately as a fan I’m spoiled by being able to watch the Knicks every other day but these teams shouldn’t be playing more than twice per week).

  166. ***personally, my first thought is that athlete’s muscular systems have advanced considerably in the last couple of decades, ligaments, tendons and bones – not so much…***

    Yeah, it’s a touchy subject here, perhaps, as this board has some very dedicated weight lifters on it, but I also believe that “bulking up” is probably also to blame. It was always the thing the Knicks would say about their young players: “he’s going to bulk up as he gets older”. But people are born to a certain body, and messing around with it may not necessarily be a great idea. Especially at the youth level, where coaches now put pre-pubescent prospects on a weight training regimen.

    I remember Curry, who had been chronically injured early on, switched to only core workouts and his most sustained period of health followed. Now he’s 32 playing as good as he ever has. I also remember the Knicks wanting to turn Camby from a shot-blocking Dennis Rodman into a paint-clogging post-up center because they were trying to replace Patrick Ewing. He gained 30 lbs of bulk from his daily 90 minute weight sessions and proceeded to not be as good at basketball. In Denver, he returned to his natural game and led the league in blocks every year.

    If everybody had bodies built like LeBron and Lillard, none of this would be an issue. But clearly players bodies are being burdened and it can’t just be from playing the same 36 minutes every few days of a game that hasn’t really changed THAT much over the past 40 years. Frank thinks nutrition and training regiments are making them stronger, but I suspect it’s the opposite. They are setting themselves up for failure.

  167. that’s interesting al, the challenge being – how do you as a person not make your critique personal…kind of like saying: you fucked up in this instance, but you yourself are not a fuck up…

    I try to never make it personal. But some people take it personally anyway. Perils of the job.

  168. Or, maybe the American food industry really has weakened the interiors of an entire generation of humans. Genetically modified crops became a thing in 1983. And chemical companies taking over the food industry really could have a noticeable impact 18 years later, maybe not on you and I, but on 6’10” high-performance vehicles, perhaps.

    I often bring horse racing into this (what the hell does that have to do with anything? lol) but it may be relevant. Experienced horse trainers almost unanimously say that modern thoroughbreds are not as sturdy as 30-40 years ago. They train accordingly. Despite more knowledge and better care, horses are given much more rest time between races, have way fewer races per year, and have way fewer races per career because trainers say they can’t handle more. That could be a function of selective breeding (the downside of breeding for more speed), but as long as we are speculating it could be more evidence of an environmental issue that is making our bones, ligaments, and tendons weaker.

  169. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I don’t think it’s coincidental that PED use rose precipitously post-1995 and so have certain kinds of injuries. Per Frank’s comment,

    As they train their muscles to fire with more and more force, the things that are not trainable (tendons, menisci, ligaments, etc) are failing.

    Talking about excessive training or specialization at too young an age seem like odd hypotheses when PED use both explains the kinds of injuries sustained and can be traced fairly clearly over the same timeline in another sport, baseball, where certain players known to have used PEDs experienced similar non-muscular damage.

  170. ptmilo: i know an expert who is convinced that excessive specializing in certain sports at too young an age is a contributing factor for increased acl risk later on.

    I’ve heard this too. It’s repetitive training of certain groups of muscles that lead to imbalances.

    I recall talking to someone who mentioned cornerbacks have a different injury profile because they practice backpedaling way more than other pro athletes. Never checked if it’s true but seems relevant here.

  171. One point guard on their radar is a longtime European standout, Mike James, who has played the last two seasons for CSKA Moscow, shooting over 40-percent from 3-point range.

    Anyone have any further thoughts on this guy? Apparently, he was suspended for getting into it with his coach, which is why he’s available to come here.

  172. while y’all made some great points about the unique rigors of today’s game vs the 90’s, I still think there is no way in hell guys like Jordan or Ewing, if playing today, would ask for a night off bc they played yesterday.

    It’s one thing when an organization pushes it on players, like the Spurs. The Nets, though, have taken it to a new level. Kyrie and Durant treat work as optional, and went so far as to get a good coach fired bc he disagreed with them. Fuck those guys. They deserve the criticism.

  173. The Celtics are waiving Moe Wagner to create roster space for Jabari Parker, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Wagner has averaged nearly six points and three rebounds this season, and was productive in his starts in Washington prior to being traded.

    Huh. I know everyone is more interested in his brother in the draft, but is he worth kicking the tires on?

  174. Huh. I know everyone is more interested in his brother in the draft, but is he worth kicking the tires on?

    I was about to come here to say we should kick us some tires. His NCAA 3PT accuracy hasn’t translated to the NBA yet, but the idealized version of him would be a pretty damn good for for this roster. He probably won’t get there, but what’s one roster spot to find out?

  175. Alan: I was about to come here to say we should kick us some tires. His NCAA 3PT accuracy hasn’t translated to the NBA yet, but the idealized version of him would be a pretty damn good for for this roster. He probably won’t get there, but what’s one roster spot to find out?

    I say bring him in, but there’s a reason he’s available. His defense is supposedly atrocious. For a young-ish guy we could potentially develop longterm, why not?

  176. Anyone have any further thoughts on this guy? Apparently, he was suspended for getting into it with his coach, which is why he’s available to come here.

    sight unseen on mister mike james – but, i’ll put my money on thibs…

  177. Igno-Bot 3000: Mad Dog is an absolute piece of shit, but the NBA really needs to better way to address load management. On any given night there are not many competitive games due to injuries or load management. The product is suffering. I don’t blame teams and players for taking care of themselves given the circumstances, but the schedule is too packed – they need to really think about shortening the schedule and then consider how to disincentivize teams from resting players when they’re healthy.

    I agree and it goes both for teams load-managing stars as well as teams tanking. There are solutions.

    vs load-managing:
    1) Higher ranked teams not only get home court advantage, they get an extra video replay every game.
    2) Higher ranked team gets to take out the ball to start every quarter in the playoffs.
    3) Home court advantage becomes 5-2 instead of 4-3.

    vs tanking:
    1) non-playoff team with the best record gets the most ping-pong balls and the worst team gets the least.
    2) All teams get a share of bonus money to distribute to players.

    (ex: The share is a multiple of the number of team wins. All teams kick in an equal amount. For simplicity sake, lets say the amount is 100K per win. Every team kicks in 4.1M that comes off the cap. A 41 win team gets 4.1M which is divided equally to all players based on days on roster. For a 15-man roster that’s $273.3M per player. Win 60 games, the amount per player is 400K per player. Win 15 games and it’s 100K).

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