2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Hawks

I love the idea of road trips in the era of COVID where there are no crowds and thus home court no longer really exists.

Anyhow, the Knicks head to Atlanta to take on the Atlanta Hawks, who just lost to the 4-2 Cleveland Cavaliers, whose fans at Cavalierblogger, I am sure, are also convincing themselves that the Cavaliers are for real. In any event, according to the transitive property of team ass kicking, the Knicks beat the Cavs and the Cav beat the Hawks, so this means that the Knicks will beat the Hawks (“But wait, Brian!” you might annoyingly shout, “The Cavs beat the Sixers and the Knicks lost to the Sixers, so shouldn’t that mean that the Knicks beat the Sixers, too?” To which I would respond, “SILENCE!”).

Getting to play against Trae Young and Cam Reddish also allows us for the always (never) entertaining game of “Wait, maybe the Hawks did win the Doncic trade?” (they didn’t).

The Hawks like to score, so it will be interesting to see the Knicks match the Hawks on the offensive end. The Knicks are probably going to need to shoot a lot more threes tonight, so let’s hope that they’re up to it.

No Burks, so we don’t have to see yet what Thibs will do with the rotation when he returns.

As I noted in the Raptors game, the Knicks haven’t been over .500 after New Year’s Day since Jason Kidd was on the team, so this would be nice to see (yes, they were over .500 33 games into the ill-fated 2017-18 season, but the vagaries of COVID meant that that was all before January 1st while now, Game 7 is after New Year’s).

Let’s go, winning record Knicks!

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638 thoughts to “2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Hawks”

  1. let’s go knicks – more good basketball please!!!

    looks like the nba league pass free-preview is still in effect…

  2. I get so nervous for game time. PTSD that they get blown out and I get all sad and despondent and have a lousy night…

    Go Knicks!

  3. while we wait :)

    i saw you posted back a few days or so on new Vikings season…assume you are watching it…what do you think?
    I watched the first episode but have mostly fast forwarded to the final episode…the last few seasons after Ragnar was gone were not good but still had some bright spots…this one has been pretty bad…
    I am now watching Raised by Wolves on HBO Max…Ridley Scott sci fi…enjoying it so far…

    i’ll tell ya Pepper – i think you and Mike Honcho might just be suffering from IDS :-)

    i’ve been thinking of giving The Expanse or Raised by Wolves a go lately, was re-watching Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 recently (found those three “shorts” that tie together the events from the end of the first Blade Runner movie)…

    travis fimmel was an amazing and unexpected revelation during Vikings, obviously the show doesn’t work near as well without him…i like when actors incorporate physical tics in to their acting…when i think of the best at this – i think of kim wexler’s shaking leg and ragnar’s fidgety way about him…

    Just finished the final season and episode – absolutely loved it…there is just so much more detail to Vikings than Ragnar’s story…fantastic supporting cast and character development…michael hirst really played the long game on the show, him writing the whole thing is incredible…one of the best closing seasons and episodes to any series i’ve watched…

    one of the things which i’ve admired most about Vikings is their commitment to using actors native to the regions which are depicted…call me crazy – i also like when they speak in those old languages…king harald and hvitserk really carry the acting in season 6…needless to say the production quality went up significantly over the years…

    IDS = Immersion Deficiency Syndrome

    oh, and big thanks Pepper for helping to get my head out of all the conflict that infects the world…

  4. “looks like the nba league pass free-preview is still in effect…”

    I don’t want to spoil your fun geo but better check your credit card for an automatic charge after the free-preview period passed
    Happened to me during my first free-preview league pass

  5. ha KYN – i keep thinking this, it’ll be on my cable bill though which i won’t see for another 11 days…i tried streaming it for a couple of years, but – too many damn buffering issues with that…i like being able to record on my dvr and then fast forward…

    if i remember right – you work in a warehouse kind of situation, don’t you?

    how have things been going with the virus stuff in that environment?

    lot’s of cars now in our parking lot…not so happy with that, but…

  6. Dante Exum just had to be helped to the locker room in Cleveland with a non-contact injury. Poor guy’s career is totally snakebit.

  7. Speaking of injuries, MSG pregame just showed Mitch taking jumpers during warmups, with Obi working right next to him. Obi may not be ready for games yet — this afternoon, Thibs said of Obi and DSJ, “They’re doing a little bit but not a whole lot.” — but he at least wasn’t limping or looking significantly hobbled. Progress!

  8. You need to Send them a message (to nba support) and tell them that you don’t want the monthly or annual league pass otherwise it starts automatically charging you.
    It’s on the “details” of the free preview
    Not exactly Fair or Very Obvious to read it but slightly sneaky imo

  9. Alan:
    Dante Exum just had to be helped to the locker room in Cleveland with a non-contact injury. Poor guy’s career is totally snakebit.

    Which kind of injury? Ankle? Knee?
    Really unlucky guy throughout his career.

  10. i’m cool with the league pass this year…shit – i might actually tune in to some games come april or so if we can keep what we started going…

  11. Just watch em free online like the rest of us plebes

    man, i go enough to worry about with all the inbound porn :)

    i ain’t pressing my luck too much more with those “free” sites…

  12. If you’re cool just check what you’re charged and why not choose the best package for you

  13. Which kind of injury? Ankle? Knee?

    Official word so far is just that it’s a leg injury. One armchair physical therapist type tweeted that it looked like an ACL, but who knows at this point? But non-contact injuries where you can’t leave the floor under your own power are never good.

  14. geo: man, i go enough to worry about with all the inbound porn :)

    i ain’t pressing my luck too much more with those “free” sites…

    Fair enough haha. What’s the Rango line – “I tip my hat to you, one legend to another.”

  15. geo:
    while we wait :)

    i’ll tell ya Pepper – i think you and Mike Honcho might just be suffering from IDS :-)

    i’ve been thinking of giving The Expanse or Raised by Wolves a go lately, was re-watching Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 recently (found those three “shorts” that tie together the events from the end of the first Blade Runner movie)…

    travis fimmel was an amazing and unexpected revelation during Vikings, obviously the show doesn’t work near as well without him…i like when actors incorporate physical tics in to their acting…when i think of the best at this – i think of kim wexler’s shaking leg and ragnar’s fidgety way about him…

    Just finished the final season and episode – absolutely loved it…there is just so much more detail to Vikings than Ragnar’s story…fantastic supporting cast and character development…michael hirst really played the long game on the show, him writing the whole thing is incredible…one of the best closing seasons and episodes to any series i’ve watched…

    one of the things which i’ve admired most about Vikings is their commitment to using actors native to the regions which are depicted…call me crazy – i also like when they speak in those old languages…king harald and hvitserk really carry the acting in season 6…needless to say the production quality went up significantly over the years…

    IDS = Immersion Deficiency Syndrome

    oh, and big thanks Pepper for helping to get my head out of all the conflict that infects the world…

    The Expanse isn’t great but it’s fun. The biggest problem is the actor for the main character is really wooden. Raised by Wolves is bad at least so far. The story’s all over the place and I don’t see how that can be fixed easily.

  16. I actually enjoyed Raised By Wolves, but I would caution you to approach it as cosmic horror, not sci-fi. The show does have an annoying tendency of seeding more mysteries than it is interested in dealing with, but the final episode sets up an interesting direction for season 2. Again, though, it is very much not a hard sci-fi series and has a rather mystical bent in the second half of the season.

  17. Alan: Official word so far is just that it’s a leg injury. One armchair physical therapist type tweeted that it looked like an ACL, but who knows at this point? But non-contact injuries where you can’t leave the floor under your own power are never good.

    Thanks Alan,
    it sounds grim.

  18. geo:
    i’m cool with the league pass this year…shit – i might actually tune in to some games come april or so if we can keep what we started going…

    My stepkids’ older sis – the one who knows the Ball fam and thought we should’ve traded up in the draft to nab LaMelo – lent me her League Pass. So I get to watch my Knicks on my birthday today! Nice!

  19. I wonder if there’s some simpleton fan out there who really, really likes Wally and hangs on his every word. Said idiot fan would probably dismiss Clyde as “too flashy”, making this hypothetical moron even more annoying.

  20. The Infamous Cdiggy: My stepkids’ older sis – the one who knows the Ball fam and thought we should’ve traded up in the draft to nab LaMelo – lent me her League Pass. So I get to watch my Knicks on my birthday today! Nice!

    Happy Birthday Cdiggy!

  21. #So I get to watch my Knicks on my birthday today! Nice!#

    You deserve a Road Win as a birthday gift!
    Happy Birthday man!

  22. Thank you Max and NYK

    I spoke too soon: apparently there’s too many streams going on with the account i’m using… lol

    Oh well – there is the Internet… ;)

  23. Kind of funny that Barrett somehow has 4 rebounds and 2 steals in, like, six minutes on the floor.

  24. Sloppy is good for the Knicks, though. Since Thibs has them more dedicated, they tend to do better when things get messy.

  25. The Collins/Randle matchup should be interesting. Both are strictly offense-only bigs but in somewhat different ways, so the battle for stat-padding supremacy between those two will be riveting.

  26. Payton seems competent if unspectacular on defense to me, though he is a bit flighty in terms of consistency.

  27. awwww, happy birthday cdiggy!!!

    whenever i read your posts i always get the impression that family and work are a super important focus in your life…that makes me smile…

    seems like you may have gotten an early christmas and birthday present last year at your wedding…wishing you much happiness today, and throughout the year…

  28. Omigod, a fastbreak basket

    I went 10 years without seeing that happen to the Knicks

    Felt like AAU

  29. Who thinks the Nets are going to be watching tapes of how the Knicks are handling the Hawks?

  30. Our offense looks pretty coherent. Of course it helps when Randle is hitting long shots as the shot clock expires

  31. I see Trae is tired of the “But did Dallas really win the trade?” discussions, so he’s decided to silence it by sucking.

  32. Randle is looking great.
    I think people have to see how well he’s doing. On Twitter last game NY reporters were slandering him because of his start…but they’re trolls.
    He plays hard, played through the early slump and was integral to the win.
    And tonight he again is a beast.
    He’s become good under Thibs.

    This doesn’t look like a fluke.

  33. How good IS Payton on defense anyway? Clyde says that is his calling card

    last year it seemed he gambled a lot on steals and his man beat him badly a bunch…he seems to be doing less of that this season…

  34. I propose that henceforth Good Julius be renamed Caesar and be given a Roman triumph each game he doesn’t spin into a triple team. (Frank, of course, can stand behind him as his memento mori. T’would give the lad something healthy to do with his time.)

  35. woah… rj might not play 42 minutes tonight… good thing with 4 games in the next 7 days….

  36. will someone on the 9 man coaching staff expla6to Randle that he should not lead the fast break….please

  37. will someone on the 9 man coaching staff expla6to Randle that he should not lead the fast break….please

    He really really thinks he should be able to.

  38. I think they didn’t credit Mitch with that block – I swear he’s blocked two shots but the box score is showing one.

  39. Thibs outsmarted himself with that small ball lineup.

    It’s clear we need a shot blocker in the middle of the paint.

  40. Dink:
    Really dislike the Knicks small ball lineup. Zero paint protection.

    DRed:
    are we playing Randle at center?

    That’s why I keep clamoring for a 3rd big. I don’t know if Spellman is that guy.

  41. seems like anyone on the opposition is aware of the fact that if knox is on you…its easy to drive by him

  42. Reddish looks like he wants to show up big against his former Duke teammate tonight.

  43. I know someone else has fouled out without recording a point, rebound or assist, but it’d be still a fun thing for Knox to achieve.

  44. I would like to take this moment to personally apologize to Austin Rivers for talking smack about him.

  45. Reddish looks like he wants to show up big against his former Duke teammate tonight.

    Agreed and Reddish is the last guy in the world you ever want to make press himself.

  46. The Knicks are reminding me of the Pacers game when they get hit but bounce back instead of fall apart.

  47. geo:

    whenever i read your posts i always get the impression that family and work are a super important focus in your life…that makes me smile…

    seems like you may have gotten an early christmas and birthday present last year at your wedding…wishing you much happiness today, and throughout the year…

    You are far too kind. Remind me to get you a couple of drinks when this COVID crap is behind us.

    Not to sidebar too far from the game: family is indeed important, and now I have more of it. Good people too – that matters a lot. Work is important because I’m somewhere that has purpose (along with appreciation and decent pay/great benefits), and for many years prior to me being out here, that wasn’t the case.

    Hawks are hot on offense to start the season. May be a game where the Knicks need to keep pace and then make a series of good stops late in the fourth. Let’s see if they have it in em tonight!

  48. I saw some random ass tweet about Noel not liking his role. Seemed not legit but now I wonder

  49. Randle doesn’t have the size to defend the rim but he’s otherwise playing pretty good defense?

  50. Trae a little out of control.

    Seriously! But he’s one of those guys where he is out of control and then does rattle off, like, seven points in thirty seconds.

  51. Noel did refuse a lot of money in a bet on himself that didn’t pan out, so I could see him being concerned he’s not getting the minutes he thinks he needs. He really needs a good contract if he wants to up his career earnings, and he is probably correct in assuming he’s running out of time to get one of those.

  52. Randle doesn’t have the size to defend the rim but he’s otherwise playing pretty good defense?

    Yeah, he’s having a great game.

  53. I like that the Hawks are not shooting awfully from three, which would suggest it being unsustainable.

  54. I don’t know if this strategy of not shooting threes will work out long term against the Hawks, but so far, it’s working great.

  55. “At what point do we just say that Randle is really good?”

    After he signs for the max somewhere else

  56. This is another game where the Knicks look well-coached and fundamentally sound. It would be nice to hit some threes but this team is downright watchable.

  57. I mean Thibs kind of has been exactly as expected. Great defense, great effort, and plays his players too much.

  58. Julius can eat up Collins inside all day but he’s gotta be smart about it.

  59. Very Rude and Nasty of the Hawks to play Hunter and Reddish at the same time since they look alike and are bad in similar ways

  60. We’re what, six players short?
    Very disappointing, hard to run with the Hawks with an 8 men rotation…

  61. So after watching what Mike Miller did last year after taking over and what Thibodeau is doing this year without an offseason and largely the same team, Fizdale never gets another job as a head coach, right?

  62. thenoblefacehumper:
    Very Rude and Nasty of the Hawks to play Hunter and Reddish at the same time since they look alike and are bad in similar ways

    Have you checked Hunter’s stats thus far this year?

  63. How in the Hell are we losing this game? I can’t say. The early foul trouble didn’t help…which was the result of playing Knox and him fouling up a storm. At this rate, I am looking at playing Iggy.

  64. KJG:
    They let it get away a bit there.Quick pace is ok but it got a little too wild.

    Too much paint penetration those last few minutes. On offense, we got decent looks but couldn’t get the ball to drop.

  65. With every other team but the Knicks shooting tons of threes, leads can evaporate quickly. This happened against Indiana, as well, but the Knicks took the punch and then counterpunched. Also, it was very notable how strong the Knicks came out in the third in the Indiana game (after coming out of the gate fairly meekly against Toronto). I’d love to see a repeat of their counterpunching from the Indiana game here.

  66. Pelton (paywalled):

    As much emphasis as new coach Tom Thibodeau has naturally put on the defensive end, New York is still giving up the second-easiest shot attempts in terms of location, type and distance to nearest defender as measured by Second Spectrum’s quantified shot quality (qSQ) metric. Yet Knicks opponents are shooting an effective 53% when accounting for the added value of 3-pointers, the league’s third-lowest mark. That spread is unsustainable.

    Really hope the decision makers, including the decision makers divvying out the minutes, understand this.

  67. “Have you checked Hunter’s stats thus far this year?”

    Yeah, i did when we reran last years draft and I was surprised by how solid they were.

  68. Basically we have the starters (including a so so Bullock) a solid Rivers, a not so brilliant today Quickley and a useless Knox…
    They’re playing with effort and commitment, but this doesn’t look promising.

  69. Knox isn’t even useless when he plays like this. He’s a fucking net negative. The entire quarter was fucked from the moment he fouled himself out of it and helped put us in a very early penalty. They attacked him from the moment he entered the game. If the Knicks aren’t going to run plays for this guy to get him open looks at the 3 stripe or cuts to the basket then they might as well play Iggy.

  70. I’m glad the Hawks got rid of that neon yellow and reverted back to their traditional golden yellow.

    Barrett didn’t have his feet under him right for that last 3 attempt.

  71. d-mar:
    Idk I have a hunch Trae is gonna erupt at some point and we’ll be down 15.

    Well Thibs just called TO b/c we’re now down 11. ugh.

    You don’t keep Trae out the paint somehow, you don’t win this game.

  72. 26 minutes for the bench in the first half on the last of a four game road trip isn’t a recipe for success.

  73. Totally wrong lineup right now. Put Randle, Mitch, Rivers. Quickley and RJ on the floor.

  74. They stumbled into modernism in the last five preseason quarters and just abandoned it. Stupid.

  75. And what’s worse is right now, it just looks like the Hawks have more firepower than we do.

    Payton can get into the paint, but without outside shooting it won’t open up enough options.

  76. The Hawks definitely have more firepower than we do

    We need Anthony Mason to rise from the dead and commit a very flagrant foul on Trae.

  77. Without so many rotation players we don’t have the manpower to stay with the Hawks in a shootout.
    We need to play near perfect, errorless basketball to have a chance and that’s hard to do.
    I’m growing a strong dislike for Young :-)

  78. Please try to run a play to shoot an open 3 with someone who isn’t Barrett.

    Please.

  79. atlanta is pretty good and they’re probably one of the best offenses in the league…

    we weren’t taking great shots either on offense… they were falling.. now they’re not…. this is what happens….

  80. We just don’t get enough stops … I see a tired bunch already. We have no 3 ball to get back more easily.

  81. Thibs really needs to mix up his backcourt rotation here to get better 3 point shooting.

  82. I’d be fine with cutting Knox if there’s four more games of this

  83. Well we have the guys on the court now who can shoot from deep. Two good looking offensive sets that gave Knox good scoring opps. Too bad he goofed both of em.

  84. The Infamous Cdiggy:
    Well we have the guys on the court now who can shoot from deep. Two good looking offensive sets that gave Knox good scoring opps. Too bad he goofed both of em.

    It’s really annoying that we waited this long to get that going though.

  85. Knox still dead to me. But how can he shoot it that pure and then be such a donkey the rest of the time.

  86. Ntilakilla: It’s really annoying that we waited this long to get that going though.

    I feel you – I mean there is some risk that Knox (continues to) craps the bed and Quickley doesn’t assert himself enough. But they’ve buoyed themselves a bit here.

  87. The floor must be spread. The floor must be spread. The floor must be spread.

  88. Owen:
    Knox still dead to me. But how can he shoot it that pure and then be such a donkey the rest of the time.

    It’s infuriating. That buzzer beater was Steph-like in the release, but then there’s all the other stuff he does.

  89. SWEET!

    The flip side of playing this shit defensive team of scorers is that they can give up double digit leads real fast, as fast as they gain them.

  90. Knox is like a poker player who gets down to one big blind’s worth of chips and somehow stays in the game

  91. The sinusoidal rollercoaster from Knox gonna blow my brain.
    How could we be down by only four points?
    They just refuse to roll over and lose!

  92. It’s almost as if Thibs waited for the 4th quarter to get IQ involved.

  93. I don’t understand why Thibs never runs his offense to get Knox X amount of open 3 point shots when he’s in?

    He’s good at shooting it and is worthless without it.

  94. Love what Quickley has done but why does he pass on so many reasonably open threes?

  95. Kevin Knox is infinitely infuriating. He passes up the 3 so Randle ends up taking it and then shits the bed on defense.

  96. thenoblefacehumper:
    Love what Quickley has done but why does he pass on so many reasonably open threes?

    Because Thibodeau fucking yanked him after less than four minutes after he put up a so-so 3.

  97. if we didn’t run our fucking offense through Randle…we might actually be a decent offensive unit

  98. Knox is so damn bad, holy shit.

    Young is about as infuriating to watch as Harden is with the endless foul baiting

  99. Bruno Almeida:
    Knox is so damn bad, holy shit.

    Young is about as infuriating to watch as Harden is with the endless foul baiting

    I’d like to punch Young, this call on Rivers was total bullshit.
    In the previous thread I put the Over/Under for him at 15,5 FT… he’s at 14…

  100. Brian Cronin:
    Game of the season for RJ!

    Yeah. His shot was not really falling early on, so he kept driving and now seems to have confidence to hit it from anywhere.

  101. Who was it here that kept insisting the other day that RJ was the same bad player as last season??

  102. Im slowly, slowly starting to unironically believe in RJ and Randle. Quickley definitely belongs too, kid is spicy.

  103. BigBlueAL:
    Who was it here that kept insisting the other day that RJ was the same bad player as last season??

    Probably a Brandon Clarke stan.

  104. No replay on that 3?

    Young is awesome, if they keep calling it he’s going to keep doing it.

    Randle is a dime away from another triple double

  105. I am impressed with how well we’ve played without Mitch. We need to surround him with Randle, Barrett, IQ, and another shooter.

  106. Overall Randle is playing well, but he’s holding the ball and stopping the movement too often tonight. Also, a few times players turned down decent 3s to give the ball to Randle outside. That makes no sense at all because we don’t want Randle shooting 3s if a better shooter had a decent shot.

  107. Have to take Knox out and get Mitch back in pronto

  108. I’m actually annoyed that rivers isn’t looking for Knox in corner. Had him on 3 occasions at least

  109. Quickley’s defensive effort has been so nice. He doesn’t have the size or much strength but he keeps grinding.

  110. He barrels him over here but he also had more possession. You could say he clears him out … I dunno… Collins was gonna travel anyway …

  111. Quickley looks good. He’s not a PG, but it does open up the floor some for RJ and Randle to make some plays

  112. I dont know how you call a foul on Collins there. I mean, he had the ball. Is it a charge?

    But not sure how they overturn it either.

    I am never going to love Randle but he has played great

  113. Quickley is so good at drawing fouls! Young was pretty stupid there, he had to know Quickley was trying to get the foul there.

  114. IQ bogarts fouls with the best of them already lol. Knicks are lucky the refs are ok with it.

  115. I swear to God.

    The one with the most sense on this offense is the rookie.

    Barrett, Randle, Rivers…all making stupid ass passes.

  116. With Gobert and Embiid playing his position I don’t think he’ll have a case, but Mitchell Robinson looks like an All-NBA defender.

  117. 21 threes from the Knicks. I’m glad they stepped up the three ball in the second half. It has been pivotal.

  118. Another very enjoyable game. Can we hold on? IQ and Rivers. Randle and Mitch. RJ!!! This team is balling!

  119. How in any real world where people play for championships did Austin Rivers have to take 2 non guaranteed years from the New York Knickerbockers?

  120. Mitch is simply a force. Wow.
    And with IQ and Rivers and Randle, RJ too, they can score

  121. For the record, if we pull it out this is the kind of win about which I will never, ever complain. Closing out a good team with 3 recent draft picks! And the other 2 guys are signed for next year!

  122. How in any real world where people play for championships did Austin Rivers have to take 2 non guaranteed years from the New York Knickerbockers?

    It was a really weird contract.

  123. 15 games before the NBA fines Thibs for taking his mask off. You taking the over or under?

  124. How cool if Doc’s kid does well for the bockers?

    Oh and they’re holding down a great offense.

  125. THIS IS WHY JULIUS RANDLE SHOULD TAKE HIS ASS UP COURT AND STOP TRYING TO BRING THE BALL UP

  126. The Knicks need to cut that shit out immediately. Give it to Austin Rivers. He is your closer. Not Julius Randle.

  127. Knicks win another game most people put in the loss column before the season. 6 point underdogs. Don’t count out this team! That was a lot of fun. Knicks with the BEST record in NY!

  128. This was a true display of coaching importance. It’s what I was saying early in the first. In a sloppy game, I’m always going to lean towards the team with the better coach, because they keep their team concentrated better. Remember the end of the Pacers game? Thibs makes the right calls and the other coaches, well, don’t.

  129. Thibs. Do not put Bullock into the game over IQ. He is not a good player. He is not a good ball handler.

  130. I think we’ve got a coach that has made the Knicks ballsy and tough.
    This is not a team that rolls over.

  131. Are people really going to tell me the offense isn’t better with this kid out there?

    IQ is our best 1-guard.

  132. calm down guys.. cam reddish to the rescue….

    He did make the big steal, but yeah, in general, he was embarrassing there.

  133. A surprising amount of good stuff early in the season. Thibs deserves immense credit. RJ Barrett looks like he’s on a good trajectory.

  134. Brian Cronin:
    This was a true display of coaching importance. It’s what I was saying early in the first. In a sloppy game, I’m always going to lean towards the team with the better coach, because they keep their team concentrated better. Remember the end of the Pacers game? Thibs makes the right calls and the other coaches, well, don’t.

    Yeah, he’s winning me over. Bold decisions going with Rivers and IQ in the clutch, the team is making a lot of hustle plays, looking for open men (perhaps even too much at times), and they look like they belong with a team that should be just better than us going by their roster and recent play.

    What a fun win, I’ll enjoy this one for what it is.

  135. When was the last time a Knicks game just finished and we can’t wait until they play again??

  136. Poor Cam. He wanted to show up his old college teammate and clanked a wide open dunk instead.

  137. Quickley 16 points on 7 shots in 19 minutes, including the entire 4th, plus-17. I mean ….

  138. Ntilakilla:
    Man, in the third we were down 16 points was it? And won the game?

    They junked the primitive offense and things literally immediately changed. Plain as day.

  139. E, two-way G-Leaguer:
    Quickley 16 points on 7 shots in 19 minutes, including the entire 4th, plus-17.I mean ….

    It looks even better when you consider that Elfrid Payton thought he was prime Andre Miller tonight or something.

  140. the most impressive win of the season… yes bigger than the pacers and bucks….

    randle was pretty beastly… 28/17/9… yes 7 turnovers but this offense really just goes no where without him on the court…. he is the sun and everything else revolves around him… and that’s how it’s going to go this season… he dominated today and we win….

    rj is showing real growth…. success at the free throw line is translating to less hesitancy to shoot mid range shots…. and they’re falling too…. real mature game from him…. 1/5 from 3 is irrelevant if everything else is like this…. that’s why you shouldn’t panic with the 3s… everything else is more important!

    IQ played a real solid game there…. i’m sure most folks will talk about him the most…. the shots are falling… he’s good when they do…. still probably not a pg but there’s more games to evaluate on that front…

    mitch continues to show his presence… should’ve played more minutes but had a humongous stop late against young and collins which was key to victory… we always wondered what would happen if he got real minutes…. this is what happens and it’s real good….

  141. This is the most fun watching the Knicks since the halcyon days of unicorn Pozingus. Thank you, coach Thibs

  142. Give me Frank over Bullock, BTW.

    E, two-way G-Leaguer:
    Quickley 16 points on 7 shots in 19 minutes, including the entire 4th, plus-17.I mean ….

    His actual initials are IQ. That’s too perfect for the type of player he is.

    It would be as if Sam Cassell’s initials were ET.

  143. Quickley with only 1 steal and 1 block so obviously his minutes need to go elsewhere. Looks like he can shoot a little but athletically overmatched. Typical Knicks pick.

  144. RJ was really terrific tonight. Rebounded like a bigman, had 5 assists + no turnovers, and shot well except from 3.

  145. nicos:
    Quickley with only 1 steal and 1 block so obviously his minutes need to go elsewhere. Looks like he can shoot a little but athletically overmatched. Typical Knicks pick.

    lol

  146. E, two-way G-Leaguer: They junked the primitive offense and things literally immediately changed.Plain as day.

    I was told that two games of preseason basketball didn’t prove anything about the offensive spacing though. Glad to see Thibs got a clue by the late 3rd.

  147. IQ played a real solid game there…. i’m sure most folks will talk about him the most…. the shots are falling… he’s good when they do…. still probably not a pg but there’s more games to evaluate on that front…

    He can be good when they don’t fall either. The guy only shot 7 and scored 19 because he’s a free throw machine and a foul drawing magnet. That is so huge for this offense and his game moving forward.

  148. Quickley himself probably described his best role in the NBA, when he said he watches Lou Williams closely. He has a similar feel to his game, a lot of free throws, good shooting, can handle and initiate but isn’t really a pure Point Guard. I mean, if we drafted the next Lou Williams in the late first round I’m very happy with the result.

  149. Sorry if someone mentioned this earlier in the game thread, but I thought of everyone here when Mike Breen brought up how the spacing is different this year and it’s a big part of why the Knicks are able to get into the paint!

    I also loved the small ball lineup with Quickley and Rivers at guards and Randle at the 5. Poor man’s GSW “lineup of death”?

    Also I know you guys hate +/-, but Payton -11, Quickley +17!!!!

  150. Here’s the real question I am surprised no one has entertained yet tonight: who is worse, Knox or Reddish? I dunno which I’d rather have on my team.

  151. I’d say Reddish over Knox, no question. Reddish tries hard on defense, is clearly more athletic and still shoots better statistically than Knox, plus Knox is in his 3rd yeae and Reddish is a sophomore. Knox still looks like a giraffe on skates so often, it’s mind blowing.

  152. Funny how everyone is talking about how the small lineup late in the 3rd and most of the 4th quarter is what won the Knicks the game and why did Thibs take so long to go to it when in the 2nd quarter he went to the exact same lineup and everyone here was killing him for it cause they struggled a bit.

  153. It’s not the “small” lineup. It’s the lineup with competent guards.

  154. Ntilakilla:
    Here’s the real question I am surprised no one has entertained yet tonight: who is worse, Knox or Reddish? I dunno which I’d rather have on my team.

    Well Reddish is definitely better looking…

  155. Quickley doesn’t look like a real PG to me.

    Personally, I don’t think it matters all that much as long as we are getting good spacing and penetration either driving or dumping the ball into the post. We are getting our assists by committee. To me, we are playing a superior game of basketball this way anyway. The only problem is that Randle is a little frustrating as a point forward because he holds the ball at times and almost always commits 1-2 really boneheaded TOs per game. If he would hold it less, dribble it less, and do a little better with the TOs, he would be playing great basketball. When you are being asked to do as much as he is you are going to have more TOs than someone that’s just spot up shooting or whatever, but he’s still a little over the top.

    I think we need an upgrade over Bullock in the starting lineup. I don’t want Burks in that job. I’d rather Burks score off the bench. I’m not sure who it should be but we want a defender that can shoot the 3.

    It’s hard to believe we are 4-3 doing it mostly on the road while so short handed some nights. The coaching and attitude of the players has been awesome. It’s nice to have a TEAM.

  156. Invisible 6th man pulls through for the Knicks again! Fun win. Knicks have been shooting the lights out, hope it keeps going for a while.

  157. Quickley at the point puts more playmaking responsibility on Randle and RJ or whoever the other guard is. I don’t think it’s as easy as saying he’s the obvious choice over Payton, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is some nights. We should try him in some other lineups too-put him out there with Payton instead of Bullock and slide RJ down to SF.

  158. I’m not sure why everyone is so down on Knox tonight. He wouldn’t be a rotation player on a good team, but he looks better to me. His starting point was just very low. But last year he improved his defense a bit and I think overall he’s a little better this year. It’s just a long path from where he was to becoming a solid rotation player. Give it more time. He’s not going to be star, but he can still be a good basketball player.

  159. Deeefense: I’m not sure why everyone is so down on Knox tonight. He wouldn’t be a rotation player on a good team, but he looks better to me.

    Thibs played 8 tonight. Noel was out. Burks and Obi are coming back. Something’s gotta give and Knox is the low man on the totem pole.

  160. Bruno Almeida:
    Quickley himself probably described his best role in the NBA, when he said he watches Lou Williams closely. He has a similar feel to his game, a lot of free throws, good shooting, can handle and initiate but isn’t really a pure Point Guard. I mean, if we drafted the next Lou Williams in the late first round I’m very happy with the result.

    Which is why I was on-board as soon as I read his draft profile. We can absolutely use a Lou Williams who can defend.

  161. Getting excited about RJ Barrett…but trying to keep it measured.

    I don’t even know what to say about Julius Randle. I thought he was an awful pick by the Lakers and never liked his game (although I did covet Larry Nance Jr.) He’s my least favorite archetype, the undersized PF, because even when they’re great (Barkley) or very good (Elton Brand), the defense tends to suffer. Yeah, Randle has too many turnovers and needs to stop handling the break, but otherwise he’s making me a believer. Thibs is clearly a damn genius.

  162. Z-man:
    Obi is like an afterthought…

    There are some Vucevic/Mo Bamba vibes there. But here’s a thought: if Randle keeps up this play, it affords Obi to be brought along more slowly – which isn’t what any of us had in mind, but can be beneficial.

  163. The Infamous Cdiggy: Which is why I was on-board as soon as I read his draft profile. We can absolutely use a Lou Williams who can defend.

    Yeah, a 90% free throw shooter who can get to the line and shoot 3s efficiently is always going to be useful if it translates to the NBA level, and so far it has been very nice. A Lou Williams who plays defense is an all-star player for sure, of course it’s early and IQ has a long way towards getting there, but the super early returns are quite promising.

  164. Here’s the real question I am surprised no one has entertained yet tonight: who is worse, Knox or Reddish? I dunno which I’d rather have on my team.

    Oh, you take Reddish over Knox seven days a week and twice on Sundays. Reddish is a legitimately decent defender. That’s something.

  165. I don’t even know what to say about Julius Randle. I thought he was an awful pick by the Lakers and never liked his game (although I did covet Larry Nance Jr.) He’s my least favorite archetype, the undersized PF, because even when they’re great (Barkley) or very good (Elton Brand), the defense tends to suffer. Yeah, Randle has too many turnovers and needs to stop handling the break, but otherwise he’s making me a believer. Thibs is clearly a damn genius.

    What’s funny is that I loved him as a pick for the Lakers. I thought he was a steal. And then he was terrible. I then thought he would be a good free agent signing for the Knicks on a reasonable deal and then they signed him to a reasonable deal and he was terrible. So yeah, I have been in on Randle for a long time and he hasn’t given me much, so I was out on him after last year, but hey, he’s sure showing something now!

  166. Fair warning, RJ and Randle are currently #1 and #2 in the league in minutes per game. In that regard at least, Thibs seems incapable of changing.

  167. We have a back to back this Sunday and Monday. If Thibs plays Randle and RJ 40+ minutes in both those games then I’ll be worried.

  168. d-mar:
    We have a back to back this Sunday and Monday. If Thibs plays Randle and RJ 40+ minutes in both those games then I’ll be worried.

    Hopefully Burks and Obi are back.

  169. MJG1789:
    Getting excited about RJ Barrett…but trying to keep it measured.

    I don’t even know what to say about Julius Randle. I thought he was an awful pick by the Lakers and never liked his game (although I did covet Larry Nance Jr.) He’s my least favorite archetype, the undersized PF, because even when they’re great (Barkley) or very good (Elton Brand), the defense tends to suffer. Yeah, Randle has too many turnovers and needs to stop handling the break, but otherwise he’s making me a believer. Thibs is clearly a damn genius.

    Randle is moving much better this year. He’s made more good interior rotations in 7 games than he made all of last season. He’s not going to block shots but he’s been getting into people’s chests in the paint with his arms up which is a real improvement. For me the most encouraging thing is he’s doing his damage at the four rather than as a small ball five- He and Mitch are co-existing, at least for the moment.

  170. Can’t get mad at the minutes Thibs is playing Randle and RJ when we have so many guys out. We had Iggy, Theo Pinson and someone named Jared Harper available.

  171. I was just about to write what DRed said. I’ll just add that the alternative was Knox. Nuff said. I’d rather they played 48 until Burks and Obi get back.

  172. During that sequence at the very end where the Knicks turned it over twice I actually thought, Cronin!

    Check the tape but I think that was a very questionable time to write “Good Win”

    These minutes totals are nuts. Fine, RJ is getting extra seasoning but we are going to run Julius Randle into the ground. NBA players shouldn’t be cramping in the first ten games of the season. Maybe he had to but it won’t end well.

    The Julius Randle point forward experiments had some ups and downs. Him trying to get it over the timeline was a remote in the tv moment. But whatever, he’s playing great and I look forward to enjoying his play until he pumpkins.

    It would be lovely if we could find a guard who combines IQs shooting, foul rate, and ft percentage with Elfrid’s obsession with dishing assists to the best lob target in basketball. IQ was great bit doesn’t have that much chemistry with Mitch.

    It’s too early in the season to get frustrated with RJjs jeckyll and Hyde routine. Right?

    Great win and I am happy about the flattening of odds so I can properly enjoy this one.

    Finally, I don’t know how I feel about a guy comping himself to Lou Williams. The problem being I don”r think I have ever known how I feel about Lou himself

  173. Knox should have a sign on his chest that says “Drive on me”

    going through the thread – had to stop and laugh for a minute at this though…ha…

  174. Totally wrong lineup right now. Put Randle, Mitch, Rivers. Quickley and RJ on the floor.

    really nice early call jazzfunk…that turned out to do the trick…

  175. Say what you will but Lloyd Pierce blamed the loss on those two Knox threes (or maybe one of Knox’s and RJ’s). That little stretch were Knox hit his two and I think RJ and Quickley had one each probably was the turning point- they looked tired and ready to pack it in and head home but that run definitely gave them a second wind.

    Have to say these last two were really enjoyable wins- seeing the Knicks out-execute teams down the stretch (the last thirty seconds notwithstanding) is very strange and wonderful and something it would be very nice to get used to.

  176. Say what you will but Lloyd Pierce blamed the loss on those two Knox threes (or maybe one of Knox’s and RJ’s). That little stretch were Knox hit his two and I think RJ and Quickley had one each probably was the turning point- they looked tired and ready to pack it in and head home but that run definitely gave them a second wind.

    Yeah, those were big threes by Knox. He definitely has had stretches this year where he briefly looks like a Knoxak out there. The problem, of course, is that he defends just like Novak. Possibly even worse, as he’s a bit harder to hide on defense.

  177. Austin Rivers has been beyond clutch already for the Knicks.

    3 years at 10 million…that’s crazy…

    I hope there’s nothing really going on between nerlens and thibs…no doubt thibs seems to come across as a cold hearted dick, but, if you wanna play, increase you value (without an outside shot, very difficult) and possibly win this year, gotta suck it up nerlens…

  178. I’m hoping it really is an injured ankle. The timing of that tweet, though, is super suspicious.

  179. Too early to go with the Quivers nickname for this closing backcourt?

    I’m interested to see what quickley and burks look like together closing out games…

    Quirks :)

  180. geo: 3 years at 10 million…that’s crazy…

    I hope there’s nothing really going on between nerlens and thibs…no doubt thibs seems to come across as a cold hearted dick, but, if you wanna play, increase you value (without an outside shot, very difficult) and possibly win this year, gotta suck it up nerlens…

    We really need Nerlens as a backup defensive presence. Randle has been good on D this year, but playing him at C for any extended stretch is not going to end well.

    If Nerlens doesn’t work out, I guess O’Quinn is available… not sure who else we could pursue at this point.

  181. This game turned around in the Knicks favor when Thibs started playing IQ over Elf.

    Payton: 14 points, 18 shots, /- of -11
    Quickley: 16 points, 7 shots, /- of 17

    That should tell you all you need to know about the difference of what the two brought to the game.

    I will continue to beat the drum to get IQ in the starting lineup to space with Mitch, Randle and RJ, especially if they’re insisting upon starting Bullock at the 2.

  182. Terrific job by Tom Thibodeau in finding the 113 points needed to win Fulton County, Georgia.
    — Dolan J. Trump (@Dolan_J_Trump) January 5, 2021

    Tweet of the year so far (okay, it’s only january 5th)

  183. Slept and rewatch the game before writing, trying to quell live emotions.

    It had some ugly moments but what a win.

    Shorthanded, road weary, down by 15 with less than 5 min remaining in the 3rd, they looked gassed and heavy-legged but refused to surrender, took heavy blows, got up from the mat, fought back, scratched and clawed.

    The final score could have been different, my opinion would’ve been the same.

  184. Randle played Good Julius, still sowsTOs around but he’s raised a couple of notches in def intensity and he’s rebounding ferociuosly. Couldn’t buy a three but shot really well from 2.

    RJ has a good game all-around. for the second game in a row stayed in the flow and helped on the board with gusto. I think his steady defensive effort is underrated.

    Mitch did intimidate everyone, I lost count of the shots he altered with his mere presence. He’s learning how to be decisive even with less blocks int the boxscore and how to play without fouling too much. Next game will be vs Gobert, a real litmus test for his growth.

    Rivers is fearless, for the second game in a row he sank a three in a cluth moment. When he and Quickley share the backcourt the game feels completely different, it’s good to have two guards to be reckon with from 3 on the floor at the same time.

    Quickley’ s FTs are a Supreme Court’s sentence, he plays like a 10 year veteran, takes shot with a swagger and try on defense. Is he a PG or a SG? Doesn’t matter, he’s a real player and that’s more than enough. I wrote some positive things about him yesterday and I was wrong, because he’s even better then I wrote.

    Payton started well and the reversed to… Payton, unable to shoot and open the floor, Know sank a couple of very important threes at the end of the 3RD that cut ATL lead to 4. Bullock… let’s just say that I want Burks back asap.

    Thibs is showing every single game what a real coaching staff can do. Was he perfect? No, but just like at Indy he was able to adjust on the run. Ask Fizdale to do the same and watch the look on his face afterward.

    Is everything perfect? No, not even close, we’re still a bad team, but Injured players will be back and some players will be less squeezed.

    We’re going to lose a lot of games, but I doubt it will be for lack of trying and for me is impossible not to root for this this guys.

    For this team and fanbase it’s already a big progress.

  185. That was such an enjoyable game to watch – thankfully I had stuff to do during the beginning of the 3rd when we apparently played like crap, was able to pick the game back up with about 8 minutes to go, which seems like it was the right time.

    Guys – I hate to say it but it’s possible, just possible, that Julius Randle is good, and that we should consider him as a longer team piece of this team. 28/17/9 on 19 shots, not to mention some huge rebounds and defensive plays down the stretch – there’s no doubt that through this small sample of 7 games that he is one of the big stories in the NBA so far. (quibble on the 9 assists last night — if you go through them on nba.com probably 5 of them are extremely friendly on the part of the ATL scorekeeper, which might explain why Trae Young has 100000 assists every game too). The give and go with RJ in the 4th was just a beautiful 2 man game – and it certainly does seem they are developing some sort of chemistry. Obviously the 7 TOs are no bueno, but some of those really do seem to be overpassing.

    Good stat – currently Julius is 6th in the league in points generated off assists per B-R. Currently he is behind Jokic, Trae, Westbrook, CP3, and Lebron, and in front of, well, everyone else. And remember he had 14 potential 3-point assists in the Toronto game alone – the game where the Knicks shot historically horribly from 3 point range.

    One other quibble – what in the world was that lineup to close the very end of the game. How do you not have actual guards (not wings or Julius Randle) on the court to receive passes to ice the game at the line? Those 2 TOs by Randle and Bullock really could’ve cost us the game.

    And Quickley — my dear IQ you are making me forget baby Frank.
    Obviously the smallest of samples but he has 30 points on 14 FGA, a TS% of 79.6, and FTR 0.786. Thibs can continue to start Payton if he wants, but the writing is on the wall.

  186. The interesting thing about Randle is that in today’s NBA, he could be considered a dinosaur as a non-floor-spacing PF, or could be considered a mismatch (in a good way) because he will literally just beast a lot of teams that try to go small. There is no way dudes like Deandre Hunter (who looked pretty damn good last night) will be able to guard him. Even tall 4s like Porzingis have had tons of problems with him, and he just came off 29/14/7 against DPOY-caliber Giannis.

  187. So .. I ended up getting Quickley at 25-1 for RoY right after preseason… he was 50-1 and then dropped immediately to 25 after those cleveland games… only other guys with those odds or better were essentially top 6 or 7… everyone else was 50 … I know its gonna be a tough hill to climb but if he gets more minutes like last night and fills up the stat sheet with a little more balance, I think i have a shot… someone lie to me…

  188. Meanwhile – (very) early returns on KD and Wall coming back from Achilles injuries — wow.
    KD’s stats are basically indistinguishable from pre-tear, and Wall is averaging 24p 5r 7a per-40 with a (so far) career-high TS of 55.6 playing next to Harden.

  189. That was the most fun I’ve had watching the Knicks since 2013. It’s amazing how watchable they can be when they play the damn kids and let the dominos fall where they may.

    I go back and forth on RJ so often I can’t pretend to have any solid opinion about how he’ll turn out at this point, but when you watch a game last night it’s hard to imagine him not becoming a good player. Most of his shots were more or less in the flow of the offense, and he’s pretty damn good at determining when he can use his strength advantage to get baskets that wouldn’t necessarily be there for a lot of other players. He feels like the definition of a “heady” player and he’s a lot of fun to watch right now, even with the more-than-occasional ofers.

    I truly think Mitch being able to stay on the floor is the second biggest factor in our success (behind only Julius Randle becoming Nikola Jokic). His numbers are actually popping less than they normally do, but his presence on the floor for borderline starter’s minutes seems to disrupt a lot of our opponents’ preferred offensive sets. I just hope he doesn’t get frustrated with the lack of touches (we could still stand to toss the ball in his general direction more often).

    Speaking of which, this might be blasphemous but as long as IQ gets a generous helping of minutes I still don’t mind sticking with Payton in the starting lineup. At the end of the day they have very different skillsets and it’s not crazy to think it makes some sense to start the game with a traditional point guard. In fact they have such different skillsets I wouldn’t mind getting a look at lineups that feature both. I still think there will be some rough patches for Quickley. He settles for the floater a lot and is oddly hesitant to shoot, but don’t get me wrong, the dude is on pace to silence the doubters myself very much included.

  190. The thing I see with RJ… and I feel like I’ve seen it mostly on this blog lately… is that we actually don’t really rag on him other than on nights when he’s shooting bad… the guy is out there playing 40+ minutes a game and he either gets resounding praise, or we’re mad at his FG%… sorta tells me that he’s probably doing just about everything else pretty damn ok… which has to be a good thing

  191. thenoblefacehumper: I still think there will be some rough patches for Quickley. He settles for the floater a lot and is oddly hesitant to shoot, but don’t get me wrong, the dude is on pace to silence the doubters myself very much included.

    He needs to shoot that 3-ball when he’s got space to do so. Way too many pump and drive without a real plan.

  192. If Nerlens doesn’t work out, I guess O’Quinn is available… not sure who else we could pursue at this point.

    We preferably need a PF/C, but we do need another big man anyway. We could do way worse than KOQ.

  193. heavencent35:
    Maybe we all need is a good coach. Funny how we had horns, fisher, mr triangle and frizdale in the last few years

    I mentioned this recently, but Thibs is validating the vision of Steve Mills and Scott Perry. (That isn’t to say Rose hasn’t made his contribution; he surely has, starting with Thibs.)

    Here’s the thing, though:

    Mills and Perry reacted the free agent class that saw Brooklyn and LAC capitalize on being respectable. They came up with a plan: become respectable, and capitalize on the 2021 free agent market. But they fucked it up royally with the Fizdale hire.

    Rose has come in and course corrected, BUT…

    the free agent class is gone, so now what?

  194. Let’s think it through… Thibs gets this team to it’s ceiling and beyond… say it’s a playoff team, and maybe even one who can win a round if they get lucky… what happens next?

    It’s hard to see how we capitalize on it in free agency in 2021 or 2022. And after that we’ve got to pay Mitch and Barrett, and either pay or move on from Randle, so we’ll eliminate our flexibility. We’re playing ourselves out of stud draft picks, barring incredible Giannis/Kawhi-like fortune.

    This isn’t the usual “to tank or not tank” argument… it’s *when* to tank or not tank. I believe the respectability rebuild is a valid path, but it needs to have a sterling free agent in mind, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    We should have been building something like this leading up to the Durant/Kawhi free agency period. We zagged when we needed to zig. Now we’re doing this when there’s paltry free agent classes coming up, and the best way forward is through the draft. We’re zigging when we should zag.

    I know it’s nice to have good basketball, but is this the road to be on?

  195. TheOakmanCometh:
    Fair warning, RJ and Randle are currently #1 and #2 in the league in minutes per game. In that regard at least, Thibs seems incapable of changing.

    This is nothing to worry about yet.

    We’ve been missing our backup PF for awhile now (Obi) and last night both our backup Cs were out. If you have a chance to win, Randle is going to play a lot of minutes. Once Obi is back Randle will play fewer minutes.

    There’s less of an excuse for playing RJ as many minutes, but you need some scorers on the court at the same time that can create for themselves to be really effective. With Burks out, RJ is going to have to play more minutes. If Quickley keeps playing like this and we can depend on him to do some scoring and then Burks is back, I think Thibs will find some lineups where we have enough scoring even with RJ on the bench.

  196. Quickley does seem to have a tendency to pump fake a lot, which is nice if he can draw a foul, but as opponents learn how he plays it becomes a liability. But then again, it’s his 3rd career NBA game so it’s a miniscule sample size.

    The most exciting thing about Barrett is that there is a clear road map towards him becoming a very good NBA player: improve his 3 point shooting, continue to get better at the line and get there 6-8 times per game, work hard on defense. These are all realistic propositions, it’s not like Knox or Ntilikina that have to get better at 80% of what it means to be a basketball player to become good.

    He’s already an above average rebounder, a decent passer and seems to understand the game well enough. That’s a good baseline to have for a 20 year old.

  197. Hubert: I know it’s nice to have good basketball, but is this the road to be on?

    With all due respect, the best way forward is to have a good basketball team, develop good players, and have a strong front office. There are literally 0-2 “can’t-miss no matter how bad your team is” prospects in each draft, and even the worst team in the league has only a 27% chance of getting one of the top 2 picks and only a 40.1% chance of getting a top 3 pick. In order to be the worst team in the league, you necessarily have to have bad players and a bad coaching staff, unless you are going to go Hinkie and force your team to be bad by trading away good players and signing/drafting injured players. Is that really the road we want to go down?

    Right now it seems Cade, Suggs, and Mobley might be the top 3, and then maybe some of the G-league Ignite guys, but there’s literally a 48.1% chance that the worst team in the league will be picking #5.

    I think I am done with hoping the lottery balls come out our way, especially when the odds are literally stacked against winning. It seems much more sustainable to build the way the Heat and Jazz did or even the Warriors with back-half of lottery picks like Steph/Klay/Barnes – with focus on player development and strong coaching/FO.

  198. Let’s think it through… Thibs gets this team to it’s ceiling and beyond… say it’s a playoff team, and maybe even one who can win a round if they get lucky… what happens next?

    It’s hard to see how we capitalize on it in free agency in 2021 or 2022. And after that we’ve got to pay Mitch and Barrett, and either pay or move on from Randle, so we’ll eliminate our flexibility. We’re playing ourselves out of stud draft picks, barring incredible Giannis/Kawhi-like fortune.

    This isn’t the usual “to tank or not tank” argument… it’s *when* to tank or not tank. I believe the respectability rebuild is a valid path, but it needs to have a sterling free agent in mind, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    You are thinking “too much”. :-)

    We have no idea how good some of our young players are going to get yet, who is going to demand a trade and suddenly become available (or when), how we can use our draft picks to move up in a future draft, who will be available in free agency in 2022, 2023, 2024 etc..

    We aren’t going to go from where we are now (a bad team that’s playing over its head so far due to great coaching) to contenders in a year or two. It’s going to be a process where we finally make the playoffs, have some success in the playoffs, are considered a team no one wants to play in the playoffs, to hopefully a serious contender. We are very young. It’s going to be years. The idea is to just keep improving the young players, keep improving the quality of the players on the team, keep improving the way we play together, and keep making ourselves more attractive, If opportunities present themselves we want to be in the conversation because we are good and have the assets to get a deal done.

  199. We should have been building something like this leading up to the Durant/Kawhi free agency period. We zagged when we needed to zig. Now we’re doing this when there’s paltry free agent classes coming up, and the best way forward is through the draft. We’re zigging when we should zag.

    The problem is that we didn’t tank at all leading up to the KD/Kyrie free agency until the season directly before it. We tried to win as many games as possible using players who would not be here if Durant chose us. I’ve posted the minutes leaders from those years before–they were guys like Carmelo Anthony and Courtney Lee. We also never, ever took on surplus picks during those years. We were adding one mediocre pick to the team per offseason and calling it a day (and of course, blowing those picks badly even with their position taken into account).

    Overall, between the flattening of the odds and there being so much season left to play I’m still not really worried about what you’re describing even if I think it’s a fair concern. If this group really does lead us to the playoffs (I still doubt it) there will have been so much good play from guys we have long-term it really should change our calculus.

    Besides, for once in my god damn life we have a lot of quantity in this deep draft (our pick/Mavs pick/Pistons’ second/Hornets’ second) such that the possibility of landing a diamond in the rough is higher than usual.

  200. Hubert, I just don’t think we should worry about it. The Knicks have sucked for 20 years. If the Thibs has set us on a path where we are a playoff team every year, good enough to get to the second round, our moment will come.

    People are so obsessed with maximizing the potential ceiling of their team through lottery picks and lining up the peak windows of all their players that they would rather suck and get a lottery pick than be a competent, enjoyable basketball team.

    Miami never tanks and just went to the Finals. The Lakers turned a team of first round picks that wasn’t even a playoff team (not all lotto picks, no stars) into Lebron and AD.

    RJ, Mitch and Quickley are all under 22. That right there is you’re starting Center, SF/SG and SG/PG for the next 8 years. Randle is 26. You can resign him if you want or hope to develop Toppin as his replacement.

    We have two first round picks this year and two in 2023.

    The league is full of great players picked later in the draft. And when you have extra first round picks, you can always use one to move up some spots if there’s someone you really want to target. We also have lots of second round picks and our franchise historically has found great players later in the draft.

    Every year there are superstars who want to get out of their current situations and teams looking to dump a star and start over.

    The vets we have on this team besides Randle are all on super cheap contracts. The better we play, the more value our players have which means the more likely we are to be able to trade them for future assets or throw them into a trade for a star and the other team won’t feel like they’re getting garbage players. Then there is free agency. the better we are, the more likely we are to attract them at a good price.

  201. Miami never tanks and just went to the Finals. The Lakers turned a team of first round picks that wasn’t even a playoff team (not all lotto picks, no stars) into Lebron and AD.

    Well this ain’t it. The Heat went 25-57 to draft Wade and the Lakers traded two #2 overall picks and the #4 overall pick for AD. The latter at least are a shining example of the benefits of tanking.

  202. Side note: if you told me 7 games into the season we’d be very satisfied with the play of our young guys and Obi Toppin would have nothing to do with it I would’ve been shocked. It sure would be nice if that guy could also be good!

  203. With Thibs and this coaching staff, we can expect competent play season after season. In Chicago they were pretty much always a 50 win team even when they had injuries. NYC should be a destination too. That has always been a selling point past regimes have tried to use in free agency. The problem is that it isn’t a selling point if the team sucks because no one wants to play here if we’re bad. But all things equal, NYC should be a deciding factor. If a free agent is deciding between The Pacers and The Knicks and both are playoff caliber teams, most players would probably rather live in NYC.

    And the thing is…RJ, Mitch, Quickley (not even mentioning Toppin right now)…these dudes have miles of improvement ahead of them. They are just scratching the surface. So we shouldn’t put a ceiling yet on what a team with them as the core is capable of doing. Mitch develops a mid range game, a corner 3, some post moves…RJ learns to hit threes at a respectable rate…Quickley improves his PG abilities…the sky is the limit.

    Try to enjoy this part. This is the beginning. Besides going all the way and winning it all, this RIGHT NOW is the most enjoyable part. Watching a new team with youngsters figure it out and put it together. Worrying about some ceiling in 2 or 3 years… the world may not even be here then. Life is too short and the Knicks have sucked for too long to worry about that!!!

  204. With all due respect, the best way forward is to have a good basketball team, develop good players, and have a strong front office.

    Yes and no.

    Yes, that’s the best way to move forward. But the point isn’t to move forward, it’s to move forward towards the ultimate goal. You don’t want to move forward only to run out of gas 30 miles away from your destination.

    The best way — no, the ONLY way — to reach the end is to have at least one top 10 player on your team. IMHO, a front office’s first and only job should be figuring out how to acquire one without giving up the farm.

    I believe in the respectability rebuild. I’ve advocated for it in the past. I just think it needs to have a free agent in mind. Right now, players are taking themselves off the market. And there’s a reason for it… revenues are going to dwindle, and 30% of the cap ain’t gonna be what it used to be. We’re likely headed towards an interruption in the era of “there’s a new batch of superstar free agents every two years”.

    Timing is everything. This is not the right time to try this strategy. But I don’t think the Knicks think like that. Forward is enough for them.

  205. Dude, are you really bringing up Dwade when talking about Miami going to the finals in 2020?

    There is no DWade connection at all to this current Miami iteration.

    And yes, the Lakers had top picks that they traded. Were any of them considered real stars in the making? Ingram is good but he’s not a star and neither is ball. If anything those two examples only highlight how even the top 5 of the lotto is not a sure thing for star players.

    The Lakers had a nice collection of young players that they cashed in for AD. It doesn’t matter where they were drafted. If Ingram and Ball were drafted late in the first round but were the same caliber of players when they were traded to NO, it wouldn’t have changed the package that NO got from them. Once a player starts to play actual basketball their trade value is based on how they play, not on where they were drafted (for the most part).
    Did Orlando give up the farm to get Fultz?

    If Ingram and Ball were actually considered superstars in the making, the Lakers would have had to put together a much smaller package for AD.

  206. Definitely sad I missed out on this one last night.

    One thing I haven’t seen commented about that I think is important: Most of our wins have been close games and that’s great for building confidence in the young guys. You need to learn how to play in close games to be able to eventually win in the playoffs.

  207. With Thibs and this coaching staff, we can expect competent play season after season. In Chicago they were pretty much always a 50 win team even when they had injuries. NYC should be a destination too. That has always been a selling point past regimes have tried to use in free agency. The problem is that it isn’t a selling point if the team sucks because no one wants to play here if we’re bad. But all things equal, NYC should be a deciding factor. If a free agent is deciding between The Pacers and The Knicks and both are playoff caliber teams, most players would probably rather live in NYC.

    Hubert’s point is that “competent play” is not the ultimate goal and that the free agents you’re referencing are increasingly ceasing to exist. I think it’s a fair point.

    I also think it’s premature to worry about our draft position at 4-3 with a pythagorean record of 3-4, the number of picks we have in this draft insulates us a bit from the harshness of picking outside the top-10, and if you stay flexible and keep accumulating assets there’s a good chance you’ll be rewarded with something like a surprise trade request. So I’m not as worried as him.

  208. Bruno Almeida: The most exciting thing about Barrett is that there is a clear road map towards him becoming a very good NBA player: improve his 3 point shooting, continue to get better at the line and get there 6-8 times per game, work hard on defense.

    Yes, and I’m becoming increasingly confident he will get there. I see some leaps in RJ Barrett’s future.

  209. And the thing is…RJ, Mitch, Quickley (not even mentioning Toppin right now)…these dudes have miles of improvement ahead of them. They are just scratching the surface.

    +1

    As a fan, I’d much rather watch “our” guys develop into a playoff team than watch KD or Kyrie (or whomever) is brought in to “win now.” Draft, draft, draft. Overachieve.

  210. It truly isn’t a “Should we be optimistic or pessimistic at this stage of things?” discussion until Jowles turns up to ruthlessly mock the optimists for paying too much attention to small sample sizes. Until then, it’s all for show.

  211. There is no DWade connection at all to this current Miami iteration.

    I mean, seems a little contradictory to talk about how winning begets winning and the importance of culture etc. and then turn around and say the Heatles era had no effect on, say, Butler’s decision. In any event I was just correcting your assertion that the Heat never tanked. They actually did twice–once for Wade and once for NCAA legend Michael Beasley.

    And yes, the Lakers had top picks that they traded. Were any of them considered real stars in the making? Ingram is good but he’s not a star and neither is ball. If anything those two examples only highlight how even the top 5 of the lotto is not a sure thing for star players. The Lakers had a nice collection of young players that they cashed in for AD. It doesn’t matter where they were drafted. If Ingram and Ball were actually considered superstars in the making, the Lakers would have had to put together a much smaller package for AD.

    I don’t get where you’re going with this at all. Ingram and to a lesser extent Ball are good players, and yes it’s quite possible the trade wouldn’t have worked out if the Lakers’ picks were lower, and thus they did not have good players.

    Brandon Ingram, by the way, is coming off a 24-6-4/.587 TS% season and in many ways looks even better this year.

  212. The debate is not tanking vs. non tanking.

    The debate is tanking for a single season when it seems appropriate (which imo we did correctly to get KP and then to get RJ when KP got hurt) and then using all means available to improve (including draft) vs. the 76ers model of actively trying to be bad for several years to maximize picks and draft position for as long as it takes to get some stars.

    You can do it either way.

    There are no guarantees either way, but one is certain to take 6-8 years to draft and develop the right kids (and could be even longer if you draft poorly like some teams). The other can turn it around faster with COMPETENT management, development, and coaching.

    I prefer the latter and I think we may finally have the right management and coach in place to pull it off. We’ll see.

  213. Yes, and I’m becoming increasingly confident he will get there. I see some leaps in RJ Barrett’s future.

    This is one of the reasons I’m less concerned than you are–Barrett juuuuuuuuuuuust might be the droid we’re looking for.

    If he becomes a ~5 BPM guy, we nail the 2021 draft, Mitch keeps Mitching, and we get production from IQ and Toppin all of the sudden even the guys left in free agency present a viable path to contention.

    You don’t need to tell me how unlikely all of those things occurring is, but all teams have an unlikely path to contention and I wouldn’t say that roadmap is crazier than most others.

  214. With all due respect….competent play is the goal…for now. You have to crawl before you can walk and there is not a single championship team that goes from bottom dweller to championship contender without going through the necessary steps in between. Worrying about a theoretical ceiling that this team has in a few years at this point is ludicrous. Worrying about being too good to get a top lottery pick is a loser’s mentality. I’m tired of being losers. Ask Sacramento how all of their lottery picks have worked out. Is Philly a sure fire contender after processing? The only reason they were a shot away from being a championship team is because of Jimmy Butler, who bailed on that team cause he saw they weren’t legit.

    And every year stars want out. You have no idea what RJ Barrett’s ceiling is. Or Quickley. Or Toppin. Or how good our 2 first round picks next year will turn out to be no matter where we draft them. You have no idea what magic our FO will pull with FA signings or trades once we get to the level of legit playoff team.

    Quit lamenting over lotto picks other losing teams get to pick. There is no one way to build a contender. Worrying about it now when we’re just starting to put together a competent basketball team is so foolish.

  215. swiftandabundant: People are so obsessed with maximizing the potential ceiling of their team through lottery picks and lining up the peak windows of all their players that they would rather suck and get a lottery pick than be a competent, enjoyable basketball team.

    I’m not one of them.

    But I don’t want to start a journey if it seems clear to me it will come up short. I’d rather spend more time acquiring the tools I need to finish the journey.

    I actually love what Thibs is doing with the team, I just think it’s happening one year too soon. If we had nailed our lottery pick*, hit on another one in 2021, and started next season like this, I’d be doing back flips.

    * part of my math is the assumption that we whiffed on Obi Toppin. I can definitely be wrong about that. If he can become Julius Randle and allow us to trade Julius Randle for a haul this offseason, it changes the equation drastically. I’m just really skeptical.

  216. I also think it’s premature to worry about our draft position at 4-3 with a pythagorean record of 3-4, the number of picks we have in this draft insulates us a bit from the harshness of picking outside the top-10, and if you stay flexible and keep accumulating assets there’s a good chance you’ll be rewarded with something like a surprise trade request.

    This is what I’m holding out for. Seems like 1-2 superstars demand a trade each season and the best way to get them is with a package of 1sts and/or quality young players. If the Knicks keep accumulating assets (like trading Burks for a late 1st at the deadline) they’ll be in pole position to scoop up a disgruntled star. This seems like a more viable path than relying on FA’s or getting lucky in the lottery.

  217. Ball and Ingram are good players. Are they considered superstars? How long have they been in the league now?

    My point is that once they were drafted, they were traded in the AD package based on their play in the league. If they were sure fire stars, the lakers would have kept them or wouldn’t have had to include both of them (plus multiple first round picks) to get AD.

    They didn’t process. They sucked, got some picks, had a collection of young players that they cashed in for AD. For comparison, with the way we’re playing now, we could probably do the same with RJ, Mitch and Quickley if we continue to be a 500 team. It wouldn’t matter than Mitch was a second round pick or Quickley was a late first round pick. They would be traded based on their production as players.

  218. The Knicks are probably trying to take the Utah Jazz model (which is why we stole their top scouting executive and their player development coach) and pull it off with the big city pull that SLC would never present. We already have the 3rd overall pick from the 2019 NBA Draft on our roster, and he’s beginning to look like a real stud you can build sustainable success around. I’m already salivating at the idea of IQ, Cade, and RJ at positions 1-3, but a guy like James Bouknight or Ayo Dosunmu could be sitting there in the latter half of the lottery as well.

    You have to believe in the formula if you’re Leon Rose. You let Walt Perrin identify the talent, trust Kenny Payne and Johnny Bryant to develop the talent, and get Tom Thibodeau to scheme up gameplans that put them in position to be successful. If that means we’ll be drafting later, I hope it also means we’ll be getting guys like Jrue Holiday instead of Jerian Grant, OG Anunoby instead of Iman Shumpert, Shai Gilgeous Alexander instead of Kevin Knox, and Luke Kennard instead of Frank Ntilikina.

  219. As for tonight, I’m more optimistic Bob will be posting again than I am that we’ll win.

    Crow is delicious!

  220. From the time we first drafted Barrett I thought it was pretty clear the only thing between him and becoming an all star was a 3 point shot and defense. He was immediately kind of crafty around the basket, could create his own shot off the dribble, was not afraid of the big moment, could pass and make plays better than the typical SG/SF and rebounded well for the position. I was a little worried about defense, but he showed last year that wasn’t going to be an issue. It’s a matter of patience for him to develop the skills he already has and use them better. To take that big leap though, he’s needs to be more reliable from 3 (and of course better shooting around him will specifically help him get to the basket)_ There was almost no way he was going be a bust or bad player unless he was a terrible defender (which he is not). When people were talking him down, I thought hat was crazy talk. It was way premature given the position he was in last year with no space and terrible coaching as a rookie.

  221. I actually love what Thibs is doing with the team, I just think it’s happening one year too soon.

    I do understand where you’re coming from, but as Strat was saying for so long, it is also important to have the kind of team a FA agent would want to join. (Of course, he missed the part about the wins coming from players who would still be there rather than mercenaries, but the point is still valid.) We haven’t been a destination in forever, so having cap space but no allure because we’re a clown show hasn’t worked out well for us.

    Combine that fact – you do concede no major FA has wanted to come here, yes? – with the reality that tanking doesn’t improve your odds much, and our young players are contributing heavily to our wins, and Rose has shown that at the very least he’s assembled a good development staff and smart FO, and I’m totally happy with everything I’m seeing. I don’t know how we make the leap down the road from playoff team to contender (RJ won’t be enough on his own), but we’ll be in a position to do so, and absent the good luck of being terrible for one more year, this year, when the draft is stacked, it’ll have to do.

  222. Ask Sacramento how all of their lottery picks have worked out. Is Philly a sure fire contender after processing? The only reason they were a shot away from being a championship team is because of Jimmy Butler, who bailed on that team cause he saw they weren’t legit.

    Well, Sacramento would probably feel a lot better about their position if they outsourced their 2018 big board to the median Knickerblogger poster, and Philly is 6-1 with the 2nd highest SRS in the league despite Colangelo taking a battering ram to their position.

    Ball and Ingram are good players. Are they considered superstars? How long have they been in the league now?

    I have no idea where you’re going with this. It seems fairly straightforward to me. They are good players who the Lakers got at the very top of the draft. They were able to make them key pieces in the AD trade because they are good players. If the Lakers had lower picks they might not have gotten good players.

  223. Well this ain’t it. The Heat went 25-57 to draft Wade and the Lakers traded two #2 overall picks and the #4 overall pick for AD. The latter at least are a shining example of the benefits of tanking.

    Correction – these are two great examples of tanking before the lottery odds flattened.

    When the new lottery odds came out I thought it wasn’t enough of a disincentive to tanking, but I think I’ve changed my mind now.

    Prior to 2019, the worst team had a 25% chance at #1 and a 64.2% chance at a top 3, and was guaranteed a top 4 pick.

    Now the worst team has a 14% chance at #1, a 40% chance at top3, and a 48% chance at #5. It’s just a completely different scenario. In 2016 the Lakers actually moved up. If they had stayed at 4 they may have picked Dragan Bender, or at #5 they could’ve chosen Kris Dunn (actually they would’ve lost their pick altogether as part of a Sixers trade) but it was absolutely pure luck for them. In today’s lottery, they would’ve been heavily favored to pick worse than 4th, and AD would be elsewhere (I don’t think Bender or Dunn would’ve been the centerpiece of an AD trade).

  224. swiftandabundant: Worrying about a theoretical ceiling that this team has in a few years at this point is ludicrous.

    If you wake up on a sunny Saturday morning, but the forecast says 99% chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon but clear skies all day tomorrow, would you pack a picnic basket and take your family to the park on Saturday, or would you wait a day?

    Your attitude is the equivalent of being at the park on Saturday, reveling in a moment of sunshine, saying “this is great, worrying about rain is ludicrous,” while the storm cloud begins to gather above you.

    My attitude is “maybe we should wait until Sunday.”

    To be clear, I intentionally chose this analogy because forecasts are often wrong. I am playing a dangerous game with probability. It may be better to move forward with an improbable plan. Saturday could be a great day, and maybe it’s better to have two nice hours and get rained on than to wait a day and your plans could get ruined by something unexpected.

    There is something to be said for simply moving forward. It’s a macho, alpha male style… “we’ll smash any obstacle that comes our way.” But that’s not me. I’m a meticulous path plotter. And I just don’t see this one getting to the end.

  225. Hubert, sure you need top 10-20 players to be good, but you also have to go through a logical process before worrying about that. We were the laughingstock of the NBA for most of the last 20 years. We are in phase 1 of like a 5-step process. Rose has thus far executed it very well…not perfectly, but at least logically sound.

    -I wasn’t super-excited about the Thibs hire because of the timing, but he’s clearly a top-notch coach and is embracing this team for what it is. It is turning out to be a brilliant move.
    -Sometimes it’s what you don’t do that deserves the most credit. The patience and restraint that Rose showed in free agency this year is also turning out to be brilliant. We are winning without CP3 or Westbrook or Hayward or FVV or any other big fish. We have cap space galore now and going forward. We have decent 1-year players on bargain basement contracts who help now and are trade assets at the deadline. Our longer-term deals are also great value (Randle, Rivers). And that’s as much because of what we didn’t do as what we did.
    -drafting-we can quibble about the process and the choices, but you’d have a hard time finding a Knicks fan that isn’t super-excited about Quickley. As to Obi, the early returns are worthy of skepticism but let’s wait and see…and I don’t give a shit about the #33 pick being traded for a future pick. It’s a petty quibble.
    -Rose is in charge, but there’s an actual organization with experts in every facet of team management and coaching. They keep their mouths shut and work. (okay, Wally and Stoute suck, but besides that…)

    So keep doing shit like this and the top-10 type players will come. All in good time.

  226. Hubert’s point is that you should aim for a top 1-2 pick this year – and so in order to do that, you probably have to rehire Fizdale, trade Mitch/RJ/Barrett/Randle, play Knox/Harper/Iggy/Payton, and even THEN, you only have a 27% chance of a top 2 pick. It’s just not tenable.

    Meanwhile, even if you trade all our good players, the chances you’re getting an unprotected #1 from a team likely to be bad for any combination of them is probably very low.

  227. Seems like the discourse has jumped right past the “is this team actually decent” question and on to the “what are the repercussions of this team being actually decent” question which still seems very premature to me. Our opponents are still under 30% from 3 for the season and even with that we’re at a negative net rating. Everyone is locked in on all the guys performing better than expected offensively and yet the offense is only 24th so far, a bit better than expected, but obviously not what’s carrying the team. Pretty much the entirety of this surprising start is built on the backs of opponents missing open shots. Maybe Thibs is doing some clever stuff that will make some of that sustainable, but I still think by far the most likely outcome is we’re looking back in 60 games and laughing at the idea that two weeks of bad opponent 3 point shooting was going to derail this team’s tank.

  228. We should probably wait until we have a good basketball team before freaking out about it. We’ve gotten lucky with teams shooting poorly against us. Randle isn’t going to hit 40% of his 3s all year. Immanuel Quickley is probably not going to finish the year out with a 796 TS%. We don’t have a good traditional point guard, etc. We might be better than we expected though.

  229. Also, I get the need for KBers et. al. to question the minutae of Thins’ coaching/lineup decisions. Frankly, it comes of as petty nitpicking. No one, I mean, no one predicted that we’d be 4-3 right now, and that even our losses would involve 2-3 quarters of inspired basketball. The guy has literally pushed all the right buttons. If he listened to the quibblers here (most of whom forget about the decisions they railed about that turned out to be correct in retrospect) we would have nowhere to go but down.

  230. To be clear, I intentionally chose this analogy because forecasts are often wrong. I am playing a dangerous game with probability. It may be better to move forward with an improbable plan. Saturday could be a great day, and maybe it’s better to have two nice hours and get rained on than to wait a day and your plans could get ruined by something unexpected.

    There is something to be said for simply moving forward. It’s a macho, alpha male style… “we’ll smash any obstacle that comes our way.” But that’s not me. I’m a meticulous path plotter. And I just don’t see this one getting to the end.

    Are you meticulously plotting us into a plan that has a really low chance of working out?

    As far as I can tell, and maybe djphan or others can help with this, even in what is considered a really good draft, there is probably only 1 even sub-Lebron-level franchise changer in this draft – Cade Cunningham. Evan Mobley looks like a really nice player, but he’s a center that doesn’t pass like Jokic and doesn’t have the physical upside of AD. Jalen Suggs looks nice but isn’t Chris Paul. Everyone else is probably at best a 2nd best player (ie. maybe a top 20 player, not a top 10 player) on a good team, which is great, but isn’t likely to be the 1st best player on a good team.

    We are not Indiana or Memphis or Utah. Players will want to play here. Free agency is still a possibility even if the 2021 class is soft now, and without a doubt, trade is a possible route to a true #1.

  231. I wonder how many games it takes before the “we’re lucky because our opponents are shooting poorly from 3” narrative becomes “our opponents are shooting poorly from 3 because of our defense…”

  232. A couple of posters are missing a key point. Strat, rama, swift, et al are saying this team will be attractive to free agents. I agree. But you’re not doing the next step, and looking at the free agents likely to be available.

    My whole point was that this was a very good path to be on when the free agent classes of 2021 and beyond looked robust. Now all those guys are lining up to sign extensions before the cap shrinks, and you’re acting like they’re still gonna be available.

  233. Z-man:
    I wonder how many games it takes before the “we’re lucky because our opponents are shooting poorly from 3” narrative becomes “our opponents are shooting poorly from 3 because of our defense…”

    I mean this may be the case but the answer is definitely more than seven. Did you see the Pelton stat yesterday (before last night’s game) that the Knicks were giving up the 2nd easiest shots in the league based on location, type and defender distance? I’m not ruling out that Thibs is just magic, but given that he failed to work any of this magic in Minnesota and that we’re talking about seven games here it seems more than a little premature.

  234. Frank: Are you meticulously plotting us into a plan that has a really low chance of working out?

    Nope.

    I know I’ve typed a lot so I forgive you if you overlooked something I said, but way up there I said that all successful paths to an NBA championship have one thing in common: a top 10 NBA player.

    What I’m saying is that the first thing we need to do is plot a path to that player. That’s a plan that historically has a really high chance of working out.

    My opponents in this argument are saying “just move forward, play competently, let the rest take care of itself.” That’s the path that has a really low chance of working out. There is a chance, I’m not denying it. It’s just very improbable.

  235. Hubert: A couple of posters are missing a key point. Strat, rama, swift, et al are saying this team will be attractive to free agents. I agree. But you’re not doing the next step, and looking at the free agents likely to be available.

    But what convinces you that they aren’t doing that? What makes you think that Rose and his staff are sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a top-10 player to drop out of the sky? It’s a dubious assumption at best, and a false narrative to suit one’s own purposes at worse.

  236. I wonder how many games it takes before the “we’re lucky because our opponents are shooting poorly from 3” narrative becomes “our opponents are shooting poorly from 3 because of our defense…”

    some of it may be real, but a big chunk of it is the plainly luck. we know this because the absolute best teams in 3p% allowed for each of the last 3 yrs have sat around 34pct we are currently at 29.5pct. and we know that 3pt is extremely volatile in modest samples like 7 games.

  237. We should probably wait until we have a good basketball team before freaking out about it. We’ve gotten lucky with teams shooting poorly against us. Randle isn’t going to hit 40% of his 3s all year. Immanuel Quickley is probably not going to finish the year out with a 796 TS%. We don’t have a good traditional point guard, etc. We might be better than we expected though.

    This is really all that needs to be said right now. We are having a purely theoretical argument. My hunch is we finish with a win total in the high 20s, which is more than the low 20s I predicted before the season but probably doesn’t move the needle on our lottery prospects much.

  238. Glad to see Hubert’s joined the band on wondering about the path forward. It’s like we spend all of our time around here cosplaying GM and then at literally the very first sign of some kind of development we all have to abandon that and just revel in the improvement from putrid to kind of not terrible/OK.

    The road forward to me in to phase out Payton and Randle and just ride with the youngsters and wherever it takes you it takes you. If it takes you to the lottery, great, you have a lottery pick; if it takes you to the playoffs, fantastic, you have a young home-grown nucleus that’s already playoff-caliber.

    This doesn’t mean literally never playing Payton or Randle, but it does mean taking away their main roles in the offense as the guys trying to get into the paint and spreading and modernizing the offense like we saw in the Final Five preseason and the fourth last night. If he accepts that he’s not going to be a frequent ball handling point forward, Randle has usefulness. He was waving off IQ last night and that’s just not right and has to change.

  239. Z-man: Hubert, sure you need top 10-20 players to be good, but you also have to go through a logical process before worrying about that.

    Correct.

    I’m questioning the logic.

    I think recent histoty is quite clear: becoming respectable is a fast path to a superstar free agent.

    But the key to that strategy is the availability of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leoanard, Giannis, et al.

    The question I asked – and again, it was a question; it’s not a hill that I’m dying on – is:

    how does this work when there is no superstar free agent on the 1-2 year horizon?

    The key to the calculus is that the Knicks think they hit a home run with Obi Toppin. If he’s the goods, you can build up Randle’s value all season, make the playoffs, trade him for a haul, and let Obi step in and take his place. At that point, who cares if you miss out on a great pick. But I’m very skeptical of Mr Toppin.

    One of the other moves I would make, if we’re going this route, is re-signing Burks instead of trading him for a pick. He’s a fine player. I think of him as a potential Covington in the process (not that he’s as good as Covington, but in the sense that he was worth eschewing draft picks to sign at a team-friendly long term deal).

  240. I just can’t get down with tanking the way I used to after watching Zion Williamson and Ja Morant go to teams that went 33-49 and had the 8th and 9th best lottery odds that year, the Lakers with 11th best odds got the 4th overall pick, and then the Charlotte Hornets with their 9th best lottery odds ended up picking 3rd the following year. No matter how you slice it, losing on purpose isn’t an apt strategy since those odds got flattened. I absolutely love the NBA draft and that rookie scale contracts are your best opportunity, but I also won’t be crying if we end up with Moses Moody at 7th overall instead of Jalen Suggs at the 2nd or 3rd overall pick.

  241. This doesn’t mean literally never playing Payton or Randle, but it does mean taking away their main roles in the offense as the guys trying to get into the paint and spreading and modernizing the offense like we saw in the Final Five preseason and the fourth last night.

    That those are the only two guys on the team who have shown they can regularly get into the paint and spread the ball around is one of the problems with our team. RJ has looked better at playmaking this season than last, which is one of the most promising things about the early season so far. Rivers and Frank have a bit of playmaking ability. Idk, maybe you could cobble together a small ball offense out of say Mitch, RJ, Frank, Austin and IQ running Mitch pick and rolls with shooting and secondary playmaking around it.

  242. Frank: Hubert’s point is that you should aim for a top 1-2 pick this year – and so in order to do that, you probably have to rehire Fizdale, trade Mitch/RJ/Barrett/Randle, play Knox/Harper/Iggy/Payton, and even THEN, you only have a 27% chance of a top 2 pick. It’s just not tenable.

    Yeah, that’s not my point.

    I’m trying to figure out what this front office’s end game is. Right now, I think it’s just “get to the middle and pray.”

    And I understand why a lot of people would be ok with that. Last night was really fun. I was legit jumping off my coach. I’m just trying to see where this can go.

  243. it’s really too soon to make too many judgements about this draft…. the top flight guys might be great… although it’s still possible for them to be overrated….a few bad games recently from cade and mobley… so we need to see more.. but i don’t think cade is lebron at all… he’s more steve smith right now..

    the only thing definite is that if all the top freshman declare this will be a really deep draft…. ending up in the lottery will net you an opportunity to draft someone that probably would’ve gone top 5 or even top 3 in this year’s draft… most of whom are SG types… some SF….

  244. LOL only Knickerblogger fans can see their Knicks go 4-3 playing exclusively playoff caliber teams and worry about the ramifications of not tanking for an extra season upon a hypothetical title run down the line.

  245. Hubert, I think characterizing it as get to the middle and pray is missing the point.

    A good team usually has a life of anywhere from 4 to 8 years, depending on how young the players are when they start getting good. Randle is 26. He can play at or near this level (if no major injury happens) for probably 5 years if we’re being conservative and maybe 8 more years if we’re being generous.

    RJ, Mitch and Quickley are still like 4 years away from the beginning of their peaks and are all ready contributing to wins now. Its impossible to know what their ceilings are despite what people claim to know based on stats from the previous year. We don’t even know what we really have in Toppin yet.

    I won’t talk about Frank or Knox cause I think both are most likely bench pieces and may or may not be part of the team’s long term future.

    Guys like Elf, Rivers, Burks, Bullock…they are replaceable. I mean we were able to sign them for cheap contracts when we were shitty, shouldn’t we be able to get similar players at a similar price to replace them if we need to?

    We have 5 first round picks over the next 3 years. If we don’t get a lottery pick this year, we could potentially package some picks to move up if we really want to. Or we can just pick our first rounders and develop them. Giannis, Kawhi, Gobert, Butler, Jokic were all picked later in the draft. YEs, a top pick is nice but its not required to pick stars and we can find plenty of top 5 picks who didn’t pan out.

    I just think its foolish to be have tunnel vision on the lotto because we can be potentially be a playoff team this year. Randle, Elf, Burks and Rivers might be a big part of that but RJ, Mitch and Quickley will also be a big part of that. And Randle, Elf and Rivers aren’t OLD. They can play at this level for the foreseeable future. We aren’t playing 500 ball off the backs of Melo and Rose.

    As long as we don’t overpay our main pieces and keep our picks and develop the players we…

  246. I should also add that while the free agent class next year and the year after may not look as good as it did a few months ago, we are only a few years away from dudes like JA, Zion, etc…becoming free agents.

    Maybe Zion would want to come to NYC and team up with his old Duke teammate in a few years. Maybe Ja wants out of a small market in a few years and come to the big city. Maybe things fall apart in Dallas and Doncic wants to come to NYC? There is a whole new generation of young players in the next 3 to 6 years who will be stars and who might want to leave their current situations. And if we’re good, they will consider us. And if we have Thibs coaching us, we can most likely expect a base level of competency that will make us attractive.

    I’d love a lottery pick. Maybe we get it when Dallas misses the playoffs and none of this matters.

  247. Ntilakilla:
    LOL only Knickerblogger fans can see their Knicks go 4-3 playing exclusively playoff caliber teams and worry about the ramifications of not tanking for an extra season upon a hypothetical title run down the line.

    I’ll take it a step further: Only Hubert would do that! No one else is doing this except me :)

    As a friendly reminder, my job is to create meticulous financial plans for the remainder of a person’s life. I project to the penny how much you will likely retire with if your 11 year old son goes to Brown vs if he goes to SUNY-Binghamton.

    (Obviously that is a fool’s game, as no one can predict anything with that much precision, but if you run enough analyses you can usually tell with confidence if someone can meet their goals or needs to adjust something. If I did a Monte Carlo on the Knicks current path, my opinion is it would say you need to make some adjustments. And committing time to a plan that needs adjustment usually has dire consequences, so I think about this shit very, very early.)

  248. “Crow is delicious!”

    Watch it, buddy.

    Early returns seem to be in, and while Randle is playing out of his mind, Mitch is Mitching, RJ is showing a big jump, and Quickley has us all warm and fuzzy, the early MVP of the season clearly is… Invisible Sixth Man!

  249. Hubert: I’m not one of them.

    But I don’t want to start a journey if it seems clear to me it will come up short.I’d rather spend more time acquiring the tools I need to finish the journey.

    I actually love what Thibs is doing with the team, I just think it’s happening one year too soon.If we had nailed our lottery pick*, hit on another one in 2021, and started next season like this, I’d be doing back flips.

    * part of my math is the assumption that we whiffed on Obi Toppin. I can definitely be wrong about that. If he can become Julius Randle and allow us to trade Julius Randle for a haul this offseason, it changes the equation drastically. I’m just really skeptical.

    Julius Randle is going to be on an expiring contract after his option exercise date passes. At that point, he ain’t bringing back a haul. The only chance there is that he brings back anything like a haul is if the team getting him gets two postseasons out of him. At that price point at that time, he definitely has value, although he’s still a bit of a high-maintenance niche guy.

  250. DRed: That those are the only two guys on the team who have shown they can regularly get into the paint and spread the ball around is one of the problems with our team.RJ has looked better at playmaking this season than last, which is one of the most promising things about the early season so far.Rivers and Frank have a bit of playmaking ability.Idk, maybe you could cobble together a small ball offense out of say Mitch, RJ, Frank, Austin and IQ running Mitch pick and rolls with shooting and secondary playmaking around it.

    Spread the floor and run RJ/Mitch and IQ/Mitch pick and roll. At that point, Randle becomes secondary and you barely need Payton. The “let’s bomb the paint and turn everything into a mosh pit” offense is unsustainable and primitive and we saw that — yet again — last night. Under no circumstances should that be even the near-term future.

  251. Hubert: A couple of posters are missing a key point. Strat, rama, swift, et al are saying this team will be attractive to free agents. I agree. But you’re not doing the next step, and looking at the free agents likely to be available.

    But what convinces you that they aren’t doing that? What makes you think that Rose and his staff are sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a top-10 player to drop out of the sky? It’s a dubious assumption at best, and a false narrative to suit one’s own purposes at worse.

    Hubert: The question I asked – and again, it was a question; it’s not a hill that I’m dying on – is:

    how does this work when there is no superstar free agent on the 1-2 year horizon?

    Thanks for clarifying. The general point is that you don’t want to put the cart before the horse. As to acquiring the top-10 types, some luck has to be involved…a top player becoming disgruntled or a lucky draft pick (even if you abjectly tank, you could wind up with Okafor or Russell or Ayton or Bagwell or Noel…or RJ) falling into your lap. What you can control in the meantime are a) coaching staff b) cap management c) non-star personnel d) scouting and drafting e) asset acquisition and f) PUBLIC RELATIONS (we are currently trending in the most positive light possible and have knocked the Nets off the pedestal for the time being…that in and of itself is huge, however temporary and illusory our current success might be.). So the focus right now should be on the things you can control.

    My larger point is that you shouldn’t assume that they aren’t thinking 24-7 about how to find stars, either now, next year or beyond. My guess is that they are consumed with it…just quietly and internally.

  252. swiftandabundant: I should also add that while the free agent class next year and the year after may not look as good as it did a few months ago, we are only a few years away from dudes like JA, Zion, etc…becoming free agents.

    they’re becoming restricted free agents. We’re not getting Ja or Zion via restricted free agency.

    One guy we could get in restricted free agency played last night, though. The Hawks don’t seem to want to pay John Collins fair market value. A good asset-multiplying move could be to auction Randle off following a strong season, and replacing him with the younger, floor-stretchier Collins.

  253. Z-man: The general point is that you don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

    And I would say my general point is don’t ride the horse if he can’t go the distance.

  254. This occurred to me as I scrolled through this extraordinary thread.
    The Knicks beat the Pacers, Cavs, Bucks and Hawks, all good teams, playing strong D.
    But the tankers out there are commenting on the tank…

    Thibs already has shown he can develop our young players, which bodes well for when Toppin returns.
    We have seen improvement out of Barrett, Robinson, Quickley, and even Knox. Randle is playing at another level. Alec Burks and Austin Rivers look very solid. I don’t see any problems from Noel. We are still suffering a kind of PTSD. We see something that triggers us…and we’re off to the negative races.

    This doesn’t feel like fool’s gold, like Stat’s huge season start, or Linsanity. It feels like this team has a plan. It feels like this coach understands how to run a team and has the stature to hold players accountable. This team doesn’t collapse at the first sign of trouble. I had a feeling that Thibs would change the nature of the team, that they would reflect his toughness. It is playing out that way. MSG will be a tough place for teams to play this year.
    We have a potential DPOY (Robinson), a possible first or second team all star or two (Robinson and Randle) and maybe a potential rookie of the year or at least a stable of very young, potentially very good players. I know it’s early. But none of it feels fluky. When Thibs says Robinson is on the rise, when he says IQ and Alec can shoot, you can cash it.

    Ntilakilla:
    LOL only Knickerblogger fans can see their Knicks go 4-3 playing exclusively playoff caliber teams and worry about the ramifications of not tanking for an extra season upon a hypothetical title run down the line.

  255. Hubert: And committing time to a plan that needs adjustment usually has dire consequences, so I think about this shit very, very early.)

      

    The Knick FO should be thinking and obsessing over these things as we speak. After all, it’s kind of … you know … their job.

  256. No one is saying to “tank.” I personally am saying I don’t ultimately want marginal wins on the backs of mercs. I wouldn’t count last night’s as that, although I would like to see reality and actuality faced and the offense and personnel turned into what it was in the fourth quarter. The constant arguments about Elfrid Payton just need to be put in the rear view mirror. You aren’t accomplishing or winning anything with the guy. He’s pointless.

  257. E, two-way G-Leaguer:
    No one is saying to “tank.”I personally am saying I don’t ultimately want marginal wins on the backs of mercs.I wouldn’t count last night’s as that, although I would like to see reality and actuality faced and the offense and personnel turned into what it was in the fourth quarter.The constant arguments about Elfrid Payton just need to be put in the rear view mirror.You aren’t accomplishing or winning anything with the guy.He’s pointless.

    I think you are missing the point and calling it pointless. Payton was signed by the prior FO on a 1 1 deal. He opted out and came back on a deal at half the salary!

    Noel is getting paid at or below market value.

    Burks is getting paid at or below market value.

    Rivers is on about as team-friendly of a deal as is possible.

    Randle is getting paid WELL below his actual market value and could indeed be a part of the future if he keeps playing this way, but only at the right price. There is zero indication thus far that the Knicks would grossly overpay for him. They haven’t overpaid a single player yet, unlike Mills who overpaid Portis, Gibson, Ellington, and originally Bullock in one fell swoop (not to mention TH2, Hardaway, Lee, etc.).

    So they are re-branding the FO as shrewd, clever, slick… which is a monumental task. They are relevant and competing with the Nets for the back pages of the tabloids rather than being punching bags and laughingstocks. You can’t do that without so-called mercs unless you want to overpay vets on longer-term deals. You would either be 0-7 on the backs of young players getting their brains beaten out and losing confidence with every game, or back in cap hell with CP3 or Westbrook eating up 40 % of the cap.

    You may not agree with this path, but the logic behind it is far from pointless.

  258. But none of it feels fluky.

    According to my back of the envelope math if the Knicks were 20th in 3 point shooting against instead of 30th we’d be 28th in Net Rating instead of 18th. And that’s not even accounting for any positive spillovers from having your opponents miss shot after shot (i.e. more transition opportunities to keep our offense afloat).

    I don’t think people are registering the extent to which the only thing in the Knicks start that has mattered in terms of driving winning is our opponents missing 3s.

  259. To be clear…I do not want Elf here long term. I would LOVE to see Quickley take over the starting spot sooner than later and Elf be relegated to back up bench role. And I’d love Elf and Bullock to be shipped out at the deadline (maybe throw in DSJ too) for some future assets even if its just second rounders.

    But Randle…I think we should think long and hard about trading him for a future first rounder. Dude is 26. He is entering his prime. We will not get a lottery pick for him because teams that suck don’t trade away their lottery picks usually. So any pick we get for him probably won’t be as good as Randle is for the next 5 years and we wouldn’t know that for a few years with that pick anyways. Randle himself was the 7th pick in his draft. And if we extended him after next year we would get him during his peak years and maybe he’d be the centerpiece in a future trade for a superstar. I think what holds people back about that is Toppin. If we keep RAndle then people will lament that we drafted Toppin and that is far. But Toppin could still be valuable as a trade piece himself and hey, sometimes your draft picks don’t work out. And we could always wait to extend Randle after next season to see if Toppin can be his replacement or not.

  260. How soon we forget what marginal wins on the backs of mercs really means. Remember when we sold the house for the corpses of Camby, Thomas, Sheed, Kidd, KMart, etc. to grind out one second-round exit?

  261. Are you suggesting the Knicks D has nothing to do with opponents missing threes?

    Sure, there have been some open misses, but I see a lot of contested threes, a lot of Knicks players flying around. Hell, we win the other night when Robinson blocked a three.

    And you saying the Knicks are winning when opponents miss threes in today’s NBA is like saying the Knicks only win because they score more
    Points. I mean, come on. The three is ubiquitous. Of course the Knicks win when opponents miss threes…

  262. But like, we’re missing 3’s sometimes too, right? If our opponents are bound to hit more of their open 3’s, aren’t we as well?

    You miss open shots sometimes. Its part of the NBA. We missed a ton of shots against The Raptors. Does that win not count for the Raptors? Nope. Its a win for them and a loss for us.

    When you play good defense, your opponent will miss more shots. They will even miss shots when they’re open because you’ve made them work for it and even on possessions where the defense isn’t good and they get that open shot, they’re more likely to miss it because they’re surprised that they’re open. If a shooter gets an open shot and hesitates or thinks about it for even a milisecond, that can make them miss a shot they would normally make. If you play great defense to open the game and they miss lots of shots early, they can get into their heads the whole game. If you make your opponents work hard on offense the entire game, they could be tired later in the game and miss open shots.

    Apparently this concept is really controversial.

  263. I keep seeing comments about how this start could be considered fluky because of all the Knicks’ opponents’ missed 3s. However, at what point do you say “this is good 3 point defense” instead? How can you even really parse that out, besides having a larger sample size?

    Edit: Posted my comment at the same time as the two comments above me! :-)

  264. Frank O.: Are you suggesting the Knicks D has nothing to do with opponents missing threes?

    No, not nothing, which is why I regressed them only to 20th instead of to league average. But okay, assume the Knicks are an elite team in terms of shutting down opponent 3 point percentage. I don’t personally buy that at all and if you look for season to season trends in the stat you’ll have a very hard time coming to any conclusion other than opponent 3 point shooting is basically randomness, but just assume it. As ptmilo pointed out above the % our opponents are shooting isn’t even comparable to what 30th in the league looks like over a full season – last 3 years 30th in the league has been right around 34%. If you regress the Knicks even just to that level instead of 28th in Net Rating they become…27th.

  265. Obviously that is a fool’s game, as no one can predict anything with that much certainty

    This is the smartest part of your post. The rest is noise.

  266. Again… saying the Knicks are winning when opponents miss threes in today’s NBA is like saying the Knicks only win because they score more points. I mean, come on. The three is ubiquitous. Of course the Knicks win when opponents miss threes…

    This year, the three makes up points scored 34.2% of the time on average. Last year the average was 32.8%. Three of the Knicks wins were against teams in the top half of the league in scoring associated with the 3.

    of the teams the Knicks beat, 3 point scoring makes up 35.5% of their overall scoring. Knicks get about 30% of their scoring from the three.

  267. Z-man:
    How soon we forget what marginal wins on the backs of mercs really means. Remember when we sold the house for the corpses of Camby, Thomas, Sheed, Kidd, KMart, etc. to grind out one second-round exit?

    The “mercs” on this team have a purpose, too, and generally their presence supports player development rather than detracts from it. RJ, for instance, benefits from having Randle and Burks next to him instead of Frank and Knox.

    This is a thoughtful, well put together team that I could see finishing anywhere between 7 and 10. I’m really just wondering if now is the best time to be putting such a team together. It feels like we’re following the Clippers/Nets blueprint two year too late. Kinda like when Amar’e braided his hair after NBA players had clearly stopped doing that years ago.

  268. The Knicks currently in this small sample are ranked sixth in defense in the NBA in terms of points allowed.
    They are ranked No. 4 in terms of 3 pt allowed. Source: https://www.lineups.com/nba/team-rankings/defense
    They rank 3rd in terms of opponent FG% and 1st in opponent 3pt%.

    Again, small sample, but ball don’t lie.

    thenamestsam: No, not nothing, which is why I regressed them only to 20th instead of to league average. But okay, assume the Knicks are an elite team in terms of shutting down opponent 3 point percentage. I don’t personally buy that at all and if you look for season to season trends in the stat you’ll have a very hard time coming to any conclusion other than opponent 3 point shooting is basically randomness, but just assume it. As ptmilo pointed out above the % our opponents are shooting isn’t even comparable to what 30th in the league looks like over a full season – last 3 years 30th in the league has been right around 34%. If you regress the Knicks even just to that level instead of 28th in Net Rating they become…27th.

  269. Hubert:
    A couple of posters are missing a key point.Strat, rama, swift, et al are saying this team will be attractive to free agents.I agree.But you’re not doing the next step, and looking at the free agents likely to be available.

    My whole point was that this was a very good path to be on when the free agent classes of 2021 and beyond looked robust.Now all those guys are lining up to sign extensions before the cap shrinks, and you’re acting like they’re still gonna be available.

    At least I’m not alone. In the moment this is definitely fun but unless one of our guys is way better than I think he is or we get insanely lucky and draft a superstar player later in the draft we have a pretty hard cap on our ceiling.

  270. Frank O.:
    Again… saying the Knicks are winning when opponents miss threes in today’s NBA is like saying the Knicks only win because they score more points. I mean, come on. The three is ubiquitous. Of course the Knicks win when opponents miss threes…

    This year, the three makes up points scored 34.2% of the time on average. Last year the average was 32.8%. Three of the Knicks wins were against teams in the top half of the league in scoring associated with the 3.

    of the teams the Knicks beat, 3 point scoring makes up 35.5% of their overall scoring. Knicks get about 30% of their scoring from the three.

    The point you’re missing is 3P% is a noisy stat. It’s very easy to have 4 games of your shot falling while the other team’s doesn’t. That could be great defense, that good be great luck.

    If the Knicks are holding opponent’s 3P% to a league low level after 50 games, you can be damn sure everyone here will attribute it to defensive scheming.

  271. Again… saying the Knicks are winning when opponents miss threes in today’s NBA is like saying the Knicks only win because they score more points. I mean, come on. The three is ubiquitous. Of course the Knicks win when opponents miss threes…

    If all you’re trying to say is 3 point luck matters for every team then yes I agree. So far we’ve been the luckiest team in the league, and at a level that’s so far beyond any kind of “normal” level that it’s driving the vast majority of the results we’re seeing so far. That’s my only point and if you want to use these seven games to try to understand how good this team is going to be over the full season that’s probably something you’d want to know unless you intend to just roll 6s all season long.

  272. Frank O.:
    The Knicks currently in this small sample are ranked sixth in defense in the NBA in terms of points allowed.
    They are ranked No. 4 in terms of 3 pt allowed. Source: https://www.lineups.com/nba/team-rankings/defense
    They rank 3rd in terms of opponent FG% and 1st in opponent 3pt%.

    Again, small sample, but ball don’t lie.

    If the argument you’re trying to make here is “the Knicks D has been really good statistically therefore we should believe the incredibly extreme opponent shooting #s we’re seeing” you have the causality there entirely backwards.

  273. I have this awful fear that when our opponents start making 50% of their 3’s that we might lose a few games. That would be catastrophic.

  274. Is a 4-3 record after seven games for this Knicks team really all that surprising?

    Seems to me that it’s pretty much in line with what most folks here were expecting from a Thibs-coached team. From the moment he was hired, the general consensus was that Thibs is a “win-now” coach who would go balls to the wall to squeeze every possible victory out of a decidedly mediocre roster. Seven games in, that forecast appears to be well on track given the unsustainable over-reliance on his two most productive players (JR & RJ who, absurdly, lead the NBA in minutes played) Couple that with the fact that many of the league’s better teams (ie those that made the bubble last year) are still dealing with the after effects of coming back from the shortest offseason in NBA history and are likely treating the first month of the regular season as a glorified preseason. So a 4-3 record looks to be just about right.

    Sure these seven games have been a whole lot of fun but it does have the feel to me of the November KP season in which the Knicks also posted some improbably fun early wins against superior competition. I suspect it won’t be long until this all comes crashing back to earth, much as things in that season did. I’m skeptical that Randle the Candle will continue to burn this brightly for another 60 games, particularly not at these minutes. And unless RJ’s TS% magically everts to above his mean, then I’m not really seeing how he might carry this team to all that startling an improvement over the Mike Miller Knicks. The wild cards, of course, are Obi & IQ. If they go on to outplay the rather meager expectations we had of them on draft day, then this team could conceivably find itself on the fringes of the playoffs/lottery. Is there any doubt as to which way Thibs would lean should that come to pass? This is precisely the worst case scenario that some of us had envisioned at the time Thibs was hired.

  275. and we know that 3pt is extremely volatile in modest samples like 7 games

    The evidence suggests we do not know that

  276. Ntilakilla: This is the smartest part of your post. The rest is noise.

    And I changed it. I changed the word certainty to precision. You can make predictions with extreme certainty. I’m going to slide into Margot Robbie’s DMs later to prove it.

  277. Thibs arrived here with a reputation for having stout defensive teams that challenge the 3 and pressure the ball.
    I expected this team under his leadership to be tougher on D. So far, we have seen extraordinary effort on the part of the Knicks beginning to end to defense and pressure and when they break down, the coach quickly intervenes with a time out.

    Will the Knicks be a top 10 defensive team this year? Maybe, maybe not. But based on the evidence to date – the Knicks defensive performance, their effort and Thibs’ history, etc – this doesn’t feel fluky. And some of the teams the Knicks have beat are among the better 3 point teams in the NBA, so far this year, small sample.

    Anything seven games in will be noisy. All I have are statistics and what I can see on the court and the history of a particular coach.

    But boiling this down to the Knicks win because the other team has a bad 3point shooting night seems pretty flimsy. But time will tell. I never underestimate the Knicks’ ability to disappoint. lol

    thenamestsam: If all you’re trying to say is 3 point luck matters for every team then yes I agree. So far we’ve been the luckiest team in the league, and at a level that’s so far beyond any kind of “normal” level that it’s driving the vast majority of the results we’re seeing so far. That’s my only point and if you want to use these seven games to try to understand how good this team is going to be over the full season that’s probably something you’d want to know unless you intend to just roll 6s all season long.

  278. But boiling this down to the Knicks win because the other team has a bad 3point shooting night seems pretty flimsy.

    We beat the Bucks because they shot like 15% from 3 and we shot 60%. The Cavs game was similar, but they might not be a good team, so that one might not be as flukey. (we also turned the ball over a ridiculous amount in that game) The way I look at it the Knicks should be 3-4 instead of 4-3, which is pretty meaningless.

  279. Count, your take is logical and within the bounds of reasonable, if jaded, analysis. It’s true that Thibs is coaching balls out to win and overplaying Randle and RJ. It’s true that we came into the season with more competitive juice than some opponents. It’s true that some of the statistical evidence suggests that some of this will come crashing down.

    But what can’t be debated is:
    -the team is playing better on both ends on a play by play basis than it has in a while, largely due to coaching
    -Randle is stepping up in a big way
    -the cap situation is incredibly favorable
    -the Ed Davis double trade coup and restraint in FA signing speaks well of asset/cap management going forward
    -IQ is a future HOFer (okay maybe that can be debated, but I digress)
    -we are, for now, the talk of the town, cementing that we will always be the top banana no matter what the Nets do so long as we are reasonably competitive and well-run
    -we are absolutely, positively not going to tank

    I doubt that most of us care about the record deep down. But 4-3? If you expected that, you are on a Gilligan-sized island with the surviving cast members if you expected that.

  280. DRed: We beat the Bucks because they shot like 15% from 3 and we shot 60%.The Cavs game was similar, but they might not be a good team, so that one might not be as flukey.(we also turned the ball over a ridiculous amount in that game)The way I look at it the Knicks should be 3-4 instead of 4-3, which is pretty meaningless.

    We shot 3-36 vs. Toronto and were in the game until midway through the 4th Q.

  281. on a Gilligan-sized island with the surviving cast members

    At this point, sadly, it would just be you and an 86-year-old Tina Louise.

  282. Is a 4-3 record after seven games for this Knicks team really all that surprising?

    Did anyone here pick us to beat Milwaukee, Indiana, Cleveland, and Atlanta? If not, and you know its probably not, we can indeed say a 4-3 start is surprising. I sure as Hell didn’t.

  283. We beat the Bucks because they shot like 15% from 3 and we shot 60%. The Cavs game was similar, but they might not be a good team, so that one might not be as flukey.

    So it doesn’t count unless we win games we’re supposed to win. Makes sense. I wish this logic applied in the Toronto game when we missed a shit ton of 3s.

  284. Z-man: We shot 3-36 vs. Toronto and were in the game until midway through the 4th Q.

    Don’t you understand? Flukey 3 point shooting only counts when the Knicks win not when they lose.

  285. Prior to the season tipping off, 2-5 seemed to be the most optimistic projection of our first 7 games around here.

  286. Yeah, I would have guessed we’d beat one of the Cavs or the Hawks and one other, but if you’d told me we started 1-6 I wouldn’t have been surprised at all.

  287. How is it controversial that the Knicks have disproportionately benefited from flukey three point shooting by our opponents? No one’s saying that all our play in the last few games is a fluke, just that we’ve gotten more than our share of luck in that particular area and that that probably has something to do with us being 4-3. It’s not a personal attack or doomsaying, merely an accurate observation.

  288. Seems very strange to me that people can actually spin what’s happened so far this season as a negative. There’s more to the game of basketball than positioning yourself for ping-pong balls: the young players are getting minutes, most are improving across the board, and the team is clearly playing with more spirit and coordination than they have in several years, all of which can only be positives for the players we hope to see here in the coming years. I’m usually against a super-short rotation, as it reminds me of an assistant coach across the East River whose existence makes me want to pull my hair out, but the season is going to be so weird with injuries, covid protocols and the shortened schedule that I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a good amount of minutes from everyone we want to see by the time the season is over. Let’s go Knicks!

  289. I agree with this. I thought we’d be looking at 1-6 knowing a) the Knicks were very young, b) the team leadership very new and 3) the schedule had a lot of playoff teams to start.

    DRed:
    Yeah, I would have guessed we’d beat one of the Cavs or the Hawks and one other, but if you’d told me we started 1-6 I wouldn’t have been surprised at all.

  290. thenoblefacehumper: This is really all that needs to be said right now. We are having a purely theoretical argument. My hunch is we finish with a win total in the high 20s, which is more than the low 20s I predicted before the season but probably doesn’t move the needle on our lottery prospects much.

    Yes and no. It’s not really a theoretical discussion entirely (or, I’d say, even mostly) because Julius Randle’s trade value is never going to be higher than it will be between now and March 25. So a tough, unavoidable decision is 2.5 months away, which means it has to be in the planning stages and the thought stages now. The can can’t be kicked down the road, nor should it be. You either have to fish or cut bait on the idea of building your team around JR, point forward for the next 3-5 years at something at or not all that far south of max money. There’s no getting around it.

    Just modernize the team, the offense, and the personnel on the floor and let the chips fall where they fall. We’ve seen it in action and it looks very promising. I’m not quite exactly sure how that is somehow thought of as the abnormal and mosh pit Elf ball seen as the better normal.

  291. Mike Honcho:
    How is it controversial that the Knicks have disproportionately benefited from flukey three point shooting by our opponents? No one’s saying that all our play in the last few games is a fluke, just that we’ve gotten more than our share of luck in that particular area and that that probably has something to do with us being 4-3. It’s not a personal attack or doomsaying, merely an accurate observation.

    Without a deep dive into the data, it’s hard to pin down how much was good luck and how much was defensive scheme and actual defense.

    There’s more to 3 point defense than just not allowing open 3s or taking away the corner 3s. The very smartest teams know the exact spots each player is better or worse from and try to steer them to the bad spots. So maybe a guy is 38% overall, but from a few spots he’s 33%. If you are helping push guys like that to their bad spots, it’s not luck that they are shooting worse than expected.

    Unfortunately, I have no clue as whether we are doing a good job or not, but I’m pretty sure a guy like Thibs understands this and has the data.

  292. Mike Honcho:
    How is it controversial that the Knicks have disproportionately benefited from flukey three point shooting by our opponents? No one’s saying that all our play in the last few games is a fluke, just that we’ve gotten more than our share of luck in that particular area and that that probably has something to do with us being 4-3. It’s not a personal attack or doomsaying, merely an accurate observation.

    I think what bothers people, at least what bothers me, is this idea that the shoe is going to drop off the other foot because our 3PT FGA is inordinately low without an acknowledgement of the role that improved team defense has played in that development. Going into the game last night, the Knicks ranked inside top-10 in Contested Shots and top-5 in contested 3-point attempts. Are we benefiting from some luck on the 3 pointers? Sure. But a lot of it is also because we’re providing the context for that luck to happen. So even if the percentage of opponents 3 pointers made is higher than it should be, the basis is still there for us to benefit from one of the better 3 point defenses in the game.

    Yet when I raised the point that we were ranked inside top-10 in Contested Shots and top-5 in contested 3-point attempts a day ago I get told that its too soon to bring these stats up. It’s so wacky and self-hating how this blog is sometimes. It’s actually going out of its way to in the opposite extreme of anti-homerism.

  293. Agree that the opponent 3P% is unsustainable. But it’s not clear to me how much is just luck and how much is other – right now opponents are shooting about 30% from 3, but if we removed “luck” would they be shooting 34% or 38%?

    For instance (and it’s not as easy as I thought it would be to find this stuff!): do we give up fewer corner 3’s? Do we give up the same # of corner 3’s but contest them better? Are we allowing some dudes to shoot open 3’s (ie. Larry Nance comes to mind) and not others?

    it may very well be that it’s just luck but it also might not be as lucky as one might think.

  294. For planning, GM purposes, the cold, hard numbers don’t really lie.

    Relative pace: -2.7
    Relative ORat: -4.5
    Relative DRat: +2.6
    3 pointers taken: dead last in the NBA

    It’s a primitive offense being propped up by a defense that in turn is being propped up by flukishly low shooting percentages by the opposition. That’s what it is. That’s not a criticism or an insistence on taking your cod liver oil and eating your vegetables. It’s great that they’re 4-3 and playing pretty well and inspired, but that’s way too superficial a thing to use for proper planning.

  295. Deeefense: Without a deep dive into the data, it’s hard to pin down how much was good luck and how much was defensive scheme and actual defense.

    Pelton had the data. There’s a site that does a pretty good job of analyzing expected percentages based on the variables you’d expect them to be based on. Teams are shooting significantly lower than those expected percentages. In Pelton’s words, the spread is “unsustainable.”

    Point being, this isn’t empirically unknowable or something we have to guess at. The only wiggle room is whether the variables are being applied sensibly and there’s no real reason to expect they aren’t.

  296. Z-man:
    How soon we forget what marginal wins on the backs of mercs really means. Remember when we sold the house for the corpses of Camby, Thomas, Sheed, Kidd, KMart, etc. to grind out one second-round exit?

    The horrible marginal wins we got from Marcus Morris netted us a pick we used to move up and grab Quickley.

    It’s never black or white.

    The difference between now and the past is that now we have some vets that are on good contracts. They can be traded for picks, rolled up with a pick for a better player, and help us win some games now that will help us attract free agents and other trade targets. Previously, we were overpaying mercenaries that were useless because we couldn’t trade them if there were opportunities out there. No one wanted to overpay our mediocre vets. These are assets now. So we’ll see what happens.

  297. Deeefense: Without a deep dive into the data, it’s hard to pin down how much was good luck and how much was defensive scheme and actual defense.

    There’s more to 3 point defense than just not allowing open 3s or taking away the corner 3s.The very smartest teams know the exact spots each player is better or worse from and try to steer them to the bad spots.So maybe a guy is 38% overall, but from a few spots he’s 33%. If you are helping push guys like that to their bad spots, it’s not luck that they are shooting worse than expected.

    Unfortunately, I have no clue as whether we are doing a good job or not, but I’m pretty sure a guy like Thibs understands this and has the data.

    It seems like a big part of the problem here is that as soon as someone says the word “luck” people assume that you’re writing off the results entirely or saying to ignore it completely. Nobody is saying that. But as has been said several times now league worst in terms of opponent 3 point percentage is typically around 34% and the Knicks are currently below 30%. So either the Knicks have completely revolutionized how teams defend the 3 point line, or they’re benefitting from some degree of luck.

    I agree with you that disentangling what portion is luck vs. good defense is probably not possible given the sample size, but we can say that even if they were at that 34% mark their results would look dramatically worse. Maybe they’re capable of beating that 34% mark over a full season, it has been done before. But given that we’re talking about 7 games if the question is “Is this a once every few years level of good 3-point defense team or is there a significant degree of noise” I know what I’m betting on.

  298. Deeefense: The difference between now and the past is that we have some vets now that are on good contracts that can be traded for picks,

    Strat, what are you doing with Randle between now and March 25? His value will never be higher than it is between now and then. You get two postseasons with him at decent money and after that you’ll either only get one and/or have to pay him something akin to a max.

    I’m having a hard conversation with him and if he isn’t buying in to a reduced role in a modernized offense at a price point in line with that role, I’m moving him and not looking back. If he wants to stay and play something like the role he was playing in that last Cleveland preseason game, then maybe that works. But as a point forward, high-usage, frequent initiator, straw that stirs the drink? No way.

    This might even piss of Thibs, but so be it. It’s the right way to go. That’s why the GMs make big money.

  299. I just can’t get down with tanking the way I used to after watching Zion Williamson and Ja Morant go to teams that went 33-49 and had the 8th and 9th best lottery odds that year, the Lakers with 11th best odds got the 4th overall pick, and then the Charlotte Hornets with their 9th best lottery odds ended up picking 3rd the following year. No matter how you slice it, losing on purpose isn’t an apt strategy since those odds got flattened. I absolutely love the NBA draft and that rookie scale contracts are your best opportunity, but I also won’t be crying if we end up with Moses Moody at 7th overall instead of Jalen Suggs at the 2nd or 3rd overall pick.

    Like I said before, there is a viable path where the Knicks improve substantially but still miss the playoffs. The flattened lottery odds makes this path considerably more desirable – albeit still luck-reliant. That said: seems to me the team may have a multi-tiered plan for player development regardless of where they draft that doesn’t rely on them nabbing a top-3 pick (as much as we’d all would love that).

    I’m trying to figure out what this front office’s end game is. Right now, I think it’s just “get to the middle and pray.”

    Look, I know we’re all used to various degrees of incompetent management. But that’s not what this current iteration has shown so far. And are you asking the endgame for this season, or overall?

  300. DRed: We beat the Bucks because they shot like 15% from 3 and we shot 60%.

    This is true of course, but we also won that game by like 25 before garbage time. It’s not like we won by 3 points in a nail biter. Even if the Bucks shot closer to normal and we shot closer to normal, it would’ve been a tight 1-2 possession game. Which is a huge improvement!

  301. It’s not really a theoretical discussion entirely (or, I’d say, even mostly) because Julius Randle’s trade value is never going to be higher than it will be between now and March 25. So a tough, unavoidable decision is 2.5 months away, which means it has to be in the planning stages and the thought stages now.

    Flawed thinking. Julius Randle’s trade value will definitely be higher next season if he keeps up his play. An entire season of new and improved Julius Randle will be much more attractive to a contender rather than guessing whether he can keep it up after a few weeks into the season. Also, any contender trading for Randle will likely be capped out already, so having him locked up for 2 seasons vs. 1 at his current salary is not going to matter much since any team willing to trade for him will likely go over the cap to retain him anyway. Morris on a one year didn’t hamper the Knicks from getting a good return. Same goes for Randle, potentially.

  302. It’s a primitive offense being propped up by a defense that in turn is being propped up by flukishly low shooting percentages by the opposition.

    Even this point deserves context. Yes, its true we’re running a less modern NBA defense that doesn’t move the ball up the court as fast, shoot 3 pointers, or pace our half court offense as the most au currant teams (ala the Hawks) are doing. But its also true that we’ve been out our best 3 point shooters (Burks, IQ, Rivers) and were starting a lineup that’s a spacing nightmare with Bullock and Payton in the backcourt with RJ, Randle and Mitch.

    What we saw in the Atlanta game was how that totally went off the rails in the 3rd quarter against their high paced assault that put them up 15 points. And then something miraculous happened. Thibs actually put out a modern NBA roster with Rivers and Quickley and even Knox that outscored this Atlanta team and beat them at their own game.

    So, yes, its true that our offense as its been constructed is arcane. But its also true that we have the ability to update it when the right guys are healthy and in the lineup. Last night’s game showed it so. Burks coming back should help a lot in this regard.

  303. Yet when I raised the point that we were ranked inside top-10 in Contested Shots and top-5 in contested 3-point attempts a day ago I get told that its too soon to bring these stats up. It’s so wacky and self-hating how this blog is sometimes. It’s actually going out of its way to in the opposite extreme of anti-homerism.

    what’s so self-hating about it? that we’re not taking overly rosy pictures about everything we’re doing?

    it’s healthy to be real about stuff…. not everything has to be ken and barbie play basketball….

    if any of it isn’t true.. then provide an argument.. show evidence.. don’t take what ppl say at face value… do the work and drive discussion…..

    if you want someone to drive a cheerleading squad then you know where you can find discussion like that… this is probably not the right place for that….

  304. Oh, also third in turnovers per game, behind only Miami and Chicago. Second from the bottom in causing turnovers. Add that to the list. The numbers aren’t pretty. Lots of smoke and mirrors.

  305. Ntilakilla: were starting a lineup that’s a spacing nightmare with Bullock and Payton in the backcourt with RJ, Randle and Mitch.

    Sure, but that’s apparently Thibs’s favorite lineup and certainly his starting lineup. That’s where he started the preseason, and that’s where he is now. (Other than Mitch for Noel, technically, but that doesn’t change the point.) Once you move away from that, into the fourth quarter’s lineup — which is way more modern, way better spaced, way … better — you have to change Randle’s role.

  306. Strat, what are you doing with Randle between now and March 25?

    I’ve been the biggest Randle defender on forum since he joined the team. Just a couple of weeks ago everyone hated his guts. I kept saying he was a good player that struggled last season because of the lack of spacing, bad coaching, and being thrust into roll of #1 option where he was getting double teamed. Suffice to say I think he’s good player. I still don’t think he’s an ideal fit next to Mitch and I have no idea what we have with Obi yet.

    Obi came in as a good offensive player that was weak on defense. A couple of his strengths on offense were leaking out in transition and being a stronger and better athlete than kids several years younger than him. That doesn’t exactly translate well to the pros. He could turn out to be a mediocre offensive player that can’t stretch the floor out to the NBA 3 point line and that can’t defend or he could be a lot better. Obviously I have concerns. I’d like to see Obi for a couple of more months before deciding what to do about Randle.

  307. Well, yesterday i only turned on at the beginning of the 4th quarter, so i got to see the most thrilling part of the game. What a fun quarter it was, and a very nice win, indeed.

    I get you, Hubert & associates, and i’m a pro-tank-in-selected-years myself (which seems that Strat now also is), there’s a potential opportunity cost with this draft class that later we might regret to not have tanked.

    But with the flattened odds, there’s no point in trying to beat the professional tankers, so at best we aim for the 5th worst record (42.1% to be in the top4). And there’s a lot of time to think about it. Since the flattened odds, teams don’t tank before the trade deadline, only after it, so let’s enjoy some wins and then we’ll think about it.

  308. djphan: what’s so self-hating about it? that we’re not taking overly rosy pictures about everything we’re doing?

    it’s healthy to be real about stuff….

    Um, isn’t the fact that the Knicks ranked inside top-10 in Contested Shots and top-5 in contested 3-point attempts also real stuff, too? Where is the discussion on that? Because all I am reading here is why these wins aren’t statistically legitimate according to the probabilities without a consideration what they mean in the context of an improved team defense.

  309. E, two-way G-Leaguer: 3 pointers taken: dead last in the NBA

    Do you really want our brick throwers shooting a lot of 3s? lol

    The idea is to take what the defense gives you from among your strengths. If a guy is wide open, especially from the corner, he’s going to shoot the 3 pointer. But we don’t need guys like Payton, Randle, and RJ hoisting up tough ones. If Quickley is as good a shooter as advertised and he’s still passing up on open 3s and taking mid range shots, we can start criticizing. Until then we are going to try to create wide open ones, try to get corner 3s, and whatever that ends up being is how many we’ll take. When we have some guys knocking down tougher ones we’ll shoot more of them.

  310. E, two-way G-Leaguer: Sure, but that’s apparently Thibs’s favorite lineup and certainly his starting lineup.

    It bears noting that the lineup Thibs ended and ultimately won with was markedly different from the one he started though insofar as the Quivers backcourt was concerned…

  311. How is it controversial that the Knicks have disproportionately benefited from flukey three point shooting by our opponents?

    idle, spurious speculation is a big part of what we do here

  312. Um, isn’t the fact that the Knicks ranked inside top-10 in Contested Shots and top-5 in contested 3-point attempts also real stuff, too? Where is the discussion on that

    and how is that driving some sort of record breaking opponent 3p%? what are we doing differently than the best 3p defending team last year?

    if you know then show it… other than that there’s nothing to discuss than what’s already been said… the 29% is going up… how far up is up for debate…. but it’s going to at least make a pitstop at 34% right? if not then you should be able to go back to the games and show what scheme we are employing that makes us the best 3p defending team of all time….

  313. Because we have no idea if they missed these open 3’s because they just happened to miss them or because The Knicks are playing good defense? Because in our 3 losses we also shot poorly from 3 (even for us?) Because in the modern NBA when all teams take a ton of 3 point shots every game its now normal for this to happen to all teams?

    Here’s another way to put it. Can you go through every game that has been played this season by every team and find all the games where the victories can be discredited because the other team missed open 3’s? You can’t. Did we miss some open shots in the games we won too? So if the other team made their open shots, couldn’t we have made our open shots too in this alternate universe?

  314. The games we lost we shot poorly in. If in an alternate universe our opponents hit their open 3’s in the games we won, then couldn’t we have hit our open 3’s in the games we lost and won those games?

  315. Z-man: so is knee-jerk hyper-cynical straw man beating

    The hyper-cynical straw man beating does make for a more entertaining spectator sport, though.

  316. After years of sucking I’m going to be a cheerleader and I’m gonna rag on people who are wet blankets until we start sucking. Just because this is a stats based blog doesn’t mean we have to be debbie downers all of the time.

    Knicks. Humor. That’s 2/3 of the description of this site. Stats is not all that this blog is about.

  317. in any case… that’s a singular factor… and thinslicing singular factors in small samples can be a bit misleading… if you follow election modeling it’s like judging polls off the crosstabs….

    i tend to rely on pythagorean win projection in the early going since that’s the most large macro number we have to deal with that’s unadulterated…. and before we were 23rd… last night shot us up to… 18…. we’re at .429 which is roughly about right with how we’ve looked…

    srs we fare a bit better and that can be informative… but it’s a tough pill to swallow to say that we’re better than indiana…. who basically have better and even as young a team as ours at every position….

    so yea… we’re not as good as our record indicates but there’s no shame in that really…. i don’t even know why that’s even controversial….

  318. Our incredibly low opp. 3pt% is because our opponents shot incredibly badly in three of our games. The first Indiana game, the Bucks game, and the Cleveland game. We lost the Indiana game, we probably got lucky with the Bucks game, and the Cleveland game was kind of a mess and Cleveland is bad so I don’t want to say for sure how that “should” have gone. In our other 4 games, our opp. 3pt% is low but not in a flukish way. Indiana shot 38% from 3 in our win, Atlanta 33%, Philly 35.5%, and Toronto shot 33%. Those do not seem out of sync for a team like ours that does look like it has a legitimately good defense.

    On the flip side of the Bucks win is the Toronto loss in which we got super unlucky from 3.

    So while I agree that we probably should be 3-4 it is not strange to outperform your expected W-L by one game, especially in smaller samples. We have also played a difficult schedule and our bench has been decimated by injuries over the last 5-6 games, missing 3-4 rotation players every game.

    With that said, I would not be surprised if we fell back to Earth, but so far I don’t think you can simply chalk our success up to luck.

  319. Kind of seems like the various camps are talking past each other a bit here. My position, such as it is, is that we probably aren’t the best perimeter defending team in the modern era and that once things settle in/regress to the mean in this singularly weird season we probably end up as a team that wins maybe 25-29ish games, depending on how Randle and co keep playing. That said, I have been impressed by Randle, Quickley, Mitch and Barrett so far and look forward to seeing what they do the rest of the season. This is a team I can get excited about, which is a legitimate upside for me relative to past years, and we have picks and cap space going forward, which is more than I can say about past crappy Knicks teams.

  320. Ntilakilla: Um, isn’t the fact that the Knicks ranked inside top-10 in Contested Shots and top-5 in contested 3-point attempts also real stuff, too?

    We’re 2nd in opponent 3 point attempts and “top-5 on contested 3-point attempts”. That kind of sounds like a more complicated way of saying we’re contesting an average to below average percentage of our opponent 3 point attempts but just giving up a ton of them.

  321. djphan: Um, isn’t the fact that the Knicks ranked inside top-10 in Contested Shots and top-5 in contested 3-point attempts also real stuff, too? Where is the discussion on that
    and how is that driving some sort of record breaking opponent 3p%? what are we doing differently than the best 3p defending team last year?

    if you know then show it… other than that there’s nothing to discuss than what’s already been said… the 29% is going up… how far up is up for debate…. but it’s going to at least make a pitstop at 34% right? if not then you should be able to go back to the games and show what scheme we are employing that makes us the best 3p defending team of all time….

    ummm didn’t he just “show it” by saying that the Knicks are contesting shots at a very high rate? lol

    Whatever – this board just can’t take prosperity. Whether we should be 3-4 or 4-3 is really beside the point. I think a sizable portion of the commenters here would’ve put their $ on 2-5 or worse after 7 games.

    What’s cool is that we have 3 exciting young players (RJ/IQ/Mitch) who look like they could be long-term keepers, a young vet who is playing out of his mind (the list of players who have averaged 22/11/7 in a season is extremely short), and a coaching staff that seems to know what it’s doing. Some of this is surely unsustainable, but on the flip side, we’ve had bad injury luck so far, and we’ve done this in spite of Elfrid Payton playing for us.

  322. ummm didn’t he just “show it” by saying that the Knicks are contesting shots at a very high rate? lol

    he didn’t… you’re assuming contesting a high amount of shots will result in a record breaking opp 3pt%….

    and as thenamestam pointed out… volume #s don’t mean much…. and are actually outright misleading if we’re also leading the league opponent 3pa….

  323. Ian Begley @IanBegley:
    Immanuel Quickley on vets who have helped him get acclimated to NBA life: “Elfrid (Payton) is definitely a big one, just showing me little things that help on the floor or off the floor. Really gotten close with pretty much all the guys, honestly. This team is really tight-knit.”

    This is nice to read.

  324. Kind of seems like the various camps are talking past each other a bit here.

    Welcome to America these days. :-)

    Things are almost never 100% one way or the other or we wouldn’t even be debating them. We’ve probably had some good fortune in some ways, but we’ve also been pretty banged up with injuries. The key is we are playing better on both sides not just in terms of the stats, but in terms of effort, the way the ball is moving etc.. The numbers will eventually settle somewhere and we can try to figure out the reasons as we see more.

  325. Wow, Aleksej Pokusevski is 2-21 with 10 turnovers. Too bad we didn’t draft him, just for the fun of hearing people argue that his on-ball defense was still bringing value, and that his “Poku assists” were creating high-percentage shots for his teammates.

  326. swiftandabundant: Because we have no idea if they missed these open 3’s because they just happened to miss them or because The Knicks are playing good defense? Because in our 3 losses we also shot poorly from 3 (even for us?) Because in the modern NBA when all teams take a ton of 3 point shots every game its now normal for this to happen to all teams?

    Here’s another way to put it. Can you go through every game that has been played this season by every team and find all the games where the victories can be discredited because the other team missed open 3’s? You can’t. Did we miss some open shots in the games we won too? So if the other team made their open shots, couldn’t we have made our open shots too in this alternate universe?

    You did a better job answering him than I could have done.

  327. Knicks are also #1 in SOS. They’ve also seen the best bigs in the East while playing a new system. They out-executed both Atlanta and Indiana down the stretch and played legitimately good 4th quarter defense in both. Could the wheels totally come off? Yup. Three starters with sub-500 TS% does not a good offense make. Defensively we’ll see- the three point defense is unsustainable but they’re playing a new system so you’d think they’ll make improvements elsewhere. I’m guessing they’ll be a middle of the pack defense and in the 20s on offense and we’re arguing about whether we should tank the last month or chase a 9/10th play-in game.

  328. On cue after I said the list of players averaging 22/11/7+ is very very short, Tommy Beer just posted that the list of players putting up Randle’s #s in the first 7 games of a season = Oscar Robertson, Giannis, and now Randle.

    Pretty remarkable.

  329. he didn’t… you’re assuming contesting a high amount of shots will result in a record breaking opp 3pt%….

    No one is assuming it. Everyone here admits that the FG% on 3 point shots allowed is probably too good. The point is what the baseline for falling back down to Earth really is. If we’re defending 3s like a top 5 defense in that department then we’re also still pretty damn good at it on top of being very lucky. Yes, we’re lucky and good. This isn’t a controversial statement in any sane sports blog where fans celebrate team positives and the good fortune it brings. But here, on Knicksblog, we have to belabor how things will inevitably fail without acknowledging the sustainable aspects of what this team is accomplishing. I can’t say I understand it but I suppose everyone has their reasons for believing we can’t have nice things.

  330. This is an unpopular opinion, but I think that once Burks is back, Elf should continue to start. As much as I wanna see Quickley start, I really like the way he and Rivers play together. So I propose this rotation:
    C- Mitch, Noel
    PF- Randle, Toppin
    SF- RJ, Knox
    SG- Burks, Rivers
    PG- Elf, Quickley
    Specialist/Garbage Time: Ntilikina, Spellman, Iggy, Harper

    That’s it, that’s all. Notice that Bullock and DSJ are missing? That’s because I wanna use Bullock to move DSJ. Ntilikina can replace the defense and probably the shooting at this point. He can also play all 3 perimeter positions. Iggy and Spellman also have a little position flexibility. And then we’ll always have Harper should a PG get hurt or something.

    With the way Thibs has these guys playing, I really think a rotation like that maximizes the team. Hopefully guys stay healthy, but I would really like to see that happen. Burks will open the floor up better than Bullock is and will be that 3rd threat on offense- allowing Payton and RJ to drive. Also, we will have 4 guys in the starting lineup who don’t mind making plays for others when needed. Plus, we don’t lose much on defense going from Bullock to Burks. Best thing about that lineup is, Thibs seems to really like and trust Quickley and Rivers- so Elf doesn’t have to play big minutes.

    What say ye KB?

  331. That’s because I wanna use Bullock to move DSJ.

    Nah. DSJ comes off the books next year, and his salary isn’t at the moment prohibiting us from doing anything else. Bullock is probably the guy I’d drop from the rotation once we’re at full health, but he’s also useful depth to have in the event of cascading injuries/Covid diagnoses, or just if we have nights when we could use some extra shooting and/or defense. I’d trade him for a pick or a prospect, or as a throw-in to a much larger trade, but you may as well cut DSJ rather than use Bullock as a sweetener. (Nor can I imagine any team taking on Smith at the moment, with or without Bullock.)

  332. Overall it’s just a small sample. Our schedule has been extremely tough, and in terms of raw # of 3PA taken by opponents, we’ve also played very high 3P volume teams — Toronto leads the league by a mile with 50% of their shots being 3’s, Milwaukee is 7th, Atlanta 10th, Indiana is average at 15th. So 5 out of the 7 games are against high 3P volume teams.

    Game 1 – IND had 3PAR 36.2% (lower than their season average which is 40%)
    Game 2- PHI had 3PAR 35.2% (37.6% season average)
    Game 3 – MIL had 3PAR 40% (43.8% season average)
    Game 4 – CLE had 3PAR 36.4% (31.3% season average)
    Game 5 – TOR had 3PAR 62.3% (49.9% season average)
    Game 6 – IND had 3PAR 59.5% (40% season average)
    Game 7 – ATL had 3PAR 35.6% (42.4% season average)

    What does this tell us? Basically all the 3 pointers-against is skewed by 2 games — TOR and IND. In 4 of the games we held teams to well below their average 3PAR.

    In terms of the 2 games – Toronto is an unbelievably high volume 3 point shooting team, 1st by a mile in 3PAR. And the 2nd Indiana game it seems it was the strategy to let guys like Oladipo and Turner shoot from outside while limiting Indiana’s inside game.

    Overall – it’s just too small a sample to really know what the shot location stuff means

  333. Ntilakilla:
    UGH. More expansion. Can’t they just relocate the Pelicans and fucking Kings?

    It’s a money grabbing move, sped up by the effects of the pandemic.
    Money from expansion fees is not shared with the players, it goes right in the owners’ pocket.
    And the Union just could not say no, because it means 30 new full time jobs available.

  334. Max: It’s a money grabbing move, sped up by the effects of the pandemic.
    Money from expansion fees are not share with the players, it go right in the owners’ pocket.
    And the Union just could not say no, because it means 30 new full time jobs available.

    I wonder if Cuban is going to give the NBA the same self-important lecture he gave the NFL back in 2014 about how an implosion is imminent and hogs get slaughtered…

  335. Max: It’s a money grabbing move, sped up by the effects of the pandemic.
    Money from expansion fees is not shared with the players, it goes right in the owners’ pocket.
    And the Union just could not say no, because it means 30 new full time jobs available.

    Also, it’ll give the league a 32-team structure that more easily fits into the tennis like tournament (1 vs 32, 2 vs 31 and so on with sudden death games) that they want to add at mid season (as a sort of “NBA cup”) to get more money from tv/stream and has been talked in the last two years.

  336. Alan: Nor can I imagine any team taking on Smith at the moment

    I was hoping to trade him for another team’s disappointing lottery prospect.

  337. Alan: Nah. DSJ comes off the books next year, and his salary isn’t at the moment prohibiting us from doing anything else. Bullock is probably the guy I’d drop from the rotation once we’re at full health, but he’s also useful depth to have in the event of cascading injuries/Covid diagnoses, or just if we have nights when we could use some extra shooting and/or defense. I’d trade him for a pick or a prospect, or as a throw-in to a much larger trade, but you may as well cut DSJ rather than use Bullock as a sweetener. (Nor can I imagine any team taking on Smith at the moment, with or without Bullock.)

    I thought the same about Bullock until I realized we still have Ntilikina and Iggy. But it does make more sense to hold on to Bullock for this abnormal season and cut DSJ as no one likely still believes in his potential. I had hoped he could be deployed in a Lou Williams type role, but he keeps tellin himself he’s a real PG and it short circuits his brain. I never imagined he would be out of the league by the end of his rookie deal, but it appears he’s headed towards Jonny Flynn status..yeesh

  338. Ntilakilla: No one is assuming it. Everyone here admits that the FG% on 3 point shots allowed is probably too good. The point is what the baseline for falling back down to Earth really is. If we’re defending 3s like a top 5 defense in that department then we’re also still pretty damn good at it on top of being very lucky. Yes, we’re lucky and good. This isn’t a controversial statement in any sane sports blog where fans celebrate team positives and the good fortune it brings. But here, on Knicksblog, we have to belabor how things will inevitably fail without acknowledging the sustainable aspects of what this team is accomplishing. I can’t say I understand it but I suppose everyone has their reasons for believing we can’t have nice things.

    the whole point is that even if we’re still league best it’s going to significantly impact how good we’ve looked….. do you want to just ignore that? ok.. ignore it.. no one is stopping anyone from having their own personal tea cup party ignoring everything critical about this start….

    if that makes you uncomfortable then there’s probably more wrong about you then there is about the blog….

  339. fortuitous bounce:
    I’d be happy to Seattle get a team again.

    Fuck Vegas though.

    It’s a shame that a basketball hotbed like Seattle, with its NBA history, currently has no team.

    Fuck Vegas, I’d rather have Vancouver, Nashville, Saint Louis, San Diego, Buffalo, Montreal or some place in Kentucky… I had a crush for the ABA :-)

  340. djphan: the whole point is that even if we’re still league best it’s going to significantly impact how good we’ve looked….. do you want to just ignore that? ok.. ignore it..

    Only someone who is willfully refusing to read my multiple posts where I’ve openly acknowledged regression is probable would say I am ignoring it. The irony here, of course, is that in strawmanning my point about contextualizing this “luck” you end up committing the very act you accuse me of by ignoring my actual point.

  341. what did you contextualize? you’re using volume stats to measure effectiveness and you called it a day and expect ppl to take it at face value?

    no it got ignored because it’s wrong not because we want to belabor it….. do you get that?

  342. Z-man: so is knee-jerk hyper-cynical straw man beating

    Mmhm. Don’t forget that this is a Knicks blog, where we talk about the Knicks, the franchise owned by James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks. Hypercynical is a big part of what we do here.

  343. I actually think the league is in about as good a spot as its ever been in my memory talent-wise and can probably reasonably support expansion. Just going by 538’s rating as a rough estimate of current talent level the 10 worst teams are:

    Pistons – admittedly in pretty sad shape
    Bulls – admittedly in pretty sad shape
    Cavs – currently 4-3, reasonably interesting mixture of interesting young guys and decent vets
    Knicks – currently 4-3, reasonably interesting mixture of interesting young guys and decent vets
    Hornets – Just picked LaMelo and have Heyward as an aging “star”
    Wizards – Beal, Westbrook
    Thunder – Have SGA plus all the picks
    Warriors – Surprisingly low; they still think they can compete with Klay
    TWolves – have a young legit superstar, just drafted #1 overall
    Kings – Have Fox, otherwise pretty bleak I think

    Most of the bottom of the league actually has some interesting things going on, whether it’s promising young guys or more than that. It’s not the only way to think about the problem but I don’t look at that and think if they add two teams we’re going to have a really diluted talent level.

  344. And fuck it, you know what else? I want Julius Randle to continue to play well and grab an all-star spot. Dunno about his long-term prospects yet, but he’s a Lakers castoff and It’d give me something to strike back at my #lolKnicks Laker-snob coworkers.

  345. If Randle keeps up his .600 TS%, keep his usage at 26%, keep his assist% above 30 and just cuts back a bit on the turnovers, he’s better than half the players making more than $30 mill a year. If he keeps it up, extending him in the low-mid $20s is a no-brainer. He’s not aesthetically pleasing but he’s a very effective player and he is just pulverizing opponents on the interior. We always talk about how we appreciate the lunchpail guys here in NYC…he is epitomizing that.

    You don’t necessarily build around him, but you can build with him as an integral piece if this level of play keeps up. I guarantee he’s getting the attention of opposing coaches…he’s a freakin’ load.

    Now if someone knocks you over with an offer, sure take it. Even shop him quietly and keep eyes and ears open for opportunities. But he’s playing like an all-star right now and that makes the option of riding with him next year a much more attractive proposition. Legit all-stars on below max deals are hard to find without getting lucky in the draft.

  346. djphan:
    what did you contextualize?you’re using volume stats to measure effectiveness and you called it a day and expect ppl to take it at face value?

    no it got ignored because it’s wrong not because we want to belabor it….. do you get that?

    I inserted another piece of information to get a clearer picture as to why so many of these opposing 3 pointers aren’t falling in. If anyone wants to dive deeper with percentages go ahead. But until then I am the only one actually examining how we’re contesting opposing shots into the actual conversation of our 3 pt defense. Because without answering this question we don’t have a clue as to whether or not we’re just really lucky or really lucky and good in this department.

  347. I do think we can grab the 9-10 seed. I doubt we grab 8 or higher.

    I do think we should tank. But we won’t tank. So I’m just going to enjoy these wins and see what happens.

  348. Totes McGoats as Totes McGoats: Notice that Bullock and DSJ are missing? That’s because I wanna use Bullock to move DSJ.

    This is some Phil Jackson shit. Why would we use Bullock to dump a player on an expiring contract? Just waive him or don’t resign him this summer. If Bullock is good enough to dump a player no one wants he’s good enough to get an asset back by himself.

    Max: Fuck Vegas, I’d rather have Vancouver, Nashville, Saint Louis, San Diego, Buffalo, Montreal or some place in Kentucky… I had a crush for the ABA :-)

    How about Baltimore? I live there now and would love a local team so I could get to watch NBA in person without having to travel to DC or Philly.

  349. I inserted another piece of information to get a clearer picture as to why so many of these opposing 3 pointers aren’t falling in. If anyone wants to dive deeper with percentages go ahead.

    yes it got addressed and promptly dismissed… what do you have a problem with?

  350. Because all I am reading here is why these wins aren’t statistically legitimate according to the probabilities without a consideration what they mean in the context of an improved team defense

    It’s not whether or not a win is ‘statistically legitimate’, What I’m asking is ‘what do these wins tell us about the team’. Winning because the other team missed shots they would normally make tells you something different than winning because your offense generated a lot of good shots at the rim and you crushed the other team on the boards.

  351. #Did anyone here pick us to beat Milwaukee, Indiana, Cleveland, and Atlanta?#

    After the preseason games i predicted Wins against Indiana, Cleveland and one upset on the other 3 games of 2020. (3-2 Record)
    I also predicted a 36-36 record for the season.
    And all these because of the Thibseffect.
    Stop calling it luck and opponents missing 3s.
    It was there from the start.
    You just had to believe it.

  352. I actually think the league is in about as good a spot as its ever been in my memory talent-wise and can probably reasonably support expansion. Just going by 538’s rating as a rough estimate of current talent level the 10 worst teams are:

    Easily. Just the influx of foreign talent alone.

  353. If you watch yesterday’s game again you’ll see too many bunnies lost by the Knicks. We could have won way much easier.
    Let Lady Luck alone
    This team has character and discipline and plays Well.
    Believe It.

  354. RE out 3PAr, we’re at #26, just below the Celts at #25 and Lakers at #23. Yet we are shooting 37% and our eFG% is 18th and our 3PT% is 11th, so it seems as if we are being selective, knowing that we are not fielding the best shooters (RJ, Elfrid, Mitch, Noel) for big chunks of the game. That seems smart to me.

  355. Z-man:
    If Randle keeps up his .600 TS%, keep his usage at 26%, keep his assist% above 30 and just cuts back a bit on the turnovers, he’s better than half the players making more than $30 mill a year. If he keeps it up, extending him in the low-mid $20s is a no-brainer. He’s not aesthetically pleasing but he’s a very effective player and he is just pulverizing opponents on the interior. We always talk about how we appreciate the lunchpail guys here in NYC…he is epitomizing that.

    You don’t necessarily build around him, but you can build with him as an integral piece if this level of play keeps up. I guarantee he’s getting the attention of opposing coaches…he’s a freakin’ load.

    Now if someone knocks you over with an offer, sure take it. Even shop him quietly and keep eyes and ears open for opportunities. But he’s playing like an all-star right now and that makes the option of riding with him next year a much more attractive proposition. Legit all-stars on below max deals are hard to find without getting lucky in the draft.

    FWIW, if you look at his last year in LA and his year on the Pelicans, his WS/48, usage, and TS% this year are all in line with those years. The difference is that he’s making a lot more assists now and he traded free throws for 3s. But it was interesting to me that, at his best, he was always a pretty efficient player even with high usage and that last year was the aberration statistically, not this year.

  356. Why do we think Randle would take low to mid 20s if he’s playing better than half the players making 30-plus? If anything, he probably thinks he’s already given the Knicks the discount rate.

    Is there really any serious doubt that if he plays at something like this level the next year and a half, that his agent would tell the world he wants max money? Why wouldn’t he?

    We can’t keep him around, with such a major role, premised on a highly unlikely hypothetical.

  357. vincoug: This is some Phil Jackson shit.Why would we use Bullock to dump a player on an expiring contract?Just waive him or don’t resign him this summer.If Bullock is good enough to dump a player no one wants he’s good enough to get an asset back by himself.

    How about Baltimore?I live there now and would love a local team so I could get to watch NBA in person without having to travel to DC or Philly.

    Baltimore would be great, I fear that the Wizards will put up a fight Orioles/Nationals style, but it’s hard hard to say no to a city that once upon a time was the cradle of The Pearl.

  358. It was also mentioned upthread, and probably correctly, that no team would give up a lottery pick for him. If that’s the case, then how good do we really, truly think he is? Kind of speaks volumes, no?

  359. DRed: It’s not whether or not a win is ‘statistically legitimate’, What I’m asking is ‘what do these wins tell us about the team’. Winning because the other team missed shots they would normally make tells you something different than winning because your offense generated a lot of good shots at the rim and you crushed the other team on the boards.

      

    QFT

  360. We can’t keep him around, with such a major role, premised on a highly unlikely hypothetical.

    As I noted I’m sympathetic to some of the points you’ve raised, but I don’t see why you see this as such an urgent situation. We have tons of games left until the damn 2022 trade deadline. We’ll have a good idea of what Randle can sustain over a long period of time before we have to decide what we want to do with him.

    I think it would be a disaster to not trade him and then let him walk, but until we have to make one decision or the other him playing well is very much in our best interests.

    It was also mentioned upthread, and probably correctly, that no team would give up a lottery pick for him. If that’s the case, then how good do we really, truly think he is? Kind of speaks volumes, no?

    I mean, teams in the lottery are typically not buyers at the deadline so I don’t think this carries any significance.

    There are completely fair points to be made about how well he fits with teams that are buyers even when he’s playing well, but with so many free agents off the board and a relatively open field it’s starting to feel like the next few deadlines will be sellers’ markets. You’ve noted before that the Lakers wanted to retain him after getting LeBron, so it’s not like contenders universally feel that the best version of him is useless at any price.

  361. At his best Bullock was a backup 3&d guy. I’m not convinced he’s the same player he used to be before the injuries. Either way, he’s one of the weak links in the starting lineup. The question is who do you put on the court to replace him. The most obvious choice would be Burks. He’s more of a backup also, but he’s a scorer. You need a versatile scorer like him off the bench. To me, the fantasy is that RJ slides over to SF more regularly, Frank becomes the 3&D player in Bullock’s slot, and Quickley moves to starting PG and give us the extra scoring punch and spacing. That leaves no true PG, but between Quickley, Frank, RJ, and Randle that’s more than enough guys can either penetrate, make some plays, or both. For that to work Frank has to get healthy and become the player we all hope he can become that can lock down on D, switch, make a few plays here or there, and hit the open 3 if the ball is kicked out to him. If he’s not that player, you keep Bullock around for awhile unless there’s an opportunity to upgrade the position in a trade.

  362. Bullock has really struggled shooting. He leads the team in 3PA and hits just barely over 30%. His 2p% is also on the low side. If something doesn’t change soon, Rivers & Burks will swallow all his minutes.

  363. Brian Cronin: Easily. Just the influx of foreign talent alone.

    I think you’re still diluting the talent a bit (in theory you’re adding the 451st to 480th best players in the world) but with so many available good players from overseas/G-League that’s absolutely sustainable.
    And by the way the majority of teams play a 10-11 men rotation at the max.

    A different argument is which set of protection and draft rule to put in effect in the expansion draft.
    Historically expansion teams needs at least 5 years to reach .500 (i.e. Tor 5, Mia 6, Cha 5 the first time 6 the second one, Min 8, Mem 9) and that was before the flattering of the lottery odds.

  364. The fascinating thing about the NBA now is that the salary cap is really driving a “stars and scrubs” approach in a lot of teams, even ones who didn’t sign big free agents (Denver, for instance, is basically a “stars and scrubs” team), with the exceptions being teams that were able to use their stars’ below-market salaries from their rookie deals to build a deep team around them (like Milwaukee – and even there, they’ve gotten a bit more “stars and scrubs” than they were in the past) before locking in the star at a big money deal.

    The reason that is fascinating is that it makes expansion even easier, because, as you correctly note, we’re just talking about adding guys on the margins here and there are so many guys on the margins already in the NBA. So I think expansion will have even less of a major effect as it has in the past (which was not much).

  365. But it was interesting to me that, at his best, he was always a pretty efficient player even with high usage and that last year was the aberration statistically, not this year.

    This is one of the areas where the boxscore fails.

    The boxscore is partly the result of the skills a player has and how effectively he uses them, but it doesn’t tell you any of the system, player role, or teammate issues that also contribute to those results. That’s why I kept saying Randle is a good player even though I was watching the same crazy spin moves, TOs, lower efficiency etc.. that everyone else was seeing and that the boxscore was capturing. The conditions for his skillset were atrocious last year. To be honest, they aren’t way better this year, but he has adjusted better to the double teams and is making plays out of it better instead of throwing up as many trash shots.

    I hate to go way back in time, but we saw what happened to KP after Melo was traded and he was pushed into the #1 slot. He started getting double teamed because Hardaway was the #2 option. Then Hardaway got hurt. KP was totally lost for awhile and was throwing up trash left and right that was killing his efficiency. He was slowly starting it figure it out before he got hurt.

    The conditions are part of the analysis.

  366. djphan: yes it got addressed

    Not really. The question of what percentage of these threes we’re contesting is still up in the air. Until we answer this my concern stands.

  367. thenoblefacehumper: As I noted I’m sympathetic to some of the points you’ve raised, but I don’t see why you see this as such an urgent situation. We have tons of games left until the damn 2022 trade deadline.

    Fair post, but I’m going to pick out and address a couple things. IMO, he loses a lot of value between the 2021 and 2022 trade deadlines, thus the “urgency.” I disagree that that’s a false premise. Two postseasons and a full 20201-22 are worth WAY more than one and a partial. If that is in fact a false premise, yes, some of the urgency goes away.

  368. I mean, teams in the lottery are typically not buyers at the deadline so I don’t think this carries any significance.

    I read the comment to include not just the trade deadline but the upcoming offseason. If that was wrong, let’s hear someone say he could pull in a lottery pick if we keep him through this deadline but shop him in the offseason. If we really think it’s better to just shop him in the offseason, valuewise, then yeah, that takes away the urgency of this trade deadline. I don’t think so, but I’m open to the possibility. If the answer ultimately is that his market value is less than a single lottery pick, period, regardless of when he’s moved, then that speaks volumes. I’m not building my team around a 26/27 year old guy whose asset value isn’t even a single lottery pick.

  369. I think this is a weird ass season that’ll continue being strange.

    Also I’m very into the idea of a team in Mexico City. Is that still on the NBA’s radar?

  370. Grocer:
    I think this is a weird ass season that’ll continue being strange.

    Also I’m very into the idea of a team in Mexico City.Is that still on the NBA’s radar?

    Has been discussed, but the reviews from the games played there by teams involved and the league offices are not good (in terms of structure as a whole, environment, security), so it looks like it’s down in the totem pole.

    There was an interesting podcast by Windhorst and others on the topic of expansion about 10 days ago.

  371. Brian Cronin: The reason that is fascinating is that it makes expansion even easier, because, as you correctly note, we’re just talking about adding guys on the margins here and there are so many guys on the margins already in the NBA. So I think expansion will have even less of a major effect as it has in the past (which was not much).

    Not sure I agree with your overall conclusion here. I agree with your assessment of the trend towards “stars and scrubs” but I think you need to consider that the two expansion teams means the quality of the worst “star” in the league drops as well. If you assumed an even talent distribution (obviously not true but just to explain what I mean) the “worst best player” would go from the 30th best guy in the league to the 32nd best guy. At that level there is more of a marginal difference and for that reason I think the increased importance of star power is at best an ambiguous trend here. There already aren’t enough guys truly worthy of that label to spread among 30 teams. With 32 it gets stretched further.

    That’s why I originally did my list sort of taking the temperature of the worst teams in the league because I think understanding to what extent do the bottom teams in the league have anything interesting going on is a way of thinking about where that breakpoint is in terms of there not being enough star talent to go around.

  372. If you take Randle and replace his current 3p% (.407) with his career avg of .300, then his TS% is .569 instead of .603.

    That’s still a good number but probably doesn’t justify his current TOV%, even with the increase in assists.

    I think Randle may be better at shooting than his career average suggests (thanks, Keith Smart!) but he’s not going to be stellar. Exactly where he ends up will determine how good he is.

    Even taking last year’s abysmal shooting (.277) he ends up at a healthy but slightly below average .562 TS%. Average last year and this year are .565 for reference.

  373. Why would you even want to think about shopping Randle at this stage?

    It turned out I was right. He’s a better player than he showed last year.

    So It makes no sense to trade him unless you are convinced Obi is going to be the better player/fit and we can fill another need better by trading Randle. The idea is for the team to get better not to gather picks for Randle and get worse again in the short term all for some theoretical advantage 5-10 years from now. Randle is a young player that has plenty of productive years ahead of him. Let’s see how this plays out between him and Obi and how much of what he’s doing he can sustain. When the time comes to make a decision about whether we want to sign him again for his fair market value or trade him we can think about that then. But right now trading him for some protected pick and playing Obi all to get an extra pick asset is crazy. Way too soon.

  374. For me it’s clear that “Randle plays well cause the system/coaching is good” than “the Knicks are good cause Randle plays well”.
    If you can get something good for him you do it.
    He’s not exactly irreplaceable.

  375. If you take Randle and replace his current 3p% (.407) with his career avg of .300, then his TS% is .569 instead of .603.

    You still aren’t considering the fact that he’s not in an ideal situation even now. He’s NOT a #1 option even though he’s a very good player, but he’s getting double teamed like one and operating without much space because of the makeup of the team. If we start shooting better and things open up to the point where they can’t double him anymore, he’s going to be more efficient inside to offset if (or actually when) his 3p% drops. But you have to sit through that. If his TS% drops to .560 or .570 don’t start screaming and panicking. We have to wait until we have a real team with all 5 positions filled, good spacing etc..

  376. Deeefense: Why would you even want to think about shopping Randle at this stage?

    Because he’s that unique guy who you can’t win with in the role he wants and once you take him out of that role his skillset to do the things he’d do in his altered role is easily replaceable by other, cheaper, more versatile players.

    But mostly the first — I don’t think you can win with him in his current role at anything like the levels we want to see the Knicks win at. Once I make that decision, and make the decision that none of the alternatives really work either, I move on. I’ve moved on. Like I said in our earlier colloquy on this one, I’d take his temperature regarding a role like the one he played very briefly in those last five preseason quarters before I’d make the final, final decision. I agree with you that there’s theoretically a player in that context I’d want.

    But there’s no chance I’m paying him what he thinks he’s worth or giving him the point-forward, primary initiator role he thinks he should have. I’ve seen quite enough of him in that role to make my call.

    ******You still aren’t considering the fact that he’s not in an ideal situation even now. He’s NOT a #1 option even though he’s a very good player, but he’s getting double teamed like one and operating without much space because of the makeup of the team. *********

    He absolutely, positively, unambiguously thinks of himself as a guy that can and should be a 1 option, which is why he left the Lakers. I’d take his temperature to make sure I’m 100% right, but I have no illusions about what the answer is going to be. He’s not what he thinks he is, and that’s why the Knicks should move on from him. You’re 100% right that he’s not a 1 option. Once that decision’s made, we move on.

  377. Deeefense: This is one of the areas where the boxscore fails.

    The boxscore is partly the result of the skills a player has and how effectively he uses them, but it doesn’t tell you any of the system, player role, or teammate issues that also contribute to those results.That’s why I kept saying Randle is a good player even though I was watching the same crazy spin moves, TOs, lower efficiency etc.. that everyone else was seeing and that the boxscore was capturing.The conditions for his skillset were atrocious last year. To be honest, they aren’t way better this year, but he has adjusted better to the double teams and is making plays out of it better instead of throwing up as many trash shots.

    I hate to go way back in time, but we saw what happened to KP after Melo was traded and he was pushed into the #1 slot. He started getting double teamed because Hardaway was the #2 option. Then Hardaway got hurt. KP was totally lost for awhile and was throwing up trash left and right that was killing his efficiency. He was slowly starting it figure it out before he got hurt.

    The conditions are part of the analysis.

    The most interesting case of this is THJ, who was clearly much better when went to the Hawks, became worse again when he came here, and has become even better on Dallas than he was on Atlanta. Our team/coaching/system/whatever is typically so bad that it brings out the worst of whoever is here. He went from being a salary dump to probably being undervalued given what Joe Harris just got

  378. We have to wait until we have a real team with all 5 positions filled, good spacing etc..

    Once you have that real team, you don’t need him, and whatever he can produce in the secondary role he necessarily should have on a real team can be gotten cheaper and better elsewhere.

    Like I said, I don’t even think you get past the threshold question — Julius, are you ok not being a 1 option?? — so the next question of what secondary role he can fill well becomes kind of moot. Basically, I don’t think he’d be good in that role, but it doesn’t really matter because the topic will never actually come up.

  379. Randle, Payton, Burks and Co play hard and smarter than ever as knicks but let’s not fool ourselves. They’re expandable as fuck! They have flaws that you don’t need going forward as a team that wants to contend in the future. They need upgrading.
    Unless they start meditation and yoga and become different kind of players.

  380. Grocer: Also I’m very into the idea of a team in Mexico City. Is that still on the NBA’s radar?

    I have a name proposition for that team: Mexico City Sombreros :D

  381. #I have a name proposition for that team: Mexico City Sombreros :D#

    LOL
    Still laughing! Too good!

  382. The point of the Knicks is to win basketball games, not put Julius Randle in an ideal situation. Randle kind of mucks up this team, as valuable as his playmaking currently is. Idk, let’s see how the season goes. If he gets his turnovers under control and keeps up the efficient scoring maybe you think about keeping him. . .there’s no rush.

  383. #Give Randle a break, he lost 30 lbs this offseason#

    I’m giving him as many breaks as he wants but i ain’t giving him a new contract if i can trade him for something less spinable, more 3pable and D oriented. Unless he takes a backseat and a brave paycut and becomes a PointF Bench Leader.

  384. if we’re going to walk the drunkard’s walk that fate all but damns us to here in the early season, let’s talk about the offense under randle 2.0. with randle in the game this year vs last our team TS has jumped from 53.2% to 56.7%. our rim+3 percentage has jumped from 67% to 71%, boosting our “shot quality” from .52 to .54, and we have made 37% of our 3s vs 33%. our assist/100 have likewise increased from 22.4 to 24.6. so our passing, shot quality, and also shot-making over and above shot quality have increased YoY with randle on the court.

    one thing that hasn’t increased is pts/100. ytd we are at 105.2 vs 107.9 last year with randle on (league avg is about 109). the two culprits for that so far are TOV (18.9 vs. 14.6) and ORB (11.5 vs. 15.4). this vaguely corresponds to randle’s person deltas (6.2 vs 4.5) and (2.4 vs 3.5) in these areas. randle is getting a lot of acclaim and i absolutely get why that is. but it’s also true that it’s somewhat unusual to have a player with his turnover profile dominating usage. if we use a tov% and usage that incorporates assists, rwb does not approach his levels. the closest recent analog is demarcous cousins from the 17-18 pelicans who had a 32.7% usg rate and an 18.7% TOV rate, again, not using the bref definitions but one that includes assists (using this measure randle is 28.3% and 19.5% ytd). so as oddly great as randle’s numbers have been, i think it’s legitimate to ask how valuable this brand of greatness is likely to be to an nba offense.

  385. I would like to see what Randle could do in a Quickley, Rivers, Burks, and Mitch lineup. Give him as much shooting as possible and see if what he’s doing is at all sustainable. I’m more in the E camp as far as his long term outlook but he’s playing well enough that he deserves to get a look in the most advantageous lineup possible. The fact that he’s been this efficient playing a lot of minutes alongside three sub .500 TS% guys and Mitch is pretty remarkable. I’d still start RJ but probably give him less minutes overall- he shouldn’t lead the league in minutes played. My guess is the wheels fall off point Julius before too long (though Thibs went with point Noah despite very high turnover %s) but the Knicks should at least give it a real chance to succeed.

  386. Revisiting last night’s Dante Exum injury, Shams says he has a strained right calf and will miss 1-2 months. Much better than I feared, but still… snakebit.

  387. Alan:
    Revisiting last night’s Dante Exum injury, Shams says he has a strained right calf and will miss 1-2 months. Much better than I feared, but still… snakebit.

    He dodged a bullet.
    On the other hand, he’ll be a free agent and is currently making 11 Mil (!!), I think he must prepare to lower his expectations…

  388. Knew Your Nicks:
    #Give Randle a break, he lost 30 lbs this offseason#

    I’m giving him as many breaks as he wants but i ain’t giving him a new contract if i can trade him for something less spinable, more 3pable and D oriented. Unless he takes a backseat and a brave paycut and becomes a PointF Bench Leader.

    Haha was making a dumb joke about him being ‘expandable’

  389. #Haha was making a dumb joke about him being ‘expandable’#

    Oops! expEndable seems more suitable to what i was trying to say..

  390. Querly Q-Word, Pen Name of Pen Name Early Bird
    January 5, 2021 at 5:24 pm
    If you take Randle and replace his current 3p% (.407) with his career avg of .300, then his TS% is .569 instead of .603.

    That’s still a good number but probably doesn’t justify his current TOV%, even with the increase in assists.

    I think Randle may be better at shooting than his career average suggests (thanks, Keith Smart!) but he’s not going to be stellar. Exactly where he ends up will determine how good he is.

    Even taking last year’s abysmal shooting (.277) he ends up at a healthy but slightly below average .562 TS%. Average last year and this year are .565 for reference.

    hold up Querly – Q, are you saying the julius randle that i am watching play basketball this season is basically the same julius randle i watched play basketball last season?

  391. For those of you arguing about whether our opponents three point percentage is a fluke or not, have you considered the relatively simple explanation that our defense takes away corner three pointers in favor of other three pointers more than other team’s defenses do? Then our opponents three point percentages should be lower than their average three point success because they are taking harder three pointers than usual.

  392. I don’t think this has been linked to already, but here’s a very good CBS Sports piece by Sam Quinn articulating the many ways in which Randle’s game has improved. As always, you should read the article, but here is a tiny sample (about tiny samples, no less):

    Through seven games, Randle is making more passes per game than Ben Simmons and more passes per minute than Stephen Curry. He is creating more points per game off his assists than LeBron James and Luka Doncic. He is averaging more assists per game than Nikola Jokic ever has over a full season. And he’s doing all of this while sharing the court with a pass-first point guard in Elfrid Payton and a high-volume wing scorer in Barrett.

  393. Knick fan not in NJ:
    For those of you arguing about whether our opponents three point percentage is a fluke or not, have you considered the relatively simple explanation that our defense takes away corner three pointers in favor of other three pointers more than other team’s defenses do?Then our opponents three point percentages should be lower than their average three point success because they are taking harder three pointers than usual.

    Do you think we’re the best perimeter defending team in the modern era? Because that’s where we’re at right now. Either Thibs turned an island of misfit toys into the best perimeter defense of the last decade or, just maybe, it’s a fluke because we’ve played seven damn games and that the drop off between our current level and a normal elite level is quite large, so the inevitable regression to the mean is going to bite us hard even if opponents continue to shoot poorly.

  394. Alan: Through seven games, Randle is making more passes per game than Ben Simmons and more passes per minute than Stephen Curry.

    How is this a positive? It just shows he controls way too much of the ballhandling and offense. Given his high turnover ratio and obvious clumsy forays that often lead to passes, why would we want him doing all the passing? We shouldn’t WANT him making more passes for the Knicks than Ben Simmons makes for the Sixers. That’s bad, not good.

    *********He is creating more points per game off his assists than LeBron James and Luka Doncic. He is averaging more assists per game than Nikola Jokic ever has over a full season.*******

    This is just a function of the number of passes he’s making and thus has the same flaws as the passing number.

    ********And he’s doing all of this while sharing the court with a pass-first point guard in Elfrid Payton and a high-volume wing scorer in Barrett.*********

    Not sure how this relates to the high number of passes or what it otherwise brings to the party.

  395. geo: hold up Querly – Q, are you saying the julius randle that i am watching play basketball this season is basically the same julius randle i watched play basketball last season?

    Not at all. Last year he was at .538 TS%. So even if his 3p% regresses to last year’s number, then he’s still quite a bit better at .562 and slightly above league average at .569 for his career 3p%.

    Also, Randle’s added assists are in a favorable Ast/TO ratio. The problem is his baseline Ast/TO ratio is nearly 1:1 on a good deal of TOs. This year he’s added 2.35 asts for every TO added.

    I’d also say his defense is much better this year than last year.

    My previous post was less a critique of Randle and more about contextualizing it, assuming he doesn’t continue shooting 40% from 3. If he’s slightly above league average for TS%, then we likely still want to run the offense through him, but the added TOs are more problematic for us and for potential suitors.

    He’s definitely a better player either way. The question is how much better? His actual value will depend on how much his 3p% falls.

  396. Question:

    do all the stats that have been used, for on against, in this argument, consider “who” is the shooter defended or left open?
    It’s one thing to let Steph Curry open (baaaad) and another to let Elf Payton open (goood).
    Does “expected FG%” compare the result with the league average or the shooter average?
    Do different statistics compare differently? And if so, which is the more reliable?

    Thanks in advance for answering

  397. He plays with a pass-first point guard and yet STILL controls the ball so much he passes a shit-ton? Bad, not good.

  398. cool Querly Q (i’ve been wanting to write that since you changed your name :)…i see enough numbers on a daily basis at work to not want to seek out many more…however, you all have convinced me to be skeptical of relying too much on what i see when i watch games…i really appreciate it when folks bring some fairly easy to digest numbers in to the discussion – really helps to evaluate the present and past and provides a very good indicator for what will happen in the future…

    man, i still remember when i first started posting and not having a single clue about any basketball metrics outside of basic box score stuff…

    you guys do a great job of teaching…

    i mostly though just wanna relax and enjoy my time watching us play…obviously the whole watching knicks play and enjoy yourself has been an extreme challenge for many years…

    i slept through most of the first half, and when we got down by double digits, i didn’t think we’d come back…

    i don’t know – maybe the worm really has turned this time for us knick fans…i mean – statistically speaking – as an organization we couldn’t continue to make historically bad choices over and over again…eventually dolan (and us) was due to get lucky in letting someone halfway competent run basketball operations…

  399. E, two-way G-Leaguer:
    He plays with a pass-first point guard and yet STILL controls the ball so much he passes a shit-ton?Bad, not good.

    The answer is that the offense has been better with the ball in Randle’s hands than Payton’s. Randle’s numbers would probably be even better if we replace Payton with IQ or Rivers (maybe even Burks).

    Payton is a better PG than IQ or Rivers, but his skillset is redundant when we run the offense through Randle. The value Payton has is in giving a different look when Randle isn’t scoring. When Randle struggled the other night, Payton stepped up the PnR attack with Mitch. However, we haven’t needed to do this much with Randle playing at such a high level.

  400. Mike Honcho: Do you think we’re the best perimeter defending team in the modern era? Because that’s where we’re at right now. Either Thibs turned an island of misfit toys into the best perimeter defense of the last decade or, just maybe, it’s a fluke because we’ve played seven damn games and that the drop off between our current level and a normal elite level is quite large, so the inevitable regression to the mean is going to bite us hard even if opponents continue to shoot poorly.

    Talk about putting words into my mouth

  401. When in Rome…
    Let me throw some fun numbers too!

    Indiana Pacers 2020-21 (7 games)

    3p% at Wins: 35,5 FT%: 72,0
    3p% at Losses: 37,3 FT%: 82,4

    2Games against Bos:
    3p%: 32,2
    2Games against Nyk:
    3p%: 32,1

  402. E, two-way G-Leaguer: *********He is creating more points per game off his assists than LeBron James and Luka Doncic. He is averaging more assists per game than Nikola Jokic ever has over a full season.*******

    This is just a function of the number of passes he’s making and thus has the same flaws as the passing number.

    ********And he’s doing all of this while sharing the court with a pass-first point guard in Elfrid Payton and a high-volume wing scorer in Barrett.*********

    Not sure how this relates to the high number of passes or what it otherwise brings to the party.

    What’s impressive is he’s doing this playing with three sub .500 TS% starters and Mitch who doesn’t spread the floor. Play him with better shooting and I think turnovers go down (a little- he’s still going to turn it over more than you’d like) and the assists go up and the marginal gains we’re getting now might be much less marginal. For me though he has to be at the four- if you need him to play five to generate numbers it’s not worth it.

  403. i think that closing lineup from last night was really good: IQ, rivers, RJ, julius and mitch…i think thibs trusts those guys – particularly austin rivers, he just seems like a thibs kind of guy…you probably could say the same for IQ (listed as 6’3″ and 190#’s but looks a little light in the ass, but dude is just super gritty = a “gamer”) and born-again-hard julius…

    what i wonder is if alec burks may replace either mitch or RJ in crunch time?

  404. Kyrie with a hell of a line so far, 20pts 8/8 from the field 4/4 from 3 and 0 FTA, 4 rebs, 3asts, 3 stls in 13 min

  405. nicos: What’s impressive is he’s doing this playing with three sub .500 TS% starters and Mitch who doesn’t spread the floor. Play him with better shooting and I think turnovers go down (a little- he’s still going to turn it over more than you’d like) and the assists go up and the marginal gains we’re getting now might be much less marginal. For me though he has to be at the four- if you need him to play five to generate numbers it’s not worth it.

    This is why I want to put IQ and even Burks in the starting lineup.

  406. Lakers-Nets will be a fun final. Especially if an earthquake swallows Staples Center during Game 7…

    Okay, that was dark. Watching Georgia has me a bit on edge.

  407. According to the Knicks, DSJ and Omari Spellman have been upgraded to Probable. Burks remains Questionable, and Frank Ntilikina and Obi Toppin remain out.— Jonathan Macri (@JCMacriNBA) January 5, 2021

    Does anyone have the feeling that the team is just resting guys to see what we have with other players in the rotation?

  408. Utah might be fired up tomorrow after this ass kicking

    Atlanta was defeated by Cleveland and then didn’t exactly rise to the occasion against the Knicks.

  409. E, two-way G-Leaguer:
    Because he’s that unique guy who you can’t win with in the role he wants…But there’s no chance I’m paying him what he thinks he’s worth or giving him the point-forward, primary initiator role he thinks he should have. I’ve seen quite enough of him in that role to make my call…He absolutely, positively, unambiguously thinks of himself as a guy that can and should be a 1 option, which is why he left the Lakers. I’d take his temperature to make sure I’m 100% right, but I have no illusions about what the answer is going to be. He’s not what he thinks he is, and that’s why the Knicks should move on from him.

    You just made all of this up, didn’t you? Here’s an article regarding why Randle “left” the Lakers.

    If you want to be taken seriously in a crowd like this one, don’t just make shit up. Don’t put words in people’s mouths and thoughts in their heads.

  410. #Does anyone have the feeling that the team is just resting guys to see what we have with other players in the rotation?#

    From day 0.
    I wouldn’t call it resting but something like “Let me check out rotations without NYpress busting my balls” kind of stuff

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