2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Future Knick Kyle Lowry’s Team

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia for you. Can you name the first Beatle to have a solo #1 hit on the Billboard Top 100 and the last Beatle to have a solo #1 hit on the Billboard Top 100? It’s the same guy, as George Harrison beat his more famous bandmates to the punch with 1970’s “My Sweet Lord” and then was the last Beatle to have a top hit with 1987’s “I Got My Mind Set On You” which was off of a strong album called Cloud Nine (this is especially fascinating as Harrison only had three #1 singles and yet he somehow was the first and the last Beatle to get one. Can you name Harrison’s only other #1 hit?).

Here’s the title track, “Cloud Nine.”

I offer up that song for no reason, why do you ask?

The Knicks host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday afternoon with a chance to win another game. That would be swell.

Let’s go get to cloud nine, Knicks!

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281 thoughts to “2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Future Knick Kyle Lowry’s Team”

  1. holy crap it’s early…what possesses people to wanna get up this early on a saturday to do: anything…oh yeah, almost forgot – I got a color tv so I can see the knicks play basketball…

  2. oh yeah, almost forgot – I got a color tv so I can see the knicks play basketball…

    oh geo you live in 1968. this explains your kyrie but for spacetime manifesto.

    i wonder if nurse runs a lot of zone again. i think i would try og on randle for a bit.

  3. ptmilo:
    oh yeah, almost forgot – I got a color tv so I can see the knicks play basketball…

    oh geo you live in 1968.

    No. Geo is spot on in 1980. Sugarhill represent!

    Let’s go Knicks.

  4. 9 games in a row would be awesome, let’s do it! ;)
    @milo: i think teams are trying the zone less and less because we’re now ready for it and it doesn’t yield the results it did at the beginning of the season (when our attack would colapse facing a zone defense), don’t you think?

  5. Well rested, locked out of the gym on Thursday. Let’s see what they do today. Let’s go Knicks!!!

  6. Payton’s not missing from 5 feet anymore.
    The defense is swarming.

  7. Yeah, last year when a foul was whistled the player wouldn’t had put in the effort to avoid the basket, and today there were 2 defenders chasing OG for the block. I like it.

  8. Elf doing his damnedest to dig that hole the second team can try to climb out of.

    Thanks, Elf!

  9. RJ 3P with a hand in front of him? With quick release? He’s getting a lot better as the season progresses. :)

  10. Thibs rotations became Psychedelic
    Mixing the units is next level coaching
    I like it

  11. ess-dog:
    Very bullish on Obi now!

    I’m REALLY bullish on Toppin, but I’ll say it again — sticking a very tall, fast-jumping 27% 3-pt shooter in the corner is just not good Obadiah management. Next year, absolutely. This year, not so much.

  12. The last two 3s by Bullock were set up by dribble penetration. First time it was IQ. Next was Randle.

    Plays like that will open the driving lanes, because defenders will stick with Bullock in the corner and not cheat into the lane.

  13. I still find this new feeling about the Knicks very strange… i’m watching the game, and even when the Raptors got ahead i was still calm and knowing we’ll be fine and win all the same. What is this?? :D

  14. So how are people feeling about the Lowry Audition so far? I’m not tracking it closely, but so far I’m not seeing any reason to think it’s going well.

    On the other hand Fred, besides being named Fred, is being a real pain in the keister.

  15. Hanging around, hanging around. That team has alligator blood. Can’t get rid of them.

  16. Clyde is absolutely right that no matter what they call, really weird play by FVV

  17. It is a weird sensation that I feel the Knicks should be further ahead, some very silly open 3s for the Raptors that should never happen, but decent half overall!

  18. #I still find this new feeling about the Knicks very strange…#

    I miss our ol’ shitty days!
    #NOT!#

  19. ephus:
    The last two 3s by Bullock were set up by dribble penetration.First time it was IQ. Next was Randle.

    Plays like that will open the driving lanes, because defenders will stick with Bullock in the corner and not cheat into the lane.

    Totally agree. Love seeing IQ make that play especially. He did much less of that in first half of the season.

  20. they had 18 assists and 3 turnovers but we have kevin durant’s real life incredible hulk burner so we lead

  21. Raven:
    So how are people feeling about the Lowry Audition so far? I’m not tracking it closely, but so far I’m not seeing any reason to think it’s going well.

    Eye test, but Rose Reformation looking like a keeper if this is sustainable. To his credit, the dude has really changed his attitude and style of play. Don’t know if there is much of a delta between Kyle and Rose to justify the greater cost for Kyle.

  22. How much of the relative success the Knicks and Raps have had this season can be summed up by one factor?

    Entering today, Julius Randle’s eFG on jumpers is 4.8 points above his shot quality while Pascal Siakam is -7.7 below his.

    Just saw this on Twitter.

    FVV looking good. They missed him

  23. Bo Nateman: Don’t know if there is much of a delta between Kyle and Rose to justify the greater cost for Kyle.

    Kyle is to replace Elfrid, not Rose. For a rotation of: Lowry (or other option… Ball, Conley, etc), DRose and 1st RP.
    But i agree, if this is the new normal for Lowry, the audition is not going well (but otoh, DRose looked bad on the Pistons and is looking great on the Knicks).

  24. I hate these kinds of games. They keep hanging around. Despite their record, the Raptors are too good to mess around with. We might blow this game.

  25. Swap FVV for Payton and the Knicks are fighting with the Nets, 76ers, and Bucks instead of fighting to avoid the play in tournament.

  26. Deeefense:
    I hate these kinds of games.They keep hanging around. Despite their record, the Raptors are too good to mess around with. We might blow this game.

    You want to be the visionaire that brought pessimism back first? :P

  27. I don’t know if all of you watched Noel answer Begley for what trash talk he’d do with guys he blocked the play before, and the answer was “i say to them ‘you better start working on your floater'”. Hilarious. :D

  28. cybersoze:
    I don’t know if all of you watched Noel answer Begley for what trash talk he’d do with guys he blocked the play before, and the answer was “i say to them ‘you better start working on your floater’”. Hilarious. :D

    hahaha. and right on cue.

  29. Noel’s block on FVV feels pivotal. RJ was slow getting back after shooting an air ball. Noel triggered a Knicks fast break for a 4 point swing.

  30. Game after game it’s always the same story,
    we need to survive The Plague’s minutes and if we’re lucky we could try to win the game at the end…

    Now someone will write a line when Payton’ll score his next layup (as if scoring the ball is not in a player’s job description) and really,
    he’s a Knick and I want the Knicks to win so I’ll be very happy if he’ll ever start to play well,
    but the truth is that he’s a big net negative as every lineup based advanced stats show…

    This team plays with totally different vibes, for many reasons, when he’s off the floor…

  31. I’m with you, Max. I think “a guy off of the street” (copyright Brian) would be better than Elfrid. At least for our eyes! :D

  32. Randle’s been great all game, but he doesn’t seem to have the energy to get out on shooters today. Understandable, given his recent run of minutes/usage.

  33. cybersoze:
    I’m with you, Max. I think “a guy off of the street” (copyright Brian) would be better than Elfrid. At least for our eyes! :D

    Rose is starting and playing 35 minutes during the playoffs.

  34. GoNYGoNYGo – Gearing up for the playoffs: Rose is starting and playing 35 minutes during the playoffs.

    Dunno. I think part of why Rose is so effective is Thibs tries to keep him fresh (b/c age). If nothing else, that’s why we need Elf. Today is weird b/c Burks would normally come in and drop ~10 about now. What’s his ETA?

  35. They’re not blowing the Raps for the score to be kind of open in the end, or else Frank don’t get his usual very important seconds

  36. Rose is quicker and way better at probing around for his own shot and then either getting to the basket, pulling up mid range or finding the open man and ultimately hitting a shot if he takes one. It’s a shame he can’t play starter minutes every night. But truthfully, if we started him then we’d have issues scoring on the bench. As long as he finishes.

  37. IQ has the highest ever 3PT% among players whose form looks kinda like a 6 year old just trying to make sure the ball gets to the rim

  38. Rose is playing very well again, it really shows how starved we are for a guy with basic competent guard skills. Just bring a threat to drive and score a layup or kick out opens up the court for everything else. Doesn’t help that Elfrid has been dreadful so far.

  39. I was tapping out a comment about how enormous the delta between Payton and Rose is.

    Rose is playing well, I must admit

  40. KB Apprentice: Dunno. I think part of why Rose is so effective is Thibs tries to keep him fresh (b/c age).

    Yeah, but do you think Thibs is holding him back in the playoffs? Thibs??

  41. I think Obi looks like he belongs now, and that’s a huge improvement from where he started

  42. The Obi game!!!

    Also can we just give Taj a legacy contract or something and just keep him around permanently? The guy is just the perfect veteran, I love him.

  43. Accountability time: while I’m still deeply uncomfortable rooting for Rose, all of my process and basketball related complaints about the trade were wrong.

  44. This was a 2016 Warriors-like run. Lead went up to 16 in the time it took me to refill my glass of water.

  45. You can’t judge Toppin on this year. I mean, he’s kinda blocked by some guy named Julius

  46. marechal:
    This was a 2016 Warriors-like run. Lead went up to 16 in the time it took me to refill my glass of water.

    Man, you must have a mansion :D

  47. Thibs is not happy with the D by Ibi on that last dunk. It was his first blown assignment of the game. I’ve been watching.

    I expect Randle will be back in the game and we will only see Obi in garbage time.

  48. there are a lot of playoff teams playing and paying bigs worse than taj. like if i were a celtic fan would i rather have taj than tristan thompson? yes.

  49. So Nurse challenges it and goes to the referee saying what he wants to be determined?? He looks cool but is kind of annoying.

  50. KB Apprentice: I don’t think we wanna watch DRose on tired legs in the 4th.

    Rose is only 32. He plays on the second team because of his knee operations. But yeah, I hear you. But Thibs will play him until he can’t.

  51. RJ has a knack for following his misses. A good knack for a Knick

  52. pepper: where’s frank?

    Can’t play because Thibs trusts him so much and he’s our secret weapon for the playoffs :D

  53. NINE IN A ROW!
    Very professional win,
    they played like good teams do,
    they’re playing with a boatload of confidence…

    Next stop the Suns…

  54. Great performances from many of the Bockers today but I especially loved RJ’s play today

  55. I don’t think RJ Barrett gets talked about enough for Most Improved Player. Him and Randle are pretty close, no?

  56. We’re really f****** good.

    Apropos of nothing… WW Wes is going to bring CP3 here next year. Book it!!

  57. RJ eating it up.
    Can’t wait until it’s 19K in the building!

  58. Hubert:
    I don’t think RJ Barrett gets talked about enough for Most Improved Player. Him and Randle are pretty close, no?

    Yeah, in actual improvement RJ has been fantastic but I think the award biases the older breakthrough players

  59. I don’t think they give MIP very often to sophomores, but yeah, both RJ and Randle have good cases for it.

    Also I fucking love Noel

  60. I don’t think RJ Barrett gets talked about enough for Most Improved Player. Him and Randle are pretty close, no?

    Zach Lowe and David Thorpe talked about both on a recent podcast on the matter, but there’s an understandable hesitancy to give it to highly drafted second year players because they pretty much all tend to get better unless they’re Frank Ntilikina or Kevin Knox.

    Having said that, Barrett’s improvement is one of the bigger second-year leaps I can remember.

  61. After all this years of sadness, frustration and anger,
    the way this team always let 100% on the floor,
    the way they genuinely cares for each other,
    gives me shivers…

  62. The Lowry Audition: 1-10, 0-8 from three.
    He did get 9 assists and 7 rebounds. And yes, a bag of rocks is an improvement from Elf. But I feel like a bag of rocks is a cheaper alternative. And would still improve the team…

  63. I believe Berman mentioned a few days ago Burks should be eligible to exit covid protocol for the Suns game on Monday, would be nice to have him back especially as the schedule toughens up soon.

  64. Somebody (I think Rebecca?) flagged how much our shooting has improved in April. Is that true?

    If so, all our guys getting to shoot long hours at our own practice facility has really come at the perfect time.

  65. What a great win! :)
    And today i won’t think about next year (and how some of these guys are playing their way out of the Knicks by getting too expensive for our plan) and will only enjoy this success we’re having. A very nice day to you all, my Knicks brothers. ;)

  66. One more thing, we helped the Bulls by beating the Raptors, so i’m expecting the payment in the form of the Bulls beating the Heat. :D

  67. The Knicks bench is really good. Say what you want about Thibs’ security blankets but Rose and Taj have both been legitimately good- not just decent fill-ins. IQ and Burks have both been up and down but their ups have been way up- both guys have carried the offense at times. And at least it looks like the game has finally slowed down a bit for Obi. He’s been surprisingly on point on defense lately- not perfect but light years better than he was.

  68. I want to choose between Noel and Mitch as much as parents want to choose between their kids.

  69. I was not a fan of the trade to acquire Derrick Rose but clearly it worked out. You can’t deny that he has played well.

  70. Yeah. We all made the mistake of forgetting what a giant upgrade he would be on Elf.

    I got to say, I am enjoying Cloud 9. It’s nice! Never expected to be here but it’s lovely.

  71. Team chemistry aside, Elf shouldn’t be playing anymore. But it sure seems like Thibs understands how short a leash he needs to keep the guy on before the Rose/IQ backcourt can come in to carry us.

  72. I’m starting to think in terms of cheaper upgrades at the point than lowry or conley, TJ McConnell perhaps…

    doesn’t really seem like we need to add any more vet “leadership”…what we really need is young fresh legs…

  73. IQ has the highest ever 3PT% among players whose form looks kinda like a 6 year old just trying to make sure the ball gets to the rim

    too funny, and so true…

  74. geo:
    I’m starting to think in terms of cheaper upgrades at the point than lowry or conley, TJ McConnell perhaps…

    doesn’t really seem like we need to add any more vet “leadership”…what we really need is young fresh legs…

    Agree. And get IQ working on his handle 24/7

  75. #(Frank) Can’t play because Thibs trusts him so much and he’s our secret weapon for the playoffs :D#

    This.
    Frankie is our Playoffs Nuclear Program!
    The Final Level!
    ;-p

  76. I think we’re third seed.

    Remarkable.

    But I was high on Thibs and a defense-minded team from the outset.
    I thought they would be better, but not this good

  77. I literally don’t even know what to say..

    Like..is it even safe to watch games at this point?? Sheesh!

    Way’ment..I do know what to say. And it’s probably the only thing you can say after watching the squad bag their 9th straight dub in convincing fashion:

    AHSHSUWBDBFOZNDVTAHDKTSTSJGXKUXYDTUSJDJTDYIDUTSYS!

  78. I looked at the odds for MIP and the only guys with an argument for it over Julius are Zion and Jokic. Jokic won’t get it because he’ was too good last year

  79. Randle is a lock for MIP.

    Frank O.:
    I think we’re third seed.

    4th. We’re 4 games behind the Bucks for 3rd seed. I can’t see it happening but if things stay like this and the results are chalk, We get Atlanta in Round 1 and Brooklyn in Round 2,

  80. On Feb 7th when the trade went down EVERYONE thought I was wrong and I was ridiculed to the point of disgust. Sometimes you have to say “I told you so”.

    BTW, I can’t seem to post any links. They all come back “marked as spam”. Any URL.

  81. People didn’t like DRose personally. Not sure how much that has changed.

    People also thought he was cooked. He’s more medium rare.

  82. “EVERYONE” is a bit of too much since 31% of the154 voters said Yes to DRose trade but it was definitely a time that pessimists weren’t yet convinced of team’s legitimacy while optimists “gambled” their ‘predicting reputation’ like Nick the Greek back then!

  83. One thing’s for sure.
    If you get this season’s threads ‘one by one’ you’ll read incredible brick predictions since the team was projected as a slow reptile but turned out to be a high flying bird even without serious roster moves.

    Crow Burger Sellers would be Millionaires in here!

  84. Owen:
    Yeah. We all made the mistake of forgetting what a giant upgrade he would be on Elf.

    I got to say, I am enjoying Cloud 9. It’s nice! Never expected to be here but it’s lovely.

    I’m not a thread sleuth the way some people here are, but I definitely pointed out that Derrick Rose’s .052 WS/48 was a lot better than Elfrid Payton’s .009 WS/48 at the time.

  85. Here’s the part that really is inexplicable.

    Brooklyn Nets
    Philadelphia 76ers
    Milwaukee Bucks
    New York Knicks

    Part of me starts singing that Sesame Street ditty…

  86. Is it possible there’s been a method to the madness of how Obi has been used to this point? I.e., force him to focus almost entirely on the stuff he’s deficient at, since we know the fast breaking and dunking and whatnot will always be there. I doubt that’s actually been the plan, but his shot today did not look like those moonshots he was taking earlier in the season.

  87. Alan, I think a better bet is that Obi realizes he’s going to be spending what little time he has out on the floor camped out in the corners because that’s what Thibs wants, so he’s practicing his threes like a madman. My understanding is the kid works hard. So it wouldn’t be too surprising if he starts hitting his threes with a bit more regularity as the season progresses.

  88. I can’t see anyone beating Randle for MIP- going from not even sniffing an all-star team to having a legitimate case for All-NBA (after today he should be top ten in VORP) in your 7th season is pretty rare. RJ/Zion are making big sophomore jumps but you expect solid improvement from guys in their second season; guys in their 7th? Not so much.

  89. @IanBegley
    Knicks will sign Simi Shittu to a 10-day contract, per SNY sources. New York has one open 15-man roster spot, which Shittu will fill. A 6-10 PF/C, Shittu played for the Westchester Knicks in the G League bubble. He averaged 14.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

    Begley later suggested it may be a two-day deal.

  90. I liked him at Vandy. Weird player, a very mobile fairly skilled big guy who couldn’t fucking shoot at all but liked taking 3s anyhow.

  91. Alan:
    Is it possible there’s been a method to the madness of how Obi has been used to this point? I.e., force him to focus almost entirely on the stuff he’s deficient at, since we know the fast breaking and dunking and whatnot will always be there.

    I watched some interview with RJ’s trainer (Drew Hanlen?). He specifically picks only one thing to work on each off season. This year was RJ’s shot. I’m hoping Obi gets some good coaching just like that. He looks like he could be a monster.

  92. DRed:
    I liked him at Vandy.Weird player, a very mobile fairly skilled big guy who couldn’t fucking shoot at all but liked taking 3s anyhow.

    Simi had a bunch of double doubles for Westchester and has a “live” body. There were times that he seemed to be all over the court. Good rebounder.

  93. Watching the post ASB Knicks makes me believe more and more that we do not need to add a high usage scorer to be a title contender. What this team needs is the patience to develop RJ and IQ, the roster continuity to actually run Thibs’ offense, and improvements to the role players we currently have. I hated this team’s offense for most of the year, but now I feel like I’m finally starting to see a plan on that end. The team is slowly adding principles of the triangle to their mismatch hunting, and if I’m right we need ball better ball movers out of our starting guard positions. Jalen Brunson and Lonzo Ball are as ideal a pairing as it gets for this offense, and while neither guy will be easy to bring in I think adding them makes us a 55 win team next season. They’re threats off the catch, they’re good defenders, they move the ball, and they do all of their damage under a 20% usage which is key. RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, more than anything else, need guys who are going to hit open shots and also help them get easier buckets.

    If I had my way, we’d do what it takes to get both Ball and Brunson to New York, and I’d try to entice Orlando to swap 2018 lottery busts with us for the price of a 2nd round pick. Give Mo Bamba one off season and training camp with Kenny Payne and Tom Thibodeau and you’ll have a stud on your hands.

  94. Knicks using open roster spots to get more $$$ to their G-League players is interesting. You wonder if it might sway some of the better undrafted guys to sign to Westchester down the road.

    Also- Do you think the Knicks will vote to give a ring to Austin Rivers after they win the championship?

  95. My take on Obi. Start with the coach. Thibs does not tolerate mistakes on the defensive end. We’ve seen him yank Obi time and again when he made a mistake there.

    Obi never learned defense. He’s very capable but he needs to learn. The fact that he’s still getting PT means they have high hopes for him. Look for the big leap next year.

  96. an rj barrett stan account: we need ball better ball movers out of our starting guard positions. Jalen Brunson and Lonzo Ball are as ideal a pairing as it gets for this offense,

    I hear a lot of what you say, but — Are Brunson or Ball legitimate threats to drive to the hoop? My superficial understanding of their skill sets is that neither really is. So they could be problems in our offense, like Elf.

    Our offense seems to work best when a legit threat can drive and kick out for easy threes after collapsing the defense. Right now that’s DRose, Randle, RJ, Burks, and sometimes IQ.

    I don’t know Brunson and Lonzo well enough, but …

  97. Watching the women’s volleyball final. Pretty entertaining.. three players had fathers in the NBA…

  98. Shittu was on Team Canada with RJ if I remember correctly. Not sure if they are tight or what.

  99. Begley later suggested it may be a two-day deal.

    This was supposed to be “two-way deal.”

  100. KB Apprentice: I hear a lot of what you say, but — Are Brunson or Ball legitimate threats to drive to the hoop? My superficial understanding of their skill sets is that neither really is. So they could be problems in our offense, like Elf.

    Our offense seems to work best when a legit threat can drive and kick out for easy threes after collapsing the defense. Right now that’s DRose, Randle, RJ, Burks, and sometimes IQ.

    I don’t know Brunson and Lonzo well enough, but …

    Ball isn’t a guy who is going to put pressure on the rim, but Brunson absolutely is that guy. I know that’s just a highlight clip, but you can clearly see the shiftiness, burst, and craftiness necessary to constantly put pressure on the rim. I imagine Brunson and Ball together being like Kyle Lowry and a 6’7″ super athletic Pablo Prigioni. You put that back court on these Knicks and you might be able to field a top 10 offense provided RJ takes another leap forward and Julius Randle maintains his dominance.

  101. ess-dog:
    Shittu was on Team Canada with RJ if I remember correctly. Not sure if they are tight or what.

    I think one time I was listening to The Ringer podcast before the 2019 Draft and they said Shittu didn’t like RJ Barrett’s ball dominance or something when they played together for Canada. I can’t find that anywhere on the internet but it doesn’t really matter. RJ’s on his way to an All Star career and Shittu should be in Europe by the time he’s 25.

  102. an rj barrett stan account: Ball isn’t a guy who is going to put pressure on the rim, but Brunson absolutely is that guy.

    Maybe you’re right, though Brunson looks a bit small. And his defense?

    I’d be more excited for someone to drill down and find him in the draft, find the exact right Thibs guy, then arrange the picks/trades to get him.

  103. @IanBegley
    Knicks will sign Simi Shittu to a 10-day contract, per SNY sources. New York has one open 15-man roster spot, which Shittu will fill. A 6-10 PF/C, Shittu played for the Westchester Knicks in the G League bubble. He averaged 14.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
    Begley later suggested it may be a two-way deal.

    I’m happy the Knicks have management that isn’t worried about money. Especially with the pandemic, some teams would not want to spend extra money this way. I’m also guessing a signing like this gives the Knicks a chance to see out a G-league player into their NBA team practices and see how they do.

  104. Sounds like Shittu is getting the same treatment as Harper and Powell: a money bonus, but won’t be on the team.

    Meanwhile, a Thibs quote from Berman on Obi’s shooting:

    “He puts a lot of time into his shooting. He’s coming back at night. He’s grooving his shot so I think he’s gaining confidence. He’s practicing well too when we do practice. His concentration has improved. So he’s an important part of the second unit.’’

  105. I do agree that this team does not need a high volume star scorer, someone like Beal or LaVine for example, because most of out success is unconventional in many ways, running the offense through Randle, who’s not a typical threat driving to the basket or playing through the post. But the recent success with Rose does show that this unconventional style with Randle at the lead benefits massively from having at least one guy who’s a real threat to at least drive and kick or get layups out of a pick and roll or in isolation. Rose isn’t even shooting particularly well, his ts% with us is still at .527, but just the threat of him getting to the rim and breaking down the defense opens up the floor, it gets Bullock easy shots, gets Barrett corner 3s, allows Randle to actually finish plays he didn’t initiate, etc.

    The absolute ideal fit would obviously be a guy like prime Chris Paul, but that’s hardly a surprise because that’s a guy who would improve any team anyway. But what I mean is that we should be looking still at Point Guards more than wing players for the “3rd star” role, we can get by with a league average 3 and D guy like Bullock and a defensive center like Noel, but the team still lacks the ability to get easy baskets and that’s what even a decent, competent true guard like Rose brings to the table. At the end of the day good teams have ways to score easy baskets over a game, and what worries me about the current roster is that a lot of the scoring seems very labored, if Randle has a big shooting slump and those 3s and fade away jumpers stop falling, we can’t really score on good defenses.

  106. Bruno Almeida: But what I mean is that we should be looking still at Point Guards more than wing players for the “3rd star” role, we can get by with a league average 3 and D guy like Bullock and a defensive center like Noel, but the team still lacks the ability to get easy baskets and that’s what even a decent, competent true guard like Rose brings to the table.

    The player you want is Jalen Brunson.

  107. KB Apprentice: I’d be more excited for someone to drill down and find him in the draft, find the exact right Thibs guy, then arrange the picks/trades to get him.

    Two guys in the draft that we should be targeting are Jared Butler and Tre Mann. Don’t buy the Davion Mitchell stock.

  108. Watching the post ASB Knicks makes me believe more and more that we do not need to add a high usage scorer to be a title contender.

    I would wait to see what happens in a playoff series against a good team before making these kinds of judgments.

    I’m sure Bucks fans, for instance, didn’t think Giannis needed much help when they were winning 60+ games.

  109. I would wait to see what happens in a playoff series against a good team before making these kinds of judgments.

    Yeah, we still haven’t played any of the elite teams in this streak. And other than Elf, all of our role players are absolutely balling. We need a talent upgrade overall if we want to take the next step next year. Scheme plus effort is only gonna take us so far, even if Randle maintains this level.

  110. Hubert: I would wait to see what happens in a playoff series against a good team before making these kinds of judgments.

    I’m sure Bucks fans, for instance, didn’t think Giannis needed much help when they were winning 60+ games.

    The big difference is in the type of players I think we need to target to build out these Knicks. Specifically, I believe spending some of our assets to bring in both of Ball and Brunson instead of Beal/LaVine is what we need to do in order to catapult our team into title contention. Brunson fits that Billups/Lowry/Tony Parker style of guard (yes, I think that highly of Brunson) and when you have a player like that as opposed to the Jeff Teagues and Eric Bledsoe’s of fake 60 win title contenders in the past, you can hang with anybody. Of course Lowry and Parker needed Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan to win titles, but my point in all of this is we need to give RJ Barrett a chance to be a true 1A like those guys were. Brunson and Ball would make the game so much easier for their teammates without needing a 30% usage to do so, and that’s precisely what we need to put around RJ, Julius, and IQ right now.

  111. the state of pg’s in the nba is quite weird… but a lot of them are pretty old or unavailable…. unless you think we’re signing conley or curry…. you kind of have to hope that lillard comes available via trade sometime to get anything resembling top tier… i kind of have my doubts on grabbing brunson also… but he’d represent one of the better opportunities if we can do that…. but i don’t think that will come cheap if it happens at all..

    aside from that there’s not much… you really cannot get far in the playoffs with a 20 something offense…. and randle has been good but he’s far from unstoppable… the missing piece imo is a high usage and efficient scorer that can create offense… that’s a 2-guard / wing type.,.. and lavine kind of fits a lot with what we do and what we need…. he’s not some black hole on offense anymore… his game has matured quite well and he does make others better around him …

    we do need someone at pg… but the market for it is not going to be great… if someone like lillard or curry do come available… we would want to keep all our picks in the event that happens… and if we spend it for brunson or ball that won’t happen.. the draft does have a few candidates to develop our own and that’s probably the best course until a top tier guy comes available…

  112. there were some rumors about brogdon being available at the deadline. although he’s not a pure point, he comes without major drawbacks (shoots, defends pretty well, can penetrate) and zero chemistry concerns. he does have a legit injury history, but there’s only two years left on his deal. it’s hard to guess what his price would be or what the pacers will do in general this offseason, but if you could get him for just one of 21 firsts it might be a good fit. i’m definitely not suggesting paying a jrue-type price, but i doubt his market would be there.

  113. Knicks using open roster spots to get more $$$ to their G-League players is interesting. You wonder if it might sway some of the better undrafted guys to sign to Westchester down the road.

    That almost has to be the thinking.

  114. Hubert: I don’t think RJ Barrett gets talked about enough for Most Improved Player. Him and Randle are pretty close, no?

    I think RJ was such a high draft pick that even though his shooting in his rookie season was a disappointment, people were kind of expecting some improvement. No one would have predicted Randle to be hitting 41% on his 3s and leading the Knicks in assists. I think expectations weigh in a little.

  115. I remember an interview with Reggie Miller where he said he put up a huge numbers of 3s every day (I could swear he said 2000 on a good day but don’t hold me to it) in practice, after practice, after games etc. I saw a picture on Twitter yesterday of Knox and Frank getting ready to take extra 3s after the game. All these guys are not improving on 3s naturally. Thibs and the development coaches knew it was an issue to start the season and have them buying in to such a high degree they are all working their asses off to get better at it. It would not shock me if “development” becomes one of our strengths in coming years instead of a weakness. Don’t give up on any of the young players. They are going to add things every year.

  116. Watching the post ASB Knicks makes me believe more and more that we do not need to add a high usage scorer to be a title contender

    I think we need one of these guys in the worst way. The offense has definitely gotten a lot better since Rose got back and Bullock began his heater, but it still gets bogged down in ugly Randle ISOs too much. I don’t blame Randle for that due to the lack of better options, but we should still address that lack of better options.

    I continue to like the idea of signing LaVine in 2022. It seems like the most realistic and cost effective way to add a dynamic player to this team. Assuming our draft picks stay where they are now and we don’t make any long-term signings this offseason, we’ll have around $54M in cap space in 2022 (accounting for Randle and Mitch’s cap holds).

    We could sign LaVine and still have $18-$20M left over to either spread out (maybe re-sign as many of Bullock/Burks/Noel as possible if we re-sign them to one-year deals this offseason), or try to reel in a medium-sized fish like Terry Rozier, TJ Warren, or Norman Powell.

  117. One of the organic solves to the shot creation problem has to be more development for RJ. I think they need to loosen the reins on him and see if he can handle more usage and keep his efficiency high and increase his ast rate.

  118. I think we clearly need another higher usage fairly efficient scorer long term. I said that the other day. It’s been obvious for awhile that our offense tends to bog down at times because we have Noel/Mitch, Bullock, and Payton on the court at the same time. IMO, Bullock and Noel are excellent role players. I love both. But at a certain point you need more higher usage scoring threats if you also have Payton out there. Maybe you can get away with only two significant scoring threats if they are both elite, but Randle and RJ don’t cut it. RJ is just starting to get to the point where he’s a legitimate fairly consistent and fairly efficient option. He’s more of a 3rd guy with the potential to be more. And even though Randle is playing out of his mind, he’s not an elite scorer. Almost no matter what either Noel or Mitch is going to be at C. So we need a more dynamic scorer in Bullock’s role or we need a scoring PG. Since we need an upgrade at PG anyway, we’d be way better off finding that elusive PG. Rose is good in that role, but he can’t do it full time at his age with his injury history. For now we can play him important minutes and let him close, but we need a permanent solution to get that extra scorer out there. The offense is obviously better when we have one of either Rose, Quick, or Burks out there and they are “on” their game. But you also need scorers off the bench,

  119. There are a lot of point guard candidates in this draft, some of whom should be available.

    Springer, Giddey, Butler, Mitchell, Mann, Ayo, McBride could all be interesting.

  120. I don’t know if we need a high usage PG but we do need one who can shoot 3’s. Right now we can’t really put four deep threats on the floor at the same time because none of our points are really good three point shooters.

  121. At this point it’s no longer clear that Ja Morant is the more valuable asset than RJ Barrett. Morant is almost a full year older than RJ.

    I think I’m taking RJ over Ja in a redraft.

  122. I don’t know if we need a high usage PG but we do need one who can shoot 3’s. Right now we can’t really put four deep threats on the floor at the same time because none of our points are really good three point shooters.

    IQ’s ability to play more than spot PG minutes would change a lot for this team in the long term. He’s had games where he’s looked good doing it, and others where the offense has stagnated . He’s been most consistently god as part of that dual-PG backcourt with Rose, but if he could thrive while starting alongside Bullock (or whichever 3-and-D guy we might replace him with), then that seems to raise the team’s ceiling significantly.

  123. DRose was close to a wizard with the ball in yesterday’s game. I also have noticed that the young guys seem to love the guy.

  124. DudesTown:
    There are a lot of point guard candidates in this draft, some of whom should be available.

    Springer, Giddey, Butler, Mitchell, Mann, Ayo, McBride could all be interesting.

    The tricky part of this is that virtually no point guard is NBA-ready right off the bat. Even the Point God, who started every game in his rookie season, shot .282 from three. Seems if you take a PG in the draft, especially where the Knicks will be drafting, you’re betting on a starter a year or two into the future. Or three. Which gets back to the question of where the team is on the win curve.

    There’s a very real possibility that IQ gets better at the things he’s weak at over the off-season, and he and Rose could make a good one-two at the point. But I’m all in favor of looking for another Rose out there, AND using one of the picks on a potential point.

    I’ve always been violently against CP3 as an option (as if he ever was), as it seemed like shiny candy that totally didn’t fit the team’s timeline. Looking forward to watching him tomorrow and imagining him in this new timeline we find ourselves in. Let the fantasy CP3 audition begin!

  125. I like Morant better. But the injury risk is so high with Ja that taking RJ doesn’t seem implausible.

    Speaking of which, KP missed another game. Mavs beat the Lakers anyway.

  126. I don’t know if we need a high usage PG but we do need one who can shoot 3’s.

    We need more than just someone that can shoot 3s.

    You need some kind of combination of 3 all star caliber scorers or 2 elite superstar level scorers to be in the upper echelon of teams. You can’t have Randle, RJ, and 3 role players and expect to have a high level offense, especially in the playoffs when everyone is game planning and locking down on defense. Our offense is unlikely to be very good in the playoffs. That’s when we’ll start hearing all the Thibs can’t coach offense nonsense again. lol

    I’m confident RJ can be the one of those guys over time. We’ll see if Randle can sustain this better than expected shooting. But we need that 3rd guy and the best place to have him is at PG because we are weak there.

  127. Kemba Walker is slowly rounding back into top form for Boston. They are not going to be an easy out for anyone if he’s close to 100% because the rest of the team is very good. He’s been the wildcard.

    The Mikal Bridges miss has always bothered me, but even Miles Bridges is way ahead of Knox now. He keeps getting better every year.

  128. Owen:
    Watching the women’s volleyball final. Pretty entertaining.. three players had fathers in the NBA…

    My daughter plays D3 volleyball and it is a blast to watch even at that level. I love watching the top D1 games on the Big 10 channel…

  129. The Mikal Bridges miss has always bothered me, but even Miles Bridges is way ahead of Knox now. He keeps getting better every year.

    I’m pretty sure Lloyd Bridges would have been a better pick than Knox

    #3on3

  130. Miles Bridges is putting up insane shooting numbers this year. He might be in the MIP discussion…no chance of winning but his improvement is very impressive.

  131. Berman:

    Alec Burks definitely out vs. Phoenix as he quarantines. Wednesday still possibility though as it will be past the ten-day isolation marker.

    We’ve done well without Burks, but Phoenix is a major level up in competition.

  132. Watching the Phoenix-Nets game, and three thoughts. First, holy crap these two teams are offensive juggernauts. I’m kinda not looking forward to tomorrow’s game. Of course there’s no defense, and where there’s no defense there’s hope.

    Kyrie Irving is an idiot, but he’s an idiot savant.

    Kyrie should loan Durant some of his hair.

  133. There are a lot of point guard candidates in this draft, some of whom should be available.

    Springer, Giddey, Butler, Mitchell, Mann, Ayo, McBride could all be interesting.

    If we don’t move up the draft I would love us to take Giddey. Would be a project but I have never seen a teenager with better basketball sense than him. Extremely high IQ and has the tools to go for a triple double every night. Shooting still needs some work (especially beyond the arc), but he has really good length and is solid getting to the rim. Would also need to put on a few kilograms in the gym.

  134. Z-man:
    PHX looks beatable…they have no physicality at all

    Raven:
    Watching the Phoenix-Nets game, and three thoughts. First, holy crap these two teams are offensive juggernauts. I’m kinda not looking forward to tomorrow’s game. Of course there’s no defense, and where there’s no defense there’s hope.

    Phoenix doesn’t play defense. Let’s see what the Knicks can do against a high-octane offense.

  135. De’Anthony 2-7 with three turnovers and a plus 14. I am imagining the Meltwagon looks like Boston on St. Paddy’s Day.

    The Nets are going to be tough. If Harden comes back. Even if he doesn’t.

  136. Phoenix doesn’t play defense.

    Uhhh yeah they do. They’re the #5 defense in the NBA. They’re really good at eFG% prevention and they’re league average in the other Four Factors.

    They’re a very good defensive team which is why they’re a title contender. Good team on both sides of the ball.

  137. dtrickey: If we don’t move up the draft I would love us to take Giddey. Would be a project but I have never seen a teenager with better basketball sense than him. Extremely high IQ and has the tools to go for a triple double every night. Shooting still needs some work (especially beyond the arc), but he has really good length and is solid getting to the rim. Would also need to put on a few kilograms in the gym.

    I started looking for scouting on Giddey and came across this scouting report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eld_-fHPMOU&t=2442s

    I learned two things:
    1. These guys have reservations about his ability at NBA athlete level.
    2. Most of their notes were way over my head. I don’t know much at all about basketball, I’ll stick to watching on tv and occasional pick up games.

  138. I know some mocks have Giddey within our range, but I think he’ll go in the lottery at a minimum and possibly work his way all the way up to the top-8. The NBL has proven itself in terms of statistics translating well to the NBA, and at least to me his tape only adds to his case.

    In fact, I wouldn’t hate trading up for him on reasonable terms if the opportunity presented himself. He’s a pretty unique prospect.

  139. i wouldn’t get too caught up in what people who overly rely on scout speak say about prospects… it’s a lot like the consultants in the business world where they make things overly complicated to try and justify their hourly…

    there’s this quote that i love i forget where it came from.. but if you can’t explain it to a 6 year old… it probably means you don’t understand it…. this is basketball not quantum physics… there’s absolutely zero need to see how someone looks off of a dho.. how they react to weak side action… is that really how anyone could tell lebron was a good player?

    there might be some concerns about giddey’s athletic ability but the analysis they used is not very indicative of that… it’s the same sort of analysis that turned the acb mvp at age 19 into some sort of question mark at the nba level (that’s not to say that giddey is anywhere where near doncic’s class btw)… sooner or later you kind of have to get your head out of the weeds and see the forest…. and that’s what tends to happen to scouts who rely heavily on video analysis…

  140. After losing to the Knicks the Hawks have won their next 2 games vs the Heat and Bucks without Trae Young.

  141. *presented itself. Don’t Knickerblogger after a long day of finals studying, folks.

  142. Until we see the playoffs, we do not know what players will be available via trade or, if the Clippers flame out again, whether Kawhi will want out. We also do not know whether Chris Paul will opt-in, seek an extension from Phoenix or choose to be a free agent.

    I think Mike Conley would be a good fit.

  143. thenoblefacehumper:
    *presented itself. Don’t Knickerblogger after a long day of finals studying, folks.

    No worries, TNFH. I’m still trying to figure out what shiny candy is, and my only excuse was I woke up this morning. Purportedly.

    And the very best of luck with the exams. Fingers crossed and amulets rubbed and such.

  144. If we’re going for a veteran I do think Conley would probably be better than Lowry. Slightly younger, a bit more productive and a guy who spent his entire career basically on defense focused teams. I just think Utah is going to do everything they can to retain him.

  145. I said 40 wins was maybe possible a few weeks ago. Looking at the remaining schedule and I still think it’s doable. We’re at 34 right now.

    I think we can beat Chicago and Houston, and Memphis for sure. Then you have Boston, Charlotte and The Spurs as the next tier of teams. Grab those 6 and we’re at 40.

    Beating one of the suns (up twice), lakers, clippers or nuggets would be gravy. Gotta figure we get at least one or two of those cause Lakers aren’t really playing that great recently and nuggets have suffered some injuries and clippers too. But I definitely think 40 is within our reach and if we play well, we could even push it to 42. Which would be insane.

  146. re: Lavine, I don’t it’s realistic to expect we can just sign him in free agency. The Bulls can offer him 5 years, $200mm and our best offer would be 4 years, $150mm.

    He’s not exactly a lock to be worth $50mm when he’s 31, so I can’t see him turning that deal down. He’s either signing with the Bulls or forcing a costly trade.

  147. Honestly, looking at free agency this year and also rethinking this team’s long term future because of how well we’ve performed, I honestly think another conservative approach this off season is the best course of action.

    I mean, The Knicks are back. Full stop. We don’t need to make some flashy free agent signing to become relevant again. Who cares about Brooklyn? We’re good and the fans are happy and we’re going to be all over the networks next year. Unless Kawhi wants to opt out and join us, I think being conservative and rewarding the players already on the team is the way to go.

    CP3? I mean, he’s a legend and he would probably be good next year. But he’s also getting up there and is right at the age where he could fall off the cliff. One more hamstring injury and he could be done. And he will cost us a boatload.

    Lowry and Conley could be good but also both getting up there.

    Ball? I’ve advocated for him before. I think he’s the best option because of his age but he will cost us over $20 million a year and we’d probably still have to give up a first to get him.

    Lavine? Great scorer but also going to be expensive and not a great defender. Beal will cost a king’s ransom.

    I do want to upgrade from Elf but I think we can do that with cheaper options (the Dallas kid comes to mind).

    So I say…bring back to vets. Bullock, Burks, Noel, Taj and Rose. IQ might step up and be able to be the starting PG next year. We have 2 first round picks and 2 second round picks and all of our picks going forward plus the extra Dallas pick in 2023. Maybe we can’t get up into the top 5, but if we combine picks and/or some future picks, maybe we could move up into the top 10 and add 2 really good rookies to the core, bring them along slowly and bam.

    Knox should be on the table though as a throw in on a trade up. But just roll with what we got. Make sure we lock up Julius, maybe Mitch…get that internal improvement from IQ, Randle, Toppin.

  148. swiftandabundant: Honestly, looking at free agency this year and also rethinking this team’s long term future because of how well we’ve performed, I honestly think another conservative approach this off season is the best course of action.

    I mean, The Knicks are back. Full stop. We don’t need to make some flashy free agent signing to become relevant again. Who cares about Brooklyn? We’re good and the fans are happy and we’re going to be all over the networks next year. Unless Kawhi wants to opt out and join us, I think being conservative and rewarding the players already on the team is the way to go.

    I completely agree with this rational and prudent approach.

    Chasing over 30 year old stars like CP3, Lowry or Conloy is like chasing a stock that hit 52 week high and is on a down trend. That kind of trades rarely end well. And don’t FOMO chase pumped up stocks that have yet to turn a profit. Doing so would be like overpaying for Ball.

    The Knicks has become a decent stock portfolio with a bunch of good dividend paying, stable stocks and a few growth stocks that have huge upside. Be opportunistic and prudent and only add good names to the portfolio when the opportunity presents itself.

    And, but the way, we are fortunate to have a great portfolio manager in Thibs.

  149. Conboy,

    What is interesting to me is how much our bargaining and negotiating power has changed because of this season. Being a destination with a competent FO, a great coach and coaching staff and an All NBA player in his prime and several super young up and coming already good players (RJ and IQ) should make negotiating new contracts, attracting free agents and making trades easier for us. The only thing that is really going to take a hit are our draft picks as they will no longer be lottery picks but hey, we found IQ and Mitch later in the draft and other great players (Kawi, Jokic, Gobert, Butler) were all drafted later, so its not like we can’t find and develop another star, especially with all of our picks and extra firsts and seconds. We are sitting pretty right now. No need to blow the cap space on someone who may not be worth it or someone who was great 5 years ago and MAYBE has another year left in the tank. Let the players and offers come to us, deal from a position of power.

    Also, is it true that all of our players will get a bonus at the end of the year because we’re so under the cap?

  150. re: Lavine, I don’t it’s realistic to expect we can just sign him in free agency. The Bulls can offer him 5 years, $200mm and our best offer would be 4 years, $150mm.

    I generally agree with this, but Lavine looks positively miserable when the Bulls lose, and they lose a lot. This is a guy cracking the top ranks of FGA leaderboards and has yet to play a minute of playoff basketball.

    I think it’s crazy to pass up $50M of guaranteed money when your career can vanish in a split second to a compound ankle fracture, but the competitive spirit moves quick through the alpha dogs of the NBA. This is in no way saying that the Knicks will have the inside track, but I would count Lavine as a more plausible candidate to leave money on the table to actually do something with his career. No telling whether he actually does.

  151. Assuming you’re right, Jowles (and I think you are), don’t you think Kanivaros will suss that out? He seems like a good executive (at least, he did up until the Vucevic trade).

    I can’t see him being blindsided by his best player leaving. If Lavine’s dissatisfaction continues, I think he would be auctioned off first.

  152. I don’t necessarily love CP3 anymore & his contract is likely to overpay him, but I do think the WWW connection will bring CP3 here.

    After listening to the Randle interview, which is amazing (thanks alsep), I believe WWW’s influence over players. I know it’s hard to see CP3 leaving the Suns but I’d bet CP3 credits himself with their improvement. They did not have a good record last year despite their run in the bubble.

    This will look stupid if the Suns make a deep playoff run, but if they underperform I think CP3 comes to the garden.

  153. The Honorable Cock Jowles: I would count Lavine as a more plausible candidate to leave money on the table to actually do something with his career. No telling whether he actually does.

    The Bulls are bad right now, but I bet they make some more aggressive moves this offseason & Vucevic will eventually gel better with LaVine. They have another year to convince LaVine to stay & I think they get good enough to do it.

  154. I know it seems counterintuitive that this offseason is the right point in the win curve to go all in, but if you examine all factors it makes sense to be ultra aggressive this year.

    The two biggest factors to consider:

    – We might have reached the point where we have too many draft picks. Do you really think Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau want to replace Reggie Bullock, Alec Burks, and Derrick Rose with rookies? Whoever we draft is likely going to spend a lot of his rookie contract on the bench. That is not the best way to maximize the value of two 1st round picks this year.

    – This summer, Randle + Barrett + IQ + Mitch = $32mm. The following summer, Randle gets paid. The following summer, Barrett gets paid. We’re not Golden State, but this is kind of like the point where they took advantage of suppressed salaries to add Iguodala.

  155. Consider this, then:

    Let’s say LaVine is your guy. DO IT NOW! Offer them Obi, Knox, and two first round picks this year. That is both a) a great offer, and b) something we can totally afford.

    And after adding Lavine to the aforementioned quartet, we’re only at $58mm in salary commitments. (Lavine makes $19.5mm, and somehow we are still paying for Joakim Noah).

    NOW you talk to Chris Paul. Now we’re offering money and a real shot at a ring; we don’t have to offer some stupid 3 year deal to get him to consider us.

    Even if it takes $40mm to get Paul to play here, you can still make good offers to Bullock, Noel, and Rose.

    I know I’m drunk again, but it seems like a good time to take a big swing.

  156. Let’s say LaVine is your guy. DO IT NOW! Offer them Obi, Knox, and two first round picks this year. That is both a) a great offer, and b) something we can totally afford.

    No way is Chicago cutting bait on LaVine so quickly after going all-in on… something by trading two unprotected picks and Wendell Carter Jr for Vuc. The deal you propose is the kind they make if they’re tearing everything down and rebuilding around Patrick Williams, not the one they make when they’re trying to win.

  157. That’s a fair point, but there’s no need to zero in on Lavine.

    The larger point here is that – no matter who your guy is – it makes sense to try to acquire him this summer because we will not have close to this much cap space in future summers.

    “Be patient and keep drafting” is normally the best solution, but there’s incentive to deviate from that this summer.

  158. Hubert: I know I’m drunk again, but it seems like a good time to take a big swing.

      

    Hope it’s a happy drunk & not a things are going bad drunk

    I do agree, if we want to go all-in we should be aggressive and not tread water for a year. I think wasting a year of Randle’s prime is foolish. Even going all-in with Randle we should be able to retool around RJ if we play our cards right.

    We need to trust Rose & mgmt no matter what. It sucks because there’s nothing less trustworthy than Knicks mgmt over the last 20ish years.

    The only concern I have is there just may not be much there this year. There’s so much more in 2022 that it may make sense to allow Rose to make more fringe improvements while we await the big piece.

    This brings me back to my favored strategy of overspending on a 1-yr contract for a PG improvement. Schroeder, Dinwiddie, someone I’m forgetting, won’t say no to that deal and we preserve 2022 flex while improving for next year.

    People may not love those PGs but they’d be improvements over Payton. Dinwiddie & Schroeder both seem like fits for Thibs system. Don’t know if they have the attitude but Dinwiddie attacks the basket the way Thibs likes & he’s big enough to defend SG next to IQ. Schroeder has excellent DRAPM numbers & can hit 3s. But hey, worst case we cut ties after 1yr.

  159. I know I’m drunk again, but it seems like a good time to take a big swing.

    there is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man…it is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity…it is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge…this is the dimension of imagination…it is an area which we call the knickerblogger hope zone…

  160. Actually, nvm TJ McConnell is my guy. Spend money on him. You don’t need to max him and potentially a value deal for multiple years. Pair him with Brunson in 2022.

    You can add a superstar at another position. Unfortunately it may end up being DeRozan. He’s been great this year, but has played PF & we have one of those.

  161. Alan: Okay, I really like The Athletic, but this is hilarious: Sam Vecenie, John Hollinger, and the Pistons beat writer did a redraft of the 2020 lottery, and Quickley wasn’t selected in any of those 14 picks.

    And yet he is on the article’s main image (they’ll say it’s a random LaMelo photo, of course)… click-bait at it’s finest!

  162. No way is Chicago cutting bait on LaVine so quickly after going all-in on… something by trading two unprotected picks and Wendell Carter Jr for Vuc.

    agree with sentiment, lavine would seemingly have to publicly demand a trade for something like that to happen this summer. but the picks are both top 4 protected.

  163. Gotta be honest, I totally disagree with most of the statements here about how we should move forward.

    I love Bullock, Burks, and Noel, but at least for Burks and Noel, there is no way we should pay anything above the taxpayer MLE for these guys. Noel is great but next year he’ll be a backup center. If you pay your backup center more than $5-6MM/year, then you’re doing something wrong.

    Burks is fine, but have we missed a beat with him gone?

    Bullock is a guy that we might need to bring back at a significantly higher number. High volume high % 3 point shooters don’t grow on trees, especially ones who have done a pretty nice job locking down the other team’s best wing. I mean, he is basically younger Danny Green right now, who’s been making $10-15MM/year for the last 6 seasons. To me 2 for 20 sounds right or 3 for 27, and eminently tradeable if necessary, as we’ve seen with Danny Green.

    Re a big ticket PG signing – I am still absolutely on board with CP3 or Lowry. First, even teams with Lebron James have done better with another real ball handler. Second, a real PG will unlock Mitchell Robinson. Third, a real PG will give Randle rest, and also let him score more easily on assisted shots. Fourth, that doesn’t keep us from playing Quickley a lot, or even drafting a lead guard. 2 year contracts would be fine even as these guys age.

    To some extent we need to use this cap space, as it will disappear quickly into Randle, RJ, and Mitch’s pockets soon afterward.

  164. but the picks are both top 4 protected.

    Whoops. My mistake. Either way, it’s not a trade you make when you’re preparing to rebuild around Obi and picks that will be worse than the ones you traded to Orlando.

  165. One interesting thing to think about is whether Randle has leaped (and that’s it) or whether he’s in the process of leapING. His passing is even better now than it was earlier this year, and the fact that he’s kept his effectiveness even as he’s seeing more and more double teams implies that he’s getting more and more comfortable as the #1 option. Is next year 24/10/8 with 50/40/80 in sight? We’ve seen some real movement shooting from him – does that go to the next level next year?

    One thing that is clear to me – Randle is such an outlier physically that if his skill level continues to leap, he is REALLY going to be a problem. He basically torched Anunoby and Siakam, probably two of the best “4” defenders that exist out there except maybe Giannis and Bam.

    If we believe in Randle then Lonzo Ball makes a fair amount of sense. You’re going to be running your offense through Randle when he’s on the floor, so get a 3&D ball mover at a lower cost than a primary lead guard, or literally any PG-type that can shoot and is better than Elfrid Payton. Then when Randle’s off the floor, resign Derrick Rose and let him and Quickley run the offense.

  166. I’m leaning towards a veteran PG on a short term deal, for many of the reasons Frank mentioned. I think the best way to net another star is to wait for someone to get disgruntled and demand a trade, then we swoop in.

    Also, unfortunate news about Ringer NBA writer Jonathan Tjarks — he was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer.

  167. i think what makes this team dangerous isn’t what we can do this year or next…. of course we can go allin and possibly field a very good team but it’s going to be very hard for that team to compete with the upper echelon teams as is… even with cp3 AND lavine….

    we’re pretty dangerous because of what this team can look like in 2023… all of our core is going to be in their primes AND we have cap space AND we have picks AND a lot of the upper echelon teams will deteroriate due to age…. that is the year when we are hopefully in the top 5 teams in the nba and stay that way for the rest of the decade….

    we shouldn’t endanger that for a limited window now….

  168. One interesting thing to think about is whether Randle has leaped (and that’s it) or whether he’s in the process of leapING.

    I’d definitely want to see Randle playing with a real point guard before determining if this is his ceiling or if he can get better. Macri’s newsletter today talked about how few easy baskets he gets, even compared to last year:

    the percentage of Randle’s assisted baskets in the restricted area has plummeted from 47 percent to 41 percent.

    A lot of his value this year comes from him creating offense out of thin air, but imagine what the guy could do if he didn’t have to do that on so many possessions?

  169. I know it seems counterintuitive that this offseason is the right point in the win curve to go all in, but if you examine all factors it makes sense to be ultra aggressive this year.

    While I agree that we should significantly adjust our thinking regarding our place on the win curve compared to just a few months ago, the summer of 2022 still seems like the better time to really strike. With Barrett, Toppin, Quickley, both 2021 firsts + the DET 2nd under contract and Randle and Mitch’s cap holds, we should have around $53M in cap space. That’s assuming we actually draft three players, keep Toppin, etc.

    The free agent class that summer is so much better than this one, plus we’d have another year of KAT languishing in Minnesota (it is theoretically possible to roster Randle, LaVine, and KAT if we’re willing to gut our depth, whether or not it would be wise is a separate issue).

    I’ve said this before but one potential way to spend the cap space this summer is to give the guys we want to keep out of the Bullock/Burks/Noel/Rose group heavily inflated one year deals with the, um, heavily implied idea that they should consider those figures part of the AAV of the contracts we give them in 2022. For example we could give Bullock 1/$20M this offseason, then re-sign him with the room exception for 2/$10M in 2022 after we’re done with all our other shenanigans. That’s effectively a 3/$30M contract, and you could do similar stuff with the other guys.

    We might have reached the point where we have too many draft picks. Do you really think Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau want to replace Reggie Bullock, Alec Burks, and Derrick Rose with rookies?

    No, but they’d probably be happy to replace Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Elfrid Payton, and Norvel Pelle with rookies and that’s before we even get into the two-way slots.

  170. Early Bird: The Bulls are bad right now, but I bet they make some more aggressive moves this offseason & Vucevic will eventually gel better with LaVine.

    They’re relying on Coby White and Patrick Williams to become legitimate NBA players before Vucevic begins his decline phase. At 21 and 19, it’s hard to imagine, even if you squint and try to forget just how occasionally terrible a decision-maker White is. And they’re not going to cut bait on them anytime soon. They’re one of those teams that’s got one foot in win-now and one foot in tankland. They need a big scoop in free agency or to leap into the top 4 this year. Not a great outlook for them, IMO.

  171. The Macri newsletter on Randle was definitely interesting. Randle with his current 3PT shooting + his finishing numbers from 2017-2018 (when he played 872 minutes with Lonzo Ball FWIW) would be a something else.

    We need a damn point guard.

  172. Bulls shoulda never let Thibs go. Worst he did with an injured team and Butler just starting to ascend was 45 wins. Best run since Jordan and they were like “nah, we need to tank.”

  173. Yeah I hope we don’t start trading picks. Rookies don’t have to play a lot right away to get better. Replace Knox, Frank, Theo, etc…with some better prospects and let them soak in that culture and maybe one of them hits like Butler did.

  174. Yeah, I love that Macri note that only one of Randle’s last 88 field goals have been assisted at the rim. He is carrying a power load.

    And yet, he has completely changed the way he plays the game. He has gone from inside out to outside in.

    It’s a remarkable transition really. I don’t know who quantifies the changes in players year to year, someone I am sure, but it can’t be that common to have a guy change his pitch mix this much.

  175. thenoblefacehumper:
    The Macri newsletter on Randle was definitely interesting. Randle with his current 3PT shooting + his finishing numbers from 2017-2018 (when he played 872 minutes with Lonzo Ball FWIW) would be a something else.

    We need a damn point guard.

    I think it’s partly a lack of PG & partly having Noel & Mitch in there on every play. I don’t think PFs really roll that much in the NBA anymore unless the C can shoot 3s. Now if we could swing a trade for Myles Turner…

  176. julius has been the best player out on the court in many of these past nine games – interesting to see if that continues with booker and paul out there…

  177. we’re pretty dangerous because of what this team can look like in 2023… all of our core is going to be in their primes AND we have cap space AND we have picks

    I’m kind of thinking the opposite of you (perhaps wrongly).

    I look at 2023 and see Julius Randle and RJ Barrett perhaps in their primes but no longer offering surplus value. They’re likely both maxed out. That’s around $70mm

    Mitch will be getting paid, too. Let’s put him at $12mm (???).

    IQ & Toppin will be at $11mm.

    And we’ve got 5 first round picks on the books from 2021-2023.

    So there’s no cap space to add an elite player. You’re either hoping one of our draft picks becomes the elite player or you expect to make a trade. And what I’m saying is if you make that trade now instead of waiting, you get a potential cascade effect because of how much surplus value these guys are currently giving you on their contracts.

    So instead of having IQ, Toppin, and 5 first round picks, you have IQ, 3 first round picks, and another elite player the same age as Randle.

  178. Hubert: I look at 2023 and see Julius Randle and RJ Barrett perhaps in their primes but no longer offering surplus value. They’re likely both maxed out. That’s around $70mm

    Yeah, this is why I agree with Hubert. The relevant question is whether a 2021 bird in the hand is worth two 2022 birds (or just a better bird) in the bush. If we can grab the bird, we should.

  179. We should keep doing what we’ve been doing since competent management took over. There is no one right strategy except trying to improve the overall position of team. We have picks, players we’d like to keep, players that still have upside, and several areas that need improvement.

    We should go into the off season, see who’s available to us in terms of trades and free agency, see how much they are going to cost, and do whatever improves the position of the team now but without hurting the long term.

    That could mean any number of things.

    The one thing is does not mean is that we go into it with a defined strategy like we should sign player “X” or we should trade for player “Y” or we should use our draft picks to trade for player “Z” or we should use our draft picks to move up or we should use our picks to draft and build long term etc.. It could and should be any of those things or a combination of them. We should try to get the best players we can at fair prices and that fit together, but without sacrificing the long term. How we do it depends on what’s available. It could mean bringing back almost the same team or it could mean some big changes.

  180. To be clear, I’m not trying to sell out the future for the present.

    I’m trying to project the future and plan for it now because this summer we will be blessed with an astonishing amount of surplus value for what we’re paying our roster.

    Even a three year deal for Chris Paul can make sense for the future if you are project out to 2023. His 3rd year is the expiring contract we can use to pair with all our future picks to add a superstar to RJ, Randle, and (let’s just say) Lavine.

  181. So instead of having IQ, Toppin, and 5 first round picks, you have IQ, 3 first round picks, and another elite player the same age as Randle.

    IMO, that’s the hope.

    We are good enough now (assuming Randle’s year is not a fluke) that adding one more high level player puts us in the top tier of teams. We may not be in the cream of the top, but we’d be damn good. We’d also have plenty of upside with RJ, Mitch, Quick etc.. That’s a pretty good position to be in.

    I think we just don’t want to limit ourselves to one strategy.

    As long as all our players are on movable/attractive contracts we are fine. if that “A” option is not available this off season, if we bring in additional good players on attractive contracts (like Burks, Noel, Bullock, Rose etc..) instead and keep some picks handy, we can eventually do a deal at a later date to add the player we need to take us to the next level. You hope it’s this off season, but if it’s not we don’t want to add a “B” option just to do something.

  182. I look at 2023 and see Julius Randle and RJ Barrett perhaps in their primes but no longer offering surplus value. They’re likely both maxed out. That’s around $70mm

    That might be true in 2023… but not in the offseason of 2022…. we will have randle’s and mitch’s cap hold and rj’s extension will come the following fall…. we will have at least one max slot unless we spend it this year…

    i made the argument for cp3 and lowry way back when so i understand it… but after some more thought and seeing how much better we’ve looked… we’re not an 8th seed looking to be a 4 seed anymore…. i think cp3 or lowry would have easily gotten us into that tier when that was true…. but we’re actually a 4-6 seed already without having to do that…

    now the question becomes is cp3 or lowry the difference in leapfrogging milwaukee… philly … or brooklyn? that’s a much harder argument to make… and then you have to think about what it’s going to take to compete at that level … and the answer to that is we need a lot more talent and it’s probably going to need to be young to hopefully outgrow these teams in case it’s not good enough….

    that makes lavine fit that timeline and that also means we need those picks…. because those teams can matchup with a cp3/lavine type of team… but they don’t have the draft picks and our relative youth…. that’s the one advantage we have…

  183. also to add… that yes you are right about the urgency to make a move before the summer of 2022 for the reasons you described… it’s a freeroll with dolan’s money… it’s an amazing situation… but i think it’s more prudent to wait because a higher upside talent will probably be available in 2022 with lavine being only one possibility….

  184. From the ringer, the article isn’t great but i think this is a really interesting stat.
    https://www.theringer.com/nba/2021/4/23/22398160/new-york-knicks-julius-randle-rj-barrett-playoffs

    New York has outscored opponents by 84 points in 304 minutes when Quickley’s on the court with its two best players(Randle & RJ), scoring a blistering 123.4 points per 100 non-garbage-time possessions. By comparison, the Knicks are minus-10 in 1,118 minutes when non-shooter Elfrid Payton shares the floor with Randle and Barrett, scoring 14 fewer points-per-100—nearly the difference between first and last place in offensive efficiency.

    The question becomes how much better can this team be with a cp3 or a lowry? 304 minutes is nothing but that’s why it was probably really crucial to see how much better we truly are with benching elf but at this point it’s probably not going to happen. I think we would have been fine with starting either burks or quickley and letting drose lead the bench with whoever isn’t starting.

    It’s really hard to gauge djphan’s comment above about how much better we can be just replacing elf with a lead guard who can hit threes and run P&R. I agree we probably aren’t as good as the other top teams but cp3 just took a lottery team to potentially the number one seed. I think we got some comparable talent with that suns team minus CP3 of course.

  185. Lavine has definitely eclipsed Beal as my top target.

    I see Alan’s point (Chicago didn’t trade for Vucevic just to turn around and rebuild). But I have an equally hard time imagining that, after that trade worked out terribly, Karnisovas will compound his mistake and let Lavine reach free agency.

    He’ll likely talk to Lavine’s camp this summer. If Lavine is dissatisfied, then the smart thing to do is turn around and trade both Lavine and Vucevic for a boat load of assets to start a proper rebuild. It’s really unwise to risk letting Lavine walk just because you don’t want to admit you made a mistake.

  186. Yeah, my thinking has changed completely on this. Unless Kawhi becomes available, I think being conservative this summer and rewarding the vets that have worked their asses off this year is the way to go. IQ could take a leap to starting caliber PG next year and him and Rose with another player replacing Elf could be the way to go. We could be just as good or slightly better next year with largely the same crew if RJ, Mitch and IQ all improve.

    Remember, the offense just went to the next level here at the end of the season after Rose recovered from Covid, IQ got through the rookie slump and the team had the season to gel. So if our floor is where we’re at now as opposed to the start of the season, we’re looking at us being the 3rd or 4th seed next year.

    Add some draft picks. Maybe package the second rounders and Knox to move up a bit with them. Bring back the vets and reward them for working so hard. Then go big name hunting next summer.

    I’m not opposed to Ball. I mean, he could be that guy who is getting ready to take a leap. But now I’m thinking we just find a cheaper improvement over Elf somewhere and roll with that, IQ and Rose at PG. Obi can play more minutes next year to give RAndle more rest.

    Its just still crazy to have these thoughts right now.

    Also, its really funny how much more agreement there is on this blog now that we’re good. Even the disagreements are just like “yeah, that could be one way to go” and not the drag out arguments. Its funny how much clearer the path forward looks now. Feels like big sigh of relieft.

    Keep Obi, let Frank go, possibly include Knox in a trade up situation in the draft.

  187. Its funny how much clearer the path forward looks now. Feels like big sigh of relieft.

    I
    Randle’s ascension from “stat padder on a bad team” to “legitimate argument for 2nd team All-NBA” can’t be underestimated in how much it has changed everything. When you add in RJ’s improvement, IQ’s NBA readiness, and how much everyone has bought into the Thibs system, it’s hard to see this as anything other than real.

    But as hard as it is in this league to go from bad to good, it’s even harder to go from good to great. Randle’s improvement is a mix of his obsessive work in the offseason and Thibs knowing how to use him better than Fizdale or Miller. But now we’re at the point where Rose, Aller, and company really need to earn their money. Even if IQ can become a starting NBA point guard, there’s a ceiling on this version of the team. But this isn’t exactly what the team will be in 2022, 2023, etc. There are many paths, and we’ll have to see both which one Rose takes and whether it’s the correct one. But this is sure as hell more fun than our old debates.

  188. Going to the game tonight with my son. Can’t wait!

    (But I plead with the blog – please don’t blame me if the winning streak ends! (-: )

  189. After Leon and Thibs took over the team , Patience, Opportunism and Maximisation of our current roster’s value have been our “strategic habbits”.
    Trying to get Lavine, Ball, CP3, Beal or whoever else’s possibly available may be sexy and fun but don’t seem as the kind of transaction we’re looking for.
    When The True Opportunity comes up we’ll notice it like crocodiles woken up from the Splash of the water…

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