2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Warriors

The Knicks head to San Francisco to take on the Golden State Warriors, led by Wadrell Curry.

The Warriors have been struggling, so this is a perfect chance for the Knicks to get back to .500 ahead of some winnable games.

Let’s go get back to .500, Knicks!

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428 thoughts to “2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Warriors”

  1. Strange, only my first post after logging in is awaiting moderation. Oh well, it couldn’t have been important.

  2. Djphan I replied to you in the previous thread- if you want to keep going let’s do it there and not mess up the game thread.

  3. yes zman it is a bad shot. dray is 35pct from corner 3 and 37 pct when wide open. when you add the 22pct of misses they orb that is well better than average ppp

  4. ptmilo:
    yes zman it is a bad shot.dray is 35pct from corner 3 and 37 pct when wide open.when you add the 22pct of misses they orb that is well better than average ppp

    Last I checked, 35% on a 3 translates to a TS% of 52.5….is that good?

  5. Randle doubling his assist rate this season while maintaining his TO rate is really crazy.

    He already has 3 assists in 4 minutes.

  6. We all agree we should get an asset for Bullock on the off chance it’s possible regardless of our record right

  7. Mitch’s footwork on that “foul” was fucking awesome. We’ll probably never see that slo-mo shot again but god damn, really nice hip swivel.

  8. RJ is going to be a difficult player to analyze as long as he continues to only have terrible games and really good games.

    Payton’s shooting…you almost feel bad at a certain point.

  9. I’m yelling at the tv, “Shoot the damn open three,” and then it’s “No, no, not you elf…”

  10. RJ is going to be a difficult player to analyze as long as he continues to only have terrible games and really good games.

    the reason for that is cause rj’s shot distribution is so unbalanced… he tears apart teams that have weak interior defenses… for guys that can put a guy on him and good at protecting the rim he struggles…

    he’s done a lot better this year… like indiana used to give him problems last time and he challenges good centers less… and the variance has a lot to do with shooting 21% from 3 also….

  11. Nice quarter. I wish Mitch didn’t get into foul trouble. Wiseman is a handful.
    Good job by Payton with help from the team on Steph. He can score 40 and you could still say that he was contained.

  12. If IQ gets benched for passing to Noel at the 3 with the shot clock running then what happens to Knox?

  13. djphan: and the variance has a lot to do with shooting 21% from 3 also

    Not really. Before the recent hot streak his 2p% was right where it was last year if not a little lower.

    Credit to RJ though, before tonight he pretty much got to where I wanted him to be for the season for his TS%(assuming his 3p% regresses, which I expect)

    Hopefully he finishes out the season at this level, or even better!

  14. Not really. Before the recent hot streak his 2p% was right where it was last year if not a little lower.

    he was like 3 for 35.. i’m pretty that had something to do with some of those bad games…

  15. I think Quickley looks fine. Obi looks so robotic but caught a nice pass with one hand.

    random side note, Did Elfrid get stronger this offseason? he looks broader in shoulders or just me?

  16. Z-man:
    Revenge?! Thibs gave Wiggins the worst max contract ever!

    Oh yeah for sure haha. I think it’s just a noxious blend of homerism and Wiggins apologia.

  17. Mike Honcho:
    Warriors commentators seem convinced this is the Wiggins revenge game against Thibs.

    I’m also watching the GSW telecast and there’s some real tinfoil being crinkled at the home team’s press table

  18. The Honorable Cock Jowles: I’m also watching the GSW telecast and there’s some real tinfoil being crinkled at the home team’s press table

    To be fair, they are exactly the sort of smug faux-intelligentsia you would expect to comment a Warriors game.

  19. “Defensively [the Knicks] been very good,” they sneer, as their team ends a half in which they surrendered 60 points to the humble Bockers of Knickers.

  20. d-mar:
    Draymond is such a dumbass

    dude literally couldn’t stop himself from getting suspended in a fucking FINALS game

  21. Watched a game on the Warriors feed a week or two ago and I was shocked by how terrible their announcers were. You’re going to 5 straight finals and you can’t hire a competent broadcast team?

  22. DRed:
    Watched a game on the Warriors feed a week or two ago and I was shocked by how terrible their announcers were.You’re going to 5 straight finals and you can’t hire a competent broadcast team?

    I think we’re just spoiled with Breen & Clyde

  23. Lol Warriorscast did a minimontage closeups of Knicks with sad expressions as a halftime transition haha. Is that supposed to imply some sort of weakness of spirit before the mighty Warriors juggernaut?

  24. The Warriors halftime highlight countdown show is just a guy doing a DJ Khaled impression while making terrible puns. “It’s a Cole world after all,” over a clip of Cole Anthony miraculously hitting an open three. The wonder! The horror!

  25. Refs went for full on regulatory overreach.

    Two of the fouls on Mitch were incredibly close. He had blocks on both the fouls.

    It’s not the Nineties

  26. BigBlueAL:
    Feels disappointing Knicks only up 6 at the half.

    Imagine how disappointing it is to be the average GSW fan: 13 years old, can’t remember who Mark Jackson is, fresh out of Mt. Dew, finding yet another pube growing out of your philtrum, disappointed that not only has Minecraft become so mainstream but also that the Dubs are down 6 at the half to the literal worst NBA team of your lifetime.

  27. I was very confused by the last foul on Mitch, maybe it was after the block? He didn’t look like he was anywhere near Steph

  28. Early Bird:
    I was very confused by the last foul on Mitch, maybe it was after the block? He didn’t look like he was anywhere near Steph

    If anything, it was Payton who fouled Steph on that drive.

  29. The Honorable Cock Jowles: Imagine how disappointing it is to be an average GSW fan: 13 years old, can’t remember who Mark Jackson is, fresh out of Mt. Dew, finding yet another pube growing out of your philtrum, disappointed that not only has Minecraft become so mainstream but also that the Dubs are down 6 at the half to the literal worst NBA team of your lifetime.

    That’s nothing you can’t bury with a lukewarm Monster Energy and a few Stoner Klay memes. In a way I envy them – being an NBA ingénue is something you can only do once before the cold winds of analytics sap the joy from your bones.

  30. RJ took the ball to run the last possession of the 2nd quarter. Randle went to the corner, and popped up when RJ made his move. He was open, but RJ sent the ball to Payton with a tough pass that turned into a TO.

    Watch to see if Randle is willing to let RJ handle the ball at the end of future quarters. Randle has been playing unselfish team ball. You have to reward the big man for running the court, defense & rebounding.

  31. well the warriors might win this game now since dray got booted….

    Draymond is such a weird player now. He’s still the lynchpin of the team at both ends (he directs the defense and he’s their best playmaker) but he’s maybe the worst scorer in the NBA.

  32. Ntilakilla: If anything, it was Payton who fouled Steph on that drive.

    That’s what I figured until I saw Mitch out of the game and checked the ESPN play-by-play

  33. DRed: Draymond is such a weird player now.He’s still the lynchpin of the team at both ends (he directs the defense and he’s their best playmaker) but he’s maybe the worst scorer in the NBA.

    1/3 for 3pts but already 8 assists is kinda ridiculous for less than a half of game

  34. GS crew claiming that the Draymond ejection was a blown call…that he was yelling at a teammate, not the ref. FWIW.

  35. I’m yelling at the tv, “Shoot the damn open three,” and then it’s “No, no, not you elf…”

    they’re not terribly fast shots either – it’s like everyone on the court freezes to watch whether the ball will hit the rim or not…

  36. TheClashFan:
    GS crew claiming that the Draymond ejection was a blown call…that he was yelling at a teammate, not the ref.FWIW.

    Well it fits in with how they’ve been officiating everything else tonight

  37. mitch’s mitt’s don’t seem to be working as well as they did last year when receiving passes around the basket…

  38. Good timeout.

    The game has gotten a bit bogged down and the Knicks haven’t been able to take advantage.

  39. Why does no one contest Paschall? Is he just cropdusting really badly every time he drives to the rim?

  40. workman like effort tonight…rj…much more confident…2nd unit…shaky…see what they do here….

  41. This Knick team is showing resilience, letting GS come back and tie the game but then locking down and rebuilding the lead. The team seems to be getting better daily.

  42. This is a weird feeling, playing on the road against a decent team yet expecting the Knicks to win the game.

  43. Don’t these guys ever learn when they drive at Mitch? It’s like watching a wreck in slow motion you know is going to happen a mile away. They run BLAM into a wall.

  44. Ntilakilla:
    Don’t these guys ever learn when they drive at Mitch? It’s like watching a wreck in slow motion you know is going to happen a mile away. They run BLAM into a wall.

    Idk though Brian Scalabrine was pretty confident that Mitch is a bad defender

  45. Up 15 I don’t expect subs to play much for the Knicks. Thibs is gonna try to bank this win.

  46. warriors got some issues on defense…

    love the job we do on our defensive rebounding, usually four guys going for the board…

  47. A new question to mull over: how good are the Knicks if we get Glowstick Mitch for 30 minutes a game as opposed to 20?

  48. actually Oakland gets very little fog given where it sits relative to the bay…but given its nickname of oaksterdam…I am sure one of the many dispensaries has an Oakland fog product on the shelves

  49. Paschall is not playing like a lamb tonight

    Just wanted to acknowledge the pun

  50. pepper:
    actually Oakland gets very little fog given where it sits relative to the bay…but given its nickname of oaksterdam…I am sure one of the many dispensaries has an Oakland fog product on the shelves

    Well you come out with the Bay Area Fog and then make some changes to the strain and come out with SF Fog and so on until you run out of variants from places that actually get fog so you eventually wind up with an Oakland Fog

  51. With Curry sitting to start the 4th would be nice if the Knicks can put this game away and keep Curry on the bench for rest of this game.

  52. “Oakland fog” seems like it should be a strain of weed or something.

    moon rocks (weed, distillate, kief) in pre-rolled blunts and joints are all the rage now down here in so cal…

    generally carry a thc rating of high 20’s, low 30’s…

    yep, weed meets the jetsons…

  53. Warriors are on the tail end of a back-to-back. Knicks have rested since Monday. Draymond was ejected.

    I am afraid to be optimistic.

  54. One of those rare moments in the last two decades when I have had that strange thought.

    Are the Knicks good?

  55. We could make it to the finals this year and I’d still be asking myself, “are we good this year or is this just a fluke?”

  56. Warriors player literally pulls Noel to the ground

    Warriors commentariat: “Well, you know, he boxed out a little late.”

  57. Porter Jr. traded for a top-55 protected, meaning it will probably never convey.

    That’s probably as close to being traded for a bag of beans as you’re going to get.

  58. not one person in america wants a review to see if this was a flagrant foul

    Lol

  59. Based on my 5 minutes of research and reading on Porter Jr, he’s too explosive to ever meaningfully contribute to a team. Cavs really just wanted to dump him despite having a pretty good rookie season as a 19 year old

  60. Whether we think the Knicks are good or not, they are starting to believe it

  61. This game has bogged down and I’m not mad at that.

    It’s become the type of game that all the Knicks need to do is go on one more push. Which they’ve started to do.

  62. The Knicks have 10 players that they are not embarrassed to put on the floor. That’s something.

  63. That’s the second time I’ve seen Obi look like the athlete on offense that was promised. The first was about 30 seconds into the 1st preseason game

  64. 15 points is not enough against Steph if he gets hot. But fortunately Wiggins is also on the Dubs.

  65. That was the most joyous passing sequence I’ve seen in a decade. That behind the back stuff was talking smack!

  66. The only thing that would make this more enjoyable would be to have an arena full of spoiled Warriors fans

  67. d-mar:
    The only thing that would make this more enjoyable would be to have an arena full of spoiled Warriors fans

    Nah, they’d have headed for the exits after the 3rd

  68. We look like the 2015-2018 Golden State Warriors out there with all this snazzy passing

  69. Z-man: Our 2-headed monster at the 5 is terrifying

    If you look at most Knick positions, there are two players that are similar. Mitch-Noel, Randle-Obi, Bullock-Burks, Barrett-Knox. Only Payton and IQ are really different.

  70. Honestly more important than Randle putting up these numbers is the fact he only has 1 turnover

  71. Z-man:
    No lead is safe.

    Not when Steph is on the court. Knicks need to keep scoring baskets for the next 2 minutes.

  72. d-mar:
    Love that little Randle smile after the lob to Mitch

    It was like a proud big brother smiling at his precious little brother getting bigger and better.

  73. Curry 5/14 from 3. Rest of the Warriors 3/22.

    There’s few people I’d be more scared of having on the opposite team while holding a lead this late than Curry

  74. I can get used to seeing opposing coaches emptying their benches with 2 minutes left in the game.

  75. Seeing the opposing team empty the bench with 2 minutes left… This team is legit, yo

  76. Ok, choose: you can have a decent NBA career as a backup for, say, 7 years, but you have to look like Bannion. Do you accept?

  77. d-mar:
    I don’t get it when other teams throw in the towel and we leave our starters in

    Thibs channels Kevin Hart in those Chase commercials: “That’s what I do.” Thibs piles minutes on his starters.

  78. Phenomenal game from a number of players: RJ, Randle, Noel, Mitch in the second half, Bullock hitting 3s, etc.

  79. Wild the Knicks held Steph scoreless for the first 8 minutes, he still finished with 30 and we destroyed the dubs anyhow. They have two good players and that’s it. Wiseman is promising but he’s got some work to do.

  80. I love that people here are bitching cause Thibs left the starters in for a whopping 2 extra minutes, the horror!!!!

  81. RJ is stringing together a streak of All Star level games. Its getting harder and harder to ignore.

  82. pepper:
    I’m watching the post game…they’re whining about Draymond getting ejected

    The whined the whole second half. OTOH, they were very complimentary of the Knicks D.

  83. BigBlueAL:
    I love that people here are bitching cause Thibs left the starters in for a whopping 2 extra minutes, the horror!!!!

    Well if you keep saying “just 2 more minutes” eventually it becomes 100s of minutes

  84. BigBlueAL:
    I love that people here are bitching cause Thibs left the starters in for a whopping 2 extra minutes, the horror!!!!

    It’s not the end of the world but what’s the point? Let the 2nd unit play the last 2 minutes.

  85. I’d be pissed about the Draymond ejection too. Fair or not that’s potentially the determining factor in the game

  86. Toppin

    12 minutes
    5 points (2-4 FG/1-2 FT)
    4 rebs
    2 blks
    1 ast

    Again, not a horrendous box score.

  87. amongst the fog of the great RJ wars…. he has put together the best 5 game stretch of his career…

    4 out of 5 games he had 20 + pts… 87% (!) from the line…. 38% from 3… 55% from 2p…..

    i’m not saying he’s breaking out just yet… and maybe we’ll find out by the end of the road swing… but if he breaks out this year he’s going to have stretches that look like this….

    and if he is breaking out.. and randle and mitch are who they are… i think playoffs are in the picture too….

  88. BigBlueAL:
    I love that people here are bitching cause Thibs left the starters in for a whopping 2 extra minutes, the horror!!!!

    I wouldn’t call it bitching. I would call it a notable observation that Kerr pulled his players but Thibs didn’t. This was, however, the second of back-to-backs for GS but still.

  89. Raven:
    Knicks hit 3s at a .458 clip, while Invisible Sixth Man holds the Dubs to .237 from 3.

    At what point does this elite level 3 point defense stop being luck?

  90. Raven:
    Knicks hit 3s at a .458 clip, while Invisible Sixth Man holds the Dubs to .237 from 3.

    They’d be worse but even the ISM can’t defend Curry

  91. Knicks came into this game 1st in defense, 30th in offense.
    I call that “identity”.

  92. Yeah, but we lucked out bc they shot badly from 3

    If the dubs shot their season average from 3 the Knicks still win, which means this win wasn’t flukey. Warriors could have won this game, but it was a nice performance by us on the road against a team that just beat the Lakers and the Spurs.

  93. Mitch had a very nice line tonight after his slow start.

    27 minutes
    18 points (8-11FG/2-2FT)
    8 rebs
    1 ast
    1 stl
    2 blks

  94. RJ up to .490TS% after tonight. If you assume he hits 30% of his 3s that puts him at .511 TS% on the year.

    I had hoped he got over .510TS% this year, so I’m pretty happy with him right now.

  95. If RJ ever learns to hit 3s at a “plus” clip forgetaboutit. Pierce who?

    Even though Burks wasn’t lighting it up tonight it felt like having him on the court improved the spacing.

    Yes, coaching matters. We are outplaying our talent by playing hard and the right way.

    Nice 2nd half from Mitch,

    Randle is ridiculous. Only a crazy person would trade him unless the deal was extraordinary,

    Noel is too good to be riding our bench, but I’ll take it for as long he he can take it.

    Good to see Toppin showing legitimate signs of life. No summer league, no camp, injury.. Let’s see what happens.

    Off topic:

    I haven’t seen enough, but the little I’ve seen makes me think Zion legitimately sucks on defense. It could be a problem.

  96. DRed:
    Ingram and Zion were 17-28 for 50 points tonight and a combined -36 plus minus

    That’s certainly impressive but makes sense when Mitchell & Gobert combine for 48pts on 17-27 shooting.

  97. djphan:
    amongst the fog of the great RJ wars…. he has put together the best 5 game stretch of his career…

    4 out of 5 games he had 20 pts… 87% (!) from the line…. 38% from 3… 55% from 2p…..

    i’m not saying he’s breaking out just yet… and maybe we’ll find out by the end of the road swing… but if he breaks out this year he’s going to have stretches that look like this….

    and if he is breaking out.. and randle and mitch are who they are… i think playoffs are in the picture too….

    I really hope he’s breaking out- I had one last post on the other thread. I added the rookie numbers back so all 19 year olds since 1985. I will say I thought there’d be a bigger variance once I added the rookie numbers back in- Rookie through prime- average variance 2.35, my 2500 season number is 1.34. So it’s definitely lower but the sample size is tiny and age might yield the same result. I don’t want to do a massive 300 big sample search so I’ll shelve it and let it go. I don’t exactly concede but I won’t bring it back up.

  98. The Warriors after a rocky start of the season went 8-4 (including recent wins over Lakers and Clippers) so this a good road win, Draymond’s ejection notwithstanding.

    RJ with the career high and fifth good-to-very-good game in a row, that’s really promising.
    Mitch with a good second half after a bad start and Noel was great backing him up.
    Randle didn’t shoot well but he did everything else, 17 boards and a 9-2 AST/TO are impressive numbers. He’s the soul of this team.
    Burks played 31 solid minutes coming off the bench, Bullock was decent, Payton with the best /-, the Kids’ Bench Squad (Knox, IQ, Obi) played only a few minutes but some sparks are promising.

    I don’t care if we finish first, fifth or tenth in DRG, this defense looks real to me.
    We’re going to miss a rotation here and there, or skip a beat during a game, but as a whole the intensity and effort level are very high.

    Last thing about our “luck” on opponents 3PFG%.
    I was listening Windhorst’s podcast and I finally got my answer about “Expected FG%”.
    The public numbers on ExpFG% are based on league average and not on “specific player average”.
    So, when comparing the real results with the expected ones to determine “luck factor”, letting an open shot to Seth Curry (currently shooting 59,5% from 3) has the same ExpFG% that letting Kelly Oubre take one (21,8% this season after tonight’s 0-4).
    I think we could agree that the two things are not created equal.
    Letting Seth Curry open is a crime, letting Oubre open could be a choice (expecially if in doing so you take away a better shooter’s chance).
    So maybe, maybe (maybe) our luck is less luckier than we think, just saying…

  99. In a 3am dark night of the soul conversion. While I still think I could win my 2500 minute battle if I had the will to do the math it’d be a pyrrhic victory- Yup, I’m putting Paul Pierce, well not Paul Pierce but the equivalent in production with the caveat that the length of Pierce’s prime was crazy- but like a six or seven year stretch where he could be the second best player on a championship team as long as the third guy was Ray Allen. Still unlikely but not a complete fantasy.

    If RJ plays the way he’s played the last five games more often than not and his bad games aren’t awful then his leap really will look a lot like Ingram’s. I think Ingram’s will still look better because he fixed pretty much all of his shooting issues in that second year but definitely in the same ballpark. And with Ingram it definitely looks like Paul Pierce is in play. But even with a non-exceptional amount of growth and ordinary three point shooting he’ll probably be pretty good- a solid third guy- but that’s contingent on him not taking a backwards step.

    So Djphan- I will say you were right that the early panic was a little much.

  100. Waking up at 5 a.m. due to the vagaries of middle age sucks. Waking up to find we routed a decent team on the road on the backs of one of our most important players makes up for that a bit, though.

  101. Still unable to do a recap (maybe tomorrow?), but I’d like to highlight the Iron Man-War Machine dynamics going on between Mitch and Noel. The latter can diligently step in for the former, but if there’s a nuke to bring to outer space there’s only one Mitch.

  102. Geez, Farfa, what are we paying you for if the recaps are going to be this intermittent?

    [checks notes]

    Nevermind. Enjoy your day!

  103. So great to wake up this morning and see the Knicks won this one going away.
    Not going to get too crazy about it – was a back to back for the Warriors and 3rd game in 4 nights, plus Draymond got tossed for being too mean to his own teammate apparently. That said, even with Steph doing Steph things and Draymond being available in the 1st quarter, the Knicks still put up a 40 spot in the first quarter and had the lead going into halftime.

    Man – I don’t know how Steph is going to hold up — he is asked to do so much, and the degree of difficulty on his shots is just way out there. He had 14 3PA and after watching them all on NBA stats, maybe 2-3 of them would be considered good shots for anyone not named Curry or Lillard. He had some bad misses too – can prob chalk that up to fatigue but I thought Payton did a really nice job sticking with him, doing the backdoor contest thing etc.

    RJ’s line for these last 5 games – ORtg 113.5, DRtg 97.2, 62.5 TS on 25.1 usage. Per-36 of 22.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, on 51/39/87 shooting. Obv not sustainable but man – he looks pretty damn comfortable out there.

    A sophomore year of per 36 18/7/3.5 on something like 45/33/75 shooting would be pretty amazing, and not totally out of the question. It’s too bad B-R’s play index is mostly behind a paywall now, but my guess is that the list of 20 year olds that match those #s is pretty short. Amazing how a narrative can change so quickly.

  104. Farfa:
    Still unable to do a recap (maybe tomorrow?), but I’d like to highlight the Iron Man-War Machine dynamics going on between Mitch and Noel. The latter can diligently step in for the former, but if there’s a nuke to bring to outer space there’s only one Mitch.

    Oh man, as a huge MCU fan, I am super excited about this. Is IQ gonna be captain America?

  105. by the way we are now rocking the #4 defense in the league per Cleaning the Glass, all while playing the 3rd hardest schedule (however ESPN calculates that). We still have a negative net rating but we’re not outperforming our pythag wins by so much. While the luck re: opponent shooting will eventually regress a bit, our schedule will also get easier, and so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect/hope for a top 10 defense. Really remarkable given the limited personnel.

  106. “Is IQ gonna be captain America?”

    Dude! A young guy, unproven, with a lot of swag, who impresses from day one? I guess the name you’re looking for begins with “Peter”.

    “Geez, Farfa, what are we paying you for if the recaps are going to be this intermittent?”

    It’s like raaaaain on a wedding day
    It’s like toooo much wooork on a goodish year for the Knicks

  107. by the way I find it tremendously hilarious (and probably short lived) that we have a lottery pick as of right now and it’s not our own pick.

    Anyone willing to put down a marker right now (I am!) that we will at least be in one of the play-in games?

  108. Mitch looked himself last night. He was running and moving normally for the first time in a few games. I think picking up those early fouls got him out of rhythm in the first half, and out of the game, but it was all systems go in the second half.

    Do the Warriors have a legit big other than Weiss-man?

    Mitch, if you need me to be your Jen Psaki or your Kayleigh, I am ready to serve

  109. speaking of Dallas’s pick – they may very well be in a dogfight to get into the playoffs (very unlikely they don’t even make the play-in game, but that is so much of a crapshoot especially if you are the lower seed). Right now they are #9 with Denver #10, and frisky OKC #11. I would not be surprised if the Pels make a run too. Really all it takes is even a minor injury to Luka that costs him 4-5 games and it could get pretty interesting.

  110. I wake up 445am on work days so I can workout in the morning before I start my day, so I turned into a 43.8 year old old man and passed out shortly before the half lol. So..how did Mitch v Wiseman look?

    Side note: Thibs and Co has this young squad playing good, principled basketball. Win or lose, this is great to see

  111. I only saw highlights of Obi’s dunk and block. How did he look otherwise, in the flow of both the offense and the defense?

  112. Alan:
    I only saw highlights of Obi’s dunk and block. How did he look otherwise, in the flow of both the offense and the defense?

    Still a rough go on D, had one very nice block but also some Knox-like blow-by’s

  113. I think the Knicks are letting opponents know that they better be on their games if they want to beat us. We can be out-executed and out-talented, but we’re not gonna be outworked.
    The RJ we saw last night looked great. I still don’t envision a #1 guy with a consistent iso game, but his game is showing signs of expanding. Even his miss from 3 was in the cylinder. He drew a foul going right, and made a nice switch from left to right at the rim.

    One thing that is probably helping him is that he’s been playing 58% of his minutes as a big 2, the rest as a small-ball 3. I know some here see his future as a 3, but I beg to differ. He can punish 2’s physically on both ends.

    And that’s what’s the winning formula right now…starting the game with a big, physical, athletic lineup, slowing the pace down, and letting Randle and RJ (and to a lesser degree Payton) punish teams in the paint. The key last night was that Bullock and RJ drilled some 3’s early.

  114. Frank: A sophomore year of per 36 18/7/3.5 on something like 45/33/75 shooting would be pretty amazing, and not totally out of the question. It’s too bad B-R’s play index is mostly behind a paywall now, but my guess is that the list of 20 year olds that match those #s is pretty short. Amazing how a narrative can change so quickly.

    The Barrett narrative is really only volatile for Knicks fans. Consider these facts:

    – At age 17, he won the gold medal at the U19 FIBA tournament after dropping 38 points in the semi final game against Team USA. RJ Barrett is the player on that Canada roster who is on an NBA roster, while Team USA had guys like Payton Pritchard, Cam Reddish, PJ Washington, and Kevin Huerter.

    – At Monteverde his team went undefeated his senior year, and he won both major high school player of the year awards. The only person to do that before him was LeBron James.

    – He was a consensus All American at Duke, and came into that draft year as the consensus #1 prospect in basketball over guys like Tyler Herro, Ja Morant, and Zion Williamson.

    – He went 3rd overall in a decade where Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, and LaMelo Ball were 3rd overall picks.

    – David Fizdale is not an NBA head coach.

    RJ Barrett’s pedigree and potential has always been sky high. We let the train wreck that was the Mills-Fizdale era muck up the data, and then this year people overreacted to unsustainably terrible shooting. I don’t know if he’s a guy who gets over a .600 TS%, but the kid is a great bet to be a top 30 player in the NBA by year four, and I give him an outside chance to make an all star team this year along with Julius Randle.

  115. I want to revisit a point made about Draymond being open for a corner 3. If he shoots 35% from there, that’s a 52.5TS%. League average TS% is .565.

    So if the worst outcome of your defensive scheme is a 52.5TS% shot, that seems like a sustainable strategy. Clearly they are not purposely leaving shooters open from 3, but they are tilting the defense so that when it happens, it’s not as terrible of an outcome as it appears.

    Any reversion to the norm is not going to be that significant. This defense is by design.

  116. There have been plenty of guys with similar pedigree who didn’t make it. RJ is also so physically mature it makes you wonder if that was a factor in him being so dominant in high school.

    But he looked awesome last night.

    I will say, the Dubs have one guy over 6’9 on the roster and it showed last night

  117. The Glass Half Rebuilt: RJ Barrett’s pedigree and potential has always been sky high. We let the train wreck that was the Mills-Fizdale era muck up the data, and then this year people overreacted to unsustainably terrible shooting. I don’t know if he’s a guy who gets over a .600 TS%, but the kid is a great bet to be a top 30 player in the NBA by year four, and I give him an outside chance to make an all star team this year along with Julius Randle.

    There aren’t many all-star level wings in the east… Tatum, Brown, Harris, Middleton, Butler, Harden…so I guess it’s possible, but doubtful. It also depends on the selection process.

  118. Owen: There have been plenty of guys with similar pedigree who didn’t make it.

    That’s simply not true. While there have been tons of #1 recruits who didn’t work out, he reached heights in high school basketball that only LeBron James reached (and I don’t think LeBron James won a national championship like RJ did). That success carries over to Duke, and RJ is already starting to evaporate concerns about his defense and free throw shooting. The kid is a special talent, and his combination of confidence and work ethic make him as good a bet as any to develop a real iso game and a reliable 3 point shot.

  119. I love RJ Barret and have from day one.

    I think I’ve said this before. But I honestly believe the fact that he was able to handle a heavy load of minutes from day one, plays with poise and confidence and seems unflappable, and also came into the league with an NBA ready body…that these three factors have worked against him in the mind of some Knicks fans because they subconsciously think that he’s near his ceiling already. But he’s not even close. Kid is 20. He can still grow physically and get stronger. He really only needs to improve his shooting to become a really really good NBA player. The defense, rebounding, passing and mental aspects of the game are already there. Just because he comes from NBA pedigree and has been playing the game for awhile doesn’t mean he still doesn’t have miles of development and improvement in front of him.

    And I completely agree that Fiz fucked him up just like he messed up Knox and Mitch and everyone else. Of course a rookie would be adversely affected by a horrible coach. Again, if you he put up his the numbers he put up post Fiz all of last year, his rookie year would look a lot more paltable.

    RJ “Why can’t I be the next Paul Pierce” Barret.

    GD I love this team right now.

  120. Ok it’s time to start thinking about what the Knicks can do as buyers in the trade market and I can’t get this deal out of my head:

    Knicks get Beale

    Wiz get Toppin, unprotected 21, top 5 protected 23, swap rights 22

    Correct if I’m wrong but salaries do not have to match bc Knicks under cap?? If so can’t we throw in filler like Bullock etc??

    Beale is literally the perfect fit for this team.

  121. I want to revisit a point made about Draymond being open for a corner 3. If he shoots 35% from there, that’s a 52.5TS%. League average TS% is .565.

    So if the worst outcome of your defensive scheme is a 52.5TS% shot, that seems like a sustainable strategy. Clearly they are not purposely leaving shooters open from 3, but they are tilting the defense so that when it happens, it’s not as terrible of an outcome as it appears.

    Any reversion to the norm is not going to be that significant. This defense is by design.

    We are totally on the same page on this. There’s probably some luck mixed in, but some of what we are giving up (player specific) and the locations of those shots is by design. This is what great defensive coaches do.

    I would add that overall Green may be a 35.2% from the corner. So far this years he’s been very good, but I’d say he’s not the player now he was at his best. It would not totally shock me if before it’s over he’s actually less than 35.2% shooter now from the corner if we had a good enough sample size to prove it.

    Personally, I don’t want give anyone an open look from the corner, but if it’s choice between Green and someone else I can live with Green.

  122. One thing that is probably helping him is that he’s been playing 58% of his minutes as a big 2, the rest as a small-ball 3. I know some here see his future as a 3, but I beg to differ. He can punish 2’s physically on both ends.

    Yes, but even this data showing him 58% of his minutes as a big 2 supports the argument that his future is at the 3 when you consider he played 72% of his minutes as a 2-guard in his rookie season.

  123. RJ is a kid who has had every basketball resource available to him. He’s had all the coaching and mentoring you could want. He’s also physically very mature.

    There is case to be made that he is only scratching the surface of his potential. There is a case to be made that he is pretty close to realizing his full potential. There is really no way to know which is true for a couple thousand minutes. I’d lean toward the latter but with a little less conviction after last night’s performance.

    He was horrific last year. He’s been better this year. But his shooting numbers really haven’t budged that much outside of the ft%. Until they do, I am going to have my doubts.

  124. Frank: Frank

    So if by some miracle we ended up at .500 and in sixth place, like we are now, would that person lose the bet because we actually had too good a record for being in the play-in round?

  125. But his shooting numbers really haven’t budged that much outside of the ft%.

    In fairness, his 2pt% is moving upward while also attempting more shots than during his rookie season. The question on whether you buy in on him improving is whether you believe his abyssmal 3pt% are bound to go back up to its rookie levels.

  126. Let me once again play the role of our resident math ignoramus and put the RJ question another way. Everyone agrees that he has been better this year, but to what extent has that been the result of his hot shooting nights, and what’s been the result of him improving elsewhere? (Eye test-wise, for instance, he looks like the second-best defender in the starting 5.) And at what point does the level of his all-around game render the volatile shooting numbers somewhat moot? Obviously, his ceiling is limited if he can’t ever consistently shoot from 3. But earlier this season, people were throwing out Andre Iguodala as a player type to aspire to — not that RJ is the same level of athlete as Iguodala, but that he could potentially do so many other things well on the court that he could still be the third-best guy on a contender, maybe even the second-best.

    So where does RJ need to be with the rest of his game for this to be the case, how far does he seem from that right now, and how plausible does it feel that he could get there?

  127. Like pt said in the other thread, a wide open Draymond corner 3 isn’t what you want–it’s not good defensive planning. TS% is not a measure of relative shot quality. Rather, what you want is to calculate the expected value of the shot and compare it to the league average PPP or team average PPP in order to ascertain whether it’s a better or worse than average shot (for the team or for the league). Again, if Draymond shoots 35% on open corner 3s (milo said somewhere around this number iirc) the expected PPS for an open Draymond corner 3 is 1.05. That’s without factoring in offensive rebounding. League average PPP right now is 1.07. Factoring in OREB (not gonna do that calculation) means it’s a plus-EV shot, meaning we shouldn’t have let it happen. It’s not good defense to let plus-EV shots go off. In general, letting corner 3s go open is almost never a good idea, no matter what. We need to stop pretending that a core tenet of our defensive scheme is tricking guys into taking open 3s that are magically minus-EV. It’s more that we’re lucky, and that we force a fair number of above the break 3s which helps compound the luck.

    That said, I still think this defense is pretty good. It’s just not top 5 in the league.

  128. RJ needs to shoot, I don’t know, 82%+ from the line and 37% from three. Then we won’t have this conversation.

    League average ts% is 56.5% right now. RJ is at 49% (though trending up lately.)

    It’s a mountain to climb.

  129. Obviously, his ceiling is limited if he can’t ever consistently shoot from 3. But earlier this season, people were throwing out Andre Iguodala as a player type to aspire to — not that RJ is the same level of athlete as Iguodala, but that he could potentially do so many other things well on the court that he could still be the third-best guy on a contender, maybe even the second-best.

    So where does RJ need to be with the rest of his game for this to be the case, how far does he seem from that right now, and how plausible does it feel that he could get there?

    I think the guy to aspire to is Jimmy Butler. Never a great outside shooter but just knows how to play, tough-as-nails defender, can run an offense as a first option. I don’t know that RJ will ever be the type of defender Butler was in his prime, but RJ’s year 2 numbers are semi-similar to Butler age 24-26 seasons in Chicago (minus the steals). RJ is probably already a better rebounder and passer than Butler was at that age, but wasn’t quite as good at getting to the line. I think it’s a reasonable aspirational target.

  130. So where does RJ need to be with the rest of his game for this to be the case, how far does he seem from that right now, and how plausible does it feel that he could get there?

    I think he’ll always need to be some kind of threat from 3, even if it’s not much better than the 32% mark from his rookie year. This doesn’t seem like a lot to ask but it’s also a pretty hard prerequisite.

    The good news is if he’s able to do that, I think he’s getting somewhat close to where he needs to be in other areas to be a productive jack-of-all-trades type. He still needs to improve his finishing but both the numbers and the eye-test indicate he’s improving there, and it stands to reason that’s relatively low-hanging fruit for a guy who can’t legally drink yet (I have no idea if this is true historically).

    If you give him his .320 3PT% from last year (I’m aware we shouldn’t necessarily just assume that number is a baseline, but I’m also inclined to think he can reach it because he did in college and it’s still bad) his TS% stands at .521. From there, the path to league average efficiency isn’t hard to see as long as he can keep shooting 75% or so at the line.

  131. The thing that sticks out to me from RJ’s shooting profile is he’s still taking about 20% of his FG attempts from the 3-10′ area and he’s really, really bad at making those shots. He’s sub-30% and league average is about 40%

  132. I want to revisit a point made about Draymond being open for a corner 3. If he shoots 35% from there, that’s a 52.5TS%. League average TS% is .565.

    it’s probably not a good strategy, and this is too simple. set aside that draymond is actually a couple pts better career from corner 3s that are wide open. 56.4% TS is the recent league average across all situations. half court first offense is not all situations. pts per play in half court first offense (excluding putbacks and transition) has recently been 95/100. the gsw ytd are at ~94. this compares to about 123/100 in transition and 111/100 for putbacks. leaving a guy wide open in the corner who can shoot at a 52.5% TS is probably good for about 101 pts per play (this is before orb% and uses a common estimate for tov % forced when you use a defense that leaves an corner shooter wide open). that is a lot worse than 95. this is a very common question teams have asked themselves for years and the consensus answer is that you need someone in almost andre roberson range to make it work from the corner. but i do not believe thibs did this on purpose, i think randle just rotated hard bc bullock and payton fucked up the wiggins steph pnr on that play. leaving him open from other spots, though, where his shooting is much worse and the pass is often harder to throw makes a lot more sense.

  133. Let me once again play the role of our resident math ignoramus and put the RJ question another way. Everyone agrees that he has been better this year, but to what extent has that been the result of his hot shooting nights, and what’s been the result of him improving elsewhere?

    it’s not really about “hot” shooting nights. i mean sure we’ve come full circle and now everyone again agrees that hot hands do exist (am i the only who thought ben cohen fucked up that book?) , but not to the extent it’s likely to be an important part of whether rj’s ytd numbers are fluky. but maybe you are really asking “what can math tell us about the chances rj’s shooting % improvements from 0-23 and the FT line are due to luck?” unfortunately the answer is we are well within the bounds of very high uncertainty and random variation. people can come up with clever stories to try to stratify or eye-test his results into a more signal-heavy story, but we are not at the point where any story can yet escape the ever present gravity of the drunkard’s walk explanation. even though FT % and rim % tends to be more reliable than 3-23 foot percentage, they still too volatile to overtake the “this must be real” story we all would prefer. if i was forced to guess tho i would say at least some of it seems real. take that for math.

  134. You guys are arguing about a shot based on a small sample of open corner 3s he’s taken over his career and ignoring that he can’t shoot from anywhere but at the rim at this point in his career.

  135. So eye-test hot take warning.

    When watching RJ take threes, it seems like his footwork is weird (one forward, one back) AND it seems consistently different shot to shot. If that’s true — and this is based on mental rewinds after each shot, which with my memory is deeply questionable — we are unlikely to see RJ make a serious move toward real stardom this year (this assumes he’s actually getting significantly and consistently better at many other things). However — and again dump-truck of caveats — it does bode fairly well for him as it’s just the sort of thing he can fix if he works all summer with someone smart (not Smart) to fix it. Again, based on the idea that getting a good and consistent three means he’s really going to Pierce it together.

    Anyone else picking that up, or is it just me and my failing eyesight and short-term memory?

  136. Raven:
    So eye-test hot take warning.

    Anyone else picking that up, or is it just me and my failing eyesight and short-term memory?

    I’m not a shooting expert by any stretch, but RJ’s jumper seems to lack any lift. He doesn’t seem to use his legs much.

  137. Alex Len to the Wizards, no Brooklyn for him…

    Honestly, they probably needed a guy who could play defense more than they needed a guy with a little bit of an offensive game like Len.

  138. Knicks get Beale

    Wiz get Toppin, unprotected 21, top 5 protected 23, swap rights 22

    I don’t think that’s quite enough, but it’s definitely in the right ballpark.

    The issue is that everyone wants Beal, ya know?

  139. ha, I love it – jedi defense :)

    looked like RJ was using a floater around the rim last night more than I’ve noticed before…

    IQ is gonna have the whole team working on their floaters…

    definitely good to see burks back in the rotation…

  140. The Chait piece is worth reading but he makes a lot of highly questionable assertions and doesn’t provide so much as hyperlinks to back them up. He also plays fast and loose with lottery charters vs charters in general and just kind of hopes the reader doesn’t notice.

  141. I’m absolutely loving our coaching staff…each time out you can see individual coaches working with our players – and, it really looks like both players and coaches are really engaged…

    kudos to rose and company putting together this staff…

  142. The Glass Half Rebuilt: RJ Barrett’s pedigree and potential has always been sky high. We let the train wreck that was the Mills-Fizdale era muck up the data, and then this year people overreacted to unsustainably terrible shooting. I don’t know if he’s a guy who gets over a .600 TS%, but the kid is a great bet to be a top 30 player in the NBA by year four, and I give him an outside chance to make an all star team this year along with Julius Randle.

    Taking a quick look at top 30 players by BPM and OBPM, RJ would likely need to get over.580TS% to reach those heights. Even then he’ll need to continue improving the other areas of his game: rebs, asts, usg%.

    Compare him to Randle who is currently near 30 in BPM and 34 in OBPM, Randle is (in per 36 numbers) 2.6 in assists, 4 rebs, 3.4 USG%, and TS% .577.

    The only players significantly below .580 in the top 30 are Luka and Tre Young who are both averaging ~10 asts per 36 and USG% 32 .

    Tatum has similar peripheral numbers to RJ and a TS% of .588, he also has a USG% over 30.

    DeRozan is .580TS% similar USG to RJ but averages 7 asts/36 (OBPM really loves assists apparently).

    So to be a top 30 player RJ needs:

    (1) .550 TS% and drastically increases both his Asts and USG% or

    (2) he gets to a .580TS% and increases his asts or USG%.

    FWIW, I think (2) is doable w/ RJ improving some combo of his asts and USG% a bit (in retrospect I should have looked at a full season but whatever). But he still has a long ways to go TS%-wise.

  143. TNFH – It’s a long piece with a lot in it. He does disclose his biases, or his wife’s.

    I don’t know, will have to dig further.

  144. Awesome game last night – now that’s what I was expecting from having 48 mins of Merlens Noelson on the court (well actually 47 mins but w/e)!

    24 points on 19 true shots, only one turnover, 19 boards (8 offensive), 6 blocks and 2 steals, 6 fouls between the two of them isn’t bad either.

    Which teams have better center combinations?

    Can comfortably slot Jokic/Hartenstein and Embiid/Howard ahead of them, and probably easier to argue for Gobert/Favors than to argue against, then, at least in the playoffs you can say the Lakers have a better duo too with AD sliding to the five and Gasol playing the rest of the C minutes, but that’s it, right? Maybe the Magic, and there’s definitely certain team compositions where Vucevic/whoever is more valuable, but generally speaking I’d probably prefer Robinson/Noel.

  145. Very nice to see Randle’s turnovers trending down- 19.8% first 8, 10.8 the last 8- without lowering his assist % too much. He really does seem invested in playing winning basketball. Keep the turnovers there and stay functional from three and he’s going to tough to let go- even for a first round pick. Someone offers a lottery pick you better take it but end of the first round? I don’t know.

  146. nicos:
    Very nice to see Randle’s turnovers trending down- 19.8% first 8, 10.8 the last 8- without lowering his assist % too much. He really does seem invested in playing winning basketball. Keep the turnovers there and stay functional from three and he’s going to tough to let go- even for a first round pick. Someone offers a lottery pick you better take it but end of the first round? I don’t know.

    Agreed. A WS/48 of .156 and a 3.8 BPM is worth a lottery pick.

  147. Jazz Rock Alert

    Leaving a guy open to shoot on a spot where he’s at max35% efficient has nothing to do with his TS or his efg%.
    It’s a bet every time that he has 1 out of 3 chances that he’ll make the shot.
    Much better bet than letting him shoot from areas where his shooting pct is much higher.
    Or letting him create for his teammates a shot with higher shooting percentage probability.
    Leaving Draymond or Giannis or Lebron open are known and highly used tactics by many teams.

  148. Knew Your Nicks:
    Jazz Rock Alert

    Leaving a guy open to shoot on a spot where he’s at max35% efficient has nothing to do with his TS or his efg%.
    It’s a bet every time that he has 1 out of 3 chances that he’ll make the shot.
    Much better bet than letting him shoot from areas where his shooting pct is much higher.
    Leaving Draymond or Giannis or Lebron open are known and highly used tactics by many teams.

    Really when it comes to the GSW if you let anyone other than Curry shoot, then you’re doing a pretty good job

  149. pt et al. I’m not suggesting that it’s a good strategy to leave Draymond (or any meh or better) shooter open for corner things. I’m suggesting that an excellent strategy is to have a pecking order on D that includes defending the 3-pt line and the rim vigorously, yet knowing that the defense will break down on certain plays due to miscommunications, etc,, you’d rather the “undesireable” outcome be a Draymond 3 rather than a Curry 3 or trip to the line, or a Wiseman or Oubre dunk. Clearly we are running shooters off the 3-pt line and contesting 3,s, playing passing lanes, etc. and when our bigs get switched onto a guard/wing on the perimeter they are doing a nice job of defending in space, especially at the 3-pt line.

    In other words, I think it is obviously part of the Knicks’ defensive strategy to tilt defensive breakdowns to, say, the 1.05 PPP type of shot. Silky pointed out that when you factor in offensive rebounding the PPP goes up, but a missed 3 also is more likely to result in a long defensive rebound with a transition opportunity, especially when one of your top rebounders is taking the shot and will be behind/out of the play.

    You can keep trying to counter-argue that we’re just getting lucky that opponents are missing from 3…the evidence is starting to mount that it is more by design than by luck.

  150. #Really when it comes to the GSW if you let anyone other than Curry shoot, then you’re doing a pretty good job#

    Closing the paint for easy ones, avoiding silly fouls and taking away the open 3s for opponents’ best shooters seems like an easy to try and also pretty effective defensive strategy to me.

  151. Let’s say that you fucked up your D and Steph got away…
    Is it better to send Steph to the line (even for 2 fts) or let him shoot the 3?

  152. IMO, SG’s (and maybe been SFs) tend to be slightly underrated by BPM, WS48 and many other all in one metrics. Ironically, Wins Produced (as bad as it is overall) at least tries to make some positional adjustments.

    Unless we are talking about the rare SG that handles the ball a lot, they are unlikely to get a lot of assists and they are rarely big enough to get a lot rebounds like Cs and PFs unless the bigs are deferring rebounds to them to start the break (mot the case here). Typically their job is to score on higher usage and space the floor. Some of that doesn’t show up in the boxscore and some is underrated. It’s true that RJ is playing some SF now. That should enable him to get an extra rebound here or there relative to the typical SG and he’s surely not a floor spacer, but he’s also not just dunking on low usage either. He’s a good rebounder and playmaker for his position and a pretty good defender. If he gets his efficiency up, IMO we are talking about a serious player. His exact rank would be debatable, but I’ll take it.

  153. RJ’s line for these last 5 games – ORtg 113.5, DRtg 97.2, 62.5 TS on 25.1 usage. Per-36 of 22.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, on 51/39/87 shooting.Obv not sustainable but man – he looks pretty damn comfortable out there.
    A sophomore year of per 36 18/7/3.5 on something like 45/33/75 shooting would be pretty amazing, and not totally out of the question. It’s too bad B-R’s play index is mostly behind a paywall now, but my guess is that the list of 20 year olds that match those #s is pretty short.Amazing how a narrative can change so quickly.

    I got you: 21 guys (including Tyrese Halliburton!) with lots of good guys- LBJ, KD, Kawhi, etc… but also Michael Beasley, Evan Fournier, Meyers Leonard and Dorell Wright so you probably shouldn’t get too carried away.

  154. Somehow the ‘Bockers are #4 in defensive rating, and #1 in defensive eFG%.

    That can’t ALL be luck.

  155. #Somehow the ‘Bockers are #4 in defensive rating, and #1 in defensive eFG%.

    That can’t ALL be luck.#

    Why not?
    Prove it mister! We wanna see the numbers! lol

  156. Watching last night it felt like the Warriors are done. Yes, they have picks coming up but Draymond looks cooked and Steph’s in decline- still good to sure but nothing like the Steph of old. Their cap is unsalvageable. Even if they nail the draft picks this year they’re not going to a serious contender before Steph ages out unless one of them turns out to be Luka 2.0.

  157. JK47:
    Somehow the ‘Bockers are #4 in defensive rating, and #1 in defensive eFG%.
    That can’t ALL be luck.

    But the math says it’s all luck. lol

    Seriously, obviously luck can be a big part of what goes into theses ups and downs in 3P% in the short term, but none of these studies ever considers ALL the factors involved in the opponent 3p% and probably couldn’t even if they tried.

    We should probably assume a certain percentage (or maybe even a lot) of it has been luck, but when you just hired a “defense first coach” that does nothing but watch film all day to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of every player in the league and you know that some teams are compiling shooting stats for every player in the league from every spot on the floor within a narrow band, at some point you have to assume these broad studies are probably missing something in some cases (same as they always are). The math can only be as good as the inputs and the inputs are never all that good on an individual basis. So you take what you are getting and keep trying to get better at it. The numbers will work themselves out. You don’t want to leave anyone open for a corner 3, but sometism you make mistake

  158. Also, you know the NBA is a pretty good gig when you’re underpaid for the first 8 years of your career and you’re still going to crack 250m in career earnings like Steph.

  159. I love that the Warriors started to fall off right when they screwed over their loyal Oakland fans and moved to a billionaire’s only arena in San Fran. That move was so disgraceful.

  160. JK47:
    Somehow the ‘Bockers are #4 in defensive rating, and #1 in defensive eFG%.

    That can’t ALL be luck.

    Knicks currently rank 4th in 3Pr (43.5) and 1st in 3P% (30.7).

    For reference, the league’s best over the last few years

    2019-20, TOR, 33.7%
    2018-19, DEN, 33.9%
    2017-18, BOS, 33.9%
    2016-17, GSW, 32.4%

    League average is around 36% each year. So if the Knicks are really this good, they’re basically a standard deviation better than any of the league’s best 3P% teams each year. Unlikely.

    NYK opponents have scored 30.7% on 602 3PA so far this year. The raw points delta between 30.7% and league average at 36.5 is about 34 made threes, or 102 points over 16 games (6.4 points). That would lead to a MOV change from -1.06 to -7.5 or so.

    It’s not to say that the Knicks haven’t “earned” their league-best 3P% to some degree. But regression could lead us back to the top of the lottery pile real quick.

  161. I don’t doubt that there will be some regression to the mean. Of course there will be some regression to the mean. I doubt we’re the actual #1 eFG% prevention team in the league.

    Still though.

  162. That Partnow thread suggested regression to the mean would give us a defense ranked somewhere around the middle of the league. Which is still better than anyone expected going into the year. But we’re respectable right now with the top-ranked defense and the bottom-ranked offense. If our defense drops and our offense doesn’t improve — and the only avenues for improvement I see at this point, other than a trade, is both rookies (IQ in particular) earning lots more minutes with their play — then we’re probably back to scratching to make the play-in game.

  163. Brian Cronin: Honestly, they probably needed a guy who could play defense more than they needed a guy with a little bit of an offensive game like Len.

    Brooklyn’s signing former 76ers (and Italian League standout) Norvel Pelle.

    You’re right, exactly the kind of player you described, rebounds and blocks over offense.

    He played for my Italian team, he’s a decent rim runner too, kind of DAJ-light…

  164. It is not a sound defensive idea to leave even halfway viable shooters open in the corners and instead of debating this stupid thing we should be asking were we might realistically finish both defensively and offensively.

    A lot of people are incorrectly assuming skeptics aren’t taking into account the quality of the shooters the Knicks are leaving open. That’s incorrect, as if the specific players the Knicks have let shoot open 3s had hit them at those specific players’ averages the Knicks defense would drop to 13th.

    That seems realistic and I think it would’ve pleasantly surprised a lot of people if they heard it prior to the season. Since 22% of the season is already “banked,” the regression could still leave the Knicks with a top-10 defense.

    Offensively, it’ll be interesting to see if they can get out of the doldrums. RJ isn’t going to continue to play like the all-NBA guy we’ve seen over the past 5 games (but boy is that line nice to look at), but if he can put the putridness we saw earlier in the season fully behind him that should help. The combination of Bullock not sucking, Burks returning, and Quickley’s emergence might be able to get us out of 3PT hell (dead last in attempts, 21st in 3PT%).

    There’s a pretty big gap between us and the 20th ranked offense so our ranking might not improve much, but if the offense in general can improve and the defense can stay within the top half of the league for the rest of the season .500 would be optimistic but somewhat reasonable. My guess is we’re closer to 28-44, but hey, who the hell knows?

  165. I love that the Warriors started to fall off right when they screwed over their loyal Oakland fans and moved to a billionaire’s only arena in San Fran. That move was so disgraceful.

    It really was super gross, right?

  166. nicos:
    Watching last night it felt like the Warriors are done. Yes, they have picks coming up but Draymond looks cooked and Steph’s in decline- still good to sure but nothing like the Steph of old. Their cap is unsalvageable. Even if they nail the draft picks this yearthey’re not going to a serious contender before Steph ages out unless one of them turns out to be Luka 2.0.

    I have a strong feeling Steph Curry is going to be available this summer and we’re going to be suitors.

    And before I finished writing that, I started to imagine Golden State pulling a Danny Ainge and convincing Leon Rose to take Curry, Klay, and Green off his hands while we run out the remnants of dynasty the way the Nets did ~6 years ago.

    Happy thoughts, Hubert… happy thoughts.

  167. You’re right, exactly the kind of player you described, rebounds and blocks over offense.

    The good thing for the Nets is that the buyout market invariably has a lot more guys who are good at that sort of thing than good offensive players.

  168. I think it’s a bit unfair to judge the Warriors without Klay. I agree that they still probably wouldn’t be a top team in the NBA even if you add Klay, but adding him to their current rotation would make them at least easily a playoff team (heck, even without Klay, they’re currently a playoff team).

    But yeah, right now, it’s a shocking two-man band with one-half of the two-man band, Draymond, being on the clear downslope of his career.

  169. They did screw their fans a bit. But they are way over the cap and were playing in the oldest arena in the NBA. MSG is technically older tbf bit it’s had a pretty serious renovation

  170. Brian Cronin:
    I think it’s a bit unfair to judge the Warriors without Klay. I agree that they still probably wouldn’t be a top team in the NBA even if you add Klay, but adding him to their current rotation would make them at least easily a playoff team (heck, even without Klay, they’re currently a playoff team).

    But yeah, right now, it’s a shocking two-man band with one-half of the two-man band, Draymond, being on the clear downslope of his career.

    Klay put up negative bpm’s the last two seasons and will be coming off a severe injury- not the career ender it used to be but it’s hard to see him getting his numbers back to nearer his prime.

  171. Partnow’s point writ large is probably true, but it is essentially based on assuming that teams don’t actually gameplan specifically for each night’s opponent during the regular season because there are just too many games and not enough practice time etc. The one coach I can definitely imagine game planning during the regular season is Thibs. I mean, without a doubt.

  172. by the way I would highly recommend John Schmeelk’s podcast the other day with Seth Partnow – Schmeelk asked basically every question a Knicks fan would want, and Partnow gave some pretty nuanced answers.

    One interesting thing he said is that there probably isn’t too much of a difference between corner 3s and ATB 3s in terms of the actual shots themselves. The difference apparently is that the availability of a corner 3 likely means the defense is already broken, and so those shots tend to be more open (ie. even wider open than “wide open”) than ATB 3’s, and that that likely is responsible for a lot of the improved %.

  173. thenoblefacehumper:

    A lot of people are incorrectly assuming skeptics aren’t taking into account the quality of the shooters the Knicks are leaving open. That’s incorrect, as if the specific players the Knicks have let shoot open 3s had hit them at those specific players’ averages the Knicks defense would drop to 13th.

    That seems realistic and I think it would’ve pleasantly surprised a lot of people if they heard it prior to the season. Since 22% of the season is already “banked,” the regression could still leave the Knicks with a top-10 defense.

    In the previuos thread I specifically referred to “public numbers based on average and not for specific players” as told in a ESPN podcast, Partnow here affirms the opposite, so:

    1. He’s using different “not public” numbers or 2. The podcast is wrong or 3. I misunderstood (always possible, considering that english is not my native language).

    I had never denied “all the luck”, I take Partnow’s numbers as true, I think we’re playing good defense and agree with you that before the season we would’ve been pleasantly surprised with the 13th defense.

    Still, you’ll never let anyone open but if I’m a defender and after three/four def rotations I have to baptize a shooter, I’ll let Oubre/Green open instead of Steph and pray for some luck, so I basically agree with Frank about gameplanning.

    That’s why the Nets are so dangerous on offense, you can’t let anyone open at the end of games (Kyrie, Harden, Harris, KD and DAJ in the paint), you could only have a chance if Green sub for Harris (but this year he’s shooting 51%, from three, he needs to reverse to the mean too…).

  174. I’m too lazy to figure it out, but how are the Knicks doing in terms of preventing other easy baskets? Like, say, dunks and layups? We do have good rim protection out on the floor most of the time now. That’s gotta help the ol’ defensive eFG%

  175. wow, sacramento is favored by 4.5 tonight…

    their defense absolutely sucks which helps our weakest aspect of basketball: scoring…

    i don’t know, maybe the kings do beat us by more than four tonight (they’ve lost 4 straight, so maybe they’re due a win???) – i just wouldn’t assume that by looking at the two teams playing…

    definitely looking forward to watching fox play tonight…

  176. Yeah, wow, I have no idea why the Kings are favored. I’m totally expecting the Knicks to win this one.

  177. I’m surprised too, looking for answers I scoured the betting sites…
    Everybody in the betting community think we’re a fluke, we’re back to back and sooner or later the Kings are due to a win…
    And we’re somehow viewed as a team that “play to the competition” (I.e. losses with OKC, depleted Nets, skeleton Cavs, wins vs Bos, Utah, Mil, Ind and so on).

  178. i had heard some announcer state that de’aaron fox might be the fastest guy (with the ball) in basketball right now…

    we’ll see what our ‘savvy veteran’ guard defender elf can do against him…

    hopefully frank makes it back to the court by the end of the month…i don’t really think there’s much of a chance he’s wearing a knick uniform after this season, but – as our longest rostered player it would be nice to see him get in on a few of these wins…

    dang, just thinking about it – frank must have one of the worst career win/loss records of any player in the league right now…

  179. Quickley seems to be, appropriately enough, quicker on defense than Elf, though that may be some of that optical illusion stuff I talked about a few days ago (he bounces around on the balls of his feet, he wears ankle-length socks, his hair waves around his head like speed lines) rather than him actually being faster. But Fox might be an interesting defensive test for him if Payton is struggling.

  180. thenoblefacehumper: It is not a sound defensive idea to leave even halfway viable shooters open in the corners and instead of debating this stupid thing we should be asking were we might realistically finish both defensively and offensively.

    In cast this was aimed at me, I will re-post the following:

    “I’m not suggesting that it’s a good strategy to leave Draymond (or any meh or better) shooter open for corner things. I’m suggesting that an excellent strategy is to have a pecking order on D that includes defending the 3-pt line and the rim vigorously, yet knowing that the defense will break down on certain plays due to miscommunications, etc,, you’d rather the “undesireable” outcome be a Draymond 3 rather than a Curry 3 or trip to the line, or a Wiseman or Oubre dunk. Clearly we are running shooters off the 3-pt line and contesting 3,s, playing passing lanes, etc. and when our bigs get switched onto a guard/wing on the perimeter they are doing a nice job of defending in space, especially at the 3-pt line.”

    Thoughts?

  181. Reality Check Alert

    Just checked Draymond’s 3p%s
    I mean how the fuck is a bad strategy to let him open 24/7 to shoot 3s?
    This season shoots at 26,1%
    Last season 27,9%

  182. We’re what, 8-8? Maybe without some 3 point luck we’re 6-10 or 7-9? That’s still better than I thought we’d be.

  183. Bottom line: The Knicks hired a coach who is widely considered to be a defensive mastermind, and lo and behold, for now, we have the best defense in the NBA. Sure, the 3pt% of opponents is likely unsustainable, but is that the only reason our defense is so good? Of course not. We have one of the two of the very best shot blockers in the league who also are excellent perimeter defenders as 5’s go on the floor at all times. Having rim protection on D is similar to having great 3pt shooting on O. Guys like Payton, Barrett and Bullock can get in the grilles of guys knowing that they have backup if they get blown by. PnR’s don’t work as well when the big is not a lumbering oaf like, say, Marc Gasol or Brook Lopez or Nicola Jokic. Thibodeau knows what he’s doing and has the right players to execute whatever defensive game plan he wants to. He can go big, small, fast, slow.

    What he doesn’t have is two-way stars like AD, Giannis, LeBron, Butler…or one-way megastars like Curry, Harden, Luka, Jokic. He’s got tough choices to make over the course of a game, and none of them are perfect. His best hand is a tough, physical athletic lineup (the starters) that has offensive warts. When teams are either missing shots or can’t physically match up with that, we have an advantage.

  184. Does anyone else find it utterly bizarre that we’re actually arguing whether or not the Knicks REALLY have the best defense in the NBA?

    I do guess it matches the overall extremely positive if highly surreal feel of the whole year to date.

  185. Like, say, dunks and layups? We do have good rim protection out on the floor most of the time now. That’s gotta help the ol’ defensive eFG%

    Dunk rate is 5th highest and layup rate is 4th highest.

    Sure, the 3pt% of opponents is likely unsustainable, but is that the only reason our defense is so good?

    I mean, did I not do the math for you above? Can we not work out a less “extreme” case than the Knicks regressing to the league average? Like, say they’re as good as the very best Opp. 3PT% teams of the past five years. That’s still ~3 points worse per 100 possessions, knocking the Knicks to around 109.8 DRtg, which sets them way back in in the middle of the pack.

    If you go back to the “deadball” era of 1998-99, you’ll find that the Hawks sat at a flat 30.0%, against an average 33.9% overall shooting efficiency. So if you think that the Knicks have as good a defense as the league’s #2 overall defense from one of the most grinding eras in the game, I don’t know what to tell you.

    Ultimately, I think you’re underestimating the overall effect of having an outlier opponents’ 3PT%. And regression is going to make that underestimate pretty clear.

  186. Jowles, math it up for us dummies: if the Knicks only regress to that 109.8 DRtg, and their offense remains as crappy as it’s been, what does our overall rating wind up as, and what kind of record can we project out of that?

  187. howdy al…was just thinking, i like how you write (not really talking about your posts here – your job stuff)…your good with details…have you ever done any fiction?

    Edit: just re-read what i wrote, wasn’t trying to imply that your posts sucks or anything, their fine…just meant you’re good at writing, particularly with details and making stuff relatable…

    i was just wondering if you have done any of your own story stuff…

  188. Isn’t part of our great defensive rating and our poor offensive rating linked to pace? That is, we both score less points and give up less points because we play at a slow pace and there are fewer possessions in our games than in other teams games. I looked at basketball reference and we aren’t number one and thirty, respectively, there. I couldn’t find a place we were ranked number one in defense, so I don’t know if that ranking takes pace into account. On BR, we are 25th in offense unadjusted and 24th adjusted. In defense we are 4th unadjusted and 6th adjusted.

  189. there are definitely some improvements happening in terms of shot profile.

    Arbiratrily looking at the last 7 games (literally arbitrary, i just picked it), we allow the 12th fewest FGA in the restricted area. We allow the fewest L corner 3’s per game at 2.1, and are in middle of the pack at 4.4 R corner 3’s per game — put that together and I assume it means we in the top 20-30% of teams in terms of not allowing corner 3’s. But we still allow the 3rd most ATB 3’s over that same period.

  190. Arbiratrily looking at the last 7 games (literally arbitrary, i just picked it), we allow the 12th fewest FGA in the restricted area. We allow the fewest L corner 3’s per game at 2.1, and are in middle of the pack at 4.4 R corner 3’s per game

    Is that pace adjusted? Because we play the slowest pace in the NBA.

  191. Alan: Jowles, math it up for us dummies: if the Knicks only regress to that 109.8 DRtg, and their offense remains as crappy as it’s been, what does our overall rating wind up as, and what kind of record can we project out of that?

    This is all unadjusted dumb math, nothing special about it. Obviously there is a knock-on effect of a change in 3P% (OREBs, second-chance points, transition scoring on the other end, close games becoming blowouts leading to statistically less valuable/less descriptive garbage minutes and vice versa, etc.) but I’m ignoring it for pure counterfactual: if there were a change in opponents’ 3PT% that affected nothing else, how would it affect pythag wins?

    30.7% 3PT = 46% win rate
    ~33% 3PT = 36% win rate
    ~36.5% 3PT = 27% win rate

  192. Also the Knicks’ MOV would fall from 18th to 24th to 28th in those scenarios, respectively.

  193. In 2010-2011 The league average 3pt% was .358. The best team in the league at opponent 3pt% held opponents to .326. That team was coached by Tom Thibodeau. Of course, 3 ot the top 6 minutes-getters were all-time great defenders Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver. In ensuing years in CHI, Thibs’ teams were consistently near the top in opponent 3pt%. It’s clearly a part of his coaching MO, and clearly MIN was an outlier situation for him.

    Sure, there will be some regression, but how much? Since 22% of the season is already played, it is unlikely that they will regress much beyond being in the top 5 in this category. To get outside the top 5 would require opposing teams to shoot more than 36% from 3 for the rest of the season, and that’s not gonna happen. More importantly, it’s possible that the regression will be in the form of some crazy 30 for 40 3-pt shooting night blowouts for a team like the Raptors or Bucks.

    And it probably won’t affect wins or losses all that much. We are an excellent defensive team, period. Whether we win or not will be way more dependent on how our offense plays. Or whether injuries or trades affect the rotation.

  194. #KYN -Offensive and Defensive rating are adjusted for pace.#

    Are you a spy or something?
    Is this a code message for my agency?
    lol

  195. What time exactly “Regression to the mean” is going to start? I’d like to watch that rare phenomenon!

  196. There’s also a reasonable chance that other things will improve to offset any regression in OPP3pt%; other aspects of Knicks defense might improve, the offense might play better as young players improve, the team gels and Burks gets more minutes. This team has not topped out in all areas. They don’t match up talent-wise with the top 10 teams, but they can grind out lots of wins with what they have just by playing harder, smarter and more cohesively than other teams.

  197. From Begley:

    As noted above, New York’s defense is one of the best in the league. But as The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov noted in a question to Thibodeau on Thursday, the club may be benefiting from opponents missing open 3-point attempts.

    Per NBA.com tracking, the Knicks are around league average when it comes to the percentage of 3-point attempts in which they have a defender within four feet of the shooter. But they give up the fourth-highest percentage of wide open threes (defined as a defender being six feet away or further from the shooter).

    They lead the league in opponent 3-point percentage (30.7 percent) and rank 18th in opponent 2-point field-goal percentage. They also allow the fourth highest 3-point attempts per 100 possessions.

    Here’s Thibodeau answer when asked about the idea of New York allowing a high rate of 3-point shots:

    “We started (defensively) with building a foundation of getting back and getting our defense set. We always talk about take care of the ball, the paint and react up covering the line and finish the defense with a challenge to the shot and the rebound. It requires multiple efforts and everyone tied together. We’re still a work in progress. There’s a lot of things we could do better and we will as time goes on.

    “We need to continue to practice and learn. The challenge is, when you’re on the road like this, when you’re playing a lot of games and your practice time is limited. But when we do practice, we have to maximize that time and make sure that we are making the corrections and improvements. If we’re doing the right things each and every day I know that we’ll be playing our best at the end.”

  198. Frank and Rivers out again.

    And Geo, no, I’ve never really tried my hand at fiction. I like what I do enough to not dabble in other writing, outside of my masochistic sports fandom.

  199. Z-man:
    There’s also a reasonable chance that other things will improve to offset any regression in OPP3pt%; other aspects of Knicks defense might improve, the offense might play better as young players improve, the team gels and Burks gets more minutes. This team has not topped out in all areas. They don’t match up talent-wise with the top 10 teams, but they can grind out lots of wins with what they have just by playing harder, smarter and more cohesively than other teams.

    Yeah. I don’t think there is any Thibs magic that explains the 3-pt shooting. That is due for a regression for sure. But I am not sure being that bad in terms of shots conceded from the restricted area is their true talent level. So there is some offsetting that I expect there. Probably not enough to counter balance the 3pt regression.

  200. Can we please have a sweet hoops trifecta plus one tonight?

    Knicks win, Mavs Nets Celtics lose.

  201. Knew Your Nicks:
    What time exactly “Regression to the mean” is going to start? I’d like to watch that rare phenomenon!

    You obviously weren’t here in the famous “Pythagorean Wins” season. I believe that was Porzingis’ sophomore year. The team came out of the gate with a good W/L record but most of the wins were nailbiters and most of the losses were blowouts. We were outperforming our Pythagorean record and were due for a regression, and lots of the regulars called it out. Team Optimism refused to believe it.

    As usual Team Realism was correct, the team ended up sucking, and that was that.

  202. JK47: You obviously weren’t here in the famous “Pythagorean Wins” season. I believe that was Porzingis’ sophomore year. The team came out of the gate with a good W/L record but most of the wins were nailbiters and most of the losses were blowouts. We were outperforming our Pythagorean record and were due for a regression, and lots of the regulars called it out. Team Optimism refused to believe it.

    As usual Team Realism was correct, the team ended up sucking, and that was that.

    You mean the same season where the team was over .500 more than halfway through the seasonand was 22-23 when its best player sprained his ankle tripping over a ref’s foot, the team went into like a 1-9 tailspin and the scandal-riddled coach got fired and replaced by one of the worst coaches in NBA history?

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