2021 NBA Playoffs Game Thread: Knicks vs. Hawks, Game 5 – All I Need is a Miracle

The Knicks host the Atlanta Hawks at the Garden tonight to avoid being eliminated in five games by the Hawks.

Or, in other words…

In all seriousness, it’s not like coming back from a 3-1 deficit when you’re not totally overwhelmed by the other team is impossible or anything like that. The Knicks could very well still win this series. It isn’t like the Nets/Celtics series where even had the Celtics pulled out Game 5, there was no way they were going to win two more games in that series. Here, the Knicks literally beat the Hawks all three times they played in the regular season, so why would it be impossible for them to win three in a row now? The answer is that it is not impossible. It’s very much a possibility. Not a strong possibility, but a possibility, especially back home at the Garden.

Clint Capela talked a lot of shit the other day about the Knicks being physical but not winning, so it would be nice for the Knicks to be physical tonight and win the game.

Rose and Taj remain in the starting lineup. The Knicks are really going to need Rose to play well throughout the game. As the joke goes, Thibs has discovered that when you start Derrick Rose, you sadly lose the ability to then sub in Derrick Rose off of the bench, as well, but he will try his best to do both tonight.

Julius Randle has had a lot of shit thrown at him the last few days, so it would be sure swell to see him deliver one of those monster games we know he is capable of (again, he has scored more than 40 points in a game four times in his career, half of them were against the Hawks this season).

Let’s go, bring this series back to Atlanta, Knicks!

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540 thoughts to “2021 NBA Playoffs Game Thread: Knicks vs. Hawks, Game 5 – All I Need is a Miracle”

  1. Very important game even for next year,
    back against the wall, opponents blatantly calling you out,
    time to react, time to show something.

    Let’s go Knicks!

  2. I hope thibs can find a way to stop running the offense through Randle if he can’t hit shots. So much pressure on him and rj to hit their shots, I’m very scared.

    Let’s go Knicks!

  3. Not sure how I am going to get any work done this morning. Ready to run through a brick wall!

    Not ready for this season to be over.

  4. A thousand mile journey starts with a single step.

    And Clyde is wearing the perfect traveling clothes.

    I’m watching on MSG and recording TNT, because this might be the last Knicks game Marv Albert calls. For people my age (and older), Marv was the voice of the Knicks glory days.

  5. On a worrisome note, June 2nd is not a good day in Knicks history. The Charles Smith game was June 2nd 1993 and the Knicks got eliminated in Game 6 of the 2000 Conference Finals vs Indiana on June 2nd as well. Both games at MSG.

  6. Prediction: If Randle and RJ score more than 50 combined points, the Knicks will win. Below 40, they will lose. In between, not sure.

  7. ***Very tough getting in***

    Did they have spit-detectors scanning everybody’s mouths at the door?

  8. ***June 2nd is not a good day in Knicks history.***

    Isn’t every day pretty much a shitty day in Knicks history? (But, to be fair to June 2nd, any game in June can’t be THAT bad, right? Better to play and lose than to not play at all…)

  9. BigBlueAL:
    On a worrisome note, June 2nd is not a good day in Knicks history.The Charles Smith game was June 2nd 1993 and the Knicks got eliminated in Game 6 of the 2000 Conference Finals vs Indiana on June 2nd as well.Both games at MSG.

    Shush!

  10. Donnie Walsh:
    ***June 2nd is not a good day in Knicks history.***

    Isn’t every day pretty much a shitty day in Knicks history? (But, to be fair to June 2nd, any game in June can’t be THAT bad, right? Better to play and lose than to not play at all…)

    Actually my birthday is June 5th and that’s a great day in Knicks history! 1994 Game 7 vs Indiana and the LJ 4pt play in 1999 both were on June 5th.

  11. I was going to say that same thing re Mitch

    Randle just can’t find his 2021 game. It’s 2020 Randle right now. That dribble into traffic turnover triggered me.

  12. Randle’s shot in the first two offensive actions made me puke,
    let the game flows to you,
    instead he forced and missed, forced and missed, like Homer Simpson playing with fire…

    And then this stupid foul on Collins… and then the turnover… and then the missed three…

  13. Bullock has set at least three ball screens so far, trying to get Young switched onto the ball. Randle turned it over, Rose blew a layup and the Knicks scored once.

  14. JK47:
    Still not punishing Trae’s crummy defense

    Yup. In contrast, Hawks exploiting the mismatch against Rose right away and repeatedly.

  15. I really miss the boost we used to get from Derrick Rose. Nothing to look forward to now except Obi Toppin flying up and down the court.

  16. ***Actually my birthday is June 5th and that’s a great day in Knicks history! 1994 Game 7 vs Indiana and the LJ 4pt play in 1999 both were on June 5th.***

    My birthday is June 7th, and I went to the LJ 4pt play game as an early birthday present (I milked that birthday for a few finals tickets that month too:)

  17. Randle needs to look to pass. They’re collapsing on him and leaving shooters open in the corner repeatedly and he’s not finding them

  18. I mean, I don’t know how that’s not a flagrant, I have taken one of those in the temple and it does not feel good

  19. Under current rules, that is probably a Flagrant 1. In 1988, that was literally the way players were coached to protect defensive rebounds.

  20. Although, he actually didnt hit him very hand looks like. Looked very different from the other angle.

  21. Hubert:
    I’m not proud of this. Capela was right. This is fake tough. Real tough would be scoring against this defense.

    Agree, stupid immature and unnecessary macho foul, he was lucky they didn’t call the flagrant.

  22. Randle and Young both played the entire first quarter.

    Let’s see if the Knicks can put up some points with Obi to start the second quarter.

    I would hunt Lou Williams on defense. He is even worse than Trae Young.

  23. Owen:
    Although, he actually didnt hit him very hand looks like. Looked very different from the other angle.

    He clearly didn’t hit him hard. You can tell by the reaction. A solid elbow hit he would have hit the floor.

  24. Steady on, gents.

    A lotta good signs so far. Hawks not particularly hot. We’re in this.

    Agree with Pepper that Rose seems to be laboring.

  25. Bad signs but still in the game
    Thibs needs to be very detailed in his rotations
    Every second counts tonight
    Play the Hot ones
    Bench the stupids

  26. ephus:
    Randle and Young both played the entire first quarter.

    Let’s see if the Knicks can put up some points with Obi to start the second quarter.

    I would hunt Lou Williams on defense.He is even worse than Trae Young.

    I was surprised that Young didn’t get a rest. Maybe the Hawks are a little nervous too?

  27. Don’t shake your head at that pass from IQ, Thibs.

    Just tell them to do it again.

  28. Be nice if we could somehow stake ourselves to a lead. We’ve been playing behind almost the whole series.

  29. My 19-year-old daughter is watching with me and I’m both happy and guilty

  30. We’re unable to get any sustained rhythm on offense,
    they’re missing a lot of shots and we can’t capitalize…

  31. these missed opportunities are going to come back to bite us in the butt…some seriously inept offense…

  32. We really need to get people moving off screens and just start throwing up threes. We are not going to score much in the paint this game.

  33. Because the Knicks do not have any defenders who can stay in front of Young or Williams, they are constantly in rotation. This leads to open 3s. So far, the Hawks have not made many. That may change.

  34. Don’t have a good feeling about this game so far at all but all season long I’ve felt that way about many games and the Knicks pulled them out so hoping the same happens tonight.

  35. I feel ok about the game because Bullock shooting well usually means we’ll be solid on offense

  36. No snark intended here, but can anyone with better on-court analysis skills assess what, if any, adjustments we’ve made this series beyond changing the starting lineup?

    It just seems like we’re struggling in the exact same ways in game 5 as we were in game 1.

  37. Randle looks like his circuit board is fried.

    I think that’s a questionable foul from Taj. Shoving a guy like that in the air is dangerous.

  38. We’re not playing well. Randle makes bad plays every time he touches the ball. And we’re making dumb mistakes everywhere.

    We are probably losing this one folks

  39. Randle is completely terrified of Capella. He needs to take the 3 when open.

  40. we’re beings outclassed….Randle is mentally shot…rose has no energy…going to need a 2nd half miracle

  41. This call can cost us the game.

    P.S. yes, another dumb foul and this time we weren’t lucky.

  42. If we’re going to waste flagrant fouls can we use them to bury Trae please?

  43. Yes julius. When you are open on the three point line shoot. Don’t tuck the ball and try to bulldoze the defensive line.

    Hunter is a pretty good looking player.

  44. At least the Yankees seem to be waking up which is good timing with the Knicks season seemingly ending soon.

  45. I know the Capela player type is totally unnecessary in the modern NBA but he is fucking us up

  46. Barrett’s shot that went in and out is a clear sign,
    the basketball gods aren’t with us.

  47. I hope Young’s face eats the basketball court before the end of the night.

  48. Randle threw the ball at Trae Young while he was on the ground. How about you calm down and play smart instead?

  49. JoMo:
    It just seems like we’re struggling in the exact same ways in game 5 as we were in game 1.

    FWIW I feel your same pain.

  50. It’s not embarrassing. They think the Hawks are getting away with a lot of chippy BS, and they are.

  51. I get that Bullock is hitting his shot, but I think Thibs hooked IQ too early.

    IQ looks tonight like he’s on track.

    EDIT: There are still a lot of good signs. Everyone’s hassling RJ, but I think he’s here to play tonight, too. We can pull it out.

  52. I’m tired of seeing these guys act hard after the whistle while they act soft AF when they have the ball. Clint Capela scares the whole damn team with his eyes. He doesn’t even have to commit fouls because no one’s going at him.

  53. I’m still all-in on this team. This feels like the beginning of the Indiana feud – playoff battles for years to come. Teams that really don’t like each other. It’s a good thing.

  54. How do we get one of these phantom whistle Trae Young motherfuckers who get you six free bullshit points every game

  55. I’m at the game – every one of their points are easy, every one of ours is a huge struggle.

    Not feeling too optimistic about the 2nd half

  56. I can sense Thibs’ fear of using non vets more but he should may improvise in the 2nd to have a chance of winning this one

  57. this series has gotta be a frustrating and confusing experience for the knicks…our composure, in particular our team leader’s composure is really lacking…

    can’t hit shots and can’t keep our focus…yet, still in the game…

  58. I can sense Thibs’ fear of using non vets more but he should may improvise in the 2nd to have a chance of winning this one

    Nah, it’s a close game. Let your main guys fight off elimination.

    Maybe get Rose some rest tho.

  59. I’m tired of seeing these guys act hard after the whistle while they act soft AF when they have the ball.

    Yeah. Agree.

    It reminds me of the Tyson/Holyfield bite fight. Tyson was acting like some sort of maniacal badass after the fight was stopped, but it’s like dude, you just had the fucking guy in a boxing ring and you had permission to punch him in the face. THAT was the time to be a tough guy.

  60. “I’m still all-in on this team. This feels like the beginning of the Indiana feud – playoff battles for years to come. Teams that really don’t like each other. It’s a good thing.”

    Except that Atlanta is not good at all. We are losing this series because we have been terrible and Randle is choking monumentally. It’s completely our fault. It’s not a rivalry.

  61. Hubert: Nah, it’s a close game. Let your main guys fight off elimination.

    Maybe get Rose some rest tho.

    Thing is: When Rose was with the kids on the 2nd unit, Thibs gave them way more run, and we had a chance IQ would pour in, like 15. Now that Rose is starting, IQ has no chance to get in rhythm (IMO). Thibs yanked IQ after a three, some good d, and a pretty good pass that Obi would have slammed down but that broke Noel’s hands.

  62. Yeah they aren’t doing a good job of mimicking the 90’s Knicks with their fake tough guy act.

  63. For the record, I said he should stick with Bullock but have a quick hook if he doesn’t play well. I also predicted by saying that I was setting him up for 8 3’s and he’s halfway there!

  64. Pretty tough to mimic the 90s Knicks when a touch foul is considered a flagrant.

  65. So when Trae jumps into the defender its 3 free throws but when Randle does it, it’s an offensive foul. I get it now.

  66. I mean, I kind of get the call. Sort of. But it’s still bullshit.

    We need to hit some threes fast

  67. If the Knicks win this game, I do not want to hear the Hawks complain that the NBA wants the Knicks to advance. The refs have been bad and slanted against NY. The offensive foul on Randle is one of the worst calls of the season.

  68. DudesTown:
    So when Trae jumps into the defender its 3 free throws but when Randle does it, it’s an offensive foul. I get it now.

    Only ’cause Trae is so cute and cuddly.

  69. you know, they kinda defend Rose the same way they defend Randle. Rose just handles it well.

    Rose goes right around the defender who is trying to force him to the sideline, whereas Randle does what he wants.

    Rose also attacks Capela, whereas Randle gets scared.

  70. Sure Hubert, whatever you say, is that about the millionth time you’ve taken both sides of an argument?

  71. we have tried a few new things on offense to thibs credit. a lot more double drags and some good baseline screen action for reggie while rose/gibson faked the pnr. we’ve also tried to use reggie as a screener. but we’ve mostly fucked it up, because rose looks tired/maybe hurt and randle has been making iffy choices. we are very lucky to be in this game bc the hawks can’t hit a 3 so far.

  72. Not sure there has ever been a worst individual performance in a playoff series than Randle’s.

  73. This is a pretty embarrassing way to have their season end, hope it serves as motivation for the players returning next season.

  74. Tonight is on Randle, not Thibs. Screens have gotten Young on Randle at least 4 times that led to Randle turnovers.

  75. definition of insanity…rj continuing to drive on capella…he got bailed out on that one

  76. Randle is undoing months of slowly convincing us he has matured and learned how to play basketball in just 5 games. It’s not all his fault. He’s not a #1 option and he’s being asked to be that, but there are limits to acceptable stupidity and he is blowing those limits out of the water.

  77. They have a lot of good players. I don’t know whose ours are currently.

    Rose looks terrible. Definitely hurt.

  78. These games have a “boat race” feel to them. They just pull away from us more and more the longer the game goes. Every game.

  79. I’m at the stage where I think we’d be better off with Toppin on the court than Randle.

  80. marechal:
    Not sure there has ever been a worst individual performance in a playoff series than Randle’s.

    Breen said something like Randle has had the worst three (playoff?) games since the inception of the 24 second clock. I didn’t get it exactly, but it wasn’t good.

  81. I’ve been critical of thibs’ stubbornness but you go down with your guys. If they can’t win an elimination game
    at home, what’s the point?

    Maybe he should be giving Rose a rest for IQ, but that’s all.

  82. Now I understand why Nerlens Noel has played for 12 different teams and has earned 47 cents in his career

  83. We need shooting and a jolt of offense. IQ should be in there because we’re drowning right now.

  84. The Knicks offense consist of 4 guys standing around while Randle dribbles into a double team.

    No ball movement. No picks being set.

  85. This offense is so bad… this statement doesn’t do it justice. A coach that has made zero adjustments all series and this is our offense now. We are doomed…

  86. Young Julius Randle will go into the offseason knowing what he has to work on. Same for RJ. They’ve made great advances. The growth needs to continue.

  87. Randle is even standing around on offensive rebounds. He is just so completely overwhelmed by the moment. We will be better off going small with Taj Toppin Burks Quickly Rose/Barrett and bomb away from 3 point land.

  88. A great offensive player can “get to his spot”. Randle has not been able to get to his spots for most of this series.

  89. JK47:
    When’s the last time we went on a run and closed a gap on these guys? Game 2?

    Yes… funny cause it’s true.

  90. Deeefense:
    This Hawks team is good enough to give problems to almost anyone in the league.

    I’m pretty sure they’re going to get stomped next round.

  91. Seems like it doesn’t matter much if anybody gets hot because we can’t get stops or rebounds either

  92. “I’m pretty sure they’re going to get stomped next round.”

    Exactly. Don’t underestimate how bad we have been.

  93. Fuck

    I didn’t expect them to go out like this, without the resilience and tenacity they showed all season.

    I mean, the Hawks are playing well, but I expected a little more.

  94. I mean we’re in an elimination game and we’re watching Alec Burks and Taj Gibson try to run a two-man game. We’re not bursting at the seams with talent

  95. Quickley has literally two moves and they decided to give him one of them for some reason. I’m glad for it!

  96. >I’m pretty sure they’re going to get stomped next round<

    I didn’t say they were as good as the Bucks, Nets, or healthy 76ers, but they aren’t a full tier below them. They’ll win games and be competitive.

  97. yeah, I don’t think my “let IQ play with Randle” idea is looking so bad.

    EDIT: but maybe get that floater up a little higher over Capela!!

  98. >Nerlens isn’t healthy, it’s why he’s not starting<

    Don’t bring reality into this. :-)

  99. The Hawks defense has been fantastic. I wouldn’t rule them out if they advance to the next round.

  100. Okongwu looks about as I expected him, which is pretty solid (and apparently exactly like Capela.) Although it’s funny how much smaller he looks next to NBA players than he did in college.

  101. Things are so bad I agree with Wally – they need to get shooters on the floor and run

  102. Brian Cronin:
    He went to the other one of his two moves and they were waiting for it.

    As if anyone else on the team has more than two moves ;-)

  103. I just don’t love our starters this series at all. They haven’t given us anything … and neither has our coach. Maybe it’s talent … fair enough. Still sucks

  104. The missing shots is one thing, but the boneheaded plays (Randle throwing the ball at Trae, Quick taking a contested shot with 8 seconds on the shot , etc) and not getting the 50/50 balls are inexcusable

  105. Wow, what a defensive stretch here by Quickley. Please play Gallo all fourth quarter, Atlanta!

  106. OBI!!!

    Not relevant but Gallo is giving me a major Melo in Portland vibe tonight. He is the weakest link

  107. Toppin with a much better move over a smaller player than Randle earlier in the game.

  108. KJG: I just don’t love our starters this series at all.

    If we remember the winning streak. Our bench almost always outplayed the other team’s bench. Just play the f**ing kids!!!

  109. Ride Obi and IQ until the Hawks figure them out.

    yeah you’re right. just let em play!

  110. If McMillan is not a really bad coach, he will get Young back in the game. He also will not let Huerter bring the ball up.

  111. Would be great to see the end game lineup as Obi, Randle, Barrett, Burks, and Rose

  112. If McMillan is not a really bad coach, he will get Young back in the game. He also will not let Huerter bring the ball up.

    I think his schemes are good, but his in-game management has left much to be desired. His players have just executed better. But he did bring in Young to close the game out and took Gallo off the court, so that was something.

  113. I remember a few years ago Jowles saying Capella was as good as Pippen. That kind of talk seems to have faded, but, man, he is good. (And if he played alongside Jordan in the 1990s he probably WOULD be considered an all-time great).

  114. We go on these fake little runs to chip the lead from 14 to 9 and then just give it all back.

    We’re not capable of outplaying the Hawks for more than a minute or two at a time

  115. I mean, it’s a foul. It’s total bullshit and I hate it so much. Fucking irritating.

    It’s fine when IQ does it though

    EDIT: Brian, great minds and all that

  116. Brian Cronin: I think his schemes are good, but his in-game management has left much to be desired. His players have just executed better. But he did bring in Young to close the game out and took Gallo off the court, so that was something.

    It’s crazy that he’s relied on Gallo so much this series. He’s been godawful every game.

  117. ephus:
    Prediction: If Randle and RJ score more than 50 combined points, the Knicks will win. Below 40, they will lose.In between, not sure.

    So far, RJ and Randle have combined for 33 points. Not nearly enough.

  118. This is probably the worst performance of the entire series. We stunk out the joint, full stop. Blowout loss at home in an elimination game, were not in it from midway through the third.

    DO NOT overpay the mercs. Roster all three of the 2021 draft picks, build slowly and play the long game. We’re far from contention.

  119. The NBA has done well with rules changes. The next one is cutting out the 3 free throws for incidental contact 30 feet from the basket.

  120. How different would this game be with Mitch in there?

  121. Well, they are finishing the season like the 23 win team I thought they would be.

    Good season though

  122. ephus:
    Throwing lobs to Noel is not a good strategy, unless he is standing alone.

    Even then I wouldn’t recommend it

  123. In addition to the horrible inefficiency and turnovers, really disappointed in Randle’s leadership ..def not a face of the franchise player.

  124. We’re not playing well but the Hawks deserve some credit for that. Their defense doesn’t allow many open perimeter shots and no penetration either.

  125. How different would this game be with Mitch in there?

    Much, but to be fair, it’d also be different if Noel was healthy.

  126. But yes, these games continue to highlight why Mitch is so important to this team.

  127. We’re not playing well but the Hawks deserve some credit for that. Their defense doesn’t allow many open perimeter shots and no penetration either.

    Agreed. Their gameplan clearly has been to keep the Knicks from getting hot from three, figuring that that is the only way the Knicks can really go on a run.

  128. The only person who might be faring worse than Randle in this series is Lloyd Pierce. I know that Bogdonovic returned at the same time that McMillan took over, but the Hawks seriously underachieved while Pierce was the coach.

  129. In addition to the horrible inefficiency and turnovers, really disappointed in Randle’s leadership ..def not a face of the franchise player.

    I guess, but I dunno, I think a lot of otherwise good leaders would be frustrated if they were playing like Randle has been this series.

  130. Randle and RJ have some soul searchin’ to do over the break and so does Thibs…he is not beyone reproach on some of his decision making downt the stretch (albeit his options are thin) and inability to answer McMillan…lotta work to do this summer…

  131. Noel still worth the money and the role we are paying him. Prob is he’s not a starter caliber player in a playoff team. We should’ve signed Drummond or dmac or even a washed up chandler when mitch went down

  132. looks like julius will be signing that extension, if it’ll still be offered (which it should)…

    yep, historic type regular season to playoff collapse for julius…oh well…

  133. It’s done. It was a great season, i liked it a lot. Except the playoff games, those were painful, but let’s try to do better next year.

  134. Really poor showing. Poor sportsmanship too. They stooped to a level and never came back. Karma is real.

  135. Randle drive and kick to RJ for the three.

    That was kind of the cornerstone of our success this year and haven’t seen much of that all series.

  136. The only person who might be faring worse than Randle in this series is Lloyd Pierce. I know that Bogdonovic returned at the same time that McMillan took over, but the Hawks seriously underachieved while Pierce was the coach.

    There was an early matchup with most of the team healthy where the team looked completely at odds with each other, like every player hated every other player on the team. So yeah, Pierce is looking awful.

  137. It’s gonna be a very interesting off season and probably most exciting off season since summer of 2010.

  138. pepper:
    Randle and RJ have some soul searchin’ to do over the break and so does Thibs…he is not beyone reproach on some of his decision making downt the stretch (albeit his options are thin) and inability to answer McMillan…lotta work to do this summer…

    One can argue Thibs didn’t really make a single decision all series … well ok, rose, but Payton had more a role in that. Thibs was status quo… our starters and 3rd quarter meltdowns were common place after all star break… this was coming …

  139. why does young do that thing with not picking up the ball when his team is winning?

    It’s his shtick. He wants the other team to go for the ball so he can go for the move. It’s really stupid.

  140. It’s only the second time in ten tries that a McMillan team advance to the second round (take that for data)

    :-)

  141. Hubert:
    why does young do that thing with not picking up the ball when his team is winning?

    Runs the game clock but not the shot clock so you can use like 30 seconds per possession.

  142. Hubert:
    why does young do that thing with not picking up the ball when his team is winning?

    I think it runs the game clock but preserves the shot clock.

  143. Hubert:
    why does young do that thing with not picking up the ball when his team is winning?

    To run extra time off of the clock. Until there are 2:00 left, the clock keeps running after a made basket, but the the 24 second clock does not start until the ball is touched.

  144. I picked the Hawks in six, so I can’t say I’m surprised that we lost, there’s a clear talent gap in their favor.
    But I’m very, very disappointed with how we lost.

    The gritty fighting team that never gave up went down not with a bang, but with three whimpers in a row … we were dominated and humiliated on our own court.

    The playoffs define you as a player and define teams.
    We need to review a lot of opinions on our players and there is a lot of work to be done in the offseason.
    This team, as currently constructed, is a play-in wannabe next year.

    But this was a great, surprisingly fun year, it was worth the ride.

  145. Having Hunter back is pretty big too.

    I mean, Hunter or RJ for the next ten years?

    RJ, but Hunter is really good.

  146. Gotta say: That last “Let’s go Knicks” chant gave me chills.

    Great season, guys. Completely unexpected. Much to discuss for next year.

  147. Very disappointing end to the year but a lot to like about this team going forward and that’s more we could have said in a long time.

    Lot of work to do in the off-season to take that next step. Gotta think that Mitch makes a huge difference in the season so they get better simply getting him back next year.

    Lastly, it’s been a helluva ride everyone, and I am glad I have been able to share this season with this board. Misery loves company as they say. Keen for our draft/off-season discourse.

  148. perhaps a controversial opinion, but I kinda like Trae Young. The “fuck trae young” chants were bush league, and the spitting incident was awful. I thought he handled himself very well in the face of all that. He was mostly playful and never disrespectful. A well deserved bow, I say.

  149. perhaps a controversial opinion, but I kinda like Trae Young. He earned my respect.

    I have no beef with him. I don’t like MacMillan leaving him in at the end of the game to showboat, though.

  150. Z:
    The good news is that James Dolan is going to be sad.

    The bad news is the team is still owned by dolan and the last time we had a surprisingly good season we traded for Andrea Bargnani.

  151. “bidiong the not so great
    June 2, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    Fuck Trae Young. I wish terrible knee injuries on him.”

    My knees hurt just reading this. Please don’t.

  152. That sucked, but this has been the most fun season here on Knickerblogger Dot Net that I can remember.

    Time to go to work, Leon…

  153. Hubert:
    perhaps a controversial opinion, but I kinda like Trae Young. He earned my respect.

    I thought he was going to have a very hard time translating his regular season success which was the biggest reason I liked the Knicks chances. I won’t go so far as to say I like him but he played a heck of a series.

  154. Having Hunter back is pretty big too.

    I mean, Hunter or RJ for the next ten years?

    Going with RJ is probably the smarter move because he’s 3 years younger.

  155. RJ, Obi and IQ getting playoff experience 2 years ahead of schedule is a great thing. Losing to Reggie Miller redux stinks, but this is the beginning of an exciting era.

  156. “vincoug
    June 2, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    The bad news is the team is still owned by dolan and the last time we had a surprisingly good season we traded for Andrea Bargnani.”

    *

    Who is the Bargnani of 2021?? Wiggins?

  157. Team needs a real leader. We were a committee this year and that’s great for support until you need that leader. I think Barrett has potential but still immature. He bit on media prodding. Randle was head case all series. Didn’t handle whatever makes someone emotional during games that mean more… highs or lows. All bad and I do think the team will look different … these guys are mercs. Not the good ones per say, but the ones that worked well with each other … ?

  158. One never knows what the future holds but this season was definitely a memorable one.

    I forgive you, Julius, because you gave us everything that you had to give. Actually, the entire team did.

  159. I want Taj on the Knicks bench next year — as a coach or a Udonis Haslem-type 13th man. If Taj is playing serious minutes, it means that the Knicks do not have enough talent He provided far more than I expected as a stopgap, but he is not an offensive threat.

  160. Z:
    “vincoug
    June 2, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    The bad news is the team is still owned by dolan and the last time we had a surprisingly good season we traded for Andrea Bargnani.”

    *

    Who is the Bargnani of 2021?? Wiggins?

    Good call, they both don’t give a fuck about basketball…

  161. Z:
    “bidiong the not so great
    June 2, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    Fuck Trae Young. I wish terrible knee injuries on him.”

    My knees hurt just reading this. Please don’t.

    You’re right, he’s not worth it. This will probably be one of the highlights of his entire career.

  162. I think the hawks had significant injuries during our 3 reg season wins. We had significant injuries this series and they were at full strength. Not that this is the only reason they beat us, but it certainly helps.

    Obviously they are also long and athletic and we shot terribly….but just an observation. Health is so important.

    It was a fun year! Thanks everyone for the constant running commentary.

  163. I didn’t realize it was three years. I guess that’s right.

    Re Trae, he’s like a lawyer out there, exploiting minutiae and pushing every rule to its logical conclusion to produce illogical outcomes.

    Well, good season everyone.

    In Brock we (can) trust (I hope).

    The optimists are in for a long offseason. Stay strong you guys!!!

  164. I think the hawks had significant injuries during our 3 reg season wins. We had significant injuries this series and they were at full strength. Not that this is the only reason they beat us, but it certainly helps.

    The first game they were only missing Gallo, but yeah, they missed a few guys in the second game and Young missed the fourth quarter and overtime in the third game (that they obviously needed overtime to win).

  165. Wally – “The Knicks are in a perfect position to get better.” That’s the rub, right? They’re not in a bad position, but with this free agent market, is it really the “perfect position” to get better?

  166. Well, Carlisle starting Porzingis AND Boban is certainly not drawing from the Thibs playbook…

  167. The biggest Knicks need for next season is a point guard who can defend at the point of attack and break defenders down off of the dribble.

    The second biggest Knicks need is a center who can defend the pick and roll and provide an offensive threat. Fortunately, Mitchell Robinson should fill that need.

    The third biggest void is a wing scorer who can create his own offense. Can RJ or IQ be that guy?

    Under contract: IQ/RJ/Randle/Vildoza/Mitch/Obi/Pelle. Vildoza and Pelle are not guaranteed. Randle is only $4 million guaranteed, but that becomes fully guaranteed unless he is waived by June 30 (or whenever the NBA deems to be the equivalent date in this strange season). Robinson’s money is not guaranteed for next year, but the Knicks will either bring him back for a last cheap season or sign him to an extension.

  168. Philly’s defense with Green, Simmons and Thybulle will be a better test for Trae Young’ 2022 HOF chances.

  169. Z:
    “vincoug
    June 2, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    The bad news is the team is still owned by dolan and the last time we had a surprisingly good season we traded for Andrea Bargnani.”

    *

    Who is the Bargnani of 2021?? Wiggins?

    Wiggins is a good one but I think the answer is Porzingis.

  170. It took me the entire 4th quarter to figure out my log in. Didn’t watch a single Knicks regular season game as I’m boycotting until Dolan sells. But I was weak and watched the playoffs. Seems like the Knicks are playing in a different decade. Melo would love this offense

    I know I caught them at their worst, but It’s a very bad sign that the best case scenario is you’ve developed a rivalry with a mid tier team.

    See you next year!

  171. vincoug: Wiggins is a good one but I think the answer is Porzingis.

    So if we’ve traded neo-Bargnani away already, does that reverse the curse?

  172. ephus:

    Under contract: IQ/RJ/Randle/Vildoza/Mitch/Obi/Pelle.

    Ehi, don’t forget our beloved draft bust, Kevin Knox! :-)

  173. It is a disappointment for sure, but a great accomplishment to get here in the first place. I am proud of this team. Thank you to the entire Knicks organization.

    I hate transitioning to offseason mode.

  174. Doug Chu: So if we’ve traded neo-Bargnani away already, does that reverse the curse?

    Well, dolan’s still here so no the curse has not been reversed yet.

  175. I’m hoping that somehow Randle was fighting through an injury or something. It was honestly shocking watching him drive to the basket and over and over again not even trying to finish, but instead sending an airborne pass out to the 3 point line.

    And this was even when Capela was out and they had zero rim protection

  176. Wow, I’m just seeing the Ainge/Brad Stevens news… it’s going to be an interesting offseason.

  177. I started a new job today as a teaching assistant at a coding school and my class is in the evenings. So I turned off every notification I could think of, discord, twitter, you name it, and recorded the game. I get off work at 10 pm and look down at my phone. There’s a message in my group chat of my CLOSEST PERSONAL FRIENDS that spoils the game for me.

    I guess that did save me a couple hours of misery, but I’m pretty miffed about it.

    Anyway, that’s how things end sometimes. Doesn’t change that this Knicks season has been extra special and honestly was a rare source of joy for me during this pandemic. It’s different than Linsanity, it’s different from the 2013 team, because this feels like the beginning of something instead of a shooting star streaking across the sky or a team full of veterans on one last run. I didn’t get the playoff series win that I wanted, instead it was a shock of cold water to the face as Atlanta exposed the Knicks’ biggest weaknesses and exploited them. Well, a dose of reality, while painful, can be a gift.

    I’ve been logging on here almost every day for 13 years now. If you looked up “long-suffering” in the dictionary, it’d be a picture of knickerblogger.net. This was special. We deserved this joy.

  178. Max: Ehi, don’t forget our beloved draft bust, Kevin Knox! :-)

    I stand corrected. I have been thinking of Knox like Noah – just dead space on the cap.

  179. ess-dog:
    Wow, I’m just seeing the Ainge/Brad Stevens news… it’s going to be an interesting offseason.

    It’s so weird that they’re elevating Stevens to that role. At least he isn’t going to be coach and POBO but how often does this type of thing work out?

  180. The most long lasting fall out of the Knicks Front Office mistaken belief that they could sign KD & Kyrie is that they waived and stretched Noah to clear cap space for 2019-20. If they had known that they were not going to need two max spaces, they would have just bought out Noah and taken the whole cap hit last year. Noah will be $6M on the salary cap next year.

  181. The most long lasting fall out of the Knicks Front Office mistaken belief that they could sign KD & Kyrie is that they waived and stretched Noah to clear cap space for 2019-20. If they had known that they were not going to need two max spaces, they would have just bought out Noah and taken the whole cap hit last year. Noah will be $6M on the salary cap next year.

    The worst thing about it is that they gained no benefit doing it then rather than waiting until the season was over.

  182. vincoug: It’s so weird that they’re elevating Stevens to that role.At least he isn’t going to be coach and POBO but how often does this type of thing work out?

    1. Pat Riley
    2. Red Auerbach

    It’s not a long list.

  183. Well, that was a good reality check.

    Randle can’t be this team’s 1st option — maybe not its 2nd option either. And it has become clear that none of these vets are irreplaceable save maybe Reggie.

    Quickley, RJ, Mitch, and to a lesser extent Obi are going to have to step up next season. They need to sign a real point guard (Cam Payne?) and get some more good, young players on board. Then, try to make a splash in ’22.

  184. It’s such a damn shame that there’s no big name free agents available this year, this could be Nets 2.0.

  185. Considering that preThibs we all wanted Randle out of NY asap we shouldn’t expect him to turn to Lebron no2 after only a few months but he’s definitely improved!

    That was a Hell of a (reg) season!

    Thanks to all knicks/kbers for the beautiful memories!

    Off season we here!

  186. “ephus
    June 2, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    1. Pat Riley
    2. Red Auerbach

    It’s not a long list.”

    *

    The book hasn’t been written on Lawrence Frank yet, who’s status could be largely decided tonight (and over the next few weeks). But he did trade Griffin while he still had value, and acquired Gilgeous-Alexander, and put together the Leonard/George tandem that was very good on paper (if not necessarily in practice thus far). He’s kind of the model of a mediocre coach falling upwards into a better role (a la Steve Kerr, but in reverse). Stevens could be good because he’s probably a smart guy who works hard. The rest largely depends on luck.

  187. perhaps a controversial opinion, but I kinda like Trae Young.

    I’ve been saying this to people throughout the series. Sorry, but responding to all the vitriol with this level of play is objectively badass and we’d recognize that if he was doing it against any other team.

    I joined in on all the chants obligatorily but it felt hollow. He is extremely good and it’s fun to watch someone of his physical stature succeed. Sure, he draws cheap fouls, but if that’s disqualifying, well, I have bad news about most NBA superstars.

    I look forward to watching him play for the next 10+ years. Hopefully we can get someone like that of our own.

  188. It wouldn’t have made the diffenrece–we were always going to lose.

    But Thibs really should’ve tried the small lineup at some point. Losing with a look you’ve never tried > losing while playing the hits.

  189. Hubert: lol I was unconscious for the only good part of this series.

    Clearly, if we want to win more the answer is to have you get run over by a succession of larger vehicles.

    Brian Cronin: The worst thing about it is that they gained no benefit doing it then rather than waiting until the season was over.

    Drove me insane. There was no reason not to wait until the offseason to stretch Noah. Of course, there was also no reason to sign Noah to that contract in the first place.

    ephus: 1. Pat Riley
    2. Red Auerbach

    It’s not a long list.

    Those are the only two I was able to think of also. There’s obviously some crossover skillwise between the front office and coaching but they do really require mostly different skillsets and a really different outlook on team needs.

  190. Never thought hawks in 6 prediction would be an optimistic one, but at least there are some good showings from the rookies.

  191. Trae Young has some flaws but he’s a wonderfully talented offensive player. Capela is very good, and then guys like Collins, Hunter, Huerter, Gallo and Bogdanc can all play and with a competent coach that’s a good team.

  192. Rose was asked if he’ll be back next year. He said he knows the front office has big plans for the off-season and that he’d like to be back but it will be up to them.

    “Big plans” sounds a lot like we going to be doing major trades or trying to sign a significant free agent and not drafting 2-3 players. The picks and who knows who else will be on the block boys.

  193. I wonder how pissed Luka gets at his teammates in his head. I’m not watching the game. Just looked at the box score and it seems like he’s getting no help.

  194. The Mavericks made 10 shots that Luka didn’t take in the first half and he assisted on 8 of the 10.

  195. >The Mavericks made 10 shots that Luka didn’t take in the first half and he assisted on 8 of the 10.<

    The problem is he will get all kinds of accolades for his boxscore stats but they are probably not going to win playing a style where he does almost everything. Hopefully he’ll figure that out some day because he’s an extraordinary talent. I’d hate to see him at age 32 going to some other team to try to win his first title with some superstars that have already won.

  196. >Trae Young has some flaws but he’s a wonderfully talented offensive player. <

    He has gone from talented scorer and passer without a clue to excellent basketball player in a short period of time. He may never be a good defender but when you have Capela behind you it limits the damage. As long as they don’t have any other very weak links on the court with him he’ll be fine.

  197. Except that Atlanta is not good at all.

    These kinds of comments are surprising. Not sure what team people are watching, but Atlanta plays disciplined defense, has a fantastic PG and a great defensive big and some dudes who can knock down 3s. They have the third best record in the league since Nate took over. They are young and should be good for awhile. We were dominated by a good team, not a bunch of hacks.

    I’m still optimistic. We have a lot of flexibility and some good pieces, including lots of picks and lots of cap space. We could always screw it up, but the FO hasn’t made any big blunders even when rumored to do so. I would have taken Hali instead of Obi, but he doesn’t appear to be a total whiff. A beatdown never feels good, but we are in really good shape.

    As for Julius, he took a big leap this year. Who’s to say he can’t learn from this experience and take another one? It’s at least possible, and after the season he and the team had, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  198. Trae is a really good player, but the Hawks and their 3 fans will regret till the end of time not taking Luka Doncic, a once in a generation player

  199. Three plays in a row Luka has made beautiful passes to teammates for wiiiiiide open corner threes and they’ve bricked all three.

  200. Big time three by Porzingis! That was a Luka pass to the corner for an open three that worked!

  201. As I’ve been saying all along. ATL is the better team and only a truly horrible coach wouldn’t be able to figure out how to beat the inferior Knicks roster with their personnel. So I can live with the result, although I was really hoping for 6 or 7 games.

    Still, very thankful for an unexpectedly exciting year of Knicks basketball. Hopefully we will do the right things this offseason and continue to make noise in the East.

    And kudos to all of you, even the less enlightened ones, for making this site a great escape from the mess that was the covid pandemic. Truly appreciated, especially Brian Cronin for keeping the threads going.

  202. ***d-mar
    June 3, 2021 at 12:13 am

    Trae is a really good player, but the Hawks and their 3 fans will regret till the end of time not taking Luka Doncic, a once in a generation player***

    *

    That trade is looking a bit less horrible now. Trae Young is a very good modern NBA player, and has immense upside. And though the Reddish pick wasn’t good, there were some intriguing names that Atlanta passed over in 2019, so the trade could have been close to a wash, even with Doncic’s meteoric rise.

  203. on the floor with kawhi and pg13 – and he was better than both of them combined, that’s just incredible…

  204. I like that Luka’s interview opened with him tearing himself apart for playing an overall poor fourth quarter.

  205. pepper:
    Randle and RJ have some soul searchin’ to do over the break and so does Thibs…he is not beyone reproach on some of his decision making downt the stretch (albeit his options are thin) and inability to answer McMillan…lotta work to do this summer…

    As for Julius, he took a big leap this year. Who’s to say he can’t learn from this experience and take another one? It’s at least possible, and after the season he and the team had, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Wasn’t this Randle’s 1st postseason?

    He deserves the opportunity to learn from this experience. KFTV said it best: he needs 2 guys that are better than him on the team for them to ascend to true contention. They just weren’t talented enough.

    That said: he’s only gonna get one offseason of grace for this poor performance: the Knicks ain’t the Yankees in terms of postseason expectations, but this is still New York. He can’t shit the bed next year if the team returns to the playoffs (although I feel part of that will hinge on how he’s utilized a year from now).

  206. Disappointing end to a magical season nobody expected. Our lack pf offensive firepower finally caught up to us.

    I’ve never enjoyed a Knicks season as much as this one, and boy did the Knicks and this blog keep me going through the 2nd half of the pandemic.

  207. The Infamous Cdiggy: Wasn’t this Randle’s 1st postseason?

    He deserves the opportunity to learn from this experience. KFTV said it best: he needs 2 guys that are better than him on the team for them to ascend to true contention. They just weren’t talented enough.

    It is his first postseason and one bad 5 game stretch, even in the playoffs, isn’t enough reason to totally bury him. But, he’s 26 years old and I’m hardpressed to think of another player who has played as bad as him in any postseason. Randle shot 29% from the field and had more turnovers than assists. Hell, he had nearly as many turnovers as made shots (23 TO to 28 made FG). It’s as bad of a performance as I can think of. The only other player I can think of who comes close is Tony Parker in his 2nd playoff appearance. But Parker was only 20 years old and still wasn’t as bad as Randle in this series.

    I’m glad we don’t have to make a decision this year on re-signing him (I’m assuming we’re picking up his option). Barring injury, I would expect to be in the playoffs again next year and having another season of data plus more playoff games will help with deciding what to do with him.

  208. Alan:
    As we’re on to the offseason, time for another mock draft, this one courtesy of Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer, who has us taking Sharife Cooper at 19 and James Bouknight at 21. No second round mock from him this time.

    I don’t follow college ball much in general and I really didn’t at all this year but man it would be a tough pill to swallow if we drafted two more guards who can’t fucking shoot.

  209. For all his stupid showboating, it’s hard not to look at Trae Young and see Steve Nash. That dude is really really good, and we literally had no answer for him. It didn’t help that we didn’t have Mitch to deter the floater and lob, but regardless, Trae was amazing. Will be very interesting to see how he reacts to being guarded by Ben Simmons and Thybulle and not Reggie Bullock.

    Draft-wise — it’s clear that we need more playmaking at the guard position and probably a big who can shoot and protect the rim (like everyone doesn’t need that!). Wouldn’t be sad to get Jaden Springer and Kai Jones, both of whom might be available around our picks (at least looking at Tankathon)…

    I guess it’s still early in draft coverage but the spread between sites is just huge. For instance, Charles Bassey is 26th on ESPN and 58th on tankathon…

  210. Well, that was a letdown. I really thought we could win at least one round but nevertheless, this was such a fun season. So many great wins and I can’t really be mad at the way it ended because it does feel like this will be the start of us being competitive and respectable and making the playoffs and honestly, as a fan that is really all you can ask for.

    A few thoughts….

    I think Randle had a bad stretch of games but I still think he is worth the long term investment. But maybe we hold off on that till next off season.

    Not having Mitch really hurt us. We knew going in we’d have no answer for Trae but Capella abused us all series. IF we were fully healthy, I think we would have actually had the slight advantage at that position but with no Mitch and Noel a little hurt, we were outmanned and outmuscled all series. Taj is a warrior and I want him back next year on the vet minimum but he was brought on mid season to be the 3rd string back up and ended up starting. Not good.

    I think RJ quietly had an ok series. No big breakout game but he competed hard all series, his shots started falling, he attacked the basket and he defended pretty well. I’m really happy we have him on our team. If he makes a similar jump next year…watch out.

    Burks or Bullocks. If we have to keep one and let the other go…I don’t know. I think I lean towards keeping Bullocks because he is the better defender and better 3 point shooter. I think we can find someone to play that Burks role well but would be nice if we could keep both.

    PG. We gotta do something there. I don’t know what the answer is though. Signing old Lowry or Conley isn’t super appealing to me. And Ball has his flaws for sure. I just don’t know.

  211. To me as we start to take stock of this season and series and move forward into offseason mode, the most central questions are about what to make of Randle now. There’s lots of things to be said about the coach, the front office, the nice collection of young players taking solid steps forward and veterans contributing more than we ever thought they could, but ultimately the NBA is a star player’s league. I came into the season thinking Randle was flotsam and leave it feeling confused. You never want to overreact to five games, but when the whole season felt like a fairy tale and then you watch the carriage turn back into a pumpkin right before your eyes, it’s not easy to convince yourself it’s going to be a carriage again when you wake up in the morning.

    If you’ve got a 26 year old who you think is one of the 15-20 best players in the league (and maybe capable of still more improvement) it makes sense to be looking at big additions to try to maximize the next 3-4 years of his prime. On the other hand outside of Randle there isn’t any real reason to be looking to move fast towards contention here – we saw pretty clearly that the prevailing level of talent on the roster just isn’t where it needs to be yet and the rest of the young core is at least a couple years behind Randle. So it’s not just a question of what to do with Randle himself, but also a question that defines the logical next steps for this group.

  212. Really don’t know what to make of this, or where the team goes from here. Randle was stunningly bad. I wrote it in real time and I had the seats to be able to tell — he looked perplexed after about two possessions in Game 1 and it’s just so strange that he never, ever lost that flummoxed look. If anything, it was worse last night. The Knicks never made even a hint of adjustment to the Hawks strategy, never made them pay, never gave them even a hint of a pause or second thought. Is that coaching? Is it Randle himself? Randle isn’t a point guard and never was, so maybe it’s just asking way too much of him to be able to recognize and alter to that degree. As a lot of us said all year, there’s no way the Knicks can move into anything serious with Julius having anything like this kind of role — and this series proved it beyond any serious question. What that means for the summer, I’m not exactly sure.

    And I know he’s basically inviolate around here, but Thibs really has to grow as a coach. He’s mediocre, at absolute best, on the offensive side of the ball, and he’s stubborn and unimaginative. It’s going to get lost in the general suckitude and can certainly be said to not have “really mattered,” but you know what he did after all the years and whispers about running players into the ground? He ran Derrick Rose into the ground. (I was posting on it in real time from five rows behind the Hawks bench.) It was very strange to watch a Knick elimination game where the coach played a guy major minutes, including major third quarter minutes, where the guy could barely run. What was going to happen in Game 6 if somehow the Knicks pulled off a comeback miracle? Among the answers here is an offensive coordinator — a Thibs of offense — though there’s next to no chance that will actually happen.

  213. I’m a hard pass on Bullock, a maybe on Burks if the price is right, and probably a no on Noel. Noel has the worst hands I think I’ve ever seen. I exercise Randle’s option and see more; I obviously don’t pay him after this physical and psychological disaster. I definitely make him available in the right trade. He can’t be built around with this role, obviously.

    As to Trae Young, I’m exactly where I was after Game 2. He’s a terrific player, and I’d take him on my team any day. He made Reggie Bullock look absolutely silly.

  214. I think this was a very successful season.

    1. RJ took a significant step forward in year 2 and set aside any thoughts of him being a bust.

    2. Quickly looks like a solid 6th man scorer off the bench with the work ethic to improve.

    3. After initially thinking Toppin might be a bust, he looked a lot better down the stretch. It now appears he’ll become a solid rotation player with the work ethic to get better.

    4. Mitch was out for more than half the season and then in the playoffs. So getting him back will almost be like adding him to what we accomplished this year.

    5. A lot of our young players got to experience playoff pressure and defense for the first time. They will benefit from that next year.

    Among the free agents and other players, I don’t know who we will keep, but the goal is to improve the team in the offseason by more than the teams ahead of us and to get further development from the young pieces. We have a lot of options for that with multiple excess picks and a lot of cap space. It was a tough ending, but it was good year and we have every reason to be optimistic despite some obvious needs.

  215. Brian Cronin:
    I like that Luka’s interview opened with him tearing himself apart for playing an overall poor fourth quarter.

    Me too.

    I hope that means he’s at least aware that they aren’t going to go very far if the entire offense is him dribbling the ball until he creates a tough shot for himself or is absolutely forced to pass. They need to move the ball and run plays to create easy shots for everyone (whatever their individual skills may be)

  216. The theory that Thibs looks in the first few minutes to see whether IQ “has it” was always kind of a silly theory, but it was clear last night that IQ did “have it” and as I wrote in real time, it was ridiculous that Thibs pulled him after 4 minutes and change. Stubborn and unimaginative, as perfectly distilled and defined. Again, probably didn’t “matter,” given the general suckitude, but still pretty revealing.

  217. Randle’s major problem is basketball IQ.

    Granted, they were loading up on him trying to take everything he does well away from him. They did a very good job of it too. But it’s like I’ve been saying all along. He’s not a true #1 option that has so many tricks up his sleeve it’s tough for the defense to stop him even if they focus on him. He can be stopped. The problem is he doesn’t understand when to pass quickly, when to drive, when to try to draw the double team, when to pass as the double comes etc.. So instead of using the fact that they are keying on him as as advantage, he drives into double teams, gets stripped, jumps in the air with no one to pass to, takes horrible shots etc.. It’s incredibly frustrating and ugly to watch. Against a high level defense he gets exposed as a low basketball IQ bad #1 option.

    None of that is trashing him. You are what you are. He should try to get better. But right now he’s more of a #2 or maybe even a great #3 option. In a more limited role without teams keying on him, he’d be very effective and efficient. We have to find a #1 scorer so he’s in an appropriate role for his skills.

  218. E, all merc’d out:
    The theory that Thibs looks in the first few minutes to see whether IQ “has it” was always kind of a silly theory, but it was clear last night that IQ did “have it” and as I wrote in real time, it was ridiculous that Thibs pulled him after 4 minutes and change.Stubborn and unimaginative, as perfectly distilled and defined.Again, probably didn’t “matter,” given the general suckitude, but still pretty revealing.

    It was ridiculous. I know people don’t want to hear it but his rotations have sucked all year and that didn’t change in the playoffs. Obviously, almost nobody looked good, especially on offense, but Obi looked as good as he had all season and he barely played this series. And Quickley was bad most of the series but did show some life yesterday and got yanked early also.

  219. Deeefense: Randle’s major problem is basketball IQ.

    I don’t think that it’s basketball IQ I just think he isn’t a playmaker. If Randle is the primary playmaker on your team there’s probably a hard cap on how good your team can be. He did average a good amount of assists but that really had more to do with running the offense completely through him as opposed to any sort of elite playmaking on his part. Even Stackhouse in that year in Detroit where he dominated the ball and led the league in scoring average 5.1 assists. They even had similar AST%: 25.8% for Stack and 27.2% for Randle. Actually, all of their numbers are shockingly similar and both Stack and Randle were 26 for these seasons. Don’t look at Stackhouse’s numbers that year compared to Randle’s, it’s actually kind of upsetting and I regret doing it.

  220. I’m glad we don’t have to make a decision this year on re-signing him (I’m assuming we’re picking up his option).

    well, it was widely assumed we would offer him a max extension (which, with his bonuses, is now up to 4 years and about $118 mil). I think it would be very magnanimous of us to put that offer on the table now. I’d like to see how year 3 turns out.

  221. Disappointed for losing the series, but it has been a great year. Atlanta is very talented, Trae Young, Bogdanovic and Capela are really good basketball players, and I have been really surprised by John Collins, who I though was bad on D and actually played very well.

    We have been riding Randle all season long, with RJ emergence and overachieving veterans. That was going to prove too thin in the playoffs, when opposing teams shorten their rotations, as we cannot do the same. Having a healthy Mitch, and an actually healthy Noel would have helped too.

    We have a bright future, but we have to be reallistic to make the most of our opportunities:
    1) Randle may regress a little next year.
    2) Our veterans may regress a lot next year.
    3) RJ’s career path is still on the Richard Jefferson / Rudy Gay path, and not the Tracy McGrady / Bradley Beal path.

    I would offer the max extension to Randle, if he regresses, he will not outperform the contract, but I don’t think he would underperform either (he might bet on himself, though). I would try to resign Noel (8-10 millions AAV), offer Rose/Burks/Bullock the same 1yr deals they had and let everyone else go (well, sign Ntilikina to a minimum deal, he is good for debating in this blog). We should not get too attached to our veterans, they are good for the team at a low salary, not at 10 million. I would target PGs aggresively with our draft picks and make a big offer to Lonzo Ball (and I’m also counting with Vildoza). I would hold onto the rest of the cap and assets waiting for a possible future trade.

  222. Comparing Trae to Reggie Miller is just silliness. Reggie Miller pushed Greg Anthony to the ground while scoring 8 points in 9 seconds to steal a game, tearing the heart out of our collective chest and eating it lustily on the Garden floor.

    It’s funny tho – I’ve come to appreciate that time so much since. We beat the Pacers as much as they beat us and hating Reggie was fun as hell. If Trae and the Hawks were that for us over the next 4-8 years? Sign me up. Villains are fun. I’d rather play against – and beat – guys like Trae than some of the no-pulse zombies out there in the league.

    And yeah, I like Trae. He’s a little fucker and is easy to hate, but that dude can play. Any playoff series with him in it is going to be more interesting. They have a chance against the crippled Sixers for sure.

    Hawks were just better under pressure up and down their rotation. We didn’t adjust, our defense wasn’t that good, we couldn’t get the 3-ball falling, our “best two players” were poor, Noel’s ankle definitely affected our rim protection, Thibs didn’t play IQ enough or find a way to stretch Capela. We got our butts kicked. Hope the front office makes good decisions in the off-season, because it’s a big one.

  223. DudesTown:
    Trade Obi or keep him?

    Can’t ask that in a vacuum, need to know what you’re trading him for. I would imagine after the season he’s had that he has very little trade value so I don’t think any trade where he’s the primary asset being shipped out is bringing much back. Would rather keep him and hope he develops as opposed to whatever minor (like 2nd round pick) asset we would get in return. Of course, if like Memphis calls us up and says they want to trade us Ja straight up for Obi, so long Obi.

  224. Funny how we’re talking about rotations and imagination for a team that stumbled and bumbled its way to a 4th seed. At some point it becomes silly.

    I agree that Thibs is not an offensive mastermind, but who fucking cares? Not a single other coach would have had us in a position to play what looked like the most vulnerable of the top-4 EC teams with home court advantage. We do not have a good roster, never did. Every guy in our starting lineup other than Randle would be at best a backup on a good team, and some of our rotation players would never get off the bench.

    As it turns out, I wouldn’t bet against the Hawks making it to the conference finals. They have a very solid team on both sides of the ball. If the Sixers blow them out, I’ll happily retract, but I expect that to be an extremely competitive series.

    The fact that nothing really worked for us on offense was entirely predictable. Anyone who thinks that Mike D’Antoni would have coached our shitty roster to more wins against Atlanta is insane. And D’Antoni is a very good coach, certainly in the class of Thibs.

    There is no imagination ever imagined that would have come up with better answers vs. this Hawks team. They are miles better than us. It was child’s play to come up with a game plan to beat us, and any servicable NBA coach would have done it. Thibs didn’t have a chance. Just the PG situation by itself was so lopsided that no other outcome was possible. But if you switched Derrick Rose with Trae Young, I still don’t know if we are better than the Hawks. Capela is a stud. Bogdo is lethal from 3 both catching and shooting and can score in the paint. Huerter is Bogdo lite. Hunter is probably better than RJ and possibly by a wide margin. Collins is very underrated here. Gallo and Lou are professional scorers. Okongwu is just getting his feet wet. They built a very nice team over there.

  225. FWIW, I have a really hard time believing that Randle won’t take this playoff performance to heart and do anything less than bust his ass this offseason. And just as Kobe’s work ethic rubbed off on him, I expect his (and RJ’s) work ethic to engulf guys like IQ and Obi (hopefully Mitch too but he seems like he walks to the beat of his own drum a bit).

    It’s easy to be pessimistic today; we all know they need more talent. Thay said, this team overachieved in large part bc they bought into a system and worked their asses off. For that, I stand and applaud them.

    This team and organization has looked within to dig themselves out of this (largely) 20-year hole and they’re finally doing it competently. I am… truly happy this morning for that.

    LET’S GO KNICKS!!!

  226. Z-man: I agree that Thibs is not an offensive mastermind, but who fucking cares?

    Knicks fans?

    There is no imagination ever imagined that would have come up with better answers vs. this Hawks team.

    Bullshit. When all is said and done, he played Derrick Rose major minutes when he couldn’t run, and played Taj Gibson 33 minutes. He needs to improve as a coach, and we have to now worry that the players will start tuning him and his elbow grease demands out more next year. There are and always have been serious questions about the shelf life of all of this.

    Fun playoff run, enjoyed it, not going to sugar coat how bad they and he performed in the playoffs. Lots of tough decisions for the FO and it’s tough when the playoffs were so completely different than the regular season.

  227. iserp: I’m also counting [on] Vildoza

    I agree that we should target PGs aggressively. My understanding is that Vildoza doesn’t always start and typically only plays about half the game in a much less competitive league. Counting on much from him seems very risky. I’m not sure Lonzo would be worth the likely price.

  228. During the regular season Randle looked much like Luka to me…only to see in the postseason that Luka has so much more up his sleve and under the roof that comes with playing a lot of postseason games on both sides of the Atlantic ocean.
    I think that KP knows by now that the best way to win is to give the ball to Luka and let him do his thing.This is so by design and they all accepted it, Rick, Brunson,Tim, Cuban….what Luka needs arond him is one big butt big with mobility and good hands, a bona fide 3D guy, a shooting PF and secondary playmaker that plays good D and they will win it all.
    KP is unable to create any kind of rythm because it’s let us stop role players defense that Lue is playing.KP is easy to stop.
    Now that th Knicks are out my dream scenario of Mavs: Knicks finals is back in the drawer for next year. I root for Mavs to go far but wuldan’t mind if they flame out and Luka can play for our national team in Tokio qualifiers.
    As for Julius…we had good Julius during the season, bad one in the PO, we’ll get goodone back next season and the best Julius comes playoff time next year.

  229. Derrick Rose alluded to the possibility that we are looking to add some major talent and that he doesn’t know if they’ll want him to come back. I wonder if he knows something.

  230. vincoug: I don’t follow college ball much in general and I really didn’t at all this year but man it would be a tough pill to swallow if we drafted two more guards who can’t fucking shoot.

    Then you’d like Bouknight, because he is a terrific shooter. Defense is his problem, but as the article says, playing for Thibs could do wonders in that department.

  231. Frank: I guess it’s still early in draft coverage but the spread between sites is just huge. For instance, Charles Bassey is 26th on ESPN and 58th on tankathon…

    But ESPN has Queta 75th and Tankathon has him 27th, so clearly Tankathon is much better at spotting talent. :P
    Just kiddin, you’re right that the mocks are all over the place, and btw i like both players. Would like to have one of this two as our 3rd stringer C, or in a 2-way contract to let Taj keep the 3rd stringer spot.

  232. To me as we start to take stock of this season and series and move forward into offseason mode, the most central questions are about what to make of Randle now.

    This is probably the most pressing question for all of the reasons you mentioned. To me, it comes down to whether you think Randle has another level or this season was his absolute peak.

    If this season was his peak, he’s a very scary proposition on his 2022 max. His success was predicated on hitting an insane amount of difficult, inefficient shots. It was impressive as all hell, but as we saw in the playoffs also not something you can truly bank on.

    We’ve discussed the possibility that a better (or any, really) point guard might be able to get Randle some easier looks, and I think there’s a lot of data to back that up. This season he took an absolutely minuscule 16% of his shots from around the rim. It’s hard to wrap your mind around how small that is for a 6’9″ guy shaped like a bowling ball.

    In 2017-2018, he took 54% of his shots from around the rim and converted 73% of them. His career figure from there is 66% (which is coincidentally what he shot for us this year too).

    I think it’s pretty obvious we’re drastically under utilizing his finishing abilities. If we bring his at-rim frequency back up to the 30-40% range and combine that with his improved 3PT shooting (41% is probably a mirage, but 37-38% seems doable), there’s a good chance he can be a consistent 60%+ TS guy. With his playmaking, defense, and ability to hit long twos in a pinch (as opposed to, you know, all the damn time) I think that’s a player you can comfortably max.

    Of course, that’s much easier said than done and likely requires finding us one of them real point guards.

  233. Unreason: I agree that we should target PGs aggressively. My understanding is that Vildoza doesn’t always start and typically only plays about half the game in a much less competitive league. Counting on much from him seems very risky. I’m not sure Lonzo would be worth the likely price.

    Yes, I meant that I don’t mind to have 4 or 5 PGs in addition to Quickley (which I consider a SG), even if it means some of those do not play or go to the G-League.

  234. cybersoze: Then you’d like Bouknight, because he is a terrific shooter. Defense is his problem, but as the article says, playing for Thibs could do wonders in that department.

    He played 2 years in college and shot 34% and 29% from 3, that doesn’t scream “terrific shooter” to me. The scouting report in The Ringer article also says:

    Streaky spot-up shooter whose issues could be due to his mechanics. Has a relatively stiff shot out of stationary positions.

  235. I hope that means he’s at least aware that they aren’t going to go very far if the entire offense is him dribbling the ball until he creates a tough shot for himself or is absolutely forced to pass. They need to move the ball and run plays to create easy shots for everyone (whatever their individual skills may be)

    We are talking about a 22 year-old on the verge of basically single-handedly (he’s not receiving any help from his team’s most handsomely compensated player, that’s for damn sure) eliminating one of the odds-on favorites with his shoulder falling off.

    This is downright pathological with you, dude.

  236. E, all merc’d out: Knicks fans?

    Bullshit.When all is said and done, he played Derrick Rose major minutes when he couldn’t run, and played Taj Gibson 33 minutes.He needs to improve as a coach, and we have to now worry that the players will start tuning him and his elbow grease demands out more next year.There are and always have been serious questions about the shelf life of all of this.

    Fun playoff run, enjoyed it, not going to sugar coat how bad they and he performed in the playoffs.Lots of tough decisions for the FO and it’s tough when the playoffs were so completely different than the regular season.

    Hey E, why don’t you crawl back under whatever rock you slithered out from after a 3-month hiatus? You spouted a continual stream of tedious nonsense going into the season, disappeared out of sheer embarrassment when it was shown to be tedious nonsense, and now that the Knicks have gotten further than anyone here imagined, especially you, you have the temerity to offer insights into this coach, roster and front office? You’ve never been right about anything, so sure, don’t stop now!

  237. Re: to trade Obi or keep him…

    Let’s start by saying he improved his stock greatly. I think for the first time we can all see the shape of the player he might become, and finally it is enticing.

    But I think that decision is secondary to the Randle decision. If you think Randle is one of your foundational pieces and you sign him to an extension this summer, then I think you package Obi (who, IMO, would have very good value on the trade market) with some picks to get someone equal to or better than Randle. Then, ideally, you complete the team via free agency.

    If you don’t sign Randle this summer, I think you keep Obi as a hedge in case Randle either regresses or wants a $230mm contract. (We can be grateful to Randle and forgiving of his performance as much as we want, but after this I’d rather trade him and pivot to the young guys than give him that $230mm max.)

  238. Funny how we’re talking about rotations and imagination for a team that stumbled and bumbled its way to a 4th seed. At some point it becomes silly.

    It can be the case that Thibs did an outstanding overall job during this year, no coach in history could’ve gotten us past the Hawks, and yet he still demonstrated some troubling tendencies during both the regular season and the playoffs that shouldn’t be off limits when it comes to discussion.

    People openly discuss the flaws of even the absolute best players and coaches all the time. Determining whether or not Thibs is our best long-term option is important. It doesn’t make any more sense to shut down all discussion of his possible shortcomings than it would to do the same for Randle, who also had a stellar overall 2020-2021.

    Personally, I thought it was insane to not go to the small lineup down the stretch last night with our season slipping away. It would NOT have been a panacea, but it was incredibly obvious to me from the stands that “doing all of the same things that got us down 3-1 in the series and down 10+ in game 5” was not going to bring us back. It was a microcosm of a larger issue with rigidity and a relative lack of creativity.

    I am not saying these issues are disqualifying or that they can’t possibly be fixed (I will say I am skeptical a 63 year-old coach will make drastic changes to his general tendencies), but again, I don’t see what we gain by pretending they don’t exist.

  239. I’m pretty sure we will offer the max extension to randle…. and it’ll be interesting to see if he does accept it… if i were him i probably would take it since there’s a lot more downside for him than upside….. for the knicks i think we’re ok with either outcome… if he accepts we get randle at a somewhat reasonable price…. if he rejects we have him on a prove it year where we still can offer him more money than anyone else and give him that max he’s seeking if he’s deserving…. otherwise we could just let him go if the price moves into undeserving territory…

    We do basically have a ‘free’ slot to sign someone before we jam the randle/rj/mitch extensions into the cap…. so i’m pretty sure we aren’t shopping at ikea this summer and probably make at least one big shiny splash…. unfortunately the options are mostly flawed but ok pieces…

    Norm powell seems to be talked up a lot given the thibs rumors but i’m not sure if he’ll cut it as he’s basically a bullock+burks replacement who costs more than them combined… lonzo ball is interesting altho i like him better as a sg than a pg… but he will also likely need something packaged to nab him…. cam payne probably is the most intriguing target altho it’s unknown if we’re willing to bet on the only 1000+ minute season he’s had… lowry and cp3 will also be talked up probably….

    Unless something drastic happens this offseason we will probably have some room in 2022 to go after that A/B+ tier guy… i think zach lavine is going to be an interesting subplot since the bulls may look to eject if they start off poorly again with his free agency looming… bradley beal is also probably going to be talked about but i’m very iffy on him… and then we’ll see what comes out of these playoffs if anyone else gets disgruntled and shakes loose….

  240. Re: Thibs, I think after game 2 it was fair to be very critical of the coach. The Payton shit should have been resolved before Game 1. We didn’t have a plan for Trae Young until the 2nd half of game 2. And we had zero offensive adjustments to the Hawks defense. With better coaching, I think it’s fair to say we would have been up 2-0 in the series.

    But the two games in Atlanta made it clear that no coach could bridge the gap between the two teams. Atlanta’s superiority became evident, and even if we had been up 2-0 we’d just be down 3-2 right now heading to Atlanta for a Dead Man Walking game.

    Thibs was not the reason we lost. But Thibs is also one of several Knicks who performed poorly during the postseason.

  241. Yes, an unexpected good season that made us happy after years of frustration and took us back to the playoffs.

    Yes, we’re happy and in a better position in a long, time with draft picks and cap space and a couple of building blocks (probably).

    Yes, this team was easy too love and root for, the coaching staff squeezed every drop from the players limited talent and many players showed good progress.

    But.

    Five games in the playoffs, where the code-word is “adjusting”.
    The New York Knicks didn’t adjust a lick.
    We played exactly the same way in game-5 as we played in game-1.

    We can distribute responsabilities as we like, based on our proclivities, coach, staff, players, but the inability to adjust, or at least try to, was maddening (except for putting a stop the The Plague’s Farce).

    The longer the series went, the bigger the difference in the games between us and the very talented Hawks became bigger, game-3 to game-5 were non-competitive.

    Now all the league knows how to stop us.
    We have a summer to try something new, to differentiate our offense so that we can find different ways to attack and choose the right players.

    It will be a long and eventful summer.

  242. I’m going to have to backtrack through the thread, but I caught one post and have to reply: no, we should not have signed Drummond. Drummond is awful.

    Also, it is officially the offseason. We can talk about offseason things now, but also we can talk about the very good basketball being played for the next 6 weeks or so.

  243. I might be more pessimistic than others, but I can see extending Randle for 4 years this summer really backfiring on us. Maybe that two year extension that gets him to free agency at age 29 is the best way to go.

  244. vincoug: He played 2 years in college and shot 34% and 29% from 3, that doesn’t scream “terrific shooter” to me.The scouting report in The Ringer article also says:

    Sorry, i meant prolific. You’re right, he’s not efficient, at this stage. But he can score in bunches. That’s a skill I think we lacked in this playoff series, a JR Smith/Jamal Crawford alike to get us on a run when we were falling behind.
    I’m banking on him being more efficient with more maturity, and being a lot better on the defensive end. If he can be those things, he’ll be a good player to have.

  245. DudesTown:
    Trade Obi or keep him?

    Keep him, playing him more,
    extend Randle to the mini-max or something a bit lower (that is low enough to be movable if needed) and see what happens.

    We need two starters, one a PG, and with a good one probably every other player efficiency will go up naturally.

  246. He played 2 years in college and shot 34% and 29% from 3, that doesn’t scream “terrific shooter” to me. The scouting report in The Ringer article also says:

    you shouldn’t weight 3pt% too much in college… bouknight has shot a total of 147 3’s in his college career…. that’s basically a couple month’s worth of 3s in the nba…. that is why the better thing to look at is ft%.. well actually ft%+3pt shooting + volume will give you the best indication… and taking all of that together bouknight does have potential to be a decent shooter… and he’s basically a great shooter on most areas of the court anyway so i don’ think the 3s are too big of an obstacle….

  247. thenoblefacehumper: It can be the case that Thibs did an outstanding overall job during this year, no coach in history could’ve gotten us past the Hawks, and yet he still demonstrated some troubling tendencies during both the regular season and the playoffs that shouldn’t be off limits when it comes to discussion.

    People openly discuss the flaws of even the absolute best players and coaches all the time. Determining whether or not Thibs is our best long-term option is important. It doesn’t make any more sense to shut down all discussion of his possible shortcomings than it would to do the same for Randle, who also had a stellar overall 2020-2021.

    Personally, I thought it was insane to not go to the small lineup down the stretch last night with our season slipping away. It would NOT have been a panacea, but it was incredibly obvious to me from the stands that “doing all of the same things that got us down 3-1 in the series and down 10 in game 5” was not going to bring us back. It was a microcosm of a larger issue with rigidity and a relative lack of creativity.

    I am not saying these issues are disqualifying or that they can’t possibly be fixed (I will say I am skeptical a 63 year-old coach will make drastic changes to his general tendencies), but again, I don’t see what we gain by pretending they don’t exist.

    This is all fair, but what coach in the same circumstances wouldn’t have revealed “troubling issues” about something when working with a fatally flawed roster?

    Thibs is a second-tier COTY-level coach, on the level with other “flawed” coaches veteran like D’Antoni, Budz, Carlisle, etc. Any of those coaches can have playoff success with the right players, and will fail with the wrong players. What I bristle about is the “he can never be successful in the playoffs” narrative. It’s total bullshit, certainly no more true than it would be about virtually any other coach in that class, and if someone else were coaching this roster, I’m sure we’d be debating their decision-making as well. I just think its crazy to put a lid on what Thibs can accomplish based on either his history as a coach or what he did with this team this year.

  248. I loved the Rose-IQ-Toppin bench, so I’d be more than happy to bring them all back. Ideally we could add a nice wing to that group in the draft. I think Rose adds real value on the court to these kids. Obi, in particular, really benefited from playing with him.

  249. The Honorable Cock Jowles:

    Also, it is officially the offseason. We can talk about offseason things now, but also we can talk about the very good basketball being played for the next 6 weeks or so.

    You’re right Jowles.

    I’m expecting great basketball from MILW-BRK,
    with the two LA teams on the brink of elimination the West can be as open as ever
    and I’m curious to watch ATL against PHI, Embiid’s injury is a pity but I’d like to see Young (that yesterday, despite all his showboating, shot 10-28) versus a defense that in theory can contain him.

  250. thenoblefacehumper: We are talking about a 22 year-old on the verge of basically single-handedly (he’s not receiving any help from his team’s most handsomely compensated player, that’s for damn sure) eliminating one of the odds-on favorites with his shoulder falling off.

    This is downright pathological with you, dude.

    You wouldn’t say that if you understood basketball, but that would require you stop looking at boxscore stats and try to understand what’s going on and what wins basketball games.

    The problem is NOT that he’s isn’t receiving any help. The problem is that he’s consciously making the decision to dribble the ball looking for his own shot, running down clock, and then often settles for a very difficult one. On many possessions he doesn’t pass the ball until it’s at the point where the only shot available is so freaking bad even he’s not crazy enough to take it. Then he makes the pass. If that player hits a shot he gets the assist. That looks great on the stat sheet for him, but it’s dumb basketball.

    You win basketball games with purposeful ball and player movement, set plays, and then thank God you have a player like Doncic to create and take the tough shots at the end of the clock if you don’t create anything easy with the plays and movement. He’s doing everything backwards and you think it’s smart and his teammates aren’t helping. lmao

    He’s an extraordinary talent. He has peak healthy Larry Bird level potential on offense, but he’s not playing intelligently yet. He’s actually playing dumb. Only his extraordinary talent are leading to good results. But he would be wildly more efficient and the team would be a lot better if he played basketball intelligently.

    I’m pointing out that even though they won last night, even he knew he took way too many shots and played poorly in the 2nd half. He’s learning.

  251. I’m actually excited to watch Trae Young in this next round and enjoy him. The Hawks are a team I think I’d like when they’re not kicking our ass. Embiid would have fucked Capela up but if he’s hobbled, that’s a real series. Thybulle seems like another guy Young could potentially hide on, but I don’t know him very well.

  252. Z-man: What I bristle about is the “he can never be successful in the playoffs” narrative. It’s total bullshit,

    It is total bullshit and I’ve literally never seen anyone here say that. Perhaps you can point out whatever straw man you’re referring to?

  253. You wouldn’t say that if you understood basketball, but that would require you stop looking at boxscore stats and try to understand what’s going on and what wins basketball games.

    Right, to really understand basketball you have to be able to recite pointless bromides like “move the ball” and “win trades” and “horse racing”

  254. Hubert:
    Re: Thibs, I think after game 2 it was fair to be very critical of the coach. The Payton shit should have been resolved before Game 1. We didn’t have a plan for Trae Young until the 2nd half of game 2. And we had zero offensive adjustments to the Hawks defense. With better coaching, I think it’s fair to say we would have been up 2-0 in the series.

    But the two games in Atlanta made it clear that no coach could bridge the gap between the two teams. Atlanta’s superiority became evident, and even if we had been up 2-0 we’d just be down 3-2 right now heading to Atlanta for a Dead Man Walking game.

    Thibs was not the reason we lost. But Thibs is also one of several Knicks who performed poorly during the postseason.

    There’s no sense in going back and forth on this, other than to point out that you were pretty vehement in insisting that the rosters were equal going in to the series. And that “answer” we had for Trae Young was to put Bullock on him, you know, the guy who was benched in the 4th quarter in game 1 and who you wanted to bench in game 5.

    I am far more amenable to critiques of his coaching when it comes from a critic who knows what he’s talking about. With you I get “bench Bullock!” and then “well, I said watch him prove me wrong, so I was right!” Let me clue you in: there wouldn’t have been a game 1 or game 2 vs. ATL if virtually any other coach in the league was coaching this team. At best, we’d be having a post mortem about how we got swept by PHI, BKN or MIL, or why we lost to WAS as the 10 seed in the play-in tournament. My sense is the reason we didn’t go up 2-0 is a lucky ricochet cost us game 1, but if we had won that game, maybe ATL turns up the heat in game 2 and beats us. If you want to self-flaggelate about how Hubert’s ideas would have gotten us to 2-4, go right on ahead.

  255. The Brooklyn/Bucks series is must see TV. There are ways to slow down Giannis, but I don’t think the Nets have the player/defense to do it. And in addition to Giannis, the Bucks have Holiday and Middleton who will make it tough on whoever they guard. You don’t ever WANT TO play this Nets team, but if anyone can slow them down and score enough to beat them, this is the team. I can see an upset here. I’m pulling for the Bucks too. Giannis is too good, plays too smart, and is too nice to not get a ring.

  256. I really don’t blame Thibs for Payton. I blame the FO for bringing him back and then not getting a PG at the deadline. Rose was great but he’s not a starter. We won game 2 with Rose not starting and I wonder if going away from Payton was the right move. He sucks but there were no better options and no, Frank wasn’t really an option either.

    Games 3, 4, and 5 we hung with them in the first half cause Rose made the starters better but I think we had the advantage with the bench and Rose and IQ had good chemistry. It just felt like the bench wasn’t as strong in games 3,4, and 5 with Rose not a part of it. During the win streak we often fell behind early only to put teams away with the bench. Maybe we should have stuck with that?

    We gotta address PG in the off season. Maybe Villadoza is that guy? Really wish we could have gotten a look at him before the playoffs started.

  257. vincoug: It is total bullshit and I’ve literally never seen anyone here say that.Perhaps you can point out whatever straw man you’re referring to?

    It’s been strongly implied, are you not in agreement about that? Was it you or someone else who recently posted that they hoped Thibs ran his course in 2-3 years?

    Do you remember in Game 1 how some here were calling Nate a terrible playoff coach and how I defended him? And now some of those same people are saying that Thibs got outcoached in this series? By a guy with a reputation as a terrible playoff coach? What does that imply about Thibs as a playoff coach?

  258. You’re right, Strat. And I might even go to a Nets game to root for the Bucks. Tickets are definitely available.

  259. One underrated sad part of being eliminated so early is that we miss out on 2-4 more weeks of Alan becoming increasingly frustrated with every instance of “maybe Vildoza will be ready for the next game.”

  260. You wouldn’t say that if you understood basketball, but that would require you stop looking at boxscore stats and try to understand what’s going on and what wins basketball games.

    Hahahahahahahaha peak Strat. Maybe the Mavs oughta trade Luka for a real winner like Frank Ntilikina.

    In all seriousness, Luka basically has to play the way he does because the guy the Mavs thought would be a second high-usage option and relieve some pressure on him has turned out to be a total dud and is widely, and correctly, viewed as one of the most negative assets out there. This is obvious to everyone and has fuck all to do with box score stats.

    But hey, maybe if you keep firing off laughably bad Luka takes Porzingis will somehow get better!

  261. I know we have lots of time to do this, but in order, the players I want to keep at the right price are:
    Randle
    RJ
    IQ
    Obi
    Mitch
    Vildoza
    Burks
    Nerlens
    Rose
    Bullock
    Taj
    Frank
    Knox

    Payton is a goner, couldn’t care less about Pelle or Pinson.

    Clearly there are no untouchables on this team. The closest is RJ, and that’s only because he’s 20 years old.

  262. JK47: Right, to really understand basketball you have to be able to recite pointless bromides like “move the ball” and “win trades” and “horse racing”

    Brilliant response.

    The thing is I am correct.

    I’ve seen every great player and team from Russell and Chamberlain forward. There are loads of paths to God, but all the great teams do the same basic things even if they run different plays, use different systems, and have great players at different positions. The way Doncic played last night (and often plays) is not one of those paths.

    If you watched Dallas last night you should understand why Doncic scored and assisted so much, why his teammates didn’t, and that they won despite Doncic playing foolishly and not because he was so good. Doncic is such an extraordinary talent he often overcomes his own foolishness and a game plan that is basically spread the floor and allow Doncic to stat stuff us to victory if he can. lmao It won’t work. He’s got to learn that if he wants to be a truly great player and not just have great boxscore stats he’s got to do less some of the time and use his extraordinary ability when necessary and not as the first option. If Trae could learn that in the middle of a season, so can Doncic (I think).

  263. Cooper and Bouknight would be a pretty exciting haul. I would prefer Springer to Cooper, but am open to the idea Cooper has a higher ceiling.

    One post-playoffs reflection is I’m even more sure we should make our top 3 picks barring the unexpected availability of a game changer. The Hawks were more talented than us top to bottom. We still need to be stocking the cupboard.

  264. djphan, you’ve seen Ayo more than me. Do you think he’s capable, as a rookie, to step into the Elf Payton role? If we kept Rose as the backup playing 28-30 minutes, it would be less pressure than you would normally expect of a rookie starting PG.

  265. ugh, I almost wish I could produce more arguementative comments just so I could endlessly reply:

    The thing is I am correct.

    stick to this one simple response, and even when you lose you win…

  266. thenoblefacehumper: Hahahahahahahaha peak Strat. Maybe the Mavs oughta trade Luka for a real winner like Frank Ntilikina.

    In all seriousness, Luka basically has to play the way he does because the guy the Mavs thought would be a second high-usage option and relieve some pressure on him has turned out to be a total dud and is widely, and correctly, viewed as one of the most negative assets out there. This is obvious to everyone and has fuck all to do with box score stats.

    But hey, maybe if you keep firing off laughably bad Luka takes Porzingis will somehow get better!

    Do you understand that the game plan was to start Boban and Porzingis together to prevent George and Leonard from getting to the basket as much as they did last game when they went small and dragged KP away from the basket or put him in a tough spot on a switch?

    If you understand that (which you probably didn’t even know) you should also understand that on offense the adjustment was to mostly stick KP in the corner to create the space they would need for Doncic with Boban and KP on the court. They took KP out of his usual role on offense. He barely touched the ball.

    All that said, KP had his best season ever on offense despite the horrendous start I predicted off the no work and no camp summer. The issue is that he’s lost a step on defense and no one knows whether that’s permanent or will be corrected with an off season of work and full camp. It’s a reasonable question.

    So is whether Robinson can stay healthy enough to reach his potential and whether Anthony Davis is too injury prone to be counted on in the playoffs. Unlike those guys, KP is still on the court.

  267. Hubert:
    djphan, you’ve seen Ayo more than me. Do you think he’s capable, as a rookie, to step into the Elf Payton role? If we kept Rose as the backup playing 28-30 minutes, it would be less pressure than you would normally expect of a rookie starting PG.

    Didn’t you read the link Alan shared? “Shades Of – Jumbo Jrue Holiday, Delon Wright, Elfrid Payton” ;) :P

  268. 2021’s FA class looks shaky. I didn’t want it at the time but a Joe Harris/Bogdan-type of signing would have done wonders for us. I’m not even sure what to do with this batch of aging PGs but it would be really nice to have another player or two who could stroke it from 3. I wonder how much more it would have helped in this series.

    A four-year extension for Randle doesn’t make sense unless the last year is non-guaranteed. Even that seems risky – I don’t see how he will play *better* than he did this year as he gets older and the Thibs’ minute-load will catch up to him, as it always does.

    Thibs is much more of a floor-raiser than a ceiling-raiser. That’s extremely valuable for a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade, but we need to be realistic. What’s the best playoff series he’s ever won? Would he be open to bringing on an assistant coach for offense?

  269. Yeah, strat, but this is not MJ needing to learn to trust Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and John Paxson. Luka’s playing with stiffs.

  270. Z-Man, I’m going to have to disagree with you on the Thibs point. He gets all the credit in the world for getting the Knicks to way overachieve and become a 4th seed with home court, just like Randle gets all the credit in the world for morphing into a borderline All-NBA star during the regular season and driving the team’s success. And both of them get some criticism for shitting the bed during the playoffs.

    I agree that Atlanta is a better team, everything would have had to go perfectly for us to beat them. Part of the struggle is that in the second half of the season, it felt like having everything go right was status quo. Somebody always got hot in the 4th, the defensive intensity went up a notch, and we’d pull games out. So it was a bit of cognitive dissonance to suddenly fail as badly as we did.

    Thibs is a very good coach. He didn’t coach this series very well. If he had, we’d probably still lose, but maybe 4-2 or even 4-3. Which would have been more fun. C’est la vie. Here’s hoping that both he and Julius recognize the need to improve on a few things.

    One thing that makes me nervous — was the Hawks’ effective system to shut Julius down something that the rest of the NBA will copy next year (a la the end of Linsanity)? Another important reason to find a real point guard and change up the play-calling to help get Julius different/better looks…

  271. I’ve already got my Knick picks lined up:

    #19 – Corey Kispert (if he drops if not, Chris Duarte)

    #21 – Isaiah Jackson (if he drops if not, Day’Ron Sharpe)

    #32 – Joel Ayayi (if he drops if not, Miles McBride)

    #58 – Quentin Grimes

  272. If you understand that (which you probably didn’t even know) you should also understand that on offense the adjustment was to mostly stick KP in the corner to create the space they would need for Doncic with Boban and KP on the court. They took KP out of his usual role on offense. He barely touched the ball.

    Oh, believe me, I’m well aware the Mavs have determined the best role for their $31M man in the playoffs is “Steve Novak circa 2011.” What I’m not aware of is an argument that this actually bodes well for Porzingis.

    Yeah, strat, but this is not MJ needing to learn to trust Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and John Paxson. Luka’s playing with stiffs.

    He’s not going to concede this obvious point because it would require him to accept the fact that one of Luka’s teammates in particular is in fact a stiff.

  273. sitting at labcorp waiting to draw some blood…it’s interesting, they installed a couple of kiosks for folks to check in on…

    for some reason the kiosk is totally kicking every older male’s ass…

    been sitting here awhile, the older ladies basically just focus and figure it out, the older guys though get frustrated just at the site of the kiosk and default to a companion they may be with…

    is there really any doubt women should be running this world…

  274. One thing that makes me nervous — was the Hawks’ effective system to shut Julius down something that the rest of the NBA will copy next year (a la the end of Linsanity)?

    I thought the same thing, Raven. I countered it myself with “most teams don’t have a Capela” and “that’s kinda how they played him most of this year, isn’t it?” I don’t think the Hawks did anything new. They just did it relentlessly and effectively.

    Either way, I’m nervous about committing to him long term until we find out.

  275. I really struggle to figure out what happened to Randle. I really think he beat himself. It felt like every bad instinct he had suppressed all year in favor of better ones came raging back to the surface. It felt like an addict falling off the wagon.

    I don’t know why he decided to go away from what had worked so well for him all year, in terms of the quick trigger on threes, the baseline fadeaways, and the passing.

    Maybe it was the Hawks who stymied him but It didn’t feel that way. He just made a ton of bad decisions when clearly better ones were on offer. It’s a mystery.

  276. If you watched Dallas last night you should understand why Doncic scored and assisted so much, why his teammates didn’t, and that they won despite Doncic playing foolishly and not because he was so good. Doncic is such an extraordinary talent he often overcomes his own foolishness and a game plan that is basically spread the floor and allow Doncic to stat stuff us to victory if he can.

    This isn’t quite peak strat but it’s close. When they’re in the Conference Finals, I look forward to the “yeah, but” posts. They will be plentiful.

  277. My analysis on JR
    Randle just cracked under pressure
    Shit the bed
    Choked
    He was playing a more chilled game against more loose Defenses all regseason long.
    When the intensity of the game went up he just lost his cool, his rhythm, his confidence…
    Couldn’t adjust

  278. Raven:

    Thibs is a very good coach. He didn’t coach this series very well. If he had, we’d probably still lose, but maybe 4-2 or even 4-3. Which would have been more fun. C’est la vie. Here’s hoping that both he and Julius recognize the need to improve on a few things.

    One thing that makes me nervous — was the Hawks’ effective system to shut Julius down something that the rest of the NBA will copy next year (a la the end of Linsanity)? Another important reason to find a real point guard and change up the play-calling to help get Julius different/better looks…

    Like you said, it’s fine to criticize Thibs some if for no other reason than the team lost the series, and losing coaches are always gonna be 2nd-guessed in what they did or didn’t do. I can’t say though that means Thibs coached poorly or bad – this team just wasn’t built to mitigate poor play from Randle offensively over longer stretches. That’s the bottom line for me.

    It’s fine to question or ask for more offensive creativity. Thibs needs to look for certain situations to create easier offense for his guys (i.e. ATOs). I just believe some folks are overestimating the overall offensive potential of the team at this juncture.

  279. It could be as simple as the psychological, and theretofore never before engaged, realization that “Oh my god, they’ve thought about me and are designing something for the conscious purpose of trying to shut me down. What am I going to do now???” Indeed, that’s the theory that best fits the data. He was deer in the headlights from the very get-go, literally the first or second possession of the series. It never budged or wavered through the final possession of Game 5 and he never came close to figuring out what he was going to do now.

  280. It’s fine to question or ask for more offensive creativity.

    let’s not act like it was only the offensive side that fell apart. The Hawks scored 116 pts per 100 possessions in Atlanta while shooting 47% on – mostly open – three pointers. They figured us out pretty easily.

  281. Hubert: I thought the same thing, Raven. I countered it myself with “most teams don’t have a Capela” and “that’s kinda how they played him most of this year, isn’t it?” I don’t think the Hawks did anything new. They just did it relentlessly and effectively.

    Either way, I’m nervous about committing to him long term until we find out.

    Owen:
    I really struggle to figure out what happened to Randle. I really think he beat himself. It felt like every bad instinct he had suppressed all year in favor of better ones came raging back to the surface. It felt like an addict falling off the wagon.

    I don’t know why he decided to go away from what had worked so well for him all year, in terms of the quick trigger on threes, the baseline fadeaways, and the passing.

    Maybe it was the Hawks who stymied him but It didn’t feel that way. He just made a ton of bad decisions when clearly better ones were on offer. It’s a mystery.

    I don’t think Randle was ready to face Playoff defense – where a team has the time and opportunity to really hone in on your secondary and tertiary tendencies for multiple games. And not only that – Atlanta had the same amount of time off between their last reg season game and playoffs start; that’s five days for them to prepare defensively for a team that limited on offensive skill. Also, akin to last season – Randall likely put too much pressure on himself; even Shaq noticed that, which is why he told him to let the game come to him.

    Sometimes in life, your biggest failures are your largest/best opportunities to learn and grow.

  282. Hubert: let’s not act like it was only the offensive side that fell apart. The Hawks scored 116 pts per 100 possessions in Atlanta while shooting 47% on – mostly open – three pointers.

    That’s fine. I mean we did rely on the ISM for much of the season for our 3pt D. And they were better shooters than us. That said, I really believe we lost the series moreso on the offensive side of the ball.

  283. E, all merc’d out:
    It could be as simple as the psychological, and theretofore never before engaged, realization that “Oh my god, they’ve thought about me and are designing something for the conscious purpose of trying to shut me down. What am I going to do now???”Indeed, that’s the theory that best fits the data.He was deer in the headlights from the very get-go, literally the first or second possession of the series.It never budged or wavered through the final possession of Game 5 and he never came close to figuring out what he was going to do now.

    We more or less agree with this sentiment.

    So then my question to you is this: do you think Randall can learn and improve from this?

  284. for the series as a whole, a strong argument can be made that our defense performed as expected but our offense performed much worse than expected.

    i am less optimistic about the state of the franchise than the average poster here. but i still agree that we’re in a vastly superior position to recent history, so that’s something.

  285. I don’t think Randle was ready to face Playoff defense – where a team has the time and opportunity to really hone in on your secondary and tertiary tendencies for multiple games. And not only that – Atlanta had the same amount of time off between their last reg season game and playoffs start; that’s five days for them to prepare defensively for a team that limited on offensive skill. Also, akin to last season – Randall likely put too much pressure on himself; even Shaq noticed that, which is why he told him to let the game come to him.

    I think you’re right. But now comes the big question for you, CDiggy: are you willing to bet a 4 year mini max extension that he can do better?

    $29.5mm through 2026 might not be a very team-friendly deal. First you’re taking a risk that he doesn’t regress in the regular season. Then you’re making a bet that he will solve the postseason. I would be wary of making that offer.

    And this was just the Hawks! Imagine if we was playing Harden and Durant.

  286. Yeah I think our defense was pretty solid all series. Its not like Atlanta lit it up.

    They scored 107, 92, 105, 113, 103 in their 5 games.

    We only broke 100 in the first 2 games.

    Atlanta averaged 113.7 per game in the regular season. They only reached that once in the series. So we played fine defensively.

  287. Anyone want a 36yo PG?
    https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2944098-nba-insiders-predict-huge-paydays-for-phoenix-suns-young-stars-cp3

    Some bits of the article:

    Paul has a $44.4 million player option, which according to several sources, he intends to decline with hopes of inking a new multiyear deal (perhaps in the $100 million range over three seasons).

    and

    The New York Knicks appear to be a player away from being a competitive playoff team in the East. With Paul’s relationship with former CAA agent Leon Rose, now president of the Knicks, the Suns may have some competition for the veteran’s services next season.

  288. Is that 4 year extension at that price what a #2 option on a contender make? If so, then I think its worth extending him. He showed us he can’t be the number #1 option on a contender but I think he absolutely is a #2 option. If RJ is the #3 then we just gotta find the one! And RJ himself could improve to also be a #2 level option.

  289. One underrated sad part of being eliminated so early is that we miss out on 2-4 more weeks of Alan becoming increasingly frustrated with every instance of “maybe Vildoza will be ready for the next game.”

    STOP TRYING TO MAKE “FETCH” HAPPEN! IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

  290. Hubert: I think you’re right. But now comes the big question for you, CDiggy: are you willing to bet a 4 year mini max extension that he can do better?

    $29.5mm through 2026 might not be a very team-friendly deal. First you’re taking a risk that he doesn’t regress in the regular season. Then you’re making a bet that he will solve something he seemed totally incapable of solving.

    And this was just the Hawks! Imagine if we was playing Harden and Durant.

    Oooooo I’ve been put on the hot seat!!!

    Okay here it goes: I’ve said in the past that next season would be where the team would have to make its big decisions. When it comes to Randall, I would like to say, “hey, love what you did this regular season – now show me you can do it again in ’21-’22”. Right now, I’d:
    A. Fully guarantee his full 2021-22 salary. He’s earned it.
    B. Propose this third option for a short term extension.

    I would not offer a 4-year extension just yet: I want to see the team remain as fluid as possible with players that are not (or not yet) franchise-level talent. I want to buy as much time as possible to improve the talent base and to reposition Randall’s use on offense closer to the basket. I need to go into preseason next October seeing whether Barrett makes the 3rd year leap (which I’ll argue is maybe even more important than navigating Jules’ contract situation), and what improvements IQ and Obi bring to training camp.

    Randall needs to solve things. But not on his own, particularly if RJ and IQ take big steps forward and we bring in a legit starting PG.

  291. I believe that Randle will stay long term, making Obi expendable. Being that he looked pretty good in the series, I wonder if he could be part of a deal for a Jaren Jackson or a Colin Sexton or someone that I’m not even thinking about. Myles Turner would be a nice acquisition too. Hey, I can dream.

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