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A Belated Valentine’s Day Card for Mark Cuban From Every Knicks Fan

No news thread, so here’s a new thread with a belated Valentine’s Card for Mark Cuban from Knicks fans everywhere.

159 replies on “A Belated Valentine’s Day Card for Mark Cuban From Every Knicks Fan”

So Brian wanted a statement game and a statement game he got… 😉

Dominant and tasty wire to wire win, maybe the easiest and most relaxed of the season, our last single-digit lead was in the 1st quarter.

The offense worked despite a couple of players with broken rifle sights and the defense was especially good against the feared Young (Fuck Trae Young!) – Capela pick&roll.

As an aside, the Hawks look ready to implode and it would make me happy (Fuck The Hawks!)…

It’s been a good season so far and we go to the All-Star break* with a nice 33-27 record (despite some awful losses), deep into the fight for the 5th and 6th spot and while the remaining schedule is tough the team is gelling and Mitch will come back, so let’s keep it going!

* And I go to a full week of sleep 🙂

1st:
Randle’s 12 points fueled a good quarter capped with J-Hart’s bomb that extend the lead to 20 before a 3-seconds collective brain freeze before the buzzer let the Hawks cut it to 16.

2nd:
The Bench Mob kept the foot on the pedal, Obi (8 points) showed sign of life, the lead swelled to 24 and our guys closed up by 22 at halftime.

3rd:
Awful start for both teams, the Knicks unable to score for the first 2:17 while the Hawks could muster only 5 points in that span.
Atlanta never got closer than 11 but I-Hart and Randle repulsed them with consecutive offensive rebounds helping the Knicks sport a 15-points lead to the 4th.

4th:
New York extended the lead to 19 before Atlanta put up its last charge, cutting it to 13, but then “Play Of The Game” happened, the Knicks went on a 16-6 run and with 3:43 left Nate McMillan called a timeout, subbed all his starters and officially accepted the loss…

Plays Of The Game:

The first is for aesthetic reasons.

2nd 5:59 Obi Toppin misses 23-foot three point jumper
2nd 5:56 Isaiah Hartenstein offensive rebound
2nd 5:55 Obi Toppin makes alley oop dunk shot (Jalen Brunson assists NY 51 ATL 34)

I-Hart got the board and immediately gave the ball to Brunson who spied Obi cutting to the basket after the missed three and raised an alley oop for the slam. It was delightful to watch.

The second is a more defining moment.

4th 8:10 Onyeka Okongwu misses 10-foot two point shot (NY 99 ATL 86)

After a Bogdan’s three the Hawks were on a 5-0 run with some semblance of momentum going and the lead was at 13, but Okongwu shot rimmed out, RJ and JB hit 5 FTs while Atlanta went in a 2 minutes drought and never threatened (?) again.

Stats Of The Day:

Good:
0. Hawks’ largest lead.
55-40. Knicks’ edge in rebounds.
30-11 Knicks’ edge in fastbreak points (what?!?)
5-26. Hawks’ three point shooting. ISM at his best!

Not So Good.
35.5 Knicks’ assisted FGM (16-45). I know, we get a lot of OREB and we have good iso-players but sometimes we become a little bit too selfish (and when it happens we usually went into a scoring slump).

Grades:

Brunson A
Unusual 5:5 AST/TO offset by the 9 rebounds (!) and the ceaseless and trademarked “score when needed”. He’s been incredible in the calendar year 2023 but in february he’s in an even better tear (32.5 PPG, 60.9 FG% 55.9 3FG%, 6:1 AST/TO).
I still hope he’ll get a ASG spot because he deserve it, a LOT.

Randle A-
Blistering start, then a lull, but huge plays when it mattered. The outside shooting is trending down in 2023, but he’s having a great season and he’s an absolute beast under the boards when his head is clear.

Barrett C
Look, there’s no doubt this game was a progress even if the starting line was so low it could have been hard to do worse.
At halftime he lead the team in minutes and shots taken and, as Raven pointed out, he didn’t make a single pass in his first 5 possessions, plus honestly his double miss from three in just 6 seconds (with an airball) made me throw up.
He was better in the second half, where he did less but did it smartly, attacking the rim instead of letting carrier pigeons fly from beyond the arc.
I strongly hope he take the next week to clear his head.

Grimes C+
The defense was there most of the night but if you take away his last basket (who coincidentally was the last basket of the game) you have another bad shooting night (0-1 2FG, 1-5 3FG). His 3-pointers are always open looks so he needs to start hitting them at a higher rate.

Sims B-
Nice little game against a tough opponent, soon (but when?) he’ll be the best 3-string center of the league.

IQ A-
On a floor that saw both Sweet Lou and Jamaal perform, IQ did just that, provided the offensive spark, his usual solid work on the boards and tenacious defense against the annoying rat.

Toppin B
The howitzer was working tonight (now 59.2% of his FGA for the season are threes). I love the kid but I’d like to watch a little more rebounds (1 tonight) and decent defense in season-3.

Hartenstein A-
He looks fully healed and a totally different player from the plodding stiff we watched weeks ago. Another display of solid rebounding and rim protection (11 REB, 3 BLK), he’ll be a great backup to Mitch.

Hart A-
He’s due for a regression on his 3-point shooting (9-14 as a Knick) but he does so many things (13 points, 5 REB, 2 AST, 1 BLK) always with a boatload of energy and can play in both Grimes’ and RJ’s spot, maybe even some spot minutes as a small-ball “4”. Unvaluable swiss-army knife.

Mc Bride NA
Hi Deuce!

Thibs A-
I don’t like RJ playing more minutes than IQ and J-Hart but the record is good and I give him credit for the team chemistry and resiliance. This team rarely (if ever) fold and they seem to really like each other. Now, for that Offensive Coordinator… 😉

It’s really amazing how Thibs’ teams never seem to fall apart like so many other teams. That’s always nice. He has his other tradeoffs, but that’s one thing he always gets right. His teams compete like each game matters, which almost no other NBA team does. Almost every other team punts games like crazy. The Knicks under Thibs never punt games.

Ooh Randle’s going to try out the 3-pt competition? Maybe they should let Mitch in while they’re at it (for comedy reasons).

***I don’t understand why going to a new team would restore your confidence in your shot.***

Those Portland fans are brutal. Needed a safer space.

Two things.

1. I know I may have oversimplified the task of rebuilding in part by “winning the trade”, but I think that’s pretty much what most of the best GMs do more often than not. Rose and company have mostly given up a little value taking a shot or maneuvering for cap space, but we finally “won the trade” with Josh Hart. We have to try to do that one more time.

2. Projecting forward to next year with out of my a$$ numbers.

a. I’ll be conservative and say we are going to win 45-47 games this year (tough schedule).

b. I’ll further say that next year we aren’t going to get quite as good a year from Randle and Brunson. (minus 2-3 wins)

c. Offsetting that we’ll have a full year of Josh Hart and get incremental development from Quick, I-Hart, Mitch, RJ, Sims, Grimes, and Deuce (plus 2-3 wins)

d. I’ll leave out injuries because we’ve had our share and will again next year.

e. If we make a deal in the offseason to upgrade the SF position I think that could be worth as much as 5 wins or more depending on the player we get and who we give up. I don’t think RJ is adding much at all. If we add a star, the number could be bigger.

That’s 50-52 wins next year being fairly conservative with still some upside to go.

***I don’t understand why going to a new team would restore your confidence in your shot.***

Why shoot a three when you can pass it to Dame?

Cuban wasn’t even smart enough to take an asset back, like Burks or Noel, in a sign and trade.

Cuban wasn’t even smart enough to take an asset back, like Burks or Noel, in a sign and trade.

It truly was the worst of all worlds with how they handled Brunson.

***I don’t understand why going to a new team would restore your confidence in your shot.***

I said I thought the Portland 3p% numbers this year were all noise and he’d return back to his typical percentage. He has far exceeded that so far in NY, but it will fall back into the 35% range plus or minus a little depending on noise and the types of shots we are getting him.

“Portland fans after the trade were saying he was flat out refusing to shoot threes, and that he lost his confidence in his shot completely.”

What has been interesting is that outside of the 27-pt game JHart has had lots of hesitation on his threes, passing up a bunch of relatively wide open options. But he has often gotten the ball right back, wide open, and he kind of has had to shoot those (or he’d look like a total coward, and he’s made most of them).

It’ll be interesting to see how this translates as he regresses back to the mean. He’s been so wide open on most of them he has to shoot them. As someone mentioned, perhaps in Portland it was all last-second heaves (which was a Knicks problem back when Randle used to hog 23 seconds of the clock — remember those good old days so many years ago…?).

Cuban’s next gift to us will be Luka will Kyrie destroys whatever is left of that team.

“e. If we make a deal in the offseason to upgrade the SF position I think that could be worth as much as 5 wins or more depending on the player we get and who we give up. I don’t think RJ is adding much at all. If we add a star, the number could be bigger.”

I couldn’t agree more. The question is who might be available, other than OG?

I’m happy! 🙂 We had a great 1st part of the season, Randle is good again, very happy i was wrong about that. And i don’t think the 5th seed is a pipe dream, our success seems sustainable. The Hart brothers are playing above what’s expected, i think, but getting Mitch back (clearly better than Sims) and Grimes has been kind of disappointing lately, so he’ll get better (if everybody is getting back to the mean). Brunson, Quick and Randle’s play seems sustainable as it is, they’re much improved from last season but they’ve been so steady that it feels sustainable, at least this season. The wild cards are RJ and Obi, can they contribute more? Especially RJ if he keeps being a starter and playing heavy minutes? I’m hoping this break will clear their heads, RJ with his delusions of grandeur and Obi putting the hope to be traded on his back, and we get to see a much better stint from the two to finish the season.

Hart’s obviously due for some regression….. we’ve seen what that looks like from Grimes as a few week cold spell can turn some narratives around… the difference is that hart contributes everywhere else and i’m pretty sure we’ll see him replace Grimes as soon as maybe after the asb….

as far as overall minute totals i’m pretty sure it’s not going to change much as Hart gets more time.. since that’s pretty inevitable…. once he does i think Obi will get buried… he’s taken a huge step back this year and has basically turned into a 3p specialist and he doesn’t even shoot those well enough to have that as his calling card… for as much crap as RJ gets… the Obi situation is much more dire at this point… sacrificing a large amount of 2pt attempts for 3s at this stage in his career is not good… this is not quite at Knox level of hopelessness since he showed an ability to be a paint presence last year.. but it’s bad and for whatever reason all the good progress he made last year got thrown out the window… and for an already old prospect that was on the fringes… he needs a major and radical change to what he’s doing and it may already be too late….

as we’re making a run the fat will be cut from the rotation… vaporware like McBride has already been banished.. for good likely… and i’m pretty sure Obi will be next .. especially with Thibs comments about playing Hart at the 4…

Shams says the Clippers have begun talking with Russ: https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1626258067422605313

On his pod the other day, Zach Lowe suggested this was entirely being driven by the Clippers players, and that management justifiably wanted no part of Russ. I know they could use a point guard, but did Kawhi and George not see what happened when this guy was trying to run an offense in the same arena where they play?

lansays:
February 16, 2023 at 11:33

Shams says the Clippers have begun talking with Russ: https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1626258067422605313

On his pod the other day, Zach Lowe suggested this was entirely being driven by the Clippers players, and that management justifiably wanted no part of Russ. I know they could use a point guard, but did Kawhi and George not see what happened when this guy was trying to run an offense in the same arena where they play?

I mean, there is a reason why so many players (especially good players) fail as coaches and execs after they retire.

And it wouldn’t be the first Staples Center team where the star player misunderstood the impact Russ would have on his team, and pushed for management to acquire him anyway. At least here, the Clips wouldn’t have to trade picks and valuable role players for him.

Hart was only taking 2.4 3’s P36 on the Blazers vs 6.4 with the Knicks. His current rate would be 3rd highest of his career so him having the license to just let them fly makes him more comfortable.

Very much appreciate the ‘cap Max, wasn’t able to catch the game last night. Looks like it was a continuation of the mostly good recent trends as well as the less-than-good ones (i.e. the play of RJ Barrett). Brunson not being an all star looks downright silly at this point.

“for as much crap as RJ gets… the Obi situation is much more dire at this point”

Obi plays 10-15 minutes a game and makes $12M for this season and the next. I think it’s impossible for his situation to ever be as “dire” as RJ’s, whose contract and usage is, uh, different.

Ime Udoka officially fired. I love how this took this long. Mazzula has them in first place, he was obviously going to become the full-time coach.

Yeah, Obi is a huge disappointment relative to where he was drafted and who we could have taken. But it’s not dire, because A)The biggest reason he barely plays is that the guy in front of him is a legitimate All-Star and an iron man; and B)We’re not spending nearly as much on him, nor are we committed to him for as many years. Obi playing better off the bench would definitely help the team, but it wouldn’t significantly raise our ceiling. Whereas RJ’s play is the single biggest variable right now in how good or bad the current roster can be.

Yeah, Obi is trapped AND mis-used. He’d get 20-10 in the right place, although he might be benched for his bad D unless he was on Houston…

Great cap as always, Max, and what a nice way to go into the break. Seems like the difference between this streak and the last few years, really, is our unwillingness to give up leads. Seeing a double-digit lead stay double-digit is just mystifying. It’s like watching a flock of flying pigs.

I give most of the credit to Brunson — even Randle’s refusal to go into absurdist anti-heroics is probably largely due to Brunson’s presence. But kudos to Julius, too, for playing the right way in crunch time.

that’s an answer to a different question…. Obi might not get another contract…. whatever you think RJ is he deserves more time and play and money than Obi at this point…

if you’re ready to close the book and ship him off for 2nd rd picks then yea that makes sense you might think it’s more dire for RJ but i think that’s going a bit overboard…. i’m saying we’re probably at that stage where more time for Obi is not worth it and that there’s near zero value in playing him to see more…

this was where Frank and Knox were after their 2nd years and Obi got there in his third… the base case is that they’ll float around as replacement level players and if you can get anything for something like that you should take it…

“for as much crap as RJ gets… the Obi situation is much more dire at this point…”

I 100% disagree with this assertion. Yes, he’s older than RJ, but Obi has been dreadfully miscast on offense and is stuck behind Randle’s newfound glory while RJ continues to top the league in both most and worst minutes played.

That being said, it seems pretty clear that Obi’s play style clashes big time with Thibs’… that’s not even a negative comment on either, just that they don’t fit well.

I’d like to see Obi in an open-run offense that actually uses the pick and roll. Idk who that is, maybe Indy? Portland? Even the Clips maybe?

But in a vacuum, I’d much rather have Obi than RJ.

Watched the first two episodes of Pokerface Alan.

So far its ok. I give it 6.5 out of 10. It almost lost me at the start, with the origin story of a woman who was so good at poker that she couldn’t find a single game to play anywhere in the United States, after crushing a few midstakes games in the Midwest. Just wildly implausible.

Every single poker player has had the fantasy of poker omniscience. Everyone understands that if you could know what she knows, you’d be wildly dumb to use this talent aggressively, as apparently she has done. That’s a quibble but there was a bunch of other similarly unrealistic stuff in the pilot.

Overall, it was decent and I will try a few more episodes. I liked the serial aspect of it and I was actually reminded of Justified, a favorite of yours I know, in how it targets that high middlebrow aesthetic.

I was reminded watching it of an old Roald Dahl story I loved growing up, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, which deals with a similar scenario in a very different way.

With Kyrie taking his first sick day in Dallas, (took about a week), Frank Ntilikina, Theo Pinson and Reggie Bullock combined for 74 total minutes and scored 7 total points last night.

Luka seems destined to become this generations Damian Lillard. Why is Marc Cuban emotinally connected to NY scrubs?

Still cant believe how much Leon & Thibs lucked out with Brunson.
What are the odds of adding an All-Star level player on a cheap contract, without giving away any assets in sign and trade all while filling the weakest roster position, simoultenesly?

Owen, you probably already know this, but The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More is going to be a movie directed by Wes Anderson, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character alongside Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, Rupert Friend, and Richard Ayoade. It is scheduled to be released this year on Netflix.

I know this because google.

Djphan I’ve gotta say I think you’re way off on this one. Primarily because the Knicks are clearly not wedded to Obi in the same way they are to RJ so his situation can never be as dire, but I also think you’re wrong about the player comparison.

Last season Obi put up 19/8 per-36 with a .614 TS%. Now, those aren’t particularly impressive numbers for a big and tons of questions remained about his defense, ability to maintain them if given more minutes, etc.

But they’re the numbers of an NBA player. If there are non-NBA players who can put them up in over 1200 minutes, they’re probably non-NBA players by choice. Knox and Frank could never come particularly close to saying the same.

I think Obi is a lock to get another contract, mostly because a team will want to roll the dice on some potential upside, but if for no other reason because he’s *already* demonstrated the ability to be a rotation level NBA player.

RJ on the other hand has never had a season that clearly brought something to the table that a replacement level player doesn’t. There are many reasons I wish we didn’t extend him, but one of the minor ones is that I’d be fascinated to see what he’d get on the open market this offseason. Would any of the cap space teams want to risk tying up the $27M AAV we gave him? I’m very, very skeptical, to say the least.

“What are the odds of adding an All-Star level player on a cheap contract, without giving away any assets in sign and trade all while filling the weakest roster position, simoultenesly?”

A few days ago I referred to this as “getting a star without paying retail.” It changed our place on the win curve fairly significantly, and I think there are some people who haven’t changed their priors accordingly. The Great Hart Debate was basically a proxy war for where you think the Knicks are on the win curve.

It’s understandable that some people have been resistant to adapting to the new reality IMO, because it’s genuinely a shocking development for many reasons. But barring a major drop off in the last 22 games, we appear to have landed a star in unrestricted free agency for ~$26M AAV. All analysis of the team going forward should account for that.

because it’s genuinely a shocking development for many reasons.

IMO, it’s not that shocking if you didn’t think Leon Rose was an idiot because of a few draft missteps. Or also didn’t think Thibs was a horrible/too old/too rigid coach or only built for a “win now” team. Or that the only way to become good is by completely tearing everything down and tanking for multiple seasons. Or that the slow and steady approach we’re doing wasn’t going to put you in “purgatory.”

It isn’t all that shocking if you rightly viewed last season as a small step back for a franchise that was otherwise moving in the right direction the moment Leon took over.

I’m not trying to call anyone out on this. But it’s been pretty obvious to me that our franchise was moving in the right direction for quite some time.

Swift I was talking narrowly about adding a star (and I should add a 26 year-old one at that) in unrestricted free agency for $26M AAV. That’s a shocking development regardless of the front offices or coaches or whatever else involved.

Swift I was talking narrowly about adding a star (and I should add a 26 year-old one at that) in unrestricted free agency for $26M AAV. That’s a shocking development regardless of the front offices or coaches or whatever else involved.

Yeah but you gotta give me this moment.

so wait … this is actually a thing? all things being equal.. and let’s say we don’t have Randle and we don’t have Thibs.. you pick your coach… you would pay Obi more money on the open market than RJ?

RJ has his issues and yes it’s not a good contract… but there’s a lot of daylight from where RJ and Obi is in terms of both current and future value… from where Obi is he might get another contract but he’s absolutely not going to be promised more of an opportunity than he’s getting now… for RJ there are plenty of teams who need usage at even mediocre efficiency to be giving him WAY more playtime RIGHT NOW… which is why guys like him are valued the way they are despite the metrics…

i’m sorry Obi… is getting to be too old to be having the ‘there’s something else to unlock’ conversation.. and yes he’s proven somewhat useful in getting buckets within the paint on a modest number of attempts.. he’s legitimately good there… but that’s not exactly valued all that highly especially when there’s not much else… and that’s generally where all of his value lies when looking at the metrics which is why bpm is misleading when looking at future and market value and why things like TS can very often lead you astray… you’d build a whole team of centers and power forwards if that’s all you looked at…

“you would pay Obi more money on the open market than RJ?”

This is simply not what I said. If I was the POBO of a team with cap space I honestly would probably just avoid both of them unless their markets totally collapsed. I do think it’s much, much easier to see how Obi could help a team, but that doesn’t have a ton of bearing on how much I’d pay him because thus far he hasn’t consistently shown a unique enough skillset to separate him from the productive bigs who sign for tiny salaries every year.

I think you’re wrong about:

a) Obi being at Frank/Knox level risk of not getting another contract
b) RJ’s production being enough to generate substantial (read: $20M+ AAV) interest in him around the league

Sure, someone would take a flyer on RJ, but I think there is literally zero chance he’d get the contract we gave him on the open market. He might not get half of it.

I think you can only think of the Obi situation as dire if you are somehow thinking of where he was drafted and comparing his worth to that. On the other hand, if you are in the present reality, he’s a cromulent backup power forward who will make $5.5M this year and $6.8 next year if we exercise our option for next season. We will have matching rights after that. That is definitely not a crisis. (And I’m happy to finally actually use the word cromulent in a sentence)..

And I’m very happy for Pinson that he got twenty minutes of real playing time (and he and Frank did have a positive plus/minus).

I think there are some people who haven’t changed their priors accordingly.

i dont think you think should adjust your priors until you adjust for some highly volatile things to settle into a place you’re comfortable with… things like 3pt shooting.. floater percentages…. and julius randle’s knick career….

jalen brunson was good… everyone knew that…. and yes him being as good as someone like FVV or Jrue Holiday was absolutely very possible… if you didn’t expect something close to this then you probably haven’t been been following him at all…. that he’s performing even beyond that high mark is quite an acccomplishment but unless you think he’s going to be like damian lillard or jayston tatum or even james harden that’s a tougher pill to swallow…. and maybe you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself…

even despite all of this good luck … again we’re not exactly killing it in the standings relative to some other teams… we’re in the mix at the bottom tier… there’s hope for more… but the calculus hasn’t changed much from the beginning of the season.. most people here thought it was a .500 season… that’s still very much in play….

Getting Brunson on this contract for a measly second round pick (the tampering penalty) is shocking because very few front offices make such good deals and the Knicks never do.

And TNFH, it’s not just to Knicks fans that it hasn’t sunk into yet how good this deal was. I think the whole league and many pundits have some catching up to do.

Raven – WOW! Had no idea. It’s a great concept actually, like a lot of Roald Dahl’s stuff. Apparently a totally poisonous person but his books are magic. I look forward to that with great interest. Cumberbatch is great casting.

That story btw was like my Moby Dick as a child. I read it somewhere very young and it lingered in my memory to the point that I constantly searched for it but somehow I couldn’t manage to remember some important identifying details, like the author. And the internet did not exist so a question which I could answer in literally 9 seconds was effectively unsolvable. I eventually happened upon a copy of it and it was just as amazing the second time.

TNFH – I agree with everything you said above. What Brunson has done this year raises our ceiling. It’s not just about his talent. It’s about the talent he allows you to put out there around him. Efficient usage is a wonderful thing.

That said, Randle and RJ are of course still flawed assets to build a championship contender with. Randle has been great but the defense is always an issue. RJ is just dead money to work around.

But yeah, getting Brunson at the price we did and having him perform this way is something of a miracle.

I don’t actually know how it changes my feeling about Leon. In general, I would say not much.

ok ppl are getting tripped up with the word ‘dire’… i’m saying relative to their career progressions Obi’s situation is dire… considering his career is on the brink… RJ’s is not anywhere near close to that at 22…. if RJ was performing exactly the same as he is now at age 24 he would be in a very similar spot due to age alone….

relative to the knicks is a different question…. RJ’s outcome is basically one of the only outs we have to move up the win curve that’s on the roster… and so yes it’s very important and the answer to that question doesn’t look good at the moment… but that’s also not what i was talking about… he’s still very much throwing out there to see what you get to see if anythign changes because yes age 22 players change all the time…

for age 24 players with this sort of development…. it’s not… and it’s going to be tough seeing him anywhere that’s going to give him more of an opportunity than he’s seeing now….

The defense I would make of Obi is that the last couple of weeks of last season were basically the only time in his Knicks career where he was given free reign, and he balled the eff out. Now, this is a small sample size, it’s at a point in the season where no every opponent is trying very hard, etc. I get all that. But you can’t dispute that he is in the worst possible situation he could be in in the entire league: playing the same position as a human tank who soaks up minutes and rarely misses games, for a coach whose philosophy won’t allow him to share much time on the court with the starter, in an offense that is largely plodding and deliberate by design. I’m not saying he becomes an All-Star on a different roster with a different offensive scheme, different defensive priorities, etc. But I feel confident that there is a useful NBA player there, without having to squint in the way any of us did regarding Frank or Kevin Knox. Obi’s a flawed player, but the primary issue working against him is a lack of opportunity. Whereas RJ has all the opportunity in the world and isn’t really good at anything other than getting to the basket, and is only so-so at best when he gets there.

“That said, Randle and RJ are of course still flawed assets to build a championship contender with. Randle has been great but the defense is always an issue. RJ is just dead money to work around.”

For sure, I’m not enamored with our current position. It has its upsides and downsides. We’re still hoping against hope to catch up to e.g. Memphis, New Orleans, and OKC in terms of overall position.

But before we added Brunson I was pretty certain that trading any kind of future assets for present wins was foolish, outside of outlandish scenarios.

Now I’m way less certain of that, and probably lean towards moves of that nature being perfectly justified provided they aren’t stupid (we aren’t absolved of having to get good value). That’s why landed where I did on Hart.

DJPhan, if you are saying Obi’s situation is dire for him, I understand your point and kind of agree. It’s just not dire for the Knicks as a team.

let’s get an answer to the question on who gets more money on the open market from everyone because this is getting weird.. is it Obi or RJ? or who would you pay more?

because it does seem people are much more forgiving on Obi’s path to success than RJ is…. am i reading these comments right? even when you dont account for their contract.. draft position… or what have you.. that Obi straight up is more valuable in the right situation…

and i get that this isn’t an ideal situation for him… nobody has hammered the point home that we basically turned one of the most prolific dunkers in the ncaa and parked him out on the 3pt line since his very first preseason game…. but when you’re on the fringes and at this age you don’t have much margin for error… and when the only thing you’re good at is convert buckets in the paint and you have over 80 and 90% buckets assisted and literally contributes nothing else… there’s not going to be a huge line of suitors for him….

that’s the part that everyone is missing…. yes by TS he’s a freaking god… but it’s amazing he’s not an allstar along with every other big in this league by that metric alone…

We’re in win-now mode, or at least SHOULD be in win-now mode, based on our position. We should probably be looking to consolidate pieces to find a productive replacement for RJ, who is so far away from being good that he no longer seems to fit our win curve.

The problem is, I’m not really sure we have a big enough asset pile to trade for that difference maker. We have some protected 1sts we got in trades, plus relatively expendable pieces in RJ and Obi. Maybe Grimes would be expendable too. RJ, Obi, Grimes, some of our own firsts (one is already gone for Hart) and the protected firsts? Not sure what kind of superstar that could land you.

I’m very pleased that Mac McClung got called up by the Sixers. It was kind of sketchy to me to have a non-NBA player competing in an NBA contest.

I’m legit stunned that Kevin Love is actually going to be bought out. I would have sworn he’d prefer to just be on the bench of a good team. Who out there is any good that would give Love actual minutes?

I remember at the end of the 2009-2010 season, Tony Douglas started and had a whole bunch of 20 point plus games. I remember thinking “man, we got a steal with this dude! He’s gonna be a star!”

I also remember Jeremy Lin looking like prime Jason Kidd for 7 games during Linsanity.

RJ Barrett is putting up a -3 bpm in his 4th season. His peripheral stats have been in a flatline his whole career. He’s gone from okay to really bad defensively. You want dire? Here are his points per shot attempt percentile rankings for a wing in his illustrious career- 12, 39, 20, 25. The idea that any team could genuinely use usage at those numbers is crazy. You want to know why the Knicks aren’t as high in the standing as they might be? RJ Barrett- third in minutes and usage- is a bad basketball player. He’s 22 and might get better but he’s indefensibly bad on both ends right now. He’s extended at over 100m- that’s dire.

Apparently Miami for Love? I was surprised as well. The Cavs are good but it looks like his three point shooting has fallen off. I guess they have guys who can shoot those.

It’s funny, Obi has the same 3p% and volume as love and a little more than half the rebounding. Lower ts% despite the higher 2pt FG%.

I think Obi is in a little bit of the same predicament as Hart. I think a team could convince itself that he could find his 2022 end form given the chance. I have always loved the fun factor but as with Randle I think giving away that much defense at the PF position is so hard to compensate for. You need your bigs to play big. Obi does not do that.

I have no idea what RJ would get but it should be 1/3 of what he got. Or less. Barring a miracle RJ is replaceable.

Love to the Clippers along with Westbrook. What a strange, aged, potentially dysfunctional and terrifying team that would be.

I need to learn to be happy that we have one of the more polarizing players in the NBA in RJ Barrett. Is he a nice guy, or a sullen asshat? Is he kind of good, or one of the worst players in the NBA? Deserving of starter’s minutes, or deserving of the G League? Is he getting better, or worse? Will he score zero points, or 30? Or both, in the first and then second half?

I mean, there are more polarizing guys, like Westbrook, or Kyrie. But you sort of know exactly what you have with them.

Yeah but you gotta give me this moment.

Credit to Swift and (cough) those others among us who have never hopped off the Optimist Express. And, yes, the Brunson signing (at less than retail) is exactly the kind of “get” Leon implied-promised-tampered he would deliver. Of course, this train may still go off the rails b/c Knicks, but bing bong indeed as we head into the break 😉

“because very few front offices make such good deals and the Knicks never do.”

Never did.

Narrative grooves run deep. As does PTSD.

Damn, I knew Mikal Bridges went off last night but I didn’t know how efficient it was. 45 points, 17-24 from the field.

Crazy to think Villanova had Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Mikal Bridges on the same team. Not to mention Donte DeVincenzo and Ryan Arcianado.

Damn shame Bridges is a Net now and there’s likely no way to get him.

Damn shame Bridges is a Net now and there’s likely no way to get him.

I think he could be had for three draft picks. The Nets turned that down from Memphis, but I bet it’d be more enticing from the Knicks. 2025, 2027 and 2029 probably gets it done.

Again, I am reliably told that Mikal Bridges can’t volume score. So last night must not have happened.

I kid, I was surprised by it too. You watch him though and he has moves.

brunson, julius, ihart, soon to be jhart…sort of mitch too I guess…

some misses for sure since getting here, but no question our roster has improved…

man, remember when Lance Thomas was the best basketball talent we were able to field…

ha, lance thomas, he plays the game the right way…that was as good as it got then…

The problem with Obi is we still cannot say with any definitive certainty what he can and cannot do.

The only time he was set free he performed well but it was a small sample size at the end of the season. Other than that he has had as short of leash as a player could possibly have.

He was tasked with becoming a three point threat and has responded by leading the team in 3pa per 36 while trailing only Brunson and now Hart in 3pt%.

Maybe he isn’t a threat to create his own shot but I cannot say with any confidence what would happen if given the chance.

Defensively he is not great but no worse than Randle and probably on average better. As a rebounder he is a solid defensive rebounder but plays so far from the basket on offense he has not been a good offensive rebounder. Whether that is him or the scheme it’s hard to tell.

Overall, we are in year 3 and we still have lots of questions. RJ on the other hand has gotten nothing but opportunities and has still performed worse than Obi.

I would love for us to back up the truck for Bridges. Barrett and 3-4 picks (1-2 unprotected), would be totally worth it.

2025, 2027 and 2029 probably gets it done.

If it were 2023, 2025, and 2027, I’d do it in two seconds. Pushing it out to 2029 is tough because it limits our ability to make future trades.

Bridges only has a $22.7MM AAV. He’d be the 4th “star” on our team not being paid the max. And in two years the cap is going to jump like it did in the Durant year.

If the Nets want to talk, let’s talk.

Damn shame Bridges is a Net now and there’s likely no way to get him.

Speaking of Mikal, do you guys know he never missed an NBA game he was eligible to play? He’s at 368 consecutive games, right now. 😮 He wasn’t eligible for one game, because “trade pending”, but as the Nets had less games than the Suns, he’ll end up playing 83 regular games this season if he keeps his streak alive. 😮
He also never missed a game in Villanova, playing in all 116 games of his 3 seasons there. 😮

Defensively he is not great but no worse than Randle.

Disagree hard about this. I think Randle is a plus defender when he’s engaged. And rebounding the ball (ie, ending the opposing team’s possesion) is a HUGE part of defense and Randle is elite in that regard.

Its funny the Celtics seem to keep getting these really good coaches but it’s pretty obvious that they just have a lot of very good players. Brad, Ime and the new guy obviously haven’t fucked up, but the Celtics the last 8 or 9 years are a great example of how coaching is overrated by the media.

Crazy to think Villanova had Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Mikal Bridges on the same team. Not to mention Donte DeVincenzo and Ryan Arcianado.

I think Arcidiacono was the tournament MVP on one of their title teams, which is pretty funny

DJphan, i vote Barrett is worth more salary than Obi. (That doesn’t mean he is worth the contract extension he signed though). But he is a legit starter and he can create his own shot by driving to the basket. And he’s young enough he should improve. Obi is older and hasn’t demonstrated enough. Per Nicos, he’s averaged about 24th percentile in points per shot attempt for a wing. That’s lousy but still has to be the level of some other starting wings in the league. As for salary, he’s getting about $10M this year and he’s worth that. Let’s see how he does next year when he’s actually getting paid the bigger money.

I do agree that Randle is a solid defender, and better than Obi, when fully engaged I just don’t think he is capable of being fully engaged for more than short bursts at a time.

He is a good on ball defender but he is constantly lost and caught in no man’s land away from the ball that he is a big reason we so often get burned by open 3 point shooters.

Randle is our weakest link defensively. Barrett and Obi are also not great and do get burned regularly but it is Randle’s bad rotations that cause the most problems.

“That’s lousy but still has to be the level of some other starting wings in the league.”

Not ones that start on good teams, with the sole exception of Dillon Brooks.

What’s really shitty about RJ’s efficiency is he also provides no spacing benefits. Teams are fully comfortable leaving him open from 3 for the obvious reason that he’ll probably miss. He’s shooting 34.5% on “wide open” 3s and 31.2% on “open” 3s. Just a total non-threat.

RJ is probably one of the easiest players to guard in the entire league.

My only strong take on who I’d pay more between RJ and Obi is that I wouldn’t pay either of them an amount that limited my ability to do almost anything else. Sad state of affairs for our most recent lottery picks huh?

If I was forced to give one of them a long-term contract, it would probably be Obi because I could at least be confident he wouldn’t materially hurt my team. That’s worth more to me than RJ’s higher upside at this point, because it’s just hard for me to believe in the upside of a player who has made so little progress in four years.

OAKAAK!

Bolmaro was a Knick? I must have been asleep during his “reign” here. 😀

By the way, the Durant trade made perfect sense as Flags Fly Forever, but boy, in two years, Bridges might be a two-way superstar while Durant will be 36.

Cyber, IIRC, we drafted Bolmaro and traded him for the pick that became IQ.

Then he was useful for us, thanks Leandro and best of luck in europe. 😀

Will a team that spent 2 proper firsts and 1 incinerated first on a big trade this summer try their luck with Udoka? Nate looked like a dead man walking…

Randle saying he wants to play with PG in the all-star game because they “have a relationship” is interesting. I’m really hoping Westbrook goes to L.A. and screws things up enough that they implode- PG would be a great fit here. That said, with each Bulls loss the odds that LaVine is the “star” we wind up with increases. If we make a big off-season move I’d say the odds that it is for LaVine are at least 50/50.

If I had to lock down one of RJ or Obi, it’d definitely be the younger RJ. But yeah, I’d hate to have to make that choice.

I kind of think Durant at 36 will be totally fine and not worse than Bridges at all.

But if I were a Nets fan I would be DELIGHTED about the deal. Getting a guy like Bridges back is such an enormous win. Also, as I think I mentioned, he seems enormously likable.

Cam Johnson appears to not be chopped liver either. 60% ts+, 42% from three this year. I would be totally fine with getting him back as a second piece in deal.

Grimes, in fact, is eager to learn from the 27-year-old Hart, who is similar to him in a lot of ways. He marveled at how much intensity the former Villanova star plays with, and how much energy he brings upon entering a game.
“He’s definitely a guy you watch out there, see how hard he plays,” Grimes said. “Just go out there and try to match it, because he’s definitely going to make winning plays on and off the ball.”

This is great.

Great Randle stats via John Schuhmann of NBA.com:

1) Ranks second in the league with 4.3 second chance points/game

2) his 80 made 3 pointers in the first quarter are the most of any player in any quarter and more than he has in the 2nd/3rd/4th quarters combined (78).

Some of the 2nd stat is just that he plays a lot more minutes in the 1st (and 3rd) quarters than 2nd and 4th. But it is still crazy that it’s more than the other 3 quarters combined!

I was so impressed with Randle at the end of the 3rd yesterday. Team desperately needed buckets and the offense was stuck in the mud – those 2 putbacks + the and-1 were just huge until the offense woke up again.

Mikal Bridges explosion notwithstanding, I will put my marker down on the Nets falling to 7 or 8 and possibly losing in the play-in games. They have a total of ONE ball handler used to being a lead guard (Dinwiddie) unless you consider Cam Thomas to be an initiator. Their defense will be good but it’s hard to win when you have one primary ball handler.

(I am not counting Ben Simmons as anything)

I don’t disagree, Frank. Even if I liked the team better, they clearly need to gel a lot, and it’s not going to happen on the fly like this. But Bridges is a mighty nice piece to build around.

2) his 80 made 3 pointers in the first quarter are the most of any player in any quarter and more than he has in the 2nd/3rd/4th quarters combined (78).

Randle totally earned that 3 point contest invite! He’ll probably be perfect on the first rack and then brick everything else. Still, how cheap is the NBA not to invite somebody who’s actually a good three point shooter to take that spot. Were all the hotel rooms in Utah booked? Mac McClung is the dunk contest, why shouldn’t Isaiah Joe or Yuta Watanabe be in the three point contest? Makes no sense.

If funny that we as Knicks fans, are hard wired to talk about next year instead of enjoying what’s in front of us now.

Last night was a playof implication road game and it was a lot of fun to watch…

*both bigs were wrecking havoc inside
*Randle was a bully in a china shop, Collins looked like a two way guy
*JB owned the paint and wrecked their best defender
*team defense was suffocating
*bench mob in the first half
*Grimes frustrated Trae and had him take multiple logo shots in despair…

ATL had no answers for us. We should talk about these things more and less about what piece(s) are we missing or the exact level severity of Leon’s mistakes.

Live in the moment, Director…and the “moment” for Knicks fans is always next year

Said this the day after the Kyrie trade, Brooklyn will be in the play in tournament. NY and Miami will battle for 5th or 6th seed.

Not sure about everyone else but I prefer we play Philadelphia instead of Cleveland. We match up better. Hart & Grimes will make Harden’s life very difficult and Mitch could force Embiid to have a couple of average games too. More importanly, 76rs have no answers for neither Randle or JB. Lastly, their bench is very very weak. Would conservatively handicap our chances of advancing to 2nd round at least ~30%.

From the NYpost article, RJ on his slump

“I think every year this will happen to me. It’ll happen to a lot of players,” he said. “It’s not anything I feel is out of the ordinary”

Umm, I seriously hope he doesn’t believe this. Otherwise that implies zero self awareness or zero desire to fix it.

*** his 80 made 3 pointers in the first quarter are the most of any player in any quarter and more than he has in the 2nd/3rd/4th quarters combined***

It’s obviously because the garden crowd arrives late and Randle can only shoot in empty arenas.

Re: RJ – he is just not a natural shooter. For better or for worse, it seems like brute force work ethic is how he gets better at stuff. But it seems every year he has to go back into the lab with Drew Hanlen and re-find his stroke.

My suggestion would be to find another coach to be honest… for all his individually improved skills, his stats are basically unchanged year to year. Like hire Dave Hopla or pay Chip Engellund on the side or something. (definitely don’t go to Keith Smart)

NYC Director: I totally agree with your optimism–I’m on your train because that’s how I’m wired. Nevertheless, this Team should not rest on its laurels and must critically evaluate talent, finding ways to improve. We can acknowledge the positive but must examine the negative. Go Knicks!

i find this Obi and RJ convo interesting… I get the hate for RJ but i think folks are underestimating how much usage at even mediocre efficiency is valued…. and for this board i feel overrates low usage high efficiency guys for years… we’ve had this conversation many times over the years going over Melo’s value… iverson et al… and that’s led to hate for all these high usage low efficiency valued players….

and those have mostly been on point.. you don’t want your highest usage guy to have mediocre efficiency… but as a 3rd or 4th option it’s not so bad… that’s how a lot of contenders have operated in fact where their 3rd or even 2nd option are below league avg in TS (.575)… the grizzlies (brooks).. nuggets (murray)… heat (herro)…

that’s not to say RJ is exactly like any of these guys or will be… but these are examples where usg matters because there just aren’t that many high usg high efficiency guys… not everyone would be blessed with durant.. kyrie and harden…. and so you either entrust low usage guys to expand their games against playoff defenses (which almost never works) or you get guys who can get mediocre shots off and convert mediocrely against even tougher defenses….

i mean look.. everyone wants to get OG on this team.. me included… but look at what his TS is the last couple of years…. it’s not appreciably better than what RJ is currently producing…. and so you’re expecting his defense to do a lot of the heavy lifting… a trade for a star you’re hoping for much better efficiency and some defense to go along with it but there’s like maybe only a handful of wings in the entire nba that fit that description… and they’re not exactly freely available….

and until guys like Kawhi or PG or Butler or Tatum or Brown say i want to goto the knicks… what else is exactly out there that hits all those boxes? not much… and that’s why you’re looking at gambles like OG or Lavine…. and the alternative is waiting on the above names to shake loose which may or probably won’t happen…

RJ isn’t great but this is why guys like RJ are valued more than guys like Obi.. high usg low efficiency guys has been a blindspot on this board because high usg low efficiency don’t always stay low efficiency for their entire career and the bar for high efficiency is a lot lower than you think given what’s available….

Frank, I am no expert, but RJ seems to rush his shot, which often results in a poor attempt that is too hard, off the back of the rim, with very little touch. Further, while he gets very good shot attempts, he rarely drives with the secondary or third check down shooter on his radar. This is does not lead to offensive competence and results in disappointing outcomes. It’s simply dumb basketball. He rarely lets the game come to him. His defense is also a negative. Not sure what else I can say, but we could use an upgrade for RJ as a starter. BTW, I am not advocating for OG, certainly not for a king’s ransom, and I am not a hater.

I get the hate for RJ but i think folks are underestimating how much usage at even mediocre efficiency is valued…. and for this board i feel overrates low usage high efficiency guys for years…

inefficient scoring only makes up for 25% of RJ’s issues out on the court…

his defense is poor, negative…not often a willing passer, poor rebounder for a forward, and it just seems like his basketball IQ is super low, very rigid/robotic…

that open mouth bewildered hands turned up gesture he gives every time he fucks up is really grating on me now…

Yes Geo, how can you improve until you acknowledge your limitations, rather than looking for excuses?

RJ was shooting pretty well for a reasonably long stretch of games before his index finger exploded. His TS% in 13 December games was .571 (210 shot attempts) and in 11 January games was .559 (183 attempts). He shot almost 40% from 3 during that stretch.

It’s not easy to do for that long of a stretch in a starting role at a 26% usage.

And that’s the thing that makes me call for patience with RJ. He doesn’t just have flashes of good play, he has long, sustained stretches. At 22 years old, I am going to be more comfortable with that type of up-and-down play than I would if he was consistently mediocre.

While I agree that it wasn’t a great idea to extend him, that’s a sunk cost. For now, it seems overly-pessimistic to assume that he will never extend those stretches of good play and shorten up the stretches of putrid play. I know it’s not the same as dismissing Randle based on last year’s bad play, but it rings similarly short-sighted to me.

As to Obi, it strikes me odd that folks keep blaming his problems on how he is being utilized. My guess is that he gets plenty of opportunity to show his stuff in practice but isn’t exactly lighting it up in those opportunities. I don’t think he’s anywhere close to being a legit starter in this league, and that if he tried his bag inside the arc with any kind of defensive game planning he’d be getting stripped and forced into low-percentage shots, and he would get mercilessly hunted on D. IMHO he’s actually in the perfect role to maintain his value, as there might still be folks in FOs who feel that it’s not about him (obviously Ainge was not one of those folks who are duped by the flashes he showed at the end of last year.) He is a nice bench piece when he’s hitting 3’s and catching lobs against other teams’ second units like he did last night.

I don’t see any reason to trade him. I would rather risk letting him become a RFA than dump him for a couple of seconds, and doubt that he would bring back much more than that.

everyone wants to get OG on this team.. me included… but look at what his TS is the last couple of years…. it’s not appreciably better than what RJ is currently producing….

OG’s career career TS+ is 101 (97 the last two years) while RJ’s career TS+ is 90 and this “improved finishing” version sits at 91. this year. That’s an appreciable difference. Again, RJ’s points per shot attempt ranks in the 25th percentile for wings- that’s not mediocre, that’s poor. When RJ finishes a season at 96 TS+ or so then you can start calling his efficiency mediocre.

Djphan I completely agree that high usage, mediocre efficiency guys can be valuable on many teams, even very good ones. The problem is RJ is pretty damn far away from “mediocre” efficiency and his path there is as murky as ever.

I mean, let’s arbitrarily give him a very generous 3PT% of 37%. This still only gets his TS% to .549.

To get him to Herro’s .560, you have to let him keep the 37% 3PT% and bump his 2PT% up to 50%.

So we’re talking about a guy who has to make *major* improvements after year four just to be a Wiggins-esque 4th option. That’s an unlikely path to an uninspiring destination, so I’d prefer to just start anew with the cap space and some extra draft assets.

I am personally not as caught up in overall defensive rating as others here. To me, the mark of a good defense is one that can get stops when we it really needs to. Seems like we’ve done that against some elite offensive teams during this 8-6 run.

Now it’s fair to ask whether we’d have won these last 3 games without Josh Hart…he’s been a huge factor on D by shutting down guys like Dinwiddie and Murray, but still…

To me the mark of a good defense is the ability to make it harder for the other team to score on every possession regardless of the quarter. I am weird like that.

Obviously agree about Mazzullo DRed. Coaches have a central role in narrative and probably an important role in managing locker room culture and player morale. But the impact on wins has always seemed so tenuous. It’s a great roster.

I’ve been wrong about a few guys who did eventually end up scoring efficiently enough to be good. I don’t think I will be wrong about RJ but you can’t discount him completely because he seems guaranteed to have the leash to find his way though any slump.

Re Love, apparently he hurt his thumb and stopped being able to hit shots. They benched him and went 9-3 and are now grudgingly accommodating his buyout request. Windhorst talked about him on PTI.

“To me the mark of a good defense is the ability to make it harder for the other team to score on every possession regardless of the quarter. I am weird like that.”

The key word you in your definition is “ability.” We agree on that. I feel that a good defense can make it harder for the other team to score whenever it wants to. Or needs to. Pretty much the same definition, right?

Speaking of definitions, why do pundits keep referring to the 60 games played thus far of the “first half” of the season?

The idea that the mark of a good defense is the ability to get stops when it really needs to, as you said above, is both wrong and also nonsensical.

It’s a thing people say that actually falls apart upon close inspection.

I think what is frustrating about RJ is that his bad games and stretches are REALLY bad. Yeah he’ll have good stretches where you think he could be a good or even really good player. But then something happens. He gets covid or the flu or an injury and it’s like even just missing a game or two for this guy puts him back at square one for at least five to ten games. And it would be one thing if he had those nice stretches and then his bad stretches were shorter or he was just playing so so. But it’s like he’ll go 3-20 for 19 games bc he missed a few games with the flu or whatever. His shooting is so hot and cold.

Like he really needs to do nothing but shoot every day after every game and do nothing all summer but practice shooting.

I would also like to recommend that RJ practices passing every day after every game and all summer.

And maybe defense.

“The idea that the mark of a good defense is the ability to get stops when it really needs to, as you said above, is both wrong and also nonsensical…It’s a thing people say that actually falls apart upon close inspection.”

Can you refer me to an article that has inspected it closely?

Since individual defense is hard to quantify, I tend to look at the teams with the best eFG% against, and then give the players that play the most minutes on those teams the benefit of the doubt, since a good defense’s goal is the force the opponent to miss shots. I guess RJ rates pretty well via this method, even though he seems to suck at D per the game threads. Steph and Klay rate highly via this armchair metric. Maybe it’s all Dray, and they are cashing in, but I think if you put that version of Draymond on the current Blazers, Lillard and Simons maybe wouldn’t get a similar bump.

Z- Man – A article? Saying what?

Great defenses are great all the time. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be great. By definition.

Great defenses are not like lockdown closers in high leverage situations. They are like the LT Giants.

i totally get it that it seems far for RJ.. but i’m saying that it’s actually not in nominal terms.. yes by looking at the numbers in a certain way it can look further than it actually is…. and if you abide by percentile increases there’s nothing i can show you to make it seem doable or if you think that he’s not capable period then it’s not like if i say that he shoots over 50% from 2pt land is going to seem like a canyon to cross….

but if you look at it from a different way.. .like in purely nominal terms… wherever he sits efficiency wise to where he starts becoming passable.. it’s not that far… is it really impossible for him to shoot 37% on 3s when he shot 40% in his second year? is it really impossible for him to get to 50% 2pt% when he’s at .480 right now when all he did was move some of his poor rim attempts to floater range where he’s not shooting a super terrible % anymore? he can’t make further adjustments like that?

if the argument he can’t do that because he can’t… and he can’t because looking at this one metric in one way prevents him from doing that… then there’s nothing i will say that will be very convincing… but it’s happened before if you happen to look at it in a variety of different ways…. which i’ve gone over before and won’t rehash…

and yes andrew wiggins and harrison barnes.. and rudy gay and jason richardson are not tremendous outcomes.. they’re not superstars… but he doesn’t need to be a superstar to be useful… would you say no to andrew wiggins when we’re talking about giving multiple first rd picks for a guy who’s basically andrew wiggins right now.?

and all andrew wiggins did was move some bad 2pt attempts to good catch and shoot 3pt attempts and it’s like he turned into a passable player overnight… that’s not a huge change by any stretch but if it’s a bridge too far then i can understand dumping him for second rd picks….

but all i ask is that you take a deeper look at some of these guys that this board mercilessly jeered at.. probably worse than RJ.. some i mentioned and some that i haven’t.. and investigate how they turned it around.. most of the time it wasn’t some giant sea change in their game… and as long as they can do some basic things or do something valuable.. if they get enough time to figure it out they sometimes do…. and that’s why age is so important…. and that’s mostly why there’s still hope for RJ…

djphan, I am in total agreement. I actually think RJ Barrett CAN be a good basketball player. Because there is clear evidence of it, significant stretches of games where he plays like a borderline all-star (Z–Man listed one above). I can remember these stretches (it’s only been four years, although those are four years that seem to stretch for eternity, because of both Covid and Knicks).

What’s unclear is whether he ever WILL pull it together to become consistently good. He’s in such a godawful funk at the moment that it takes a great effort to remember he’s not always been Kevin Knox’s doppleganger. And he couples shooting badly with the exact opposite of what he should do instead, by playing badly at other aspects of the game (I’m going to refuse to pass the ball; I’m going to stand around and ball-watch on defense; etc.) that it is easy to give up all hope.

There’s a quite decent player in RJ somewhere. I just wish Glinda the Good Witch would sail down out of the sky and bang him in the forehead with her wand.

Since individual defense is hard to quantify, I tend to look at the teams with the best eFG% against, and then give the players that play the most minutes on those teams the benefit of the doubt, since a good defense’s goal is the force the opponent to miss shots. I guess RJ rates pretty well via this method

be thankful you haven’t witnessed much of rowan alexander barrett junior play basketball for the new york knickerbockers…

that new car smell has worn way off…numbers don’t lie to this extent…worse yet, with the roster around him improving quickly – he’s continuing to look worse and worse out on the court…

he looks much worse than lance thomas at this point…at least lance knew how to play the right way, right…

fuck – no wonder leon wants no part of any pick before 20 or so…we really suck at that part of the draft…

I’m not totally out on RJ and I don’t think anyone wants him out of the rotation or traded for a second or two. But I don’t think he should be pencilled in for anything more than 18-20 minutes a night unless he’s cooking- IQ and Hart are more conducive to winning and I think at this point RJ’s development should not come at expense of wins and losses. The ceiling just doesn’t seem high enough to justify it. There’s good stuff there but it seems like when anything is out of wack mechanically the wheels completely fall off and he’s a horror show. Keep him on a short leash and hope for the best.

It is pretty remarkable that we’re where we are having picked Frank, Knox, RJ, and OBI with our most recent lottery picks.

Thank god we signed Randle and Brunson and got them in the building. And hit on our late first round picks.

I like the way djphan has framed the RJ analysis.

My perspective is that in 2 out of the last 3 seasons (including this one) I put “RJ making the leap” as the number 1 key to the season. That pre-supposes that I thought he had the ability to make a leap. I still think he does but the ceiling is lower and the excuses as to why not are fewer (I remember when it was Keith Smart who was responsible for his poor shooting). His efficiency could go up if he just curtailed his usage when he starts throwing airballs; he is not a bad passer, he just doesn’t pass enough; he is not a bad defender, he just has a habit of standing around every once in a while. All those things are easily fixable.

Over the past decade, nobody has blown more top-of-the-lottery draft capital than the Suns. Josh Jackson? Dragen Bender? Alex Len? (Even DeAndre Ayton over Luka Doncic is a huge whiff). And yet they are, possible faves for a chip.

Nice to hit on guys like Booker, Bridges and Johnson…to squeeze some juice out of Cam Payne…to be good enough for the addition of a diminished CP3 to be a difference-maker…

If Randle continues to be this version and Brunson is what we keep rubbing our eyes and looking at, we are not that far away. CP3-type deals are going to become available, and RJ is not going to be some insurmountable obstacle to making them.

Mike Vacarro wrote an article comparing the acquisition of Josh Hart to Dave Debusschere, with appropriate caveats.

Even with those caveats, it’s a ridiculous comparison. Dave is a top-75 of all time player. Josh Hart id likely not top-75 in the league right now. And those Knicks didn’t need a role model or a spark. They needed an all-star PF who could stretch the floor, rebound and defend at an all-NBA level to be a championship-level team. This version needed a spark off the bench that could fill a largely defensive role vs. opposing big PGs and small wings.

But that said, the premise that he came in and immediately fit like a glove to what the team needed is valid. I saw a glimpse of that in Deuce McBride’s minutes. I wished he was taller, could get to the rim, could hit 3’s, but otherwise loved watching him just disrupt shit out there. To me, Hart is essentially a supersized and mature version of Deuce.

I get the one player away sentiment, but I think we are also one player away from a whole new set of problems.

Say we get Mikal Bridges, or even Paul George. That will surely move us into the top 2 tiers of NBA teams, but now we have to deal with the problems those teams present, and I don’t think we’re set up for that well because our best players aren’t great shooters.

If we’re in a series against the Bucks, for example, they’re going to play 5 out against Mitchell Robinson. And on the other end of the court, Giannis is going be able to play free safety as long as he’s close enough to the dunker’s spot to recover. And whoever is guarding Randle or Hart on the perimeter is going to sag. And now we’re going to start wondering how many of our best guys can we keep on the court if they’re not providing space.

At least that’s the way it’s been going for the last 15 years of the small ball era. A case could be made that with a team of beefy giants, we could be the team that reverses that trend and pounds these small teams into the ground. I’d personally rather be set up for the way the game is played than be the team trying to reverse the trend. But this is what we got, so might as well.

One perhaps under the radar thing that Leon seems to be good at is caring about the players and treating them fairly, which isn’t made easier with Thibs as your coach. The mutual agreement where Kemba was shut down last year, moving Cam to get another shot with Portland, allowing Julius to re-hab himself. Then the extension/ new contract to RJ and Mitch which never turned acrimonious. Small things, common sensible, but they add up.

And I think it is paying dividends: Brunson wanted to come here, looks like JHart is thrilled to be here, heck even Donovan Mitchell wanted to come here. We have become an attractive destination and it is not just that we have a couple of very good building blocks.

And whoever is guarding Randle or Hart on the perimeter is going to sag.

Why would they sag off of Julius “3PT Shooting Contest” Randle?

(It’s ridiculous to me that they’ve decided to get “stars” for the 3pt contest and not the dunk contest. Nobody cares about seeing Randle in the 3pt contest… unless he wins)

@alan,

I loved your article on the upcoming Party Down revival, I’m excited for it to come back.

I will not be having fun yet until I see the first episode.

What I like about the acquisitions of Brunson, IQ, Grimes, Deuce, iHart, Sims and now JHart is that building team chemistry seems very high on the priority list. It’s a primary reason I was hoping for the Spida deal to fall through, and why I am glad that they didn’t make some kind of shortsighted blockbuster deal at the deadline.

That giddy postgame scene with Randle hounding Brunson and RJ having trouble keeping a straight face in his subsequent interview with Rebecca was very endearing to me as a fan. While there are still likely some petty jealousies that all teams have when playing time and shots are rationed, it at least appears that they love playing with each other and love playing for ol’ man Thibs. As a fan, I eat that shit up.

BE, well said. Reining in Thibs’ tendency to take things too far is thus far a feather in Leon’s cap. Not that it’s perfect…Fournier is too good to be permabenched…but it is pretty obvious that everyone is buying into the mantra of being ready when his number is called and otherwise keeping negative feelings out of the press.

It really sucks that Embiid, Brown and DeRozan are all questionable for the all-star game and Brunson is being left hanging….

“But so what’s the beginning and the end of the play? And if indeed the officials missed the foul but then the other team is saying, well, go back 15 seconds, they missed something else there, it’s not an easy issue, but it’s something we’re going to look at because my personal view is I don’t mind the challenge system but also think the ultimate goal is to get it right, not put the pressure on the coach in terms of that additional tactic on using their challenge appropriately.”

I think a challenge in the last 2 minutes with a consequence for being wrong is warrented. For example, if the challenge is unsuccessful, it results in a technical free throw. It would have been interesting to see how the two Knicks games (Cavs and Lakers) and the Lakers-Celtics game would have turned out under those circumstances…you are risking losing in regulation to have the call reviewed.

With the Wizards in 9th place in the East, they have a good shot at making the playoffs. If they do, their pick will most likely be just after the lotto… 15th or 16th.

For any mock draft it’ll be worth (or at least fun) paying attention to who is going in that range, not just the Dallas pick range.

Wasserman’s draft had GG Jackson & Brice Sensabaugh going 15th & 16th. Both are SGs… so Kris Murray might be a better fit.

All that said we probably won’t pick there regardless of the pick conveying or not 🤷‍♂️

building team chemistry seems very high on the priority list.

Yes. From the beginning, Leon has also been intent on defining (or reiterating) what kind of player is a true Knick: gritty, unselfish, smart, maybe also “disrespected underdog”. Of course, everyone always claims they are changing the culture when they take over, but sometimes the words from the top really can show the way.

IMO the current FO has succeeded in changing the narrative about our team. The model/type of player they seek reinforces it.

I’ve said this before, Leon’s model seems to be the 90/00s Yankees. We may eventually get bored by the Jeter-like corporate-speak of Brunson repeating “We just got to work hard as a team,” but we won’t get bored by the wins.

I get that we’d all rather pick a player in the 15-22 range, it’s always fun to root for a pick to make good and change the direction of the team. However, it is not organically consistent with the hybrid path this team has chosen to take. It’s a value proposition, and their calculus is not aligned with what lots of folks here would prefer, or even with sound management principles at its worst.

So the question for me is whether the picks that are traded are getting commensurate value back. In the case of the Josh Hart trade, I was satisfied with the return. Same with the trade-outs on draft day 2022. Not so much in 2021, but I was pleased with the overall haul on that day (let’s not relitigate, we all know in minute detail where each other stands on that.)

So if we use this year’s picks to acquire a player that puts us squarely in 50+ win territory assuming continuing production from our current core players, I’m totally down with that. If using more that that would make us competitive with Boston, Milwaukee, Philly and Cleveland without it involving an asshole like Kyrie, or a walking injury risk like AD, or a drama queen like Harden, I’d be good with that too. PG13 is interesting…he’ll be 33 next year and seems to be in decline so I’d be a no. Kawhi would be an interesting proposition, but not my preference either. I’d rather hold fast and make 1-2 pick deals for less heralded players until a younger star shakes loose.

KBA, I agree. And while a Thibs-led team with the likes of Leon and WWW in the front office will never be completely drama-free, and hiring Rick Brunson and Gersson Rosas with their prior baggage, [luckily] whiffing on Spida, etc. are different degrees of embarrassing, the team’s overall PR is in the best place it has been in decades, and is a complete transformation from the shitcan it was in when Kyrie and KD publicly spurned us. I know that’s not enough for some, but I’m digging the vibe right now for as long as it lasts.

The Lil Yachty song I co-wrote actually charted in the Hot 100 for a week, at #80, and the album debuted at #9. Not bad! I assume I’ll be receiving a royalty check for $40 a year or so from now.

In all seriousness, it has led to some opportunities for me. I hope to be signing a publishing deal with a major publisher, which would allow me to be a full-time songwriter for a while and get my foot in the door to pitch songs to big artists. I’m terrible at the “business” part of the music business (much better at the “music” part) but I’m lucky to be working with some people who are very good at both.

1. IMO RJ should get the minutes he deserves based on his productivity now relative to other players on the team. On this team, imo, he should be a scorer coming off the bench that could eventually grow into a starting role. Quick is the much better all around player now. A starting lineup of Mitch, Randle, Hart, Quick, and Brunson is probably our best lineup, but I’m not sure what impact that would have on the bench. We’d have to see.

2. Ultimately, we need a SF that can defend the position, space the floor, and be at least a legitimate efficient 3rd scoring option in that slot. Of course it would be nicer if he was a #1 option.

3. I believe there is at least some merit to “get stops when you need them” theory on defense. Naturally you want to play good defense on every play, but I think the reality is that no one can play at 100% for every minute. You can play hard but not at 100%. There are going to some key plays and possessions in a lot of games. That’s when you want to see 100%. If your 100% gets the job done more often, you are going to win more than your fair share of the tough close ones.

4. I think on average if we drafted a player with the pick we gave up for J-Hart we wouldn’t get a player that adds as many wins as him and we’d have to wait a few years for him to develop anyway. Even though I’m a fan of improving by all means, I’m not a fan of giving up more value than you get just to get better now. I think we got better now and won the trade in terms of value.

Leon has made some moves that were head-scratching in terms of fit, but the Hart trade is just perfect for us fit-wise. It allows for a really good two-way lineup with Brunson, Quickley, Hart, Randle and Robinson. It’s not an undersized lineup, as Quickley and Hart are both classic “plays bigger than his size” kind of players. Two high usage guys with good efficiency, another (Quickley) who chips in with some offense, and two low-usage, high efficiency guys. Three plus defenders and really only one poor defender.

The pieces fit together a lot better after that trade.

“imo, he should be a scorer coming off the bench that could eventually grow into a starting role.”

I don’t disagree in theory, but doubt that Thibs will disrupt the pattern of starting RJ at this point. Remember how reluctant he was to not start Elfrid? This is even more unlikely to change. However, I think RJ’s minutes will be adjusted a bit unless his play improves.

“I believe there is at least some merit to “get stops when you need them” theory on defense.”

Yeah, it’s not some kind of extreme position intended to debunk DRtg, just a hedge against placing too much emphasis on it. So long as you can defend a lead, or turn up the D when you need to without sacrificing too much O when you need to catch up, you can win enough of the 50-50 games to have a record like we do. It’s also conducive to being elite on D when your opponent is constantly taking the ball out of the basket like with GSW’s dynastic teams.

Our D is pretty good on late-game possessions where Randle and RJ are fully committed. And now we can mix and match RJ, Hart, Grimes and IQ to cover up a bit for Brunson. And a unit with Mitch, Randle, Hart, Grimes and IQ is close to elite, except maybe vs. elite scoring wings like Tatum and DeRozan. Maybe a guy like Siakam (at the expense of RJ, Obi and multiple picks) is the best fit if you want to go for it.

Congrats!! Is that your first time charting (I have no idea how popular Ariel Pink is)?

Let’s circle back in 200,000,000 years on buying the Knicks. Just save up those royalty checks till then 🙂

Interestingly the only guys from last years draft who are outperforming Hart by WS/48 were all picked out of the lottery. I think they’re also all centers.

Nice JK! Waiting for your song lamenting a recurring nightmare in which you couldn’t escape a permanent gig w JD and the Straight Shot…

Our D is pretty good on late-game possessions where Randle and RJ are fully committed.

well, our defensive rating in close late games (nba.com’s “clutch”) is 119.1, which is 25th in the league.

i’m mostly in agreement that RJ ‘deserves’ less minutes… but i don’t really think it’s all that much… the next highest guy in terms of usage is quickley and he’s below 20 usage… we don’t have a doncic or super usage type of guy… randle and brunson who are probably close to the peak of their powers are in the high 20s… which is good but that necessitates some sort of usage soaker somewhere… that could be from hart or grimes or what have you but we aren’t exactly rife with options…. not to mention that could actually just torpedo their entire offensive game….

so if RJ deserves to go to the bench.. i don’t think it’s by much barring someone outside the roster coming in and really over the course of 1000 minutes the difference is maaybe a win or two if it even costs us anything…. what is probably more impactful in terms of allocating 1000 minutes is not playing guys like deuce or obi and instead giving those to our better players… they’re role and skillset is readily replaceable from actual good players and would most definitely result in more wins now…. and whatever upside they have it’s somewhere south of whatever you think RJ is….

Great Fred Katz article on Julius’ improved offense this year, the coaches encouraging him to take more 3s(*) and tweaking the offense to get him more looks from deep, etc: https://theathletic.com/4217999/2023/02/17/julius-randle-nba-knicks-3-point-shooting/

(*) Johnny Bryant’s advice to Julius, as quoted in the article, reminds me of something Bill Walton once said on an NBA on NBC broadcast in the 90s that I laughed at at the time, but which makes a certain degree of sense now: “It’s not how many shots you make, Marv; it’s how many you take!”

Congrats JK, the album is more than deserving of the hype and your track is the best on it!

Katz’ article from today is chock full of anecdotes suggesting a shocking degree of competence from the New York Knicks: https://theathletic.com/4217999/2023/02/17/julius-randle-nba-knicks-3-point-shooting/

Some highlights (but read the whole thing):

“Bryant worked with Randle on becoming more decisive. Randle hesitated too much in 2021-22, Bryant said. When you have a good look, go up with it, the coach told him. He guided Randle through film sessions, pointing out times when Randle received passes and held onto the ball for seconds before making a move or dribbling into an unnecessarily long 2-pointer, basketball’s least-efficient shot.”

“Head coach Tom Thibodeau has pushed the team to adjust its shot selection, a mission that required Randle’s participation. Thibodeau commonly refers to “the value of shots,” explaining that he wants as many 3s, layups, dunks and free throws as possible. The Knicks now own one of the more analytically-friendly shot profiles. Less than five percent of their field-goal attempts this season are long 2s, the seventh-smallest rate in the NBA.”

We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve also come a long way since our POBO was asking the Warriors how it was goink.

“well, our defensive rating in close late games (nba.com’s “clutch”) is 119.1, which is 25th in the league.”

And yet we are 33-27 and mostly play in close games.

We seem to have evolved a bit as well. We blew some big leads earlier in the season and seem to be doing that less now. In fact, we came from way behind in the Clips game and got done in by a missed rebound and a Batum 3 from the elbow before running out of gas in OT.

I also don’t think Randle is a bad late-game defender, where he is often matched against the opponent’s closer. He is definitely not as much to blame as RJ and Brunson. We have also played 22 games without everyone’s favorite defensive C.

In short, I’ll take my chances with Mitch, Randle, JHart and whoever we throw out there from RJ, Grimes, IQ and Brunson depending on the situation.

In short, I’ll take my chances with Mitch, Randle, JHart and whoever we throw out there from RJ, Grimes, IQ and Brunson depending on the situation.

How often have we closed close games with a healthy Brunson off the floor? I mean, I can see a few circumstances where an IQ/Grimes (or IQ/JHart) backcourt might have its advantages, but Brunson is just so good at generating offense out of nothing that I would be surprised to learn we’ve played more than a handful of those minute without him, if that.

“How often have we closed close games with a healthy Brunson off the floor? I mean, I can see a few circumstances where an IQ/Grimes (or IQ/JHart) backcourt might have its advantages, but Brunson is just so good at generating offense out of nothing that I would be surprised to learn we’ve played more than a handful of those minute without him, if that.”

Of course, and beyond drawing charges and crafty stuff in passing lanes and blitzes, Brunson is the weak link so everyone has to be very connected for it to work. But I can see situations like Game 1 in ATL where Thibs subs for him on a critical possession for defensive purposes…hopefully with better results than we got from Frank.

I see Mark Williams and Kessler as putting up better WS/48 than Hartenstein this year. Both are lower than what Hartenstein did last year, so iHart could theoretically back there.

Hartenstein’s usage and passing are down this year, even in the last few weeks. Maybe Thibs starts trusting him more though(?)

OTOH, his rebounding is up and his defensive stats are closer to last year. He had a 3.1 BPM on the defensive side last year. He can probably beat out Kessler & Williams with defense alone.

We also received MIL’s future pick by trading out of this draft. So it’s a question of 1st rd pick plus Hartenstein or just Kessler.

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