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[news.google.com] — Sunday, March 26, 2023 5:00:00 PM
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[news.google.com] — Sunday, March 26, 2023 4:22:53 PM
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[news.google.com] — Sunday, March 26, 2023 3:32:00 PM
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38 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2023.03.27)”
Another good piece by Katz in The Athletic, which also looks at Randle spending some recent time in the 2021 way-back machine:
“For a team that’s still nine games above .500, the Knicks have switched from hot to cold and back to hot and back to cold quicker than Bengay.
They’ve won at least three straight six times this season. They’ve lost at least three straight five times. A few months ago, they followed an eight-game winning streak with a five-game losing streak and then followed that with a four-game winning streak. On this stretch, they won nine consecutive games, then lost three in a row, then won three in a row and have now lost their past three.”
Injuries are obviously a factor also, but I think basketball has become more prone towards big comebacks and streaky results given the progressively higher volume of 3 pointers. I don’t think you can put too much weight on the results of a few games in either direction unless you see something also.
Well we’ve gone from possibly having 3 first round picks in this draft to having potentially zero. And in fact, we might have zero picks in the entire draft.
Will make for a very different draft night experience!
Does anyone know whether next year’s draft is considered good?
I am actually a little worried that Dallas’s pick may never convey. If the rest of this season continues to implode, you have to believe Kyrie is walking. I don’t really see any plausible S&Ts but of course you never know who might want to roll the die that is Kyrie Irving. The most likely always had been the Lakers, but one might think that the Lakers would rather roll with Russell/Beasley and co. rather than do another 3 or 4 for 1 trade like they did for Westbrook. Not to mention that any team taking Kyrie in a S&T would be hard-capped.
If Kyrie just walks… then the Mavs are stuck with an ill-fitting low-ceiling roster without any tradeable draft assets, and $25MM in cap space in a bad FA market. And Luka does not strike me as a guy who will thrive in a losing situation.
C’mon Mavs – just go .500 the rest of the season – that’ll prob be good enough to stay out of the top 10….
by the way – this talk of the Mavs maybe tanking to keep their pick, the Blazers’ shameless tank job etc makes me want to do my yearly repost of my solution to fix tanking — ready?
The major issue with the draft lottery as it exists, even in its modified form, is that it still incentivizes losing games. Any team that isn’t in the playoff hunt (and even probably teams 7-10 in both conferences) are probably better off trying to lose and get lottery balls. So of course, the end of the season is terrible on multiple levels — teams trying to lose, and in so doing, completely mess up the playoff races that actually do matter — it’s complete luck as to whether a team has the Blazers on their schedule or not… but it might make all the difference in seeding or making the playoffs altogether.
So the solution – at some point nearer to the end of the season, incentivize WINNING.
General bones of the idea ->
First X games of the season, losses count as “lottery points” (value TBD)
Then game #s 82-X games of the season, WINS count as “lottery points” (value TBD).
X is randomly determined AFTER the season (probably with a guardrail that X has to be <20 or some such thing).
The worst teams are already very well established by ASB – they will have already accumulated a ton of losses (lottery points) by the time Game X rolls around. But by the last part of the season, when tanking is the most widespread, WINS are how you get more lottery points. Front offices won't know what X is until after the season, but since losing doesn't definitely help you, then teams will try to win.
Let's look at the Blazers.
On March 6 (17 games left), the Blazers were 31-34 and right in the hunt for the play-in. At that point they probably had something like the 13th or 14th pick. Since then, they've gone 1-8 and are shutting down players left and right. In so doing, they're trying to position themselves at the #5 spot. It's a travesty and disgusting by an competitive measure.
But in my lottery redesign – perhaps X = 17 — and they would just lose (or certainly not gain) ground. There should be NO reward for abject tanking like this.
Meanwhile, teams like Orlando who are trying to win even though they are not great teams – they would get rewarded.
Key of course is to make X random and only determined after the season so teams can't plan when the tanking switch flips.
They’ll never do a “secret number” that the media and fans wouldn’t know, and thus, couldn’t talk about.
No- they would have a lottery- like televised thing where the number is revealed!
Plus, there’s already a ton of conspiracy theories about the lottery, choosing a number after the season is over would create even more bad will. It’s also overly complicated when the easiest answer is to either reverse the lottery so teams with the best records who miss the playoffs have the best chance to win the lottery or take the weighting out completely and give every non-playoff team the same chance.
I meant *before* the number revealed after the season, when it is still in the middle of the regular season in March and April after the All-Star Break. No one is going to go for some as-yet-unrevealed number for that whole time.
I don’t want you to think that I found it in any way uncool that you’ve thought about this enough to devise a system of any kind, even though I don’t think they would ever do it. It’s more than I’ve ever been able to come up with.
Disagree – there has to be some mechanism for the worst teams to get the best prospects, or those teams will get stuck forever at the bottom. While maybe those teams’ FOs and owners might deserve it, it’d be terrible for the fans.
The idea of flipping the incentive near the end of the year is that the bad teams probably have already accumulated a lot of losses (ie. lottery points) before the incentive flips. For instance, let’s say the worst team in the league 15-50 before the switch flips – they’ve already accumulated 50 “points”. Then let’s say they fight to the end and go 8-9 –> they’ll have 58 (50+8) accumulated points.
Whereas the classic end-of season tanker might be, say 30-35 when the switch flips. Then in the current system, losing their last 17 games would put them in good (current) lottery position, whereas they’d still be stuck at 35 points in my system – no benefit.
You have to make winning worth something.
The Mavs are definitely going to tank. Cuban is too smart not to do it.
And it’s terrible for the league.
I think what we’re seeing is that this team is clearly a second-tier team and towards the middle-bottom of that second tier…which is fine, given expectations going into the season. It just stings a bit to accept that given how good we have looked for certain stretches.
I wouldn’t go as far to say that our winning record is due to smoke and mirrors, even with the luck we have had with opposing stars being out in many of our games. But let’s be real…we were never really a legit 50-win team even if we somehow won 50. THAT would feel smoke-and-mirrors-y.
We have some clear vulnerabilities:
-Brunson is a well-below average defender who can be hunted
-Randle is a hothead and a streaky volume scorer in terms of efficiency
-RJ…where do I begin
-Mitch has both amazing gifts and yet some very serious limitations in some aspects of the game
-We don’t really have any functional length at the wing, especially on the defensive end
-We don’t have enough high-volume/high-efficiency scorers from 3.
Thibs has done a fine job of papering over these flaws with strategic and tactical decisions. However, when teams start rolling from 3, and we aren’t matching their scoring on our end, seems like no lead is safe.
I think it’s going to be an uphill battle to win a playoff series against any top-4 team in our conference. Playing CLE gives us the best chance, but they are a step ahead of us and we would most certainly be underdogs.
So the question for me becomes: what would a first round exit mean? is there much difference between a 6-7 game loss and a genteman’s sweep?
Personally, I don’t think so…they are just shades of gray that confirm how much work is left to do.
And that’s what it comes down to for me…what we do this coming offseason. Even if the moves are not blockbusters, the team simply has to improve some aspects of the rotation.
I think tanking is a big problem for the league but the solution does not have to be complex. You can simply take the bottom 1 or 2 teams and automatically remove them from the lottery (i.e. make them draft 13 and 14, or whatever the position is). That will create competition to stay out of the bottom and you won’t get the mess you have now.
But the teams we are talking about at the moment, Knicks Fan, aren’t the Rockets and the other absolute bottom-feeders. It’s the Portlands and Dallases, who are on the fringe of the playoffs and are now potentially pivoting to a tank (Portland for sure, Dallas maybe?) to ensure they wind up in the lottery at all, even if it’s late in the lottery.
Right – the new flattened lottery odds have just moved the tanking upstream to the teams in the middle as opposed to the super-tanking bottom-feeders. Unfortunately, the play-in (while great IMHO) is not enough of an incentive for most teams in the middle.
Before the flattened odds, having the 8th best lottery odds kind of sucked, but now you have a 25% chance of a top 4 pick. Even the 10th best odds has an 11% chance. That’s still way better than getting smoked by the Bucks in the first round (although the parity this year might make some of these 1-8 matchups pretty interesting).
The certainly can flatten the odds further, but I dunno, is tanking really a serious problem right now?
There are 3 teams that will have “tanking” records: Pistons, Rockets and Spurs. They just don’t have the personnel needed to win.
Just above them are the Hornets and Magic, who have won 2 (CHA) and 3 (ORL) straight and are 5-5 in their last 10. The Magic have young guys turning the corner. The Hornets have been devastated by injuries. But as we have seen, they are playing hard and can beat anyone on any given night.
Then the Blazers and Wizards have lately given up. I wouldn’t really consider that tanking, they’re just playing out the string. Indiana too, but they’ve won some games lately.
Everyone else is sort of in the hunt. So is tanking really a problem?
it’s impossible to evaluate draft depth a year out… mid to late first rd’ers are generally going to be the same year to year… with the occasional really deep and occasional really shallow sprinkled in randomly.. we’ve seen some pretty hyped classes falter once they hit college and we’ve seen some classes become rather deep due to a number of returning players blossoming…
it’s a particularly shallow year this year as it stands…. but if you value the talent at the 11th slot it’s probably alot weaker than it was last year.. there wasn’t a sochan.. or eason or jalen williams available… this year it’s gradey dick and maxwell lewis and that’s probably it…. next year does not look all that great either which is why bronny is climbing boards… but again 17-21 year olds pop out of no where all the time and can change the makeup of a draft…. guys like trae young and morant weren’t on anyone’s radar until they made their leap in college….
100% agree. The NBA’s biggest problem is that “tanking” discourse has become so prevalent that it creates the impression that half the league is losing games on purpose when that’s just not the reality. You have really one team that I see that’s aggressively trying to lose instead of win – that’s Portland who’s not completely eliminated from the play-in but clearly sees the writing on the wall and is sending everyone home. They were also last year’s most egregious tankers posting some eye-popping tanking stats – over their last 23 games they went 2-21 with 11 (11!) 30-point losses.
The other teams that are being lumped in as “tanking” though, I really think it does a disservice to the league in a lot of instances to call it that. There are some very, very bad teams but that’s always going to be the case – of the 4 real sad sacks this year both Detroit and Charlotte came into the year expecting to be much better than this but have had lost years for their young stars. It’s also worth saying that a bunch of the teams that came into the year wearing the “tanking” tag have played the season out with real heart and shown how false that label was – OKC, Utah, & Indy are all teams that I was told were tanking before the year who are still fighting for play-in births and Orlando has had a pretty nice year too and is still running through the tape despite their play-in odds dwindling to zero.
I am an opponent of tanking, but I think the league has addressed it to the point that it’s really not much of an issue at the moment. It’s a lot different to shut down an older star in the last two weeks when you’re not playing for much than it is to begin the season with an intent to lose.
The biggest problem remaining, I think, is that protected picks complicate how some teams address the end of the season. I think that’s what the Blazers are motivated by — they want to HAVE their pick this year, not necessarily game the system for the highest possible pick.
Personally, I’d like them to do away with protections altogether. Maybe keep 1 year of top-3 protection, but all those complicated years of descending protections that finally convey as 2 second-rounders make the future too convoluted for fans and also act against the league’s interest of sustaining competition and credibility at the end of regular seasons.
They could make good trades, sign good free agents, hire good coaches and front office staff, and draft good players with their regular picks. Bad teams stay bad either because their tank didn’t work so they continue to tank or they’re terribly run. My fix changes the incentives for those bad teams so instead of trying to lose they’ll try to win instead. There’s nothing anyone can do about teams that are run terribly other than hoping that ownership changes.
When considering tanking, you have to throw in the teams that trade young, star players for pennies on the dollar. I’d definitely include the Jazz on that list, even though their record isn’t as bad, but it is certainly worse than it could have been. And, if you want to look at the past few years, there are even more teams that can be added. It may not bother everyone the same, but I find it super annoying and one of the worst things about the current game. Also, I get giving a team an avenue to replenish, but as it is now, the are really incentivizing losing and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Being a University of Miami alumnus with an older sister who’s an FAU alumnus (and current grad student) has been a great way to distract myself from the Knicks’ recent foibles
I’ve always liked Frank’s proposal–I think it balances the goals of replenishing bad teams with preventing awful basketball well–but I would also bet my entire life savings against it being enacted (note: this is a non-binding comment). Just too convoluted to try to sell to the average fan.
I think tanking has been addressed to a decent extent, but still think it’s a travesty that we may well see some of the league’s best talent get healthy DNPs (e.g. Lillard, Kyrie, Luka just off the top of my head).
Personally, I’m with vincoug/chicanery. I think the cons of outright rewarding being bad outweigh the (legitimate) pros. Maybe there can be some kind of balancing of market size via the salary cap, but I think the ideal league has 100% of its teams trying to win every game. The Premier League and other soccer leagues have accomplished this via relegation, which is probably not in the cards in American sports.
As a random example I would like to see some kind of reward for a team that tries to improve from, say, 25 wins to 35 wins. I don’t think it’s healthy for the league that in many cases such an improvement would be rightfully laughed at as trapping oneself in the dreaded middle.
Simply untethering record from draft positioning entirely via the lottery wheel would accomplish most of this. That has always struck me as the best solution, warts and all.
“you have to throw in the teams that trade young, star players for pennies on the dollar.”
The Jazz got a mountain of picks and useful players for Gobert and Mitchell. I don’t think they traded them for pennies on the dollar.
I’m with Donnie on the trading protected draft picks issue. It turbo charges the instances where tanking becomes an appealing option. It essentially is a risk mitigation tool for a win-now trade as you can take back your future traded assets via tanking if things don’t work out.
the only change that needs to be made is to prevent teams from tanking multiple years… the whole hinkie tank strategy was never really fully addressed…. flattened lottery odds don’t really prevent teams from doing that…. what will is preventing teams from outright getting top 3 picks in consecutive years… or maybe within a three year period… we had the sixers getting the #1 pick in consecutive years (traded from #3 one year) which is the most infamous example but for whatever reason… cleveland getting 3 #1 picks in a 4 year period has never been mentioned… this was on top of winning the lebron sweepstakes less than a decade earlier… or the kind of lotto voodoo that the lakers keep getting…
that more than anything will disincentivize the kind of tanking that fans hate… i don’t think it’s that much of a problem now but if people only paid attention to what the sixers did… you’d miss all the other undercover tanking jobs in the nba’s history which was just as problematic…
How bout this. Top 5 picks go to the 5 worst teams. No team can have a top 5 pick 2 years in a row or 3 out of 5 years. Everyone else is completely randomized.
“So the question for me becomes: what would a first round exit mean? is there much difference between a 6-7 game loss and a genteman’s sweep?”
I think there is.
I think part of the development process for younger teams has always been getting to the playoffs, learning how to deal with the greater pressure, adjustments from game to game, differences in how the game gets called, and trying to advance further each year.
We have a lot of players with little or no playoff experience. I’d way rather them get in a dogfight and ultimately lose than roll over and play dead. I think the benefit would carry over to the tougher games the following season.
Of course, I’d way rather win a series, but imo the 76ers are better than us and the Cavs probably are too.
On paper, I’d think I’d rather play the Cavs because they are also young and have some inexperienced players. But a good case can be made that the 76ers are more vulnerable to injuries. So what happens if we draw the 76ers and Embiid or Harden goes down? Injuries are part of the sport and probabilities.
Macri’s newsletter today is excellent. Builds on Windhorst’s recent cryptic comments to make the case that we are almost certainly headed for some kind of consolidation trade, whether it’s for a star or not. We’re not going into the luxury tax to keep *this* team together.
Between RJ/Hart/IQ/Grimes we have four players for what will be two spots in most lineups, it’s just not good business to put a ton of money in that group regardless. Obviously most people would prefer to just get rid of RJ, but naturally IQ and Grimes are going to be the guys with serious trade value. There aren’t easy answers here.
To me, it seems like the best-case scenario is trading RJ +whatever other salary filler + picks on picks on picks for a guy who would become the best player on our roster.
TNFH -that all makes a lot of sense, but I still struggle to come up with that top level star that’s going to demand a trade this off season (or a team that’s going to tear it down and trade their star) Maybe PG13 or Kawhi if the Clips flame out in the playoffs? I don’t think Miami would trade Butler to us. And I really, really don’t want to give up all our assets for Zach LaVine.
Am I missing anyone?
Come on, Luka! Go do Luka things for a few more games!
Of course I’m going to say this but I think we are BETTER than our record, not worse. Here is why.
1) It took about 1/4 of the season before Thibs shortened the rotation and cut out Cam, Rose and Fournier. We were below 500 when that happened and then we won 9 in a row.
2) After that 9 game win streak. We had a period where we won some games but also lost a lot of games bc we coughed up leads and/or couldn’t close out games. Part of that was lack of experience in those situations.
3) We clearly got better once we acquired Hart. He shored up our bench A LOT.
Our roster is full of young players. Mitch might be pretty close to a finished product at this point. And obviously RJ has the biggest leap he has to make to justify his new salary. But IQ, Grimes and McBride I think can all get a lot better. Grimes and McBride didn’t play that many minutes their rookie seasons. McBride in particular I think could make a big leap if the offense we saw from him the last few games becomes a consistent thing.
If we did nothing this off season but brought everyone back, Thibs wouldn’t have to spend 6 weeks figuring out his rotation. We could also go into next season with a full 10 man rotation that I think Thibs would feel pretty confident in playing.
I say all of this bc the last 3 games have looked rough. Then again all 3 were close losses and the last one was on a back to back without Brunson.
So yeah, we’ll be underdogs in the playoffs and yeah this little losing streak feels bad bc of the timing near the end of the season. But 8 games to go is still a lot of games and plenty of time to get it back on track. It’s also worrisome to see Randle regress right now.
But here’s the thing. 2 seasons ago we were riding super high going into the playoffs and then came crashing down big time. Maybe hitting this little road bump now will be good for the team and for Randle cause it’s giving them a little taste and they aren’t too high on themselves. Randle has done some great work this season to get back on track mentally but this type of work is never done. I’d rather he be reminded of that now than in game one of the playoffs.
Would it be so bad to have all non-playoff teams have equal odds at the #1 pick?
This incentivizes fringe playoff teams to tank, precisely the kind of team that makes more noise when it does tank.
I don’t like this kind of ideas where you favor winning teams in the late parts of the season. I think that system can be gamed so that an already good team gets a top prospect.
I personally would have a draft wheel. I believe whatever balance you lose by not awarding the top picks to the worst teams, you get by not having stupid trades where a team trades a 1st round pick that ultimately ends up being Jayson Tatum.
EDIT: However, entertainment-wise, I understand the appeal of the lottery and the uncertainty of traded picks.
You can evaluate the quality of a team in other ways. I would create some system where other GMs do some kind of auction for the entire league – all players abd all draft picks that have been traded. The teams that have the lowest total bid are the worst and pick first. You need to give the GM some incentive to be honest in there appraisals. So if you have 19 year old lebron on your team, you can lose all you want. You’re still not picking first. Teams still get the trampoline effect for tearing down declining teams but cant sit at the top of the lotto for long.
The simple easy way to fix tanking is just to remove the maximum individual salary. We’ve discussed that ad nauseam though I feel like
Maybe, but this whole conversation got started because Portland was competing for a play-in spot and has bottomed out and been tanking the last few weeks. At least totally flattening the odds (or reversing the odds) disincentivizes teams from totally bottoming out.
Portland was playing Lillard 34 minutes and winning against potential play-in competitor Utah Jazz three games ago. Yes, they have benched Lillard and tanking right now, but they have been doing so for just two games.
So they will tank for the last 10 games and enter a race with Orlando, Wizards and Pacers for the fifth worst record. It is bad, but not as bad as tanking from weeks ago.
If we have flattened odds, we would not have blatant all-year tankings like the Spurs, but we might have a tanking race between the teams *inside* the play-in to get out. That is very bad.
BTW, I just remembered that Hubert was high on the Blazers as a model of hybrid approach done well. They have had injuries, but that take has not aged very well …
Speaking of Portland, we had a guy giving us Cam Reddish TS% updates for a while. What happened to him?
Well in Cam’s last game he was 1-4 in 19 minutes for a minus 22…
No rebounds or assists.
The skating giraffe was 4-9 (3-6 from three) in 15 minutes, for 11 points with 5 rebounds.