5 Stats To Show The Bright Side of This Knicks’ Season

The Knicks have played poorly thus far in the 2017 season. So to fellow Knick fans who are having a hard time finding the good among their 1-3 record, here are 5 stats to show what is going right.

Kyle O’Quinn’s 5.8 blks/36 and 10.1 reb/36.
Bryan’s Gibberman’s analysis notwithstanding, O’Quinn’s early season numbers are downright Manute-like. It’s impossible for him to keep up with his current Eatonesque frequency, and he’ll likely settle on half that number as the season progresses. But hey we should enjoy the rate in which he’s turning shots away for now.

Carmelo Anthony’s 54.2% ts%.
While Knick fans seem content to be point fingers at Rose, Noah, Hornacek, Phil Jackson, Billy Crystal, etc., to blame for this season’s poor start, Melo has quietly upticked his efficiency. Although we’d love to see it go northward of 56%, we’ll take him being at the league average given that he’s on the downside of his career agewise.

Kristaps Porzingis’ 5.7 ft/36.
It’s fairly obvious that playing out of position is taking it’s toll on young Zinger. While the team uses him as their 7-3 perimeter defender, his rebounds are down and his personal fouls are up. But Porzingis is getting to the line more often, as his free throw rate is almost doubled (.271 to .435) from last year. Being able to rack up free points is a good skill for a young developing player to acquire.

Noah’s 12.0 reb/36, 8.8 ast/36.
Sure he’s sporting a Y-league worthy 3.2 pts/36 and 31.9% ts%, but at least Noah is rebounding normally. As for his assists, in his last 3 years as a Bull, Noah averaged 5.6 ast/36, so it’s not completely out of line with his career trends.

Ndour 25 minutes, Baker 23 minutes.
It’s a good sign that Checkers isn’t ignoring the tail end of his roster. Although one could argue that given the Knicks’ play, there has been plenty of Müllzeit to empty the bench. And if this doesn’t seem like enough play for these hopefuls, just remember if D’Antoni was still the Knicks coach we might not even know that these guys existed until February.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

53 thoughts to “5 Stats To Show The Bright Side of This Knicks’ Season”

  1. So many unfortunately interesting storylines.

    1) Noah “benched” — Noah is the only Knick with a net positive rating. He has the highest ORtg on the team, and the best DRtg of any player with significant minutes. He doesn’t score much, and certainly the offense would be better if he were a better finisher, but he isn’t the problem.

    2) KP completely lost on both ends of the floor – he looks frankly awful on defense unless it’s a pure 1-on-1 at the rim situation. Some of this has to do with small sample and the fact they’ve played a lot of stretch 4s, but opposing players are shooting 3’s at a 54.5% on him, 15% higher than their average. He ends up defending the weak side corner on 3 pointers a lot, and his first impulse is to crash into the paint to help block shots, leading to an easy skip pass by Harden or whoever. On offense, he definitely looks like he’s hunting shots since he’s not getting the ball in positions to score much. He’s also passing up a lot of open 3’s off PNP. he seems to love to pump fake and drive from 25 feet, which usually leads to a flailing floater, a turnover, or a harmless pass. KP – you’re 7’3?. No one can block your shot when you have 4+ feet of room. LET IT FLY.

    3) I’m not a fan of Hornacek’s rotations so far. We all knew there was going to be an issue with having 2 high-usage ball handlers + KP in the starting lineup, but why is he running out Jennings + 4 low usage guys in the 2nd quarter at times? Take Rose out 6 minutes into the 1st quarter and let Jennings play with Lee/Melo/KP/Noah. Take KP out 2 minutes later. In the 2nd quarter let Rose play with KP, Thomas, Holiday, and either NDour or Baker depending on the matchup. You could theoretically have 3 plus shooters on the floor, Rose/KP PNR as the basic structure of an offensive attack, and 4 good defenders on the floor.

    4) PRACTICE PNR DEFENSE. Houston got whatever they wanted because there was no discipline on the defensive end.

  2. KP didn’t have these playing on the perimeter issues last year, or I don’t recall them, which is strange since Noah is considered far more mobile than Robin Lopez was. Am I selectively misremembering, was KP playing way more center last year, what exactly is so different?

  3. The Knicks will continue to be bad as long as Phil insists on them running the triangle… the players clearly have no interest in that system

  4. The Knicks problems have a single root: lack of talent.

    There’s very little Hornacek could do to overcome that little ‘issue’. Yes, he can find the optimal combination of players and minutes, but it won’t significantly improve one of the objectively worst rosters in the NBA.

    No enough lipstick to put on Phil Jackson’s 3rd. straight pig.

  5. The Knicks will continue to be bad as long as Phil insists on them running the triangle…

    The Knicks will continue to be bad as long as Phil continues running them…

  6. KP played plenty of PF last year it’s just that rambis and fishers scheme was much more conservative where they wouldn’t guard the three point line as much and wouldn’t switch preferring instead to pack the paint and bait players into taking a shot at the rim vs Lopez or KP. This scheme is pretty much the opposite

  7. Jaylen Brown put up some stats last night that might make a Celtics fan’s day a little brighter. And Lebron is still good. So is Kevin Durant.

    It’s early in the season. 20 games people…. ;-)

  8. I just want to point out that a few days ago people were complaining that this site was overrun by anti-stat optimists. I launched an investigation over the last 2 days and as of yet I haven’t witnessed the problem.

  9. It’s early in the season. 20 games people…. ;-)

    If we lose to Chicago, beat Utah at home (obviously no given, but it’s a 12 PM game on Sunday and we don’t have Latrell or JR on the team) and then beat the Nets at home we’re 3-4 and we can all calm down a little.

  10. @ 10 – that’s a good point.

    I don’t think we lack talent. If you mean we don’t have Lebron or Curry or Durant on our team, then sure, I guess we lack talent. But we’ve got talent. On paper this team is an upgrade from last year. And we lack talent gives us an excuse to tear it all down again and rebuild yet again.

    We need to keep our core intact and build from there. Even with Melo aging. Playoff teams usually keep about 60 percent of their players from the year before. The conference finals teams it was about 80 percent. Even the 54 win team had returned a core of Melo, Tyson, JR, Novak, Shump, and STAT from the year before. 6 rotation players.

    We keep turning over rosters and wonder why we struggle. It hurts us early on. Last year, besides AA, we had everyone healthy in training camp so I think we came out a little stronger. This year with Rose out that’s really set us back. And I think this team with Rose and Melo is going to have to figure out the ego situation a bit more. Rose can get his. So can Melo. The problem is they need to actively look to get KP involved. Rose, Melo and Noah are going to have to lead this team.

  11. That’s why I hope the panic move to rebuild doesn’t happen even if we suck. Sure let DRose go and try to get CP3. That would be awesome. But keep everyone else if you can. Zinger, Melo, Noah, Lee, Willie H, Holiday, Kuz, LT, Quinn…even Jennings if we can find a way. We gotta give them time to play together. Why do you think Detroit beat us? They’re a good team. They made the playoffs last year and are well coached but they’ve now been together for over a year with that team. Even with Reggie down for the game they know how to do their jobs.

  12. Looking at the wp number, only Noah, OQuinn and Jennings have been above average. Melo and Lee should play better, even if they are worse than they were last season. I don’t think this team is particularly good, but it should be better than this.

  13. I don’t think Rose “getting his” is in the best interests of this team. I don’t think the problem is roster turnover.

    The problem has been the same since 2004. We just don’t acquire the right players. Eddy Curry, Steve Francis, T-Mac, Andrea Bargnani, Derrick Rose — the one thread that binds them all is they were poor players by statistical measures.

    You can hire Tom Colicchio or Gordon Ramsey to run your restaurant. But if you insist on buying them moldy produce and hiring crappy staff, you’ll never have success.

  14. I think there is a good chance we put some lipstick on the pig. But we may not.

    It’s a little ironic, having spent roughly 1o years on this site advocating a full-on radical teardown/rebuild/”process”, to be watching this election season, when so many seem to want to do the same thing with America. It really puts my Knicks fandom in a little bit of a new perspective.

    I can appreciate why people call for a more sober, gradual approach when it comes to the Knicks and, hell, why the owners of the team might feel a more measured approach is necessary ($). There is certainly more than one way to skin a cat, especially in basketball where hitting on just one player (Kawhi Leonard) can make such a dramatic difference in a team’s long term fortunes.

    I spend a lot of time reading Fangraphs, where people frequently discuss what to do when you are a bottom of the table team, whether to do a full teardown or a partial rebuild. The Yankees are going the partial rebuild route it looks like, which I think makes a lot of sense given their corporate resources. The Cubs committed to the full rebuild and executed to perfection.

    I continue to think that committing to Melo and hoping for some kind of breakout(s) from an unexpected place is/was a pretty terrible losing bet. It’s possible though. Nikola Jokic was drafted in the second round and might be a top twenty player in the NBA in a few years. There is value to be had in a lots of places. But nothing I have seen from the Knicks FO in the last two years leaves me hoping for anything other than a big dose of blind luck in that regard.

  15. The League also did no favors with the Knick November schedule…..They have 3 games in the first 17 vs non playoff teams
    1) Utah a very good 9th seed
    2) Brooklyn
    3) Wizards

    After this they do get a nice reprieve going into december

  16. The Knicks will continue to be bad as long as Phil continues running them…

    The Knicks will continue to be bad . . .

    FTFY

  17. I don’t think this team is particularly good, but it should be better than this.

    Well, right now they’re 13th in the conference and they rank 26th in offensive rating, 27th in defensive rating and dead last in SRS. So yeah, they’ll be better than this, but that’s not saying a lot.

    The way the offense is structured is all wrong. The offense is built around the offense of Rose and Melo– they’re taking 40% of the team’s FGA and that is not going to change. So either Rose has a huge surge in efficiency and/or Melo plays like he did in his very best seasons, or you are just investing WAY too many possessions in guys who are not efficient enough. There’s no Tyson Chandler on this team to chip in with a low-usage/high-efficiency contribution and the bench is stocked with players who are very iffy propositions on offense.

  18. I don’t have much of a problem with the direction Phil Jackson has taken (even though I would have preferred a total rebuild around KP). The problem is that he’s BAD at evaluating talent. That’s been the story of practically all the trades and moves.

    Noah is a small upgrade over Lopez, but not enough to pay more money and give more years to an often injured player on the downside. I love him, but this substitution was not a risk adjusted plus.

    Derrick Rose is simply a bad basketball player at this stage of his career. Give him ball and he’ll dazzle you with his handle and ability to get to the rim 4-5 times a night. But at the end of the game his TS% will usually be below average, he won’t have a pile of assists, and there’s not much else in the plus column. He’s a different variation of Melo. People love scorers and guys that can score in ways that the average player cannot, but the value is in guys than can score efficiently. Our #1 and #2 scorer do not.

    We would have been better off sticking with Lopez and Grant and using our cap space in more productive ways.

  19. I don’t have much of a problem with the direction Phil Jackson has taken (even though I would have preferred a total rebuild around KP). The problem is that he’s BAD at evaluating talent. That’s been the story of practically all the trades and moves.

    This. The decision to try and go for a moonshot with Melo is defensible, though I also definitely would have opted against it. We were never going to actually win a championship in the Melo era for a variety of reasons, but a lot of good teams don’t go all the way and that doesn’t render their run irrelevant. The problem is Jackson is such a shitty talent evaluator that his attempts to go “all in” always fail and leave us one year closer to a Melo and/or Noah breakdown (if that hasn’t already happened). Anyone can feel free to give him credit for holding on to our picks, and that has been a good bulwark against his feckless attempts at being good, but it really does represent a kind of “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

  20. I don’t have much of a problem with the direction Phil Jackson has taken (even though I would have preferred a total rebuild around KP). The problem is that he’s BAD at evaluating talent. That’s been the story of practically all the trades and moves.

    Why wouldn’t you have a problem with the direction taken by a guy “shitty, BAD at evaluating talent” (the essence of his job) and whose decisions have resulted in one of the worst NBA teams in recent memory, the worst season ever in Knicks history, an untradeable albatross called Melo’s Contract, 3 coaches in 2 years, the forced implementation of a dubious basketball system (the triangle), etc., etc.?

    What does Jackson need to do for fans to “phil” he has “phailed”?

  21. The way the offense is structured is all wrong. The offense is built around the offense of Rose and Melo– they’re taking 40% of the team’s FGA and that is not going to change.

    How can we improve the offense by *not* centering it around our two best offensive players?

    Point is we have to acknowledge something is definitely wrong in the talent department when we find ourselves in a bizarro world where the two best offensive players can’t be trusted with offense duties!

    The roster sucks. That’s all there is to it – like I said before, not enough lipstick in the world to put on this biggie piggie…

  22. I’ll agree with the “Phil jackson is a bad GM thing”. I did write that whole letter to Dolan after all.

    I still think it’s too early to make a definitive judgement on Rose+Noah for this season, but I hated the Noah contract especially (even while liking Noah as a player).

    Talent evaluation – not great. KP lessens the blow on that a little. Decided to take a late 2nd round pick in the Tyson trade rather than Jae Crowder, who’s basically an All-star now. Not signing Tim Frazier last year, who was clearly on their radar, and keeping an empty roster spot instead for whatever reason. Frazier (he of the 15.8p/9.5a per 36 line) would be the best PG on this team right now.

    Negotiation – very poor. Near-max contract for Melo. Noah contract. Not signing guys you like to team-friendly multi-year contracts (ie. Lance Thomas, Ron Baker, etc.).

    Overall team/roster construction – generally has been way too heavy on bigs while leaving the backcourt dangerously thin.

    And the Triangle thing, which I thought had generally been left behind, now has reared its ugly head again. I don’t doubt that in a vacuum it’s a workable offense, but it’s obvious that the players don’t believe in it and that Hornacek is just giving it lip service. At this point it is an impediment to this team both on the offensive end and also the defensive end, if as Courtney Lee suggested, they’re not really practicing as much as they should against spread PNR-type attacks because they’re going up against Triangle in every practice.

    I’d just let Hornacek run the system he wants to run.

  23. I don’t dislike Reub because he is a smart basketball fan with a little twist\gimmick: he will say exactly the opposite of what he knows to be true. That’s his thing. But it takes skill to know what is valid so you can say the opposite! So, I don’t/do take him too seriously at his word: he absolutely hates Jackson and the team, as much as the most hateful fan.

    Reub is ok in my book.

  24. “This team lacks talent but should be better than this”

    Truth. That’s where that coaching stuff comes in. It’s early, and I think Hornacek will be an improvement over recent coaches, so there is hope for improvement. Right now KP has not been impacting the games on either end enough to be a difference maker. They desperately need that asap.

  25. I think Phil fundamentally doesn’t understand what he’s doing, but I also don’t really know how the Knicks decision making works so who knows. But the team is poorly run (although less poorly run than its been in the past, so that’s something).

  26. Theo you’re ok in my book too despite being wrong in everything you said today.

    Geo, let’s do lunch one day. To celebrate rings.

  27. Negotiation – very poor. Near-max contract for Melo

    Melo is like 7mil below his max. Is that near max?

  28. Melo is like 7mil below his max. Is that near max?

    He’s around $5m below the max over the course of the entire deal, which comes out to basically nothing from an AAV perspective.

  29. Most of the salary cut took place in the second season, which allowed the Knicks to make a run at glory with Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams.

  30. Bro, he took $5m less than the maximum allowed at the time. I don’t blame him for taking every penny, he’ll probably do way better things with the money than Dolan. But crediting him for earning less than a future max that he probably wouldn’t have even gotten due to injuries and decline makes no sense at all.

  31. But crediting him for earning less than a future max that he probably wouldn’t have even gotten due to injuries and decline makes no sense at all.

    This makes no sense. EVERYONE knew the cap was going up. EVERYONE. Also I wasn’t trying to credit Carmelo….You said he had a near max deal and I was asking was his current salary considered “near max”. That’s all.

    http://www.sbnation.com/2014/10/5/6916597/nba-new-tv-deal-espn-turner-24-billion

    http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/11210007/carmelo-anthony-reaches-deal-new-york-knicks

  32. 5/124 is shitty value for Melo any way you slice it. It has bought the Knicks a .531 TS%, a .109 WS48 and 52 games missed out of 168 thus far.

  33. @er so you’re saying that Melo could have taken a 2+1 contract…? He was 30 when he signed this new deal. That put him in *serious* risk of decline, and there’s always the risk of catastrophic injury. On average, factoring in the decline/injury risk, the 5 year deal pays out more even if it’s max payout is lower.

  34. The max he could have signed was 5/129, and the deal was 5/124.

    then

    but that’s not the current max. So its irrelevant and everyone knew the max was gonna jump

    So even if Melo signed a 5/129 max deal it would not have been a max deal. Makes sense.

  35. #6 Stat To Show The Bright Side of This Knicks’ Season: WCS MINUS WS/48
    #7 Stat To Show The Bright Side of This Knicks’ Season: Winslow MINUS WS/48
    #8 Stat To Show The Bright Side of This Knicks’ Season: Mudiay MINUS WS/48
    #9 Stat To Show The Bright Side of This Knicks’ Season: Hezonja MINUS WS/48
    #10 Stat To Show The Bright Side of This Knick Season: KP PLUS .086 WS/48

  36. OMG I was simply asking a mathematical question. Is 7 mil annually considered near max. I don’t care how we got here I was just asking a question. Shit man.

  37. I think everyone agrees, Melo got only a tiny bit less than the max available to him, which was a lot less than he could have asked for the next year or this year.

    So, basically, he is a lot less overpaid than he might have been. We should count our blessings.

  38. Regarding Melo’s contract, the $s were not the problem; in fact they should have paid him the whole 130m……..BUT….they should have included the ability to trade Melo to either the Clips or Lakers without his consent. There’s ZERO chance Melo walked away from that deal. He and his wife would be happy in NYC or LA; they didn’t want to end up in Milwaukee.

    I’ve gamed it out before:
    (1) If Phil doesn’t let gimpy Melo play so many meaningless games we finish last and have KAT (100% chance).
    (2) Jeannie does Phil a favor and takes Melo in summer of 2015 in exchange for #2 pick (only 65% chance because Dolan might have nixed such a deal). Lakers are not a rebuild city and star power means more to them than even Dolan. Phil chooses KP in draft. We have KAT and KP.

    That’s why Phil’s botched it no matter what happens.

  39. I think Melo made a sound financial decision. Since signing the deal he’s been injured and noticeably less productive. I highly doubt anyone would’ve given him the mega max and I’m not even sure he would’ve gotten his current contract. Good for him honestly.

  40. I agree with that. I don’t think anyone here has ever accused Melo of being stupid about money or business. He seems to have solid instincts. I look forward to him using those when he transitions into the front office.

    #staymelo

  41. @45
    Please don’t do that. Please don’t speculate that the Knicks could have had both KAT and KP. Isn’t life as a Knicks fan hard enough?
    :-)

  42. I like the bright side stats! Melo’s been giving us good offense (contextually), O’Quinn’s giving solid back-up C time, Noah’s being Noah (in limited minutes). All-in-all, about as well as could be expected. I like that Hornacek is giving guys a chance to earn PT and is experimenting with
    lineups early on, but after the first game the offense has looked like it was put together by Rambis, and the defense..

    The Knicks guarded the three point line well last season.

    Last year the Knicks has an actual defensive scheme designed to ameliorate our obvious deficiencies. This year, I don’t see any method at all. I’m not saying Hornacek is Kurtz, but I am concerned that smoke on the horizon might be a village being burned. We need a plan on both ends of the court.

  43. Marc Berman ?@NYPost_Berman 35s36 seconds ago
    Spoke to RoLo before contest. Admits “a little extra” incentive tonight and predicts “great atmosphere” for showdown.

    I’m rooting for the Knicks but if RoLo and/or Grant have revenge games I’m not sure how devastated I’ll be

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