Pre-Draft Link-O-Rama

Here at Knickerblogger.net we want you to be informed. To that end, we have spanned the information super highway looking for the best pre-draft analysis and mock drafts. If you know of a good link that we missed, please share.

Dave Berri has some interesting views on the “top” point guards. After reading his work I am officially off the Flynn bandwagon and throwing my full support behind Stephen Curry. Check this cool production chart based on the last season of the players who attended college. Berri really likes Lawson. Maybe Caleb was right about Flynn. And Hollinger likes Lawson too.

Over at hoopsanalyst the love for Lawson continues while Ed Weiland goes all Andy Rooney on the pre-draft evaluation process:

It’s as if the scouts, GMs and other personnel men simply focus in on what goes on in the combine and workouts and ignore the season. As if they’re drafting players for a decathlon instead of the same five-on-five game these players were playing the previous winter.

Rooneyisms aside, I think Ed is on to something. Ed also evaluated combo and shooting guards. I’m sure he’ll get to forwards and centers too so check back in on him.

The combine measurement cheers and jeers continue at blogs all over but this one stood out for me. Hoopsreport.com reports that Eric Maynor’s stock is down:

Maynor’s height for a point guard is pretty good at 6-foot-3, but his weight was not impressive. Maynor weighed in at just 164 pounds, the lightest of anyone at the Combine. To successfully defend NBA guards, he will have to hit the weight room.

I don’t quite buy that given that length and speed are far more important to defense with the new backcourt defensive rules. Active hands and fast feet are better indicators of defense for guards. And what does weight tell you about the ability to play good team defense? You know, Stockton would be a late second rounder by today’ standards. Okay now I sound like Rooney. Moving on…

Matthew Maurer over at the draft review tells us of the 7 deadly sins of drafting. It’s a fun and quick read but we Knick fans will disagree with his assessment of Jared Jeffries’ “perimeter oriented skill sets.” Umm-no. Matthew should update his mock—its 3 weeks old—but I have a soft spot for this site as I won a draft trivia contest there a few years ago. My prize: a one size fits none T-shirt and really cool draft yearbook with stats and impressions on the top 20 players at each position. I don’t think they have published one since but I hope he tries it again.

Hoopshype.com has a mock draft powered by Jonathan Givony of draftexpress.com fame. I like that Givony mocks based on what the team should do rather than what the team is expected to do. For example, Givony has Memphis taking James Harden second. I find that to be a great move because of Rubio, Thabeet, and Harden, it is Harden that best addresses Memphis struggles with scoring (28th in Efficiency, 23rd in eFG) right away. Givony has Holiday to the Knicks and Flynn in the bottom half of the lottery as of 6/17/09.

NBAdraft.net updates their mock about every two days. You can also get opinions on hundreds of prospects. The countdown timer is cool too.

If you can tear yourself away from Jessica Gomes, CNNSI has a mock up as well.

2009 Game Preview: Knicks @ Warriors

New York looks to bounce back from maybe the toughest loss of the season.  I can’t think of anohter game so far that has resulted in so much analysis.  Both Mike K. and 7SOM took a good long look at the game.  If you have not read what they have to say, I encourage you to take a look-it’s good stuff.

What would happen if they played an All-Star game and none of the All-Stars showed up?  You would get the last meeting between New York and Golden State.  A race to 150 points.  First team to play defense is the loser.

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 97.2 107 50 15.4 23.9 21.1
Rank 2 16 12 16 28 27
Golden State Warriors-Defense 97.6 112.4 50.5 15.3 32.1 24.1
Rank 1 28 21 16 30 15
New York Knicks-Defense 97.2 109.4 51.4 14.8 27.2 21.2
Rank 2 22 27 20 19 6
Golden State Warriors-Offense 97.6 107.8 49 15.2 26.5 25.9
Rank 1 15 19 13 16 5

 

What to watch for:  A barn burner.  The top two teams in pace mean this game will have plenty of scoring and very little D.  Aw, who am I kidding! Let’s face it there will be no D.  So New York needs to encourage the low efficiency, high volume scorers of Golden State to remain inefficient.  New York’s back court should play close to the Golden State players as Crawford does not look to draw contact on drives and prefers to take pull up jumpers off the dribble.  Monta Ellis was pretty good at getting to the hole last seaon, but he has not quite fully recovered his speed from the ankle injury.  He is taking more jumpers than he has in past years.  Golden State’s lack of a true pass first point could also hurt them in finding open shots.

What to watch for 2: Al Harrington.  I think Al really wants to show his former team just what they missed out on.  Al really torched Indiana in the last meeting and I think he will come out very aggressive just to get back at Nelson.  Hopefully, the shots will fall and he won’t take the team out of its offense.

What to watch for 3:  David Lee.  Golden State’s interior defense is as bad as New York’s.  But New York has a better interior player than Golden State in David Lee.   Golden State’s lack of a quality shot blocker should make things easier for Lee.  New York should look to get as many looks inside as possible.  Good ball movement is key here since GS does not rotate well.  Lee should also do well on the offensive glass since GS is not a strong rebounding team.

Discuss this game in the forum.

2009 Game Thread/Preview Knicks @ Blazers

Well “Dream Week” is over and not a moment too soon.  New York went 0-3 against 3 of the NBA top five teams.  I cant say I’m surprised but I am happy about the quality of play.  If the energy and execution remain high, New York could manage a winning record on this west coast swing.  First order of business is Portland (30-19) who beat New York 104-97 on December 2, 2008. 

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 97.2 107 50 15.4 23.9 21.1
Rank 2 16 12 16 28 27
Portland Trail Blazers-Defense 86.2 109.2 50.8 15.7 25.1 24.2
Rank 30 21 23 12 7 16
New York Knicks-Defense 97.2 109.4 51.4 14.8 27.2 21.2
Rank 2 22 27 20 19 6
Portland Trail Blazers-Offense 86.2 113.3 50.6 14.8 32.7 24.3
Rank 30 2 10 10 1 15

What to watch for: Joe Przybilla.  Yeah, I know what you are thinking but it was big Joe that really sealed the win for Portland when they came to MSG.  Big Joe pulled down 14 boards (4 on offensive glass) and blocked 2 shots.  New York needs to keep him-andthe rest of the team- off the offensive glass.  Portland is a very efficient team on offense (2nd, 113.3 pts per 100 poss) andthey are strong on the offensive glass as well (1st).  The last thing New York should do is give this team second chance points.

What to watch for 2:  Portland’s defense.  Portland is not a very good defensive team.  They are in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive efficiency (21st,  109.2) and defensive eFG% (23rd, 50.8%).  New York should exploit this by getting into theiroffense well before Portland can react.  Lee and Harrington should look to beat Oden, Aldridge, and Pryzbilladown the floor as often as they can.  Portland is not used to a fast pace as they are last in the NBA in possessions (86.2).  New York should try to take the team out of their comfort zone by pushing the pace.

What to watch for 3:  Three point defense.  Portland’s Blake, Fernandez, and Outlaw are each shooting better than 39% from distance.  As I expect New York to double Aldridge and Oden in the paint, Portland’s shooters will have more open looks if New York does not improve the defensive rotations.  Hopefully, JJ can play well enough on Aldridge to reduce to need for doubles.

To comment on this game, join us in the game thread forum.

2009 Game Preview/Thread: Knicks vs. Lakers

With apologies to Rakim, the greatest MC of his era…

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you
Without previews to step to
Think of how many games you shlept through
Time’s up, I’m sorry I kept you
Waiting on this, analytical blitz
The previews from the game thread soloist
As you sit by the CPU, hand on the keyboard
Click on the link, this is your reward
Read with the brother that is in the know,
I got the stats, so here they go
It’s a 4 factor world, ya heard? They control
when you got stats, you know you got soul.

Enough of that.   I’m just so happy to be back. 

New York (21-25) hosts Los Angeles (37-9) tonight.  New York dropped a tough one in Los Angeles 116-114 on December 16, 2008. 

Injury report: Andrew Bynum (knee) out 8-12 weeks with a tear to his MCL.  Second long term knee injury to Bynum in as many years.  Tough break for Bynum but good news for New York.  But don’t fret L.A. fans, New York lost Jerome James (knee, ankle, diet take your pick) for the season and New York found ways to adjust.

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 97.2 106.9 50.1 15.5 24 21
Rank 2 17 13 18 28 27
Los Angeles Lakers-Defense 94.4 105 49.2 16.3 27 20.6
Rank 5 6 10 10 16 5
New York Knicks-Defense 97.2 108.9 51.2 14.9 27.3 20.5
Rank 2 18 26 21 19 4
Los Angeles Lakers-Offense 94.4 114.2 52 14.5 29.7 25
Rank 5 1 5 6 3.5 7

What to watch for:  Attack L.A.’s defense.  L.A. is pretty fair team on defense ranking 6th in defensive efficiency (105), 10th in defensive eFG% (49.2), and 10th in defensive turnovers (16.3).  However, L.A.’s interior defense will be somewhat diminished with Bynum’s 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes unavailable.  Gasol is not a very strong interior defender so the Knicks should look to exploit this with the Lee/Duhon two man game.  Fisher is a strong defender but he will have trouble keeping up with either Robinson or Duhon.  New York needs to stay on the attack.

What to watch for 2: Gasol.  New York would do well to attack Gasol early.  Gasol picks up about 2 fouls per 36 minutes, so he is either a very smart defensive center or a center who sees a player coming and says “Ole”.  Given that Gasol blocks fewer than 1 block per 36 minutes (0.9), I’m going to say the Spaniard plays as they say in Spain, “la defensa del matador.”  New York really does not have a defensive player talented enough to stop Gasol, so getting him into foul trouble is a good approach.

What to watch for 3:  Kobe Bryant.  This is just my opinion, but I say Kobe Bryant is the best all around player in the NBA.  He can score at will and even on the rare night that his shots are not falling , he knows how to share the ball.  L.A. likes to let Kobe dictate on offense (USG-r 29.7) and make good decisions.  I think New York could distrupt that by showing Kobe different looks on defense.  I think you’ll see D’antoni throw Q, Wilson Chandler, and JJ at Kobe in an effort to keep him off balance-good luck.

Inquiring minds want to know: Whether New York’s second unit led by Robinson and Chandler can keep pushing the pace set by the first team.  For L.A., its whether Odom can step in and fill the rebounding and shot blocking void left by Bynum.

2009 Game Preview/Thread: Knicks v. Grizzlies

New York (17-24) hosts Memphis (11-30).  New York won over Memphis in their previous meeting 132-103.  In that game, New York hit 19 of 34 three point attempts (55.9%) and had an eFG% of 69.8.  The only blemish in this game was New York allowing Memphis to post an eFG% 51.8.  Absent New York’s hot shooting and huge advantage in three point makes (+14), New York could have lost this game.

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 97 105.8 49.4 15.6 23.9 20.6
Rank 2 20 14 17 28 28
Memphis Grizzlies-Defense 89.9 109.2 52.3 16.7 25 24.6
Rank 22 21 29 7 5 20
New York Knicks-Defense 97 109.2 51.6 15.1 27.8 20
Rank 2 22 26 18 20 4
Memphis Grizzlies-Offense 89.9 102.3 47.9 16.1 24.5 25
Rank 22 28 26 21 26 6

What to watch for:  Memphis’ response to the Marc Iavaroni firing.  Strange, coaches usually get fired right afterplaying the Knicks (see Theus and Jordan).  It will be interesting to see how the team, particularly such a young team, responds under a new coach on the road.  In the game immediately following the firing of a head coach, teams have compiled a record of 3-3 this season.  The 3 wins came over Minnesota, Golden State, and Milwaukee.  The losses came against Utah and New Orleans.  So what does all this mean?  New York has to be careful in this game.  Do not expect Memphis to come out flat.  To the contrary, Memphis may come out strong looking to prove themselves.  At any rate, New York still is not good enough to take any team lightly. 

What to watch for 2: Efficient offense.  Memphis is very poor defensive team much like Phoenix.  New York should look to exploit Memphis’ poor defense in the same way the team did against Phoenix.  Memphis lacks quality defensive bigs so New York should work the Lee/Duhon two man game just as they did against Phoenix.  Check out Seven Seconds or Mess Episode 15 for more on how the Lee/Duhon two man game gave Phoenix fits. 

What to watch for 3:  Controlling the pace.  Though Memphis is in the bottom third of the NBA in pace (89.9, 22nd), the team has a number of players who are well suited for a running game.  Memphis has some good wing scoring in O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.  The team has a two points who can push the ball (Conley and Lowery) though neither is very efficient shooting the ball (46.0 and 44.0 eFG% respectively).  Finally, the team lacks an effective post option.  Yes, they have Gasol but he takes fewer than 10 FGAs per 36 minutes.  Even if Gasol is efficient inside (51.8 eFG%, 56.6 TS%), Memphis does not give him the touches he needs to be a better weapon inside.  The new coach may look to get Memphis running in order to play to their young athletic scorers.  New York needs to be mindful of this and not get caught in a shooting match like they did in the loss to Washington.  Hopefully, New York’s JJ, Chandler, and Q can provide the defense needed to slow Gay and Mayo.

2009 Game Thread/Preview Knicks vs. Suns

New York (16-24) hosts Phoenix (23-16).  Phoenix won the last meeting 111-103 in a game that featured a slow start from New York which the team could not overcome.  New York’s 43.8 eFG% that game was well below the team’s season average of 49.4%   Furthermore, Shaquille O’Neal had a bit of a break out game against New York scoring 23 points with 12 boards.  Of course against the New York front line Joakim Noah looks like Bill Walton (To the David Lee fan boys: That is not a slight against David Lee.  David Lee is awesome. Please stop sending me hate mail.)

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 97 105.8 49.4 15.6 23.9 20.6
Rank 2 20 15 17 28 27
Phoenix Suns-Defense 93.4

109.7

49.4

13.7

28

22.2
Rank 9

26

14.5

29

22

8
New York Knicks-Defense 97 109.2 51.6 15.1 27.8 20
Rank 2 22 26 18 21 3
Phoenix Suns-Offense 93.4

111.2

54.3

17.3 25.5

26.4

Rank 9

4

1

28 20

4

Red indicates weaknesses New York should try to exploit.  Green indicates strengths the New York should protect against.

What to watch for: High percentage shots.  A few weeks ago I promised to dedicate at least one of the “what to watch fors” to defense.  I’ve changed my position after doing some research for New York’s mid season report (coming soon).  I found New York’s defense is actually pretty consistent (nearly always bad) from game to game.  The big gap between wins and losses is found in New York’s eFG%.  Details to come in the mid season report, but long story short:  New York wins when the shoot well from the floor.  New York could have an efficient offensive performance given Phoenix’s poor defensive efficiency (109.7, 26th), poor forced turnover rate (13.7, 29th), and poor offensive rebounding percentage (28%, 22nd).  Phoenix’s front line does not rotate well on defense, so the high pick and roll along with good ball movement should produce great results.  Lee andJJ should also look to secure offensive rebounds for second chance points.  Also, it would not hurt to shoot better than 5-37 (13.5%) on three pointers.

What to watch for 2: Nash vs. Duhon.  Duhon is still struggling with back pain so it will be interesting to see how well he keeps up with the ever mobile Steve Nash.  If Duhon can’t be effective against Nash, it will really expose New York’s lack of depth at the point position. 

What to watch for 3: Phoenix’s most efficient interior scorers Stoudamire (55.6 eFG%) and O’Neal (59.4 eFG%) are somewhat foul prone (3.2 and 4.1 fouls per 36 minutes respectively).  New York should try to get either of these players into foul trouble with drives to the lane.  With Stoudamire and O’Neal on the bench, New York’s interior defense becomes a bit easier.  Furthermore, Shaq still can’t defend the high pick and roll well.  New York should look to exploit this weakness.

2009 Game Preview/Thread: Knicks vs. Bulls

Happy MLK day!  [This MLK day think about sharing your time and/or resources with those in need.]

New York (15-24) hosts Chicago (18-23) in the traditional MLK matinee today.

Chicago won the last meeting at home 105-100 in a game that featured some very poor shooting from New York. New York’s 45.2 eFG% was well below their current season average of 49.4%. New york also struggled from deep hitting only 6 of 28 three point attempts (21%). The three point shot is on of New York’s best offensive weapons so New York needs to get good looks from deep.

 

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 97 105.8 49.4 15.7 24.2 20.5
Rank 2 20 14 17.5 27 28
Chicago Bulls-Defense 93.4 108.1 48.8 15.4 28.8 25.3
Rank 8 18 8 15 27 21
New York Knicks-Defense 97 109.5 51.8 15.1 27.6 20.1
Rank 2 25 26 18 19 4
Chicago Bulls-Offense 93.4 104.8 48 15.8 26.9 22.4
Rank 8 24 25 19 14 22

What to watch for: Danillo Gallanari.  This is the only reason I’ll be watching the game.  Gallanari shot the ball well in his return from the sore back and if his shooting is as good as advertised, he should help the team.  Strong outside shooters often benefit from playing with a strong post player that can draw doubles.  New York lacks a strong post option, but New York does have a post player that makes good decisions with the ball in David Lee.  New York should use the strong 2 man game of Lee and Duhon to move the ball for open shots to strong outside shooters.

 

What to watch for 2: Defense.  Chicago is not a strong offensive team ranking 24th in offensive efficiency (104.8 point per 100 possessions) and 25th in field goal percentage (48%). Of course, New York’s defense gives up 109.5 points per 100 possessions (25th) and allows a 51.8 eFG% (26th).  So, what happens when the resistible object meets the movable force?  Seriously, New York needs to focus on Derrick Rose in the same manner that disrupted Rajon Rando in the win over Boston.  Chicago’s offense starts with Rose so keep him moving laterally and do not let him gt into the paint where he can finish, draw a foul or dish.  Force Rose to play a long range/mid range game which he is not comfortable doing (0.3 3PA/ per 36 minutes).  New York also needs to stay with Ben Gordon and Andres \”The nose\” Nocioni as they each take 2.2 three pointers per 36 and they each connect at over 38%.

 

What to watch for 3: Drew Gooden.  The poor man’s Carlos Boozer really tore into New York last time out with 22 points and 16 boards.  Perhaps having JJ for significant minutes can slow Gooden down.