Blazers 103, Knicks 99

Portland Trail Blazers 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 New York Knicks
Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 36 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +8

I mean, sure. Some decent rebounding and post defense, but is still mind-numbingly bad whenever he’s facing a pick and roll. Of course, the STAT-Acy-Melo-Shump-Jose quintet represents the Knicks’ 10th different starting lineup in the first 22 contests. At no point have they gone with the same five for more than two games in a row. Evidently the beat guys asked Fish about this during the pre-game scrume, and he said something to the effect of, “Well, these guys all suck huge, spherical, possibly reproductive organ-like objects so whatevs.” This is true, but…

…it’s a bit of a chicken/egg paradox here. And we all know that Smallball freaking works. To wit, in the second quarter, the wee ‘Bockers outscored Portlandia 18-6. Then the bigguns took over, and they were thwacked 22-12 to end the half. I’m tired of writing about this. I’ve beaten this drum so badly that it’s just a tattered hole/void that I’m screaming into. But yeah, it’s nice to see STAT as a reasonable facsimile of his former self.

Quincy Acy, SF 19 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | 0

That janky midrange heave, the one that brings Marv Albert to such giddy, effervescent joy, has started going in with greater regularity, but he was positively char-broiled by LaMarcus Aldridge in the high post. When I was a kid, I had a Nerf hoop, and though I got whomped like the Knicks by kids my own age, I would routinely destroy my younger sister whenever we played ball. That’s kind of what it looked like. Evidently the Blazers’ broadcast team had a bit of a larf with this, asking questions like, “Why is Quincy Acy starting?” That’s a rhetorical chasm that no one should ever plunge into, really, if you want to hold on to the last, bare thready of sanity. And yes, I’m fully aware that there isn’t a Bro on the roster that could have done any better.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 35 MIN | 9-19 FG | 4-6 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | -10

There were a slew of deft, soup-cooking jumpers from his office, a few duck-under/spin moves that produced sweet, creamery uncontested layups, a beeyotiful outlet pass to start a fast break or two, and some fine glass-cleaning. The shots down the stretch didn’t fall, as they’ve failed to fall the last four heartbreaking (assuming anyone’s heart is still invested enough in this grim, sad team to be thoroughly fractured [again]) losses, but the shot selection was more or less the same. As a side note, note Melo’s timing on that ultraviolent windmill block move of his is downright impeccable. It always looks like he’s about to lop some unsuspecting dude’s noggin off, even he never does (knock on wood, trees, wood-paneling, plastic wood, and Mike Woodson). He caught a whistle tonight, because, well, it does look like he clocked Lillard upside the head.

Jose Calderon, PG 24 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -14

Wasn’t hitting, and therefore wasn’t playing. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

Iman Shumpert, SG 23 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -14

Sigh. His final numbers are perfectly respectable, but it’s almost hard to describe how badly he’s regressed on D. The rampant doubling/overly aggressive slapping at the ball (yeah, like Melo) strips probably garners more fouls than might be warranted, but now he’s just idling in space or getting utterly hung up on screens, trying to avoid a call. This team has many, many needs but a dude that can fight through a pick might be number two after a center with an operant cerebral cortex, decent post game, and above average hand-eye coordination. Meanwhile, we got to spend the night watching Wes Matthews, who’s pretty much the embodiment of what one might hope/pray Shumpert could eventually be. Even if we are all slowly coming to the realization that that might never occur. Or at least that it won’t occur till after he’s traded. (See Ariza, Trevor)

Samuel Dalembert, C 17 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -5

In what may have been the Knick-iest sequence of this entire Knicks-ian game, Prigs prigs’d a deft steal, then got tangled up at midcourt. He shot-putted the ball towards STAT, who belly-flopped to snaggled it and pass it to… Sammy? Yeah. So, Dalembert tried to “dribble” up court to beat the eight-second clock, actually succeeding in going behind his back. Thweet! Eight-second violation. It was incopetent and impressive all at once. Kind of like the Knicks!

Jason Smith, C 24 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -11

Here’s why you shouldn’t play Jason Smith, let alone play Jason Smith with 29 second left in the game, needing a single stop and a rebound: Jason Smith will get outworked by Robin Lopez, such that even if you force a miss, Jason Smith will not corral the rebound. How do we know this is the case? Do we possess the mystical wisdom of the ages? Have we consulted a prophet? An Augur? A Seer? A soothsayer? An Oracle? Or some Telepathic Being? No, it’s because Jason Smith is on pace to record a rebounding rate that would be “the lowest an NBA seven-footer has posted over a full season in 12 years.” Even a “good” Jason Smith outing, where he’s draining midrange jumpers results in a -11. I’ve said this in every recap. I’ll say it again. I’ll try to find more interesting/better ways to say “Jason Smith = Bad,” but if you’d prefer I just draw a photo of a big, white, pimply pair of buttocks and repost it every night, I’m certainly open to the idea.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 24 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +10

The shot that might have tied it was a friggin good look. I’ll take that rest of the Knickerbockers slowly calcifying watching over a Melo dance/shuck while the shot clock dribbles away before launching a contested trey any day of the week and twice on Sunday. And look-y here, it is Sunday! A fun statistic: Over the last three games, Lord Pablo has 13 dimes, 7 steals and a single turnover. That seems good.

J.R. Smith, SG 25 MIN | 8-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +10

Started out draining pcatch-and-shoot treys, then began driving with aplomb. He was the driving force behind the 18-6 spurt that put the ‘Bockers up, 38-31, and the 13-2 goodliness that made it 95-93. All of this beggars the question, “Why the hell did he sit so long in the third?” Yes, he was dawdling or “packing the paint” whilst the Palahniuks were raining hellfire from distance, but so was every other wing. Like my Jason Smith-as-Moby-Dick crusade, I should probably come up with an image to represent shitty rotations. Like a tire iron jammed into a wagon wheel or something. Add your suggestions in the comments.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 13 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +6

[INSERT TIRE IRON JAMMED INTO WAGON WHEEL]

Derek Fisher

So, yeah. I do have a problem with who’s playing and why. That said, for those who want to see him go full Bobby Knight and possibly suffer a debilitating aneurysm or have literally steam pouring out of his belly button every time a Knick starts Knicks-ing, I give you this

B4SjjMrIAAIlZDA

I agree. Throwing a conniption fit, just because it’s what you or I might to or might want to do isn’t going to help. Stay the course, Fish Tank. Just fix the gosh-darned rotations, or you’re going to get a very sternly worded email from this humble correspondent.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Something nice to start. CLYDE THA GAWD.

  2. And now for something not at all different: with tonight’s oh-so-close defeat, the Knickerbockerss have lost 13 consecutive games that were separated by five points or fewer heading into the final five minutes of play. Shout out to the great Chris Herring for that fun (not at all fun) factoid. That’s… I don’t even know. This might be a partial reason

  3. Hi LeBron!

    B4S06DvCMAAJB1e

    Yeah, he showed up to chow down on MSG popcorn and send thoughts of an unimaginable opt-out and betrayal of Cleveland (again) dancing through our heads.

    They asked Clyde if he’d ever gone to a game on his day off. His response: “I only went to Knicks games because they paid me!” Same here, bro. (Not at all same here. And Frazier and I are not bros.)

  4. It’s the same as it ever was. Some spurts of triangle-y goodness and scrappy defense, but lots and lots of wide open threes and a 24 point combined disadvantage on threes and free throws. They fell behind by double-digits only to stage a furious comeback that, were it not for a lucky bounce here or there, and a slightly better execution, would have led to glorious triumph. The repetition is what’s so upsetting. That they’re so close to getting over the hump, but some basic, hard-wired flaws make that nigh-impossible. I’m sure the players are miserable, and if Fisher can keep a good portion of the locker room from going totally postal, that’d in and of itself would be a huge accomplishment. If it’s not fun for the fans, just imagine how the players feel. Going to work at 1 Penn Plaza (yes, there are far worse jobs out there that pay far less, but hear me out) must require either a profound sense of faith, either in one’s self or in the divine. Speaking of which. This was scrawled on the team’s whiteboard (via Ian Begley):”The pain that you have been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” – Romans 8:18
  5. I hope so. It may take till July 1st, 2015, but better days are ahead (Knock on wood, trees, wood-paneling, plastic wood, and Mike Woodson) and we’ll all get together again, chat about the bleak, bad days, and laugh and laugh. Hey, where are you going? Guys? Go Knicks?
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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

50 thoughts to “Blazers 103, Knicks 99”

  1. In non-Knicks (because honestly, fuck those losers) news, I read this morning that Cleveland “would consider” a Waiters-Koufos swap? Really? The Cavs would consider trading one of the shittiest players in the NBA for a decent big man? That is some fine journalism right there.

  2. Just when you think the Knicks won’t be able to push the envelope any further on this whole “furious comeback that ends in dramatic defeat” they somehow find a way to surprise you again. I was pretty sure that Pablo 3 was going down.

    Anyway I know it hasn’t started to be reflected in the old W-L column but the Knicks are definitely playing better. This marked about the 6th or 7th straight game where the D was pretty alright to my eyes. If Fish can figure out what the hell he’s doing with his rotations and cut out the horrible lulls this team seems to go through in every single game we should start to pull out some wins soon. Which of course is the last thing this team needs. But unfortunately I really don’t think this team is nearly bad enough to stay in the real race for the top picks all season (unless Fish is planning on playing Bargs 30 minutes a night – then all bets are off).

  3. “But unfortunately I really don’t think this team is nearly bad enough to stay in the real race for the top picks all season (unless Fish is planning on playing Bargs 30 minutes a night – then all bets are off).”

    Well, he did play Jason Smith in crunch time last night, which is a good plan until Bargs gets back.

  4. @4 – didn’t we get rid of Bargnani? Oh, wait, there he is in a dapper suit at the end of the bench. He’s had enough time to regenerate organs by now. Why isn’t he playing? Could it be a strategic move?

    Oh, and as someone mentioned before, top picks mean squat. Good picks are what we need. There ain’t no Jordan or LeBron in this upcoming draft. Does Okafor, Town or Mudiay really excite anyone?

  5. @6 You sent me scouting. This from NBADraft,net. Sounds OK but not awesome. Where do you disagree?

    Strengths: Big, powerful body with huge hands, palms the ball easily which allows him to control rebounds in traffic … Polished, skilled back to the basket scorer with a variety of moves … Smooth for his size, solid rebounder, very good IQ, plays to his strengths, knows his limitations and doesn’t try to do things that he can’t do … NBA body and strength, quick feet for a player with such a big frame … Has great moves and counters, the footwork of an NBA vet, soft touch around basket … Heady passer out of double teams … Understands how to establish position and knows how to use his body, never rushes his move and plays with great pace and patience … savvy beyond his years for a young post player, rebounds his area …

    Weaknesses: Not a great athlete, rebounder, or shot blocker … Lack of athleticism and ability to be a game changer on the defensive end limits his upside … Has trouble moving his feet in pick and roll situations … Not a great shooter and doesn’t offer much in terms of pick and pop situations … Doesn’t rebound out of his area … Doesn’t impact the game defensively … Has problems finishing over length due to the fact that he’s not an explosive athlete … Conditioning has been an issue, though he has shown solid dedication to improving his body … Lack of athleticism will hurt him at the NBA level … Close to being a finished product, lacks great upside, will be dominant in college …

    Overall: Has been described by some pundits as having amongst the best set of post skills ever seen on the high school level … Dominant high school player who will be a dominant college player likely for a year … Polished low post scorer, but doesn’t project as a dominant scorer or rebounder at the pro level …

  6. DRed Would Consider Dating Italian Supermodel

    I’m assuming you’re referring specifically to Andrea Bargnani.

  7. Things we know so far about our Knicks:

    Jason Smith is a terrible basketball player. He can hit the worse shot in basketball at 50% rate but sucks at everything else important a big man should do.

    Amare may be our most reliable, consistent player

    Melo has been average at best (for him) and has also played poorly overall in our MANY losses (FG% in losses: 43%, FG % in wins 56%)

    JR even at his very best (for a quarter here or there) is like a model: dumb and hot

    Calderon (besides hitting threes is playing below average).

    The only two players on this team that have been consistently playing hard and overall well are Amare and Prigioni. Two guys who don’t start.

    And then there are our rotations, the ghost of Woody is back but somehow worse as it relates to these terrible rotations….

    Arrghhhh

  8. It’s kind of depressing but doesn’t that Okafor scouting report sound a lot like Greg Monroe? Maybe a little more of a low post presence but the rest of the description is pretty similar to Monroe.

  9. @GoNyNyGo – I’m far from an NBA scouting expert, and I don’t watch that much college BBall so feel free to take this with as many grains of salt as you please, but from what I’ve seen of Okafor(only about 3 halves of ball so again, grains of salt) the athleticism complaint is overrated. Everybody gets really locked into that as a factor for draft prospects (particularly in terms of defensive ability), but there are lots of awesome defensive centers who aren’t that type of athlete. Noah, Marc Gasol, Bogut, even Duncan – none of those guys is going to jump out of the gym but they all are super impactful on the defensive end because they’ve got size, they’re smart, they work hard, and they all have a lot of excellent athletic attributes (in terms of fluidity and hand eye coordination) that may just not stand out as much as a 36 inch vertical leap.

    That’s what I see with Okafor. Great hands, great body control, super fluid. I think Okafor has the potential to be an excellent two way center in the vein of some of the guys I mentioned. I need to see more still but I’ve been very impressed so far. Also just a secondary factor I would add that when you see a college freshman with the array of post moves that he has you know he has to be an extremely worker, which gives me a lot of faith in him going forward.

  10. @10

    If you read a scouting report of Bargnani and Dirk you’d think they were the same player, too. As I’ve said repeatedly, the difference between a guy who hits 60% of his shots and 54% of his shots is enormous, and that’s just 3 out of 50 shots rimming out or whatever.

    I could give a damn what the college scouting report says. NBA basketball performance is not easy to predict.

  11. It’s kind of depressing but doesn’t that Okafor scouting report sound a lot like Greg Monroe? Maybe a little more of a low post presence but the rest of the description is pretty similar to Monroe.

    I thought Eddy Curry. Great low post no athleticism no rebounding. (duck to avoid shoe and stones)

  12. That scouting report was from before Okafor played in college though, and at the college level he has played better than expected. His scouting report may sound like Greg Monroe, but in college so far he’s a way more efficient scorer and overall better player than Monroe ever was.

    Andrew Wiggins went into the college season last year with LeBron-level hype; he had glowing scouting reports and was supposed to be the best college player since LeBron. Then he started playing in college, and his game was actually kind of “meh.” Okafor has been the opposite: had a kind of “meh” scouting report, then immediately became one of the most productive players in college basketball once he started playing. He has like a 33.0 PER and .297 WS40 so far.

  13. When the knicks lose games like this, I like it. They played well and gave a lot of effort, just came up a shot short, as usual, but that can change when they start thinking of themselves as winners.

    And I like everyone on this team. Yes, even the Smiths. Watching JR when he’s hot, shows that from a talent perspective, his ceiling is among the league highest. Jason Smith is a $3million/yr player, so my expectations are not sky high for him. I don’t care how tall he is. His effort is always good and he’s one of most reliable 15 foot shooters on the team. And one of the only guys on earth that will get in Lebrons face.
    And how can you not love Amare? Tell me you he doesn’t surprise when he scores over and over again in congestion near the rim. Consistently. He’s swallowed more pride than any NY athlete I can remember.
    All of them. I really like the guys on this team when they play like they did this week. Even at 4-18.

  14. . . . except Carmelo Anthony. The “leader” that cares more about scoring than winning, and his new tech investment business as much as playing basketball. He’s more concerned about his image than winning. He’s more concerned about amassing fortunes of money than winning. And he’s more concerned about being a hero than winning.

  15. You love Amar’e but hate Carmelo, which is really strange to me. Amar’e has now spent a whole career playing a brand of defense that is softer then a ball of cotton candy wrapped in a cloud. That shit is straight baby thighs soft, nahmean. And Melo may be a douche but I don’t remember him having a tantrum and punching a pane of glass like some kind of spoiled child after not getting to take the last shot in a playoff game.

    I just don’t find Amar’e to be very rootable. I’m glad his contract is just about up.

  16. Watching JR when he’s hot, shows that from a talent perspective, his ceiling is among the league highest.

    JR Smith’s ceiling is JR Smith. He’s not a kid developing his game. What you see is what you get. (…and if you look at any NBA player when they’re hot, they’re gonna look pretty darn good. They are all elite basketball players, even the scrubby ones).

  17. @14 – The age of the report does make sense. I just find that it’s so hard to predict a real NBA stud. Greg Oden was taken before Kevin Durant and Yi Jianlian was taken ahead of Joakim Noah in that same draft. I see so many top-5 failures. Do I have to list them? Is Okafor on the same level as LeBron and Anthony Davis or is he Andrea Bargnani, Anthony Bennett, Michael Olowokandi or Kwame Brown?

  18. You love Amar’e but hate Carmelo, which is really strange to me. Amar’e has now spent a whole career playing a brand of defense that is softer then a ball of cotton candy wrapped in a cloud. That shit is straight baby thighs soft, nahmean. And Melo may be a douche but I don’t remember him having a tantrum and punching a pane of glass like some kind of spoiled child after not getting to take the last shot in a playoff game.
    —————–

    In private, out of public’s eye, Amare hit something in frustration. Just happened to be plate glass that was sharper than he was.
    If Amare played elite defense, he’d be top 5-10 players in the NBA this season.
    Good locker room guy, good team guy, and would willingly play a role to win. Melo came here and took this team away from him, with no improvement in record. Amare rolled with it, worked his ass off, adjusted his game, and he’s back playing great ball.
    Melo will never get pissed off after a playoff game, win or lose . . . . as long as he scored over 20, even if it took 30 shots.

  19. Count me among the Amare fans. His defense is weak and he occasionally commits some dumb TOs for a veteran, but he gives 100% and never whines about his minutes or role on the team.

    1. They wanted him to work on his post game – he spent a summer with Hakeem and expanded his game instead of whining and trying to run the coach out of town because he’s better in an uptempo offense with a lot of P&Rs.

    2. They wanted him coming off the bench – he said he preferred starting, but accepted the reduced role and gave 100%.

    3. They want him at C – no problem.

    4. They want him at PF – no problem.

    5. He’s always out there early in warm ups working on his jumper and other parts of his game.

    6. He’s almost always upbeat and positive despite a series of injuries that probably would have ended the career of most players.

    7. He’s a very likable person in interviews and seems to be great in the community.

    8. He doesn’t have as diverse an offensive skill set as Melo, but IMO he’s a BETTER player because he can still finish at the rim when he’s healthy like he is now.

    All that said, it was obviously a poor signing because his health issues and the probability that his game would deteriorate were all well documented. Giving him a max contract for that many years really crippled us while he was hurt. But what’s not to like? He’s not a superstar, he’s very overpaid, but he’s a good player when he’s healthy and very likable.

  20. If Amare played elite defense, he’d be top 5-10 players in the NBA this season.

    If my Aunt had balls, she’d be one of my top 5-10 Uncles.

  21. @12 — this is one of those rare occasions on which I agree with every word in your post. That’s what scares me about the whole “building through the draft thing” even though I realize that, in theory, it is absolutely a good idea. If I were a Sixers fan, I would be thinking, “How sure are we that Noel and Embiid are going to fulfill their potential? Might they just end up as guys with great physical tools who don’t develop?” I read an article recently talking about how similar Anthony Davis and Anthony Randolph were at age 18, both physically and in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of their respective games. While the author was probably overstating the case a bit to make a point, it did make you think hard about how difficult it is to predict who will be great and who will be an end of the bench type of guy. Remember — Darko was the number 2 pick, and a number of scouts thought that it was a good pick and I think that I read recently that he is becoming a kickboxer or something like that.

  22. @26 right. I think that was also Phil’s thinking in keeping Melo. Have at least one above avg player who can maybe attract a few more AND try to build with young assets from the Chandler/Felton trade and the no 1 pick this year. Its a complicated mix. I am very curious to see what happens with the Sixers and a team like Minny.

  23. @21- stratomatic –I must say that you have a low standard for being a fan of a player.

    Amare is a far bigger black hole than Melo. I’m literally stunned when Amare passes the ball. And defense, wow. It’s bad. Amare seems like a great/cool guy but I never understood the unconditional love from Knick fans for him and conditional love for Melo. At this point of their careers Melo is a far more valuable player. Amare has been great this year and I hope he can stay healthy and the knicks win at least a few Games this season :)

  24. Amar’e never whines about his minutes or role on team? That’s all he did last year. I like that he is rebounding this year but there are just too many times I hear players call out to Amar’e how to play the PnR then watch Amar’e still get confused. I really don’t want a player talk about ball movement when that player is a black hole.

  25. I’ll add my name to the Amar’e admiration society roster. People blame him for being hurt. Nobody worked harder to come back. People blame him for not rebounding, defending or passing but you can tell that he tries but is lost sometimes. Let’s all remember that he never went to college, where these basics are taught. Then he played for D’Antoni who didn’t believe in defense. It’s no wonder he’s out of position and unaware of his responsibilities. I want him back (for a lot less loot) next year.

    @26 & @27 – I dread this draft. The Knicks have not fared well with their top-tier picks recently. Mike Sweetney comes to mind. Galanari too. Those are the type of players not worth tanking for.

  26. “I’m literally stunned when Amare passes the ball.”
    “…that player is a black hole.”
    “commits some dumb TOs for a veteran”
    “a brand of defense that is softer then a ball of cotton candy wrapped in a cloud”
    “then watch Amar’e still get confused”
    “People blame him for not rebounding, defending or passing but you can tell that he tries but is lost sometimes.”

    Really? I get the love, I mean his first season with us was amazing, but in terms of wanting him back that bad: Really? I’d buy the guy a beer, but for anything more than the vet minimum, no, I don’t think he is valuable when he is a SIEVE. We have too many SIEVES. Our team’s culture as a SIEVE is what we need to change.

    And if we get a Greg Monroe type of player – again – I’ll cry.

  27. So what is the cap situation going to be after July 1?
    Don’t we have a number of expiring large contracts?
    Resigning Shump–if we even want to do such a thing–shouldn’t be all that pricey given his play. If you could get a mid-first round pick for him right now, I’d trade him. The Cavs could use a stopper in the back court. So if you don’t resign Shump:
    Melo, Prigs, Early, Hardaway, Calderon, Smith, Larkin, high first rounder, second rounder would put your number at about 49 million. If the cap is around 64 million, the Knicks have about 15 million or so to throw away. If you get a decent draft pick, where should that money go? Do we bring in a contract or sign a free agent, and if so who do you sign?

    Dragic, Gasol, or Deandre Jordan would help. Maybe Milsap for a reasonable amount. I’m really not sure who else.

  28. I get why Amare gets unconditional love and Melo does not.

    Sure, Amare’s contract and his injuries have ended up costing the Knicks. But he came here when no one else of his STATure dared to play for The Knicks. And make no mistake he was one of the league’s best players when he came here. And then he took a team of young players and lead them. Were they world beaters? No? But after a decade of losing we had a team with a legit ALL STAR and a bunch of young players and it looked like the team and the organization was on the up and up bc STAT was the leader and the rest of the players all had potential to keep improving. And we knew we were going to have the cap space in that off season to add another big free agent.

    And that free agent was supposed to be Carmelo Anthony. he was supposed to do what Lebron did. Chill out and not say anything OR tell Denver he only wanted to go here and take away all their leverage. But he didn’t do that. He wanted max money and he wanted to be traded NOW, so he told them he’d consider The Nets and he took away our leverage and so we had to give up all of our assets to get him. It doesn’t matter if those players didn’t develop into all stars. They were assets that could have been used for trades, etc.

    So all that promise basically slammed shut when Melo got here. And its been a struggle (except for one season) ever since. STAT didn’t cost us any players bc he was traded here. And once we used up the amnesty on Billups to get Chandler, any chance of erasing the mistake of STAT’s contract was gone too. So we got stuck with what we had and we’re still recovering from it. And this time around Melo didn’t really take a discount to stay with us either and correct the mistake he made the first time around.

    So its more what STAT represented when he first got here. Real change and a real opportunity for the future. Whereas Melo represents the door closing on that change.

  29. At this point Shump has a pretty long track record of sucking, so unless he starts playing drastically better than he ever has before, you either bring him back at a discount rate or say buh-bye. I like his defense, but he has 5000+ minutes in the league now and a .489 TS%, which is pretty godawful. Shump is a real cool guy but he is not all that great a player.

  30. I don’t even like his defense. He had been a good on ball defender and needed to improve as a team defender and chasing players running off screens. This year he just seems to suck at everything.

    II would however liked to know what his % finishing using his left hand compared to his right because he seems to finish better with his left.

  31. To the “well there are lots of flops in the draft” commenters:

    Building a great team is really effing hard, but **way** more important than anything else is getting a truly elite player. Right now, there might be 5 in the league: Lebron, KD, Davis, Chris Paul and Steph Curry. Two of those players have changed teams. The primary pieces that brought Paul to LA all ended up sucking, but at the time, they were young guys with upside: Eric Gordon (7th overall pick), Al-Farouq Aminu (8th overall pick) and Minnesota’s 2012 unprotected pick, which became Austin Rivers.

    So my first point is these young high draft pick players are supremely valuable on the trade market. A first overall pick would instantly be the most valuable asset the Knicks have. In fact, it would probably be more valuable in trade than the entire Knick roster. So even if you are a draft naysayer, you can’t deny how hugely valuable a top lotto pick is on the free market.

    That brings me to my second point:

    I translate what you’re saying in my head to a scenario like this: I come up to you and say, “hey friend, would you like a 10% chance at having one wish come true?” and you’re response is, “Those odds suck. No thanks.” We’re chasing in this draft something near as rare as a freakin’ genie. We’re chasing a true franchise player. No matter what path you go down, the odds are going to be slim to nil, so citing the fact that a lot of players in the draft are busts (duh!) is ridiculous. If the odds of drafting a truly elite franchise player rest somewhere between 5-20% for a top 2 pick, that is ridiculously awesomely amazingly high. It’s magically high. It’s “I think I’m going to piss my pants” high. It’s so damn hard to get that quality of a player that to have the opportunity to have anything more than a fraction of a percent’s chance should bring tears to your eyes.

  32. @34:
    I agree, lost faith in Shumpert completely. Also, it would be OK by me to not have:

    (please correct if anything wrong)

    JR – what are the odds he declines his option?
    Shump – a great deal if his salary doesn’t go up, but given the SG market, may be overvalued
    Bargnani
    Dalembert – assuming we rightly target a free agent C
    Larkin
    STAT – If for vet min, we should keep him

    Who are we left with, if all above are gone?
    PG: Calderon/Prigs
    SG: THJr
    SF: Melo/Early
    PF: –/Melo
    C: —

    Obviously this crew is lacking ALOT of defense.

    Acy, Wear, and Cole are actually great end-of-rotation players, and make the right amount of $ for that.

  33. Most of the good teams in the league have one or two guys making like 12-15M and then a few guys giving good production on rookie contracts. That’s the formula for success. Get in the lottery a few years in a row and maybe you get a Valanciunas and Ross to go with your Kyle Lowry. Or a Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes to go with your Stephen Curry.

  34. Dion Waiters is a small but hot dumpster fire on that Cavs team. Every time he goes 1-5 I think, “Well, that’s a couple points closer to a loss.”

    If only we had a couple picks and an expiring to throw at him.

  35. For those who want to rant against Iso-Melo hero ball in the closing seconds of a close game, I invite you to watch nearly every other team in the league.

    I’m not defending it, by the way. I hate it as much as the next guy. I’m just saying if you’re gonna rant against Melo for doing it, then rant against most of the rest of the league. And you should. Because it sucks. I can’t stand it, personally, and I think AAU is the single worst thing to ever happen to the NBA.

  36. Those of you who pay attention to college ball, what do you think of Myles Turner as an Okafor consolation prize? He’s scoring and rebounding well, and blocking a preposterous amount of shots (6 per 40).

  37. Myles Turner is definitely a guy who interests me. True NBA center in terms of size and has sweet shooting touch– can shoot 3’s a bit and has been an 85% free throw shooter so far in college. Also gets lot of easy buckets from dunks and putbacks. Turner could end up being a really good two way player. As DRed mentions he has been an otherworldly shot-blocker, and he also has great rebounding technique and the huge hands you need to be a great rebounder. He’s definitely the type of box score stuffing player that will score well in WP48.

  38. I like Turner, as well. I just think Okafor is the class of the draft. Like a tier above the others (not as bad as AD, when he was, like, two tiers above everyone else, but still).

  39. There’s such a big dropoff after Okafor, Towns and Turner when it comes to bigs in this draft. I would say for me it’s one of those three or Stanley Johnson or bust. Emmanuel Mudiay I am not all that high on, but ball-dominant guards are generally not my favorite type of player.

  40. Ball-dominant guards who can’t play college basketball because of academics are even more worrisome.

  41. just checked the Thunder roster, Collison and Perkins are going to be free agents? Fish might put a word in, to replace Smith and Dalembert
    for the right price. also need a defensive minded assistant coach, Rambis is just soft I reckon.

  42. I don’t think Collison is leaving OKC, dude has been there his whole carreer, he is quite involved in the community there and he’s old and doesn’t want a bigger role. I think he will be fine to be a veteran prence/10-12th man there for the rest of his career.

  43. And Perkins is terrible, so…not sure why we’d want him NEXT year. This year, sure, let’s make a trade and play him 30 minutes a game next to Bargs when he comes back. That is a recipe for (draft) success.

    Though your comment about Rambis makes me think you’re kidding and that you know Perkins and Collison are terrible….

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