Can Cole Aldrich Help The Knicks?

The first two comments for the RealGM blurb announcing Cole Aldrich signed with the Knicks rank a 10 on the snarkometer.

Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:02 PM
Yay!!! Bringing the whole D-League to training camp!!!

Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:08 PM
Chris Dudley is back folks

Perhaps there’s some merit to these comments. Aldrich has found himself on three different teams in just three seasons. He’s played in 89 total games, but only managed 703 minutes of game time. An NBA starter will hit 703 minutes in about 25 games, not 89. Hence Aldrich’s coaches have thought so little of that he’s seen more trash than Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.

But something happened on my way to the jokefest: I looked at Aldrich’s stats. True shooting percentage of 56.9%, 10.4 rebounds per 36 minutes, and 2.4 blocked shots per 36 minutes. Those numbers are … ummm … good. So for fun I ran his similarity scores:

0 Cole Aldrich 2013 TOT 11.1 .563 .550 9.3 2.8 11.1 0.8 0.5 2.1 2.1
0.063 Omer Asik 2011 CHI 11.8 .559 .553 8.3 4.1 11.1 1.2 0.7 2.0 2.3
0.070 Mark West 1985 TOT 9.0 .549 .546 10.3 3.6 10.2 0.6 0.5 2.0 2.4
0.111 Kendrick Perkins 2009 BOS 13.2 .591 .577 10.4 3.3 9.9 1.5 0.4 2.4 2.6
0.122 Todd MacCulloch 2000 PHI 16.1 .557 .553 14.0 3.3 10.0 0.9 0.7 2.5 1.8
0.126 Keon Clark 2000 DEN 15.9 .573 .543 13.5 3.2 9.8 1.4 0.9 2.2 2.4
0.136 Marcin Gortat 2009 ORL 17.0 .578 .570 10.8 4.4 13.0 0.6 0.8 2.4 1.1
0.137 Hasheem Thabeet 2012 TOT 12.4 .587 .524 9.1 4.1 10.9 0.0 0.3 2.6 2.1
0.141 Johan Petro 2010 DEN 10.7 .553 .535 10.1 2.6 10.7 1.2 0.8 1.1 1.9
0.144 Tony Battie 2001 BOS 15.2 .562 .537 11.1 3.1 9.9 0.7 1.2 2.6 1.6
0.156 Jerome Moiso 2003 NOH 14.5 .542 .520 11.5 3.3 10.0 1.2 1.1 2.5 2.6

No Dwight Howard or Yao Ming aren’t appearing on this list, but this group is far from Olowokandiland. There are some decent centers on this list, guys that could give a team 20 or so minutes a night or become full time starters.

Granted Aldrich has his limitations. His meager points scored (9.0 pts/36) and shot chart show that he’s not going to score outside of an arm’s length of the basket. And you have to wonder why someone who is 6-11, 245lbs, and can do more than walk the length of a court has been passed over by just about every NBA team.

It seems that the last few years Knick fans have hoped that New York can provide an adequate backup for the oft-banged up Tyson Chandler. Such a reserve might keep Tyson healthy for the games that count in May and June. The current roster alignment has Chandler backed up by Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, two players that are often injured and have as much in common with Chandler as yours truly. After them it’s Kenyon Martin, a 36 year old 6-9 power forward who can masquerade as a center in the 2014 NBA, and Jeremy Tyler a 22 year old who is still wiping off the D-League afterbirth off his skin.

But Aldrich’s skillset doesn’t seem to be much different than the Knicks current center, albeit at a lesser proficiency. The closest match on the current roster is Tyler, but Jeremy has a TS% of 43.9% in his NBA career. Aldrich seems to be a better finisher, which means in theory the offensive philosophy can stay the same when Cole comes in for Tyson. It’s not likely that Aldrich will turn into the next Omer Asik or Marcin Gortat. However it reasons that Aldrich can substitute in for Tyson Chandler without a major change in philosophy. And if that’s true, then using Aldrich more during the season might make Chandler more productive during the playoffs.

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Mike Kurylo

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

9 thoughts to “Can Cole Aldrich Help The Knicks?”

  1. Pretty spot on assessment, I think.

    Though, as you mentioned, there is the concern about him being passed over by everyone else. Maybe that tells us something the stats don’t (behavioral issues?).

    I think we’ve put together a heck of a roster.

  2. I think the real question is about Aldrich’s overall defense. The blocked shots obviously look pretty good but he’s a foul machine and you have to wonder why a guy with seemingly decent stats has played for 3 teams in 3 years, failed to earn real time with any of them and been basically passed over by the whole league now. The first two things that come to mind in that situation are some sort of behavior issue (like Hubert said) or defensive issues. Since I haven’t heard anything about the former I kind of assume it’s the latter.

    Given that Aldrich and KMart looks like a good start towards producing an unwatchable offensive unit I’m guessing he’s more likely to be paired with one of the more offensive 4s who won’t offer him much protection on D. In order to be even an adequate substitute for Tyson he will have to hold up on that end.

    Regardless I think the most you can ask with this kind of bench filler minimum signing is that there be some signs of life there. Most guys in that category are going to be duds obviously but you want to try to pick ones who have a chance to be more than that. I think Aldrich fits that criteria.

  3. Aldrich is nothing like Dr. Crash as a player (although I’d happily take Dr. Crash 2.0 as a backup center). They’re both big and white, but one of them can actually put a basketball through the rim on occasion.

  4. The Aldrich camp invite is a no-brainer; I’ve been beating this drum for a while now. He may not have a huge minutes sample to draw on, but his numbers are too good to pass up such a low-risk move. If he looks like he’ll be a serviceable backup, great. If not, we ditch him and move on with our lives. Certainly, if he can replicate his per-minute numbers for 10ish mpg, it would fill a huge need, and with that amount of playing time, his propensity to foul everything that moves would be less of an issue.

    On an unrelated note, what jumps out at me from that comparison chart is Kendrick Perkins’s hilarious TS%. Perkins has to be one of the most inept offensive players to start on a playoff-bound NBA team, and spent several seasons mostly failing to crack league-average TS, then skyrocketed up to the .600 range without changing usage rate before cratering again to the tune of nearly -10% 3 seasons ago and trending downward still. Hard to interpret that as anything other than support for the notions that a) scoring efficiency can be pretty variable and highly influenced by teammates and role and b) high TS% =/= good offensive player.

  5. OT, but made me laugh:

    Scouting report
    + Athletic combo guard who can pester opponents at multiple positions.
    + Vastly improved jumpshooter, but struggles mightily to finish in the paint.
    + Decent handle, but not a playmaker. Taller thanks to impressive hi-top fade.

  6. who is Dr Crash?

    And…..were you aware they call Joel Prysbilla “the vanilla gorilla” in Portland? I wish I had realized that when he was here.

  7. chrisk06811:
    who is Dr Crash?

    And…..were you aware they call Joel Prysbilla “the vanilla gorilla” in Portland?I wish I had realized that when he was here.

    When he was where?

  8. chrisk06811:
    who is Dr Crash?

    And…..were you aware they call Joel Prysbilla “the vanilla gorilla” in Portland?I wish I had realized that when he was here.

    Dr. Crash was what the Knicks (or at least Chris Childs) called Dudley. Possibly because he went to Yale, and definitely because he crashed the boards.

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