Knicks by a Rose from the Grave

So here we are. The Knicks have just made a trade that has been brutally lambasted by nearly every knowledgeable Knicks fan I’ve spoken with, based on a lot of relevant statistical information I see no reason to repeat here. I want to talk about this in terms of practicality and overall scope as an effort in team-building, or perhaps even better, team-trashing.

At the end of last season, basically all of us could agree on several things about this team. First, we hated that we didn’t have a first round draft pick because of yet another awful trade for a bad player, which made tanking an irrelevant strategy for the year. We pieced together a team with several free agents, two of whom we unanimously regarded as the laughingstock of NBA backcourts; Aaron Afflalo and Jose Calderon. I don’t recall a single person hoping we could retain their services, and to my relief, we haven’t. The Knicks convinced Afflalo to opt out by giving him no reason to believe he had a place on the team in the latter half of the season, the first great thing to happen this offseason. We also found a team willing to absord Calderon’s nearly $8 million deal this season, giving the Knicks a chance to scrap the awful backcourt experiment that was signed last summer in an attempt to field a team competitive enough to compete for a 7-8 spot in the playoffs last year. Without a draft pick, it made sense in a vacuum to sign those veteran players to short contracts to field a competitive team, but it became clear at about the halfway point of the season it was a wasted effort.

We also agreed that Porzingis should probably play more minutes at the 5 in an increasingly smaller NBA, although with his smaller frame it wouldn’t be wise to subject him to the type of punishment that can require against some of the bigger frontcourts in the league. But are big frontcourts really a thing anymore? How valuable is a double-double center without range in today’s space-and-pace NBA? The best “true” bigs in the NBA have the ability to make shots in the 15-20 foot range, or even further, such as Marc Gasol, Lamarcus Aldridge, Damarcus Cousins, Serge Ibaka and Hassan Whiteside. Traditional bigs have been disappearing faster than the bee population, in part because it is becoming harder and harder to find a place for them on the court as teams employ more lineups with all five players capable of spreading out around the three-point line, causing switching nightmares in the pick-and-roll and rendering their rebounding/paint-protecting abilities all-but irrelevant as they were extended out to the top of the key in and endless succession of P&Rs.

Anyone who would listen to me knows that I rode HARD for the Golden State model last year. And make no mistake, I was wrong that they could not be beaten, and I’ll be the first to admit that. There were two, perhaps three teams (we’ll never know if San Antonio could have matched up with them, but I’m gonna say because Duncan couldn’t have stayed on the floor that they would have been a less difficult matchup for Golden State than OKC was in hindsight) that could employ the type of spacing lineups with a big that had the athleticism and ability to switch any screen to match the spacing ferocity that Golden State forces on a team. The value of a traditional big, therefore, has gone down. Not to say that teams don’t still need one on a night-to-night basis, but the value of a player like Robin Lopez is not what it was even two years ago. Make no mistake—RoLo is an awesome guy to have in any locker room, he is a productive player, and he’s dependable (the man played 82 games in 3 of the last 4 years). He was on a good contract and what he did do, he did well. The thing is, what he does is fast becoming an irrelevant skillset.

I’m not going to try and convince you that Rose is about to have some sort of career renaissance and become a productive point guard after everything you’ve already read that suggests otherwise. Rose is the definition of damaged goods and even the most optimistic projections have him as a league-average point guard in a league full of talent at that position. But the Knicks were not going to upgrade that position in this offseason in any meaningful way—would you want to sign Conley to a 4-year max contract, a player now 30 years old with his own injury issues? I stand on some rocky ground here to suggest that this trade was a good thing for the Knicks, but only in relation to what they do around it. If the team signs Dwight Howard (which I have no reason to believe they will, but I’ll entertain the theoretical) then this is yet another awful short-sighted move that the entire fanbase would be correct to be pissed off about. But if this is part of a two or three year plan to tear down the roster, then I think it’s a great start.

Could we have gotten a first-round pick for Lopez? Not likely. And certainly not without taking back long-term $$ from a team seeking its own cap relief to scrape their way out of a bad contract after they find out they made their own short-sighted move in free agency. But we did find a way to get out of a contract that would have lasted 3 more years and provided the team with no real value at a position that frankly, Porzingis should be starting at. Kristaps provides rim protection and is not fast enough to keep up with the new 4 position in this league. In the playoffs, Durant and LeBron played the 4. You want Kristaps trying to guard that? Are you kidding? Kristaps has a few years to develop into a better defender, but at the 5, he could at least hide by going under screens and hanging back, remaining close to the paint where he would be most effective in a defensive set, rather than being stretched out to the corner 3 as he so often was last season. I see no way to not play Kristaps at the 5 going forward, which leads me to believe that this team shouldn’t be looking to sign a traditional center this offseason anyways. Everyone keeps pointing to how we need to replace the center, but to my mind, we already have. Melo and Kristaps should play the 4 and 5 respectively now, and that’s just the only way to play basketball going forward in my mind.

I’m aware there will be a thousand arguments about the validity of that thought alone, but if the Knicks really are transitioning to a more fully-realized small-ball approach, then I think this was a good way to get cap relief, blow up the unbelievably terrible backcourt we trotted out last year, and pivot Kristaps to his more-natural position at the 5. What we need now is a 3 and a 2, not a 5 and a 1. And those positions are a lot easier to fill nowadays.

I say this trade is impossible to grade without what comes after, so maybe I’m writing this too soon. We should wait until after free agency’s dust has settled to really think this through, but in today’s world of instant reaction and much-too-soon evaluation, that is just not possible. Remember, Golden State was done when they were down 3-1 against OKC. I heard nobody suggest otherwise. OKC had figured them out, Stephen Adams was the perfect 5 to wreak havoc on their system, and then somehow, OKC lost. We repeated the exact same platitudes after Cleveland went down 3-1 in the Finals, citing all the historical data and how Cleveland couldn’t keep Kevin Love on the floor and the matchups were simply too much to overcome, but we all know what happened next (and a lot of what happened is Golden State just didn’t make shots. If they were nearly that cold against OKC, they would have lost that series in 5 or 6. Let it be forever remembered that a team that suddenly begins missing all of it’s wide-open threes when that is the reason their engine runs in the first place may be beatable). In the NBA, and in sports and the world in general, all that matters is what happened today. Tomorrow, a new narrative can replace it just as easily. The only true way to evaluate something is in a broader scope of perception, but we seldom allow ourselves to do that because of the urgency to give our opinions as soon as something happens. It can be likened to how we think of our relationships with people—we can have weeks and months and years of positive experiences, but one major slight, deception or betrayal can cause an incredible momentary emotional reaction and that one day can change everything about how we feel.

Let’s not be victims of the moment here. Let’s not assume that Derrick Rose is coming to save the Knicks, because he’s not. Anybody arguing this trade as an immediate boon to the team is wrong. It is only in the larger scope of what is done in relation to it that this trade can be viewed as a success or failure. In life, you may take a job that initially seems like a life-changing positive event, and find in a year that you’re in fact miserable to go there every day even though the pay is better and it seemed like a pragmatic and smart move at the time. And let’s not kid ourselves, the Knicks were not competing for a title next year, even if by some miracle they signed Conley and Whiteside AND Batum. They still wouldn’t be good enough, and that’s just a fact. This was always a two-year rebuild at the very least, and to my mind, the team is in a better position to do this than they were two days ago. Nothing we did was going to make us better than Cleveland next year, and that’s okay. In no world should the Knicks be attempting to have a championship contender this year, or even next year, because the NBA already has enough contenders that we couldn’t possibly pass in that timeframe. And that’s okay, because this type of move can either demonstrate that the front office does in fact realize this and knows the roster needs to be torn down so as to wait for next summer’s much more robust free agent class and arm ourselves with another lottery pick or two to do a true rebuild, or… gulp… it will show yet again the unforgivable short-sightedness of this team we love to hate and that they’ve sacrificed future assets in favor of an unrealistic chase for a title they have no hope to compete for.

Finally, I’ve read that the front office thinks they could attract a marquee name like Kevin Durant with this move, and I think that’s smoke and mirrors. Or at least it better be. There’s no way in hell Durant is coming to New York anyways, he’s signing the 1-and-1 deal with OKC and that’s all there is to it. And seriously? He would choose the Knicks over Golden State or Miami? If he leaves (and he’s not leaving, stop falling for the click-bait people) we are too far down the list for Derrick fucking Rose to change his thought process. I’m wrong all the time, and if I’m wrong here and Durant decides to come save the Knicks, I’ll eat crow every day until I die of whatever disease you would likely contract from making crows the centerpiece of your diet. But I’ll go out on a 40-foot wide limb and say that Durant is not going anywhere this summer because it would be a stupid decision on his part and he is comfortable where he is. If it attracts anybody, let it be Horford or Batum, someone worthy of the first step in the rebuild that is also a realistic target and will make the team better. Horford could be the 4 that allows Melo to play the 3, and if we just flipped Lopez for a more expensive upgrade in Horford and got rid of the worst backcourt in the NBA in the process without giving up any assets, this was a great decision.

We will either feel a lot better or a lot worse about this trade in two weeks. but right now, I’m going to be an optimist and give the team the benefit of the doubt (that admittedly they’ve done very little to earn). If we sign a marquee free agent at the 2 or 3 and otherwise just stuff the roster with short deals on players with upside, I’ll be thrilled. It will give us a chance to move Carmelo for the future 1st rounder we covet along with other assets, and to reshape the roster for 2018-2019, the year this team should be looking at. It sucks to be thinking of the next two seasons as simply a bridge to cross, but haven’t we all been clamoring for a complete teardown for years now so we can actually build a functioning team going forward? Think of it like going to college; those first two years you take all of your general education classes, none of which serve as anything more but a way to get accepted into your major program and finally get some real work done. Sure, it blows, but you get a chance to warm up to the process and collect some memories and habits to succeed in the future.

If that’s indeed what they are doing, I am all for this deal and can see the sense behind it. If not, though… I don’t even want to think about it. This franchise and its fanbase deserves better, and maybe, just MAYBE, they’re going to get it. We deserve a teardown, not a prop-up. You don’t fix a house by remodeling the kitchen and updating the furniture, you tear the shitty thing down and start from the foundation.

Let the arguing commence.

Knick Injury Over/Unders for the 2012-13 NBA Season

As the season rapidly approaches, one of the main concerns facing this New York Knicks team is worries over injuries to the key players on the Knicks. In this piece, I’ll be setting over/under on games played for the Knicks’ top eight players and you all can make your picks as to whether said player will play less games than the amount I list or more (Mike already did one for Iman Shumpert, so I’ll be skipping him this time around).

Carmelo Anthony

Did you know that Carmelo Anthony has only had two seasons where he has failed to miss at least five games? And the last time he failed to miss at least five games was seven years ago. So Melo is bound to miss a few games this season. However, he also tends to be tough enough to rarely miss a lot of time. This year, though, he might be playing more power forward than he has in the past. So the question is, will playing power forward more cause Melo to miss more time this year or will he miss the same five or so games he routinely misses?

Will Carmelo Anthony play under or over 75.5 games?

  • Over (57%, 133 Votes)
  • Under (43%, 102 Votes)

Total Voters: 235

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Amar’e Stoudemire

The current diagnosis for Amar’e Stoudemire is that he will be out for six to eight weeks due to an injury in his surgically repaired left knee. Eight weeks would see him back for the Knicks’ game in London on January 17th. So this over/under really depends on whether you think 6-8 weeks is accurate or if Amar’e will miss more time.

Will Amar'e Stoudemire play under or over 44.5 games?

  • Under (62%, 140 Votes)
  • Over (38%, 86 Votes)

Total Voters: 226

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Tyson Chandler

Much was made about how Tyson Chandler, who has had some major injury issues in the past, turned a corner with the Mavericks and Knicks, durability-wise. While essentially true, he still missed seven games with the Mavericks and four games with the Knicks. He recently left a preseason game with a knee injury that does not appear to be serious. Still, there is always cause for worry with Tyson Chandler, so this over/under asks how much faith you have that he will continue his relatively strong durability this season.

Will Tyson Chandler play under or over 69.5 games?

  • Over (69%, 137 Votes)
  • Under (32%, 63 Votes)

Total Voters: 200

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Raymond Felton

Felton had exceptional durability his first four seasons in the NBA, but in the last two seasons he has had a few nagging injuries, missing seven and six games respectively. This under/over presumes that he will be durable once again this year. Do you agree or disagree?

Will Raymond Felton play under or over 79.5 games?

  • Under (53%, 99 Votes)
  • Over (47%, 87 Votes)

Total Voters: 186

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Jason Kidd

Kidd is a tough son of a gun, so he does not miss games due to nagging injuries. If he isn’t seriously hurt, he’s going to play 80 games a year. The problem is that occasionally he does get seriously hurt. When he does, he misses a lot of time. This over/under basically asks whether you feel that his age will lead to more serious injuries than normal (he did miss a lot of time last season).

Will Jason Kidd play under or over 69.5 games?

  • Under (53%, 88 Votes)
  • Over (47%, 77 Votes)

Total Voters: 165

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J.R. Smith

Smith is also a durable player, but he missed a lot of the preseason, which is not a good sign. This over/under is based on the worry that his nagging injuries might be serious.

Will J.R. Smith play under or over 75.5 games this year?

  • Over (66%, 104 Votes)
  • Under (34%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 157

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Steve Novak

Novak does not seem to be the type of player who will miss much time during the season (unless he’s getting DNP-Coach’s Decisions) and this over/under reflects that view.

Will Steve Novak play under or over 77.5 games this year?

  • Over (84%, 126 Votes)
  • Under (16%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 150

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Marcus Camby

Camby is already set to miss opening night and staying healthy has never been Camby’s strong suit, so this over/under asks you how much faith do you have that he’ll be healthy this season after starting the season not playing due to injuries? Or do you think this is going to be more like his previous tenure in New York where the most games he ever played was 63 (granted, he also played in 46 out of 50 games during the lockout-shortened season of 1999).

Will Marcus Camby play under or over 65.5 games?

  • Under (77%, 120 Votes)
  • Over (23%, 35 Votes)

Total Voters: 155

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Apologies to Ronnie Brewer, Pablo Prigioni, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace for not including them in this post. If you wish to guess how many games each of those four players will play, as well, feel to make your guesses in the comments section!

Knicks 2013 Preview: The Carmelo & Amar’e Conundrum

Amar’e Stoudemire has been paired with Carmelo Anthony for 20 months, and over that time period, when the pair have played in the same game the Knicks’ record is an underwhelming 31-40 (1-7 in playoffs) . When Stoudemire, Anthony, and Tyson Chandler were on the floor together, New York scored only 98.5 points per 100 possessions. To put that in perspective, that level of offensive *ahem* efficiency would put the Knicks in the bottom third of the league.

The individual stats available through NBA.com confirm that the pairing of Anthony and Stoudemire are the problem. Anthony posts average to below average numbers in key stats like points, FG%, FTA, and rebounds—when paired with S.T.A.T. And Stoudemire shows a similar drop in production.

A popular option to address this issue, one endorsed by Zack Lowe, Bill Simmons, and others, is moving Stoudemire to the bench, and allowing Anthony to start the game at the power forward position. Lowe noted that of all the players recorded by STATS, LLC’s multi-camera process for tracking every movement in an NBA game, Anthony was the most effective player in the league at driving the ball. Anthony was also the NBA leader in points per possession on elbow touches.

Anthony is highly effective at driving to the basket from the elbow or beyond, and highly effective at scoring when he catches at the elbow. The problem, as Lowe sees it, is that Stoudemire touches the ball at the elbow nearly twice as often as Anthony, and he was a far less effective scorer from that spot. Simply put Stoudemire is getting in the way of what Anthony does best.

In his NBA preview at Grantland.com, [29:30] Bill Simmons said that Amar’e Stoudemire must come off the bench, and that only a fool would argue against that. To quote Gomez Addams “Well, with God as my witness, I am that fool!”

Now, I agree the statistics make a compelling argument that something has to change, but I’d like to offer a few reasons why moving Stoudemire to the bench won’t be as helpful as some seem to think.

1. Making Stoudemire a reserve will only slightly reduce the amount of time he is on the court with Anthony.

Let’s say Carmelo Anthony plays his career average of 36.2 minutes per game. And let’s argue than in a reserve role, Stoudemire plays 32 minutes per game rather than his career average of 34.5. Even if Stoudemire plays every minute that Anthony sits, he will still be on the court with Anthony for 20.2 minutes per game. Last year, they were on the court together 25 minutes per game (976 minutes over 39 games). So bringing Stoudemire off the bench is likely to give Anthony an additional 4 minutes and 48 seconds without Stoudemire. At last year’s pace (93.2), that would mean an extra 9 possessions per game without Stoudemire.

Coach Woodson can tinker with the minutes by increasing Anthony’s or reducing Stoudemire’s, but each of those answers come with their own problems. Anthony’s career high minutes per game was 38.2 while he was in Denver at the age of 25. It is hard to image him playing that many minutes per game or anything in excess of that at 28, especially after a summer of Olympic Basketball. Stoudemire has never played less than 31 minutes per game, and wouldn’t likely respond well to such a sharp drop in minutes. Then again, maybe making Stoudemire sullen and unproductive is just the thing to get the Wizards to inquire about trading for him.

2. It does nothing to address Stoudemire’s productivity issues

Stoudemire’s True Shooting Percentage and Effective Field Goal Percentage last season—.541 and .487 respectively—were well below his career averages of .596 and .534, and below 2010-2011’s .565 and .505. Stoudemire’s drop in scoring is complicated by the fact that he took about .5 fewer shots at the rim in 2011-2012( 5.7) than he did in 2010-2011 (6.2). Furthermore, he took nearly 2 fewer free throws per game in 2011-2012 (5.7 a career low) than he did in 2010-2011 (7.5).

Even if you want to argue that pairing Amar’e with ‘Melo is the proximate cause of the Stoudemire’s shooting woes [Stoudemire’s shot the same 48% while paired with Anthony as he did while Anthony was on the bench, the big change was in the FGAs (17.3 w/o Anthoony up from 14.1 with Anthony)], we’ve already established that Stoudemire will only have about 11.8 minutes per game to take advantage of this. Moving Stoudemire to the bench won’t solve the issue.

Barring a trade [or injury], there really is no way to keep Stoudemire and Anthony from sharing space. Since they are stuck with each other, the Knicks need to make changes to way they play together in order to make this work. Stoudemire seems to have sensed this and has already began adding new “jewels” to his game. I think adding post moves will be a good thing for Stoudemire. Working in the paint rather than at the elbow will free that space for Anthony. Furthermore, if Stoudemire is making moves in the low post, he may see a rise in the number of personal fouls he draws, something he needs to help his scoring efficiency. Catching in the low post and making a quick move may also reduce his turnover volume, which was slightly above average last year. And it is not as though moving to the low post will get in the way of Chandler and his wide assortment of post moves.

In order for this to work the entire team needs to buy-in. The coaching staff needs to incorporate plays for Stoudemire in the low post. The team needs to know when to deliver the ball to Stoudemire. Finally, Stoudemire needs to embrace his new role and not revert to past habits if he struggles early.

With a full training camp and a full season, the Knicks have time to figure out how to make this work before the playoffs start. Hopefully, the team will find a way to get the best out of Stoudemire and Anthony as a pair because there just aren’t enough minutes in a game to keep them apart.

Knicks 2013 Preview: The Ex-Knicks

For those that don’t care for former Knicks, we have a diversion. Check out this video on what the prequel to Star Wars should have been. It’s about 10 minutes long and doesn’t mention Jeremy Lin. Oh damn I brought up his name in the intro.

1. Jeremy Lin 65 games played and 15 PER
78% Over

To be over, Lin will have to both be healthy and remain an above league average point guard. I find it hard to think that Jeremy will be under a 15 PER, but not impossible. If you entirely discount 2012 as a fluke, his 2011 PER in Golden State was 14.8. Houston does a strange thing to some players. Remember Trevor Ariza’s year there? Will they expect Lin to take on a greater role in the offense than he did in New York? How will Lin fit in with Martin and Lamb? Will he worry about Toney Douglas taking over his starting job and strangling the last remnants of Linsanity?

As for his injury, players get hurt all the time. But some here have wondered if Lin’s poor preseason performance is due to his injury never properly healing. Taking the over means you think all of the above is nonsense. Of the two, I’m more sure of the 15 PER than the 65 games.

Tyler Murray says:

I’d be surprised if he’s able to put up “Linsane” numbers in Houston. Too much scouting, not enough Novak.

2. Josh Harrellson 15 N.B.A. games played
56% Under

If people thought that Lin was the soup du jour, then they must see Harrellson as amuse-bouche. Jorts played in about half the minutes as Lin, but statistically he held his own. He was very active on the offensive glass (3.1 oreb/36) and could hit the open three (33.9%). That’s decent production from a minimum-wage big man.

Oh, where did I get 15 games played? Eddy Curry played in 14 last year for Miami. So the over means that Jorts is at least as worthy to an NBA team as Eddy Curry.

3. Landry Fields 54% ts%
100% Under

Idea stolen from Jim Cavan. Unless you think it’s funny, then registered trademark Mike Kurylo.

So which Landry Fields will we see? The rookie that had a nearly 60% ts%, or the sophomore that would inexplicably and maddeningly miss all 6 free throws in a single game. We all have zero faith in last year being the fluke.

It probably also means that we disagree with the notion that Carmelo somehow is the cause of Fields’ demise. See we don’t demonize and blame Carmelo Anthony for everything that’s wrong in New York. Just when Con-Ed has to rip up the street at 5am, waking up the whole house, and provoking my wife to ask why the hell I haven’t put up those damn shelves yet. I DON’T HAVE TIME, I HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT THE KNICKS TO STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET! That– that is Carmelo’s fault.

4. Number of Teams that hire D’Antoni before the 2014 season starts: .5
56% Over

How cool would it be to have D’Antoni in the league again? You know where I’d like to see him? With the Nets.

That’s right. Oh they have a coach? Hahaha good one. Oh you meant it. Avery Johnson’s first full season was pretty good as the Mavs went to the Western Conference champs. But since then? 67 wins and a first round exit, followed by 51 wins and another first round exit. Then two god awful seasons in New Jersey.

Maybe the lil’General pulls it together in Brooklyn. But from my perspective he’s underperformed since then. I’d bet against Johnson given the facts at hand.

As for Il Baffi, tell me if this team sounds familiar: All Star point guard, good defensive and rebounding small forward, center that scores efficiently from inside and can’t rebound, and Joe Johnson. Is that the 2005 Suns or the 2013 Nets? Either way, it sounds like a 60-win D’Antoni team to me.

Max Fisher-Cohen says:

In the five drafts from 2000-2004, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas, Mo Williams, Devin Harris and Jameer Nelson were the only point guards to be drafted who have gone on to make an All-Star Game.

Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson were all drafted in the five drafts that followed. Notice a difference in talent compared to the first group?

The point is, while many cite D’Antoni’s success as being due to rule changes about how one can defend a driving player, sometimes the meta-game has a larger effect on how teams play than the actual rules of the gamef. D’Antoni’s system plays perfectly with the incredible pool of talent that is currently available at the point guard slot as well as the dearth of true centers.

That means that however you feel about D’Antoni’s ability to manage stars, as the coach of probably the most successful small-ball team in the history of the modern NBA, he will find a new home as soon as he desires one.

Which Question Did The KnickerBloggers Get Wrong?

  • Lin will either be injured or below average. (28%, 42 Votes)
  • Toronto will straighten out Landry Fields. (22%, 33 Votes)
  • Coach Pringles will be back on the sidelines in a year. (21%, 32 Votes)
  • Jorts will stick around for 15 games. (17%, 25 Votes)
  • I like this guy's version of Episode 1. (13%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 151

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Knicks 2013 Preview: The Team

1. Defensive Rank 5.5th (under = better)
78% Over

I’m kinda shocked by this one, because I took the under. Sure staying a top 5 defense season after season is difficult. Add in the injury to Shumpert and the over seems entirely probably.

On the other hand the offseason was mostly about adding defensive depth. When Tyson sits out a handful of games, the Knicks won’t be resorting to Jorts to start. It’ll be Camby or ‘Sheed or Kurt. There won’t be a Billy Walker to start in 8 games. Instead it’ll be White or Brewer. Defensively, they’re better in the middle and on the wings. This is a tremendous defensive upgrade in both personnel and overall team structure.

Depth counts, because when a starter is out, the 6th, 7th, or 8th guy gets his name announced while the laser show is going on. But just as importantly the 9th, 10th, or 11th guy has to step up & play more minutes as well. And this Knicks team is better defensively 6-11 than they were last year.

2. Offensive Rank 15th (under = better)
56% Over

I took the over, but the rest of the gang is split on this one.

Here’s my thinking: New York concentrated on the defensive end, and that’ll hurt them on offense. Sure Landry Fields will be gone, as will Jeffries, Douglas, and Bibby who were all mediocre to horrendous on offense. But it’s not like they went out to get some great scorers. Felton had a ts% of 49.1 which was worse than Fields’ 50.6%. And Raymond averages nearly 3 more shots per 36 minutes, which means from a shooting perspective he’s a bigger drag on the offense. Brewer, the guy we collectively penciled in as the starting SG, shot a 50.5% ts%.

As for another scorer the Knicks lost, if you throw out Renaldo Balkman and Jerome Jordan, Jeremy Lin was 3rd on the team in ts% last year. He also took the 6th most shots on the season. Sure Lin might not have repeated those numbers, but then again no one else likely will either.

And with all this, the team only ranked 17th last year. It’s going to take a Herculean effort from Carmelo, a big step forward for Shumpert, a return to the past for Amar’e Stoudemire or a career year from a guy like Felton to move up past 15th. It could happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

3. Regular Season Wins vs. Miami .5
89% Over

Brian Cronin says:

I find it extremely difficult to believe that the Knicks won’t get a win against Miami. I’d have put the over/under at 1.5. Will the Knicks split the season series? Now that’d be a lot tougher (I think I’d take the under).

I was the lone dissenter. Miami swept the regular season series last year and won 4 of 5 in the playoffs. That means they have a 62% chance of winning all 4 games against the Knicks. Which means Vegas is with me on this one.

4. Regular Season Wins vs. Lakers .5
55% Under

Same with this one.

5. Wins 45
89% Over

Don’t over-do it!

I took the over partially based on the answer to #1. Depth will be the key this year. Sure these vets are a little past their prime. But the reason for getting kids is because they’ll grow into something special, and clearly after the Lin debacle there is no hope for this team to keep a good young player. So why bother?

Additionally the top of the league just got a little worse. You don’t have to worry about Orlando anymore. Atlanta can’t replace Joe Johnson with Kyle Korver and John Jenkins (yet). Rose is out until January-ish. Bynum will likely miss 15-30 games. I have no faith in Avery Johnson being the coach that makes those guys work cohesively in New Jersey.

So really it’s part the Knicks got better, part the best teams in the Eastern Conference got worse. At least for this season. But for all the optimism I can muster, I would cap their wins at 50. Let’s not get too cocky here.

6. Playoff wins 4.5
56% Over

Yeah I said under.

First off there’s no guarantee the Knicks will get past the first round. It’s entirely feasible that they get the 5th or 6th seed and have to play on the road to get those first 4 wins.

Additionally even if they do get the home court advantage, then they’ll very likely have to beat the Heat or a Rose-ful Bulls in round 2 on the road. Sure they’ll only need to win one game at home for this to be over.

So yeah, I guess I can see both sides, hence why it’s so close. But I’ll stay with the under.

Which Question Did The KnickerBloggers Get Wrong?

  • They won't win a second round game. (26%, 40 Votes)
  • Knicks will have at least the 5th best D. (15%, 23 Votes)
  • Knicks will have a better than average offense. (15%, 23 Votes)
  • The Heat will sweep the Knicks during the season. (15%, 23 Votes)
  • The Knicks will beat the Lakers once. (12%, 19 Votes)
  • 44 wins or less. (12%, 18 Votes)
  • Perfect-a-mundo! (6%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 155

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Knicks 2013 Preview: Forwards/Centers Survey

The 2013 Knicks preview continues. We asked smart people questions. They answered. We untied them.

1. Steve Novak 43.6% 3P%
Over 56%

That’s his career average, but Novak ended the season on a sour note when Miami completely shut him down. Knick fans were drunk on his intoxicating stroke knocking down three after three. But after the Heat showed how to shut him down, they must be wondering if other teams will follow suit, which would make 2013 an awful hangover for Novak. The young forward has worked on expanding his repertoire, with one or two dribble pull-up shots and drawing contact to counter-act what he’ll see from defenses this year.

I went with the under because that’s a ridiculously high number to keep, especially for one that’s going to tinker with his game. Novak might be able to get shots off with new moves, but I wonder if they’ll be of the same quality. Sure he can shoot nearly 50% from downtown with his feet perfectly set and lots of space, just like he’s alone in the gym. But will he be able to do it after a defender ran at him, and he has to side step then launch? Not at the same rate, is my guess.

2. Amar’e pts/36: 19.2
67% Under

At this stage of his career Amar’e reminds me of the grade school kid entering high school. At one point he was the big kid on campus, with the coolest kid in the school (Nash) as his best friend. But now he’s merely one of the crowd and finding it difficult to cope with a changing body.

S.T.A.T. is no longer the freak of nature he once was, and can’t rely on someone else to find easy buckets for him. In fact the Knicks have made it more difficult for Stoudemire to score, with Tyson Chandler clogging the middle, Anthony occupying the mid-post, and an offensive scheme that doesn’t fit his skill set.

So with things a little more hostile to Stoudemire, he, like Novak, went back to the drawing board. S.T.A.T. sought out Hakeem Olajuwon to give him some new moves. Will it help? I voted under. Hopefully “The Dream” showed him how to play defense and rebound as well.

[Note: This poll was taken before his knee injury.]

3. Carmelo Anthony TS% 54%
56% Under

With Lin gone and Amar’e still trying to find himself, the Knicks are undoubtedly ‘Melo’s team on offense. The break-even point for volume scorers should be the league average which is usually around 54%, although last year it was 52.7% (probably due to the strike). So one would expect a guy that scores 23.9 pts/36 to do it at a rate as good as the average NBAer.

Look here’s the gist. The Knicks were ranked 5th on offense last year, and they’ll likely be near to that high this year. So they’ll go as far as the offense will take them. As the centerpiece, Anthony’s ability to take smart shots, given that he takes so many, will help as much as any one player can. He hit 56% a more than once in his career, so this shouldn’t be a difficult task.

I went with the under, so ‘Melo, prove me wrong.

4. Rasheed 1000 minutes
100% Under

The fewest amount of minutes ‘Sheed played in a non-strike season is 1780. That last season in Boston, Wallace’s numbers dipped heavily. Was that a function of the team dynamics or just the aging process?

Most likely Wallace will take the 540 minutes Harrellson ate up last year, which translates to about 670 minutes in a full season. Also note that Jorts missed time due to his injury, and 1000 minutes for BTPH doesn’t seem so crazy.

I took the under, but you probably figured that out already.

Robert Silverman says:

If Rasheed plays over a thousand minutes (approximately 12 MPG over the 82 game season), it means that the Knick frontcourt will have been so utterly decimated by injuries that Roger Hinds will look like he stepped out of Thomas Eakins’ “The Gross Clinic.”

Which Question Did The KnickerBloggers Get Wrong?

  • Carmelo Anthony is gonna torch 54% ts% (28%, 30 Votes)
  • Amar’e will score more than19.2 pts/36 (21%, 22 Votes)
  • Steve Novak will be under 43.6% 3p%. (20%, 21 Votes)
  • None. You looking into a crystal ball? (17%, 18 Votes)
  • Rasheed will play 1000 hard minutes. (14%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 106

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