Hawks 91, Knicks 85

Atlanta Hawks 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 42 MIN | 11-25 FG | 3-5 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | -9

Okay. This is a fun topic to start with. [Gets on top of barstool, begins bellowing at top of lungs] Melo doesn’t get foul calls because the media/the league/the Illuminati hate the Knicks. Or New York. They hate New York. It’s a conspiracy! And have you seen the chemtrails above MSG? BIAAAAAASSSSSSSSS!!!!!1!”

[Gets off barstool. Adjusts tie. Bows.] Thank you. No really, you’re too kind. Thank you very much. If Alex Jones ever wants to start a fancy sports vertical, he knows how to get in touch. But seriously folks, ranting that Melo’s not getting the ‘superstar calls’ is thing you may have encountered in some of the more scurrilous, ill-lit corners of your fave virtual and real-life hangouts. And I get, it really. There are moments—like tonight, f’rinstance—where you or I, or even a normally cool, taciturn cat like Coach Fish will spew an anguished cri-di-butthurt at the cruel injustice of it all.

Yes, it does feel like Melo’s getting jobbed. But yeah, it’s not really true. This is the point in the recap where I shove the work that Jared Dubin (or “Jared Dubin” as he is known to his close friends and professional colleagues) has done into the center of the poker table. Do read the entire article(s) but in brief, he’s not making nearly as many trips to the charity stripe as he did as a young’n because he’s taken a higher percentage of mid- and long-range shots as he’s aged, and the bulk of foul calls come at the rim. That said, Melo is still drawing whistles at a rate that’s commensurate with other players of his ilk.

Now, where one might have an argument is that Melo doesn’t get the calls at the rim he should. “Opposing defenders fouled Anthony just 5.1% of the time last year when he was attempting dunks, layups or tip-ins,” Chris Herring wrote at the Wall Street Journal. “That’s considerably lower than Harden (8.9%) or LeBron James (8.7%).

Aha! Bias!!!!1! Well, not necessarily. More Herring: “’He’s a very difficult person to ref, because he causes a lot of the contact,’ said former NBA official Steve Javie, now an ESPN analyst. ‘That’s always our question: Was it the offensive player or the defensive player who had the infraction?’”

Anyhoo, this is a somewhat longer topic, and the idea that the league “hates” New York is a tepid, useless joke, but please feel free to hash it out in the comments. Moving on, Melo’s still forcing it a bit, but he delivered a bunch of nifty passes and did a good job defending Millsap in the low post. He lost him a few times, though, when he scampered out to the three point line. Chasing dudes in space/around picks just isn’t Melo’s bag, baby, which is yet another hunk of timber-like evidence to toss on the “Melo is a four. Period” fire.

Samuel Dalembert, C 16 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | +3

I know, lotsa tweets in this one, but Kevin, your thoughts/feels?

Sammy didn’t play a lot, because Sammy got beaten like a gong by Horford, or “Harvard,” as Clyde would say, while turning the ball over like a champ. Sammy gets some dandy blocks, but it’s often a result of being out of position to start with. This is why Sammy’s played for five teams in the last five years since leaving Philly, as each grew tired of his inability to properly harness his athletic gifts and serious length. Hi Sammy!

Shane Larkin, PG 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -7

Some scamper-y pesky defense from Sharkin including one or two moments where he seemed to just magically have the ball in his hands. Like, I didn’t even see the steal occur. But that’s about it.

Iman Shumpert, SG 30 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -2

Shump got seriously pissed towards the end, straight pegging the ball off Thabo Sefolosha, or as Clyde would say, “Sef-a-lowse-a.” (I think the Hawks lead the league in Guys’ Names That Clyde Either Can or Will Not Properly Pronounce. Oddly enough, he rattles off “Schröder like a champ, though he seems oddly fascinated by the fact that Dennis is from Germany.) It’s a little-known codicil of the soon-to-be-expiring CBA that if you can whale the ball off a feller’s junk in the final minute and can send it poinging out of bounds, thus causing the entire crowd to titter like a bunch of sugar-addled 6th Graders, you win. KNICKS WIN.

Again, a really solid outing from Shumpert, save for the silly reach in fouls that sent him to the bench at the worst possible moment towards the end of the third quarter. It’s a problem. He’s working on it, for sure, but it’s still a problem. That said, he’s been the best, most consistent Knickerbocker so far this year. :)

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 22 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +1

Timmy had a nice defensive sequence! Really, I saw it with my own eyeballs and everything. Totally locked down Teague on an ISO with the shot clock running down. Really nice. He started out bull-rushing into the paint and/or begging for a foul, but THJ did hitting from distance as the game went on. That said, for some reason, he ceded a whole heap of playing time to…

J.R. Smith, SG 27 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -1

…this chap. I don’t get it all. I’m getting a tad repetitive here, but he really gunks up the offense–and his spot up jumpers were just brick-tastic c’est soir. The only time he seems fluid is when he’s working a two-man game with his fellow Smith. Speaking of which…

Jason Smith, C 21 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -6

…there isn’t a more boring play in all of basketball than a swished Jason Smith mid-range jumper. It can be durned effective, but it’s hoops Ambien, I tells ya.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2

For whatever reason, STAT’s having the rebounding year of his life. Seriously, take a look. It’s mainly due to a serious markup in offensive rebounds, and quite possibly a result of the fact that sans Dalembert and/or Cole, the Knicks often have no bros that can gobble up boards on the floor at all. The triangle also will put bigs in a position to crash the offensive glass. The fourth quarter, though… ugh. Seth, as usual, really put it best.

The Angry Birds killed the ‘Bockers down the stretch by running a fairly simple pick and roll at the top of the key. Amar’e couldn’t for the life of him figure out how to ICE Dennis Schröder, or he’d leave Antic wide open for three, and that’s all he does (when he’s not beating the tar out of George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven, that is).

Cleanthony Early, SF 8 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7

Play Cleanthony more, please. We’re starting to see glimpses of the off the dribble game that he flashed at Wichita State, and though he shot a big ol’ donut tonight, they were good, clean looks—even the finger roll that fell about two feet short of the rim.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 22 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | 0

Welcome back, Pablo! Say hi!

tumblr_nc22y6nqT81tjlecko1_400

He was pretty bad, but given he probably rushed back from a sprained ankle, I think we can give him a pass. Also, it’s Pablo Prigioni! What’s wrong with you…you…you monsters!

Derek Fisher

This is dumb.

Five Things We Saw

  1. I hope you had better things to do tonight, such as watching Mark Freaking Sanchez just stick the knife even deeper into the already knife-addled back of Jets Nation, because for the most part, this was a hit-every-single-branch-falling downthe-ugly-tree kind of ugly game. The triangle flashed at times—and they’ve really gotten a handle on that dump off pass from the post to a cutting wing—but for the most part it just creaked and groaned jaggedly, like we’ve seen through the bulk of this five-game losing streak, all of which has been grim and not fun. Yes, we all know that this is going to be a long process and struggle is a part of growth, but the struggle part is still…well… a struggle to sit through on a nightly basis, even if logically we know it’s necessary.
  2. There are a heap of problems with this team, and it’s kind of hard to separate them all. Phil may not grok this particular interconnectedness of the universe, but when you don’t have bigs that can defend, you end up giving up a ton of shots in the paint, which leads to panicked wings trying to rotate, leading to a passel of wide-open looks for three point shooters like Korver. Oddly enough, when Hotlanta was running him through a Reggie Miller-esque succession of screens, Shump et al. did a dandy job of sticking with him. It’s when he was standing in the corner, just waiting for the ball to rotate that things got royally kerfluffled. Before tipoff, The Fisher Coach said this.

  3. I’m not sure I agree with Derek’s police work there. Yes, in the previous tilt, both teams hit about the same number of treys, but Atlanta just killed them at the line—I get the logic. But they were last in the league defending the three heading into tonight’s game, and both the abundance of fouls and their inability to close on long-range heaves are part and parcel of the same problem: there are one or maybe two plus defenders on the roster, and if they want to field a halfway decent triangle, you end up with a gossamer-thin quintet.
  4. The final score may not show it, but they were pretty bad on that end tonight as well. Atlanta missed a ton of shots early, and got incredibly sloppy with the ball. They were tied heading into the half, but really should have been down big. New York started out hot to start the third, and then…well the Hawks remembered that they’re the better team, and outscored them 49-36 over the final 20 minutes. They managed to scrape and claw their way back to a mere one-point deficit, but it felt like the Hawks were serving this one up on a shiny silver platter, and the Knicks were all, “Naw. Not for me, thank you very much. I’d rather ditch the offense for stagnant ISO’s, silly turnovers, missed free throws, and rushed JR Smith heaves.” They fought hard, and competed, for sure, but whether it’s the newness of the system or just not having a roster that can run it properly, I dunno. Some horrid amalgam of both. This, however, was sad, but still funny.

    ,

  5. And at one point, during the absolute dregs of the second quarter, Breen was reading some ad copy for Sprite™ that included the phrase, “Lemon-lime sip.” He turned to Frazier and slung the old joke, “Try saying that five times fast.” Clyde, the coolest cat in all the universe, just said, “Sip.” Once. The end.

    The Magic Kingdom’s in town on Wednesday. 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.

86 thoughts to “Hawks 91, Knicks 85”

  1. Shump had another good game, keep improving Iman and the Knicks will have to pay a lot of money to keep you after this year( thus fucking up the “save all the cap room you can” strategy).

    The defense was beyond horrible, again. Nice quote Seth Rosenthal, I’ll go with a Blue & Orange bullet.

  2. You screen capped your own tweet of a quote by the coach in an article you wrote instead of just quoting the coach? If that’s not the journalistic equivalent of a selfie, I don’t know what is. /headdesk (I kid I kid with you Bobby but it does feel like you were padding to get to 2000 words).

    Was Seth’s “which color bullet?” tweet racial?

    Jason Smith is just Bargnani with less range.

  3. It seemed like Shumpert was assigned to guard Korver, which helped limit his totally wide open looks. That was a good thing. But it seems like Melo’s minutes are creeping up and that late game 2 out of every 3 possessions are of the JR or Melo don’t pass it back variety. I really thought we were done with that junior high school level stuff. Maybe it’s just the dreck piling up that makes me cynical, but if Bargnani starts playing 25+ minutes because he’s “versatile” …

  4. This is one of the weirdest teams I’ve ever seen. You have a coach trying to instill an offense and a philosophy with players who will mostly not be here next year. It’s not even like we’re building something, we’re just sort of spinning wheels, right? We saw something similar with Mike D’Antoni in his first two years, as well, but the difference is we actually have the player we plan to build around here. So frankly I’m not sure anything matters other than what we see going on with Melo (on the court, anyway; Fisher’s development is equally vital).

    So on Melo…

    The encouraging signs for me were in the beginning of the game. He was letting his teammates get involved, get early shots for Shump, Larkin, Hardaway, et al. That’s a nice break from last year, when it seemed like he took the first 5 shots of every game.

    And then there was down the stretch, which deteriorated into a predictable pattern of one on one play that ended in bad shots for he or JR.

    And yet it was hard to be mad. This team might finally be good enough to tank.

    Incidentally I went to the game and sat in front of Mike Scott’s family, which was interesting. They were, how shall I put this…enthused. Maybe not delightfully so.

  5. Let’s just be clear on something about your Melo argument, Robert. This bit:

    “’He’s a very difficult person to ref, because he causes a lot of the contact,’ said former NBA official Steve Javie, now an ESPN analyst. ‘That’s always our question: Was it the offensive player or the defensive player who had the infraction?’”

    strikes me as extremely odd considering who initiates the contact rarely seems to be considered when NBA officials are making calls. If offensive players who initiated the contact stopped getting calls, we would see a precipitous drop in fouls.

    This statement is actually an example of the bias that officials have against Carmelo Anthony. It applies to him more than it applies to the average NBA situation.

  6. In fact, I want to go so far as saying that an NBA ref saying “That’s always our question: Was it the offensive player or the defensive player who had the infraction?” is as much horse shit as anything I’ve heard a human being say. He might as well have said “we strictly enforce traveling and have done so for decades.”

  7. I agree, Hubert, in the Nets game Brook Lopez on several occasions blatantly initiated contact (one where Aldrich went straight up and another where he did that dumb rip through move on Amare , and I think there were others as well)

    How he gets the benefit of those calls and Melo doesn’t is puzzling to say the least.

  8. Melo, Shumpert, and Bargnani for Anthony Davis and three #1 picks. Who says no?

  9. I actually thought the defense was semi-ok last night. Melo fought Millsap pretty hard. Shump locking down Korver was great to see (even though Korver missed a couple wide open shots). Even THJ did an ok job.

    The offense wasn’t good but I have hope that it’ll be a lot better when Calderon comes back. Larkin has no clue out there, can’t shoot, can’t finish, and can’t defend other than the occasional flashy steal. Pablo is more under control but won’t shoot either.

    I know I’ve been bashing Larkin from the beginning but until he shows he can be an NBA 3 point shooter he has no future in this league. He’s smaller than Lawson and unlike Lawson doesn’t know how to get his shot off in the paint. His floater is awful – like missing by a foot from 5 feet away. And he’s (in relatively small sample) shooting about 30% from 3 point range in his career despite being left wide open all the time. Yes he’s young and athletic but I agree completely with Phil’s decision not to guarantee him next year. He’s honestly not even as good as John Lucas III or Ish Smith or any of these other guys that can be scooped up for the minimum.

    How good is Dennis Schroeder by the way? Drafted one pick before Larkin. He moves so much like Rondo it’s scary. by the way per 36 he is averaging 22 pts, 4 reb, 4 assists, 4 steals, and his TS is 65 because he’s shooting 74%(!!!!) from 2P range.

  10. #9, The Knicks say no, obviously. Because we’re building around Melo and the plan is already under way, and plus the modern NBA game is dominated by good shooters from beyond the arc, who can also create their own wrong foot step back jumper.

  11. Tommy Beer is putting out some great tweets about Anthony Davis:

    -scoring more per game than Melo, Klay Thompson, and Blake Griffin
    – more steals than CP3
    – more blocks/boards than anyone in the league
    – higher FG% than Lebron
    – higher FT% than Dirk

    dude is unreal. given his age, even when he gets maxed out I don’t think the Pelicans would trade him straight up for Lebron.

  12. This is one of the weirdest teams I’ve ever seen. You have a coach trying to instill an offense and a philosophy with players who will mostly not be here next year. It’s not even like we’re building something, we’re just sort of spinning wheels, right? We saw something similar with Mike D’Antoni in his first two years, as well, but the difference is we actually have the player we plan to build around here. So frankly I’m not sure anything matters other than what we see going on with Melo (on the court, anyway; Fisher’s development is equally vital).

    I disagree. I dont think we are sputtering wheels. I think we have to find 6 keepers off of this years roster. Not necessarily heavy minutes guys, but guys that we want on the roster. I believe thats why we are going so deep and everyone is playing, and hopefully some will pick up on our triangle leanings.
    Id say right now, this is where we are at for the future
    melo- keeper
    calderon- keeper (for now)
    prigs- gone
    larkin- gone
    shump- keeper, i pray
    JR- prob gaone
    early- keeper
    TH2- keeper (for now)
    stat- gone
    jason smith- keeper
    acy- ????
    dalembert- gone
    cole- ???? (fingers crossed)- honesly, prob gone
    wear bear- ????, i think he may be a keeper honestly
    bargs- gone

    starting our roster next year with melo, calderon, shump, th2, early, jason smith, acy, wear, cole, thanasis would be 10 of 15- if they all prove their worth and learn the triangle and defensive rotations, that would leave significant cap room to add a couple of studs, 2 decent rotation players, and a draft pick

  13. Guys who have gotten minutes for the Knicks this year, who have a worse DRB% than Jason Smith, the guy who gets significant minutes at Center:
    Pablo Prigioni
    Tim Hardaway Jr.
    That is all.

  14. Why would anyone want to keep Jason Smith? He’s not particularly good and he hasn’t even gotten hurt yet. That dude is gone next year.

    Wear has been total garbage. What makes you think he’s a keeper? His 18 FG% or his guard-like rebounding? I’m fine keeping him and giving him some PT, because I don’t really care if this particular Knicks team wins, but let’s not pretend he’s something he’s not. He’s a lotto ticket.

  15. maxwell, I understand what you’re saying. But look at the minutes played on the season for the guys you think are likely to stay vs the guys who are likely gone.

    Perhaps it is just because it’s too early in the season to be perceived as giving up, thus we are playing more those players who are likely going to leave because we think of ourselves as a potential playoff team. And maybe when Calderon comes back we might begin to look like one. But if you’re looking for 6 guys to keep around, as you suggested, I would lean towards seeing more Cleanthony and Cole than JR and Dalembert.

  16. Yeah Jason Smith is terrible. He’s useful in limited circumstances but he’s not a great defender by any means, can’t rebound, and is foul machine to the tune of 5.8 fouls/36. (by the way everyone’s favorite Cole Aldrich is averaging 8.3 fouls/36, which may be why he doesn’t play so much).

    I figure out “keeper list” is more like this:

    Obvious because they’re under contract (unless traded of course)
    Melo
    THJ
    JR
    Calderon
    Early
    2015 1st round pick

    Possible bring-back
    Shump (on his way to a $12MM/year contract)
    Amare (would have to take a short-term cheap contract ie. the room exception which he won’t take)
    Cole – on a non-bird exception
    Pablo (will be renounced but maybe brought back on non-bird exception for a 1 year deal)
    Wear – on minimum deal

    Gone
    Bargain
    Acy
    Jason Smith
    Dalembert
    Larkin

  17. Who says no: Jeff Teague for Derrick Williams and Stauskas. Ferry never seemed to want to sign Teague in the first place and mostly wants cap flexibility, and now Schroder is showing some signs. Meanwhile the Kings probably see themselves as a contender after this start, and if they are willing to trade for Josh Smith’s contract they are definitely psyched about $24m for Teague. Plus Sacramento is where talented players who sometimes suddenly seem like they’d rather be fishing belong.

  18. Why would anyone want to keep Jason Smith? He’s not particularly good and he hasn’t even gotten hurt yet. That dude is gone next year.

    Wear has been total garbage. What makes you think he’s a keeper? His 18 FG% or his guard-like rebounding? I’m fine keeping him and giving him some PT, because I don’t really care if this particular Knicks team wins, but let’s not pretend he’s something he’s not. He’s a lotto ticket.

    Im by no means a huge Jason Smith guy, but heres my defense of him as a player.
    1) hes cheap.
    2) he provides certain level of floor spacing which help the triangle
    3) he seems to be able to protect the rim. he has at least 2 memorable blocks so far this year. in others words, he does not give up layups (see STAT, amare)
    4) his weakness on rebounding, mainly that he doesnt get enough deensive rebounds. if you assume that those rebounds have a 75% change of ending up in a teammates hands, is he really costing us a lot of possessions? are his man grabbing a bunch of offensive boards? i havent seen that. perhaps he is a positional box out guy that allows shump, melo, stat, and others to swoop in for the board. I dont know the answer to this, but I feel that defensive rebounds have the potential to be a very overrated stat
    5) he seems to give a shit

  19. How about JR Smith for Derrick Williams? The Kings are looking like a pretty decent two-way team, but their guard rotation is not the greatest. Ben McLemore has been good as a spot-up shooter but provides little else, Nik Stauskas does not seem ready to play and that’s pretty much all they have at shooting guard. Derrick Williams is terrible but he’s an expiring contract. If JR hates it in Sacramento he’ll just opt out of his contract, so for Sacto it could be a one-year rental of a decent player for a worthless player. It works in the trade machine. JR is not part of the future here and this team sucks anyway, so I would jump at the chance to dump him even if it’s for nothing.

  20. as for wear, hes a cheap end of the bench guy. im not saying sign him for 5 mill a year. but if he can develop into a forward that can shoot the three (again, develop into this) who understands the triangle, i would have no problem keeping him as a 12-15th man on a cheap contract. no everyone on the roster is going to be a star. some guys are essentially practice players who need to understand the team culture and system

  21. as for PT (Hubert, #17), I agree completely. i would love to see more cole and early (with melo at the 4). I have no desire to watch stat fliunder away on defense any more, unless the goal is to trade him to a contender for an injured expiring plus a pick at the deadline. other than that, im done with stat……and if it wasnt for the player option, id be there with JR as well

  22. i lie the way your thinking JK-47 with that trade.

    what about this one…..what would the lakers say if we offered our pick (if we could trade it) for randle? would you guys do it. we could use a physical PF next year

  23. The Knicks are a pretty shittay defensive rebounding team– they rank 23rd in DRB%. It’s one of the pillars of their craptastic defense. I don’t want to hear about Bargain Basement Bargnani’s great phantom ability to box out. He can’t rebound because he can’t jump, he’s slow and has zero athleticism. But dat floor spacing doe!

  24. From stats.nba.com,
    DRB% with Jason Smith On the court: 66.9%
    DRB% with Jason Smith Off the court: 76.2%

    if that is a true reflection (and not sample size error, a product of the lineups he has been part of, or a product of us playing him out of position at the 5) that is about 3 possessions a game and certainly is significant. Im not good at accessing stats off the net. I wonder if it was the same last year with the pels? again, i dont know the answer and am willing to reconsider my stance

  25. the thing about Jason Smith is that he is rebounding way below his career average in the mid-12s. In terms of rebound rate, last year he was sandwiched between guys like Marc Gasol, David West, Collison, Brandon Bass, etc. So it seems likely that his rebounding will improve.

    He’s just a guy. I guess he is fairly priced for a one year deal. If he disappeared off the face of the earth I’m pretty sure the NBA wouldn’t notice. (I’m sure he’s a great guy and his friends and family would miss him though).

    Re: Wear – I think his main value is as a high-IQ move the ball defend multiple position guy who can shoot. He’s like Luke Walton or something. It’s a very small sample (50 3’s in college) but he was a 40% shooter there. Not sure about his NBA 3 prospects.

  26. Last year with the Pels:
    74.3% On court
    73.7% Off court

    So, yeah, sample size is a consideration. Jason Smith has been a bad rebounder for his whole career, but not THIS BAD. The fact is, though, that he has absolutely killed us on the boards so far this year. Why is he getting so many minutes?

  27. So, yeah, sample size is a consideration. Jason Smith has been a bad rebounder for his whole career, but not THIS BAD. The fact is, though, that he has absolutely killed us on the boards so far this year. Why is he getting so many minutes?

    because Bargnani’s injured…? *throws up in mouth*

  28. I hated the Jason Smith deal the moment I found out he got our whole taxpayer MLE. The signing reeked of “we overvalue midrange shooting because of the triangle offense.” He’s a better version of Andrea Bargnani, and we do not need two Andrea Bargnanis on the roster. Well, since we have our draft pick this season, two of those may not be such a bad thing as long as neither are Knicks past this season.

  29. Wear has no value right now. He might develop into a Luke Walton-type ball moving, sweet shooting kinda big man. But he’s got a ways to go. Listen, I have no problem losing a fuck ton of games this year, so sure, give Wear a shot. It’s just silly to say he’s a keeper based on a small set of games during which he’s been terrible.

    With Cole and the fouls, sure, that would be a reason to keep him out of games if we were winning. But we’re not.

  30. Wear is just dragging Carmelo’s efficiency into the mud. Get rid of the scrubs so we can have our superstar back.

  31. Jowles, don’t make me find old ruru posts detailing Melo’s previous slow starts. His teams always make the playoffs. Troll.

  32. Regarding Jason Smith, I said this yesterday,

    If you want to talk about how rebounding affects a game, here is a rebound basically clinching the game for the Hawks.

    4Q
    Millsap Rebound (Off:1 Def:3) 01:19

    That was it. Knicks were down 5 and needed a stop. They had it, but somehow with Jason Smith at center, New York couldn’t get a simple defensive rebound.

    But he “spreads the floor”.

  33. @36 I was actually thinking something like that on the previous possession when they got about three offensive rebounds before a diving Melo got a quick pass for a dunk. Ending and extending possessions kinda helps. Of course I also noted one rebound where all the Knicks were running back so three Hawks had the option to pick up the ball off the first hop before Milsap did. What I didn’t notice were extra points being awarded for stylishness, number of feet on the ground at time of shot, or degree of difficulty (other than behind the arc where they all still counted the same).

  34. Wear has no value right now. He might develop into a Luke Walton-type ball moving, sweet shooting kinda big man. But he’s got a ways to go. Listen, I have no problem losing a fuck ton of games this year, so sure, give Wear a shot. It’s just silly to say he’s a keeper based on a small set of games during which he’s been terrible.

    i honestly could care less about wear, but calling him a keeper is not the huge endorsement that you seem to want to make it out to be. if he can develop at all this year, yes I would like to bring back a player who knows the system a little to be our 13-15th man, as opposed to taking a flyer on jeremy tyler or jerome jordan. its called developing players, and sometimes it takes more than a year

  35. @36. i dont now Mike. it seems a little absurd to suggest that missing one rebound (when we aere already down 5) played a significant role in costing us a game. we could also focus on mid range j’s that jason smith hit and say that those were equally crucial plays. i get that he is not rebounding well, and i expect him to pick it up (at least I hope he does). but lets not go overboard

  36. @39.

    My point is that it’s difficult for the naked eye to see why peripheral stats are important. It’s very easy to look at Jason Smith & see a guy that can shoot pretty well. What’s nearly impossible to see is that his rebounding kills the team. When the other team gets an offensive board while Smith is on the floor it doesn’t register with your mind that Smith is a crappy rebounder. Your brain gives the other team credit. So at the end of the game you go “he shot 3-7 in 21 minutes, what was OK.”

    That one play where Millsap got the rebound I thought that was good hustle by him which put the final dagger in the Knicks. However it took a second to register that if the Knicks had a decent rebounding center playing instead of Smith, they likely would have gotten that rebound, and still had a chance to tie or win. Instead the game was over by that point.

    tldr: Rebounding matters.

  37. starting our roster next year with melo, calderon, shump, th2, early, jason smith, acy, wear, cole, thanasis would be 10 of 15- if they all prove their worth and learn the triangle and defensive rotations, that would leave significant cap room to add a couple of studs, 2 decent rotation players, and a draft pick

    Other people have brought this up before, but to recap their cap situation – if Shump remains a Knick, it will pretty much screw their cap space over. Current Shump will get at least $10 million on the open market (think Avery Bradley but a little bit better – possibly a lot better, so it might be closer to $12 million). His current strong play is the most typical Knicks thing ever. He’s going to play well enough for them to have to decide between keeping him or getting a stud. So if they keep him, that’s another punted year because they didn’t add another star player. If they lose him, then it’s also probably another punted year, because the new star player will be coming to a team without Shump. The future of this Knick team is not a bright one.

  38. Shump will be a restricted FA if the Knicks make him a qualifying offer, though, right? I think that’s 175% of the last years salary. So that’s like $4.6mil. If they sign a max contract before they have to match another offer from Shump, they can then go over the cap to match. Don’t quote me on that, though. Pretty sure we can keep Shump and still give out a max next year.

  39. Yeah what Kevin just said, I think if they time it right they can sign a max FA then re-sign Shump to whatever contract they want no??

  40. If they want to keep Shump, they have to hope another team doesn’t swoop in and make him an offer at the start of free agency, at which point the Knicks will have only 72 hours to match it or not. And I think the league changed the rules so that email qualifies as a way to deliver those kinds of documents, so no more “Glen Grunwald hiding in an undisclosed Las Vegas hotel room” shenanigans.

  41. Melo, Shumpert, and Bargnani for Anthony Davis and three #1 picks. Who says no?

    Melo says no. He has a no-trade clause.

    But, remember, according to Woj, he took the money now and plans to worry about destination later. Not sure when “later” is, but presumably his heart is still bound to either LA or Chicago. His deal becomes tradable in December. If the Clippers continue to underwhelm, could they discuss Melo for Blake again? If Chicago encounters offensive issues or injuries, could they re-open their pursuit of him? (All Melo has to do is force the issue (again)).

  42. If Chicago encounters offensive issues or injuries, could they re-open their pursuit of him? (All Melo has to do is force the issue (again)).

    The Taj/Gasol dynamic is interesting: which one finishes games? What if becomes a problem and Chicago willing to trade Gasol (and others) to Knicks for Melo and Melo plays at 3? Tough to make work because of salaries (remember Boozer?). Gasol/Mirotic/McDermott/Dunleavy for Melo might just be enough to meet 125%. Would Chicago weaken its bench to strengthen its starting 5? Would Pau help us land his bro in free agency?

  43. Melo is not going anywhere, any discussions about possible trades involving Melo is a waste of time.

  44. Agreed, except, as Donnie Walsh alluded to, there is always the chance that Melo himself decides to get traded. But yeah, besides that, he’s going nowhere.

  45. Shump will be a restricted FA if the Knicks make him a qualifying offer, though, right? I think that’s 175% of the last years salary. So that’s like $4.6mil. If they sign a max contract before they have to match another offer from Shump, they can then go over the cap to match. Don’t quote me on that, though. Pretty sure we can keep Shump and still give out a max next year.

    Thanks, Kevin, you’re totally right. You have given me some slight hope. So hopefully the Knicks find a way to lock down Gasol before re-upping Shump!

  46. I would imagine that Melo is gonna stick around until at least Year Two of the Phil Jackson era to see what kind of help comes here when the Knicks have cap space. I doubt he’s gonna be looking for a trade this season. He’s not an idiot. He knows the 2014-2015 Knicks are not gonna be world beaters.

  47. I doubt he’s gonna be looking for a trade this season. He’s not an idiot. He knows the 2014-2015 Knicks are not gonna be world beaters.

    I don’t think Melo’s gonna be looking either, but what if something shows up at his doorstep? Maybe Phil would prefer Gasol Brothers, Mirotic, McDermott to Melo? Pau/Calderon and Jax’s Triangle may be the only situation which could entice Marc away from 5 year deal in Memphis (where he’s been balling since high school). The dominoes might start to fall if Taj/Gasol becomes a real conflict undermining the team. I think that could be a problem but one which would likely resolve itself in the off-season at which time such a trade might be possible.

  48. I don’t think Phil has much of a say. Melo has a full no-trade clause. He’s going to stay until he wants to leave (and I believe he is never going to leave).

  49. Why wouldn’t he go to Chicago this season if Phil asked him if he wanted to? This could be the season Chicago could win a chip since OKC might not even make the playoffs and Cleveland may need a year. Might be a win-win for Knicks and Melo.

  50. OKC isn’t even close to the top of the pile in the West. San Antonio, LA, Golden State and Houston make that whole conference a crapshoot.

  51. I still don’t understand why people think Gasol is coming here.

    Me either. My money is on him staying right where he is. I’d love to lose that bet though.

  52. I wouldn’t mind seeing the FO go in a different direction than the “two or three max contracts and whatever other junk we can find” model. It’s not really the greatest model.

  53. I still don’t understand why people think Gasol is coming here.

    You’re talking about Marc I presume? I don’t think he’s coming here as things stand. The Knicks (and Melo) are looking at a lineup of Melo/Calderon/Shump/JR/one of Jefferson/Monroe/R Lopez. That’s not winning anything.

    However, Pau’s presence might change that dynamic. Phil would probably have an idea of whether Marc would give the Knicks serious consideration before he signed off on any trade.

  54. So basically he knicks will try to pull off with Shump what Houston tried to do with Parsons.

  55. I still don’t understand why people think Gasol is coming here.

    It’s wishful thinking. But Memphis is kind of stuck with the players they’ve got right now and are unlikely to dip into luxury tax territory. So Gasol might head elsewhere to try better luck, and the Eastern Conference is much easier than the Western.

  56. As long as Melo is here, this team is going to struggle. All the Zen charisma in the world is not going to lure other stars here. They’ll come for one reason only. $$$$.

    On Melo – really, not much has changed since the day he arrived. He still adheres to the notion that the best way to win basketball games is to give him the ball and let him shoot, shoot, shoot, and shoot some more.
    J. Kidd, Phil Jackson, the fan base, the media, and current and former NBA stars have been unable to convince him otherwise. Melo can refrain from chucking for stretches of a game, but that’s just it. He refrains from playing one-on-one until he can’t take it anymore and eventually shifts to the philosophy he truly embraces – hero-ball.
    And no one in the knicks organization ever had the balls to set him straight, like Lebron did to Kyrie Irving. . . . except for maybe D’Antoni. And we know how that worked out.

  57. All of the projected top picks in this upcoming draft are 19-year old one-and-done guys: Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl Towns, Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander. The top Euro players like Kristaps Porzingis and Mario Hezonja are also teenagers. Pretty much all of those guys are gonna need some development time and probably aren’t gonna be two-way impact players for a little while. Then, of course, no first-round pick in 2016 (thanks Bargs). And of course we have no assets that we can flip for other draft picks.

    So, you know. Knicks gonna Knick.

  58. It’s wishful thinking. But Memphis is kind of stuck with the players they’ve got right now

    Oh, no! Stuck with the players that are 27-10 since the all-star break despitePlaying in the hardest conference/division in recent memory! Who wouldn’t rather spend their 30s treading water in the Atlantic?

  59. All they need to do is hang on until Bargnani gets back in the line up and rights the ship. Yeah, that ought to fix everything :-0

    @64 Nice depressing recap of the 2015 draft options all being 19 yrs old and years away from being any good. And to add salt to the wound no 2016 1st round pick (” thanks Bargnani). Yeah this could be what it looks like for several years for the Knicks…..

  60. Oh, no! Stuck with the players that are 27-10 since the all-star break despitePlaying in the hardest conference/division in recent memory! Who wouldn’t rather spend their 30s treading water in the Atlantic?

    The same players that were 10-13 without him last year, with a thin bench, a glaring hole at SF that the team has not cared to fill, and with Zach Randolph who is 3 years older than Melo.

    Yes, they are a really good team. But they might go downhill when he signs his next contract. And who knows, he might think there is a brighter future somewhere else, Melo is a really good player.

  61. When the cap rises it won’t only rise for the knicks, but for every other team. Memphis capsheet long term is quite clear, they can easily resign marc to the max and a year later give conley a good contract and add some players to their core.

    You never know what players will do, but I think it is a really long shot to get marc gasol to new york.
    Especially since mike conley is their 2nd best player and not z-bo and I think I’ve heard that conley/gasol have a really good chemistry on the floor

  62. I’m not saying Marc Gasol is definitely coming but there certainly are a lot of factors that make that a very plausible scenario:

    1) his brother is Pau Gasol who loves Phil Jackson and has already already said that he could see his brother playing in NY. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/pau-phil-ling-bro-marc-gasol-jackson-plan-article-1.1991702

    2) not saying Marc = Pau but Pau apparently turned down OKC because there wasn’t enough culture in OKC for him. Memphis >> OKC but Memphis <<<<<<<<NYC as far as cultural stuff. http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/04/kevin-durant-says-small-market-of-oklahoma-city-was-pau-gasols-primary-concern-in-free-agent-meeting-with-thunder/

    3) Marc has already played 6+ seasons in Memphis with essentially the same core around him. It's not a premiere FA destination and they won't have good draft picks. They're probably a top 4 team in the west but I think everyone would be very surprised if they ever made it to the finals with this group. They've got a good front office but their ceiling is pretty limited. This scenario seems ripe for the "change of scenery" card to be played.

    4) Like iserp wrote, Memphis's ownership has never shown any willingness to be in the tax

    I think it's at least 50/50 that he comes here.

  63. Re: Shump – I’m 100% certain that Phil’s plan is to go hard at Marc Gasol 7/1/15, close the deal very quickly, then decide whether or not to match whatever offers Shump gets. It’s not clear at all to me that he will get a godfather offer early in restricted FA. He may very well be one of those guys who waits weeks to get a real offer.
    (of course if he keeps shooting 57% from 3 point range he’ll get a max offer on day 1!)

    I actually think a lineup of Calderon, Shump, JR, Melo, and Gasol is a really good group. Ideally we’d find another 3/D type player and leave JR on the bench but Gasol and Shump are probably good enough to make that a pretty decent defensive lineup.

  64. Marc Berman is also pushing a story about the Knicks maybe being interested in Tobias Harris. I’m guessing we will not have enough $ to get Harris without trading JR since my quick math suggests we’ll have about $25MM or so in cap space if we advance Shump his QO. Figure Gasol will take max or near max starting at $20MM and that Harris will probably command $10-12MM or more.

    But Calderon, Shump, Harris, Melo, Gasol? Yes please.

  65. Melo says no. He has a no-trade clause.

    As I said at the time, this will turn out to be the mistake that dooms the Phil Jackson tenure.

    If we strike out with Marc Gasol this summer (very possible, if not likely), I would expect Melo to demand to be traded next year. Our hands will be tied, and we’ll be lucky to get a first round pick.

    If I’m not mistaken, he is the only player in the entire league on a max contract with a NTC. Some players got NTC’s (like Duncan, Garnett) in exchange for taking drastic pay cuts. No NBA player has gotten 99% of a max deal and been given a NTC. That was a terrible mistake.

  66. Re: Marc Gasol, by the way: I think if Memphis made Marc a 5 year max deal that no other team could, he would stay. But I don’t know that Memphis will do that. It’s just as viable for them to suck and collect everyone else’s money as it is to be good and earn their own. They’re a notch below championship caliber with him, and if they can’t improve, why commit?

    But that doesn’t mean he’d come here.

  67. I actually think a lineup of Calderon, Shump, JR, Melo, and Gasol is a really good group. Ideally we’d find another 3/D type player and leave JR on the bench but Gasol and Shump are probably good enough to make that a pretty decent defensive lineup.

    But yes, that’s a very good core.

    Also, if we did get Marc, and it turns out the best players in the draft are 19 and not NBA-ready (as suggested above), I would expect us to trade whoever we draft for someone who can make an immediate impact. I know we can’t trade the pick, but we can trade the player after he’s drafted. And we should be able to get a very good player for a lottery pick. Probably not Kevin Love because no one will ever get as lucky as Cleveland did, but you can probably get a good NBA starter who is at the end of his rookie contract on some team that wants to tank.

  68. @70 I’ve mentioned it in a previous thread, the knicks won’t have max money if the make shump rfa AND keep JR. Earl either has to decline his player option or be traded so nyk kann offer marc gasol the max since right now the knicks will 99% offer shump the qo

  69. but you can probably get a good NBA starter who is at the end of his rookie contract on some team that wants to tank.

    Or…what if Chicago doesn’t want to pay Jimmy Butler? Calderon, Shumpert, Butler, Anthony, Gasol…

    I don’t know. It’s nice to think about when our lineup is actually Larkin, Shumpert, Hardaway, Melo, Smith. Ugh.

  70. @70 I’ve mentioned it in a previous thread, the knicks won’t have max money if the make shump rfa AND keep JR. Earl either has to decline his player option or be traded so nyk kann offer marc gasol the max since right now the knicks will 99% offer shump the qo

    I don’t think this is true (even though my quick math was wrong before) – or if it’s true it’ll be very close to a full max.
    According to B-R here are the most likely salaries for 15-16 (ie. we could decline Early but I don’t think we would):

    Melo – 22.875
    Calderon – 7.4
    JR – 6.4
    Shump QO – 3.7
    THJ – 1.3
    Early – 0.85

    B-R is nice enough to calculate a total of 42.237MM in 6 guaranteed salaries
    Add 4 cap holds at 525K each = 2.1 MM

    Now let’s figure we have the #12 pick – that’ll be another 1.87MM. So that’ll equal about 46.2MM for 7 guaranteed salaries + 4 cap holds (Gasol would be the 12th guaranteed salary).

    Projected cap = 66.5MM – 46.2MM = 20.3MM cap space which is enough for a full max contract for a player with >6 years experience.

    So now we see why we declined Larkin’s 3rd year option. Without declining his salary we would have either had to not bring Early back or not have enough space for a max.

    Now of course life is a lot easier if we dump JR, but we could still do a max.

    now if we sign Gasol then one of the cap holds

  71. shumps caphold is more than his qo, accordings to shamsports it is around 6.5.
    I think it is 250% of his current salary (which would be closer to 7 mil)

    So you end up with *17.5 in cap space

  72. shumps caphold is more than his qo, accordings to shamsports it is around 6.5.
    I think it is 250% of his current salary (which would be closer to 7 mil)

    So you end up with *17.5 in cap space

    oops. ouch. i guess you’re right.

    overall i think it’s pretty likely that JR opts out. someone out there will pay him (or at least give more years) than he has here. *crosses fingers*

  73. I hope Phil finds a way to dump JR as soon as possible. I wouldn’t leave it up to chance whether JR opts in or out.

  74. I don’t know what j.r. would get on an open market. It depends on his performance this year. I think nobody will pay him 28/4 for his current performance or how he played for the first half of last season, but if he finds his stroke and gets a lot of minutes he could probably get jodies meeks money, although I think the headcase-tax will cost him some. But even if that happens it would also make sense for j.r. to wait a year and become a free agent when the cap jumps a lot and money will fly around (since I don’t know anyone would throw more than 7/y at him this off-season).

    Anyway, if I was Phil I wouldn’t want my free agent targets have to depend on a 50/50 decision by j.r. smith, since they have to strike early to avoid any problems occuring with shump signing an offer sheet

  75. if he finds his stroke and gets a lot of minutes he could probably get jodies meeks money, although I think the headcase-tax will cost him some.

    Jodie Meeks was 26 when he signed his contract. JR Smith will be 30 next summer (and have over 10,000 more minutes played). It’s more than just the headcase tax that could hold him back. He’s not very good at basketball, and he’s not going to be getting better from here on out.

  76. One interesting player in this year’s draft is Stanley Johnson of Arizona.

    Johnson’s NBA floor is lockdown wing defender a la Bruce Bowen/Ron Artest. His ceiling is probably Kawhi Leonard. He’s a thick, muscular 6’7″ wing, very strong. He won’t turn 19 until a month before the draft and may grow another inch. Moves laterally incredibly well and is a ball hawk with long arms. He is very impressive on defense, both on-ball and off-ball. Even at his young age he will be able to contribute in the NBA right away, because his defense is truly hellacious.

    On offense his slashing game is stronger than his shooting game at the moment, but if he can improve his outside shot a little bit he will be a hell of a player. As a slasher he has enough strength and speed to get to the rim and draw lots of contact, and he has some finesse around the basket too. He seems to have great feel for the game, is known as a high-motor guy. It’ll be interesting to watch him at Arizona and see if they can get his jumper up to snuff.

  77. Jodie Meeks was 26 when he signed his contract. JR Smith will be 30 next summer (and have over 10,000 more minutes played). It’s more than just the headcase tax that could hold him back. He’s not very good at basketball, and he’s not going to be getting better from here on out.

    Before the season began, I thought we would be able to trade JR bc $6mm isn’t terrible for a semi-decent wing player. Now I’m not sure he’ll ever qualify as a semi-decent wing player again, and I’m starting to wonder if that $6mm option is the last bit of money he makes in this league.

    Our best hope, I think, is he has one of his hot streaks around January/Feb and some Eastern team that is desperate to make the playoffs ponies up a 2nd round pick for him or something.

  78. overall i think it’s pretty likely that JR opts out. someone out there will pay him (or at least give more years) than he has here. *crosses fingers*

    I think it is unlikely but I think it is likely that Jackson finds a way to dump him on some other sucke…team. Like JK47’s Derrick Williams idea.

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