Knicks Summer League Stats: The Good, The Not-So-Bad, And The Ugly

The Good:

I’m going to talk about Porzingis briefly. Clearly he was the best player on the team, and has given the Knicks their first exciting prospect since Gallo. He had 18.4 pts/36 on 59.1% ts%, with only 2.2 to/36, toss in 3.1 blk/36. Yes the rebounding is a concern, but everything else is there.

The next guy up on the stat line is Maurice Ndour. He caught my eye early on with his high energy game, and the stats back it up. Maurice tied with Kristaps for the team lead with 3.1 blk/36, and he was very active on defense. Not to sleight our hometown hero, but Ndour is the anti-Melo and would pair well with the Knicks star. A 6-9 forward, he should be able to play both spots and take the tougher defensive assignment. The Senegalese Stuffer averaged 14.8 pts/36 on 53.1% ts%, and only 1.5 to/36, a decent rate for a defender.

Jerian Grant had a solid outing, with 15.5 pts on 53.8% ts%. His assists were healthy (6.3 ast/36) and turnovers were low (2.9 to.36). Although his sizzling three point percentage (50%) was nice and is unlikely to stay so high, his steals (2.1 stl/36) were a nice surprise.

The Not-So-Bad:

Thanasis Antetokounmpo shot well (64.4% ts% and 15.4 pts/36) and was third on the team in blocks with 2.9 blk/36. But he averaged 4.8to/36 and only 4.3 reb/36. Perhaps in another year he would have stood out more, but Ndour outperformed him. His D-League numbers were OK, but needs to improve his three point shooting to make the majors.

If Thanasis is having a tough time getting out of Ndour’s shadow, Cleanthony Early is in the ground with Punxsutawney Phil (16.1 pts/36, 51.1% ts%, 5.9 reb/36, 3.1 ast/36, 1.2 stl/36, 0.3 blk/36) in the summer league stat depth chart.

The Ugly:

Travis Wear rebounded well (8.6 reb/36), but did little else (4.2 pts/36, 26.7% ts%, 0.0 blk/36). Actually those numbers are mind-numbingly awful.

While it wasn’t ugly in-it-of-itself, I expected much more from Langston Galloway (11.2 pts/36, 49.5% ts%), given that he was 4th on the Knicks NBA team in minutes played.

Ricky Ledo make the Knicks roster? Not if he played anything close to what he did in Vegas (5.4! to/36, 13.8 pts, 48.6% ts%.)

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Mike Kurylo

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

174 thoughts to “Knicks Summer League Stats: The Good, The Not-So-Bad, And The Ugly”

  1. Nice write up Mike. Unless John Jenkins wants our room exception (or the Knicks suddenly wise up and make an offer to, say, Khem Birch) I can’t think anyone more deserving of a roster spot than Ndour. But it’s the Knicks so we probably need to take care of Langston Galloway’s brother or something.

  2. I’m still trying to come to terms with the Lance Thomas signing. I didn’t see anything approaching a productive NBA player, and certainly not anything above a vet’s minimum guy. I know he’s a nice guy and a pro’s pro and all that, but it still makes little sense to me.

    What would be the implications of waiving him at his salary? A loss of like $600K in cap space?

  3. I actually see the Thomas and Amundson signings as another step towards establishing a good culture around this team. It should be something like “if you put your effort in, we’ll reward you”. Not a bad pitch for fringe players who Phil thinks will contribute in the future.

    Really, the only signing I can’t wrap my head around is the Williams’ one, but still, it’s not a blunder.

  4. There’s nothing preventing us from signing Ndour–we have two spots open and three if we cut Ledo, who’s absolutely useless. The Amundson and Thomas signings shouldn’t be blamed for not signing Ndour.

  5. There’s nothing preventing us from signing Ndour–we have two spots open and three if we cut Ledo, who’s absolutely useless. The Amundson and Thomas signings shouldn’t be blamed for not signing Ndour.

    True, but the team definitely needs another guard (preferably in place of Ledo), and Phil has said he’d like to get another center (suggesting he views Amundson and/or KOQ primarily at PF). So if we don’t cut Ledo, there may not be a spot for another forward.

    Like Farfa, I think there’s value to both rewarding guys who worked hard last year and to having some low-maintenance guys on the end of the bench who already know the system and can help the new guys learn it. But if having Amundson and Thomas prevents us from signing Ndour because Fish or Phil think we already have enough forwards…

  6. Well, yes, but let’s not get overexcited over Ndour, I think everyone of us remembers how we were advocating for cutting Outlaw to sign Travis Wear last year, and while I still think it was the right move, it’s not like the Wear Bear made a lot of heads turn… I’ll take a Lance Thomas as a 13th man every day with a smile.

  7. Sure, Summer League play can be a mirage. I remember how excited we were to be getting Anthony Randolph for David Lee, based on how Randolph had played in summer, and we all know how that turned out. But Ndour showed off the kind of offensive skills that Amundson and Thomas (and, for that matter, Early) lack, while also being a guy who busts his tail on defense. That’s someone I’d like to keep around for a while, because if that summer league play can translate to regular season play, he’s a lot more valuable in general, and for this roster (with Melo) in particular, than any of the Good Job, Good Effort guys.

  8. I’m intrigued by Ndour, but the team needs a shooter, big body, and a perimeter defender. So..I don’t see where he fits. However, I won’t be upset if he plays his way onto the roster. We need talent more than fit at this stage. I am perfectly fine with Ndour, Thanasis, and John Jenkins getting those last spots. Ledo is as good as gone. He has potential, but it looks like he hasn’t improved any facet of his game. I could/should say the same for Galloway, but he showed more during the NBA season than he did in SL- in part due to the role Fish had him playing in SL. Fish should have let him run the offense more in SL play because he’s not a good floor general right now. I think we need Galloway because I don’t trust Calderon to be healthy.

  9. Speaking of too many forwards, Nuggets may outright release our old pal Kostas Papanikolaou today. Doesn’t seem to be a fit here, but I know a couple of summers ago, Knicks management was talking with Portland about reacquiring the guy.

  10. Could N’dour play small ball center in a pinch? If so, I’d be ok giving him a spot. Better him than some random 7 foot stiff.
    I think they also really need a pure 3 ball shooter like Jenkins. I’m also always up for lol bro Curry, but we never seem to want the poor guy.
    I would cut Ledo, he sucks.

  11. I don’t think Ndour can play small ball 5. He’s only listed at 6’9″ 200. He looks bigger though. But what the hell..if Amundson can play the 5 at 6’9″ 225, then why not Ndour? I don’t really think he’s only 200 lbs.

  12. This whole JR smith saga is working out some nice validation of the trade.

    He is receiving zero interest on the open market as he should be… I miss Shump but not at the expense of JR infecting our youngens with his natural ability to destroy everything is good in life.

  13. I guess JR is going to be back in China or playing for a contender at the mini-MLE. Look, at least he’ll have less money to waste piping around.

    Papanikolau would probably be a good player for the Triangle and he is an all-around high IQ baller, so I’d take him very gladly. I don’t know why Denver should release him anyway. I think he has some value around the league and could be worth a pair of second rounder at least.

  14. They say hindsight is 20/20. I remember saying “WTF???” at the time of the trade. But looking back, 2 players who played rotation minutes for you (albeit on a tanking team) and a future second round pick isn’t that bad. I still kinda feel like Phil should have gotten more, but if that’s the price Phil had to pay to get JR and his deal away instead of trading away a future pick, then that’s ok. Of course, it’s gonna sting when Shump has a resurgence playing next to LeBron, but we can take solace in knowing that it wasn’t Phil who overpaid for Shump this offseason.

  15. it’s gonna sting when Shump has a resurgence playing next to LeBron

    Only if he starts making his layups.

  16. I also like the comment that says that the Derrick Williams salary could be used for trades. I don’t buy that as an explanation for signing him, but it’s not completely unreasonable.

  17. 1. The Anthony Randolph love was from his NBA stats, not so much his summer stats.

    2. The Knicks only played him 127 minutes before shipping him off. And no other team gave him decent NBA minutes (>600).

    3. The only thing that kept Anthony Randolph from becoming a decent NBA player, is in Anthony Randolph’s head.

  18. If you could put Mo Ndour’s game in Derrick Williams’ body, you’d have a starting power forward.

  19. If you could surgically replace Porzingis’ hands with Okafor’s you’d have a fire-breathing basketball Godzilla! I don’t know why but that thought kept occurring to me while watching their SL match up.

  20. If you could put Mo Ndour’s game in Derrick Williams’ contract, you’d have a starting power forward.

    There – fixed it for you.

  21. Can another NBA team sign Ndour right now if they feel like it? It may be a bit taboo for another team to poach him, but if he’s free to sign anywhere and no other team is signing him then perhaps they weren’t as impressed with his SL performance as many fans. I’m intrigued by the guy and hope he earns a roster spot. I’m also alright with bringing him to camp and letting him earn a spot (assuming he’s not poached in the meantime).

    This whole JR smith saga is working out some nice validation of the trade.

    In a sense… yet between Smith opting out and the Knicks ending up with the #4 pick, there’s also some evidence against the trade. Can’t really say how things would have worked out without the trade, but the Knicks may have rid themselves of Smith for next season and ended up with the same pick without the trade (while potentially moving Shumpert for a better return). I find the evidence kind of inconclusive, personally.

  22. Yes to Ndour- high motor, seems to be a good defender, he’s long, can finish, and even shoot a little.
    No to Ledo- he is not very good. Looked out of control during summer league

  23. Ndour should be signed if we could… i do think he will get decent offers overseas which I think was his original intent…

    Next offseason we will have to replace thomas and amundsen and most likely afflalo and hopefully williams… galloway is up in the air and its going to be a real difficult environment to add players without a draft pick..

  24. #smallsamplesizealert etc etc but how did Ndour shoot from 3? I know in college he shot 40+% from 3, albeit on I think 1 or 2 attempts per game.

    You have to bring him on, just on the off chance he is the “demarre carroll before the raptors contract” type player.

    Under-rated plot to watch this year will be the evolution (or lack thereof if it goes awry) of NYK’s 3 point shooting:

    Will quantity go up this year? I don’t expect it to approach anything Houston-ish of course, but stands to reason that 1) a few better shooters and 2) a more modified triangle featuring more PnR would lead
    to that.

    How will the good shooters shoot? Kris, Afflalo, Melo, Jose all in theory should be solid, but we all know that 3 point %s and spot-up opportunities are related (99% of Carrol’s threes in ATL were assisted lol)….so, related, 1) how many spot up 3s can we generate? 2) given that number, do we take advantage of them and hit them?

    And lastly, if we do have a reasonable amount of spot up chances, does anyone else then become a passable 3 pt threat of the non-“good”-shooters? I.e. KOQ, Williams, Jerian, Ndour ?

  25. I think the Knicks should dump Ledo and sign Prigs after Denver waives him. At least with Prigs you know you will get his 100% effort every night, he will play solid D, and maybe with Phil’s coaching start shooting the three like we all know he can. Honestly, I would rather have Prigs as the starting PG than Calderon.

  26. @ 12 I think N’dour is too small now but over time he could. Just think of Taj Gibson who came in with the same height and length but weighed 214 lbs at the combine. Taj was already 25, Mo’dour is only 23. So, I think by next year he could be able to defend positions 3-5.

  27. RE: Shooting
    Ideally, Phil would be able to add at least 2 more shooters. But given the roster, someone out of Thomas, Early, and Galloway are gonna hafta dramatically improve their shooting. That’s where Melo, Calderon, Lopez, O’Quinn, and Porzingis come in. We are gonna need a healthy and effective Melo to draw defenders so guys can get open looks. We’re also gonna need Calderon, Lopez, O’Quinn, and Porzingis to continue to make good passes from their respective positions. In particular, it would be great if Lopez, O’Quinn, and Porzingis can grab their fair share of offensive boards and find an open man. Porzingis’ length and ability to draw fouls is probably gonna have him putting the ball back up- which is fine. Right now the only “shooters” on the roster that deserve faith are Calderon, Melo, Afflalo, and maybe the rooks. That’s the scary thing- depending on someone out of Thomas/Early/Galloway to up their shooting percentages from 20 and out. Early on, I wasn’t a big fan of John Jenkins, but the guy can flat out shoot an has the size to play SG. Jimmer is out there, but at 6’2″ with a lack of length and foot speed, I can’t see him as a Knick. Especially when there are 3 PG’s ahead of him. Then again, the triangle is perfect for him. In spurts, he may be a valuable weapon off the bench. Looks like Grant is gonna get ALOT of time at the 2 unless Calderon gets hurt or moved. Defenses are gonna really be able to key in on Melo unless guys step up and become threats from outside, or Fish is able to come up with a more efficient triangle hybrid.

  28. Kostas Papanikolau’s numbers suck real bad. Is there something I’m missing about him? He seems Lance Thomas-level awful based on his fugly stats. I think I’d have to pass on him.

    I think John Jenkins makes a lot of sense for NYK. The dude can flat-out shoot, and while he may not be a very well-rounded two-way player, he is a legit NBA player on the offensive end. He was buried behind some good shooting guards in Atlanta and could provide excellent value for the room exception. The Knicks don’t have enough NBA quality wings right now.

    Sign Jenkins, sign N’Dour, bring in a reasonably decent backup C for the vet min like Jeff Withey and the 15-man looks like this:
    PG Calderon, Grant, Galloway
    SG Afflalo, Jenkins
    SF Anthony, Early, Thomas
    PF Williams, O’Quinn, N’Dour, Amundson, Porzingis
    C Lopez, Withey

  29. Excellent write up. I agree with the assessments totally but have a bit of spin. First, there’s the glaring omission: Cleanthony Early (or as Clyde says, Cleo). He showed improvement over last year in these games but it might be figment of our imagination because of the competition level.

    N’dour is our golden boy right now because he was all effort and delivered with corresponding stats. He needs to be in the weight room with Kristaps.

    Galloway and Ledo disappointed. The idea of bringing back Prigs has sentimental value to but not real value on this club. He’s not a triangle fit. What we need out of that 2-guard is a 3-pt shooter that can score in bunches off the bench. Yeah, like JR or Nate the Grate but without the insanity. The player should also be quick/fast and not be a defensive liability.

    Thanasis is my boy. I would bring him in just to collect fouls and annoy the crap out of LeBron.

  30. Phil just might know what he’s doing. Especially if these conversations are accurate. He’s gambled and lost twice, but I like his thinking.

  31. JR Smith declined his option to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers for $6.4M. Just sit back and take in the fantastic stupidity of that move. It has a certain grandeur to it that is really rare and special.

  32. What is Fish looking at if he thought THjr was getting better on D or that Thomas could shoot.

  33. The Phil Files articles are great. I love having the insight into his thinking, which by and large is rational and reasonable. Jr falling asleep in team meetings? Unsurprising, but still pathetic. Shump being too big a personality for everyone and not knowing why his game is off? Surprising, and a bit sad. (How can you improve if you don’t know what your issues are?) THjr – let’s just say his words and actions don’t really line up.

    I also like that Phil recognized what we all did, which is that Cole is a quality backup who couldn’t handle starters’ minutes. I mean, it was obvious, but there are still people who say that Cole wasn’t even an NBA quality player, stats be damned, so I am encouraged that Phil saw that Cole was quality…who couldn’t handle the workload. Still bummed he isn’t coming back, but oh well.

    So, even though I’m still not thrilled with our offseason – I’m gonna love rooting for Robin, but no other move was more than meh – I do believe that the emphasis on creating a solid, positive culture in which the players are accountable is a very good harbinger of good teams in the years to come. (Not next year though – we’ll still be pretty bad.)

  34. Although one has to consider that Charley Rosen has to have all the intention to make Phil look good, these Phil files are kinda refreshing. It looks like Phil’s neurons are still firing on all cylinders.

  35. And the pieces seem to be written from a real time kind of perspective; i.e., Rosen refers to the Knicks getting a first-round pick in the OKC trade, which it ultimately turned out we didn’t get (dammit). It’s definitely designed to make Phil and his people look good, but it’s not like Rosen is editing out anything that’s even vaguely damning (i.e., Fish thinking of Lance Thomas as a good shooter).

  36. It made my stomach turn to hear about JR Smith and Sam Dalembert. The Shump situation sorta makes sense to me; he seems like has a big ego (he refers to himself in the 3rd person from time to time) and it’s usually hard for self absorbed people to realize their flaws. It still sucks because he could be every bit as good as Jimmy Butler (and if he was, he would still be a Knick), but it doesn’t shock me too much.

  37. And the pieces seem to be written from a real time kind of perspective; i.e., Rosen refers to the Knicks getting a first-round pick in the OKC trade, which it ultimately turned out we didn’t get (dammit). It’s definitely designed to make Phil and his people look good, but it’s not like Rosen is editing out anything that’s even vaguely damning (i.e., Fish thinking of Lance Thomas as a good shooter).

    What is the point of that, by the way? I mean, I get initially writing it that way, but how do you not throw in a note to say “Oh, by the way, the Knicks didn’t get a first rounder, because if they did, that trade would have been an A deal instead of a “meh” C deal.” Well, not the editorializing, but the basic “Note: The Knicks did not get a first rounder”?

    In any event, yes, these Phil Files pieces are interesting. They’re not particularly informative as it’s just weird spin by Rosen, but they’re definitely very interesting. Rosen is a good writer and Phil is always good with giving interesting quotes.

  38. It’s still got Jackson talking about how free agency is going to be the answer… Didn’t make me feel very good.

  39. I swear you guys are reading different Phil files. I’m surprised the didn’t send the wontons back because they weren’t good personality fits. It’s not that they didn’t taste good, or anything. They probably just went went to Duke.

  40. the answer is going to be porzingis… if he’s a star then no matter what has happened before becomes irrelevant… all these signings mean very little in the grand scheme of things since most of these guys aren’t going to be on the team in a year or two anyway…

    the next big franchise turning question is if/when we trade melo and what kind of return we get…

  41. Nice P&T article on the changing culture:

    http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2015/7/20/8925883/the-knicks-are-building-a-normal-functioning-basketball-team

    I have to say this article reads largely like rationalizing BS to me. We all know the Knicks wanted to sign a star this offseason. They wanted Monroe. They wanted DeAndre. They wanted Aldridge. They failed at what they were trying to do. To now turn around and try to call that a victory because it shows a new direction is just fans doing what fans do, which is try to find the positives in every situation.

    Next year’s roster is younger, that’s undeniable, and Phil deserves some credit for filling the fringes of the roster with some potential instead of the veteran retreads that were previously par for the course. But the 2014 roster was supposed to be the roster of a contender. That’s a big part of the reason it was older. Next year’s roster has a more even salary distribution, but again that has more to do with things not going according to the plan than to change in the plan. When your argument for why next year’s roster is more multi-talented is that Afllalo is a good defender (false) and it’s possible one of the youngsters will maybe be a good two-way player you should probably just cut that part of the article.

    Phil’s seeming plan A since he got here has been to quickly rebuild us into a contender by acquiring multiple stars through FA. He may not be mortgaging the future to do so to the same extent that was par for the course previously, but to treat this as some tremendous sea change seems more than a little hyperbolic to me.

  42. So how are FAs going to respond in the future now that they know Phil lets inside info out. Information that could affect their value to other teams?

  43. I swear you guys are reading different Phil files. I’m surprised the didn’t send the wontons back because they weren’t good personality fits. It’s not that they didn’t taste good, or anything. They probably just went went to Duke.

    Hey, like I said, they’re not informative, but they are interesting. Also, as Max notes, it is funny how they’re clearly designed to make Phil look good but at the same time, it fails to do so with certain things (like highlighting Phil’s longstanding position about how huge the cap space was going to be).

  44. I have to say this article reads largely like rationalizing BS to me. We all know the Knicks wanted to sign a star this offseason. They wanted Monroe. They wanted DeAndre. They wanted Aldridge. They failed at what they were trying to do. To now turn around and try to call that a victory because it shows a new direction is just fans doing what fans do, which is try to find the positives in every situation.

    While I have no problem with people being happy with how things turned out (I know I am thrilled that they got RoLo instead of, say, Aldridge), I agree that I was mystified by the narrative at the time of free agency about how the Knicks were “finally acting like a functional team” when they were only doing so because they were turned down by everyone else! To wit, signing LaMarcus Aldridge to play center would have been a moronic move that I don’t think anyone here would have been in favor of, and yet that’s precisely what Jackson wanted to do once Monroe turned him down!

  45. So how are FAs going to respond in the future now that they know Phil lets inside info out. Information that could affect their value to other teams?

    lol – you know Phil has written multiple books exposing tons of “inside info” on all kinds of stars, right?

    Galloway was a big disappointment, but I don’t think it’s any sort of surprise that when his usage is high he is going to suck. He needs to be in the BJ Armstrong / John Paxson / Derek Fisher role in the 12-15 usage range. As soon as you make him do too much, he’ll be bad.

    I have no use for Early or Ledo. Early is basically THJ, just a little bigger, complete with his pull-up contested 2’s from 1 foot inside the 3 point line. Ledo just isn’t very good on either side of the ball. And forget about Travis Wear – he just doesn’t do anything particularly well.

    Bring in Ndour and Thanasis. Seth Curry? I’d much rather have him than Ledo.

  46. Yeah, I do agree that Phil has been outspoken for decades. It hasn’t hurt him before and it is unlikely to hurt him in the future.

    And yes, I also agree that Seth Curry should be given a chance.

  47. Did we really want LaMarcus? I thought we just agreed to meet with him? I thought our targets were Jordan, then Monroe, and then RoLo

  48. Curry honestly makes me think about a problem I had with the offseason in general. RoLo and O’Quinn are fine moves. But beyond that, there was way too much short term thinking for a team that should be thinking more long term. The Knicks needed help at pretty much every position, so why not just cast a large net to the undrafted free agents and D-Leaguers? Why tie up cap room in short term deals to mediocre (or worse) players like Afflalo, Williams, Thomas and Amundson? The Knicks rewarded Thomas a raise for his shitty play but wouldn’t go over the vet minimum to Shved? How does that make sense? They spent over $3 million in cap room to bring back Thomas and Amundson. If they were going to spend that money, why not give it to Shved? The Knicks had four back-of-the-bench players become free agents. Two of them had decent years (Shved and Aldrich), one of them had a not-terrible year (Amundson) and one of them had a terrible year (Thomas). So who do you think got just vet minimum offers that they turned down and who got raises that took from the Knicks’ cap space? Why are the Knicks concerned with roster stability at all with a shitty, shitty team? They should be filling their roster with any interesting undrafted free agent or available D-Leaguer and see if they strike gold (while, of course, letting Zinger and Grant play a lot). Yes, they have no pick, but that’s a sunk cost.

    Is improving the team to win 41 games (and that’s presuming that undrafted free agents or D-Leaguers won’t outperform Afflalo, Williams, Thomas and Amundson, which I don’t think is a sure thing) really going to attract a big name free agent? There aren’t exactly a ton of big name free agents next year anyways, are there? Durant, Horford, Mike Conley?

  49. Did we really want LaMarcus? I thought we just agreed to meet with him? I thought our targets were Jordan, then Monroe, and then RoLo

    They wanted him. They didn’t think they’d get him, but they wanted him. They wanted him to play center. But yes, looking back, I believe you’re right that they had him third behind Jordan, not second behind Monroe. It went Monroe, Jordan, Aldridge, Lopez.

  50. While I have no problem with people being happy with how things turned out (I know I am thrilled that they got RoLo instead of, say, Aldridge), I agree that I was mystified by the narrative at the time of free agency about how the Knicks were “finally acting like a functional team” when they were only doing so because they were turned down by everyone else! To wit, signing LaMarcus Aldridge to play center would have been a moronic move that I don’t think anyone here would have been in favor of, and yet that’s precisely what Jackson wanted to do once Monroe turned him down!

    Exactly. I’m pretty happy with Robin Lopez, but it’s hard to argue that his signing originated from a process much different than the classic Knicks way of doing business, i.e. try to get the biggest star possible, if that fails, try to get the next biggest star, rinse and repeat. I mean they literally had Robin sitting around waiting for it to be official that they couldn’t sign one of the bigger stars.

    “We’re just like other teams now because other teams struggle to sign free agents and acquire stars” seems like something you might write a concerned post about rather than a celebratory one.

  51. @54

    I know he did that but it’s one thing to do it as a coach and then another to do it as the President. Plus, you don’t want to remind players and agents that you do that imo.

  52. Brian, I don’t know if this “plan C” was really not “plan A” all along. How much of that was creating the illusion for their start player? Maybe I’m giving Phil too much credit but my whining in January was exactly because I could not see how we could attract free agents with a stripped down roster.

  53. Brian, I don’t know if this “plan C” was really not “plan A” all along. How much of that was creating the illusion for their start player? Maybe I’m giving Phil too much credit but my whining in January was exactly because I could not see how we could attract free agents with a stripped down roster.

    I don’t think it’s a knock on the guy to say that he rebounded well when his initial plans didn’t work out. To wit, I liked that they bottomed last year’s team out when his initial plan for last year backfired. So I think that you can still give Jackson a ton of credit for the RoLo and O’Quinn signings while noting that he likely had something else planned initially.

  54. I am fairly certain they would have known that Jordan and Aldridge would be long shots-they could get more money by staying where they were or go to better teams if they wanted to chase a ring. Phil didn’t sell Monroe-I’m okay with that. If he’d turned us down for a relatively equally shitty team I’d be annoyed, but convincing someone to sign with the Knicks instead of the Bucks for even money is a hard sell.

  55. Not thinking long term is why it is surprising that the Knicks have not signed N’dour to a 3-4 non-guaranteed deal.

    With Lou, I just do not understand why you give a guy 200k more when you know it’s going to affect the cap.

    Also, do the knicks need Thomas and Amundson consent if they want to trade them after Dec?

  56. Not thinking long term is why it is surprising that the Knicks have not signed N’dour to a 3-4 non-guaranteed deal.

    But if they’re not thinking long term, then that wouldn’t be surprising, right?

  57. I could see arguments for Afflalo and Derrick Williams if the idea was to incrementally improve the roster while also showcasing a role for a better free agent in the future.

    i.e. Phil can sit with a prospective free agent 11 months from now and show tape of the open looks that DW gets in triangle sets. Pitch it to that player, this is exactly how we envision utilizing you. Or the same with Afflalo.

    Probably 25 teams will have cap space next offseason. If the Knicks can show a FA target exactly what it is they’ll be walking into, doesn’t that improve their ability to recruit?

  58. I am fairly certain they would have known that Jordan and Aldridge would be long shots-they could get more money by staying where they were or go to better teams if they wanted to chase a ring. Phil didn’t sell Monroe-I’m okay with that. If he’d turned us down for a relatively equally shitty team I’d be annoyed, but convincing someone to sign with the Knicks instead of the Bucks for even money is a hard sell.

    I don’t think anyone knew what Aldridge wanted other than to leave Portland. Remember, L.A. thought that they had a very good chance at signing him, as well, and the Knicks are in a similar situation as L.A. (shitty team in a major city). Jordan, also, I don’t think anyone knew for sure what it was that he wanted. As it turns out, he didn’t even know what he wanted (by the by, as an aside, how in the world did the Clippers not use their initial pitch to try to assuage his sore feelings towards Paul?). In other words, I don’t think anything was definitive going into free agency for those three players (Monroe, Aldridge and Jordan). I do agree that the Knicks likely would think that they had a harder row to hoe than other teams for Aldridge and Jordan, but I don’t think it was clear that they were out of the running before the race began.

  59. I could see arguments for Afflalo and Derrick Williams if the idea was to incrementally improve the roster while also showcasing a role for a better free agent in the future.

    They could do that same showcase approach with an undrafted free agent.

  60. Not thinking long term is why it is surprising that the Knicks have not signed N’dour to a 3-4 non-guaranteed deal.

    But if they’re not thinking long term, then that wouldn’t be surprising, right?

    Yeah, thanks for correcting that.

  61. They could do that same showcase approach with an undrafted free agent who might actually turn out to be good.

    The guys they did sign are surer bets to be steady, though, no?

    While the chance to catch lightning in a bottle is nearly nil, the odds of them contributing nothing at all seems like it would be significantly lower.

  62. @57 – i also share the same thoughts in that we are half-assing a rebuild…. and really it started with the chandler trade… he was by far our most tradeable asset behind melo and we got back a very mediocre return… the FA signings are also representative of that ….

    but at the same time we are going to need to win… no team and no city will be onboard a rebuild without some signs of progress.. which is why most fans are sort of ok with this offseason.. we didn’t do anything too stupid which was of course progress from past regimes…. however if we are just as bad this year as we were last year you can bet that dolan will probably pull the plug on the phil/triangle experiment pretty quickly… we don’t have the luxury to experiment with half of the roster… they have to be real players…

    so that’s what this offseason does more than anything.. it bides time… it gives the rookies an environment so that they can learn what it takes to win in this league… if they are up to the challenge we are set up pretty nicely for a couple of years with an OK core and hopefully a decent FA can come our way and speed things up…

    if porzingis and grant are busts… then another reset button is going to be pushed within the next couple of years and we’ll just have to see what comes of it….

  63. The guys they did sign are surer bets to be steady, though, no?

    While the chance to catch lightning in a bottle is nearly nil, the odds of them contributing nothing at all seems like it would be significantly lower.

    That’s definitely fair to say, yes. Afflalo is much less likely to be an outright bust than an undrafted free agent or a D-Leaguer like Seth Curry.

  64. however if we are just as bad this year as we were last year you can bet that dolan will probably pull the plug on the phil/triangle experiment pretty quickly

    If you believe Dolan is that much of an idiot (and I’m not saying you’re wrong), then yes, it makes more sense to pick up a solidly mediocre but well known player like Afflalo to keep Dolan off your back. Is Phil really in that precarious of a situation, though? Yikes, I hope not. In any event, even going with that, it still doesn’t make the Thomas/Amundson signings (and the Shved non-signing) make any sense, though.

  65. Since JR Smith felt “disrespected” by the Knicks, how does he now feel about the Cavs?

    Regarding Phil Jackson, about what % of the stuff he says to the media is pure intentional garbage?

  66. The JR Smith thing just didn’t make any sense. Doesn’t he have an agent? Who told him that it made any sense to opt out when he could make decent money and then become a free agent next year when everyone has a ton of money and he might be coming off of a championship? That said, I think he ends up returning to the Cavs. They haven’t actually signed another shooting guard, after all. I bet he returns for, like, 1 year/$4 million. The Cavs still have his Bird Rights, so they can sign him to any contract they’d like.

  67. Afflalo and DW probably top out as “fine” but is there nothing to be said for just grasping the next rung on the ladder?

    Porzingis was the home run swing for the offseason. Not every move has to be that. If everything else proves to be singles and doubles the team has a fair shot at being .500, *watchable*, and trending in the right direction for next year.

  68. dutchtickler, I totally agree that not every move has to be a home run swing and the Knicks may take a big step up the ladder next season. I think fans generally overestimate the odds that an UDFA turns into the next Ben Wallace and under-estimate the value of having a solid NBA player in the rotation.
    I like what Jax has done to put some solid NBA players in place “around” Melo. He got some relatively sure things while also taking some risks. Added a few of long-term pieces and a few short-term ones. We can second guess his individual decisions or speculate on what he *really* wanted to do, but overall I think his plan as executed makes sense.
    A rebuild predicated around signing all UDFAs would be a really odd thing, and I would bet against it working out… especially when you don’t have your pick to reap the benefits of being terrible. Yet, that seems like the path that a lot of fans think that they would prefer.

    Brian, agents are merely advisors. Their clients don’t have to listen to them. I don’t know what Smith’s agent told him, but it could have been to stick with the Cavs despite Smith deciding to opt-out.

  69. Afflalo and DW probably top out as “fine” but is there nothing to be said for just grasping the next rung on the ladder?

    Porzingis was the home run swing for the offseason. Not every move has to be that. If everything else proves to be singles and doubles the team has a fair shot at being .500, *watchable*, and trending in the right direction for next year.

    They’re a long shot at being .500, and they’d be watchable and trending in the right direction without Afflalo, Williams and Thomas (I like Amundson, although giving him a raise was still weird). They were so bad last season that it would be difficult to not trend in the right direction after last season. Heck, just adding Zinger and Grant alone, without anyone else, would make them trend in the right direction, because the previous direction was the worst Knicks team ever.

  70. Do you think Dolan ever thinks about the fact that, during his watch, the Knicks have put up their worst season of all-time plus two of the four seasons tied for their second worst season of all-time? I wonder if that ever strikes him as curious.

  71. I’ll cop to wanting to be optimistic, but I do think having competent contributors will be meaningful.

    I think last year’s win total is also hard to use as a starting point for this team. Their record in the first half was worse, with an improbably bad record in close games early on, and that was when they had what appeared to be an NBA roster.

  72. One thing to remember is that only 6 players are returning from that 17 win team. Of those, only Lance Thomas played more than 45 games. I don’t know if this year’s team will be good, bad, or mediocre, but last year’s record isn’t much of a predictor.

  73. This team won 17 games last year. .500 is a long shot.

    I’m not so sure. I would argue that almost an entirely different team won 17 games last season (and really a bunch of teams the way the complexion changed over the season), rather than this team. So, I think last season’s win total and the odds of next season’s team winning 50% of its games are only so related.

    Totally brainstorming here, but what’s likely to be the Knicks rotation next season?
    Melo: ~35 mpg
    Afflalo: ~35 mpg
    Lopez: ~30 mpg
    Calderon: ~30 mpg
    D-Will: ~25 mpg
    O’Quinn: at least ~20 mpg, maybe a bigger role
    Galloway: ~20 mpg?
    Zinger and Grant: pretty wide range of outcomes… let’s say ~20 mpg each

    Obviously there will be some injuries and some other guys will beat out these guys… but you’re talking about three hold0vers from last season, none of whom played much over half a season.

  74. I’ll cop to wanting to be optimistic, but I do think having competent contributors will be meaningful.

    Afflalo is almost certainly worthy of the label “competent contributor”. For guys like Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, and Derrick Williams I think the jury is very much still out. I’m mostly fine with the idea of grasping the next rung on the ladder, doubly so if you think what we saw this free agency period represents a trend of players preferring to join good teams rather than flashy markets, I’m just not sure we’re actually climbing in the right direction.

    Sacrificing the very small chance of finding a big upside play in the d-league for veteran competence when we have no pick makes some sense, but we have to actually be able to identify veteran competence.

  75. well if we do have a terrible season… 30 wins or less with relatively good health… i’m not sure if phil will actually get fired or leave or what have you but he certainly would deserve it… everyone of the guys that’s on his roster has his hands all over it and he’s trying to build a winning team… failing two offseasons in a row would be something of a tragedy…

    now i do think that we are a good bet for around 36 wins but i think 30 wins or less is definitely possible especially if afflalo and williams are in fact the scrubs we think they are and if porzingis grant and galloway all fall flat…

    we definitely needed A+ moves this offseason to dig ourselves out of the hole we were in and we got something like a C effort… with some luck we might overcome it but disaster scenarios are definitely in play….

  76. ted.. i think you have the rotation mostly right although i don’t think calderon is physically able to handle 30mpg… i hope i’m wrong…

    i definitely do want to see porzingis and grant and galloway see 2000+ minutes each… derrick williams probably will get phased out once it’s clear he’s terrible so i see him more in the 15mpg end…

    beginning of the year i could see amundsen and thomas seeing heavy minutes… if porzingis and grant see less than 1000 minutes this season we are definitely going to be in the low 30s wins wise…

  77. They’re a long shot at being .500, and they’d be watchable and trending in the right direction without Afflalo, Williams and Thomas

    Do you really not think that adding two decent NBA players will push the Knicks a lot more in the right direction than two UDFAs?

    And they’re a long shot at being .500 based on what? I mean they were close to .500 two years ago (37 wins, 39 expected wins) when Chandler played only 55 Gs and their #2-5 minute getters behind Melo were JR Smith, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, and THJr, in a season where everyone’s favorite Italian got 1,200 minutes. I don’t know if they will be as good this season, but I think that they have a pretty decent shot. Let’s replace Chandler with RoLo, Smith with Afflalo, Felton/Prignoni with Calderon/Grant, Shumpert with Galloway, THJr with DW, Amare/Bargs with O’Quinn/Zinger… Obviously this is a totally ad hoc analysis in the first place and scores of variables will impact the season W-L record, but does next season’s team look much worse on the whole?

  78. we definitely needed A+ moves this offseason to dig ourselves out of the hole we were in and we got something like a C effort…

    I’d really love to wait until the season plays out before deciding how the off-season was. This isn’t directed only at you, but I just don’t understand the urge many posters have to decide how players will do next season before the season starts. I’m not talking about saying Lance Thomas stinks or projecting players to play within a certain range they’ve played within for years. I’m talking about deciding that Afflalo or Calderon will stink when the evidence is pretty mixed. Or pretending that Derrick Williams is terrible. Or deciding how the team will do based on the total minutes allocated to rookies (who might not play specifically because vets are playing well, and might play more specifically because the other alternatives stink/are hurt).

    (I also think Galloway may be more likely to play his way out of minutes than DW… not that the Knicks have much G depth to force the issue with Galloway, but he could find himself 4th in line on the edge of the rotation if others are healthy. Wouldn’t mind DW getting pushed down to 15 mpg, though, since it probably means someone has outplayed him.)

  79. This team won 17 games last year. .500 is a long shot.

    That team team won 17 games. But this is a differeny team. Melo played hobbled for 40 games. Calderon played 42. If you roll together all the players that could return, those players accounted for 35% of the minutes played in 2014-15 (I did the math). That includes Galloway and Ledo. Galloway led the returning Knicks in playing time with 7.4% of the minutes. Obviously this new team is different. No way Galloway leads the team in minutes … even if he makes the roster!

    BTW, Shane Larkin led the Knicks in minutes played last season followed by Jason Smith, Tim Hardaway and Galloway.

  80. Wow. Ted, your post and mine crossed (well, mine was half drafted when the wife rang the dinner bell). Needless to say, we approached the answer the same way. I also want to chill out and see what we get out of this team.

    I also agree with your rotation but I think Grant and Porzingis play a much bigger role. They steal minutes from Galloway and DW. I think it’s very plausible that both are in the starting lineup and get 30 mpg.

  81. This is probably not going to be a world-beating Knicks team, but we have to stop expecting that. What the Knicks should be striving for is a more high-IQ team that gets the most out of its talent. There have been a lot of “talented” but ultimately low-IQ and thus ineffective players that have come through here in recent years. This year’s team seems a bit different in that regard.

  82. well with most of our signings… we know what they can offer since we have a fairly large sample of what they can do…. with williams and maybe oquinn there’s probably more volatility but we can guess with reasonable accuracy what to expect…

    the 13-14 suns beat out all projections and warriors had a similar wide gap but they also got large contributions from their young guys who exceeded what ppl thought they’d do… in the case of the suns it was dragic, gerald green, markieff morris and tucker… with gs it was curry, draymond green and thompson….

    we have a handful of candidates to be like those guys which is good… you could probably put oquinn, porzingis, grant, galloway, early and williams in that order to pull off seasons like the aforementioned names… and it’s because of that they are the key to exceeding expectations for us…

  83. Assuming no major injures anywhere in the east, I see the Knicks as part of about 3 teams competing for the last 2 playoff spots. I expect them to miss unless we get a nice surprise from one of the young players. I was hoping for a slightly better FA period. The good news is that we got a better than expected draft. We didn’t make any major blunders. So I am satisfied with where we are.

    My ideal scenario is that Melo plays well but gets tired of the rebuild. Then it will be on Phil to figure out a way to trade him while also shielding him from criticism. It has to be done like it’s Phil’s idea and Melo reluctantly came to the conclusion it was best for everyone and went along. Melo won’t want to be seen as abandoning NY.

    If we could pick up one solid young player with upside (similar to Gallo when we gave him up), a quality pick or two, and maybe one other good veteran, then we can have a legitimate rebuild underway.

  84. GoNy, definitely on the same page. I think there’s a large range of possible outcomes for the rookies. 30 mpg of good contribution wouldn’t surprise me, but neither would 10 mpg of terrible play and some D-league time. I’m high on both but who knows?

    JK47, agreed. Both that a smart Knicks team would be incredible and that they may have made some strides in that direction (RoLo, Afflalo, and the two rooks seem to fit the bill).

    djphan, My point is that I don’t agree we know what to expect from many of the vets. Afflalo has fluctuated pretty widely in overall output the last several seasons across a few different roles. Calderon, Melo, and maybe RoLo have had some health issues. Those were the two biggest bet additions and then the other two big ones are also uncertain plus the two rookies are. So, again, I don’t see how anyone can judge the off-season yet in any real way. You can talk about expectations and I’m not saying to only judge things in hindsight, but I see a lot of variability personally. Zinger working out alone could make it a HR off-season. Or it could be a total bust.

    I also haven’t seen an analytical analysis of what the baseline expectations at a team level are, personally, so I don’t really know what expectations they’re trying to outplay.

  85. @86 djphan – I don’t think either Afflalo is a scrub. He’s not an “A”, for sure, but he’s middle of the road among shooting guards. I can’t say what I expect of Williams but he’s either really good or really useless or somewhere in between and I lean skeptical.

    I felt this was a B off-season and maybe I say that because I don’t think we’re done. We have young and usable parts. Translation: trade-bait. Are we in a better position to do trades with this roster or the roster we had last year? I think so.

  86. The Knicks had four back-of-the-bench players become free agents. Two of them had decent years (Shved and Aldrich), one of them had a not-terrible year (Amundson) and one of them had a terrible year (Thomas). So who do you think got just vet minimum offers that they turned down and who got raises that took from the Knicks’ cap space?

    This is my biggest problem with the off-season. I think the high risk, high reward draft of Bazingus is a decent gamble; I think the THjr for Grant trade is AMAZING. The signings run from good (RoLo) to meh (Afflalo) to blah (Derrick). But those last roster spots are not just for “character guys,” much as I agree that the team really seriously needed some character guys to stabilize. You need every roster spot to provide value, especially with all the injuries in the game today. With Cole and Shved being WAY better than Amundson and Thomas, signing Amundson and Thomas was a mistake even before a potential forward with a higher ceiling became available in Ndour.

  87. Is Lance Thomas not the 15th man? Maybe the 14th if Thanasis signs? Dude won’t even be wearing a uniform most nights.

    He is likely to conduct himself as a pro, set an example, know the system, bust his ass in practice.

    All of that to say, his greatest contribution is likely to be in how the team’s group dynamic develops. For what it’s worth it was out there that the Spurs were interested but who knows the merits of a single report.

    Is there greater value in the perfect 15th man vs. someone who is a 5% chance to give you 20 useful minutes per game in the event of multiple injuries?

  88. Is Lance Thomas not the 15th man? Maybe the 14th if Thanasis signs? Dude won’t even be wearing a uniform most nights.

    He’s not getting paid like a 15th man, which is the issue. They used real cap space to bring him and Amundson back, but wouldn’t go over the vet minimum for Shved, who is better than both of them. They also likely wouldn’t go over the vet minimum for Aldrich, but there is at least a chance that they did and he just chose to go to the Clippers for the vet minimum because they offered a better team situation (back-up center for a championship contender). But Shved we know they offered the vet minimum and he said no thanks.

  89. To be fair, the purpose of the comment section on a site like this is for conjecture, albeit somewhat statistically-backed conjecture. Fans are going to jump to premature conclusions because that’s what fans do…

  90. For what it’s worth, Shved got a 3-year deal in Russia for about $10 million total. There was a report saying he wanted stability. He was also no great shakes his first two years in the league and the Knicks giving him the same contract on the strength of a month of play would be questionable.

    I’m also saddened by Cole’s moving on, but he is going to an ostensibly better situation. Maybe the overpays for Amundson and Thomas were a way to maintain some continuity and prevent those two from taking the min in another situation that they found more favorable for any of a myriad of unknowable reasons. It’s probably not the optimal play but there’s merit to that line of thinking.

    I wonder what Fisher’s caginess about Ndour’s chances at a contract suggest. Are they locked in to Thanasis? He did them a solid by staying stateside last year for a D-League paycheck.

  91. The thing with Thanasis is that we retain his rights in the NBA if he plays overseas. He needs to develop an offensive game. He also needs a lot of court time. The D-League would be better for his development. Europe is better for his pockets. He’ll sign up for a minimum salary on the varsity squad but he’ll go to Europe for a lot of loot if he doesn’t make the team. If I had to guess, I think he goes to camp trying out for an NBA job but is a long shot to win one.

  92. @96 – i don’t think afflalo is a scrub either… he was solid but it’s a kick the can type of move long term…. short term it helps us a good deal but there was no value in his contract…

    actually revisiting some of my own projections i think we have a very good shot at 40 wins if we get good health… the major problem is that there are 4-5 spots that are zero or near zero’s… amundsen, thomas, early, calderon and williams… so any injury is going to move us down considerably…

  93. So we’ll be paying $13 million to Afflalo and Williams while the Mavs pay John Jenkins and Jeremy Evans the minimum. Not good.

  94. dutchtickler, Yes… It is literally people getting upset that the 15th man isn’t who they wanted. It’s about the most marginal thing one could imagine. In years past this sort of thing might have been indicative of deeper flaws with the Knicks’ front office. Maybe that’s the case here, but with so many bigger moves I don’t really understand the board’s obsession with the back of the roster moves. They preferred certain bad NBA players with little chance of contributing, the Knicks preferred different bad players with little chance of contributing. Tomato, tomato. I really think fans become infatuated with the small chance their team finds that diamond in the rough.

    GoNy, I don’t know if the D-league is better for his development. Perhaps in that the Knicks have more control over his role (I assume) and it’s a US style of play, but the level of competition is higher and I think chances are he’d better learn to at within an offense.

    Igno-Bot, I’m not sure that “some other people do it” is a good reason to do something.

  95. So we’ll be paying $13 million to Afflalo and Williams while the Mavs pay John Jenkins and Jeremy Evans the minimum. Not good.

    Yes, exactly. I mean, forget finding undiscovered talent, they’re passing over discovered talent because, what, they’re not big names/not part of the continuity of their 17-win team? Heck, forget Afflalo and Williams, the Knicks are paying Thomas and Admunson more than what Jenkins and Evans are getting paid (I liked Jenkins, but it’s Evans that’s the real head scratcher that the Mavs were able to get him so cheap).

    Think about the N’Dour stuff and Fisher’s comments regarding his situation. The idea that the Knicks, with an awful back end of the roster, don’t have space to give N’Dour a chance and that he’ll have to find a spot somewhere else? That’s cuckoo bananas! This isn’t some 67-win juggernaut without the space to fit a guy. This is the Knicks. It’s uncool (if it happens, of course, I’m still holding out hope that they sign him).

  96. I can’t see Amundson, Thomas and Early in the rotation. They are bench depth and trade bait. Maybe a player becomes available mid-season because their teams decide they won’t be able to sign them. Min and max players are tough to package in deals because of salary cap issues. Anyone that’s played with the ESPN trade machine knows that you need players with $1-3M salaries that can be combined in deals for trades to match.

  97. the problem is not that roster spots 11-15 are rarely contributors… it’s that the knicks 11-15 spots are indicative of the overall problem with the knicks thinking… you can’t just throw away roster spots and cap room…

    right now the 11-13 spots on the roster are thomas, amundsen and early… that leaves guys like derrick williams and calderon in your top 10 who are expected to get major minutes… when you waste roster spots like we have… we can’t afford for guys like williams and calderon to not perform… and what if galloway isn’t performing? or if anyone gets hurt?

    houston is a good example of a team who makes good use of all the roster spots… and it came in handy last year since they got more than their fair share of injuries… did they need to trade away two 2nds for prigs? did they need to sign josh smith off waivers? they probably didn’t need to at the time but they did and the bet paid off handsomely… investing in guys like greg smith, jordan hamilton and aaron brooks leads to guys like joey dorsey, motejiunas and jason terry… guys who filled in productively when guys went down…

    when you invest in lance thomas, and lou amundson and cleanthony early… it’s going to lead to more guys like them…

  98. Ideal situation for Melo would be something like a trade to Miami. Send him and RoLo down there in exchange for Winslow, Whiteside, and a 1st rounder and let Miami play Dragic, Wade, Melo, Bosh, and Lopez. Of course you’d have to make money match and that sort of stuff, but the best thing to do with Carmelo is trade him away to a contender with assets to help you rebuild. Maybe LAL does better than expected and is willing to send us Russell and Randle for Melo.

    I like Melo and I honestly want to see him win a championship someday. I just don’t think the Knicks are the team he needs right now to achieve his goals and I don’t think Melo is the player New York needs. We need more youth and he needs more talented veterans.

  99. Wow. That Phil Files piece is an extremely unfortunate blunder and says a lot about Jackson’s character in my opinion. The hypocrisy of trumpeting the high character culture you’re building in one breath then publicly humiliating employees you’ve fired in the next is not hard to miss. Is he really unaware that doing so exemplifies the opposite of professionalism and high character? Or is he aware of that and thinks he is above conventional standards? Anyway, what is the point? Punish them? Offer juicy gossip meant to elevate him in they eyes of fans at the expense of other people’s careers and relationships? I wasn’t sorry to see JR, Shump, or Dalembert go. I won’t be sorry if Jackson follows them soon.

  100. Brian, isn’t it true that if they really wanted Ndour and other minimum-level players, they could simply waive either Amundson or Thomas and sign him? Wouldn’t that have virtually no impact on the salary cap?

    I like Ndour as much as the next guy, but don’t really get the hand-wringing. If Jax and Fisher feel that Lance and Lou will add a dimension to practice and pre-season that they couldn’t get from Ndour, Evans and/or Jenkins, so be it.

    There will be plenty of Evans’s and Jenkins’s to be picked up at the vet’s minimum in the coming months. Bottom line: barring trades or injury, the rotation will include Melo, Lopez, Afflalo, Calderon, Galloway, Grant, O’Quinn, Porzingis, Early and Williams.

    Lance, Lou, and Ledo (or replacement guard) will not see minutes until someone fails or gets hurt. In that event, my guess is that there will be D-League and waiver wire guys available for the vet’s minimum that are as good or better than Jenkins.

    That $2.8 mill exception is a valuable spot if mgmt is patient. Wait for the right guy to come along. It happens every year, only rarely to us.

  101. I don’t care that much about the Charlie Rosen piece. Jax is a weird guy, and shouldn’t feel the need to be publicly critical of ex-players. But he didn’t say anything that isn’t pretty much common knowledge, or that is inconsistent with Phil’s own MO of being a big mouth with the press. At the end of the day, he now has a team with a critical mass of focused, intelligent professionals (other than DW and to an extent, Melo.) I mean, Bargnani, Smith and Shump were just not his (or my) cup of tea (Shump’s elaborate pre-game get down on the floor and dance thing always bugged me.)

  102. I agree most of the things he said were common knowledge and that he has a long history of throwing people under the bus in the press. I didn’t like or respect it when he did that as a coach even though I was anything but a fan of the players he did it to. The thin pretext of motivating guys you want to trust and respect you seemed like BS even when they were still on his team and he was their coach. Now he’s doing it as the very public leader of a franchise he claims to want to return to respectability and he is speaking about ex players, knowing he’s an NBA icon whose opinion carries a lot of weight. To me that indicates a profoundly misguided sense of how other professionals should be treated. It significantly diminishes the respect I have for him.

  103. Omg… are some folks forreal?

    Spots 11-15 on a NBA team do not move the needle cap-wise.

    It is literally people getting upset that the 15th man isn’t who they wanted. It’s about the most marginal thing one could imagine. In years past this sort of thing might have been indicative of deeper flaws with the Knicks’ front office. Maybe that’s the case here, but with so many bigger moves I don’t really understand the board’s obsession with the back of the roster moves. They preferred certain bad NBA players with little chance of contributing, the Knicks preferred different bad players with little chance of contributing. Tomato, tomato. I really think fans become infatuated with the small chance their team finds that diamond in the rough.

    you said it succinctly, Ted.

    And I like the Charlie Rosen pieces info Phil’s thoughts, routines and insights. His thoughts being published on why Shumpert and J.R. didn’t fit is no different than anyone else who’s published writings or books on inner team workings. These are pros/big boys, and Phil’s telling what he saw. He’s not throwing anyone under the bus, so let’s not get carried away pls.

  104. Why can’t it just be hubris, which Jackson has always been full of?

    Also, how on earth is Melo not considered a focused professional?

  105. To be honest, I didn’t really think the comments were that bad. They didn’t seem too far removed from what was common knowledge as well (especially JR and Dalembert). I get that this latest one was a bit of a puff piece by Rosen and I get where people are coming from on the ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’ argument, but just because Phil’s had some less than glowing things to say about particular players doesn’t mean those views shouldn’t have been printed or voiced. Everyone has been asking for justifications as to why Shump and JR were moved on outside of cap reasons and the articles has provided some of the reasons. If you don’t like people saying negative things about you or the way you go about your business, I would have thought the best place to start would be not falling asleep in film sessions or acting like a tit in public.

  106. Yeah I might be overreacting a bit. Not sure. JR and Bargs and I assume Dalembert are all currently trying to get a contract. I’m sure whether they do or not will be a very big deal to them and theirs. Their performance and not Phil’s comments will be the main reason if that happens. And again, I was not a fan of any of them. Still, if I were their boss and had let them go, I cannot imagine making statements in the press when they have so much at stake about the importance of character and naming them and anecdotes about them to illustrate why I got rid of them. I think its just the opposite of what a good boss does for former employees, even those that didn’t work out.

  107. Yeah I might be overreacting a bit. Not sure. JR and Bargs and I assume Dalembert are all currently trying to get a contract. I’m sure whether they do or not will be a very big deal to them and theirs. Their performance and not Phil’s comments will be the main reason if that happens. And again, I was not a fan of any of them. Still, if I were their boss and had let them go, I cannot imagine making statements in the press when they have so much at stake about the importance of character and naming them and anecdotes about them to illustrate why I got rid of them. I think its just the opposite of what a good boss does for former employees, even those that didn’t work out.

    I don’t think it’s an overreaction. You are probably right in raising concerns about sharing such anecdotes with the media and public. However, I don’t think it would be too controversial for a player to get a bad ‘reference’ so to speak from a previous GM which could impact their decision on signing a particular player. I would think that most competent GM’s would be making these kind of enquiries when they look at employing a particular player. Whether it’s appropriate to air your views on a player publicly is potentially up for debate. You may also just be a nicer potential boss than me ha ha.

  108. I don’t really understand the board’s obsession with the back of the roster moves.

    First, I don’t think comments like this:

    You need every roster spot to provide value, especially with all the injuries in the game today. With Cole and Shved being WAY better than Amundson and Thomas, signing Amundson and Thomas was a mistake even before a potential forward with a higher ceiling became available in Ndour.

    indicate “obsession.” The use of the word “mistake” is mild, and indicates exactly that: disappointment, not obsession.

    Second, if you had been paying attention to the team the last few years, as you have said you have not been, you would know that the “back of the roster” guys have ended up playing the majority of the minutes. You would also have seen the analysis of per-minute stats of players like Cole and witnessed the debate whether he could keep up his production with more minutes. He could not – but his production in limited minutes was better than replacement value, and yes, that matters. It would matter even if those players didn’t play the majority of the minutes, as they did last year, but it would matter even if not, as anyone who analyzed the extraordinary dropoff from starters to subs with teams like the Kings or the Clips would know.

    I mean, if you want to build a good team, the details DO ACTUALLY MATTER. You can’t shrug off some aspect of team-building because you arbitrarily believe it isn’t important, when just last year we learned very much otherwise.

    Bigger point: Lou and Lance aren’t good, and are the best they’ll ever be. Ndour may or may not be good, but is 23. Signing players like that is a smart move for the future; whether or not that future arrives, at least there’s a chance.

  109. Unreason, you realize that Phil didn’t make those comments to the press and wasn’t publicly talking down the players after the trade, right? Those pieces were written by a friend and associate of his months after they took place. He wasn’t throwing anyone under the bus; he was talking about things to a friend as they were unfolding.

    Also, he spoke the truth, and whether it could or should be public knowledge, you can bet that every front office in the league knew every part of that information about the players. Hell, even we knew about JR and Sam!

  110. Anyone that’s played with the ESPN trade machine knows that you need players with $1-3M salaries that can be combined in deals for trades to match.

    Even if you buy into that, and think that they should give out contracts for possible future trade fodder, why not then give those contracts to better players who might actually turn out to be good? You only have a few roster spots. Why waste any of them?

  111. Brian, isn’t it true that if they really wanted Ndour and other minimum-level players, they could simply waive either Amundson or Thomas and sign him? Wouldn’t that have virtually no impact on the salary cap?

    They could waive them, yes, but how is that a defense of signing players you know are bad when you sign them? “Yes, they’re bad, but we can always cut them!” Not to mention, they used up $3.2 million in cap room to re-sign Thomas and Amundson. If they’re using $3.2 million in cap room, they really ought to be picking up at least one player who you wouldn’t say, “Well, they can just cut them later” about.

    That $2.8 mill exception is a valuable spot if mgmt is patient. Wait for the right guy to come along. It happens every year, only rarely to us.

    I totally agree on holding on to the $2.8 million for later in the season, but I think that the $3.2 million they burned on Thomas and Amundson could also have been a valuable asset now. That’s practically the mini-MLE right there!

  112. Yeah I might be overreacting a bit. Not sure. JR and Bargs and I assume Dalembert are all currently trying to get a contract. I’m sure whether they do or not will be a very big deal to them and theirs. Their performance and not Phil’s comments will be the main reason if that happens. And again, I was not a fan of any of them. Still, if I were their boss and had let them go, I cannot imagine making statements in the press when they have so much at stake about the importance of character and naming them and anecdotes about them to illustrate why I got rid of them. I think its just the opposite of what a good boss does for former employees, even those that didn’t work out.

    I am not even saying that it’s right for him to shout his mouth off like that. And feel free to think it’s messed up of him. I just don’t think it matters that much, team-wise. Players know what they’re getting with Phil Jackson. It isn’t some big mystery. He’s going to shoot his mouth off. He always has. I don’t think it will affect anyone signing here.

  113. the problem is not that roster spots 11-15 are rarely contributors… it’s that the knicks 11-15 spots are indicative of the overall problem with the knicks thinking… you can’t just throw away roster spots and cap room…

    Yeah, the idea that you shouldn’t worry about not signing the best players for spots #11-15 because back of the roster player often don’t pan out I think is misguided. You should use all of your roster spots on the best players you can get. 15 spots is not a lot. You shouldn’t punt any of them. We all thought it was outrageous for Chris Smith to get a roster spot a few years back, but now it seems like it is “roster spots don’t matter outside the main rotation.” I think that is especially weird for a franchise which saw literally their last man on the team in 2011-12 and their last man on the team in 2012-13 each become key contributors to the team.

    Not only that, but it goes against the whole defense of the Williams signing. “He’s young, he might improve! But let’s not sign anyone else who’s young and might improve! Better to go with proven poor players to fill out the roster!”

  114. The signing of Amundson and Thomas might not be right for other teams but at this team at this stage it makes sense. They were indoctrinated into the triangle last season. They provide continuity in the system and will help with the transition. Is it better to pay the minimum for two other scrubs that have to start from scratch learning a system that isn’t used anywhere else?

  115. Why in the world would the Knicks value continuity to their worst team ever? Not to mention that Amundson and Thomas are your proverbial “two scrubs,” which is why it would be better to sign better players than them, or at least not carve out $3.2 million in cap room to give to two guys who are about as vet minimum as a vet minimum player can get.

  116. “Even if you buy into that, and think that they should give out contracts for possible future trade fodder, why not then give those contracts to better players who might actually turn out to be good? You only have a few roster spots. Why waste any of them?”

    “Yeah, the idea that you shouldn’t worry about not signing the best players for spots #11-15 because back of the roster player often don’t pan out I think is misguided. You should use all of your roster spots on the best players you can get. 15 spots is not a lot. You shouldn’t punt any of them.”

    Brian, normally I would agree. The Knicks situation is far different than teams like, say, the Spurs. They need to establish a winning culture and a team identity. So the definition of “better players” is less simple than you are making it out to be. In Jackson’s judgment, Lance and Lou are better for the situation right now, and can be easily jettisoned and replaced when those two curves (more talent/upside vs. short-term team-building impact) cross in the near future.

    Here’s a simple example: for $1.6 million per year, JR Smith is clearly a “better” player than Thomas. In a pinch, JR can give you a boost, either as a starter or a 6th man. But JR will hurt the team’s identity, while Lance Thomas helps it.

    I understand completely that if you were GM, you would have a different approach, but that doesn’t make Phil and Fish “misguided.” It means that they have a different approach on how to utilize low-leverage, low-impact roster spots in the short run (and the short run aspect can’t be overstated, as they both have made it clear that they are more committed to building a team culture this year than being a winning team.)

    One thing is for certain: there will be low-cost diamonds in the rough available in the future, whenever Phil decides that Amundson and Thomas have outlived their usefulness.

  117. I’ve been very critical of Phil last year, but I have to say that I like his supposed line of thought in resigning Lance Thomas and Amundson, even for real cap space, and offering Shved only the minimum. Thomas and Amundson did contribute a lot in steering the ship towards a better team culture, and they’ve been rewarded for that; while Shved has been an arguably better player than those two in his Knicks’ stint (and went to the line a lot, which is a very important thing to do), he never moved the needle in terms of team awareness, team unity and general hustle.
    I know that numbers talk (and Shved’s were goodish) but you have to weigh the fact that a team is done by people, and the right people always help you build a better environment, where even marginal talented guys can step up and help your cause a lot.

  118. Nice article on Zinger:

    http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2015-07-20/kristaps-porzingis-knicks-summer-league-derek-fisher-phil-jackson

    In watching the montage of Zinger’s positives (and only his positives!) I am encouraged at the sheer variety of the highlights. Lefty, righty, bankers, three, off the dribble, drawing fouls in multiple ways, blocking shots as both help and iso defender, passing out of the post, passing on the break, catching and finishing in the paint…

    This guy is the real deal.

  119. The most encouraging thing about Porzingis, though, is his brain. I just can’t see the guy fail after having heard him speaking his mind. I know, intangibles. But I would bet 1000$ on Porzingis making the All-NBA third team in 5 years.

  120. Brian – The continuity is not in the team but in players that know the system. I know it’s hard to separate the two but neither Amundson or Thomas were part of the problem. They came to the Knicks when the team had already disintegrated. They played in the system without a training camp and they picked it up. I understand wanting to get really good talent but talent is not enough. You need some players that know what to do on the court in the system to help bring everyone up to speed. They are round pegs for round holes. JR has more talent in his pinky than Lou and Lance have combined but he’s a negative in the system. It’s important for this team to gel quickly if we are to be able to attract any free agents next year.

  121. Schved looked pretty good in NY for a handful of games. But I don’t see losing him as especially significant. The rest of his record doesn’t suggest he would have been a major contributor to wins and I don’t see his position as very difficult to fill with another player.

    I’m a little more upset about losing Aldrich. Aldrich has given every indication he can be a very good backup that may even have some upside if he can get in better shape. The Knicks need a backup C. It’s likely that whoever takes that spot is going to get decent minutes and may even have a major role for awhile if Lopez gets hurt (which would not be unexpected given his record). Losing Aldrich could cost us a win or two.

  122. Yeah, Aldrich is real loss. But, as Brian said, it could very well be that Cole preferred to go to a winning team for less money. I would have offered him at least the same amount of money given to Lance Thomas, and we don’t know for sure if Phil Jackson didn’t make him the same offer. Cole has to know that playing 8-10 mpg (his exact peak production size) in a heated playoff series could do wonders for his next contract.

  123. strat, agree on Shved, but vehemently disagree re: Cole. First, why do you suggest that Lopez is likely to miss significant time with injury? His recent “record” includes two straight 82-game seasons followed by a season in which he missed time with a broken hand. Second, O’Quinn and Zinger can both back up at the C spot. Third, Cole will likely be replaced by an equally limited vet’s minimum guy. Jeff Withey is still available, and he is every bit as good as Cole.

  124. Also, why would you want a player around who was apparently not in good enough shape to play extended minutes when his number was called?

  125. But he is better in other areas. He has a very nice WS48 score, especially for a backup C. He is a much better perimeter shooter, and has an OReb% of 10.1, which is more than decent.

    I’m not advocating for Withey, just pointing out that Cole’s role is pretty easy to fill.

  126. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to have Withey here. It’s just that I think Cole is a better player. He’s just got the worst stamina I’ve ever seen in a professional athlete.

  127. Whether we’re talking about Cole, Jordan, Withey, Sims, or any bench filler stiff, the stakes and likely outcomes are pretty much the same. Cole got a decent deal for him, so on to the next stiff.

  128. Oh, I forgot that Jenkins and Evans are such proven NBA studs… That must be why the 28 teams not named the Knicks or the Mavs were lining up to offer them lucrative deals!

    Seriously, this is just a matter of you guys disagreeing with the Knicks player evaluation (from a place of relative ignorance about who would have signed with them for what). That doesn’t mean they are wrong and you are right. You just disagree. 30 NBA teams don’t seem to place a value on Evans or Jenkins that is much higher than what they got from the Mavs. Are the Macs by far the smartest team in the NBA, or are those guys back of the bench players with some potential to be more? I’d guess it’s the latter. And I doubt the different between Amundson and Evans will impact the Knicks much at all. I think there are likely to be bigger drivers of their success that are being ignored to talk about the marginal difference between one scrub and another scrub, based on… I don’t even know… it’s not even box score stats in Jenkin’s case.

  129. Brian, the idea is not that you shouldn’t worry about the back of the roster. That’s a strawman you’ve created. The idea is A. you should worry a lot more about the front of the roster and B. that you disagree with who the Knicks chose doesn’t make you right. You are presenting totally unproven guys as proven… which is BS.

  130. Oh, I forgot that Jenkins and Evans are such proven NBA studs… That must be why the 28 teams not named the Knicks or the Mavs were lining up to offer them lucrative deals!

    You realize that you just made the same argument as bobneptune and therefore your argument is invalid? It doesn’t help that that argument is abjectly horrible. I’m not gonna engage, just trying to let it be known that it may be telling if you even accidentally cross argumentative paths with that guy.

  131. Just a PSA:

    If you don’t think the back end of the roster is worth discussion, you can just not discuss it. You don’t need to make posts about why others shouldn’t discuss it. You can even discuss something else if you want.

  132. Alecto,

    You realize that your argument is as illogical as your extremist ramblings, right? I’m not going to engage, just be a douche and leave a derogatory comment about you… That’s what cool people do.

    The idea that failing to sign two promising but unproven players is an indictment on the FO is abjectly horrible. We’ve literally seen rumors for weeks that they wanted to sign Jenkins. Evans signed early in the period. That the Knicks didn’t sign them doesn’t even mean that the Knicks weren’t interested in signing them let alone that the Knicks were wrong.

    I have no problem with people saying they’d prefer those guys (I am intrigued by both myself). I do have a problem with people acting like they can see the future and their opinions are facts. Because for every time that the crowd realizes teams are missing a talented player, there’s a player that the crowd is high on who never does anything. All the statistical analysis in the world will never allow you to see the future. Only to handicap the probabilities of future outcomes.

  133. thenamestsam,

    That’s missing the point people are making. People aren’t saying it’s not worth discussion (that’s a strawman). People are saying that your personal opinions on specific players, opinions that are only so likely to be right and opinions that don’t seem to be shared by a single NBA team or those guys would be paid more, is not a good reason to indict the entire Knicks FO. Especially when one of the guys people are bent out of shape about is a guy the Knicks seemed to be as linked to as any NBA team.

    Not “don’t discuss it,” but “let’s discuss this in context and in a reasonable way.”

  134. Brian, normally I would agree. The Knicks situation is far different than teams like, say, the Spurs. They need to establish a winning culture and a team identity. So the definition of “better players” is less simple than you are making it out to be. In Jackson’s judgment, Lance and Lou are better for the situation right now, and can be easily jettisoned and replaced when those two curves (more talent/upside vs. short-term team-building impact) cross in the near future.

    I’m with Z-Man on this one. Ideally, we’d have only signed one of those two guys so we’d have more room on the roster’s back end for some guys with higher (read=any) upside, but these two know the system (and thus can help teach it to the newbies, or at least not require any instruction time during practice), work hard in practice and whatever time they get on the court (and thus set a good example for the young guys), don’t complain about lack of playing time or plays run for them (ibid).

    The value they provide is not in their own play — and ideally, Thomas shouldn’t play at all, and Thomas only spot minutes depending on the health of the other bigs — but in the stability and example they provide for the guys upon whom we’re actually going to depend. It wasn’t just that the team was awful last year, but that the culture of the team was, at least until after the JR/Shump trade. The culture needs to be improved at least as much as the talent does. Hopefully in a year’s time, everyone has their act together enough that we don’t need to bring back either of these guys, let alone both. But so long as there’s also room for an Ndour and another upside play in the backcourt, I’m okay with them being here.

  135. Ah yes, the ol’ “they must not be good because they weren’t highly coveted” argument. Articulated just a few weeks after Aminu and Ed Davis signed nice contracts after taking the minimum last offseason. Many posters here were disappointed when the Knicks didn’t sign those guys instead of Jason Smith, and were met with the same “NO ONE WANTS THEM THEY’RE BAD BRUH” nonsense.

    But yes, NBA front offices have it all figured out even though there was literally an Andrea Bargnani sweepstakes this offseason.

  136. No, facehumper, that is not what I said at all. I said that for every Ed Davis there is an Anthony Randolph or Sweetney or Aldrich or whoever else that fans think is good because of box score stats but who either never develops or was never as good as fans thought because box score stats missed huge weaknesses.

    I’m fine with saying “hey, I like Evans’ chances of being the next Ed Davis.” I am not fine with saying “EVANS Iz DA Bestest… DA Knickz ARE THE DUMBEST!”

    It’s not “no one wants them they’re bad.” It’s “no one wants them, they might not be as good as you think.” And even more so, it’s “don’t take them pursuing and not signing a vet min player you are high on as an indictment of their entire team building philosophy.”

  137. Hasnt Evans been in the league for like 5 years?

    He’s played 500 fewer minutes in his career than Lance Thomas. Evans has been better at everything but 3 point shooting, and Evans and Thomas have shot 10 and 23 3 pointers in their career, respectively. I don’t care about us not signing Evans in particular, I just don’t understand why we’d waste a roster spot on a guy like Lance. You could either fill it with a vet like Evans who has a better track record in the NBA, or you could use it on a young player. I do not understand signing a person who ideally will not play at all.

  138. I am not fine with saying “EVANS Iz DA Bestest… DA Knickz ARE THE DUMBEST!”

    Well, you’re in luck Ted, because nobody said that.

  139. Did I say Evans is the best, Ted? Or did I say at the minimum he’s better value than Derrick Williams at $10 million over two years?

    If you (now speaking generally as opposed to specifically at Ted) think bringing back Lance Thomas and Amundson at non-minimum salaries was crucial, pretend we signed Jenkins and Evans instead of Afflalo and Williams. Let’s even say we gave them significant raises to entice them, leaving us with $10 million in space instead of $12-$13 million. Does anyone really think that wouldn’t have been a better situation?

  140. We wouldn’t have had to spend that extra space this offseason, but if we did it’d be enough to sign, say, Ed Davis (who I’m allowed to say is good now that a front office agreed, right?) and probably bring back Cole.

  141. Evans has his positives, no doubt, but he’s also a tweener-F who can’t shoot much. He isn’t really someone who can guard the 4 well but lacks a perimeter game too. I don’t want to argue against the guy and I think he can be a positive contributor in a limited role or the right situation. I just think some are a little too quick to overlook his weaknesses and limitations based on nothing but box score and maybe +\- data.

    Lance Thomas is no great shakes and was awful last season. He was actually pretty decent his first two years in the league, though. He has a different game than Evans, but has shown he can add some value on the end of the bench in New Orleans. I know it’s his most recent play and his most playing time, but Thomas played in the NBA prior to 2014-15. I don’t particularly care to have him on the roster or think he’s good… I do think people are being too hard on the guy based on a one year sample.

    And that’s before really considering intangibles and chemistry and the triangle offense specifically.

  142. zman,

    I’m not “expecting” Lopez to be injured, but he has had injuries and missed games in other years. I think you need a legit backup C. Shifting players from different positions is a stop gap. When you start altering the rotation, you create holes in other places.

  143. That was called hyperbole. It was absolutely the sentiment of many people in this thread, though. Several people have literally used missing on Jenkins and Evans to indict the FO’s entire team building philosophy. You jumped in late and didn’t say that. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t said. If you don’t know what was said, why would you jump in to defend one side of the conversation that you now claim you don’t even agree with? Nuance seems to get totally lost here… But this discussion is entirely about the implication of not signing these guys. Not at all about whether the Knicks should have signed them.

    I, for one, think the Knicks are better off with Afflalo and DW than Jenkins and Evans. On his career, Afflalo is what people hope that Jenkins can be… and probably better in that he’s shown production in different roles (as a secondary playmaker as well as spotting up). For next season or two, I think the Knicks are much better off with Afflalo at $8 mill than Jenkins at the min (not that they couldn’t have gotten both). That doesn’t mean it will work out… but I think it was the right move knowing what we know. They need some low risk production from guys who will play within a system.

    I think Williams at least has a shot at playing an important role. I think Evans maxes out as Balkman maybe with a better head but without the lock-down perimeter D. He can fill a role, but I don’t think it’s a very valuable role. I’m kind of indifferent between the two, but can understand why the Knicks went with DW. I think he has a lot more upside and the downside isn’t that much lower.

    That people are still pining over Cole Aldrich is sort of my point…

  144. Thomas and Amundson are actually pretty good at some things, scoring not being one of those things. Amundson is a very, very good offensive rebounder and a very decent overall rebounder (over 10TRebs/36 for his career.) He is also an excellent shot blocker for his size (2.0 per 36 career, 2.2 with us last year.) He is a very horrible FT shooter, which kills his offensive efficiency. But he’s really not a bad end-of-the-bench guy and a decent overall player when his usage is kept very low.

    Lance Thomas is also not a terrible player if his usage is kept extremely low.

    Obviously you never want both of these guys on the floor at the same time in anything but a blowout, but they are both qualified NBA end of bench players.

  145. I’m not “expecting” Lopez to be injured, but he has had injuries and missed games in other years. I think you need a legit backup C. Shifting players from different positions is a stop gap. When you start altering the rotation, you create holes in other places.

    With a healthy roster I’m fine with rolling with some combination of O’Quinn/Lou/Zinger taking up the non-Lopez center minutes. But I agree that it would be nice to have a guy who could be the starter if Lopez was down for 10-15 games. Pickings are pretty slim out there now-anyone know anything about this Justin Hamilton kid who finished with the Wolves last year? His nickname is Big Ham-that sounds promising to me.

  146. strat, my point is that Lopez is no more likely (and perhaps actually LESS likely) to be injured next year than any other C in the league, based on his last 3 years of not missing any games except due to a freaky hand injury that has no lasting injury repercussions. If your point is that EVERY team needs a qualified back-up center, rather than relying on shifting PFs to play C, we are in total agreement (although the movement to “small ball” has had somewhat of an impact here in that traditional C’s may be playing less minutes and undersized backups who can defend small ball C’s (Amundson?) will be more in vogue. I just think the Knicks can pick from among the available FA’s such as Sims, Jordan and Withey and fill that role adequately, so there’s little reason to feel any concern about losing Cole to a better deal for him.

  147. “His nickname is Big Ham-that sounds promising to me.”

    Depends on the connotation.

    Is he smoked often?
    Is he a ball-hog?
    Does he overact, i.e. flop?
    Did he make a good pairing with O.J. Mayo?

  148. Amundson fills a needed role– he’s another low-post banger who will scrap, put a body on people, block some shots and generally do whatever dirty work is needed in his (hopefully) limited minutes.
    Lance Thomas doesn’t seem to really have anything going for him, although as Ted noted he was pretty decent his first couple of seasons with the Pelicans– .550ish TS%, WS48 around .090 over two seasons. Maybe he recaptures some of that former competence.

  149. That was called hyperbole. It was absolutely the sentiment of many people in this thread, though.

    This is called a contradiction.

  150. dred/zman

    With a healthy roster I’m fine with rolling with some combination of O’Quinn/Lou/Zinger taking up the non-Lopez center minutes. But I agree that it would be nice to have a guy who could be the starter if Lopez was down for 10-15 games.

    It’s also worth considering that Lopez has typically been a 25-30 minute player. If we ask him for 35 minutes a night, we can’t be sure what we get or how long he lasts.

  151. @164 for both, the key is keeping their role limited and their usage low. One thing we know for sure is that they won’t be concerned with not playing, nor will their careers be hurt by it.

  152. Thanks for the lesson in semantics, DRed. Great to discuss the issues with you rather than my poor wording choices!

  153. I think it’s fair to say Cole’s likely role on these Knicks is more fluid than it would be in LA.

    There he gets whatever minutes DeAndre doesn’t soak up. Here he could be our 3rd string center depending on how O’Quinn is deployed.

    At this point in Cole’s career, establishing himself as a known quantity backup 5 would do more for his future NBA earnings than a plausible scenario here where he falls behind Lou on the depth chart. To the point where an extra 500k this year would not have been worth it for him.

  154. There are two sides to the debate about the value of Amundson and Thomas and whether the Knicks should have paid up (as some say) to sign them, rather that holding fast to the veteran’s minimum or not resigning them at all. While I lean on the side that thinks the signings were OK and that they meet some needs, Ted was correct when he said “this is just a matter of you guys disagreeing with the Knicks player evaluation”.

    One thing that does seem to be a clear need is a viable backup for RoLo. The demise of the 2013-14 Knicks started the moment that Chandler broke his leg a few games into the season and suddenly Bargs was inserted as the defensive force in the middle . I don’t think O’Quinn, Amundson, and Porzingis can handle that role if forced to. There are a handful of guys left that could step in. I just don’t know if they would work in the system.

  155. “His nickname is Big Ham-that sounds promising to me.”

    Depends on the connotation.

    Is he smoked often?
    Is he a ball-hog?
    Does he overact, i.e. flop?
    Did he make a good pairing with O.J. Mayo?

    @Z-man Pearls before swine…

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