Knicks 2015 Free Agency Round Table: Robin Lopez

Should we be concerned with the lack of defensive rebounds from Lopez?
Kurylo: He’s pulling down only 4.7 dreb/36 over his career and only 4.5 dreb/36 last year [http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/l/lopezro01.html]. Someone call the stat guy for basketball-reference, because that’s got to be a typo! Seriously, those are swingman numbers.

On the other hand Portland was 7th last year in dreb%, and 13th the year before. New Orleans was 8th in Lopez’ year there. Meanwhile, 82games has the Trailblazers neutral to slightly better on defensive rebounds (+0.8) with the Boy Wonder on the floor.

Given all that information, I’m going to be brave enough and say “I don’t know.”

Fisher-Cohen: If David Lee’s rebounding was inflated because he left his defensive assignment to steal rebounds, then surely there’s a reverse scenario where a guy’s rebounding numbers are depressed because he boxes out and focuses on getting stops before rebounding. The fact that the Blazers’ rebounding was better on both ends of the floor when RoLo played offers a bit of support for that idea.

But in terms of fit, Melo is no Aldridge when it comes to rebounding, so even if Lopez is a bigger rebounding contributor than the box score suggests, he’s still not a good rebounder at his position, which means there’s reason to be concerned that the Knicks are going to struggle on the boards — that Lopez isn’t an ideal fit.

Gibberman: No, I’m not concerned about Lopez’s rebounding at all. During his career teams have rebounded on the defensive glass 2.1% better with him on the floor versus off. He’s excellent at boxing out and creating room for his teammates to grab boards. Lopez has been on the Trail Blazers the last two seasons and they’re the only two years of LaMarcus Aldridge’s career he’s averaged over 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. That’s not a coincidence.

Cronin: It’s weird. I wouldn’t say “concerned,” but it seems to be a consistent thing with him, so I guess it is at least something to keep track of. But no, I wouldn’t say I was concerned about it.

How much does Lopez help the Knicks defense?
Kurylo: Good question, but I’ll answer with another question: how worse would the Knicks defense with Monroe or Aldridge instead of him? If there is one aspect I really like about the Lopez signing, is that it’s a defensive minded acquisition. Since I started covering the Knicks, it seems that they play lip service to defense. Lots of defense first guys have been on the roster that have been basically ignored: Aldrich, Balkman, Gadzuric, Matt Barnes, etc. Not all of them were worthy of an NBA spot (Jerome James and Jared Jeffries come to mind), but plenty were never even given the opportunity. This seems odd for a team that had two successfully periods in their history (70s & 90s) that were centered around defense.

Gibberman: I’m a big fan of how Mike complimented his own question. I think all the questions I ask are awesome too. [Editor’s note: yes I wrote the question. But I was being highly objective when I complemented it.] Another simple answer: Nope. Lopez is a solid defender that understands how to play on that end. He might not have the best physical tools from an athletic perspective, but he has good core strength, understands angles and is competent in all areas (defending PnR, Iso, post ups and team defensive in general on that end).

Fisher-Cohen: Here are the defensive tracking stats for Lopez, Chandler (in 13/14), Amundson and Aldrich. Here’s Deandre Jordan and Bizzy Biyombo as well. Lopez seems capable of causing problems for opponents inside the three point line, but he lacks to mobility (unlike Bizzy and DJ) to switch onto quicker players. The Knicks’ had the worst three point defense in the league last year, and it could get even worse if Calderon stays healthy, Melo plays more small forward, and Afflalo’s defense is a repeat of last year.

Lopez is a big improvement compared to Amundson and Aldridge, so the defense will improve with him, but it still should be bad. I mean, Portland featured two plus wing defenders in Batum and Matthews and Aldridge, whom Zach Lowe argues was highly underrated on defense, yet Portland only hovered around the league average defensively over the last few years.

Cronin: I think an additional defender who can actually play strong defense in the post will definitely help, but yeah, I envision a lot of the same problems we saw with Tyson Chandler, where the guy in the middle is going to have to run around a lot to try to cover up everyone else’s awful defense, except Lopez is likely not quite as fast as Chandler, so he might have even more of a problem with having to run after all the mistakes.

Should we be concerned with Lopez’ offense, or lack thereof?
Kurylo: Nope. I’m quite tired of arguing against every single player being an offensive magician for an NBA team to score points. Teams can, and do, have robust offenses with one player that isn’t a wizard with the ball in his hands. I’m not a shot creation denier, but I don’t worship at its altar either.

And if such a thing were true, why the heck did the Knicks get Carmelo Anthony? How does that make sense if the offense, with one of the league’s highest usage rates, is still so fragile it needs every player to help take on the scoring load? If that is true (and it’s not) we should have stuck with Gallinari.

Gibberman: Let me think on this for a second…..NOPE. Say it with me — the Knicks got an effective starting center that gets the job done on both ends of the court. I know, I’m shocked too. Lopez isn’t outstanding from a scoring perspective and that doesn’t mean he’s useless! He can finish with both hands around the rim, has the ability to make an open mid range jumper, sets good screens and is an adequate passer. Lopez is an excellent piece to place next to Carmelo Anthony much like Tyson Chandler was. What he lacks as an elite PnR finisher, he makes up for with variety. His work on the offensive glass will also be helpful getting New York some extra possessions.

Fisher-Cohen: Fisher had the audacity to give Dalembert and Aldrich post catches last year, so if he does that again with Lopez, there’s reason to worry. However, Lopez is a pick and roll player who sets strong screens and knows how to use his mass to bully his way to the rim. As long as the Fisher/Jackson braintrust is willing to adapt to Lopez’s strengths, Lopez should be an effective player on offense.

Cronin: I agree that he will fit right in on offense. No worries there at all.

By the end of Lopez’s contract, Knick fans will feel ___?
Kurylo: Sad. My bet is they’ll want the guy back.

New Yorkers tend to obsess over scorers on other teams. They love the Carmelo Anthonys, Greg Monroes, and even the Eddy Currys, when they are Knicks in rumors only. But once said player ends up in orange and blue, Gothamites can’t help to turn on them. Meanwhile any defender considering New York is a bum that’s going to ruin the finely tuned offense. Yet once said player sets a hard pick, takes a charge, blocks a shot, and dives for a ball, the stands swoon.

Want proof? Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, and Kurt Thomas.

Gibberman: Wondering if his health will hold up to be able to pay him another decent size contract. Knicks fans who grasp basketball things outside of box score statistics are going to fall in love with Lopez and not just for beating up mascots and his awesome hair.

Fisher-Cohen: Narrative has a much larger impact on fans’ perspective than reality. Jackson spent the last year focusing almost exclusively on clearing cap space, so this free agency period has taken on enormous weight to those fans who cared enough to follow the team this year. Lopez was the premiere signing, so he has a lot of pressure on him, and as a result, he’ll receive a disproportionate amount of blame or praise, depending on how the Knicks do. I expect that reputation to be hard to shake for his entire time in NYC.

Cronin: The guy is crazy likeable, so I think Knick fans will really love the guy by the time his tenure is up.

Last year, the Clippers won 56 games and the Mavericks won 50. Considering Dallas took Jordan from L.A., how many wins for each team in 2016?
Kurylo: Dallas: 60. Clippers: 46.

Fisher-Cohen: Matthews is a concern for Dallas as who knows if or when he’ll be fully recovered. Achilles injuries have altered the trajectory of other players’ careers. But I have a whole lot more doubts about the Clippers who are an older team, ripe to be abused by Mr. Injury Bug and his bucket of fun. They had no depth last year and lucked into relatively good health. With little money this year to fix the issue, I wouldn’t bet on that luck holding up. I’ll say 55 wins for Dallas and 40 for the Clippers. The West is rough.

Gibberman: 52 for the Clippers and 46 for the Mavericks. Los Angeles still has two of the top 10 basketball players in the entire world. Dallas has no depth, no point guard, plus needs a declining Dirk Nowitizki and Wes Matthews coming off an Achilles tendon tear to play huge roles.

Cronin: The Clippers lost Chris Paul for a bunch of games last year and adapted. I think even with two star players, they’ll do pretty well (I guess it also depends on who they get to play center). I am going to predict 49 wins for the Clippers. As for the Mavericks, there are still so many question marks with that team that I don’t think I can predict more than 48 wins for them at this point. They don’t even have a point guard at the moment!

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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).

61 thoughts to “Knicks 2015 Free Agency Round Table: Robin Lopez”

  1. Not that I want him to write what he doesn’t think, but I’m still waiting for the first time Max says something optimistic about the Knicks and pessimistic about any other team…

    Re: Lopez’s defensive rebounding – someone on twitter posted that he had basically the lowest % of uncontested rebounds in the league whereas Aldridge had one of the highest. So basically Lopez clears the decks so Aldridge can cherry pick the rebounds. My guess is that his rebounding is just fine.

  2. I’ve been trying to figure out how good I can expect this team to be. But since I mostly watch Knicks basketball, and didn’t watch that many games last year, I have no visual impression of any of the players except Anthony. So I decided to go to statistics and came up with the following:

    I assumed a starting lineup of Anthony, Lopez, Calderon, Afflalo and Williams. Those players and O’Quinn are the only ones signed who aren’t rookies or second year players. I assumed that O’Quinn was the backup for Lopez, but conceivably you could play O’Quinn instead of Williams. By the stats below, this would have a small positive effect on the team’s capability. The other four signed players are Porzingis, Grant, Galloway and Early. I got the following table of selected advanced stats:

    2014-2015 2014-2015 2014-2015 Career
    WP48 WS/48 PER PER
    Robin Lopez 0.148 0.15 16.2 16.7
    Carmelo Anthony 0.119 0.097 21.5 21.2
    Aaron Afflalo 0.049 0.05 10.7 12.6
    Jose Calderon 0.102 0.033 11.3 16.9
    Derrick Williams 0.057 0.069 12.8 13

    Average 0.095 0.0798 14.5 16.08

    Kyle O’Quinn 0.053 0.99 14.8 15.8

    The average PER of the starters is above the league average of 15. So, by PER, we have a slightly above average team. WS and WP are not as good, but I believe them to be biased down because they allocate value to players by computing what fraction of a team’s wins that player contributed. Only Lopez and Afflalo played for a winning team last year. Anthony, Williams and Calderon played for dismal teams, so there just weren’t many wins to divvy up among those teams players forcing low numbers. PER is an individual stat, so I think it’s more appropriate in this case.

    So just by stats, we should have a roughly average team of starters. The bench is a big question mark. It’s very young Galloway and O’Quinn are good off the bench and Grant and Porzingis is…

  3. I assume Phil will fill out the bench with some reasonable veterans, for example Cole and Shved. If our rookies are good, we will have a good bench, but if they are bad, then we probably will have an average bench at best. I also assume our coaching will be OK, because last year’s team kept playing hard, even when it had no reason too. So this simple prediction suggests an average or below average team, if our rookies don’t come through and a reasonable team if they do. That’s probably good enough to contend for a playoff spot in the east. I certainly hope so.

  4. Been unplugged all weekend, just catching up.

    This Lopez deal is fair. I agree with knights of the round table who expressed that it was refreshing to see us focus on a player who brings more to the defensive side of the ball (which has been neglected for far too long).

    The best thing I can say about the Afflalo and Williams deals is that they are only two years, so the fact that neither of them are very good at basketball won’t hurt us for very long. But these are the precisely the kind of players who are readily available in salary dumps and I was begging Phil not to waste his space on. That space would have been better utilized by facilitating trades and salary dumps, similar to the way Philadelphia has.

  5. Not that I want him to write what he doesn’t think, but I’m still waiting for the first time Max says something optimistic about the Knicks and pessimistic about any other team

    He did take a shit on the Clippers in the last question.

    I wouldn’t write anything optimistic about the Knicks, either. Honestly, the best thing you can say right now about us is that the stupid moves we’ve made haven’t had huge long term consequences. And hey, that’s a big step up for us. But we’re still making the occassional stupid move, only now we’re balancing it with the occassional decent move. It’s an uptick, but not necessesarily one that should inspire optimism.

  6. The Knicks’ had the worst three point defense in the league last year, and it could get even worse if Calderon stays healthy, Melo plays more small forward, and Afflalo’s defense is a repeat of last year.

    Wouldn’t the Knicks’ three point defense improve with Afflalo if opponents shoot 3.7% worse from three when he is guarding them? According to the tracking numbers, he is an above average defender on the perimeter and a poor defender once his opponent gets inside 10 ft., which ultimately makes him an average defender.

  7. http://bkref.com/tiny/u9dGo

    Shved is not Cory Joseph, but he has a similar season statistically last year, except for 2pt and 3pt shooting % (very similar TS%). At 1/4-1/3 the cost, Shved seems like a bargain. We should just sign him.

  8. I don’t think they’re against signing Shved, I think they’re just looking to see what kind of offers he’s going to get. If he doesn’t get anything better than the vet minimum, then they’re better off trying to get him to sign that, right? If he has something more, then they can decide what to do with the room exception or their remaining cap space.

  9. Kurylo: Dallas: 60. Clippers: 46.

    Exactly how much do you like Jeremy Evans?? You think the Mavs this year are better than the Clippers last year?

    Wouldn’t the Knicks’ three point defense improve with Afflalo if opponents shoot 3.7% worse from three when he is guarding them? According to the tracking numbers, he is an above average defender on the perimeter and a poor defender once his opponent gets inside 10 ft., which ultimately makes him an average defender.

    Those 3pt opp% tracking stats require huge samples to be useful. In 2013-14, opponents actually shot 3s 8.1% better against Afflalo than usual. Noise.

  10. Has anyone seen anything on JR Smith? (Note — I am NOT implying that the Knicks should go after him. I am just curious.) With talk of the Cavs possibly trading for Joe Johnson (and the Cavs spending a fortune on everyone else), might he have royally screwed himself by opting out? What about David West? Are there any good teams with cap space left to spend, or is he looking at MLE or room exception money if he wants to play on a contender?

  11. I can’t think of any reason not to resign Shved. I like the Knicks having a player I might be stronger than. Plus Shved can actually create some offense without Melo on the floor.

  12. On rebounding stats; I used to love how David Lee (who I loved) would get at least 2 meaningless defensive rebounds off of missed free throws every night. It’s good to see the team rebounding benefit quoted here of a big man actually doing the fundamentally correct thing and boxing out.

  13. I don’t think there’s much question the Knicks are going to struggle to score at times, especially with Melo off the court, unless Zinger is ready to contribute significantly on that end right away.

    Generally I think “scoring” is overvalued (unless it’s extremely efficient and not easily replaced). I also think players have some flexibility in scoring usage without much, if any impact on efficiency. However, the Knicks starting lineup looks like it could contain Calderon (low usage) and Lopez (low usage). When it’s two low usage guys, I think you need some good scorers elsewhere. Afflalo has always reminded me of the type of guy that does his most efficient scoring playing off someone else and knocking down open 3s. Ideally, I think you want him lowering his usage relative to recent years. Derrick Williams had never been an efficient scorer in his career. Asking him to do more won’t help.

    I say this all despite my opinion that Melo is not even a great scorer (he’s versatile, but that’s a different talent). But on teams without many scorers, I think guys like Melo grow in value. I can’t imagine the Knicks having a good offense this year without Zinger or perhaps Grant making a huge contribution.

  14. Z-Man,

    I’m all for signing Shved but the difference between him and Joseph is about a 2-3% difference in TS% (a fair amount) and the fact that Shved is pretty horrible on the defensive end. Their games are different too, not really comparable.

    That being said please bring back Shved for the vet min or the room.

  15. The Knicks aren’t seriously going to use the room on Jason freakin’ Smith, are they? The room might be a bit of an overpay for Shved, but for Smith it’d be a huge overpay. That dude is vet minimum through and through.

  16. Jesus he’s doing like 45 pounds in a lat pull down or whatever that one is I go to the gym once a year and do like double that lol

  17. My posts got a bit garbled at the end because i ran out of space. My overall point is that by the numbers, we have a roughly average starting team and we also have a lot of young guys with potential to grow. It’s hard for me to believe that we will actually be average (i.e. 42 wins), but since we seem to have two above average starters, two below average starters and one guy, Calderon, who could go either way in performance, 42 wins has to be considered a serious possibility. It’s much higher than anyone on this board seems to anticipate, so I am putting it forward as a real possibility.

    I would also add that our below average starters are on short contracts. So if our draft choices prove good, we could have a very good team and cap space in two years. That’s so much better than we were last year, I am trying to figure out what’s wrong with my logic.

  18. You’d have to wonder how good Alexey Shved can be on a team where he doesn’t have a 26.3% USG. I think we should re-sign him, Amundson, and Aldrich from last year’s team because they can all be useful basketball players. But of course, the Knicks are talking with Jason “I’m Not Good At NBA Basketball” Smith.

  19. Jason Smith’s monthly health insurance premium would be an overpay, never mind the room exception

  20. I was joking in the other thread but i’d actually sign carli lloyd over jason smith to my nba basketball team

  21. I’m not a Jason Smith fan, but I thought he was a little better later in the season than he was when initial impressions were formed while he was playing very poorly. I’m not really sure what Jackson likes about him other than he’s a big with some shooting range. He doesn’t rebound or defend well.

  22. Jerian Grant in all likelihood was just a great college player who will be an average to below average NBA player. Watching his film, I see nothing that makes me believe his game will be very effective in the NBA. At least the dreaded Tim Hardaway Jr is legitimately a great athlete with three point range. I can see Hardaway Jr being a 20 point scorer on a reasonable efficiency at some point in his career, which could win him a 6MOTY award. Getting a 1st round pick for THJr was great, but I’m not as optimistic about Grant as others. With him, I hope for a more efficient version of Patrick Beverley.

  23. A more efficient version of Patrick Beverley is a very good player. The regular version of Patrick Beverley just got a three-year deal for a nice chunk of money.

  24. @21 – Where do you see that Cole is done with the Knicks?

    My thoughts on Robin Lopez:
    Should we be concerned with the lack of defensive rebounds from Lopez?
    I’m not concerned. Since opposing teams are going to shoot 95%, there’ll be very few available ;) I do think he deferred to his (now much richer) team mate LMA. He seemed to concentrate on defense.

    How much does Lopez help the Knicks defense?
    That’s his job. I just worry that he’ll take some kind of verbal back seat. As the anchor of the interior defense he needs to be the general. His presence alone will help. If we can keep the opposing point guard from consistently breaking down our defense, we’ll be in much better shape.

    Should we be concerned with Lopez’ offense, or lack thereof?
    I think it’s great that we only care about his defense and rebounding. Melo demands the ball. KP will too, and Afflalo. If we start relying on him for offense, we’re in trouble.

    By the end of Lopez’s contract, Knick fans will feel ___?
    …like resigning him. He’s the type of player we’ll fall in love with.
    Last year, the Clippers won 56 games and the Mavericks won 50. Considering Dallas took Jordan from L.A., how many wins for each team in 2016?
    If I have to give a number, Mavs – 53, Clippers – 47: In other words a 3 game swing. I really think it’s a 3-7 game swing but certainly Dallas got better and the Clippers got worse. What it means on game-day is a question.

  25. On rebounding stats; I used to love how David Lee (who I loved) would get at least 2 meaningless defensive rebounds off of missed free throws every night.

    I wouldn’t call them meaningless. An offensive putback after a missed free throw often leads to a devestating 3 or 4 point possession for the other team. They are significantly easier rebounds, though, and perhaps it is time to find a way to differentiate between them. It’s not unlike soccer, where a penalty still counts as a goal but everyone knows how many of your goals came from the spot and we tend to focus on goals scored from open play.

  26. Where do you see that Cole is done with the Knicks?

    The Knicks have been leaking interest in a bunch of their player from last year, but nothing about Aldrich. And considering how Jackson felt that Aldrich was just an emergency center last year, and the Knicks have added two centers in Lopez and O’Quinn, I don’t think Aldrich will return. I hope I’m wrong!

  27. @28, I’m talking about the freethrow rebounds where one guy is grabbing the ball while the other 9 head back up court that is a david lee rebound!

  28. I imagine that they’ll just wait to see who is left standing after every one else picks their players and then try to nab an interesting player with their room exception. Then, before officially using the room exception, use their leftover cap space to give Shved or Smith an offer over the vet miminum (if only slightly). Then sign their remaining guys to vet minimum deals – Thomas and Amundson.

    An interesting approach would also be to just hold on to the room exception and use it on a player who gets cut this season, as having actual money to spend can be quite valuable during the regular season. Doing so in the past got them JR Smith, which, in retrospect, might not have been great, but at the time it looked like a great move.

  29. I wouldn’t call them meaningless. An offensive putback after a missed free throw often leads to a devestating 3 or 4 point possession for the other team. They are significantly easier rebounds, though, and perhaps it is time to find a way to differentiate between them.

    I’ll take a stab:

    Lamarcus Aldridge – only 33.7% of his rebounds were contested, i.e. 2 out of 3 were freebies and therefore shouldn’t really count.

    Robin Lopez – 51.5% of his rebounds were contested, which placed him #5 in the entire league (of players with >200 rebounds – i chose that arbitrarily) in terms of contested rebound percentage. In other words, he doesn’t get too many freebies.

    Here’s another way to look. Per Nbawowy — the players that played the most with RoLo were Aldridge, Lillard, Batum, and Matthews.

    With / without Lopez on court: DRB%

    Aldridge: 24% with, 21.6% without (-2.4)
    Lillard: 13% with, 10% without (-3)
    Batum: 18% with, 13.3% without (-4.7)
    Matthews: 9.5 with, 9.4 without (+0.1)

    Lopez himself had a DRB% of only 12.2%, and Chris Kaman (his main backup) had a DRB of 26.4 (difference of about 14)

    So basically – a majority of Kaman’s extra rebounds over Lopez really just came by stealing them from his teammates.

    As a team – when Lopez was on the floor their rebounding percentages were 24.3/76.3/51.7
    When off the floor, their percentages were 24.1/76.1/50 — despite his being replaced by a vastly superior defensive rebounder.

    So I think we can say with at least a little bit of confidence that he’s not going to hurt our rebounding significantly…

  30. Cole also seems like he is done with the team. That’s too bad.

    OMG…. hasn’t the marketplace spoken eloquently as to the actual value of Mr. A? Of course, the intelligentsia of analists here knows better than 30 NBA front offices. I mean admit you were all very wrong and move on please. The guy sucks at NBA level basketball.

  31. @ 33 nice. So someone who it is claimed who actually does things that don’t show up in the box score (ie: boxing out) where we can actually document it to some extent. I am much more confident in his being an asset rebounding than I would have been just looking at his DR%. I am even more confident that this will turn out to be valid whereas when last we heard the “his rebounding numbers are poor b/c he boxes out” in reference to a certain former #1 pick it didn’t quite work out that way.

  32. i think we should be league average on defense…. the x-factor in all of this is of course going to be porzingis and how many minutes he’ll play and how good he’ll be within those minutes… williams i think is going to be a non-factor and we might see some oquinn and lopez against some big lineups…

    it should be exciting to watch… especially since we can trot out two legit 7ft’ers on the court… zinger will have every opportunity to prove that he’s not soft…

  33. whereas when last we heard the “his rebounding numbers are poor b/c he boxes out” in reference to a certain former #1 pick it didn’t quite work out that way.

    That was an actual defense for Bargs? I totally forget that. That’s pretty funny.

  34. and robin does do a lot of faceguarding where you turn completely to the offensive rebounder… if you remember tyson did this in the pacer series against hibbert… i don’t necessarily think that’s a good strategy since you are taking yourself out of the play when you have a higher likelihood of grabbing the rebound…

    it requires the ppl around you to also be good rebounders and melo and williams aren’t that great… porzingis remains a question and oquinn is the only one you would consider good… so i’m not sure how well rolo will affect our rebounding…

  35. Kyle O’Quinn is the only good rebounder on the team relative to his position. I’m glad Lopez is apparently good at boxing out but this looks like it is going to be a poor rebounding team.

  36. Cole also seems like he is done with the team. That’s too bad.

    OMG…. hasn’t the marketplace spoken eloquently as to the actual value of Mr. A? Of course, the intelligentsia of analists here knows better than 30 NBA front offices. I mean admit you were all very wrong and move on please. The guy sucks at NBA level basketball.

    I will admit that 30 NBA front offices know better, when 30 NBA front offices stop signing and giving minutes to the Jason Smiths and Derrick Williamses of the world.

    I get that it’s sometimes best to listen to the experts. I don’t know much about biology, but I trust the medical community when they say to immunize my child. But right now a portion of the NBA is run by the analytical equivalent of anti-vaxxers. They are using methods of evaluation that are at least 40 years old, and ignoring anything that has been studied since then. If this was just about any other field, they’d be looking for work in another field.

  37. Aldrich aside…

    Jason Smith was by far the worst Knick in terms of +/-. The defense was a whooping 7.1 points worse with him on the floor. Yet Derek Fisher found 1785 minutes for him. And the team is likely to re-sign him.

    So bobneptune: are these the guys you trust to be the definitive answer to whether or not a person is fit or unfit to play in the NBA?

  38. Aldrich aside…

    Jason Smith was by far the worst Knick in terms of +/-. The defense was a whooping 7.1 points worse with him on the floor. Yet Derek Fisher found 1785 minutes for him. And the team is likely to re-sign him.

    So bobneptune: are these the guys you trust to be the definitive answer to whether or not a person is fit or unfit to play in the NBA?

    Also, everything about Bargs, ever.

  39. The “appeal to authority” argument is only valid when it confirms the thing I have already been saying.

  40. Kendrik Perkins must be really good. Lots of different coaches keep using him. We should sign that guy if we can.

  41. I seriously won’t be sad if Jason Smith never comes back.
    he has among the worst defensive RPMs in the league (unfortunately surpassed by one Derrick Williams). TS is bad on the offensive end. I kinda like his goon mentality but that’s not worth a roster spot.

    I would much much rather have Amundsen back. He’s a great bench player. He was 27th in the league last year in defensive RPM, just ahead of Larry Sanders and one Lebron James.

    Give me Shved and Amundsen and I’ll be happy.

  42. I like Lopez. Not going to be a world beater, but I like that he complements the current franchise player, Carmelo Anthony, and in theory should also work well with the draft pick the Knicks are hoping can become our next foundational star. Also he’s only 27 next year and the Knicks locked him up through his prime with no options. Worst case scenario the guy is a starting center locked in on a reasonable contract that is going to look like pennies on the dollar once the cap jumps. He’ll easily return some value in trade if it comes to that.

    I feel similarly about O’Quinn’s contract and I’m a big fan of his potential on either end for this team.

    Afflalo’s contract is pretty meh, but I think he’ll be a good locker room guy and he does have some synergy from having played with Melo, RoLo and O’Quinn. The Williams contract is the one thing this summer that I think was terrible, but not a franchise killing move. I don’t mind the gamble on his talent, just not at that price and with a player option to boot.

    I’d give Phil a solid B/B+ for this summer’s free agency and draft.

  43. “I will admit that 30 NBA front offices know better, when 30 NBA front offices stop signing and giving minutes to the Jason Smiths and Derrick Williamses of the world.”

    You’ve been right more than you’ve been wrong and they’ve been wrong more than they’ve been right but isn’t it a GM’s job to buy low. If you see a healthy athlete with skills who listens well as a person wouldn’t you imagine (you being Phil) that you and Fisher could coach him up?

    I’ve asked you this before. Isn’t being a GM about finding anomalies? Draymond Green #35 in the draft but develops into an all star. Manu? These were risks people took that worked. I agree that people play to their bubble gum card or their advanced analytics 99% of the time. Still, the job of the gm is to make the gamble.

    Isn’t it about the shit that suddenly turns to gold?

  44. But that’s where the problem comes in, no? They took a risk on Jason Smith and he was terrible. So why take a risk on him again? Meanwhile, they took a risk on Aldrich and he played pretty well but him they are going to move past on and Smith they’re going to re-sign? I get taking risk, but when the risk doesn’t work, don’t double down on it.

  45. From my understanding most players that do well in the NBA had solid stats and tangible nba skills in their prior leagues; both ginobili and green did. So while it may look like a “risk” to think that ginobili or green were gonna become solid nba players even though theyre from the second round that wasnt really true–we had good reason to believe that their production would carry over. This isn’t a universal law, but it’s a pretty solid hard and fast rule, from what I can tell.

    Basically what I’m saying is: why wouldn’t we take a flier on someone with good stats like Jeremy Evans, or a good undrafted player rather than some pretty scrubby player in Derrick Williams?

    It may be trivial to say that good players tend to stay good, but most NBA GMs have trouble understanding that very fact and draft and acquire players on “upside”. Sometimes that’s justified, but often it isn’t.

  46. Hi Brian, Thanks for that
    My questions for the more thorough researchers than myself is this. Obviously terrible stays terrible most of time but, who, ever, for any team, was terrible and then got good? What role did that play in team’s success? Does that play a role in every successful team?

  47. Well, just thinking about the Knicks, Mozgov was pretty bad when we first got him. He just couldn’t stay on the court due to foul woes and when he was on the court he wasn’t that good really.

  48. Well, just thinking about the Knicks, Mozgov was pretty bad when we first got him. He just couldn’t stay on the court due to foul woes and when he was on the court he wasn’t that good really.

    He only played his first 458 NBA minutes in a Knicks uniform before we dumped him. He was a decent center by his second year, and above average by his 4th.

  49. both ginobili and green did

    I mean, far be it for me to defend Williams. He’ll end up on history’s scrap heap more than likely, but, he’s only twenty four and hasn’t played on a good team yet and if one guy like that reports to camp in especially good shape and has a career year, or their first good year, it will make you forget the 99 that didn’t work out.

  50. I get that it’s sometimes best to listen to the experts. I don’t know much about biology, but I trust the medical community when they say to immunize my child. But right now a portion of the NBA is run by the analytical equivalent of anti-vaxxers. They are using methods of evaluation that are at least 40 years old, and ignoring anything that has been studied since then. If this was just about any other field, they’d be looking for work in another field.

    And how have the intelligentsia of the management of Hou, SA ,PHl, etc reacted to the free agency of “COLE”???? Answer… with crickets….. and we know they don’t have any valuable assets playing the 5 that need a good solid back up :-)

    Do you see any of the advanced stats guys falling over themselves to give him even back up $$$$. Answer… No…. because he sucks.

    It is 30 for 30…..old school and new school are in complete agreement about his value…. it is minimal.

    To Mike and the Cole nuthugging fanbois…. William of Ockham would like a word with you. :-)

    Of course, some one is likely to pick him up for cheap money at some point because he isn’t completely valueless, but the overall point being the guy isn’t very good at basketball and the real advanced stats guys (not the wannabees) agree. They voted the past few days with their wallets.

  51. From my understanding most players that do well in the NBA had solid stats and tangible nba skills in their prior leagues; both ginobili and green did.

    I think it’s true that players who play well in the NBA tend to have played well at lower levels; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that players who play well at lower levels tend to play well in the NBA. There are a lot of good players in NCAA and Europe who just aren’t quite good enough for the NBA.

    Basically what I’m saying is: why wouldn’t we take a flier on someone with good stats like Jeremy Evans, or a good undrafted player rather than some pretty scrubby player in Derrick Williams?

    Because Derrick Williams did play well against the level of competition you’re referring to? Also because it’s rare for an UDFA to make it and the Knicks could have plenty of room for UDFAs with DW on board anyway?

  52. I will admit that 30 NBA front offices know better, when 30 NBA front offices stop signing and giving minutes to the Jason Smiths and Derrick Williamses of the world.

    I wouldn’t say that all 30 FOs know better. And I wouldn’t ever tell you to stop trying to identify the diamonds in the rough.

    At the same time, I would probably say that collectively the 30 FOs probably do know better (eventually a well-run FO will find the good players if they keep falling though the cracks) and that there are just some Michael Sweetney’s out there whose (small sample) stats will always look better than their actual play.

    (Is Aldrich a diamond or a Sweetney? I don’t know.)

  53. bobneptune: Great way to avoid answering the question.

    To answer yours, there are lots of basketball players that needed a few chances before someone team them a real shot. Matt Barnes, Demare Caroll, Ben Wallace, Jeremy Lin, etc. Teams miss out on lots of players because of their bias, or other reasons. Just because the league doesn’t pick up a player, that’s not the perfect litmus test of whether that player is able to play at the NBA-level.

    BTW can you stop with the insults and jabs?

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