Knicks 2016 Season Preview Roundtable

Is Jerian Grant ready for the NBA?

Kurylo: In preseason Jerian Grant managed a ts% of 42.1%, including 0-4 from three. His last year in college he hit only 31.6% from the shorter arc. That doesn’t bode well for his ability to shoot at this level, especially for a point guard in the triangle. Toss in that I once did a study that showed PG is the position that takes the longest to learn, and I’m doubtful he’ll be able to contribute too much this year.

Gibberman: Any rookie point guard is going to struggle if asked to playing significant minutes in his first season, but in the context of the Knicks I’d consider him ready. Even with whatever flaws he has in his game, below average jumper and defensive issues, his ability to break down a defense off the dribble is desperately needed by New York. The roster can be slow, plodding and unathletic — Grant is the opposite of all these things. He might not be ready per se, but considering the other options the Knicks it will make him look better than if he was on other teams with more competent point guard play.

Cronin: I think Bryan nailed it. It’s interesting, we were just having a discussion of which players on this team would play on good teams. I think Grant pretty clearly would not. He’d be like Dennis Schroder and Shane Larkin two years ago on the Hawks and Mavericks, respectively. But since the Knicks need a point guard, he will play right away here. Now is he ready? I think he’s ready to be not as good as Shane Larkin, but with more upside. In other words, probably not that good this year.

Ephus: I think that he will likely get exposed on defense if he plays when the Knicks face the toughest Western Conference PGs, and the few excellent Eastern Conference PGs. While he may eventually be a plus defender, he is going to have to learn PnR defense without a lot of quickness on the backline. On offense, his pedigree says he will be a good Triangle player, but his 3FG% says he will miss a lot of open shots. I think that if he gets more than 15 mpg, it means that the Knicks are not a .400 team.

Fisher-Cohen: He’s ready for the Knicks as he fills a gaping hole in their roster: dribble penetration. At 0.42 FTA/FGA, a higher ratio than anyone on the Knicks last year other than Shved, Grant’s preseason numbers show a strong ability to get to the rim and give defenses a headache. That is his current NBA skill. His ability to make a positive impact on the team will depend on how well Fisher structures rotations to emphasize that strength and minimize his poor perimeter shooting. That means he needs shooters around him, and he needs to be the creator on offense.

Here are Derrick Williams pre-season scoring numbers: 27.5 pts/36, 67.5% ts%. When the Knicks acquired Williams, I wrote this:

This guy brings nothing to the table. A moderate amount of scoring volume, at an efficiency that would be embarrassing for a New York city street court, and nothing else. He doesn’t rebound, pass, steal, block shots, or even hit threes or free throws at the rate you’d expect from an NBA player.

So my question is: is he going to make me look like an idiot this year?

Kurylo: Prove me wrong Derrick Williams. Prove me wrong!

Gibberman: I’m obviously still not sold on Williams despite his preseason. BUT I’ll say there’s a chance he can give them positive minutes off the bench in an uptempo unit that plays to his strengths. So yep, there’s a chance the dude with the awful hair can make me look like an idiot.

Cronin: My position on Derrick Williams was never really about him as a player, but about the contract. He’s a young player who was drafted highly a few years ago. He’s more likely to be the player he has been so far in his career (i.e. a bad player), but I’ve always allowed that there is a chance that he turns it around this year, and that’s my problem with a two-year deal with a player option after one year. Derrick Williams has not been a good enough player in his career to be getting a contract where if he sucks again, he’ll get $5 million and if he is good, he’ll leave or take a big raise. How does that make sense? Especially since a raise to Williams almost certainly takes the Knicks out of MAX free agent money. And what if the reason a MAX free agent would want to come here is because the Knicks did surprisingly well in large part due to Derrick Williams doing surprisingly well? That’s why I don’t get giving him the player option. He gets all the benefit and the Knicks get all the risk, all for a player who has not played well in his career so far. In other words, he can have a great year and it would still be a bad contract.

Ephus: There are two possibilities with Derrick Williams. #1) He is the player that he has been for the rest of his NBA career, and we should not get carried away with some Pre-Season Stats (combining the worst of small sample size and less than hard-core competition); or #2) He had some impediment to reaching his potential that has now been removed. I’m rooting for #2, but expecting #1.

Fisher-Cohen: If Derrick Williams can really shoot threes now, he becomes maybe a Rudy Gay type player, I guess. A lot of scoring and the skills to be an efficient scorer but not the brain. But I’m fully on board with Brian. Thinking about Williams’ potential is like thinking about that time in 2011 when you almost bought some Bitcoin. It’s over. There’s no way for you to get that value back. The contract we gave him neuters our potential to get any value from him. Okay, sure, he could bump us from 31 to 35 wins this year. Whatever. We should be focusing on developing pieces for the time when we have a chance to be a great team. I would have been happier seeing Jackson give him four years and $28m than the deal he gave him since at least it would have shown Jackson knows you can’t get better by playing conservatively.

Carmelo Anthony was 4th on the team in minutes before the season even started. Should we be worried that one the games count, Fish is going to run this pony into the ground?

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Kurylo: I stand on my previous statements that I don’t trust Fisher, and I believe him to be a weak spot on this team. I’m open to the possibility that he’s learned much from last year and will be a better coach this year. However I think the Knicks should be cautious with Anthony’s minutes until they actually need him. It’s unlikely New York will be in contention, so there’s no reason to trot him out for 38.7 minutes per game again.

Gibberman: The Knicks have enough depth in the front court that there’s no reason for Anthony to be playing more than 32 minutes a night. There’s a lack of depth at the wing, but even at the three you can play Williams, Arron Afflalo when both his legs are functioning and Cleanthony Early (ughhh). There’s no reason to run Melo into the ground to get the 8th seed and pounded by the Cavaliers. Fisher needs to trust the other players on the roster and start developing the entire team rather than leaning on his star exclusively.

Cronin: Clearly Melo should play less. It’s pretty obvious. In fact, I think it is so obvious that even a bad coach would figure that out. So if Fisher doesn’t…well, yes, that would not be good. I have faith that he will, though. Heck, Woodson would even play Melo less this season. Dude’s 31, coming off a major knee injury and they have a packed front court!

Ephus: There was a vicious cycle with playing Carmelo Anthony so many minutes over the last two years. In order to keep Carmelo on the court so many minutes, the Knicks needed to play at a walk-it-up pace. At that pace, defenses were always able to get set to deal with Carmelo, so he did not get many cheap baskets. Because he did not get cheap baskets, he had to work hard on offense. Because he had to work hard on offense, the Knicks had to slow the pace. The Knicks need to push the pace this year and get early offense. The only way to make that work is to have fresh legs on the court. That means no one, including Carmelo, should play more than 36 minutes in any game. As a bonus, a fresh Carmelo might actually have the steam to be a positive offensive contributor in the last five minutes of games.

What have you seen from Kristaps Porzingis in the preseason that you’ll be watching as the season progresses?

Porzingis

Kurylo: His rebounding. First off he’s pulled down 11.1 reb/36 in the preseason, which was third highest on the team. Porzy has put on few pounds since summer league, but he still has issues with weakness, especially against bulkier forwards and centers. How many rebounds did he have that the opponent just rip out of his hands during the preseason? I want to see if he’s putting a body on someone when the shot goes up, and if he can hold onto the ball once he’s secured a rebound.

Gibberman: I just want to see continued progress as the season goes on. Can this Knicks staff be trusted to properly develop him? I’m already worried with how stubborn they’re being using him as the starting power forward. I don’t think the skills of the players in the first unit fit Porzingis’ game or having him guard starting 4s is particularly smart at this moment. He’s a very talented individual and there’s a player to extract here. We get to start to see the process of what the Knicks are going to be able to mold him into and I’m excited for that.

Cronin: I agree with Mike about the rebounding. If he can keep up the strong rebounding numbers during the regular season, then that’d be amazing.

Ephus: I think he – like Grant – is going to get exposed on defense. He is stronger than expected, but still not strong enough to hold post position against the tough guys. He does not have the foot speed to chase stretch 4s. But, no matter what he does, he will be a “quantum leap” (to use a Clyde-ism) from Amar’e (aka, the worst defender ever).

Which position is worse, SG or PG?
Kurylo: Guard is certainly a weak spot on this team, but of the two I’m going with point guard. Sure Calderon is steady on the offensive side, but he’s failed to manage 55 games played in two of the last four seasons. If he goes down, Langston Galloway (ts%: 48.9%) and Jerian Grant (see above) don’t seem to be NBA-starter material. At shooting guard Affalo is more likely to stay healthy (has yet to have a season with less than 62 games played) and is a more well rounded player.

Gibberman: Can it be equally terrible? The starting backcourt on opening night is either going to be Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo or Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic. I have higher hopes for the backup duo of Jerian Grant and Langston Galloway. They at least have skills that somewhat look like a modern NBA guard duo. If those two don’t exceed expectations it could get really ugly fast.

Cronin: Afflalo is definitely the best of a bad batch (right this second, I suspect Grant will eventually be better), so I guess point guard. I’d like to see them pick up a point guard for their final roster spot. Lorenzo and/or Jabari Brown?

Ephus: Shooting guard, but only because PG is so de-emphasized in this offense.

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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).

70 thoughts to “Knicks 2016 Season Preview Roundtable”

  1. That said, the degree to which Dolan and Isiah STILL refuse to admit to anything does make me wonder just a little bit as to whether maybe it didn’t happen. (And maybe that’s the point of them still fighting this in the press nearly 10 years later – to make some people (like) me have some doubt). But from what I’ve read, it ended up becoming a bit of a he-said-she-said case, bolstered by Marbury having sex with an intern in his truck, which really probably has nothing at all to do with Isiah. People have sex with people at work all the time without it being a problem of hostile work environment and sexual harrassment. (I don’t know the specifics of the marbury thing but I remember it not being a question of harrassment – ie. it was consensual).

    MSG’s case was always that she was not doing a good job for whatever reason and was fired for that and for “interfering with the sexual harrassment investigation”, whatever that means. So let’s say that Dolan and Isiah really believe that (and are not just being douchebags, which of course, they are for plenty of other reasons including possibly this one) — wouldn’t you keep on denying something you don’t think you did?

    I’m sorry but I can’t let this go from yesterday.

    This wasn’t some matter that was settled behind closed doors. This was litigated in a court of law with a jury. The jury found MSG/Dolan guilty on all counts except for one: whether Isiah Thomas was personally liable for damages. That’s a pretty hefty amount of evidence on the “she-said” side.

    Let’s assume that continually calling a woman a “bitch” in a corporate workplace is sexual harassment (it is) and firing her when she complains about it is wrongful termination based on sex (it is). Isiah and Dolan aren’t arguing that these things didn’t happen. Remember Zeke’s defense was that it’s OK for a black man to call a black woman a bitch. And Dolan fired her from his helicopter saying “all decisions at the…

  2. @2 continued.

    Now Dolan & Zeke keep claiming they didn’t break the law. Have they offered any proof? Any new evidence to support their claim? Nope. The facts remain exactly the same the day of the case.

    This world we live in is a world were statements are made without facts. You can make global warming disappear by saying it doesn’t exist. You can make vaccines harmful by saying they cause autism. You can make doctors to be the ones that harm their patients, and herbal supplements to be the new medicine. All you have to do is to say it & hope someone else believes it.

    That’s the only game Dolan/Zeke have left. And they’re sticking to it.

  3. Galloway is probably the best guard we have on the roster, so whatever position he’s playing is our strongest one. Last season he was playing a newish position on a team he joined mid year that was hemorrhaging players and had very little talent. That’s a very tough spot for a rookie, and I expect Langston to become a more efficient scorer this season. He’s already our best defender on the perimeter by a huge margin. I don’t really care if he starts or not, but if another guard is playing more minutes than him that’s probably a bad sign.

  4. Grant is Toney Douglas with a far more athletic appearance. Good from far, but far from good.
    Derrick Williams will quickly become the player fans love to hate.

  5. I don’t see the similarities with Toney Douglas at all.

    TDDWTD is (was) a decent three-point shooter and that’s all.

    3P happens to probably be Grant’s biggest flaw in his game.

  6. From what I saw in preseason, I would have to agree that our perimeter defense could be our Achilles heel. Galloway is our best guard in this aspect and needs to play. I hope Afflalo can help in this department but he hardly has played this preseason and his injury may linger. We have to hope that Grant comes along quickly because Calderon and the Machine both look poor on defense.

  7. I wonder if the Jazz would have any interest in Calderon. Granted, it’s probably not a great sign that I’m looking at trade machine scenarios involving our starting PG on the first day of the season, but Utah has a hole at PG and has the stifle tower to clean up Jose’s messes.

  8. @ 9 – Interesting. I would be wary of dealing Calderon so early in the season as I do think he provides some stability on offense and his leadership and smarts are needed on this club. I’d look to move him mid season after Grant gets some experience and teams have injuries. Hopefully a playoff team will need some PG help and we can foster a trade.

    I also really hope we can use this last roster spot on another young PG (who is at least decent on defense).

  9. I want to wait until a few games into the season at least to see how the team does before trading anyone. I also think that opportunities will come as the season progresses and other teams feel the need to make changes. One possibility is that some team needs a big man and is willing to give up a guard. For example, if Tyson Chandler gets hurt, Phoenix could be in the market for something like that.

  10. D’oh! I missed the deadline with my other two answers, so here they are in all their magnificence:

    Carmelo Anthony was 4th on the team in minutes before the season even started. Should we be worried that one the games count, Fish is going to run this pony into the ground?

    Despite a new interest in acquiring younger players, Phil Jackson hasn’t exactly shown a purity of focus in his 1.5 years as team president. He has brought in younger players when the short term sacrifice is minor. Through his pursuit of cap space and his signing of players in or likely on the verge of entering their primes, he’s shown that short term success is still very much a priority, even if, unlike previous regimes, it isn’t the only priority. It seems PJ has something to prove, and given the fact that he’s in the twilight of his career, he’d prefer to do it sooner rather than later.

    Fisher too hasn’t shown the pragmatism that I’d like to see. Coaching NYK to wins in 3 of their final 6 games at the expense of draft position is perhaps the greatest piece of evidence against Fisher’s focus on pragmatic, long term planning. Letting Afflalo exceed his minute limit is another recent, small piece of evidence.

    The rationale that drives coaches like Budenholzer, Kerr and Popovich to limit player minutes — that even if minutes restrictions costs games short term, big picture, it’s better for the team — is based on a pragmatic approach to managing a team. You sacrifice the moment and all your dogmas and all the politics in favor of the long term.

    I don’t have any reason to believe that Fisher and Jackson are of the pragmatic mindset it would require to limit Melo’s minutes if playing him overtime means a better chance to make the playoffs, so yeah, I see Melo playing too many minutes.

  11. What have you seen from Kristaps Porzingis in the preseason that you’ll be watching as the season progresses?

    I’m going to watch for his willingness to take and create contact more than anything else. He’s shown some cool footwork in his post attempts, but if he wants to get the bills paid out of the post, he’s going to have to supplement the nifty finesse moves with healthy heap of free throws. So far, on offense, he has seemed very shy about coming into contact with his defender. Yeah, he’s thin and isn’t going to be powering through defenders in the near term, but unlike Melo, his high center of gravity will allow him to pinball off players, highlighting contact.

  12. “So far, on offense, he has seemed very shy about coming into contact with his defender.”

    I dunno, maybe it’s selective memory, but I saw a real willingness to mix it up in several regards:

    He drove hard at Gortat for a nice power bank shot.
    He went in hard for a dunk vs. Zeller, and if you look at the replay, he was clearly fouled. He actually kept possession through the block, but the foul on his forearm kept the ball from getting over the rim.
    He drove hard vs. a baseline double team on that nice feed to Seraphin
    He responded to a 2-rebound game with 3 straight big per 36 rebound games, and was not backing down physically from anyone on the boards.

    So I think his problems are not about being “shy” or about “willingness” but about being inexperienced and physically immature.

  13. I don’t see the (Grant) similarities with Toney Douglas at all.

    They play hard, penetrate and find themselves at right or left of the rim (having gone under it), looking to pass the ball but opposing teams soon realize it’s more of a “headless chicken” maneuver than real offensive-minded penetration, so they just dare them to shoot/score, which is something they can’t do. Grant is taller and more athletic, but not much better. We did not get a stud in exchange for Hardaway.

  14. I’m waiting for December when the Knicks can trade Serephin to the Grizzlies.

    I also hope Orlando collapses early and will look to trade C.J. Watson. A guy can dream can’t he. I actually think Orl might do well this year.

  15. CNB – in just several preseason games I’ve seen Grant make passes and plays that Tony Douglas could only do on NBA2K if he was playing as Chris Paul.

    TD is a SG (an undersized one at that). Grant is a PG. TD has been in the league for years now. Grant has played in 6 preseason games. TD can shoot. Right now Grant cannot. Oh, you mean a rookie sometimes looks a little out of control? He must be a scrub then!

    You’re attempts to put down yet another Knicks player are misguided. You don’t seem skeptical. You seem like a straight up Knicks hater. Its fine to be skeptical and yes, The Knicks in the last decade have not really done much to gain our trust. But there’s no need to put down brand new players who have yet to let you down.

  16. CNB – in just several preseason games I’ve seen Grant make passes and plays that Tony Douglas could only do on NBA2K if he was playing as Chris Paul.

    I agree with you that Grant is far ‘flashier’ than Toney Douglas. He is not much better, though.

    That said, I hope you’re right and Grant proves to be a good player.

  17. So I guess CNB is the new resident Debbie Downer. Some of you guys are so depressing. Basketball season is about to start, we have a new rookie/s we can watch develop. There should be excitement.

  18. So I guess CNB is the new resident Debbie Downer. Some of you guys are so depressing.

    I’m just being objective rather than pessimistic or “depressing”.

    The Knicks are a bad team and should be expected to play accordingly: around 30 wins for the upcoming season. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s not like we’re rooting for Golden State or Cleveland.

    If you prefer to think everything will go great for every Knicks player and the team will be competitive, that’s fine with me – but please respect the right of others to not be delusional. It’s the civil thing to do.

  19. OJ Mayo out for season opener, on top of Giannis being suspended for the game. Relieves a bit of the defensive burden on our sloooooow backcourt, at least.

    We have yet to fill the 15th roster spot. I wonder if Phil’s plan is to just hold onto it for down the road, either if one of the NBADL becomes worthy of the promotion, or if it better facilitates a trade.

  20. I love this headline in the Post about the Lopez-Monroe matchup –“Knicks opener is chance for instant free agency judgment.” Yup. One game is all you need to see to make a conclusive decision about the Lopez signing. I don’t know about you but I think that, if he has a bad game, don’t even wait until he has time to take a shower, the Knicks should cut him immediately and send him home in his sweaty uniform.

  21. CNB you’re not being objective when you spout off stupid shit like Galloway and Grant are the next Toney Douglas. Galloway’s defensive metrics shit on anything Douglas ever accomplished on that end despite being touted as a perimeter stopper when drafted as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Grant can actually penetrate and dribble with his head up to locate teammates and was easily the best PNR point guard in the NCAA last year and in this past draft, something Douglas completely sucked at despite playing for MDA in an uber PG friendly and PNR heavy offense.

    Your comparisons on both are so off point that I don’t even think you’re a pessimist or a Knicks hater. I just think your opinion is based solely on the fact that these guys all happen to be combo guards that have played for the Knicks at some point.

  22. Anyone who has been a Knicks fan for the last 15 years should be a pessimist, no reason to yell at people for that. And mark me down for 31 wins for the annual accounting.

    I don’t have any faith in Jerian Grant. I like Galloway’s defense and enjoy watching him play a lot but I can’t shake the Patrick Beverley comp when I watch him. Solid, underrated piece seems like his ceiling. We shall see, could easily surprise.

  23. We did not get a stud in exchange for Hardaway.

    First of all, no one said Grant was a stud, but how do we know he won’t be a good player? Whereas with Hardaway, I think we saw all we need to see to know he will most likely never be a good player.

    CNB – Continuous Negative Bloviating

  24. Don’t forget no Parker as well. Maybe we can steal a win

    Yeah, this match-up suddenly looks very winnable. I sure would love a win to start the year.

  25. Yeah I don’t understand why you wouldn’t have some hope going forward. Or why you wouldn’t have some hope with Grant. He’s looked really good so far for a rookie. He’s exactly what this team has needs for years.

    Zinger – #4 draft pick. Ceiling – superstar (fingers crossed)
    Grant – first round pick. Ceiling – starting PG that is NBA average or above average or maybe close to an all star (something we haven’t had for awhile).
    Quinn – 4 years at 4 million a year is a steal for a big man with his skills
    Gallo – second year player on minimum contract. Second team NBA rookie squad.
    Williams – former #2 pick who is still only 24(?) – super athletic and looking good so far.

    Plus we got Willie H next year and after that our draft picks are back. Plus we have rising salary cap space and Rolo locked in for the next 4 years. Melo’s contract will look tame after this summer.

    What is not to be happy about? I just don’t get it.

  26. @25

    It’s perfectly fair to think Grant might not be a good NBA player. Over the last 11 years here, just about every new point guard was NBA-worthy before they started playing. Alexey Shved, Shane Larkin, Iman Shumpert, Sergio Rodriguez, Frank Williams, Mardy Collins, Toney Douglas, Andy Rautins, Nate Robinson, Toure Murry.

    From the law of averages, I’d say Grant needs to earn some respect before it’s given.

  27. @28

    I don’t have any faith in Jerian Grant

    Why?

    As I wrote above:

    In preseason Jerian Grant managed a ts% of 42.1%, including 0-4 from three. His last year in college he hit only 31.6% from the shorter arc.

    Sample size aside, I think he needs to prove himself before he’s immune to criticism.

  28. From the law of averages, I’d say Grant needs to earn some respect before it’s given.

    Yeah but theres no need to diminish him before hes even played a game, because hes a Knick.

  29. I read somewhere that Fisher is talking about using a bigger SG tonight. Cleanthony Early? I’ve liked his progression recently.

  30. August-October is the optimists time to have the floor each year. The pessimists get the floor the other 9 months :)

    I think there is a lot worth tuning in for this year. Really for the first time since 2008 when Walsh lay the foundation of his rebuild attempt. Two rookies– one of them the most intriguing prospect in recent memory– is always something to be, if not excited for, at least cautiously unpessimistic about. Plus, the payroll is diverse and under control. There is a lot of good in what Phil Jackson has put together here.

    That said, I don’t think there will be a lot of good in the w/l columns this year. This is all a ways away from being a product worthy of the MSG ticket prices.

  31. “It’s perfectly fair to think Grant might not be a good NBA player. Over the last 11 years here, just about every new point guard was NBA-worthy before they started playing. Alexey Shved, Shane Larkin, Iman Shumpert, Sergio Rodriguez, Frank Williams, Mardy Collins, Toney Douglas, Andy Rautins, Nate Robinson, Toure Murry….”

    …Jeremy Lin

  32. I read somewhere that Fisher is talking about using a bigger SG tonight. Cleanthony Early? I’ve liked his progression recently.

    Derrick Williams has also allegedly talked about playing SG. Which would be… weird.

  33. CNB, there is a disconnect between your statements and your W-L prediction. If your statements are accurate, no way this team wins more than 20 games, considering that there are very few pushover teams.

    It’s fair to predict that Grant will suck as bad as Toney Douglas. Thankfully, we’ll have to wait and see whether your predictions, or anyone else’s, come true, and to what degree.

    I think Grant has some advantages…age, size, athleticism, b-ball IQ, pedigree, ball-handling, court vision, dominant senior year in the NCAA, great tournament play. But rookie PGs almost always struggle, and he has some red flags, e.g. lack of consistent perimeter shooting.

    The bar for me this year is “net positive contributor on both ends in significant rotation minutes.” If he does that, it’s worth a few wins. Without that, I doubt we win 30 games.

  34. I think there is a lot worth tuning in for this year. Really for the first time since 2008 when Walsh lay the foundation of his rebuild attempt. Two rookies– one of them the most intriguing prospect in recent memory– is always something to be, if not excited for, at least cautiously unpessimistic about. Plus, the payroll is diverse and under control. There is a lot of good in what Phil Jackson has put together here.

    As someone who has been letting his pessimism flag fly regarding this year’s team I want to point out that I agree 100%. I’m super excited to watch the team this year, and I think the overall trajectory of the team is at least modestly positive. That just doesn’t necessarily correspond to a lot of Ws this particular season in my eyes.

    A lot of the reasons I think I’m specifically down on this year’s team relative to other people are much more short term than long term issues. To wit:

    1. I think a lot of people are overestimating the near term production of our rookies. I like both a lot in the grand scheme of things, but the reality is that most rookies just aren’t very good, even the ones who turn out to be good players. It will still be immensely enjoyable to watch them develop this year, and in the long run Zingus in particular represents our best hope in quite some time. I just don’t expect them to do much this year.

    2. I think a lot of people are expecting too much from our starting backcourt. I just think both of them are overrated as players at this point (for reasons I’ve gone into more depth elsewhere), but I also think that they’re both on reasonable, non-crippling short term deals. So while they cause me to be down on this year’s team, I don’t view it as a larger issue (although I do think the acquisitions of both players potentially point to some larger issues).

    All of which is to say you can be down on this year’s Knicks without being down on the Knicks overall.

  35. “It’s fair to predict that Grant will suck as bad as Toney Douglas.”
    Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Check out Toney’s stats on basketball-reference.com. His first two years in the league, he was actually a pretty good player (especially the second half of his second year, when he led the entire league in 3 pointers made). It wasn’t until his third year, when he was asked to take on too much responsibility that he completely forgot how to play basketball (and especially how to shoot). His second year, he averaged 15.6 points, 4.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals/36, with a TS% of .534 (including .373 on a pretty high volume of 3 pointers), a .101 WS48 and a 15.2 PER. We are all tending to remember his third year when he was awful and not his first two, when he looked like a player with a pretty bright future.

  36. It’s fair to predict that Grant will suck as bad as Toney Douglas. Thankfully, we’ll have to wait and see whether your predictions, or anyone else’s, come true, and to what degree.

    TDDWTDD was actually pretty decent his rookie year. He played 20 mins a night and had a TS% of .571. His WS48 was league average, which is very good for a rookie. If Grant can play 1000+ minutes at that production, Knick fans should be happy!

  37. It’s perfectly fair to think Grant might not be a good NBA player. Over the last 11 years here, just about every new point guard was NBA-worthy before they started playing. Alexey Shved, Shane Larkin, Iman Shumpert, Sergio Rodriguez, Frank Williams, Mardy Collins, Toney Douglas, Andy Rautins, Nate Robinson, Toure Murry.

    That’s fine if he thinks Jerian Grant isn’t going to be good, but the comparison to Toney Douglas makes no fucking sense. Their games, strengths and weaknesses coming out of college aren’t even remotely similar.

    I think there is a lot worth tuning in for this year. Really for the first time since 2008 when Walsh lay the foundation of his rebuild attempt. Two rookies– one of them the most intriguing prospect in recent memory– is always something to be, if not excited for, at least cautiously unpessimistic about. Plus, the payroll is diverse and under control. There is a lot of good in what Phil Jackson has put together here.

    That said, I don’t think there will be a lot of good in the w/l columns this year. This is all a ways away from being a product worthy of the MSG ticket prices.

    As someone who has been letting his pessimism flag fly regarding this year’s team I want to point out that I agree 100%. I’m super excited to watch the team this year, and I think the overall trajectory of the team is at least modestly positive. That just doesn’t necessarily correspond to a lot of Ws this particular season in my eyes.

    Agree with both Donnie and thenamestsam. I’m a bit more bullish on our chances this season though I’m thinking like 33 wins, not a playoff spot. I like that we have a young core in place with multiple guys with upside and on contracts that can potentially provide big surplus value to the team while heading in to a ballooned cap. I think Phil Jackson has done a solid if unspectacular job at moving the Knicks towards normalcy in both the short…

  38. You can’t judge point guards by TS% alone. I’d take 2010/11 or 2012/13 Felton over TD any day of the week. Having a point guard who just dribbles aimlessly on the perimeter derails the entire offense even if he shoots a decent %. I think Grant will outperform his shooting numbers but if his shooting numbers are in the low .400s (or really anything sub .500) he’ll still suck.

  39. If anything I would have thought that the small sample size we have in Grant indicates that he has the tools to be a decent NBA player. To come out and say that you have zero faith in him with 6 pre-season games under his belt, is virtually the same thing as saying he isn’t going to be a bust because he looked good at NCAA level and in the pre-season. I am personally excited by what I have seen from Grant, but let’s see him get some actually NBA minutes under his belt.

    There is an interesting dichotomy going on the board lately, with the usual pessimists predicting doom and gloom, and the optimists predicting a playoff push or something along those lines. In my mind both camps are kind of right. This by no means is a great team, so probably hard to expect too much; however, this should be a fun team to watch and there is reason to be excited going forward. All in all, pretty stoked for the season to be starting again!

  40. I like this team! And the more I think about it, Early would be an interesting SG in a pinch with his size and athleticism. As long as he can shoot fairly well.

  41. I don’t think anyone here is “expecting” the Knicks to make the playoffs or win 40+ games. Expecting a 30-win season is not pessimistic, given the Vegas line, etc.

    I think anything in the 27-39 range wouldn’t surprise me (median=33.)

    Now, I’m “hoping” that the team does surprise me and most everyone else (except Barkley, Jackson and Van Gundy) and sneaks into the 8th seed. But even the most fervent optimist (e.g. Z-man) knows that it’s an outside chance at best.

    The first hurdle will be the first 18 games. This is the toughest part of the schedule, and in a 30-win season, they would be no better than 5-13 or so. Right now I’d sign up for 7-11.

    If they go 5-13, things could start to get ugly for Fisher and Jackson. At that point, if the team doesn’t start winning some games, it will be a long season. But by then, maybe the team gels, the rookies start playing better, and they go on a little run to get back to, say, 15-26 at the halfway mark. Barring injury, they could go 18-23 in the second half and end up around 33-49. That’s probably a fair middling projection.

    But why not hope for better at this point?

  42. @43 — you are correct that you can’t judge a point guard solely on TS%, which is not at all what I did with Douglas. However, the thing is that Douglas wasn’t really a point guard at all. In his first two years, when he was pretty good, he played half his minutes at the two. In year three, he played 90% of his minutes at the point and was terrible. As Ruru pointed out above, Grant and Douglas have very different games. I was merely saying that, if Grant plays as well in his first two years as Douglas, that’s a pretty good start to his career.

  43. Not sure what went wrong with Toney. He looked like he was on his way to a respectable NBA career and then he wasnt

  44. Not sure what went wrong with Toney. He looked like he was on his way to a respectable NBA career and then he wasnt

    I thought JJ Barea was not a good enough return for him in a trade after the 2010-11 season, and Barea has been awful since, and yet has still been better than TDDWTDD

  45. Toney Douglas got killed fighting through picks, and hurt BOTH shoulders that one season, and I think that messed up his shot…its a shame, because he was a pretty good defender for us.

  46. I was looking at some MVP predictions and doesn’t it just suck that you have to take the narrative into account so much with these guys? Lebron, for instance, would have had to average, like, 50 a game two years ago to be MVP over Durant, but now, Lebron can be worse and probably still win MVP if the Cavs win the East.

  47. And the Brow could drag an injury riddled bunch of scrubs to 42 wins and not win because his teammates suck

  48. Hearing the dubs whine all season about nobody picking them to repeat is gonna get old real quick like

  49. And the Brow could drag an injury riddled bunch of scrubs to 42 wins and not win because his teammates suck

    Yeah, exactly. “How valuable can you be if you can’t make your shitty teammates all play like they’re not shitty?”

    You’d think Kobe’s career would dispell all of that stuff (Had good teammates, team was good. Had bad teammates, team was bad. Had good teammates, team was good again) but it obviously hasn’t.

  50. Y’all know me, I’m all about judging trades based on what we knew at the time (so, say, trading a shitty player for a good player the day before the good player breaks his leg is still a good trade, even though the good player got hurt), so the fact that THJ was a healthy scracth from his first game as a Hawk doesn’t make the THJ/Grant trade look any dumber, but I think it does serve as a reminder of how dumb the trade was in the first place. I just don’t buy into the “The Hawks will turn his game around!” argument.

  51. In a pick-and-roll era, saying that a guard is a good defender who can’t handle screens is like saying a baseball player is a good hitter who can’t handle a 92+ mph heater.

    Both TDDWTDD and Shumpert were strong on-ball perimeter Defenders who died on every screen. Even worse, they were oft-injured from running headlong into screens.

  52. Is it bad that it’s game one and Lebron is laying down on the floor like decrepit Larry Bird when he comes out of the game?

  53. Stanley Johnson is gonna be really good. And the Hawks might not be much worse without Carroll if Shroder takes a step up, which he might.

  54. TDDWTDD hurt his shoulders, as jkhar points out, and that was it for his game. Which was too bad, because he was a decent backup 2. Just not anything like a PG…

    …which is exactly what Jerian is. His game bears NO resemblance to TD’s at all. One guy’s a penetrating point, the other is an outside shooter. Dumb comparison.

    So, to answer the question above whether Jerian is ready for the NBA? Yes, definitely. not saying he’ll be above average, but he is a heady player who brings skills this team lacks (speed, penetration). No doubt he’ll be exposed often as he learns the ropes, but “not ready” would be, oh, Andy Rautins? Whereas Jerian is more Landry Fields (pre-injury).

    And: will Derrick make Mike look like a fool? No, alas. I think the pre-season was fool’s gold. If he provides points off the bench without giving all of them back on D, I guess we should be happy, but he seems out of the JR mold, ready to delight and infuriate you in equal measure…until infuriate becomes the norm. And as Brian points out, even if he makes Mike look like a fool, it won’t mean anything to us because of the foolish contract where we get nothing if Derrick excels.

    Melo minutes: Fish will have him averaging 38 per game for no reason whatsoever. Take that to the bank. And then ask the bank to pay the doctor when Melo breaks down again toward the end of the year.

    KP: what WON’T we be watching? When was the last time we had a smart, driven, talented player who openly said he has a chip on his shoulder and he’s going to prove everyone wrong about him? Ewing? It’s been that long, people. I’ll be watching him on help D, I’ll be watching his post moves, I’ll be watching whether he shows that outside stroke everyone said was so pure, I’ll be watching to see whether Gasol puts his ass on the floor because he can’t handle a real center. But in all of this, I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching him learn from one game to the next. I would bet that his and Grant’s games will be light years improved by the end of the season.

    SG or PG worse? Since Gallo is an adequate player, the only question at SQ is whether he gets minutes. If he does well and Afflalo takes time to come back, that could be a good thing for us. So PG has got to be worse, since Calderon is a huge negative on D even if his health allows him to be decent on offense again. Thus this team’s future comes down to Jerian showing he can be OK this year, with the potential to be more than OK in the coming years. Much as I think he has the potential, I wouldn’t put money on it.

    But again, it’ll be great to watch!

  55. Look at their injured (or “Did not Dress”) list. It’s kind of insane:

    Omer Asik DND – Right Calf Strain
    Luke Babbitt DND – Left Hamstring Tightness
    Jrue Holiday DND – Rest
    Norris Cole DND – Left Ankle Sprain
    Tyreke Evans DND – Right Knee
    Quincy Pondexter DND – Left knee

  56. Rewatching the Bulls/Cavs game, Pau Gasol had one hell of a game-saving block on Lebron at the end of the game. Such perfect timing.

  57. “Jrue Holiday DND – Rest”
    Your point guards are Nate Robinson and Ish Smith, and Jrue Holliday doesn’t dress for the game because of “rest?” It’s the first game of the season and he needs rest? That’s insane.

  58. “Jrue Holiday DND – Rest”
    Your point guards are Nate Robinson and Ish Smith, and Jrue Holliday doesn’t dress for the game because of “rest?” It’s the first game of the season and he needs rest? That’s insane.

    He’s on a 15 minute restriction until January as well. Apparently he was supposed to have a minutes restriction when he came back last year from injury, but Monty just played him indiscriminately and then he got hurt again. My guess is there was multiple things like that which cost Monty his job more than just on court performance and listening to the medical staff was part of the gig when Gentry took over.

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