Knicks 91, Sixers Aren’t Interested in Putting a Competitive Team on the Floor. They Scored Some Points, But It’s Irrelevant in the Grand Scheme of Things. Less Than the Knicks.

Philadelphia 76ers 83 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 New York Knicks

I forget where I read this thesis, so please, apologies to whatever fine writer that wrote this first, but to paraphrase…

Some smart person (and it’s really pissing me off that all the Googling isn’t helping me dig it up such that I can properly blockquote him/her) surmises that there’s a fascinating tendency for every blog post about something interesting that’s found in the perpetual churn that is US Popular Culture in the year of our Lord 2014, to be equated to the larger qualms that said writer might have with say, late-period rapacious capitalism or humanity’s plight or the nature of existence or whatever.

That is to say, maybe we shouldn’t do that. Sometimes it’s okay to write about a thing as a thing unto itself, whether it’s a Knicks recap or artisanal cheeses, and resist the temptation to elevate a viral bit of nothingness that’s being tweeted/Vine’d/Facebook-ed like a mofo to a candidate for the ideal avatar for the present moment.

For one, that ish can get annoying. And two, once you head down this primrose path, you can end up writing something painfully long and invariably unfinishable, because there is no way to collapse the entirety of late-period rapacious capitalism or humanity’s plight into Kim Kardashian’s butt.

And yes, I’m painfully aware that this is a thing that I have done at this fine blog dot com that you’re currently reading. But I mention all this because I’ve been trying to find a way to recap this Knicks-Sixers game and I’m flummoxed. Yes, I suppose if I took my own advice and just graded each ‘Bocker accordingly, that would do it, but the problem is, there’s no way to evaluate anything that happened, or say anything about the team’s progress or prospects or failings, considering they were going against a team that doesn’t care about basketball. So, goddamnit, let’s say it loud and proud: the Philadelphia 76ers are the perfect microcosm of late-period rapacious capitalism.

The Sixers are awful. We knew that coming in. But the extremity of their awful-by-design-ness practically prompted the NBA to change the freaking lottery rules mid-stream to thwart their fiendish plot.

Granted, there’s nothing illegal or rule-flouting about it. Dumping assets in hope of securing a better pick is the conventional, accepted wisdom for team-building. Never mind the fact that it’s not really a strategy that’s been proven to work. For serious. Peep this Henry Abbott article from a couple of years ago.

But this isn’t just tanking; it’s a grim joke. An abomination, if you’re feeling particularly venomous. No franchise has ever gone to this length before, and the fact that they’re demanding that people continue to pay to watch sound (or even unsound) financial planning in action feels…well… wrong.

And yes, that’s why the too-long preamble. Because you can’t ignore the fact that the mastermind of all this ish, Sam Hinkie, came from a star turn as a strategies consultant Bain & Company. That’s right. Mitt Romney’s former playpen, and the dudes that were, as Matt Taibbi wrote: “on the front lines of the “financialization revolution, a decades-long campaign in which the old, simple, let’s-make-stuff-and-sell-it manufacturing economy was replaced with a new, highly complex, let’s-take-stuff-and-trash-it financial economy.”

No, it’s not a perfect one-to-one comparison. As far as we know, the Sixers aren’t being loaded up with debt such that they can be sold at a massive profit or cashed out in bankruptcy. But the idea that if you take what is admittedly a flawed system—in this case, the NBA and the draft lottery, one that rewards failure to a certain degree—and stretch it to the bounds of absurdity, by dealing away anything of actual value on the court, you get a product that no one will want to buy, yet is still propped up by season tickets, TV money and revenue sharing. They’re being paid to fail.

Amazingly, ESPN’s boxscores were on the fritz. This was the result, which is kind of perfect.

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.12.45 PM

So yeah, why would you want to watch this strategy in action? If you were a Philly fan, Dear God, why would you continue to support this team? Walk away for a couple of years and come back when Embiid et al. are actually playing. I don’t have any solution to the “problem” but seeing it tonight was dully enraging, mainly because I wanted to see how much Calderon would help the offense or any other number of thornily Knick-y questions, and the Sixers made all of that moot.

So with that in mind, I’m going to follow their model. These are my game notes. Usually, I’ll edit them and shape them into bullet points or what have you but why should I? It wasn’t an actual game of basketball, but an exercise in one ex-rapacious capitalist’s strategy.

Therefore, I will file my unfiltered, unedited notes. You’ll not only get to see how I make the sausage, but I can now maximize my time by writing something for another blog, thereby increasing my profit. Since all clickz count the same, even if you don’t read it all the way through, I still win.

There may be, long term, a decrease in Knickerblogger readership were I to provide nothing but game notes, but given all the free time I’ve cleared up, I should come out on top in the end. Oh, you don’t like unedited game notes? Well, sure, I get that. But I don’t like watching horrible basketball. Sometimes life is like that, ya know?

Weird Fish quotes, again.

Okay, but…

Wut.

SHUMP Passing.

Dalembert FG percentage at rim. He’s 4th, I think. Look up. Part of larger q. knicks defending paint well, part of Fisher strategy, but so many threes, foul shots, is the number skewed? Skewed polls guy joke.

Calderon gets first 7 mins. Prigs first PG off bench. Weird. I guess Larkin’s out of the rotation for now. Prigs outplaying him, but really? Why start Larkin, then? Fisher’s rotations not making sense—again.

Smith

After one

“All Knicks fans need is a ray of hope. And that ray is Calderon.” – Clyde

Calderon will help, but how much? No way to tell from this game. Still weirdly shot-happy for pass-first pg.

JR/Hardaway just have no idea how to close on a shooter.

Hardaway lost. Hesitatnt to shoot, dumb offensive foul. Tech.

Weird fast break by Calderon, misses JR streaking to hoop. Tries to shuffle to Melo stolen by Noel. Ends up back in his hands for Melo PUJIT

RAWTH

Terrible passes. Dudes colliding into dudes gummed up spacing. Yuck everywhere rebounds sent spinning out of bounds. Flubbed passes, catches

Broken triangle clyde “meandering around the perimeter”

46-39 at the half NY shot 58%, PHIL 36%. Weird they’re not up more. Turnovers, sloppy play.

Knicks going under screens. Not hurting them at all, if playing a real team tho.

Melo looks bored. Everyone is bored… can get whatever he wants whenever he wants. But haven’t run a triangle since the first. Lots of isolations, clearouts. Again, v real team, this ish wont fly.

STAT. Trade him? Contender could use scoring big off bench, and rebounding so improved. D still shitty, but no trade partners. 20 mil in expiring contracts. Untradeable still? Guess so. Fun

No look Shump pass

Not really running the triangle just dumping ball into the post and islating.

Shot put three w/shot clock expiring by Prigs. What the hell was that?

Anthony tips away a JR drive finger roll for off interference.

3-12, 7 turnovers in fourth

Prigs video replay on out of bounds play. Brett Brown timeout w/27 secs to go. WHY DON’T YOU LET THIS GAME DIE ALREADY.

Um. What did Clyde say?

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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

11 thoughts to “Knicks 91, Sixers Aren’t Interested in Putting a Competitive Team on the Floor. They Scored Some Points, But It’s Irrelevant in the Grand Scheme of Things. Less Than the Knicks.”

  1. I watched for a period and a half…horrible.
    We can talk about the Sixers, but beyond the starters the knicks are horrible. When Melo and Stat are getting a blow, the rest of the team can’t score.
    If the Knick were to get 30 wins, I would be shocked.
    Why the hell did we sign Melo? We could have traded him for some quality youth to fill these huge gaps.
    He can’t lift these misfits.
    Fuck this team

  2. I agree it’s odd that Fisher started Larkin for weeks. but then Larkin went to the bench instead of Prigioni when Calderon returned, but it’s the sort of odd that I like. For one thing, it indicates that Fisher thinks Prigioni is better for the team than Larkin. We all thought that too, but with Larkin starting it was hard to tell what Fisher thought. Second, it means that Fisher thinks out of the box a bit at least. It seems likely to me that Fisher is more concerned with getting players on the floor that function as a good team together, rather than just getting talented players out on the floor as much as possible. That can only be good for the Knicks.

  3. Two years ago, when Felton got hurt, Woodson played 70 yr old Kidd 35 minutes a game, and he was toast by the end of the year. Fisher probably realizes that, if he started Prigioni and played him starters minutes, he would likely break down. It made a lot more sense to play him 20 minutes off the bench — and get used to playing with the second unit, since those are the guys he will likely play the most with the rest of the year. On another note, I don’t care if they have a good long range plan — if I were a Sixers fan, I don’t think that I could bear watching 3 or 4 years of the dreck they are sending out on the court every night.

  4. Johnno,

    I know just what you mean about how Sixers fans must feel. I’ve gone to Philadelphia and watched the Knicks play there in the past, but this year I am not even tempted.

  5. Minor point, but Bain & Co and Bain Capital (which Romney led) are not the same company.

    That said, these Knicks are entirely hopeless. 25 wins tops. I like Derek Fischer, but do we dare ask if giving him a very expensive five-year contract as a rookie coach with a team made up mostly of spare parts was a great idea?

  6. I like Derek Fischer, but do we dare ask if giving him a very expensive five-year contract as a rookie coach with a team made up mostly of spare parts was a great idea?

    Fish’s salary comes entirely out of Dolan’s pockets and doesn’t impact our cap, so I couldn’t care less what he’s getting paid. As to the spare parts, I don’t think Jackson himself or even Pop could make this roster into anything more than a fringe playoff team. We all knew this was going to be a punted year.

  7. Minor point, but Bain & Co and Bain Capital (which Romney led) are not the same company.

    That’s true. Mitt Romney started at Bain & Co. and then was tapped by Bill Bain to be the founder of Bain Capital. So Robert’s sentence is half correct. Bain & Co. was one of “Mitt Romney’s old stomping ground” but it was not the entity that was the subject of Taibbi’s wonderful piece.

    Speaking of wonderful pieces, this was one. Great job, Robert, making chicken salad out chicken . . .

  8. My favorite highlight from last night’s game — when Pablo asked the ref to check instant replay, his exact words were, “Please review that. I didn’t touch it. I promise.” Not sure why but that cracked me up.

  9. On another note, I don’t care if they have a good long range plan — if I were a Sixers fan, I don’t think that I could bear watching 3 or 4 years of the dreck they are sending out on the court every night.

    I’ve watched dreck for 13 of the last 14 years, without a good long range plan. I would switch places with the Sixers all day.

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