Knicks Morning News (2014.05.29)

  • [New York Times] Pacers Keep Hope Alive With 93-90 Win Over Heat (Thu, 29 May 2014 07:24:43 GMT)

    Paul George and the Pacers got one win Wednesday night.

  • [New York Times] Pacers Stay Alive With 93-90 Game 5 Win Over Heat (Thu, 29 May 2014 04:52:41 GMT)

    Paul George went into desperation mode to salvage the Pacers’ season.

  • [New York Times] Pacers Cool Heat to Stave Off Playoff Elimination (Thu, 29 May 2014 04:52:34 GMT)

    The Indiana Pacers, with Paul George spectacularly leading the way, staved off playoff elimination with a pulsating 93-90 victory over the NBA champion Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

  • [New York Times] Pacers 93, Heat 90: With Foul-Plagued James Forced to Sit, the Pacers Remain Standing (Thu, 29 May 2014 04:43:52 GMT)

    Paul George scored 37 points to lead Indiana to victory in Game 5 as LeBron James, who played just 24 minutes, had only 7 points.

  • [New York Times] Clippers Draw Some High-Profile Offers (Thu, 29 May 2014 02:42:48 GMT)

    Although there was no confirmation of the number of bidding groups, a person involved in the proposed sale said that Rochelle Sterling hopes to choose a buyer over the weekend.

  • [New York Times] Scott Brooks’s Combativeness Is Reflected by Thunder (Thu, 29 May 2014 01:27:57 GMT)

    The Thunder’s Scott Brooks used his competitiveness to forge a 10-year playing career in the N.B.A. and achieve success as coach of one of the league’s top teams.

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: Knicks’ New President Could Look to Pat Riley’s Success With the Heat (Thu, 29 May 2014 00:26:33 GMT)

    The Knicks’ president, Phil Jackson, is following a road taken by the Heat president, Pat Riley. The question is whether he’ll have the same freedom.

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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).

    31 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2014.05.29)”

    1. This board ignores a metric because it “doesn’t pass the smell test,” instead uses a statistic that has virtually identical methodology (but with a significantly larger team-defense adjustment) because it “passes the smell test,” and then argues about some defensive metric with an R value of .5 as if it means anything of value.

      I love it. Please, y’all: keep it up.

    2. Look, guys: I’m willing to say that LeBron makes Birdman better than Birdman would be without LeBron. Okay? I’ll say it. Kobe assist or something. But if Birdman is as good as his stats suggest when LeBron is on the floor, then you should play Birdman with LeBron all of the time because you will win all of your basketball games in which you play Birdman with LeBron. So do you want me to concede that five Birdmans would be bad for basketball? Yes, okay. But one Birdman and one LeBron and three middle schoolers would be an excellent basketball team. Then throw in a Dwaiene Wade and Chris “Looks Like Dinosaur” Bosch and see what happens.

      I ADMIT IT: WP48 IS NOT PERFECTED!

    3. Jowles, what’s happening? You seem strangely reasonable as of late. :-)

      Now, and I talk only on my behalf, you should know that the only reason why I am so eager to mock your beloved WP48 is your arguing style… You’re quite brash in forwarding your thoughts, and you know it (actually, I kinda think you revel in it). I actually think most of your insights are at least interesting, and sometimes even enlightening.

      Keep it up you too.

    4. Oh and by the way. Birdman is severely underrated. It’s true that you can’t play him if someone doesn’t pass him the ball/the other big can’t shoot, but it’s also true that he has always been very productive. If, when you were talking about Plumlee Jr. some days ago, you were thinking that Mason has all the indicators to become a Birdman 2.0, you are perfectly right. Every team should covet him ASAP, because there’s great value in a super-effort, limit-conscious, high motor, little variance center in this league. It’s up to the coaches, though, to maximize the talent they have, and too many coaches seem too ISO-happy, meaning that Birdman/Plumlee’s value would plummet as soon as he plays under a Wittman-style leading man.

    5. You are much more fun when you are being outlandish. Reasonableness doesn’t become you…

    6. Since when does WP48 say you can create a great team with 5 Birdmans or any other specific skill type and be successful?

      The system has always recognized that different players have different skill sets and generate their value to teams in different ways. It has also always recognized that there would be diminishing returns if you created a team of 5 Birdmans or 5 Chris Pauls, or 5 of just about anyone. The assumption built into the system is that teams are built in a logical way so there is a balance of all the required skills. Then it measures the output on an individual level.

      It also recognizes that some players are more valuable in making others better (it does measure the value of assists for example). It just says that player performance from year to year, team to team, and teammate to teammate tends to be fairly consistent. So that must mean those impacts are generally very overrated.

    7. I’m so very aware of that, strat-man. This is why I would design a team around WP48 and let the haters hate my 60-win teams.

    8. It also recognizes that some players are more valuable in making others better (it does measure the value of assists for example). It just says that player performance from year to year, team to team, and teammate to teammate tends to be fairly consistent. So that must mean those impacts are generally very overrated.

      WP48 is only consistent (as many other metrics), because players rarely change teams or roles.

      When James Harden went to Houston and Kevin Martin to OKC, we discussed in this board how Harden’s WP48 went down (like from 0.300 to 0.200) and Kevin Martin’s went up. The same has been said about Steve Nash and other players that changed roles significatively. And that is in contrast to PER, that for all its faults, didn’t change so dramatically.

      However, it is difficult for me to find numbers to back this up because i can’t find them on the web. Usually i would look NBAgeek but now there is nothing earlier than 2013, so i cannot provide examples.

    9. Tyson Chandler has been a really good basketball player for most of his career. We all know the only thing he can do is dunk, and therefore he’s not a real star because he can’t create his own shot. Despite that, Tyson’s been really good playing with great PGs and with Ray motherfucking Felton. That’s not to say that Tyson can create his own shot (although, obviously, he does by offensive rebounding-but that’s another issue), it’s that players like him, and Birdman, and Plumlee are good at finishing scoring chances that almost any NBA point guard can help them create. Generally, you don’t have to be Chris Paul to lob a ball near the hoop where someone like Plumlee can grab it and dunk it. That’s why big men who “can’t do anything but dunk” are generally valuable anywhere. Almost every point guard in the NBA is ridiculously skilled at passing the ball.

    10. It appears that there are certain players who “break” WP48, just like in baseball, where there are certain pitchers who “break” xFIP. A guy like Rick Porcello is better than his peripherals and outperforms his xFIP year after year, because he seems to truly have the ability to induce weak contact and thus low BABIPs. There are outliers like this when it comes to WP48– the system identifies Bismack Biyombo as a star player who clocks in at a .228 WP48, good for 20th in the league among players who played 500 minutes. Biyombo is so unskilled on offense that he rarely even touches the ball. He can’t pass, shoot or dribble. You can “hide” Biyombo on offense somewhat by simply not passing him the ball, but if you’re playing 4-on-5 because your center can’t be trusted to touch the ball… Ain’t no way that’s a top 20 player.

      Some of these low-usage WP “stars” simply break the stat. It doesn’t make the stat useless, it just means it’s something you have to look out for. Efficient players who don’t miss a lot of shots, don’t turn the ball over and get lots of rebounds are by and large very valuable players; I think the world is coming around to that realization.

    11. There is no viable way to assess whether Biyombo adversely affects his teammates’ eFG%.

      When LeBron plays PnR with Birdman, it does not matter which guards are on the perimeter. It really doesn’t! Wade is a terrible 3PT shooter, but defenses do not say, “Okay, you can play eight feet off of Wade for this PnR because he’s bad at it.” You body up. This is NBA basketball, not pee-wee leagues.

      So many possessions can be classified as 2 on 2 in the NBA. Yes, it’s important that there are five men on the floor for each team, but not every player affects the outcome of a play. If Biyombo does enough in a non-scoring role, he’s valuable. And that’s where his value lies.

      Great teams have players who do not need the ball to be productive. And they most always have players who score efficiently, or outstanding team defense in its place.

    12. This year the Bobcats were worse on offense with Biyombo on the floor. Last year they were better on offense with Biyombo on the floor.

      Maybe his offense crushing is so awful there’s no way he’s a top 20 player, but he’s someone the Knicks should try to go get because the league as a whole almost certainly undervalues him. DeAndre Jordan can’t pass, he can’t shoot, and he can’t handle, but his team seemed to get by this year.

    13. Maybe his offense crushing is so awful there’s no way he’s a top 20 player, but he’s someone the Knicks should try to go get because the league as a whole almost certainly undervalues him.

      Except that the Knicks are going to play the triangle, so it’s hard to see how Biyombo would fit into that.

    14. THCJ – overall I agree with most of your post except for this, which is just so wrong:

      When LeBron plays PnR with Birdman, it does not matter which guards are on the perimeter. It really doesn’t! Wade is a terrible 3PT shooter, but defenses do not say, “Okay, you can play eight feet off of Wade for this PnR because he’s bad at it.” You body up. This is NBA basketball, not pee-wee leagues.

      Defenses certainly DO play way off bad shooters. And defending the PNR is certainly NOT close to always a 2-on-2 proposition. Take Miami’s D — PNR ball handler goes around the pick, he gets trapped hard by both defenders. PNR roll man rolls to the basket – Miami’s defense relies on one of the other defenders to bump off the roller or else he’ll have a free run at the rim. That’s why Miami’s team has generally had trouble with good 4-out-1-in attacks (like the Knicks) — because you can’t trap and bump Tyson off his roll without giving up a wide open 3 somewhere.

      There are just so many instances of smart teams like the Spurs, Miami, etc. basically ignoring non-shooting threats, allowing them to play 5 defenders on 4 offensive players.

      yes, if you’re amazing at the peripherals and you have 4 superlative/versatile offensive players around you (or one Lebron or Durant), you can be very valuable despite not being a good shooter or offensive player. The best example is probably Ben Wallace – but Wallace wouldn’t have been nearly as playable if he didn’t have one of the great all-around PFs next to him in Rasheed, and an amazingly balanced lineup at the 1-3 (Billups, Rip, Tayshaun).

    15. I didn’t mean to imply that the other players disappear. I meant to imply that differences in player value don’t matter nearly as much. Watch players close out on a guard the guard receives the swing pass. I assure you that no player is thinking, “Uh oh, we left X, who is a 38% 3PT shooter, open,” or “Oh, not a big deal; we left Y, who is a 32% 3PT shooter, open.” They WILL close out on that player with the ball. Likewise, it doesn’t seem to matter that Chandler can’t do anything but finish when he receives the PnR pass — the defense can’t stop him if the guard gets it to his hands. If playing to a player’s weaknesses were as important as simply reacting to the movement of the ball, it would be much easier to thwart a player as one-dimensional as Chandler .

      Likewise, there are a lot of instances in basketball in which a wide-open jumper is missed or a layup doesn’t go in. Shooting has so many variables — chief among them space, individual ability, and the individual guarding the shooter — that it’s virtually impossible to assign a quantifiable value to an individual defender’s actions, and it’s why what we do have — blocks and steals — are often viewed with suspicion.

    16. The best example is probably Ben Wallace – but Wallace wouldn’t have been nearly as playable if he didn’t have one of the great all-around PFs next to him in Rasheed, and an amazingly balanced lineup at the 1-3 (Billups, Rip, Tayshaun).

      How absurd is it that those five would have been nearly unplayable together in 2014, post-Thibs NBA?

    17. Watch players close out on a guard the guard receives the swing pass. I assure you that no player is thinking, “Uh oh, we left X, who is a 38% 3PT shooter, open,” or “Oh, not a big deal; we left Y, who is a 32% 3PT shooter, open.” They WILL close out on that player with the ball.

      Of course they’ll make some attempt to close out — that’s not what I was saying. The difference is that if your 3 point shooter is, say, post-2010-11-ASB Landry Fields, you’ll probably play way off him, clogging the lane/passing lanes, etc. making a clean catch and dunk by Tyson very difficult. As great as Tyson is at the Tyson SMASH, it’s still hard to do that if guys are physically in your way. However, if your 3 point shooter is Ray Allen or, say, Steve Novak, the defender probably will basically be hugging him, making it much harder to impact the PNR.

      The other thing is – and we saw this with Bargnani this year – there can be a big difference in shooting skills between 2 players despite a similar 3P%. Bargnani shooting 28% on 3’s when completely uncontested is much different than, say, Melo shooting 28% from a certain spot when he’s being face-guarded by Lebron – the difference being that they’ll happily let Bargs shoot that shot and play 5-on-4 defense against the other guys. What do you think Novak or Ray Allen, or even Melo would shoot if they shot 3’s as wide open as all the ones Bargnani bricked last year? 60%?

      That’s why Bargnani was so extra terrible last year. He shot many bad shots (sooo many long 2’s), shot badly on his good shots (uncontested 3’s), didn’t get to the line, and at the same time, other teams were happy to let him shoot away while playing 5-on-4 against the other Knicks.

    18. The good team defenses do take into account the type of shooters they are facing and gameplan to rotate to them or not. JVG says it all the time that knowing the scouting report of the opposing players is one of the most important aspects of good defense. Its been written many times about Thibs and how his defenses do not leave open corner 3pters, they are taught to purposely not rotate off them even if it means leaving a wide ope 3pter from straightaway or the elbow because those shots are lower % than corner 3pters.

      The Knicks on the other hand consistently leave wide open corner 3pters because like idiots they rotate to wide open 20 footers or elbow 3pters regardless of who the shooter is. They double players who suck leading to wide open 3pters. That is why they freaking sucked defensively last season. Good defenses dont do stupid crap like that.

      I totally agree that the majority of NBA players do instinctively rotate to open players regardless of who they are because thats just their basic instinct. But again good coached teams and players learn not to always do this. The 2013-14 Knicks unfortunately on the defensive end were a horrible coached team.

    19. That’s why Bargnani was so extra terrible last year. He shot many bad shots (sooo many long 2?s), shot badly on his good shots (uncontested 3?s), didn’t get to the line, and at the same time, other teams were happy to let him shoot away while playing 5-on-4 against the other Knicks.

      And that’s not even factoring in his “defense” or “rebounding.” What a catastrophically awful player. The East is big, man.

    20. Likewise, it doesn’t seem to matter that Chandler can’t do anything but finish when he receives the PnR pass — the defense can’t stop him if the guard gets it to his hands. If playing to a player’s weaknesses were as important as simply reacting to the movement of the ball, it would be much easier to thwart a player as one-dimensional as Chandler .

      But they do thwart him- his usage has never risen above 13 on the Knicks despite them constantly running pnr’s with him. And a lot of the pnr’s have wound up resulting in mid-range bricks by Felton. I’m not disputing Chandler’s value on offense- having even 13% of your plays finished by a guy with a TS% that high is really valuable- but teams looking to shut off the pnr can and did shut it down by packing the paint and forcing Felton to shoot 15 footers.
      My only problem with WP is its advocates never seem to concede that defense is a huge issue- Dejuan Blair hasn’t averaged less than 20 minutes a night because his coaches are stupid, he just can’t guard anybody which negates a lot of the positive things he does on the court. Ditto Faried and Andre Drummond (tough to have a center who’s clueless guarding pnr’s). Yes, they’re all still good players but not nearly as valuable as WP makes them out to be. And let’s face it- WP has been absolutely awful (or at least utterly mediocre) at predicting team success. It may well be the best metric but it sure as hell isn’t as infallible as Berri acts like it is. In a few years basketball will catch up with baseball and no stat geeks will care about the traditional box score stats that WP uses.

    21. Surprising comment from Zach Lowe:

      2. The cap did not jump at all between last season and this season, which is odd, considering how much it is going to leap soon.

      It is specifically not odd, because what happened was that the NBA reduced the salary cap from $58 million to $50 million after the lockout, but put in an amnesty period of two years where the cap would not change. By the time that the amnesty period ended, the cap was naturally back to $58 million, so it went up $8 million in those two years.

    22. This Spurs/Thunder game tho.

      It’s like they’re playing a different sport than the Knicks

    23. Congrats to the NY Rangers. Amazing what a hands-off owner who is willing to spend money can do for a franchise lol.

    24. Hard to figure how a team can give up 94 points in 3 quarters in a conference finals game.

    25. I wonder if they can just play game 7 at a neutral venue. For two great teams this has been a god awful series so far.

    26. Near the end of the first it looked like the spurs were in serious trouble. And then. . . not so much

    27. I’m watching on TNT Overtime and after the post-game interview, Manu walked toward the locker room and stopped to touch that wheelchair-bound fan on the head. So strange.

    28. I actually forget fucking Jimmy owns the Rangers.

      Fortunately so did James Dolan.

      Congrats to the Rangers and to Lundqvist our net minding Overlord.

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