Knicks Morning News (2015.02.03)

  • [New York Post] Boston sports are destroying New York’s, and it’s not close (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 00:29:02 -0500)

    In honor of Groundhog Day on Tuesday, Pete Carroll is allowed to keep coaching the same game over again until he gets it right. But since commissioner Roger Goodell has…

  • [New York Daily News] When Amar’e returns to Knicks, team will have to be careful (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 02:54:08 GMT)

    Derek Fisher acknowledges that the Knicks “have to maybe be the bad guys” with Amar’e Stoudemire once he returns to the lineup.

  • [New York Times] Hawks’ 19-Game Winning Streak Snapped by Pelicans, 115-100 (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 08:24:09 GMT)

    Anthony Davis leaped toward the basket, rising over a pair of Atlanta Hawks to corral an offensive rebound with his right hand and ferociously slam the ball through the hoop in one continuous motion.

  • [New York Times] Westbrook’s Triple-Double Leads Thunder Past Magic 104-97 (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 05:12:01 GMT)

    Russell Westbrook wasn’t worried about individual accomplishments as he approached a triple-double.

  • [New York Times] Pelicans Snap Hawks’ 19-Game Winning Streak, 115-100 (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 05:09:08 GMT)

    Paul Millsap and his Atlanta teammates didn’t sound terribly concerned about the end of the Hawks’ franchise-record 19-game winning streak.

  • [New York Times] Grizzlies Rally at End, Beat Suns for 7th Time in a Row (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 04:42:04 GMT)

    Jeff Green converted a three-point play with 4.5 seconds to play and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied from seven down in the final 1:35 to beat the Phoenix Suns for the seventh straight time 102-101 on Monday night.

  • [New York Times] Mavs Win 100-94 Without Rondo in Rubio’s Return to Wolves (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 04:33:19 GMT)

    Monta Ellis scored 23 points and the Dallas Mavericks won their first game without injured point guard Rajon Rondo, beating Minnesota 100-94 Monday night in Ricky Rubio’s return to the Timberwolves.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Jack’s Late Jumper Lifts Nets; Hawks’ 19-Game Streak Ends (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 04:26:11 GMT)

    Jarrett Jack made a tiebreaking jumper with 1.3 seconds left to complete the Nets’ rally past the Clippers at home.

  • [New York Times] Cavs Stumble to 11th Straight Win, 97-84 Over Scrappy Sixers (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 04:06:43 GMT)

    Now in double digits, the Cavaliers’ winning streak is both intact and impressive.

  • [New York Times] Jack’s Jumper Completes Rally, Nets Beat Clippers 102-100 (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 03:33:30 GMT)

    Jarrett Jack made a tiebreaking jumper with 1.3 seconds left, and the Brooklyn Nets used a late rally to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 102-100 on Monday night.

  • [New York Times] Middleton Scores 25, Bucks Beat Raptors 82-75 (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 03:24:09 GMT)

    Khris Middleton scored 25 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks snapped a six-game losing streak against the Toronto Raptors with an 82-75 victory Monday night.

  • [New York Times] Jefferson Has 18 and 12; Hornets Stay Hot, Top Wizards 92-88 (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 02:36:02 GMT)

    Al Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds Monday night, and the Charlotte Hornets’ hot January carried over into Groundhog Day with a 92-88 win over the Washington Wizards.

  • [New York Times] Thunder F Durant Out vs Magic (Tue, 03 Feb 2015 00:00:07 GMT)

    Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant is going to sit out Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic because of a sprained left big toe.

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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).

    28 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.02.03)”

    1. Question for those of you who follow college basketball — based on what I’ve read, it seems that there are 5 or 6 impact players in the draft — Okafor, Towns, Johnson, Russell , Mudiay — and maybe Cauley -Stein. Do you agree? Am I missing anyone?

    2. I think Myles Turner could also be an impact player. He also has the highest probability to be a bust, IMHO.

    3. Really excellent article from Harvey Araton in the Times re: Phil — not linked to above.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/sports/basketball/phil-jackson-is-out-to-prove-that-his-signature-offense-still-fits.html?hpw&rref=sports&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

      Gives pretty good insight into the fact that Phil has really thought about the game — he’s not just blindly believing his own success and living in the late 90s and in his Laker years. He gets where the game has gone in terms of Morey-isms but still believes there’s a place for Triangle concepts. And I especially liked this part:

      While the fan base and news media focus on landing premier free agents like Memphis’s Marc Gasol and Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Jackson called that thinking part of a quick-fix mentality that had been the Knicks’ undoing in most of the years since their last championship team, on which he was a valuable bench player, in 1973.

      Not that he would turn down Gasol, Aldridge or especially Kevin Durant, a prospective 2016 free agent, but Plan B, he said, might in the long run be better.

      “You do need great players to win the championship, but having to always chase the best talent in free agency eventually becomes a mind-set of, well, the best talent wins as opposed to who plays the best team basketball”

    4. The more I look, the more I’m tempted to say Russell should be our target. He’s averaging 19.4-5.6-5.4 with a 61% TS. 1.8 steals as well while shooting over 45% from three. What am I not supposed to like here?

      Meanwhile, Mudiay, who’s projected to go higher by most, has similar per game stats…with around a 54% TS. Stay away, Phil.

    5. “…having to always chase the best talent in free agency eventually becomes a mind-set of, well, the best talent wins as opposed to who plays the best team basketball”

      So, how does Phil reconcile that with backing up the truck, and committing to Melo. No one can argue that Melo is a “team basketball” player.

    6. “Meanwhile, Mudiay, who’s projected to go higher by most, has similar per game stats…with around a 54% TS. Stay away, Phil.”
      The other thing is that Mudiay’s stats came in 10 or 15 games in China, where the guys with the highest and second highest scoring games ever were Quincy Douby and Bobby Brown, respectively, Josh Harrelson put up insane numbers, and Stephon Marbury is a legend. I have no clue how stats in that league will translate to the NBA, if at all.

    7. Really excellent article from Harvey Araton in the Times re: Phil — not linked to above.

      Frank – thanks for the link. Great article.

    8. As much as I hate watching Melo grind his knee to dust for the sake of slowing down our tank, the one silver lining is that our offense really does look pretty decent when he’s on the court despite the talent deficiency surrounding him (and it instantly turns into among the league’s worst when he goes to the bench). I’ve seen a lot less stagnant isolations and shooting over double teams, and much more willingness to run real offensive sets during crunch time, including passing to players like Galloway for big late game shots. Obviously there are still isolations, but that’s okay… In a game like vs. the Lakers, in the 3rd quarter when he caught fire and LA refused to double him, having Melo score at will one on one is perfectly reasonable.

      Anyway, it’s not hard at all to reconcile Phil retaining Melo to be the shot-creating offensive workhorse that every triangle team needs with his comments about not blindly chasing the sexiest names out there in free agency. I have read that he is targeting elite role players of the Draymond Green/Wesley Matthews variety, both of whom could complement a core of Melo/stud rookie/Calderon (if he can’t be unloaded) quite nicely.

      Of course, if “stud rookie” is Willie Cauley-Stein or Kristaps Porzingis instead of Okafor/Towns/Russell, that plan doesn’t look so hot, which is why Melo needs to pack it in ASAP and let nature run its course.

    9. So, how does Phil reconcile that with backing up the truck and committing to Melo

      Apparently, we’re not supposed to believe what Phil Jackson is saying when he’s wrong (“I thought we’d be good this year”), But we are supposed to believe Phil Jackson when he says stuff we like (“you can’t fix a team through Free Agency”).

      (ps– for those skeptical about truth in PR and spin, what makes everyone so sure that Carmelo Anthony is hurt and needs surgery at all? Just wondering.)

    10. Re Mudiay- I’m not sure what to make of his China stats. China isnt the NBA but it’s still a man’s league and Mudiay is an 18 year old kid who’s probably 5-6 years from his physical peak playing a world away from his entire life. We all remember how poorly Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler did playing overseas coming out of high school and they at least went to a western culture.

      I have no idea what Mudiay will turn into but I wouldn’t let the fact that Marbury is a legend there dissuade me from picking him if the scouts think he’s the real deal.

      (We should also remember that Vaseline aside, Marbury is/was one of the most talented players in the NBA as during his career. It’s not strange at all to me that he would be the best player in CBA history).

    11. But if Mudiay and Russell are both on the board, there is no conceivable reason to take Mudiay. They have similar bodies and Russell put up much better numbers in a better league (I mean, NCAA>CBA, right?).

    12. Apparently, we’re not supposed to believe what Phil Jackson is saying when he’s wrong (“I thought we’d be good this year”), But we are supposed to believe Phil Jackson when he says stuff we like (“you can’t fix a team through Free Agency”).

      (ps– for those skeptical about truth in PR and spin, what makes everyone so sure that Carmelo Anthony is hurt and needs surgery at all? Just wondering.)

      Who’s saying not to believe that? It’s possible to believe you’ll be good and be ok with the possibility you’re not, which is what I think happened. He probably didn’t think they’d suck as much as they did, but he hasn’t panicked and made win now moves.

      I’m sure he’s hurt and may need surgery or rest based on watching him wince and limp around for a bit every game if he lands awkwardly on his knee.

    13. But if Mudiay and Russell are both on the board, there is no conceivable reason to take Mudiay. They have similar bodies and Russell put up much better numbers in a better league (I mean, NCAA>CBA, right?).

      I think you just have to take the player you think projects best regardless of their stats in totally different leagues. If they think Mudiay projects to be Russell Westbrook or John Wall and think Russell has a lower ceiling, then I have no problem with taking Mudiay.

      (although certainly Russell is probably more NBA-ready at this point, just from a shooting perspective)

    14. Haha, yes that question is absurd. Still, that article does a good job of describing eye test vs. stats debates.

    15. I’ll just say from my perspective that article pretty much summarizes everything that’s wrong with Berri. Specifically, the fact that he thinks the question “Who’s better, Player A or Player B?” can be answered by merely consulting a WP/48 table shows in how simple terms he thinks of the game of basketball. It also happens to be precisely what the WP/48 adherents on this site claim that he doesn’t believe whenever they get taken to task on various issues related to the stat (i.e. they will frequently rebut that the stat is not meant to tell you everything about a players value, merely measure his box score contributions).

      None of this really helps a sports fan. Comparing players on subjective terms can lead to hours of lively back-and-forth. But once you turn on the computer, an objective answer is provided, and the fun ends. Talking sports is what fans love to do, and numbers kill the conversation.

      The idea that all you have to do is turn on your computer, run a regression and you reach objective truth is pretty strong evidence that he’s not much of an economist (unsurprisingly). And the idea that numbers kill conversation is a moronic claim falsified every day on this website and countless others. If you think that basketball is as simple as a linear regression that’s probably true. If you think there are hidden subtleties lying everywhere that can be exposed by research and analysis (like the numbers someone posted yesterday about what percentage opposing players shoot when guarded by various Knicks) it’s definitively not.

    16. It also happens to be precisely what the WP/48 adherents on this site claim that he doesn’t believe whenever they get taken to task on various issues related to the stat (i.e. they will frequently rebut that the stat is not meant to tell you everything about a players value, merely measure his box score contributions).

      I agree that Berri should at least stop asking really obvious questions, like “who was better, Jordan or Kobe”, or “is Carmelo better than Lebron”. Outside of Lakers fans, everyone knows the answer to those two. And I think you can use WP pretty easily to show that. I don’t think any single score metric can tell you everything about a player, but WP does a good job of capturing player production, and when there are massive differences between players you actually can use it to show which player has been more productive.

    17. And I think you can use WP pretty easily to show that.

      No you can’t.

      but WP does a good job of capturing player production

      Only compared to the same straw men that #17 was rightly snoring about. WP doesn’t win best effort out-of-sample attempts (predicting results of players changing teams, for example) versus any of the myriad alternatives, including the obviously dumb ones like PER.

    18. OKC extends Collinson despite his bad year. 2yr $7.5m. Interesting move. Unless they know something about the new cap that deal takes them out of FA market this summer. I guess they’ll have the mmle but they will need to make some trades soon to improve their team.

    19. This guarantees a Reggie Jackson trade then, I guess? Should have included him to us in the JR-Shump deal

    20. Nick Collison was the second best power forward in teh NBA last season. Why wouldn’t they resign him?

    21. Count me among the people that think Berri should stop writing about Melo and Kobe being overrated, but also count me among the people that think most of his critics don’t understand what the system is saying or how to use it.

      I’ve read just about every basketball article Berri has written and more importantly every criticism and response on his site (it used to be very active with both critics and supporters). I’ve argued usage/efficiency, the value of rebounding, team building, position adjustments, hybrid players, the value of spacing etc…. 90% of what he gets criticized for is not even what he actually believes. When the conversations got more nuanced, it was clear both he and some of his brightest minions understand the limitations of the system and are looking to improve it. What they won’t do is incorporate ideas (no matter how widely held the view) into the system unless there is cold hard statistical data calculated CORRECTLY (peer reviewed) to back it up. Most of the critical work simply does not pass that test. It’s gut, eye test, “everyone knows”, bad analysis etc…

      IMO, the idea is to understand WP48 (both strengths and weaknesses) and use it as a tool. IMO, it’s the best model available to the public despite a few warts. But you have to actually understand it to understand why. Repeating the same misunderstandings or talking about the same flawed studies used to evaluate it over and over doesn’t count as evidence of anything.

    22. Dismissing anyone who criticizes your work as not understanding it is usually tiresome. When your work is basically a linear regression it’s downright embarrassing.

    23. When it comes to projecting players in the draft, their production in college (or the Chinese Basketball League) can only take you so far. To wit, I would take Towns in the top two every day of the week and twice on Sundays despite his numbers not being particularly great right now because his skill set and his body type look to translate exceptionally well to the NBA. And despite him apparently dropping on mock drafts, don’t believe it – he’ll still go in the top three. We heard the same things about Embiid last year about how he was going to drop and he dropped…all the way to #3 (and that was after suffering a severe injury that would wipe out his entire rookie season). Okafor is the same, to a certain extent (in that I really like his skills and his body type) except his stats are also historically high for a freshman athlete. So while I am willing to discount a player’s struggles as a freshman to a certain extent, at the same time, when they dominate rather than struggle, I am also willing to lend that some importance (Russell is the same way).

      Mudiay, meanwhile, is a perfect example of looking at his stats in context. He has clearly proven that he has the motor for an NBA player. One area where the Chinese Basketball League lacks is speed. Hence a guy like Marbury still lighting them up in his advanced years, since Marbury was always a fast guy. Mudiay, therefore, had no equal over there in speed. So that was a major boon for the guy. On the other hand, he also didn’t shoot the ball well at all, relying entirely on his speed. That, to me, is a red flag. We’ve seen guys learn how to shoot and become superstars in the NBA like John Wall, but we’ve seen guys continue to rely on their speed like Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday. Mudiay is not nearly as fast as Wall was at the same age but is probably a better passer than Evans and a better scorer than Holiday. He is a legit NBA talent, but if you’re relying on a guy like that just learning how to shoot like Wall did in his third year? I don’t think that’s a good idea. And if you’re expecting his speed to dominate in the NBA like it did in the Chinese League, I think you’re also mistaken in that regard.

    24. The thing is a playmaking Tyreke Evans isn’t Tyreke Evans and a 6’5″ 210+ Jrue Holiday isn’t Jrue Holiday. Even without being able to shoot worth a lick, Evans still gets into the lane on a regular basis- if he had the kind of genuine playmaking skills Mudiay seems to have he’d be an all-star- not quite Derrick Rose or Wall but close. Basically you’re hoping Mudiay develops and turns out to be Tyreke Evans with Jrue Holiday’s skill set- that’s Derrick Rose. I’m in agreement that he’s got the most bust potential of the top tier guys but that skill set is still very tempting. There’s still at least 5 guys I’d take before him but I can see why he’s so high on most draft boards.

    25. Yeah, sorry, I know it sounds like I’m insulting Mudiay, but I’m really not. I think he is a legit NBA player for the very reasons mentioned – a better-passing Tyreke Evans is a very good player (although, let’s be honest, it’d be hard for someone to pass worse than Tyreke Evans) and same with Jrue Holiday but better. And I think the things that make him a legit NBA player are his skills and his body type, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to his performance in China.

      I think he’s automatically a rotation player in the NBA, but if he doesn’t learn how to shoot, his impact is going to be blunted at just that level.

      NBA rotation player is a very good result for a lottery pick, but I think this draft looks like it has some guys who can exceed that level, Russell included, who looks like he is a two-way player (Mudiay isn’t a particularly good defender, but at least he does have size) who can shoot from the outside and might actually be a legit point guard (while even if he is “just” a two-guard, looks to be an excellent one).

    26. Dismissing anyone who criticizes your work as not understanding it is usually tiresome. When your work is basically a linear regression it’s downright embarrassing.

      I spent a couple of years criticizing Berri’s work on his blog. I read the criticisms of some well known and extremely sharp advanced stats guys there. I have also seen his personal responses and those of Arturo Galletti, Patrick Minton, Andrés Alvarez etc.. After that, when you see certain criticisms, you know that the person is simply rehashing things that have been addressed many times or that they are misunderstandings some of what those guys believe.

      IMHO (stress humble), no model is going to capture player value perfectly or make team building easy. But WP48 is the least flawed of the public models that attempt to do so. When you understand the flaws well, it becomes an excellent starting point tool for both.

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