Knicks Morning News (2015.03.13)

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Phil looks for healthy Melo next season (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 01:05:26 EDT)

    The New York Knicks are hopeful that Carmelo Anthony will be healthy for the start of the 2015-16 season. Team president Phil Jackson told reporters in Los Angeles that Anthony is at the practice facility getting treatment on his surgically-repaired knee and is feeling “positive” about the surgery. Jackson expects Anthony to begin workouts in June. Anthony underwent season-ending surgery to repair a tendon issue — and possibly other knee damage — shortly after the All-Star game.

  • [New York Daily News] Phil Jackson calls Knicks ‘a project gone awry’ before win (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 07:07:31 GMT)

    To conclude a 15-minute interview session outside the student activities center at UCLA, Phil Jackson relayed a fitting conversation.

  • [New York Daily News] Isola: Jackson, Buss create engaging NBA dynamic (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 05:52:41 GMT)

    The best entertainment the Knicks can possibly provide these days are Phil Jackson’s stories about life at home with Jeanie Buss.

  • [New York Post] Knicks respond to Phil’s direct pep talk, beat Lakers (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 01:15:04 -0400)

    LOS ANGELES — Maybe Phil Jackson should show up more often. Jackson is now 1-1 in Knicks road games after his club knocked off the similarly moribund Lakers, 101-94, at…

  • [New York Times] Not The Knicks | Atlanta Hawks: Secret to Atlanta Hawks’ Team Play: Nourish the Individual (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 09:00:04 GMT)

    Hawks coaches insist the team’s fine play comes from the hard work that happens behind the scenes, through an emphasis on player development.

  • [New York Times] Irving Has Career-High 57, Cavs Beat Spurs 128-125 in OT (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 06:46:04 GMT)

    Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kyrie Irving left his superstar teammate LeBron James in awe. His spectacular play overwhelmed the San Antonio Spurs.

  • [New York Times] NBA-Worst Knicks Hold Off Lakers 101-94 for Rare Road Win (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 06:07:03 GMT)

    Derek Fisher stepped onto the familiar hardwood below all those championship banners, and memories of his golden past with the Los Angeles Lakers came flooding back to him.

  • [New York Times] Knicks 101, Lakers 94: Tim Hardaway Jr. Leads Knicks Past Lakers for a Rare Road Win (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 05:39:22 GMT)

    Hardaway had 22 points as the Knicks earned their fifth road victory of the season, giving Coach Derek Fisher a win in his return to Staples Center.

  • [New York Times] Racial Tensions May Prompt a Move of Lakota Nation Invitational Tournament (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 04:21:15 GMT)

    Organizers of the annual tournament in Rapid City, S.D., are entertaining offers from other potential host sites because of racial tensions in Rapid City.

  • [New York Times] Gobert Puts on Show to Help Jazz Beat Rockets 109-91 (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 03:39:08 GMT)

    Rudy Gobert had 19 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks and the Utah Jazz beat the Houston Rockets 109-91 on Thursday night for their ninth victory in 11 games.

  • [New York Times] Rodney Stuckey Scores 25 Points, Pacers Beat Bucks in OT (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 02:45:23 GMT)

    Rodney Stuckey scored 25 points and Luis Scola had 17 points and 15 rebounds to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 109-103 in overtime Thursday night.

  • [New York Times] Wall, Gortat Lead Wizards Past Watered-Down Grizzlies 107-87 (Fri, 13 Mar 2015 01:54:37 GMT)

    Facing a watered-down version of the second-best team in the Western Conference, John Wall finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists Thursday night, leading the Washington Wizards past the Memphis Grizzlies 107-87.

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    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).

    103 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.03.13)”

    1. Ian Begley on Twitter:

      Forget about all of the #Knicks’ cap space. Phil Jackson is betting that the triangle can lure free agents to NY

      Yay! Triangle FTW. :-(

    2. I think that Begley is being unfair to Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jackson is likely off base on his claims when he says that players care about teams having a consistent identity in their offensive system (I believe players, if all else is equal, want to play for teams that look like they can win, whatever the system, and if that can’t be achieved, then they want to play for run and gun teams where their counting stats can be inflated) but I don’t think Jackson was specifically saying that the Triangle itself would draw players to the Knicks, just that players would be drawn to teams with a cohesive identity in their system (so players will know how they’re meant to fit into the team). That’s not a crazy thought, I don’t think.

    3. I don’t think Jackson was specifically saying that the Triangle itself would draw players to the Knicks, just that players would be drawn to teams with a cohesive identity in their system

      I certainly hope so. But fot that to be true, this year should have demonstrated that marginal players can thrive in the Triangle. Well, it’s not that evident, unless Phil is saying that he intends to use Shved as a testimonial.

    4. Wasn’t D’Antoni hired, in part, b/c his SSOL system and Olympic coaching was supposed to be a magnet? That didn’t exactly turn out to be what happened. Of course he is no Phil Jackson, but I am very skeptical about these butterfly effect claims.

    5. The whole Triangle thing and whether it will or will not help lure free agents is just way overblown. I don’t think players care one way or another, if they want to play in NY with Melo and the Knicks offer enough $$, they’ll sign here. I don’t think FA’s are thinking – “man, I really want to play for the Knicks, but that damn Triangle…”

      Most of them probably don’t even know what it is.

    6. I agree, but the issue here is that Jackson is specifically saying it will be a plus, which is weird (well, precisely he is saying that he thinks having a specific team identity is a plus, but still, you know what I mean). At best, he’s over-selling the idea of a team identity to free agents, at worst he’s over-selling the Triangle.

    7. I think the following four things will be the first four things a free agent will think about if they debate whether to sign with the Knicks.

      In no precise order (although generally I think that this will be the order of importance they’ll give these things):

      1. Wow, that’s a lot of money.
      2. Playing in New York would be awesome/not awesome
      3. Will the Knicks be good enough to compete?
      4. Playing with Melo would be awesome/not awesome

      I don’t even know if the Triangle is #5. I think Phil Jackson alone might be #5, as in “Playing for the guy who won all those titles with MJ, Shaq and Kobe would be awesome,” but not necessarily the Triangle.

    8. Jax’s Triangle comment was a veiled message to Kevin Love. I doubt he’ll stay in Cleveland as a spot-up 3 shooter even if they win the title. Remember the poster here who sat close to Morey at a game and heard him say Love won’t be a Cav next season and NY, Houston, and LA were his top choices. Love knows he will post-up in the Triangle.

      If Morey wants Love he’d probably have to move Howard to free up cap. But what if Phil wants him too? That’s where an interesting dynamic occurs of Howard to NYK. I don’t think Phil would trade Towns for Howard and he probably would also balk at Okafor. Anyone else and I think it’s a possibility or the 2018 and 2020 picks. Jax’s rep has taken a shellacking this season and he’s gonna be eager to change matters right away.

    9. I feel like March 19/20 is the whole season for us. Those are must-lose games. We have a chance right there to lock up the first record…and it’s starting to feel like the difference between Towns and everyone else is significant.

    10. Does anyone know if Phil’s interview can be streamed from anywhere? I’d like to see it.

      What I have read of it so far is quite interesting. He seems to have said that you get impact players through the draft, not free agency, but he also clearly mentioned that a third of the league will be free agents this summer and the team will be built around some of them.. That suggests he’s not planning on going after the max guys. Instead he want’s to put together a coherent team of reasonable players. I have no idea what sort of player that is in his eyes, but it certainly sounds like a different strategy than any GM before him used.

    11. I feel like March 19/20 is the whole season for us. Those are must-lose games. We have a chance right there to lock up the first record…and it’s starting to feel like the difference between Towns and everyone else is significant.

      I think that that is likely fair. While I don’t mind them winning a game here or there, it really is sort of make or break time now for them to make sure to lose some games.

    12. We do all know that having the worst record doesn’t guarantee the #1 pick, right? Obviously, it helps our chances, but I think it would be much more painful to get #3 with the worst record than get #3 with the 3rd worst record.

      But it would also be much more Knicks-y.

    13. “I had a bad feeling about this game after last night’s unexpected win over Minnesota, but now that I read that Hinkie thinks it’s time for his team to start learning to win, I feel confident that the Knicks tank will get back on track”

      -Brian Cronin, Knickerblogger game thread, March 20th, 2015, 6:55 PM

    14. getting #1 is pretty important but the guarantee of a top 4 pick would go a long way to easing many fears heading into the most important draft since ewing….

    15. So what are we all going to do on May 19th to increase our chances of getting the #1 pick? Throw a virgin into a volcano? Toss hundreds of coins into a fountain? Purify ourselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka?

      I’d do all of these to get Towns.

    16. I am not particularly worried about us trading our pick for Dwight Howard (although I am worried about a win now trade in general). Phil was in LA during the Dwight catastrophe. His lady was running the Lakers. He will have a very good idea both what an idiot Dwight is and how Dwight is no longer the player he was.

    17. #17 – agreed.

      My predication is that Phil makes a bunch of small moves that everyone bitches about because there is no immediate game-change move to be made. I just don’t see him doing something stupid like trading for Dwight, nor do I see us getting Kawhi or Butler or even Middleton. When he says he is interested in building a team, I think what he means by that is that he’s interested in building a team.

      The only real worry I have is that those marginal improvements will be players like Jason Smith. Which is not a marginal improvement, but an investment in suckitude.

    18. The whole Triangle thing and whether it will or will not help lure free agents is just way overblown. I don’t think players care one way or another, if they want to play in NY with Melo and the Knicks offer enough $$, they’ll sign here. I don’t think FA’s are thinking – “man, I really want to play for the Knicks, but that damn Triangle…”

      Most of them probably don’t even know what it is.

      For smart players, the system a team runs, and how their own game fits with it, is one of the most important things they consider when signing on with a new team.
      To say that players don’t care about the system is idiotic. You could have just said that all athletes are morons, don’t have thoughts of their own, and are clueless about their own game.

    19. I don’t understand why Cleveland gave up some very useful assets to get Kevin Love is all they wanted was a big guy who shot 3’s. I mean, he’s good at that, but you pay Kevin Love the big dollars because he can do a lot more than just shoot 3’s.

      If you need a guy who can play the 4 and rain threes down, I’ve got a better option right here.

    20. For smart players, the system a team runs, and how their own game fits with it, is one of the most important things they consider when signing on with a new team.

      Why you always dissing Carmelo?

    21. I don’t understand why Cleveland gave up some very useful assets to get Kevin Love is all they wanted was a big guy who shot 3’s. I mean, he’s good at that, but you pay Kevin Love the big dollars because he can do a lot more than just shoot 3’s.

      I really think Lebron was wowed more by Love’s fame than whether he wanted to add Love’s actual game.

      Because yeah, it really hasn’t made any sense. Especially since they’ve actually done well when they’ve let Love play his game (posting, etc.) but they just very rarely done that because of Lebron and Irving’s needs.

    22. DRed – just realized why you like Melo so much.
      You’re a high usage, low efficiency commenter.

    23. I generally don’t love an appeal to authority, but given that Phil has 50 years of personal experience with professional basketball players, and that the majority of the people posting on this board have never been closer to an NBA player than the 2nd tier at MSG, I tend to defer to his understanding of what appeals to them. Phil isn’t perfect, and I think he tends to be slightly delusional about the powers of the triangle, but is anybody posting here about what players look for in FA engaging in anything other than complete speculation?

      As for Kevin Love, it seems pretty obvious that they’re trying to get him involved in other ways, it just isn’t working that well. Professional basketball is a pretty complicated game. Cleveland at the start of the season had pretty much an entirely different team than they had at the end of last year, and now has a massively different team than they had at the beginning of this year. Getting an offense clicking on all cylinders and optimizing every player under those circumstances isn’t exactly as trivial as David Blatt writing on a chalkboard “Use Kevin Love more”.

    24. Did anyone else see the article about how Shumpert is pissed because he thinks that one of the characters on the TV show Empire is modeled after him and he hasn’t received any compensation for it? He really and truly is a guy with an inflated view of his level of fame and notoriety. By the way, over his last 10 games, he has shot 29% from the field and 17% from 3. I still can’t understand why Phil couldn’t pick up at least 2 first round picks for him.

    25. By the way, over his last 10 games, he has shot 29% from the field and 17% from 3. I still can’t understand why Phil couldn’t pick up at least 2 first round picks for him.

      Shumpert could shoot 5% from the field and never play in the NBA again and it would have as much bearing on his trade value at the time of his trade as those stats. Which is to say, none.

    26. If you need a guy who can play the 4 and rain threes down, I’ve got a better option right here.

      You think they want Bargnani???

    27. DRed – just realized why you like Melo so much.
      You’re a high usage, low efficiency commenter.

      I thoroughly disagree about his low efficiency, but it is ironic that DRed is a volume scorer.

    28. For smart players, the system a team runs, and how their own game fits with it, is one of the most important things they consider when signing on with a new team.
      To say that players don’t care about the system is idiotic. You could have just said that all athletes are morons, don’t have thoughts of their own, and are clueless about their own game.

      How about giving a few examples to enlighten us, oh writer of the categorical statement?

      And BTW, for someone who complains about being maligned on this board, to use the term “idiotic” is well, idiotic.

    29. Anyone who knows anything about message boards knows I am an all-Message board quality poster

    30. Anyone who knows anything about message boards knows I am an all-Message board quality poster

      Sort of the THJ making the all-rookie team of posters. (bah humbug)

    31. Does Love fit on the Knicks with Melo at the SF or will we have some of the same defensive issues we had with Melo and Amare?

      I can’t see how we get Love anyway. If he wants to leave, (and I would if I was him), I think it’s more likely he goes to LA. I don’t have a full understanding of the new rules, but if sign and trade deals are at all possible in his case, then NY will not have enough to offer relative to LA or Houston.

    32. I think love fits a bit better because of his three point shot and his elite passing. But you are asking for trouble on defense

    33. Unless Jax has the Bermuda Triangle at his disposal, no two-dimensional shape will make much difference in free agency.

    34. Also I’ve noticed both on this board and in the media in general comments have taken the shape of “Why haven’t the Cavs utilized Love well?” rather than “Why hasn’t Love found a way to fit in on the Cavs?”. Basically, all of the scrutiny has ended up on Blatt and the other Cavs, but Love also has to take some responsibility for just being generally pretty bad this year. When he has had opportunities his post game hasn’t looked good, his defense has been typically bad, his shooting hasn’t been great, etc. And people complain about Melo not caring about winning. Can you imagine Love leaving a legit tile contender in Cleveland to come play for the Knicks because he’s upset he doesn’t get enough post touches?

      He’s a great player, and I’d still be happy if the Knicks somehow got him, but a year ago I would have called it a home run. I’m not sure I see it that way anymore.

    35. It’s less of a case about blaming the Cavs for how they’re using him and more about not understanding why did they want Love in the first place if this was going to be how they were going to use him.

    36. As a matter of fact, I think there’s no poster here with more efficiency (on such a high volume; if we’re talking about efficiency alone, ephus pre-inclusion on KB official roster gets the nod) than DRed. I heretofore start the campaign to have DRed included on the roster of featured contributors of Knickerblogger (and since I was the first to advocate the inclusion of ephus last year, I think the campaign has a chance to be successful).

      Just for fun, some comparisons.

      DRed: Anthony Davis
      Jowles: James Harden (sometimes annoying, but astoundingly capable)
      johnno: Tim Duncan (low variance veteran)
      Alecto: Giannis Antetokoumpo
      (shows promise)
      lavor postell: Dwayne Wade (frequent disappearances, great contributions though)

    37. It’s less of a case about blaming the Cavs for how they’re using him and more about not understanding why did they want Love in the first place if this was going to be how they were going to use him.

      Well as I posted above, they obviously didn’t “intend” to use him at something less than 100% of his effectiveness. But however you want to phrase the thing, you’re still putting the entire onus of the situation on the Cavs, rather than on Love, which is my main point. Not many superstar level players get that kind of pass.

    38. Not many superstar level players get acquired and are then asked to drastically alter their style. It’s just a strange situation all together. And even with that all, Love is having a very good year and the team is playing great, so it is made all the more strange because it’s like, how do you break that team up? How can Love possibly leave if they’re all playing so well? If they make the Finals, he’d be a fool to leave, even if they’re not optimizing his skills.

    39. D’awww thanks Farfa. I can’t come up with a suitable comp for a poster who’s good, nice, and Italian. Have you ever had an acl injury and or been traded to the Denver Nuggets?

    40. I think love’s underperforming can be attributed to both blatts improper utilization of Love along with regression or some kind of personal issues (he seems really aloof with the rest of his team and whatnot); its an issue of poor fit, both basketball and personality wise.

    41. There are only so many shots in a game. Both Lebron and Kyrie can create their own shots and both take a lot of them. That leaves Love as the 3rd option. He has no choice but to wait for them to pass him the ball in the position they want him on the floor (which is outside creating space) . He’s a terrific player, but he’s overqualified for the role he has on this team. IMHO, it’s Kyrie that should be taking fewer shots (though after last night it’s hard to make that case well).

    42. What does it say about personality issues (re: King of passive-aggressive Twitter LeBron) the fact that Ray Allen hasn’t gone yet to Cleveland?

    43. The worst thing about his whole trade value column delay is emphasized by the Irving column – you can’t take so long to write a ranking column that you move a guy from #26 to #10 by the time you (almost) finish writing the column. He had a freakin’ TV special about the unfinished column and then, one of the biggest debated parts of the column is changed? Before the column is even finished?!? You just can’t do that. It’d be like Rob Sheffield changing his awful Rolling Stone SNL rankings and suddenly having Norm MacDonald #25 (don’t even get me started on how dumb that Rolling Stone thing was).

    44. Bill Simmons should stop writing. This year trade value columns are a total embarrasment in terms of respect to the readers. He has done a very good job in assembling the Grantland team (with Disney money, but our friend Jimmy D has shown that money alone doesn’t buy you competence), but his writing “motor” has gone off the rails.

    45. I just can’t fathom how he can’t realize that a shitty column on time is roughly ten thousand times better for him and the site than a great column months late.

    46. And yes, if they were going to grossly underutilize Love, I can actually see the pro-Wiggins crowd being right in the end. Even though a) they were wrong, and b) I’m still not sold on Wiggins.

    47. And yes, if they were going to grossly underutilize Love, I can actually see the pro-Wiggins crowd being right in the end. Even though a) they were wrong, and b) I’m still not sold on Wiggins.

      Love is playing very well overall (the narrative has just remained that he’s playing poorly despite it not really being true anymore) and they might very well win a title in his first year there, but yes, if I knew that this was how they would be using Love, I would have objected to the Love/Wiggins deal, as well. You don’t trade someone like Wiggins for a third option.

    48. My predication is that Phil makes a bunch of small moves that everyone bitches about because there is no immediate game-change move to be made.

      +1

      But honestly it’s hard to imagine any possible moves he might make that someone wouldn’t bitch about :-) Even if he made no moves, people would definitely bitch about that too.

    49. Nothing beats preemptive arguments. “You’re wrong!” “What? I didn’t say anything!” “But you will!”

    50. Not many superstar level players get acquired and are then asked to drastically alter their style.

      I agree on some level, but I think the reason you’re saying that goes to my argument. There are very few superstar level players about whom you would ever even use the phrasing that “they were asked to drastically alter their style”. Do you see how even that is totally taking all of the responsibility away from Love? Would anyone have ever said after the Lebron-Dallas series: “Why would they get Lebron if they were just going to ask him to stand in the corner?” Never. Never in a million years. People asked why Lebron wasn’t demanding the ball and taking things into his own hands. The idea that Love is a totally passive observer in everything happening to him just doesn’t seem consistent with how other stars are treated to me.

      It’s just a strange situation all together. And even with that all, Love is having a very good year and the team is playing great, so it is made all the more strange because it’s like, how do you break that team up? How can Love possibly leave if they’re all playing so well? If they make the Finals, he’d be a fool to leave, even if they’re not optimizing his skills.

      This I wholeheartedly agree with, except I would say Love is having an okay year, more than a very good year. Still a very good year compared to an average NBA player, but by his standards I don’t think you could say it’s a very good year. But yeah, if he really does leave if they make the finals to go to the Lakers or the Knicks? That would be one of the strangest team switches in many a year.

    51. lavor postell: Dwayne Wade (frequent disappearances, great contributions though)

      I’m honored Farfa.

      I think I mentioned last year I was against the Love trade because of the diminishing returns of adding another volume scorer next to Kyrie and Lebron that did nothing to improve them defensively, where they needed the most help. That’s pretty much why he doesn’t play in the 4th quarter because Kyrie and Lebron are superior scoring options in their current “system” and Love’s offensive rebounding prowess is negated because he’s forced to camp out on the 3 point line and defensively he still sucks major ass.

      Love isn’t being used properly though on offense and that’s because, IMO, Blatt has chosen the easy way out of a difficult problem. Instead of figuring out how to integrate his 3 high usage stars effectively on offense and getting the proper spacing to get Lebron and Love post touches he’s basically just turned Cleveland into a turbo charged Woodson offense predicated on high PNR and isolations for Kyrie and Lebron with the supporting players used as stand still jump shooters spaced beyond the arc.

      I’m not and never will be the biggest Love fan, but it’s hard for me to pin his lack of touches and effectiveness on him when he’s really just doing exactly what his coach is asking of him.

    52. Love coming to the Knicks is just a sad fantasy by some gullible fans.

      Love coming to the Knicks would just fucking suck and Knicks fans that fantasize about a Big 3 of Melo, Love and whoever the fuck else was probably a big fan of the results derived from the illustrious Melo/STAT era.

    53. Truth is Phil Jackson’s first year with the Knicks is a project gone awry.

      “Luke, I am your father. Please stop this shit”

      Darth Vader

    54. Blatt is doing very well. Cleveland is winning big after the trades that brought Mozgov, Shumpert and JR.

      Odds are LeBron will in the NBA Finals. Love is doing well and all this over-analyzing is a bit alarmist. I wish our Knicks had all these “problems”…lol

      Good joke.

      Cleveland isn’t winning because of JR and Shump or the slight improvement Mozgov provided. They’re winning because Lebron started playing like a committed top-3 player again and Kyrie’s gone supernova.

      Love isn’t playing well relative to his salary especially once you factor in the fact his defense fucking sucks ass.

    55. The Cavs are winning because 1) the East is weak 2) they have since the Mozgov trade a semibalanced roster built around the best active player. But if they substituted Love with Donatas Motjeiunas they’d have around the same record.

    56. But the team needed the changes. It’s pretty obvious and widely acknowledged.

      I mean just look at Shump and JR’s shooting splits. They’re basically the same as they were in New York except they’re taking more 3’s playing off the ball instead of having real responsibilities of creating for others. I don’t think JR brings any defensive presence beyond dying on screens and calling for switches. Shump does the same, but his on ball defense seems to be better again. Fwiw Cleveland seems to switch almost every screen like Woodson so they’re defensive “skills” seem to be a schematic fit.

      Whatever improvements they’ve provided is simply by being bad instead of god awful like Waiters.

    57. Look at all this discussion Luke. It’s almost like we’re having a productive dialogue. Crazy times.

    58. If (big if) Cleveland gets to the Finals, chances are the West champion will crush them, unless it had to win every series in six or more games.

      Ps: watch out for Indiana. They are my dark horse to get to the ECF.

    59. Whatever improvements they’ve provided is simply by being bad instead of god awful like Waiters.

      Pretty much. Shumpert is pretty much playing like Knicks Shumpert. Good all around non-scoring game, mediocre offense. That’s a solid NBA player, and much better than playing, say, Mike Miller. JR has been much more productive as a Cav. I imagine its a stew of role, health, an offense where he doesn’t have to think, and the lack of opportunity to party. If I were a Cavs fan I’d be worried that their turnovers and middling D are going to get them against an elite offensive team, but they are certainty legit title contenders and they weren’t pre-trade.

    60. Don’t forget they needed 57 points from Kyrie to beat an almost Manu-less San Antonio team. They are a good team but nothing more. In the West they’d be 7th-8th.

    61. Don’t forget they needed 57 points from Kyrie to beat an almost Manu-less San Antonio team. They are a good team but nothing more. In the West they’d be 7th-8th.

      This is such a silly way to look at it. Don’t forget that San Antonio needed 31 points from Parker just to force OT in a home game when Love only had 8 points.

      They have had an elite efficiency differential for a solid chunk of the season now since they made the trades and got good Lebron back. They also have a number of good victories in that time. They would be 7th or 8th in the West but that has a lot more to do with how bad they were in the beginning of the season than what kind of team they are now. Not sure how you can rule them out so confidently.

    62. Yeah, they also beat the Warriors by 11, right? They’re a good team. But sure, I definitely do dislike their offensive system.

    63. Not sure how you can rule them out so confidently.

      I think if that’s what their offense is going to look like, which it has all year, then I would rule them out. You don’t win titles by isolating guys 25 feet from the hoop, possession after possession regardless of how good they are, but I’ve been very wrong many times before.

    64. Don’t get me wrong, I hate their offense, and they certainly wouldn’t be my first pick to win the title, or even my third. But they are pretty indisputably one of the best teams in the league since they made the trades, and they have a much easier route to the finals than most of the teams that I think are better than them. Also they’re still such a relatively new team that of all the contenders they seem the most likely to make another positive step. They clearly have a chance.

    65. I definitely agree. I think they’re the favorites in the East and who knows in the Finals? But yes, they would be underdogs against any West team, I believe (well, any West team that would make it to the Finals, that is).

    66. There’s no question at all the Cavs are a very good team and a contender to win it all. It took them 20-30 games to start figure it out a little (same as the Heat), the trades improved them, and they are still getting better. It’s hard to win a title no matter who you are, but I’m not sure I’d trade chances with anyone else if I was a Cavs fan. Their rode to the finals is a lot easier than anyone in the west. How would like to be Golden State and potentially face off with OKC and a healthy Durant in the FIRST ROUND?

    67. West playoffs just look silly. Decent chance for 3 conference finals quality match ups in the first round (sorry Dallas).

    68. Those 2 weeks where Bron went to Miami and magically looked 5 years younger when he came back seemed to turn around their season more than anything else. They must just have some magic treatments down there for knee and lower back issues you can’t find anywhere else.

    69. They are called prostitution and steroids.

      Maybe he just got healthy because he realized he wanted to win more than anybody else

    70. Lebron is playing way better since the rest, but I don’t think he’s playing at his peak level. I think he’s either still hurting or he’s made some subtle changes to his game to avoid injury.

    71. Speaking of bad first round match ups- there’s a pretty reasonable chance cleveland ends up playing a red hot Indy team with Paul George in the first round. I’d gave Indy at least a 50/50 shot of winning that series if George is somewhere close to full strength

    72. Speaking of bad first round match ups- there’s a pretty reasonable chance cleveland ends up playing a red hot Indy team with Paul George in the first round. I’d gave Indy at least a 50/50 shot of winning that series if George is somewhere close to full strength

      The thing is there’s a reasonable chance Cleveland plays them…but only if they stop being red hot. If they keep up their torrid play, they’ll catch Milwaukee pretty easily I think. So if they end up playing Cleveland it will likely be because Indy cooled off.

    73. 76ers up by 11 early in the 4th vs the Kings. Instead of looking at scores with playoffs implications Im looking at 76er and Wolves scores lol.

    74. Farfa — thanks for the comparison. Now might not be a great time for me to point out that I once posted that I thought that Duncan was overrated and that prime KG was a better player.

    75. 76ers up by 11 early in the 4th vs the Kings. Instead of looking at scores with playoffs implications Im looking at 76er and Wolves scores lol.

      That’d be a big win for the Knicks. Some day I hope to say that phrase again about Knick wins. ;)

    76. 76ers up by 11 early in the 4th vs the Kings. Instead of looking at scores with playoffs implications Im looking at 76er and Wolves scores lol.

      It does have playoff implications – for the Knicks in 2016.

    77. Amare played 15 mins tonight, scored 2 (TWO) points, and was +30 on the floor. Thought the combination of those numbers was interesting. I think it means the Mavs basically outscored the Clippers by 30 with essentially a 4-on-5. Garbage time I guess.

    78. Yeah Okafor will definitely score in the NBA (though I doubt as efficiently–Marc Gasol and co. won’t be backed down as easily) but his tertiary game, or lack thereof, just doesn’t seem likely to evolve much. I might even prefer Russell to him in which case we’d have to go after free agent bigs. Who knows. We just need a good fuckin’ player.

    79. I’m probably leaning more towards Towns, as well, but Okafor will be a great NBA player. So I have no problem with taking him #1 and gearing the entire team around him.

    80. See I want to like him as much as you BC but as a legit big man in college he really doesn’t have the competition to defend him. So I am not as moved as much by his post game. Like shaq for instance was as athlete AND just huge. So by the time he lost his athleticism his post game was polished. With Okafor he’s already not athletic so he has to strictly rely on his advanced for college post moves. I just don’t think it will translate as well as you think.

    81. Shaq in college was not as good in the post then as Okafor is now. And Shaq was doing it as a sophomore and as a junior! At the same time, though, a lot of the same stuff that happened to Shaq then has been happening to Okafor a lot (although not this past game, where Notre Dame smartly did a 180 to catch Duke a bit unawares), which is teams throw guy after guy at Okafor, forcing his teammates to beat you. Teams did that to LSU during Shaq’s sophomore and junior years, as well (he was actually injured for the tournament in his second year, but the point still stands). In the NBA, you can’t guard a guy like that so Okafor will feast in the paint (unless he’s guarded by Marc Gasol, but is that a thing? “He’s not that great. The defensive player of the year can probably guard him one-on-one”).

      In any event, Shaq was definitely a better overall player than Okafor (Shaq was a very good defender), but that’s not saying a whole lot. Okafor will beast in the NBA.

    82. the offense will be good to eventually great…. pekovic has a bruising paint game also and he’s pretty efficient… they are roughly the same size and okafor is way more dynamic down low…

      the defense… could roughly be the same also i’m afraid…

    83. Okafor is a fascinating prospect. Amazingly efficient on offense especially for a 19yo kid. Not real athletic but very strong. But is a horrible free-throw shooter (despite a pretty decent looking form) and his defense really is bad. Not Amar’e or Bargs bad because alot of times he contests shots but he does so awkwardly, he doesnt seem to know how to block shots if that makes any sense.

      I have no problem whatsoever with either Okafor or Towns but at this point I think I prefer the #2 pick so we just choose whichever doesnt go #1. But I REALLY want one of them, I dont want to have to settle for either Russell or Mudiay, I want one of the bigs.

    84. Me, too, Al. Just one of those two guys. Come on, basketball gods that Phil Jackson is always talking about!!!

    85. I really, really, really like Delon Wright. If we had our 2nd rounder it’d be the perfect place to try and snag him (though I have a feeling after the tournament he’ll be in the first round), but of course we don’t so I hope we somehow acquire a late first rounder.

    86. per 40 shaq was avg’ing 27.6 pts 15rbs and 5blocks 1.5 stls … at the same age as okafor is now… the only person you could ever compare shaq to at the college level is kareem…

      shaq didn’t have post moves but he didn’t really need it… kareem was also like that until they outlawed dunking and had the unintended consequence of creating the most unstoppable shot in the history of basketball…

      ok4 isn’t as imposing as those guys but he scores in clever ways which mean both good and bad things at the next level… the defense just doesn’t stack up at all… he’s a very interesting case once he turns pro…

    87. and delon is one of those cases where the numbers and the scouts have two vastly differing opinions on.. numbers say star… scouts say not a good player… i think the scouts don’t have a clue in this case…

    88. shaq didn’t have post moves but he didn’t really need it…

      That’s really just what I was getting at – like I said, Shaq was definitely the better overall player, but Okafor is better in the post now than Shaq was then, whether it was because Shaq didn’t need it or whatever reason.

    89. and delon is one of those cases where the numbers and the scouts have two vastly differing opinions on.. numbers say star… scouts say not a good player… i think the scouts don’t have a clue in this case…

      I had no idea scouts were low on him, but I guess that’s why his draft stock is lower than his numbers would normally indicate. For what it’s worth whenever I watch him I don’t really see much to be down on. What are the complaints of scouts?

    90. What I do not like about OK4 is his lack of energy on defense. It just doesn’t look like he aggressively goes after a rebound or gives help to blk at shot on the weak side. He also doesn’t challenge drivers when they attack the rim that much. I think he needs to go to the school of Hibbert and learn how to be a rim protector without elite athleticism.

      Also, does okafor have knee problems?

    91. dx/nbadraft.net say he’s not quick and too skinny and he doesn’t shoot well… which are all true.. but ‘skinniness’ is a very minor thing… kobe, jordan, payton were all rail thin before they were pros… he makes up for the quickness with a long wingspan which he leverages well and the shooting is a work in progress but he’s not horrendous or anything…

      i think it’s largely because he doesn’t have a comparable at the nba level but he is probably the paul pierce of pgs… some team is going to be really happy to get him…

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