Knicks Morning News (2015.04.07)

  • [New York Times] China’s Olympic Champion Hurdler Liu Xiang Retires (Tue, 07 Apr 2015 09:52:52 GMT)

    China’s Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Liu Xiang announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending a run in the sport marked by records and frustrated by successive late-career injuries.

  • [New York Times] Hall of Famer Mutombo Inspires Pride, Regret in Kinshasa (Tue, 07 Apr 2015 09:08:56 GMT)

    When Dikembe Mutombo’s brother first brought him to the Kauka sports club in this working class neighborhood of Kinshasa in the early 1980s to play basketball, the gangly teenager struck few as a superstar in the making.

  • [New York Times] Duke Fights Back to Beat Wisconsin for Collegiate Title (Tue, 07 Apr 2015 06:20:21 GMT)

    Led by its fabulous freshman guards, Duke clawed its way back from a second-half deficit and stung Wisconsin 68-63 to claim the U.S. collegiate national championship on Monday.

  • [New York Times] Turning Pro Early, Minnesota’s Amanda Zahui B. Could Be Taken First in the W.N.B.A. Draft (Tue, 07 Apr 2015 05:08:10 GMT)

    Zahui B., a dominant post player from Sweden, is eligible to be drafted after only two seasons with the Gophers because she will be 22 this year.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Nets, Bouncing Back, Move Closer to the Playoffs (Tue, 07 Apr 2015 04:55:12 GMT)

    Brook Lopez, playing against his twin brother Robin, had 32 points to lead the Nets to their 11th victory in their last 14 games.

  • [New York Times] Brook Lopez Scores 32, Nets Beat Short-Handed Blazers (Tue, 07 Apr 2015 02:34:20 GMT)

    Brook Lopez doesn’t speak to his twin brother on the court. Hadn’t spoken to him at all since a late-night McDonald’s run the night before.

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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).

    38 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.04.07)”

    1. I would trade the #1 pick away if it meant that Andrea Bargnani never touched a basketball again.

    2. I’m not sold on the idea of trading down; I’m just not sure what immediate value we would get. It looks like Philly and LA will both have 2 picks…..if we pick 2nd and one of them is 4th then maybe they would deal both for the 2nd pick, but is that worth it? anyone else would have to either give us a player and their pick or current and future picks, and I just don’t see the value.

    3. A significant problem with trading down is that the draft is so well-regarded that, let’s say Philly ends up at #5 and #6. If that happens, would they even want to trade those two picks to go to #1?

    4. A significant problem with trading down is that the draft is so well-regarded that, let’s say Philly ends up at #5 and #6. If that happens, would they even want to trade those two picks to go to #1?

      I think they should. The return for #1 is much higher than the rest of the picks. Even in good drafts, the distribution of ‘stars’ is very uneven after #1.

    5. Philly, though, is in a weird position where they already have a dynamite center in Noel and a big man prospect who probably would go over Towns and Okafor if he were eligible this year in Embiid (presuming Embiid is healthy, of course, which is a huge presumption). If they really wanted Towns or Okafor, then of course, it still makes sense to trade the #5 and 6. But if they want one of the guards, it makes more sense to keep the #5 and the 6, since there’s a decent chance one of Mudiay/Russell slips to #5 and then they can pick up a high value player at #6 (EEG or Winslow).

    6. I think it’s more likely that a team like LA wants to move up to number two and get Okafor than Philly wanting that. I don’t think we will get two lottery picks this year for our number two. But potentially we could draft Okafor at number 2 and trade him for someone we want who was picked at number 5 or so plus some second round picks or future first round picks.

      This assumes we are drafting number 2. Of course, I’d rather be number one and, based on everything I’ve read here, get Towns.

    7. For example, if we got someone like Russell or Mudiay plus a first round pick next year instead of drafting Okafor, would that be a reasonable deal?

    8. For example, if we got someone like Russell or Mudiay plus a first round pick next year instead of drafting Okafor, would that be a reasonable deal?

      I’ve floated this idea around a bit. The Knicks would need to trade with a team that has a fairly high 2015 lottery pick themselves, so I imagine such a team would want whatever 2016 pick they send to have at least some lottery protection. I would love to get back into the 2016 draft if possible.

    9. I would trade back a spot or two for 2nd rder or foreign player draft rights. I think that is the more likely option than getting another 1st rd pick because mpost teams high in the lottery do not have 2 1st

    10. If the Knicks get #2 and Sixers get #4 or so, they might be a logical trade partner. I read somewhere that Philadelphia is hell-bent on drafting Mudiay. If so, they might be concerned that Mudiay might go #3 and be willing to give up assets to get him at #2. Since the Sixers have something like 4 first rounders and 147 second round picks this year, they might be willing to do something reasonable.
      Re: Winslow — he is almost the exact same size as Kawhi Leonard coming out of college. Strangely enough, if you go back to the scouting reports on Leonard, he didn’t really wow anyone in the athletic tests at the combine. His numbers were actually very mediocre (especially compared to Iman Shumpert, who just blew everyone away at the combine, including jumping something like 9 inches higher than Leonard did) and his college stats were also very mediocre at best. The only 2 things that were “outliers” about Leonard were his wingspan and the size of his hands. When you look at the numbers, it is not at all surprising that he slipped as far as he did in the draft.

    11. I wonder if the Heat would do Whitside and the #10 for the #2?

      It seems to me that the #1 is a keeper, but the #2-#10 generally shakes out about the same. I’d trade down from there if it netted us a good starter and a top 10 pick that we could turn into Johnson, Turner, or Porzingis.

    12. I know he is kind of insane, but I don’t think Whiteside is going anywhere any time soon.

    13. I really hope that teams are passing on good basketball players because of things like combine results (“He only hit 5 of his 14 jumpers during the shootaround”) and college team performance (“Why did his team lose in the Sweet Sixteen? They were a #4 seed”). I tend to enjoy seeing the Spurs pick up all-stars with late-round picks.

    14. I wonder if the Heat would do Whitside and the #10 for the #2?

      Miami is dangerously close to losing their pick to the Sixers.

      In fact, there are 3 teams that are dangerously close to losing their picks to Philadelphia. (The Sixers are probably a lot more interested in the Lakers, Heat, and Thunder games than in their own these days.)

      For Miami, as it stands now they have the 10th worst record. But they’re only a game back from having the 13th worst record. So even with a tank effort on their part, there’s a chance Philly gets it. (If Miami maintains the 10th worst record they have a 10% chance of losing the pick. But if they finish with the 11th worst record they have a 98% chance of losing the pick).

      The Lakers will end with the 4th worst record and will have a 17% chance of losing their pick to Philly.

      And the Thunder are currently 2 games behind the Wizards, but if in their playoff push they surpass the Wiz, then Philly gets their pick too.

      So there’s a chance that Philly ends up owning the #1, #6, #11, and #19 pick this summer.

    15. Donnie and Johnno, you guys are bringing the heat. Very interesting comments re Leonard. Didn’t realize the combine crushed his stock. I do remember he had great college numbers.

      And did not realize Philly has a chance at four first rounders. That is amazing.

    16. I could be wrong, but I think Whiteside is unrestricted after next year

      You’re correct, but with the cap increase that offseason, it doesn’t really make sense for Miami to move him this offseason, does it? They’ll only have Early Bird rights, but they’ll have the increased cap to work with to keep him.

    17. @17

      Donnie and Johnno, you guys are bringing the heat. Very interesting comments re Leonard. Didn’t realize the combine crushed his stock. I do remember he had great college numbers.

      I love leonard today, but his college numbers from the college 3 were horrid averaging 24% over ~ 150 attempts in 2 seasons @ SDS Who knew he would come out of the box firing at 37% from the NBA 3 as a rookie.

      Everyone knew he had the Dr. J sized hands and the pterdactoyl like wingspan, but a 3 that can’t shoot from range is seldom a high pick.

      Kudos to him for working tirelessly on his game and now he can reap the rewards.

    18. @ 21

      The coaching is always available as far as the mechanics of shooting is concerned, but the player has to have the “want to” inside to take a bazillion reps to refine the stroke.

      I’m sure a guy like Allan Houston who had the prettiest and one of the most effective strokes you could ever see could teach that to any player who would put in the effort.

      Leonard made himself from an awful shooter to an above average shooter and that with his other improving skill set makes him other than AD one of the most coveted players in the NBA to build a franchise around. The guy now does everything well to excellent.

    19. Yes, yes, I absolutely agree. It was just a off-hand remark in saying that the Spurs are top-notch everywhere. I still believe, for example, that Kyle Anderson will be a key contributor for them in a few years.

    20. For all you stat geeks his shooting stats were awful:

      Draft models had him as maybe the best player in his entire class, no one was a bigger advocate for Leonard out of college than “stat geeks.”

    21. No one has more respect for the Spurs way of doing things than me.

      Segueing to Jackson, I believe his notion of changing the culture of the Knicks is somewhat along these lines. He grew up with the Knicks when their core was Fraizer, Reed, Barnett and De Buschere who were complete 2 way players. Holtzman surrounded them with Bradley, Monroe, Jackson, Riordan, Stallworth , Cazzie, etc that were more unidimentional, but fit with the core.

      He is going to draft one of the Kentucky bigs if he has a chance, and he’s going to make a move at Leonard. If Love wants to go to LA a lot of outside the box thinking will come into play.

    22. I think you should be skeptical of people who knock guards and wing draft picks because they “can’t shoot”–i remember there was a conversation a few months ago about how scoring and shooting are the most volatile things in the nba transition, which I find accurate. Very often you can develop your shooting unless you’re Landry fields and have nerve damage or something. It’s also much easier to teach than the other skills so I think it’s more an issue of development than talent the majority of the time.

      Basically what im saying is that people who were gonna take kawhi Leonard lower in the draft because of his shooting stats are silly pointzzzzz mongers.

    23. “I’m sure a guy like Allan Houston who had the prettiest and one of the most effective strokes you could ever see could teach that to any player who would put in the effort.”
      There was a discussion here a few months back about how Houston was the guy who helped Landry Fields “fix” his jump shot — to the point where Fields can’t shoot at all anymore. It is really strange that guys make it to the NBA with ugly shooting strokes — like Shawn Marion, Joakim Noah, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, etc. You wonder why, once it became apparent that they were world class athletes, no coach ever pulled them aside and taught them how to shoot properly. Especially Noah, the son of a pro athlete, who could afford the best coaching possible. How weird is it that, once Yannick realized that his son was going to be 7′ tall, he never paid someone to teach him how to shoot? I’ve got girls on my 6th grade team who have better looking jump shots than he does. By the way, find the video of Yannick Noah singing Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” It’s great.

    24. “im saying is that people who were gonna take kawhi Leonard lower in the draft because of his shooting stats are silly pointzzzzz mongers.”
      It wasn’t just his shooting stats. He tested at the combine as a really pedestrian athlete. His no step vertical jump was 25″. I’m 55 years old and my no step vertical is 24″.

    25. I think in Fields’ case it was mostly just the nerve issues.

      I’m generally skeptical of combine performances given that they’re really volatile unless reproduced over a largeish sample.

      Also didnt mean to imply that bobneptune was a silly pointzzzz monger.

    26. I am shocked every time I hear someone giving Landry Fields a free pass on his shooting stroke. His shot was flat and his form was horrible even when he was shooting well during the first half of his rookie year. His shooting numbers went south well before he hurt his elbow.

      I disagree that shooting is something that automatically improves with “hard work.” I think it is often the case that NBA players work tirelessly on their shot (as do professionals in virtually every professional sport.) So many people assume that the reason Wilt, Shaq, and now Drummond and Jordan, shoot poorly from the line is that they don’t practice enough. That is so far from the truth for most players. Some guys simply will never be good shooters no matter how hard they work. Predicting who will improve with hard work and who won’t is virtually impossible. For every Kawhi, or Tony Allen, or Trevor Ariza, there are 10 guys in the D-League or in Europe who never improved despite the hard work.

      A perfect example is Chris Singleton, who many on this board were clamoring for during the Kawhi Leonard draft.

    27. Draft models had him as maybe the best player in his entire class, no one was a bigger advocate for Leonard out of college than “stat geeks.”

      First of all, I don’t use the term “stat geeks” perjoratively, but rather as an accurate descriptor. Stats, math and science are the keys to understanding the natural world.

      Secondly, the stat geeks were in love with a wing player with a career 24% from 3, a career TS% of 50 and an eFG% of 46 in college? Best player in his entire class? Did you look at kyrie Irvings advanced stats? Derrick Williams? I could go on and on

    28. I was trying to limit my comments to mostly wings and guards and was trying to avoid implying that practice would suddenly turn you into KD. All im saying is that shooting is more teachable and mechanical than the other skills and shouldn’t be valued as highly in choosing draft picks given both its volatility and comparative teachability. Unless the poor shooting derives from poor discipline or basketball iq issues, in which case it’s kind of a red flag.

    29. I disagree that shooting is something that automatically improves with “hard work.”

      I don’t think anyone is arguing this. The key to the enterprise is “directed practice”. In leonard’s case, the Draft Express video shows he had an awful stroke in college looking alot like Jammal Wilkes “slingshot” style from behind his head on all his jumpers. Someone reworked his mechanics between college and the pros and he put in sufficient directed practice to improve markedly.

      You can have all the great coaching in the world, but you get better faster if you put in the reps under guidance.

    30. Respectfully, I disagree. Every skill in professional basketball is hard to teach. Shooting is more obvious because we focus on it more. NBA-level player usually have had years and years of coaching, including on shooting mechanics. I think what generally improves is range, situational awareness and shot selection.

      Rebounding is often about form and situational awareness as well. Yet a 1-2 rebound per 36 improvement is hardly noticed, compared to a 20% increase in TS%. Rebounding is more transferable from college to NBA, but not any easer or harder to improve.

    31. Re: Leonard, if I recall correctly, he had exceptional non-shooting stats, e.g. rebounding for his position. This suggested that even if his shooting didn’t improve, he would be an exceptional defender and rebounder for his position, and any improvement in his shooting would make him an all-star level player. His PAWS40 score was high (I think significantly higher than equally poor shooting Shump), which is why Jowles was so high on him.

    32. Yeah, it’s not like we’re all looking back on Leonard in hindsight. We were all freaking out at how low he was dropping at the time. Just check out the old threads.

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