Knicks Morning News (2015.04.21)

  • [New York Times] Steven A. Ballmer’s Inner Fan Finds Its Voice in a Corner of the N.B.A. (Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:00:05 GMT)

    Ballmer, the former chief executive of Microsoft and the first-year owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, is, in the words of the team’s coach, “the most normal $24 billion guy I know.”

  • [New York Times] Little Guys Will Need to Come Up Big for Celtics, Mavs (Tue, 21 Apr 2015 07:05:38 GMT)

    While LeBron James and his star-studded supporting cast were firing away at underdog Boston in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series, the smallest guy on the court for the Celtics was putting up the biggest fight.

  • [New York Times] Warriors Beat Pelicans 97-87 to Take 2-0 Series Lead (Tue, 21 Apr 2015 05:44:33 GMT)

    Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr likes to say his team teeters on “explosive and careless” basketball, pulling off an astonishing play one moment and a perplexing one the next.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Jimmy Butler Stars Again for the Bulls (Tue, 21 Apr 2015 04:04:19 GMT)

    Butler set a playoff career high for the second straight game with 31 points, and Chicago beat the Milwaukee Bucks to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

  • [New York Times] Butler Scores 31, Bulls Beat Bucks 91-82 to Go Up 2-0 (Tue, 21 Apr 2015 02:50:26 GMT)

    Jimmy Butler set a playoff career-high for the second straight game with 31 points, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 91-82 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

  • [New York Times] A Grizzlies Fan Finds Fame as the Bongo Lady (Tue, 21 Apr 2015 01:20:47 GMT)

    Malenda Meacham, a lawyer and judge, has become a celebrity at Memphis homes games for her over-the-top air-bongo routines on the scoreboard video screen via the FedEx Forum Bongo Cam.

  • [New York Times] Raptors Lou Williams Wins NBA Sixth Man Award (Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:59:23 GMT)

    What started as a song has become reality for Raptors guard Lou Williams.

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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).

    73 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.04.21)”

    1. They’ll prolly get swept, but all credit to Brad Stevens for taking a team that had no right to be in the playoffs and making things interesting against LeBron and co.

    2. Wow, Draymond Green with a +24 last night. I know +/- for one game can be misleading, but +24 is pretty amazing, considering that the next highest Warrior was Klay Thompson at +15; and Curry was “only” +3. Green did play 42 minutes.

      And Green only had 14 points, on 4-12 shooting. Anyone see the game, who was Green guarding?

      Hard to see the Dubs not matching any offer he gets this offseason.

    3. Re: Green – The guy guarded Anthony Davis most of the game and did a pretty decent job of it.

      I would commit unspeakable acts to get him or Leonard on the Knicks.

    4. That was a fantastic basketball contest until the final three minutes when the Warriors broke it open. Anthony Davis has been on TV far far too little this year. He is fun to watch. So is Draymond Green. He is the Riley Knicksiest player in the league right now, Anthony Mason 2.0.

    5. And Green only had 14 points, on 4-12 shooting.

      Green guarded Davis and forced him onto the perimeter, the way Mase did when he guarded Olajuwon.

      Green also plays point-forward a lot on offense (5 assists). He’s one of those guys that does everything on a basketball court. He is so much like Mason in the package that he brings.

    6. I mentioned it last night during the Bulls/Bucks game; Draymond is my #1 FA. However, there is a 95% chance that GSW matches which would mean our cap $ is tied up for a few days allowing our fallback options to potentially sign elsewhere. I guess Phil will have a better idea if GSW will ultimately match but as of today I just can’t see them letting him go. He is their 2nd most valuable player behind Steph and probably will be the DPOY.

    7. The Pelicans are such a funny team right now. They’re already pretty good and Davis is obviously a monster who’s just going to keep getting better and better (when you see him slaughtering fools in the NBA playoffs it’s fun to remember he would have been a senior at Kentucky this year. I’m guessing they would have had a pretty good shot against Wisconsin with him out there) and yet I’m not sure they have even one other player I’d want as part of my long term core with Davis. Evans is pretty good, but a bit of a chucker and not a good enough outside shooter – not the kind of lead guard I’d want to pair with Davis. Asik is fine, but hands of stone and no offensive game more than 2 feet from the roster is also not the long term pairing I want with Davis. Eric Gordon has looked pretty good when I’ve seen them the last few weeks, but his overall numbers are pretty brutal. Their bench stinks.

      They’re going to have a pretty strong incentive to keep fighting for the playoffs the next few years both to keep Davis happy and since he’ll make it impossible to really tank anyway, and yet I sort of feel like the entire rest of the roster needs rebuilding. Odd situation.

    8. Call me crazy, but I believe that with a healthy Melo, a trade for Boogie Cousins and a role player for our top 4 pick, and somehow a trade for Jrue Holliday (Calderon + Larkin maybe), bringing back some role players with potential (Galloway, Shved, Ledo, Thomas, Early) and keeping Cole, Smith, Amundson and trading TH2 for a guard who will D up an knock down some shots will make this team pretty damn competitive. But of course that’s a big dream. Cousins is possible..but Holliday is highly unlikely

    9. I think I can safely say that I had never considered a Boogie, Melo, Jrue Holiday core. A new worst-case scenario has been established!

    10. Serious question for Jowles (a/k/a resident basketball by numbers guru) — Yesterday I proposed signing Robin Lopez, Danny Green and DeMarre Carroll and drafting Towns (or Winslow if the Knicks don’t get the number 1 pick). Assuming Melo performs like the two years prior to this year, and assuming Calderon, Galloway, Hardaway, Amundson and Aldrich (and maybe Shved) are getting meaningful minutes, how many games does the old Univac say that that team would win next year?

    11. @12

      I’m curious too. But I guess that, even with Fisher at the helm and some Triangle, we’d be looking at 46 wins. Randy Wittman is advancing to the second round for the second year in a row, that’s how easy it is to win 45+ games in the East with competent players.

      Btw, if we end up with Cousins and Holiday I will become the most ardent follower of Captain Luke.

    12. I’d be very happy with a Calderon/Danny Green/DeMarre Carroll/Melo/Towns&Lopez team. VERY happy.

      But somehow I keep seeing Calderon/Reggie Jackson/Melo/Okafor/Monroe, with a layup line on every defensive posession. I don’t know why.

    13. I proposed something similar:

      Asik/R. Lopez
      Milsap
      Corey Joseph (which to be honest, I am not in love with) but do not want to spend 10M+ per year on Jackson.
      1 – Towns 2 – Okafor 3 – Winslow

      What I don’t get is the Monroe love. He is a sieve on defense. The Knicks cannot, I repeat, CANNOT sign anymore black hole no defense players especially to max contracts.

      ETA: That was not a knock on Melo.

    14. Monroe used to be horrible on defense but now he’s ascended to merely below-average actually. Still wouldn’t give him the max even if I had a gun to my head.

    15. Reggie Jackson is a player I don’t want to see here, especially since he’s basically Shved 2.0.

    16. In terms of production last year, our best positions were probably center and point guard, and we don’t really have any good centers or point guards. So getting good players in at any position is going to significantly improve the team.

    17. The best thing I could see us doing is trying for Joseph (preferably as a starter but we’re not moving Calderon)+Middleton/Green+Carroll+Melo+Towns which would still leave us some cap space leftover. But I don’t think management is planning on playing Melo at the 4, which is super, super, super dumb. ofc im assuming dray isnt coming.

      What I would like to see if Melo stays at the 3:

      Joseph +Middleton/Green+Melo+Millsap+Towns

    18. What I would like to see if Melo stays at the 3:

      Joseph +Middleton/Green+Melo+Millsap+Towns

      This would be nice but I’m not sure the salaries work very well. I imagine Joseph has to get $8 million or so to pry him out of San Antonio, and I can’t see Middleton getting any less than $12 million (and he may get his max), which wouldn’t leave nearly enough for Millsap. Maybe Ed Davis though?

    19. What I don’t get is the Monroe love. He is a sieve on defense.

      I totally get wanting 2-way players, but where is the evidence that Monroe is a sieve?
      Several scouting reports suggest he’s actually pretty good, or at least not bad:
      http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2015/1/30/7913159/pistons-news-roundup-greg-monroe-defense-trade-rumors

      NBA.com stats suggest he’s about average.
      http://stats.nba.com/player/#!/202328/tracking/defense/?Season=2014-15&SeasonType=Regular%20Season

      Don’t get me wrong – I’d rather have Draymond in a second, but most of the best players available in FA are either full maxes (Gasol, Love) or restricted (Kawhi, Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler, even Middleton).

      I’m on board with getting 3 “lesser” role-type players. Robin Lopez or Koufos might be reasonable guys to target, and Carroll and/or Green seem like good fits too. But in terms of multi-talented bigs – Monroe is probably average at best on D, but is a very good passer out of the post/elbow by all reports, can shoot the ball a little. Depending on what the market is for the Lopez/Koufos/DGreen/Carroll types, a mini-max might not be such a bad deal. My guess is that all 4 of them will get $10MM plus.

    20. I thought Middleton was valued around 8-9 m in the off-season with millsap at 13–idk how much the spurs value joseph but I was assuming they weren’t gonna be able to offer him like above 5 m. I guess you could sign millsap to a discounted one year contract or something but if the real valuation is more in line with yours then you’re right that we can’t get all 3. What is Danny Green valued at?

    21. I guess I overstated how poor Monroe is defensively and he makes up for his lack of athleticism with smart rotations and positioning. My concern is with Monroe at the 5 defensively. Also, Monroe averages about 2.4 assists per 36 which admittedly was probably hurt by the lack of shooting on the Pistons. I just worry about Melo and Monroe sharing the floor. I think Asik or R. Lopez would fit much better next to Melo. Plus, there are a lot of FA centers available which will hopefully allow the Knicks to grab one at a discount.

    22. I’m not interested in Monroe. 2-way or defensive players only for me. I want a grind-it-out team, complete with shaved-head-art

      Given the cap space blowout that is coming, I think the mini-maxes will be considered discounts in a couple of years. I say, offer Gasol, Draymond, Kawhi, Butler maxes and hope one sticks. Then offer all the other 2-way players we mentioned (Middleton, Lopez, Koufos, Danny Green, Carroll, Corey Joseph) 1-2MM more than their value, hope a couple stick.

    23. Also, Monroe averages about 2.4 assists per 36 which admittedly was probably hurt by the lack of shooting on the Pistons.

      That will go up significantly if he joins the Knicks. All our big men saw big jumps in their assist rates. Cole (on a rate basis) was a top 10 passing big man last year, and he’d never averaged anything better than 1.5 per 36 before this season.

    24. I say, offer Gasol, Draymond, Kawhi, Butler maxes and hope one sticks.

      I don’t think you can do that. Only one offer at a time, right? (Knicks can only afford 1 max contract. And with the other team having 72 hrs to match, it would take several weeks to offer all these players sheets). Knicks need to choose the player they actually want (and think they can get) and go after him with everything they can. (Or, more likely, they will just stick to the unrestricted guys)

    25. @Donnie

      Yeah, I know. I’m under no illusions that our franchise is a desired destination for anyone. However, if 1-2 of these FA’s are listening to our offers, that would be something worth pursuing.

    26. I don’t think you can do that. Only one offer at a time, right? (Knicks can only afford 1 max contract. And with the other team having 72 hrs to match, it would take several weeks to offer all these players sheets). Knicks need to choose the player they actually want (and think they can get) and go after him with everything they can. (Or, more likely, they will just stick to the unrestricted guys)

      Well, Gasol will probably take his time to make a decision.

      I would be fast to make an offer to Khris Middleton. The Bucks have cap space available. Ideally, they would like to spend it before resigning Middleton. However, if you sign Middleton early to an offer sheet, they will have to decide to match or to use their cap space. The Bucks are already stacked on the wing, and might need a center or point guard. So they might let Middleton walk, even if the contract is reasonable.

      I think 4 years/50 million should do it (i’d say 4/45 might even work). And we would still have enough cap space for a max player.

    27. I would be fast to make an offer to Khris Middleton. The Bucks have cap space available. Ideally, they would like to spend it before resigning Middleton. However, if you sign Middleton early to an offer sheet, they will have to decide to match or to use their cap space. The Bucks are already stacked on the wing, and might need a center or point guard. So they might let Middleton walk, even if the contract is reasonable.

      I think 4 years/50 million should do it (i’d say 4/45 might even work). And we would still have enough cap space for a max player.

      agree with this 100%. They have Giannis at a wing-type role, Jabari Parker coming back, Mayo , and theoretically Jared Dudley too although my guess is he will opt out. And they have the 17th pick they could always use on any number of swingmen.

      I’d also be totally unafraid to offer FA’s 1 year + 1 year player option for the unrestricted FAs (apparently RFA offer sheets must be at least 3 years). That might be the way you get someone like Wesley Matthews at a relatively cheap rate, although of course that’d be a huge risk.

    28. I wanted to ask you guys a question. I have a passable knowledge of advanced stats from this forum (reading for years), and other online sources. Most of you have a lot more experience with analytics than me.

      What books do you guys recommend for in-depth reading? (Wages of Wins? Shea’s Basketball Analytics? Dean Oliver?)

    29. (apparently RFA offer sheets must be at least 3 years

      Does this mean that if this summer’s RFAs want to cash up for next summer, their only option would be to do a 1 year + 1 player option (in case of injury) with their current team? I would imagine every RFA (and their agents for that matter) would want to be able to get a piece of the massive pie next summer and accepting an offer other than a 1+1 would hold them back financially. But I guess this logic would apply to UFAs also, so I’d imagine a lot of 1+1 deals going on, a la LeBron from last summer.

    30. What books do you guys recommend for in-depth reading? (Wages of Wins? Shea’s Basketball Analytics? Dean Oliver?)

      I recommend against Wages of Win unless you have a graduate level statistics background. The statistics in the book are not difficult, but a steep background is helpful in weeding out the enormous bullshit quotient. The Dean Oliver book is okay, but it’s kind of like reading the first Bill James Abstract in, say, 2005, but without the good writing. It’s well behind the times. The two Shea books are probably your best bet; there is nothing fantastic available. Read the archives of some of the better analytics blogs. Some of them include:

      http://nyloncalculus.com/
      http://www.basketballanalyticsbook.com/ (this is Stephen Shea)
      http://82games.com/
      http://www.inpredictable.com/
      http://www.d3coder.com/thecity/

    31. Does this mean that if this summer’s RFAs want to cash up for next summer, their only option would be to do a 1 year + 1 player option (in case of injury) with their current team? I would imagine every RFA (and their agents for that matter) would want to be able to get a piece of the massive pie next summer and accepting an offer other than a 1+1 would hold them back financially. But I guess this logic would apply to UFAs also, so I’d imagine a lot of 1+1 deals going on, a la LeBron from last summer.

      They could sign and play under their qualifying offer like Monroe did this year, then become an UFA next summer. They could sign a 2+1 deal, which, while perhaps not quite as lucrative as a full max starting next summer (ie. 1+1 and opting out of player option), is still an extra year of fully guaranteed $ for these guys who haven’t yet made a huge amount of money. If I’m an RFA I’d sign a 2+1 deal, lock up my 40+MM in the bank. The cap is STILL going up in the summer of 2017 so it’s not like they’ll lose that much earning potential.

    32. So no one here thinks Cousins and Holliday are good fits for the triangle? I admit, I am going mostly off of stats, but I do think those 2 are good players. Holliday may have already reached his peak- but we don’t need 18 and 8 from him. We just need him to run the offense, play good defense and rebound from the guard spot. All of which he can do in addition to knocking down open shots. Cousins may be a head case, but with his skillset I think he’s worth a shot with Fish and Phil in his ear. The first thing he would hafta cut way back on 18 footers. I love Greg Monroe, but I’d much rather have Cousins. He can easily go off for 30 and 12 with a couple blocks..and he’s YOUNG. With the right role players around Melo/Cousins/Holliday, Phil can build a really good team. Cousins would know he’s option 2 and Holliday would know he’s option 3. Put a shooter at the 2 and a dirty work player at the 4 and you have something. I’m just not sold on any bigs in the draft as game changers. I like Towns and Okafor..but Okafor is a lot closer to his ceiling than Towns and Towns is not necessarily the inside player we need. As far as the backcourt goes, I do like Russell and Mudiay, but coming in as rookies they would hafta carry too much of a load. Unless Melo waives his no trade clause..the Knicks don’t have a lot of time to move forward. And none of the draft prospects the team has a shot at look like immediate progress to me. At least with Cousins and Holliday being young, you have immediate progress and future value. The draft is a crapshoot and this year’s class is just potential. With Melo in tow at his salary, Phil really can’t afford to wait on rookies. There are no Kobes, Lebrons, Shaqs, Duncans, Unibrows, Ewings, Jordans, AI’s or Magics in this class.

    33. Cousins is not available this offseason. Maybe next offseason, but not this offseason. And that’s going away from whether the Knicks even have enough assets to get him.

    34. With the way that the cap is going up, you likely have to look at any target you’re thinking about and then add $3-4 million to their annual price tag. Middleton, for instance, is likely looking at close to a mini-Max right now, and Milwaukee still probably re-signs him. Green, Butler and Leonard are all getting mini-max contracts, and they’re all getting re-signed. There’s a chance that some of those guys might not even go to restricted free agency, as they’re so confident in their ability to get paid (and instead go for 1+1 deals with their current teams). Green and Middleton likely don’t fit into that mold, though.

      Guys like Reggie Jackson, who is mediocre at best, is probably getting an eight figure deal annually. Millsap is getting whatever his max is. The Knicks’ $26-27 million is unlikely to be able to get them more than Monroe and probably one other notable guy (and then the room exception for a lesser third guy).

      Of course, the current plan is also for Monroe to be paired with a center (or with a power forward with Monroe playing center), which means Melo is going to once again not play the position where he’s had the most success in his career, which I still don’t get.

    35. On the one hand, as Melo gets older, he’ll have a harder time guarding some quicker 3’s, but playing as a 4 probably puts significantly more wear and tear on those old joints. So, playing as a 3 probably preserves his trade value over a longer time period – hopefully he recognizes that he ain’t gonna win a ring here before he becomes completely untradeable and waives his NTC to go hang with the superfriends or something.

    36. Well if it makes you feel any better Phil seemed to agree that at least defensively Melo is a tweener between the 3 and the 4 and that they would take that into account when trying to fill out the roster.

    37. Some pretty interesting scenarios being thrown around. Not sure how I feel about Cousin’s. Very skilled and I think if you were to compare him to Monroe, you would take Cousins. I just don’t know how I feel about his personality though. The new FO have talked about changing the culture, and for me you need high quality guys. Not necessarily the most skilled, but good character guys, and I don’t think Cousins fits that mold. I don’t mind having a bet every now and again, but Cousins feels like a big risk.

      If we can get him on an okay deal I don’t hate going after Monroe. Also, we have gone pretty quiet on the Tobias Harris front recently. Is no one still keen? I can’t remember what the final consensus was on that one, or did he have an average finish to the year that has put people off? At this stage I would be happy just to sign some solid role players rather than make a big splash.

    38. Keep chucking ’em JR.

      #shootersgonnashoot

      I actually hate myself a little for hashtagging that just now.

    39. J.R. Shmumpert is 2-8 from the field. Pretty much proves we were right to get rid of them.

    40. It would be nice if the knicks could get Ajinca, Jerbko, Joseph, and Middleton. Throw in Towns and try to buy a 2nd rd pick for Tyler Harvey and I would be kind of happy. Middleton would be a hard get(Parsons deal) so I would settle for splitting the money between maybe Carrol and Danny Green.

    41. I don’t know if Cleveland is “playing down” to the Cs or not but man it looks like they are going to have a real tough time with Chicago.

    42. Chris Webber may be the worst color commentator in the history of organized sports

      YES!!!! THANK YOU!!! I’ve been saying that since he’s been talking. Although, it turns out that Steve Smith is also horrendous. And Shane Battier isn’t nearly as good as I thought he would be. Reggie also sucks. In fact, most players turned color commentators are really terrible at their new jobs, except Clyde, of course.

      But Chris Webber just might be the worst of them all. Good God that man just won’t shut up about the most asinine topics.

      EDIT: Mark Jackson is stupefyingly awful.

    43. I don’t like Webber, but I’ll take him over Reggie or Jackson. They’re all pretty awful

    44. John Wall just erased a Lou Williams break. Raps getting debacled. #takethatmasai

      Does Drake still go to these games?

    45. Hi guys, I haven’t posted in quite awhile, but still enjoy reading Knickerblogger almost daily. Thanks to all the staff and posters for keeping me entertained through this crap. On second thought, I probably would have moved on with my life without Knickerblogger, so curse you all. As I watch all these ex-Knicks playing in the playoffs, I wondered what everybody’s All-Ex-Knick-Still-In-The-Playoffs Team would look like. Mine: Chandler, Z-Bo, Crawford, Beno, Ariza.

    46. @ptmilo

      Thanks. None of those sites have a tutorial or anything. Ill just try the Shea books..

    47. A team with Felton, Tyson and Stat getting destroyed at the rim? I’m having PTSD flashbacks

    48. With Monta Ellis and Demar DeRozan lead teams looking like they’re going down in the first round, hopefully this is high noon for paying guys a lot of money to take shots.

    49. Man seeing Dirk like this makes me wonder if Tyson will have another homecoming but this time back to N.O. Can Dallas improve their team enough? Tyson’s cap hold won’t help.

    50. @63 who the hell was paying those two guys?

      Well they’re on $25 and $38 million dollar contracts respectively so their current teams

    51. I think we have different definitions of paying people. Derozan for 9.5 a year is fine. Monta for 8.3 is borderline. I was talking about max deals

    52. By the way, when the NBA’s own ads for the playoffs promote “Heroball,” how can we expect the players not to go that route, as well?

    53. I heard that Roy Hibbert is devastated that his bitch has left him for Dwight Howard.

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