Knicks Morning News (2015.04.22)

  • [New York Times] Injuries Again Playing Prominent Role in NBA Playoffs (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 06:44:23 GMT)

    The NBA playoffs have picked up right where the regular season left off — with key players fighting to stay healthy when they are needed most.

  • [New York Times] Phoenix Suns’ Morris Brothers Charged With Aggravated Assault (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 05:23:14 GMT)

    A grand jury in Arizona has indicted Phoenix Suns players Marcus and Markieff Morris on two counts of aggravated assault relating to an incident after a basketball tournament in January, court papers showed on Tuesday.

  • [New York Times] Howard and Harden Lead Rockets Over Mavericks 111-99 (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 04:44:22 GMT)

    Dwight Howard scored 28 points and James Harden added 24 to help the Houston Rockets coast to a 111-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference playoff series.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Cavaliers Extend Lead on Scrappy Celtics (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 04:27:17 GMT)

    LeBron James scored 30 points, 15 in the fourth quarter, to pass the Hall of Famer Jerry West on the career playoff scoring list and make sure Cleveland did not slip up at home.

  • [New York Times] Wall Has 26 Points, 17 Assists, Wizards Rout Raptors 117-106 (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 02:56:32 GMT)

    John Wall had 26 points and 17 assists, Bradley Beal scored 28 points and the Washington Wizards beat the Toronto Raptors 117-106 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

  • [New York Times] LeBron Scores 30, Cavaliers Hold Off Celtics 99-91 in Game 2 (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 01:50:38 GMT)

    LeBron James scored 30 points, Kyrie Irving added 26 and the Cleveland Cavaliers finally shook off Boston in the fourth quarter, beating the Celtics 99-91 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their opening-round series.

  • [New York Daily News] Phil Jackson: I’m OK not being here for Knicks turnaround (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 05:43:48 GMT)

    Phil Jackson addressed the media for nearly 45 minutes on Tuesday, and perhaps his shortest answer was the most revealing one.

  • [New York Daily News] Isola: Phil Jackson needs to stand up for Knicks at lottery (Wed, 22 Apr 2015 03:05:52 GMT)

    Phil Jackson owes it to James Dolan, the Knicks and their fans to be sitting on the dais during next month’s NBA Draft Lottery.

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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).

    23 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.04.22)”

    1. When it comes to the Triangle, I’m fairly agnostic. I’m not particularly an advocate for the system, but at the same time, I don’t think it is inherently a bad idea, either (unless the Triangle is the only thing keeping Melo from playing the 4, in which case I think the Triangle is inherently a bad idea – but I don’t think it is the Triangle that is keeping Melo from the 4).

      That said, I think that perhaps the weirdest thing that I’ve seen so far from Phil Jackson during his time here (non-Twitter edition) has been his consistent belief that the Triangle works as a sales pitch for incoming free agents:

      We have a unique style, and that attracts certain people. There’s a style of how we play. We’ve established that. Players are going to know this if it fits how I’d like to play basketball. Certain role guys, they’ll get an opportunity that will enhance their skills.

      It’s not even that I’m 100% sure that he’s wrong, it’s just that I don’t recall a single player ever saying, “I want to go play with a Triangle Offense.” So where is this coming from? It’s just odd. “Players want to play for me because I won a lot of titles.” That I could buy. “Players want to play in the Triangle”? Huh?

      And he’s been spouting that all season long.

    2. I haven’t uber-scrutinized Jackson’s comments but the constant referencing of the triangle is unsettling. FFS Holzman didn’t run the triangle! All I can say Is Red Auerbach must be laughing himself silly wherever he is since his final trump card was “I was GM and put the teams together.”

    3. So where is this coming from? It’s just odd

      I think it comes from agents contacting him and telling him this.

      He said a few months ago: I “think that New York situation holds a high regard in players and agents that have contacted us. We have no lack of agents that have contacted us for their players. We still think that we have a really good chance to develop a team.”

      Phil may take these agents literally, and not realize that they are probably just trying to drive the price up for their clients.

      Either that or the “basketball gods” told him it was so.

      (Or maybe somebody said: “I don’t see Kevin Love playing in the triangle” and what Phil heard was “Kevin loves playing in the triangle”.)

      (Okay, I’m out of guesses now)

    4. I think Jackson is correct that some players improve their statistics in the triangle. I remember reading once that he was one of the few coaches whose players got better statistics playing for him than in the past. He attributes that to playing the Triangle, and that could be true; but there are other offensive systems out there now that also seem to improve players. San Antonio and Golden State come to mind.

      I don’t know any NBA players personally, so it’s very hard to judge whether they think the Triangle will help them. That said, I am sure there are many players in the league who have seen the sorts of plays and system that NY runs and understand whether they would like playing in it and how it would affect what they do in a game. After all, they are professionals whose living depends on understanding the game. It’s not hard for me to believe that there are some players out there who think the system would be a good fit for them and who also like the idea of playing in NY. And some players would love to play in NY. So I think some of the agents inquiries represent real interest and are not just negotiating tactics. Jackson’s challenge is to do better at evaluating talent than he did last year.

    5. That’s the other thing. He goes on and on about how this system is unique and all the other systems are generic, but you have all of these teams playing systems like Golden State and Atlanta and San Antonio and, well, huh?

      I mean, sure, the Triangle beats, like, Scott Brooks and Randy Wittman’s “systems,” but the notion that these other teams are just running generic systems is a big part about why I find his comments so odd.

    6. Brian, I agree 100%. But fortunately for us, Atlanta, Golden State and San Antonio are likely to offer free agents fewer opportunities to be hired and get good playing time, just because they already have a lot of good personnel and don’t need much help from free agents. And Jackson has to be positive about the Knicks, at least in his public statements, in order to do the best recruiting job possible.

    7. Oh definitely, I am definitely quite pleased that the Knicks actually do have money to spend. I think that there is a real chance that Jackson picks up three strong players (one top guy, one middle guy and one lesser guy) to go with the top lottery pick. Here’s to hoping that that’s what happens!

    8. “I haven’t uber-scrutinized Jackson’s comments”
      Probably a good policy. I take whatever he — and any other pro sports executive — says with a rather large grain of salt since they always have a hidden agenda and are generally full of crap when they speak publicly. (Although it is kind of fun to listen to the talking heads parse Riley’s words and try to figure out what he meant by “no more smiling faces with hidden agendas…”)

    9. I definitely agree that Jackson sounds at least slightly delusional in these comments, but as with the rest of the stuff related to Jackson I’m going to basically reserve judgement until after this summer. He knows a heck of a lot more about the personal lives of NBA players than I do. If he says that there are players that are just dying to play in the triangle, that sounds pretty fishy to me, but I can’t actually say that he’s wrong with any authority whatsoever. He would know a heck of a lot better than me.

      So let’s see what Phil can do this summer. Recruiting should be his strong point as a GM. I don’t think it’s silly to think his name still carries a lot of weight around the league – look at the success Riley has had recruiting players. Whether it’s the triangle or the rings or the city, if Phil can convince the right guys to take our money this summer that will be a big step in the right direction.

    10. Yes he lost Lebron last year, but Riley has won more of those battles than he has lost. I’m not sure how a single counterexample shows that “the evidenec is to the contrary”. Why should players want to align themselves with men whose names are synonymous with winning NBA championships? I think the reasons are pretty obvious, but as I said, I’m not an NBA player, nor have I ever had the pleasure of knowing an NBA player any more intimately than the 200 level. The proof will be in the pudding.

    11. So a player would choose a team because of a “winning atmosphere”, but not because of a GM with a history of winning. What exactly constitutes a winning atmosphere?

    12. On an unrelated note, has anyone ever lost themselves as much money as rondo in these playoffs and really his whole contract year?

      Not to pile on the guy, but I just can’t imagine any team paying him more than $10 million. It seems like a crazy thing to say but I really can’t think of a team that he makes sense for. I’d be angry if the Knicks signed him for that much. Luckily he’s not a triangle point guard so I don’t have to worry.

      I don’t know what a max rondo deal would have started at — something around $20 million? He really may have lost himself 30-40 million this year. Or maybe I’m totally off base and the lakers will give him all of that money. I hope they do.

    13. I don’t think Phil Jackson’s coaching resume has an iota of influence on what any player in the league will do. Why should it?

      that could be completely true, but it doesn’t contradict what Jackson said. He said some players will want to come to NY because the system the team plays suits them. That’s different.

    14. “A “winning atmosphere’ is one where the player can maximize his earning potential by being part of a team good enough that it competes for a title and the player does not have to carry the entire load.”
      By this definition, the Spurs would not have a “winning atmosphere” because guys like Parker and Duncan have not maximized their earning potential but, instead, have taken discounts to help the team continue winning. If they don’t max out Kawhi Leonard this summer, he also would not be maximizing his earning potential because the Knicks and Lakers (and a bunch of other teams) would likely love the opportunity to pay him a max salary. And if you mean maximizing their earnings off the court, I could be wrong, but I think that Melo makes more in endorsements than Parker, Duncan and Leonard do.

    15. I think Phil actually does know what he’s talking about re: players wanting to play in the triangle. He won’t sell it to them as “come play in this arcane system that we call the Triangle” but rather as — “would you rather be able to move, pass , cut, shoot, or would you rather stand in the corner hoping the ball gets kicked out to you as your PG runs around picks 5x in a possession?”

      that’s what Melo bristled against in D’Antoni’s system, what Love is supposedly upset with in Cleveland, etc.

      For the multi-talented big men that have made the Triangle go and for guys who think their skills are not being maximized in whatever system they’re in, it’s not a bad sell.

    16. LeBron learned that playing for Cleveland the first time around: yes, he was a star, but his career would not go further unless he started winning more. Cleveland, in spite of overachieving with LeBron at the helm, was not a winning atmosphere, at least for LeBron. The Miami arrangement was the result.

      So you feel confident enough in your reading of Lebron to say that he left a 60+ win Cleveland team to go a 47 win Miami team because of their “winning atmosphere” but that the decision had nothing to do with Riley? I guess you’re just extremely knowledgeable about what drives NBA players (I’m sure it is all based on decades of experience like Phil Jackson’s claims that you so readily dismiss, and not just totally pulled out of your ass).

    17. I think that if there was a 2010 situation, where a transcendental player was available, Phil Jackson making the pitch could have value (whether it’s the Triangle, or his 11 rings, or his Zen vibe, or whatever). But this summer there will just be a bunch of somewhat interesting players that are as intriguing as they are flawed. I don’t think Phil’s “power” is going to make the difference as to whether Greg Monroe signs with NY. He’d probably take NY’s money whether it was Phil Jackson or Stu Jackson offering the check.

      More interesting is whether Jackson can use his Zen Triangle Rings to lure Kevin Durant away from OKC (but we have to wait a looooong time to see if that happens).

    18. Well Scottie Brooks has been fired. Im excited to see what Russ and KD look like in an actual offensive set.

    19. Well Scottie Brooks has been fired. Im excited to see what Russ and KD look like in an actual offensive set.

      I know a lot of people blame Brooks entirely for the way their offense runs, but they’re not exactly a natural fit for some kind of flow offense. Westbrook wants/needs to have the ball a lot, Durant is similar, and then they don’t really have a single other player on the roster who can create a thing with the ball in their hands. Maybe some of those guys would open up a bit if they shared the ball more, but I’m not 100% convinced that the talent on hand doesn’t lend itself more to something pretty similar to what they have.

    20. I think it’s time for the Thunder to balance the team: trade one of the two for a couple of solid role players. The team is rather thin after the two superstars.

      I agree….Westbrook’s play without Durant this season, especially in the 2nd half, showed how much of a one-man juggernaut he is, and maybe the front office might be thinking that they can get by with re-tooling around just Russell. Maybe they trade Durant next season instead of losing him for nothing, for some helpful assets/pieces. Then KD can come to the Knicks lol

    21. On an unrelated note, has anyone ever lost themselves as much money as rondo in these playoffs and really his whole contract year?

      Not to pile on the guy, but I just can’t imagine any team paying him more than $10 million. It seems like a crazy thing to say but I really can’t think of a team that he makes sense for. I’d be angry if the Knicks signed him for that much. Luckily he’s not a triangle point guard so I don’t have to worry.

      I don’t know what a max rondo deal would have started at — something around $20 million? He really may have lost himself 30-40 million this year. Or maybe I’m totally off base and the lakers will give him all of that money. I hope they do.

      Now out for the rest of the series with a “back injury”. Seems possible that the Mavs and his agent agreed that both sides would save face if they did this rather than bench him. Honestly, forget about $10M, I would not be happy if the Knicks signed him for the minimum at this point. I’m not sure I think he’s above replacement level for PG in this league any more, and he comes with a ton of baggage/attitude issues. I really, really hope he’s headed for the Lakers next year, because the reaction of all the Kobe fans when they see people picking them 10th in the conference with Kobe AND Rondo will be next level funny.

    22. Cole Aldrich for Kevin Durant, who says no?

      Unfortunately, the salaries don’t match.

      Maybe we can throw Melo as a sweetener :)

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