Knicks Morning News (2015.05.18)

  • [New York Daily News] Isiah Thomas watches 1st Liberty practice as team president (Mon, 18 May 2015 05:19:11 GMT)

    There were no Phil Jackson sightings at the MSG Training Facility on Sunday, which is too bad.

  • [New York Daily News] Plenty of former Knicks still alive in NBA playoffs (Mon, 18 May 2015 05:14:22 GMT)

    While Knicks fans root for a win in the draft lottery, they have plenty of former players to watch in the NBA playoffs.

  • [New York Times] Party Time: Hawks’ Streak, LeBron Has Atlanta Fans Buzzing (Mon, 18 May 2015 06:22:45 GMT)

    Atlanta fans love a big winner, and they love big stars.

  • [New York Times] Rockets Bounce Back to Advance to Conference Finals (Mon, 18 May 2015 06:22:43 GMT)

    Down 3-1 in the series and on the brink of elimination, the Houston Rockets reeled off three straight wins to complete an improbable comeback over the Los Angeles Clippers and return to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Draft: Before Envelopes for Draft Lottery Are Opened, Teams’ Fates Are Sealed in Secrecy (Mon, 18 May 2015 06:00:15 GMT)

    The actual selection of the winning teams will take place in strict secrecy about an hour before Tuesday’s made-for-TV event.

  • [New York Times] James Harden and Houston Complete Comeback From a 3-1 Series Deficit Against the Clippers (Mon, 18 May 2015 01:24:43 GMT)

    With the help of 31 points from Harden, the Rockets completed a comeback from a deficit of three games to one against the Los Angeles Clippers and move on to play the Golden State Warriors.

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: Knicks as a Lottery Lock? Picking the Notion Apart (Mon, 18 May 2015 00:44:31 GMT)

    The former N.B.A. commissioner David Stern pointed out that the league has done just fine without a champion hailing from New York.

  • [New York Times] Rockets Back in Conference Finals First 1st Time Since ’97 (Mon, 18 May 2015 00:04:45 GMT)

    James Harden scored 31 points, Dwight Howard had 16 points and 15 rebounds and the Houston Rockets never trailed in a 113-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, sending them to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997.

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Ex-Knick Dalembert's heart still with Haiti (Mon, 18 May 2015 00:39:14 EST)

    Ex-Knick Dalembert's heart still with Haiti

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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).

    59 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.05.18)”

    1. Rockets
      Starters (Harden, Howard, Ariza, Terry, Jones): 1912 min, 4.9 WS
      Bench: 967 min, 1.3 WS

      Clippers
      Starters (Paul, Griffin, Jordan, Redick, Barnes): 2433 min, 7.3 WS
      Bench: 953 min, 0.4 WS

      The Clippers starters played an extra 500! minutes in just two rounds and carried the rest of the drudge as far as it could go, actually outproducing the Rockets starters by a tremendous two and half wins. Otoh despite playing nearly the exact same min (despite the extra games played) the Clips bench actually produced less than a third of the output than their Rockets counterparts. Even that understates how bad they were, as essentially only two players on their bench were a net positive.

    2. big day for our franchise tomorrow.

      I’m feeling great about anything in the top 3. I think Okafor’s defense is probably getting overthought, Towns of course would be fantastic, and I think D’Angelo Russell feels like he’s going to be great. Mudiay is such a mystery.

    3. Game 1 of the Clips-Spurs series was 4 weeks ago yesterday. In that time they played 14 incredibly high intensity playoff games against really good teams while trying to ride exactly 5 guys. They definitely tightened up towards then end of game 6, but yesterday they just looked spent to me. Blake averaged 39.8 minutes over those 14 games. That’s just insane for a big guy.

      Blake and CP3 both had moments over the last couple games that will give their critics plenty to harp on, but overall they were undeniably two of the best players in the playoffs. Maybe the two best. To me this defeat lies way more on Doc the GMs plate then on theirs. When your 6th, 7th and 8th guys are Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers and Big Baby Davis you’re not a title team. It doesn’t matter if your big 3 is Lebron James, Bill Russell and the Incredible Hulk. You need more than 5 guys, and they didn’t have them.

      Also Doc the coach should have some questions to answer today as well. Barnes’ shot had seemingly deserted him the last couple games, but you could chop off both his arms and I’m pretty sure he’d still deserve to play over Crawford. Only 22 minutes is pretty inexplicable.

    4. Yes, everybody knew depth was a major issue for LAC. That said, though, the bench played huge for LA in this series. They won game 1 in Houston without Chris Paul(!), game 3 the starters didn’t even need to sweat thanks to Austin River’s shooting 10-13, and in game 4 the bench played well (and everybody got lots of rest while DeAndre Jordan practiced his free throw shooting).

      In all, it was a very strange series. The Clippers dominated the Rockets for the majority of it. And Paul actually played more minutes as the series went on, not less. The Clippers managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (they are still the Clippers afterall), and I don’t think it is as simple as “the Clippers bench sucked” (though it’s an element, it’s not like the Rockets bench of Corey Brewer and Josh Smith is really WCF material either).

    5. Right Donnie. Austin rivers had two great games in the series. Reddick had one as well.

    6. “big day for our franchise tomorrow.
      I’m feeling great about anything in the top 3.”
      I (along with everyone else) am hoping for the #1 pick. However, the “downside” is that, if they get #1, this place is going to be pretty boring for the next month. There’s only so many different ways that people can say, “They should take Towns!” Even the doomsayers aren’t going to find much to argue about (especially since we’ve already beaten the “should they trade #1 for Cousins” scenario to death) unless, of course, someone like Broussard or SAS makes up some scoop about the Knicks thinking of trading the #1 for Durant. If they fall, between the inevitable, “Fisher and Jackson are idiots for not tanking harder” comments and the legitimate debates over what they should do with their pick, we should be averaging over 100 posts a day here.

    7. If we get towns I would still sign Monroe and start the season with Melo at the 4 and Monroe at the 5 and Towns on the bench. We would then also need to sign a nice swingman

    8. 2011 Miami heat roster..barely had a starting lineup let alone a bench.

      You remember that they lost in the finals right?

      Yes, everybody knew depth was a major issue for LAC. That said, though, the bench played huge for LA in this series. They won game 1 in Houston without Chris Paul(!), game 3 the starters didn’t even need to sweat thanks to Austin River’s shooting 10-13, and in game 4 the bench played well (and everybody got lots of rest while DeAndre Jordan practiced his free throw shooting).

      I think saying the bench played huge is a pretty serious exaggeration. They had their moments as you outline (Although Game 1 without CP3 was the Blake show, and Reddick and Barnes were both excellent also, not sure the bench gets much credit for that one), but their overall stats, and in particular +/- for the series are typically bad. The story was the same as it has been for the Clippers, they controlled games when their starters played, and got beat up when the starters hit the bench.

    9. I agree about Doc the GM not doing a good enough job. It’s not so hard to evaluate potential starters for your team as a coach/GM. There just aren’t that many of them that are available and you see a lot of them play while you are a coach. But finding gems that will develop, such as Kawhi Leonard, or recruiting the Mozgov’s and Prigioni’s of the world is a lot of work, and coaches don’t have time to see any of them play in person or probably even to talk to them much. There are many many candidates on paper for bench positions, but only a few have shots to be good, so a lot of time has to be spent sorting out candidates. I don’t think Doc has time for that nor has someone good doing it for him. I think he also screwed up with Nate Robinson. Nate apparently wanted to play for him and waited for a roster spot to be available. But instead of just signing him for the rest of the season, he got two ten day contracts and then was dumped because of an injured knee. If Nate had been on a one year contract he might have been back healthy by the second round of the playoffs, and he might have helped.

      On the other hand, I always felt the Rockets were underrated in the playoffs. They were a higher seed in the playoffs than both the Spurs and the Clippers, despite missing Howard for much of the season and losing Beverly. They also found reasonable bench players to fill the holes in their roster caused by injuries. So the Rockets probably started out a better team and were better GMed in addition.

    10. Again, the Clippers bench was the coach’s son, who is a terrible NBA player, Jamal Crawford, a ridiculous chucker, and Big Baby Davis, a great nickname who has spent 9 seasons in the NBA taking playing time from people who are actually useful basketball players. And Big Baby played 50 minutes against the Rockets. I could spend 2 hours one lazy afternoon in the off season and put together a better bench than that.

    11. Game 6 of Clippers-Rockets was one of the great fluke moments in NBA history. You basically had Josh Smith and Corey Brewer, both guys with sub-.300 percentages from 3PT, nailing one improbable contested step-back trey after another. I don’t know how I’d be able to cope with life if my team’s dreams at an NBA title were thwarted by a Josh Smith/Corey Brewer three point barrage. It’d be like Tim Tebow winning a playoff game against your favorite NFL team by repeatedly torching your defense with accurate deep balls in the fourth quarter.

    12. I could spend 2 hours one lazy afternoon in the off season and put together a better bench than that.

      Probably true, but since this is the NBA, I think the Clips should double down on their strategy and trade Redick + all the players on their “bench” for Carmelo Anthony. Paul, Griffin, Jordan, Anthony, and Rivers– with a 5 like that, who needs a bench, right Doc?!

    13. Game 6 of Clippers-Rockets was one of the great fluke moments in NBA history. You basically had Josh Smith and Corey Brewer, both guys with sub-.300 percentages from 3PT, nailing one improbable contested step-back trey after another. I don’t know how I’d be able to cope with life if my team’s dreams at an NBA title were thwarted by a Josh Smith/Corey Brewer three point barrage. It’d be like Tim Tebow winning a playoff game against your favorite NFL team by repeatedly torching your defense with accurate deep balls in the fourth quarter.

      I said the same thing when Lance Stephenson burned our asses in the 2013 playoffs, but got lambasted by many on this board who considered him one of the rising young stars of the league who could only get better. How’d that turn out?

    14. I’m still upset that they tanked. What good did it do? They got a bag of Cheetos for JR, Shump and Prigs.

    15. I said the same thing when Lance Stephenson burned our asses in the 2013 playoffs, but got lambasted by many on this board who considered him one of the rising young stars of the league who could only get better. How’d that turn out?

      He only got better. Then much, much worse. (It’s terribly difficult to predict that kind of precipitous drop-off. I’d challenge you to find many other players who went from borderline All-NBA third-teamers to below replacement level, barring major injuries.)

      http://www.boxscoregeeks.com/players/121-lance-stephenson

    16. He only got better. Then much, much worse. (It’s terribly difficult to predict that kind of precipitous drop-off. I’d challenge you to find many other players who went from borderline All-NBA third-teamers to below replacement level, barring major injuries.)

      http://www.boxscoregeeks.com/players/121-lance-stephenson

      That is some freaky shooting data. 12-13 and 13-14 he is 52 and 54 from 2 and 33 and 35 from three. The surrounding three seasons he tops out at 45 and 17.

    17. Some thoughts on the playoffs so far:

      Plz stop with the herp-derp about the poooooor Paper Clip starters playing soooooo many minutes…. many team shorten their rotations to 8 for the playoffs. Case in point…. the 85-86 Champ Boston Celtics. Bird played 42.8 over all 18 games. Mc Hale and DJ played 39.7 each over all 18 games. Ainge 36.2 and even the Chief at 32 yrs old played 32.8/game for all 18 games.

      Check out the minutes they played in the finals vs Houston! :

      http://www.basketball-reference.com/playoffs/NBA_1986_finals_HOU-BOS.html

      So cut out the crap about CP3 and Griffin playing tooooo many minutes. Josh Smith gave him a bit of a problem match up yesterday for Christ’s sake!

      Second point being some of the GM’s should be sued by their teams for malpractice. How Memphis could have 2 great both outstanding low and hi post big men and a capable point guard and not have a couple of cheap 3 point marksmen like Steve Novak or Hubert Davis or Craig Hodges or Steve Kerr on the roster is plain malpractice. Should have been NBA champs.

      Also Melo’s talents would look awfully good on any of the final 8 teams save maybe GS….. There is a place for a post scorer who can shoot the 3 efficiently when offence bogs down in a playoff scenario.

    18. Yeah Lance wasn’t exactly a one series fluke. He had two tremendous seasons, looked like a young player on the rise whose big concerns were all personal issues. If you visited me alst year from the year in the future and told me that Lance fell off a cliff, I would have believed it, but I would have assumed he got in a fight with a teammate, or picked up a 15 game suspension for licking Lebron’s face or something along those lines. Not that he would completely healthy, no real issues, and just stop being good. He’s a total enigma at this point. I have no idea what a reasonable expectation for him next year would be.

    19. Well for a rising star, Indiana sure didn’t make much of an effort to re-sign him. Supposedly no one on the Pacers liked the guy. What does that have to do with talent? Not much, but the guy is a serious head case and a big time risk to whoever decided to sign him.

    20. yep and LeBron was crushed. CP nope its everyone else’s fault.

      During the Rockets series Chris Paul averaged 21.2 points (.619% TS!), 10 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and turned the ball over 10 times the entire series. What specifically should he have done better? What could he have even done better? I can’t believe there are actually people trying to place blame on him for this, all it does is cover Doc’s ass for some terrible GMing

    21. @24 you can’t lose that game six at home to the rockets bench and Dwight Howard.

      And I blame Blake for his disappearing act way way way more than CP3

    22. Langston Galloway makes the All-Rookie 2nd team. Strong work by him – well deserved (also says something about how bad the vaunted draft class of 2014 was!).

      Re Lance:

      That is some freaky shooting data. 12-13 and 13-14 he is 52 and 54 from 2 and 33 and 35 from three. The surrounding three seasons he tops out at 45 and 17.

      I think that’s called some combination of getting paid and no longer working hard, and probably stoppage of PEDs. All his predraft scouting reports said he possibly wasn’t athletic enough to dominate in the NBA, and next thing you know he’s leading the break dunking over everyone. Makes you say hmmmm.

    23. DeAndre Jordan scored 95 points on 39FGAs in the series while our old friend Jamal scored 96 points on 100FGAs. That made me laugh. I wish John Abbey was still here to tell me how valuable all Jamal’s bricks were.

    24. DeAndre Jordan scored 95 points on 39FGAs in the series while our old friend Jamal scored 96 points on 100FGAs. That made me laugh. I wish John Abbey was still here to tell me how valuable all Jamal’s bricks were.

      To be fair that was 95 points on 39FGA but 81 total possessions considering all the free throws…
      still better than 96 points on what ultimately was ~109 possessions for JCrossover.

    25. We got the Russian James Harden for Prigs-that’s fair value.

      @19 – Yeah, and a 2019 2nd rounder. Yippee!!!!

    26. Some thoughts on the playoffs so far:

      Plz stop with the herp-derp about the poooooor Paper Clip starters playing soooooo many minutes…. many team shorten their rotations to 8 for the playoffs. Case in point…. the 85-86 Champ Boston Celtics. Bird played 42.8 over all 18 games. Mc Hale and DJ played 39.7 each over all 18 games. Ainge 36.2 and even the Chief at 32 yrs old played 32.8/game for all 18 games.

      And this case is no outlier.

      https://arturogalletti.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/regular-season.png

      https://arturogalletti.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/playoffs.png

      Players 7-12 go from receiving 31% of available minutes in the regular season to 19% in the playoffs.

      To be fair that was 95 points on 39FGA but 81 total possessions considering all the free throws…
      still better than 96 points on what ultimately was ~109 possessions for JCrossover..

      Sure, and those fouls help other players as well. Bonus FT, foul trouble. Fouls are bad.

    27. “@19 – Yeah, and a 2019 2nd rounder. Yippee!!!!”
      Not that it’s a really big deal, but I think that they also got a 2017 second round pick for Pablo.

    28. (also says something about how bad the vaunted draft class of 2014 was!).

      The vaunted draft class of 2014 was decidedly less vaunted well before it actually took place. As soon as Parker and Wiggins looked pretty ordinary in college, it quickly became, “Eh, never mind about how good this draft is.”

      Although a healthy Embiid obviously would have changed things a bit.

      But yes, congrats to Langston! That is definitely very cool.

    29. I remember Riley when he coached the Knicks used to really tighten the rotations so I went and just looked at Ewing’s minutes per game during the playoffs under Riley. 12 games in 1992 at 40.2 mpg, 15 games in 1993 at 40.3 mpg and in 25 playoff games in 1994 Ewing played 41.3 mpg!!!! In 1995 he was hampered with the bad calf and in 11 games he “only” played 36.3 mpg.

      Im not exactly shedding tears for poor Blake Griffin playing all those minutes this postseason considering what Ewing did during the Riley years. Of course maybe all those minutes is the reason Ewing looked exhausted and was clearly outplayed by Olajuwon in the 1994 Finals even though Ewing did still average 12.4 reb/g and 4.3 blk/g but he only scored 18.9 ppg on awful 36% FG%. He also averaged 44 mpg during that series while Olajuwon played 43.1 mpg.

    30. Yeah, I don’t think playing a few more minutes of basketball every two or three days makes much difference to these guys. But a competent bench goes a long way when players actually get injured, which presumably Chris Paul was.

    31. It’s less the minutes load though that may be an issue and more that the Clippers bench is so god awful neither LeBron nor Jordan could carry it. Same goes for CP3.

    32. Not sure the comparison with pre-rule changes NBA is totally valid.

      I’m far from an expert in this area, but my understanding is that modern defenses (of the Thibodeau type) require much more effort to execute than the more vanilla defenses used earlier.

    33. @36 so you are trying to tell me LeBron couldn’t win with that team instead of CP3?!?!?. Please stop.

    34. It doesn’t even matter if Jordan or Lebron could have won with the Clippers. Maybe they would have. Maybe they wouldn’t. All that matters is whether you think a given player should be given shit for having a great series and his team not winning. Chris Paul had a great series. His team lost. Should he be given shit for the team losing?

    35. Yes. LeBron got shit for losing the 2009 ECF when he was playing out of his mind.

    36. I really blame Blake. He really came up small in the second half of this series. LeBron didn’t even have a Blake until Miami.

    37. Michael Jordan played 179 playoff games and averaged 41.8 minutes per game!!

    38. Yes. LeBron got shit for losing the 2009 ECF when he was playing out of his mind.

      So you agree that Lebron should have gotten shit then? Or is this some sort of, “But Player X got shit wrongly in the past, so we have to wrongly give shit out to players now” type of thing?

    39. I think you have to assign some level of shit to the “star” players since they were up 19 with a little more than 1 qrt to go in a closeout game at home. I also think that perhaps its just simply not a winning formula to have your best player be a 6 foot pg. If you take a look at the teams that have won rings in the past 20 years most of those squads had dominant bigs or wings. Of course this is a fairly general statement as there are a few exceptions such as magic, isiah, maybe you could include chauncy or tony parker for one of those years. Lebron also often plays like a pg in crunch time. But how many rings does Nash have? Gary Payton?Stockton? Iverson?Rose? I think its safe to say Kidd was out of his prime when he got one. CP3 may just simply be a studly pg not necessarily be a superstar. I would still trade this upcoming pick and the 2018 first and whoever else needed to go outside of melo in heartbeat for him though

    40. I mean, if you want to say that the team as a whole deserves some shit, so he, as part of the team, deserves a small percentage of that shit, then sure, fair enough.

    41. Sure, CP3 deserves some share of blame for blowing a 19 point lead. About as much as Kobe and Pau have for blowing a 24 point late 3rd quarter lead to the Celtics in the ’08 finals. But so what? I’m sure there were people writing then that Pau wasn’t tough enough to be a champion, until the next year, when he was.

    42. I just read an interview with Towns. If we don’t get this guy, I may cry.

    43. I think there is a lot of blame to be had because it was an epic collapse of Knicks v Reggie Miller proportions. It was like if Ewing hadn’t missed one finger roll in ’95 but rather 17 straight finger rolls. Like Charles Smith getting blocked by Ho Grant for a full quarter and a half straight.

      That 4th Q of game 6 felt like the Reggie v Spike Lee game in ’94– a stunning reversal where one team can’t miss and the other can’t score, leaving the home town crowd slack jawed and confused.

      Give the blame to Paul, Blake, and anybody else on the court during that time. And blame the basketball gods, and Stan Van Gundy for waiving Dwight’s friend JSmoove and his 28% career 3pt percentage, and the Staples Center electrician for not hitting the main circuit breaker with an axe when nothing else could stop Corey “also a 28% career 3 pt shooter” Brewer from raining down on LA Clips.

    44. My respect level for Doc Rivers dropped dramatically after reading this ridiculous quote from his postgame press conference:

      “I want to fix it. I want to win. That’s why I came here. I knew when I came here that roster-wise it was going to be very difficult. The first thing I did before I took this job, I looked at the roster and we laughed. I was like, “What the [expletive] can we do with this?” It was more the contracts. But we have to try to do it somehow. I don’t know how yet, but something will work out.”

      As John McEnroe would say “you can’t be serious!”

    45. That is a very poor quote from Doc. The reason he came to L.A. was the roster.

    46. That’s a bad quote from Doc, and it’s deserved criticism to lay blame on him for putting together a thin roster 5 through 12, but he hasn’t been ALL bad as GM– he turned down trading Bledsoe and Jordan for Bargnani and DeRozen afterall!

      (“The Raptors have been openly shopping out-of-favor forward Andrea Bargnani and have likewise pitched a trade scenario in which L.A. would receive both Bargnani and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, but sources say new Clippers coach Doc Rivers — who was also named senior vice president of basketball operations — continues to express interest in not only hanging onto Bledsoe but also keeping center DeAndre Jordan.”)

      http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9436953/toronto-raptors-join-talks-eric-bledsoe-los-angeles-clippers

    47. I’d say the narrative around a star player lingers with them for good or ill.

      Tracy McGrady is probably the poster child for this as his teams didn’t get out of the first round. And T-Mac is probably my favorite player of the modern era, but he gets a ton of shit for not getting his team out of the first round. Undeservedly so. But not really going to cry a river if CP3 doesn’t get out of the 2nd. Up 19, at home with 14 minutes to go, you expect to win that. He had a great series, it wasn’t enough, that’s all that should be said about it. And that won’t be, and that is unfortunate.

    48. I knew when I came here that roster-wise it was going to be very difficult. The first thing I did before I took this job, I looked at the roster and we laughed. I was like, “What the [expletive] can we do with this?”

      I wonder if he’s had a chance to look at the Knicks roster.

    49. I’d say the narrative around a star player lingers with them for good or ill.

      Tracy McGrady is probably the poster child for this as his teams didn’t get out of the first round. And T-Mac is probably my favorite player of the modern era, but he gets a ton of shit for not getting his team out of the first round. Undeservedly so. But not really going to cry a river if CP3 doesn’t get out of the 2nd. Up 19, at home with 14 minutes to go, you expect to win that. He had a great series, it wasn’t enough, that’s all that should be said about it. And that won’t be, and that is unfortunate.

      No doubt that the mainstream media is going to give him shit. Of course they will. That’s what they do. I’m talking about here, where we presumably are more informed than the typical mainstream media giver of hot takes.

    50. I don’t understand how that’s a hot take. They blew game six at home. To the bench no less. It’s factorial.

      They no showed game 5 as well.

      Chris Paul gets no slack for that? Fine then don’t tell me he’s some transcendent player.

    51. Chris Paul had 31 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds in the Game 6 loss, and yet you think it’s reasonable to put the loss on him. That’s hot take 101.

      So is “He can’t be a transcendent player if I can’t blame his team’s losses on him.”

      We know that’s what SAS and Skip Bayless and the like will do, as that’s how they roll. But I’d like to think we’re better than that.

    52. Yea I agree. As I’ve said I blame Blake more than him. But at the same time I always hear that he’s the 3rd best player in the nba. And he’s a great player. But I don’t understand how he can skate for this. Doc rivers as well.lm.

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