Knicks Morning News (2015.07.23)

  • [New York Post] Ex-Knick Pablo Prigioni reaches deal with another Western power (Thu, 23 Jul 2015 02:48:37 -0400)

    Former Knick Pablo Prigioni will get a chance to contribute with another playoff team. The 38-year-old free-agent point guard reached an agreement with the Clippers on a one-year, veteran's minimum…

  • [New York Times] Liberty 59, Sparks 53: Tina Charles Leads Liberty Past Sparks for Fifth Straight Win (Thu, 23 Jul 2015 05:26:40 GMT)

    Charles had 14 points and 14 rebounds as the Liberty dominated on the glass and secured sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break.

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: N.B.A. Playoff Change Considered, Silver Says (Thu, 23 Jul 2015 04:22:04 GMT)

    Commissioner Adam Silver said the N.B.A. was leaning toward not guaranteeing a postseason berth to a team that wins its division.

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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).

    114 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.07.23)”

    1. There’s no guarantee N’Dour will end up playing at minimum salary. Some NBA team might offer him more, and European teams probably are sniffing around too. That could make it very hard for the Knicks to hire him. This is why I suggested before to raise minimum salaries and exception levels. Since I watch the NBA, I want the league to have the best players available, but I don’t think NBA starting salaries are high enough to guarantee this. Other leagues can and do offer more.

    2. I still feel like too much is being made of end-of-bench decisions. That’s not to say that the Knicks shouldn’t try to make the right decisions, or that I think their end-of-bench guys are the best. It’s just to say that 90-something% of these guys will fail, and the ones who succeed aren’t necessarily going to be the ones fans on here think will succeed.

      KnickfaninNJ,

      Do the guys who don’t actually dress for games, spend most of the year in the D-League, bounce from 10-day contract to 10-day contract, and maybe play 100, 200 minutes all year really impact your experience as an NBA fan at all?

      If the NBA were losing out on the best of these guys forever or if the D-league were clearly a better developmental league than playing overseas, I would agree with you. But the best of them generally go overseas for a year or two, develop, and re-emerge in the NBA. Going to Europe might actually be the best thing for a guy like Ndour’s long-term NBA prospects.

      I would argue that the NBA is not going to erase global competition by paying more to the end of the bench guys. Basketball fans in Europe and China aren’t going to stop watching games and their teams aren’t going to stop paying significant money to free agents just because the NBA raises their minimum salary a bit. It would cost the NBA a lot (either by directly increasing payroll or because middling players would get paid less and therefore be the ones going to Europe instead of the worst players), and I don’t know if it would have any benefit.

      I think the NBA’s competitive advantage is with the best players, and that’s where they should concentrate. Basketball getting more popular globally could actually benefit the NBA.

    3. for those interested in such things, Pelton’s offseason grade for us is:

      Grade: B

      Star free agents weren’t interested in the Knicks’ money, so they turned to Plan B with mixed results. Lopez’s four-year, $54 million deal is reasonable for a two-way contributor, and O’Quinn’s four-year, $16 million contract could prove a steal. However, Williams will have to improve considerably to be worth $9 million over the next two years, and Afflalo’s poor track record in ESPN’s real plus-minus suggests New York paid $8 million a year for a replacement-level player. The Knicks did well to land Porzingis and Grant in the draft, showing admirable long-term thinking.

    4. I still feel like too much is being made of end-of-bench decisions.

      Probably, but at the same time, #we’llalwayshavelinsanity

      And it wasn’t just Lin. The one thing the Knicks have been consistently good at over the past few years is finding players off the scrap heap and having them over-play their expectations. Shawne Williams, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland, etc.

      This year it is probably less imperative, but for much of the past decade and a half, finding a Ben Wallace or a Hassan Whiteside in the bottom of the barrel was really the Knicks only chance of escaping the capped-out, talent-challenged hell that the Dolan era Knicks were perpetually in. And considering the only successful team the city has known since the early seventies was built on two such players (Mason and Starks), I understand the anxiety of Knick fans on the subject.

      (Maybe next year, the staff of Knickblogger can write their second book: “We’ll Never Have Kuzmictinnabulation”)

    5. If Ndour signs, and if he carries his shot blocking prowess over to the NBA, I’m going to call him the Shield Generator.

    6. I still feel like too much is being made of end-of-bench decisions. That’s not to say that the Knicks shouldn’t try to make the right decisions, or that I think their end-of-bench guys are the best. It’s just to say that 90-something% of these guys will fail, and the ones who succeed aren’t necessarily going to be the ones fans on here think will succeed.

      Ted, ordinarily I think end of the bench decisions aren’t that big a deal, but two things are coming into play here:

      1)The Knicks in recent years have had several instances of end of the bench guys like Lin and Copeland suddenly turning into hugely important players for that year’s team. D’Antoni was on the verge of cutting Lin to pick up a different scrub point guard when Linsanity happened. For whatever reason, this team has a knack for pulling useful players out of thin air, and Ndour seems like he could be another in that tradition.

      2)Because the team has given away so many draft picks over the years, including a ton of upcoming 2nd round picks, choices on these end of the bench guys takes on a lot more weight than if we were a team like Philadelphia or Boston that had picks coming out of our ears for several years in a row. We have a very modest talent base. Melo, if healthy, is a great player, but he’s also getting older and we don’t know how he’ll recover from the knee surgery. Porzingis seems to have a ton of talent but is likely several years away from properly harnessing it. Beyond them and maybe Grant, we have a lot of guys whose upside seems to be solid role player. Which may ultimately be all that an Ndour could be. But the chance at finding another diamond in the rough seems worth fretting over.

      UPDATE: Or what Z said while I was typing my response.

    7. Finding scrap heap guys has been a Knicks tradition since starks and mase. It’s a big part of what we do here.

    8. and Afflalo’s poor track record in ESPN’s real plus-minus suggests New York paid $8 million a year for a replacement-level player.

      I still have some theoretical issues with real plus minus even though it supposedly adjusts for the players on the court with you. For one thing, it doesn’t adjust by the makeup of the team on the court with you.

      Suppose we put Melo on the court with 4 all star caliber players that are all primarily defensive specialists. My guess is that his value would be enormous because he’d be the only real scorer.

      Suppose we put Melo on the court with 4 equivalent all star caliber players that are all primarily scorers. My guess is that his value would be minimal.

      The algorithms know if you are on the court with good or bad players, but they don’t know if you are on the court with players where your skills are superfluous, essential, or perfectly balanced.

      Not to always pile on Melo, but that’s exactly how I noticed the problem with those models. In some lineups over the last few years, Melo’s scoring was so critical and his plus minus impressive because the Knicks scoring attack was so unbalanced, not so much because he was playing so great.

      So it’s hard for me to trust these numbers on a guy like Afflalo unless I happen to pay such extremely close attention to his teams I know what really happened.

    9. “Not to always pile on Melo, but that’s exactly how I noticed the problem with those models. In some lineups over the last few years, Melo’s scoring was so critical and his plus minus impressive because the Knicks scoring attack was so unbalanced, not so much because he was playing so great.”

      Im confused, doesnt that mean he was playing great if the scoring was so unbalanced?

    10. My take is that end-of-bench decisions should be taken very seriously by management, and that shrew NBA GMs are always on the lookout for undervalued fringe-type players with either upside (e.g. Whiteside) or hidden impact at their current skill level (e.g. Novak.)

      On the other hand, there truly is no reason to stress, since we tend to pat ourselves on the back for the few times when a guy works out but forget about the many times when they don’t. Maybe signing Cole kept us from signing Whiteside. Maybe signing Lin kept us from signing Beverley. Is Ndour the next legit NBA starter from out of nowhere, like Beverley or Whiteside, or does committing to him keep us from searching for and finding the next Beverley or Whiteside?

      That said, I really, really like Ndour and hope we lock him up. I also like Kuzmic.

    11. Im confused, doesnt that mean he was playing great if the scoring was so unbalanced?

      It means he was essential to the Knicks because of their lack of scorers but not necessarily playing as well as the plus minus suggested.

      Generally, I don’t think the flaw is a huge one. Most GMs try to create balanced teams and most coaches try to create balanced lineups. But it doesn’t always work that way.

      Another example might be Derrick Rose on some of those Bulls teams. When they lost Rose they couldn’t score. It was as disaster. Put Rose on a team with Durant and Westbrook and if you lose Rose it hardly matters to the offense. I don’t think plus minus can handle that kind of stuff.

    12. I really like the Afflalo signing. He’s a heady player and a multidimensional scorer (post, midrange, 3-pt.) He has a career TS% of .561 and a career 3pt% of .385. He’s just turning 30 in October. At $8 million per on a two year deal, I can’t see why anyone would have a problem with that. He’s a massive upgrade b-ball IQ-wise over JR Smith at a slightly larger salary.

      Here’s a video montage from last year:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQUjnMMSDEw

      Not that highlights are that telling (his stats sucked last year) but he looks very much the same as an athlete as he did in prior years and isn’t suffering from any career-shortening injury conditions. I’d be thrilled if he can just post his career averages for us while we keep an eye out for a better answer at the 2.

    13. My feeling on end of the bench players is that you are rarely going to find an all-star or someone that’s going to contribute a lot of wins. But you are going to fill those slots, so you might as well do it right. One of them could easily work himself into the rotation by being better than expected or due to injuries. One of them may also come in handy in a trade that leads to signing somes that is a difference maker.

    14. “Ted, ordinarily I think end of the bench decisions aren’t that big a deal, but two things are coming into play here:”
      You’re forgetting the third factor coming into play — if we don’t obsess over the end of bench decisions, what is everyone going to to argue about here for the next couple of months?

    15. I think the end of bench decisions are important for every franchise, but particularly for franchises where the distance between front of the bench and back bench guys is not that great.
      The Knicks have for a long time one or two guys and then the rest of the team was pretty much in the same talent pool. JR, Shump, THC, Shawne Williams, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland and Landry Fields became contributors because it was necessary given the relative talents of the team. Linsanity happened because we had gone through three levels of guards.

      But we spend a disproportionate amount of time on seat 14 and 15 primarily because we have sucked.
      I really like the shape of this new Knicks squad, but when you have several players who we really either don’t know how they will play (Affalo, Williams), or are hoping for unproven upside (Porzingis, Grant, Galloway), every decision matters because more likely than not, they are going to see a fair number of minutes.

      And yet, I’m excited. Melo seems to have a solid center and a good stable of solid young guys, coupled with a few others that could make this a 40 win team, I hope.

    16. Suppose we put Melo on the court with 4 all star caliber players that are all primarily defensive specialists. My guess is that his value would be enormous because he’d be the only real scorer.

      Yes, because the Knicks would do well with that kind of lineup. So +/- would reflect that when Melo +4D is on the court, they’re outscoring their opponent. That’s the good part of the stat.

      And think about it for a second. Basketball has a problem with context. Take a great player & put him in the wrong environment and he’ll flounder. Put him in the right environment and he’ll flourish. So Melos value with other scorers may be diminished, because that’s his main contribution. But pair him with players who struggle at his strength and you’ll get more bang for your buck.

      So +/- is good at seeing that kind of data.

      The real problem with +/- is that it captures noise from all players. Pretty sure if I played 1,000 minutes with LeBron & co I’d be in the positive side of the ledger. Not because of my awesome basketball skills though.

    17. I have to agree with Ted. We are making too much about the decision of signing Ndour.

      Not signing Ndour doesnt mean that Phil doesnt care about the last spots. I am pretty sure he is thinking how to best fill the roster. It is just that his criteria might be different from us. Any of these players is a longshot and i dont think anybody knows the “correct criteria” to fill them. 5 games of SL is worthy criteria?

      Personally, i would have kept Lou but not Lance Thomas. And i would like them to sign Ndour, since he has done fine in the summer league. But if they dont, it is hardly and indictment on the GM. He may consider good locker room chemistry to be better than a longshot at a good player; and he may be right (or maybe don’t, but if he is onto this ‘culture’ thing, he should stick to it).

      And i am not saying that this is a ‘culture’ vs ‘talent’ problem. Phil might also not sign Ndour based on basketball criteria; we’ve seen little of thim, and Phil might thinks Ndour overachieved in the SL, and that he will find better players elsewhere.

    18. What is there to justify? End of bench guys are the decision currently facing the Knicks. Of course that’s the main topic.

    19. We should sign Kevin Durant next summer. What do you guys think about that?

      #planDRed

    20. I don’t think the last spots of a team are meaningless.

      Firstly, these guys might play significant minutes. 18 guys had 500+ minutes last year. That’s 11-12 full games worth of minutes. That adds up esp. on a season like this year where they might compete for the last playoff spot.

      Secondly, injuries are always a problem in the NBA. Imagine one or two starters go down. Sure the guy that replaces them is likely in the rotation, but that guy’s replacement from the end of the bench will likely see 10-20 minutes a night. Ex: Lopez goes out for 5 games. Amundson is the starter. But Amundson was getting 20 minutes a night. Who gets that burn? Whoever New York signs to be their third center.

      Third, this is a great opportunity to grab a guy that has potential. I can not only name guys that did well for New York (Lin, Copeland, etc.) but guys the Knicks got rid of that weren’t in the rotation (Barnes, Wilcox, etc.) I’m not saying there are guaranteed All Stars, but having the 11th guy on your team play like a rotation player is an asset not to be wasted.

    21. i dont think anybody knows the “correct criteria” to fill them.

      Maybe not the correct criteria, but if a team is not using proper statistical analysis in their judgement, then it’s incorrect.

    22. On a team that’s riddled with injuries, those last 5 players become significant. They provide depth and that’s where gems can be found.

    23. We should sign Kevin Durant next summer. What do you guys think about that?

      I don’t think we should spend time debating the merits of signing players who are likely to spend a lot of their time sitting on the bench due to injury.

    24. Ndour seems to pass both the eye test and the advanced stats test with flying colors. Why hesitate?

    25. The 15th Man has always been a topic of discussion. Remember when we feared the NBA would strip the Knicks of draft picks when they gave Chris Smith a roster spot? And they would have too, if the Knicks had any draft picks to strip away! (The Bargnani trade suddenly makes sense!)

      I’m sure that as we speak, Dolan is trying to convince Phil Jackson to give a roster spot to Isiah Thomas. So, yes, these things do matter.

    26. What I like about Ndour is that unlike some other energy guys (Faried, Acy, Ronnie Brewer, etc.) he can shoot and hit foul shots.

    27. I’m less concerned about signing Ndour than I am about signing another guard. Outside of Philly I can’t think of another team with a worse backcourt than the Knicks. I seriously doubt any NBA team is going to be offering Ndour a guaranteed deal off of a summer league performance that consisted of one great game and four decent to pretty bad ones. Give him a camp invite and let him play his way onto the team- if a European team offers him a guaranteed deal before then so be it. That said, the Knicks have already have plenty of end-of-the-bench guys on the roster in Amundson, Thomas, Early, and Galloway. When you’re as talent starved as the Knicks are at the moment almost any player you sign has a chance to make the rotation so every roster decision is important.

    28. Do the guys who don’t actually dress for games, spend most of the year in the D-League, bounce from 10-day contract to 10-day contract, and maybe play 100, 200 minutes all year really impact your experience as an NBA fan at all?

      Sometimes they do; for example last season we played a lot of minutes for players who were spare parts on other teams. You make a good point that the player might develop better in Europe than here because he gets more meaningful playing time. But I don’t assume the players who do well there will necessarily come back to the NBA after they improve. We did recruit Copeland and Prigioni from Europe, but only Copeland fits the description as a player who improved over there. And he was available because his European team didn’t value him enough to keep him.

    29. Who do you think we should trade for if we can’t land Anthony Davis? Maybe Drummond?

    30. Re: Arron Afflalo, I feel like he’s just a placeholder for DeMar DeRozan’s Max Contract.

      Maurice Ndour deserves a shot to play for the Knicks, or at least a training camp invite. He was one of the three best Knicks this summer, and was better than two guys with partially guaranteed contracts in Galloway and Ledo. As a training camp invite, let’s see how he does in preseason and if he’s still that combo forward we saw in summer league. He’s clearly an NBA athlete, so why not sign him to a contract? I think he’d be a better player for us than Ledo, Amundson, and Lance Thomas for sure.

    31. Who do you think we should trade for if we can’t land Anthony Davis? Maybe Drummond?

      Lebron James

    32. Lou is a perfectly capable back up bigman. I don’t think you can say easily that a small college guy with no NBA track record at all is gonna be better than him.

    33. Lebron is too old. I’m tired of guys on the downswing. The watchword of the DRed administration is heading upwards towards the upswing

    34. Perry Jones could possibly be a FA soon when Boston officially completes the David Lee trade. Anyone think Phil should go after him if that happens?

    35. Is there anything out there on the Knicks keeping Ledo?

      I can appreciate keeping Lou and Lance as known quantities and continuity in a complicated offensive system but if Ledo is on the roster ahead of Ndour, or really anyone else at all, that’s messed up.

    36. Mike,

      And think about it for a second. Basketball has a problem with context. Take a great player & put him in the wrong environment and he’ll flounder.

      I agree.

      My point is that people are using +/- to measure who was actually more productive and assuming it is fairly accurate because it adjusts for the quality of the players on the court. But on teams without good balance, it can be even more noisy.

      On a team with Enes Kanter, Amare, Melo, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, Melo might have a negative +/- if the guy coming off the bench is Toney Allen – who would help that team more than Melo can.

      Yet on a Knicks team without much scoring he can have a very good +/- and that would be true even if the guy coming off the bench was a better overall player than him, but another defender.

    37. “But on teams without good balance, it can be even more noisy”

      Yes, but for the bad players. If Melo is by far who the team leans on offensively it will show that in the numbers.

      “On a team with Enes Kanter, Amare, Melo, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, Melo might have a negative +/- if the guy coming off the bench is Toney Allen – who would help that team more than Melo can. ”

      I dont think so because that team would just outscore everyone right. So why would he have a negatve +/-

    38. I can appreciate keeping Lou and Lance as known quantities and continuity in a complicated offensive system but if Ledo is on the roster ahead of Ndour, or really anyone else at all, that’s messed up.

      Not just keeping them, devoting $3.2 million worth of cap space to them while they are barely worth the vet minimum.

    39. Yeah, they reportedly offered him more guaranteed money than Knicks would.

      Commence the teeth-gnashing.

    40. Boy, if only the Knicks had some extra cap space laying around that wasn’t being spent on shitty players for no good reason…

    41. We have three roster spots left. They are important because we aren’t looking for end of the bench guys we are still looking for rotation players. We only have 4 surefire rotation quality NBA players on our roster (Melo, Lopez, O’Quinn, Afflalo) plus two rookies, Williams (who hopefully exceeds all past data and turns out to be an adequate) and Calderon (who with age and injury is a huge question mark). That means that even if the rookies play good rotation quality basketball, Calderon isn’t completely washed up and Williams somehow puts it together we still only have eight rotation players.

      That means best case scenario we need two of the remaining 7 players to be able to contribute quality minutes on a nightly basis. Most likely at least one of the two rookies, Calderon or Williams fails to be productive so we should plan on needing three players out of the remaining 7 seven to be able to contribute.

      At this point Early and Thomas are very likely not going to be productive enough to be counted on and Amundson is a borderline rotation player at best. That leaves Galloway and the empty roster spots to fill the last 2 or 3 places in the rotation.

      Ndour is a longshot to ever be more than an end of the bench player but I put his odds higher than Thomas, Early or Amundson to be playing steady NBA minutes in 2 years. We can’t sign players whose ceiling is lower than NBA rotation player and if that means gambling a bit so be it. We need to take the most educated gambles to find the end of the rotation players we need. Galloway is one, Ndour should be another. (I guess Ndour is out, Go Knicks)

      As for maybe a veteran to help how about Dorell Wright. He would instantly be our third best wing player and is a solid if unexciting end of the rotation player.

    42. People keep complaining that Amundsen and Thomas make too much and we overpaid, but they probably only make a few hundred thousand over the vet minimum salaries. For example, the vet minimum for Amundsen, who has something like 8 years of service is probably 1.2 or 1.3 million. It’s fine to say hire someone from D-league or summer league that is cheaper, but that’s not so easy. N’Dour is clearly not signing for the minimum so he isn’t necessarily cheaper than them. You might rather have N’dour than Amundsen, but N’dour is clearly a riskier hire and the Knicks couldn’t have known that he’d wow summer league when they signed Amundsen.

    43. I mean ultimately it is just the back of the bench, so in some ways it is much ado about not too much. At the same time though we missed out on taking a chance on a guy who does seem to have a bit of talent so that we could keep Lance Thomas around. Even if it’s just a little bit stupid, and 99 times out of 100 it doesn’t come back to bite you, it’s still stupid.

    44. @47 It wasn’t that they offered more money it’s that more was guaranteed. It sounds like we lost him because we didn’t want to guarantee his contract.

    45. It wasn’t just that we paid Thomas and Amundson more than the minimum it’s that we signed them before using up our remaining cap space. If we wanted them back we needed to make them wait until after we used the last 3 million of cap space and then sign them in late August.

    46. we’re an injury away from having thomas and/or amundsen playing major minutes… that would be disastrous….

      not caring about the end of the bench is risky but you can get away with it for a year… but it will eventually come back to bite you… it happens to every nba team eventually just as it did with the clips last year… spots 10-15 matter…

      more troubling is that we are just not thinking ahead to next year… which means some serious overpays are coming from us…. houston and dallas realizes this and is filling their roster as much as possible this year in anticipation.. we are taking the opposite approach… and it’s probably going to hurt us long term…

    47. People keep complaining that Amundsen and Thomas make too much and we overpaid, but they probably only make a few hundred thousand over the vet minimum salaries.

      The way the vet minimum works is this – the team pays the minimum and then the league kicks in the rest. So Amunndson, had he signed a vet minimum deal, would have cost $550,000 and then the league would have paid him the rest of his salary, bringing it up to $1.5 million for him. By instead giving him a straight $1.6 million contract, they instead pay him the entire salary themselves. So, as you can see, deciding to use cap space on Amundson and Thomas instead of vet minimums on them has a significant cost.

    48. I’m just praying that Kyle O’Quinn tweets out an emoji of roller blades and reports start breaking that Cuban is desperately calling around for Ndour’s home address.

    49. @47 It wasn’t that they offered more money it’s that more was guaranteed. It sounds like we lost him because we didn’t want to guarantee his contract.

      But they were willing to guarantee $3.2 million to two shitty players?

    50. On the one hand, you don’t want to get too upset about back-of-the-roster type decisions.

      On the other hand, these are some unbelievably shitty back-of-the-roster decisions.

    51. and Afflalo’s poor track record in ESPN’s real plus-minus suggests New York paid $8 million a year for a replacement-level player.

      I don’t get all the hate on Afflalo. Maybe Phil actually looked at his advanced stats the 3 years he played a bunch (>2000 minutes) on Melo led teams where Melo demanded the focus of the defense. There , his certified 3 ball skillz ruled and he played far above replacement level.

      Calderon was an above average NBA player for his entire career until he tore a calf muscle 15 minutes before the season started and his absence torpedoed the Knick’s season early. He’s a great 3 ball shooter and along with Afflalo compliments Melo’s skill set.

      Lopez is a certified good NBA center. He doesn’t need the ball to be effective and is a fine long term piece.

      It appears Jackson has nailed the draft from the 4 slot with Zinger and got great value for Hardaway with Grant.

      I personally don’t get the Williams signing, but I can only assume he sees somethink ( a al Max Schmeling) worthy of the contract.

      He then drafted Hernangomez with an eye toward a long term rebuild plan with limited resources.

      I think he has done a wonderful job of entirely restructuring the team in a year, ditching the malcontents and filled the roster with “his guys” a la one Bill Parcells.

    52. Brian – I agree with you. The Thomas and Amundson contracts are absolutely ridiculous. It just wasn’t why we missed out on Ndour. It looks like that was a new unique blunder. Not guaranteeing a minimum contract on a young guy with multiple suitors is the stupidest form of penny pinching I can imagine. Especially while overpaying for two mediocre at best end of the bench players who are fully developed.

      I don’t understand why NBA teams don’t sign 5-10 promising young summer league/undrafted players to guaranteed minimum contracts as soon as they show any promise so they can get a good look at them at training camp without risking losing them. That 3-5 million dollars won’t effect any long term planning and if even one works out it is a great move.

      It’s actually something Morey has done in Houston to great success. He gives out three year minimum deals with the last two years not guaranteed all the time. It is the contract he used to sign Beveley, Parsons, Greg Smith, etc.

    53. I can’t argue that Lance and Lou at the end of the bench represent the best of all possible worlds but I don’t think they’re entirely without merit. In a transition year where the team is looking to build on whatever gains they made last year in implementing their fairly unique system, do guys who have familiarity get any sort of bonus points for that knowledge?

      Lou is the only holdover big man from last year. He is one of Phil’s coveted learners, in particular Lou saw a huge spike in his AST%, while turning the ball over an amount in line with his career #s. Is there value beyond the allure of an unknown quantity in whatever help he can be to RoLo, KOQ, and zinger in implementing the triangle?

    54. “On a team with Enes Kanter, Amare, Melo, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, Melo might have a negative +/- if the guy coming off the bench is Toney Allen – who would help that team more than Melo can. ”

      I dont think so because that team would just outscore everyone right. So why would he have a negatve +/-

      We are talking aboput ADJUSTED +/- not raw +/-.

      On a team that already has a ton of scorers, Melo doesn’t bring much incremental value to the table. Toney Allen would bring something to the table that that team desperately needs. They might be better with Allen than Melo. On the recent Knicks team, it would be the opposite. That team desperately needed Melo’s scoring. Using Toney Allen instead might make matters even worse.

    55. Also this Maurice Ndour thing really pisses me off. Like you’re really going to go Lou friggen Admunson over him??!?!

    56. By the way, I wish to note that it’s not even like the N’dour/Thomas/Admunson stuff really makes me angry or whatever. It’s not a huge deal. It’s just stupid, any way you slice it. It is better when the Knicks don’t do stupid stuff. I don’t think “it’s only a low level stupid move” is much of a defense. Stupid is as stupid does.

    57. What are the odds Carmelo is the starting 4 in next seasons opener?

      I’m curious because I am about to make a bet that he will be the starting 3

    58. What are the odds Carmelo is the starting 4 in next seasons opener?

      I’m guessing Melo, Lopez And Zinger will log the most minutes together in the front court. I think the roles will be more loosely defined…..

    59. I liked Ndour, but geez. The sun will rise tomorrow. If Anthony Randolph is a cautionary tale about overreacting to summer league performance, what is Ndour, who really had just 1 good game and probably benefited a lot from Porzingis drawing so much attention on the court?

      Any info. yet on how much $$ Dallas guaranteed?

    60. By the way, I wish to note that it’s not even like the N’dour stuff really makes me angry or whatever. It’s not a huge deal. It’s just stupid, any way you slice it.

      It is these sort of statements that make me scratch my head around here. If Ndour is a bigger stiff than the 2 signed vets, then it isn’t stupid, but rather smart. If Ndour turns out to have more short and/or long term utility that the vets, then you would be correct.

      To say the decision not to sign Ndour is stupid any way you slice it is just…. well….. stupid.
      Our understanding of Ndour’s play comes from watching about 100 minutes of grab assed SL hoops and looking at his college stats. Jackson’s comes from likely scouting him in college, watching him practice for 2 weeks and what we have. He also has the benefit of being around actual basketball players on all levels for about 60 years and being rather successful at this game.

      Now…. he could be mistaken in his judgment…. but so could we :-) I would have taken a shot with him from the information I have at my disposal, but the successful guy with more info disagrees.

    61. The cost of giving Ndour a fully guaranteed deal at this point in the offseason is zero. Even if he doesn’t work out we are over the cap and his contract doesn’t effect our cap room in any way. Give him all the guaranteed money and then see if he works out. We don’t need to choose him over the 2 vets yet only if he impresses in training camp. If he doesn’t we cut him he walks away with a tiny bit of money and the knicks move on. No risk whatsoever.

    62. Fair points on Lin, Starks, Mason, etc. My wording was off. Certainly some % of end of roster guys improve, and I don’t mean to say to ignore this part of the roster (just not to over-emphasize it and to realize that just because you’re high on someone doesn’t mean he’s more likely to work out than any other fringe prospect). In the context of raising the minimum salary, though, all these guys were available despite the current min.

      I don’t think the last spots of a team are meaningless.

      Mike, Did someone say that they’re meaningless? Personally, my point is just that the Knicks not signing a few fringe prospects one happens to like isn’t an indictment of their ability to judge talent (it could well be an indictment on the fan’s ability). There’s probably a 90% chance that any one of those players the board is high on fails. Of course the board will name 10 guys they’re high on and then, in a year or two, only remember the one that worked out… But the Knicks couldn’t sign all 10 to see which one happened to work out and the board probably can’t tell which of the ten will work out a priori. The Knicks have taken some shots on Galloway, Thomas, etc. and they’ll probably take one or two more… our picks aren’t necessarily better than their picks. And that’s a main issue I and others have… this idea that total unknowns or guys with nice box score stats in small samples are the only ways to use the final spots. I’m not saying ignore upside or stats… I’m saying to evaluate them in context. “Ndour did pretty well in SL, I had no idea who he was before that but now we MUST sign him!!!” is just not a strong analysis in my mind.

      Z-man, a lot of guys pass both tests against inferior competition but have nothing close to an NBA game.

      KnickfaninNJ, there are a lot of guys who come back from Europe among the 30 NBA teams. Even the Knicks have had many more than those two.

    63. Has anybody seen if the Ndour deal was guaranteed? If not, you’d think that the Knicks could have made a similar deal to get him into camp- you still have open roster spots and Ledo and even Thomas are easily waivable as well. I think there will be guys as interesting as Ndour still looking for training camp slots so it’s not the end of the world.
      Also- I have no problem signing one of Thomas and Amundson- it’s was signing BOTH of them that seemed crazy. I think Amundson played better than his numbers suggest- he was super active as a screener on offense and did a solid job of defending PNRs on defense. He seems like a great locker room/practice guy so giving him a bit more than the minimum is okay with me. I have bigger problem with Thomas who just seems like a waste of a roster space. Again, good citizen and if you want him as your 15th guy whatever but using up two roster spots on good citizens who you probably don’t want playing many minutes (if at all) and as Brian mentioned signing them before you absolutely had to just has too much of an opportunity cost to justify. If the Knicks had really wanted Ndour in camp I think they still could’ve gotten him there but having those two roster spots already taken certainly didn’t help matters.

    64. The cost of giving Ndour a fully guaranteed deal at this point in the offseason is zero.

      The cost is using the roster spot on him instead of someone else. If the Knicks see a better player to use the spot on, there’s no reason at all for them to give Ndour the spot.

      By the way, I wish to note that it’s not even like the N’dour/Thomas/Admunson stuff really makes me angry or whatever. It’s not a huge deal. It’s just stupid, any way you slice it.

      No, you think it’s stupid. That is very different from it being stupid. Phil Jackson apparently doesn’t think it’s stupid, and if I had to choose between Phil Jackson’s opinion on anything basketball related and Brian Cronin’s, no offense, but I’m taking Phil’s every single time. And, really, it’s only so likely that even a single other NBA team thinks it’s stupid since teams don’t seem to be lining up for Ndour and that Amundson and Thomas haven’t had trouble finding NBA jobs. That’s not to say that 30 NBA GMs are always right… but it’s pretty good evidence that the Knicks aren’t as brain dead as you seem to think.

    65. One report is that Dallas gave Ndour a 3 year deal with this year and part of next guaranteed.

    66. The Heat are supposedly looking to move one (or both) of Napier and Chalmers for luxury tax relief. I’d love to have Napier, but either guy would be nice to add to our point guard rotation. I like the way Napier played last season (his game tape, not really his stats) and I think playing him next to Grant could make for a decent back court in a year or two. Maybe the Knicks get involved and grab one of those two players.

    67. Also- I have no problem signing one of Thomas and Amundson- it’s was signing BOTH of them that seemed crazy.

      I don’t love those moves or anything, but they play different roles and have both shown that they’re not totally awful in the NBA at various points. Amundson is old now, but he actually had a couple of seasons as a decent fringe rotation player for winning Suns teams. Thomas was awful in his largest single season sample last season, but over 1,200 minutes his first two years in the league he actually did pretty decently in aggregate. If the Knicks wanted Ndour, I think they would have him. I’m rooting for the guy, but the chances of him being better than replacement level in the NBA just don’t seem much different from these other guys.

      It’s not the out of all available players Amundson and Thomas are the two guys I really wanted the Knicks to sign. I’m not even sure if I think they were good signings. I do think that they were perfectly justifiable signings, though, and that the logic others are using to paint them as totally ridiculous decisions is really questionable. I mean, people are hyped about a few SL games, but seem to be almost totally ignoring Thomas’ first 1,200 minutes of actual NBA play and his improvement from year 1 to 2 of D-League play. What are the odds that Ndour is actually better than Thomas? People seem to be taking it for granted that Ndour would have been a better signing, but I’ve seen next to no justification besides “he looked good in SL and his stats were decent in what’s probably not a predictive sample.”

    68. we’re an injury away from having thomas and/or amundsen playing major minutes… that would be disastrous….

      not caring about the end of the bench is risky but you can get away with it for a year… but it will eventually come back to bite you…

      You realize that having Ndour playing major minutes would probably be at least as disastrous as having Lance or Lou play them, right? Lou and Lance have both actually had some minor successes in the NBA. People act like they are totally useless and there are all these other great options out there. Not signing the exact players you happen to like does not mean that the Knicks don’t care about the end of their bench. It means that they don’t agree 100% with your assessments.

    69. I think it’s crazy to spend any money on a player based on summer league performance. Perhaps he played well elsewhere, I don’t know. I just don’t understand why anyone would receive guaranteed money after summer league which is notorious for inflating value. I’d rather have NBA retreads who have at least some evidence of being able to cut it in the NBA. We can likely find a player of similar value/potential to Ndour elsewhere without the cost of guaranteed money.

    70. The cost of giving Ndour a fully guaranteed deal at this point in the offseason is zero.

      Unless you’re trying to run a successful business (say what you want about Dolan and MSG, they’re successful). The cost is whatever the guaranteed amount is. Just because it doesn’t affect cap space or is someone we can cut for the roster spot doesn’t mean there aren’t any costs. There may not be much in the way of basketball cost, but to completely discount the business cost (read: lots of real money) is…well, wrong.

    71. I would have liked to have Ndour.

      I would have also liked Hansbrough. I would have liked Perkins. I would have liked Cole. I would have liked a lot of players. Truth is, I just want there to be a viable second backup center on this team. O’Quinn and Amundson don’t cut it for me. I just don’t know what’s available.

      But like many others, I’m not crushed. Maybe this paves the way for Thanasis?

    72. I think it’s crazy to spend any money on a player based on summer league performance. Perhaps he played well elsewhere, I don’t know. I just don’t understand why anyone would receive guaranteed money after summer league which is notorious for inflating value. I’d rather have NBA retreads who have at least some evidence of being able to cut it in the NBA. We can likely find a player of similar value/potential to Ndour elsewhere without the cost of guaranteed money.

      They obviously invited him to Summer League because they found something they liked about him. Then he performed really well. It is not like this is some guy who just walked in off the street. They had him play because they wanted to see what he could do and he then did everything a player could do to be signed. They could sign him by only offering him a partial guarantee next year in a season with a booming salary cap. This is precisely the “risk” smart GMs do take all the time, like Morey. Not giving him such a contract is dumb. When they’re also using cap room to sign someone like Lance Thomas, it is even dumber. It doesn’t make them look good. Their player evaluations are questionable.

    73. N’Dour certainly looked good at SL, so I am surprised he didn’t at least get a camp invite. I think what may have worked against him was that he filled a position that didn’t need filling. The Knicks may have missed an opportunity to add a 15th man with a bit of potential, but I am not devastated we didn’t land him. I think I would be more shitty if he was a 7ft centre who showed the same potential.

      On Lou and Lance, probably one thing that I think has been overlooked is that they have value outside of production during the season. Obviously they are high quality personalities and characters (Lance got a lot of praise from OKC I believe in that regard), plus it immensely handy having end of the bench guys that already know the system thus making them ideal practice dummies; as opposed to having to get knew bench warmers in who have to learn the system. Just a thought though.

    74. I am upset that we didn’t sign Ndour because, well, I liked him! Seemed like a great guy to root for and at least potentially a 2-way energy player. I’ll stop short of saying it was stupid not to sign him, but will be pretty annoyed if he becomes a valuable rotation player in the next couple of years.

      My guess (or hope) is that Jax is waiting for teams to waive good players who fill a positional need (SG, C) for cap/roster crunch reasons. Even though there are technically only two roster spots remaining, there are lots of ways to bring others aboard (cutting any of Ledo, Galloway, Early, Lou or Lance, for example.)

      Phil has made it clear that he wants to “build a team” in a certain mold. Justin Termine was absolutely crucifying him for not even meeting with LMA, calling it stupid, and saying it is more evidence that the Knicks don’t have a plan at all. I couldn’t disagree more. He has clearly executed parts of his plan, and has demonstrated patience and reasonable risk-taking at every turn. Afflalo, Lopez, Calderon, Zinger, Grant, Amundson and Thomas are all high-IQ, high character players. Melo is a big-time scorer who needs smart, good players around him. Galloway is a lunchpail vet’s minimum flyer guy. Williams is a low-risk roll of the dice on an explosive athlete that, like Melo, might benefit from having smart, grounded players surrounding him (hardly the situation in Sacramento.) Early is a 2nd round tweener on a short leash. Ledo and Thanasis are whatever.

      More importantly, we have roster spots and a 3.2 mill exception. There is still room to build. We also have dibs on a good young player in Madrid. And starting in 2017, we have all of our first round picks.
      Stay calm. All is well.

    75. No, you think it’s stupid. That is very different from it being stupid. Phil Jackson apparently doesn’t think it’s stupid, and if I had to choose between Phil Jackson’s opinion on anything basketball related and Brian Cronin’s, no offense, but I’m taking Phil’s every single time

      Last year some of us thought that it was stupid to sign Jason Smith instead of Ed Davis or Al Farouq Aminu. Phil Jackson apparently didn’t think it was stupid, since he signed Jason Smith. I can’t speak for anyone else, but Phil Jackson knows a shit ton more about basketball than I do. I know very little about basketball. But the people here were right and Phil Jackson was wrong. Not only are Ed Davis and Aminu more productive than Jason Smith, NBA teams spent 50 million dollars on them this offseason while our pal Jason got 4.5 million.

    76. My guess (or hope) is that Jax is waiting for teams to waive good players who fill a positional need (SG, C) for cap/roster crunch reasons. Even though there are technically only two roster spots remaining, there are lots of ways to bring others aboard (cutting any of Ledo, Galloway, Early, Lou or Lance, for example.)

      The “they’re just waiting for better players so they can’t sign N’dour” argument just makes the Thomas and Amundson signings look even worse. Even if you like those guys, if you think that there are good players out there left to be signed, why in the world would you use up $3.2 million in cap space early in the offseason? You correctly noted before that it is smart to hold on to the room exception, but similarly, it would have been smart to hold on to that $3.2 million in cap space.

    77. Brian, I don’t necessarily disagree on Lou and Lance. However, in their judgment, they wanted veterans who fit the “system” and set the correct tone and who would be OK with not playing. They seem to be saying that the “here and now” for the Knicks is about building a culture, and they see those 2 guys as valuable to that process. It’s not how I would do things, but I see the logic in it. Holding on to two $3.2 million spots is an alternate strategy, but we haven’t even used the first $3.2 spot, so it doesn’t sound like we missed out on anyone we really wanted yet.

    78. @92, those two are better players than Smith without a doubt, but with respect to role I don’t know if they could have done what Smith did on the offensive end. Here’s their shot charts from last season to see what I mean: Smith, Aminu, Davis.

      My interpretation of that decision and the roster building in general is players suited to specific roles in the offense are being added. That’s how Jason Smith gets a spot, because he is competent operating from spots that the offense requires. Compared to Aminu and Davis, he’s limited in about a dozen other ways but Smith is a cog in the machine they don’t have the skillset to be. Now, maybe it’s Kyle O’Quinn or Porzingis who will have that role. They’re new and improved parts that enhance the same machine.

    79. It is not like this is some guy who just walked in off the street.

      Hey, remember when Jim walked in off the street and tried out for the Knicks. That was classic. Wish he could have written articles for a whole season as the 15th man that year.

    80. #TeamNDour

      Strong thread folks. I anticipate having to Ndour a year’s worth of recriminations when our 15th roster spot goes to Don Henley’s nephew.

    81. i’m not saying that ndour was a huge mistake… it’s probably just a small error or may not be an error at all but filling the backend of the roster with what we have is just not making good use of a tremendous opportunity… especially when we have over half the roster to fill after next season…

      i mean just look at the 11 through 15 for the spurs… aaron baynes, cory joseph, matt bonner, jeff ayres… altogether gave over 3000+ quality minutes for the spurs… if you want to count patty mills instead of joseph that’s fine but that’s still over 2000 minutes…

    82. and for the trusting phil jackston route… ex players don’t usually become good coaches… they also usually make for horrible gm’s… ex coaches also tend to be the worst gm’s…. a player, a coach and gm all have wildly different skillsets… being good at one does not make you good at the other..

      in fact there’s probably good evidence that your biases in one field tend to hinder you in the other areas.. being a gm which requires negotiation and valuation skills and the ability to both look short and long term…

      phil jackson was an excellent coach…. but he’s unproven at best as a gm….

    83. Who needs N’dour when you have a project like Derrick Williams. N’dour was a stick figure and Williams has a man body and a rump to work the post. smh

    84. immensely handy having end of the bench guys that already know the system thus making them ideal practice dummies; as opposed to having to get knew bench warmers in who have to learn the system.

      This is what I thought the reasoning was behind re-signing them and I’ve got no problem with that. If Phil wants to build a culture/system like Pop has then he’s going to need some continuity to help the system rookies. It’s a shame about Ndour though. I’m guessing Dallas offering 1 1/2 guaranteed means the Knicks only offered 1 year guaranteed? I liked him a lot in summer league but I don’t know that I’d offer more than a year.

    85. Does “guaranteed” mean that it counts against the cap more than the vet’s minimum does?

    86. Does “guaranteed” mean that it counts against the cap more than the vet’s minimum does?

      Not that it counts more against the cap, but if they cut him next year, the partial guarantee would still count against the cap on top of the cap holds that they would have to have for other roster spots. In other words, we’re talking about a possible $250,000 or so cap hit in a year the cap is rising $20 million. When it allows them to get him under contract for a possible three years, it seems to be a silly thing to have as a deal-breaker.

    87. it seems to be a silly thing to have as a deal-breaker.

      Says the guy who wouldn’t actually be on the hook for the $1,000,000 or so to pay a guy to go away.

      Not that the Knicks haven’t forked out a fortune to pay guys to walk away already, but just because you’ve done something stupid before doesn’t make it a good decision to do it again. Or again. Or again. Or…well, you get the point.

    88. Says the guy who wouldn’t actually be on the hook for the $1,000,000 or so to pay a guy to go away.

      Not that the Knicks haven’t forked out a fortune to pay guys to walk away already, but just because you’ve done something stupid before doesn’t make it a good decision to do it again. Or again. Or again. Or…well, you get the point.

      It won’t be $1 million. It will be less than the minimum contract. It sounds like half. So about $250,000. And that’s a worst case scenario. Put that up against the best case scenario of having a good player locked in for three years at a minimum salary and it not a very good deal-breaker.

      And the Knicks have already thrown away $2.1 million to Thomas and Amundson, so I don’t think they’re particularly worried about money.

    89. There’s a number of reasons to sign a player to a SL contract. For instance, finding a warm body to run with your rookies and sophomores. Just because he played well doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the roster. There’s no reason we should accept that criterion.

      What’s more, Ndour didn’t exactly dominate summer league. He seemed like a fairly mediocre player with a lot of hustle, even relative to SL competition. We’re on a statistically driven site and I’ve seen few numbers that justify our giving Ndour a contract. He put up approximately 14.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per 36. Those numbers don’t really standout that much. Neither was he amazingly efficient.

      I like Ndour but that’s not a great reason to sign a player.

    90. Those are fine numbers, especially with his excellent efficiency, plus averaging two blocks and a steal per game. The Summer League is more like an extended draft combine, anyways, where you see how guys look against their peers and Ndour looked as good as anyone (plus his numbers were good in college, as well. Dude shot 43% from three his senior year!). The Summer League is pretty much the ideal place to sign undrafted rookies, as where else are you going to sign undrafted rookies besides a place where you get to see them play against other young NBA players?

      It’d be another story if Ndour was some veteran who had been hanging around Summer League for years. He isn’t. This is his first go at it and he was great at it. He is decidedly the sort of undrafted rookie that gets signed at Summer League. It was no surprise that he got a three-year deal. This is exactly the sort of deal that GMs like Morey and Hinkie have been popularizing in recent years (because they’re really smart contracts for teams). And it is especially the sort of deal you do when you’re trying to rebuild your roster, like the Knicks are doing. There are very few places where NBA teams can really get bang for their buck and one of those places are rookie contracts like the one the Mavericks gave to Ndour. Interesting undrafted rookies (like Ndour) are precisely where the Knicks should be looking to fill out the back end of their roster.

    91. No, you think it’s stupid. That is very different from it being stupid. Phil Jackson apparently doesn’t think it’s stupid, and if I had to choose between Phil Jackson’s opinion on anything basketball related and Brian Cronin’s, no offense, but I’m taking Phil’s every single time

      Sidebar:

      I read DRed’s comment in which he quoted this bit of text, and I knew exactly who OP was without seeing a name attached to it. That should be an indicator of how unique this kind of accusatory, combative tone is on this board.

    92. Not that the Knicks haven’t forked out a fortune to pay guys to walk away already, but just because you’ve done something stupid before doesn’t make it a good decision to do it again

      The days of paying guys to go away ended when Phil Jackson took over. He traded a 2nd round pick to get rid of Outlaw instead of just waiving him. It’s culture change lite, but it’s still culture change. It shows us that Dolan and his “spend my way out of any problem” mentality isn’t running the show.

    93. They had him play because they wanted to see what he could do and he then did everything a player could do to be signed.

      Based on what? It just seems to be taken for granted around here that Ndour was the MJ of SL. I haven’t actually seen anyone bother to analyze his performance in depth, or project how it might translate to the NBA based on historical comparisons. I haven’t seen anyone pointing out the guy’s weaknesses. I’ve literally heard people saying that this little 200 lb guy could play the 5 for the Knicks…

      Last year some of us thought that it was stupid to sign Jason Smith instead of Ed Davis or Al Farouq Aminu. Phil Jackson apparently didn’t think it was stupid, since he signed Jason Smith. I can’t speak for anyone else, but Phil Jackson knows a shit ton more about basketball than I do. I know very little about basketball. But the people here were right and Phil Jackson was wrong.

      Come on. This is not a logical counter-point to what I said. I didn’t say “Phil is an all-knowing basketball God who is never wrong.” Everyone is going to make some mistakes and disagree about the value of certain players (Jax may still disagree with you if his intention was to tank last season to get the highest possible pick… which is essentially what he did… he may also disagree with you about how you measure player value).

      djphan, Again… again… same logical mistakes in comment after comment. You have decided before the Knicks have even filled their roster what they’ll get from roster spots 11-15. You’ve picked guys who were not the 11-15th men on the Spurs to point out that some bench players are good on other teams. Then you’ve said that Jackson is unproven as a GM without acknowledging that every single person on this board is 100% (as far as I know) unproven as an NBA GM.

    94. When it allows them to get him under contract for a possible three years, it seems to be a silly thing to have as a deal-breaker.

      Do you really think that was the deal breaker? The Knicks were just dying to get Ndour under contract, yet their coach said they probably didn’t have room on the roster for the guy and they didn’t match a fairly modest contract? It couldn’t just be that they don’t think he’s as good a basketball player as you do, right?

      Those are fine numbers, especially with his excellent efficiency, plus averaging two blocks and a steal per game.

      What efficiency? You haven’t really made an argument for Ndour. Just taken for granted that he’s awesome.

      see how guys look against their peers and Ndour looked as good as anyone

      The SL is a tiny sample against sub-NBA competition. It’s like a one-week NCAA All-Star camp. I’m not saying Ndour is a bad prospect, but taking what you saw with your eyes in SL as the sample you’re going to use to judge a guy is a bit questionable even if he dominated. And any way you want to slice it, Ndour didn’t really dominate. He was good and showed promise.

      Interesting undrafted rookies (like Ndour) are precisely where the Knicks should be looking to fill out the back end of their roster.

      You have EXTREMELY strong opinions on team building and player evaluation. Other people can disagree with you without being wrong.

    95. What efficiency? You haven’t really made an argument for Ndour. Just taken for granted that he’s awesome.

      Not sure if you read Mike’s analysis on the thread a few days ago about summer league, but here’s what he wrote:

      The next guy up on the stat line is Maurice Ndour. He caught my eye early on with his high energy game, and the stats back it up. Maurice tied with Kristaps for the team lead with 3.1 blk/36, and he was very active on defense. Not to sleight our hometown hero, but Ndour is the anti-Melo and would pair well with the Knicks star. A 6-9 forward, he should be able to play both spots and take the tougher defensive assignment. The Senegalese Stuffer averaged 14.8 pts/36 on 53.1% ts%, and only 1.5 to/36, a decent rate for a defender.

      Add to that that Ndour was a good college player last year: he was 4th in his conference in eFG% and in the top 10 in usage. I think the case was made for keeping him, and it’s a good case.

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