Knicks Morning News (2016.05.25)

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Wednesday's Knicks Links: Hornacek didn't have a chance with Suns (Wed, 25 May 2016 05:22:44 EST)

    Wednesday's Knicks Links: Hornacek didn't have a chance with Suns

  • [New York Times] Thunder 118, Warriors 94 | Oklahoma City leads series, 3-1: Thunder, in Rout, Push Warriors to Brink (Wed, 25 May 2016 05:10:18 GMT)

    Oklahoma City, led by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, grabbed a commanding lead in the Western Conference finals.

  • [New York Times] Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan Earn Place Among N.B.A.’s Top Tandems (Wed, 25 May 2016 00:27:03 GMT)

    Lowry and DeRozan, who combined for 67 points as Toronto evened its Eastern Conference finals against Cleveland at two games each, have become a two-man force.

  • [New York Times] Wilting Warriors Need to Find Quick Fix for Playoff Problems (Wed, 25 May 2016 06:39:29 GMT)

    The Golden State Warriors are fast becoming a pale shadow of the 73-win team that stormed through the regular season and there is no shortage of theories as to why the league’s most dominant team are now on the verge of playoff elimination.

  • [New York Times] Westbrook, Thunder Put Warriors on Brink of Elimination (Wed, 25 May 2016 04:57:38 GMT)

    Suddenly, these Golden State Warriors who have been compared all season to the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s are on the brink of elimination.

  • [New York Times] Thunder One Win From Finals After Game 4 Blowout (Wed, 25 May 2016 04:12:28 GMT)

    The Oklahoma City Thunder moved within one victory of the NBA Finals after beating the Golden State Warriors 118-94 in Game Four on Tuesday.

  • [New York Times] Craig Sager to Receive Jimmy V Perseverance Award at ESPYS (Wed, 25 May 2016 00:19:01 GMT)

    Craig Sager keeps a copy of Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYS speech on his phone. He would play it back sometimes during those long days in the hospital receiving treatment for leukemia.

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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).

    144 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2016.05.25)”

    1. How about the Thunder?! I am so impressed with Sam Presti. First, he compiles Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka all before the age of, like, 23 (some luck there, sure). And today, as Royce Young points out, the roster has the versatility to go big and beat the Spurs and to go smallish and take a 3-1 lead on Golden State.

    2. Great game from Roberson again last night. GS seems to be trying to replicate their success last year against Memphis when they barely bothered guarding Tony Allen. But I don’t think it’s a great idea to purposefully leave NBA players that open. Even a relatively bad shooter like Roberson is going to be good when he’s all by himself

    3. How about the Thunder?! I am so impressed with Sam Presti. First, he compiles Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka all before the age of, like, 23 (some luck there, sure). And today, as Royce Young points out, the roster has the versatility to go big and beat the Spurs and to go smallish and take a 3-1 lead on Golden State.

      And we all killed him for the Waiters trade, and yet it sure looks pretty smart right now.

      Crazy stat – the GS’s death lineup has a -35.3 net rating in this series so far. Small sample (34 minutes), yes, but the best lineup in the entire league is just getting mauled by OKC. I guess when OKC’s “small” lineup has 6’10” Ibaka and 7+foot Durant, you can out-“small” the Warriors.

    4. I also wonder how much this series is going to change the next few years of free agency. Durant was always likely to take a one and one deal, but the main reason either guy seemed to want to leave was that OKC appeared to have plateaued. That’s not true anymore.

    5. Dion Waiters sucks. Don’t get it twisted

      Yeah, but he’s been good in the playoffs and even when his offense is a disaster he’s been competing on the defensive end this year and given his athleticism and strength allows him to switch a lot of positions. He’s nothing special, but he’s gone from clueless moron in the bottom percentile of NBA wings to meh, which is a massive improvement over what OKC has been throwing out on the wings for awhile.

      And we all killed him for the Waiters trade, and yet it sure looks pretty smart right now.

      More importantly we all killed him for the Harden trade and Adams is looking spectacular right now. The collective leap in performance from Adams, Roberson and Waiters throughout this playoffs is spectacular. Russ and KD with any kind of consistent support from their supporting cast is the league’s nightmare.

    6. Crazy stat – the GS’s death lineup has a -35.3 net rating in this series so far. Small sample (34 minutes), yes, but the best lineup in the entire league is just getting mauled by OKC. I guess when OKC’s “small” lineup has 6’10” Ibaka and 7+foot Durant, you can out-“small” the Warriors.

      This is why my dream lineup of the Knicks is Lopez, KP, Melo, Batum + whatever. 4 highly mobile tall guys that can matchup with small lineups.

    7. And we all killed him for the Waiters trade, and yet it sure looks pretty smart right now.

      Dion Waiters is a fucking scrub

    8. Thanasis has to be on the roster next year. Athletic, aggressive, seasoned, improving three, versatile. Oh, and Giannis!

    9. Dion Waiters is a fucking scrub

      He’s the Iman Shumpert of OKC, a flawed player whose flaws are hidden by playing with superstars

    10. If OKC close out the series would GSW go from trying to make room for Durant to going after Batum this summer?

    11. If OKC close out the series would GSW go from trying to make room for Durant to going after Batum this summer?

      They would have a more interesting summer than initially expected. Iguodala and Bogut haven’t looked up to par and would still be under contract. To make any moves in FA they’d need to move those 2 on. Then they have Barnes and Ezeli’s RFA situations to consider as well.

    12. Matching near-max offers on Barnes and Ezeli would be silly.

    13. @15

      I agree Barnes will get some stupid near max offer and they shouldn’t match, but you think Ezeli too?

      Dude has a bit of a checkered injury history and hasn’t looked that good since coming back. I could see some team throwing $14-15m AAV at him, but I guess with the amount of money spread out across the league you could be right that somebody will up the ante.

    14. Most impressive thing to me is that OKC is beating the Warriors at their own game. I thought when we saw someone take them down it would be using a version of Cleveland’s plan from last year, slowing the game down to a crawl and trying to force Golden State to play bigger by beating the hell out of them with size. But OKC is going small and playing hyper fast and it’s n0t only working, it’s absolutely crushing. Their best stretches have been against the vaunted “death lineup”. That is not something I ever expected to say, and it makes for a fascinating problem for Golden State here. It kind of seems like their only chance to get back in the series is to try playing slow and make OKC beat them in a more execution based game. I’m not sure they’re capable of that stylistic adjustment at this point.

      Also Steph just doesn’t look right, and without him, the whole machine kind of putters out.

    15. Also Steph just doesn’t look right, and without him, the whole machine kind of putters out.

      You mean it isn’t the perfect system that was the cause of 73-9?

    16. Also Steph just doesn’t look right, and without him, the whole machine kind of putters out.

      More than anything, this is probably the single most important factor. But OKC is really playing well on defense, they’re mauling GS on the glass, and that’s leading to a lot of transition offense. I wouldn’t be surprised if GS can win 2 home games and 1 road game, but man, beating the Spurs & the Warriors without homecourt would be one of the best playoff performances in NBA history.

    17. Dude has a bit of a checkered injury history and hasn’t looked that good since coming back. I could see some team throwing $14-15m AAV at him, but I guess with the amount of money spread out across the league you could be right that somebody will up the ante.

      Here are some players who made over $10M in 2015-16:

      Tobias Harris
      Roy Hibbert
      Eric Gordon
      Gordon Hayward
      Khris Middleton
      Tristan Thompson
      Danilo Gallinari
      Reggie Fucking Jackson
      Brandon Knight
      Nene
      Rudy Gay
      Tyreke “I Peaked during My Rookie Year” Evans
      Jrue Holiday
      Wilson Chandler
      Monta Ellis

      So yeah, Ezeli is gonna get paid. Can’t say whether it’ll be smart, but it’s going to happen.

    18. You know who else going to get that money? Big Cole, and then all you haters are going to have to come kiss the ring, because an NBA GM will have said he’s good.

    19. I don’t think we should use Steph being injured as an excuse. He looked fine against Portland.

      Also, why do certain posters feel the need to bash a player like Dion Waiters when he’s playing good. Cause his stats don’t show him to be an elite player? He’s a bench role player. This obsession with advanced stats that allows keyboard jocks to dismiss any player who doesn’t live up to their definition of a good player is ridiculous. He’s stepped up and is doing his part in beating the best team in the NBA. Give him some props. He’d absolutely school 99 percent of the basketball players in the world and is on a team that is one step from the NBA finals. Not every player can be Durant or Curry.

    20. @14
      Crawford would be a desperation, everything else has failed signing for the Knicks.
      Stay away from Waiters. Maybe he’s figured it out, but probably not. Beware.
      Turner is a nice fit for some situations, but the Knicks need shooting.
      Lee is intriguing. Yeah, he’s 30, but could be a nice bump up from Afflalo. Still, I’d hope for better/younger.
      Bazemore is very intriguing, but is he overrated due to Atlanta’s system?
      Clarkson and Fournier should get any offer matched.
      DeRozan would cost like $26m per. Would Phil even do that if DD were willing?
      Beal will probably be matched. But if not, his leg problem is worrying. I’ve read that he may be a whiner, too.
      Wade? Pass, we’ve already got a younger, poor man’s version with Wroten! (that’s a joke…referring to a thread from a couple of days ago)
      Batum! Best all around 2/3 out there. Charlotte will surely offer him a 5 year max. Would he leave that?

      The list seems to lack a few guys, too, like Eric Gordon (ugh), Kevin Martin (old, fading fast, but maybe a depth signing?), and Crabbe.

    21. @22 Waiters has a track record of being bad. He is playing well now, but OKC in general is super hot, maybe overachieving, and the dynamic duo is making the other guys look better than they are. How would he fit on the Knicks without Westbrook to open things up for him?

    22. @ 24. The last question is irrelevant bc he doesn’t play for The Knicks.

      And yeah I get that he’s “historically” bad. I just think its dumb to continue to bash the guy when he’s, in fact, playing well in probably the most important basketball games of his life. I find the bashing of players outside of the precious stat stars on this site super annoying. There’s no room for the idea that players can improve. That players can fit a role on a team or that a team collectively can get better. Its all efficiency and stats and bow down to the numbers bc basketball players are robots and not people.

    23. That’s totally unfair. Just yesterday someone here argued that Steph Curry was a bad person because he like to shove his family in your face and make you smell them.

    24. @25 Uh it’s very relevant b/c he’s in the article that reub linked today.

      As for the rest of your post, I generally agree!

    25. I find the bashing of players outside of the precious stat stars on this site super annoying. There’s no room for the idea that players can improve. That players can fit a role on a team or that a team collectively can get better. Its all efficiency and stats and bow down to the numbers bc basketball players are robots and not people.

      Amen.

    26. You know who else going to get that money? Big Cole, and then all you haters are going to have to come kiss the ring, because an NBA GM will have said he’s good.

      I want to see the genius who pays big money for multiple years for a guy who took 6 seasons to get in a semblance of shape to play a whole 800 minutes.

    27. About the over reliance on stats by some posters. I agree. However, look at the heading at the top of this blog. Under Knickerblogger.net, what are the first two words in the subheading?

      Statistical Analysis.

      I have more of a problem with the extreme negativity at times and the “grass is always greener” mentality. But, hey, it’s a sports forum! I think there is a pretty good diversity here.

      For every Jowles, there’s a reub, for example!
      :-)
      The third word in the sub heading is Humor.

    28. @ 30 – I agree. And I’m not some “eye test” purist. But the grass is always greener, negativity of this site has really taken over the last few years. The top of the page also says “humor” and knickerblogger used to be a much more fun and funny site. The game recaps are gone for the most part (even during the first half of this season when we were 500, they were rare). And the posters used to have more of a sense of humor than they do now. Which I find weird. I get that as knicks fans we’ve been conditioned to look at the worst possible outcome of a situation but there used to be more gallows humor.

    29. @31 Fair enough. The hating on Phil Jackson a couple of weeks ago went way over the top, imho. Just keep fighting the good fight.

    30. A central tenet of our statistical faith is that Dion Waiters sucks. He’s in the pantheon of shitty NBA players, the one with the statue of Andrea Bargnani atop the main altar….

      Young players improve. Bad players run good. It happens and I don’t think anyone disputes that. And I am happy he’s having his moment in the sun. Certainly no one would begrudge him that outside of San Francisco and the league’s marketing suite. But to me, the idea that the last couple of weeks changes anything about him seems dubious.

      We shall see though….

    31. I think people are objecting at the implication that the Thunder trade for Waiters was a good one. Giving up a 1st round pick for a bad player will never be a good trade, even if he has one decent playoff series.

    32. Giving up a 1st round pick for a bad player will never be a good trade, even if he has one decent playoff series.

      If this perceived bad player has a great playoff run and helps them win a title it’s a good trade. The point of the game is to win games and titles, not be the best at winning trades and maximizing asset value.

    33. If this perceived bad player has a great playoff run and helps them win a title it’s a good trade.

      But that was the logic that got us Bargs. The east is big, man.

    34. But that was the logic that got us Bargs. The east is big, man.

      If we won a title with Bargs would anybody give a shit that we don’t have a first round pick in 2016? And as meh as Waiters is he’s solid enough and versatile defensively and not as much of a high usage drain offensively that Bargs was.

    35. What if they win the championship? Still a bad trade?

      Yup. At least their 1st round pick was protected, so it’s not as awful as the Bargs trade, but it was still a bad trade. Besides, do you really believe that Dion Waiters is the difference maker in them winning a championship?

    36. Dion’s been playing 26 minutes a game in the playoffs, averaging 9.5 points on solid efficiency, 2 rebounds, 2 assists half a steal, and a turnover. That’s not helping. What he’s doing is not actively hurting his team-which, from Dion Waiters, is excellent. It’s a nice story-guy who is pretty bad and who lots of fans don’t like doing okay at a time the team is exceeding expectations. But that doesn’t make it a good trade. OKC is here in spite of Dion, not because of Dion.

    37. @39 No, but he is a key player, not a towel waver. And, the dynamic duo did not win any titles before he got there. Billy Donovan? Finally a coach who tapped into Waiters’ potential!
      :-)

      But, they have to win the title first.

    38. Besides, do you really believe that Dion Waiters is the difference maker in them winning a championship?

      He’s playing better defense than Morrow or Singler could ever hope to and playing well offensively thus far in the playoffs. He’s contributing to this run they’re making. Whether it’s sustainable or not is irrelevant to the value he’s providing right now to them winning games.

    39. I find the bashing of players outside of the precious stat stars on this site super annoying. There’s no room for the idea that players can improve. That players can fit a role on a team or that a team collectively can get better. Its all efficiency and stats and bow down to the numbers bc basketball players are robots and not people.

      Players, like soylent green, are people. We all understand that. I’d love to think Langston Galloway will become an all-star next season. I don’t think it’s very likely, although I do think he’ll get better, especially if the team uses him as a 2-guard with another player who can initiate the offense and be the primary ball handler. If you think that’s relentlessly negative I don’t know what to tell you.

    40. Re: Waiters – clearly his shooting has been much better than usual, which could just be a hot streak — but I think unexpectedly, his defense has been pretty good. He’s a small who is strong enough not to get trucked by a big when the switch happens. And since you pretty much are switching 80% of the time against GS, having guys who can survive that mismatch (like Steven “I eat Steph Curry step-back 3’s for lunch” Adams) is one of the main reasons OKC is doing so well.

      One thing about GS – sometimes their offense really devolves into 3PA-hunting. When Klay/Steph are hitting, it’s great, but if not, long rebounds –> Westbrook and Durant track meet.

      I think people are objecting at the implication that the Thunder trade for Waiters was a good one. Giving up a 1st round pick for a bad player will never be a good trade, even if he has one decent playoff series.

      I think getting a rotation player for a late-first round pick is probably a win for a team as close to contendership as OKC. And btw it’s now THREE decent playoff series. 15 games so far, which is about 1/6 of a season. It’s not such a small sample anymore.

    41. If we won a title with Bargs would anybody give a shit that we don’t have a first round pick in 2016?

      Still processing this. Caused a minor system shutdown….

    42. Whether or not a trade is good isn’t about whether that bad player has a good playoff series (Waiters hasn’t) but rather whether the opportunity costs end up being in your favor over the long run.

      Championships aren’t the only thing that are valuable–long-term stability and success a la the Pax Popana is valuable too. That is attained by keeping draft picks and not trading them for bad players like Dion Waiters.

      He’s a shit basketball player and yeah it’s nice to see him not being shit for the playoffs but that doesn’t in any way justify the Waiters trade even if his not- hurting-the-team incidentally helps the team win because Donovan and company can’t bench him

    43. you guys, i understand that waiters play is objectively not above avg, even in the playoffs, but having a 2 who is passable is a HUGE DEAL when almost all of your resources are spent on the other things making you win — 2 suprestars, ibaka, a hugely important bench player in enes, a stable of bigs….not every championship team has a even resource distribution ala the spurs or warriors, and for those that are top heavy, average play from the bench from players who otherwise are below average is hugely important.

      The baseball statistical community is far ahead of it’s basketball counterpart in understanding the positive value of “mere” replacement level play of bench guys, especially when both minutes and money are overwhelmingly allocated toward the top of a roster. Some of yall could take a lesson there.

      not saying it was a good trade, but there is absolutely a statistical case to give dion waiters some fucking props for the last 2 weeks

    44. Championships aren’t the only thing that are valuable–long-term stability and success a la the Pax Popana is valuable too. That is attained by keeping draft picks and not trading them for bad players like Dion Waiters.

      He’s a shit basketball player and yeah it’s nice to see him not being shit for the playoffs but that doesn’t in any way justify the Waiters trade even if his not- hurting-the-team incidentally helps the team win because Donovan and company can’t bench him

      So if Dion Waiters helps them win a title right now because he gets hot at the right time that’s less valuable than finding the next 6-8 rotation player?

    45. @ 47 – THIS TIMES A THOUSAND! People on this site want a team where everyone makes the same amount of money or their salary is perfectly aligned with their statistical skill set. But it just doesn’t work out that way most of the time. Veterans make more than rookie contract players. Big men will get overpaid. Journeymen can often be underpaid. Every team is different.

      And the idea that even though Dion is playing well the trade for him was still bad even if they win a title is ridiculous. If he’s playing well and KD and Westbrook and his teammates trust and love him for it now then the trade is hundred percent justified especially if they win a title, which is what they’ve been trying to do for the last what, 6 years?

    46. @48. Apparently so! LOL. A very good team, looking to get over the top and win a championship trades a later 1st round pick (big difference between that and a lottery pick) for a player who, I’ll agree was bad (but also young and talented). If they win the title less than 2 years later it still is a bad trade?

    47. And OKC has and will continue to have long term success as long as Durant, Westbrook and to a lesser extend Ibaka are still there. If Dion playing well in the playoffs means they win a championship or even get to the finals and that makes Durant resign this summer and Westbrook resign next summer, then the trade was very much worth it. There’s no guarantee that a player who is better statistically would step up like this at the right time and propel them past the spurs and golden state. That makes it way more likely their stars will stay which will keep their stability. They’ve been close and they’ve been stable and good for awhile now. They haven’t been to the finals in a few years though and the consensus before The Spurs series was that OKC had plateaued like the Clippers and they were in danger of losing Durant this summer and Westbrook next summer. If Dion stepping up means they win a title and that makes their stars stay, then the trade was very much worth it.

    48. I think people are objecting at the implication that the Thunder trade for Waiters was a good one. Giving up a 1st round pick for a bad player will never be a good trade, even if he has one decent playoff series.


      THANK YOU

      I never said that Dion Waiters was a bad person or couldn’t wreck me or anyone on this board in a game of one-on-one or five-on-five. If he showed up at the Community Center last night, he would definitely have swatted the reverse layup that my slow, low-vert ass managed to convert in traffic. I’m bad at basketball and also other people are bad at basketball. Dion Waiters is good. Also Dion Waiters made more this year than I will make in my entire career, and I have a very nice career. Good for Dion.

      But compared to NBA players, Dion Waiters is real, real bad at basketball. And no amount of world-beating by his two freak-of-nature teammates and their awesome role players is going to change that.

    49. Depends on what you value but no, it’s not “valuable”–it’s just lucky, which is what some bad trades end up being. Part of a trades being good or bad isn’t necessarily about results, since those are often contingent on luck–though results aren’t totally banished from the trade evaluation process either. A trade is good when the probabilities are such that your making the trade constituted a good bet. And your making a good bet is contingent upon your fixing your subjective probability in accord with the probability that the evidence offers–and the evidence doesn’t bode well for Waiters, and his getting hot at the right time doesn’t change that. By that metric, it was not a good trade, despite it perhaps turning out well in the short run.

      Any player can “get hot at the right time”

    50. Any player can “get hot at the right time”

      I’m not even sure what “getting hot” means in Waiter’s case, last night he was a scintillating 3-7 FG with 3 assists and 3 rebounds in 32 minutes.

      But that is an improvement over his usual performances.

    51. But compared to NBA players, Dion Waiters is real, real bad at basketball. And no amount of world-beating by his two freak-of-nature teammates and their awesome role players is going to change that.

      Dion Waiters has been a good role player and contributed to them winning games in the playoffs.

      56.6 TS%, 42.6 3P%, .101 WS/48

      It’s not awesome, but it’s totally competent and he’s been a versatile defender throughout the playoffs. Regular season Dion Waiters wasn’t very good, but what he’s done in the playoffs has been good and contributed to them winning.

    52. @55 Uh oh. Going at ’em with stats, eh? So, maybe he’s becoming a solid 3 and D guy to complement the dynamic duo?

    53. People are arguing different things here and it’s important to clarify just what is being said

      I’m sure many people don’t have any qualms with saying Waiters has been totally average this series and in doing so has helped them out a ton given that he’s normally one of the worst players in the league

      But to then say the Dion Waiters acquisition was a good one, or to say that Waiters is turning the corner is totally unwarranted, and that’s what people are taking issue with

    54. All these things can be true:

      1. Dion Waiters is a generally unproductive basketball player;

      2. Trading a first round pick and then extending Dion Waiters were bad decisions by Sam Presti;

      3. Dion Waiters has played well against two of the best regular season teams in NBA history during these playoffs, and should be commended for it.

    55. I don’t know if Dion Waiters is turning the corner. What I know is he was acquired in the hopes he could help them win a title and currently is doing so, be it a hot streak or a new reality. If they win the title nobody will care or remember that Sam Presti once traded a protected first round pick for Dion Waiters, which the Cavs then packaged for the great Timofey Mozgov.

    56. @55 Uh oh. Going at ’em with stats, eh? So, maybe he’s becoming a solid 3 and D guy to complement the dynamic duo?

      That’s definitely what I’d extrapolate from a couple hundred minutes of recent play.

    57. Alecto, I don’t think anyone here (at least I’m not) is saying that Waiters has turned a corner (though, maybe he has…but I doubt it). In an earlier post about 2 guards I said the Knicks should stay away from him.

      But, the blanket statement that a “bad” player being traded for a 1st round pick is “always” bad is an issue for me, b/c it ignores context and maybe even results, if OKC wins the title. Most of the time that statement is probably right. However.

      OKC was a very good team looking at 2 super teams ahead of them. Their 1st round pick was a later one. While “bad” (and I agree with that), Waiters was still pretty young (22 maybe?) and very talented. A former top 5 pick, I think. IF (and it is still a big if), OKC wins the championship with him playing a solid role, and he has been (stop ignoring his very good D, please), then that trade absolutely was worth it. Sorry. He’s stopped being a stupid chucker and is complementing W&D very well.

    58. @60. Yup. In the playoffs. Against San Antonio and Golden State. No value in that?

    59. a protected first round pick for Dion Waiters, which the Cavs then packaged for the great Timofey Mozgov.

      If the Cavs guards had shot better that would have been an awesome trade for Cleveland.

    60. All these things can be true:

      1. Dion Waiters is a generally unproductive basketball player;

      2. Trading a first round pick and then extending Dion Waiters were bad decisions by Sam Presti;

      3. Dion Waiters has played well against two of the best regular season teams in NBA history during these playoffs, and should be commended for it.

      all true, and i’d add the 4th point is being repeated today:

      4. It’s not crazy to argue that given the choice between:

      1) a solid 1st round pick and no dion waiters contribution to a title (assuming that conclusion of a title, of course, lol), or

      2) no 1st rounder but dion playing an important, not easily replicable role (given the $ constraints of the thunder) on a title run,

      some can justifiably choose the latter. Of course, generally, you don’t make trades with that sort of logic being the main factor, because the odds of that happening are quite small. As Jowles likes to put it, betting on potential is fairly often a losing bet, despite would many here would say. But when it’s a bet on the margins of your team, when not only a core but a good portion of the supporting cast is already set, it’s probably not nearly as horrible a bet as people make it out to be.

      It’s why you acquire guys who generally suck but might have useful skills in the context of your team for prices that teams less close to championships would consider completely unreasonable. Dion wouldn’t be the first guy who cost more than his skills are generally worth to contribute to a title run, that’s for sure.

    61. brian fucking cardinal played a small role in the mavericks championship for christ sake. lol.

    62. This falls in line with the general lack of consensus about whether Bargnani and Wroten could be good basketball players. This board never ceases to amaze. Might as well be /r/NBA.

    63. OK let’s put some numbers to this.

      1st round picks are not all the same. Obviously as the round goes on, picks are worth less. B-R did an analysis of how much picks can be expected to be worth (in terms of Win Shares over 1st 4 seasons of contract) – you can see it here.

      OKC is ultimately gave up the 26th pick in this draft for Waiters. According to Kubatko’s analysis, the 26th pick should be expected to give you 6 WS over the 1st 4 years of the pick’s career. Waiters has produced 5.8 over the first 4 years of his career. Seems like reasonable value for OKC. The downside of the trade even with the roughly equal WS taken into account are that Waiters came at a higher salary than the #26 pick would have been, and they only had him under control for 1.5 seasons before he hit free agency. But- the upside of the trade is that you have much less variance in terms of what you would expect from a player who has already played 2+ years in the league as compared with a rookie who probably has high complete bust potential. Also, assuming that players get better over the first few years of their careers, you got the highest value years of Waiters’s 1st 4 years up front (seasons 3 and 4 out of 4), coinciding with the primes of your superstars — as we are seeing now in the playoffs. He’s contributing greatly to this playoff run whereas Cam Payne, who will likely/eventually be better, doesn’t play at all because I guess he’s not ready yet.
      Also, maybe it’s not a bad thing to only be stuck with 1.5 seasons in terms of cap management.

      Overall it’s not a terrible trade and it’s not a great trade. It’s a trade.

    64. Worth noting that Waiters almost certainly had more to do with OKC missing the playoffs entirely last year than he has with them being one win away from the finals this year. That said, if he continues to give OKC solid 6th man play and they win the championship that’s not an awful return for a lottery protected first round pick- they’re certainly getting more out of him during this run than they’ve gotten out of Cameron Payne.

    65. “Players, like soylent green, are people.”
      Seriously, how old are you? The last time I said, “Soylent green is people!” the people I was talking to had no idea what I was talking about. I was starting to think that no one under 50 would get the reference…

    66. Look bottom line is that I don’t think you can say that the Thunder would be able to make this run without Waiters. IMO his defense has been just as impressive as his offense. The ibaka,durant, robertson, waiters and westbrook lineup is basically making the warriors death lineup struggle like no other team in the league has. Waiters has hit timely threes in more that a couple of games, he could turn back into a pumpkin anytime but i think he understands his role these playoffs. Play hard ass defense, hit open threes and attack closeouts by getting to the rim. He occasionally still taking bad twos but for the most part he is attacking the rim and not holding the ball.

    67. If the rest of the Thunder sucked in this series and the Warriors were up 3-1 instead of down 3-1, and Dion Waiters played exactly the same way and put up the exact same stat line, this conversation would absolutely not be happening.

    68. The only reason Waiters has 5.8 WS over his first 4 years is because he inexplicably plays a lot of minutes. Of the 67 guards in the NBA this year that have played over 2000 minutes, Waiters is #59 in WS/48 and VORP. There are only 4 guards with lower WP/48, if you prefer. He had an awful year, which was right around his career average. He’s a bad player. Giving up a first round pick for one of the worst guards in the league is not a good trade.

    69. Idk I got the soylent green reference and I’m 23. But mileage varies, I’m sure.

    70. JK47 the whole point is that the other thunder players are playing at their normal levels and that because waiters and robertson are playing above their levels they are beating the Warriors. He and robertson are the difference in this series, for the most part you are getting what you usually get from durant, westbrook and ibaka.

    71. @ 68 – Waiters is the reason the Thunder didn’t make the playoffs last year? Are you serious? You don’t think Kevin Durant being hurt most of the season was a bigger reason?

    72. And another thing, not only did the Thunder give up a 1st round pick, they also sent Lance Thomas and Sweet Lou to us in that trade! If they had done nothing and just played Thomas the minutes they gave Waiters, they would probably have been better off.

    73. If waiters and robertson were playing badly they would be down in this series to the warriors or at least only tied, those guys have stepped up and are causing major havoc to the warriors. Like DRED said they are leaving robertson wide open exactly what they did in the regular season and donovoan or robertson figured out how to hurt them. In the three wins against GS waiters is shooting over 50% from the field and %50 from three. It could just be three lucky games but you can’t deny that him playing well is contributing to their wins.

    74. Seriously, how old are you? The last time I said, “Soylent green is people!” the people I was talking to had no idea what I was talking about.

      Unfortunately you’re so old you’ve been lapped. The toddlers like Alecto are all over Soylent because there is a slightly cultish movement to ditch our hedonic pursuit of flavor and free up more time for posting on reddit.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/iamverysmart/comments/3foc65/soylent_is_people/

    75. Yeah some of my friends drink soylent and I mercilessly troll them

      It’s downright dystopian

    76. Man, how awesome would it be if we could max Waiters to go with Tony Wroten in our backcourt?

      #ringz

    77. @ 68 – Waiters is the reason the Thunder didn’t make the playoffs last year? Are you serious? You don’t think Kevin Durant being hurt most of the season was a bigger reason?

      The Thunder missed the playoffs via tie-breaker last year- if they had given Waiter’s 1400 minutes to almost any other two guard in the NBA they’d probably have made it. Clearly Durant’s health had more to do with them missing the playoffs- my point was just that if you’re going to give Waiters credit for playing well this playoff run when assessing the trade, you should also take into account that his crappy play really cost them last year as well.

    78. Nicos I don’t think anyone would argue with you that Waiters has been a terrible player. If JKidd or JR Smith played like waiters is playing this postseason we would have probably made the ECF and had a shot at beating the heat back in 2014. When you have two elite teams playing each other role players stepping up or falling down is going to be the difference in the series because your big guns usually play come to play.

    79. Beck saying that if Noah leaves the Bulls (which seems likely) he expects the Knicks to make a strong push. I guess he’d replace Lou? If it’s a one year deal I wouldn’t be mad, really, but I don’t really see the fit.

    80. And another thing, not only did the Thunder give up a 1st round pick, they also sent Lance Thomas and Sweet Lou to us in that trade! If they had done nothing and just played Thomas the minutes they gave Waiters, they would probably have been better off.

      @78 Kevin this is a great observation. The Thunder with Lance Thomas instead of Waiters would be doing even better than they are now. Lance is a higher BBIQ player, also can switch onto guards, and takes better shots. Looks like an even more unnecessary trade when you take that into account.

    81. Well wouldn’t an excellent passing big thrive in an uptempo system even if he’s hamstrung by injury

      I mean I’m not a huge Noah fan at this point of his career, but I figure he’d be value neutral unless he commands a really really high price

    82. @87 It would imply that they are not in a rush to play Zinger at center. A Lopez/Noah rotation would be pretty nice to have, considering you want to limit minutes on both guys. I have absolutely no idea what kind of money Noah is looking at in this summer’s crazy ass market, though. I could see some desperate team throwing $30mil+ at him for 3 years, or nobody going anywhere near him.

    83. @88

      Lance isn’t a 2, he’s 28 and up until this year was a worse player than Dion Waiters until he suddenly became a knockdown 3 point shooter. The fact he improved so late in his career is an argument against people railing against Waiters as if he can never get better at anything on a basketball floor.

    84. I don’t see Noah signing for chump change this offseason. He’s still a “name” player and with all the money out there, I bet he gets some decent money. And for decent money, I don’t think he’s worth it for the Knicks. If he wants to come play here for cheap, though, sure, why not?

    85. If Noah would accept a 1 year deal I wouldn’t mind paying him to help out while Porzingis develops, but he’d have to want to be a backup. Would anyone want him on a multi-year deal?

    86. I’d be fine with Noah if it’s accompanied by a good RoLo-for-guard trade. KP is eventually going to be our starting center, and Noah would be a fine stopgap for a season or two while we use Lopez’s very reasonable contract to upgrade at a position of greater need.

    87. On the few occasions he played this year Noah looked to be on an express train out of the league, and he was really bad for the most part last year too. Yeah he can throw a pass, but he’s a center who shot 38% from the field this year and his defense is okay, but not nearly what it once was.

      I mean I guess if he wants to take an extremely short cheap deal I’d take a flier on the vaunted Knicks medical staff being able to figure something out, but for the most part I would steer well clear of him.

    88. @IanBegley 5m5 minutes ago

      Kristaps Porzingis received a vote for the NBA’s All-Defensive 2nd team. He was the only Knick to receive a vote for the 1st or 2nd team.

      Well, that’s nice. I doubt I’d have voted for him even for 2nd team, but still cool to see someone considered his defense to be that good at this stage.

    89. The fact he improved so late in his career is an argument against people railing against Waiters as if he can never get better at anything on a basketball floor.

      grass is greener breh. That’s why no one here said ujiri is awful GM for signing bismackadelic to a 1+1 the other day.

    90. Geez, the uproar over the Waiters trade. The dude is stepping up in substantial ECF minutes. He cost them a low 1st round pick and $4 mill, and they used a team option for $5 mill to keep him. He has largely sucked, but he’s 24 and can defend and shoot. I hate the argument that “if they replaced him with any other available player, they would have been better off. The bottom line is that they are one win away from the finals with the team they have, and Waiters is a free agent after this year.

      No one churns more than Mark Cuban, and he churned his way into a title by making lots more good moves than bad. I doubt that Presti is pining over what could have been. On the whole, he’s done a great job and has had his share of bad luck. Maybe the biggest gripe is that he went with Brooks for too long, but seems like he picked a winner this time (and not a big-name NBA coach, either!) And let’s not forget, the great Buford/Pop braintrust locked up LaMarcus Melo to a max deal and was essentially given a free pass, and now they’re sitting home watching Waiters & Co. wax the greatest regular season team of all time.

      I love the smell of Dion Waiters in the WCFs….it smells like…..victory.

    91. Wow there’s a lot of words on this page today! And still no one has said go Phil, thank you Phil, Porzingis is a stud, Wroten will be a fine addition, Grant is our future, Willy is going to make us smile, Horny was a genius move.

      Except me.

    92. Shout out to all of the media stories today about how “hurt” Steph is. These same people mocked anyone who brought up the injuries of teams who had players actually miss games last year vs the Warriors.

      Fuck the media. Disgraceful

    93. Steve Kerr has said that Steph isn’t injured. Anything else is noise

    94. “Unfortunately you’re so old you’ve been lapped.”
      Ouch. According to my nephew, there was a trend a few years ago of young hipsters drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I was apparently lapped there too since I just assumed that they stopped brewing Pabst 30 years ago.

    95. What would you guys think of a player who through 15 playoff games is posting a TS of .529 and turning the ball over 4.2 times a game?

      Yeah, that Russell Westbrook is just so damn inefficient, trade the scrub.

    96. It went from the Tony Wroten roundtable to the Dion Waiters roundtable

      Knickerblogger – All Dion Waiters All the Time….

      He has been a below average player who’s performing well in the playoffs and is a key bench contributor to the Thunder who may win it all – I get it

    97. Actually presti’s worst move was trading James Harden; even if they’re currently one game away from the finals that trade was an all time bust, and I don’t see how you could pretend otherwise. And if you can’t pretend otherwise in that case, then why pretend otherwise in Dion’s case?

    98. Can Presti be fairly dinged for the Harden deal when it was a move mandated by OKC’s POS ownership?

      I also don’t really remember if there was a better haul rumored to be available, but it was an underwhelming return at the time of the trade.

    99. Yeah some of my friends drink soylent and I mercilessly troll them

      It’s downright dystopian

      I know just one person who drinks soylent out here in Portland and I pretty much know him as the technophile polyamorous dude with lots of hot-take opinions and credit card debt and methods of vaporizing marijuana

      and also Dion Waiters sucks at basketball no matter how great his 10 points on 7.6 tSA were for the Thunder last night

    100. What would you guys think of a player who through 15 playoff games is posting a TS of .529 and turning the ball over 4.2 times a game?

      Yeah, that Russell Westbrook is just so damn inefficient, trade the scrub.

      I’d also take his 54.4 AST%, please. But yeah, he’s basically the same Westbrook as always. Coughs it up, takes some bad shots, and dunks over everyones. This regular season he was pretty great but .529 is exactly his career reg. season TS%.

      I’ve said many times that I wouldn’t complain about Westbrook’s overratedness at all if I got to watch him murder people above the rim for the entirety of his athletic prime.

    101. One thing also, as Zach Lowe wrote in his WCF column today: Billy Donovan has somehow successfully given Waiters a brain transplant. He is now playing like a role player instead of a possession-hijacking chucker. Is he the Chucker Whisperer?

    102. Well, Steven Adams is putting up a .202 WS48 in the playoffs and just posted a .155 WS48 for a full season, and is all of 22 years old and making a whole $2 million per year. Plus they got some other stuff, including another 1st round pick. Meanwhile, James harden is a ball-dominant 2-guard who plays some of the worst D in history and is keeping up with the Kardashians. Not to mention that they almost certainly would have had to part with either Westbrook (who the workers at the KB genius bar hated) or Ibaka.

      But yeah, they’s have 3-4 titles by now if they had only kept Harden.

    103. The actual trade haul for Harden was fine-its hard to get equal value for someone as good as Harden. But they didn’t have to trade him.

      They could have amnestied Perkins, never given Perkins that dumbass contract in the first place, or traded Ibaka.

    104. They traded Harden so they could keep paying Kendrick Perkins. That was an inexcusable offense in my book.

      And Dion Waiters is not good at basketball.

    105. What would you guys think of a player who through 15 playoff games is posting a TS of .529 and turning the ball over 4.2 times a game?

      I’d say that he has mostly been playing against the #1 defense and #5 defense in the NBA?

      Russell Westbrook has become such a monster box-score stuffer that he’s still a great player despite his not-great TS%. He averaged 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds this season.

    106. The actual trade haul for Harden was fine-its hard to get equal value for someone as good as Harden. But they didn’t have to trade him.

      Trade was definitely good value, but I believe the criticism was that they basically let all the key parts of trade go (i.e. Martin who complemented KD and Westbrook well) for basically nothing. My recollection on this could be wrong, but wasn’t Harden looking for a bigger role rather than being 3rd string/6th man? I think it would have been difficult to keep him considering KD and Westbrook would have been ahead of him in the pecking order, plus I think extending him would have meant they wouldn’t be able to retain Ibaka. Could be wrong about the Ibaka part though.

    107. The Harden trade was about the luxury tax. And as it turned out, it wouldn’t have mattered. So yeah, not a fan of then making that trade (Presti obviously was forced into it), but Steven Adams has been great!

    108. The Harden trade was about the luxury tax. And as it turned out, it wouldn’t have mattered. So yeah, not a fan of then making that trade (Presti obviously was forced into it), but Steven Adams has been great!

      Why it so long for Adams to replace Perkins I’ll never know.

    109. Here’s the list of centers in 2011-12 who had higher WP (total) than Perkins.

      Chandler
      Howard
      Bynum
      D. Jordan
      Monroe
      Gortat
      Camby
      M. Gasol
      Hibbert
      Dalembert
      McGee
      Pachulia
      Pekovic
      Jefferson
      Asik
      Splitter
      Varejao
      B. Wallace
      J. Anthony
      Haywood
      Stiemsma
      Hawes
      Mahinmi
      Kanter
      Gray
      Seraphin (I don’t know how he played a full season with a near-average WP48 — .087 — when the rest of his career is a -.046 WP/48)
      Okafor

      How many of those names would have meant a title for the Thunder. Half?

    110. @128

      you may never be the Team Prez who was Promised, but you are the GOAT KB poster

    111. The sad thing is that Wilpon did a follow up podcast with some of the 538 people and just would not accept that a per 100 possessions stat were useful for comparing players on teams that played at different paces. He just kept saying “the game is 48 minutes”.

    112. It’s just bizarre.

      Part of me thinks it’s just him being a journalist and not wanting to surrender the narrative. That kind of seems to be the issue for him. That if we let the numbers tell the story then journalists and fans can’t build the narrative themselves and then the machines take over and kill us all.

    113. At age 23, Perkins was a very promising player, putting up a .156 WS48 and being an all-NBA low-post defender. He was a very important cog on a championship team. He was second in the league in eFG% in 2009-10. At the time, there was no reason to believe that his Celtics success was a flue and that he would be washed u at age 27. Hindsight is 20-20.

    114. Most fans of the game of basketball don’t understand advanced analytics. It’s relatively new to our understanding of the sport and it’s something you have to read about on the Internet. Very few people of any background know what true shooting percentage is or why per minute stats matter. The argument that black people don’t talk about stats pisses me off as a black man because I love advanced statistics in basketball. It changed the way I view the sport and makes a lot of things predictable (like why Melo hasn’t “elevated the Knicks despite his individual greatness”). I often tell people to remove the adjective and see if the statement is still true. “Black people don’t talk about advanced stats when discussing basketball.” True. “People don’t talk about advanced stats when discussing basketball.” Also true. This whole thing is really stupid.

    115. Bomani Jones (who has a masters’ in economics) responded to Wilbon on his radio show, and Deadspin transcribed it:

      I’m just saying, let’s not give white folks too much credit here. Because there’s a whole bunch of white folks out here who ain’t really trying to hear nothin about analytics either. A whooole lot of them that aren’t trying anything about any analytics. That’s not it.

      The analytics thing that is largely generational. There’s another issue that I think comes up that black people are generally steered away from mathematics. Math and science related fields, people of color and women, and people of color not including Asians in this discussion, but people of color and women are typically pushed away from those directions. I’ve taken a lot of high-level math, where you look around and are like, “Damn, it’s just me.” Like that’s the game. That’s what the game’s been for a very, very, very long time, so I could imagine that there are black people that aren’t necessarily so inclined to lean on these advanced numbers because nobody has ever been so inclined to lean these advanced numbers back upon us. I can see it like that.

      But that’s an exposure issue, more than it is something like innate about black people or anything like that. White people are hitting me up today like, “Yo man, what’d you think about what Wilbon say?” Yo, Wilbon might want to answer for all the black people, I don’t. I ain’t never really been here for that. I’m answering for this one right here, and I’m happy to be one with a bunch of degrees in economics, so like I’m not the guy, that sees it, in that way. I’ll never be the guy that sees it in this way.

      This weekend … I was hanging with some cats that were in town in Miami for a bachelor party, and he was like, “Man, Google ruined the sports argument.” He was like, “Yeah man, because now we can just go and we can check the right answer, and that takes away from a whole lot of the fun.” Because sports fans by and…

    116. Bomani Jones con’t:

      Because sports fans by and large want to argue about this stuff and being right isn’t consequential. Thinking you’re right is more important than that. You can make all your barbershop examples, I’m just telling you white folks be doing the same exact thing, they do the same stuff, they just do it when we ain’t around. That’s it.

      If there’s an ethnic/cultural argument authentically from the black experience in America that supports Wilbon’s point… he sure as shit didn’t do much to back it up. Interesting premise… but sportswriter fluff on the follow-through from Wilbon’s end.

    117. more lovely armchair social psychology punditry for all tha pageviews, nothing more

    118. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss Fire Joe Morgan and how it faithfully served as my avatar of exasperated, acerbic rage against lazy sportswriting tropes

    119. The difference in coverage between Steph Curry and Matt Harvey has been really interesting. Steph has no objective evidence of being injured (I am sure he is not 100% though). He’s had amazing shooting games since coming back from injury, and he’s had some bad games. Yes, he’s missed some open 3’s, but even Steph Curry doesn’t make every single shot.

      But does that make you miss layups? Does that make you turn the ball over 4.9x/36 min? Oh, and btw – his TS% for the playoffs = 60.3 — basically exactly in line with his TS the past 2 postseasons.

      I’m sure Steph Curry is not 100%. But it seems just as possible that he’s mentally rattled by how this series has gone, that he’s had spend a ton of energy trying to guard Westbrook, and that OKC has done a really good job on him. They’re holding him all the time (maybe fouls), bumping him every time he goes anywhere, and contesting all his shots. On top of that, Okc/Durant has pretty much shut down Draymond Green, who has been way more awful than Curry, allowing them to spend more defensive resources on Steph.

      A lot of Curry’s game is based on hitting shots the defense would WANT any normal player to take. Difficult runners in the lane. Flip shots with guys contesting at the rim. Stepback 28 footers. I find it really hard to believe that his performance is out of the statistical norm, especially given that players are scouted much harder during the conference finals than during the regular season.

    120. On the other hand – I live in NYC so I saw all the ink spilled last season about how Matt Harvey was a jerk, how could he put himself over the team re: his innings limit. How earlier in the season he would grouse and complain about being taken out early in the game, and how he lobbied against a 6 man rotation. Never mind that the manager, not the player decides when/how long someone pitches, and that the manager and the front office has to basically be the adult in the room. So Harvey bows to media/team pressure and goes out and throws nearly 20% more innings than he was supposed to.

      And so what happens? He sucks this year. Exactly what Boras and co. were worried about. Are there 1000 articles about how the Mets possibly broke their pitcher for short term gain? Are there 1000 articles about how we need to take it easy on Harvey because he’s just finding his way after TJ surgery? No – it’s how Harvey isn’t accountable. The Mets FO should be out front on this trying to protect their player from a situation they very likely created. Instead, they’re standing back and letting the press pound on the guy. “not mentally strong enough” etc etc.

      What the Mets did last year was analogous to putting a concussed football player back on the field — directly contravening his surgeon’s recommendation because they needed him on the field for the playoff run — and then after he starts having neurological symptoms, standing back and letting him take the heat. Press: “Matt Harvey isn’t mentally strong enough to fight through this”.

      As opposed to Steph Curry’s coverage — throwing the ball all over the place. Playing awful defense. Missing layups. Not being a leader. Press: “Steph Curry must be hurt”.

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