Knicks Morning News (2016.06.08)

  • [New York Times] LeBron James Says He’ll Be ‘Much Better’ in Game 3. The Cavs Need Him to Be. (Wed, 08 Jun 2016 00:18:30 GMT)

    Cleveland trails Golden State, two games to none, and could be more short-handed than usual with Kevin Love in the league’s concussion protocol.

  • [New York Times] State of the Art: Warriors, Tech’s Team, Are Soaring Out of Reach (Wed, 08 Jun 2016 10:05:43 GMT)

    The Golden State Warriors are almost a metaphor for the way the tech industry improves, and also risks ruining, all that it touches.

  • [New York Times] The N.B.A.’s Fashion Runway: Chic, Yet Shabby (Wed, 08 Jun 2016 06:30:01 GMT)

    The pregame walk from the team bus to the locker room before an N.B.A. playoff game is an oddly blue-collar environment for high fashion.

  • [New York Times] TV Sports: Mike Breen Becomes N.B.A. Finals Play-by-Play Fixture (Wed, 08 Jun 2016 01:12:13 GMT)

    Breen, who is announcing a record 11th N.B.A. finals, chooses a smooth and steady play-by-play style over the gimmicks abused by other broadcasters.

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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).

    70 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2016.06.08)”

    1. I saw a rumor that the Knicks are interested in one of Philadelphia’s late firsts (#24, #26.) Bracketing the plausibility of said rumor (I believe it came from Jason Parker at Fansided who I’ve never heard of) who would you take at either #24 or #26?

      At #24 I’d take one of Valentine, Ulis, or Johnson. At #26 I’d take Johnson. It’s hard to choose between the 3, since they all project quite well
      (see http://nyloncalculus.com/2016/05/26/draft-projections-and-visualizing-predictors-for-the-2016-nba-draft/ or https://www.reddit.com/r/lakers/comments/4auhit/insider_request_ranking_top_30_nba_draft/)

      but I think ultimately I’d take Ulis; a fast-paced, low turnover pure PG who can shoot and distribute as well as almost anyone in this draft class, who plays excellent defense for his size.

      Thoughts?

    2. I’m a pretty big fan of Felder’s (there’s actually a lot of good guard prospects in the back end of this draft, I think) and he has some gaudy per 40 stats and very solid advanced stats, but he’s not a better prospect than Ulis, I think. Ulis is the better three point shooter, the better distributor, and they’re worlds apart on defense, where Ulis is all-NCAA caliber despite his size, whereas Felder is pretty bad (though that could be because his usage was super high and so he had to preserve energy by not playing defense.) Also intangibles–Ulis has incredibly high basketball IQ and is absurdly cool-headed, so much so that coach Cal let him call plays and make adjustments on the fly. He also had the best ast/to ratio in the NCAA.

      I think the main differetiator between the two is defense and performance in the context of their strength of schedule (the latter isn’t too strong a predictor of NBA productivity, though.) While Felder has “all the tools” (as DX puts it) to be a good small defender at any level, he hasn’t put them together whatsoever. And there are plenty players who have had “all the tools” on defense who were still bad-to-horrible on that end of the floor. I value current productivity over theoretical future productivity, as current productivity is a better indicator of performance than theorizing about upside, so I’m comfortably in the Ulis camp on the issue of defense.

      Also, I don’t want to put too much stack in two projections, but Felder doesn’t rank highly in either, really, which is something to factor into the analysis. Still, he should be going higher than #54.

    3. RIP Sean Rooks. I wonder if it will turn out to be an undiagnosed heart ailment or defect.

      I read Herring’s WSJ article about Hornacek wanting to push the pace and Wroten perhaps being a key to that. I hope they don’t count on that, though. Though I still think the Knicks need a good two-way shooting guard first (and perhaps another decent shooter off the bench, though that might be Calderon), maybe signing Lin and a second tier wing could be a plan?

    4. I like Felder more because he is short, but not small. They have the same body fat, but Felder is 28 pounds heavier than Ulis, i.e. he has an NBA body and can take the pounding. He also jumps 6″ higher (2nd highest vertical in combine history!!), runs faster and has significantly bigger hands than Ulis. He may not shoot as well as Ulis, but he won’t get pushed around as much and is less likely to get hurt.

    5. I also think that lack of height for position and playing for no-name NCAA team are two of the main reasons why sleepers fall in the draft. Felder’s stats are very impressive across the board, and he’s clearly the best athlete in the draft. He tended to come up big vs. the best teams, including #5 Virginia. I see him as a better passing and less goofy Nate, which would be a steal in the late first (as Nate was!) Or maybe something like Kyle Lowry (drafted #24 in a weak draft)

    6. reub, Steph is 6″ taller than Ulis and even so was overlooked by a bunch of teams b/c of his size and college program, even though his college shooting #s were incredible. As to Ulis vs. Felder, here’s last year’s stats:

      Felder’s shooting (2pt, 3pt, ft) 48.5, 35.5, 84.8
      Ulis’s shooting (2pt, 3pt, ft) 48.6, 34.4, 85.6

      Felder also averaged more rebounds, assists and steals in the same amount of PT. He turned the ball over a bit more, but still had a very good asst.TO ratio.

    7. It appears Hornacek is bringing back Rambis…I guess there’s such thing as third chances when you’re buddy buddy with the team president, huh.

    8. “How high does Steph Curry jump? How fast does he run? Is he very strong?”
      If you check draftexpress.com’s data base, you’ll find that all of Curry’s measurements, etc. are about average for a point guard drafted in the first round. He’s actually almost an inch taller than average, and did 10 reps on the bench press, while the average pg drafted in the first round did 8. So, he’s bigger and stronger than average.

    9. If you check draftexpress.com’s data base, you’ll find that all of Curry’s measurements, etc. are about average for a point guard drafted in the first round. He’s actually almost an inch taller than average, and did 10 reps on the bench press, while the average pg drafted in the first round did 8. So, he’s bigger and stronger than average.

      The myth of Steph Curry’s underdog status has been so well perpetuated that people really don’t realize this. He’s the son of a professional basketball player and a D-1 athlete for god’s sake. He has a scrawny build but is not in any way lacking in terms of athleticism and seem to be world-class in some less measured strengths (e.g. hand-eye coordination).

    10. Re: Felder

      NBA officials are not really using the standing reach numbers from the combine which means the vertical numbers are also affected.

      Other than that he seems like a good player that will be overlooked and be available mid-late second round. I would not spend a late 1st on him though.

    11. @13, huh? Why do you think that they don’t use standing reach? How else can you measure vertical?

      As to using a low first rounder on him, I’m sure many teams are ruing not using a low (or even a high) first rounder on Draymond Green, et. al.

    12. He has a scrawny build but is not in any way lacking in terms of athleticism and seem to be world-class in some less measured strengths (e.g. hand-eye coordination).

      fuck less measured, the only one who deadlifts more than him on the warriors is Festus Ezeli. Sure that wasn’t the case coming into the draft, but still goes to show there’s a difference between functional strength / athleticism and non functional.

      Another example of less functional athleticism is Shump and JR : both big, with hops like crazy, but have slow first steps, are not quick by nba standards. That’s why the only time we get wowed by their athleticism is on putbacks and alley oops…..rare basketball events that are less important than that first step after being screened, lateral quickness, etc. etc.

      But most NBA fans will still classify the two of them as among the higher bounds of NBA athleticism.

    13. @13, huh? Why do you think that they don’t use standing reach? How else can you measure vertical?

      there were some shenanigans with the measurements this year. google it

    14. @13, huh? Why do you think that they don’t use standing reach? How else can you measure vertical?

      There were so much discrepancy between previous standing reach numbers for so many players that they are not really counting those numbers as accurate this year.

    15. “@13, huh? Why do you think that they don’t use standing reach? How else can you measure vertical?”
      When they measure the standing reach, the guy will purposely not reach as high as he can so that, when they measure how high he reached when he jumped, and subtract his standing reach, it looks like he jumped several inches higher than he did. The guy from Notre Dame did it last year. His standing reach was about 5 inches lower than it probably should have been based on his height and wingspan so it looked like he had a max vertical of something like 43 inches instead of 38. Max vertical is a stupid measurement anyway because the only time a guy gets a real running start in a basketball game is on a breakaway dunk. No step vertical is much more useful in basketball because, on most shots and rebounds, you don’t get a running start. However, no step is not even a good measurement because the guy squats real low and then jumps, which also never happens on a basketball court. Jeff Ruland once jokingly said that 90% of rebounds are grabbed below the rim, which made him uniquely qualified to be a good rebounder because he could barely touch the rim.

    16. Even so, it’s likely that this guy is an historically high jumper.

      Maybe. Regardless, they did measure him with a 6’2.5″ wingspan which is very good for someone his size. It is an 1.5″ longer than Nate Robinson. For comparison Robinson was standing reach was 7′ 7.5″ and this year Kay was listed at 7’4.5″. SO if I was to guess I would think Felder has a Vert closer to 38″-40″, which is not bad at all.

      I think football and it’s lifting program helped Nate Robinson(43.5″). Football players have incredible vertical numbers especially considering that they use no step verticals as there official measurement.

    17. If the Knicks draft any basketball player based on vertical measurements, they deserve to be a lottery team.

      Find me someone who can shoot a basketball, god dammit.

    18. @22 If the Knicks draft any basketball player based on vertical measurements, they deserve to be a lottery team.

      Agreed, Jowles, see: Renaldo Balkman

      Thing about Felder is, he CAN shoot as I posted above in @9

      I thought this was the kind of player that would be right up your alley in that he’s putting up stats that if he was 6’4″ instead of 5’9″ he’s be a possible #1 pick (ps: neither of the top 2 consensus picks are excellent shooters, in fact, Simmons is quite lousy.)

      What don’t you like about Felder? Enlighten me, O exalted one.

    19. Steph Curry probably should have been drafted 3rd or 4th, instead he went 7th. (obviously, he’d go first if you could do it over again, but nobody could have known he’d be the best offensive player since Jordan) But some of the teams in the lottery were really stupid. That’s fairly common. He wasn’t snubbed.

    20. I know at least one executive who thought he was a fantastic player and told everyone he was going to pick him….

    21. I thought this was the kind of player that would be right up your alley in that he’s putting up stats that if he was 6’4? instead of 5’9? he’s be a possible #1 pick (ps: neither of the top 2 consensus picks are excellent shooters, in fact, Simmons is quite lousy.)

      What don’t you like about Felder? Enlighten me, O exalted one.

      Felder looks fine. No idea how 5’9″ translates to the NBA, though. Could be Isaiah Thomas, could be J.J. Barea.

    22. Another guard to look at is VanVleet, who projects really really well but will likely go undrafted. Get on that Phil!

    23. “I know at least one executive who thought he was a fantastic player and told everyone he was going to pick him…”
      Do you think that that had any impact whatsoever on the fact that he was picked before the Knicks got to pick? Like the Warriors thought, “We don’t like this guy at all, but we’re going to pick him just to screw the Knicks.”

    24. “I know at least one executive who thought he was a fantastic player and told everyone he was going to pick him”

      I remember that too – his team just broadcasted it’s intentions for all to hear and had to settle on a somewhat lesser player than Curry……

    25. Interesting names working out for the Knicks today per Alex Kennedy: Royce White, Arnett Moultrie, Pierre Jackson, Ognjen Kuzmi? are among the free agents working out for New York Knicks today, per sources. Royce White, if he ever could control his psychiatric stuff, would be a pretty interesting player.

      And re: Kay Felder – if we buy a 2nd round pick and he turns into JJ Barea, I’d call that a huge win. Any 2nd round pick that has a 10 year career is a good pick.

    26. Being short definitely matters. It hurts on defense, and short guys have shorter careers. But in the second round? Who cares. Felder, Ullis, GPII, VanVleet-there are a bunch of intriguing guards who should make it late into the first or second round if we can snag a pick.

    27. Most shots aren’t blocked in the NBA, so I’m not terribly concerned about a short dude being unable to get his hand in the air. Short people can steal the ball, too, and a lot of that happens during poor dribbling.

      Nate Robinson has played for 8 teams in his career. Odds are, you’re either resigning a player as a RFA or cutting them after the rookie deal.

      If you get good value out of a player’s rookie contract, you’ve already won. I wouldn’t be worried about a 22-year-old’s future production past 26.

    28. I hope the Knicks have Bryn Forbes in for a workout. The dud shot 48.1% on 6.7 threes per game. He not just a spot up shooter either, the guy can run off a myriad of screens.

      He would make a nice UDFA or last 5 draft pick.

    29. Kuzmic might allow us to trade O’Quinn for a draft pick or two. Don’t you see the big picture?

    30. @9 – those shooting percentages are ok… but for guards in college anything below .500 on 2p attempts is usually bad for any prospect…. nate, steph, mugsy bogues all were well above that mark throughout their college careers…

      what that means is that even though you are short you have to be able to threaten to drive and finish in the paint at some minimal level in college in order to be an effective guard….

    31. Ridiculous hypothetical that a friend brought up, and that I wanted to pose here just to confirm that I’m not insane:

      * Cavs are either swept or lose in 5, and none of the losses are close.
      * LeBron decides he’s had it with this supporting cast and it’s time for Team Banana Boat.
      * None of his buddies (or, in some cases, his buddies’ wives) wants to move to Cleveland, and LeBron doesn’t want to play in the same conference as the Warriors and the Thunder, and for some reason (again, ridiculous hypothetical) decides not to simply go back to Miami if Riley can trade for Melo and Paul.
      * That leaves New York. LeBron and Wade come as FAs, and Melo is already there. But we would have to trade for Paul, and the only asset we have that the Clips would take in such a deal is Porzingis.

      Would you give up Porzingis in exchange for a couple of years of rooting for a team with LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, albeit all on the wrong side of 30? I told my friend that even if all these absurd things happened in unison, I wouldn’t do it. Am I blinded by loyalty to our first great rookie in 30 years? Or right that a decade of KP is worth sacrificing a brief window of some of the best players ever, but all past their primes?

    32. and gary payton ii is absolutely the most underrated prospect in the draft… the numbers are eyepopping…

    33. no because golden state still exists and we’d be worse than them

      it’d really be a circus though, which would be fun in its own way.

    34. Kuzmic might allow us to trade O’Quinn for a draft pick or two. Don’t you see the big picture?

      I wouldn’t put the cart before the horse, but Kuzmic is an interesting player. His sample size with GS is wayyyyy to small to be of any use, as he was the 5th C on the depth chart. But his D-League numbers were pretty solid. I wouldn’t expect him to make the team, or contribute much if he does, but there may be a basketball player of some value in him.

    35. Would you give up Porzingis in exchange for a couple of years of rooting for a team with LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, albeit all on the wrong side of 30? I told my friend that even if all these absurd things happened in unison, I wouldn’t do it. Am I blinded by loyalty to our first great rookie in 30 years? Or right that a decade of KP is worth sacrificing a brief window of some of the best players ever, but all past their primes?

      Can we please stop talking about Porzingis like he put up a Hakeem or David Robinson-esque rookie year? He’s still a prospect, and no sane front office manager is going to trade a top-5 all-time PG for a guy who’s on the hunt to break 52% TS and league-average TRB/48.

      I know everyone’s riding high on the best Knicks rookie since David Lee, but c’mon. This is Chris Paul, guys. It’s not Kyrie Irving or Ricky Rubio.

    36. I was thinking that Ulis would be a great pickup with the strong defense, calm personality, BB IQ.. then I saw this:

      Jonathan Givony: You have a really developed in between game. Is the added spacing of the NBA line going to give you more room to operate in the mid-range area?

      Tyler Ulis: I believe so. I believe that the way they space the court, and the way some bigs play ball screens, they step back and give you that mid-range. A lot of people say that the mid-range shot is the worst shot in the NBA. That’s something I love, and fell in love with this year, so I can’t wait to get there and see what it’s like.

    37. no because golden state still exists and we’d be worse than them

      Probably. Roster would look something like this:

      C: Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn
      PF: Carmelo Anthony, Willy Hernanogomez
      SF: LeBron James
      SG: Dwyane Wade, Langston Galloway (assuming they have room to re-sign him)
      PG: Chris Paul, Jerian Grant, Tony Wroten (I figure Calderon gets stretched under this circumstance)

      Plus various guys signed for minimum deals. A year from now, does that team beat Golden State?

    38. Ullis, Felder, Whitehead, Payton, Valentine, McCaw, Maker, Forbes, Lavert, Ferrell, Bembry, Selden, Gbinjie, Ellis all by signing Kuzmic and trading O’Quinn. Big picture!

    39. A year from now, does that team beat Golden State?

      A year from now that team loses in the ECF to a Boston team that is coming of age at the perfect time. (#knicks)

    40. Ullis, Felder, Whitehead, Payton, Valentine, McCaw, Maker, Forbes, Lavert, Ferrell, Bembry, Selden, Gbinjie, Ellis all by signing Kuzmic and trading O’Quinn. Big picture!

      I know Phil is a wonderful man and all, but he’s really gonna trade Kyle O’Quinn for 14 draft picks?

    41. Would you give up Porzingis in exchange for a couple of years of rooting for a team with LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, albeit all on the wrong side of 30?

      That team strikes me as good but probably not as good as the names on a piece of paper. You’d need to somehow find a coach who could get a lot of those guys to sacrifice big parts of their games (guessing Horny is not that guy) for the larger cause in order to get the best out of them. In particular I think you’d need to convince Lebron to let Paul have the reins on offense and use the energy saved to go back to being one of the best defensive players in the league (that’s the only chance of rounding out the offense/defense balance), and I think that would be a tough sell. In all likelihood you’d get to play in the finals for the next few years, but I think you’d still a good amount of luck to get over the hump.

      I think it’s a tough call. I assume the idea of the hypothetical is that all the pieces are contingent on each other (i.e. Lebron isn’t coming unless we agree to pull the trigger on all the other moves)? In the end I’d probably say yes, but I always really wanted Lebron to be a Knick.

    42. For 1-2 years, no one trades (or should trade) Paul for Porzingis. But Chris Paul is on the decline and makes a max salary, while Porzingis is 20 and is on a rookie deal. It would be a stupid trade for both teams.

    43. “This is Chris Paul, guys. It’s not Kyrie Irving or Ricky Rubio.”
      Assuming that Rubio was available, should the Knicks try to get him and what should they be willing to give up in a trade to get him? A future first round pick (I know, heresy, right)? Rights to Hernangomez? Both? Lopez? More? Less? I have to admit, I’m completely torn on Rubio. I can’t decide how good (or not) I think he is. He’s a historically bad shooter (which is weird because he’s a very good foul shooter) but, for his career, his team has always been way better with him on the court than off.

    44. “I know Phil is a wonderful man and all, but he’s really gonna trade Kyle O’Quinn for 14 draft picks?”

      Well, maybe he’ll have to throw in Labeyrie.

    45. And no, I wouldn’t trade the future for a couple of glory years watching a bunch of overhyped mercenaries on the decline, to be followed by 5 years of stank and watching Porzingis become an all-time great in another uniform. Having watched pro sports for 50 years, there is something special about rooting for a home grown star from draft night to (near) retirement, as I did with Reed, Frazier, and Ewing.

      At least when Boston did their big-3 deal, they built around Pierce, same with Miami and Wade, or Dallas and Dirk. Porzingis is the first Knicks draft pick with that kind of potential since Ewing. Under no circumstances would I be happy about trading him at this point.

      And F LeBron. He got his 2 and soon to be only 2 chips in the worst b-ball city in the NBA.

    46. I’d love to have Rubio, but do the Knicks have any assets the Wolves would want that wouldn’t be massively overpaying for him?

    47. Assuming that Rubio was available

      I think Rubio said that he’d want to leave Minn if they don’t make playoffs this year. I expect Minnesota won’t just make the playoffs, they’ll win a series or two.

    48. There isn’t anything short of a three team deal with Milwaukee and New Orleans that nets us Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo that would make me happy about trading Porzingis. Nothing.

      And Chris Paul will be a New York Knick in 2017, anyway. I wouldn’t trade the next 8 years of Porzingis’ career for the next 8 of CP3’s career, and I think CP3 is going to age like John Stockton because he doesn’t do anything that requires youthful athleticism. But Porzingis is officially my hero, so no. I can’t do that trade.

    49. I keep hearing talking heads say Cleveland needs to go big but do they not understand what Steph will do with Moz and Thompson when they are caught switching on him?

    50. Daryl Morey said today that he thinks 20 of first rounds picks this year are those that the teams who own them would rather trade than keep.

    51. @57

      I’d probably say that too if I traded away a first round pick for Ty Lawson and then waived him midway through the year.

    52. Somebody yesterday said Kyrie Irving wasn’t a good basketball player.

      For real, yo.

    53. Kyrie was Steph and Steph was Waiters.

      Lebron didn’t have a great half either. It’s odd to watch how much more effective Draymond is as defensive floater than Lebron when he tries the same role.

    54. Is it me or did Lebron and Kyrie have to take a lot of shots to get their points? Then again they did start the game off well and just struggled the rest of the way.

    55. I’m not really rooting either way, but I am glad that the series isn’t a blowout. But yeah, not the best games so far this series. Hopefully that changes with Game 4.

    56. Aside from a few odd games here and there, this has been a spectacularly underwhelming playoffs for those who support teams not involved. No more blow outs please.

    57. Yeah, pretty much. It’s been pretty much blowout after blowout. Some surprising blowouts here and there, but still.

    58. This year’s playoffs brought me Klay Thompson’s Game 6 vs Oklahoma City. I will forever be grateful for these playoffs for that reason.

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