Knicks Morning News (2016.12.19)

  • [NYPost] Inside the ‘doppelganger’ bond that found Knicks a point guard
    (Sunday, December 18, 2016 4:57:09 PM)

    Ron Baker has a good idea why he’s a Knick and Chasson Randle is in the D-League, lighting it up with Westchester. Coach Jeff Hornacek sees himself in Baker, the undrafted 23-year-old rookie from tiny Scott City, Kansas. As Derrick Rose wallows in back misery, Baker has stepped into the limelight as the Knicks’ backup…

  • [NYPost] The Knicks are starting to admit their Joakim Noah disaster
    (Sunday, December 18, 2016 8:40:29 AM)

    Joakim Noah hit the weight room at the Pepsi Center late Saturday night after playing just 11 minutes in a dispiriting 127-114 loss to the Nuggets that ended their West Coast trip on a downer. He needed to get in a workout somehow. It was a sign of his troubled season – with Knicks coach…

  • [NYTimes] N.B.A. Agrees to Reduce Back-to-Back Games. Old-Timers Raise an Eyebrow.
    (Monday, December 19, 2016 2:20:11 AM)

    The concern over playing consecutive matches is a source of amusement for an older generation, who played when easing the schedule was hardly a priority.

  • [SNY Knicks] Noah’s spot in starting lineup becoming tenuous
    (Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:24:38 PM)

    Joakim Noah only played 11 minutes and scored two points in the Knicks’ 127-114 loss, with coach Jeff Hornacek telling reporters afterward that keeping the big-money center in the starting lineup is “something we have to keep our eye on.”

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks, Jennings struggling at guard without Rose
    (Sunday, December 18, 2016 10:11:52 AM)

    Knicks guard Derrick Rose missed Saturday’s game in Denver with a lingering back issue, leaving the Knicks thinner at the point.

  • [NYDN] Joakim Noah’s slow start continues to diminish role with Knicks
    (Sunday, December 18, 2016 6:38:47 AM)

    Joakim Noah was so untaxed after Saturday’s game that he went to the gym immediately after for a quick workout in the arena.

  • [ESPN] What to watch for during Knicks’ 3-game homestand
    (Monday, December 19, 2016 6:00:39 AM)

    What to watch for during Knicks’ 3-game homestand

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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).

    49 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2016.12.19)”

    1. Just so you know, the links to ESPN stories in the daily news posts like the one above never work for me. I get a “page not found” error. I have go to ESPN and look for the story if I want to read it.

    2. And I must, say, I feel ESPN may be jinxing us by saying that Randle is undoubtedly attracting interest from NBA teams with his strong play recently at Westchester

    3. A couple of questions to maybe stimulate discussion:

      (1) I’ve been vocal that Melo’s NTC clause, the Rose trade, and the Noah signing are Isiah-level bad. But KP and Willy are real bright spots. Is it possible KP and Willy are the best pair of 1st or 2nd year players on any team? Who would you choose today out of these pairs (or others if you want to add them) if you were starting a team from square 1? KP/Willy, Jokic/Mudiay, Jokic/Willy’s brother, KAT/Dunn, Embiid/Okafor, Embiid/Simmons, Okafor/Simmons, Russell/Ingram. Call me a homer but I’m taking KP and Willy. Embiid’s too much an injury risk and Simmons is still an unknown. Okafor’s a limited head case.

      (2) A somewhat related question: if you were offered the option to be the GM of one of these teams and told there would be no constraints put on you by the owner, what would be your order of preference: TWolves/Knicks/Nuggets/76ers/Magic/Lakers? I’m taking the teams in the order I just listed them.

    4. @3

      1. Too early to tell.
      2. 76ers. Lots of assets that can be used to get better players, lots of cap space, lots of youth. A blank canvas, so to speak.

    5. 1. Don’t know
      2. The Knicks, no contest, because I’m a fan. If I had to pick some other team, probably the 76ers, because I feel they have talent, but could do so much better if they had a coherent team instead too many bigs and no reasonable point guard

    6. I would probably choose Embiid + Simmons, just because Embiid looks like a top-level superstar and Simmons has the kind of game I think will eventually translate really well to the NBA. KP and Willy would be a close second, but I ain’t touching Mudiay, Russell or Okafor with a ten foot pole. If Dunn could shoot it would be a no-brainer because of how good KAT seems to be, but his offensive game might just be an unsolvable problem.

      for number 2, I’d choose the TWolves… KAT is amazing, LaVine is very good and Dunn could become a useful player, and most important of all, Wiggins is somehow perceived as a future star, so he still has great trade value. I would trade Wiggins for a good veteran + some picks, stockpile on 2nd rounders and let KAT + LaVine + Dunn + whatever comes from Wiggins develop together, while trying to find the Willy’s of the world in the 2nd round.

    7. If the Wolves were not in Minnesota I would choose them.

      KAT and LaVine seems like a great combo for the future.

    8. the sixers are probably going to have 2 picks in the top 8 in this year’s draft and they are going to get a couple of really really good players….

    9. 76ers, Minnesota, NY if the Joakim Noah contract weren’t signed and Melo lacked an NTC

    10. KAT and LaVine seems like a great combo for the future.

      LaVine’s a 3rd year player (didn’t meet my 1st or 2nd year criterion) but still only 21yo. I’m just a bit wary of him. He’s ranked 427th out of 429 on DRPM, but that metric isn’t worth very much at this time of the season. His WS/48 has increased every season, now at .098. He’s got all of the tools but I fear he might turn out to be a JR Smith type. Thibs though is probably the best coach for a guy like him.

      BTW I just realized I left out KAT/Jones combination which is strange since I posted a Pek/Jones for Lee trade a couple of days ago. Don’t sleep on Tyus – only 20yo, WS/48 of .135 (but only 208 minutes played this season). He may be like Willy, not athletic but a smart, high floor/low ceiling type of player.

    11. Levine is a terrible defender. Like awful “he doesn’t even try” level bad. Embiid and Simmons both have major injury risks but they are the most super-talented combination if they can stay on the court together.

      I’m really happy with the KP/Willy tandem considering they were plucked from the same 2015 draft after we gave away our first round choice in 2014 to the Nuggets and our first round choice in the 2016 draft to the Raptors.

      Their acquisition gives me hope that this FO will choose high value picks in the upcoming draft.

    12. I think it’s too early to tell anything. KAT and KP are the only players I see that have HOF potential but Willy looks like a 10+ year pro in the making so it’s 1) KP+Willy 2) Either NY or MIN.

      And a quick point about the road trip. I know that folks are in depression or have become disillusioned with the team after the Denver loss but I called the road trip and said “2-3” would be good. I’m in the optimist crowd but I realize that this team is a borderline playoff team. Too many people look at one good win and think that means we should win every game. We’re nowhere near that level yet. Maybe, by late February, if we don’t put too much pressure on the team, we’ll climb a notch.

      The team is 3 wins ahead of the 43 win pace I tabulated. Just saying.

    13. I think its a positive development that this team is still competitive despite so many 1st and 2nd year guys like KP, Willy, Kuz and Ron having played major minutes.

    14. (1) I’ve been vocal that Melo’s NTC clause, the Rose trade, and the Noah signing are Isiah-level bad. But KP and Willy are real bright spots.

      That’s the P Jax experience in a nutshell.

    15. Also, to echo GoNY, 2-3 on that roadtrip is an acceptable outcome. We really should have beat Phoenix, but neither of the games we won was a gimmie, and Denver is better than their record reflects and was at the tail end of a long trip. Our defense does seem to be legitimately terrible, though, which is going to keep us from being a good team. Structurally, Melo’s age seems to be showing most on defense, and Ron Baker is probably the only PG on the roster who can play defense at all.

    16. @12 if Embiid doesn’t get injured or massively drops off, he’s on that level too so far… he’s been insane on both offense and defense, even if his usage is a bit more than I would be comfortable with (that has a lot to do with having d-leaguers around him, tho)

    17. DRed, yep. Defense is the culprit right now. Perimeter defense especially. Jennings is never focused on defense and he’s been exposed as a point guard too; he’s too out of control and turns the ball over a lot. That makes him a marginal starter. That means that he’s terrible as a starter and at the top of the heap as a backup. I’m liking Baker too but he too isn’t an NBA starter.

      And even though I’m a big Noah supporter, he needs a month in the D-Leauge. He needs to rework his entire offensive game and work on that foul shot. He’s just not ready to play on this team.

    18. You know, as Knicks fans watching our team night after night, we’ve almost become used to watching opposing guards blow by a Knicks guard for an uncontested layup (I think Will Barton had like 3 of them) or dunk. How many times have we seen the Knicks in the midst of an attempted comeback score a tough basket on one end, and then on the other allow a guard to either score easily or throw an alley oop within the first 10 seconds of the shot clock?

      I agree with most, defense is a major issue and we’re not getting over 40 wins if it doesn’t improve.

    19. (1) I’ve been vocal that Melo’s NTC clause, the Rose trade, and the Noah signing are Isiah-level bad. But KP and Willy are real bright spots.

      That’s the P Jax experience in a nutshell.

      “ISIAH LEVEL BAD”?? Swinging Jerian Grant for Justin Holiday at the moment seems like a great trade for us. And Noah (who I consider as part of the trade) is still bound to improve with time, I still think his 4 games of play in one year of NBA basketball requires more than 25 games to evaluate. Rose has been playing at least decently so far, much better than Calderon, and his presence/perceived threat seems to make our offense much better. And it’s only for one year! Losing Calderon was addition by subtraction. Come on.

    20. I’d take Embiid and Simmons, hoping that the injuries don’t prevent them from ever playing together. Willy is going to be good, but not at the level of Simmons, and Embiid could be on KP’s level.

      And I’d also take the Sixers on the whole – more draft picks this year, tons of young cheap talent. They really should be dealing already; once that roster is balanced and they add a decent vet or two for stability, they will be on their way.

      The only problem with “The Process” is that at some point you do need to commit to NOW. It can’t always be about tomorrow, because rookie deals run out, and then you’re paying for your talent, and all the flexibility to establish the foundation of a superteam is gone. (Well, not all, but it becomes much harder.)

      I’d be ready, ready, ready to deal this year if I ran the Sixers. Running the Knicks, I’m waiting until February to make any moves unless Thibs just can’t live without Noah.

    21. wily is up to a ws48 of .108… here are his per 36 numbers:

      15.3 pts
      12.9 boards
      2.3 asts
      1.0 stl
      1.5 blks
      ts%.607
      3.4 to

      dec has been really kind to wily… he’s turned it up considerably as everything has gone up and he’s cut his turnover’s substantially….

      i understand hornacek’s apprehensiveness to benching noah…. but oquinn and now wily have clearly surpassed him and this is not something that’s going to reverse all of a sudden… this probably cost us at least the win in phoenix…. and if our goal is playoffs then this needs to happen sooner rather than later…

    22. yeah, it’s mostly a product of him being a rookie still I think, he’s shooting 3’s at an elite level, scoring efficiently and is an insanely good blocker.

      the Sixers are like 97 something defensive rating with him on the court and 108 without him, that’s absurd, and opponents are shooting 43% against him near the rim.

      unless he gets injured, or somehow isn’t able to sustain this level when he starts playing more minutes, Embiid will be a superstar.

    23. Philly has some crazy bad injury luck, with Embiid missing two seasons and then Simmons having his freak injury.

    24. Embiid might have one of the biggest discrepancies between his PER and his WS/48 of any player with significant minutes-he’s got a 22.5 PER and a .096 WS/48!

      Mainly what’s hurting embiid is his astronomical 5.4 turnovers per game. Which will improve over the years, I imagine.

      The Hernangomez brothers look like the best rookies in the NBA or at least top 5.

    25. 2-3 on a west coast swing for this team isn’t a disaster. Probably most disappointing loss was the Phoenix loss. Really need to capitalise against lottery teams. Denver loss looked like a team that had been on the road for 2 weeks. Plus I think we underestimate Rose’s impact on this team. Offence just looks way more dangerous when he driving to the bucket. The numbers guys will argue otherwise, but the offence looks way less potent without him.

      On Noah, not quite willing to call it a disaster yet. Definitely hasn’t come out of the gates like we hoped, but has shown glimpses that he can contribute prior to getting ill. When you see him on the Court he is playing with zero confidence out there right now. He doesn’t even seem to be providing a spark at this stage, which I think is probably most damning. Maybe Hornacek puts a rocket up him and gets him going, but I just feel he is too proud a player to stay in a slump like this.

    26. The Hernangomez brothers look like the best rookies in the NBA or at least top 5.

      Is Juan getting much time though? Admittedly I don’t watch a hell of a lot of Nuggets games, but the odd one I have seen here and there he has either been a DNP-CD or gotten minimal PT.

    27. Juancho is playing like 12 minutes a game, but he’s been pretty impressive when he gets time.

    28. Juans got 240 minutes all told, about 11 per game, compared to Willy’s ~320 on the season. He’s not getting many minutes behind Jokic and Faried but he’s acquitted himself quite well in those minutes.

    29. Juancho is playing like 12 minutes a game, but he’s been pretty impressive when he gets time.

      His numbers seems a little big inflated by his very good 3pt shooting and low turnovers.

      Other than that he doesn’t do anything above average comparing with what you would expect from a center.

      http://www.boxscoregeeks.com/players/3146-juancho-hernangomez

      He’s a nice player so far but Willy looks like a better prospect IMO.

    30. Well Juan isn’t a center he’s a combo forward. He’s a good cutter as well as in transition, and a decent rebounder.

      I like Willy more but Juan looks to be a solid stretchy wing in the coming years.

    31. I read that Afflalo recently refused to go into a game. What did the city of Sacramento ever do to deserve the Kings?

      The thing that makes the 2-3 trip disappointing is starting out 2-0. As others have said, losing the Phoenix game has left a bit of a bad taste.

      Really souring on Jennings. The guy has got to play better D. I know it is more than just him, but it starts with guard penetration.

    32. I agree a 2-3 road trip doesn’t seem so bad, but now we have 3 home games in a row against Indiana, Orlando and Boston so no excuses. Let’s see this team win all 3.

    33. Chasson Randle has shot 16 for 20 on three point attempts in his last two games. That’s good!

    34. This week is an early litmus test. These are three important games with teams in the same EC boat. I’d like to see us win all three, but predict 1-2. I think we’re still going to be hovering around .500 come mid-January.

      So much of this league beyond the very top and bottom is timing – why couldn’t we get Orlando early in the season, when they were a disaster? Why can’t we get Philly now, before they figure things out (which I believe will happen via trade by the end of January)? Why do we lose DRose right before Phoenix, a game that’s going to haunt us come April?

      That’s just how it is, but we haven’t benefitted from a lot of luck this season. We’ve earned the wins (and losses), whatever Pythagoras may say.

    35. Anybody else pissed off with how Boston weaseled their way back up to 3rd place in the conference?

    36. @40 – Rama, Agree that these next three games are good tests. I have them going 2-1. I sure want those first two wins before we play Boston on Christmas. I wonder which Knicks will show up tomorrow.

    37. The masochist in me tells myself that Philly will let Embiid leave summer 2018 because they won’t have the balls to match a max offer for a guy who missed 2 years due to foot problems.

    38. Jokic is better than both Towns and KP :(

      hope that’s not true over the next few years

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