Knicks Morning News (2016.12.28)

  • [NYTimes] Phil Jackson of Knicks and Jeanie Buss of Lakers Announce Their Breakup
    (Wednesday, December 28, 2016 5:50:48 AM)

    Jackson and Buss, who had been engaged for several years but were never married, said via social media that they had ended their engagement.

  • [SNY Knicks] GEICO SportsNite: Melo and Noah on team chemistry
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 11:35:18 PM)

    GEICO SportsNite: Melo and Noah on team chemistry

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks’ defensive effort has held them back this season
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 3:00:56 PM)

    The Knicks’ defensive effort this season has been poor, and that was evident Sunday during their 119-114 loss to the Celtics.

  • [SNY Knicks] Courtney Lee is probable for Wednesday night’s game
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 12:15:50 PM)

    Courtney Lee (sore right wrist) is probable for Wednesday night’s game against the Hawks in Atlanta, the Knicks announced Tuesday.

  • [SNY Knicks] Acquiring Tony Allen could put Knicks over the top in the division
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 10:00:03 AM)

    Tony Allen is the type of player who could put the Knicks over the top in the division and solidify a Top 4 seed in the conference.

  • [ESPN] Wednesday’s Knicks News: Defense will be focus on road trip
    (Wednesday, December 28, 2016 5:56:54 AM)

    Wednesday’s Knicks News: Defense will be focus on road trip

  • [ESPN] Phil Jackson, Jeanie Buss end engagement
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 11:19:41 PM)

    Phil Jackson, Jeanie Buss end engagement

  • [ESPN] Tuesday’s Knicks News: Jennings, Melo not on same page
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 6:13:37 AM)

    Tuesday’s Knicks News: Jennings, Melo not on same page

  • [NY Newsday] Phil Jackson, Jeanie Buss announce engagement is off
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 11:50:35 PM)

    Phil Jackson and Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss are no longer a couple.

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks take to road looking to shore up defense
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 7:31:37 PM)

    It was wheels up for the Knicks after practice Tuesday at the MSG Training Center, flying off for a three-games-in-four-nights trip. In the eyes of Carmelo Anthony, this remade team is headed up in more ways than one.

  • [NYDN] Knicks president Phil Jackson no longer engaged with Jeanie Buss
    (Wednesday, December 28, 2016 12:58:40 AM)

    Phil Jackson’s relationship couldn’t survive a cross-country commute

  • [NYDN] Knicks may have been better with Dwight Howard over Joakim Noah
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 6:26:56 PM)

    Phil Jackson never made a run at Dwight Howard last summer and that could prove to be a costly mistake.

  • [NYDN] Joakim Noah knows he and Knicks need to pick it up on defense
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 4:38:20 PM)

    Joakim Noah doesn’t quite move like he once did but the former Defensive Player of the Year still knows right from wrong on the court.

  • [NYPost] Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss call off engagement
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 6:32:26 PM)

    The chances of Phil Jackson leaving the Knicks after the season on his own volition to join the Lakers’ front office have decreased after the Zen Master and Jeanie Buss announced their breakup on Twitter Tuesday night, citing geographical distance as a big reason for the split. Jackson and Buss, the Lakers president, had been…

  • [NYPost] Why Joakim Noah thinks Knicks have an identity problem
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 3:07:55 PM)

    The Knicks have a trio of scorers capable of putting up big numbers in Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis, yet they are a middling 16-14. Their weaponry is being wasted on the defensive end of the court, where they are among the NBA’s worst units. The Knicks are giving up 108 points per…

  • [NYPost] Jeff Hornacek: Why should Knicks pass just for style points?
    (Tuesday, December 27, 2016 12:20:51 PM)

    To pass or not to pass, that is the question. The big debate about the Knicks’ offense these days is whether there should be more ball movement or the players should continue to get the ball to those who can take their defenders one-on-one. The volume got turned up on the issue after Sunday’s loss…

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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).

    111 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2016.12.28)”

    1. man, Phil wrote an iphone note and posted on twitter to say he was no longer engaged… that’s rough lol

    2. Hard to believe that anyone would compare Rose to Grant. Grant has the corpse of Rajon Rondo (rocking a .419 TS% and a and WS48 of .027) and, let’s see…NOBODY in front of him and he still can’t get minutes. He’ a PG who in 1500 NBA minutes has proven that he can’t shoot, pass or rebound at the NBA level. Derrick Rose is the starting PG on a winning team who is playing (statistically) almost identically to how he played his ROY season. He has clearly been improving (other than the back spasms) in his last 25 games or so. He may be a bottom-5 starting PG in the league (and I would argue that in his last 20 games, he’s in the top 20 at worst) but Jerian Grant is barely an NBA player by any measure.

    3. Not even Jowles can deny that Rose has played much better than he thought he would, especially after a slow start to the season. He’s a shitty defender and a poor 3-pt shooter, but he is certainly a decent stopgap starting PG at his current level of play. There is absolutely no denying that.

    4. @Z-man you failed to respond to anything I wrote.
      Why are the stats for a rookie 1 guard after the All-Star Break not a relevant sample? Again his TS% during that period was greater than Rose’s in 7 of his 8 seasons and tied Rose’s best season. That’s just the stats whether you like it or not. There’s no arguing it.

      Grant has the corpse of Rajon Rondo (rocking a .419 TS% and a and WS48 of .027) and, let’s see…NOBODY in front of him

      Grant had the corpse of Calderon and he couldn’t get minutes. When he got minutes as a starter, he delivered. He showed improvement in the second half of the season. Rondo/MCW/Isaiah/Valentine are all 1 guards. Hoiberg gave a lot of minutes to Isaiah because he’s the best 3 baller which fit playing more off the ball when Butler and Wade were initiating the offense. And again, Rose didn’t play well at all last season when Butler was initiating the offense. Neither he nor Grant should be playing off the ball.

      He’s a shitty defender and a poor 3-pt shooter, but he is certainly a decent stopgap starting PG at his current level of play. There is absolutely no denying that.

      Grant’s a shitty average plus defender and a poor 3-pt shooter, but he certainly would have been a decent stopgap starting PG at his current level at his level of play demonstrated in the 400 minutes in the 2nd half of his rookie season. There is absolutely no denying that.

    5. Grant WS/48 .069
      Rose WS/48 .063

      Grant BPM -1.9
      Rose BPM -1.5

      Grant RPM -1.19
      Rose RPM -2.31

      Maybe they’re both very flawed players who aren’t that good overall?

    6. play time is one of the most overrated aspects of basketball analysis, imo.

      Coaches aren’t perfect; sometimes they aren’t even good. Here comes Rondo, with his reputation, which Chicago obviously believed would translate to good production once they “recovered” him, with a big contract and a loud mouth… and here’s the sophomore guard who has little experience and is perceived as a bench guy.

      of course Rondo is gonna play more, even if it isn’t the right choice… or do you guys really believe a coach like Fred Hoiberg is always making the right decisions? Hornacek has been playing Lance freaking Thomas over other guys when it’s clearly not the right choice, just to give an example closer to the Knick heart.

      the way some people talk about Rose makes me think Chicago’s management must actually be the worst in basketball, why would they ever accept a trade that sent such a good player, with ties to Chicago and a long history in the franchise, on the last year of his contract, for Robin Lopez and nothing else of value, while giving away a second round pick and a good bench guy in Holiday?

    7. So you’re pinning Grant’s horrific numbers on Hoiberg? What a joke.

      In the 6 games Grant started, the Knicks went 2-4, beating the woeful Nets and Sixers. None of those 6 games had any meaning for either team. He delivered??? 200 of those 400 minutes came in those final 6 games. other than that, he sucked after the all-star break nearly as much as he did before. And now he has a golden opportunity to pick up where he left off, but it’s the coach’s fault for not playing him over Rondo and Canaan? Whut?!

      But yeah, right, if he were playing in Rose’s place, we’d still be over .500. Keep dreaming.

    8. Maybe they’re both very flawed players who aren’t that good overall?

      Rose WS/48 .063 is to 2016-17 as Felton’s WS/48 of .087 is to 2012-13. Both are lousy defenders but work fine where they initiate offense through mostly PnR. Grant/Felton/Rose are all similar in that regard. Does anyone really believe Rose/Felton would be effective in a heavy Triangle offense?

    9. where did I say I blame his stats on Hoiberg?

      I said I blame his lack of playing time on Hoiberg, which was one of your arguments (“Grant has the corpse of Rajon Rondo (rocking a .419 TS% and a and WS48 of .027) and, let’s see…NOBODY in front of him and he still can’t get minutes.”)

      and Zanzibar already explained, Canaan is a good 3 point shooter for a team that is probably the worst in the NBA in that department.

    10. In the 6 games Grant started, the Knicks went 2-4, beating the woeful Nets and Sixers. None of those 6 games had any meaning for either team.

      Uh, NO. They played the Hornets, Raptors, and Pacers twice in those 7 games. Go look at the box scores. Those teams were playing their starters in large minutes because seeding was at stake. Are you really citing the record when those teams played their starters and we trotted out Early and Vujacic in starting lineup? And BTW have the Knicks not played some really sh!tty teams in December?

    11. you don’t have to hate Grant to justify your unwavering faith in D Rose, the savior of franchises.

      we will have this discussion many times still when the Knicks end up maxing Rose next year anyway

    12. I never know what stat is gonna be the stat of the day here. So for this convo people keep pointing to ws/48 to show grant is on the same level. Yet no one is pointing at TS% why? Because Grant is sub .500

      He’s shooting 37% from the fucking field.

    13. He delivered??? 200 of those 400 minutes came in those final 6 games. other than that, he sucked after the all-star break nearly as much as he did before.

      Grant Before All Star Break in Rookie Season
      GRANT..MP(808)…TS(43.5)…eFG(36.6)…PPP(.84)…USG(18.5)…TOV%(11.8)…Dime%(24.9)…TRB%(6.0)…STLR(1.7)

      Grant After All Star Break and Before Final Games he Started
      GRANT..MP(255)…TS(53.4)…eFG(49.4)…PPP(.97)…USG(19.8)…TOV%(10.9)…Dime%(18.8)…TRB%(6.7)…STLR(2.4)

      Grant as Knick Starter in Last 7 Games
      GRANT..MP(208)…TS(57.4)…eFG(52.7)…PPP(1.1)…USG(20.8)…TOV%(10.9)…Dime%(21.2)…TRB%(5.9)…STLR(2.7)

      Who knew? A rookie 1 guard could improve over the course of a season? But I guess Rose putting up career high TS% in December is reality? I’m sooo confused.

    14. er, Grant sucks on offense and is pretty good on defense. Rose is pretty good offensively, but sucks on defense (although he is probably better at defense than our other PG, because Knicks). Does that seem fair?

    15. I think that’s fine but doesn’t mean grants value is anywhere near Rose. Rose’s defense is passable in stretches. Grant is never acceptable on offense

    16. “Rose’s defense is passable in stretches. Grant is never acceptable on offense”

      Zanzibar has been posting stats where Grant was at least passable on offense in stretches.

      unless your definition of “stretches” is really different from mine.

    17. and Rose is 74th among 84 qualifying Point Guards in DRPM.

      (by the way, Grant is 6th)

      if we can’t agree on that, there’s nothing really to discuss.

    18. If the choice is between a mediocre veteran PG with injury issues about to be on a massive extension and a completely unproven 2nd year PG with bad numbers in an extremely limited sample I’m personally trying to find out about door number 3.

    19. I think that’s fine but doesn’t mean grants value is anywhere near Rose. Rose’s defense is passable in stretches. Grant is never acceptable on offense

      Grant’s TS% in december is 52.7% over 12 games. Is that acceptable?

    20. if we can’t agree on that, there’s nothing really to discuss.

      I never questioned Grants Defense. I’m what you call reasonable. I’m not gonna keep just saying shit and deflecting from the fact that Grant is dreadful on offense

    21. If the choice is between a mediocre veteran PG with injury issues about to be on a massive extension and a completely unproven 2nd year PG with bad numbers in an extremely limited sample I’m personally trying to find out about door number 3.

      See but that’s not the question. I never brought up any extension. Simply comparing player A to player B. Also Grant is a 24 year old second year player. It’s not like he’s 19.

    22. Anyone who compares Grant’s production to Rose’s needs to have their head examined. What is wrong with you people?

    23. @24

      no, but that’s the thing with your arguments.

      Dred and Zanzibar are giving examples where Grant is passable on offense, you ignore them.

      you say Drose is passable on defense in stretches; I show that he’s 74th out of 84 PGs in the league in a defense stat… you ignore it.

      you’re just looking for confirmation of your already set in stone opinions.

    24. as i tell the ladies, it’s important not to put a microscope to tiny sample sizes. a few hundred minutes tells you next to nothing. grant shot 55% TS in 463 minutes after the ASB last year, great. in november 2006. sebastian telfair shot 58% TS in 389 minutes. in december of 2002, larry hughes shot 61% TS in 524 minutes. in april of 1892, reub scribbled a series of letters that turned out to be objectively humorous on a sheet of parchment. life is lumpy.

      there is very close to nothing interesting worth saying about jerian grant from those 463 minutes, or from his seven games in december. the best you can say is that his overall sample is also pretty small, so who knows. but he probably sucks offensively. rose mostly sucks too, but in a different way, and probably not as much right now.

    25. How is 37% an opinion? Defensive stats are known to be less reliable than offensive stats. Defense is harder to quantify. 37% is not.

    26. @29

      how is 52.7 ts% over the month of december?

      you can’t be so uncapable to understand that I’m not making the argument that Grant is a great offensive player…
      Im making the argument that you said Grant is horrible every single time on offense and that Rose is passable on defense in stretches. Both arguments are not true according to stats.

      I’m calling you out on illogical bullshit as you always do, ignoring everything everyone points out that isn’t validating your opinion.

      so yeah, whatever, this is really pointless.

    27. 37 % is illogical bullshit. Thanks

      52.7% TS is great you right. Grant has hit his stride.

      Man. This place never ceases to amaze me. You arguing me down over Jerian Grant. Let that sink in.

    28. @31

      yeah, keep ignoring the data over Rose’s defense because it’s “less reliable”, like the big defender of reliable statistics you are.

      I’m done.

    29. I didn’t ignore Roses defense. I never said that. I said he’s made good defensive plays all year including a few key blocks. I never said he was a good defender. My point about the defensive stats being less reliable was more in talking about Grant than Rose. Defense is a team concept and sometimes attributes are attributed to players due to team defense. I agreed that Grant is better on D. Idk what you are really so mad about

      Oh yeah it’s that Grant is shooting 37%

    30. I’m not mad baby, I just decided it’s pointless to argue with you and will stop doing it.

      cheers

    31. Numbers juggling must be an enjoyable sport but personally I prefer basketball.

    32. they both suck, honestly.

      Grant just earns 10% of what Rose does and is younger.

      we might as well have ended the conversation right there before we started bludgeoning one another with our respective small sample sizes.

    33. SMALL SAMPLE SIZE.

      SMALL.

      SAMPLE SIZE.

      Almost meaningless.

      Also, Grant’s salary next year will be going up, like KP’s. Probably more like 20% of what Rose makes…except Rose will be off the books, so we have greater flexibility with him. We MAY use that flexibility on Rose, but you know, we may not. Phil is full of surprises. (Just ask Jeannie.)

    34. The only bright spot about Phil being here 5 years – besides Gaines – is that if Rose is injured in the next month he might decide to tank this season and sell off some parts like Lee/KOQ/Jennings. Much more likely though in that instance is Phil trades Willy and/or draft pick(s) to Miami for Dragic. If Rose makes it to end of season, he will be re-signed.

    35. Not even Jowles can deny that Rose has played much better than he thought he would, especially after a slow start to the season. He’s a shitty defender and a poor 3-pt shooter, but he is certainly a decent stopgap starting PG at his current level of play. There is absolutely no denying that.

      Yeah, but remind me again how the trade was good. He still makes $21.6M to be a bench-level player.

    36. Here’s what I would say about the Grant vs. Rose debate.

      1. I thought the Rose trade was terrible for the reasons I outlined in the previous thread. Even though Rose has been better than I expected and Grant has been worse than I expected “so far”, I still think it was a bad trade.

      2. IMO, to be very good team you typically need 3 solid scorers in the starting lineup. The Knicks have Melo, Rose, and KP. They aren’t especially efficient, which is why we aren’t a top 5 offense, but they can score.

      3. If we put Grant in Rose’s slot as the Knicks are constructed at SG and C right now, the Knicks would be way worse on offense because we’d only have 2 scorers.

      4. If the Knicks had a SG or C that was as much of a scoring threat as Rose, and we put Grant at PG, the Knicks offense would be similar and we may actually be better on defense.

      I guess the point I am making is that Rose has lot of value to the Knicks as constructed NOW because they need 3 scorers. However, that does not preclude the possibility of the team having more efficient higher volume scorers at SG and/or C (Lopez > Noah on offense for example), playing Grant at PG, and being a better team. Grant does some things better than Rose. He just does not do what the Knicks need as constructed now at C and SG.

      I like Lee, but if we had a volume scorer at SG, I’d rather have Lopez and Jennings/Grant than Noah/Rose, especially at the contracts.

    37. The trade was not good, but not terrible either (at Rose’s current level of production) because we jettisoned 3 years of Lopez’s salary, one year of Calderon’s salary, and a borderline NBA player for an inefficient but dynamic starting PG, a solid rotation wing, and what will probably be the 40th pick in next year’s draft.

      The deal has two parts:

      Part 1) Rose’s salary this year is roughly equivalent to what Lopez and Calderon make combined for this year. At this moment, is that really so bad, given Rose’s production in the last 20 games or so, and given Lopez’s and Calderon’s production this year thus far? That we signed Noah to replace Lopez should not be a factor in judging this trade, that was a separate transaction that should be judged on its own merits.

      Part 2) Is Grant for Holiday and a mid to low 2nd round pick not a win? Does anyone really think that Grant has more market value right now than Holiday? And who loves low-mid 2nd round picks more than you, O Honorable One?

      Jowles, you declared multiple times before the year started that if Rose played major minutes and stayed healthy, the Knicks would be a lock for the under, and that their chances of winning were greatly enhanced if he got injured. How silly does that prognostication seem at this point?

      And please, no more with judging this trade on whether we re-sign Rose. That is not a factor in the trade. It would be a totally separate transaction. And I’m already on record saying that I wouldn’t be in favor of re-signing Rose under any circumstances.

    38. @26 –

      Anyone who compares Grant’s production to Rose’s needs to have their head examined. What is wrong with you people?

      I cannot agree more. There must be nothing going on if we’re comparing a resurgent former MVP to a below-replacement-level backup. I guess it’s fun to argue about whether a past trade was good or not, but it’s water under the bridge and we should just move on.

      So, looking at the Knicks as they are constructed now, we all agree that the team needs to pick it up on defense. Although he hasn’t played especially well, I agree with what he said about defense in Chicago: “We definitely worked on it a lot more. I think it was pressed on us. It was pressed on us every day.” He also said, “if you look at the game against Boston, if we can get four or five extra stops, that’s a W”.

      So it’s up to Hornacek and Rambis to give them more defense practice and call out players that don’t commit to defense. This needs to be a pride thing.

    39. Derrick Rose has a 61 point edge over Jerian Grant in TS%, yet Grant has a slight edge in WS48. That seems odd, right? How is that even possible?

      It’s because of steals and turnovers. Grant gets steals at an elite rate. He has a 3.2 STL%, which would rank him 5th in the NBA if he had enough minutes to qualify. And Grant also has a very low turnover rate, only 1.2 turnovers per 36 minutes. Grant has more steals than turnovers on the season– 20 steals, 11 turnovers. Rose has 16 steals and 63 turnovers. Grant has created a net 9 possessions for his team– he has nine more steals than turnovers. Rose has “created” a net -47 possessions for his team, as he rarely steals the ball and turns it over a lot.

      Does this mean that Grant a better player than Rose, or an equal player to Rose? Probably not. But the two are probably closer in terms of actual production than people think. Grant has given his team extra possessions, while Rose has cost his team many empty possessions. That stuff matters.

    40. There must be nothing going on if we’re comparing a resurgent former MVP to a below-replacement-level backup.

      Isn’t it funny how the below-average PG on the Knicks is being referred to as a “resurgent former MVP?”

      Oh, that bias… that sweet, sweet bias…

    41. @41

      I can’t fully agree about the Noah signing. Once you jettison Lopez you absolutely must sign another C. They are 1A and 1B of the same overall reshaping of the roster. Courtney Lee is an outside move.

    42. The trade was not good, but not terrible either (at Rose’s current level of production) because we jettisoned 3 years of Lopez’s salary, one year of Calderon’s salary, and a borderline NBA player for an inefficient but dynamic starting PG, a solid rotation wing, and what will probably be the 40th pick in next year’s draft.

      There’s a lot of things wrong with this paragraph. Robin Lopez was a good player for us, and was a very good value at his roughly $13M AAV salary. That salary was not some albatross that needed to be “jettisoned,” especially not for one year of below-average stopgap PG play. Phil traded three years of Lopez and three years of the dirt cheap Jerian Grant for one year of Rose, one year of Holiday and a pick that projects to be #47 overall.

      The trade has turned out better than I thought, and it’s STILL a bad trade. When you look at that trade and evaluate it along with the Noah signing, it looks even worse– Lopez was replaced by a more expensive, older, less productive player whose contract runs one season longer than the contract we supposedly “jettisoned.”

    43. Even the Courtney Lee signing was, according to Lee, aided by the Noah acquisition. The Knicks’ moves this past offseason were unusually interdependent.

    44. @46

      exactly, why the hell did the Knicks need to “jettison” Lopez’s perfectly fine contract to replace him with Noah, who’s worse, in a longer contract… the only reason would be that Rose compensates for the rest by being clearly better than the rest of the parts on the trade, which is precisely why people are pissed off that there are valid ways to even compare Rose to Grant.

    45. Once you jettison Lopez you absolutely must sign another C. They are 1A and 1B of the same overall reshaping of the roster.

      People really don’t understand the concept of “opportunity cost” as indicated by use of term “jettison” which means to get rid of something or someone that is not wanted or needed. Kings looking to move WCS and Thibs looking for vet front-court player are a couple of examples where we might have been able to trade Lopez for a piece which could have helped our future. And Willy/KOQ/KP would have been just fine as centers. No Noah 4-year deal hurting our future. And I’d much rather have Grant (who’s younger on a more favorable deal than Holiday) plus Lopez trade piece than Rose on a 1-year deal or a more ominous 4-year deal.

    46. Isn’t it funny how the below-average PG on the Knicks is being referred to as a “resurgent former MVP?”

      I don’t think it’s funny. I think it’s fact.
      I base my statement on ESPN Hollinger’s ratings, which are based on PER, which have Rose currently ranked 20th. I guess that’s a “below average starter”. But he was ranked 44th last year so that makes him “resurgent”. What the former MVP thing means is that he hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. The team is still gelling. I can’t see him being an MVP again, and even if you don’t put him in the top-10, he’s a far cry better than Jerian Grant who is ranked 50th or the crap we had last year.

    47. @49 –

      And Willy/KOQ would have been just fine as centers.

      You can’t tell me with a straight face that that’s what you thought coming into this season.

    48. It doesn’t matter, the gist was to stay flexible for KP’s future. KOQ and Willy would have been playing well enough so a Lopez trade could have been made. It all would have worked out in the end. Let’s say we traded Lopez for Tyus Jones/Pekovic. I would have been more than fine with 20yo Jones (.135 WS/48), 24yo Grant and Jennings sharing the 1 versus 28yo injury-prone Rose on a 1-year deal. Who wouldn’t? Certainly better prospects for future and I’m not sure we’re even that much worse off in the present.

    49. I think trade evaluations MUST include Noah, for better or worse for the moment:

      – WE GIVE: Jerian Grant (future HOFer), Robin Lopez (efficient deal of the century), Jose Calderon (RIP)

      – WE GET: Derrick Rose (STAT2), Joakim Noah (zombie/corpse), Justin Holiday (lol who), 2nd round pick (lol who)

      Such a bad deal! Seriously, Grant always looks horrible out there on offense, Lopez was average and not good, but on a great deal, and Calderon is + by -. Rose has been playing well, Noah needs time (SERIOUS!!!!), Holiday has been playing VERY well from my expectation, and picks are always good.

    50. @50

      PER is actually really hated by most of the advanced stats community… I would guess Jowles would see PER as completely useless.

      I dislike it because it literally ignores defense, while ws/48 does a much better job of showing overall production on both ends of the floor… in Rose’s case, even his PER is pretty low too, so I guess it only adds to the idea that he’s not good, and he’s 44th in ws/48.

    51. @53, in which wetbandit slays the mighty straw man. Jerian Grant, future HOF. Sure bud, that’s what everybody is totes saying.

      Show that straw man who’s boss!

    52. The bean counters are comparing Rose’s stats as a starter playing at crucial times in games against Grant who plays mostly against scrubs and in mop up situations and mostly watches. What a joke.

    53. PER is actually really hated by most of the advanced stats community… I would guess Jowles would see PER as completely useless.

      Lies, damned lies and statistics.

      So we get to pick and chose which stat we like. I see. Do we need a vote to make the call on the “best stats”? Sorry, I’m sure someone out there would like to make a mandate.

      Can you provide me with statistical proof that “PER is really hated by most of the advanced stats community”? Can you provide me proof that Jowles is a statistical expert?

      I use both stats and my eyes to evaluate things. Here’s what I see. We sucked awful last year. The major change in the team is the addition of Rose (let’s say that Noah’s been a downer and Lee’s been eh). If that’s the case, then Rose has been a major improvement to the team. It’s as simple as that.

      By the way, sorting the Hollinger stats by EWA (Estimated Wins Added) or VA (Value added) ranks Rose 19th.

    54. Can you provide me with statistical proof that “PER is really hated by most of the advanced stats community”?

      So long as you are hitting something like 30% of your 2-point shots (less for 3-point shots, something like 20%), your PER will increase based on every shot you make. Obviously, pretty much every player in the NBA can hit at least 30% of their 2-point shots, so PER, in effect, simply rewards volume scorers for no good reason. That’s probably the #1 reason PER is a joke of a stat. EDITED TO ADD: Oh good, I see Silky found the exact quote. I knew that there was a good quote explaining it better than I could.

      There are other issues (like it does not measure defense well at all), but having such a gigantic flaw in the system and just never fixing it is the biggest knock on it.

    55. “And Grant also has a very low turnover rate, only 1.2 turnovers per 36 minutes.”
      Maybe he doesn’t turn the ball over much because he hardly does a damn thing with the ball on the offensive end? He doesn’t score (11.2pts/36) and what points he gets are extremely inefficient (.460 TS%), he doesn’t draw fouls (1.5 FT/36), he doesn’t set up his teammates (3.o assists/36, which is ludicrously low for a point guard, and much lower than Rose’s 5.0, and he gets criticized — correctly so — for not passing enough), he doesn’t get to the rim (2.3 shots/36 at the rim; Rose is at 6.2/36), he doesn’t get offensive rebounds (0.6/36 v. 1.4 for Rose) and he has a PER (which, as someone pointed out above, only measures offensive production) of 10.1 (v. 16.8 for Rose). I was not, and still am not, a fan of the trade — and I like Grant — but to pretend that he has been anything but brutal this year offensively is ridiculous.

    56. PER sucks because it rewards inefficient volume shooting in a way that severely distorts the metric (while also almost entirely punting on defense by including only block/steal numbers.)

      Quoth Dave Berri:
      “Hollinger argues that each two point field goal made is worth about 1.65 points. A three point field goal made is worth 2.65 points. A missed field goal, though, costs a team 0.72 points. Given these values, with a bit of math we can show that a player will break even on his two point field goal attempts if he hits on 30.4% of these shots. On three pointers the break-even point is 21.4%. If a player exceeds these thresholds, and virtually every NBA player does so with respect to two-point shots, the more he shoots the higher his value in PERs. So a player can be an inefficient scorer and simply inflate his value by taking a large number of shots.”

      PER might be worse than useless. The only decent and easily accessible already-interpreted (i.e. not raw tracking stats) advanced stats to use are WS/48, BPM, and VORP. Even those are very flawed, but they’re certainly better than the eye test + a cursory check of per 36 stats as a measure of player productivity (not that you have to abandon the eye test when evaluating player productivity–but you should be giving the stats more credence, rather than your easily fallible visual apparatus.)

    57. Jerian Grant is shooting 100% on free throws so he must be the greatest free throw shooter of all time. Stats.

    58. I remember when PER was pretty much the only advanced stat out there and I would hype it up (I was so pumped when basketball reference first included it on their pages!) and my brother, who is a math whiz, would make me go over the formula with him because he felt it devalued someone (I forget who. Steve Nash, maybe?). And he discovered the flaw pretty early on. I tried to argue that there was some merit to taking extra shots, but, yeah, I realized I had backed the wrong horse back then. :) Hollinger is still great in general, just not that particular stat.

    59. But Brian, your brother would surely admit that Grant is the GOAT when it comes to foul shooting right? It’s right there in black and white for all to see.

    60. So long as you are hitting something like 30% of your 2-point shots (less for 3-point shots, something like 20%), your PER will increase based on every shot you make. Obviously, pretty much every player in the NBA can hit at least 30% of their 2-point shots, so PER, in effect, simply rewards volume scorers for no good reason. That’s probably the #1 reason PER is a joke of a stat.

      100% correct, but I’m going to focus on the reason PER rewards volume shooters:

      I use both stats and my eyes to evaluate things. Here’s what I see.

      “I think Player X is good and Player X has a high PER. Therefore, PER is a valid stat.”

      If you look at the PER and PPG/points leaderboards, you’ll see that they’re basically identical.

    61. yeah, it’s not just picking the stats you like.

      besides the shot efficiency thing, many people have criticized the stat for not reflecting defense at all, iirc even Hollinger himself admitted it

    62. Silky @61 Even those are very flawed, but they’re certainly better than the eye test

      I came to this site because of it being stats oriented but seriously, can we at least agree that the quality of the eye test changes from one set of eyes to another?
      Civilization, let alone the NBA was built thanks to the eye test. Are we seriously dumping it for WS48 + BPM + VORP? Even the most avid machine learning geek would admit his algorithms are far from replacing humans on complex issues such as player quality.

    63. just as a quick comparison:

      Bruce Bowen’s career PER is 8.2 (usage rate 11%)

      Rudy Gay’s career PER is 16.7 (usage rate 24.8%)

      PER only registers blocks and steals as “defensive stats”.

    64. Rose is pretty bad – so is Grant.

      And you guys are looking so freaking stupid trying to determine the difference between shit and feces.

    65. Civilization, let alone the NBA was built thanks to the eye test. Are we seriously dumping it for WS48 + BPM + VORP? Even the most avid machine learning geek would admit his algorithms are far from replacing humans on complex issues such as player quality.

      Most stat-heads are quite dishonest in their method: they reach a conclusion based on the eye test ( ! ) and *then* go searching for the skewed data that supports that conclusion.

      This thread is a perfect example of that.

    66. Grant is not very good. Rose is also not very good. Rose costs ten times more than Grant. The end.

    67. Grant was a rookie with a small sample size of play who was drafted 19th overall. He played pretty badly his rookie year like most rookies. He was on a rookie scale contract. We traded him for two players on expiring contracts. We were not winning the NBA title this year. That makes expiring contracts of non-max players 100% irrelevant. In fact, they hurt the team not only by (theoretically) improving its record but also by taking away minutes from players we could have signed to multi-year, flexible contracts.

      If option A has no chance of paying off and option B has some chance of paying off and neither has any risk, option B is better. It doesn’t matter how small the chance of option B has of paying off. What were the odds that Rose would become a player you are happy to pay the max to? Next to nothing. Certainly way lower than the odds that Grant becomes a value at $1.7m next season.

      That doesn’t even get into the fact that Robin Lopez is making $3-$5m less than his free agent value.

      It was another fantasy play by Phil Jackson if you want to give him credit for using some sort of internal logic. He wanted to be able to impress Westbrook with a 45 win season and then sign him I guess. Too bad those things only happen to 45 win teams in bad GMs’ (and homer fans’) imaginations.

    68. Grant is not very good. Rose is also not very good. Rose costs ten times more than Grant. The end.

      Amen!

      That’s why evaluating players needs to include a lot of factors that go beyond stats: contract, conduct, team need, simple eye test (far more complex and accurate than any current statistical analysis), etc.

    69. the problem with any eye test analysis is not really only eye test, but another very important component: memory.

      do you remember every shot Carmelo Anthony took in his Knick career? the stats do… fans generally will remember the memorable moments, the big shots or the absolutely terrible nights, but they won’t remember that a player scored 25 points but shot 25 shots do it, because that happened over the course of 2 hours.

      it’s obvious that stats are never enough on their own to make a good analysis, but they are still much better than the eye test / fan memory in being accurate about what really happened in games.

      context matters, coaching, training, luck, everything has a part… but in the end, the stats will be more reliable then a person’s opinion on something, specially since we really can’t know most of the important information related to the analysis (how much does Rose dedicates himself to 3 pointers in his training? is a specific play being run because Hornacek practiced it and called it, or was it a freelance decision by the players? why was Porzingis 10-feet away from the rim on a missed shot instead of fighting for the rebound? just some examples of stuff we can’t possibly know).

    70. PER is flawed, but so are WP and WS. And it is only at the extremes that the stats diverge all that much. None of them account for role very well. WS/WP rewards extreme low-usage/high-efficiency players. PER rewards extreme high-usage/low-efficiency players. The “truth” is probably somewhere in the middle.

      @68 Bruce Bowen’s career WS48 is .086. He was a below average player by either metric. If you needed a scorer, he was absolutely horrible. If you needed a rebounder/defender, he was great, but at a cost on the offensive end…someone had to take the shots that are normally taken by a scoring wing. But you could argue that neither PER nor WS48 adequately accounted for his value on defense.

      And WS48 has Gay at an above-average level is several years, with PER and WS48 being roughly in alignment (2010-11 and 2011-12, e.g.)

    71. Grant was a rookie with a small sample size of play who was drafted 19th overall. He played pretty badly his rookie year like most rookies. He was on a rookie scale contract. We traded him for two players on expiring contracts.

      This is the crux of it, and this is the thing that people don’t seem to really understand: the trade was not Lopez, Grant and Calderon for Rose, Holiday and a second-rounder. It was six combined cost-controlled seasons of Lopez and Grant (plus Calderon) for two combined seasons of Rose and Holiday (plus the second-round pick). Rose and Holiday are rentals. They will both cost exponentially more if Phil wants to re-sign them. You shouldn’t really be giving up cost-controlled assets for rental players unless that kind of move makes you a true contender.

    72. Role is a messy thing to account for in advanced stats. Players are lumped together by position rather than by role. Should Rudy Gay really be compared to Bruce Bowen? Should Tyson Chandler be compared to Enes Kanter?

    73. bruce bowen was massively overrated on defense… i’ve always contended that most of a team’s defense is how you protect the paint area and bowen wasn’t anywhere near close the best defender or most important on the spurs… it always started and ended with tim duncan…

    74. You shouldn’t really be giving up cost-controlled assets for rental players unless that kind of move makes you a true contender

      That’s fair. But the Knicks had a far greater need for a PG in a much thinner PG market. And so far, Lopez is barely earning his salary this year. O’Quinn is outplaying him by a wide margin, and in retrospect, they should have rolled with him, WHG, Plumlee and KP at C. So having Lopez’s cap space available next year (if Rose is not re-signed) could have been a really good thing. That they chose to squander the space on Noah is irrelevant to the value of the deal. They didn’t have to sign Noah.

      As to Grant, he has very little value over a minimum player, so having control over his contract is of little practical value. You could offer his spot to the best PG in the D-League on a 3-year minimum deal and have roughly the same asset. In fact, Ron Baker might be just as good at 1/3 the price.

    75. it was just a quick comparison, in the sense that I would never believe anyone would say Rudy Gay is objetctively a better player than Bruce Bowen was.

      and Z-man, Rudy Gay’s career ws/48 is .085… which shows how different ws/48 and PER are in terms of how both stats evaluate general contributions to a team… unless anyone believes Rudy Gay really is twice the player Bruce Bowen was, overrated or not.

    76. also, I never said that ws/48 was perfect, just that it’s better than PER and more useful than biased memories or eye tests.

    77. That’s fair. But the Knicks had a far greater need for a PG in a much thinner PG market.

      And then next year, when Rose’s contract expires, they’re going to have a need for a PG again. Trading long-term assets for short-term solutions when you’re not a contender is dumb.

      That they chose to squander the space on Noah is irrelevant to the value of the deal. They didn’t have to sign Noah.

      But they DID sign Noah. I guess you can say that’s “irrelevant to the value of the deal” but it’s not irrelevant to the question of whether or not Phil Jackson is a smart GM. To fill the hole created by trading Lopez for a one-year rental at PG, he signed a player who is older, worse, and more expensive than Lopez, with a contract that runs a year longer. So next year we’ll have the more expensive and worse player AND the hole at PG will be back. Thanks, Phil!

    78. I think it’s an open question regarding just how good Bruce Bowen was: he was obviously an elite man defender but was a total non factor in offense. How he was as a defender compared to other elite defenders would be easier to figure out these days with tracking stats (where I suspect he would do quite well.)

      It’s almost definitely true that Tim Duncan was the best defender on those Spurs teams.

    79. Guys Robin Lopez is not better than Joakim Noah. By WP48 Noah is at .211 and Lopez is like .105. By WS48 Noah is at .098 and Lopez is at .097. The only thing he does at an average-above average clip is not foul and block shots. He might be a better defender but I’d wager his slow-footed nature wouldn’t do much better with all the penetration Rose and Jennings allow. Otherwise he has a sub .500 TS% and averages less than 10 rebounds per 36. At least Joakim Noah gets boards and can pass the ball, bro.

      If you want to say last year’s RoLo was better than this years JoNo, I’ll take it. But this year? Noah has been the better basketball player.

      Also Rose is trending up while noob Grant is probably not going to see all four years of his rookie contract haha. A player I think Rose could emulate is Isaiah Thomas. Thomas shoots 7 3s a game but he only converts 33% of his attempts. I don’t think Derrick Rose would be far off from that if the Knicks built in some opportunities for him to shoot threes. If Derrick Rose could get 4-5 3PA and 8 FTA from the line, you’re talking about a really good player. Derrick Rose’s assists have dropped, though, and that’s still a function of being a PG. I guess what I’m trying to say is we have not seen the best of Derrick Rose yet. I think he’ll finish close his career high in TS% this season and over the season he should take (and make) more 3PA as he becomes more comfortable in the offense. Of course I have to believe that because I know PJ is going to give Derrick Rose $20M AAV after the season.

    80. Bruno @74 do you remember every shot Carmelo Anthony took in his Knick career? the stats do… fans generally will remember the memorable moments

      A trained, strong eye would remember the defensive indifference, the ball holding, the missed clutch shots, the smiles during loses, the iso’s, etc.
      My whole point is that the eye test is a tool that is stronger for some people than it is for others. It can also be trained, improved, become more and more nuanced. In the right forehead it’s really good.

    81. @85
      with that I agree, Ingmarrr, it makes a lot of sense.

      and Silky, Duncan was clearly the best defensive player on that team, the comparison between Bowen and Gay’s PER was just to show how skewed towards high volume shooters PER is, and how useless it is in evaluating stuff like defensive contribution… was Rudy Gay twice as good as Bowen?

      Gay’s career PER is better than Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace too, if you guys are really so uncomfortable with the Bowen example.

    82. If Derrick Rose could get 4-5 3PA and 8 FTA from the line, you’re talking about a really good player.

      If my aunt had balls, she’d make a kickass uncle.

      It’s like Rose is just *thisclose* to being a great player. If he could just double his free throw rate, man, he’d really be something.

    83. We had Jerian Grant on a rookie contract for 3 years and we let it slip through our fingers. We coulda been a contender.

    84. The consensus seems to be that the eyeball test sucks. PER sucks. Other stats suck too.

      I’ll quote the great Bill Parcels, “You are what your record says you are”. The Knicks are much better this year than last. The big difference is Rose. Rose helped the team. Period. The rest of this argument is close to useless.

    85. If Rose continues to play this well and we can’t afford to resign him I’d like to bring in Teodosic from Moscow. All of our other Euros should help to entice him here. I’m guessing that he can be had for $7 million per. That would be good value.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX9_Hb3R9_I

    86. if Rose was an elite guard getting fouls and shooting threes we wouldn’t ben having this discussion, cause he would still be with the Bulls.

    87. Derrick Rose’s FTAs went from around 3.5 in November through 16 games and this month he’s at 4.5. He might not get to the line more than 5 times a game this year but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been improving all season. His scoring is trending up and I know that scares a lot of you because there’s no way Derrick Rose can play good basketball from now until he’s 32 in 4 seasons right? Getting fouled 1-2 more times a game isn’t exactly hard work for a guy like Rose who attacks the basket 10+ times a night.

    88. No, I definitely think Bruce Bowen is better than Rudy Gay. I was just trying to say that the perception of Bruce Bowen as this all time defender might be giving him a bit too much credit when you have someone like Tim Duncan protecting the paint. He certainly was an excellent man defender though. It’d be interesting to see his tracking stats, which would paint a more complete picture.

      Re: the eye test. Even if your eye is well trained, the brain’s information processing is not granular enough to notice the difference between a 35% three point shooter and a 40% one, unless you start recording the makes and attempts, thereby turning those observations into statistics. I’m not saying get rid of the eye test–what I’m saying is that there’s a hierarchy of evidence, with stats generally being the best evidence to use in any discussion about player productivity given that they provide an objective and relatively uncontroversial (insofar as stats have discrete values, formulae, and methods) basis of comparison. When the stats don’t offer enough information to properly evaluate player productivity (say in edge cases like defensive specialists), we can then reasonably advert to qualitative observations like “fit” and other eye test variables as a good source of evidence, keeping in mind that more often than not the stats are going to take evidential priority. The eye test should be used, especially when players are already acquired and you’re trying to make rotation decisions (the infamous KB original “5 Tyson Chandlers” thought experiment!), but I’m not going to favor the eye test conclusion that tells me Carmelo Anthony is a good shooter when the stats are telling me that he’s a chucker, or the conclusion that Derrick Rose is better than his stats suggest because he “breaks down the defense” (while getting no steals or assists and turning the ball over.)

    89. You guys think the Bulls wouldn’t redo the Rose trade? Rose is playing better than every PG on their roster and they could have let him walk after this season if they didn’t want to have him around. Instead they have RoLo and Grant, who have been at best average basketball players, on contracts running through 2019. Also, 33% from 3point range isn’t very good, and it also isn’t far off from Rose’s career average of 30.1%. You don’t think the Bulls could use Holiday as Wade’s backup right now? There’s no way they do that trade in hindsight. They sold low on Derrick Rose. They could have traded that same package they used to acquire RoLo + another piece and landed Goran Dragic.

      As of right now we are winning what appears to be a bad trade for both sides. We should have used that cap space to max out Hassan Whiteside but that’s water under the bridge.

    90. Civilization, let alone the NBA was built thanks to the eye test.

      Congrats. You knocked a bunch of people out of the running for “Worst Post of 2016” with a single sentence. I cannot believe how stupid this sentence is, and I am dumber having read it.

    91. RoLo will probably outplay the combination of Noah and Rose over the course of the contracts–especially given that he’s a real “greater than the sum of his box score” kind of player. It’ll probably work out in the Bulls’ favor unless the 2nd round is really high quality this year (which it very well could be.) Even then, Rose isn’t that much better than Rondo because Rondo can actually, you know, play NBA level defense. Plus Chicago got longer term, cost controlled assets.

      No side came out that much better from the trade, though.

    92. Trading RoLo and signing an older Joakim Noah to a longer contract rivals trading Rose and signing an older Rondo to a longer contract.

    93. “Hollinger responded, via a post on ESPN’s TrueHoop blog:

      Berri leads off with a huge misunderstanding of PER—that the credits and debits it gives for making and missing shots equate to a “break-even” shooting mark of 30.4% on 2-point shots. He made this assumption because he forgot that PER is calibrated against the rest of the league at the end of the formula.

      Actually, if we took a player that was completely average in every other respect for the 2006–07 season—rebounds, free throws, assists, turnovers, etc.—and gave him a league-average rate of shots, and all of them were 2-pointers, and he shot 30.4%, he’d end up with a PER of 7.18. As long-time PER fans know, that would make him considerably worse than nearly every player in the league.

      To end up with a league-average PER of 15.00, the actual break-even mark in this case is 48.5%, which is exactly what the league average is on 2-point shots this season.”

      I think the real weakness is that it only measure some aspects of defense (steals, blocks, defensive rebounds), but not the rest.

    94. Rondo sucks at defense. If you’re lucky he’ll try when he’s playing a nationally televised game.

    95. Rondo has the 3rd best DRTG and best DBPM on his team. His DBPM is a very respectable 1.9. Don’t know his tracking stats, though.

    96. Civilization, let alone the NBA was built thanks to the eye test.

      Take that, nerds. You think science is based on a bunch of stupid ass numbers, and verifiable hypotheses and all that nerd stuff? Hell naw. Galileo figured out that the earth revolves around the sun by the eye test. You think there are “stats” that prove Newtonian laws? Uh-uh, bro. Sir Isaac eye-tested his way to all that shit. Theory of relativity? 100% eye test.

      Suck it, nerds.

    97. Of course I have to believe that because I know PJ is going to give Derrick Rose $20M AAV after the season.

      There’s no way Rose is taking a pay cut to re-sign here. If there’s any certainty about the Knicks is that Derrick Rose is not taking a pay cut to re-sign here long term. He’s unlikely to make the literal max (as the literal max for Rose is quite insane, something like over $30 million), but he’s not taking a pay cut, either.

    98. and the Rondo part is not true, The Knicks Should Tank.

      his contract is only partly guaranteed for next year, if he gets waived before june 30th of 2017 it only counts as 3 million on the cap.

      and I’m pretty sure Rose will command about 22 million on the open market… which means the Knicks will re-sign him for 28 and give him a NTC for no reason at all.

    99. There’s no way Rose is taking a pay cut to re-sign here. If there’s any certainty about the Knicks is that Derrick Rose is not taking a pay cut to re-sign here long term. He’s unlikely to make the literal max (as the literal max for Rose is quite insane, something like over $30 million), but he’s not taking a pay cut, either.

      In theory we should have some leverage in negotiations. I mean which team is gonna pay Rose 25 mill a year that he would actually want to go? Nearly every team has a franchise PG already and there’s a bunch of them going to get drafted in next years draft.

      I don’t trust Phil with these things though.

    100. Civilization, let alone the NBA was built thanks to the eye test.

      I am unsure exactly what it is you’re trying to say here. I can’t seem to parse it on my own. What do you mean by civilization being built by the eye test?

    101. In theory we should have some leverage in negotiations. I mean which team is gonna pay Rose 25 mill a year that he would actually want to go? Nearly every team has a franchise PG already and there’s a bunch of them going to get drafted in next years draft.

      I don’t trust Phil with these things though.

      The big problem is that, from Phil’s perspective, there isn’t a whole lot of difference short term between giving Rose $20 million and giving him $25. The Knicks would be capped out either way. And Rose obviously knows that, as well.

    102. I think Brooklyn or the Lakers would probably want Rose… maybe not Brooklyn, since people have been saying they have a good front office now (and they wouldn’t pay 25 million for Rose if they are good)

      remember, the Lakers do not have their pick this year, it’s Philly’s unless it’s a top 3 pick… even though it’s still possible, it’s more unlikely that the Lakers will be one of the 3 worst teams in the league, and they might want to move Russell off the ball, since he’s a terrible passer.

    103. The big problem is that, from Phil’s perspective, there isn’t a whole lot of difference short term between giving Rose $20 million and giving him $25. The Knicks would be capped out either way. And Rose obviously knows that, as well.

      True. At least from Phil’s perspective he might care more about the years rather than the $ amount. I’d imagine he wants Rose’s contract to expire the same year as the Lee, Noah and Lance contracts.

      So the negotiations might come down to a 3 year contract vs. a 4 year contract.

    104. C @95

      Congrats. You knocked a bunch of people out of the running for “Worst Post of 2016? with a single sentence. I cannot believe how stupid this sentence is, and I am dumber having read it.

      C is for cute, right?

      JK47 @102 Take that, nerds. You think science is based on a bunch of stupid ass numbers, and verifiable hypotheses and all that nerd stuff? Hell naw. Galileo figured out that the earth revolves around the sun by the eye test.

      Fair enough. Although when in a party and deciding with whom to go home tonight, and make children later, science has very little effect. So I for one am a product of the eye test, and probably you are as well.
      Again, my argument is that player eval is somewhere between choosing a partner, and hard science.

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