Knicks Morning News (2017.01.04)

  • [SNY Knicks] GEICO SportsNite: Are the Knicks capable of improving their defense?
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 11:30:23 PM)

  • [SNY Knicks] Three issues facing the Knicks: Defense, the rotation, and Melo’s rhythm
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 6:00:59 PM)

    An inability to hold their own against the more competitive teams in the league has been a glaring weakness for the Knicks all season long.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks’ injury woes factoring into defensive struggles
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 3:15:53 PM)

    I agree with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek, who when asked repeatedly Monday night about the team’s effort laughed off the idea that the team “hasn’t been trying” during their five game losing streak.

  • [SNY Knicks] Porzingis sits out practice, doubtful to play Wednesday
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 1:50:49 PM)

    Kristaps Porzingis missed practice on Tuesday, and is doubtful to suit up against Milwaukee on Wednesday, head coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters.

  • [SNY Knicks] Thomas was a bright spot as Knicks were drubbed by Orlando
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 12:25:28 PM)

    With more consistent minutes against the Magic, Thomas proved he might not be so far away from looking like his old self again.

  • [SNY Knicks] Hornacek: Maybe Knicks ‘just not capable’ of defending
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 9:00:00 AM)

    Following consecutive games in which they’ve allowed at least 67 first-half points, New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek questioned his team’s defensive abilities.

  • [ESPN] Wednesday’s Knicks News: Porzingis aims to play against Bucks
    (Wednesday, January 04, 2017 5:31:20 AM)

    Wednesday’s Knicks News: Porzingis aims to play against Bucks

  • [ESPN] Jeff Hornacek wants sustained effort on D; P.J. Tucker a trade target?
    (Wednesday, January 04, 2017 12:12:36 AM)

    Jeff Hornacek wants sustained effort on D; P.J. Tucker a trade target?

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks’ effort on defense good, not great, says Jeff Hornacek
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 7:39:17 PM)

    Jeff Hornacek backed off his comment that he didn’t know if the Knicks had players “capable of” playing defense, but he still wants them to give more effort on that end of the court.

  • [NYDN] Porzingis held out of practice, but hopes to play vs. Bucks
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 7:40:45 PM)

    Kristaps Porzingis did not practice Tuesday and is doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Milwauke Bucks, Jeff Hornacek said.

  • [NYDN] Rambis an easy target but Knicks defensive woes fall on everyone
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 7:38:58 PM)

    Kurt Rambis should announce on Twitter that he’s breaking up with Phil Jackson.

  • [NYTimes] Knicks’ Coaches Scramble to Fix the Defense Before It’s Too Late
    (Wednesday, January 04, 2017 1:42:30 AM)

    With the team on a five-game losing streak, the emphasis at the Knicks’ practice was on improving their consistently poor defense.

  • [NYTimes] The Three N.B.A. Games to Watch This Week
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 6:01:38 AM)

    After a New Year’s Eve hangover, the league will be back in fighting shape with Oklahoma City at Houston on Thursday.

  • [NYPost] Jeff Hornacek’s latest spin on Knicks’ defensive deficiencies
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 5:10:42 PM)

    OK, so the Knicks are giving effort on defense. It’s just not enough and not the proper kind needed to win. But it is enough to ensure that for the present there won’t be any Jet-like assistant shake-up, so Kurt Rambis remains the defensive coordinator. “No, not at all,” Hornacek said when asked following practice…

  • [NYPost] The Knicks’ unicorn can’t get over the Bucks’
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 3:05:03 PM)

    It takes a lot to impress a unicorn. But that’s exactly what Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo brings to the NBA table: a real lot. And that’s something the Knicks expect to see Wednesday when the Bucks of Jason Kidd invade the Garden. “He’s unbelievable,” Kristaps Porzingis, dubbed a “unicorn” as a rookie last season by Kevin…

  • [NYPost] Knicks trying to postpone the return Porzingis wants
    (Tuesday, January 03, 2017 10:44:20 AM)

    Kristaps Porzingis, who sat out the last two Knicks games with a sore left Achilles and was a practice spectator Tuesday, said “there’s a chance” he will play Wednesday against Milwaukee, though coach Jeff Hornacek used the term “doubtful” because of the forward’s recent inactivity. “I think there’s a chance. I want to play obviously….

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    116 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2017.01.04)”

    1. I agree with Hornacek that on balance, the effort on defense has been ok – just not “great”. There are some guys who really try hard — KP, Courtney Lee, Justin Holiday, Noah, even Jennings give great effort. But that balances with not trying effectively — guys wanting to help but not helping with purpose, and also guys who are a beat slow (Rose), or are seriously mailing it in on defense (Melo).

      This has been a criticism for years for Melo, but it seems with a slight decrease in his athleticism, his defensive shortcomings have become magnified. He just can’t move. His offense generally looks ok or at least sort of as expected, but his defense has really been terrible. And like JVG and others always say, the commitment your “stars” show on defense sets the tone for the whole team. When Melo mails it in on defense (especially when his offense has been average at best), it infects the whole process.

      Another worrisome thing — from that NYT link above — that nearly halfway into the season the coaches are still trying to figure out how to guard the most used play in basketball. This again speaks to me how misguided the Triangle emphasis is/was in training camp. You spend all this time on trying to shoehorn the triangle in, and completely whiff on the other basics.

      I still am in team Optimist, and still think this team can get to 44-45 wins (not great, but at least entertaining), but the defense really needs work.

      Not sure how i feel about the trade rumors for PJ Tucker. He’s a 1 year rental, and I would not want to give up any young pieces for him. The Suns are in rebuilding mode and you’d figure they would want a young piece and/or draft picks for him.

      It would not be the worst thing to trade KOQ for Tucker + some picks, which would free up more time for Willy, but I can’t imagine Phoenix would want that — they already have so many bigs they’re playing Dragan Bender at SF. Maybe a 3-way?

    2. This is a great example of the “help” that the Knicks give (from Hardwood Paroxysm’s twitter feed):

      https://twitter.com/hpbasketball/status/816411036152692736

      KP helps way off his man for no particular reason –
      Melo is lucky not to get called for silly foul shoving his man, then wanders around in la-la-land, basically screening himself by hugging Myles Turner at the elbow, who is already being hugged by Noah.
      Pacers end up with 2 out of the 5 players wide open, out of a situation that started with Courtney Lee, arguably the Knicks best wing defender, guarding Paul George in the post — and George isn’t even a good post-up scorer. And George hasn’t even made any kind of a move. He’s just standing there.

    3. This is a non Knicks question, but I am really curious about it. If the Nets were willing to sign Montuejunas to a four year $35 million dollar deal when he was a restricted free agent, why don’t they sign him now that he’s a completely free agent? Instead it looks like New Orleans will sign him to a one year minimum deal (which looks like a great deal for New Orleans)

    4. I think Brooklyn was barred from signing him for a year after Houston matched, even though they rescinded

    5. a lot of teams were apparently very concerned about Motiejunas injury issues… and well, he was barely average when healthy.

    6. talk about some awful defense… and i know that happens all game…

      i also keep a keen eye on rose… if there’s a screen coming, his heart drops to the ground and its pathetic

    7. @7

      the Suns do have a lot of cap space so yeah, it would match salary-wise.

      I don’t see why they would trade a 1 year contract for a 4 year contract on similar players tho.

    8. Giving up anything of value for P.J. Tucker is so hilariously short-sighted, but it is the Knicks we’re talking about.

    9. I think Brooklyn was barred from signing him for a year after Houston matched, even though they rescinded

      That could very well be true. It sucks for Montejiuna though, and I don’t think this situation was the intent of the rule

    10. I think it’s more likely they trade Kuz for Tucker. Then they are trading offense without defense for defense without offense, which might be what both teams want. Assuming Tucker is actually good at defense, I’d do that trade.

    11. well, Motiejunas could have just stayed in Houston with his new contract, but he decided to refuse to show up for the medical evaluation and kinda forced the Rockets hands…

      it was six million less and well, now he’s got a lot less than that

    12. Montejunas had some reasons. Apparently the matched contract was substantially worse than the Nets contract because when you match you don’t have to match performance driven clauses. He held out for an apples to apples match. But the Rockets apparently gave in, and I don’t know why they called it quits after that.

    13. Trading three years of Kuz for one year of PJ Tucker is still hilariously short sighted

      If you’re trading any asset for him you better be getting an asset back like Tyler Ulis or their second rounder or both

    14. This has been a criticism for years for Melo, but it seems with a slight decrease in his athleticism, his defensive shortcomings have become magnified. He just can’t move. His offense generally looks ok or at least sort of as expected, but his defense has really been terrible. And like JVG and others always say, the commitment your “stars” show on defense sets the tone for the whole team. When Melo mails it in on defense (especially when his offense has been average at best), it infects the whole process.

      I’ve been railing on the defense the past few days, but your statement just reminded me of something, Frank. Melo plays both ends better as a 4. That would be a nice fix for Hornacek. But..can you imagine the backlash if KP comes off the bench or plays the 5 full time and gets injured? See..in order for Melo to play the 4 full time, you need another shooter to spread the floor- and Thomas is not that guy. KP certainly is, but we are all afraid of him getting injured. Lucky for him, there aren’t many scoring threats at the 5 who are also strong and physical. So, I’d be inclined to rest KP a few more games- whatever it takes to get this nagging injury taken care of- and then start him at the 5 against any C not named Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Brook Lopez, or Boogie Cousins. After that, the question would be what to do with Noah, Willy, and KOQ. Perhaps move KOQ for a decent SF?

    15. Melo will have major problems defending against some of the more physical #4s in the league. They would wear him out and put him in early foul trouble.

    16. Knicks’ main problem: they just don’t have a single good, *consistently* productive player. They don’t have a single, good two-way player.

      They don’t have good players.

      That said, some of the young players (Porzingis comes the closest) may become valuable, solid players in the future. Porzingis may even turn into a bona fide star.

      But right now, the team is an assortment of very flawed and occasionally good players. Thus the uneven, frustrating performances where the ship is always leaking somewhere.

      So, what to do?

      Trade our only asset: Melo. The young players will not bring anything of value and Porzingis should be kept away from any trade talk, given his potential.

      How do we trade Melo with his NTC? Demote him to the second squad immediately. Drastically reduce his minutes in the 4th quarter and make sure he is not on the court with 3 minutes or less and the win within reach. No opportunity for hero ball and he will be begging for a trade to virtually any team.

      That, coupled with not re-signing Rose, is in my view, the only realistic road to meaningful improvement.

    17. Theo, we know your theory. I just don’t think it’s feasible. Do you really think Hornacek wants to be the guy who benched a Banana Boat bro? Do you think Dolan would be ok with this? And don’t go again on the Marbury saga. It was a very different scenario, and nobody thought high of Marbury around the league, while Melo is really respected by his peers. I’d also like to see Melo away (again: he’s not the scapegoat. He’s just useless to this team and takes away too many minutes and cap space) but I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Ever.

    18. I have to say I’m sick of rooting for a team where the “stars” are completely unrootable for (especially when KP, who’s not even a “star” yet, sits out of games).

      We’ve had so many role players easy to root for, but never a really likeable star since… well, I don’t remember (mayyyybe the first two months of Amar’e?).

      Ok ok, Jowles I see you. We never really had a star apart from prime Tyson. But I think it’s clear what I’m trying to say.

    19. It’s not as simple as relegating melo to the bench… It would create too much dis function if your franchise player is on the bench at closing minutes.

      If you want to win then you have to put you’re best foot forward and play.. Melo is very capable of playing defense. Everyone needs to step up

    20. One of the problems with the team is that the young talent is all in the front court (KP, Willy, even Kuzminskas and KOQ), and Melo’s best position is (and has been for the last 4+ seasons) at PF.

      It is not reasonable to expect Phil to trade Melo, so short of that, there probably does need to be a trade of one of the young front court guys. To me it means KOQ should be on the block. I would not be heartbroken if Kuzminskas was traded also – I like him as a player but he’s already 27 and his NBA ceiling is pretty much what he is right now, which is a 3rd SF on an average team. They’re both on good contracts, but if they could bring back some backcourt talent and/or draft picks, it’d be quite reasonable to do.

    21. i think it’s fine that melo starts at 3 but finishes games as a 4… same thing with kp…. the warriors have been doing this for years with a conventional starting lineup but blitz bench units with the ‘death lineup’…. lots of teams also finish with 3 guard alignments…

      we should not be trading koq for tucker.. but i would do so in a heartbeat for tj warren…

    22. Farfa – I’m pretty sure KP wants to play, but is not cleared to play. If he’s sitting, it means it’s not safe for him to play. I would not hold that against him.

    23. Melo is a league average player that inexplicably puts up 20 shots a game. This dude brings nothing to the table. Yes, demotion is highly unlikely, but that doesn’t mean his minutes can’t be reduced. The Knicks highest priority at the moment should be finding the ideal route to get rid of Melo, not making trades for dumpster tier players like PJ Tucker.

    24. Frank, I agree RE defensive effort and have said so in recent days. Really, the only guys whose effort I question are Rose (when screened) and Melo. Lee busts his ass out there and is often tasked with the opponents’ best guard. I think all the bench guys are willing but seem confused on when to help or not help.

      There is something to Rose and Melo just not having the talent to be good defenders. For all of his great straightaway burst and quick first step, Rose looks slow to me and has poor side to side mobility. Melo is the laziest of them all, but that might also be exacerbated by fatigue. He needs his minutes reduced.

      Also, every time Rose drives and misses, it is an opportunity for the other team to have a fast break. Rose often lands awkwardly following his drives and his opposing guard will be halfway down the court before he can recover.

      Bottom line, Melo’s minutes need to come down. I’ve been saying for awhile now that the Knicks should move Melo to the bench (call him the Sixth Man if you will). If this slights his ego, maybe he’ll waive the NTC for certain teams? Replace him in the starting 5 with a more willing defender (LT for now).

    25. No to PJ Tucker.

      Unless the trade is for LT.

      But I’m fine with the SS Ntilikina the way we are.

      It’s a perfect storm to get a good draft pick, Melo demanding a trade and not extending Rose.

    26. Melo will have major problems defending against some of the more physical #4s in the league. They would wear him out and put him in early foul trouble.

      Yea, but do we really care considering the fact that Melo is surprisingly strong and physical for a wing, and that he matches up well with most PF’s with the way the league is trending? Plus, he’s not the future of the franchise and with the way Rose is attacking the rim, we won’t lose much offense- especially if KP is at the 5.

    27. #30

      I am just not sure it will solve much of anything on defense. Melo could be exploited down low on the block if he’s trying to handle a bigger PF and won’t hustle to cover should a stretch #4 leak out on the perimeter. In this sport, bad defenders just can’t be hidden by moving them around like you would in a baseball field.

    28. I don’t see how you start LT over melo, if anyone should start its holiday.
      If you can somehow make melo a point forward where he is in the facilitator role he may be less inclined to Go iso since the ball is in his hands more of the time and he is forced to distribute. This could also backfire whereas no one ever gets the ball.
      But starting a backcourt of holiday and Lee would be an improvement defensively since rose and Jennings aren’t getting it done.

    29. BTW, no KP tonight and Melo is probably going to cover Antetokounmpo. I predict 40 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots for the Greek who is a freak.

    30. @33
      Nah, with KP out, LT will probably start and draw the big A assignment. Or maybe Lee. Or maybe Holiday.
      :-)

    31. Farfa – I’m pretty sure KP wants to play, but is not cleared to play. If he’s sitting, it means it’s not safe for him to play. I would not hold that against him.

      I think I wrote my thoughts down in the wrong way, I hold nothing against KP. He’s actually the reason sometimes I wake up at 4am to watch games :)

    32. Nah, with KP out, LT will probably start and draw the big A assignment. Or maybe Lee. Or maybe Holiday.
      :-)

      Lance Thomas starting is hands down the most depressing thing of this stretch. I loved Lance Thomas, plucky underdog. I hate Lance Thomas, pigeon-running rim-hitter. The sad thing is that he’s actually the same player.

    33. I predict 40 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots for the Greek who is a freak.

      I think we’ll see a career night from Jabari Parker instead.

    34. I think LT will cover Antetokounmpo and get destroyed anyway.

      the problem with benching Melo and forcing him somehow to waive his NTC is the impact on the other potential free agents… I really doubt CP3 for example would even consider coming to a franchise that pushed Melo away, specially since he’s seen as an overall nice guy around the league.

      then again, none of those premier FAs were going to come to the Knicks anyway, so just burn it down and start from scratch.

      the ideal situation would be if Melo asks for a trade on his own, because he’s still an asset

    35. Benching Melo is a horrible idea and people who keep suggesting it do not know how the league works. Its not just because it would potentially hurt big stars from coming here. It would but its also correct that the chances of a big star coming here are slim to none esp with the new CBA. But it hurts us getting any free agents not just bc we’re benching Melo but bc the act of doing so would be yet another negative drama surrounding this franchise. ESPN and the sports media industrial complex would have a field day with it. Also, it would hurt Melo’s trade value. Also, how would Zinger and Noah and Lee react to this? I bring up those 3 guys bc Noah and Lee are here for the foreseeable future and Zinger is our future so we don’t want to plan the seed in his brain that in a few years if the team struggles the franchise is going to place all the blame on him.

      PJ needs to approach Melo about this and have them work it out beyond the spotlight. And target the Clippers bc they are the most likely target. CP3 will be a free agent this year and The Clippers do not want to lose him. Getting Melo would be a way to insure they keep CP3 and its the one place Melo would easily agree to. Get another team involved if necessary (Boston who may want Blake).

    36. It’s a perfect storm to get a good draft pick, Melo demanding a trade and not extending Rose.

      Let’s hope Phil is this smart.

    37. So us basketball watchers have easily concluded that Melo is not a good basketball player, but CP3 and the Clippers will, for some reason, think the exact opposite?

    38. another issue is that Carmelo cares a lot about his image, and asking for a trade would be perceived as quitting by the big media…

      also, if we are to believe the whole LaLa narrative, he would only accept a trade to a Los Angeles team or Brooklyn, and all three of those teams have terrible assets and very little relevant talent. the Lakers have some mildly intriguing players but no pick this year unless they completely tank the rest of the year

    39. PJ needs to approach Melo about this and have them work it out beyond the spotlight.

      Apparently, PJ has completely lost his zen touch. He delivered absolutely nothing on the motivational side in these 2.5 years he’s been here.

    40. So what do you propose we trade Melo for? especially if we cut his time / bench him in order for him to beg to leave?

      He’s the 5th highest paid player in the league. You want to find someone to match his salary, who is in his last year, and who sucks (because, if they didn’t, their team wouldn’t do the deal)

      the only player in the top 30 in salaries who fits that description is…..Derrick Rose!

    41. I’m going to go out on a hyperbolic limb and say that if Giannis ever develops a reliable outside shot, he may go down as one of the greatest players in NBA history. We’ve never seen a player like him (the Greek Freak is apropos) and he’s like a super being who is just discovering his powers.

      Check out his block on Westbrook and his crazy dunk the other night against OKC. Ridiculous.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ie9Ra4ebYg

    42. @41

      well Ambrose, the Clippers have tied up 76 million for the next 3 years on Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers… the Lakers have given the corpse of Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov and Jordan Clarkson a combine 184 million over 4 years…

      I don’t think they are exactly top notch in terms of talent evaluation and spending money.

    43. @45

      d-mar, I agree… he might just be a top 5 player in the NBA already.

      the thing that is most impressive about him is that he can do whatever he wants because he’s always the most athletic player on the court, and yet he is an absolutely terrific decision-maker. His understanding of the game is really unprecedented in terms of how young he is and how little top-level basketball experience he has.

      either Kidd is a godly coach and is helping him a lot, or he’s just a crazy smart person who understands his strengths and his weaknesses so well that he’s translating them to an elite level so early on… maybe a little bit of both.

    44. @46 Fair point.

      I just think the narrative that the Clippers would want Melo to “appease” Cp3 is way overblown.

    45. That NTC might go down as the single most damaging thing did to this franchise by Phil. And chances are very high it’s not his fault

    46. I just think the narrative that the Clippers would want Melo to “appease” Cp3 is way overblown.

      Doc loves famous veterans. And his son.

    47. either Kidd is a godly coach and is helping him a lot, or he’s just a crazy smart person who understands his strengths and his weaknesses so well that he’s translating them to an elite level so early on… maybe a little bit of both.

      Kidd is both a despicable guy and a stunningly capable coach. His track record is surprisingly good, mostly because he’s so unconventional.

    48. I don’t think its overblown at all. CP3 was at Melo’s wedding. Remember the toast? They are BEST friends. Lebron, Wade, Melo and CP3…that’s the banana boat and those dudes are all super tight. Melo and Cp3 never got to team up like Lebron and Wade did. Neither has a ring and they are the same age and the clippers are good but have gotten “stale” and can’t get over the hump. Hey, maybe they don’t want Melo but I find it hard to believe that if we approached them and said Carmelo wants to team up with CP3, they would turn us down.

    49. I’m going to go out on a hyperbolic limb and say that if Giannis ever develops a reliable outside shot, he may go down as one of the greatest players in NBA history. We’ve never seen a player like him (the Greek Freak is apropos) and he’s like a super being who is just discovering his powers.

      I honestly don’t even think it’s that hyperbolic at this point. He’s currently having one the greatest age 22 seasons in the history of the league, his trajectory is pointing straight up, and as you alluded to he still has untapped potential in terms of developing his jumper. I don’t think there’s 3 guys in the league you’d rather have if you were starting a team.

    50. Good lord…
      Losing has its own momentum.
      This site is a lot like that. Things start going badly and the boo-birds come out.
      Melo started the season playing pretty damn good ball, and then he got hurt (his knee) and he tried to play through it and his game is greatly diminished.
      My big question is, how serious is the knee? Is this an injury that will plague him all year, or can we expect improvement? If he plays does that mean his paint game and defense are worthless?
      Last we saw him play through an injury (shoulder) it was a disaster.
      His D has been bad, but with a bad knee, coupled with an already diminished explosiveness, he’s exponentially worse. And someone suggests putting him on a 4? THAT won’t work.

      Rather than talking trade, he needs to rest so his knee is right. KP needs to rest to ensure his Achilles isn’t further harmed.
      The team is not that deep, so they will lose games when one or two of their “big” three are down. Right now, two legs of that stool are hurting.
      That means with the rest of the team, Honacek needs to press defense. The second team will need to show defensive grit if the Knicks are to win during this stretch where both KP and Melo are hurt or playing hurt.
      But all this trade chatter is ridiculous.
      Again, the Knicks would be trading from a weak position. Literally nothing good comes from that.
      It’s like when the Knicks “had” to trade Ewing. Everyone knew we would get bad assets back and the franchise has largely spiraled since.

      Sit tight. There is no trade we can make that will improve us now, and likely will cost us the future.
      This is going to be a rough season with the high end expectation being a .500 team.

      The blog gets a little hormonal…

    51. Giannis is awesome. I worry about his style of play causing injuries but he is so much fun to watch.

      Re Carmelo, he’s never been athletic for an NBA player but he looks positively plodding these days. Literally, half speed out there. It’s going to be a pretty stark contrast having him matched up against the GF.

    52. I really doubt CP3 for example would even consider coming to a franchise that pushed Melo away, specially since he’s seen as an overall nice guy around the league.

      He’s not coming here either way. And quite frankly, who gives a crap if this older generation of FAs are offended? They have only used this franchise to get better deals from other suitors. They are yesterdays news.

    53. Melo’s knee has been an issue since last season after his surgery. Anyone questioning if it improves must have living in a cave the past year and a half. He’s done. I said it then and its only going to get worse.

    54. Theo, we know your theory. I just don’t think it’s feasible. Do you really think Hornacek wants to be the guy who benched a Banana Boat bro? Do you think Dolan would be ok with this?

      Farfa, yes, odds of the Knicks’ front office ever making basketball-oriented decisions are near zero. I know that. I was just taking part in the daily collective mental masturbation that is the only source of entertainment left in this blog. Lol…

      Knicks will suck for the foreseeable future and there is very little that the front office is willing to do about that because their moves are working brilliantly on the business side.

    55. Question: Say Melo won’t waive his NTC, and the Knicks waive him at the start of the free agency period this summer. They are allowed to do that, right? And you have to figure he wouldn’t clear waivers, so his salary would be off the books. Interesting note about waivers: “If more than one team tries to claim a player on waivers, the team with the worst record gets him.” At minimum, this seems like something the Knicks could realistically use to push Melo to waive the no trade clause…

    56. Melo’s old, and he’s past his prime. Sure, his knee is probably bothering him. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re in your decline phase. Your body starts to betray you. He has played 34,000 minutes in the NBA. There was some hope that Melo would have some late career renaissance– the famous “Paul Pierce” argument, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. He’s is just experiencing regular old, straight up decline. And since he was a good-not-great player even before his decline, he did not have a lot of wiggle room. He needed to stave off the inevitable decline for that contract to look even remotely like a good idea.

      Instead his production since signing that deal has looked like this:
      2014-2015 .531 TS%, .097 WS48
      2015-2016 .530 TS%, .121 WS48
      2016-2017 .528 TS%, .106 WS48

      That’s remarkably consistent, and remarkably mediocre. Terrible value for a max contract player. It’s not gonna get better. This is who he is. He’s not going to reverse that decline at ages 33 and 34. And this is why so many people were aghast at the MMM contract.

    57. He’s not coming here either way. And quite frankly, who gives a crap if this older generation of FAs are offended? They have only used this franchise to get better deals from other suitors. They are yesterdays news.

      does kinda feel like we’ve been the third wheel a bunch the last decade or so…

      are top tier free agents (read real expensive) really the way to build teams these days?

      horford is working out in boston…kd is a no brainer…i’m sure there are just a few others…

      seems like all the value these days is in getting young domestic/international guys through the draft and finding value players whom are bench players for their current team, but, whom may be ready to jump into a starting role…

      just looking at some basic team offense stats – are fg% sure ain’t helping our defense…it does feel like all those missed drives and iso jumpers set us up to continually have the ball slammed down our throat on the defensive end…i’m having a hard time locating the team stats for fast break pints – but, my feeling is we’re getting abused…

      There is something to Rose and Melo just not having the talent to be good defenders. For all of his great straightaway burst and quick first step, Rose looks slow to me and has poor side to side mobility. Melo is the laziest of them all, but that might also be exacerbated by fatigue. He needs his minutes reduced.

      Also, every time Rose drives and misses, it is an opportunity for the other team to have a fast break. Rose often lands awkwardly following his drives and his opposing guard will be halfway down the court before he can recover.

    58. but…..again……even if he waves the no trade, who the hell are you going to trade him for? If the Clippers are the logical home, you’re looking at Crawford and Austin Rivers. Are we really better off w/ 2 more years of those guys vs. Melo? The Clips aren’t going to give you a pick as well….why would they?

    59. I can see the tide turning on Melo. MSG’s coverage of the game last night was very eye opening in that regard. They openly showed footage of Melo’s poor rotating on the team’s defensive schemes, reported Hornacek’s comments about the lack of defensive ability out there, and made a point to call it out. You know if MSG network is focusing on this, the front office is aware.

    60. #62

      Trade him for what picks you can get from LAC or bench his ass until he waives the clause to play somewhere else that will give us that.

    61. A potential trade match is Boston. I’ve seen a Crowder + #1 pick + cap filler (Boston has 2 expirings that would make it a match…I’m too lazy right now to look them up).

      Would Boston even do it, even if Melo were willing? Last time there, he did have a good game, and Ainge allegedly wants a “star” to add to his good but not great team of hustlers… Definitely a very long shot, of course, to get it done.

    62. I really do believe that Phil, in all his hubris, thought he was going to turn Melo into the uber-Triangle superstar, his very own NYC version of Jordan and Kobe. In his own ego-inflated brain, Phil and the Triangle were the reasons for the huge success of those players, so there’s no reason Melo couldn’t be the centerpiece of another championship team. He just needed some Carlos Castaneda books and some Triangle offense.

      Boy was he wrong.

    63. #64: Why would the clippers give us picks? And, would you really rather have 2 more years of crawford and Rivers plus the 23rd pick this year (best case), vs having Melo?

      #66: I don’t think Boston has the filler to do it. Melo makes $19M more than Crowder. Their highest paid guy not named Al Horford is Amir Johnson, 1 year, $12M. Still not enough. they would have to throw in Jerebko, 1 year, $6M. Then it matches. but……I don’t think they would do just that deal, vs throw in a pick too

    64. nice reference jk…man, i was “hooked” on that “teachings of don juan” stuff for quite a while (my sister was into learning about native american culture when we were kids and she got me started on it)…i think i only made it through the first three books though…he was really able to bring a fairly “stark” environment to a colorful life…

      kinda bummed me out when i learned later in life about the whole “cult” thing he had going on…still, great writing…

      never had any interest though personally in puking my guts up and tripping out for hours on end…

      the business before basketball decisions which have been made in the past – don’t seem to be helping us out…despite dolan’s presence – somehow the rangers have been able to put together a string of some decent seasons…i don’t get why we can’t do the same…

    65. #68

      Because they want to keep Paul after this season and are already looking to shake things up. The way to do that is to get his BFF on the team with him.

    66. I still maintain the distant possibility of a three way trade:

      Clippers get – Melo and Nets first round choice in the 2018 draft.
      Boston gets – Blake Griffin and Luc Mbah Moute and which ever is lower in order (Knicks or Nets first round choice in 2017 NBA draft).
      Knicks get – Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson and which ever is earlier in order (Nets or Knicks first round choice in 2017 NBA draft).

    67. I am just not sure it will solve much of anything on defense. Melo could be exploited down low on the block if he’s trying to handle a bigger PF and won’t hustle to cover should a stretch #4 leak out on the perimeter. In this sport, bad defenders just can’t be hidden by moving them around like you would in a baseball field.

      You’re exactly right with the sentiment that it won’t make a great defensive team. My point is, Melo has given more effort and played better defensively as a 4. In my scenario, you have KP at the 5 and closer to the rim on defense and a more mobile wing at SF. Melo has always played a brand of “bully ball” at 6’8″ 240, plus he won’t have to chase guys around the perimeter as much. IMO, playing Melo at the 4 could minimize the negative effect he has on defense- plus he’s a really good rebounder at his size. I think the pros outweigh the cons, but not by a whole lot. Just enough to make the team unpredictable enough to cause problems in the East.

    68. The Noah and Melo contracts are both going to be difficult to move. But the bigger obstacle is the overall mentality of the front office. The addiction to win-now moves is what needs to get tossed overboard. Phil tried, and he failed. In the past (read: the Isiah years) the strategy would have been to double down, to trade away first round picks in an effort to turbo-charge the ill-conceived win-now strategy. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen this time.

      If you can’t move Melo and Noah, just ride out the contracts. Do not, under any circumstances, re-sign Derrick Rose. Go back to the 2015-2016 strategy: bring in stopgap guys to bridge the gap to the youth movement that will be built around Porzingis. If you can flip your veterans for draft picks or good young cost-controlled pieces, do it. Hold onto your first round picks, try to acquire second rounders. Think long term.

      This is not rocket science.

    69. I remember when Melo played the 4 when he was younger and healthier under Wooden. He had major frustrations defending on block. He will have to matchup against guys like Zack Randolph, Draymond Green, Al Horford, etc.

    70. I remember when Melo played the 4 when he was younger and healthier under Wooden. He had major frustrations on the block.

      He did. But now he’s less mobile and that’s a big reason why I asked in #30 do we really care. At this stage in his career, that’s how Hornacek can get the best out of what Melo can do, and he can sell it to him as a true “team first” move.

    71. You really think offenses aren’t going to exploit Melo even worse now that he’s defending taller, younger players closer to the basket?

    72. Also, every time Rose drives and misses, it is an opportunity for the other team to have a fast break.

      I think there was a nylon calculus article on this last year-I’ll see if I can find it. It’s another thing the Rose intangibles people haven’t considered

    73. I think the chances of a Melo trade are slim to none.

      The best chance of this team getting better defensively is for Hornacek to call out Melo in film sessions (ie. not the public) and hold him accountable ie. sit him if he’s not trying on the defensive end. Honestly, I’ve been watching Melo’s defensive effort in the last couple weeks, and it really is abysmal. Lazy, uncommitted, and really unathletic. He camps out in no-man’s land for who knows what reason, and either closes out with zero effort, or closes out in such an exaggerated fashion that he ends up in the first row with zero chance of recovery if the guy attacks the closeout. The only thing he seems reasonable at is that swat-block he does when he is near the rim. He doesn’t get his hands on loose balls.

      It’s acceptable (sort of) if he’s doing it all on the offensive end, like he pretty much was last year – rebounding/assisting etc — but he’s not even really doing THAT lately

      Hopefully he’s just hurt and that’s limiting him at both ends and that this gets better.

    74. I think there was a nylon calculus article on this last year-I’ll see if I can find it. It’s another thing the Rose intangibles people haven’t considered

      this is the risk any time anyone drives to the hoop. it’s not a Derrick Rose problem.

      or when you have guys camped in the corners for corner 3s

      it’s up to the teammates to maintain some floor balance and guar against transition opportunities when someone drives to the hoop. Our transition D wasn’t any better when Jose Calderon was non-driving (in fact it was worse at 1.14 PPP vs 1.12 this year).

    75. We have a different team, but yes, it’s not a Derrick Rose problem. It’s a problem for PGs who drive and shoot a lot . . .like Derrick Rose

    76. Last year’s Knicks were the #24 offense and #18 defense.
      This year’s Knicks are the #16 offense and the #26 defense.

      Isn’t it pretty obvious this team’s overall quality is similar to last year’s? The offense has improved by the exact amount that the defense has declined.

      Last year’s team won 32 games and had a Pythag record of 33-49. If you project this year’s team’s Pythag out to 82 games it comes out to a 34-48 record.

    77. Even with Derrick Rose driving to the rim a lot, we’re still bottom 6 in FGA per game on drives, so that is not the problem.

      Looking quickly at the teams with the highest FGA on drives and cross-referencing to defensive efficiency is interesting. The BOTTOM 3 in the league in FGA on drives are also the TOP 3 in defensive efficiency – SA/GS/MEM. But Utah and Atlanta are top 10 in FGA on drives and #4 and #5 in defensive efficiency. And naturally we have the 6th fewest FGA on drives and our own defensive efficiency is awful.

      GS is so interesting. They barely ever drive to the hoop. They are bottom in the league possessions used in PNR (both ball handler and roll man). Their scoring is so overweighted on basket cuts, catch/shoot, and off screens.

      They have 511 possessions used on basket cuts which leads the league. #2 has 359, roughly 150 fewer which is the same difference as between #2 (MIL) and #26 (LAC).

    78. You really think offenses aren’t going to exploit Melo even worse now that he’s defending taller, younger players closer to the basket?

      Of course I think they would try. But how many mismatches at the 4 are there really for Melo? Here’s what I think (starters only in alphabetical order of city):
      Millsap- Slight advantage Melo
      Horford/Johnson (since Stevens interchanges them)- Even
      Trevor Booker- hahahahaha
      Marvin Williams- advantage Melo
      Taj Gibson- advantage Melo
      Kevin Love- Even
      Dirk- Even
      Faried (does he still start?)- advantage Melo
      Tobias Harris- good matchup, but still advantage Melo
      Draymond- advantage Green
      Ryan Anderson- advantage Melo
      Thaddeus Young- advantage Melo
      Blake Griffin- advantage healthy Blake
      Julius Randle- advantage Melo
      JaMychal Green- advantage Melo
      Whoever starts PF in Miami- advantage Melo
      John Henson (?? Not sure who is the PF in that lineup)- advantage Melo
      KAT- advantage KAT
      Anthony Davis- advantage Brow
      Domantas Sabonis- who?? Yea, advantage Melo
      Ibaka- advantage Melo, Serge isn’t the defensive force he once was
      Dario Saric?- if he still starts, advantage Melo
      Jared Dudley- advantage Melo
      Aminu- advantage Melo
      Koufos or Gay?- advantage Melo
      Aldridge- advantage Aldridge
      Siakam- advantage Melo
      Favors- even because of Favors’ size and athleticism
      Markieff Morris- advantage Melo

      Now keep in mind that I’m only talking individual matchups, it’s up to the coaches to scheme the rest. All that said, I don’t think it would be a bad idea to play Melo at the 4. IMO, he wins more often there than not. Another thing it might accomplish is frustrating Melo to the point of waiving his NTC and allowing Phil to get something of consequence while he still can. BTW, if he gets moved to Cleveland he will play the 4 without question

    79. Most likely Melo doesn’t get traded, so we have to work with what we have and get the most out of it.

    80. lol at the previous post, I just can’t

      this dude thinks it’s 2009

    81. Really? So no one thinks that Melo can have a greater effect in most of those matchups? Really? So Sabonis’s kid or Booker etc are gonna outplay Melo? I know my post was waaaay out on a limb, but you guys are crazy if you think Melo wouldn’t have advantages on some of the guys I listed. Melo’s not what he was, sure. But he’s still a very good player. And given the flexibility to make good trades- or lack thereof- Melo at the 4 is alot better than Melo at the 3. So we use what we have.

    82. At the risk of stating the obvious, the Knicks already have a better player than Melo at the 4. So you could move Porzingis to the 5 and bench Noah, then your defensive rebounding sucks even worse than it does already, plus you’ve now inserted Lance Thomas’ sorry ass into the lineup. Or Justin Holiday’s sorry ass, which now means Courtney Lee needs to guard 3’s. I don’t really see how removing Joakim Noah and adding Justin Holiday into the lineup makes a lot of sense when you’re talking about trying to fix the team’s defensive problems.

      Hence my comment about rearranging the deck chairs.

    83. somehow the rangers have been able to put together a string of some decent seasons…i don’t get why we can’t do the same

      Salutary neglect

    84. OK..so we keep Melo at the 3 and watch him continue to be less effective instead of squeezing what we can out of him? Remember, we don’t run the triangle, so Melo isn’t getting those post ups against wings that he should be most effective at. But Melo at the 4 opens the floor up for Rose’s penetrations and KP’s everywhereness. I’m just trying to come up with ideas, so I’m not arguing my point for the sake of arguing. I just don’t see Melo getting traded. The only teams dumb enough to possibly trade for Melo are Sacramento and maybe Phoenix. If Phil is shrewd enough, he may be able to swing a 3 teamer involving Love and Melo, but I just don’t see it.

    85. At the risk of stating the obvious, the Knicks already have a better player than Melo at the 4. So you could move Porzingis to the 5 and bench Noah, then your defensive rebounding sucks even worse than it does already, plus you’ve now inserted Lance Thomas’ sorry ass into the lineup. Or Justin Holiday’s sorry ass, which now means Courtney Lee needs to guard 3’s. I don’t really see how removing Joakim Noah and adding Justin Holiday into the lineup makes a lot of sense when you’re talking about trying to fix the team’s defensive problems.

      Hence my comment about rearranging the deck chairs.

      I agree. That’s why I said earlier that perhaps Phil can swing a trade for a decent wing using KOQ as bait. I wouldn’t suggest Melo at the 4 without another move being made.

    86. Might be time for Hornacek just to play small-ball and see what happens for some stretches during games and against specific teams.

      Per Nbawowy – lineups with KP at the 5 and Melo at the 4 (ie. no Noah/KOQ/Willy on court) – the team’s net rating is basically zero with ORtg and DRtg both about 121.

      Lineups with Noah+KP+Melo have a net rating of -4 (~106 ORtg and 110 DRtg).

      In REALLY limited minutes (31), a KP/Melo/Lee/Holiday 4 man lineup is a +31 rating (143/112). Those minutes have basically been split between Rose and Jennings about 50% each.

      That is undoubtedly the most active lineup we could have out there defensively, except for maybe adding Lance in. It would also be a ton of fun to watch for more than the 31 minutes we’ve seen it.

    87. The last time Melo played primarily at the 4, I believe he averaged 28 and 8. I don’t expect the scoring to go up, but I would expect the rebounding to be around the same. Plus, with an attacking PG and all that space, Melo just may score more efficiently. I think KP is a better rebounder this season, so defensive rebounding may not be that big of an issue. It will drop some, of course. But not a dramatic dropoff. Wishful thinking maybe, but at this point I’ll accept that kind of experimenting to kick-start better play

    88. Totes, have you seen Melo these days? Ok, it might be the knee, but him being a potentially great PF is not anymore possible unless he’s the third banana. His game has become so predictable and, frankly, defensible that he’s not a good matchup at any position. He has good scoring instincts that more than often get thrown out of the window without reason. It is what it is. We have twilight Jamal Mashburn at a max contract

    89. I nearly choked reading Love-Melo: even

      Yea..I like Kevin Love so I was pretty hesitant on that one. You’ll get no argument from me if you say advantage Love on that one. It can really go either way

    90. Totes, have you seen Melo these days? Ok, it might be the knee, but him being a potentially great PF is not anymore possible unless he’s the third banana. His game has become so predictable and, frankly, defensible that he’s not a good matchup at any position. He has good scoring instincts that more than often get thrown out of the window without reason. It is what it is. We have twilight Jamal Mashburn at a max contract

      I would argue that he is the 3rd banana already in my scenario. Hornacek would have to convince him that it’s for the best to play off of KP and Rose in a wide open offense. I can see alot of catch and shoot opportunities or pump fake an get to the line for Melo in that scenario.

      And..great line on the Jamal Mashburn comp. He is alot like him at this stage

    91. The last time Melo played primarily at the 4

      You realize that was 4 years ago, right? This is an athlete in the world’s most competitive basketball league, not a bottle of scotch.

    92. The PJ Tucker rumor is getting a lot of traction in the mass media now, which means nothing, of course.

      Yeah, a sideways move at best, even if he were just traded for LT straight up. I’d do that ($7m off the books for next year), but why would the Suns? Maybe the Knicks kick in a 2nd? I hope not.

      Melo to the 4 works for me if he’s coming off the bench. That’s not happening, of course, but he’s godawful defending at the 3 with the starters. I really wish he could be traded….
      :-)

    93. Wow, just read this from an article 2 days ago:

      Knicks are 15-7 when they dish out at least 20 assists in a game. They are 1-10 when they do not.

    94. You realize that was 4 years ago, right? This is an athlete in the world’s most competitive basketball league, not a bottle of scotch

      Good point. I just figured that Melo still has the athleticism to compete at the 4 better than the 3 nowadays. Besides, isn’t the catch and shoot Melo the one we all want? The one that can also take bigger guys off the dribble and get to the line? Or do we think he’ll be worse than the defensive sieve that he is at the 3 if he plays the 4?

    95. The last time Melo played primarily at the 4, I believe he averaged 28 and 8.

      The last time Melo played primarily at the 4, he could still jump.

    96. Knicks are 15-7 when they dish out at least 20 assists in a game. They are 1-10 when they do not.

      that’s tough when our three highest usage guys (melo, rose, kp) average a combined 8.5 asists per game…

    97. make melo our point/forward and have him facilitate the offense…defense improves without starting jennings or rose. sit back and watch melo avg. 8 dimes a game!

    98. @107

      I’d do that for the lulz. I also want KP at the 2 guard spot and Noah bombing away from 3 with reckless abandon.

      Melo-KP-Kuz-KOQ-Willy for the win

    99. The fact that Melo and KP probably work better going forward at the 4 and 5 was always something that made the Noah signing make no sense. Even on his end.

    100. how about lee, holiday melo, kp and koq…thats our best lineup

      Ha! Our best lineup is Ewing-Oakley-Mason-Starks-Harper! lol

      In all seriousness, I wish this roster had even half of that lineup’s defensive intensity

    101. Imagine Melo guarding Westbrook or Harden on the perimeter hahahah

      I’m with farfa, if you can’t be good, at least go all in on the fun factor, become a meme idk

    102. We traded for Noah?

      It’s funny, I can even trace how the error happened. I initially wrote deal and in my brain, “deal” and “trade” were just synonymous, so I swiped in trade for deal. :)

    103. Lance Thomas’ TS% as a Knick.

      48%
      56%
      49%

      Hmmm…I wonder which was the year that they based his current contract on?

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