Knicks Morning News (2021.11.29)

  • Would The Knicks Accept This Trade Offer From The Lakers? Russell Westbrook And DeAndre Jordan For Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, Kevin Knox, And Nerlens Noel – Fadeaway World
    [fadeawayworld.net] — Monday, November 29, 2021 1:13:02 AM

    Would The Knicks Accept This Trade Offer From The Lakers? Russell Westbrook And DeAndre Jordan For Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, Kevin Knox, And Nerlens Noel  Fadeaway World

  • Suge Knight Didn’t Want The Smoke With This Bulls-Knicks Legend, Says Bulls Champ Scottie Pippen – Landon Buford
    [landonbuford.com] — Sunday, November 28, 2021 9:04:27 PM

    Suge Knight Didn’t Want The Smoke With This Bulls-Knicks Legend, Says Bulls Champ Scottie Pippen  Landon Buford

  • 3 Trade Deadline Targets For New York Knicks ? Pass Or Pursue? – NBA Analysis Network
    [www.nbaanalysis.net] — Sunday, November 28, 2021 5:44:10 PM

    3 Trade Deadline Targets For New York Knicks ? Pass Or Pursue?  NBA Analysis Network

  • New York Knicks win over Hawks a reminder of their long-term outlook – Daily Knicks
    [dailyknicks.com] — Sunday, November 28, 2021 4:52:00 PM

    New York Knicks win over Hawks a reminder of their long-term outlook  Daily KnicksKnicks Notes: Burks, Walker, Dinwiddie, Randle  hoopsrumors.comKnicks’ victory over Atlanta a cathartic W in more ways than one  Posting and ToastingDepleted Knicks snap Hawks’ win streak in first matchup since playoff exit  New York PostKnicks vs. Hawks – Game Recap – November 27, 2021  ESPNView Full Coverage on Google News

  • Who are the New York Knicks’ biggest X-factors? – Daily Knicks
    [dailyknicks.com] — Sunday, November 28, 2021 2:00:00 PM

    Who are the New York Knicks’ biggest X-factors?  Daily Knicks

  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has massive point guard decision to make – New York Post
    [nypost.com] — Sunday, November 28, 2021 1:16:00 PM

    Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has massive point guard decision to make  New York PostKnicks’ RJ Barrett comes to Julius Randle’s defense for lack of scoring production  Empire Sports MediaThe Knicks’ Starters Can’t Keep Getting Outplayed by the Bench  The RingerYou Will Never Guess Who The 8th Highest Paid Player On The New York Knicks Is  Sports IllustratedThe New York Knicks Most Glaring Problem  Daily KnicksView Full Coverage on Google News

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    126 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2021.11.29)”

    1. I don’t expect the change to happen right away but I do expect Kemba to eventually go to the bench in place of IQ.

      Of course, if Thibs really had cajones, he’d send RJ and Kemba to the bench in place of IQ and Burks but I don’t see that happening with RJ!

      But I think Kemba on the bench makes a lot of sense but I can see why Thibs would wait to do it. I don’t think Kemba’s ego would be the issue but its more when you move a vet like that to the bench, it better be the right move cause if it’s not, then you could get a lot of heat for doing it. So better to be safe than sorry.

      But I think the fixes for this team are pretty obvious.

      1. Start IQ over Kemba.
      2. Give Burks more of RJ’s minutes especially if RJ is struggling.
      3. Give Obi more minutes either by cutting back some on Randle’s minutes or playing the Randle/Obi front court some.

      But that Atlanta win…by far the best one of the season and anyone who worries this team is the finished product should be relieved by that win. Grimes contributed. Sims contributed. IQ contributed. RJ played better. Mitch was back. Yes, Burks and Fournier were the main heroes of the night and long term, McBride not withstanding, we’re still gonna need to find our future franchise PG, but beating a solid team like that on the road shorthanded with so many kids stepping up…its a great sign for the future of this franchise. IQ is showing signs that he could possibly be a good starter on a good team and that would be a game changer for us.

      And you know…as tough as its been for Randle. If he grabs boards, plays good D and shares the ball like he did against Atlanta, I am fine with him having bad shooting nights. For me, its the effort and playing smart no matter how the shots are falling that matters most to me. He is still a load full for most opposing teams. Hopefully this win showed him something.

      By the way, Jowles, we’re 2-1 over the stretch of our last 3 games. :)

    2. On another topic, Samanic’s hot stats in G-league made me wonder why San Antonio waived him. I did some reading and found hints of Ntilikina like disagreements among Spurs’ fans. He was drafted at nineteen and did well with the Spurs’ G league team, averaging something like 20 points and thirteen boards (sound familiar?). But when he was called up and got some opportunity to play because of injuries he was not impressive, with some feeling he was not trying hard when he should be. Like Frank, some fans felt he needed more development time while others thought he would never be any good. He was waived this year when there was a roster crunch. Nobody picked him up off waivers. Some Spurs fan expected him to return to Europe, but actually he’s on a two way contract with us. To me, that sounds like he’s really motivated to play in the NBA and that maybe being waived was a wake up call for him. I’m putting the over under for how many actual Knicks games he will see minutes in at 0.5. What are your predictions?

    3. Knick fan, I would guess New Luka has better odds of being included in the inevitable superstar trade package than he does of playing for this club. On the other hand, if said trade winds up thinning out our frontcourt depth (I’m guessing Obi would be part of such a deal), maybe that gives New Luka an opening to prove he’s more than a AAAA player.

    4. I had mentioned that Goran Dragic seems disgruntled in Toronto, and wondered what it would take to swap Kemba for him, assuming the Knicks would want to do that, which I doubt but wish they would. He’s 35 years old and on around a $20 mill expiring deal. I wonder what Ujiri decides to do with him, i.e. what he’d expect in return before the trade deadline…

    5. Samanic is only 21 so I guess its somewhat of an excuse for his supposed bad play in San Antonio. The Spurs have made some questionable moves in the post Duncan era so I dont think its a situation where if they made a choice its necessarily a good one. Maybe he would prefer playing in NY to SA as many Euro players would so he decides to get his act together.

      I would agree with Alan in that he would only get the call up if the seemingly inevitable Toppin trade happens and they need another PF.

    6. Kevin and Alan, I agree with both of you that it would probably take a trade to open space for Samanac. But I’m guessing it’s more likely he gets playing time due to injuries. But even if someone was injured, god forbid, I’m not sure he’d get the call up. We have the other Sims and we have Knox waiting for playing time too.

    7. Yes, and Thibs has played Taj at power forward in the past, even starting him over Obi for the one game Randle missed last season. The sheer number of injuries that would have to happen for Thibs to play New Luka over the other options — whether RJ as a smallball 4 or even Knox — would be staggering. Though maybe if the reports from the G-League remain glowing after a few months, Thibs might slide him ahead of Knox in the pecking order.

    8. I’ll hard pass on Dragic. Very old, couldn’t stay healthy for like 3 seasons in a row in Miami and was never that great of a player to begin with. He’s just as washed as Kemba is but at least with Kemba there is history of a really good player somewhere there.

    9. For the record I had no interest in re-litigating incinerategate, but Z-Man decided to declare that 3 good G-League games from Luka Samanic justify a decision, made prior to Samanic even being on the team, to trade a first-round pick for extremely questionable value.

      Is it really uncommon for a team to fill a roster spot with an emergency all-purpose wing who could actually play minutes in the NBA without killing the team while never complaining about not playing or blundering his way through practice? Nope. In fact, you’d find a Wayne Seldon on just about every NBA roster.

      If the decision to roster Selden over Johnson/Thomas/Springer etc. really hinged on the production Selden could give the team over one of those guys, that’s even worse than the justification we’ve gone with to this point (i.e. we’re too deep for this roster spot to ever get minutes anytime soon).

      If Wayne Selden is getting minutes that could actually swing the outcome of a game(s), our situation is such that we’d all be much, much happier with an extra intriguing rookie-scale player on the team, because about 500 different things have gone wrong with the “core” players.

      I really don’t know why we have to justify this obviously bad decision (and I feel perfectly comfortable calling it that because we have no control over whether we get back a first or two seconds, meaning we either didn’t shop the pick enough during the draft or didn’t adequately prepare to trade it prior) instead of perfectly sensibly saying “I like what the Knicks under Leon Rose have done in the draft for the most part, but the 19th pick situation was mishandled.”

    10. One thing I’ll say about Luka is his dominance is due to him just being a lot bigger than the other G league bigs at least from the highlights I’ve seen. Hes still very skilled regardless.

    11. missed the games this weekend bc we voluntarily froze ourselves half to death in a tent. now that we’re 1/4 thru the year, two open questions for the group.

      1. has randle’s start led anyone who was happy with randle’s extension (happy 27th julius) to wish it could be undone?

      2. has rj’s start led anyone to materially lower their feels on his long term value? more tangibly, there was a thread last year led by massive/glass half about which players on rookie contracts you would take in a straight up rj deal. has anyone added some players, and if so, who is the worst rookie contract player you would now trade rj for?

    12. Not sure why we are arguing about New Luka.

      I’ll give you a hint: starts with “Z”, ends with “Man”.

    13. thenoblefacehumper: For the record I had no interest in re-litigating incinerategate, but Z-Man decided to declare that 3 good G-League games from Luka Samanic justify a decision, made prior to Samanic even being on the team, to trade a first-round pick for extremely questionable value.

      I think mitigate is a better word than justify, and the larger premise is that it really isn’t a big deal either way because it is likely to be easy to mitigate unless you pass over a really valuable player or the worst case scenario plays out with the acquired future pick. (PS it’s 4 games, but who’s counting). I don’t think the word “extremely” applies, but opinions can vary, right?

      thenoblefacehumper: If the decision to roster Selden over Johnson/Thomas/Springer etc. really hinged on the production Selden could give the team over one of those guys, that’s even worse than the justification we’ve gone with to this point (i.e. we’re too deep for this roster spot to ever get minutes anytime soon).

      This is a meaningless point, as Wayne Selden wasn’t even in the picture at draft time. The argument is whether roster flexibility was properly valued at draft time is valid, though. That the choice on how to use the preserved roster spot was to bring Selden aboard is a separate issue, and in no way connected to the choice of whether or not to draft someone at #19. You could make just as strong of a case that it could have been used to sign an UDFA or a Euro buyout. (not sure if we could have kept the other Luca with that spot).

      thenoblefacehumper: meaning we either didn’t shop the pick enough during the draft or didn’t adequately prepare to trade it prior

    14. (con’d)
      thenoblefacehumper: meaning we either didn’t shop the pick enough during the draft or didn’t adequately prepare to trade it prior

      I agree that we should have gotten a better return. The disagreement lies in the degree of the undervaluation and the consequences for doing so. To me (and others) it’s a blip in an otherwise solid draft night that can be made up for with a bit of luck (e.g. Charlotte continuing to play well) or finding other less costly diamonds in the rough like Samanic. To you (and others) it’s a major blunder with significant potential for catastrophe. Folks used expressions like canary in the mine, rude awakening, etc. to describe what to expect from this FO in terms of asset valuation. As it turns out, they have drafted well and filled out the 11-17 spots on the roster pretty nicely while having a marginally diminished future pick. I don’t get why it is continually brought up.

    15. 1. has randle’s start led anyone who was happy with randle’s extension (happy 27th julius) to wish it could be undone?

      Not quite yet because I still think he could be traded for value, or at least without sweetener, if need be…but the fact that it’s a perfectly legitimate question is not good.

      2. has rj’s start led anyone to materially lower their feels on his long term value? more tangibly, there was a thread last year led by massive/glass half about which players on rookie contracts you would take in a straight up rj deal. has anyone added some players, and if so, who is the worst rookie contract player you would now trade rj for?

      This is probably homer bias, but while I have lowered my feelings on his long-term value to some extent just because more data has come in, I also know from following his career so closely that he’s weirdly prone to absolutely brutal/brilliant stretches.

      To take someone from his own draft class, I would gladly take Herro for him straight up. I would say the O/U for his own draft class is Poole. I’m still probably a no on that but have no problem with the other side at this point.

      This is cheating a bit because he’s currently a rookie so I get the benefits of that for the intents and purposes of being the “worst” player I’d trade RJ for, but the literal answer to your question for me is probably Josh Giddey.

    16. @wojespn
      Nuggets F Michael Porter Jr., will undergo a surgical procedure on his lower back and miss an indefinite period, his agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN. Bartelstein says Porter’s expected to make a full recovery; timetable on return will come after surgery.

      On the other hand, John Hollinger just declared Mikal Bridges the fourth best player in the league this season, “and it’s not a particularly close competition.” So this all still sucks, draft regrets-wise.

    17. This is a meaningless point, as Wayne Selden wasn’t even in the picture at draft time. The argument is whether roster flexibility was properly valued at draft time is valid, though. That the choice on how to use the preserved roster spot was to bring Selden aboard is a separate issue, and in no way connected to the choice of whether or not to draft someone at #19.

      I disagree. If there was a plan to use the “roster flexibility” in a more productive way than on Wayne Selden, I would happily say that in hindsight the decision made more sense. The fact that they valued roster flexibility very highly in making the transaction and then proceeded to waste it matters.

      I mean, at a minimum the connection between those two things is much less attenuated than the one between the 19th pick and Samanic who isn’t even on the 15-man roster.

    18. Alan: On the other hand, John Hollinger just declared Mikal Bridges the fourth best player in the league this season, “and it’s not a particularly close competition.” So this all still sucks, draft regrets-wise.

      I think he called him the best 4th best player, i.e. better than any other teams 4th best player, not the 4th best player total in the league. I love Mikal Bridges, but that would be a little much.

    19. thenamestsam: I think he called him the best 4th best player, i.e. better than any other teams 4th best player, not the 4th best player total in the league. I love Mikal Bridges, but that would be a little much.

      Well, stick the dunce cap on me at the moment. Poor reading comprehension.

    20. I love Mikal Bridges and he might be the 4th best player for the money but yeah, that’s a bit much….

      I am trying so hard to stick to my prior on RJ which is that he levels out as a middling quality nba starter that we end up overpaying but all the issues I have had with him since the start still remain. He just looks terrible and I don’t buy the defense making up for it.

      He’ll be better than this I am sure, probably shortly, but overall just seems like he is flatlining.

    21. I can’t believe anyone still cares about a pick that would have netted us a player that the scouts, management and coach obviously didn’t like (or they would have made the pick) and that would have been riding the bench or in the G League right now. It couldn’t possibly be any more screamingly obvious we have to make a trade for a legitimate star #1 option because Randle can’t do the job. We already know that’s going to take a lot of 1st round picks if the opportunity arises. No one is going to want some bench rider we never really liked to begin with. They are going to prefer picks so they can select their own players. We have to make a trade eventually. It’s just a matter of “who” and which players and picks we will have to give up to get it done. This can’t be the finished product. If it is, we aren’t going anywhere. Those excess picks are our ticket to get it done without destroying the long term.

    22. Considering the pick may be conveying this year I wonder how that changes the FO’s plan of including that in a star trade down the line. They were probably hoping it didnt convey till the 2023 draft where it would have more value and the team would have a better idea of which stars may be available.

      Wouldnt be surprised if they decide to trade out again…

    23. Leave it to Strat to make Z-Man sound downright humble and reserved about this.

      Buddy, if you think this Hornets pick has more trade value than, say, Cam Thomas, you are wrong.

    24. ptmilo: missed the games this weekend bc we voluntarily froze ourselves half to death in a tent.

      Lady Jowles and I visited Zion National Park in 2017 and our two friends met us there. They insisted on tent camping while we drove in from her uncle’s guest condo in Cedar City, which they had been invited to. 30 degree evenings for them and climate control/hot showers for us. Pretty sure I know who had a better time in the evenings. Tent camping is for the birds.

      Wow, 2-1 in the last three games. Huge. A 55-win pace for sure.

    25. I jumble them every few minutes. At this particular moment in time I think Julius (fingers crossed), Rose, IQ, and Burks. Poor RJ is not even 4th man on the totem pole right now. Fournier is probably ahead of him. I adore Obi, but he’s still got a few too many boneheads a game to make the top five. Is Obi ahead of RJ? Are Mitch and Noel ahead of him?

    26. I was in a fancy tent-in-place on my honeymoon, one of those glamping camp deals. I forgot to zip the interior lining. Wind picked up in the middle of the night. 30 degrees. Blew over a bureau. Baby didn’t come for three years.

    27. @FredKatz
      Alec Burks will start at point guard tomorrow against the Nets, Tom Thibodeau says.

      And there you have it, folks. It’s the right move — well, this or starting IQ would have been — but now we get to see the trickle down effect of this in so many areas. (To be continued in next comment so I can get the news up quickly.)

    28. Wait, is that with Kemba active?!

      Edit:

      Kemba Walker is out of the Knicks rotation “as of right now,” Tom Thibodeau says. He says he will tighten the rotation moving forward. “It would be tough to play three small guards together,” Thibodeau says. Says he has great respect for Walker and all he’s accomplished.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) November 29, 2021

      Wow. Life comes at you fast.

    29. Down the line impact of this:

      1)Can Burks be a full-time starting PG, at least in a lineup that has two playmaking forwards in Randle and RJ?
      2)How will Kemba respond to being benched? (This assumes he will be healthy enough to play tomorrow, and that I’m not putting the cart before the horse here.)
      2a)How will Kemba and Rose play together?
      3)Even with Quickley’s long wingspan, can he plausibly play the wing as part of our bench units? Or does this mean more Grimes minutes at the expense of someone else? (Likely Kemba, which brings us back to Question 2).
      4)If this does not magically unfuck the starting lineup — and Julius and RJ in particular — then what’s the next move?

    30. Holy shit. They’ve Pinson’ed Kemba:

      @FredKatz
      Kemba Walker is out of the Knicks rotation “as of right now,” Tom Thibodeau says. He says he will tighten the rotation moving forward. “It would be tough to play three small guards together,” Thibodeau says. Says he has great respect for Walker and all he’s accomplished.

      And this is a fascinating framing of the Hawks game, which was previously presented as the team choosing to rest Kemba:

      @NYPost_Berman
      Thought he’d give Kemba the Nets game before change. But we are a quarter of the way in and Kemba decided to sit Saturday knowing Rose was out.

    31. Pretty crazy that Kemba is getting benched. But it is definitely the right move. Thibs is not playing around.

    32. Jowles, Zion National Park is maybe my favorite National Park. The only knock I have against it is that it’s kind of small and since it’s a pretty popular park, some of the trails are very busy. But damn is it beautiful and I also love the little stretch of road going into the park with all the shops and restaurants. I think its one of the best parks for doing your nature stuff during the day and then going out at night.

    33. This is cheating a bit because he’s currently a rookie so I get the benefits of that for the intents and purposes of being the “worst” player I’d trade RJ for, but the literal answer to your question for me is probably Josh Giddey.

      giddey is a good example of a player that would probably come close to splitting the board right now. i would do it. in april tyrese maxey would have sounded like a clear no, but right now morey says no. likely the same for darius garland. a weird one is thybulle. i think 95pct of the board says no. he is 24 and sometimes looks like a d2 player on offense. but he is really a phenom on d (as much as rj is getting credit in knickland for guarding the opposing team’s best player, he is never ever going to sniff the universe thybulle is in on that end, who simultaneously guards the best wing or guard and plays elite disruptive safety). his shot looks like it at least has a helluva better chance at coming around than, say, defensive demigod andre roberson. i made the keldon johnson comp already, and keldon is pretty plainly having a better year, but i wouldn’t do that one. masai would laugh at rj for barnes at the moment.

      Tent camping is for the birds.

      at literally no point before, during or after did i expect it would be a good choice. i am so good at being right about hating things yet so bad at life.

      just saw the kemba news. i get that many thought it was inevitable but i’m surprised nonetheless.

    34. The whole benefit of having a playmaker forward like Randle is that you can get away with NOT having a playmaker lead guard, at least not in the traditional sense of “point guard”. Burks really does work in that role of a more democratic ball handling group – and I’ve been really impressed with his defense. having 3 6’6″+ guys at 1-3 really changes the look defensively. Regardless of Atlanta missing some 3’s, holding that group to 90 points is really really hard to do.

    35. What’s interesting about this is I think two things are true:

      1) it’s absolutely the right move

      2) Kemba would be justified in being disgruntled/feeling scapegoated, since his surface level numbers on the season are actually fine.

      The only thing I think we’ll miss about him is his spot up shooting, which has been carrying his overall numbers. Burks and IQ should be able to replicate that anyway.

      3)Even with Quickley’s long wingspan, can he plausibly play the wing as part of our bench units? Or does this mean more Grimes minutes at the expense of someone else? (Likely Kemba, which brings us back to Question 2).
      4)If this does not magically unfuck the starting lineup — and Julius and RJ in particular — then what’s the next move?

      I don’t think IQ will play the wing, basically ever. For better or worse we know Thibs is not a huge fan of deviating from traditional positions. So I think Grimes is now in the rotation.

      As for the next move…I don’t think there realistically is one. We probably aren’t benching the guy we just maxed or our nominal best young player.

    36. Yeah and with Grimes also being solid off the bench, it just makes sense to move on. We traded too much defense for offense getting both Fournier and Kemba. Getting him out of the rotation and giving more time to Burks, IQ, Grimes, corrects that issue.

      It’s too bad. I wonder if we’ll actually cut him or if the idea is to not play him for a bit but save him for later in the season? This is kind of wild though. We knew he was done but I didn’t think it would happen this quickley.

    37. “tighten the rotation”….hopefully that doesn’t mean grimes gets put back in the deep freeze when rose is healthy…guess him and taj will be maybes and kemba is hanging with deuce and co at the end of the bench

      burks
      fournier
      mitch
      rj
      julius

      iq
      obi
      rose
      nerlens
      taj/grimes

    38. I suspect it’ll be a 9.5-man rotation, with Grimes playing on nights when we’re short of bodies at center and/or playing an opponent where a smaller lineup will be more effective. So:

      C: Whichever healthy duo we have, with Mitch and Noel getting preferential treatment if all are available
      PF: Randle and Obi
      SF: RJ and sometimes Grimes
      SG: Fournier and IQ
      PG: Burks and Rose

    39. Wow, Steve Cohen really is George Steinbrenner With Twitter.

      The Mets have spent a ton of money and still have some serious holes. The rotation sucks after deGrom and Scherzer, and the bullpen is nonexistent. I guess you can put a decent bullpen together on the cheap, but they probably need to acquire two more decent starting pitchers if they’re really going to make a run at the top teams in the division.

      I wonder how high Cohen will take the payroll. It’s easy to lose sight of just how rich billionaires really are. I mean, the guy has 11,000 million dollars, so spending like an extra 100 of those millions really isn’t a lot when you think of it that way. You still have 10,900 million dollars. Fuck it, might as well sign Baez, Rodon, Stroman and Suzuki while you’re at it.

    40. I don’t really understand the timing of the announcement – gives the Nets a day to change things up.

      by the way – hate to see the news on Michael Porter Jr, but there was a reason he dropped to 12 or 14 or whatever it was. Those back injuries…

      My guess is the boys at Hospital for Special Surgery did not like what they saw pre-draft and took them off the Knicks board for medical reasons.

    41. I do think Kemba is a little bit hard done by here. He actually has the highest BPM among the starters this year and while he has definitely been disappointing and occasionally just downright bad, that describes all the starters. It was definitely time to make a change but the logic for this specific change seems like it has a lot to do with which guys are perceived as untouchable.

    42. Knicks win. Jets win. Mets sign Scherzer.

      Kind of tough to take in all this good stuff in such a short time frame. :-) I’m a bit wary of the Scherzer signing. He’s going to be 38. He’s been remarkable healthy…but it almost just seems like the law of averages and the natural effects of aging are due to strike him. And of course they had to “overpay” him by quite a bit to get him to come to NY. He gets 3 years at an AAV of $43m. NTC. Opt out option. Gonna be a lot of pressure on him, though he can probably handle it.

      The BVW era really stripped the Mets of major league ready starting pitching, so after Syndergaard and Matz spurned the Mets, I guess Cohen decided to take the gloves off and put some brass knuckles on…

    43. There is no dollar figure that would make me think a 3-year deal for Scherzer is anything but a steal. I don’t care if he’s 37 or 47, the guy has been elite for ten consecutive god damn seasons. Insane no one (*cough cough* the Yankees) would top that.

      It was definitely time to make a change but the logic for this specific change seems like it has a lot to do with which guys are perceived as untouchable.

      Yeah, he was the victim of 1) our guard depth and 2) the fact that it was never gonna be RJ and/or Randle.

      I hope he’s a great sport about the whole thing but I won’t blame him if he’s not.

    44. I hope he’s a great sport about the whole thing but I won’t blame him if he’s not.

      Same and same. Suddenly, that second year we signed him for becomes a minor headache, even if we’re going to be over the cap next season no matter what. But I have to imagine there’s some team who’d be willing to try him as their backup PG in exchange for a similar ill-fitting piece of their own roster. And if not, you just release him and eat next year’s salary, hoping we sign someone better with the mid-level. It was a reasonable gamble, but it didn’t pay off. Oh well.

    45. @ShamsCharania
      Nets guard Joe Harris will undergo surgery on his left ankle, coach Steve Nash says.

      Relevant given tomorrow’s opponent.

    46. Finding a long-term point guard for the Knicks is as hard as finding a long-term drummer for Spinal Tap or a long-term husband for Elizabeth Taylor.

    47. More on Harris:

      @wojespn
      Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris is expected to miss four to eight weeks with ankle surgery, agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN. Surgery is addressing “a little bone particle” in ankle, Steve Nash said.

    48. Thibs is doing the right thing with Kemba. He’s been consistent that if you don’t play defense, you don’t start.

      I hope we see more IQ/McBride/Grimes now.

    49. Donnie Walsh:
      Finding a long-term point guard for the Knicks is as hard as finding a long-term drummer for Spinal Tap or a long-term husband for Elizabeth Taylor.

      ROKAS JOKUBAITAS is his name.

    50. I hope we see more IQ/McBride/Grimes now.

      Don’t get your Deuce hopes up, and probably not your Grimes hopes, either. Thibs said he is probably going to tighten the rotation a bit. But because of that, and because Kemba is being replaced by a guy who was already in the rotation, it feels like there’s an easy path to playing IQ more minutes, which I think we can all agree he has earned. While I might have been tempted to start IQ over Burks, I can also appreciate the desire to keep him playing with Rose and Toppin, and also the idea that Burks’ game fits better alongside Julius and RJ. So this is definitely worth a try.

      And if it works? How hilarious would it be that our long-awaited starting point guard solution turns out to be Alec freaking Burks?

    51. thenamestam,

      Kemba’s individual numbers aren’t bad but the defense was obviously a huge problem. Defense and offense affect each other greatly in basketball. Add in that he still needed to be the primary ball handler to be effective, thus getting Randle out of his game a bit…I just think it was time for a shake up. Although I am surprised at how big of a shakeup this is. But then again, maybe this isn’t just Thibs being drastic. Maybe something really is going on with his knee and Kemba himself is aware that he can’t keep playing like this? Who knows.

      All I know is our defense is going to be much better with him not in the rotation and we don’t lost that much fire power on offense without him especially with IQ and Obi on the rise.

    52. Alan
      And if it works? How hilarious would it be that our long-awaited starting point guard solution turns out to be Alec freaking Burks?

      Makes sense in a way. I remember an article about how Randle paired well with IQ because his dominant ball handling compliments a 1-guard who can play off the ball, drain the open three, function a secondary ball-handler and play some defense. Burks fits that description as well as anyone here.

    53. swiftandabundant:
      thenamestam,

      But then again, maybe this isn’t just Thibs being drastic. Maybe something really is going on with his knee and Kemba himself is aware that he can’t keep playing like this? Who knows.

      I am sure watching shit like this during video breakdowns accelerated Thibs’ timetable in making the decision to bench him.

      just watch Kemba on this play pic.twitter.com/Lk56Q9ewPv— TaMir?? (@mirthee1st) November 27, 2021

    54. @NYPost_Berman
      Thought he’d give Kemba the Nets game before change. But we are a quarter of the way in and Kemba decided to sit Saturday knowing Rose was out.

      That’s rather inflammatory from Berman, no? He’s making it seem like Kemba is being punished for resting, which doesn’t seem to be the case.

    55. Could we get anything of use from the Lakers like a 2nd rounder? Lakers and their ongoing quest to field a team full of 2012 all-stars seem like a great place for Kemba.

    56. Is there a trade market at all for Kemba? Who desperately needs a below-average PG who has basically come full circle to his rookie-year nadir?

      Edit: swift, I don’t think the Lakers can take him on without giving up two minimum players and Kendrick Nunn. His salary nearly matches THT’s but they’d be selling very low on him (and how bad does that contract look right now?!)

    57. On the other hand, John Hollinger just declared Mikal Bridges the fourth best player in the league this season,

      4th best player in the league this season from the Phoenix Suns?

    58. I’m surprised by the timing but it’s the right move.

      Decent offensive numbers aside Kemba was unplayable on defense, he put all the defensive rotations in jeopardy and unable us to switch, the game in Atlanta was the litmus test.

      Thibs showed great flexibility and daring decision making, kudos to him.
      Mike Vorkunov on Twitter wonder if this must be counted as a lesson learned for him after last year stubborness to bench The Plague and I think it’s a fair assessment.

      I’m deeply sorry for Kemba, one of my favorite players since his MSG miracle days in college, alas he came to us too late.

      And with this earthquake shakeup a couple of starters had no excuse anymore and must show immediate improvements.

      I’m a Grimes stan and hope the kid get some chances to play a little more, I think he belongs.

    59. Honestly didnt expect the Kemba move till the half way point of the season but considering how tough the East is its probably the best move. Just surprised he didnt get relegated to backup role first but having 3PG’s in the second unit is probably a bad move.

      Hopefully adding Grimes and minusing Kemba does a good job for our defense,

    60. Our biggest problem so far this season-and it’s not close-is how bad RJ has been, but it’s also possible Kemba’s shitty defense has been a significant issue and his offense hasn’t been so good that we need to keep playing him. And unlike RJ Kemba isn’t an important part of the team for the long term.

    61. +1 – it wasn’t just Kemba’s individual defense, it’s the impact he was having on our overall ability to defend and extra stress placed on everyone else as a result of having both him and Fournier in our backcourt. Perhaps had we retained Bullock it might not have come to this, but a starting backcourt of Fournier and Kemba is unplayable. Every time a pick and roll is run w/ Kemba in the mix, he’s massively undersized, his close out to shooters was both a step slow and exacerbated by his height. Fournier doesn’t have the footspeed to keep guys out of the lane, but he does try and can work in a switching system, but not with a small PG. I don’t know how you go from not starting him to not playing him at all ….but I agree with Thibs’ decision.

      From Tommy Beer:

      “The Knicks have been outscored by a whopping 122 points in the 441 minutes Kemba has played this season.
      Minus-122 is the worst plus/minus (by far) by any player on a winning team in the NBA this season.”

      Max:
      I’m surprised by the timing but it’s the right move.

      Decent offensive numbers aside Kemba was unplayable on defense, he put all the defensive rotations in jeopardy and unable us to switch, the game in Atlanta was the litmus test.

      Thibs showed great flexibility and daring decision making, kudos to him.
      Mike Vorkunov on Twitter wonder if this must be counted as a lesson learned for him after last year stubborness to bench The Plague and I think it’s a fair assessment.

      I’m deeply sorry for Kemba, one of my favorite players since his MSG miracle days in college, alas he came to us too late.

      And with this earthquake shakeup a couple of starters had no excuse anymore and must show immediate improvements.

      I’m a Grimes stan and hope the kid get some chances to play a little more, I think he belongs.

    62. Everybody loves Kemba, but signing him was really, really stupid.

      Thibs has a thing for Burks at point, always has. Hopefully it will work when it’s more than just a temporary, few minutes here and there thing. It could, but I’m withholding final judgment until there are more data points. I’m still not entirely sure how you get to “Immanuel Quickley isn’t really a point guard; Alec Burks, now there’s a real point guard,” but I’ll rely on the realities and imperatives of positionless modern basketball to get me through.

    63. @FredKatz
      A statistical summary of why the Knicks are pulling Kemba Walker from the rotation:

      Knicks have the best defense in the league when he’s on the bench (99.0 DRtg) & are dead last (116.3 DRtg) when he’s on the floor.

      They are 27th in offense with him playing, 9th with him off.

    64. It is/was still a good gamble, and I doubt we’ve seen the last of Kemba anyway.

      At the very least, he’s a plausibly productive player on a mid-size 2 year contract that is not an overpay, which makes him reasonable trade fodder eventually as well. Have to imagine at the very least that a team that doesn’t have a good backup PG would consider trading a small asset for him.

    65. The Knicks gave Kemba a few pennies shy of $18 million over two years. There’s no serious sense in which that’s properly denominated a “low cost gamble.”

    66. Dont see how the signing was really really dumb who exactly were we supposed to give that money to? Dont say Dennis Scroder

      I figure Kemba can still be productive in a Backup PG role where defense isnt as important and he can go against inferior defenses.

    67. E, all merc’d out:
      The Knicks gave Kemba a few pennies shy of $18 million over two years.There’s no serious sense in which that’s properly denominated a “low cost gamble.”

      It is when they would have been capped out this season and next either way, and when the contract is still so modestly priced that I imagine they can at minimum unload him for nothing, and possibly get a small asset back, if they decide he shouldn’t be on the roster anymore. And if he had turned out to be the short-term PG solution so many of us hoped he would be, then that contract would have seemed like a bargain.

    68. DRed:
      Our biggest problem so far this season-and it’s not close-is how bad RJ has been, but it’s also possible Kemba’s shitty defense has been a significant issue and his offense hasn’t been so good that we need to keep playing him.And unlike RJ Kemba isn’t an important part of the team for the long term.

      I figure now with Grimes in the rotation RJ can get a little more of a break defensively so hopefully RJ wont be as burned out on defense.

    69. The Knicks’ defense has been improving as of late, so benching Kemba and giving more minutes to defensively competent players should help even more. I’m always a little skeptical of on/off numbers, which are inherently noisy, but it’s not hard to see that Kemba has zero athleticism at this point. He’d probably like to play some defense, he just can’t do it. He’s kind of like Knicks-era Mike Bibby.

    70. The hopes were misplaced. Not sure how else to put it. If there was anything still there, or even the hope of it, he wouldn’t have been available at that price, and the medical reports were all very bad. You could tell in the opener against the Celtics he had no explosion left, and a handful of us commented to that effect in real time that night.

      He wasn’t worth an asset from anyone before the implosion, so I’m not sure why he would be now, but I guess anything’s theoretically possible.

      In a world where people seriously post things like “the 19th and 21st picks would cost $5 million the next two years, so praise be that the Knicks didn’t use them” it’s a bit bizarre to then consider $18 million over the next two years mere pocket change. Others’ mileage of course may vary, but if it does, I’d maybe think of trading in the current jalopy.

    71. I have mixed feeling about this. I don’t think Kemba should be completely out of the rotation.

      We knew Kemba was damaged goods, but he still seemed like a reasonable risk given he was upgrade over Payton on offense (which we needed) with very limited downside given his contract is short and cheap. There were no other placeholder PGs they wanted and they chose to not go after Ball as a long term solution with upside.

      That said, I think we would have gotten away with Kemba as the starter if he was the only minus defender in the starting lineup. But Kemba and Fournier looks unplayable to me based on my eye test.

      Rose is not some lockdown defender anymore. lol

      I wonder what those on/off stats would look like if Rose was playing in the starting lineup and Kemba was coming off the bench? My guess is they would look a lot different for both.

      Personally, I think we still have a serious starting PG issue (which IMO we would not have if we went after Ball). Burks is a productive player that can fill in short term, but he is not a PG. If anything this is going to add responsibility for playmaking to Randle, which makes me cringe given his decision making.

      IQ is playing well and looks better as a playmaker, but I’m not convinced he’s a true PG either. If he were to start, it would also wind up putting the ball in Randle’s hands more often.

      At some point we need to take a look at McBride. We have to find out if he’s a PG or another undersized SG/Combo guard.

      Ball is gone. We need to find the next young PG that can defend and shoot 3s.

    72. @zachkram
      Opponent 3-point percentage
      w/ Kemba on: 41%
      w/ Kemba off: 29%

      That’s much more likely random luck than anything about Kemba specifically, to be fair. (Offense is a different story.)

    73. Bittersweet. Never like to see a good player/good guy find out he is done in this highly exposed way.

    74. raise your hand if you had alec burks as our starting point guard this year…at this point i think it’s a matter of time before quik takes the job…much better for quik to replace burks than kemba…

      burks moves slow and methodical on offense like elf did, it’s just that burks can get the ball to go through the bottom of the net a whole lot better…

      quik pushes it up the court even faster than rose…those two as a one/two punch from the point guard position will make it a challenge for teams to keep up with our pace…

    75. Alan:
      …And if it works? How hilarious would it be that our long-awaited starting point guard solution turns out to be Alec freaking Burks?

      Wasn’t Burks originally drafted as a PG by Utah?

    76. So is Kemba done, done? The article I read says he is out of the rotation, but it doesn’t seem like he is being waived/traded yet. I get why Thibs would look to change up the rotation, but given Rose’s health, seems short sighted to get rid of him just yet given he would still be handy insurance.

    77. Wow, i go away for some hours, and we have a mini earthquake on the team’s rotation? We needed to do this, but like BernieEarnie, i’m feeling sorry for Kemba. Poor lad. :(

    78. Alan: No, every draft recap from 2011 refers to him as a shooting guard.

      Ah darn my bad.

      At any rate, I’m in agreement with basically everyone here that benching Kemba shows this team shows ability to pivot from decisions that aren’t working, particularly with non-core players.

      I also say this: I will argue the system the Knicks have with roster management and player development is perhaps more important than the players on the floor right now. As RJ is our current highest drafted homegrown player on the roster, his development currently has the greatest long-term impact on this iteration of the team and its trajectory. However, I have greater confidence today – than at any point in the past 20+ years – that if RJ doesn’t quite pan out as a true cornerstone, the team will assess his value properly going forward.

    79. I’m a bit sad for Kemba since we share Bronx roots and he a class act, but applaud the move. He was given every chance to produce and didn’t. Obviously we all knew he was damaged goods so it’s certainly not shocking that it isn’t panning out as hoped. When we first heard that he was being waived and we were signing him, I hoped that it would be for less cost, or at least a non-guaranteed second year. Still, I have no qualms with the FO for giving it a shot at the final numbers. It was a very savvy PR move that gave the brand some juice going into the season.

      I had posted a couple of days ago a KFS podcast from August with a CelticsBlog writer who predicted that things would turn out this way because of the degenerative nature of Kemba’s condition. And as my good friend E said above, I posted on opening night that he looked like he had no explosion left. Without that at his size, he’s just not capable of being a winning player anymore. It’s kind of like Isaiah Thomas after the hip thing.

      I remember how hard I rooted for the great Rolando Blackman to have something left in the tank in his twilight with us, but Riley and everyone else knew it just wasn’t there. Starks couldn’t hold prime Ro’s jock, but the Knicks version of Ro was an erratic turnstile, even though he was only 33 and coming off of a very solid season in Dallas.

    80. The Burks as a starting PG thing is curious. Not sure it plays for long once the league adjusts and targets his weaknesses, but sure, give it a shot. I don’t think anything is etched in stone right now, except that Julius and RJ will continue to start, and probably Mitch if he can ever stay healthy. I could see Thibs swapping IQ and either Burks or Fournier, and I could also see Grimes and Deuce working their way into the mix.

      As to Kemba, I don’t think you can get anything for him without some sweetener. Maybe some dumb GM likes Knox? Kemba, Knox and a #2 for a PG or wing?

    81. thenoblefacehumper: I disagree. If there was a plan to use the “roster flexibility” in a more productive way than on Wayne Selden, I would happily say that in hindsight the decision made more sense. The fact that they valued roster flexibility very highly in making the transaction and then proceeded to waste it matters.

      I mean, at a minimum the connection between those two things is much less attenuated than the one between the 19th pick and Samanic who isn’t even on the 15-man roster.

      The flexibility is actually still there. As a vet’s minimum player, Selden can be waived with no cap ramifications. And Rose & Co. actually wound up drafting the exact guys they wanted at #19 and #21 (by many accounts) at #25 and at #36, and got the guy they wanted at #32 at #34, and picked up a likely future first and a definite future 2nd in the process. They went in with 4 picks and came out with 4 player (all currently presenting as excellent value for their draft slots) plus 2 future picks. Selden is a placeholder.

      If you’d have preferred we expended the picks on Jalen and Keon, plus your fave at #32 and at #57, you have to factor in that those future picks are gone.

      You can quibble about the process, but the results thus far look pretty damn good. It’s looking like a B+ at worst job. Samanic is a bonus and Selden is irrelevant to the conversation.

    82. I’m not as convinced as everyone that this was necessary and correct. Those on/off stats certainly tell a story, but Kemba has played all but 8 minutes of the year with Randle. So all those numbers apply to Randle, as well.

      I certainly agree that Kemba needed to be taken out of the starting lineup, but not as sure he needed to be hung out to dry like this. This is basically putting all the problems on one guy when there is plenty of blame to go around. RJ, Randle, Kemba, and Mitch have all been bench-worthy. It makes me wonder if Thibs and Rose were ever on the same page with this signing.

      I do expect the move to pay short term dividends, but I don’t think Alec Burks is a season-long answer at PG.

    83. Great dunk by McBride just now

      when you give it some thought, we have a fairly decent collection of young players…that’s crazy to think – knicks with a decent group of young players…

      the other night when we had a 23 and below squad out on the court competing (very well too) was one of the cooler things i’ve seen as a knick fan in a long time…

    84. I feel the same Hubert its a good move dont necessarily think its the best move. Would start IQ and go with Kemba, Rose and Burks in the second unit.

      On the other hand if Grimes proves to be a decent player it would probably be for the best defensively.

    85. Hubert:
      It makes me wonder if Thibs and Rose were ever on the same page with this signing.

      I agree with everything in your post.

      I would add one thing to the above. I’m not sure Thibs was on board with Fournier either since we know he loved Bullock and it was reported by our beat reporters that he wanted to keep Bullock. If we kept Bullock and Burks (who he also clearly likes) it’s hard to imagine he wanted all 3.

      I think he wanted what I’ve been talking about (of course I have had the benefit of seeing what I was afraid of actually happening). I think he wanted to bring back the same exact team, add the rookies, and just replace Payton with a PG that could defend and shoot the 3. Kemba is probably not what he had in mind. I wanted Ball, but I have no insight into what he might have wanted.

    86. I certainly agree that Kemba needed to be taken out of the starting lineup, but not as sure he needed to be hung out to dry like this. This is basically putting all the problems on one guy when there is plenty of blame to go around. RJ, Randle, Kemba, and Mitch have all been bench-worthy.

      Kemba definitely wasn’t the weak link per se, but he was the most replaceable. In Burks, IQ, and Rose we have 3 players who can all do just about everything Kemba can do (Rose isn’t as good of a shooter off the dribble but that’s about it) without some of his deficiencies.

      RJ has been putrid, but we basically have zero wing depth. Randle has been bad, but we have exactly 1 other power forward type. Short of starting Grimes and/or Toppin, there just isn’t a feasible way to take these guys out of the starting lineup, let alone the rotation.

      The flexibility is actually still there.

      This is the problem–the flexibility is still there, but the guys available at #19 are not. We chose “flexibility,” i.e. a player in Selden so worthless he can be waived painlessly, over those guys. That’s a bad thing, not a good one.

      nd Rose & Co. actually wound up drafting the exact guys they wanted at #19 and #21 (by many accounts) at #25 and at #36, and got the guy they wanted at #32 at #34, and picked up a likely future first and a definite future 2nd in the process. They went in with 4 picks and came out with 4 player (all currently presenting as excellent value for their draft slots) plus 2 future picks. Selden is a placeholder.

      And one can be perfectly happy about all of this and still think Jalen Johnson et al. would be a better use of a roster spot than Wayne Selden (or Kevin Knox for that matter).

    87. To me, Kemba is absolutely the weakest link in the starting lineup. He doesn’t create for others in the halfcourt. He’s an atrocious defender (see linked gif from Barrettcuda’s post). He’s only good at pull-up 3s and disappearing for weeks.

      Burks has been better at breaking down the defense. Plus, he’s been an excellent defender recently. Even if RJ & Randle still such on offense, they were part of a top tier defense last year. Fournier I’ve struggled to judge on defense but I don’t recall him ever being as out of place as Kemba is during most pick and rolls.

      Didn’t think Kemba would get benched, but it’s the right move.

    88. thenoblefacehumper: This is the problem–the flexibility is still there, but the guys available at #19 are not. We chose “flexibility,” i.e. a player in Selden so worthless he can be waived painlessly, over those guys. That’s a bad thing, not a good one.

      The Knicks clearly had no desire to pick any of the guys picked before Grimes. If you want to fault their scouting dept, that’s fair, we’ll see how their evaluations play out in time. But if your premise is that you should make a pick at #19 regardless of what your scouting tells you about the available picks, well, that’s exactly how you really incinerate picks.

      By your logic, they should have just picked the highest guy on their board (very likely Grimes) at #19, and picked the next highest guy on their board (very likely Deuce) at #21. If they did that, this discussion would be solely about scouting, since we would not know what deals they passed up to trade down and still get those players.

      If you think they should have taken Jalen or Keon or someone else over Grimes, that’s fair. If you think they should have drafted a player they clearly didn’t like just to use the pick, that’s not fair. There’s a reasonable risk that the guy you are drafting at #19 never plays better than an end-of-bench guy. When you have 4 picks and get all four guys you originally wanted going into the draft, and all 4 have been pretty promising since, dayenu.

    89. Even if this doesn’t end up working out I applaud Thibs for making a tough call based on his eyeballs and the stats. Kemba will hopefully be a professional and stay ready. All our PGs may not stay healthy all season and he’s decent insurance as a back-up. There were just too many starters in a funk or highly volatile for too long at the same time –Mitch (injury), Randle (efficiency, turnovers), RJ (efficiency, shot selection), Fournier (defense) and Kemba (all the above). Burks may not fully solve the offensive efficiencies, but inserting him into the lineup at least solves a glaring defensive weakness for the team. Stinks that we get to try this out against the Nets…but regardless of the outcome, this was a ballsy and good decision

    90. By your logic, they should have just picked the highest guy on their board (very likely Grimes) at #19, and picked the next highest guy on their board (very likely Deuce) at #21.

      If you think they should have taken Jalen or Keon or someone else over Grimes, that’s fair.

      You keep confusing the trades they made. They could’ve had Johnson/whoever else at #19 and still gotten Grimes, McBride, Joku, and Sims. The pick incineration at # 19 had nothing to do with the subsequent trade downs, which I think ranged from defensible (21 for 25 and a 2024 DET 2nd) to excellent (32 for 32 and 34).

      So no, my logic does not dictate simply picking the highest guy on your board and never trading down. Far from it. It dictates maximizing all of your assets. That can mean taking the highest guy on your board OR trading the pick for commensurate or better value.

      It can’t mean trading the 19th pick in a deep draft for a pick you can only hope doesn’t become two second rounders.

    91. From what I’ve read this move to start Burks is entirely defensively motivated. They switched alot more vs the Hawks on D because Thibs liked the size of Burks at PG, he even mentioned that today during his press conference. It helps that Burks can handle the ball and play PG a bit as he did last year on occasion, so starting Burks helps the defense and shouldn’t hurt the offense at all.

    92. On the subject of scouting draft picks, of the players from the 2020 NBA draft that have played at least 900 minutes:

      WS48
      #1: IQ .125
      #2: Obi .124
      (Last: Poku -.076; Next to last: Hayes -.048)

      BPM
      #1 LaMelo 2.4
      #2 Hali 1.3
      #3 IQ 0.3
      #4 Obi -0.3
      (last: Hayes -6.2; next to last: Poku -5.9)

      VORP:
      #1 LaMelo 2.5
      #2 Hali 1.9
      #3 IQ 1.0
      #4 Tillman 0.5
      #5 Maxey 0.5
      #6 Obi 0.4
      (last: Okoro -1.9; next to last: Madelon: -1.8; next: Poku -1.4; next: Hayes: -1.1)

      The Rose regime took a lot of shit on and after draft night, notably from a couple folks who strongly supported drafting the total scrubs at the bottom of the list and hated our picks, not to mention the disbelief that Devon Dotson was passed over with #25 or the punted #33. Hard for me to take those folks very seriously this time around when they lament passing over Jalen Johnson.

    93. Jokic just carved up the (depleted) Heat like a Thanksgiving turkey and I don’t know if he even broke a sweat.

    94. Kemba was not meshing with the starters. A lot of you have pointed it out. He would be come the 3rd small guard and a defensive liability on a unit that thrives on stopping the other team.

      Still, massive kudos to the men with the iron balls, Tom Thibodeau and Leon Rose. It takes guts to do that to a veteran free agent signee. December 15th free agent signees can be traded.

      I predict that Kemba drops 30 at the garden at some point this season against the Knicks.

      Grimes Time is coming up.

    95. Still, massive kudos to the men with the iron balls, Tom Thibodeau and Leon Rose. It takes guts to do that to a veteran free agent signee.

      I challenge the idea that this is ballsy. Ballsy would have been benching our worst player (RJ Barrett). Kemba is the easiest person to scapegoat. I actually see a resemblance here to what Mills and Perry did to Fizdale in that press conference (also after 20 games; and not ballsy at all).

      Kemba has been poor, but I don’t think he’s useless. Payton was dog shit and Thibs gave him a whole season and two playoff games. Rather than demonstrating flexibility, I think this shows more rigidity. The coaching staff didn’t know how to incorporate Kemba (and I suspect they never wanted to), so they gave up at the first possible opportunity to go back to what they liked last year.

    96. I don’t think its ballsy or rigid…its just an admission that the starting lineup as formulated wasn’t meshing and/or playing how thibbsy wanted it to…and while it isn’t Kemba’s fault entirely…this is the first option…if this doesn’t work…who knows maybe RJ is next and Kemba goes in back in there…

      You don’t really lose any offense by swapping out Kemba for Burks and maybe you lose a few assists but gain the defense…

      I don’t see a Burks/Fournier starting backcourt as the long term answer…and i reckon neither does Mr. Thibs but maybe he is going to roll with what he believes gives us a better shot (as he stated in the press) to win (which should not be a surprise) until it doesn’t and then he’ll tweak it again…he has alot of options with this roster…but if RJ is wildly inconsistent and Randle doesn’t get his shit together…as Metallica said “nothing else matters”…

    97. Burks has played consistently well and I think will be less of an albatross on defense than Walker, but Burks doesn’t really solve the main problem with the starting five: it’s slow and lumbering. There’s just very little foot speed in that opening lineup and Burks doesn’t really add much foot speed. Quickley would bring a bit more of that foot speed to the lineup, and possibly allow the starting lineup to play at a faster pace.

      I suppose Quickley will usually be closing out the games though, so there’s that.

    98. Thinking about our roster, I realized the team is almost entirely composed of players acquired as free agents or as draft picks. Fir example, our starters are three free agents and two draft picks. Only Derrick Rose was traded for and that seemed a minor deal at the time. We do do trades, except we seem to mostly trade one draft pick for another. It’s not a bad thing, it just seems unusual to me.

    99. I do think it takes some gumption to essentially give up on a marquee acquisition after 20 games. As to who’s to blame (or credit) for their 11-9 record, ultimately the coach and front office are accountable for the product they put on the floor, and answer to the owner first, the players second, and the fans/media third.

      That said, I don’t think there’s a serious coach who ever lived that couldn’t identify Kemba as problem #1 with this team. You can try to deflect the blame to RJ or Randle all you want, and Fournier hasn’t exactly been a worldbeater either, but we are seeing exactly what Boston saw when they paid a price to dump the corpse of Kemba’s bloated contract. He has been a huge drag on the team and anyone who seriously watched him on the court and knows the game of basketball could see it. To refer to it as “scapegoating” is preposterous. To call what was done to Fizdale, who was fucking terrible, “scapegoating” is equally preposterous. Are we going to say the same thing about Mills, who was a laughingstock as executives go, because he mad a couple of decent moves?

      Anyone with half a brain could see that RJ and Randle are the core pieces of this team and Thibs or any other smart coach will live and die with them, given the alternatives. Benching them right now would be not only stupid, but would result in losing the team. If they continue to play as they are and the Knicks start dropping in the standings, then Thibs’ and Rose’s seats will start getting warm, rightfully so. Yet both RJ and Julius do lots of other “winning” things besides score and are above average defenders, passers and rebounders. At most, you might limit their minutes a bit, but they are never getting benched.

      Kemba gives you absolutely nothing besides an occasional scoring burst, and his teammates had to constantly cover for his glaring deficiencies in all non-scoring aspects of the game. He is Isaiah Thomas 2.0 right now.

    100. The really telling thing about Kemba being out of the rotation is the fact that Thibs could have just moved Rose into the starting lineup (or Quick) and kept Kemba in the rotation but off the bench. Fact is, Kemba is the 4th best PG on the team right now behind Rose/Quickley/Burks, and 4th best PGs just don’t play unless they provide something other than scoring.

      And on another note, I just can’t anymore with the “incineration” of the 19th pick. It is not an incineration, as an incineration leaves nothing but ashes. This will still be a 1st round pick, and is likely to convey this year or next given the Hornets’ trajectory. It wasn’t a good value trade obviously, since you would expect to get some sort of a premium for a pick now vs a pick later (even though the Knicks actually wanted a pick later rather than a pick now), but you have to think the Knicks had equal grades on 19-36ish and so traded out the most valuable of the picks.

    101. I’ll stick to my statement about Iron Balls Thibs. It took balls to make this move and it’s not the first example of how he puts winning above everything. This isn’t a Fizdale, Hornacek or Fisher team. There is a personality test used by businesses called Miggs Bryer. It is used to decide what role people are suited for. One of the evaluations is whether a person makes decisions based on feeling (a “feeler”) or logic (a “thinker”). It’s not an absolute scale. People usually fall somewhere in the middle. Thibs however is an absolute thinker. Feelings do not factor into any of his decisions. It’s all about a ruthless dedication to winning. It’s what fans should want.

      As a Knick fan I am ecstatic about him as a coach. Some call him no-nonsense. I say he’s got iron balls. It’s all about a dedication to winning with no regard to feelings.

    102. GoNyGoNYGo: As a Knick fan I am ecstatic about him as a coach. Some call him no-nonsense. I say he’s got iron balls. It’s all about a dedication to winning with no regard to feelings.

      Interesting perspective…

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