Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, May 16 2012)

  • [New York Post] NBA union chief: Knicks Lin, Novak deserve Bird rights (Wed, 16 May 2012 01:57:06 -0500)

    In Billy Hunter the Knicks trust.
    The Knicks’ chances of having a July’s free-agent bonanza â?? perhaps signing Steve Nash â?? hinge greatly on the Players’ Association’s arbitration hearing in which it is seeking restoration of the Bird rights to free agents Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak because they were…

  • [New York Post] How Obama â??Views’ Knicks (Wed, 16 May 2012 01:57:06 -0500)

    It’s not a good sign when even ever-diplomatic President Obama is joking on the Knicks.
    Obama, who appeared on “The View” yesterday morning, gave a wise-cracking evaluation of the Knicks’ future. A Bulls fan, Obama admitted he is a bit grumpy nowadays because of Derrick Rose’s knee injury…

  • [New York Times] Russell Westbrook’s Newfound Maturity Punishes Lakers (Wed, 16 May 2012 06:09:07 GMT)

    Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s 23-year-old point guard, had 27 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds — mostly against Kobe Bryant — on Monday night.

  • [New York Times] Roundup: Indiana Pacers Defeat Miami Heat (Wed, 16 May 2012 06:00:08 GMT)

    David West scored 16 points, George Hill added 15 and the Indiana Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat in Game 2 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night.

  • [New York Times] Column: Loss of Bosh Turns Up Heat on Miami (Wed, 16 May 2012 08:20:58 GMT)

    It came down to a last shot and who was going to take it, an all-too-familiar dilemma for the Miami Heat.

  • [New York Times] Heat Look Vulnerable, Spurs Still Sharp (Wed, 16 May 2012 05:03:04 GMT)

    Without Chris Bosh, championship favorites Miami suddenly looked vulnerable as they suffered an upset defeat to the Indiana Pacers, while the West’s top seeds San Antonio look to have hit peak form with a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in their second-round opener on Tuesday.

  • [New York Times] Spurs’ Win Streak Hits 15 in 108-92 Game 1 Victory (Wed, 16 May 2012 07:54:54 GMT)

    The San Antonio Spurs had just taken Game 1, and Manu Ginobili didn’t want to hear another word about winning 15 in a row or not losing in more than a month.

  • [New York Times] Pacers Win 78-75, Late Chances Doom Miami (Wed, 16 May 2012 04:19:45 GMT)

    No Big Three meant one big problem for Miami, and one very big win for Indiana.

  • [New York Times] Doctor: Bulls’ Derrick Rose Out 8-12 Months (Wed, 16 May 2012 00:31:58 GMT)

    The doctor who operated on Derrick Rose’s knee insists the Chicago Bulls’ star can dominate again.

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    Mike Kurylo

    Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

    155 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, May 16 2012)”

    1. I don’t often agree with ruru, but in this case I think he’s one of the few people talking sense. Lin (or Nash), Melo, Stat, Chandler is totally workable as a core group.
      I think now that we are out of the D’Antoni system and in the Woodson one, the point guard position isn’t nearly as crucial to success. But if Lin comes back healthy and locks himself in a gym with Stat and Tyson, we could be a top ten offense. These guys just need reps together. How many games did these 4 players actually get together? 15-20 maybe? Throw in a healthy Shump, and we have a nice starting lineup. It still doesn’t put us in that top tier of teams, but maybe just below that.
      Look, Stat and Melo aren’t going anywhere, at least until their expiring years. So we should really build around what we have.
      I for one, hope that JR walks. I don’t think he’ll fit into the game plan. I’d rather have a lights out shooter at the guard position who can play good defense off the bench, like Delfino. Then maybe grab Hinrich or Dragic as a back up pg. These are not ideal, but realistic. Of course, if we have a shot at Nash (and I don’t think we do) we should go for it. Also, I like Novak, but he’s just not worth what he’ll be getting on the market.
      Lin/Hinrich or Dragic
      Shump/Delfino
      Melo/Fields or Walker
      Amare/Jeffries or Harrelson
      Chandler/Jordan
      If Shump can’t go, I guess Douglas gets extended time, unless we can trade him. This seems realistic and a good mix of shooters and defenders. I don’t think this it’s an instant championship, but I can’t understand being so pessimistic after years of sub par teams.

    2. JR is probably the best shooter available not named Steve Novak. Why would you want him to leave?

    3. Was listening to Legler on ESPN this morning, who I think is hands down the smartest analyst out there. He was pointing out that not having Bosh kills Miami’s 3 point shooting, because when guys like Anthony run the pick and roll they’re no threat to score off of the roll. So no defensive help is needed and all the other defenders stay home. And I hope everyone realizes that a healthy Knicks team vs. a Bosh-less Miami team would have been a 7 game series, or maybe even a first round upset, just not our year to catch breaks as far as injuries go.

    4. ess-dog: I think now that we are out of the D’Antoni system and in the Woodson one, the point guard position isn’t nearly as crucial to success. But if Lin comes back healthy and locks himself in a gym with Stat and Tyson, we could be a top ten offense. These guys just need reps together.

      Regardless of who the coach is, Stat is very mediocre without a PG feeding him.

    5. TelegraphedPass:
      JR is probably the best shooter available not named Steve Novak. Why would you want him to leave?

      Did you watch the playoffs?

      Sure he gets hot every 12th game, but the chucking during close games just kills a team. I think he’s an alright defender, but I don’t think he’ll ever learn to rope in his game offensively. He could be an ok scoring “6th man” for us, but I think low volume 3 pt shooters and a back up pg are more important and we have very little $ to play with.

    6. JR sucked in that series, but in fairness there were no other go-to options besides Melo with the depleted roster.

    7. ess-dog: Did you watch the playoffs?

      Sure he gets hot every 12th game, but the chucking during close games just kills a team.I think he’s an alright defender, but I don’t think he’ll ever learn to rope in his game offensively.He could be an ok scoring “6th man” for us, but I think low volume 3 pt shooters and a back up pg are more important and we have very little $ to play with.

      JR shot 40% on spot up 3s this year. In a down season for him. Typically he shoots about 45% with his feet set. He shoots near 40% on threes in transition as well. His footwork is phenomenal. I looked up every realistic wing player who could fill that role and even this season he had little competition.

      I understand you disliking his performance in the playoffs, but his role was skewed. We just dumped the ball into his hands while Melo and STAT were resting and asked him to create. No plays were drawn up for him. If he was given a more appropriate role, and a PG like Lin to draw attention during drive and kicks and get the defense moving, we’d see less stepback shots and more open threes.

      Lowkey, JR Smith has been one of the most prolific 3 point shooters in NBA history in the past few years. He’s already in the top 100 in threes made and has never been a consistent starter. His 3 point percentages look good (not great) in his career box score, but look at his actual splits and you’ll see that few shoot the long ball better than Earl.

      THAT’s worth $3m per easy. We’d be getting one of the best shooters in the league for a bargain.

    8. ess-dog: Did you watch the playoffs?

      Sure he gets hot every 12th game, but the chucking during close games just kills a team.I think he’s an alright defender, but I don’t think he’ll ever learn to rope in his game offensively.He could be an ok scoring “6th man” for us, but I think low volume 3 pt shooters and a back up pg are more important and we have very little $ to play with.

      TelegraphedPass:
      JR is probably the best shooter available not named Steve Novak. Why would you want him to leave?

      because we are playing nba basketball and not horse! if this was the horse basketball association he’d be one of the most valuable players.

      he will shoot you out of more games than he will shoot you into in an nba game format.

    9. bobneptune:
      because we are playing nba basketball and not horse! if this was the horse basketball association he’d be one of the most valuable players.

      he will shoot you out of more games than he will shoot you into in an nba game format.

      No.

    10. @7

      His 3pt shooting was horrible in playoff and that what stick out in everyone mind.

      But I agree, given Cap situation, keeping JR with 20% raise is something all GM’s would do. Obvious he virtual no PG skills and I can live without his iso-plays. Woodson asking him to work on his PG skill is something I don’t agree with. His role should be the spot up shooter who play hard smart defense.

    11. I can’t argue that JR does have great physical tools – much better than the other players available. And it’s also true that he’d be a “steal” at his price tag if he opts in.
      But the money freed up by him not opting in could be big for us getting another pg and/or shooter.
      I just think Lin’s ability to get into the lane offsets the need for JR’s ability to get a shot off. And his 3 pt shooting is replaceable – maybe even at half the price of his opt in tag. If he would limit himself to being just a spot up shooter who played great defense that would be great, but I don’t think he will.
      If he’s on the team, I’ll be ok with it because as you say, he’s a steal at that price, but I would hope that he could reel in his game.

    12. Also George Karl would quickly pull JR if wasn’t hitting his 3pt. Woodson would stick with JR no matter what. So I’m scare keeping him on team if Woodson cannot play him to his skills.

    13. d-mar:
      Was listening to Legler on ESPN this morning, who I think is hands down the smartest analyst out there. He was pointing out that not having Bosh kills Miami’s 3 point shooting, because when guys like Anthony run the pick and roll they’re no threat to score off of the roll. So no defensive help is needed and all the other defenders stay home. And I hope everyone realizes that a healthy Knicks team vs. a Bosh-less Miami team would have been a 7 game series, or maybe even a first round upset, just not our year to catch breaks as far as injuries go.

      I don’t think it would have been that close. Miami is significantly worse without Bosh but they were much, much better than us in that series. But I do think it highlights that we’re not that far off from being able to compete when we get healthy. Some of the more pessimistic posters around here talk about how we might as well give up on beating Miami for the next few years, and that’s just nonsense. We know we’re better than Indy when we’re healthy, and look how little it takes to make them competitive with Miami – one well-timed injury to even the weakest of the big-3 and they’re in trouble.

      It’ll be intresting to see what happens with Miami in this series. Lebron is obviously going to take the blame for the loss last night (what else is new?) but he’s basically the only guy on the team who had a good game. What really has to be keeping Riley and Spolestra up at night is that Wade just doesn’t look like the same guy anymore. In the half court he can’t really take his guy off the dribble – most of his looks at the rim come off post-ups or weakside action. And he’s not hitting jumpers (29% for the playoffs I think I read). Unless he steps it way up I think they’re going to be in significant trouble here.

    14. thenamestsam: I don’t think it would have been that close. Miami is significantly worse without Bosh but they were much, much better than us in that series. But I do think it highlights that we’re not that far off from being able to compete when we get healthy. Some of the more pessimistic posters around here talk about how we might as well give up on beating Miami for the next few years, and that’s just nonsense. We know we’re better than Indy when we’re healthy, and look how little it takes to make them competitive with Miami – one well-timed injury to even the weakest of the big-3 and they’re in trouble.

      It’ll be intresting to see what happens with Miami in this series. Lebron is obviously going to take the blame for the loss last night (what else is new?) but he’s basically the only guy on the team who had a good game. What really has to be keeping Riley and Spolestra up at night is that Wade just doesn’t look like the same guy anymore. In the half court he can’t really take his guy off the dribble – most of his looks at the rim come off post-ups or weakside action. And he’s not hitting jumpers (29% for the playoffs I think I read). Unless he steps it way up I think they’re going to be in significant trouble here.

      If we get healthy is really the question?

      Knicks are just as old potential more injuried-prone then Miami. 2 year in row we limp into Playoff.
      Everyone wish we had 10 player deep team that went 6-1 who manhandled Indy in back-to-back games.
      At this point I would like Knicks try take page out Spurs or Phoenix on their injury prevention program.
      Limiting Stat minutes and putting him 2nd Unit also make alot sense.

    15. At times, Dwyane Wade looks like a worse shooting version of JR Smith. I don’t understand how the guy is still so effective. He really relies on outsmarting and out-maneuvering his defender to get a basket. But then you’d see him really struggling to get past Paul George. Dwyane Wade’s time as a premier player in this league is very likely to be up before his contract expires.

    16. With the latest news on Rose missing 8-12 months, I’m even more in favor of going all in with Nash, if he’s interested in the MLE.
      With Rose possibly missing most of the season, and probably not 100% at all next year, we would be in line for a legit shot at the #2 seed and ECF next year.

    17. The Bulls, as currently constructed, are still pretty good without Rose, and could have been playing the Celtics if CJ Watson doesn’t make that pass to Omer Asik. But I agree, a healthy Knicks team could very well be the #2 seed in the playoffs next year. It would be between us and Pacers, barring a trade that drastically changes the EC landscape.

      If the Knicks gain Novak and Lin’s Early Bird Rights, then does that mean that we keep our MLE? I doubt this is possible, but being able to keep Lin and Novak, have JR opt in, AND sign Nash with our MLE just sounds too good right now. We’d have the 2nd deepest team in the league next to San Antonio.

    18. We didn’t really get to see what JR is capable of– in a good season the guy is a .390 three-point shooter. While he didn’t ever really get his shot going for the Knicks, he did play some very impressive defense. I’m really hoping he comes back despite his terrible performance in the playoffs.

    19. The JR thing is up to JR. You can like or hate his game, but I think it’s hard to argue that if he stays for the $2.5M, or whatever it is, he’s a bargain. You’re not going to find a lot of 26 yr old guys that play serious D for that $$, let alone can play the 1, 2 or 3. I don’t think the argument is JR vs. the rest of the league, it’s JR vs what you’d get for that $$, which isn’t much.

    20. I know this is a basketball blog, but does anyone else find these Ranger games as tedious to watch as I do? The Rangers surround the goal with defensemen and block a million shots. It would be like if there were no goaltending in the NBA and all 5 defenders just stood around the basket grabbing shots out of midair.

      I know it’s been successful so far, but man, is it ugly.

    21. Massive – Surprised at the optimism.

      Obviously Miami is projected at one next year.

      Not sure why the Knicks are going to be any better than Orlando (if Howard is back healthy), Atlanta (with Horford back), or the Pacers (who are young and good.) If Chicago could add someone like Andre Miller or, who knows, Steve Nash, they probably will be better than us too. Is Melo-Amare-Stat better than Deng-Noah-Boozer? Not for me.

      If Boston brings back Garnett-Pierce-Rondo and can fill out the roster with something better than Jermaine Oneal they won’t be slouches either.

      And the Sixers were a really good team this year. They struggled in close games. But that is probably more random than people think. And they have a lot of young talent that could improve.

      I could see the Knicks landing anywhere 4-7 based on how the offseason goes and the random stuff that happens in season. Nash signing up would change that appraisal though.

    22. JK47:
      We didn’t really get to see what JR is capable of– in a good season the guy is a .390 three-point shooter.While he didn’t ever really get his shot going for the Knicks, he did play some very impressive defense.I’m really hoping he comes back despite his terrible performance in the playoffs.

      I defended JR earlier, and I still think him returning would be great for this team, but one big concern I have is his playoff performance in general. He had a couple good runs (notably the WCF Denver run) but he has regressed almost every playoff appearance he’s made.

      I wonder what the reason for that is. I doubt it has to do with teams keying into him more. Maybe it has to do with how Coach Karl and now Woody played him. I feel like if Earl was given a more specific role and was asked to do a bit less in terms of “instant offense” then he could be really effective. Because he’s capable of creating for himself, coaches tend to give him the ball when other plays break and ask him to make something happen. Obviously that isn’t going to work out too often.

      I’ve noticed a real desire from JR to contain himself for this team though. He’s self-aware enough to realize he’s streaky and lacks what most of us call a conscience. I don’t think its a stretch to think JR could become a more controlled part of a cohesive system, with a functional offense. We never had that for long because of the injuries.

    23. Owen:
      Massive – Surprised at the optimism.

      Obviously Miami is projected at one next year.

      Not sure why the Knicks are going to be any better than Orlando (if Howard is back healthy), Atlanta (with Horford back), or the Pacers (who are young and good.) If Chicago could add someone like Andre Miller or, who knows, Steve Nash, they probably will be better than us too. Is Melo-Amare-Stat better than Deng-Noah-Boozer? Not for me.

      If Boston brings back Garnett-Pierce-Rondo and can fill out the roster with something better than Jermaine Oneal they won’t be slouches either.

      And the Sixers were a really good team this year. They struggled in close games. But that is probably more random than people think. And they have a lot of young talent that could improve.

      I could see the Knicks landing anywhere 4-7 based on how the offseason goes and the random stuff that happens in season. Nash signing up would change that appraisal though.

      Agreed. I think the Knicks are just as likely to be a 2 seed as they are to be an 8. This team doesn’t have a real identity, and it’s really the only team in the playoffs (other than maybe Atlanta) to have that issue. Every other team knows who they are. New York changes up every two weeks. That’s holding the team (and mostly the offense) back too much to predict a top 4 seed.

      Boston is in a precarious position, and you’ve gotta figure at some point Allen (who’s quietly dealt with some unsettling injuries to end the season) and KG will have to face Father Time. Hopefully New York can compete with them and Philly and finally take control of the Atlantic Division.

    24. TelegraphedPass: His 3 point percentages look good (not great) in his career box score, but look at his actual splits and you’ll see that few shoot the long ball better than Earl.

      What does that mean? He made shots the box score says he missed?

      I like JR ok but he’s not one of the league’s best 3-point shooters.

      massive:
      But then you’d see him really struggling to get past Paul George. Dwyane Wade’s time as a premier player in this league is very likely to be up before his contract expires.

      Paul George is really good, and 5 inches taller – he’s like a good player version of Jared Jeffries. To the larger point, yes Wade is on the way down. He’s never been a great shooter so as age catches up with him he doesn’t have a shot to fall back on. But he’s still a 1st- or 2nd-team all NBA… we’ll see what next year brings.

      Optimistic? Sure. This team should have home-court advantage in the first round next year.

    25. If the Knicks are lower than the 3 seed next year that would be a disappointment.

    26. Boston is done as a contender… very lucky to be where they are right now. And the Knicks are significantly better than Philly. Yes the Sixers have some good young players but I think the Knicks are actually younger, overall… and the Sixers might have to amnesty Elton Brand, who was good this year.

      The Hawks were surprisingly good this year sans Horford, and obviously he makes a big impact… but Joe Johnson is 32… and they also relied a LOT on Tracy McGrady, Willie Green and other Elders.
      They’re not a team on the rise. Orlando? Really? Maybe if they sign Steve Nash or someone like that with the mid-level.

      Miami and Chicago (with a healthy Rose) are still the top 2. But I don’t see any reason the Knicks shouldn’t be #3, or at least have a good shot.

    27. The Knicks are going to be better than Orlando because, when Lin, Amare, Carmelo, and Chandler were all playing together, they were blowing out playoff teams. 6-1 I think. Woodson’s offense didn’t leave Lin exposed, and the hard defense (with Melo finally comfortable and buying in) plus the easy offense due to too many threats on the floor made points come easy. And with more reps, they’re only going to get better.

      Whatever your prior convictions, you can only go by evidence. Until there’s actual evidence this talent-laden starting line-up isn’t legit, you are forced to concede that it is.

    28. I think some roster stability would do the Knicks some good. I think this core (including the coach) deserves a normally paced 82-game season with a proper training camp before we start blowing the roster up again.

      We were 36-30, but significantly underperformed our pythag projection, which was 41-25. Extrapolate 41-25 to an 82 game season and you get 51-31. Improve on that a little bit and you’re at 55 wins and probably a #3 seed.

    29. Caleb: TelegraphedPass: His 3 point percentages look good (not great) in his career box score, but look at his actual splits and you’ll see that few shoot the long ball better than Earl.

      What does that mean? He made shots the box score says he missed?
      I like JR ok but he’s not one of the league’s best 3-point shooters.

      I think the point was that JR Smith has a really high % on spot-up threes and a really high % on moving threes, but he does not have a really high overall 3pt% because he takes more moving 3s than people like Novak and James Jones. So, Smith is a good choice to replace the volume of 3 pt shots taken by Novak this year. He will not hit spot-up 3s at quite Novak’s rate, but he will hit them at a much higher rate than his overall 3pt%.

      If the Knicks get Early Bird rights on Lin and Novak, they would have the MLE until they had signed enough salary to put them over the apron if they utilized the MLE. What that means, practically, is that they would need to utliize the MLE before they re-signed Lin/Novak/Fields/Smith, because once all those players are signed, they will be over $69 MM.

    30. TelegraphedPass: JR shot 40% on spot up 3s this year. In a down season for him. Typically he shoots about 45% with his feet set. He shoots near 40% on threes in transition as well.

      I understand you disliking his performance in the playoffs, but his role was skewed. We just dumped the ball into his hands while Melo and STAT were resting and asked him to create. No plays were drawn up for him. If he was given a more appropriate role, and a PG like Lin to draw attention during drive and kicks and get the defense moving, we’d see less stepback shots and more open threes.

      Lowkey, JR Smith has been one of the most prolific 3 point shooters in NBA history in the past few years. He’s already in the top 100 in threes made and has never been a consistent starter. His 3 point percentages look good (not great) in his career box score, but look at his actual splits and you’ll see that few shoot the long ball better than Earl.

      Trying to understand why people are having such a difficult time grasping your post here, TGP.

      JR Smith is a prolific 3pt shooter off the catch. When other players set him up in his spots, he’s lethal — you look at his 3pt makes per minute the last 5-6 years and it’s off the charts. He has the ability to make 3s off the dribble, but like most players, he’s far less effective shooting those kinds of shots.

      Because of the point guard situation, JR SMith was forced into taking waaayyyyy too many off-dribble 3s as a point guard.

      Smith can create offense as a two guard. But the pg experiment in Denver in ’09 was largely a failure, just as it was in the playoffs this year.

      Put him in an off-ball role where he can get his spot-up 3s, where you can occasionally use his playmaking ability, and he’ll return to being a really good offensive player once again.

    31. JK47:
      I think some roster stability would do the Knicks some good.I think this core (including the coach) deserves a normally paced 82-game season with a proper training camp before we start blowing the roster up again.

      We were 36-30, but significantly underperformed our pythag projection, which was 41-25.Extrapolate 41-25 to an 82 game season and you get 51-31.Improve on that a little bit and you’re at 55 wins and probably a #3 seed.

      Owen disagrees with the obvious here.

    32. I have mentioned underperforming our pythag at least half a dozen times. A lot of that differential happened under MDA.

      And I thought the Knicks core projected to about.a 50 win team coming in. Not much has changed. Nothing that happened this season suggests there is upside to that projection. In particular, we never saw melo, chandler, Lin and melo combine well enough to suggest we have a dominant team in the making, a 60 win team.

      I think we are probably landing somewhere between 8-12 in the MBA next year by SRS and posting 50 wins. And if 50 wins is enough to be 2 in the East then we are 2 in the East.

      ruruland: Owen disagrees with the obvious here.

    33. Owen:
      I have mentioned underperforming our pythag at least half a dozen times. A lot of that differential happened under MDA.

      And I thought the Knicks core projected to about.a 50 win team coming in. Not much has changed. Nothing that happened this season suggests there is upside to that projection. In particular, we never saw melo, chandler, Lin and melo combine well enough to suggest we have a dominant team in the making, a 60 win team.

      I think we are probably landing somewhere between 8-12 in the MBA next year by SRS and posting 50 wins. And if 50 wins is enough to be 2 in the East then we are 2 in the East.

      Maybe you missed the last time I responded to this sentiment…

      First, they were 11th in SRS despite the injuries, the dramatic undperformance of Amar’e and Melo (and Fields and Douglas perhaps), and the fact that Lin started just 30 games (and the other pg starters were the least productive in the entire league)

      They were 18-6 with Woodson, against a difficult schedule, with a 8.3 positive point differential.

      Only two teams in the last decade have had higher point differentials over a full season — each won 66 games.

      So, to me, if the Knicks stay relatively healthy and are able to retain or obtain some shooting (which they lacked most of the year) 50 wins is the floor.

      To say that nothing happened to suggest that there is upside to a 50 win projection is, frankly, idiotic. And Owen, that’s not personal, I know you can do better than that. But that’s just stupid.

    34. JK47:
      a proper training camp…

      I just read this same thing on the last thread. That this team needs a proper training camp. It seems like that is always the fall-back excuse for under-performing teams. So-and-so was injured for training camp, so they missed out on every important thing that the team was going to be doing during the season.

      I’d like to see an advanced stat on the correlation between a good training camp and team success. (Has anyone here ever witnessed a training camp? I haven’t, but I imagine they look like this: the rookies and non-contract guys are working their asses off while the vets and millionaires are lounging on the sideline nursing “tendonitis” or “shin splints” or “turf toe” or other ailments legally treated with medical-marijuana that magically disappear the 2nd to last day of preseason…)

    35. @34

      Normally I’d agree with you that training camp isn’t really all that important. But this past season was a major outlier, especially for the Knicks, who struggled all season to find their identity. First it was a mongrel SSOL with Carmelo Anthony trying to play “point forward,” then it was the “ride Jeremy Lin into the ground” era, then it was a new coach and an iso-heavy approach… It was a pretty hectic season.

      I do think the Knicks would benefit from having a relatively intact roster return, and a fresh start with a clear plan about what kind of style they’re going to play.

    36. Melo won more than 50 games in Denver when Nene was out and Allen Iverson was the second best player (and they had less shooting than this team does.)

    37. Z: I haven’t, but I imagine they look like this: the rookies and non-contract guys are working their asses off while the vets and millionaires are lounging on the sideline nursing “tendonitis” or “shin splints” or “turf toe” or other ailments legally treated with medical-marijuana that magically disappear the 2nd to last day of preseason…)

      No. This isn’t spring training.

    38. d-mar:
      I know this is a basketball blog, but does anyone else find these Ranger games as tedious to watch as I do? The Rangers surround the goal with defensemen and block a million shots. It would be like if there were no goaltending in the NBA and all 5 defenders just stood around the basket grabbing shots out of midair.

      I know it’s been successful so far, but man, is it ugly.

      As a Devils fan, I used to have to deal with the complaints about how boring the neutral zone trap was, so I say fuk it, whatever it takes to win.

    39. Although I’m optimistic about our starters, we are not a deep team (even if we keep JR and Fields.)

      I think the Sixers and Indiana don’t have cores as talented as ours, but they are pretty deep teams, as are the Celtics. I think it’s totally reasonable to predict anywhere between a 3 and 7 seed for this team.

      But I think if we can get home court advantage, we could make a nice playoff run. Lin will have to have a legit 82 game season and a healthy Shump wouldn’t hurt.

    40. Owen:
      I have mentioned underperforming our pythag at least half a dozen times. A lot of that differential happened under MDA.

      And I thought the Knicks core projected to about.a 50 win team coming in. Not much has changed. Nothing that happened this season suggests there is upside to that projection.

      Well, we were basically a .500 team… then traded Billups for Chandler, which IMO is a big upgrade. We suddenly became the #5 defensive team in the league. And then we got a PG, Lin, who looks like he might be really good. So those count as changes.

      It’s likely we’ll have our starting PG for most of the year, althoguh as long as Toney is the backup we’ll be vulnerable to injury. And I will be very surprised if Melo and Amare don’t play better than they did this year.

    41. ruruland:
      Melo won more than 50 games in Denver when Nene was out and Allen Iverson was the second best player (and they had less shooting than this team does.)

      What color drawers does he wear?

    42. Re: next season – I think it has to be considered a bad season if we don’t get one of the top 4 seeds. Where we end up in the top 4 may have just as much to do with how other teams do and health of all the teams involved as it does with how good we are.

      Truth is – Chicago was the #1 seed even though Rose was basically out the whole year. Their defense is good enough to carry them in the regular season when other teams aren’t necessarily gameplanning to stop a Rose-less attack. Miami SHOULD obviously be one of the top 2 seeds. Re: Orlando – I very much think Howard is going to get traded this offseason so as not to go through the same circus as last year – if he ends up with the Nets with D-Will they will obviously be a force to be reckoned with, but he could just as easily end up in the Western Conference. Indiana will continue to be good. So I think we should expect to at least be the 4 seed – if not then I think it’ll be a disappointment.

      Re: our record next year – I tend to agree with ruruland. We were incontrovertibly 18-6 under Woodson against an above-average difficulty schedule, and were 6-1 with everyone playing together prior to the Lin/Amare injuries (With 3 wins against teams that are still playing now – PHI and IND). 24 games is a pretty good sample size IMHO. We obviously don’t know what will happen re: free agency and who is coming back, but assuming that we get some sort of semi-reasonable replacement for whoever we lose, I would be sort of disappointed if we don’t reach 54-56 wins.

    43. Doug: I tuned out at this point.

      Then you missed an amusing artist’s rendering of training camp. Your loss!

    44. Caleb: Well, we were basically a .500 team… then traded Billups for Chandler, which IMO is a big upgrade. We suddenly became the #5 defensive team in the league.And then we got a PG, Lin, who looks like he might be really good. So those count as changes.

      It’s likely we’ll have our starting PG for most of the year, althoguh as long as Toney is the backup we’ll be vulnerable to injury. And I will be very surprised if Melo and Amare don’t play better than they did this year.

      I think if you catch a break with the Birds rights deal and you re-sign everyone and add a pg for the MLE, 56-57 wins might be a disappointment.

      if there’s attrition and you replace with mediocre shooting– stay relatively healthy— I think 54-55 wins should be a decent goal.

      Lin, Amar’e, Melo, Shumpert and Chandler can be one of the 3-4 best starting line-ups in the NBA — if you get good depth behind it with shooting they will make a run at 60 wins.

    45. Last regular season, does somebody know how many games Lin, Chandler, Amare and Melo all played together?

    46. PC:
      Last regular season, does somebody know how many games Lin, Chandler, Amare and Melo all played together?

      15 games — they were 8-7. tough schedule though and they were 6-1 with Woodson.

    47. 2FOR18: What color drawers does he wear?

      How much is Peter Vecsey paying you to advance his anti-Melo agenda?????!!!!

    48. My count has it at 16 games. We don’t have much to work off of for the big 4 playing together. They need a training camp and 20-30 games next year before we judge them. 16 games is too small a sample to judge this group and make trade decisions off of….

      Owen: In particular, we never saw melo, chandler, Lin and melo combine well enough to suggest we have a dominant team in the making, a 60 win team.

    49. Doug: How much is Peter Vecsey paying you to advance his anti-Melo agenda?????!!!!

      You’re the Train of the board.

    50. JK47:
      @34

      Normally I’d agree with you that training camp isn’t really all that important.But this past season was a major outlier, especially for the Knicks, who struggled all season to find their identity…

      But every team had a short preseason. The Jazz, the Nuggets, and the Clippers all had similar “identity issues” going into the season, and they all performed better in a more competitive conference.

      In fact, the Knicks were the only team in the entire league that really underperformed their preseason expectations. (Aside from the Magic, who had even more turmoil and still managed to post a better record than the Knicks…)

    51. Z: But every team had a short preseason. The Jazz, the Nuggets, and the Clippers all had similar “identity issues” going into the season, and they all performed better in a more competitive conference.

      In fact, the Knicks were the only team in the entire league that really underperformed their preseason expectations. (Aside from the Magic, who had even more turmoil and still managed to post a better record than the Knicks…)

      Denver didn’t have an identity issues — they played the same way they played last year without the defense. They’ve never deviated from their approach and their depth allowed them to plug in very similar pieces when guys went down.

      When you have Chris Paul running the show you don’t have identity issues. Orlando was MUCH healthier throughout the season, and didn’t have anywhere near the turmoil the Knicks did until the very end of the season — same with Utah. I mean Orlando played the same way it has always played with Dwight and they were healthy most of the year.

      There isn;t a playoff team in the league that went through waht New York did last year

    52. Z – Agreed. I don’t know. My observation fom watching 30 years of NBA basketball is that the stuff fans spend 95% of their time talking about – coaching, system, lineup construction, pace, training camp, team spirit etc etc – probably account for 10% of the final result at most. Injuries, true talent, and luck (deviation from pythagorean expectation) explain almost everything you need to know. Tha’s an extreme view I know, but every time I turn on NBA commentary and see hindsight bias at every turn, that feeling just gets reinforced.

      “They were 18-6 with Woodson, against a difficult schedule, with a 8.3 positive point differential.

      Only two teams in the last decade have had higher point differentials over a full season — each won 66 games.”

      Right, and if you take Carmelo’s best 13 games this year he is as good a scorer as Lebron.

      T think our differential was actually 9.07 under Woodson adjusted for pace. Which was worse than the Bulls full season differential this year. There is probably a team every year in the last ten better than that. But it’s true, they were pretty great after MDA got booted and they won all four of their close games as well, making their record sparkle also.

      Does that give me any confidence we are a top team next year? Unsurprisingly it doesn’t.

    53. Who would Smith replace? I don’t think you’re suggesting we replace Stouxemire with him or having him function as a backup

    54. Owen:
      Z – Agreed. I don’t know. My observation fom watching 30 years of NBA basketball is that the stuff fans spend 95% of their time talking about – coaching, system, lineup construction, pace, training camp, team spirit etc etc – probably account for 10% of the final result at most. Injuries, true talent, and luck (deviation from pythagorean expectation) explain almost everything you need to know. Tha’s an extreme view I know, but every time I turn on NBA commentary and see hindsight bias at every turn, that feeling just gets reinforced.

      “They were 18-6 with Woodson, against a difficult schedule, with a 8.3 positive point differential.

      Only two teams in the last decade have had higher point differentials over a full season — each won 66 games.”

      Right, and if you take Carmelo’s best 13 games this year he is as good a scorer as Lebron.

      T think our differential was actually 9.07 under Woodson adjusted for pace. Which was worse than the Bulls full season differential this year. There is probably a team every year in the last ten better than that. But it’s true, they were pretty great after MDA got booted and they won all four of their close games as well, making their record sparkle also.

      Does that give me any confidence we are a top team next year? Unsurprisingly it doesn’t.

      Except, we aren’t cherry-picking from a random assortment of games. We’re looking at a sample when certain conditions were present. Would you say that the Heat’s two samples, say with Lebron injured or Lebron healthy would be equally valid portending the future or not?

      Would you say that the Bulls playoff failures without Rose is likely to predict their playoff fortunes for the future when he is healthy?

      The sample, btw, includes a majority of games where both Lin and Amar’e were down.

    55. Owen:
      Z – Agreed. I don’t know. My observation fom watching 30 years of NBA basketball is that the stuff fans spend 95% of their time talking about – coaching, system, lineup construction, pace, training camp, team spirit etc etc – probably account for 10% of the final result at most. Injuries, true talent, and luck (deviation from pythagorean expectation) explain almost everything you need to know. Tha’s an extreme view I know, but every time I turn on NBA commentary and see hindsight bias at every turn, that feeling just gets reinforced.

      Wait, you said injuries. System doesn’t matter, coaching doesn’ matter and apparently synergies don’t matter — but injuries and talent do, right?

      What team had more games lost to injury than any other playoff team last year?

    56. JK47:

      We were 36-30, but significantly underperformed our pythag projection, which was 41-25.Extrapolate 41-25 to an 82 game season and you get 51-31.Improve on that a little bit and you’re at 55 wins and probably a #3 seed.

      I’m sorry , I gotta laugh at the wild eyed optimism sometimes. the knicks were under performers last year at 6 over .500, but with a 30 game wonder at point coming off repair of an old injury (23 yrs old, mind you) and amar’e likely needing back surgery to get to a point where he can actually work out and be functional again, with a 2 guard facing acl surgery, maybe losing jr and novak to cap issues, jefferies so crippled at the end of the year he couldn’t play 8 minutes and,,,, wait….. a little longer…. no 1st round draft choice, they will now be 25 games over .500!!!

      yeah… knick fanbois

    57. bobneptune: I’m sorry , I gotta laugh at the wild eyed optimism sometimes. the knicks were under performers last year at 6 over .500, but with a 30 game wonder at point coming off repair of an old injury (23 yrs old, mind you) and amar’e likely needing back surgery to get to a point where he can actually work out and be functional again, with a 2 guard facing acl surgery, maybe losing jr and novak to cap issues, jefferies so crippled at the end of the year he couldn’t play 8 minutes and,,,, wait….. a little longer…. no 1st round draft choice, they will now be 25 games over .500!!!

      yeah… knick fanbois

      Oh, cool, where did you find that story on Amar’e needing back surgery?

    58. bobneptune: I’m sorry , I gotta laugh at the wild eyed optimism sometimes. the knicks were under performers last year at 6 over .500, but with a 30 game wonder at point coming off repair of an old injury (23 yrs old, mind you) and amar’e likely needing back surgery to get to a point where he can actually work out and be functional again, with a 2 guard facing acl surgery, maybe losing jr and novak to cap issues, jefferies so crippled at the end of the year he couldn’t play 8 minutes and,,,, wait….. a little longer…. no 1st round draft choice, they will now be 25 games over .500!!!

      yeah… knick fanbois

      Tell us again how Sam Dalembert is just as good as Tyson Chandler.

    59. I must have really low standards as a Knick fan because Im pretty excited for next season since I believe/assume this will be a 50 win team next season. Owen doesnt think this team is very good and doesnt have much of a future but even he admits this team should win 50 games next season.

      Im thrilled to be a fan of a 50 win team lol

    60. Thrill with 50 wins? What happens if we get sweep 1st round? Would you still be thrilled?

      Instead 50 wins I expect to be 3rd seed and beat any team, but a healthy Miami Heat team in Eastern half of the playoffs. I also expect Lin to be Top 8-12 PG. These are my expectation and anything below this would be disappointing.

    61. Jafa:
      Just read that Josh Smith asked out of Atlanta:

      http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/16/one-way-or-another-it-will-be-summer-of-change-for-hawks/

      So, how do we get him to come here?Who do we trade?

      Because I’ve come out and said the only impetus for waking up in the morning is to read about potential Amar’e trades, I’ll go ahead and submit this:

      http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7cmolyv

      Atlanta saves about $18 mil in the deal; Houston, who shopped for Howard, Gasol, and Bogut this year, gets a marquee name at no added long-term cost (I think Morey prefers Dragic to Lowery, no?); Washington improves; and the Knicks, well… they improve too, but people will still probably be pissed that I’m even bringing it up :)

    62. Being a 50 win team means they will be at worst a 4/5 seed. If you are a 50 win team you should be in position to at least win a round of the playoffs.

      By me saying I expect to be a 50 win team and am thrilled about that is because we will finally be going into a season with a realistic expectation of having a real good regular season (which winning 50 games is) which automatically obviously means expectations is to win a playoff series.

      50 wins seems like a good benchmark, anything more is great while anything less would be disappointing.

    63. “Owen doesnt think this team is very good and doesnt have much of a future but even he admits this team should win 50 games next season.

      Im thrilled to be a fan of a 50 win team lol”

      What I don’t like is we are a 50 win team with pretty much no upside to that projection. Not unless Nash comes here. If he doesn’t that’s pretty much a best case. If we were a 50 win team with a core under 25 and cap space and draft picks I would feel much different.

      The bottom line is we have one great player (T-1000), one good player (Melo), one wildcard (lin), and Stat, who I don’t see as much more than an average NBA pf at thiis point, at best. Our top three, Lin, Melo, and Chandler; is that a top ten trio?

      I don’t think so.

      Ruru – By citing a sample that supports your argument you are cherry picking. And citing the most recent one is a pretty straightforward behavioral bias. Despite what pundits and Hollinger think, the last 24 games aren’t the only ones that matter .

      If they did we should have been favored against the Heat right?

      My basic bear case on the Knicks as a top 2 team in the East is pretty simple. We have one great player (T-1000), one good player (Melo), one average PF (Stat), and Lin, who is a total wildcard. And we have no draft picks and limited cap flexibility.

      And we have three players we hope to combine whose combined usage at peak effectiveness probably sums to around 100.

      Call me crazy but I am not that confident from what I have seen this year that a lineup of Lin-Melo-Stat-Chandler is going to be the hammer that smashes the NBA next year.

      I could be wrong. As usual, I hope to be.

    64. ruruland: Oh, cool, where did you find that story on Amar’e needing back surgery?

      i don’t need a story by alan hahn after having my hands in hundreds of cadavers.

      if you think amar’e who hurt his back in the playoffs a year ago, rehabed for 4 months and then was a shell of himself the first 2/3rds of the year until he took an epidural isn’t going to need surgery to ever be lose to the amar’e of old, i’ve got a bridge in brooklyn i can sell you.

      how did that “exercise program” work out for fixing the spines of gallo, baron davis and amar’e?

    65. Owen, what about Shump? Isn’t he a great young defender with offensive upside on a great contract? Also if Lin turns out to be top 12 at his position on an MLE deal that’s pretty good as well no? The rest is filler luck. Can we find the right role players? Who is THIS year’s Novak?

      Certainly our top 3 is not as good as Miami’s top 3 (i’d argue Melo and Chandler are more valuable than Bosh) but the top 8 could be significantly better. That makes a difference. It really does.

    66. I am looking very forward to next season, but am hardly gaga over our prospects because of the uncertainty at PG. I hope that Lin is back and healthy and proves he’s an NBA starter to stay, but would be much more optimistic with Nash (or, both if the CBA thing works in our favor and Nash would sign for less than he’s able to get elsewhere, fat chance!). Shump’s injury probably means that he doesn’t improve his shooting or playmaking much, but you never know. JR? I’m ambivalent, he’s kinda like a bizarro Starks, more heart than brain, more explosiveness than consistancy, will lose you as many games as he wins you. Even when he’s 0 for 10, I’d rather him take the next shot than Fields. Unless Fields has a shooting revelation during the off-season, I would hope to never see him in a Knicks uniform again. Really hope we can keep Novak; seems like he wants to stay, maybe he realizes he can be a 2-way player and works on his conditioning, D and rebounding. Can Jeffries’ knee be fixed? he was hugely valuable when healthy, and his loss was a big factor in our demise. Does Jerome Jordan develop any further so that he can be a reliable back-up? Same for Jorts?

      I dunno, there are so many fundamental question marks about this team that transcend “training camp” and “chemistry,” not to mention major issues with durability (Amare, Chandler, Jeffries, Shump, Lin) that anything from #2 to lottery is in play. I would guess that, at this time, the over-under for Eastern Conference rank is 4.5.

    67. Owen:
      “Owen doesnt think this team is very good and doesnt have much of a future but even he admits this team should win 50 games next season.

      Im thrilled to be a fan of a 50 win team lol”

      What I don’t like is we are a 50 win team with pretty much no upside to that projection. Not unless Nash comes here. If he doesn’t that’s pretty much a best case…

      Owen– just out of curiosity, where do you stand on a theoretical Nash for Lin trade? (i.e. letting Lin go to sign Nash to the MLE?). Do you think Nash+Chandler+Anthony+Amar’e(+Shumpert, et al) puts us in title contention next year? Do you think it’s worth potentially sacrificing 2014-2020 (Lin potential superstardom) to try to get past the Heat in 2013 and/or in 2014?

      (I’m asking you, specifically, because I’ve read all your posts from the past 5 years and know how you approach the game. I thinkit’s probably the biggest philosophical question facing the team right now, and wonder how you see it?)

    68. Also as far as the Heat being the major roadblock to EC championship aren’t we seeing what enormous holes this team has for a 2nd year in a row? Injury to their 3rd best player and they are in jeopardy of losing in the semis. Doesn’t say much for their prospects. I think OKC or SA beats them at full strength. And Wade is 30 and declining/injury prone.

    69. bobneptune: i don’t need a story by alan hahn after having my hands in hundreds of cadavers.

      if you think amar’e who hurt his back in the playoffs a year ago, rehabed for 4 months and then was a shell of himself the first 2/3rds of the year until he took an epidural isn’t going to need surgery to ever be lose to the amar’e of old, i’ve got a bridge in brooklyn i can sell you.

      how did that “exercise program” work out for fixing the spines of gallo, baron davis and amar’e?

      You’re right. What was I thinking, all those medical professionals were wrong. KB is blessed by the presence of Dr Quinn of the internet.

    70. Owen:

      Ruru – By citing a sample that supports your argument you are cherry picking. And citing the most recent one is a pretty straightforward behavioral bias. Despite what pundits and Hollinger think, the last 24 games aren’t the only ones that matter .

      If they did we should havebeen favored against the Heat right?

      My basic bear case on the Knicks as a top 2 team in the East is pretty simple. We have one great player (T-1000), one good player (Melo), one average PF (Stat), and Lin, who is a total wildcard. And we have no draft picks and limited cap flexibility.

      And we have three players we hope to combine whose combined usage at peak effectiveness probably sums to around 100.

      Call me crazy but I am not that confident from what I have seen this year that a lineup of Lin-Melo-Stat-Chandler is going to be the hammer that smashes the NBA next year.

      I could be wrong. As usual, I hope to be.

      Any sample that supports an argument is cherry-picking? At what point is the sample large enough? You tell me what constitutes a sufficient sample size. Obviously, if a 24 game sample is too sample, a 40 game sample is also too small.
      And given that we have wildly different teams in these 30-40 game samples of the last year and half (really a slate of about 90 games), it appears as though none of them are close to being sufficient, at least by your standards.
      I mean, prior to the truncated season last year, Melo/Amar’e and Chandler had 3 year histories of winning around 55 games per year on other teams.

    71. Somebody lay it out for me because cap stuff and free agent stuff is a total mystery to me….

      Who exactly will be on our team next year besides the guys below who are absolute definites?

      Chandle
      Melo
      Stat
      Douglas (rookie contract right)
      Shumpert (injured)

      BigBlueAL:
      Being a 50 win team means they will be at worst a 4/5 seed.If you are a 50 win team you should be in position to at least win a round of the playoffs.

      By me saying I expect to be a 50 win team and am thrilled about that is because we will finally be going into a season with a realistic expectation of having a real good regular season (which winning 50 games is) which automatically obviously means expectations is to win a playoff series.

      50 wins seems like a good benchmark, anything more is great while anything less would be disappointing.

    72. Z-man:
      I am looking very forward to next season, but am hardly gaga over our prospects because of the uncertainty at PG.I hope that Lin is back and healthy and proves he’s an NBA starter to stay, but would be much more optimistic with Nash (or, both if the CBA thing works in our favor and Nash would sign for less than he’s able to get elsewhere, fat chance!). Shump’s injury probably means that he doesn’t improve his shooting or playmaking much, but you never know. JR? I’m ambivalent, he’s kinda like a bizarro Starks, more heart than brain, more explosiveness than consistancy, will lose you as many games as he wins you.Even when he’s 0 for 10, I’d rather him take the next shot than Fields. Unless Fields has a shooting revelation during the off-season, I would hope to never see him in a Knicks uniform again.Really hope we can keep Novak; seems like he wants to stay, maybe he realizes he can be a 2-way player and works on his conditioning, D and rebounding.Can Jeffries’ knee be fixed? he was hugely valuable when healthy, and his loss was a big factor in our demise. Does Jerome Jordan develop any further so that he can be a reliable back-up? Same for Jorts?

      I dunno, there are so many fundamental question marks about this team that transcend “training camp” and “chemistry,” not to mention major issues with durability (Amare, Chandler, Jeffries, Shump, Lin) that anything from #2 to lottery is in play. I would guess that, at this time, the over-under for Eastern Conference rank is 4.5.

      I think this is pretty fair.

    73. Owen: Ruru – By citing a sample that supports your argument you are cherry picking. And citing the most recent one is a pretty straightforward behavioral bias. Despite what pundits and Hollinger think, the last 24 games aren’t the only ones that matter .

      If they did we should have been favored against the Heat right?

      But Owen – you are cherry picking also (or anti-cherry-picking as the case may be) by NOT choosing to include that sample. I don’t think it is any great revelation to say that the 4 or 5 most important people on a team are the 3 or 4 best players and the head coach. Beyond that, the most important thing is probably continuity as we have seen from the remaining teams basically having their cores intact for at least 2 seasons (except the Clips).

      So like Ruru said, you need to decide what your sample will be. The most obvious sample to take is post coaching change – not necessarily the best sample to choose, but it is pretty reasonable IMHO because that is when Melo decided to actually start playing hard. Never mind what that says about him, but that doesn’t change the point. There were 18-6 from that point on.

      The next sample you could choose is when all 4 “stars” played together regardless of coach – that’s slightly less optimistic. But then you look at an even smaller sample – 4 stars + new head coach and we were 6-1.

      And you know as well as I do that going 18-6 doesn’t mean we should be favored against Miami — we didn’t go 18-6 against Miami, we went 18-6 against some combination of teams, 98% of which are worse teams than Miami.

      So – which sample WITH all the important parts of the team playing together are you using to come up with your “Bear” scenario? I’m not saying you’re wrong – I’m just saying you don’t have any more evidence than the “Bull” scenario people have – you just have a more outspoken…

    74. JK47: Tell us again how Sam Dalembert is just as good as Tyson Chandler.

      nice goal post shift.

      i said it was a poor allocation of precious resources to amnesty billups (losing the amnesty for amar’e down the road) and pay to dump the pharoh to give all the flexibility to chandler, who isn’t a differencemaker without, well i don’t know, the best point passing guard ever, the best offensive shooting 4 ever, a stone gunner in jayson terry and a hybrid intangible player like marion.

      so, yes… i would have preferred to give dalembert the one year @7m he got , keep billups and let him expire keep the bribe to dump the pharoh and keep the amnesty for the fragile one.

      remember, i was they guy screaming toney douglas wasn’t an nba point guard before the season and all the geniuses were saying “toney’s our guy” etc.

      remember, with the great tyson chandler , melo, amare, fields and toney douglas and shumpert, the knicks were out of the playoffs until lin fell out of the sky, so that move for chandler was full of fail til lin materialized out of nowhere. hard to play in the nba without a point guard.

      but you guys have short memories.

      had they done that, they would have billups expiring, and the amnesty for amar’e if his back doesn’ t come back 100% with d- will just sitting there.

      so for the thrill of one playoff win, you sold the team down the river.

      well played.

    75. ruruland: You’re right. What was I thinking, all those medical professionals were wrong. KB is blessed by the presence of Dr Quinn of the internet.

      yes…. they gave him a epidural for temporary pain relief. we’ll see how it comes down in the fullness of time, but get ready for more winter of 2012 amar’e and no amnesty.

    76. bobneptune: nice goal post shift.

      i said it was a poor allocation of precious resources to amnesty billups (losing the amnesty for amar’e down the road) and pay to dump the pharoh to give all the flexibility to chandler, who isn’t a differencemaker without, well i don’t know, the best point passing guard ever, the best offensive shooting 4 ever, a stone gunner in jayson terry and a hybrid intangible player like marion.

      so, yes… i would have preferred to give dalembert the one year @7m he got , keep billups and let him expire keep the bribe to dump the pharoh and keep the amnesty for the fragile one.

      remember, i was they guy screaming toney douglas wasn’t an nba point guard before the season and all the geniuses were saying “toney’s our guy” etc.

      remember, with the great tyson chandler , melo, amare, fields and toney douglas and shumpert, the knicks were out of the playoffs until lin fell out of the sky, so that move for chandler was full of fail til lin materialized out of nowhere. hard to play in the nba without a point guard.

      but you guys have short memories.

      had they done that, they would have billups expiring, and the amnesty for amar’e if his back doesn’ t come back 100% with d- will just sitting there.

      so for the thrill of one playoff win, you sold the team down the river.

      well played.

      They went 12-5 without Lin down the stretch. They were 15-10 with Lin starting overall.

    77. Owen:
      Somebody lay it out for me because cap stuff and free agent stuff is a total mystery to me….

      Who exactly will be on our team next year besides the guys below who are absolute definites?

      Chandle
      Melo
      Stat
      Douglas (rookie contract right)
      Shumpert (injured)

      I assume you’re trolling a little bit with this, but I’ll bite.

      Lin is restricted, and 100% will be on the team. If not, it’s only because Nash is taking the MLE instead.

      Harrellson is under contract although non-guaranteed.

      Jerome Jordan is also under contract although non-guaranteed

      btw – the Clips only have 6 players under contract next year.
      Tim Duncan is an UFA next year – maybe San Antonio will just let him walk? Or he’ll sign somewhere else? So not a “definite”.

      Dallas has only Nowitzki, Haywood, Marion, Beaubois, and Dominique Jones as “definites” also.

      Boston has only Pierce, Rondo, Bradley, and Jajuan Johnson as “definites”. Will they even be able to fill out a starting five?

      Sorry – what was your point again?

    78. I think Nash is a better fit with Stat-Melo-Chandler given that he derives more of his value from passing. And what he did this year, in almost dragging the Suns to the playoffs, is impressive. (Gortat and others helped of course)

      While I don’t think synergies matter that much generally, in the case of scorers like Lin, Stat, and Melo, who probably combine for a 90% usage with everyone happy with their role, well, it worries me. Only so many shots to go around.

      So, if you are going all in Nash is probably a little better next year.

      But, overall, you want to keep Lin, for a lot of reasons though. Not least because we probably aren’t a contender next year no matter what we do. So why not keep the guy who is young, relatively cheap, and who everyone loves.

      Z: Owen– just out of curiosity, where do you stand on a theoretical Nash for Lin trade? (i.e. letting Lin go to sign Nash to the MLE?). Do you think Nash+Chandler+Anthony+Amar’e(+Shumpert, et al) puts us in title contention next year? Do you think it’s worth potentially sacrificing 2014-2020 (Lin potential superstardom) to try to get past the Heat in 2013 and/or in 2014?

      (I’m asking you, specifically, because I’ve read all your posts from the past 5 years and know how you approach the game. I thinkit’s probably the biggest philosophical question facing the team right now, and wonder how you see it?)

    79. The team went from #22 to #5 in defensive rating, but Chandler is “not a difference maker.” Um, all right.

    80. Lol, not trolling….

      Seems a reasonable question to ask.

      So it’s basically:

      Chandler
      Melo
      Stat
      Lin
      Harrelson
      Jordan

      And six players to be named later right?

      How much cap room do we have to fill the rotation out?

      Frank: I assume you’re trolling a little bit with this, but I’ll bite.

      Lin is restricted, and 100% will be on the team. If not, it’s only because Nash is taking the MLE instead.

      Harrellson is under contract although non-guaranteed.

      Jerome Jordan is also under contract although non-guaranteed

      btw – the Clips only have 6 players under contract next year.
      Tim Duncan is an UFA next year – maybe San Antonio will just let him walk? Or he’ll sign somewhere else? So not a “definite”.

      Dallas has only Nowitzki, Haywood, Marion, Beaubois, and Dominique Jones as “definites” also.

      Boston has only Pierce, Rondo, Bradley, and Jajuan Johnson as “definites”.Will they even be able to fill out a starting five?

      Sorry – what was your point again?

    81. ruruland: They went 12-5 without Lin down the stretch. They were 15-10 with Lin starting overall.

      what was their record when lin fell into the starting line-up? i’m pretty sure they were something like 8 and 15 with the vaunted pre season line-up that you fellas loved so much of chandler, melo , amar’e ,shump, TD and fields having lost 11-13 pre linsanity.

      to quote the late great dennis hopper from true romance…”so if that’s the truth…… am i lying?”

    82. Owen:
      Lol, not trolling….

      Seems a reasonable question to ask.

      So it’s basically:

      Chandler
      Melo
      Stat
      Lin
      Harrelson
      Jordan

      And six players to be named later right?

      In reality, it’s probably the exact same team as this year (probably without Smith and Novak, but with some $1.9 million player to replace the two of them).

      Puts a lot of pressure on Lin to be linsame.

    83. JK47:
      The team went from #22 to #5 in defensive rating, but Chandler is “not a difference maker.”Um, all right.

      they went from 8th to 7th in the eastern conference and won one whole playoff game so the improvement is negligible, hardly a difference. and we are now hamstrung moving forward.

      if the nba was a roto league, chandler would be an indispensable player. in the nba , he isn’t unless surrounded by a specific group that is synergistic with his non existent offensive (lack of) talents.

    84. By definition, “Defensive Player of the Year” is a difference maker. You could argue that he is not worth $14mill, but so long as he is not aked to do what he is not suited to do (dribble, shoot J’s, etc) he is very, very valuable. The problem on our team is that OTHER guys were not doing what they were paid to do. Biggest offenders: Amare (by far!), Fields, Douglas, Baron; to a lesser but significant degree, Melo, Bully (or should I now say Bulky) and JR. I would say that Shump, Chandler, Novak, Lin Jeffries and Jorts all gave us more we had license to expect and were not the problem this year. Bibby was about what we expected.

    85. bobneptune: if the nba was a roto league, chandler would be an indispensable player. in the nba , he isn’t unless surrounded by a specific group that is synergistic with his non existent offensive (lack of) talents.

      You could say the same about most NBA stars, starting with Dirk. I get it, Chandler is not LeBron. He is still a hugely valuable player on both ends, and would be for a LOT of teams.

      In hindsight, we should have amnestied Amare, but I would have not had a problem with using $14 mill of THAT cap space to sign Chandler.

    86. “But Owen – you are cherry picking also (or anti-cherry-picking as the case may be) by NOT choosing to include that sample. I don’t think it is any great revelation to say that the 4 or 5 most important people on a team are the 3 or 4 best players and the head coach”

      It would actually be a revelation to me that coaches matter. I don’t think they do much at all. Maybe 2-3 games on the margin at best. That’s something actually. But a far cry from the importance they are generally accorded. Maybe Phil Jackson is an exception to that rule. But from everything I have read it’s pretty much impossible to isolate any kind of consistent impact from coaching.

      I think the importance of NBA coaching is basically a myth founded in our experience of the college game, where coaches actaully are important because they are the general managers also.

      If they do find value in coaching down the line, I would say it probably has more to do with recruitment value than x’s and o’s.

      But from what I have seen, in the pros it’s the players and the gm that matter, along with injuries and luck.

      IMO of course…..

    87. I have to strongly disagree that Chandler wasn’t a huge difference maker also.

      I think his acquisition was the best thing the Knicks have done in free agency since……

      I honestly don’t know when……

    88. JR…is a “bizarro Starks”… awesome line.

      I think #4 seed is probably where we’d settle. We were one game away from #6 this year. Our problem is, our offense sucks — in particular our three point shooting, FT shooting and jump shooting in general.
      Our expected starting lineup of Lin, Fields/Shump (once back), Melo, Amare and Chandler is good…but has to be one of the worst jump shooting line ups in the league. I have no idea what our offensive identity will be….that is a huge x factor. Are we going to go iso-Melo all year, how are we going to mix in a large chunk of PnR to get Amare going, how do we fit him next to Chandler? Some rambling thoughts on a Wed.

    89. bobneptune: they went from 8th to 7th in the eastern conference and won one whole playoff game so the improvement is negligible

      Actually, the Knicks finished 6th in the East last year. More importantly, the Knicks were actually relevant during the second half of this year. Last year, nobody outside of New York gave them a chance of upsetting Boston. This year, people thought the Knicks would make some noise in the playoffs, until they ended up facing Miami.

      BTW, even if a miracle occurs and the arbitrator holds that the Knicks have Early Bird rights to Lin and Novak, the Knicks still could not use the full MLE. If you assume that Lin signs for $5 MM, Novak for $3.1 MM (which is low) and JR Smith for $3 MM (20% raise), the Knicks would be at $70 MM before offering the MLE to anyone. Since the Apron will be set at $74 MM, the Knicks could not make a $5 MM MLE offer to anyone.

      According to Coon, you cannot game the system by signing your MLE and BAE players before exercising Bird Rights to get above the apron.

    90. I think they should come up with a stat for production/$earned. Maybe if I had the energy, I’d divide WS by annual salary. I’m curious to kow who is the most productive player per dollar. Probably Harden, but I’d figure Chandler, even at $14 mil/year, is pretty high up there. (hey, I can say anything I want about Doug’s mom right now, because I know he tuned out at “I’d figure”. Sweet!)

    91. Owen, I think coaching is a bigger factor than can be measured because of the implicit impact a coach might have on GM perception of a player and the team’s needs, leading to good/bad trade and draft decisions. And 3 wins is actually a 6-game difference in W-L differential, which has huge repercussions in playoff seeding, etc. For the Knicks this year, had they won 3 more games, they’d be the 5th or 6th seed, depending who the wins came against. That might have gotten them to the NBA finals if they get out of the first round, Bosh and Rose get hurt, Shump doesn’t, and Lin comes back. I would argue that the single biggest issue for the Knicks this year was the stubbornness and poor judgment of the coach before the change, which put them in a position where they had to kill themselves just to make the playoffs and then wound up with the worst possible seed. So after getting splattered by the Heat, the team is in a different mindset going forward than it might have been had Woodson been coaching from Day 1.

    92. Owen: It would actually be a revelation to me that coaches matter. I don’t think they do much at all. Maybe 2-3 games on the margin at best. That’s something actually. But a far cry from the importance they are generally accorded. Maybe Phil Jackson is an exception to that rule. But from everything I have read it’s pretty much impossible to isolate any kind of consistent impact from coaching.
      I think the importance of NBA coaching is basically a myth founded in our experience of the college game, where coaches actaully are important because they are the general managers also.
      If they do find value in coaching down the line, I would say it probably has more to do with recruitment value than x’s and o’s.
      But from what I have seen, in the pros it’s the players and the gm that matter, along with injuries and luck.
      IMO of course…..

      This is true for managers in baseball, but not coaches in basketball, in my opinion. It seems like you may have carried over this insight from a sabermetric understanding of baseball. A basketball coach has much more influence over the outcome of the game with the decisions he makes: substitutions, playcalling, and timeouts. Most of the baseball manager’s work is done when he sets the lineup card. This doesn’t seem like it’s the case in basketball.

    93. Z:
      I think they should come up with a stat for production/$earned. Maybe if I had the energy, I’d divide WS by annual salary. I’m curious to kow who is the most productive player per dollar. Probably Harden, but I’d figure Chandler, even at $14 mil/year, is pretty high up there. (hey, I can say anything I want about Doug’s mom right now, because I know he tuned out at “I’d figure”. Sweet!)

      That only works if you trust WS enough to be a catch-all measure of a player’s value.

      Nice try, by the way. The key word is “imagine,” as in “hmm… I really don’t care how vivid the stuff someone can imagine when they’re trying to analyze basketball.”

    94. I think Owen makes a fair point. Worst case scenario, this team stays pretty much exactly the same considering Amare, Lin, Shump and even possibly Melo are all injury risks. Injuries are huge. Ask Chicago.

      If our starters can remain relatively healthy, sure we can do things, but it’s hard to say how likely that is. Remember when OKC renegged on the Chandler trade b/c of injury risk? His toe had bothered him for over a year and he didn’t look like the same player. Well he surprisingly rebounded from that – in a big way. Clearly, knee and back issues are worse than toes. You have to believe, even if you are the biggest homer, that at least one of Amare, Lin and Shump will be hampered by their injuries next year. It’s just the odds. That’s why our roster filler is so important.

    95. Doug: This is true for managers in baseball, but not coaches in basketball, in my opinion. It seems like you may have carried over this insight from a sabermetric understanding of baseball. A basketball coach has much more influence over the outcome of the game with the decisions he makes: substitutions, playcalling, and timeouts. Most of the baseball manager’s work is done when he sets the lineup card. This doesn’t seem like it’s the case in basketball.

      I started with basketball and moved to baseball. And i have thought this about coaches for a long time.

      It’s possible they make a bigger difference than we can find in the numbers. But i doubt it. I stongly suspect the real value in a coach is off the court in player recruitment, if anywhere.

      But I agree, it’s probably a little harder to know in baskeball than in baseball.

      You will probably be unsurprised to know that I don’t think mutual fund managers matter that much either. Or that I think a donkey spinning a wheel of different options can make as good long term predictions about geopolitical outcomes as the foremost experts in the field.

      That said, I do think a good gm can make a big difference.

      Z – Kevin Love was on a rookie contact this year. So it would probably have been him without the injury. Bu otherwise Harden for sure. I think B Pro usually runs a post on that…..

    96. Owen: I started with basketball and moved to baseball. And i have thought this about coaches for a long time.

      It’s possible they make a bigger difference than we can find in the numbers. But i doubt it. I stongly suspect the real value in a coach is off the court in player recruitment, if anywhere.

      But I agree, it’s probably a little harder to know in baskeball than in baseball.

      You will probably be unsurprised to know that I don’t think mutual fund managers matter that much either. Or that I think a donkey spinning a wheel of different options can make as good long term predictions about geopolitical outcomes as the foremost experts in the field.

      That said, I do think a good gm can make a big difference.

      Z – Kevin Love was on a rookie contact this year. So it would probably have been him without the injury. Bu otherwise Harden for sure. I think B Pro usually runs a post on that…..

      You’ve thought about it or you have strong data that supports that NBA coaches don’t matter?

      It’s certainly defies conventional wisdom at virtually every level. The NBA hasn’t been around that long and good coaches traditionally stick with good teams for a long time. it’s therefore very difficult to quantify the impact of a coach in that situation, given that there is are few reference points or a dependent variable.

      I would also argue that 60-70 percent of coaches are roughly the same, just as 50-60 percent of NBA players fall into some median range.

      It doesn’t mean that there aren’t 5-10 coaches every year who are either much better or much worse than their peers.

    97. I’m going to throw in my .02. I think solely focusing on the post-Woodson 18-6 record and ignoring the larger sample of the full season is silly. Basically if you do that you’re saying that overnight Woodson turned a sub .500 team into an elite team. By doing what exactly? They didn’t have much practice time, he barely changed the rotation except what was forced by injuries, they stopped the switching on defense I guess, but they were already very good defensively. Basically his contribution was motivating the team better, and not being Mike Dantoni. I can’t believe that such small changes could lead to such a dramatic shift in the true talent of the team. By far the most likely explanation is that they’re better than they were with Dantoni, but worse than they were with Woodson.

      As for how optimistic to be for the team next year I think it’s very hard because some of the small samples we saw this year were incredibly alluring. Lin played an all-star+ for 20 games. The team played great for 25 games post-Woodson. We were 3-1 for those legendary 4 games where everyone is healthy and we had a decent coach. If you don’t believe in regression to the mean for those trends we look like a 65 win team. If you regress those a ton we look like what we were this year, first round fodder. You can logically hold many valid opinions about how much those things will regress, so I don’t think anything from 45 wins to 65 wins is out of the question, although I would love the opportunity to bet against both those numbers. I’d set the over under right now at about 52 wins for next year. If we get Nash that number goes up significantly.

    98. ruruland: You’ve thought about it or you have strong data that supports that NBA coaches don’t matter?

      It’s certainly defies conventional wisdom at virtually every level. The NBA hasn’t been around that long and good coaches traditionally stick with good teams for a long time. it’s therefore very difficult to quantify the impact of a coach in that situation, given that there is are few reference points or a dependent variable.

      I would also argue that 60-70 percent of coaches are roughly the same, just as 50-60 percent of NBA players fall into some median range.

      It doesn’t mean that there aren’t 5-10 coaches every year who are either much better or much worse than their peers.

      I agree with you that the evidence for these coaching studies is necessarily very thin. Coaches just don’t move around enough, especially the coaches who are considered very good. That said, I do think that looking around the league it seems like “good coaching” has an extremely high noise to signal ratio.

      I was skimming an article from 2007 the other day when we were discussing Durant vs. Oden, and I noticed Simmons and Ford having a lengthy back and forth about who was worse as a coach Doc Rivers or Rick Carlisle. Just 5 years ago people were calling them two of the worst out there, and now they’re both NBA champs, and most people would list them in the top 5. Maybe they improved a lot, but it seems more likely to me that even NBA “experts” like Simmons and Ford are largely unable to distinguish the effect of “good coaching” or “bad coaching” from the overwhelmingly more important factor of player quality.

    99. Ultimately, it’s a player’s league. Coaches can figure out the best way to utilize the hand they are dealt, but without the right cards, not much can be done. More likely that a “stubborn” coach f’s up a team than a great coach works wonders. We can only wonder whether D’Antoni would have made any difference, good or bad, for the Bulls had he opted for and gotten that job over Thibs.

    100. Z-man: More likely that a “stubborn” coach f’s up a team than a great coach works wonders.

      Example of the moment: Vinny Del Negro. Chris Paul coaches the team more than he does.

    101. Z-man:
      Ultimately, it’s a player’s league.Coaches can figure out the best way to utilize the hand they are dealt, but without the right cards, not much can be done.More likely that a “stubborn” coach f’s up a team than a great coach works wonders.We can only wonder whether D’Antoni would have made any difference, good or bad, for the Bulls had he opted for and gotten that job over Thibs.

      It’s a fascinating hypothetical just based on how different they would have been. They already had the PG in play, and Rose would have been obviously exciting in Dantoni’s system, although I think he’s actually quite a poor passer in transition (compared to the other elite PGs). However I suspect he would have improved significantly in that area. Deng would be a nice fit in the Marion role I think, capable of playing the 4 at times, and a guy who can shoot the 3 and slash on offense. Add in Korver and assume they sign Amare over Boozer in free agency and you have the core of a very interesting team.

      It’s hard to know how good they would have been because presumably they would have gone a very different direction with their draft picks and minor signings, focusing on guys to stretch the floor rather than defensive stalwarts like Asik, Gibson and Brewer. They’ve been amazing in that area but some of that is probably luck and who knows if they’re as effective finding a very different type of player.

    102. thenamestsam:

      I was skimming an article from 2007 the other day when we were discussing Durant vs. Oden, and I noticed Simmons and Ford having a lengthy back and forth about who was worse as a coach Doc Rivers or Rick Carlisle. Just 5 years ago people were calling them two of the worst out there, and now they’re both NBA champs, and most people would list them in the top 5. Maybe they improved a lot, but it seems more likely to me that even NBA “experts” like Simmons and Ford are largely unable to distinguish the effect of “good coaching” or “bad coaching” from the overwhelmingly more important factor of player quality.

      I think that is Owen’s point– that coaches are generally as good as the players they are provided with. That there are a few coaches that do more with less, and a few coaches that do less with more, and everybody else pretty much produces what is expected of them.

      For teams that are cash strapped, you’re probably just as well off paying a donkey with a wheel to make in game decisions, as that donkey will be much cheaper than a “competent coach”, who’s basically spinning the same wheel.

    103. thenamestsam: I agree with you that the evidence for these coaching studies is necessarily very thin. Coaches just don’t move around enough, especially the coaches who are considered very good. That said, I do think that looking around the league it seems like “good coaching” has an extremely high noise to signal ratio.

      I was skimming an article from 2007 the other day when we were discussing Durant vs. Oden, and I noticed Simmons and Ford having a lengthy back and forth about who was worse as a coach Doc Rivers or Rick Carlisle. Just 5 years ago people were calling them two of the worst out there, and now they’re both NBA champs, and most people would list them in the top 5. Maybe they improved a lot, but it seems more likely to me that even NBA “experts” like Simmons and Ford are largely unable to distinguish the effect of “good coaching” or “bad coaching” from the overwhelmingly more important factor of player quality.

      Right, but a guy like Carlisle should have never been considered a bad coach. That’s just Simmons being his melodramatic self

    104. Thenamestam – I would say a range of 45-55 wins and I think 50 wins is a great over/under. Nice post.

      Ruruland – Well, I don’t know of any paper that has demonstrated an impact. But I also know that the Mavericks think Carlisle is measurably the best coach and that is in fact why they hired him. It’s definitely an open question. And I agree it’s a hard thing to isolate.

      My view is based more than anything on a general skepticism of expert opinion and on my belief in the predictability of player performance. Players perform so similiarly across different contexts when you adjust for age, injury, pace, and minutes that it just seems very unlikely that coaches make a huge difference.

      And, while we credit coaches for a teams success or failure, it’s pretty clear that in the NBA today there is a lot of input from a lot of different sources, including assistant coaches and other members of the organization.

      But it’s certainly possible…..

    105. thenamestsam: It’s a fascinating hypothetical just based on how different they would have been. They already had the PG in play, and Rose would have been obviously exciting in Dantoni’s system, although I think he’s actually quite a poor passer in transition (compared to the other elite PGs). However I suspect he would have improved significantly in that area. Deng would be a nice fit in the Marion role I think, capable of playing the 4 at times, and a guy who can shoot the 3 and slash on offense. Add in Korver and assume they sign Amare over Boozer in free agency and you have the core of a very interesting team.

      It’s hard to know how good they would have been because presumably they would have gone a very different direction with their draft picks and minor signings, focusing on guys to stretch the floor rather than defensive stalwarts like Asik, Gibson and Brewer. They’ve been amazing in that area but some of that is probably luck and who knows if they’re as effective finding a very different type of player.

      It’s very difficult to imagine any team playing at a high level on defense under MDA (no team he’s coached ever has).

      And the Bulls need to play a lot of defense to maximize their talent.

    106. thenamestsam:
      I’m going to throw in my .02. I think solely focusing on the post-Woodson 18-6 record and ignoring the larger sample of the full season is silly. Basically if you do that you’re saying that overnight Woodson turned a sub .500 team into an elite team. By doing what exactly? They didn’t have much practice time, he barely changed the rotation except what was forced by injuries, they stopped the switching on defense I guess, but they were already very good defensively. Basically his contribution was motivating the team better, and not being Mike Dantoni. I can’t believe that such small changes could lead to such a dramatic shift in the true talent of the team. By far the most likely explanation is that they’re better than they were with Dantoni, but worse than they were with Woodson.

      As for how optimistic to be for the team next year I think it’s very hard because some of the small samples we saw this year were incredibly alluring. Lin played an all-star+ for 20 games. The team played great for 25 games post-Woodson. We were 3-1 for those legendary 4 games where everyone is healthy and we had a decent coach. If you don’t believe in regression to the mean for those trends we look like a 65 win team. If you regress those a ton we look like what we were this year, first round fodder. You can logically hold many valid opinions about how much those things will regress, so I don’t think anything from 45 wins to 65 wins is out of the question, although I would love the opportunity to bet against both those numbers. I’d set the over under right now at about 52 wins for next year. If we get Nash that number goes up significantly.

      See, that’s fair. It’s a much different thing to say the team caps out at 50 wins and has no upside. That’s preposterous.

    107. D’Antoni was a uniquely poor coach for this year’s roster, which was incredibly ill-suited to D’Antoni’s style. At some point you figure D’Antoni would have said “Eff it, I’ll ditch SSOL and try to squeeze what I can out of this team as a defensive-oriented, grind-it-out, halfcourt-type team,” but he didn’t.

      It’s not like Woodson is some sort of basketball mastermind, but he at least had the common sense to slow down the pace a little and get the team to play more to its strengths.

    108. I also agree there is probaby more downside potential in a coach than upside. Giving Kevin Love 27 rather 35 minutes per game his 2nd year was clearly a pretty dumb coaching decision for instance. But even that was probably only 2-3 wins over a year.

      Really, it’s the same argument you see everywhere. How much of company performance is the CEO? How much is the organizational culture? How much is market opportunity? How much is luck?

      How much of an army’s success in battle is attributable to the general’s strategems? If you ask Tolstoy, not much,

      I would side with Tolstoy on that, while giving my man Hannibal Phil Jackson exception to the rule status….

    109. ruruland: Right, but a guy like Carlisle should have never been considered a bad coach. That’s just Simmons being his melodramatic self

      It was actually Ford who said it. Simmons was saying they should fire Rivers and go after Carlisle, and Ford was saying that Carlisle was even worse. And the way he said it made it sound like it was generally accepted amongst insiders that he wasn’t a good coach. “Ask anyone who has employed Carlisle over the last few years for a letter of reference.” I agree that it was stupid (Carlisle had already been to the conference finals twice) but my point is that if a guy can go from being in a position where noone will even give him a letter of reference to being considered top 5 in 5 years, how sure can we really be that we have any idea who’s actually a good coach?

    110. JK47:
      D’Antoni was a uniquely poor coach for this year’s roster, which was incredibly ill-suited to D’Antoni’s style.At some point you figure D’Antoni would have said “Eff it, I’ll ditch SSOL and try to squeeze what I can out of this team as a defensive-oriented, grind-it-out, halfcourt-type team,” but he didn’t.

      It’s not like Woodson is some sort of basketball mastermind, but he at least had the common sense to slow down the pace a little and get the team to play more to its strengths.

      This. Trying to play SSOL with a pg that can’t get in the lane is incredibly stupid. Refusing to allow Melo to post-up was pretty bad.

    111. Owen:
      I also agree there is probaby more downside potential in a coach than upside. Giving Kevin Love 27 rather 35 minutes per game his 2nd year was clearly a pretty dumb coaching decision for instance. But even that was probably only a 2-3 wins over a year.

      Really, it’s the same argument you see everywhere. How much of company performance is the CEO? How much is the organizational culture? How much is market opportunity? How much is luck?

      How much of an army’s success in battle is attributable to the general’s strategems? If you ask Tolstoy, not much,

      I would side with Tolstoy on that, while giving my man Hannibal Phil Jackson exception to the rule status….

      Popovich?

      Also, Rambis trying to run triangle in Minnesota with Love.

    112. thenamestsam: It was actually Ford who said it. Simmons was saying they should fire Rivers and go after Carlisle, and Ford was saying that Carlisle was even worse. And the way he said it made it sound like it was generally accepted amongst insiders that he wasn’t a good coach.“Ask anyone who has employed Carlisle over the last few years for a letter of reference.” I agree that it was stupid (Carlisle had already been to the conference finals twice) but my point is that if a guy can go from being in a position where noone will even give him a letter of reference to being considered top 5 in 5 years, how sure can we really be that we have any idea who’s actually a good coach?

      I’ve never heard that most NBA people think Carslilse was a bad coach. I’ve heard the opposite.

    113. thenamestsam:
      I’m going to throw in my .02. I think solely focusing on the post-Woodson 18-6 record and ignoring the larger sample of the full season is silly. Basically if you do that you’re saying that overnight Woodson turned a sub .500 team into an elite team. By doing what exactly? They didn’t have much practice time, he barely changed the rotation except what was forced by injuries, they stopped the switching on defense I guess, but they were already very good defensively. Basically his contribution was motivating the team better, and not being Mike Dantoni. I can’t believe that such small changes could lead to such a dramatic shift in the true talent of the team. By far the most likely explanation is that they’re better than they were with Dantoni, but worse than they were with Woodson.

      As for how optimistic to be for the team next year I think it’s very hard because some of the small samples we saw this year were incredibly alluring. Lin played an all-star+ for 20 games. The team played great for 25 games post-Woodson. We were 3-1 for those legendary 4 games where everyone is healthy and we had a decent coach. If you don’t believe in regression to the mean for those trends we look like a 65 win team. If you regress those a ton we look like what we were this year, first round fodder. You can logically hold many valid opinions about how much those things will regress, so I don’t think anything from 45 wins to 65 wins is out of the question, although I would love the opportunity to bet against both those numbers. I’d set the over under right now at about 52 wins for next year. If we get Nash that number goes up significantly.

      Let me ask you this, Do you think anyone on the Knicks overperformed last year? Novak… maybe.

      Conversely, how many of the Knicks dramatically underperformed by career standards?

    114. ruruland: It’s very difficult to imagine any team playing at a high level on defense under MDA (no team he’s coached ever has).

      And the Bulls need to play a lot of defense to maximize their talent.

      Well we were top 5 in defensive efficiency with him this year, no?

      But anyway what I was trying to say was that their two best players, Rose and Deng, would both fit very well in Dantoni’s system. You’re right that most the rest of talent they have no would be a poor fit for Dantoni and is definitely maximized with the way they play now, but they probably wouldn’t have the same players if they’d gone for Dantoni in 2009 or whatever year it was. If they were as successful surrounding Rose and Deng with Dantoni type players as they were at surrounding them with Thibs type guys, I think they could be very good.

    115. Popovich was the GM before he was the coach. And he became the coach the same year Tim Duncan arrived. And he has had more input than most into personnel decisions.

      To me, he doesn’t make a very good argument for the value of coaches.

      Maybe Tim Duncan doesn’t turn out to the best player of his generation without Pop. I doubt it though.

      And yeah, there are certainly terrible terrible coaching decisions you can point to. On average though, I think its difficult to make the case.

      And I think the Wolves would have sucked no matter what system they ran.

    116. Sorry, Popovich actually became the coach the year before Duncan arrived. He fired Hill the day before Robinson was due to return to the lineup according to wikipedia. Hill had been 121-43. Robinson promptly got injured and the Spurs went 17-47 the rest of the way.

      Then Duncan arrived. And the rest is history.

    117. ephus says:
      May 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm
      BTW, even if a miracle occurs and the arbitrator holds that the Knicks have Early Bird rights to Lin and Novak, the Knicks still could not use the full MLE. If you assume that Lin signs for $5 MM, Novak for $3.1 MM (which is low) and JR Smith for $3 MM (20% raise), the Knicks would be at $70 MM before offering the MLE to anyone. Since the Apron will be set at $74 MM, the Knicks could not make a $5 MM MLE offer to anyone.

      I am glad that somebody understood what I posted yesterday morning.
      Cheers

    118. Owen:
      Popovich was the GM before he was the coach. And he became the coach the same year Tim Duncan arrived. And he has had more input than most into personnel decisions.

      To me, he doesn’t make a very good argument for the value of coaches.

      Maybe Tim Duncan doesn’t turn out to the best player of his generation without Pop. I doubt it though.

      And yeah, there are certainly terrible terrible coaching decisions you can point to. On average though, I think its difficult to make the case.

      And I think the Wolves would have sucked no matter what system they ran.

      I would argue that Popovich is the one coach who absolutely proves his added value year after year after year. Yes, he was blessed with Duncan, but no coach in the NBA is winning anything without at least one bona fide HOF’er on the roster. What impresses me about Popovich is how incredibly disciplined his teams are, how they run their offense to absolute perfection (watch a whole game sometime and see how many bad shots they take) and how he flawlessly integrates new pieces year after year. I know Jax has 11 rings and all, but for my money, Pop is the best coach of this generation, hands down.

    119. d-mar: I would argue that Popovich is the one coach who absolutely proves his added value year after year after year. Yes, he was blessed with Duncan, but no coach in the NBA is winning anything without at least one bona fide HOF’er on the roster. What impresses me about Popovich is how incredibly disciplined his teams are, how they run their offense to absolute perfection (watch a whole game sometime and see how many bad shots they take) and how he flawlessly integrates new pieces year after year. I know Jax has 11 rings and all, but for my money, Pop is the best coach of this generation, hands down.

      He may be. Really, both things can be true. He might be a marginally better coach than average. And it could also be true that if Duncan ends up a Celtic, Popovich is a footnote in history. That i think is pretty much a dead certainty.

      I do think that it’s much easier to integrate pieces when people know they are coming in to compete for a championship alongside one of the best players to ever play the game.

      There is no reputational loss to taking a backseat to Tim Duncan.

    120. I’ll chime in and say it amazes me how Pop has responded to Duncan’s decline by transforming the Spurs from a defensive juggernaut into a beautiful spread-the-floor offense tailored to Parker and Ginobili’s strengths. He’s coaching a radically different style than he was ten years ago.

    121. BTW, even if a miracle occurs and the arbitrator holds that the Knicks have Early Bird rights to Lin and Novak, the Knicks still could not use the full MLE. If you assume that Lin signs for $5 MM, Novak for $3.1 MM (which is low) and JR Smith for $3 MM (20% raise), the Knicks would be at $70 MM before offering the MLE to anyone. Since the Apron will be set at $74 MM, the Knicks could not make a $5 MM MLE offer to anyone.

      They could if they dealt Douglas for a fake pick. There likely is a team out there willing to take Douglas for, in effect, free.

      Of course, it is a bit of a moot point since the arbiter won’t rule in the players’ favor.

    122. That is true about their changing style.

      Just a case in point, check out this article about the importance of Coach K in the Olympics

      http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/19062073/team-usa-will-win-gold-again-with-coach-k-not-much-without-him

      The title sort of says it all “Team USA will win gold (again) with Coach K, not much without him”

      He basically gives Coach K credit for the Redeem Team. The article is inane throughout. And totally glosses over the fact that we sent pretty crappy teams to the Olympics in 2000 and 2004, relative to the talent available. In 04 we let Allen Iverson shoot 37.8% while leading the team in scoring.

      That is a bad coaching decision, no question about it…

    123. Z: Because I’ve come out and said the only impetus for waking up in the morning is to read about potential Amar’e trades, I’ll go ahead and submit this:

      http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7cmolyv

      Atlanta saves about $18 mil in the deal; Houston, who shopped for Howard, Gasol, and Bogut this year, gets a marquee name at no added long-term cost (I think Morey prefers Dragic to Lowery, no?); Washington improves; and the Knicks, well… they improve too, but people will still probably be pissed that I’m even bringing it up :)

      That is an inconceivably horrible trade for the Hawks and Rockets both. Lowry is the best thing the Rockets have going for them.

    124. I think coaches are like players in terms of quality – the vast majority can be replaced without anyone really noticing. that’s why statistical analyses may never show anything – the signal gets drowned out in the noise of all the Paul Westphals, Mark Jacksons, and even the Don Nelsons. There are a few that are irredeemably bad – like Kurt Rambis, Tim Floyd, and Isiah, for instance, and some, like Pop, whose contributions probably are never fully recognized because they’ve always had great players on their teams.

      To me – basketball coaching is somewhere between baseball and football. Baseball is basically managing personalities. Football is the ultimate coaches’ sport. Basketball- somewhere in the middle.

    125. Z-man: You could say the same about most NBA stars, starting with Dirk.I get it, Chandler is not LeBron.He is still a hugely valuable player on both ends, and would be for a LOT of teams.

      In hindsight, we should have amnestied Amare, but I would have not had a problem with using $14 mill of THAT cap space to sign Chandler.

      in all fairness, z, dirk’s range exceeds 18 inches from the basket and is the focus of the entire offense. without dirk, that dallas team with chandler struggles to win 40 games.

      that team won 55 games back to back years with dampier and haywood @ center. no doubt chandler helped, but take dirk off that team and they don’t make the playoffs in the west.

      as far as amnestying amar’e , that train has left the station care of chandler.

    126. If the Knicks can discard Douglas for a fake pick, they should jump at the opportunity. That $2.1 MM likely will keep them away from the Apron.

      In all of the discussions on this board, we have been assuming that the Knicks will become a tax paying team this year. I think that the tax threshhold may actually play a role in whether the Knicks match on Fields. The issue is not so much the tax on Fields’ salary this year, but rather putting the Knicks in line to pay the much more punishing Repeater Tax in the last years of Melo/Stat/Chandler.

    127. Z-man:

      In hindsight, we should have amnestied Amare, but I would have not had a problem with using $14 mill of THAT cap space to sign Chandler.

      yeah…. i’m glad u said in hindsight.

      i’d like to see the knick’s new interim gm walk into dolan’s office last june, 30th and say, “hey boss….i’ve got a great idea….. eat the remaining 80 million on amar’e’s contract so i can go out and spend another 56 million more on tyson chandler!”

      not great for job security long term :-)

    128. thenamestsam: Well we were top 5 in defensive efficiency with him this year, no?

      But anyway what I was trying to say was that their two best players, Rose and Deng, would both fit very well in Dantoni’s system. You’re right that most the rest of talent they have no would be a poor fit for Dantoni and is definitely maximized with the way they play now, but they probably wouldn’t have the same players if they’d gone for Dantoni in 2009 or whatever year it was. If they were as successful surrounding Rose and Deng with Dantoni type players as they were at surrounding them with Thibs type guys, I think they could be very good.

      I’m pretty Knicks where top 10 not 5 with MDA. After Woodson tookover and playing several game did they made the to top 5. Lets be honest they where noticeable difference in defense especially for Melo.

    129. Z-man:

      In hindsight, we should have amnestied Amare, but I would have not had a problem with using $14 mill of THAT cap space to sign Chandler.

      This would have been a brilliant move. But think of all the second-guessing people would have done. The only way you get an advantage is by finding seams in the conventional wisdom, advice that NYK has been in desperate need of for a decade.

      Owen: It would actually be a revelation to me that coaches matter

      I think in the reg. season they don’t matter much, but my sense is they play a huge part in developing young players across multiple seasons (kudos to Pop and Jax here) as well as making adjustments in the playoffs. It’d be a big lot of work to prove this, but that’s just my sense.

      ephus:
      More importantly, the Knicks were actually relevant during the second half of this year

      Whatevs… we were relevant last season when we had our big winning run. Most of the attention this year had to do with drama and storylines. Maybe for like two weeks people thought we mightcould matter in the playoffs, just the same as last year, and just the same as last year, we’re out first round.

      Z:
      I think they should come up with a stat for production/$earned.

      WoW has done this (I know WoW is questionable, but it’s still something). I feel like there’s a more recent list, but this is what I could find in a quick search: http://wagesofwins.com/2011/07/05/just-desserts-overpaid-underpaid-remix/

    130. This game is a perfect example of why the advanced metrics can be so worthless. Kobe is taking a bunch of necessary shots because the ball entry to the bigs is very difficult. Durant is playing unbelievably passive when his team needs him to score — kicking the ball out time after time to Ibaka when he is really cold. Virtually all of Durants shots are coming in transition and semi-transition 9in part because he struggles with his high dribble against ball-hawks like Artest and Kobe)

      And finally Miller is talking about the Thunder’s issues in the half-court…

      Wow analysis would lead us to believe that Kobe is playing atrociously and while Durant has been off the charts good — neither are true .

    131. how bout that comeback, ruru? I agree that in the playoffs against superior defenses, it is nice to have a guy who can salvage a broken play and has a decent shot at making a difficult shot. The question how much is that skill worth?

      There are so many factors to consider too, such as the fact that many players with those skills don’t understand when it’s best to utilize them, thus costing the team higher percentage shots, and the fact that these players usually cost so much forces you to fill your roster with players like… Well, like Steve Blake.

    132. Kobe basically single-handedly cost the Lakers the game tonight. Awful would be an understatement in describing the way he played tonight.

      Also Durant scored the game-winner in a half-court set where he was the ball-handler on a PnR and drove for a floater.

    133. max fisher-cohen:
      how bout that comeback, ruru? I agree that in the playoffs against superior defenses, it is nice to have a guy who can salvage a broken play and has a decent shot at making a difficult shot. The question how much is that skill worth?

      There are so many factors to consider too, such as the fact that many players with those skills don’t understand when it’s best to utilize them, thus costing the team higher percentage shots, and the fact that these players usually cost so much forces you to fill your roster with players like… Well, like Steve Blake.

      They stole that game. The two turnovers were self-inflicted. Credit Durant for making that shot, but Lakers outplayed OKC most of the night.

    134. max fisher-cohen:
      how bout that comeback, ruru? I agree that in the playoffs against superior defenses, it is nice to have a guy who can salvage a broken play and has a decent shot at making a difficult shot. The question how much is that skill worth?

      There are so many factors to consider too, such as the fact that many players with those skills don’t understand when it’s best to utilize them, thus costing the team higher percentage shots, and the fact that these players usually cost so much forces you to fill your roster with players like… Well, like Steve Blake.

      It’s never just that skill in a vacuum.. volume shooters are almost always capable of scoring a lot more a lot more efficiently if they aren’t the focus of the defense — Kobe has had games where he forced a ton of bad shots — tonight was not one of those. Most of those misses down the stretch occured late in the shot-clock. Up until the final few minutes he was having a decent game.

      Durant really was lucky he had a chance to lurk in the weeds and take a shot to win the game — I thought he was way too passive in a game where OKC needed his scoring.

      and Steve Blake is probably the third best role player in the series — that was a great look for a very good corner 3pt shooter. That’s just luck.

    135. For sure the Thunder stole that game, similar to how they stole both home games vs Dallas before blowing them out in Dallas. Gonna be interesting to see what happens in LA considering also that Game 3 and 4 are being played on a back-to-back.

    136. Oh gee, what did Scott Brooks just say? “(Kevin Durant) was passing the ball too much.” I guess I really have no idea what I’m talking about.

    137. ruruland:
      hey Abbey you watching this Thunder game?

      yep, strange game, looked like you were right for a good chunk of it. Artest was playing incredible D on Durant, very impressive, but there’s no excuse for Westbrook not to be going crazy pretty much every game this series.

    138. BigBlueAL:
      For sure the Thunder stole that game, similar to how they stole both home games vs Dallas before blowing them out in Dallas.Gonna be interesting to see what happens in LA considering also that Game 3 and 4 are being played on a back-to-back.

      Yeah, man. When was the last time a series had a b2b? That’s really bad for the NBA. Purely for the quality of the competition that should never happen in the playoffs. Disgusting.

    139. Related to the coaching discussion, pretty interesting article:

      espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/42873/the-san-antonio-spurs-arent-boring

    140. jon abbey: yep, strange game, looked like you were right for a good chunk of it. Artest was playing incredible D on Durant, very impressive, but there’s no excuse for Westbrook not to be going crazy pretty much every game this series.

      Westbrook is way too mid-range oriented…I just think their half-court offense stinks. But this series is over. These quick series will put them in great position against a veteran SAS.

    141. ruruland: Yeah, man. When was the last time a series had a b2b? That’sreally bad for the NBA. Purely for the quality of the competition that should never happen in the playoffs. Disgusting.

      It used to always happen during the 2nd round in the 90’s and maybe in the 80’s too but I only remember the 90’s (not for every series but for a couple just like this year). The Knicks in 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 played Games 3-4 back-to-back in the 2nd round. I believe 1999 was the last time they did this and are only doing it this year because of the lockout.

    142. BigBlueAL:
      Kobe basically single-handedly cost the Lakers the game tonight.Awful would be an understatement in describing the way he played tonight.

      Also Durant scored the game-winner in a half-court set where he was the ball-handler on a PnR and drove for a floater.

      westbrook’s (except for his brain freeze on the last possession), artest’s and sefolosha’s on the ball defense were magnificent all night.

      what a luxury it is to have players that can actually stay in front of their match-ups and harass them.

    143. ruruland: It’s never just that skill in a vacuum.. volume shooters are almost always capable of scoring a lot more a lot more efficiently if they aren’t the focus of the defense — Kobe has had games where he forced a ton of bad shots — tonight was not one of those. Most of those misses down the stretch occured late in the shot-clock. Up until the final few minutes he was having a decent game.

      I didn’t watch the whole game, so I’ll trust your judgment. I agree that OKC’s halfcourt offense is messed up (which makes them all the more scary if/when they figure that out), but the fact that they’re able to be generally be a great offensive team in spite of that says something.

      You’re absolutely right about the fact that most volume scorers can score more efficiently in isolation without extra attention. There are guys like Eddy Curry though who in his prime could destroy most any single coverage but was a black hole when it came to double-teams. Then there are guys like LBJ and Gasol who are great passers. Then there are guys all in the middle of that range.

      Then there are issues of off ball capability and redundancy (why pay premiums for 2 elite primary scorers when u only need 1?). In regard to playing off the ball, while you’re happy with Nash or Pierce off the ball, you aren’t particularly thrilled to have guys like Iverson, Rose, Kobe, Wade or Melo catch off double teams due to their inability to knock down threes and force closeouts. If the defense forces the pass from Kobe, closes out on the shooter forcing a drive, then helps on that drive off Kobe’s man, they’re pretty happy to give up a Kobe 3.

      I didn’t realize BTW how good Blake has been in the playoffs from 3. That was a tough break. I’m sorry for talking trash about you, Steve Blake. You still aren’t a very attractive man.

    144. Lol, Ruru, I got to say, the above is pretty funny….

      Good to see that the advanced stat argument for making shots rather than missing them survived the night….

    145. ruruland: It’s never just that skill in a vacuum.. volume shooters are almost always capable of scoring a lot more a lot more efficiently if they aren’t the focus of the defense — Kobe has had games where he forced a ton of bad shots — tonight was not one of those. Most of those misses down the stretch occured late in the shot-clock. Up until the final few minutes he was having a decent game.

      Durant really was lucky he had a chance to lurk in the weeds and take a shot to win the game — I thought he was way too passive in a game where OKC needed his scoring.

      and Steve Blake is probably the third best role player in the series — that was a great look for a very good corner 3pt shooter.That’s just luck.

      lol that’s twice you called Durant lucky in the playoffs for making the winning shot. You’re too much.

    146. Unrelated, but a note on how two injuries that sound the same can have very different prognoses from 2 different medical teams:

      Shumpert – Torn ACL, torn lateral meniscus – expected to be out 6-8 months.

      Rose – Torn ACL, minor tear of medial meniscus – expected to be out 8-12 months.

      We haven’t talked about it for a while now, but let’s stop killing Jeremy for not beating Grant Hill’s time table for return from a medial meniscus tear. Different people, different injury, different healing time, etc. etc.

    147. 2FOR18: lol that’s twice you called Durant lucky in the playoffs for making the winning shot.You’re too much.

      Well, I mean that first shot bounced off the rim. So did last night’s shot. But no, I was more referring to Blake’s wide-open miss.

    148. Owen:
      Lol, Ruru, I got to say, the above is pretty funny….

      Good to see that the advanced stat argument for making shots rather than missing them survived the night….

      Oh that’s what it was about. Making shots vs missing them gothcha.

    149. max fisher-cohen:

      You’re absolutely right about the fact that most volume scorers can score more efficiently in isolation without extra attention. There are guys like Eddy Curry though who in his prime could destroy most any single coverage but was a black hole when it came to double-teams. Then there are guys like LBJ and Gasol who are great passers. Then there are guys all in the middle of that range.

      Then there are issues of off ball capability and redundancy (why pay premiums for 2 elite primary scorers when u only need 1?). In regard to playing off the ball, while you’re happy with Nash or Pierce off the ball, you aren’t particularly thrilled to have guys like Iverson, Rose, Kobe, Wade or Melo catch off double teams due to their inability to knock down threes and force closeouts. If the defense forces the pass from Kobe, closes out on the shooter forcing a drive, then helps on that drive off Kobe’s man, they’re pretty happy to give up a Kobe 3.

      Melo is the best 3pt shooter of that bunch, but off-ball effectiveness is much more than just 3pt shooting. Even if you aren’t getting hard close-outs you are given space to operate…. I think all of those players — especially Iverson (who was much more effective coming of pin downs or flash screens) — were or would be more effective off the ball than on it (purely from the limited “advanced” stats perspective), just as virtually all players are.

      Moreover, are we not starting to see the limitations of having just ONE guy who can create shots/initiate offense?

      OKC has 3. San Antonio has 2 1/2. LAL has 3. Boston has 2 1/2. Miami is down to just 2. etc al.

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