New Kids on the ‘Bock: Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis

You know me.

Or you know some things about me. I write about basketball. I try to do it with a sense of humor. I try to show how the game and its foibles are a microcosm of the world at large. Like Bill Simmons, I probably use my Dad as a narrative prop/character waaayyy too much. So when you, dear reader, clicked on this link for my take on the acquisition of two obscure players who were throw-ins in the Tyson Chandler deal, you probably had a good idea what to expect. And your expectations aren’t unfounded. I had this whole bit ready to go where I was going to mock Ahmad Nivins because his nickname is “Slim” which seems as archaic as “Rusty” or “Skippy” and conjures up an image of some Davy Crockett hat-wearing adorable moppet straight outta 1950’s nostalgia. I also had some glib musings about how Giorgos Printezis’ name is impossible to remember, pronounce or spell and thus makes me recall Mr. Mytzlplk, Superman’s (not Greek) nemesis who could only be defeated if Superman tricked him into saying his own name backwards – which is possibly what Mark Cuban did to Glenn Grunwald to get him included in the trade.

Truth be told, I was going to go the wiseacre route because, like most of you, I know very little about Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis. The only interesting tidbit a brief scour of the interwebs provided was this nugget from friend-of-the blog, Seth at postingandtoasting.com:

Incidentally, Nivins is a St. Joe’s big man who was drafted in ’09 and has been playing in Spain ever since. Printezis is Greek and was picked by the Spurs in ’07, but stayed in Europe. His nickname is apparently “The Big Fish”. He is now officially my favorite Knick of all time.

So vaguely relevant pop cultural references and an aside about my own time living abroad seemed to be the best way to tackle this story and it might have been good for a mid-morning guffaw. But then I thought, Jeez, what if (and I know the odds are slim [Nivins] to none) one of them actually read what I wrote? I know what I’d think if I were either of them:

“Who is this arse and why is he using me and a very important event in my life as a thinly veiled excuse for what he assumes to be witty and droll (but is actually just self-congratulatory) observations? Silverman can’t even hit a jumper to save his life! Where does he get off mocking me, who, Euro League status notwithstanding is in the top 1% of all sentient humans who play basketball. Eff that guy!”

I just didn’t want to do that today. Because for all our mockery of fringe NBA players, it’s good to recall that those selfsame fringe guys – even…dare I say it…Jared Jeffries – are so good at what they do that you and I can’t even begin to comprehend it. And in order to be that good, they’ve had to work like monastic fiends, despite the false stereotype of the baller who’s rocking the gym one night and then partying at the 40-40 Club the next. In order to achieve the level of success that they have, they’ve often had put aside things you and I (or at least I) may take for granted: friends, family, or any semblance of a normal social life. They’ve traveled the planet looking for work and busted their tuchuses to a greater degree than most of us will ever be able to fathom, let alone do. They’re constantly hoping against hope that some NBA team will give them an actual shot, because truth be told, once you get down to the 13th through the 15th spots on a roster, there are a lot of guys who could competently fill that role. Who gets those spots is as much about luck, being in the right place at the right time and who you know as opposed to actual ability. It’s blindingly cruel if you think about it – knowing in one’s head and one’s heart that you’re good enough to achieve your dreams and realizing that they may never come true, all because of the whim(s) and/or whimsy of fate.

Anyway, please forgive my overly sentimental mood/take on the addition by the Knicks of the rights to two mildly (to put it mildly) athletic ‘tweener SF/PF-types. This morning I just didn’t feel like ragging on two people who probably saw their names in print (in the US at least) for the first time in ages and maybe are thinking, “Wow. There are roster spots open on the Knicks. Mike D’Antoni coached and played in Europe so if I can just get a camp invite…”

Good luck guys.

PS: Not to fear, Knickerbloggeristas. I’ll be back to my usual snide self, tout suite.

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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

95 thoughts to “New Kids on the ‘Bock: Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis”

  1. I’m also having trouble.

    Also, have we started picking nicknames for our Big 3 yet? Can we start a post with it. I vote for TriMecca (I borrowed this from another poster on another site).

  2. Yeah, TriMecca wins, I think.

    Meanwhile, to bring back the Crawford discussion from last night, it sounds like the only way he can come here is for the room exception – and that if he somehow takes the massive paycut and does that, we’d be unable to sign Shawne Williams, who can get a better offer elsewhere.

    So which does this team as presently constructed need more: a stretch 4 who can knock down the corner 3 and is at least a passable rebounder and willing defender, or a combo guard who would give our reserve unit a go-to scorer (which it seems at present to lack, unless Shumpert explodes immediately) but has always had questionable shot selection? And would the fact that Crawford would likely take 1 year (to go for a better contract next season) while Extra E would reportedly be offered 2 make any difference in your choice?

  3. I’d prefer Extra E. Crawford despite his success with Atlanta I cannot stand basketballwise. I have no interest in watching him stand around the perimeter flaunting his handle before flinging up an off balance shot. I had more than my fill first time around. At any rate if we go by last year it was very rare indeed that both Melo and Amare were off the floor at the same time so there really is no need for a scorer with the subs.

  4. I’m having trouble as well with Knicks Morning News.

    In other news, apparently the league has reengaged the Clips with regard to CP3. If anything would push Billups to retire it would have to be ending up on a depleted, league-owned NO team.

    As for my post on the Knicks Morning News, I was wondering if anyone has read anything about Michael Redd – where he may sign, whether he is (relatively) healthy?

    He could be a solid alternative to Crawford, who I don’t think is going to accept $2.5M when a guy like Barea got $3.5 per for 4 years. Not to mention, I’d be concerned that Crawford would take scoring opportunities away from STAT and Melo. On ATL, they needed someone like Crawford, playing 30 minutes a game, carrying a large part of the scoring load. I think his role on the Knicks would, and should be different.

  5. I think we have a diamond in the rough waiting for us in Wilson Chandler come March.

    He knows our system
    Can backup 3 positions
    Can provide us with scoring off the bench
    Defends 3 positions very well
    Doesnt open his mouth regarding his role

    I feel he is the missing piece from our team and is a better option then anything they are looking at now. Not sure what the rules are regarding his FA when he returns but if hes willing to sign with us for the right price he would be a steal.

  6. @Garson
    i disagree. while wilson is a tremendous player, he would not be the happiest man backing up a superstar like carmelo who plays 30+ minutes of every game. While he is a good man and wont open his mouth his feelings could effect his play

  7. TDM, one of the rules involving the amnesty policy is that anyone picked up on amnesty waivers can’t be traded until July 1. So Billups either plays for the Clippers this season or is retired. He can’t be sent to NO as part of a CP3 package.

    Garson, getting Chandler down the stretch would be great, but he’s a restricted free agent for the Nuggets, unless they wind up renouncing him for cap reasons. (Though given how late in the season he’ll be available to them, maybe they do that?)

  8. Go with Extra E. Our frontcourt is pretty thin once you get past Chandler, Amar’e and Melo. Extra E can fill in at SF and PF and even plays a bit of defense from time to time.

  9. Even though I can’t directly reply to THCJ re: his “WS/48 trumps all argument” re: Gallo and Melo, I’ll try to do so here.

    Any metric that states that Kevin Love was the best player in the world last year is a problematic metric.

    Kevin Love might be a very good player, but as LBJ showed, the real best player in the world + any 4 scrubs can be a playoff team. Can you POSSIBLY imagine a team with LBJ getting only 17 wins at the end of the year?

    So there – you say WS/48 in this instance (or whatever advanced metric you blindly believe in, WP, WP/48, etc) trumps all other arguments. I say Kevin Love. Or Troy Murphy, who is always one of the top 10-15 players in the NBA based on Berri stats, who had NEVER been on a team that made the playoffs until he backed into one after being cut from a bottom-dwelling team.

    So yes – I will continue to believe the Melo is far superior to Gallo, and that is NOT hogwash.

  10. On a lighter note, Eddy Curry is hurt again and has sat out the last few practices. Won’t teams ever learn?

  11. JK47:
    Go with Extra E.Our frontcourt is pretty thin once you get past Chandler, Amar’e and Melo.Extra E can fill in at SF and PF and even plays a bit of defense from time to time.

    Totally agree – Our biggest health concern (in terms of wearing down like he did last year) on the team is Amare, and a front court of Chandler, Shawne, and Melo when Amare goes to the bench is actually quite nice if you ask me. On top of that, Extra E did a great job last year against real centers- at least on offense where his corner 3’s definitely opened stuff up inside for Amare.

  12. Warriors miss out on Chandler and DeAndre Jordan. In desperation, they just signed Kwame (1 yr / $7M). Wow.

    Also, according to Mark Stein, the OJ Mayo deal to Indy has gone south.

  13. Marc Stein also reporting that Pacers have offered Crawford $5M x 2 years with an out after this season. Will be tough to pass that up for him.

    That’s ok by me though – SIGN EXTRA E!

  14. Frank:
    Marc Stein also reporting that Pacers have offered Crawford $5M x 2 years with an out after this season. Will be tough to pass that up for him.

    That’s ok by me though – SIGN EXTRA E!

    Funny. I have seen reports saying Crawford’s agent was seeking $8 m a year…

  15. Que Bueno, Roberto!

    So Alex Kennedy is reporting that we’re dangling the $2.5 million mini at Mo Evans as well. Not sure how I feel about that. Although between him, Stat, and Melo, we might have the best-dressed tri-fecta in the league.

    PS — TriMecca is awesome.

  16. Hmm, Maurice Evans. He’s kind of the anti-Jamal Crawford, a defensive-oriented player who doesn’t look to shoot much. Not a bad player but I’d rather have Extra E for his size and versatility.

  17. After reading about dallas wanting to rid themselves of rudy fernandez and corey brewer. How would we feel about rudy at the 2 guard. nice jumpshot decent heady player.

  18. I the Mayo deal fell through that means McRoberts is back on the market. I think he would be an upgrade of Shawne because he can also hit the 3 but is a true 4 rather than a combo forward.

    Rudy would be worth a look it it cost us nothing.

    Mo Williams would be a nice pickup but 2.5 mil seems mighty low for him.

  19. Whoops I read mo evans and thought mo williams. Mo Evans would be okay but I would rather have Shawne.

  20. I would love 2 see corey brewer return.. this season is gnna force teams to go 10 deep, and give player 8 thru 10/11 serious run.. i like McRoberts, a mo will in our rotation would be fine with me i like him better than most other listed options.

  21. I thought everyone was pretty high on Brewer or at least annoyed that he just passed thru after the Gallo trade so shouldn’t we be looking forward to his return. I think the need for a wing defender would be about the same or more this season.

  22. We were annoyed that the Knicks picked up Brewer and then dumped him right away (as it begged the question “why pick him up at all?”), but I don’t think anyone really missed him too much. As for Mo Evans, he and Bibby could fight over who is more washed up. How in the world would Mo Evans get the $2.5 million exception? He should be happy to get the vet minimum. And I like Evans a lot better than Bibby (nice, smart player who plays defense – sure, sign me up) but not at age 33 and not for the $2.5 million exception.

  23. By the way, I continue to call BS on anyone arguing that Melo “brought Chandler here.” Again, before the Knicks outbid the Golden State Warriors, he was going to sign with Golden State, a team that was 10 games under .500 last year, who play in a more difficult conference and whose star players are Steph Curry, Monta Ellis and David Lee. So when a better team that plays in a weaker conference offered him more money, of course he was going to take it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if he and Melo were known to be really good friends, I could buy it. But they’re not, so I don’t.

  24. I actually think we should try reaching to the d-league/undrafted rookies/unsigned 2nd rounders to fill the last couple spots. No reason to add older players that might expect minutes over younger players who are more hungry and would be fine not playing.

    If we can get a quality 1 or 4/5 with the 2.5 mil exception then that’s fine if not we just need to sign Shawne.

  25. Agreed, Ben. I was hoping that they would bring in more undrafted guys or standouts from the D-League. If the guys they did bring in are just temporary fodder, then fair enough, but if this is who they think are the standouts from the D-League, then that would be disappointing.

  26. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    We were annoyed that the Knicks picked up Brewer and then dumped him right away (as it begged the question “why pick him up at all?”), but I don’t think anyone really missed him too much. As for Mo Evans, he and Bibby could fight over who is more washed up. How in the world would Mo Evans get the $2.5 million exception? He should be happy to get the vet minimum. And I like Evans a lot better than Bibby (nice, smart player who plays defense – sure, sign me up) but not at age 33 and not for the $2.5 million exception.

    Evans is only 31 years old. His scoring did fall off last year in limited time, but not his rebounding. If he can provide that + defense I wouldn’t mind so much. I do like Extra E, and I think he fits D’Antoni’s offense better.

    You could argue whether or not ‘Melo fits the SSOL, but Chandler? Evans? (maybe Jordan as well?) There goes stretching the perimeter with shooters to open the interior. Unless of course STAT starting bombing away from downtown (given his 10-23 last year I wouldn’t mind him adding that to his repertoire). Should be an interesting year.

    Oh and who is to say that the Evans rumor isn’t a way to put pressure on Shawne to come here. Call it the reverse Grant Hill.

  27. I’ll actually post something on Nivins. He’s exactly that 12-15 rotation guy and I’ve always wondered why he never got a shot. I’m actually an alum of St Joes so there is of course some bias. I didn’t go to school with him or anything but I watched 90% of his games in college and was happy that he gotta shot in the NBA, only as Mr. Silverman gives examples why, he really never got that “shot.” With that being said, he’s certainly undersized to be a center. Picture a PF that’s probably a bit too skinny but a lot more athletic than a lot of other power forwards in the league. He was never embarrassed on the court in his years at St Joes. He certainly developed into a formidable Division I big man. He developed a so so jumper by the end of his college years. He always gave you what you expected. Rarely any letdowns games. Anyway, you can look up the stats but I’m just giving you gut reaction having seen him play quite a bit. I always thought he was a emergency big man that’ll play hard and with a lot of energy and athleticism. Sprinkle in a good bit of defensive acumen and a little bit on the offensive side of the ball. Not a real vocal leader and I think his softer demeanor and good nature certainly contributed to his lack of a “shot.” My sense is that everyone’s content with him overseas and we wont see him on the Garden bench, though I hope I’m wrong.

  28. Re: Nivins… Just read that he had a pretty bad knee injury in 09-10 playing in Spain so maybe he’s nothing like I describe above anymore.

  29. @ 33:

    I could be wrong, but I actually don´t think the Knicks are waiting on Easy E…I think it likely is the other way around: Knicks are dangling $2.5 M to Crawford hoping he bites (or perhaps to others as well), and keeping Shawne as a back-up plan…and they will make the $2.5 M available to him if they can´t sign someone else…danger is that Shawne eventually gets impatient and signs with someone else in the meantime.

    Based on Shawne´s comments this summer that he was really looking forwarded to returning, his history with Donnie Walsh, and the fact that he is apparently in NYC working out waiting to sign a contract, I don´t think he is holding up the signing, but rather NYK.

  30. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    By the way, I continue to call BS on anyone arguing that Melo “brought Chandler here.” Again, before the Knicks outbid the Golden State Warriors, he was going to sign with Golden State, a team that was 10 games under .500 last year, who play in a more difficult conference and whose star players are Steph Curry, Monta Ellis and David Lee. So when a better team that plays in a weaker conference offered him more money, of course he was going to take it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if he and Melo were known to be really good friends, I could buy it. But they’re not, so I don’t.

    I can’t really look for this quote while at work, but Chandler was interviewed recently about signing with the Knicks and flat-out said that if Melo and Amar’e weren’t on the team he would have never considered it. So you can argue the semantics of “brought him here” vs. “created the conditions under which he was happy to come here,” but clearly our marquee players had something to do with it.

  31. Why aren’t the Knicks targeting Reggie Williams? Isn’t he exactly the kind of 3-point sniper they need to play off of Melo and STAT?

  32. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): By the way, I continue to call BS on anyone arguing that Melo “brought Chandler here.” Again, before the Knicks outbid the Golden State Warriors, he was going to sign with Golden State, a team that was 10 games under .500 last year, who play in a more difficult conference and whose star players are Steph Curry, Monta Ellis and David Lee. So when a better team that plays in a weaker conference offered him more money, of course he was going to take it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if he and Melo were known to be really good friends, I could buy it. But they’re not, so I don’t.

    According to this article, GS offered 4 years and $60 million.

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/blog/warriors-talk/post/Chandler-has-offer-from-Warriors-?blockID=608184&feedID=2539

  33. Mike Kurylo: Evans is only 31 years old. His scoring did fall off last year in limited time, but not his rebounding. If he can provide that + defense I wouldn’t mind so much. I do like Extra E, and I think he fits D’Antoni’s offense better.

    Duh I was thinking of Reggie. Continue on then.

  34. According to this article, GS offered 4 years and $60 million.

    Initial reports said $60, but just like the initial reports that the Knicks offered $58, they were overestimating. This was partially because the offers had to be unofficial ones. Ultimately, their offer was $13 a year for four years. The Knicks offered $14 a year for four years to play for a better team in a weaker conference.

  35. Duh I was thinking of Reggie. Continue on then.

    Phew. You were really confusing me for a sec there. Yeah, I would have no problem with Reggie Evans.

  36. http://www.ibabuzz.com/warriors/2011/12/08/warriors-lose-out-on-chandler-up-next/

    Following up on @30 and @39, this article has the $52 mill figure you stated, but also states the following:

    “The Knicks outbid the Warriors at four years, $60 million according to one source. As for Golden State’s offer, another source said they did not get that high. The Warriors’ offer was closer to four years, $52 million, with a willingness to maybe get up to $56 million.

    They might’ve reluctantly matched the Knicks but it never got that far, per one source, because Chandler preferred the Knicks. Once they made the offer he liked, game over. Even if the Warriors had matched, Chandler would have chosen New York, the source said. Better situation. Bigger market. You know the story.”

    So while it may not pass muster with you, it is far from outright BS. Besides, your saying that we are the “better team” has something to do with Melo being here, wouldn’t you admit? Re: better conference, so if GS played in our conference and we played in theirs, might we have lost 3 more games and they have won 3 more games? That would have given us equal records. So I don’t get where you are so sure that we are the “better team” on paper, although I do think we are “perceived” to be better. If we never did the Melo trade, and ignoring the possibility of going after the other FA’s, are you so sure we win that bidding war with GS?

  37. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): Initial reports said $60, but just like the initial reports that the Knicks offered $58, they were overestimating. This was partially because the offers had to be unofficial ones. Ultimately, their offer was $13 a year for four years. The Knicks offered $14 a year for four years to play for a better team in a weaker conference.

    What source are you using to determine what GS’s offer really was, and how are you so sure they were not willing to go higher?

  38. What is BS is the notion that Melo recruited Chandler. Or that Chandler would not have come here had the Knicks had, say, Raymond Felton, Wison Chandler, Anthony Randolph and Danilo Gallinari instead of Melo. In other words, Chandler signing with the Knicks does not get to be counted as a benefit of the Melo trade.

  39. What source are you using to determine what GS’s offer really was

    The same thing you quoted was all over the internet. ESPN, AP, etc. That their offer was $13 a year for four years. Now, had Chandler signed with the Knicks for $13 a year, then yeah, that’d be something. That’d be an indication that he just really, really wanted to play in New York.

    And yes, there were reports that they considered going to $15, but they never made the offer, so what can we really take from an offer that was never made? Like Amar’e, Chandler took the largest offer made to play for the Knicks.

  40. Some good news on the Wilson Chandler front. The Nuggets, for some reason, are about to pick up Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer for essentially nothing (just to give Dallas cap space).

    If they have Brewer, you have to figure that makes them a little bit less inclined to keep WC, right?

  41. You really think Wilson is coming back for the $2.5 million, or whatever pro-rated amount the Knicks can offer him after March? I fear not, and it’s a shame, because he’d really be the perfect stretch-4 for them. He’s the rich man’s Shawne Williams.

    Why am I the only lunatic carrying on about Reggie Williams on this site? Am I missing something here? Is he not the perfect under-the-radar steal?

  42. Between Mo Evans, Mo Williams, Reggie Williams, And Reggie Evans, I am positively confused here.

    Mike Kurylo: I do like Extra E, and I think he fits D’Antoni’s offense better…You could argue whether or not ‘Melo fits the SSOL, but Chandler?

    Yeah, I’m still skeptical that D’Antoni will even play Chandler. What exactly is D’A’s role now? He certainly doesn’t have his system in place…. And we’ve seen over the past few years he’s not very good at adapting.

  43. Z:
    Between Mo Evans, Mo Williams, Reggie Williams, And Reggie Evans, I am positively confused here.

    Positively DROLL

  44. Jake S.: Why am I the only lunatic carrying on about Reggie Williams on this site? Am I missing something here? Is he not the perfect under-the-radar steal?

    I think Reggie Williams would be a fantastic signing but 2.5 mil is a little low and he probably wants to go somewhere where he would have a solid chance to start. He would be ideal as our reserve swingman but I think he is too good to simply be a backup and will chase a starting job.

  45. Yeah, I’d gladly take Reggie Williams. Hopefully he is one of those players that ends up getting squeezed and forced to take less money (I mean, not hopefully for his sake, but for ours).

  46. From an article about the Paul story…

    Sources close to the talks insisted Monday night that both Gordon and the Minnesota pick were on the table for much of Monday’s talks, but that’s one of the main reasons that the Clippers backed away.

    Are they saying that the Clippers did make both pieces available? If so, the NBA should have gobbled that shit up right away. Screw the other pieces, just take Gordon and the pick.

  47. The people that run NBA league pass are apparently braindead, NBA league pass is 169 for the year and it includes Broadband and mobile.

    Cost for NBA broadband…………..169, and it includes only broadband.

    wtf???

    they reduced the team choice version from 7 teams to 5 and that costs 10 dollars more than last season.

    So much for giving back to the fans…..thanks alot nba. Seriously considering just watching pirated this season. My cable provider isn’t even in the league pass providers so I can’t even take advantage of the decent price for all inclusive.

  48. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    Yeah, I’d gladly take Reggie Williams. Hopefully he is one of those players that ends up getting squeezed and forced to take less money (I mean, not hopefully for his sake, but for ours).

    I know I’m dating myself, but every time someone mentions Reggie Williams I think of the baby faced kid from Georgetown who looked like he was about 13 years old. Did he end up playing in the NBA?

  49. d-mar: I know I’m dating myself, but every time someone mentions Reggie Williams I think of the baby faced kid from Georgetown who looked like he was about 13 years old. Did he end up playing in the NBA?

    That he did. He was a very high draft pick by the Clippers and then suffered a serious injury (natch). He bounced around for awhile as a rangy G/F and had a couple of pretty decent years w/the Nuggets.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/willire01.html

  50. So let me get this right re: the Denver/Dallas trade.

    If you take the end product of a bunch of trades, it looks like Denver traded Raymond Felton and a future second round pick for Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez, and Jordan Hamilton? (With Corey Brewer as a side note)

    On draft night 2011 Denver was in a 3-way trade that sent Felton to Portland, Jordan Hamilton and Andre Miller to Denver, Rudy Fernandez to Dallas. Fernandez and Brewer are now being traded for a 2nd round pick? WTF is going on and does the Denver FO have some sort of Jedi mind trick?

  51. Maybe I am giving him too much credit, but anyone else think Cuban may know something we don’t? He has been dismantling his championship squad furiously to create cap space for 2012, an offseason that features 3 marquee free agents who likely will never even make it to free agency….seems like a bizarre move to me unless he has some strong insider info. that deron or dwight want to go there and won’t sign extensions elsewhere….minus the big 3 the 2012 free agent class is decidedly weak…I think maybe all this talk about adjusting the team payroll for the upcoming salary tax hike in 2 years could be a smoke screen…what he is doing sort of reminds me of how Riley wittled his team down to 2 contracts to make space for the Big 3 because he basically knew they would sign (since wade was already on the team)….otherwise that Heat team literally would have been the worst team in the history of creation if his “gamble” hadn’t paid off….I know deron was supposedly pining to go to Dallas prior to the Utah-NJ trade from what I read previously.

  52. What would be the best permutation for the Knicks concerning D12’s and Cp3’s landing spots? I would say, realistically, Clippers for Cp3 and Lakers for Dwight. Lakers are depleted post-Odom trade and wouldn’t be automatic bet for anything even with Dwight, and Clippers would have to give up a lot of talent for Cp3. I really can’t see these guys going elsewhere, to be honest…..unless it is Brooklyn, which would be great for NYC basketball and for sparking a new rivalry with Nets, but on the other hand, I would hate having to read the 1 million columns on how the Nets front office is genius, Prokhorov outfoxed the Knicks, and they wound up with the better big 2 than the Knicks.

  53. Spree8nyk8:
    The people that run NBA league pass are apparently braindead, NBA league pass is 169 for the year and it includes Broadband and mobile.

    Cost for NBA broadband…………..169, and it includes only broadband.

    wtf???

    they reduced the team choice version from 7 teams to 5 and that costs 10 dollars more than last season.

    So much for giving back to the fans…..thanks alot nba.Seriously considering just watching pirated this season.My cable provider isn’t even in the league pass providers so I can’t even take advantage of the decent price for all inclusive.

    Yeah that sucks. I only get the League Pass through my cable provider, they usually offer an early bird price which is valid as long as you order the package before the free trial ends (this season it will last 2 whole weeks instead of the usual 10 days). Its usually 20 bucks cheaper so hopefully this season it will “only” cost me 149 bucks.

  54. @62 Re: the Brooklyn Nets – I know they needed to make a splash with the new arena opening in 2012, but the idea of renting a star and hoping he stays while you’re not competing for a championship was always a huge risk. If they end up with no D-12 (which seems pretty likely) and D-Will departs, that franchise could be in for some very lean years with a bunch of tickets to sell.

  55. Totally off-track, but I was just looking at Wages of Wins to see how good Chandler was last year in their estimation (very, very good – http://wagesofwins.com/2011/12/11/wins-produced-comes-back-better-and-stronger/) and I think I’ve stumbled on a problem w/their formula.

    In essence, Wins Produced says that efficient scoring/rebounding/assists/blocks/steals are far more valuable than players (like ‘Melo) who average 25+ppg.

    The thing is, the efficient players (like Tyson) are only efficient b/c they limit themselves to easy shots — dunks, put-backs, alley-oops, etc. There are going to be a limited number of “easy” or high-efficiency shots available in any given game and there will always be “tough” or low-efficiency shots. How many of each depends on how good any team is and how poor their opponent is.

    But even if the ’96 Bulls were facing the ’08 Knicks, there are going to be possessions in which a player will have to take a contested 20-footer b/c the defense forced them into that situation.

    i.e. – SOMEONE has to shoot the ball in less-than optimum conditions. If you rolled out a team of Berri’s “best” players [for argument’s sake, say a starting lineup of Jason Kidd (12th best), Landry Fields (8th), Gerald Wallace (23rd) Kris Humphries (17th) and Tyson Chandler (14th)] he’d say that team would win 56 games minimum last season, even if they got nothing from their bench.

    Does anyone in their right mind think that’s true? Someone on that team has to shoot low-efficiency shots, and when they do, their rating under Berri’s system is going to plummet dramatically. Who from that squad do you want shooting w/4 seconds on the clock ISO’d on the wing? Landry? Wallace? That’s a 35 win team at most.

    KB Berri-philes, can you tell me how I’m wrong? Has this argument been made before or did I just have a ‘eureka!’ moment?

  56. I’ve always thought the same thing about those stats. It seems like the people who get the easiest shots (whether it be standing in the corner waiting for wide open 3’s or waiting under the basket for a put-back dunk) are rewarded greatly for their percentages when in fact, if the majority of players in the NBA had their role, they would do just as well in their spot. If Landry Fields was the guy that defenses locked in on (Melo), do you think he would have the percentages he does now? Hell no.

  57. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta):
    I think I’ve stumbled on a problem w/their formula.

    In essence, Wins Produced says that efficient scoring/rebounding/assists/blocks/steals are far more valuable than players (like ‘Melo) who average 25+ppg.

    i.e. – SOMEONE has to shoot the ball in less-than optimum conditions.

    Does anyone in their right mind think that’s true? Someone on that team has to shoot low-efficiency shots, and when they do, their rating under Berri’s system is going to plummet dramatically.

    KB Berri-philes, can you tell me how I’m wrong? Has this argument been made before or did I just have a ‘eureka!’ moment?

    No eureka moment, and not a new argument against our statistical lord and savior, Dave Berri.

    I think the thing you are missing is that even high efficiency players like Chandler and Fields do take contested 20ft jumpers (bad shots) the thing you miss is that they don’t do it very often because they don’t end up in those situations very often. It really starts to hurt the players who do that a lot. Chandler may do that on 1 of 10 shots. Melo may do that 4 of 25 shots he takes. But the other 9 shots from Chandler will be high efficiency shots (dunks, put backs, lay ups) Chandler will make 80% of those. Melo meanwhile will just miss other good shots because the rest of his shots wont be put backs and dunks. He will miss a few open 20 footers. Even uncontested, most players wont hit 80% of open 20 ft jumpers.

    It is not just taking bad shots. It factors how many good shots you take as well. 90% of Melo’s shots will never be at the rim. As such he will miss more shots and become a less efficient player. The system as I understand it rewards success. The most successful players tend to take more of the high make shots.

    You have to factor in all shots taken, not just the bad ones.

  58. Damn dude what a diss, to think that 90% of Melo’s shots aren’t at the rim? What’s he shooting at?

    :)

  59. I didn’t seriously think it was a new argument

    But Thomas, the point I was making is that ‘bad shots’ can’t be eliminated from a game. You can’t have a team that only takes high-efficiency shots, because no defense, no matter how bad they are, will allow it. Since someone on a team has to take low-efficiency shots, aren’t we saying that (last year) Tyson only took the high-efficiency shots b/c Dallas had Dirk Nowitzki and his deadly (if relatively inefficient) fadeaway 20-footer)

    I’m saying you HAVE to have “low-efficiency” players/shooters on a team because you can’t completely eliminate them from the game. It’s why Jordan was nigh-unbeatable. Even in a situation where he was forced into a tough shot, he still made them at an amazing rate.

  60. Look at my hypothetical team. If Berri really has divined a unified field theory for hoops, that’d be a contending team, and it’s clear it isn’t.

  61. Robert–As usual, I really enjoyed your article on the guys at the end of the bench. I liked what you said about players who make the pros but, for whatever reasons, don’t get burn. And make no mistake, these guys are usually amazing when you compare them to other accomplished amateur players. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to be great, but not great enough. As you pointed out, to be great requires a Herculean commitment to excellence, while sacrificing other aspects of your life. One last thing. For the most part, being a pro is about proving performance, which is objectively measured in the competitive arena. It is not like the arts, where excellence can be so very subjective, that popular and monetary success is not necessarily based upon technical excellence. On the formula issue—maybe that’s why the Melo’s of the world, in a relatively free market, are valued so high. Maybe the guys paying their salaries understand (more than we give them credit for) the difference between making a crazy hard shot and a dunk. If you could eliminate voluntary poor shot selection from the equation, I think we’d have a very interesting metric.

  62. Robert – congratulations on re-inventing the wheel. As a side note, someone has already invented something to turn steam into motion, found that tree moss can cure infections, and combined a blanket with a sweatshirt.

    As much as Berri’s stat overcompensates the low volume shot taker, Hollinger’s overrates the high volume low efficiency shot taker. I’m in between the two. Sure there times that the shot clock is winding down & someone has to take a shot. However no one has made that correlation. I recall during the David Lee/Jamal Crawford days, everyone said that Crawford took a lot of those last second shots. However looking at a breakdown of his numbers, he was much more likely to take a shot in the first X seconds of a shot clock than the last. In other words it was bunk.

    In simple terms, there is no distinction between your average chucker who just likes to fling it up because ppg=$ at no matter what efficiency, and the guy that is actually bailing out the offense.

  63. “Chemistry is something that you don’t just throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, then throw it on top of something, then fry it up and put it in a tortilla and put in a microwave, heat it up and give it to you and expect it to taste good.”
    — Kevin Garnett

    Too long for a t-shirt. Maybe if I just make a picture of the table of elements & put it in a tortilla in a microwave?

    http://espn.go.com/boston/nba/story/_/id/7349548/boston-celtics-kevin-garnett-calls-david-stern-rushed-training-camp

  64. So kind of off topic but the Knicks “big three” wear numbers 6, 7, and 1. which coincidently is the area code from where i’m from, Guam. which is cool for me since i’m probably 1 of maybe 50 people on this small island who live and breath the Knicks since the Ewing, Starks era.

    Anyway, i’m very optimistic about this years team. Chandler obviously adds the defensive center, or just a legit center, piece that we’ve been lacking for quite sometime.

  65. Mike, notwithstanding the Crawford types, aren’t there guys who take tougher shots because they must, but take easy shots when those opportunities present themselves? For example, I’m thinking of a player on a bad team that is routinely doubled or tripled, that is kind of forced to carry the day. In that case, isn’t Robert’s critique right on point? Is that why you are saying we need to use Hollinger, which overrates the pure scoring? When I read the statistical primer for this site, a key was to look at each possession. I totally agree. Maybe there is a way to factor in the need to take the shot as a criteria to create a “unified field theory”. I’m certain one of you dudes could do it. You could look at the score when the shot was attempted, whether the player was on a team where he was kind of franchised, his overall passing to an open man. The shots made by that open man. Things like that—maybe these are things some of us factor in when we make our own subjective judgments regarding a player’s value.

  66. Mike Kurylo:
    everyone said that Crawford took a lot of those last second shots. However looking at a breakdown of his numbers, he was much more likely to take a shot in the first X seconds of a shot clock than the last. In other words it was bunk.

    Unless you have stat sources that are inaccessible to me (very likely), I haven’t seen any breakdown of shots stratified by time on shot clock that has enough granularity to call it “bunk”.

    The shots we are talking about are these: defense has basically won the possession and the offense has broken down. There are, say, 7 seconds left on the clock – not enough time to run a real play. Ball is given to player “X” who is asked to “create” a reasonable shot.

    The only stat site that’s free that I know of that breaks down shots by time on shot clock is 82games. But there is no breakdown based on TYPE of shot. For instance, if Crawford drove the lane, dished to Gallo, who made a 3 at the shot clock buzzer, Gallo would get a shot in his 21+ shot clock usage, but the offense was created by Crawford, who gets nothing in particular 21+ stat box. Or vice versa. The “creation” of offense doesn’t necessarily mean an actual shot (it can mean free throws, assists etc), and all shots taken at 21+ in the shot clock are not the “create a reasonable shot from nothing” shots that we’re talking about.

    What we would need is something like (points + points created – (points given away on TO) per possession when starting from an isolation with less than x seconds on the clock. Then we would need to find out how many of these possessions occur in an average game before we could really say how useful “creation of offense” as a skill is.

    That’s my issue with all the freely available advanced stats – they’re like using an axe to cut a tomato – not nearly enough specificity to make me really…

  67. One part of the game that is not factored in to offense stats is: how do the individuals on a team affect the defensive game plan of the opposing team? I would hypothesize that a player like Carmelo suffers because 1) opposing teams “game plan” to make him the focal point of their defense and 2) Melo often plays into the defense’s hands by accomodating their plan to have him take lower percentage shots than what migh be available. Because of that, teams can in effect lower his WP48 numbers. The issue I have is not with the stat, but in the way it is used. If you are saying that Melo has a lower WP 48 than he should, given his talent, that is different than saying that Melo is not as good as Fields because Fields has a higher WP 48. The question is not “is Melo as good as LeBron?”, but rather, “Can Melo be the “Paul Pierce” of a title-contending team that has Amare and Chandler and some good young pieces (can Shumpert be as valuable as Rondo?)” Pierces WS 48 numbers were generally significantly higher after age 27 than before and he has topped .200 twice since Garnett and Allen arrived. The Celts don’t win a championship if Pierce doesn’t light up all-time WP 48 leader LeBron James in game 7 of the ECF’s.

    So, a better use of the stats for me is to determine what a player’s “theoretical ceiling” is re: WP 48, and to figure out whether he can be enabled to get there, via coaching, role change, complementary players, etc. In Melo’s case, it would be hard for me to imagine that at age 26, he is maxed out at a WS 48 of .157. I suppose 5 years from now we can look back and decide whether Berri was right about Melo being dreadfully overrated. For now, I’m happy we took that risk.

    PS: Zach Randolph nearly doubled his career avg WS 48 last year at age 29.

  68. I always thought Crawford would be ideal as a sixth man, and he did have some fantastic games in the playoffs last year. but we really need frontcourt depth, please make Shawne Williams the priority.

  69. I came to this site as a parvenu to the stats-class. I have learned a lot about the game through the stats that have been preached here by both Berri and Hollinger disciples. From what I’ve seen, both systems have their flaws, but both also shed a lot of light on the reality of players vs peoples perceptions.

    It almost seems that the best metric would be one that combines the two systems. Since 1981 only 13 players have scored a PER over 25 and a WS/48 over .250 in the same season:

    Jordan(8), David Robinson(6), Shaq(5), Magic(4), Barkley(3), Karl Malone(3), KG(2), Lebron(2), Chris Paul(2), Nowitski(2), Amar’e(1), McGrady(1), Tim Duncan(1)

    It’s an exclusive list, lacking in a lot of supposed superstars. But there’s no names on it that don’t belong (especially of the repeat performers). Seems like it could be argued that these are your true superstars.

    And, when a “star” player (like Carmelo) doesn’t score particularly well in either metric, then likely there is a problem, and perception is trumping reality.

  70. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta):
    Since someone on a team has to take low-efficiency shots, aren’t we saying that (last year) Tyson only took the high-efficiency shots b/c Dallas had Dirk Nowitzki and his deadly (if relatively inefficient) fadeaway 20-footer)

    I’m saying you HAVE to have “low-efficiency” players/shooters on a team because you can’t completely eliminate them from the game. It’s why Jordan was nigh-unbeatable. Even in a situation where he was forced into a tough shot, he still made them at an amazing rate.

    You’re misremembering Jordan, as it seems everyone will do. In terms of eFG%, Jordan was never THAT efficient from the field. He was in the Top 10 in eFG% only once in his career (’88-’89). But he wasn’t at all a bad shooter, of course. What set him apart efficiency-wise was his ability to get to the FT line and convert those attempts to points. He’s surely the best in the modern era, but let’s not say he’s super-human because he made a whole lot of clutch shots in a whole lot of opportunities. He missed the net from time to time.

    But why does it matter who’s taking the low-efficiency shots if they’re not going in at a good rate either way? Why is Melo better than, say, Kevin Martin? Do the opposing defenders just take the day off because he’s not named Carmelo Anthony?

    Also, you have way too little faith in the ability of the average NBA player to shoot over a defender’s hand. Yeah, there are plenty of absolutely terrible jump shooters (Balkman, Jeffries, to start), but most guards and small forwards can put the ball over a hand.

  71. Mike Kurylo:
    Robert – congratulations on re-inventing the wheel. As a side note, someone has already invented something to turn steam into motion, found that tree moss can cure infections, and combined a blanket with a sweatshirt.

    Ouch!

  72. Nene just signed with Nuggets – 5 years $67 M. Up on ESPN

    That’s too much money for him, but without him the Nuggets were basically sunk next year, so I guess good for them. I am really torn on the topic, as that is a lot of money for a guy who has some major holes in his game.

  73. Frank:

    The only stat site that’s free that I know of that breaks down shots by time on shot clock is 82games.But there is no breakdown based on TYPE of shot. For instance, if Crawford drove the lane, dished to Gallo, who made a 3 at the shot clock buzzer, Gallo would get a shot in his 21+ shot clock usage, but the offense was created by Crawford, who gets nothing in particular 21+ stat box.Or vice versa.The “creation” of offense doesn’t necessarily mean an actual shot (it can mean free throws, assists etc), and all shots taken at 21+ in the shot clock are not the “create a reasonable shot from nothing” shots that we’re talking about.

    What we would need is something like (points + points created – (points given away on TO) per possession when starting from an isolation with less than x seconds on the clock.Then we would need to find out how many of these possessions occur in an average game before we could really say how useful “creation of offense” as a skill is.

    You’re differentiating between systems WAY too much, here. There are only five players on the court at once, and it seems highly unlikely that people are going to pass the ball to a single “shooter” enough in those situations for that sample to be statistically significant. Carmelo Anthony is not playing a different game than the rest of the players in the league. He just shoots the ball more often.

    Also, WP remains consistent for players across seasons without regard to teammates. Most players, barring injury, see very little deviation from the normal course of the average player’s ascent and decline. (Major differences in coaching, like Josh Smith eliminating his three-point game, make the most significant difference in variance.)

  74. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): That’s too much money for him, but without him the Nuggets were basically sunk next year, so I guess good for them. I am really torn on the topic, as that is a lot of money for a guy who has some major holes in his game.

    I don’t think it’s too unreasonable. I put him pretty close to the same value as Amare and he is making less.

  75. Fair enough, you’re probably right. Heck, if Tyson Chandler is making $14 million a year, then $13 million for Nene makes sense. The Nuggets need a power forward, though. Al Harrington surely is not going to cut it. I see that they lost Gary Forbes to Toronto. That is too bad, but he likely did not have a role. They need to resign Afflalo. If they do and get a good 4, they will be in very good shape this year and going forward while still having cap room to re-sign all their Chinese guys.

    Speaking of good fours, the Lakers made a nice pick-up of Josh McRoberts. He’ll fit in really well with whichever of Paul or Howard that the Lakers get.

    I sure hope the Nets don’t get Howard. Marc Stein was saying that he thinks the Nets are in better position to get Howard than the Lakers. I don’t see it. Gasol and Bynum has to trump anything that the Nets can trade, right?

  76. With pretty much all of the major free agent centers signed now, check out Bill Simmons’ predictions for how much the centers will sign for:

    1. Nene
    Prediction: Signs with New Jersey (five years, $100 million, thanks to a sign-and-trade with Denver3)
    Verdict: COMICALLY OVERPAID

    2. Marc Gasol
    Prediction: Re-signs with Memphis (five years, $78 million)
    Verdict: PROPERLY PAID

    3. Tyson Chandler
    Prediction: Re-signs with Dallas (four years, $69 million)4
    Verdict: OVERPAID

    4. DeAndre Jordan
    Prediction: Re-signs with Clippers (five years, $46 million)5
    Verdict: OVERPAID

    5. Chris Kaman
    Prediction: Traded to Sacramento (for Jason Thompson)
    Verdict: One year away from being OVERPAID AGAIN

    6. Sam Dalembert
    Prediction: Signs with Denver (four years, $40 million)
    Verdict: OVERPAID

    7. Brendan Haywood
    Prediction: Traded to Houston (for Patrick Patterson and a future no. 1 pick)
    Verdict: ONCE OVERPAID, NOW SLIGHTLY OVERPAID

    8. Greg Oden
    Prediction: Re-signs with Portland (one year, $8.9 million)
    Verdict: PROPERLY PAID

    9. Andris Biedrins
    Prediction: Stays put, much to the chagrin of every Warriors fan
    Verdict: STILL OVERPAID

    10. Josh McRoberts
    Prediction: Signs with New Orleans (four years, $26 million)
    Verdict: OVERPAID

    11. Spencer Hawes
    Prediction: Signs with Detroit (three years, $18 million)
    Verdict: OVERPAID

    12. Aaron Gray
    Prediction: Signs with Indiana (three years, $15 million)
    Verdict: OVERPAID

    What’s funny is that the whole conceit of the article is about how dumb the owners are to overpay all these guys (note the “verdict” aspect of each player) and, well, he was way off base.

  77. Nene for his career has actually been a worse rebounder than Amar’e (ditto shotblocking).

    Comparing Nene and Tyson, it certainly looks like for what the Knicks needed Tyson was the much better fit. But they both are probably making what they deserve with their new contracts and for the teams they will be playing for.

  78. I generally dislike anything and everything Simmons writes, and that article was no exception. At face value, yes, those centers might be ‘overpaid’ in some sense. But we’ve known for years now that there’s been a lack of quality centers in the league for some time. Econ 101 says that when the supply decreases, the price increases. You can’t compare this era’s stats (one franchise true center, the next best being -maybe- Horford) with the 90’s.

  79. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman:
    But why does it matter who’s taking the low-efficiency shots if they’re not going in at a good rate either way? Why is Melo better than, say, Kevin Martin? Do the opposing defenders just take the day off because he’s not named Carmelo Anthony?

    Problem is – not every possession can end in a tidy corner 3, layup or dunk, so you DO need someone who can take those difficult shots and make them more often than the average player. If you watch the Bulls play D, so many possessions against them end up in an iso at the end of the shot clock – their team D is just that good. Like I said above, I don’t know how many possessions that is per game or season, or how significant that will end up being. But it sure seems like a lot of playoff games come down to possessions like this.

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: Also, you have way too little faith in the ability of the average NBA player to shoot over a defender’s hand. Yeah, there are plenty of absolutely terrible jump shooters (Balkman, Jeffries, to start), but most guards and small forwards can put the ball over a hand.

    Contested shots just don’t go in as often as open ones. The ones who can make more of them should be shooting the more difficult shots. An interesting link: http://82games.com/saccon.htm

  80. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: There are only five players on the court at once, and it seems highly unlikely that people are going to pass the ball to a single “shooter” enough in those situations for that sample to be statistically significant.

    Um, do you even watch the games? How often do you see Landry Fields given the ball with 6 seconds on the shot clock and asked to make a reasonable shot? On our team last year, it was Amare or Melo (or TD if one of the others wasn’t in) that took 75+% of those shots. Again, I’m not sure how many or how significant over a game or season those possessions end up being – but it sure seems like they happen a lot. Even if they don’t happen that often, the margin of victory is often so small that even 1 or 2 possessions that end up in scores will count – our point differential last year was only +0.8. (I’m aware that this cuts both ways – taking crappy shots also “wastes” possession).

    Or maybe I’m misunderstanding you – do you mean that not enough “non-creators” get passed the ball at the end of the shot clock to make a difference in their shooting numbers? That wasn’t really my point – my point is that “creator” X may be creating a lot of offense in the last few seconds of the clock that is not being measured by 82games’s shotclock breakdown.

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