New York 86 Denver 95

Since I’m away on a trip, I didn’t get to see this game. Although I got to watch a competitive game last night between the Celts & Raps, I’m curious if anyone can tell me what happened to the Knicks?

From the box score it’s pretty obvious how the Knicks lost. The Nuggets shot at a higher percent (47% – 40% eFG%), turned the ball over less (16% – 21% TO Ratio), and repeatedly got to the foul line (.32 – .21 FT Ratio). The Knicks beat them on the boards (35% – 21%), but that’s nowhere near enough to overcome those odds. What is not explained in the AP release or the box score is Larry Brown’s substitutions. I’m curious why Eddy Curry, Quentin Richardson, and Trevor Ariza only played 20 minutes.

It’s not hard to imagine why Curry hit the pine. Marcus Camby is a quick and athletic center and I’m guessing that Curry would have had trouble keeping up with him on the defensive end. With Carmelo having a big scoring night, I can make the same excuse for Q-Rich, given his defensive reputation. However I’m at a loss why Ariza only played 7 minutes. Matt Barnes was unavailable due to injury, which would leave Trevor as the Knicks’ best defender at the small forward spot.

Instead it looked as if Brown wanted to go big. He gave his power forwards and centers a combined 128 minutes, which means than over the half the game the Knicks had three big men on the court. So my question to KnickerBlogger.Net readers is why in a close game (New York would start the 4th only down by 10 points) would their two best small forwards be largely unavailable?

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

47 thoughts to “New York 86 Denver 95”

  1. Curry reportedly had a right calf strain. As for Ariza and Q, your guess is as good as mine. Brown played Rose and Lee almost exclusively at SF last night. Rose had a couple of good moments defending Carmelo, but overall neither guy looked very good defending him. Seems both Q and Ariza would be better suited to the task.

  2. Mr. “play the right way” (I gag as a I write that I’ve heard it so often) is befuddling the best of us. I have no idea why Ariza only played a few minutes – Carmelo was crushing them. Lee, while he had only 2 recorded turnovers, was actually much worse than that – it seemed like he had 5. After a good first half, Frye was woeful in the 2nd. Marbury looked lost – he had no idea what to do out there. No idea why QRich didn’t play too much either. One startling stat – Brown played all 12 guys IN THE FIRST QUARTER ALONE. Who does that?

    As much as I like Davis, he is unnecessary on this team and while he doesn’t need to be traded, if value can be found for his ending contract, he should go – Frye is more than sufficient at that spot right now and needs the minutes. Lee looks like he has no touch whatsoever around the basket – a nice backup, very active, very mobile, but no offensive touch, much like Ariza although a bit less athletic. Robinson looks like a solid backup too – not sure if there was anyone selected after him who could turn into a starter, but at 5’9″, you have to think that he can’t be a starter on a really good team.

    Denver had both KMart and (obviously) Nene out – yet Camby and Elson and Melo outplayed the Knicks front line fairly easily in the 2nd half. Knick turnovers killed them and their guards look lost.

    Early returns look like it is going to be a long season for the Knicks. ONly if Brown settles on a rotation will things calm down.

    And one last thing – yes, Marbury may have gone to Brown to suggest moving to the 2 guard, but note that he went to him privately. He didn’t whine to the press – Brown outed him. Brown also whined in the press about the flawed roster. Brown is flailing around trying to blame everyone but himself for the losses – saying much of the “right” things to the press, but in reality, undermining the team. Brown may be a good coach, but as a politician, he is masterful. In a nasty way – total lack of class. And it might be classy to let a guy like Ariza start in LA, but it discombobulates the team and it puts the individual above the team.

    And lastly – is there any team out there that would actually trade FOR Marbury? The only team I can possibly think of is Minnesota – take back Wally and Kandy and be done with it. No other way to get out from under that contract.

  3. birchnbrook – I’m not sure if you were talking about the single game, or the knicks entire season, but I have a few points of contention that I would like the rest of Knicks-nation to sort out.

    1. Lee – from what I’ve seen, he has a nice touch around the hoop. The guy is ambidextrous, which makes him hard to stop since he can use either hand around the rim. I’m sure an 0-4 night will make anyone look bad, but from what I’ve seen, the guy can score.

    2. Robinson – from the boxscore he had a good night, but I’m not sure he’s anywhere close to being a backup PG at this point in his career, nevertheless a starter. He had his best line as a pro against Denver, but he still only shot 36%.

    3. Brown – I wouldn’t paint Larry as as the bad guy in the Marbury to the 2 just yet. Steph said in the NYT he had no problem with Larry revealing what he said. Again this isn’t some interim coach. Larry Brown knows what he’s doing.

  4. I’d say keep Curry as the starting Center; the guy’s mega-talented, and mega-sloppy, but it seems to me he’s buying into Brown’s program and has been playing hard, if not always smart, and even his rebound totals have not been ridiculous over the last several games (not counting the Denver non-game). Whether they’re working on footwork with him, or he’s simply playing his way into shape, I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet. Frye perhaps should start, but at Power Forward; I like his game, but it ain’t a Center’s game. Lee is still monster-rebounding, but I still think he’s best suited for the kind of play he’s getting; he did have an awfully rocky Denver game. Why Rose is getting so many minutes is a mystery, save that the Knicks are trying to peddle him (to Denver for Watson?) and are giving him exposure. But what do I know? I’ve alwas liked Maurice Taylor, and I think he’s played very well this season; I’d rather see him and Frye share the big man minutes with Lee and Curry, with everyone else sitting. But I realize I’m a lonely, lonely man in my Taylor support…

  5. Unless/until the Knicks can find a “pure” PG, LB’s going to have to realize that he has one of the league’s premier penetrators and use that fact to his advantage.

    Marbury certainly needed someone to pull in the reigns, but at the moment LB is pulling so hard that he’s choking the life out of Marbury’s game. My guess is that this early treatment of Marbury is an effort to show him who’s boss, something that every one of Marbury’s previous coaches has failed to do. Now that Marbury has bowed to LB by changing his game completely it might be time to start winning some games.

    I’m not advocating a return to last year’s offensive game plan of Marbury driving wildly on every possession, but there must be a happy median. Right now if Marbury drives when his man pressures him he’s breaking the play, so why not simply draw up some plays that allow Marbury to penetrate and create for teammates and himself? The best “pure? PGs, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and Tony Parker, are constantly making plays by getting into the lane and the first two regularly lead their team on the break. Simply put: who’s the better PG? Steve Nash or Charlie Ward? Jason Kidd or Eric Snow?

    LB might find more success using Marbury and Crawford as more of Parker/Manu backcourt (sharing the responsibilities of both guard spots, slashing, scoring, and creating) instead of insisting that they somehow become Eric Snow and Allen Iverson or Mark Jackson and Reggie Miller when neither comes close to fitting the part. As LB has said, the Knicks don’t have Eric Snow and Aaron McKie, but at the same time Marbury is not Iverson, and Crawford and Ariza are capable of sharing some of the ball handling/distribution responsibilities.

    The offense needs to become more dynamic by centering on ball-movement instead of continuing to allow Marbury to dominate the ball, just in a different role. In Detroit, for example, Brown did not seem to make such ridiculous demands of Chauncey Billups: he averaged around 1 fewer point and 1 more assist per 40 minutes than Rip Hamilton and only 3 more assists per 40 minutes than Tayshaun. (Of course, for this to happen the Knicks have to stop turning the ball over.)

    The Knicks’ players need to adjust their games to LB’s system (and they seem to be trying), but at the same time LB is going to need to adjust his system to the strengths and weaknesses of his personnel.

  6. Larry Brown is a dick. He’ll squeeze some short term wins out of this team, but overall it’ll damage the franchise even more. I like what he’s doing with Marbury, but let’s just say Larry isn’t the guy you want to be in a foxhole with when things go south.

    Again, I think a lot can be learned from the way Denver broke the cycle of being a shitty team. Bite the bullet fellas, and pray the Knicks blow up this Hindenburg.

  7. Look, I realize N.Y. is a hostile city, but I hardly think what Brown did in Detroit “damaged the franchise.” Nor, for that matter, what he did in San Antonio with David Robinson, either. Nor, for that matter, what he did in Philadelphia. I think the Knicks are going to be pretty damn competitive by mid-season, and it seems to me there are an awful lot of young players getting a lot of minutes on this team. I mean, David Lee, who half of us are ready to enshrine in the Hall of Fame, got zero rebounds last night in 12 minutes. Jackie Butler is not leading the team in rebounds, believe it or not. Considering that Frye is the only rookie that is daily performing at a competitive level (and he was the rookie most disparaged by Knicks fans during the preseason, telling us something about preseason stats), I think Brown is giving the youngsters plenty o’ minutes. I mean, Robinson is fun to watch, but at this point, a mess. But I do think (as I stated above) that young Curry seems to be buying into his system, and is rebounding at a rate better than he has in the past, while Ariza, Lee, Frye Robinson and even Butler all are getting real looks. I’m not sure what Knicks fans expected…

  8. One other thing, I’ve added something new to the stat page. A free weekly subscription to “KnickerBlogger – The Magazine” to the first reader that can spot it. :-)

  9. Well, considering half of the discussions on this board/in this thread revolve around how things are going to shake out with Larry Brown, and what direction the team is going in, I think it’s pretty fair to introduce the idea that the entire franchise is a national joke and needs a complete overhaul. I don’t say it out of spite. Sorry if that stings, but it’s true and the sooner people come to this realization the better. A lot of these discussions have the feel of rearanging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Do you agree with Brown’s strategy of slowing the pace down with this team?

    Will Marbury move to shooting gaurd?

    Should Malik Rose or Maurice Taylor be playing at backup PF?

    None of this matters. The entire goal of the Knicks should be holding on to their young talent (what their is of it) and blowing up the rest of the roster to get more young talent or cap space. Period. Just out of curiosity, how many elite teams have the kind of salary albatrosses the Knicks do? There’s a reason San Antonio wins every year, and it ain’t just Tim Duncan. Its got something to do with the reason Malik Rose is now a Knick.

  10. Kareem,

    How many big free agent signings have you seen over the last say 5 years that were by a team that didn’t already have that player?


    Salary cap space in the way you’re thinking is a pipe dream. Salary cap space will only allow you to get an all star caliber player if they have issues or their current team has doubts over whether or not they want to lock their future in by re-signing them. Larry Hughes and Joe Johnson are examples. But it isn’t the case for guys like KG, Duncan, Kobe etc (or LeBron in a couple of years). Those guys always entertain teams like the Knicks, before returning to their original club because their original club can pay them more money. And under the new CBA that’s even more the case. I’m not saying that cap space is useless – it’ll certainly net you a Donyell Marshall type who can help out, but it’s not a shopping mall for current superstars. In fact, not having cap space doesn’t even guarantee NOT getting those players – it just requires sign and trades or trading of expiring contracts – the new ‘cap room’. cf. the Marbury and Curry trades.

    As regards your other points:

    San Antonio is a bit of a special case. They’re been very well managed, particularly in the resources they’ve put into foreign scouting, but they also got incredibly lucky by winning the lottery in two years where franchise players were obvious and available, and they’re lucky that Duncan is prepared to effectively screw with the salary cap by earning less than he is worth. This is one of the things that irks me with the cap, is that it’s predicated on the notion that players will actively earn their market value or more. But when Payton/Malone go to the lakers, or Finley to the spurs, or even Duncan agreeing to earn less than he could, it sort of breaks down in my opinion.

    The Knicks aren’t a national joke. The Clippers or the Hawks maybe, sure, but the Knicks are more or less suffering through the effect of trying to maintain a playoff caliber team while it aged. Players got old, free agent signings were mostly veterans, and eventually the bubble burst and we’ve had a few bad years. Teams go through this. The new york media, who I fear you read a little uncritically, love to spin the ‘titanic’ deal, because that sells papers, not because it’s the truth. This is a work in progress, as we keep hearing, and judge it as such. Put it this way:

    What are you seeing that isn’t cause for hope?!

    Also, as regards stockpiling talent. The knicks can only have 15 players, and realistically no more than 10 of them will get time. Lets assume that we hang onto Ariza, Frye, Lee, Robinson, Marbury, Crawford, Quentin, Curry, and one of Mo/Malik. That’s 9 guys, not counting Butler, who command time. If Jerome James gets his act together then he’s another. This team has more or less used up it’s ability to play youths. Stockpiling picks will help trades, but if we actually use those picks it’ll be tough to find time for them. I do agree with your point that we should do our best to keep our youth as best possible, but you can also argue that their development makes thing like a KG trade a little more probable.

    PS: KB, loved the Pelton/Gasol bit!

  11. Ew, neck beard. Not doing it for me.

    My sitdown would actually be with Nick Collison on well-kept beards:

  12. James,

    I think you are missing one of the main problems with overpaying players:

    1. It makes it difficult to aquire quality players since other teams don’t want to congest their salary cap/pay the luxury tax.

    2. With a limit on how much you can spend, it limits the amount of players you can have yourself that are of quality.

    It’s not like the only guys on the market are max contract players. Wouldn’t it have been nice to be able to sign guys like Larry Hughes, Earl Watson, Andre Miller, Stromile Swift, Mehmet Okur, Carlos Boozer, Lamar Odom, These guys are certainly not franchise saviors, but they certainly are pieces in the puzzle. Additionaly, wouldn’t it be nice to have a shot at guys like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Andrew Bogut, etc etc. via the draft instead of the Channing Frye’s of the world? Could keeping this sorry team on life support instead of clearing the roster of dead weight be part of why the Knicks don’t lose enough for this to happen?

    “The new york media, who I fear you read a little uncritically, love to spin the ?titanic? deal, because that sells papers, not because it?s the truth”

    It’s funny you say that because I don’t live in New York and don’t pay any mind to “the media” in general and especially the NY media. I know every serious NBA fan that I know who is not a Knicks fan, and even some who are, feels the Knicks are more of a joke than the Hawks and Clippers (Both of whom are in a better roster situation than the Knicks and spend far less money) at this point in terms of mismanagement.

    “What are you seeing that isn?t cause for hope?!”

    Almost everything, but mainly the way the Knicks do business which is an utter disaster. Every move they make is for the present and short term and the guys they’re hoping develop are being paid far more than they are worth.

    “Ariza, Frye, Lee, Robinson, Marbury, Crawford, Quentin, Curry, and one of Mo/Malik. That?s 9 guys, not counting Butler, who command time. If Jerome James gets his act together then he?s another.”

    All I can say really is that you’re in a fantasy world if you think these guys all command time on a good team.

    Look, I don’t know how else to put it but this way: The Knicks are paying guys like superstars with the hope they will actually become them someday despite all evidence to the contrary. I would, at the very least, pay guys like superstars who either are, or show signs of it.

  13. Kareem:
    “Blowing up a roster” is not the only way to rebuild in the NBA. There are at least as many examples of teams successfully building through trades, sign-and-trades, MLE signings, and later in the draft as there are of teams building through free agency and top 5 picks. The biggest factor is the Knicks? case was the long-term payroll when Zeke took over a mediocre, not terrible, team.

    You have to distinguish Layden’s Knicks from Zeke’s Knicks. Zeke never could have drafted LeBron, Melo, or Wade or signed Miller because he wasn’t running the team, nor could he have signed almost any of the FAs you list (most as overpaid as any Knick) because he couldn’t have had the Knicks under the cap in time.

    Thus far Zeke has acquired a number of overpriced players in order to upgrade the team’s talent level. This could help in several ways:
    1. Acquire overpaid players until you find some that fit, as Mark Cuban has done with the Mavs.
    2. Use expiring contracts to get talent or use talent to acquire expiring contracts.
    3. Increase the talent level to the point where an All-NBA player would find NY an attractive destination, as Pat Riley did with the Heat and Zeke is hoping to do with KG.
    4. Stand pat and with minor changes and natural improvement they’re a solid playoff team for a decade.

    Look at the Knicks? roster. There are:
    1. Big contracts set to expire over the next few years.
    2. Young players who have looked very impressive.

    That combination might allow you to acquire an All-NBA type, if and when a team is desperate enough to unload one.

  14. And I think if the Knicks had a different GM you’d have a point. However, the major benefit to this roster is that these onerous contracts will eventually expire. Unfortunatly, for the Knicks, they already had a chance for this to happen, and Thomas traded them in for more onerous contracts (although in some cases younger ones.) Again, again, again, had Thomas just been patient they’d be sitting pretty right now and with the Eddie Curry move, there’s no reason to think he’s not going to just keep aquiring risky players and bloated deals.

    Just by virtue of having an unlimeted budget, the Knicks are always going to have a chance to aquire talent, but that does not mean they are maximizing their opportunities. I mean, if you’re looking at it that way, the Knicks can do no wrong; even if you aquire a bad contract it’ll come off eventually. I also disagree with your assesment that the young players on the Knicks have looked very impressive.

    Please keep in mind we don’t know enough about Frye yet, and Eddie Curry, although talented, has a heart problem that his former team considered a serious enough concern to unload him. The rest of the young guys are complimentary pieces as best. Before you get too excited look around; I’d say the Knicks young talent is below that of everyone in their division even.

  15. They had a chance for payroll to expire? Not really. Had Zeke left the roster he inherited in tact, the payroll would still total around $55.5 million + any draft picks/ free agents.
    Sitting pretty? Again, slashing payroll and building in the early lottery and free agency is not the preferred rebuilding method around the NBA for a reason. Are you going to get Larry Brown to coach that team? Is KG going to want to come to that team? If you’re lucky enough to win the lottery this offseason, is Andrea Bargnani more Dirk or Darko or Skita? Are any free agents you want going to leave their teams? If so will they sign with you? How much will you have to overpay to get them? Talk about risk.

    The thing that scared the Bulls and others was that Curry was uninsurable. The Bulls weren’t scared by Tyson Chandler’s back, because he’s insured. He still has a lot to prove, but Curry is one of the best low-post scorers in the league at 22. Getting that kind of talent with some risks involved is usually as well as you’re going to do in the draft or in free agency when you’re under the cap, so if you like him why wait? Again, there is just as much risk associated with the draft and free agency as trades and sign-and-trades.

    Has Zeke been so terrible as an exec? He?s overseen two major building projects: in hindsight the first was going very well when he left, and the second one is a work in progress, we?ll have to wait and see. Thomas acquired questionable contracts because you can?t get something for nothing. What he had to offer in trades and sign-and-trades for the players he valued were expiring contracts, solid veterans, and draft picks. In return he?s gotten some talented young players who have yet to fully develop their games?. Just like Ben Wallace, Rip, and Billups when they arrived in Detroit; O?Neal, Artest, and Stephen Jackson in Indiana; Larry Hughes is Washington; Joe Johson in Atlanta; etc.

    Complementary pieces? 13 or 14 guys on every team are ?complementary pieces?.
    We haven?t seen much of Frye, but there?s no disputing that what we have seen has been very impressive: PER 22.6; P/40 23.6; REB-r 14.7; eFG 47.7
    Curry hasn?t been overly impressive, but neither has he been particularly disappointing: PER 17.6; P/40 21.3; REB-r 16.2; eFG 48.8
    Crawford has shown a lot of improvement. Lee and Butler have been very impressive in limited minutes. Robinson has struggled moving to PG, but the upside is obvious. Ariza has been a bit of a disappointment, but he was impressive last season and just turned 20.

  16. — “Again, slashing payroll and building in the early lottery and free agency is not the preferred rebuilding method around the NBA for a reason.

    Really? It worked great for Denver, the Bulls, Miami, Cleveland, well, the list goes on and on. They’re all in a much better situation than the Knicks and are also spending way less money to do so. Being in New York, and having an unlimited budget you’re always going to be able to lure free agents or take guys in sign and trades. The players these Knicks are “building” around are not acceptable for a payroll that is over 100 million. Oh, by the way, did I mention that even spending all of this money they can’t get to .500 and make the playoffs?

    — Are you going to get Larry Brown to coach that team? Is KG going to want to come to that team?”

    1. Why would you even want Larry Brown to coach this team. Also, the reason that scumbag mercenary is the coach is not b/c he thinks the Knicks have great players (reading his latest comments, it’s quite the opposite actually) but b/c they again overpaid to get something they didn’t need.

    2. Why would KG want to come to this team besides it’s in New York? Besides, he doesn’t have a say in the matter. A better question would be this… would New York have a better chance of aquiring him if they had good players at cap friendly numbers? OF COURSE THEY WOULD!

    — “The thing that scared the Bulls and others was that Curry was uninsurable.”

    Yes, that’s exactly why this was a bad move. You have a healthy, comparable player in Sweetney and you exchange him for a guy who is no better, makes way more money, and is such a health risk that he’s uninsurable.

  17. LB?s track record speaks for itself; VC, Jimmy Jackson, and Shaq are case studies on how a player can force a trade; and whether Sweetney and Curry are comparable is a long-term question. Now, whether or not to build by hitting rock bottom is interesting.

    NBA teams can, and have, rebuilt by letting contracts expire, stockpiling early lottery picks, and hitting rock bottom. In fact, if a team can clear its cap relatively quickly and gets lucky in the draft and/or free agency this method can be very effective. (Not that either enterprise is based solely on luck, but luck in the sense that no one drafts the guy you want before you or no one makes a free agent you want a better offer/ matches your offer to their restricted free agent.)
    However, teams that actually try to be bad?to accumulate high picks and clear their cap?are generally very, very bad for much longer than they anticipate (this is why I?ve included recent playoff history for each team). Teams that try to win while rebuilding tend to succeed in a shorter period of time (if they do it right).
    My observation of the following rebuilding projects combined with Zeke?s supernatural ability to identify talent in the draft (which I figure must translate in some way to finding hidden talent already in the league, Doug Christie is one example), the cap situation/ talent he inherited, and Larry Brown?s history leads me to believe that Zeke?s rebuilding plan might work out.

    1st Approach (Kareem?s list)
    (It?s interesting to note that one of the top players on every team listed came from the 2003 draft class.)
    Poster child: NUGGETS- In the playoffs 4 of the last 15 years.
    As an organization they took forever to rebuild. However, their latest attempt at rebuilding came after a miserable, costly attempt. In just two years Kiki slashed the payroll and rebuilt primarily with draft picks and free agents. Whether the team he?s assembled ever lives up to the hype it?s generated has yet to be seen.

    CAVS- 7-year playoff drought.
    Their resurgence has much less to do with good management than the bounce of a few ping-pong balls (or a rigged lottery?).

    BULLS- 1 playoff appearance in last 7 years: 1st round exit.
    Much like the Cavs, it took the Bulls 6 miserable years to get it right. Since replacing Jerry Krause, Paxson has drafted extremely well. However he did not take raw talented picks like Shaun Livingston, Andris Biedrins, and Mickael Pietrus looking to the future; instead he took seasoned college players Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich looking to win immediately. He also acquired a team with two super-talent young big men starting to mature. Before Pax, however, the Bulls were the poster child for not employing the youth movement/big-time FA strategy.

    HEAT- I would not include the Heat on this list. Presumably, the only reason they were in a position to rebuild in the first place was that Zo ran into unexpected health problems. They were only able to acquire Shaq because his former team was desperate to move him. They took the first opportunity they could to get better by giving a big contract to a very risky free agent (Odom). They rebuilt while weighed down by Eddie Jones and Brian Grant?s enormous contracts. Most importantly, they never actively sought to start over.

    2nd Approach (Ted?s list)
    What I?m advocating here is trying to remain competitive while rebuilding; building through drafting smart outside (or inside) the early lottery; and identifying and acquiring unproven players already in the NBA (rather than waiting for LeBron, for example, to enter the draft or become a free agent).

    Poster child: INDIANA- 8-year playoff run (in playoffs 15 of last 16 seasons)
    Donnie Walsh has built through the draft (he drafted 6 of the 15 players on their roster, Bender was the only top 10 pick among the 6), and by finding talent on other teams? rosters (O?Neal, Artest, and Brad Miller).

    DETROIT- 4-year playoff run after 1 year playoff drought. 1 win short of back-2-back championships.
    Dumars inherited a cap situation in which his only sizable contracts belonged to relatively productive players. He did not; however, attempt to build with big-time free agents and top 5 picks. Arguably, his most important move was acquiring Ben Wallace as a result of losing his best player in free agency. His other major accomplishments include signing Billups (and maybe Maurice Evans) cheap, trading for Hamilton, drafting Prince 23rd overall and Okur in the 2nd round, acquiring savvy veterans from Cliff Robinson to Dale Davis, and using expiring contracts and picks to get Sheed. His ?biggest? signing has been McDyss and he?s blown every top 15 pick he?s had: Cleaves (14), Rodney White(9), and Darko(2).

    PHEONIX- In the playoffs 2 of last 4 years and 15 of the last 17 years.
    Though the Suns haven?t had a high lottery pick in recent memory (#7 in ?04 has been the highest and they didn?t use it) and have never really hit rock bottom, they did clear some cap room and made a splash in free agency with Nash and Q. Before their hot start last season, however, you heard more about how the Mavs had avoided overpaying Nash, while no one mentioned that the Suns would run all over everyone. The Suns success rebuilding can be attributed primarily to good drafting outside the early lottery (Amare, Marion, and Barbosa) and plucking players off other rosters (Joe Johnson and now Boris Diaw, Eddie House, and James Jones).

    DALLAS- 5-year playoff run.
    For years the Mavericks seemed to be in a perpetual state of rebuilding; however, they?ve done it all along without using any of their own early lottery picks and with only minimal big name free agent activity (Dampier is big alright, just not in a good way). Dallas is also one of the only teams (Sacramento) who have come close to the Knicks? payroll.
    Draft steals include Dirk(9), Josh Howard(29), Marquis Daniels(UFA) while unwanted gems include Devin Harris, Stackhouse, Diop, Terry, Tawn, Toine, Raef, Van Exel, Tim Hardaway, etc.

    SACREMENTO (?99-?04)
    Here?s another team that won, in part, by outspending the competition. Petrie specialized in plucking unwanted players (Webber, Bibby, Christie, Brad Miller, and Bobby Jackson) and drafting in the mid-late first (Peja, Hedo, Gerald Wallace). He?s currently trying to mimic Walsh by rebuilding an aging team without missing the playoffs.

  18. Ted,

    I think what you’re missing is all of the teams who have “re-loaded” have had assets to do so. At no point would guys like Mo Taylor, Malik Rose, Jamal Crawford, et al, be of benefit to a team looking to overhaul. It’s one thing to take an aging playoff caliber team and downgrade for a year or two to get some fresh blood, or to pull a Mavericks/late 90’s Trailblazers and turn a good team into an elite one by overspending…. it’s another thing entirely to take a broken, sad, team full of bloated and bad players and think that by overspending to aquire more garbage you are addressing the problem.



    The only hope is that a team will want some expiring contracts and cough up a player so they don’t have to pay the luxury tax. This would be like saying “wow, the Yankees did a great job in getting Alex Rodriguez” Too bad for the Knicks they can’t just keep repeating that pattern to spend their way out of this mess. Oddly, showing financial restraint is there best hope for a winning team.

  19. OK, one more thing. It’s always been a big pet peeve of mine when a someone talks about a team winning the lottery or having a high lottery pick that lands them a good player and describes it as “lucky.” Cleveland isn’t lucky they won the lottery any more than they were lucky to sing Larry Hughes. You put yourself in a position where something like that can happen and if it does then you deserve the rewards.

  20. This is getting ridiculous. The Knicks clearly have some good young players (check out the stats if you don’t believe me). Their biggest problems at the moment are that they’re shooting horribly and leading the league in turnovers, nothing to do with talent or salary cap.

    Other team’s aren’t interested in Davis and Penny’s contracts and the Knicks haven’t signed free agents Eddy Curry or Jamal Crawford the last two years? Interesting.

    Besides the Pacers (who’s veterans were overrated because they were winning), the teams I brought up had few desirable “assets” which they used in rebuilding. The ones who kept a core in place (Mavs and Suns) had to let it develop and add to it. I?m not saying that Zeke has done as good a job as any of these teams, just that some comparisons can be made.

    Winning the lottery is, by definition, luck. The Celtics “put themselves in position” to get Duncan, but the Spurs “deserved” him because David Robinson and Sean Elliot got hurt? Interesting.

  21. “he Knicks clearly have some good young players (check out the stats if you don?t believe me). Their biggest problems at the moment are that they?re shooting horribly and leading the league in turnovers, nothing to do with talent or salary cap.”

    This seams so simple, but you’ve contradicted yourself. The reason the Knicks shooting is horrible and they’re leading the league in turnovers is because of their young “talent.” The stats of these guys suck… especially when you consider the money they’re making.

    — “Winning the lottery is, by definition, luck. The Celtics ?put themselves in position? to get Duncan, but the Spurs ?deserved? him because David Robinson and Sean Elliot got hurt? Interesting.”

    No, you don’t understand the point. Teams that lose a lot end up with better picks than teams that barely sneak into the lottery. In that scenario. The Cavs wern’t just “lucky” to get Lebron that year… they gave themselves that opportunity by having the highest statistical chance of any team (i.e. losing a ton of games)

    — Also, you need to look over those teams you listed again. You’re not being objective about how they aquired players. They all had assets. Grant Hill, high draft picks, guys like Antwan Jamison. Come on now.

  22. From Dan Rosenbaum:

    (Now tell me how this doesn’t apply to the Knicks)

    If a player produces less than his contract is worth, he is not an asset to the Mavs or any other team that he might be traded to. This reality becomes more important in a league with a luxury tax that doubles (or more than doubles) the costs of adding a player. In essence, we get back to the principle that a player is an “asset” only if his marginal productivity exceeds the marginal cost he adds to the team.

    And players who don’t fit into a role on a team, i.e. don’t have high match quality, to use an economics term, run the risk of seeing their asset value fall over time. Players who are poor matches often are not going to be happy in their roles. This leads to reduced productivity for the team and the perceived value of that “asset” starts to fall. Putting players into roles where they can succeed probably is THE most important task of coaches and front offices. It leads to more wins and increased asset values for player contracts

  23. As I said, this is ridiculous: if you’re going to ignore facts there’s no point in having further discussions.

    While it is reasonable to assume that guys like Ariza and Robinson will improve, it is impossible to be certain. It is a FACT, however, that Frye, Curry, Butler, and Lee are putting up good stats considering their age and salaries.
    Frye 22 $2.2 Million PER 24.2
    Curry 22 $7.4 Million PER 18
    Lee 22 $.86 Million PER 16.8
    Butler 20 $.4 million PER 17.6

    The FACT is that this past draft the Bucks had the 6th highest chance of winning the lottery. Had a Tim Duncan or LeBron James been available 5 teams that “put themselves in better positions” than the Bucks would have lost out and might have instead taken home a Keith Van Horn or Darko. That’s luck. And it’s designed that way so teams don’t tank seasons to do what you’re advocating. Check the FACTS and you’ll see that many of the league’s better players were not top 5 picks.

    I have, in fact, researched the entire history of how those teams I listed acquired players. I can break down exactly how each team rebuilt if you’d like, but I figured if you didn’t already know you’d check it out for yourself.

    Grant Hill left as a free agent: he could have just as easily signed with the Bulls, for example, as the Magic. In that case, the Pistons might never have gotten Ben Wallace, the centerpiece of their defense.

    How did the Mavs get Antawn Jamison? They started with (a washed up) Cedric Ceballos. Ceballos for Laettner. Laettner, 2 prospects who haven’t amounted to anything (Courtney Alexander and Etan Thomas), and two washed up vets (Hubert Davis and Loy Vaught) for Juwan Howard. Howard and a pick (#25 Frank Williams) for Raef, Van Exel, Tariq, and Avery Johnson. Raef for Toine and Van Exel for Tawn. They did not offer teams reasonably paid talent, instead they took advantage of teams looking to rebuild and/or unload bloated salaries. By the time they got Jamison the Mavs were already an elite team.

    Not one of the teams I metioned had THEIR OWN top 5 pick at any time during their rebuilding. The best players that they drafted are Dirk (#9 overall acquired using a #6 pick), Amare (#9 overall), Tayshaun Prince (#23), Peja (#14), and Al Harrington (#25). Each of those teams was “sneaking into the lottery” or a playoff team when they picked those players.

    I would have to see the context in which that quote appears to make sense of it. But it appears to be rather off topic.

  24. Speaking of FACTS, it is a FACT that you are looking at a very small sample size for the young players on the Knicks. You can’t site these FACTS as being a way of showing they’re solid players and then say “Well, the guys without good stats are going to improve.” It is also a FACT that you’re looking at the Knicks through rose colored glasses. I guess if I rooted for a team with the highest budget in basketball and they were as bad as the Knicks, I’d might choose to be hopefull. However, you are just being wilfully ignorant about the way the team manages its roster. Your argument is that no matter what you do you can end up with a good team.

    Now here are the real FACTS:

    The Knicks are so poorly managed it’s sick. They draft well but ignore foreign talent, trade for and sign overpriced players that become albatrosses, and repeat this process and can’t figure out why they still suck. The team has been under .500 for 5 years in a row despite spending far more money than any other team. Something is obviously wrong and everyone in the world sees it but Knicks apologists. FACT.

  25. To be fair and to address the issue of if this is timely, I don’t think anyone’s commenting on the article or asking you to read our coments.

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