NY Post: Alec Burks sparks comeback as Knicks stay alive for No. 4 seed in East

From Marc Berman:

These Knicks never stop impressing with their fortitude and resiliency.

On their return to the Garden after a six-game, 11-day Western road trip, and with one of their top performers, Derrick Rose, out with a sprained ankle, the Knicks fell behind by 17 points to the Spurs during a third-quarter disaster Thursday.

But up to the plate stepped reserve swingman Alec Burks, who made his own return from a three-game absence with a knee bruise and COVID-19 to spark the Knicks to a raging 102-98 comeback victory.

Burks, who recently missed eight games with COVID-19, scored a season-high 30 points, and RJ Barrett got hot during the comeback, hitting six straight shots at one juncture to finish with 24 points after his eight-point dud in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Tuesday.

“It shows our grit and toughness,’’ Barrett said of the comeback. “We’re not going to back down.’’

That was an amazing performance by Burks, but what’s funny is that for a Pop-coached team, the Spurs really helped the Knicks a ton during that big run by constantly taking shortarmed outside shots. If you know you’re tiring in the second half of a second night of a back-to-back, you really should drive. Not only does it up the chances of you making the shot, but it also takes up clock. It was a surprisingly poor piece of decision-making by the Spurs.

Later in the game, when the Spurs came back on the Knicks after the Knicks took the lead, it was with drives. So it was very surprising.

The key thing, though, was that Burks was just outstanding. Barrett and Randle made some big shots, as well, but Burks was on fire. The Knicks desperately needed this one to keep their hopes of the #4 seed alive, as the Heat and the Hawks both won tonight.

The Knicks play the Hornets on Saturday afternoon and the Heat play the Bucks (who have a chance of getting the #2 seed) Saturday night. Those two games will likely determine whether the Knicks get the #4 seed or the #6 seed.

Big time win.

Liked it? Take a second to support Brian Cronin on Patreon!

133 thoughts to “NY Post: Alec Burks sparks comeback as Knicks stay alive for No. 4 seed in East”

  1. got nine and a half minutes left in the game – clyde mentions pop went to the air force academy and then dismissively characterizes pop as having: the burnout look

    he may have originated down in the peach state, but clyde is such a new yorker now…

  2. Did they discuss the new Kareem Abdul-Jabber award at all? I think it’s a nice award idea.

  3. That is a good idea for an award. Like the Roberto Clemente Award in MLB.

  4. FWIW, despite all his flaws I think Elf might be a decent defensive matchup against LaMelo. Elf has enough size to not be a horrible matchup against LaMelo’s height, he seems to struggle more with the small shifty guards.

    He still sucks, and I could definitely regret saying this by the end of the CHA game, but for once Elf may actually contribute on defense! Still won’t be worth playing because his offense is terrible, but what can you do.

  5. What will happen if there’s a triple tie at the end of the season for Knicks hawks and heat?

    It’s an extremely confusing system, but when there is a three-way tiebreaker in the NBA, the first question is “Did any of these teams win their division?” and in the case of the Hawks, the answer is “Yes” (by virtue of having the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Heat). If a team has won their division, they are automatically removed from a three-team tiebreaker. So the Hawks are then given the #4 seed and removed from the discussion entirely. So it then becomes a two-team tiebreaker, which is broken with head-to-head record and the Heat swept the Knicks this year, so they would get the #5 seed and the Knicks would get the #6 seed.

    If none of the teams won their division, the tiebreaker would have been combined head-to-head, in which case it would have gone Heat #4 seed (4-2), Knicks #5 (3-3) and Hawks #6 (2-4).

  6. Early Bird:
    FWIW, despite all his flaws I think Elf might be a decent defensive matchup against LaMelo. Elf has enough size to not be a horrible matchup against LaMelo’s height, he seems to struggle more with the small shifty guards.

    He still sucks, and I could definitely regret saying this by the end of the CHA game, but for once Elf may actually contribute on defense! Still won’t be worth playing because his offense is terrible, but what can you do.

    Please stop labeling Payton as a good, or even average, defender.
    He’s decent on the ball, but he dies on every pick, he is lost as a castaway on backdoor cuts and is slow on closeouts half of the time.
    Zach Lowe did a good piece on this weeks ago, with video evidence.

    Could he finally have a pride game against Melo? It’s long overdue, but who knows?

    What you can do?
    Yesterday Thibs played him 13 minutes (in which he was -11, 0-4 shooting) despite Rose’s absence and IQ’s bad game.
    With Rose back Thibs can rotate Rose, IQ and Burks at PG, with some Frank sprinkled at the 2 if defense is needed.
    With everyone available there’s absolutely no need to make us suffer through this anymore.

    And yes, I know I’m dreaming, The Plague will start the first and third quarter and we’ll have to dig us out of a hole as usual.

  7. Max: Please stop labeling Payton as a good, or even average, defender.

    It’s not personal to you EB, it’s a general comment :-)

  8. The Elf thing is really a problem. In the playoffs, giving away 5 minutes in each half basically guarantees a loss.

    Macri mentioned something about Randle’s contract being tied into Elf’s playing time (they have the same agent) — but I kinda highly doubt that is the case. If I’m Randle and I’ve put my heart and soul into this season, the last thing I need or want is for an underserving player to sabotage all the work I’ve put him. I mean, the players aren’t blind. They know better than anyone what goes on when Payton’s on the floor.

    If I’m Thibs — you’ve got 5-6 days off between the end of the regular season and the 1st game of the playoffs. that is solid practice time to put Burks in the starting lineup and scheme up some stuff. Of course we don’t currently know who we’re going to play yet (could be Bucks, Miami, or Atlanta), but it probably doesn’t matter. Bullock guarded Trae for much of the previous games, and neither Miami nor Milwaukee really has a PG that couldn’t be guarded by some combination of Burks, Bullock, or RJ. If we end up playing Atlanta, starting Burks really looks good to me. There’s literally no one for Trae to hide on. He definitely can’t guard RJ who will beast him into the paint. Reggie runs forever and you can make Trae get pounded over and over again on screens. And Burks is a good post-up player too.

    It’s so obvious it hurts. In the playoffs teams will absolutely scheme to magnify Payton’s suckitude even more than they already are in the regular season. Think how bad Eric Bledsoe looked, and then consider that Bledsoe is 5x the player Payton is.

  9. Re: Thibs’s dancing around the Elf situation in response to Bondy’s question — I hope to God he’s holding a lineup change in his back pocket, only to reveal it on game day afternoon Game 1.

    Macri also touched on the “who would you rather play in Round 1” — without a doubt it is the Hawks – I don’t even see how that’s a question. sure the Hawks have been good since McMillan, but the Heat are basically peaking right now, and let’s just say I’d rather stay away from Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler and their 1000 games of playoff experience.

    Gotta hope the Bucks take care of business saturday against the Heat – then we can beat Charlotte, and the Celtics won’t have anything to play for the last game of the year, and we can go in as the #4 seed.

    Meanwhile – the play-in thing has been so successful. Last weekend of the regular season – Saturday has 6 games with every single one having playoff/play-in seeding implications.

    BKN-CHI — if Brooklyn loses and the Bucks win, then the Bucks get the 2 seed by virtue of head-to-head vs BKN – that’s a big deal.

    LA-IND — LA obviously playing to avoid the play-in. Indiana can basically get the #8 seed (and double elimination) or even fall to 10.

    CHA-NYK -obviously matters for us in our hunt for #4, also matters to CHA to stay in #8 and not fall to 9.

    BOS-MIN – Boston has a 2 game lead over the #8 seed – have to check the tiebreakers but it seems possible they could fall to 8 or even 9 if they lose their remaining games? EDIT – it seems based on NBC sports that BOS is locked into #7. So they don’t have anything play for. this is good.

    PHX-SA – 1 seed still possible for PHX I think. I don’t think SA can be anything but the 10 seed.

    MIA-MIL – huge game obviously.

    Whoever came up with the play-in thing really needs a huge raise. It’s probably never happened that the final weekend of the regular season mattered this much. No more Knicks-Cavs and getting angry at Maurice NDour.

  10. DudesTown:
    There’s no way that Thibs will bench Elf at this point of the season.

    I agree. Definitely not to start any series. But if we go down a couple games, then I do see Thibs changing lineups.

  11. I disagree. I suspect part of the reason Derrick Rose got a breather last night is because he’s going into the starting lineup tomorrow for the rest of the season.

    There’s no longer any basketball justification for Elf. You can’t like all three of your best guards (Rose, Burks, IQ) on the 2nd unit.

    He probably just didn’t want to take away Payton’s job due to injury. Then we went on a nice run. Then we lost Burks. Now is the time.

  12. Payton’s defense may not be as good as some think, but he’s a very physical player and Thibs thinks he sets a physical tone on both ends. He eats minutes and I think the idea that he digs us into a big hole is overstated, since playing the other guys more minutes than they are already getting might be counterproductive. I wouldn’t start him, but I see the logic in it.

    I think a more likely scenario is that Thibs closely monitors the game situation and uses Payton at the start of games the same way he uses Obi in the middle of games….to eat as many minutes as possible as a way to rest the guards and Julius. If Payton really struggles, then I could see him tweaking things in favor of Rose, IQ and Burks, maybe even adding in a few minutes of Frank. But Payton will almost certainly start game 1 of the playoffs.

  13. Z-man:
    Payton’s defense may not be as good as some think, but he’s a very physical player and Thibs thinks he sets a physical tone on both ends. He eats minutes and I think the idea that he digs us into a big hole is overstated, since playing the other guys more minutes than they are already getting might be counterproductive. I wouldn’t start him, but I see the logic in it.

    I think a more likely scenario is that Thibs closely monitors the game situation and uses Payton at the start of games the same way he uses Obi in the middle of games….to eat as many minutes as possible as a way to rest the guards and Julius. If Payton really struggles, then I could see him tweaking things in favor of Rose, IQ and Burks, maybe even adding in a few minutes of Frank. But Payton will almost certainly start game 1 of the playoffs.

    I agree with this, especially because the early focus is getting RJ going (not that it’s been working) and Reggie. Elf eats minutes without having to do much. He gets a couple drives, bricks his layups or hits, then takes a seat.

    EDIT: I don’t like Elf at all, but you could also argue that the holes we get in are due to RJ being stone cold in most first quarters.

  14. KB Apprentice: I agree with this, especially because the early focus is getting RJ going (not that it’s been working) and Reggie. Elf eats minutes without having to do much. He gets a couple drives, bricks his layups or hits, then takes a seat.

    EDIT: I don’t like Elf at all, but you could also argue that the holes we get in are due to RJ being stone cold in most first quarters.

    I don’t want to start a religion war, but The Plague destroys us even in third quarters (yesterday is the latest example)…
    Just saying…

  15. I think a more likely scenario is that Thibs closely monitors the game situation and uses Payton at the start of games the same way he uses Obi in the middle of games….to eat as many minutes as possible as a way to rest the guards

    I think this is right, but IQ can fill that role, too. There’s no need to eat minutes when you have Elf, IQ, Rose, & Burks available (which we haven’t had for a few weeks).

    What it really comes down to is he likes Elf more than IQ. Come the playoffs, he’s probably going to choose between the two.

  16. Hubert: What it really comes down to is he likes Elf more than IQ. Come the playoffs, he’s probably going to choose between the two.

    I actually think it’s different thing than liking Elf better. When IQ comes in, we basically/usually need him to score, and IQ does tend to be better (eye test) when he just starts launching right away. I don’t think Thibs wants to see any of that in the first quarter. He wants the main guys to get going first.

  17. defense for perimeter players is very hard … dying on picks is something that happens like 70% of the time which is why the pnr is run so often… it’s very difficult for any defense to defend…. on and off the ball defending is also part of it as well as forcing turnovers….

    elf in that regard isn’t bad…. but at the same time it’s very hard for a guard to differentiate themselves defensively anyway… which is why frank’s defense wasn’t usually all that valuable….

  18. I think the idea that he digs us into a big hole is overstated

    But this I disagree with. It’s not just the numbers with him on the court. It’s those numbers vs what the numbers could be if we played an optimal lineup.

    We rarely get off to good starts with Elf. We’re usually either clawing back into a game or never creating separation.

    Conversely, we have really good numbers when Randle, Barrett, and Bullock play with IQ. We’re essentially throwing away any opportunity to be up 5-6 points when Rose checks in.

  19. Hubert: Conversely, we have good numbers when Randle, Barrett, and Bullock play with IQ. We’re essentially throwing away any opportunity to be up 6 points after 1. We’re always either clawing back into a game or never creating separation.

      

    You might be right, and I’m less of a stat-head than I should be, but I think if you squint hard, Elf plays the point the way Thibs wants it played: Drive to the hoop and either hit the layup or kick to the open man.

    So — IQ should work on his handle and his kick out passes 24/7 next summer if he wants to play point for Thibs. Right now, IQ really just dribbles in circles and launches threes. And when he does commit to the goal, it’s always gonna be that floater. I love the guy, and I think he can get there, but he’s not there yet.

    As for the stats, I’d be curious to see RJ’s stats with Elf v. with IQ. My guess is, by the time IQ comes in, RJ has found his range. Yes, that might be helped because IQ is more of a threat to score, but it might also be that RJ takes time to figure out his shot every night. Like I said, you may know the numbers better than I do.

  20. Honestly, KB apprentice, I don’t even see Elf playing the point when I squint. I see Julius Randle and RJ Barrett handling the ball to start the game, and they’re handicapped by having two nonentities on offense. If you let them do the same shit they’re doing now, but with the floor spaced a little better, I think we’d get off to much better starts. And then we can build leads with Rose instead of clawing back.

  21. Hubert:
    Honestly, KB apprentice, I don’t even see Elf playing the point when I squint. I see Julius Randle and RJ Barrett handling the ball to start the game, and they’re handicapped by having two nonentities on offense. If you let them do the same shit they’re doing now, but with the floor spaced a little better, I think we’d get off to much better starts. And then we can build leads with Rose instead of clawing back.

    Yeah, you might be right. I just don’t think Thibs is gonna start the rookie IQ (for reasons I wrote above). If we’re down two games, he might start Burks or mayyyyybe Rose, but I think Thibs rather wants Rose fresh to finish. And, for all the sensible reasons you wrote, Elf will NEVER finish.

  22. I think Burks makes a lot of sense as the starting “point guard” given this roster. He and Rose have barely played together due to their respective injuries, and it feels like they play roughly the same role in the offense, which doesn’t make them complementary in the same unit. So plug Burks in at point guard with the starters, when the offense is mainly running through RJ and Randle anyway. His shooting alone will open things up for those two guys, and we’ve also seen that he can bring the ball up the court and initiate the offense just fine if needed. It improves the starting unit, doesn’t overtax Rose, doesn’t break up the very successful Rose/IQ second unit backcourt, and takes the utterly useless Payton (a drive-and-kick point guard who rarely kicks and only sometimes finishes his drives) off the court altogether so we’re not constantly digging out of the hole his minutes create.

  23. One of IQ or Payton is getting benched. We all get that, right? There’s not going to be a Rose-Burks-IQ three guard lineup in the 2nd unit.

  24. Alan:
    I think Burks makes a lot of sense as the starting “point guard” given this roster. He and Rose have barely played together due to their respective injuries, and it feels like they play roughly the same role in the offense, which doesn’t make them complementary in the same unit. So plug Burks in at point guard with the starters, when the offense is mainly running through RJ and Randle anyway. His shooting alone will open things up for those two guys, and we’ve also seen that he can bring the ball up the court and initiate the offense just fine if needed. It improves the starting unit, doesn’t overtax Rose, doesn’t break up the very successful Rose/IQ second unit backcourt, and takes the utterly useless Payton (a drive-and-kick point guard who rarely kicks and only sometimes finishes his drives) off the court altogether so we’re not constantly digging out of the hole his minutes create.

    I completely agree with this. Does Thibs, is the question.

    But there’s also one caveat: On some nights IQ just doesn’t have it for the second unit. Burks has been terrific in those spots and has saved a few games. I think IQ’s unreliability (such as it is; I’m not trashing the rookie) is one reason Burks remains Mr. Insta-Points off the bench.

  25. Also, I have come to the surprising conclusion that I prefer the black city edition alternate uniforms to the blue ones they wore last night, and have worn intermittently this year. Obviously, the main uniforms are the best of the lot, but something feels more off about the blue and whites to me.

  26. I am not on the “Elf is a secret talisman” train.

    The team has been bad and looked bad with him out there.

  27. FWIW I don’t think Thibs is as worried about the first quarter — or even the first half — as we are (if we can say Thibs is ever LESS worried about anything). I think he routinely uses the first half to get Randle, RJ, and Bullock going and to figure out who has it tonight on the second unit. Then he focusses on finishing the game with the right combination led by Rose.

    Strangely, our team is actually pretty deep in terms of who can win games for us. It’s been Randle all year long, but on any given night it’s also been RJ, Reggie, Burks, Rose, and even Quick on occasion. I think we’ve actually benefitted from opponents not being able to game plan so precisely against just one or two stars. There’s a bit of “Who are these guys?” going on. I like it.

  28. I think this is a likely playoff rotation:

    Start with…

    Burks
    Barrett
    Bullock
    Randle
    Noel

    Rose comes in for Burks
    Burks comes back in to give Bullock a rest
    Bullock comes back in to give Barrett a rest
    Barrett comes back in to replace Burks

    Close with..

    Rose
    Barrett
    Bullock
    Randle
    Noel or Taj

    Barrett, Bullock, Randle will consistently play 42+ minutes. Rose 30+. Burks around 28.

    Obi & IQ will get 3-5 spot minutes a night.

  29. There is no way Elf won’t start in the playoffs. Even if Thibs knows that basketball wise its probably the right move. Even if his teammates know it.

    He has started all year. You have to remember there is a very real mental aspect to this game and one of the biggest keys to our success this year has been the team first mentality. This whole team loves playing together and even if they know Elf shouldn’t be the starter in a perfect world, they’ve practiced and played with him all season and they are going to defend that decision. Benching him now could have unforeseen ramifications on the chemistry of this team.

    I mean, I get it. He really shouldn’t. But he won’t be here next year. He’ll start the first quarter and then not play the rest of the game.

  30. i can see thibs going with elf to start for the playoffs but if we’re getting blown out or behind in a series i’m pretty sure he will ditch elf completely….

  31. a. The concept of a “minutes” eater as rationale for playing in the playoffs…assuming you have better options.. and there are better options….is non-sensical…that is like the “long man” innings eater reliever comes in to make sure the 8 run deficit stays where it is… elf is the opposite…he plays so you can get 10 points down …..which leads to

    b. the Thibs legend…he is like the black knight in Monty Python Holy Grail…fighting on after his arms and legs are cut off
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmInkxbvlCs…therefore

    c. don’t think he cares one way or the other about the “feelings” of a guy who will not be on the roster in three weeks…what is the point in giving him ceremonial time …in the name of “chemistry”…when that chemistry is like that rotten egg smell in the lab…

    d. but…i said 18 wins a few months ago…so…who am I to challenge the all knowing Thibs…

  32. Mentioned I was transfixed watching Elf last night. On every pick he was like, “There’s a big man standing there! Where did he come from! Let me bury my face into his torso!” Literally every time, like he’d never seen a pick-and-roll before. And if he pulled away and caught up with the play, he’d just dawdle along behind it without making any effort to get involved, leaving our bigs to defend the driver and their man, both.

    It was astonishing. The difference between that and Frank, during his 5.6 seconds of play, was dramatic. Frank actually fights through picks and tries to stay involved. I’m not saying Frank’s a defensive genius, but he recognizes a pick and works to get through it.

  33. I don’t think Thibs is blindly stubborn. There have been basketball reasons to keep Elfrid in there:

    – It made sense to think IQ wasn’t ready to start.
    – It made sense to put Rose on the second unit, where he demonstrably elevated the play of Obi and IQ.
    – It made sense not to take Elf’s job away for an injury, especially when we were winning.

    But now that it’s time for playoff rotations, I think all the basketball reasons are gone.

  34. Thibs occasionally going to Frank for a possession here and there in the closing minutes, while Payton never plays in the fourth anymore, suggests that even Thibs recognizes that Elf’s defense is garbage, and is just claiming otherwise to protect one of his players. So if we get to the playoffs and Thibs continues giving Elf his token 7-8 minutes apiece to start each half, then it suggests our coach believes there would be some kind of significant detriment to the team’s chemistry and psychology if he were to put Elf on the shelf altogether. I’m not in that locker room and I’ve never been a coach at any level. But Thibs is not stupid, he’s not sentimental, and he coaches almost every game(*) like it’s Game 7 of a playoff series. So if Burks or IQ or Rose doesn’t start in the playoffs, I have to grind my teeth and trust in the coach who so radically transformed this team.

    (*) That said, Rose getting a rest night for a must-win game was very un-Thibs-like.

  35. I have an alternative explanation for the “Elfrid starting at PG mistery”. I think Elfrid has ties with the mob, and the mobsters pressured Thibs to start Elfrid all regular season. What the mob didn’t count on, and same with us Knicks fans, was that the Knicks would be in the playoffs. So now Thibs has done what the mob wanted and is free to pick the PG of his choice for the playoffs. Better this way? :D

  36. cybersoze:
    I have an alternative explanation for the “Elfrid starting at PG mistery”. I think Elfrid has ties with the mob, and the mobsters pressured Thibs to start Elfrid all regular season. What the mob didn’t count on, and same with us Knicks fans, was that the Knicks would be in the playoffs. So now Thibs has done what the mob wanted and is free to pick the PG of his choice for the playoffs. Better this way? :D

    I’m persuaded by this ;-)

    I also think ALL of Elf’s failures are just so the gods (or the mob) can setup the narrative properly. When Elf does hit THAT ONE SHOT in THAT ONE GAME to win, it’ll be a much better story, and we’ll be grateful.

    EDIT: cf Aaron Boone at third base.

  37. KB Apprentice: I also think ALL of Elf’s failures are just so the gods (or the mob) can setup the narrative properly. When Elf does hit THAT ONE SHOT in THAT ONE GAME to win, it’ll be a much better story, and we’ll be grateful.

    Exactly! ;)

  38. The idea of a minutes-eater in the playoffs IN YOUR STARTING LINEUP is, well, it’s a horrible idea.

    Our starting lineup is BAD. Elf+RJ+Bullock+Randle+Taj is a 25th percentile lineup that is bad on both offense (33rd percentile) and defense (30th percentile). And that’s against the whole league, not a playoff-caliber team.

    Our theoretical starting lineup replacing Elf with Alec Burks (adding together both minutes with Taj or Noel at the 5) has played 214 possessions only, but is 100th percentile in net rating (+23), with a 91st percentile offense and a 100th percentile defense.

    We already know the bench unit without Burks was just fine – in fact it was great with Rose and Quickley when Burks was out with his +COVID test.

    Honestly – it’s coaching malpractice if Thibs plays Elf in the playoffs. Things can go off the rails very quickly in a playoff game (see: the 76ers when Embiid was off the court in the playoffs). The team is BAD when he’s on the court. It is really really good when he’s off the court. There are no (publicly available) analytics to suggest that Elf is beneficial at all. Why is this so hard?

  39. On Feb 1, we were 9-13. Since then, we are 30-18. 9 of those losses were top teams (phx, brk, mil, UT, Philly, UT, Clippers, Den). unfortunately, 3 of the others were to Miami

  40. by the way – per NBA stats tool – over the last 6 1st quarters (ie. against playoff teams), our starting lineup has an offensive rating of 73.4 and a DRtg of 108.9 – a hefty NEGATIVE 35.5 rating.

    When Rose and Gibson come in for Elf+Noel, we have an offensive rating of 166.7 and a DRtg of 78.9. Very small samples of course, but it definitely matches with the eye test and what we all just know to be true.

    In the 3rd quarters of the last 6 games, it’s a little better, like in the way that a colonoscopy is better than having your leg cut off. The starting lineup has an Ortg of 93.9, DRtg of 124.4 for a negative 30.5 net rating.

  41. I think Payton has given up. He knows he is not up to the job and is just going through the motions when he is out there. No fire, no desire. Thibs should just sit him and put him misery. He has no future on this team.

    If we renounce Frank, does that mean we cannot resign him under any circumstances? Asking for a friend.

  42. I’m definitely pro Alec Burks at starting PG. We did it a bit and it worked. One time I can remember, the offense stagnated without a PG. But that was so early in the season as to be irrelevant because our chemistry is much better now/pretty sure that was before Randle became the de facto PG. The other times we tried it, point-Burks has worked wonderfully to my recollection.

  43. Payton sucks. Is Noel being exposed or is he injured? He doesn’t seem quite as athletic recently.

  44. If we renounce Frank we can sign him, I believe we just can’t go over the cap to sign him. If we signed him for $3M his $15M cap hit (or whatever ridiculous number it is) would be replaced with his $3M salary.

  45. Frank: over the last 6 1st quarters (ie. against playoff teams) … a hefty NEGATIVE 35.5 rating.
    In the 3rd quarters of the last 6 games … for a negative 30.5 net rating.

    So the argument that it can be RJ’s slow start doesn’t add up. Maybe this time it’s what the eye test says it is… Elfrid, or The Plague as Max likes so much to call him.
    Elfrid is so bad that even the eye test can’t fail to spot it.

  46. Noel did have that minor issue recently, but I think he’s just getting exposed against some stronger big men.

    Most teams use more lean rim runners now so I don’t think it’s been as much of an issue, but Noel is so slight he gets bullied on the boards.

  47. Burks for Payton in the starting line up works for me. Clyde for Payton works for me.

  48. GHenman:
    Burks for Payton in the starting line up works for me. Clyde for Payton works for me.

    Hahaha. Clyde was ready to go last game. Did you hear him?

  49. Yep. He’s into it. I’m glad he gets to announce a good team for a change. I’m sure he only has a few more years of this left in him.

  50. IMO, the problem with Payton is not defense. He’s fine defensively. It’s offense. He’s not a good enough shooter to keep his own efficiency at adequate levels and he creates spacing problems when playing with Noel or Mitch that make the overall lineup less efficient. Spacing has been less of an issue than feared this year because both RJ and Randle have been way better than expected from 3, but we merely went from “potential nightmare” to “not ideal”. You don’t want 2 non shooters on the court if you can help it and with our centers Payton is one too many. There may be lineups or teams where he’ll be a very good backup, but not on this team.

  51. GHenman:
    Payton sucks. Is Noel being exposed or is he injured? He doesn’t seem quite as athletic recently.

    Noel benefits or struggles directly depending on his matchups, he’s an elite help defender and shot blocker, he’s mobile and active, but he simply doesn’t have the strength to keep up with strong inside players. When we play teams that are a bit soft inside and with players going to the rim, he can shine, but he’ll get eaten alive by Adebayo, Embiid, Jokic etc

    It’s a worse problem when you think 4 of our main rivals on the conference have such players, Adebayo, Embiid, Giannis and Capela

  52. Yeah, I do think there is something to the theory that Elf is starting and playing his obligatory minute at this point for locker room/chemistry reasons. He might be bad but he is one of the vets on this team. Maybe earlier in the season there was a window where we could have moved him to back up and then to back up of the back up but that window passed and it was before we got Rose. The later it got in the season, the harder it is to do it. I think Elf and Randle are really tight and Thibs wants to keep the vets happy. Like it or not, vets in this league do get special treatment and its not like Frank has made a super strong case to replace Elf completely. IQ is hot and cold and is more of a combo guard and wasn’t ready to be a starter full time early in the season.

    But Villadova is the interesting proposition. If he’s read to be the back up, you could insert Rose into the starting line up and Elf coudl go away completely.

    But also, Elf has never been to the playoffs. REgardless of the season he’s had, he’s gotta be pumped (like Randle too) so maybe he turns it around in the playoffs? Lets hope he does but still isn’t brought back next year. :)

  53. But Villadova is the interesting proposition. If he’s read to be the back up, you could insert Rose into the starting line up and Elf coudl go away completely.

    Not happening, “summer thing,” blah blah. I also can’t imagine Thibs inserting IQ into the starting lineup. Most likely, we’re stuck with Elf until we’re eliminated, with an outside chance of Burks taking his spot, for reasons I articulated upthread.

  54. I want to clarify that despite calling him The Plague I have nothing personal with Elfrid Payton, my criticism is basketball related.
    I still hope he’ll score 25 a game and he’ll win us a playoffs serie.

    At the time I thought re-signing him at a lower rate was a decent move (Hollinger had him in his “best value for dollars” piece before the season), albeit I was a bit worried because last year he freezed off RJ many times.

    But this year he’s fallen off a cliff, he was in trouble since the preseason games (where it was clear that the offense works better with IQ).

    He’s always been a bad shooter but looking at his number on Baskeball-Reference three things jump to my eyes:

    his AST% has gone from 38,6% to 21,7%,
    his STL% from 2,7% to 1,6%
    and his on-off net rating per 100 possessions has gone from 4,4 (a was a positive last year!) to -9,7.

    I don’t think he’s losing his spot in the starting five,
    I can only stick to my mantra: “survive his minutes and then try to win the game”

  55. Let’s get the sense of how empty is team pessimist nowadays:
    Over/Under for how many playoff games the Knicks will be in at 6.5

  56. cybersoze:
    Let’s get the sense of how empty is team pessimist nowadays:
    Over/Under for how many playoff games the Knicks will be in at 6.5

    To me It’s a matter of opponents:

    – O/U 4,5 with the Bucks
    – O/U 5,5 with the Heat
    – O/U 6,5 with the Hawks

    :-)

  57. I’d say we get swept by the Bucks, we lose in six to the Heat and beat the Hawks in six or seven games. As well as the Hawks are playing McMillan tends to struggle really hard coaching playoff games, he had similar quality teams with the Pacers and always lost when it mattered. I think we have an outside chance against the Heat if Randle plays very well, but the Bucks are a lost cause.

  58. I guess it’s also possible that Thibs starts Frank instead of Payton. That would probably get our best defensive lineup on the floor right from the jump. I would be ok with that.

  59. Max: To me It’s a matter of opponents:
    – O/U 4,5 with the Bucks
    – O/U 5,5 with the Heat
    – O/U 6,5 with the Hawks

    I have a feeling we’ll play the Hawks and i’m going with the over. We either get them to game7 or we’ll win before that.

  60. Thibs hasn’t used Frank as a PG at all since the first month of the season. He’s not a PG for Thibs, I’m guessing partly because he doesn’t attack enough. He may be a better option than Elf, but Thibs views him as a wing and we won’t see him at point except as a last resort

  61. i think most of elf’s issues stems from the fact that thibs forced him to be more of an offensive threat than he should be… his usage has ticked up while his assists have tanked and that’s mainly because he’s so focused on getting to the rim which i’m pretty sure was a thibs mandate… i wouldn’t be surprised if thibs promised him that he would back him up if he follows the offense… and the whole elf starting conspiracy is based on that…

    elf was a useful rotation player before… i just think he’s really not used to the best of his abilities right now… he’s essentially a poor man’s rondo at this point and this is basically what you get if you forced rondo to shoot more and slowed the game into a halfcourt offense…. it’s ugly… but it’s not entirely his fault…

  62. The Bucks don’t scare me as much as you guys. I don’t want to play them, but I don’t think they want to play us, either. I think that would be a 7 game series.

  63. The thing about Elf is that he’s actually gotten worse recently. Much worse. It would be totally justifiable to bench him now but I just don’t see Thibs doing it. Maybe he’ll just cut his minutes from 12 per game to 6 or 8?

  64. I think facing the Bucks is almost the worst-case scenario. I think we have a real shot against the Heat and are favorites against the Hawks and would even have a puncher’s chance against the 76ers but the Bucks will dismantle us. I think they are easily the 2nd best team in the East and are only a little worse than the Nets and then only if the Nets are healthy.

    I think Philly is overachieving and will be exposed in the playoffs and the Bucks are looking to get some revenge for last year. If we face the bucks it will be a 4-0 or 4-1 series with at least two of the games being complete blowouts. It won’t be close in my opinion.

  65. DudesTown: The thing about Elf is that he’s actually gotten worse recently. Much worse. It would be totally justifiable to bench him now but I just don’t see Thibs doing it. Maybe he’ll just cut his minutes from 12 per game to 6 or 8?

    A starter in the playoffs that only plays 6 to 8 minutes would (probably) be a first. But i’m all for it, the less we see Payton, the better.

  66. Hmm, Ben. That is interesting because I would almost rather face The bucks than the heat. I know its not completely logical but I feel like The Bucks are more likely to implode in the playoffs if put under enough pressure.

    The Bucks had an early exit last year. Then they went all in on the Giannis extension and traded away basically all of their future picks and flexibility to get Holiday, etc. I feel like there is pressure there to at least get to the ECF. Maybe not. Maybe Giannis is fine to stay there. But I feel like if we steal game one or can get to 2-2 against them, we might get in their heads a bit and ALL of the pressure is on them to avoid a first round exit after trying to upgrade last off season and keep Giannis happy. And I still think if you can neutralize or minimize Giannis in some way, the rest of the team has to step up in a way they maybe aren’t prepared to do.

    The Heat, on the other hand, had a lot of struggles to start this season but have the experience of their finals run last year, lower expectations and the brilliance/experience of Spo and Butler. Plus they kind of play the same way we do. Hard nosed and physical. I feel like they won’t get down if they’re tied 2-2 or even down 2-0 and will welcome an extended, drawn out series.

    So I feel like psychologically, The Bucks are the ones we could mess with a bit more.

    This is all pure conjecture though. Atlanta would be ideal.

  67. Here’s the thing with the Bucks: Thibs will do things in the playoffs he would never do in the regular season. The man can coach and he won’t keep playing Elf and Noel if they’re getting run off the court.

    It would not be long until we went after the Bucks a whole new way: with Randle at the 5.

    I think everyone knows by now that I’m waiting for Randle at the 5 the same way all those people in Zoolander were waiting for Derek to drop Magnum. It will be glorious.

    Side note: remember it wasn’t until the playoffs that Jeff Van Gundy started playing Sprewell and Houston together in 99. Hell, even the Warriors lineup of death waited til the finals. These wait til the playoffs to do the unconventional shit. But they eventually do it.

  68. Not having a primary ball handler that can beat drop coverage (ie. shoot off the dribble) basically equals certain death against the Bucks. Last I checked, Elf can’t beat any coverage. Gotta start Burks, Rose, or Quickley. Quickley has basically zero chance of starting, so it’s gotta be Burks or Rose.

  69. The problem with going Randle at the 5 against the Bucks is that they’ll obliterate us in the rebounding department, their best lineup has good size pretty much all over and they can just as well play Portis or even Giannis at the 5 and matchup in every way. It would be nice having a Taj Gibson from 10 years ago playing 35 minutes against them, but we just currently don’t have the options to do it. It will also put a major strain defensively on Randle to go against Giannis for the entire series.

    I feel relatively confident Thibs will make nice adjustments but there’s only so much he can do with this group too.

  70. “his AST% has gone from 38,6% to 21,7%,”

    Since it’s clearly the Shit on Elf thread, I’ll throw out a hypothesis I’ve been debating in my head — how much of RJ’s shitty starts are because he’s forcing things because he’s either not touching the ball (so when he does get it he feels he has to try and score), or getting it in places not conducive to what he can do well.

    Which makes me wonder if Rose were starting, how much better RJ might be in those first quarters…

  71. I really don’t have a clue why Thibs starts Payton whenever he puts him in but i don’t see that changing easily in the playoffs.
    Call it chemistry, superstition, oldskool mentality or unhealthy habbit but it gives the sense that it’s a part of a ritual routine.
    An “if it’s working don’t fix it” kind of thing.
    Till it’s stop working.
    Probably after a possible blowout.

  72. It is definitely a problem, Bruno, but it’s the least fatal problem. And at least it will cause problems for them at the other end.

  73. Sending DSJ to Detroit and also his good friend’s Doc Rivers’ son home shows that Thibs ain’t stupid or sentimental.
    He probably still values Elf’s “vet” presence and still keeps him inside his circle of trusted guards.
    Benching him would fuck Elf’s confidence more and Thibs seems like he still needs him this season.

  74. I’m weirdly not too worried about Brooklyn or MIL. Embiid will eat our faces off, so I definitely want to avoid the 76ers.

    That said, I’d much rather face MIA or ATL than any of the top 3.

  75. As NBA revenues plummeted amid a time of largely empty arenas, New York Knicks owner Jim Dolan made a case for suspending the league’s revenue-sharing requirements for the year. If the Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers weren’t profitable in a pandemic year, why should they still be required to pay out of pocket to small markets?

    Dolan pushed his case on board of governors conference calls and even cc’d a letter to his 29 peers ahead of Thursday’s BOG vote on the issue — which, sources tell ESPN, included some smaller-market owners siding with Dolan.

    Never has Dolan been considered much of a consensus-builder within the league, but he did gather some voting support — although not nearly enough to overturn the revenue-sharing plan, sources told ESPN.

    i’m not sure what to make of this, other than guitar jimmy possibly learning some new tricks when it comes to dealing with people…

  76. @max,

    No worries. I do think Payton is a good on ball defender (see what I did there?), what that article points to is specifically his off-ball tendency to drift.

    When it comes to Ball, it’s the on ball defense that you want to see so that he can’t run the offense smoothly. If he hits open 3s I’ll be upset but happy to force someone else to beat us.

    (Now watch as Lamelo puts up a triple’double in the 5 min the Plague plays)

    To be clear, in no way do I endorse Payton in anyway whatsoever. He should be benched for literally anyone.

  77. ***I really don’t have a clue why Thibs starts Payton whenever he puts him in but i don’t see that changing easily in the playoffs.***

    Didn’t the Knicks used to start Charles Smith back in the day (post-‘93) call a few plays for him, let him shoot a few shots, and then sub Mason in for basically the entire rest of the game? It didn’t change in the playoffs, even though Mason was clearly the more dynamic player. This is the coaching tree that Thibs comes from.

    (Though, If memory serves me, after that, Riley DID start Monty Williams for most of a regular season, only to completely abandon that practice come playoff time, so maybe there’s some precedent to be found?)

  78. @NY_KnicksPR
    Derrick Rose (sprained left ankle) is questionable for tomorrow’s game against Charlotte.

    If they think he needs to heal, let him heal. Much as I’d like that 4 seed, if Rose isn’t at full strength for the playoffs, we’re in trouble no matter who we draw. And we can probably beat Charlotte without him, so long as Burks and IQ are there.

  79. i haven’t gotten bored enough to watch the post game interviews yet (it’ll happen though), but, i believe someone posted that after the game thibs let out that he was simply resting rose…

  80. I think the Bucks would way rather face the Knicks than the Heat in the first round. I’m not saying the Bucks would purposely lose to the Heat to help ensure the Heat are 4-5 given they still have a shot for 2nd, but I think it’s in their best interests to avoid the Heat.

  81. geo:
    i haven’t gotten bored enough to watch the post game interviews yet (it’ll happen though), but, i believe someone posted that after the game thibs let out that he was simply resting rose…

    Thibs is being un-Thibs like. That makes at least two times he has insisted on rest. I recall he ordered the team to stay out of the gym on one recent off day to make sure they got a rest day.

  82. whenever thibs speaks about “analytics” he always sounds super dubious; however, gotta believe he’s at least aware of the data related to player health, usage and what not…

    he definitely seems like someone whom keeps their own council a lot, but it also seems like he’s got a really high level of trust with the players on the team – hopefully he takes their input regarding their health…

    shoot, the way he commented about burks having plenty of time to rest, he may not have total say regarding player availability for games…which is probably a smart thing not to leave in a coaches hands…

  83. What’s up with the two 1PM starts this weekend?
    Not everyone lives in Europe.
    :)

  84. The Payton Debate is interesting, but at the end of the day I really don’t worry all that much about Thibs and his potential playoff rotations. We are where we are 90% because Thibs doesn’t give a shit about what anyone else thinks, and has won more games riding this motley collection of players than virtually anyone expected or anyone else could have precisely because he doesn’t give a shit. The fact that we’re even having a conversation about who should start in the playoffs is pretty mindboggling considering how wildly successful this team has been. It’s prety ballsy to say “Hey, we’d be even better if only Thibs did things my way…”

    An it’s pretty predictable that when we lose in the first round to the Bucks, some folks here will blame it on Thibs’ rotations.

  85. Z-man: An it’s pretty predictable that when we lose in the first round to the Bucks, some folks here will blame it on Thibs’ rotations.

    Yes, but if he plays Elf more then 8 minutes a game, perhaps he’s due some of that…

    Honestly though, After this season, Thibs gets a pass from me even if he ingests Obi during a time out the way Venom does it.

  86. “Z-man
    May 14, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    An it’s pretty predictable that when we lose in the first round to the Bucks, some folks here will blame it on Thibs’ rotations.”

    *

    It’s like when 70 year old Bruce Springsteen puts on a 3.5 hour show and the super fans leave the arena complaining about the set list. Just be thankful that there was a set list at all, guys!

  87. Despite the whole world had a tough time due to covid We as knicks fans had a hell of a Fun Ride thanks to Thibs and our Riders from Hell!
    Capitol invasion ? Wins over Hawks and Jazz!
    Covid Quarantine? Unexpected Playoffs!
    Alien attack? Conference Finalists!
    End of the World? Probably Champions!
    #Life is Good#

  88. I really feel sympathy for the pessimists since they’re part of an interesting dialogue but this season was their Armageddon!
    Not only Thibs fucked everything, Regression to the mean was a ghost and DRose became their guilty pleasure but even Frankie started to play after going freezer mode!
    Hang on Pessimists! What goes Up will come down eventually! Patience! ;-P

  89. Thibs gets a pass from me even if he ingests Obi during a time out the way Venom does it.

    that’s a funny visual…the first time i tried watching venom, i shut it off…second time i made it through the whole movie, not as terrible as most of its reviews…

    looks like no games tonight that really affect us…i’ve given up hope that the mavs will somehow end up in the lottery…heck, they even won their division by several games…

    back to rooting against the mavs in 2023…

  90. on an even brighter boob tube note: for those in the know, episode 3 of the clone wars season 8 (The Bad Batch) comes out tonight…

    having played a bunch of video games over the years i really like to key in on the movement animation of characters…the first few years in clone wars the movement on screen of the different characters was pretty clunky…it got better over time, more improvement in that area during the Rebels broadcast…

    season 7 of the clone wars was really clean in regards to character movement, especially around the hips, the bad batch looks pretty seamless when they move…

    over the years the shows have been getting closer and closer to pixar level animation (granted pixar from a decade ago, but still that’s not too bad)…

  91. Hubert:
    It is definitely a problem, Bruno, but it’s the least fatal problem. And at least it will cause problems for them at the other end.

    It might be the case, I can see that giving us a bit of a chance instead of no chance in the match-up. The loss to the Lakers still hurts so much because it was the big chance to guarantee a better match-up in the playoffs, but oh well, I’d argue most of what we wanted from this season has already happened no matter how the playoffs go. Honestly whatever happens in the playoffs is just gravy and anything that’s not a straight up embarrassment is going to be fine for me.

  92. I’m good with the loss to the Lakers because we still finished ahead of the Celts. That is a huge factor for me personally.

  93. Wait, are the Warriors trying to fall out of the 8th seed on purpose and into the single-elimination playoff quintant? Why??

    (I was going to watch some of that game on espn, but no thanks to watching Jordan Poole battle Nickeil Alexander-Walker in a race to the lowest score…)

  94. Oh, and I see that Stanley Johnson has turned back into a Ntilikina-shaped pumpkin tonight.

  95. The Rockets giving it to the Clippers. That might bode well for their game against the Hawks!

  96. ***The Rockets giving it to the Clippers. That might bode well for their game against the Hawks!***

    Some scrubb has played 35 minutes for the clips. I don’t know how much there is to take away from this game.

  97. Another amazing performance for Killian Hayes, what a travesty that he wasnt drafted #1 ahead of LaMelo…

  98. ***Another amazing performance for Killian Hayes, what a travesty that he wasnt drafted #1 ahead of LaMelo…***

    Hayes has struggled. But the sample is small and he is young. If I recall, you were high on Kira Lewis, who also ranks in the lower half of the class in the aggregate statistical categories.

    Given the 9 months of hindsight since the draft, who would you prefer the Knicks have drafted in a two person draft: Hayes or Toppin?

    (btw, I know everybody here is high on Quickley, but there do seem to be an inordinate number of 15-30 draftees making noise in their rookie years: Bane, Bey, Stewart, Flynn, Tillman, Pritchard, Maxey, McDaniels, Poku, Hampton, etc…)

  99. Brian Cronin:
    The Rockets giving it to the Clippers. That might bode well for their game against the Hawks!

    The Clippers literally started a guy named Jay Scrubb

  100. For me Thibs is COY, nobody did more with less.

    Utah was a 50 win team two years ago and on pace to get there last season before COVID shortened the season and injuries derailed their playoffs.
    PHO run the table in the bubble, already had a rising star, a former number one pick and a great glue guy in Bridges to which they added Chris Paul.

    Thibs had Randle and RJ coming off disappointing seasons plus a developing center and an army of misfit toys, many on one years deals, projected to win in the low 20’s (ESPN Forecast 22-50, BPI 17-55, FiveThirtyEight 23-49, Caesars O/U 22.5 wins).

    I know that going from good to contender is more difficult than from very bad to mediocre or decent,
    but we went from laughingstock to good.

    What Thibs did is just short of a miracle.

    I’m old-school, I believe in culture, accountability, defense and selfless team basketball. I’m very happy he’s our coach.

    My vote goes: Thibs, Williams, Snyder.

    And I still reserve myself the right to disagree with his Payton’s management :-)

  101. So will the Bucks mail it in tonight to make sure they don’t face Miami in the playoffs? Their chances of moving up to 2 are pretty miniscule with Brooklyn playing the Bulls and Cavs.

  102. I know it has happened in the past, but I think it’s been quite a while since a team intentionally lost just to avoid a certain opponent in the playoffs. So I think the Bucks will go all out tonight. That might just be hopeful thinking, of course.

  103. d-mar:
    So will the Bucks mail it in tonight to make sure they don’t face Miami in the playoffs? Their chances of moving up to 2 are pretty miniscule with Brooklyn playing the Bulls and Cavs.

    I understand what Brian added, but it’s even worst, why want the 2nd seed, as it’s the Celtics, and not a bad team. I’d take my chances with the Knicks, if i were the Bucks. They probably will do it also.

  104. Speaking of individual awards, what’s the point in doing this:
    – “Julius Randle, Christian Wood or Jerami Grant: Who’s the NBA’s Most Improved Player?”, in TheAthletic.
    How come what Julius has done can be compared to putting stats on tanking teams?? I’m baffled.

  105. Donnie Walsh: Hayes has struggled. But the sample is small and he is young. If I recall, you were high on Kira Lewis, who also ranks in the lower half of the class in the aggregate statistical categories.

    I liked Lewis more than Hayes and still do but didn’t want either at #8, saw Lewis as more of a trade-down guy. But the reason for this post is that someone brought up a good game he had recently and I thought some balance was in order. For a while Poku’s rare good games were brought up, and I felt balance was needed there too. Both of them have been terrible overall by any measure. But yeah, they are very young and should improve with some offseason work. Still, several draft models had Hayes ranked #1 or in the top 3 and I had the temerity to disagree with that assessment based on 3 things:

    -He has difficulty doing anything that involves his right hand
    -His shooting is suspect
    -He will have trouble getting to the rim in the NBA, partly because of the right hand issue and partly because he is not all that athletic.

    All of those issues remain for now. Will he fix them enough to justify a top-of-lottery pick? We’ll see. I’m still taking the under.

    Donnie Walsh: Given the 9 months of hindsight since the draft, who would you prefer the Knicks have drafted in a two person draft: Hayes or Toppin?

    I wasn’t high on either but would rather have Obi right now based on what I’ve seen. Hayes strikes me as a dime-a-dozen project combo guard. Maybe he comes around and becomes Lonzo or D’Angelo, but that FTr and FG% from 0-3ft are not promising. OTOH I like what I’ve seen from Obi lately. But yeah, it’s far from a no-brainer.

    And yeah, this is turning out to have been a deep draft. My guess is that we would have been happy with lots of the alternatives at #8 and #25. We whiffed on Hali but I love IQ and am coming around on Obi, so it’s all good.

  106. cybersoze:
    Speaking of individual awards, what’s the point in doing this:
    – “Julius Randle, Christian Wood or Jerami Grant: Who’s the NBA’s Most Improved Player?”, in TheAthletic.
    How come what Julius has done can be compared to putting stats on tanking teams?? I’m baffled.

    It’s pure click-bait fodder,
    at the end of the piece all the contributors agree that Randle deserve the award and it’s not even close.

    And 90% of the comments are from Knicks fans, so mission accomplished for the Editor in Chief :-)

  107. cybersoze: I understand what Brian added, but it’s even worst, why want the 2nd seed, as it’s the Celtics, and not a bad team. I’d take my chances with the Knicks, if i were the Bucks. They probably will do it also.

    Just to clarify, the Knicks are not a bad team, i was talking about the other teams (IND, CHA, WAS). And even those they’re not bad, but just easy for the top teams to handle. Between the Knicks and Miami/Boston, i think they probably will still think we are an easier matchup (despite the season in progress doesn’t back it up).

  108. I wonder if the Pistons would let Grant go for Knox an a pick or two. He makes no sense for them at this point.
    I think he’d fit in nicely at the 3 for us.

  109. Oh my God, i gotta shut up, i’m dominating the thread bobneptune-style, with the exception that i’m peaceful and not picking a fight with anyone. LOL

  110. that bulls/magic trade i find really fascinating… trading for vucevic sounded really stupid at the time but i didn’t think they would be so bad that they would miss the playin entirely…. and that probably has a lot to do with lavine missing covid related time but it was already a high risk/low reward move… now they don’t have a lotto pick this year AND 2023… gave up wendell carter.. and unless someone breaks out they will probably be faced with selling out on both vucevic and lavine in less than a year…

    going to be an interesting situation to monitor since it has so many analogs with the melo deal.. we have a young up and coming team with an obvious young.. productive.. maybe overrated.. star… coming available that is approaching free agency…. hopefully the rangers keeps dolan’s interest enough for the next couple of years…

    i love what the magic are doing… carter.. bamba… fultz.. hampton.. plus two high picks this year is a real jumpstart to the rebuild and hopefully clifford keeps his job to see it through….

  111. I know everyone’s excited for today’s game and especially the game tomorrow. Hopefully we win today making that happen. What an ending to a great regular season!!!

    Lots of chatter about Elf sucking. Payton is a good backup point guard on an average team – functional, but not a winning player. Thibs was interviewed the other day and said “The only thing that matters is winning” when asked about playing time. He’s not someone that gives a shit about how a player feels when it comes to winning. I don’t expect to see much of Elf. Rose might play the same type of minutes as Randle in the playoffs… and I think Randle’s minutes are going up too. We might see strings of 40 minute efforts.

  112. that bulls/magic trade i find really fascinating… trading for vucevic sounded really stupid at the time but i didn’t think they would be so bad that they would miss the playin entirely…. and that probably has a lot to do with lavine missing covid related time but it was already a high risk/low reward move

    Yeah, losing Lavine obviously fucked them. The thing I liked about the draft pick they traded is that it’s protected #1-4, so the only way the Magic get it is if it stays where it is. Obviously, though, the Bulls thought “stayed where it is” was going to be #15 instead of #8, but still, that also helps in 2023 (when the same restrictions apply). There’s also a chance that the Bulls win their last couple of games and end up #10 instead of their current #8 (they’re a game behind the #9/10 teams). I think the better play for the Bulls, though, is to make sure they remain at #8, as #8 has a 26% chance of reaching the Top 4, at which point they keep the pick.

    That said, I did like the return for the Magic. They are very well looking at two picks in the top 8 of a good draft. That’s huge.

  113. I agree, the Magic did well in the trade and they were definitely right to make it. Vuc is a good player but they weren’t winning with him. They have more of a chance to win now.

  114. I think the Bulls were just desperate to bring any talent around LaVine to get him to stay. Markannen can’t stay healthy, Coby White is a pretty meh prospect with a bunch of flaws in his game and they really haven’t got much else, Williams has looked decent but that’s it.

    I think LaVine will eventually want out and he’s a guy we should at least monitor, I don’t think he’s a superstar but if his improvement shooting this season is real, he would be a very nice piece to fit around our core.

  115. I think if the Nets lose to CHI, MIL will pull all the stops to beat the Heat. If the Nets win, maybe MIL limits Giannis’ minutes and plays subs more but still tries to win. I certainly don’t think they play to lose under any circumstances.

  116. Bruno Almeida:
    I think the Bulls were just desperate to bring any talent around LaVine to get him to stay. Markannen can’t stay healthy, Coby White is a pretty meh prospect with a bunch of flaws in his game and they really haven’t got much else, Williams has looked decent but that’s it.

    I think LaVine will eventually want out and he’s a guy we should at least monitor, I don’t think he’s a superstar but if his improvement shooting this season is real, he would be a very nice piece to fit around our core.

    Since the Bulls have “sort of” a core right now and he’s under contract for next year, I think it will be a “wait and see” situation for both sides. Zach needs more evidence that the Bulls will build around him, and the Bulls need more evidence that Zach is a near-max player. I’m sort of ambivalent on him, all depends on the price and whether he is a good fit with Randle, RJ and Thibs. I just don’t think that he and Randle plus even a somewhat better RJ are enough to ever get out of the East for the next 3-4 years. Even adding Lowry at this stage of his career probably falls short.

    Now if you can get Zach AND Lillard, that’s a whole different proposition. A starting 5 of Lillard, RJ, Zach, Randle and (insert name) would be really interesting.

  117. Re: Payton, Thibs has a bit of a history with the “fake starter.” Keith Bogans started all 82 games for the 2010-2011 Bulls but played less than 18 MPG and IIRC was often removed 5 or so minutes in and never reinserted.

    I’m with djphan in thinking he’s still got some valuable skills, but once Thibs (correctly) decided we were going with point-Randle his fit on this team became very weird. Oddly enough, his best fit on the current team might be off the bench during the rare times Randle isn’t playing.

    Having said that, I’m still kind of agnostic on him starting. Rose is unambiguously better at just about everything, but if Thibs wants to retain him for some scoring punch for the bench that makes sense to me. It’s not like Rose is playing less than he should as a result of being a reserve.

    I don’t love the point-Burks idea either. I think there’s something to be said for starting the game with a true dribble penetrator/distributor type, even with the awkward Randle fit. Quickley shows some potential in that area but still needs to clean up his handle a bit and has been badly targeted on defense a few times.

    If it were up to me I’d probably just lean all the way in to the point-Randle idea and start Quickley, but I don’t think it’s so obvious it’s worth all the outrage. Thibs tends to bench Payton quickly when he’s playing badly. I just don’t see his role as having the potential to cost us much of anything.

    Side note: I went to the Liberty game last night and it was a blast. Very fun team. Highly recommend catching some games in person or on TV.

  118. Lavine is not a superstar in the same way Randle isn’t. Having two of them is really good, though. With his elite ballhandling ability and shooting, he would be a 10X version of Alec Burks.

    I’m so impressed by the step forward he took this year. He created massive separation between him and Beal as a desired trade target.

    There’s an added benefit to trading for Lavine this summer, too: he only has a $19.5mm cap hit next year. It would give us extraordinary flexibility for this offseason.

  119. thenoblefacehumper: Re: Payton, Thibs has a bit of a history with the “fake starter.” Keith Bogans started all 82 games for the 2010-2011 Bulls but played less than 18 MPG and IIRC was often removed 5 or so minutes in and never reinserted.

    I’m with djphan in thinking he’s still got some valuable skills, but once Thibs (correctly) decided we were going with point-Randle his fit on this team became very weird. Oddly enough, his best fit on the current team might be off the bench during the rare times Randle isn’t playing.

    Having said that, I’m still kind of agnostic on him starting. Rose is unambiguously better at just about everything, but if Thibs wants to retain him for some scoring punch for the bench that makes sense to me. It’s not like Rose is playing less than he should as a result of being a reserve.

    I don’t love the point-Burks idea either. I think there’s something to be said for starting the game with a true dribble penetrator/distributor type, even with the awkward Randle fit. Quickley shows some potential in that area but still needs to clean up his handle a bit and has been badly targeted on defense a few times.

    If it were up to me I’d probably just lean all the way in to the point-Randle idea and start Quickley, but I don’t think it’s so obvious it’s worth all the outrage. Thibs tends to bench Payton quickly when he’s playing badly. I just don’t see his role as having the potential to cost us much of anything.

    I agree 100% with this take.

  120. Hubert:
    Lavine is not a superstar in the same way Randle isn’t. Having two of them is really good, though. With his elite ballhandling ability and shooting, he would be a 10X version of Alec Burks.

    I’m so impressed by the step forward he took this year. He created massive separation between him and Beal.

    There’s an added benefit to trading for Lavine this summer, too: he only has a $19.5mm cap hit next year. It would give us extraordinary flexibility for this offseason.

    I disagree with the take of Burks vs. Lavine. We have no idea how Lavine would perform on a win-now team. When healthy, Burks is worth triple of what he’s getting paid right now. Do you get any surplus value from Lavine at tha max, especially considering what his 2022-23 and beyond salary will be, plus the opportunity cost of giving up assets? I’d rather keep Burks and see how the draft picks and young players that Lavine will surely cost in a trade pan out. Then if you can get him in 2022 as a FA, sure, take a look at that.

  121. Anyone notice the moment, in the first half, when Derozan was on the line after drawing a foul from Barrett? RJ walked up to him and said something right in his face at the foul line. I couldn’t tell what it was. It was pretty intense body language, though. Anyone know what that might have been about? I assume it was that he didn’t think he touched him and DeMar said something. But what I saw was the kid saying, “I’ve grown up” and he walked his talk in that game.

Comments are closed.