NY Post: Elfrid Payton clinging to Knicks starting spot with stellar defense

From Marc Berman:

Like a cat’s nine lives, Elfrid Payton has survived all point-guard comers to hold onto the starting job for a second straight season — even turning back surging rookie Immanuel Quickley.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina have proved no competition — each suffering early-season injuries to eliminate them as contenders. Each will be trade bait at the March 25 deal deadline.

Austin Rivers overcame a groin injury that put him out of the preseason and the season’s first four games. After a hot start, Rivers has leveled off.

Quickley keeps on charging, but Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after Sunday’s victory in Boston that Payton will remain the starter over the rookie because of one thing: defense.

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118 thoughts to “NY Post: Elfrid Payton clinging to Knicks starting spot with stellar defense”

  1. Praise be to Brian! Now, let’s merciless rehash the same arguments we had in the last one. I believe “Frank Ntilikina” and “Thabo Sefolosha” were bandied about in the same sentence? Surely there’s some lively discussion to be had there.

    Also, geo was discussing some, uh, tender moments from his youth.

  2. I’m assuming the stuff about Payton’s defense is coachspeak BS from Thibs to justify not throwing Quickley into the deep end too soon. Because while Payton came into this league projected to maybe be a Gary Payton-type defender — if not a Frank-type defender — he’s not very good on that end of the court.

    Anybody have some good numbers on how our defense looks when Payton is on the court versus when Quickley is?

    And, to pick up something from the last thread, calling Frank’s floor as a waiter in Montmartre sells the guy short. He’s much too beautiful to wait tables anywhere. If the basketball thing doesn’t work out, I see modeling or acting in his future.

  3. I don’t know about yal, but I’m super excited to see the Wiseman-Mitch match-up tonight. I hope they give Wiseman the ball so we can see the Block Ness Monster in his natural habitat against a player many of us wanted

  4. Alan, that’s a good question because Payton doesn’t have to be a great or even a good defender for Thibs to be correct, he just has to be a better defender than Quickley.

  5. Totes McGoats as Totes McGoats:
    I don’t know about yal, but I’m super excited to see the Wiseman-Mitch match-up tonight. I hope they give Wiseman the ball so we can see the Block Ness Monster in his natural habitat against a player many of us wanted

    I don’t recall many people “wanting” him, but some (like myself) thought he would be a very good pick…he was second to LaMelo for me.

  6. Here’s the on/off numbers for Payton and for Quickley.

    Just using eFG% as shorthand for defense, our defense is slightly better with Payton off the court than on; opponent eFG% is 50.3% when Payton plays versus 49.8% when he sits. Quickley’s on/off numbers are clearly worse; opponents have an eFG% of 51.4% when IQ is playing versus an eFG% of 49.6% when he sits. But defense is only one side of the ball and PG is the least important defensive position on the court and the on/off eFG% for the Knicks is a much bigger difference than for opponents.

    Our eFG% on/off for Payton is 50.1% on and 49.9% off. Our eFG% on/off for Quickley is 52.9% on and 49% off. As a team, our eFG% is 0.2% worse than our opponents when Payton is in the game and is 1.5% better than opponents when Quickley is in the game. Considering that something over 90% of games are won by the team with the higher eFG%, that Payton clearly has no future with the team and Quickley does, and that the advanced stats say IQ is clearly better than Payton now (BPM of 0.8 for IQ and -2.8 for Payton) and in his career (Payton’s career high BPM is 0.8, same as IQ’s this season) I don’t see how Thibodeau is going to be able to continue to play Payton over Quickley for the whole season.

    Of course, I only have access to the basic free stats. If anyone has access to the more advanced stats like PIPM I’d be interested to hear what they are. And if anyone knows WTF PIE is on NBA.com, Payton’s is 9 and IQ’s is 10.6.

  7. Not to make too much out of one game for the Nets especially one in which their opponent shot 50% from 3, but you have to think this will be a recurring problem for them — they just don’t really have any good defenders other than KD for 10 possessions a game and Bruce Brown who can’t shoot. And it’s not just individual 1-on-1 defenders – Kyrie and Harden are notably bad team defenders (I won’t even mention Deandre). In the 3 games since Harden showed up, they’ve given up 115 (112 ORtg) to Magic (3rd worst offense at 104.5 ORtg), 123 to the Bucks (a very good offense), and 147 freaking points (125 ORtg) to the worst offense in the league in the Cavs (103.1 ORtg for the season).

    Have to imagine their closing lineup will be Kyrie, Harden, Harris, KD, and presumably Jeff Green? Is that team stopping anyone? Other than Bruce Brown, they don’t have a single point-of-attack defender. And they have no one but Green I guess to guard the monster wings like Lebron, Luka, Giannis, Kawhi etc and Green is like 40 and not good. And for Pete’s sake, Embiid may score 45 points/game on them.

    I am sure I will be eating my words when the Nets win every game 150-139. But I said it when the trade was announced – there has to be diminishing returns on 3 elite high-usage scorers. They should’ve traded for PJ Tucker instead.

  8. Thibs said that Payton is in for more challenging defensive matchups the on/off numbers don’t tell the whole story. He’s a very good defensive guard and out starting lineup is big and physical (although Mitch can get pushed around by the Drummonds.)

  9. It’s hard to disagree when the team is 5th in D rating, 1st in D fg%, 1st in D 3pt%, and 1st in PPG allowed. But yeah, Thibs probably just doesn’t want to throw IQ to the wolves just yet. If nothing else, Elf benefits from already knowing all the players’ tendencies, the different pro sets, etc.

  10. yeah, Frank, the Nets defense is pretty much going to rely on other teams not being able to execute their offense. They’re going to be kinda like a junk ball pitcher who gives up a ton of fly balls and hopes the park keeps them in and his outfielders make the catches.

    Thing is, though, sometimes that works. The Nets are going to force teams to score at a rate that is very hard, even against a bad defense. that’s why i think only a few well coached, well organized teams will be able to capitalize on their deficiencies.

    I don’t think Lakers-Nets, for instance, would be that close. But I also don’t think the 76ers could put up 125 points 4 times in a 7 game series even against the worst d in the league.

  11. The Nets did give up 113 points “only” to the Cavs in regulation, so the numbers aren’t that bad. Of course when a super team comes around people are going to overreact massively to small sample sizes, but to me it’s abundantly clear that Marks has built this team as an unfinished roster and he knows that. After the trade deadline and the buyout market comes around we’ll know if the Nets are built to be a true contender, and the real threat is next season when they’ll have their pick of any veteran mercenary looking for a ring.

    You add say, PJ Tucker and JaVale McGee to this Nets team and things already look a lot different for example.

  12. 113 points to the Cavs in regulation is still prob 10+ points better than the Cavs’ offensive rating. The Nets just are a bad defense right now.

    Do they have any trade assets left? And my guess is with the play-in games, there will be many fewer useful players on the buyout market, and it’ll be a bit more of a sellers’ trade market.

    Agree with Hubert – my guess is that the Lakers would take this team apart pretty easily – the LBJ/AD surrounded by shooters and defenders is just too strong. but who knows, that’s why we play the games.

  13. Frank:
    113 points to the Cavs in regulation is still prob 10+ points better than the Cavs’ offensive rating.The Nets just are a bad defense right now.

    Do they have any trade assets left?And my guess is with the play-in games, there will be many fewer useful players on the buyout market, and it’ll be a bit more of a sellers’ trade market.

    Agree with Hubert – my guess is that the Lakerswould take this team apart pretty easily – the LBJ/AD surrounded by shooters and defenders is just too strong. but who knows, that’s why we play the games.

    But that’s the point, the Lakers didn’t magically build their depth out of nowhere, it took an off-season to do it. They had KCP, Caruso and Kuzma only, they signed Rondo, Green and Howard all as free agents for cheap and then got Markieff Morris as a buyout guy. They spent exactly zero assets building their depth

    These type of players will be available for the Nets, if it’s not in this buyout market, then it’s next season, all 3 stars plus Harris, Shamet and Jordan are under contract for next season, and they have Dinwiddie with a player option for next season, who they could keep or trade etc.

  14. Thibs said that Payton is in for more challenging defensive matchups the on/off numbers don’t tell the whole story. He’s a very good defensive guard and out starting lineup is big and physical (although Mitch can get pushed around by the Drummonds.)

    i agree that 13 games of on/off don’t tell the whole story, or in fact any story. i disagree that payton is a very good defensive guard. i don’t even think he’s a good defensive guard. he’s an above average ball pressure guard who is way below average in mistake making, which probably nets to a pretty mediocre defensive guard. his career defensive rapm is terrible. and i don’t think he’s playing appreciably better on defense this year than usual. i don’t believe in our defensive rating and i don’t think we’ll hold the top ten, because i think most of the opp shooting woes likely reflects more fortune than blueprint.

    that’s not to say thibs hasn’t added any value on defense. randle has been less bad and 30 minutes of head cold mitch is probably better than 23 minutes of glowstick mitch. i also think rj has played somewhat better on d despite anemic stocks #s. his stamina is elite. i could make a video longer than the quickley floater montages of rj beating randle back in transition despite rj having missed a driving shot.

  15. “He’s good on defense” is the oft-made excuse of risk-averse coaches to sit better rookies in favor of shittier veterans. Thibodeau figures that Payton’s floor is somehow higher than Quickley’s and so he’s going to play Payton. Always thinking the “unproven” guy is going to suffer some kind of meltdown or that right around the corner is the unproven guy “getting exposed” is how the Thibs’s of the world think and process.

    Payton shitty spells are ultra-shitty — and all too frequent — but the Thibs’s of the world don’t see it that way. Payton’s default is that he’ll “bounce back,” rookies like Quickley’s are that they’re “being exposed.”

  16. watched and listened to the cavs local broadcast last night…austin carr is a poor man’s clyde on the analysis…i did like whenever allen blocked a shot he said “get that weak stuff outta here”….but even he kept saying that the nets have zero d and if the cavs just kept running an offense that made them work…they would score most of the time…which they did until as he pointed out…they reverted back to one on one and no ball movement and then the nets came back…eventually they won because sexton was out of his mind in ot…but good offensive units will exploit them…. but as hubert said above…there is pressure to score because they will be able to score at will….and alot of teams won’t be able to deal…

  17. 113 points to the Cavs in regulation is still prob 10+ points better than the Cavs’ offensive rating. The Nets just are a bad defense right now.

    I’m not in disagreement about the Nets’ defense overall, but Collin Sexton just had a monster game and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do when the outside shot falls like that. Watching some of the game highlights (still hard to find videos of misses vis-à-vis makes), you can see some matador D from Harden and Kyrie on some nifty PNR and dribble penetration, but also Durant and Jeff Green getting roasted in ISO by late Lillard-like threes from Sexton. Last year, Sexton’s arguably two best scoring games came against Utah and Boston, two teams known for their D. (UTA was worse than previous years, but Gobert did play that game.) Sometimes the shots just fall.

  18. Sean Marks sounded very uncertain that Kyrie and KD will be re-upping in a year and a half when they both have opt-outs. I’d agree that the odds of that are low.

  19. ptmilo: Thibs said that Payton is in for more challenging defensive matchups the on/off numbers don’t tell the whole story.

    Sure thing, Thibs. Uh-huh.

  20. I know a lot of us, myself included, wanted the Knicks to draft Halliburton over Obi, but his numbers so far are pretty underwhelming. He may turn out to be a solid NBA player, but honestly, the jury is still out on him (just like it is with Obi)

  21. This is a really good article by Vorkunov on all the work Randle put in this offseason to transform his body and his game. Whole thing is worth reading, but here’s an excerpt:

    His on-court work with Relph was vital, too. They set a number of places to focus on. Randle worked on getting to spots on the floor where he could rise up to shoot because, Relph said, the fear of letting Randle get downhill could create opportunities in the mid-range.

    They set a goal for his perimeter shooting, eyeing 1.5 3s per game as a baseline; a number he’s hitting exactly now at 35.5 percent from 3.

    “For his position you don’t have to shoot 40 percent,” Relph said. “If you’re 34 percent and above you’re pretty good. We worked all summer on his shot.”

    Relph put Randle through on-court workouts that accentuated those goals, tasking him with skill drills and pushing him in games to put it all together. In one, he asked Randle to go through a post move, ball screen-and-pop, a shot off one-dribble, and lifting up for a 3.

    The impact on his playing style this season is clear. Randle is shooting more out of the mid-range — he’s in the 94th percentile percentage of his shots taken as long 2s, according to Cleaning The Glass — and he’s hitting them more often. Last season, Randle hit 42 percent of his mid-range jumpers, via Cleaning The Glass. This season, he’s at 50 percent so far.

  22. I know a lot of us, myself included, wanted the Knicks to draft Halliburton over Obi, but his numbers so far are pretty underwhelming. He may turn out to be a solid NBA player, but honestly, the jury is still out on him (just like it is with Obi)

    I’m assuming you meant to refer to someone other than Haliburton, whose numbers are currently better characterized as “insane” than “underwhelming.”

  23. I know a lot of us, myself included, wanted the Knicks to draft Halliburton over Obi, but his numbers so far are pretty underwhelming. He may turn out to be a solid NBA player, but honestly, the jury is still out on him (just like it is with Obi)

    warning: your whelm bar is set approximately 1 million meters higher than our advised safe usage

  24. Haha my bad on Halliburton. I had just looked at his last 3 games and they were pretty poor, but overall he has been having a very solid rookie season.

  25. I don’t recall many people “wanting” him, but some (like myself) thought he would be a very good pick…he was second to LaMelo for me.

    i don’t recall z-man putting up his draft board… could you bless us with that please?

  26. I’ll just mention that I had Wiseman way over LaMelo, as I projected LaMelo to be a very poor man’s version of his brother. But Lonzo’s regressed considerably so far this year, and LaMelo for all his obvious and considerable warts is just much better than I envisioned. I don’t know who I’d take if I had the #1 at this point. If I were the Knicks I’d probably go LaMelo for the dreaded and disparaged “need.”

  27. d-mar:
    I know a lot of us, myself included, wanted the Knicks to draft Halliburton over Obi, but his numbers so far are pretty underwhelming. He may turn out to be a solid NBA player, but honestly, the jury is still out on him (just like it is with Obi)

    Wasn’t the sell with Obi that he was going to come in and contribute immediately? Weren’t a ton of writers predicting that he would win ROTY?

  28. Guys you can call off the dogs, like I said, I was lazy on Hali and just glanced at his last 3 games.

    My excuse is that I’m hungover from celebrating a certain regime change. (-:

  29. d-mar, no worries. But before I jump off the hali hype train, here’s a little comparison.

    Hali: 28 mpg, 5.1 assts, .637 efg, 49% 3pt, 82% ft.
    Elf: 29 mpg, 4.1 assts, .473 efg, 31% 3pt, 68.8% ft.

    Thank goodness for the great defense. And veteran presence.

    It would have been horrible to have a Hali-Quickley backcourt. (Sob.)

  30. The Nets are never gonna have the flexibility the Lakers did because they have three max players vs 2. Also, the Lakers weren’t carrying a sieve like Jordan at a premium cost. Barring some players taking really stupid discounts, I doubt they’ll ever overcome their roster’s limitations.

    The best thing they could do is trade Kyrie for 2-3 perfect role players, but I doubt that’s possible.

  31. ptmilo: i agree that 13 games of on/off don’t tell the whole story, or in fact any story. i disagree that payton is a very good defensive guard. i don’t even think he’s a good defensive guard. he’s an above average ball pressure guard who is way below average in mistake making, which probably nets to a pretty mediocre defensive guard. his career defensive rapm is terrible. and i don’t think he’s playing appreciably better on defense this year than usual. i don’t believe in our defensive rating and i don’t think we’ll hold the top ten, because i think most of the opp shooting woes likely reflects more fortune than blueprint.

    I’ll side with Thibs, the on/off numbers and the eye test on this one. I wonder if we’re still a top-tier defense 60 games in whether some here will still be chalking it up to fortune over blueprint.

  32. djphan: i don’t recall z-man putting up his draft board… could you bless us with that please?

    Feel free to peruse the archives for my thoughts on specific players.

  33. It would have been horrible to have a Hali-Quickley backcourt. (Sob.)

    We wouldn’t, though. Hali at 8 almost certainly would have meant we took a big (maybe Vernon Carey) with that second pick. The roster already had so many guards — this was back when Thibs was still trying to salvage DSJ, for instance — and no big men other than Mitch, Randle, and, depending on how you categorize him, Knox.

    At the moment, Hali obviously looks like the much better pick than Obi. But would you rather have Obi and Quickley, or Hali and Carey (or a big man prospect of similar pedigree/skill who is not Xavier Tillman, since the Knicks clearly didn’t like him based on trading out of the 33rd pick once Carey was gone)?

  34. Feel free to peruse the archives for my thoughts on specific players.

    it might be beneficial the next time you start making things up again… you know for accountability and all that archaic stuff…. since you love holding others accountable on these things…. i think it’s about time right since you’re talking like you have something…

    what’s the big deal?

  35. If I had to guess, 100% of us immediately knew that Obi over Halliburton was a massive blunder. Some people just weren’t in the mood to admit it right away.

    I think the only reason we weren’t collectively Kevin Knox-level angry on draft night is that the people doing mock drafts just got it wrong, A lot of times these guys are just copying each other’s work. We got so used to seeing Obi in the top 5 that we figured he was that good. But I can’t imagine NBA scouts were that fooled; I think they just weren’t correcting the beat writers. If our own ptmilo had the guy absolutely pegged a month before the draft, I have to think NBA scouts knew, too.

    I don’t think anyone in front of us other than Cleveland seriously considered the guy, and if we hadn’t picked him I can’t see another team behind us that would have gone for him until we get to Orlando at 15. He’s just a monumental blunder, and he is obviously going to average 22 and 10 over the next month now that I’ve written this.

  36. But would you rather have Obi and Quickley, or Hali and Carey

    I would rather have Hali and Quickley ; )

    This was a rare case when Haliburton was (1) BPA and (2) a player at a crucially important position (3) in a position of extreme need for the Knicks (4) who fell even lower than some mock drafts predicted. And the FO still fucked it up.

  37. I like Hali and liked him at #8 over Obi. That said, I don’t think his numbers over the first 10 games were sustainable. His last 3 games were downright pedestrian…he shot 7-21 with zero FTs, 9 assists and 5 turnovers. Is that the beginning of a trend or just a blip? We’ll see.

  38. Also, the guy I loved that some of y’all feared for some reason, Patrick Williams, looks like a pick absolutely worthy of being selected where he was. He’s still really raw, but by the time he’s Obi’s age (i.e. years from now), he could be a beast.

  39. Also, the guy I loved that some of y’all feared for some reason, Patrick Williams, looks like a pick absolutely worthy of being selected where he was.

    It’s funny how my view of Williams changed the moment Chicago wanted him. That’s how much faith I have in Arturas Karnisovas.

  40. Hubert:
    If I had to guess, 100% of us immediately knew that Obi over Halliburton was a massive blunder.Some people just weren’t in the mood to admit it right away.

    I think the only reason we weren’t collectively Kevin Knox-level angry on draft night is that the people doing mock drafts just got it wrong,A lot of times these guys are just copying each other’s work.We got so used to seeing Obi in the top 5 that we figured he was that good.But I can’t imagine NBA scouts were that fooled; I think they just weren’t correcting the beat writers.If our own ptmilo had the guy absolutely pegged a month before the draft, I have to think NBA scouts knew, too.

    I don’t think anyone in front of us other than Cleveland seriously considered the guy, and if we hadn’t picked him I can’t see another team behind us that would have gone for him until we get to Orlando at 15. He’s just a monumental blunder, and he is obviously going to average 22 and 10 over the next month now that I’ve written this.

    I was interested in Toppin after a Lowe Post episode with ESPN’s “scouts” pre-draft, where they gave away the impression that he was 1) unstoppable on offense and 2) coachable enough with a high bball IQ to mitigate his defensive issues. I believe they said something along the lines of Amare with 3-point range. So far I’m surprised at how unpolished he looks offensively and how much he settles for 3s

  41. djphan: it might be beneficial the next time you start making things up again… you know for accountability and all that archaic stuff…. since you love holding others accountable on these things….i think it’s about time right since you’re talking like you have something…

    what’s the big deal?

    Clearly you’re inconsolably butthurt and trying to provoke something, I’m not biting. As I said, feel free to peruse the archives and hold me accountable for anything I said in the past compared to what I said today. Spoiler alert: you won’t be the first!

  42. So far I’m surprised at how unpolished he looks offensively and how much he settles for 3s

    The lack of polish really pisses me off a lot, honestly. When you get an older rookie specifically to avoid having to deal with another project…and then he’s a project, too?! Fuck the heck?!

  43. >>> I believe they said something along the lines of Amare with 3-point range. <<<

    And I remember thinking if anyone is this shitty draft looks like Amar'e, he's going #1 with a bullet. So something was definitely wrong there.

  44. patrick williams was underrated but then quickly got overrated… he was fine like how vassell was fine…vassell was good where he was picked… but if he was picked in the top 5 you would end up scratching your head…. that happening enough times was how guys like okongwu ended up in atlanta and haliburton on the kings…

  45. I haven’t given up on Obi just yet. You look at some of his peripherals and they aren’t half bad. His problem is an inability to get to the basket (32% of his shots have been 0-3ft. from the rim) has fucked his TS% numbers up, which admittedly is a major problem. Even the defense so far (DBPM 1.0) hasn’t been as a horrendous as I was expected to believe.

  46. I didn’t mind Patrick Williams but I thought it was nuts to take him 4th. He also hasn’t been very good as a pro yet.

    If Obi can hit 36% of his 3s he should keep taking them.

  47. Clearly you’re inconsolably butthurt and trying to provoke something, I’m not biting. As I said, feel free to peruse the archives and hold me accountable for anything I said in the past compared to what I said today. Spoiler alert: you won’t be the first!

    if you said you had wiseman #2 that sounds like you have a board…. i’m curious to know who else is there since you love to pick apart mine and ed weilands…. that should probably mean you’re better at this…

    you have the benefit of it being after the draft to rank your players too… how could you pass that up?

  48. all of obi’s #s are a complete trainwreck right now… but it’s only 50 some odd minutes…. the good news is that things like 3pr are fixable if he just stops taking 3s…

    whatever your position on bigs taking 3s for the sake of spacing…. we didn’t draft him to become bertans or lauri markannen… not like those guys would be worthy of lottery picks anyway…. so this 50% 3pr as a rookie is just overdoing it to the extreme….

  49. My guess is Payton executes Thibs scheme on both ends more accurately than Quickley so even if the results are worse Payton makes more sense at this stage when he’s trying to build the team’s identity. It wouldn’t surprise me if Elf starts all season unless Quickley plays so well or Payton so poorly he forces Thibs’ hand- I’d put the odds of that at 50/50.

  50. Yeah, he’s barely played and I hope I can re-evaluate once he gets more minutes under his belt. I don’t watch college ball at all, so I’m mostly just surprised at how off he looks relative to what I was told. Who was the last Atlantic-10 player to be successful in the NBA, anyway?

  51. Ntilakilla:
    I haven’t given up on Obi just yet. You look at some of his peripherals and they aren’t half bad. His problem is an inability to get to the basket (32% of his shots have been 0-3ft. from the rim) has fucked his TS% numbers up, which admittedly is a major problem. Even the defense so far (DBPM 1.0) hasn’t been as a horrendous as I was expected to believe.

    32% isn’t bad considering he’s taking 56% from 3.

    – Compare it to Wiseman who is taking 38% at the rim and only 11% from 3. That’s a lot of midrange from Wiseman.

    – Or look at Embiid who only takes 30% for his career at the rim and 20% from 3. He’s more central to the offense and will end up taking more midrange shots (plus he’s reasonably good from there) to sustain his 30% usage

    – Towns is at 34% at the rim and 22% from 3.

    Obi’s real problem is he’s only hitting 50% of his shots at the rim. Obi was good shooting from 3 in college, so I don’t hate it even if his FT% indicates it will drop.

  52. I would rather have Hali and Quickley ; )

    BZZZT!!!! Not allowed! You have to pick one or the other, then decide if the downgrade from Hali to Quickley is greater or lesser than the downgrade from Obi to whichever big would have been available in the 23-25 range.

  53. I haven’t given up on Obi, I’ve just given up thinking he was worthy of being our selection with the 8th pick.

    there’s a lot of eye test in that, for sure. I’m not denying that.

  54. obi’s taken 25 shots.. and while shot mix is somethign that converges fast… we probably need double or triple that to start drawing some conclusions….

    and also take into account that obi is clearly still searching how he fits and what he can/can’t do.. this could be a long rookie year… which isn’t too uncommon even with older prospects…. just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re nba ready… college is still a world away from the nba ….. just ask draymond green…

    but he probably does need to hit baselines in 2p fg% and probably rebounding at the very least…. and that’s the thing to pay attention to… does he have foundational nba skills? and no 3pt’ers is not foundational….

  55. Alan: the downgrade from Obi to whichever big would have been available in the 23-25 range.

    We could have gotten a better big at 33 the way Xavier Tillman looks.

    Halli & Tillman vs Quickley & Obi? I know who I want.

  56. Obi hasn’t even played two games worth of starter’s minutes. It’s way too early to be concerned with shot mix or anything really. And if there’s one thing I learned from my insomniac deep dive last night is that lots of good players are really bad for awhile even if they come in older. It just takes 1000 minutes or so for some guys to even start to figure it out. The peripheral numbers are all encouraging if he maintains them- obviously a huge if at 60 minutes!

  57. Owen: No one has given up on Obi.

    But I would much rather have Hali, Quickley, and Tillman.

    This hedge is like fantasizing about how life would’ve been with the woman who got away while still claiming you love your wife.

  58. nicos i was going to respond to this before but got caught up in the other tangents…

    you shouldn’t anchor yourself on X number of minutes played…. yes minutes count but so do offseasons which is where most of the growth occurs… what you’re observing is that players with less minutes are likely self selected out of the sample because they’re young but also likely bad….

    players peak between 24-25 … this is just one of many papers on this subject… and what you’re observing is that yes older prospects do improve as well but they are also on the left side of that curve too….

    that’s why you need to look at the entire dataset instead of picking at it… which could lead to some misleading conclusions….

  59. We could have gotten a better big at 33 the way Xavier Tillman looks.

    But we wouldn’t have taken Tillman. You can only rewrite history here within a plausible framework. Which means we don’t take two guards with our two first rounders, and we don’t take a guy whom the front office clearly did not want at 33.

  60. Hubert: We could have gotten a better big at 33 the way Xavier Tillman looks.

    You mean Xavier Tillman who was like #1 or #2 in BPM in NCAA last year? He’s quite obviously a role player but exactly the kind of guy you sign for $8M over four and let him play 20 uber-efficient rim-running minutes a game.

  61. Alan: BZZZT!!!! Not allowed! You have to pick one or the other, then decide if the downgrade from Hali to Quickley is greater or lesser than the downgrade from Obi to whichever big would have been available in the 23-25 range.

    Feels like me trying to convince my radical-left friends to vote for Biden ; )

  62. @IanBegley
    Seton Hall’s Myles Powell is among the players who will be on the Westchester Knicks’ roster, SNY has learned. Louis King and Simi Shittu will also be with Westchester, per SNY sources. Roster, obviously, includes NYK 2-way players Theo Pinson and Jared Harper.

  63. djphan: players peak between 24-25 … this is just one of many papers on this subject… and what you’re observing is that yes older prospects do improve as well but they are also on the left side of that curve too….

    Hijacking this one. Nets are likely to have to offer multi-year deals to Harden, Durant AND Irving at the same time, which would mean something like $180M for a 38-year-old Durant, 37-year-old Harden and 33-year-old Irving in the final year of their extensions. The chips are in!

  64. djphan:
    nicos i was going to respond to this before but got caught up in the other tangents…

    you shouldn’t anchor yourself on X number of minutes played…. yes minutes count but so do offseasons which is where most of the growth occurs… what you’re observing is that players with less minutes are likely self selected out of the sample because they’re young but also likely bad….

    players peak between 24-25 … this is just one of many papers on this subject… and what you’re observing is that yes older prospects do improve as well but they are also on the left side of that curve too….

    that’s why you need to look at the entire dataset instead of picking at it… which could lead to some misleading conclusions….

    Well, yes and no? I do think we’re more in agreement than the Pierce stuff made it seem. The really early career stuff- at any age- shouldn’t be concerning as long as, like you said about Obi, certain baselines are met. But once you’ve played 2000-3000 minutes there’s only so much you can improve- player’s career spreads from there are only so wide- but for sure a guy who who hits that number at twenty is going to have more room to improve than someone who hits it at 23. But if you’re -2.4 BPM after 3000 minutes (say end of the year for RJ), Pierce (or the poorer shooting better elsewhere equivalent) is a miraculous outcome, even for someone at 20. But, yeah there are still tons of good outcomes for RJ and some bad ones too- more good than bad I think. But after two full years of minutes the ceiling really begins to shrink.

  65. Wow, my last post had three consecutive sentences starting with “but”- I think at age 55 you can safely say my career prospects as a prose stylist are limited.

  66. Alan: then decide if the downgrade from Hali to Quickley is greater or lesser than the downgrade from Obi to whichever big would have been available in the 23-25 range.

    FWIW Quickley’s WS48 is higher than Hali’s right now.

  67. Grass is always so much greener.

    LaMelo (who I like) currently has a sub-.500 ts, much like a certain 19 year old that many feel is a bust primarily because of his ts.

    And before you get too amped about Hali, think back upon this name: Landry Fields (he of the rookie .600 ts who broke my heart and his shot).

    Obviously LaMelo and Hali have a lot more going for them than just shooting, and they’ve had nice starts. But that’s no guarantee that, after 13 games, they’ll definitely become stars or even above-average role players.

  68. But once you’ve played 2000-3000 minutes there’s only so much you can improve-

    this is basically one seasons worth of minutes… and this is the part that’s misleading… if you get picked in the lottery you will get minutes.. and probably get it all in one season like frank, knox and rj…. if you’re not picked in the lotto or youre picked on a deep team that can afford to bring you off the bench then it’s going to take time for you to earn minutes…

    the reason you’re observing that is because guys like ingram or westbrook play… but guys like jerami grant don’t …. it takes guys like grant … dragic…. much longer to establish themselves … grant and dragic played 1000 minutes in their rookie years.. are you saying they would have shown much more if they were allowed to play 1000 more minutes in their rookie years and their improvement in their 2nd year is a mirage?

    from what you’re saying that’s the conclusion right? and if it is… i think that’s a pretty misleading take….

  69. But we wouldn’t have taken Tillman. You can only rewrite history here within a plausible framework. Which means we don’t take two guards with our two first rounders, and we don’t take a guy whom the front office clearly did not want at 33.

    Can’t my plausible framework be what would have happened if we didn’t have a stupid front office?

    Or are you saying a competent Knicks front office can’t exist within a reasonable? If so, touché.

  70. By the way, it’s kind of remarkable that our front literally did not think Tillman was worth a roster spot.

    I don’t want to have to wait for a new PoBO. hopefully when we replace scott perry we can start having a clue.

  71. Alan:
    Y’all are like the kid who rubs the genie’s lamp and tries to wish for more wishes.

    Is that… wrong??

    I’d rather be Max Lord than the guy who got the free coffee :)

  72. As of now we’ll have two first and two seconds in the draft,
    a lot of great arguments awaits us… :-)

  73. djphan: this is basically one seasons worth of minutes… and this is the part that’s misleading… if you get picked in the lottery you will get minutes.. and probably get it all in one season like frank, knox and rj…. if you’re not picked in the lotto or youre picked on a deep team that can afford to bring you off the bench then it’s going to take time for you to earn minutes…

    the reason you’re observing that is because guys like ingram or westbrook play… but guys like jerami grant don’t …. it takes guys like grant … dragic…. much longer to establish themselves … grant and dragic played 1000 minutes in their rookie years.. are you saying they would have shown much more if they were allowed to play 1000 more minutes in their rookie years and their improvement in their 2nd year is a mirage?

    from what you’re saying that’s the conclusion right? and if it is… i think that’s a pretty misleading take….

    But guys’ spreads between career lows and career highs are only so big once you’ve played a bit unless you’re Giannis or LBJ, even guys who come in at 19. Like I said, the younger you are the more room you have to improve but players just don’t add 6 points of bpm (pre-Brooklyn Pierce is career 4.2, lets say RJ ends the year around -2) to their career averages after two years of decent minutes. Ingram might be an exception but that’s really, really rare and he came in about as physically unprepared as could be. Grant was at -1.3 after year two and his next three years were .02, .05, and -.5. If you think the 4.2 he’s putting up this year is sustainable more power to you. Yes, putting up a -2.4 probably means China for a 23 year old while at 20 you’ve still got lots of outcomes- some really good. I think we’re in agreement there so I’ll leave at that- I ruined one thread, I don’t want to make it two!

  74. it’s not that rare… that’s the point i’m saying.. you’re looking at just shooting and making a deterimination based on bpm… well that also expands your whole dataset that you’re missing…

    look at khris middleton … -1.9 as a rookie was near 0 for most of his career but all of a sudden he’s a 4…. paul mlllsap also with a 4 bpm improvement… gordon hayward… damian lillard…. this happens a ton … literally everyone in the top 50 probably improved their bpm by 4 ….

    and that’s why i urge you to not just take things piecemeal like that and start making firm conclusions… i know it’s tough cause of how bref is now these days but that approach will lead you astray… and while your observation is true… the reasoning and conclusions are not… and you just have to dig a little more and look at all the data to see that….

    i know this because i did do the work… and that’s the reason why things like TS% and BPM aren’t as good forward looking indicators as things like 2p%….

  75. I frequently disagree with him,
    but good piece from Hollinger on The Athletic about how an NHL “divisional” or MLB “conference” kind of schedule for this season could have helped limiting the virus spread/contact tracing/postponed games problem when it became obviuos that a full season bubble was unacceptable for the players/coaches (and rightly so).

  76. I’m not sure how much practice counts or should count, but you have to remember that Thibs gets to see these players play more than we do. Plus he has made comments about how the team is practicing. So we know he values it a bit. He has some insights that fans don’t have after a handful of real games. Also, I think when it comes to rookies and veterans the unwritten rule is that you have to beat the champ clearly to get the decision and take his title. Payton came in as the starter. As long as there’s still some debate over who should start, I think he’s going to keep it. You don’t want to start going back and forth every few games defending on who played best over the last week. When IQ demonstrates on a consistent basis he’s the better player, he’ll get the starting spot. Give it another 20 games.

  77. Your talking about career highs- Gordon’s BPM at the end of his second season was 1.5. At the point of his injury his career average (minus rookie year) was 2.7. If he put a string of years like his career high of 5 maybe that 2.7 looks more like 4. I’m talking about career averages. That’s a sustained jump of 2.5 which looks pretty normal to me. I’m going to look at every player who came into the league at 19 who stuck in the league- maybe you’re right and my sample size is too small. But let’s cool it for awhile.

  78. Plebian and Fair Eye Test Alert

    I’d like to see Obi posting faster and harder without hesitation and be much more intense.
    I expected him more beast-o-brutal and he seems to me too loosey goosey so far. He should work on his explosiveness and his overall power imo so that MBreen should go Zbaam! every time he dunks!

    I’m not a fan of Elf and I’d love to watch IQ kick ass this year BUT He needs slightly more experience to start games. When he’ll be clearly better than Elf it would be Obvious and inevitable.

  79. The Thibs Effect:Current NBA Leaders in Defensive Win Shares-6. Barrett12. Randle17. Bullock35. RobinsonLast Season’s Highest Knicks-163. Harkless (if he even counts)180. Randle (surprised, aren’t you?)187. Robinson207. BullockThe huge minutes help, but that’s elite— Knicks Lifers (@Knicks_Lifers) January 20, 2021

  80. Even me who know shit about draft prospects i had voted Haliburton and Vassel at the draft poll of “who should we pick at 8” after a few 5min videos I’d seen on the fly via YouTube.
    After picking Obi at 5 i decided to trust the professionals of the knicks and wait for the results.
    So far… not so good but let’s wait a bit before we start crying for another lost lottery pick.
    It’s WAY TOO Early!

  81. As I recall, the knock on Halliburton in pre draft reports, or at least one of the negatives, was that he could only drive to one side and not the other. But there have certainly been successful players with this flaw, for example, Jeremy Lin. So I was curious how good he would be and interested in getting him. Anyway, I’d rather have that than a Kenny Walker clone. That said, by eye test, Toppin doesn’t remind me of Walker, so who knows what he will be.

  82. so, just cuz i’m not really seeing it out on the court – as far as role playing within the team: what exactly does obi do that different than what kevin can do?

    I’d like to see Obi posting faster and harder without hesitation and be much more intense.

    i don’t remember seeing obi post up at all so far, did i miss it, or is it just something that happens very infrequently?

  83. Knick fan not in NJ: As I recall, the knock on Halliburton in pre draft reports, or at least one of the negatives, was that he could only drive to one side and not the other.

    Well, that’s still one more side than Obi!

    (I’m kidding… hopefully)

  84. #so, just cuz i’m not really seeing it out on the court – as far as role playing within the team: what exactly does obi do that different than what kevin can do?#

    Obi is a better lob catcher and probably better in pnr also than Knox. Knox looks better so far in spot up 3p shooting.

    #i don’t remember seeing obi post up at all so far, did i miss it, or is it just something that happens very infrequently?#

    It’s something so rare that I’d like to call it snow leopard aka ghost cat!
    He tried to post a couple of times but once he was pushed under the basket and the other lost ball control in the air of what could have been a serious nasty drive dunk as i recall…

  85. Knew Your Nicks:
    #so, just cuz i’m not really seeing it out on the court – as far as role playing within the team: what exactly does obi do that different than what kevin can do?#

    Obi is a better lob catcher and probably better in pnr also than Knox. Knox looks better so far in spot up 3p shooting.

    #i don’t remember seeing obi post up at all so far, did i miss it, or is it just something that happens very infrequently?#

    It’s something so rare that I’d like to call it snow leopard aka ghost cat!
    He tried to post a couple of times but once he was pushed under the basket and the other lost ball control in the air of what could have been a serious nasty drive dunk as i recall…

    Obi seems like a much better passer than Knox to my eyes.

  86. My final report but I hope others will find this interesting- I subscribed to play finder in order to do it! Per DJ I looked at every guy who came into the league at 19 since 1985 and crossed the 2500 minute mark by age 20. Then I looked at their career average BPM for the age 20 through the age 30 season (if they got that far) to avoid late career drop-offs. These are prime career numbers. I ignored guys like MKG who washed out at that point so I didn’t artificial depress the numbers. There are only 32 guys so small sample size but it is what it is.

    Average BPM in their age 20 season: 0.0
    Average Career BPM: 1.75

    Al Harrington has the worst starting point at -3.4, LBJ the best at 8.6. The big movers:
    Giannis: 0.0 to 5.9
    KG 2.2 to 6.7
    Kobe 1.4 to 5.3
    KD 3.3 to 7.4
    Marvin Williams -3.1 to .2
    But there also also guys like Telfair who actually get worse. I should note that the 1.75 number is a little low because you’ve got some guys in their primes like Giannis and Beal who are going to raise their career numbers so lets make it 2 though that’s probably high. So let’s say RJ finishes the season at -2.0. An average outcome is 0.0 (Will Barton!!) and a great outcome is 2. The 4.2 Pierce put up in his prime is out.

    I also looked at every other player who comes in at 19 and sticks whose 2500 year came after age 20 but that only add another 18 guys. If you include them the average starting point is .8 and the career average is 1.3. So, yes, guys who come in at 19 and are playing big minutes have more room to move but it’s not a crazy difference. So, my show me the young guy at 2500 minutes and I’ll show you 75% of the man seems right. At least among 19 year olds.

  87. #Obi seems like a much better passer than Knox to my eyes.#

    Despite Knox’s iconic pass right after grabbing the board Obi seems better in passing to me too.
    Like he has a faster brain processor than KK. Not much faster tho!
    Obi’s game is more restraint in general while Knox’s one has circus aspects all over it! Acrobatics! Clowns! Giraffes!

  88. it’s a weird development that the all the bucks chicanery may have ended up perfectly (big divincenzo fan) for them and their only issue atm is that giannis isn’t playing as well as expected

  89. Ps- if anyone wants to me to look up anything else in play finder let me know now because I want to cancel it before I forget!

  90. i mean they win 60 games in 18-19 and khris middleton’s like hey btw i think i’m gonna weirdly go from like joe dumars to nearly clyde drexler in my late 20s and we’ll also add jrue you’d be thinking global domination

  91. Totes McGoats as Totes McGoats:
    I don’t know about yal, but I’m super excited to see the Wiseman-Mitch match-up tonight. I hope they give Wiseman the ball so we can see the Block Ness Monster in his natural habitat against a player many of us wanted

    Did we decide on this nickname? Jeez, I miss one 400 post thread and a moniker appears.

  92. The 4.2 Pierce put up in his prime is out.

    i thought we were dropping this but ok… how is that possible when brandon ingram finished his age 20 year with -1.2 bpm and is currently sitting at 3.4?

  93. Correction: I left out a column that changes it a bit. It’s been 30 years since my last math class.
    The 32 guys who came into the league at 19 and passed the 2500 minute mark at age 20:

    Average BPM in age 20 season: .34
    Prime career average (age 20-30): 1.76

    Add in the 18 19 year olds who passed the 2500 minute mark after age 20 and you get:
    Average BPM in age 20 season: 0.0
    Prime career average: 1.3.

    So the overall career improvement is actually about the same. Maybe 19 year olds aren’t indicative of much but it looks like my supposition was correct.

  94. and i’m pretty surprised you couldn’t find anyone since derrick rose fits that criteria with a -0.4 his age 20 year and 6.8 in his all star seasons if you’re not counting current season jumps…. or russell westbrook…. or just i mean there’s a ton of players like that….

  95. djphan: i thought we were dropping this but ok… how is that possible when brandon ingram finished his age 20 year with -1.2 bpm and is currently sitting at 3.4?

    Rose and Westbrook came in at 20 and Ingram and Grant didn’t make the cut because they haven’t played 6 full seasons. They’re just entering their primes so maybe they’re having career years, maybe not. Look guys who are good enough to play big minutes by age 20 tend to be better than average- a career 1.76 BPM is pretty good and in career year you might make an all-star team or two. But only the really elite guys (I’d say prime Westbrook was elite) make huge 4-5 point gains in BPM.

  96. kemba walker age 21 -0.8 bpm to 4.0
    khris middleton age 21 -1.9 to 4.1
    gordon hayward age 20 -2.2 to 5.0
    mike conley age 20 -3.0 to 6.8

    i think you missed a whole lot of players for some reason….

    edit: ok if you’re not including age 20 players then that could explain it… but why exclude them? rj is in his age 20 year right now….

  97. And Rose looked like he was going to be elite but got injured- if Rose had played his whole career at his career high of we’d talking about him like he was KG- an all time great.

  98. You don’t understand my argument at all. You’re looking at career highs not career averages. Lots of guys have a great season or two. Gordon Haywards BPM at the end of his 2500 minute season (the whole point of my post and argument) was 1.5 not -2.2. His career average from there until he got injured was 2.7 (maybe that gets to three or four so a maybe 2.5 point improvement- That gets RJ to average. Kemba in the year he hits 2500 has a bpm of 1.4 and a career BPM from that year til now is 3.3. A change of 1.9. Khris Middleton put up a -2.3 in his 2500 season and his career average sits at .7. Now if he plays a few more years at that level that .7 is going to look better but find me another guy who makes the kind of jump he made that late. Mike Conley: -.3 in his 2500 season, career average 2.6.

    You plead with people to read your posts but it’s clear you haven’t really bothered to read mine.

  99. but that’s my point… there’s no reason to only count haywards 2500 minute season… he played 1200 his rookie year! are you saying what was stopping him from reaching 1.5 bpm was anther 1300 minutes his rookie year?

    that’s essentially what you’re saying….

  100. Yes, that’s kind of what I’m saying- if he’d have been the 1.5 player he was in his second year he’d probably have played more minutes. My supposition was that guys establish a baseline around the 2500-3000 minute mark. I throw out RJ’s -4.3, don’t even look at it- there are tons of guys who start there and turn out very good. There aren’t a lot of guys who are -2.0 after 2500 minutes and wind up perennial all-stars. My point is after that amount of game time you have a limited amount of upside- still a range of outcomes- some don’t improve at, the average among all the 19 year olds improvement in BPM from their 2500 season was 1.3 for their career whether they reached them at 20 or later. Some elite guys make huge improvements like Giannis but those are few and far between. Maybe there are a ton of guys I’m missing but every example you gave proves my point- really good players usually improve 2 or 3 points. 5 and 6 in career numbers hardly ever happens. Keep looking career highs and you’ll keep missing my point- I could see RJ having a few 4.2 seasons (Pierce’s prime number) but to 4.2 as a career average would take a Giannis year two til now improvement.

  101. Look you’re say hey he’s only 20, anything (like Pierce) can happen but I don’t think anything can happen after 2500-3000 minutes whether you’re 20 or 22 when hit it. Some really good things can happen and I hope they do but your ceiling isn’t unlimited.

    But Barrett might get to league average tonight!

  102. Yes, that’s kind of what I’m saying-

    yes so i’m completely understanding you then right? and i already said how misleading that was and why…

    yes your upside isn’t unlimited but paul pierce isn’t the greatest player ever…. he was once 20 years old too and he wasn’t that good either….

    we can agree to disagree…. my point is that you’re using a very narrow set of parameters to remove all the possible outcomes for rj…. including the folks who entered the league at an older age and performed worse… and i don’t think we’ll get past this point if you just want to not only exclude some altogether… but exclude the rookie years they had because they didn’t pass an artificially high minutes threshold..

  103. I’ll look at every current 6 year vet and check their BPM in the year they hit 2500 and their career numbers- will that be acceptable? I’ll add in another 100 random guys to boost the sample size. It’ll be tomorrow- I’ll let you know in whatever thread is most current.

    I want to know if I’m full of shit or not!

  104. you have to count their rookie years and not just the first season they hit 2500 minutes… and you also have to count players who entered the league at an older age who performed worse…

    there’s just no way you can attribute hayward’s bpm jump to playing 1300 more minutes rather than having an entire offseason and turning a year older in a formative year of his career…. i find that pill very tough to swallow….

    so again… let’s just drop it…. i appreciate the effort but we’re just not going to agree on this….

  105. I need something to keep me busy so I’m going to do the 19 year olds again Rookie bpm to career. Again I’m interested in career numbers so I need to look at guys who’ve actually had careers- if you think that’s restrictive I don’t know what tell you- I don’t care how he compares to Dragan Bender. Among 19 year olds there was no real difference between guys who hit 2500 at 20 or later but maybe that’s just 19 year olds or just the limited sample size so I’m going to look at every current 6+ year vet plus 100 random older guys and look at rookie year vs. career, 2500 minutes vs career, and age 22 season vs. career to see if that’s more predictive.

  106. I added back the rookie numbers as you asked- If you include those the average variance for the 52 players (I missed 2 before) who came in at 19 and played 6 years+ from rookie year through career prime in BPM is 2.35. My 2500 number is 1.76. Better but inconclusive given the sample size and age might work as well. I really don’t want to do a giant 300 player sample so I’ll shelve it- I still suspect I’m right but it’ll stay a suspicion.

  107. Oops 1.34 not 1.76. 1.76 was just the guys who passed it at age 20. So you knock a solid point off but sample size so short of killing myself it’ll have to remain a mystery. RJ’s BPM is rising fast though so maybe he gets to -1.5 or something like that and I can still feel better without doing a bunch of math.

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