NY Post: It’s All Happening, People!

Okay, I came up with that modified headline.

From Marc Berman:

Julius Randle raised his arms at the buzzer that ended the game and the regular season after the Knicks survived Sunday like they always seem to do.

Bring on Hotlanta!

The Knicks finished up their riveting regular season at the Garden on Fan Appreciation Day before a pandemic-reduced crowd of 1,981 and will open the playoffs here under the famed pinwheel ceiling next weekend for the first time since 2013.

In an ugly one down to the wire, Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks beat the Celtics’ junior varsity, 96-92, to clinch fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

I legitimately was never concerned. Not even for a second. Maybe I should have been, but I wasn’t. This team doesn’t do Knicksy stuff, so it was fine all the way.

Congrats to the Knicks and now we get to chill and watch the play-in teams go at each other for our entertainment. Should be fun!

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323 thoughts to “NY Post: It’s All Happening, People!”

  1. So we can’t pick better than 19th and 21st in the draft, right, but the picks could be lower depending on how far we advance? Or are we locked into these slots regardless of how the playoffs go?

    Atlanta at full strength can be a really tough matchup for us. Our defense’s two chief weaknesses are against powerful big men (Capela) and quick little guards (Young), and I don’t believe we ever played them when they were entirely healthy (at least not for a whole game). I trust Playoff Thibs over Playoff McMillan, though. And everything from this point on is gravy.

    Guys, we have HOME COURT ADVANTAGE TO START THE PLAYOFFS. I still can’t believe that’s a real thing.

  2. Alan:

    So we can’t pick better than 19th and 21st in the draft, right, but the picks could be lower depending on how far we advance? Or are we locked into these slots regardless of how the playoffs go?

    From Knicks Film School Newsletter:

    The final placement of the Knicks’ draft picks are as follows:

    The Dallas pick will be either 21, 22 or 23, and will be determined by a random drawing, as the Mavs finished with the same win total (42) as the Lakers and Blazers.

    The Knicks own pick will be either 19 or 20, depending on a random drawing with the Hawks.

    New York’s two second round picks, originally belonging to Detroit and Philadelphia, will be 32 and 58, respectively.

  3. Not the picks many (or maybe all) expected at the start of the season…

    But this season has been so good, so full of emotions, so entertaining, that I can absolutely live with that.

    Let us rock the Garden!
    New York Basketball!

  4. To honor our feat I’ve picked up my copy of “When The Garden Was Eden”
    and I’m going to re-watch Game 7 of the 1970 Finals.

    Let’s Go Knicks!

  5. Okay, I came up with that modified headline.

    LOL, that was my first thought… “did Berman really nailed the headline, or is this Brian’s magic?” ;) :P

  6. Every Knicks fan should watch that game. Enjoy, Max!

    I certainly don’t want to be dismissive of those who truly believe that tanking or whatever you want to call it was a better approach to team-building. There is no way to refute that argument, and it will definitely hurt when the tanking teams draft future superstars at the top of this draft. the Rose/Thibs approach may be fool’s gold indeed.

    But since we have no control, all you can hope for is competent execution of whatever strategy is decided upon. And there’s no question right now that we have largely won the PR battle with the Nets this year, which was unthinkable when they landed Harden. That might be short-lived, but there’s something to be said about how great it is to revel in the 100% positive perception of the player personnel, the FO, the coaching staff, ther direction of the team in the national sports media and in the locker rooms and FOs of the league. The power of that can’t be overstated, and building through the high lottery is a far longer and more perilous road to that point unless the likes of LeBron, KD, etc. are involved. And many of those guys don’t get to the mountaintop with their drafting teams.

    It’s a great time to be a Knicks fan!

  7. Let’s settle for picks 20 and 23 because we all know Ewing envelope was frozen and somehow we’re still paying for it all these years later. But who cares? Let’s (try to) roast some birds and get to the 2nd round! :)

  8. And to comment the joy of the previous thread about the Lakers (and the Celtics before it), yes, they fell to the play-in, and yes, WAS and GSW are tough matchups, but even if they lose, they’ll have another game, so let’s not celebrate their elimination this early as i think it’s quite unlikely in both cases.

  9. And now off to my work week with a smile on my face because we’re in the playoffs with home court advantage. I have to keep saying it, until i believe this is not a dream. :D
    I wish a wonderful week to all of you, and we’ll get back to this on saturday. :)

  10. cybersoze: I wish a wonderful week to all of you, and we’ll get back to this on saturday. :)

    Right, this will be the first week in a while that isn’t planned around games!

  11. The Dallas pick will be either 21, 22 or 23, and will be determined by a random drawing, as the Mavs finished with the same win total (42) as the Lakers and Blazers.

    The Knicks own pick will be either 19 or 20, depending on a random drawing with the Hawks.

    Right. It’s NFL picks that change based on how far you go in the playoffs, not NBA picks. The year Camby and Spree took us to the finals, we still picked 15th because we were a low playoff seed. At this time, I will not be discussing the player we took with the 15th pick, nor the one we passed on.

    HOME COURT ADVANTAGE.

  12. Max:
    Not the picks many (or maybe all) expected at the start of the season…

    But this season has been so good, so full of emotions, so entertaining, that I can absolutely live with that.

    Let us rock the Garden!
    New York Basketball!

    You got somethin’ to say?

    Tell it to New York.

  13. All I can say is that when I stare at the standings and see us fourth, my mind is definitely boggled.

  14. Max: From Knicks Film School Newsletter:

    The final placement of the Knicks’ draft picks are as follows:

    The Dallas pick will be either 21, 22 or 23, and will be determined by a random drawing, as the Mavs finished with the same win total (42) as the Lakers and Blazers.

    The Knicks own pick will be either 19 or 20, depending on a random drawing with the Hawks.

    New York’s two second round picks, originally belonging to Detroit and Philadelphia, will be 32 and 58, respectively.

    Does this concern beat our usual conversation of what ping pong ball will popup for the NYK after another season of disgusting tanking? I’m thinking so.

  15. Anyone ready for predictions?

    Here go mine, in case anyone cares:

    ECF:
    7v8 – Wizards beat Celtics
    9v10 – Pacers beat Hornets
    8v9 – Pacers beat Celtics

    1v8 Philly beats Pacers 4-0
    2v7 Nets beat Wizards 4-3
    3v6 Bucks beat Miami 4-2
    4v5 Knicks beat Atlanta 4-3

    1v4 Philly beats Knicks 4-1 Sad! Too much Embiid.
    2v3 Bucks beat Nets 4-2

    1v2 Bucks beat Philly 4-3

    The only one here that might be controversial = Bucks over Nets. But that Giannis block on the Durant fadeaway jumper looms large in my head – literally Durant is counted on to be the matchup breaker in every series, but Giannis can guard him 1 on 1. And if the Nets are going to play Durant at the 4 (which they will so they can start Kyrie/Harden/Harris/Kyrie/center), Giannis will physically beat the hell out of him in a 7 game series – literally there is no one else to guard Giannis in that starting lineup, unless they start Claxton (Giannis will ruin him) – and then Brook Lopez will break Durant in two feasting him on post-ups. Jrue and Middleton can at least slow down Harden and Kyrie I think.

    WCF

    7v8 Lakers over Warriors
    9v10 Grizzlies over Spurs
    8v9 Warriors over Grizzlies

    1v8 I really want to choose the Warriors but I think they just don’t have enough. Jazz win 4-2
    2v7 Lakers beat Suns 4-3 – great regular season Suns, your reward is the Lakers in round 1!
    3v6 Nuggets beat Blazers 4-1
    4v5 Clippers beat Mavs 4-2

    1v4 Clippers beat Jazz 4-3
    7v3 Lakers beat Nuggets 4-2

    7v4 Lakers beat Clippers 4-2

    Finals:
    Lakers beat Bucks 4-3. Too much Lebron and AD.

    COY – Thibs
    MVP – Jokic
    ROY – Edwards
    6MOY – I don’t know, Clarkson I guess.
    MIP – Randle

    Re: the Atlanta series – we will lose if Elfrid Payton plays >10 min/game for the series. You couldn’t possibly play into the Hawks’ hands more than letting Trae Young hide on defense guarding Elfrid “can’t shoot, can’t hit a layup, doesn’t pass, dies on screens” Payton.

  16. When the Garden Was Eden is great. I read it this past summer and couldn’t put it down. Gave me a new appreciation for the potential the city has to truly embrace this team if it ever becomes sustainably good.

    I recommend it for everyone, but especially fans in my generational cohort whose fondest memories of the Knicks come from a team whose minutes leader was JR Smith.

    Unless something comes up I’ll be at the KB playoff meetup. Happy to take a shot for every Frank Ntilikina made 3.

  17. The final placement of the Knicks’ draft picks are as follows:

    The Dallas pick will be either 21, 22 or 23, and will be determined by a random drawing, as the Mavs finished with the same win total (42) as the Lakers and Blazers.

    The Knicks own pick will be either 19 or 20, depending on a random drawing with the Hawks.

    New York’s two second round picks, originally belonging to Detroit and Philadelphia, will be 32 and 58, respectively.

    Those are three excellent picks.

    It will be a challenge to figure out how to get optimal value for all them, but that’s a convo for a later time.

  18. Unless something comes up I’ll be at the KB playoff meetup. Happy to take a shot for every Frank Ntilikina made 3.

    as much as I want to make jokes about Frank and his true believers, I’m afraid we might actually need him against Trae Young at some point.

  19. as much as I want to make jokes about Frank and his true believers, I’m afraid we might actually need him against Trae Young at some point.

    As I’ve said, the smartest move is probably to star Burks as our “point guard,” but if we’re not going to do that, Frank is at this point a safer bet to be useful than Payton, who no longer does anything well and seems to have mentally checked out. This play yesterday was a very bad look, and if any other player on the team who is not named Julius Randle had pulled this, Thibs would have benched him for a while.

  20. Hubert: as much as I want to make jokes about Frank and his true believers, I’m afraid we might actually need him against Trae Young at some point.

    We can agree on this. Go Knicks!

  21. @Alan – wow – I remember that play yesterday but did not notice Elfrid’s complete lack of engagement. He knows he’s been playing terribly – it’s not like players don’t know when they’re hurting the team. It really doesn’t look like he wants to be out there right now. I really just don’t understand why Thibs keeps throwing him out there. During the playoffs you can’t just cede one of the most important positions on the floor – not to mention inability to shoot makes life harder for everyone else.

    Agree on Burks. OK with Frank also, since he can prob be counted on to make life harder for Trae when ATL is on offense. With Trae you need to bother his dribble, get around screens, and be long enough to contest in trailing position — Frank checks all those boxes. Now whether Frank can deliver enough on the offensive end to make it worth it – that’s another story.

    Berman did let it drop that Frank would be next man up if Payton is benched though…

    With the Hawks and otherworldly point guard Trae Young on tap in the first round, Thibodeau needs to mull whether Payton deserves playoff minutes considering his massive slump.

    The saving grace is Thibodeau considers Payton a physical defender because of his size. But if the coaching staff doesn’t think he can keep up with Young, a change to Frank Ntilikina may be in the offing.

  22. i don’t think that line actually means frank would start… that might be more wishful thinking than anything from berman…

    and even if that were true i don’t think we would stay that way for long….. we don’t exactly have a lot of excess offense to start a zero for significant minutes… even if we decide to play iso randle for most of the game…

  23. i don’t think that line actually means frank would start… that might be more wishful thinking than anything from berman…

    Yeah, that’s how I read it, too, djphan. Berman is very careful in phrasing total speculation versus the informed kind, and this did not read as if it was coming from one of his sources. More a guess along the lines of Thibs not wanting to disrupt the second unit.

    And, yes, it would be a huge gamble to start Frank on offense given that his only real value on that end comes from catch-and-shoot 3s. Bad as Payton has been for a while now, he’s still more of a point guard than Frank, and this change would place an even heavier burden on Julius and RJ’s playmaking abilities. Which is why I’ve been pushing for Burks, who can handle the ball just well enough to get by alongside our two studs. But at the moment, Payton is doing almost nothing well, and Trae is gonna destroy him one-on-one. So if the choice is Payton or Frank, I’ll take this version of Frank. Heck, he might even help the spacing ever so slightly.

  24. Speaking of Frank (again), Berman hinted that he might take the starting job from Payton in the playoffs. I’m not sure that would be the worst idea. Payton is giving us close to nothing on offense anyway these days and at least Frank can hit an open 3 and give us better defense until the refs foul him out.

    Frank will bring up the ball sometimes, hand it to RJ or Randle, and then go to the corner instead of Payton trying to create something and missing or giving it to Randle later in the clock. It won’t be ideal or pretty playing without a PG, but it might not be worse than playing Payton at PG unless he snaps out of it.

    The other option is starting Rose. That seems more obvious, but I think Thibs still likes Rose coming off the bench, getting the majority of the minutes, and finishing.

    Personally, I think we are an underdog against Atlanta, Miami or Milwaukee, but I think this experience will be very good for the development of our young players and set us up for more serious run next year if we have a good off season.

    Edit: I see the Frank starting conversation was just brought up while I was typing the above)

  25. Brian, maybe time for a “Who should Thibs start at PG against Atlanta?” poll? Options being:

    A)Elf
    B)Rose
    C)Quickley (whom we haven’t talked about at all here, mainly because he seems to play so well with Rose)
    D)Burks
    E)Frank

  26. Yeah I am worried about the PG situation for sure. Atlanta might be the most favorable match up for us and we might have home court, but they are a good team and Trae gives them a huge advantage especially if Rose is not 100 percent. I’m just glad we have this whole week to practice and for Rose to get that ankle back in shape.

    Here is my hope. The playoffs are a new season. Despite all the shit Elf has gotten this season, he’s been the starting PG of the 4th seed all year and is now in the post season for the first time in his career. You gotta think even if he’s down on himself that now he’s excited to get this opportunity. He could erase a lot of the criticism with a strong post season (just not too strong, don’t want the FO thinking they should bring him back!).

    Also, will be interesting they will have this week to practice and you gotta think they’ll get a look at Villadoza. Not that I expect him to start or even play but what if he’s the real deal? Rose is healthy and can start? I don’t know, does Thibs pull the trigger and shake up the starting line up for the playoffs? I don’t think he would in game one but if we’re down 2-1 and Elf is looking bad? I could see it.

    I think we will win but I think this is going to be a tough series.

  27. On that play , Payton was in the typical “Frank” role.

    Someone else was running the offense, Payton was in the corner (like Frank usually is), and he knew he was the LAST option and wouldn’t see the ball for a shot or to make a play unless absolutely no one else was open and nothing else was available. The only difference is that Frank looks engaged knowing there’s almost no chance he’s going to get the ball and Payton was daydreaming and looking at the crowd.

  28. Dude, Thibs needs to sit down with Elf and take away his smart phone and laptop and tell him to stay off social media. I honestly think all of the online hate has gotten to him. I mean, we’re in the middle of the best season in ages and this is the best team he has ever played on. He’s in the playoffs for the first time in his career. I get that he has struggled but he needs to tune out the outside distractions and criticism and buckle down and focus on playing bball. He probably won’t be back with us next season but a strong off season could set him up for next season somewhere. If he shits the bed and is the reason we lose the first round, he might not have a job next year.

  29. Anyone gonna try to go to a game?

    I’m much less of a regular here than a lot of folks but would definitely be down for some kind of meetup for a game.

    Playoffs are here! We actually got the #4 seed! What an unbelievable feeling.

  30. It’s hard to imagine Frank going from 5 second impact sub to playoff starter. That being said, if Thibs is committed to keeping Rose, Burks, and IQ on the 2nd unit and is willing to start a PG who offers nothing on offense… Frank makes more sense than Payton.

  31. Regarding the Dallas pick. I would assume if the Lakers lose to GS and then again to the 9/10 winner they are in the lottery, and the coin flip is only with Portland. So there is no chance of the 21st pick, just 22 o 23. That means I have to root for them to win one game to maximise the Knicks odds for a higher pick. As a Laker-hater, that is not a particularly easy ask.

    Is my thinking on this right?

  32. Hubert:
    That’s an astonishing video. He just quit.

    He barely tried against Charlotte.

    All we Frankophiles really ever said was that he would be a great guy to have on the roster to put in to get big stops in big possessions in the playoffs. Kind of a shock that said playoff games will be in 2021 instead of the expected 2024-ish, but the underlying principle is the same and he is indeed a great guy to have on the roster to shut down Trae on big playoff possessions. Thibs has been feinting in that direction in the last couple games and now he has to go all in on what he knows is true.

  33. Let’s not forget that Trae Young might just be the worst defensive guard in the NBA. It’s really a strategic blunder to allow him 6 minutes a half where he can hide on Elf (or Frank).

  34. All we Frankophiles really ever said was that he would be a great guy to have on the roster to put in to get big stops in big possessions in the playoffs.

    lmao… yea ok…

  35. The day after we clinched home court in the first round of the playoffs and learned who we’d be facing, the conversation is largely about a guy who played 322 minutes this year, probably has a playoff total minutes O/U of 20, and might not be in the NBA next year.

    Nature is healing.

  36. All we Frankophiles really ever said was that he would be a great guy to have on the roster to put in to get big stops in big possessions in the playoffs.

    Oh boy…

  37. thenoblefacehumper:
    The day after we clinched home court in the first round of the playoffs and learned who we’d be facing, the conversation is largely about a guy who played 322 minutes this year, probably has a playoff total minutes O/U of 20, and might not be in the NBA next year.

    Nature is healing.

    That’s because we want to actually win in the playoffs, not just make the playoffs.

    Thibodeau wouldn’t be putting Frank into games cold in the 47th minute if he didn’t know Frank was an elite defender. Now he just has to follow through entirely.

  38. Frank is a Nuclear Playoff Weapon.
    You don’t usually go Nuclear right out of the gate!

  39. I love we just won home court and the string is about Frank.

    Although really its about Payton and our lack of starting point guard.

    The only thing I’ll say is that the most impressive game I’ve seen Frank play was a while ago against Atlanta when he pretty much single-handedly shut down Trae for most of the game. I’ve always been more amused by Frank than anything, but that’s when I came to believe he could actually play real defense.

  40. I love we just won home court and the string is about Frank.

    Although really its about Payton and our lack of starting point guard.

    That’s the thing. It’s that Payton is trash and seems to no longer care, and thus we’re sorting through the other options, whether in order of likelihood that Thibs does it or in order of what we would do if we had a Freaky Friday with Thibs.

  41. No need to be a beatwriter or the man with the x-ray eyes to see that the Knicks during one of their best occasions of their last decades have a serious problem at pg and a nice but tricky lockdown weapon on the bench.
    Berman could have written this one while sleeping

  42. The main reason Frank didn’t get more minutes on this team was that we always have a low usage C on the court that can’t shoot and Bullock is the superior 3 and D player. You can’t add another very low usage scorer to many of our lineups without causing the offense to grind to a halt.

    Payton probably provides less space than Frank, but he has better PG and shot creation skills than Frank. If he’s not going to score though, the offense is screwed. At that point you can consider other options.

    Rose is our only good PG. We definitely want him finishing because when the opposing defense clamps down he can still score. So far Thibs prefers him off the bench. He can stick with Payton a little more, shake things up a lot and go with Burkes (maybe Bullock guards Young in that case?), start Rose and run him ragged defending Young and still finishing, or try Frank. But really, there are no good options. We don’t have someone that can slow down Young and not cause problems or issues elsewhere.

  43. Frank may not be all nba defender yet (mostly cause of his offense which limits his playing time) but putting him one on one against superhot guards and smallforwards when needed is a no brainer.
    Not liking Frank is on me…
    Not appreciating his gift tho is on You!

  44. Fun Athletic conversation between Mike Vorkunov and the Hawks beat writer breaking down some of the matchups and making early predictions. This comment from Vorkunov feels particularly on point about our overall vulnerability, rather than how we specifically match up with Capela or Young or Bogdanovic:

    But that’s still the Knicks’ most worrisome weakness in the playoffs. They have to be worried the points will run out and that they won’t be able to keep up. Not even that this will be a high-scoring series but just that the Knicks could revert to their January form where the defense was good but the offense was still too far off. That and center depth could force Thibodeau to put out some lineups he might not like if Atlanta gets Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson into early foul trouble.

  45. I’m not worried that the points will run out against Atlanta. They can’t contain Randle. And whenever Rose and Barrett are on the court, Trae Young is going to have to guard one of them.

    We should be less concerned with who is going to stop Young (no one) and more focused on how easy it will be to blow by him.

  46. I’m not even gonna bother to watch any of the NBA playoff preview shows because all they’re gonna talk about is Frank Ntilikina.

  47. Yeah Randle has feasted on Atlanta in all 3 of the games this regular season. Trae will be a problem on offense but he also SUCKS on defense. Rose should eat him alive.

    I think it will be a tough series but I think we got this. Just gotta hope Elf can be ok to start and then Rose stays healthy.

  48. @NYPost_Berman
    It’s been a long time coming for this but MSG Networks will air an official “Knicks Playoff Preview Show” show tonight with Pidto, Wally, McNutt & Hahn.

    Tonight at 7 and 9 p.m.

  49. I’m not even gonna bother to watch any of the NBA playoff preview shows because all they’re gonna talk about is Frank Ntilikina.

    ahahahahahha

  50. Love Mike Vorkunov, but talking about the team’s offensive struggles in January really misses the mark IMHO because we now have Derrick Rose.

    Agree that we need to make Trae Young work. Burks should start. I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta ends up trying to put Trae on Reggie Bullock, but Reggie can straight shoot right over Trae, so that’ll be interesting. But Trae guarding Burks or RJ would be pretty terrible for Atlanta, unless he just tries to flop every possession. But you never know how flopping will work out for you in the playoffs.

    It’d be one thing if we thought the 2nd unit NEEDED Burks in order to be effective. But the positive side of Burks’s extended layoff was that that second unit was basically unstoppable even without Burks. C’mon Thibs, make it happen.

    Meanwhile – this is all so fun. It’s been nearly 10 years since this board was hopping like this talking about actual basketball strategy in games that matter, as opposed to whether we should tank or not.

  51. by the way – I don’t remember this since we are never in the playoffs, but how long a break is there usually between end of regular season and playoffs? I feel like this 5-6 day layoff should make for really interesting new stuff since teams literally can have a mini-training camp.

  52. Just checked Vildoza’s Instagram
    No signs of knicks there
    Just many photos with him and his good looking dog

  53. Dolan is saying he expects 13,000 in MSG. Is there anything that prevents them from requiring vaccination and selling out a full arena at this point?

  54. Guys, stop trying to make “Vildoza in the playoffs” happen. Like “fetch,” it’s not gonna happen.

  55. Galaxy brain idea: just start Derrick Rose.

    If Elf is going to play like Richie Tannenbaum at Wimbledon, leave him on the bench and let Burns/Quickley/Frank spell Rose for the 8-10 minutes he’s not gonna play.

  56. Hey, I’ve secreted this magical season into existence just through my own magical thinking so I’m gonna secret Villadoza playing in the playoffs into existence as well!

  57. if memory serves correct… thibs usually drastically cuts down his playoff rotation also.. like it’s basically 2 guys maybe 3 depending on if he’s feeling risky that day….. so i’m not sure if this whole 2nd unit deal will be even a thing… esp when bullock, rj and randle were basically getting 40+ minutes in games with much less meaning to them down the stretch…

    Love Mike Vorkunov, but talking about the team’s offensive struggles in January really misses the mark IMHO because we now have Derrick Rose.

    yes rose was one of the factors for an improved offense… we were 16th (116.8) in ORtg since the rose trade… but that also coincided with RJ’s awakening and basically the whole team getting insanely hot from 3…

  58. Even if the Frankophile’s claim that all they said was that “he’s a great guy to put in to get big stops in big possessions at the end of games” is true, that is an idiotic role with an extraordinarily high opportunity cost, and it can be filled by some 5000 players languishing in the minimum salary scrap heap. Remember all those guys that “have the physical tools but just need to learn how to put them together”, but never do? It wasn’t their defense they were talking about. The hard part about defense, and the reason why so few players seem to want to play it, is because it takes energy. And that energy comes at the expense of offense, which is where the money is.

    If you want to pay Frank $800,000 a year to play 10 secs a week, and he wants to accept it, sure, do it. But it’s not worth debating his value because if he says no, and heads off to Europe, his random made-up role is the most easily replaceable role in the pool.

  59. If all our pgs go out due to injury/covid expect not only Vildoza but also our newly signed 10days contract dog to play!

  60. Vildoza may not even be able to enter the country in the near future, let alone pass the NBA’s covid protocol. He’s not happening.

  61. I’d be very surprised if Thibs suddenly just started not starting Payton. He’ll probably just stick with what’s been working lately. Payton starts but is on a short leesh. But if he does, why not start Quickly?

    Q throws up bombs from everywhere, so he might help spacing at the start of each half. Thibs will yank him as quickly (pun intended) as he does Payton if Bad Quick forces a couple of bad shots. Rose remains off the bench but getting by far the most minutes at PG.

    Thibs has been using Frank as a spot defender late in games, so I’d imagine that’s about all he’ll be in the playoffs.

  62. In the last couple games we’ve played Burks, RJ, Bullock lineups and Burks, Bullock, Quickley lineups. Gotta think Thibs has replacing Elfrid at the back of his mind.

  63. There’s something that stings, ever so slightly, about having to play against Danilo Gallinari in our first playoff match up in 7 years.

  64. marechal:
    Dolan is saying he expects 13,000 in MSG. Is there anything that prevents them from requiring vaccination and selling out a full arena at this point?

    I believe its Cuomo’s call and as of the start of the playoffs, the limit will be 25%, so absent a change that would be a tad less than 5,000

  65. I don’t see Thibs changing course and benching Elfrid. His job is to make everyone comfortable, play team defense, and get us into our sets. He gets to his spots well. He gets to the paint and has that little push shot. (I’ve never seen Frank do that.) If he makes two or three when we need a bucket, we stay connected, and then get distance when the more explosive Rose comes in. It works when it works, lol. Yes, I see ten minutes a game of a coached up Elfrid. Burks is better but I don’t see him replacing Elf in our schemes and we don’t want to disrupt Randle and RJ.

    Gosh, playoff basketball! I remember waking up with my stomach in knots anticipating Spree, Allan Houston, LJ and Patrick in a slugfest against IND or MIA. It has been a minute…

  66. I believe its Cuomo’s call

    Maybe we can have 50% capacity as long as everyone orders food.

  67. In all seriousness, I think the capacity in question could be the arena’s total human capacity, not the number of seats the team usually sells. That’s why Dolan’s figure is so high.

    I don’t know how many seats are in the Garden now, but I know it was 19,763 for a long time. But that isn’t the building’s capacity. How many people are running the concessions, sweeping the floors, running security, etc. The capacity of the building itself is probably over 40,000.

    So let’s say Dolan cuts 3,000 concession employees. Can he sell 3,000 extra tickets? I don’t see why not.

  68. Idk how accurate is that but…
    Espn has Vildoza as Active and his “injury” status is “day to day” with a date of May 17th

  69. djphan: if memory serves correct… thibs usually drastically cuts down his playoff rotation also

    Interestingly – if you look at B-R at playoffs per game stats for Thibs’s CHI and MIN playoff runs, he basically had 10 guys playing ~10+ minutes/game in every year except one year in Chicago when it was an 8 man rotation.

  70. So what happens if Thibs starts Payton in game 1, he plays like shit as usual, the Knicks get down 10 and Thibs puts in Rose after 5 minutes.

    Does he just do the same thing again in game 2?

  71. “Does he just do the same thing again in game 2?”

    Yes, I think he has a plan for starters and subs and will adjust based on results or if anyone doesn’t perform their role

  72. The difference being, Richie Tenenbaum actually got his serve in.

  73. Frank makes mental mistakes on defense that offset his overall value as a defender.

    He also shot under 20% on 2 point attempts this year. Maybe he shouldn’t play very much.

  74. How about Thibs using Payton somehow as Frank?
    Putting him for the first 5 sec of every half just for our “engine” to get start!
    :)

  75. To Frank or not to Frank…

    Telle est la question [lights cigarette]

    Fin

    nice ess-dog, that made me smile…

    hmmm, i’m gonna fire one up now and ponder the great riddle which is our frank…

  76. Interestingly – if you look at B-R at playoffs per game stats for Thibs’s CHI and MIN playoff runs, he basically had 10 guys playing ~10+ minutes/game in every year except one year in Chicago when it was an 8 man rotation.

    yea you’re right i was mistaken… but it does look like he leans very heavily into the key guys in his rotation which isn’t any different than what we’ve seen which basically means that randle.. rj and bullock are probably going to avg 40+mins.. and i imagine rose will get over 30…. with taj/noel splitting the big man minutes…

  77. Honestly there’s no reason to overthink this. Rose has played 25 mpg during the season, and when he’s healthy he could go for 30 without much issue. Barrett will probably play around 35-38 minutes anyway and Bullock at least 32. That leaves about 44 minutes to be distributed between Burks and IQ, with of course some level of fluidity depending on who’s playing better, who closes in the 4th if Burks is running hot, etc. There’s absolutely no need for Payton or Ntilikina to ever see the court.

    I still think Thibs is keeping Payton as the starter with the short leash he’s had and never seeing the court in the 4th. I don’t think it’s the right decision, but I’m willing to respect it at least to keep continuity for what has been working. But if Payton plays as shit as he has done lately I’ll be very disappointed if Thibs doesn’t adjust during the series.

  78. I still think Thibs is keeping Payton as the starter with the short leash he’s had and never seeing the court in the 4th. I don’t think it’s the right decision, but I’m willing to respect it at least to keep continuity for what has been working. But if Payton plays as shit as he has done lately I’ll be very disappointed if Thibs doesn’t adjust during the series.

    This is where I am. Payton has looked absolutely woeful lately, but there have been some games in which he scores some early points and gets others involved. Again if it were totally up to me I think I’d start Quickley, but as long as Payton is on the shortest of leashes in the playoffs I don’t see it as a huge deal. Just take him out very early if he’s obviously not off to a good start.

    We’ve tried the “Frank Ntilikina as a starting point guard” experiment many times now. Even with Randle handling a lot of the traditional point guard duties, it has never, ever looked good. It’s just very hard to trot out a true offensive zero in the NBA these days, let alone at (nominal) point guard.

    “Defensive replacement for a crucial 5-10 seconds” is his proper role on this team. As DW mentioned that’s not a role worth spending even a roster spot on, so let’s replace him ASAP.

  79. You can’t compete with an offense that has both Nerlens Noel and Frank Ntilikina in it. You’re playing three on five. I know Elf isn’t exactly Pete Maravich out there but he can do things like dribble and occasionally make layups.

  80. @TommyBeer
    RJ Barrett finished the 2020-21 season averaging 17.6 points, 5.8 rebs and 3.0 assists.

    Only 4 players in NBA history have matched or exceeded those averages in those categories over a full season before turning 21:

    Magic Johnson,
    LeBron James,
    Luka Doncic,
    Zion Williamson

  81. JK47: I know Elf isn’t exactly Pete Maravich out there but he can do things like dribble and occasionally make layups.

    I vehemently disagree with this. Elf hasn’t been able to make a layup in ages. He CAN dribble, but he can’t pass worth shit off the dribble.

    There have been stretches this season (feels like a long time ago now) where Elf was a nearly passable player, at least for a quarter here and there. Right now, putting Frank in the corner sounds like a much better plan than having Payton aimlessly take important time off the clock before handing it off to Randle or, woe befall us all, driving for a blocked shot or missed bunny.

    It will be very interesting to see if this time off will allow Thibs to become the Elf Whisperer.

  82. If you’re gonna just stick a guy in the corner, let the guy be Burks or Quickley.

    Don’t replace the guy who can’t make a layup with a guy who can’t make a layup or dribble.

    Sorry y’all but Frank is not playable.

  83. JK47: Don’t replace the guy who can’t make a layup with a guy who can’t make a layup or dribble.

    Ha. Okay, got me there. I’m not really advocating to start Frank. I do think it might be interesting to see if he can shut down Trae at some point, and if so, feed him more minutes. Or, since it’s Thibs, feed him more seconds.

  84. I would lean towards keeping Payton as a starter playing 15 minutes and having the rest played by Rose, and hope he is more motivated in the playoffs.

    The other options would be:
    -Burks: I feel this is asking to be burned on defense by quick PGs.
    -Frank: He distributes very little from the dribble. If an opposing team defend Randle with single coverage, we are screwed. Atlanta might need double Randle and that opens things up, he can catch and shoot (i want to believe), and moves well the ball (just not from the dribble). On defense, I think he would have a hard time with screens by Capela, and his defense against Trae would not be as important if Atlanta keeps a secondary ballhandler (Bogdanovic) on the court. So I’d rather use him just for defensive stretches if the matchup is right.
    -Quickley: Like Frank, he distributes little. OTOH, he can create shots for himself, so I would rather have him come from the bench and put the ball in his hands when we want to have a less Randle-centric offense.
    -Rose: I think having Rose come from the bench gives more flexibility to Thibs, and he aint playing 40 mpg.

    So, at least for the 1st game I would like to see Payton. If he keeps dragging himself around the court, then yes, bench him hard. But I want to think he will motivate himself for the playoffs.

  85. Alan: @TommyBeer
    RJ Barrett finished the 2020-21 season averaging 17.6 points, 5.8 rebs and 3.0 assists.

    Only 4 players in NBA history have matched or exceeded those averages in those categories over a full season before turning 21:

    Magic Johnson,
    LeBron James,
    Luka Doncic,
    Zion Williamson

    Thx for that. Now we’re talking!

  86. This time I agree with JK. I like rooting for Franky, but he’s still a guy that would get a look in limited minutes on the Orlando Magic roster. We just aren’t that type of team anymore. He has too many good players ahead of him now. Burks and Quick can handle any extra pg duties and Frank is clearly just a wing now. He’s there in case there’s an injury or maybe for some last-minute defensive switch-outs.

  87. but as long as Payton is on the shortest of leashes in the playoffs I don’t see it as a huge deal. Just take him out very early if he’s obviously not off to a good start.

    I think Thibs has earned the right to go down any way he likes. If he wants to stick with Elf, so be it. I’ll be puzzled, but not mad.

    But I strongly disagree with the idea that it’s insignificant. Giving Trae Young 6 minutes a half against Payton is big enough to swing the series. That’s 12 minutes a game of resting him on defense and forcing the Knicks to match your high octane offense while playing 3-on-5.

  88. cybersoze: SNY: The cheapest ticket for Game 1 between the Knicks and Hawks at Madison Square Garden is $968 (plus fees) on.sny.tv/9666oFz
    That’s a lot of dough! :O

    After all the pain Dolan has put us through, tix should be free.

  89. Evidence is mounting showing that Elfrid Payton is giving up.

    In the last 7 games, all game7s, he shot 8-33, with lackadaisical defense, dumb turnovers, many istances of space killing and a bad body language.

    If I was the coach I’ll glue him to the pine or put him in a rocket to Mars,
    and I think is crazy that anyone who has watched the last few games can’t really think it’s the right thing to do.

    But I let the decision to Thibs because he’s done a great job, has earned the benefit of the doubt, he has the pulse of the team and he will prepare every game as if it were the last day of human kind.

    In the circumstances, if any other coach decided to let Payton play in the playoffs we would all be out of our minds.

    I’m far (very far) from a religiuos person, but In Thibs I trust… at least for Game1.

    P.S. James Dolan is trash. Always was, always will be.

  90. We’re a bit out of practice given the eight year drought, for sure, but the underlying principle is that in the playoffs, you can’t afford to sacrifice a single possession.

    The 5,700 fan limit is going to drive ticket prices through the roof. Sucks.

  91. Talking about Frank is a big part of what we do around here.

    I hope they can get more people in the Garden. We will need all the home court advantage we can get.

    I hope we get March-April RJ in the playoffs because he has looked very very mediocre lately. I know he has ascended to good player status and I know he shot 40% from three but I really hope he isn’t the missing link when we need him most.

  92. Owen: I hope we get March-April RJ in the playoffs because he has looked very very mediocre lately. I know he has ascended to good player status and I know he shot 40% from three but I really hope he isn’t the missing link when we need him most.

    I’m a bit more worried about IQ. His shot looked way off the last couple of games.

    Hoping this week gets all the guys on point.

    And I’m not a Frank-booster by any means, but I do like the idea of a defensive stopper, especially over a series. If Trae goes off in game one (as he was about to last game before he twisted his ankle) I hope Thibs tries something specific.

  93. I think there’s zero chance Thibs puts Quickley in the starting lineup. A) he’s a rookie; B) Trae Young will roast him on defense; C) I really do think Thibs likes to have the nuclear scoring option off the bench.

    I’m not saying we should start Frank, but in a starting lineup in which Randle and RJ have 90% of the ball handling duties, Frank would be just fine sitting in the corner shooting 3’s. It should also be noted that Frank is shooting…hmmm.. 70.6% from the corner 3 this year. This is not a misprint. He also shot 48% from the corner last year. He is also shooting more 3s this year – up to 5.4 per 36 (in comparison, RJ averages 4.4 3PA/36). These aren’t huge samples, but you know who has a huge sample sucking as a shooter? Elfrid Payton!!!!

  94. a few folks mentioned it in the last couple of games – but, it really looks like quik has been improving on defense lately…i really like when he picks up the ball handler before they cross half court, and, it seems like he’s been more aggressive on his double teams lately…

    i can’t wait for him to match up with young so he can give him a taste of that stupid hostage dribble to defensive foul move…

  95. ha, frank truly has been part of the glue (or maybe cheese i guees) which binds us here at kb…

    it’s funny, i don’t really think the frank detractors actually hate frank all that much, i just think it drives them absolutely crazy that so many of us like the kid…

    for the record, if frank ain’t in our uni next year, i’d bet he ends up on the jazz, suns or some other top defensive team, heck maybe even the lakers…yeah, that’s just what the world needs: frankie goes to hollywood…hahahahahahahahaha…

  96. re: Frank – I really do think he will end up being a solid contributor to a good team. His defense remains very good and he can definitely guard high-level PG/SG/SF’s. His hesitating on offense – thereby killing any advantage that has been created by the offense – has always been the biggest problem, but IMHO that has gotten much better this year – when he is open he is letting it fly.

    He needs minutes and to continue to improve in terms of confidence. I don’t know if it’s going to happen in a Knick uniform (although I genuinely think Thibs appreciates him), but I think it will happen eventually.

  97. I’m not saying we should start Frank, but in a starting lineup in which Randle and RJ have 90% of the ball handling duties, Frank would be just fine sitting in the corner shooting 3’s.

    …but as JK said, if we’re going to tell our starting point guard to camp out in a corner, why not Burks or Quickley, who we know are more reliable shooters and can do, you know, other things on offense too?

    Yes, Frank is probably a defensive upgrade on those guys (he’s also a lot more foul prone, which seems like a less less than ideal trait in a starter). Is the upgrade so large that it’s worth punting on every single offensive skill other than “hitting the occasional wide open corner 3, if a sample size of 17 total shots is to be believed?”

    I mean shit, we just posted the 3rd best defense in the NBA with Frank Ntilikina playing no role whatsoever. I am very confused as to why suddenly we need him and his total inability play in an NBA offense (this man hit 6 out of 31 two-point shots) in the starting lineup, presumably for his defense.

  98. I am very confused as to why suddenly we need him

    Because he’s so good defensively that he can turn Trae Young into Elfrid Payton.

    (I’m kidding.)

    (They’re not.)

  99. Source: coinflips to determine the following tiebreakers for the 2021 NBA draft order will be conducted on Tuesday, May 25 in the early afternoon (ET). Big day for lottery teams. https://t.co/iws03G1jvQ— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2021

    We actually have a lot riding on this. It determines whether our own pick is 19 or 20, and whether the Dallas pick is 21, 22, or 23.

    Hey basketball gods, I would say we’ve paid our karmic dues this year.

  100. ***i don’t really think the frank detractors actually hate frank all that much, i just think it drives them absolutely crazy that so many of us like the kid…***

    It also drives the refs crazy that so many of you like the kid.

  101. Absent the conflict & just using tiebreaker we’d be 20 & 23, so this can only benefit us. But damn, it feels like a pretty huge difference.

  102. I am requesting a permaban for any poster who mentions this player when he is no longer employed by the team, which will be soon. Jesus fucking christ how much of my life do I have to waste on this fucking scrub

  103. When COTY of one of the best Defensive teams of the league picks you to check opponent’s most dangerous players in crucial monents of a game then you know you’re special.
    You’re the Ninja of this team.
    The silent assasin.
    (ninja bamboo flute music on the background)

  104. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I am requesting a permaban for any poster who mentions this player when he is no longer employed by the team, which will be soon. Jesus fucking christ how much of my life do I have to waste on this fucking scrub

    Love isn’t rational, Jowles. Love just is.

  105. The Knicks have an elite defender on their roster who can pretty seriously fuck with the first round opponent’s offensive engine on the defensive end, and who’s shooting almost 48% on the campaign from downtown. We’ll see how it all shakes out. Maybe the first sentence will be relevant, maybe it won’t. I personally wouldn’t let the feelings of a mopey, bricklaying, turnstile be a factor in my decision-making — but what do I know?

    Fun to be talking about all this in an actual playoff series with the Knicks in a position to actually win said playoff series.

  106. Early Bird:
    Vildoza may not even be able to enter the country in the near future, let alone pass the NBA’s covid protocol. He’s not happening.

    Put him in a cello case and get his ass over here now.

  107. JK47:
    If you’re gonna just stick a guy in the corner, let the guy be Burks or Quickley.

    Don’t replace the guy who can’t make a layup with a guy who can’t make a layup or dribble.

    Sorry y’all but Frank is not playable.

    Frank is playable if playing with a point guard in the 3 and D role. I think he could also play with Randle playing point forward.

  108. What I can see happening is that if we win game 1, nothing changes. If we lose and Elf stinks, there would be a change, probably with Burks starting and Frank on the 2nd unit next to Rose and Quickley.

  109. If i were Thibs i’d decide about Payton based on team’s psychology.
    If the rest of the team feels bad about their teammate’s struggles and support him then he’s playing.
    If they’re tired of his slump he should be benched without even complaining.
    Clearly an “One for all and all for one” situation since this team’s Power is based on “First of All being A TEAM”.

  110. We had thr 3rd or 4th best defense in the league without Frank playing, and a bad offense relatively, so why the fuck would Frank ever be the solution to anything on this particular roster?

  111. DudesTown:
    What I can see happening is that if we win game 1, nothing changes. If we lose and Elf stinks, there would be a change, probably with Burks starting and Frank on the 2nd unit next to Rose and Quickley.

    And then they’re down an unnecessary game, and a home game to boot — that’s everyone’s very valid fear here. There’s no time to be sacrificing possessions, much less games, to Elfrid Payton’s feelings. If Thibs starts Elf and does his usual first 7 minutes of the first, first 5-6 minutes of the third, and Elf plays like crap and the Knicks lose, Thibs is going to get rightly ripped for it. He’s not going to get, and does not deserve, an “Elf ‘helped get us here'” pass.

  112. Everyone of Elf’s minutes should go to Frank or no-one… and most certainly not Elf himself… He should be EMERGENCIES ONLY at best… guy is cooked!

  113. We as fans don’t give much attention to Team Building habbits but players and coaches definitely do cause they Know better.
    It’s not just for the cameras that they pick up a teammate who fell down the court instantly.
    Neither the hi fives or the dances before the game starts.
    These are Energy Magnifying Technics through team oriented behaviour.
    Psychology Matters.
    And Coach knows it.

  114. If Thibs doesn’t win COTY, it’s because he chose to die on Elfrid Payton hill. The Knicks could play anybody at point guard and be better off than we are now.

    The guys playing PG should be Immanuel Quickley and Derrick Rose. Play Rose with Barrett and Bullock, and put Quicks on the court with Alec Burks. The playoff rotation would be pretty healthy if we’re looking at Rose, Bullock, Barrett, Randle, Noel, Gibson, Burks, Quickley, and Toppin. If we’re punting 12 minutes a night to the ceremonial Elfrid Payton start, we’re playing into our opponents hands.

  115. geo: frankie goes to hollywood…hahahahahahahahaha…

    You get my vote for the highly prestigious award “Comment Of The Day” ;)

  116. Guys there are truly so many things that will be more determinative of the outcome of this series than how exactly we deploy the 322 minute .512 TS% guy

  117. I’m a massive tennis fan and was like… who the hell is Richie Tenenbaum?

    I expect a shorter bench from Thibs. Derrick Rose should start. IQ and Burks should be in the rotation at PG. Probably gonna need a fourth at some point and I’d rather see Frank in spot duty, but I’d be surprised if Elf was benched completely.

  118. @Pacers
    Injury report for tomorrow:

    Brogdon – Quetionable (right hamstring)
    A. Holiday – Questionable (right toe)
    Lamb – Out (left knee)
    Sabonis – Questionable (left quad)
    Sumner – Questionable (left knee)
    Turner – Out (right toe)
    Warren – Out (left foot)

    JoeGirardiItsNotWhatYouWantDotJpg

  119. Knew Your Nicks:
    We as fans don’t give much attention to Team Building habbits but players and coaches definitely do cause they Know better.
    It’s not just for the cameras that they pick up a teammate who fell down the court instantly.
    Neither the hi fives or the dances before the game starts.
    These are Energy Magnifying Technics through team oriented behaviour.
    Psychology Matters.
    And Coach knows it.

    dude…everyone and their mother knows elfrid payton will not be wearing a knick jersey next year…I don’t think any of these guys is going to give a crap if he is not out there this next game once the ball is tossed up….they might tell him differently but if we the fans “know” he sucks than his teamates definitely do as well and might say the right thing but if rose could play all 48…nobody would give a shit about payton’s feelings..they just want the W…

    thibs is doing the internal calculus right now…and I would love to see what equation he put together that tells him that payton on the floor is a good outcome…

  120. KJG: guy is cooked

    I didn’t want to go here because it’s unfounded rumor-mongering of the worst kind, but his collapse is strikingly weird. Someone mentioned that he’s reading too much on social media, which may be all it is, just super thin skin; but it feels like he’s undergoing some kind of crisis. If it’s personal/family and not just too much twitter, maybe Thibs and the team are trying to support him by not deep-sixing him on top of whatever else is going on.

    Total conjecture and likely wrong, but at least it doesn’t make Thibs look blind and/or illogical, which he otherwise hasn’t been.

  121. If Payton loses his job as a starter, then we have only one true PG to replace him. I guess we all know who that is.

  122. #dude…everyone and their mother knows elfrid payton will not be wearing a knick jersey next year…#

    Sounds like: since my grandma won’t live much longer and she also has covid19 why not try euthanasia?

  123. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I am requesting a permaban for any poster who mentions this player when he is no longer employed by the team, which will be soon. Jesus fucking christ how much of my life do I have to waste on this fucking scrub

    I don’t expect to see much of Frank in the play offs but I bet he’s on the roster next year. I think Thibs likes the kid. He used him this year exactly how he should have been used since day one. I think he s getting o do-over and this year is square one. He’ll go into the offseason with a legit plan for improvement for the first time in his career. I think we have the duration of his next contract to talk about him before anyone gets banned

  124. DudesTown: Frank is playable if playing with a point guard in the 3 and D role. I think he could also play with Randle playing point forward.

    Yeah but you can just play Burks alongside a point guard in the 3 and D role. Burks is like a million times better at basketball.

    And yeah, you can play him with Randle playing point forward, but then who plays the 5? Noel? Now you’re playing 3 on 5.

    There are a lot of good reasons why Frank gets about 20 seconds of floor time per game.

  125. Knew Your Nicks:
    #dude…everyone and their mother knows elfrid payton will not be wearing a knick jersey next year…#

    Sounds like: since my grandma won’t live much longer and she also has covid19 why not try euthanasia?

    nothing personal…just business..

  126. Frank retiring as a 3 times Knicks champion in 2036!
    How amazing would that be!?
    His #11 jersey retired next to Clyde’s #10!
    ;-P

  127. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I am requesting a permaban for any poster who mentions this player when he is no longer employed by the team, which will be soon. Jesus fucking christ how much of my life do I have to waste on this fucking scrub

    And really, Jowles, this is totally what we do here. How much ink has been spilled on KP since the trade? Remember Hernangomez? (well okay, it died down pretty fast after that trade…) We still talk about Langston Galloway, even thought it’s mostly me because I think his name is mellifluous. There will definitely be a Frank Watch here if he goes to another NBA franchise.

    Hey — since I have you here, a serious question. You earlier came down fairly frequently on the position that “coaching doesn’t matter.” Given everything that’s happened this year, do you still feel that way?

  128. I am firmly in the “Whatever Thibs decides to do, I am down with it!” camp. As I said previously, it takes come colossal balls to question him about anything at this point. I don’t know how many coaches in the history of the game could have done what he did this year with this roster. He wants to win more badly than any of us want to win, and I’m not going to be the guy to look this gift fucking Secretariat of a horse in the mouth. There’s not a person on earth I would trust more right now than Thibs to get this team to the 2nd round. If he thinks its best to play Elf 48 minutes or 0 minutes or anything in between (same with Frank, Theo, Jared, Knox, and any other scrub on the bench) he’s earned that privilege for the remainder of this year at least.

    Please, stop the ungrateful madness. Not a single one of us saw this result coming, and I don’t want to hear about how lucky we’ve been. And if anyone predicted more than 30 wins, it was largely because of the anticipation that Thibs would grind every last win out of this team. We are fucking 10 games over .500 and have home court in the first round. We could not possibly have won more games than we did this year. The audacity to even suggest to know better how to deploy this personnel, including Payton, is inexplicable, despicable.

  129. Raven: Quote button didn’t work. I meant to quote the part about Payton maybe having something going on in his life affecting his play.

    This makes a lot of sense.

  130. We’ll be bringing up Frank for a minimum of 2-3 years after he is gone from NY. Nobody should, but it’s going to happen. I love Frank but he’s not the key to us winning basketball games at all.

  131. I wonder if Sharife Cooper will last long enough for us to take a shot on him in the draft.

  132. The Knicks have an elite defender on their roster who can pretty seriously fuck with the first round opponent’s offensive engine on the defensive end, and who’s shooting almost 48% on the campaign from downtown.

    quoted for FACTS!!!

    suffice to say – many of you simply can’t handle the truth, but, we want frank on that court, we need frank on that court…

    well, there it is…

  133. Sounds like: since my grandma won’t live much longer and she also has covid19 why not try euthanasia?

    geez, this is truly dark, and kind of funny…

    my dad had a similar type saying for when i would ask him why i had to clean up my room if it was just going to get messy later: why ever wipe your ass then, if you’re just gonna shit later…yeah, that and if you ever get in a fight – nobody will ask you how you won, they’ll only ask you if you won

    oh, reminiscing…oh yeah, good call on the bamboo flute tunes KYN…chilling to it now…

  134. DRed:
    I wonder if Sharife Cooper will last long enough for us to take a shot on him in the draft.

    Is he good? I see that he doesn’t shoot the three well, plus he’s kind of short and bad on turnovers too.

  135. cooper’s not bad… although he is pretty flawed…. short guy who has issues finishing around the rim is a common problem… but he’s very talented with the ball in his hands…. the shooting and the turnovers are not really problems in my book… he’s good at the line over many attempts and turnovers for pg’s aren’t a big deal…

    he’s a bit like kemba walker… and i think he has enough spatial awareness to figure out his issues finishing at the rim eventually… but the risk proposition to wait on a guy to figure it out .. if he does at all… is not very good for a mid round pick.. but for a late first? probably…

  136. Pretty remarkable how similar the Knicks and Hawks seasons were. Identical record, point differential, SRS. They went about it in total opposite ways but this really is a 50/50 series.

  137. My sense is that Atlanta was racked with injury issues all year though, so its SRS might be understated.

    Is that right?

    I guess we lost Mitch and Burks for a while, but we didnt miss them too much in our record.

  138. I hope the Knicks somehow go on a long playoff run cause they are so much more exciting to watch than the Yankees right now. Probably the first time in my adulthood I’m hoping the Knicks season doesn’t end soon cause I’d rather watch them than the Yankees.

  139. BigBlueAL:
    Pretty remarkable how similar the Knicks and Hawks seasons were.Identical record, point differential, SRS.They went about it in total opposite ways but this really is a 50/50 series.

    I think ATL has a better rotation than we do when healthy, but they are banged up and we home court, and of course, Thibs. Should be a very competitive series!

  140. I also think that the week-long rest is going to help lots of teams. We have a bunch of guys with ankle tweaks, etc. that played through them down the stretch…I think the same is true with ATL.

  141. the week long rest for the top six teams in each conference is genius…filling that time in with a highly marketable product, even geniusy-er…

  142. owen, words I never ever thought I’d write – but, I think we’re like 12 games or so over .500 since rose showed up, plus that crazy 2 – 9 or whatever in games decided by 3 points or less…

    that’s a telling stat of a team that can stay close, but not finish…

    it’s funny, I still remember during one of rose’s first few games him grunting really loud during a late game time out…

    it was like he really wanted to let folks know how badly he wanted to be out on the court for the end of the game, can’t remember if we won or loss – but, he was acting pretty “competitive”, if loud grunting and huffing is your thing…pretty aggressive on-a-new team type move at the time though…

  143. ***I think Thibs likes the kid. He used him this year exactly how he should have been used since day one.***

    59 minutes this entire month, and 19 minutes during all of April. This is exactly how a lottery pick should be used from the beginning? And now during the last year of his rookie scale contract?

    This blog has some brilliant people with some excellent out-of-the-box takes contributed daily. But the Frank crowd really needs to tuck their tail at this point. Team pessimists take the L on this season, team Franks take the L on his Knick career.

  144. Raven: Hey — since I have you here, a serious question. You earlier came down fairly frequently on the position that “coaching doesn’t matter.” Given everything that’s happened this year, do you still feel that way?

    I do think that coaching cannot fix bad players, and it certainly can’t turn a guy from a 28% 3PT shooter to a 41% shooter in one offseason. But clearly Thibs has shown that he can get guys to buy in, and that definitely matters.

    On the more concrete side: He also has shown a propensity to sit most bad players, e.g. Knoxikina played 2300+ minutes last season and only <800 this season in fewer games. That's a big deal when each of them was very bad at basketball. An enormous leap by Barrett from a terrible rookie to a perfectly serviceable sophomore is also difficult to pin on Thibs alone. I suspect that the benching of Knoxikina and the improvement by Barrett is a swing of 6-8 wins on its own.

    Some other notable minutes changes (using weird notation because KB's text editor hates when I use the plus sign):

    Noel <<< 1547
    Bullock <<< 1949
    Quickley <<< 1243
    Burks <<>> 1387
    Portis >>> 1393
    DSJ >>> 537 (played negligible minutes in ’21)
    Ellington >>> 558
    Dotson >>> 836

    (71 minutes per 240 minutes, or 29.5% of player gametime gone from the roster)

    I think it’s fair to say that we struggled to see what a change those minutes would lead to.

    Perhaps most remarkably, the season does not appear to be a total fluke. The pythag sez 41 wins, and there are those wins. The SRS says this is clearly playoff team, and it is indeed a playoff team. I’m pleased, and I didn’t see it coming, but maybe we should have. Except the Randle 3PT shooting thing. That’s just weird.

  145. December 23, 2020 at 10:58 am
    The most reasonable path to overperformance (more than mid-low 20s wins) is if thibs builds a better defense founded on a mitch/nerlens spine. Our offense is almost certainly going to be bad barring a huge leap from RJ

    I was sort of right

  146. it’s funny how the narrative now is “everyone underestimated Thibs.” With the notable (and significant) exception of our 3 point shooting, Thibs pretty much did what most of us expected.

    The man that blew everyone’s expectations out of the water was Julius Randle. Literally no one pegged him to be good this year. Many of us even figured he would lose his job,

  147. Hubert: The man that blew everyone’s expectations out of the water was Julius Randle. Literally no one pegged him to be good this year. Many of us even figured he would lose his job,

    co-sign

    DRed: The most reasonable path to overperformance (more than mid-low 20s wins) is if thibs builds a better defense founded on a mitch/nerlens spine. Our offense is almost certainly going to be bad barring a huge leap from RJ

    Yup, that’s pretty accurate. Turns out having a great rim protector for nearly 48 minutes a night is, uh, good.

  148. Randle basically jumped from a replacement level player to 9th in VORP and 20th in BPM, and it even seems to be a case where we could legitimately argue he’s more important to the team than what the stats show, precisely because he carries such a heavy load on a relatively weak offense still. That is just crazy to think about, and he deserves immense credit for the work he put in his game in the off-season. It’s astonishing to see this level of improvement in one season.

  149. Hubert:
    The man that blew everyone’s expectations out of the water was Julius Randle. Literally no one pegged him to be good this year. Many of us even figured he would lose his job,

    Randle indeed blow our expectations, not by being good, but being incredibly good. I think lots of people were hoping for the level he showed with the Pelicans now that we would have better coaching (that is, a way better TS% and around 35% 3p), which would have been a good player, although perhaps not one that outperforms his contract.

    However, raising his 3p to 41% in high volume was totally unexpected, the same with increased assists and great defense. Props to him on the increased efficiency, because that is on Randle alone, although I will also give credit to Thibs for the assists and defense.

    Also, I was very down on Burks and Bullock at the beginning of the season and they proved me wrong and have been incredibly important part of the team. With Thibs I expected a great defense, but very little from the offense, which was going to be limited by our lack of offensive players anyway. Thibs might not be an offensive mastermind, but his offense just makes sense. There are not weird situations or players trying to guess what his role are, and that is a huge step up.

    On defense, I expected that it was going to work, because we had the pieces to have a great defensive team, specially Mitch and Noel, and Thibs had the knowledge to make it work. Perhaps it is most surprising that when Mitch went down, the defense has barely suffered. Noel being able to soak minutes definitely helps, but Gibson being able to fill in so well at his age seemed unlikely.

    And finally, Derrick Rose. PG was our most glaring hole, and he has not just filled the bench role, he has excelled at it.

  150. I love the way that folks are spinning things to usurp credit from Thibs and are now saying “hey, we should have seen this all along!”

    Julius Randle: his TS%, WS48, and PER are not at (in the case of TS% even near) career highs. (watch someone predictably refer to his RPM or some stupid shit like that now…) His BPM is a nice but not gaudy 3.5. If you only looked at his B-R page, you would be wowed by the jump in his AST% but you would think his 3pt% was more than balanced out by a precipitous drop in his 2pt%. to a 5-year low. And you certainly wouldn’t see the overall improvement in his individual and team defense (guess who’s responsible for that?)

    Noel is a nice player, but virtually every team has an analog to him, or someone whose not quite as good on D but a much better offensive player. And let’s not forget how disturbed folks were when he was threatening Mitch’s starting job at the start of the season.

    RJ deserves much of the credit for his improved shooting, but he’s still given us 2500 minutes of below average basketball by every advanced measure that we typically use.

    Do we really need to revisit what folks thought of the Taj and Rose re-signings?

    Sure, some of the ingredients have been underestimated, but we’re not talking about modest overachieving as a team. We blew expectations compldterly out of the water. Pythag and SRS are based on team stats after the fact. Who predicted those stats? Who predicted that an “antiquated” coach who can’t relate to today’s players would coach a team that leads the league in 3pt%?

  151. Bruno Almeida:
    Randle basically jumped from a replacement level player to 9th in VORP and 20th in BPM, and it even seems to be a case where we could legitimately argue he’s more important to the team than what the stats show, precisely because he carries such a heavy load on a relatively weak offense still. That is just crazy to think about, and he deserves immense credit for the work he put in his game in the off-season. It’s astonishing to see this level of improvement in one season.

    Randle has been phenomenal, but his VORP is inflated by leading the league in minutes (thanks, Thibs!). BPM probably tells a much more accurate story about his per minute production in the sense that there are probably 20 guys in the league more productive than him. He also has intangibles galore.

    But who’s our second best player and how does he compare to the rest of the competitive teams’ second best player? Third best? Fourth best?

  152. DRed: I was sort of right

    Is that more precient than this:

    Z-man
    December 23, 2020 at 8:59 am
    The most promising thing is Thibs and the nature of our roster being perfect for this brand of coaching. His stature is so much bigger than any of the players that there will be no barrier to building the identity he favors…defensive intensity, offensive opportunism, high-IQ play. The talent deficit is just too extreme to win many games, but even good teams will not be able to mail it in and get wins against us, which is all I could ask for given our roster. If Fiz was still coaching, no way we get to 20 wins.

    or this:

    swiftandabundant
    December 23, 2020 at 9:34 am
    I voted for 32-33 wins. I think we’re going to surprise people and I think Thibs/Payne are gonna be a big reason why.

    I agree with Z-Man. This is a good roster for Thibs because there is no one who is good enough to act like a diva. Minny was bad but had Towns, who was a number one pick. Our top pick, RJ, doesn’t have that demeanor. Randle might be the most talented but he’s never been on a winning team and isn’t close to an all-star, so he can’t really demand diva like attention. Someone like Elf might not like being benched over a rookie but again, he’s not gonna raise a stink about it if he wants to play somewhere else next year or remain with us. All the vets are getting paid hardly anything. If we can’t trade them for anything, cutting them doesn’t really hurt us at all. And I think the roster, while not talented, is better fitting than last year. And there is the X factor of RJ and Mitch taking a leap forward. If both of them do that, we could be super fun to watch.

    I think Quickley will be good for us. I think Knox is gonna be better. I think Frank’s days are numbered (as are DSJ’s). I think Toppin will struggle more than expected (but will surprise with his passing and unselfish play and be better on D) and we’ll end up keeping Randle, possibly even picking up his team option for next year.

    I do think there will be a trade before the deadline for future picks of some sort.

    And I think the Payne development effect will show itself. I’ve said this before, but I’m a huge UK basketball fan (my family is originally from Lexington). And the big thing under Calipari with Payne is that they consistently get better as the season goes on. This happens almost every year with them. I always thought it was a Cal thing but now I think it might be a Payne thing and I think we now have that.

    I’m the most optimistic I’ve been as a fan since 2010.

  153. I also said this:

    Z-man
    December 23, 2020 at 10:12 am
    The one thing I will say is that we have a lot of lineup combinations to throw out there. We can go big, small, offense, defense, fast, slow. It a balanced roster…just not very talented on paper. Our best feature is that we are very athletic. We will catch some teams on back-to-backs or out of sorts (hi Rockets!) and run them out of the gym.

    I will also say that guys like Bullock, Burks, Rivers and Noel are hungry. They’ve been second fiddles their entire careers but when they play at their best they can play with anyone. I really like Bullock and Burks, they are pro’s pros. Noel has an edge and will push Mitch. Randle will push Obi. There’s a lot of good, friendly competition on this roster. Guys will have to compete extra hard in practice to maintain playing time.

    There’s like a 5-10% chance that they put it all together and get into the 30’s. More likely, we endure a bunch of very entertaining losses and a couple of nice stretches.

    And yeah, roster moves are probably coming, hopefully ones that either shore up some weaknesses or yield assets.

    I was totally wrong on the roster moves part, other than ditching Rivers, signing Taj and trading for Rose we really didn’t do much of anything.

  154. I’m more worried about Capela than Young this series. It might not be too hard to nudge Trae into taking a few more low % threes than he should. Good as they are, Nerlens, Mitch, and Taj still might struggle to keep the easy lobs to Capela to a minimum. And they probably will struggle to keep him off the offensive glass. Since all our bigs can be pretty much ignored on offense except when Rose is at the point, Capela will be freed up and likely succeed at keeping Randle in check inside without any need to double. So, I’m guessing Julius the facilitator and Rose the lob partner could be keys even more than usual. It’ll be interesting to see how they try to take away our corner threes and how we respond. It would be so fun to have this last a bit longer.

  155. There’s also the matter of DeAndre Hunter’s health. In that Athletic beat writer conversation I first linked to upthread, the Hawks beat guy seemed to think that a healthy hunter might be able to matchup well (or well enough) defensively against Randle:

    I would expect the Hawks are going to use Hunter primarily on Randle, as he is their best one-on-one defender. If Hunter can limit Randle, it would allow Capela to guard the rim and not leave the paint. Randle has been superb against the Hawks this season, and they haven’t had an answer for him yet, but I do think a healthy Hunter can present the Hawks’ best chance of slowing him down. What makes Hunter such a special defender is when he was healthy in the first half of the season, we saw him display the agility to guard someone like Kyrie Irving and then have the strength and size to guard someone like LeBron James.

    Obviously, nobody’s going to stop Julius at this point, but if Hunter can at least make him work against single coverage, it both frees up Capela to stay home on drivers, and it limits Randle’s playmaking, which mostly comes when he’s doubled.

  156. I love the way that folks are spinning things to usurp credit from Thibs and are now saying “hey, we should have seen this all along!”

    we should NOT have seen this all along! Even those of us who expected Thibs to get the most out this roster thought this team’s ceiling was the play in tournament.

    Many of us knew we had an excellent coach. No one knew we had an All NBA player on the roster. This doesn’t “usurp credit” (weird choice of words there) from Thibs at all. It just gives Randle his due, which has been oddly missing bc the narrative has been obsessed with a cult-like worship of the authority figures.

  157. I think that against the Hawks’ firepower we need to have everyone contributing at his best.

    We can’t afford RJ’s anonymous first halves or fourth quarters without a shot (see the last game),
    we can’t afford IQ and/or the Bu-Bu Gang shooting blanks from the perimeter,
    we can’t afford Rose with heavy legs or Noel dropping assists for easy baskets.

    And we can’t afford quarters, half quarters or every kind of stretch with our focus less than 100%.

    On talent alone the Hawks are better, we need to be grittier, dirtier, hungrier than them.

    We need this serie to be a fight, in a pickup game at the park we’re going to lose.

  158. Anyone have an idea when they’re gonna announce the playoff schedule? Are they really going to wait till after the play in tournament? That has no effect on the first few games since the home teams are set for the first round.

  159. d-mar:
    Anyone have an idea when they’re gonna announce the playoff schedule? Are they really going to wait till after the play in tournament? That has no effect on the first few games since the home teams are set for the first round.

    Maybe they want to adjust the TV schedule based on the matchups…

  160. The Julius egg came first. The man famously found gyms to work out in during the lockdown, before even meeting his coach. The credit for the work that Julius Randle put in to his game to become an All NBA player belongs to him. I don’t know what motivates people to give that credit to Thibs (though I have an idea).

  161. Max: Maybe they want to adjust the TV schedule based on the matchups…

    Yeah good point. I would guess Knicks-Hawks doesn’t have much national appeal so I’m thinking we get early day game this weekend

  162. Re: who should replace Elfrid in the starting lineup –

    really it all depends on whether Thibs thinks that Reggie Bullock can guard Trae Young, because RJ and Burks almost certainly don’t have the foot speed to do it.

    Trae Young is the engine of the Atlanta offense. They are 119.8 ORtg with him (93rd percentile) and 107.3 ORtg without him (20th percentile).

    We may have had the 3rd or 4th best defense in the league, but we sure as hell could not stop the Atlanta offense when Trae was on the floor this year. So our regular season ranking has little relevance to this particular series.

    I’ve already said that I would be perfectly fine with Burks starting, but I think Thibs needs to give Frank at least some consideration. Frank barely played against Atlanta at all this year (two DNPs and one of those games where he came in for 6 seconds), but historically he has been hard on primary ball handlers like Kyrie, Trae, Kemba, etc.

    Offensively, anything is better than Elfrid Payton, so if Frank can stand in the corner and shoot 3’s even at half the percentage he made this year (70.6–> 35.3%), then that is a win on that end too.

    by the way, they may think Deandre Hunter can stop Randle, but in January Randle put up 28/17/9 with Hunter playing a lot, so good luck with that.

    My guess is that Atlanta will concentrate on stopping Julius first, which means we need shooting on the floor with him. Burks is fine, but Frank really has been solid from 3 this year.

    (Random thought – we’ve all seen the super-predictable Lebron thing where his team basically engineers a switch so he can back down the worst defender on the other team. Why can’t we just force Atlanta to switch Trae onto Julius? Even if it takes15 seconds off the shot clock to make the switch happen, that has to be the matchup we go for every time, right?).

  163. Hubert:
    The Julius egg came first. The man famously found gyms to work out in during the lockdown, before even meeting his coach. The credit for the work that Julius Randle put in to his game to become an All NBA player belongs to him. I don’t know what motivates people to give that credit to Thibs (though I have an idea).

    Who’s discrediting Randle for anything? Unless you are assuming that any team with an all-NBA player is guaranteed to be a #4 seed in the conference, this is as dumb of a statement as pretty much everything you said going into this season.

    And again, Randle is only improved as a passer and defender. His TS% is actually down.

  164. Who’s discrediting Randle for anything?

    You.

    You are “usurping” [sic] his credit and giving it to Thibs.

  165. Can’t we just be happy that we have the chicken (Thibs) and the egg (Julius)? Last year we had none.

  166. Offensively, anything is better than Elfrid Payton

    You really might be surprised! 3PT shooting is obviously a very, very important skill for a point guard (or anyone else at this point), but it’s not the only thing that matters.

    Macri’s newsletter this morning had a tidbit about how Payton was actually better than Barrett, Rose, and Burks from the restricted area this season. To be clear he still wasn’t good, and he fell off a cliff in his last 15 games. This isn’t me stumping for him, I’m just saying it’s something you have to account for if you’re going to argue that Frank Ntilikina is a superior offensive option. For comparison, Ntilikina shot .194 on 2PT shots this year and his career figure is .389.

    I will concede Frank is probably a better option than Payton if you think it’s tenable for our starting point guard to literally do nothing other than camp out in the corner and be ready to shoot if wide open. However if you conceive of the role any more broadly than that, and I think Thibs does, Frank Ntilikina cannot be your guy.

    Side note: a lot of people are taking it as a given that Frank, who is incredibly foul prone, would have no problem defending Trae Young, who was 3rd in the NBA in FTAs this year despite missing 9 games. I am not sure that is a sound conclusion.

  167. Hubert: I don’t know what motivates people to give that credit to Thibs (though I have an idea).

    What movtivates me is Thibs track record and reputation among people who actually know what they are talking about prior to his arrival here. Sure, Randle deserves all the credit for busting his ass and improving important aspects of his game, most notably his 3pt shooting. But let’s not suggest that Randle was some fat, lazy slob who never before worked on his game in the offseason, or who never before put up anything close to the efficiency numbers he put up this year. Or the offensive and defensive schemes put into place have nothing to do with his or the team’s success. But as is typically the case, you are clinging to your preseason stupidity about Thibs and Leon Rose and will grasp at anything that undervalues their impact on winning; you do this any time your dumb hidden agendas are exposed to be laughably wrong.

  168. Maybe they want to adjust the TV schedule based on the matchups…

    Very likely, yeah. If the Lakers are the #7 seed or the #8 seed, that makes a big difference. Or if they’re not in the playoffs at all, then suddenly that Grizzlies/Spurs matchup at #8 becomes a lot less interesting.

  169. There’s also the matter of DeAndre Hunter’s health.

    I had no idea that DeAndre Hunter had become a good enough defender to be able to handle Randle. That’s very impressive if true.

  170. Let’s also not forget that some folks here criticized Thibs for playing Randle so many minutes. How has that worked out?

  171. thenoblefacehumper: I will concede Frank is probably a better option than Payton if you think it’s tenable for our starting point guard to literally do nothing other than camp out in the corner and be ready to shoot if wide open. However if you conceive of the role any more broadly than that, and I think Thibs does, Frank Ntilikina cannot be your guy.

    I think it is more tenable for our starting point guard to be able to get around a screen on defense and not have a TS of 47.8% on a 23.2% usage, and not singlehandedly submarine the lineup that he’s in.

    5 man lineup: Elfrid, Bullock, RJ, Randle, Nerlens: ORtg 109.9, DRTg 114.8, net rating (-)4.9

    5 man lineup: NOT-Elfrid, Bullock, RJ, Randle, Nerlens: ORtg 116, DRtg 105.9, net rating +10.1

    Literally anyone that is NOT-Elfrid would be better. Tell me it’s Burks and I’d say fine, although I’d watch that Bullock-Trae matchup closely and see if we are getting torched there. Tell me it’s Frank, and I’m fine with it too. Based on Thibs’s history and/or predilections for choosing the best defensive lineup and keeping the bench mob together, my guess is that it’s going to be Elfrid or Frank starting.

  172. Speaking of DeAndre Hunter, doesn’t that Pelicans trade look kind of stupid right now? I don’t know if it even made sense at the time. The #4 pick and Solomon Hill for the #8 pick, the #17 pick and Cleveland’s second-round picks in 2021 and 2022. That seems a bit light for a #4 pick.

  173. ***Side note: a lot of people are taking it as a given that Frank, who is incredibly foul prone, would have no problem defending Trae Young, who was 3rd in the NBA in FTAs this year despite missing 9 games.***

    Sider note: That’s because Frank slept with all the wives of all the refs, not because he’s actually fouling people.

  174. The more I think about this series. the more worried I get. The Hawks have Gallinari coming off the bench. He’d be our 2nd best player. That says something.

  175. There will time for a thorough post-mortem in the offseason. Credit for our outperformance goes to a lot of different things and we will be arguing till we are blue in the face over how to divide the pie. I think Thibs deserves credit for the defense but I think it’s tough to argue he’s the reason why so many different players gave us more than expected. Especially Randle.

    And I think the front office needs a slice of that pie, which is really hard for me to say.

  176. What movtivates me is Thibs track record and reputation among people who actually know what they are talking about prior to his arrival here.

    You can search the archives and find my posts. I know I plainly stated that Thibs would be one of the best coaches we ever had here, in the echelon of Van Gundy. I predicted we’d make the playoffs because of Thibs. I even ardently argued against the people who assumed he’d run an archaic offense, saying it wasn’t part of an outdated philosophy like Phil, and that he would adjust. And at the midway point of the season, when you looked at the schedule and said we’d sink like a stone, I said this team’s baseline is .500… because of Thibs.

    So how was I still so fucking wrong about the season, even when I believed in the coach from Day 1? It’s the roster, dude. I got the players wrong. Way wrong, in some cases (Randle, Rose).

    Thibs didn’t turn water into wine. Guys like Randle turned themselves into wine. And then Thibs masterfully crafted the different wines together into a superb blend. But that’s something we all knew Thibs could do. What no one expected was that maybe there was some wine here in the first place.

  177. The first thing we have to do is stop using Frank and Point Guard in the same sentence. No matter what he was drafted to be in the Triangle and no matter how many times Berman calls him a PG, he’s not a PG. We should be two years past that. He’s a switchable defender and secondary playmaker that’s trying to grow into a solid 3&D guard and eventually more. When he’s on the court, Randle becomes the Point Forward or Rose is the Point Guard or etc… “Point” just defines the lead playmaker. Jokic is the “Point” for the Nuggets even though he’s a Center.

    IF Franks starts. He’s not the PG. The offense will be run through Randle. He’s the Point Forward.

    The question is will the offense run as well through Randle as Payton?

    The question is does Frank bring things to the table that Payton does not assuming the offense can run as well through Randle?

  178. Side note: a lot of people are taking it as a given that Frank, who is incredibly foul prone, would have no problem defending Trae Young, who was 3rd in the NBA in FTAs this year despite missing 9 games. I am not sure that is a sound conclusion.

    It’s not. He’ll probably foul out partly because he’s very aggressive defensively and partly because he gets no respect from the refs as a deep bench player. However, if he can actually slow Trae down for let’s say 15-20 minutes while he’s on the court and/or disrupt the overall offensive flow before he fouls out, he did his job. That’s better than Trae lighting us up for 30 every night (which he might do against Frank anyway because he so good offensively).

  179. Strat that’s a reasonable take, though four full years into Frank’s career I think the time for him to “eventually” grow into more has come and gone.

    What we’re arguing isn’t so different. Right now there appears to be one thing Frank Ntilikina might (17 shot sample size) be able to do within the scheme of an NBA offense: camp out in the corner and wait for a pass. If you think the rest of the starting lineup is sufficiently skilled to withstand the presence of a player that limited, I suppose you can argue for Frank over Payton (though I still don’t know why you wouldn’t just go with Quickley or Burks unless your view of Frank’s defensive advantage is wildly inflated compared to the numbers).

    Thibs probably thinks the offense benefits, or at least theoretically can in short stints, from Payton’s mediocre-but-existent ability to do some other things.

    If Frank Ntilikina was any better than he actually is I’d be pretty sure Thibs was wrong, but alas, Frank Ntilikina is Frank Ntilikina, so anyone who thinks Thibs is obviously wrong about this one is probably a tad in denial about Frank Ntilikina’s limitations.

  180. What we’re arguing isn’t so different. Right now there appears to be one thing Frank Ntilikina might (17 shot sample size) be able to do within the scheme of an NBA offense: camp out in the corner and wait for a pass. If you think the rest of the starting lineup is sufficiently skilled to withstand the presence of a player that limited, I suppose you can argue for Frank over Payton (though I still don’t know why you wouldn’t just go with Quickley or Burks unless your view of Frank’s defensive advantage is wildly inflated compared to the numbers).

    Look, I’d rather start Kyle Lowry than Frank Ntilikina for sure, but we don’t have Kyle Lowry.
    I’d probably also rather start Quickley, but I just think there’s zero chance Thibs is going to start a rookie PG in the playoffs.
    Burks is fine but Thibs usually thinks defense before offense, and I am just not sure he wants Bullock guarding Trae — but maybe he does.

    FWIW – Frank is 24 for his last 42 corner 3 pointers over the last 2 seasons (57.1%). It’s a small sample, but it’s still 24 for 42. For his career he is 39/90 (43.3%) from the corners.

    Someone in a previous thread suggested that Payton is the equivalent of an “innings eater” — and I think that’s pretty accurate. My feeling is Thibs has been trying to tread water with the starting unit, then win big with the bench unit minutes. I think he will probably continue to try and do that, and so will try and keep the bench unit together to some extent.

    Honestly, this is a super interesting problem for him to deal with. How do you handle having literally the worst starter in the entire playoffs?

  181. Honestly, this is a super interesting problem for him to deal with. How do you handle having literally the worst starter in the entire playoffs?

    I mean, I certainly assume Elf is the worst, but has anyone put the work in to consider the starting lineups of all 20 teams, counting the ones in the play-in game?

  182. Deeefense: The more I think about this series. the more worried I get.The Hawks have Gallinari coming off the bench.He’d be our 2nd best player.That says something.

    Given your username, you should know that Gallo’s DBPM (defense) would be only 0.1 better than IQ’s, or else he’d be instantly our worst defensive player (rotation players only). And his offense doesn’t compensate, so that’s why he’s a bench player and no way he’d be our 2nd best player.

  183. Alan:
    Honestly, this is a super interesting problem for him to deal with. How do you handle having literally the worst starter in the entire playoffs?

    I mean, I certainly assume Elf is the worst, but has anyone put the work in to consider the starting lineups of all 20 teams, counting the ones in the play-in game?

    Would that change, if we started Frank?

  184. Deeefense:
    The more I think about this series. the more worried I get.The Hawks have Gallinari coming off the bench.He’d be our 2nd best player.That says something.

    I think you are probably overestimating Gallo. Definitely can shoot, but like Trae, a ton of his value comes from flopping on offense, and he will get fewer of those calls in the playoffs. IN addition, he’s basically a statue on defense. He’s played 2/3 of his minutes at the 4 (surprisingly has played 1/3 at the 5?), and assuming Randle is playing 42 min+ per game, they can’t have Gallo trying to guard Randle.

    I do wonder whether we will see the Knicks try and go small at times. Randle at the 5, RJ at the 4 when Collins is off the floor, Bullock, Burks, Rose/Quickley.

  185. The Hawks should probably be a slight favorite in the series, they’ve been excellent since they changed coaches. On the other hand, we have homecourt and in the playoffs Trey might not get the whistle he gets in the regular season.

  186. Side note: a lot of people are taking it as a given that Frank, who is incredibly foul prone, would have no problem defending Trae Young, who was 3rd in the NBA in FTAs this year despite missing 9 games. I am not sure that is a sound conclusion.

    This is the key to me – I don’t actually particularly like the matchup of Frank defending Trae all that much. Trae relies so, so heavily on FTs to keep his efficiency up; last year it looked like he might be developing into an elite high volume 3-point weapon, but his shot went backwards a bit this year, and while his floater is a weapon in a relative sense that’s just fundamentally not that efficient a shot. His eFG was .499 which for perspective is RJ Barrett territory. People think of him as an elite shooter because he had that reputation coming into the league and he makes some from way downtown, but overall that’s actually a weakness for him right now. He’s an elite offensive player because of his free throw drawing and his passing.

    I expect the refs to be a little stingier with the BS fouls in the playoffs so that will help us, but maybe the #1 key for us in this series is being disciplined against him defensively. Stay home on other guys, don’t foul and make Trae try to beat you by actually making shots. That doesn’t scream Frank to me. I think going crazy trying deny Trae the ball, or trying to really get into him 1-on-1 which are Frank’s biggest strengths, are actually counter-productive to the extent they risk conceding fouls.

  187. Interesting and altogether not surprising thread from Tommy Beer:

    According to @nbastats player tracking data:

    Elfrid Payton defended Trae Young for 14:08 minutes during the 2020-21 regular season.

    Young scored 22 points and dished out 10 assists, with the Hawks scoring a total of 92 points over those 56 offensive possessions for Atlanta.

    Young also had his way with Derrick Rose this season, scoring 28 points (on 9-of-19 shooting) in less than 10 matchup mins (41.3 partial possessions).

    In 2019-20, Trae Young scored more points when matched up with Elf Payton than any other individual player in the NBA.

    Young scored 44 points (on 13-of-28 shooting) in 14:38 minutes (64 offensive possessions) when guarded by Payton. ATL scored 94 points in those 64 possessions

    Those numbers are…not good.

  188. If Frank is not a point guard, and is a wing, and he’s only going to camp out in the corner, why not just go ahead and start Alec Burks, who is also a wing but has the added benefit of being a legitimate NBA player? Let Burks camp out in the corner. If somebody closes out on him, he can actually put the ball on the deck and make a play!

    Stop trying to make the Frankaissance happen, people. It’s not happening.

  189. JK47:
    If Frank is not a point guard, and is a wing, and he’s only going to camp out in the corner, why not just go ahead and start Alec Burks, who is also a wing but has the added benefit of being a legitimate NBA player? Let Burks camp out in the corner. If somebody closes out on him, he can actually put the ball on the deck and make a play!

    Stop trying to make the Frankaissance happen, people. It’s not happening.

    It’s like you don’t realize there’s defense to be played also.

  190. What kind of whistle these teams will get is an X factor for this series, in my view. If the games are called tight, the Knicks might be in trouble given how physical they are on defense and Atlanta’s propensity for getting tacky tacky fouls.

  191. Is there a precedent for a player that was available in more than 75% of the games, on those the coach gave him DNP-CD in 40% of the games and played him less than 10 MPG on the games he actually played, and then go on to be the starter on Game1 of the playoffs with the options ahead of him all available?
    I don’t root against Frank, and even started to believe maybe Thibs is seeing something in him, trying to play him a little (even if for a few seconds), but to say he should be the starter out of nowhere, that’s a little too much.

  192. ESPN + had their experts predict the 1st rd series and I was fully expecting a majority to pick the Hawks but I was shocked to see 14 of 16 picked the Knicks.

  193. Frank: It’s like you don’t realize there’s defense to be played also.

    Burks can play defense just fine.

  194. defense against guard/wing types is a lot more than just one person matched up on them… esp vs trae since he does most of his damage with the pnr… and even a great iso defender can be neutralized quite easily through one or two screens….

    that’s why steals and blocks and rebounds are so impactful on the defensive end … because contesting and denying penetration can only happen so many times per game and that would only result in gaining fractions of an expected value of a possession… steals, blocks and rebs wipe out whole possessions…

    a big man has way more impact as their presence alone can impact shot selection and contesting rim attempts has a lot more impact on the expect value of a shot than other areas of the court….

    so elf and rose may be bad defenders… and frank might be good… but trae is largely going to do what he wants no matter who is guarding him…. the more important question is how the entire defense reacts to the various actions trae has….

    like if you believed in the notion that thibs turned this defense around… it’s a bit contradictory to believe that one person on defense is going to be this key to ‘shutting down’ trae… it’s always going to be a group effort just like what defense is in general….

  195. djphan: like if you believed in the notion that thibs turned this defense around… it’s a bit contradictory to believe that one person on defense is going to be this key to ‘shutting down’ trae… it’s always going to be a group effort just like what defense is in general….

    Naturally agree, but Payton always dies on screens, and has done very poorly when matched up as the primary defender against Trae. I am not sure Thibs needs to see us down 20-6 after 4 minutes to know that we already know what’s going to happen.

    Tommy Beer of course with the followup:

    In contrast [with Payton], over the 2019-20 and 2018-19 seasons combined:

    Trae Young scored just 21 points (on 7-of-19 shooting) in 14:55 minutes (59 offensive possessions) when guarded by Frank Ntilikina.

    ATL scored 73 points in those 59 possessions.

    (caveat of course that the 2020-2021 Hawks are not the same team as 19-20 and 18-19. And that 73 points in 59 possessions still seems bad even if it is much much better than 94 points in 64 possessions with Payton guarding him in 19-20)

  196. Looking ahead to the summer…

    @SmithRaps
    In a stunning development, Kyle Lowry has no clarity on his future
    “Money talks, years talk” but mostly “I’m BSing because I don’t have an answer for you”

  197. Ya gotta hope the idea that refs call playoff games a bit looser on fouls and will let the Knicks be more physical, especially at home, is true. I think home court will be a big deal bc we should get the calls our way on defense in those games.

    I don’t know. I could see us stepping the defense up to the next level and crushing the Hawks in 4 or 5 games. I could see us losing in 7 or I could see Atlanta beating us in 6 or 7. The only outcome I don’t think will happen (here’s hoping) is Atlanta running away with this series in 4 or 5.

  198. it’s not like frank is great vs screens also… he similarly gets wiped out from the whole possessions on many screens because he’s aggro on defense and super close… the frank apologist always just conveniently left that out when evaluating his defense….

    i never found lineup data too compelling and everyone caveat’s it with taking it with a huge grain of salt but for whatever reason people keep using it as a pillar for an argument…. even despite knowing it’s limitations…

    frank on this team has played a grand total of 2 seconds vs atlanta this season… there’s not only a huge difference with trae vs a few years ago… none of them include his play now….

    no perimeter player has that much of an impact on defense… not kawhi.. not tony allen or bruce bowen or marcus smart… and it’s certainly not going to start with frank ntilikina…

  199. @ShamsCharania
    Just in: Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert is expected to miss tonight’s Play-In Tournament game vs. the Charlotte Hornets due to health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic

    Yeesh.

  200. Monty Williams apparently won the AP Coach of the Year award. Is that the Coach of the Year award, or is there more than one?

  201. As much as I hate on Frank I’d be remiss not to mention that this season has been his best year wrt advanced metrics.

  202. It’s like you don’t realize there’s defense to be played also.

    I’m getting pretty sick of this stupid fucking argument.

    Frank Ntilikina is a bad basketball player. If you play him with Nerlens Noel you’ll be playing 3-on-5 and you’re going to get your fucking ass kicked and the offense is going to look like absolute dogshit.

    There’s a pathological need here to turn Frank Ntilikina into something he isn’t, namely an NBA player. He’s not going to start and he’s barely going to play and that’s that. We had the #3 defense in the league without his sorry ass. We’ll be fine with the little French mascot sitting on the bench.

    He sucks. Deal with it.

  203. We have a bad player in the starting lineup. Should we:

    A. Keep the bad player in the lineup
    B. Replace him with another bad player
    C: Replace him with a good player

    I’d say “C”

  204. JK47: I’m getting pretty sick of this stupid fucking argument.

    Frank Ntilikina is a bad basketball player. If you play him with Nerlens Noel you’ll be playing 3-on-5 and you’re going to get your fucking ass kicked and the offense is going to look like absolute dogshit.

    There’s a pathological need here to turn Frank Ntilikina into something he isn’t, namely an NBA player. He’s not going to start and he’s barely going to play and that’s that. We had the #3 defense in the league without his sorry ass. We’ll be fine with the little French mascot sitting on the bench.

    He sucks. Deal with it.

    This gets the extra eye-roll from me.

    No one is saying he is Chris Paul. We are trying to figure out who would make sense to play instead of Elfrid Freaking Payton who is probably more likely than Frank to be playing in China next year. Frank is a good NBA defender and is shooting league average from 3 point range the last 2 years combined. I am not imagining this, I am not turning him into something he’s not – it is just a fact. He has shown at times that he is an impact change-the-game type of defender — see the Dallas game last year, the first Nets game this year etc. None of these are especially controversial things to say.

    Offensively it makes tons of sense to start Alec Burks. But then who is going to guard the opposing point guard? It’s not going to be Elfrid Payton, who is awful. It could be Derrick Rose, but Thibs seems to want to bring him off the bench. It’s very unlikely it’s going to be Quickley because he’s a rookie. So you can say Frank sucks all you want, but you didn’t answer the actual question.

  205. To be clear – you can read my previous posts, where I said that starting Burks would be a good idea. Just trying to think about the other side of the floor, where it’d almost certainly be Bullock guarding Trae – not sure if that works or doesn’t work.

  206. But then who is going to guard the opposing point guard?

    Probably whoever would’ve guarded him during the regular season, in which we had the #3 defense without a lick of help from Frank Ntilikina.

    This is truly one of the most bizarre debates we’ve ever had on here. We’re one of the best defensive teams in the league. Our biggest problem is that our offense can get stagnant due to a lack of good guard/wing play. Some people’s proposed solution to this problem is…Frank Ntilikina.

  207. trae young leads the league by a country mile on pick and rolls… he runs it 14.1 times per game and luka is second at 13.2…. whoever is ‘guarding’ trae.. is not really going to be doing much of that for long…. and it’s most likely not going to be any pg we’re discussing… it’s probably going to be randle or noel a lot of the time… but more importantly it’s a group effort…

    that’s the cornerstone of any good defense…

  208. the argument has some weird caveats, though.

    I think we all know the solution to the problem is Rose. But our coach wants him to be on the 2nd unit. So the next most obvious answer is Quickley… but our coach wants him to be on the 2nd unit, too. Ok, ok, so Burks… nope, 2nd unit.

    So if our coach is going to eliminate the three best answers, people are now left picking between the 4th and 5th. Frank doesn’t strike me as the right answer, but if it’s him or Elf…. well, I’d still take Elf. So yeah, this is dumb.

  209. good point tsam:

    I expect the refs to be a little stingier with the BS fouls in the playoffs so that will help us, but maybe the #1 key for us in this series is being disciplined against him defensively. Stay home on other guys, don’t foul and make Trae try to beat you by actually making shots. That doesn’t scream Frank to me. I think going crazy trying deny Trae the ball, or trying to really get into him 1-on-1 which are Frank’s biggest strengths, are actually counter-productive to the extent they risk conceding fouls.

  210. Why do all three of those guys HAVE to be on the second unit? If the idea is that Elf is unplayable, it seems pretty obvious to me that the solution is to play a guy who is, you know, playable.

    Burks is a decent defender and a good offensive player. Frank is a good defensive player and a horrible offensive player. This is not hard. Play the guys who are good.

  211. Atlanta’s combined ORtg against us was about 117 this year.
    Two of the games we played against them were prior to Nate McMillan’s entry as coach.
    The 3rd game, which we won in OT, was probably won because Trae Young got injured. Prior to his injury, they were basically scoring at will against us.

    It. does. not. matter. what. our. defensive. ranking. was. in. the. regular. season.

    Sure, maybe it lets you know that we have a solid foundation for playoff defense, but Atlanta scored very very well against us during the regular season. While we scored even better against them during those games, who here would feel good about needing to score 120 ppg in order to win this series? Maybe it’ll happen, but our defense will need to be much better than it was in the reg season matchups.

    The Tommy Beer stats above make it clear that Trae Young’s preferred delicacy amongst opposing PGs is Elfrid Payton. So to me, that means we should not count on Elfrid Payton to be a positive asset in any way shape or form.

    my impression is that on Trae PNRs, you can’t go under or else he’ll shoot the 3. You can hedge/blitz and get back, and maybe count on the fact that Capela/Collins are not good enough passers to hurt you a la Draymond. But I think what we’ve seen the Knicks do more this year is for our PG to chase around the screen, for the big to drop, and try to force Trae into the floater. Capela is the lob king, and so Noel/Taj will need to drop back to guard against the lob. Having a longer player (a wing, or Frank, or someone not Payton) would make sense to contest from behind.

    This is truly one of the most bizarre debates we’ve ever had on here. We’re one of the best defensive teams in the league.

    I have to completely disagree. We are talking about who should play instead of the worst PG in the playoffs, who also happens to have to guard the other team’s primary playmaker. This matchup is everything.

  212. Monty Williams apparently won the AP Coach of the Year award. Is that the Coach of the Year award, or is there more than one?

    I think you’re thinking of the Coach of the Year Award that the other NBA coaches vote on. Monty won that. There is not always an overlap in that award and the “official” award that is voted on by sportswriters.

  213. I was searching for a baseball analogy for Thibs’ use of Frank N. For now, I’m going with the lefty specialist reliever (which is a role now effectively dead in MLB due to the 3 batter rule) who can get lefty hitters out, but not righties.

    Frank’s the guy who comes in from time to time to retire one batter. In a very close game, that might be a key out, but he’ll only be in the game briefly because he can’t do much else.

  214. I think you’re thinking of the Coach of the Year Award that the other NBA coaches vote on. Monty won that. There is not always an overlap in that award and the “official” award that is voted on by sportswriters.

    You’re right, Brian. I either misread an earlier tweet or it was also conflating the two awards.

  215. JK47:

    Burks is a decent defender and a good offensive player. Frank is a good defensive player and a horrible offensive player. This is not hard. Play the guys who are good.

    But it is not about being a good defender, but being good defending PGs. I don’t think you can just go big and pretend you are going to defend well, Burks vs Trae is going to be a mismatch in both ends of the floor, for the better or worse. Given that Collins, who is a bad defender, will be starting and we will go to Randle offense to start the game, the mismatch between Burks and Trae will work against us.

    But that does not mean that it has to be Ntilikina, we can still play Payton, or Rose. Just go with someone that can defend PGs and move the ball a little when Randle passes out of a double team.

    Burks at PG gives me flashbacks of shoehorning a C at PF (“The east is big”) and pretending you will not get burned on defense. It can work sometimes, when the opposing PG will not make you pay for it, or when you are taking advantage of the mismatch on the other end. To start the series against Atlanta, I don’t like the experiment.

  216. Someone brought this up in a debate over at P&T yesterday. The idea that a team can ramp up their defense in the playoffs so therefore the Knicks would be at a disadvantage bc they’re already a good defensive team whereas a team like Atlanta can take their defense to a higher level than us.

    While I do think its true that all teams can play better defense in the playoffs when they’re fully engaged all 4 quarters of every game, I think we still have another level to go to. While we were a good defensive team, we all saw plenty of games throughout the season where a team might score 30 plus points in a quarter or 60 plus in the first half only for us to put the clamps on them when it really mattered. What is the defensive ceiling of this team when the players are truly locked in the entire game? I think we definitely have another level we can take it to and the good defense we’ve played all season has set that foundation for us.

    Its going to be a fun first round series. I would not call us favorites nor would I call Atlanta favorites either. Guess that’s why we’re the 4th and 5th seeds!

  217. God I hope the Celtics don’t somehow come out of the play in tournament as the 7th seed. I would actually have to root for them against the Nets (well, not really root, just hope they make it difficult for Brooklyn.)

    The Wiz would have no chance either, but I could at least root for crazy Russ to scare the Nets a little.

  218. I sometimes think that if Frank Ntilikina himself decided one day to read KB he would be very confused and a little bit weirded out.

    The recipe for success this season has been a focus on giving minutes to actual productive players, outside of Payton. Let’s keep doing that please.

  219. who here would feel good about needing to score 120 ppg in order to win this series?

    I would, as long as Frank isn’t playing.

    The answer to trae young isn’t locking him down. it’s punishing him for being on the floor when you have the ball.

  220. Might be worth mentioning that Trae is also among the worst defensive guards in the league. Playing Frank allows him to basically stand in the corner and take defensive possessions off. At least Payton will run him off of some screens and is a threat to drive and dish. If Trae starts running wild and the Knicks fall behind in the series then sure give Frank a try but he should be a last resort.

  221. I mean I don’t hate the idea of keeping Scott Perry around because he’s shown he’s not Fizdale/Perry level bad. On his résumé with the Knicks is:

    1) The Julius Randle contract
    2) Drafting RJ Barrett instead of trading down (don’t say it was a no-brainer when 75% of you would have traded down and taken Brandon Clarke).
    3) The Melo trade that turned into Mitchell Robinson.
    4) The Marcus Morris trade that turned into Immanuel Quickley.

    The KP trade and Kevin Knox selection were absolutely f**king atrocious and set this franchise back a year or two (because if we insisted on Jalen Brunson and drafted SGA or Mikal Bridges we’d likely be the 3 seed this year), but those are mistakes you can afford when you’re in New York and probably not as bad as letting D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle walk for a return of Kyle Kuzma.

    As long as we retain Brock Aller, I’m okay with this.

  222. Why is it a strange turn of events that Perry is back?

    The biggest problem with the Knicks before this season was Steve Fucking Mills. Scott Perry has a mixed record as a GM at other places but he was pretty competent. Sure, he had some one season fliers that didn’t work out like Mudiay, etc…but he did sign Randle. He did trade KP. He did sign Morris and then traded him for a first round pick that turned into Quickley. He did draft Mitch in the second round. He did sign Bullock. He did draft RJ instead of trading down.

    He hired Fiz and drafted Knox. Those were two huge misses. But he didn’t blow cap space or try to convince KP to stay. He got Randle. He gave out contracts with team options and didn’t overpay anyone really. Frank was drafted by Phil. Hardaway was signed by Mills. Perry is not that bad.

  223. swiftandabundant: Why is it a strange turn of events that Perry is back?

    I think what makes it strange is everybody basically assumed Perry would pass on and Brock Aller would be the GM. I don’t think Windy said explicitly that he would remain GM either, so I guess it’s something to watch.

    Also, I don’t put David Fizdale on Scott Perry. I think Steve Mills chose him because he was the POBO and basically made the major decisions like quietly trading KP away to the only team you negotiated with. I think it was Perry’s job to extract value, which is why I blame him for the Dallas return relative to KP’s value at the time and botching the #9 pick in a draft where Mikal Bridges, Shai Gilgeous Alexander, and Michael Porter Jr were drafted immediately after Knox.

  224. Marv Albert calling it a career after these playoffs. It’s been a great run.

  225. Grodin. Great actor and great American personality. He was like the Robert Horry of acting: all all-time great supporting cast member, only instead of making game winning 3 pointers he made movie winning expressions. Midnight Run is his best role, but I recently re-watched Heaven Can Wait and he is just so, so funny in that. He lived a great life.

    (Meanwhile, Ricky Schroder, the Frank Ntilikina of supporting actors lives on… so unfair.)

  226. I think we need to wait for a bit more evidence than just Brian Windhorst’s “I’ll get in trouble for saying this because it will get aggregated, but I hear Scott Perry will be around the Knicks longer. He will be. I hear it is all going to be worked out,” but if so, then that certainly would answer questions of how much Leon Rose values Perry if they really do sign him long term.

  227. Scott Perry could be the unsung hero of the Knicks.

    1. He acquired 4/5 of our starting lineup (Randle, Barrett, Bullock, and Mitch) for an insanely cheap $35mm/year.
    2. He gave Leon & Co the assets they used to acquire Quickley and Derrick Rose.
    3. He provided two surplus picks in this year’s draft and one in 2023.

    Even with the Knox blunder on his resume, he left us a lot better than when he found us. He did what Strat constantly insists Phil did!

  228. i just hope you’re not submitting to those Costco corporate overlords donnie…to hell with them and those tasty chickens of theirs…

  229. I don’t object to Perry sticking around so long as his role is tailored to play to his strengths and avoid his weaknesses. The Knox thing will forever drive me nuts, given that almost any other player he could have taken there would be so much better for the Knicks right now, and a lot of his talent acquisitions seemed driven by a belief that he had been right about guys like Hezonja. You can’t entirely separate him from Mills, but it’s not like he demonstrated a keen eye for talent at his earlier stops. So I want him to have no part in the draft process, and a limited at best role in free agency, where he seems great at structuring contracts and iffy at identifying talent. (Even Randle feels like a fluke, because nobody could have imagined him becoming this, though if he was just the New Orleans-level Randle, he would be fairly compensated, more or less.) But in terms of contracts, trades, dealing with just basic logistical stuff? That’s all fine. My only real concern is whether keeping him in that role — assuming he would retain the GM title, as opposed to being transferred to a lower-profile job — makes it more likely that Aller or Perrin or the guy we hired from OKC might be more likely to bolt at the first opportunity to run their own team.

  230. It’s just hilarious how he was hired here behind the strength of what he had just done in Sacramento and what he did in Sacramento was terrible.

  231. Sure, Frank is never going to be a point guard but he’s been playing well recently. Much better than the Elf. I wouldn’t start Frank, but I would give him some minutes to mess up Trae’s game. I would start Burks instead of the Elf and give Frank minutes off the bench. That being said, I believe that Thibs will stay with the Elf unless we lose the first game, in which case all bets are off.

  232. It would be nice to get Mitch back. Is it a possibility?

    Doubt it’s a possibility for the first round, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he could return for the second round, when the Knicks take on the Wizards.

  233. Brian Cronin: Doubt it’s a possibility for the first round, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he could return for the second round, when the Knicks take on the Wizards.

    That’s fine. I’ll wait for the second round to see Mitch play then. I read that he’s gained something like 40 pounds. Muscle, I hope.

  234. Might be worth mentioning that Trae is also among the worst defensive guards in the league. Playing Frank allows him to basically stand in the corner and take defensive possessions off. At least Payton will run him off of some screens and is a threat to drive and dish. If Trae starts running wild and the Knicks fall behind in the series then sure give Frank a try but he should be a last resort.

    This is a really good point–Frank isn’t going anywhere, if Trae is giving us the business we can always see if Frank is the answer. It’s easy to criticize that approach as reactive as opposed to proactive, but we know for a fact Frank will give us nothing on offense. We don’t know for a fact that our defense, which excelled all year without Frank Ntilikina, will be completely unable to contain Trae such that it’s worth playing perhaps the worst offensive player in the NBA just to try to stop him.

  235. Normally when people say they can’t be objective about their favorite team’s chances in a given game or playoff matchup, they’re saying they’re predisposed to thinking their favorite team will win.

    In trying to evaluate this series I think I’m having the opposite problem. I am just so conditioned to believe this team will disappoint me (not this specific iteration of it, obviously, just the New York Knicks in general) it’s nearly impossible for me to envision scenarios in which we win. Anyone else dealing with that?

    Trying to be as objective as possible, I do think Capela is going to be a huge problem. I was at the last game we played against them (when Trae turned his ankle) and Capela was mauling Noel et al. on the boards. I’m more worried about him than Trae, actually. I think we can make Trae reasonably uncomfortable without even having to break the glass for an emergency Frank.

    This series will be a pretty damn good test of how legit our 3PT defense is, to the extent that’s a real thing that can exist. It doesn’t really show up in their overall team numbers because they dealt with so many injuries, but they have a lot of dudes who can shoot well on high volume.

  236. I get what you’re saying, TNFH. But I have a flawless counter argument:

    It’s the fucking Hawks, bro.

  237. Thibs didn’t turn water into wine. Guys like Randle turned themselves into wine. And then Thibs masterfully crafted the different wines together into a superb blend. But that’s something we all knew Thibs could do. What no one expected was that maybe there was some wine here in the first place.

    I love your phrasing (and I’m all in favor of wine too)

  238. BigBlueAL:
    ESPN + had their experts predict the 1st rd series and I was fully expecting a majority to pick the Hawks but I was shocked to see 14 of 16 picked the Knicks.

    I was shocked too.

  239. I wonder if the equivalent Hawksblogger is discussing the merits of starting Cam Reddish or Kris Dunn as a pivotal x-factor in this series.

  240. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2943499-nba-insiders-see-these-under-the-radar-free-agents-getting-huge-paydays

    This mentions we’re interested in Powell (works for me), Schroeder (please for the love of god no I would rather just sit on the cap space), and the consensus is (Derrick) Rose will be back.

    We can sign Powell to a deal around 4/$84M and still have 7-9 year max space in 2022, and it probably wouldn’t be terribly hard to open up 10+ year max space if we needed to.

  241. Wait, there’s a playoff game going on right now that started at 3:00pm on a Tuesday on the west coast? Is it really THAT hard to start the game at 4:30 when the regular season east coast games would regularly begin? (Why not have an east coast game and a west coast game today and tomorrow, instead of east today and west tomorrow? Am I missing the something from the 4D chess that the marketing suits are playing with the scheduling?)

  242. TNFH, thanks for the bleacher report link. I noted it also says that Noel could be in for a big raise in the free agent market. That’s worrisome for us.

    League executives also mentioned Bruce Brown, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel as players who could be in for significant raises averaging above $12 million per season.

  243. Donnie Walsh:
    Wait, there’s a playoff game going on right now that started at 3:00pm on a Tuesday on the west coast? Is it really THAT hard to start the game at 4:30 when the regular season east coast games would regularly begin? (Why not have an east coast game and a west coast game today and tomorrow, instead of east today and west tomorrow? Am I missing the something from the 4D chess that the marketing suits are playing with the scheduling?)

    I thought that too, but then I realized that if you played a game from each conference today and tomorrow, you couldn’t do the next play-in game on Thursday without at least on team playing a back to back. I concluded they wanted to avoid that.

  244. Impressive first half for the Pacers, 69 points despite missing LaVert (and Turner).

    20 points for my friend Dougie Mc-D,
    Brogdon and McConnell ravaged the Hornets guards and Brissett is a nice find.

    Lamelo despite his great talent still has to eat a lot of pastrami sandwiches to became a “real” player (games like this help),
    Zeller looks the only Hornet ready for playoffs intensity.
    Their defense can only improve in the second half… or not?

  245. d-mar:
    Not a good week for LaMelo—philes

    I’ll have to check in w/my sister-in-law who has followed him since he was a kid ;)

    BTW I’m back on the Left coast after my 12-day NY excursion. Ossining, Yonkers, Bronx, Manhattan, Poughkeepsie, Albany, Syracuse. It was hard to keep up with you guys here and the celebration of the 4-seed – go figure: I go to NY and it was harder to keep up with the Knicks lol.

    Enjoyed seeing family and friends, and at the same time I’m glad to be back to my wife and kids. I guess it’s ok to have more than one home :)

  246. Tbh i was much more afraid of the Hawks roster a few months back. They were looking pretty Serious on paper.
    Nowadays that we seem to solidify our next level game i think we’re even.
    Having the homecourt advantage may be critical.

  247. Wow, didn’t expect the Hornets to shit the bed so hard against a team that barely even wants to be there.

  248. geo:
    i just hope you’re not submitting to those Costco corporate overlords donnie…to hell with them and those tasty chickens of theirs…

    Hahahahaha… My wife is more a Sam’s Club person. In principle, I never cared for these types of stores, but she stays finding all sorts of deals there. Plus she buys these mini lamb chops there that I found a tasty grilling recipe for.

  249. Homecourt advantage and Frank Ntilikina.
    These seem like the difference makers of the series!

  250. I watched a few minutes of the game. The Pacers were playing ferocious defense and Charlotte was a step slow.

  251. Pacers are dominating in every way. Sabonis has 21 rebounds after 3.

  252. Oofft. Disappointing finish for the Hornets who otherwise had a relatively positive year.

  253. Hahahahaha… My wife is more a Sam’s Club person. In principle, I never cared for these types of stores, but she stays finding all sorts of deals there. Plus she buys these mini lamb chops there that I found a tasty grilling recipe for.

    ricky schroder turns out to be one of those odd folks whom like to harass store employees whom get that glorious task of reminding folks to wear masks in stores (happened at costco)…

    you can google it if you want, i’m sure you’ve seen and heard the same more than a few times…

    goodness knows i’ve seen waaaay too many vids now where someone starts spouting off some weird fact shit to make a point, about god knows what…seems he may have some even worse ideas rolling around in his head…

    beware the evil corporate and political overlords whom seek to control our every breathe…

    oh, and bye bye bobcats…i imagine this game was viewed by almost no one…

  254. cybersoze:
    The Oshae Brissett game?

    He scored 31 points in the last regular season game and tonight he keeps pace.
    He was signed at mid April after two 10-days contract (3 years, last two not guaranteed),
    kudos to the Pacers for finding him.

  255. Knick fan not in NJ: TNFH, thanks for the bleacher report link.I noted it also says that Noel could be in for a big raise in the free agent market.That’s worrisome for us.

    Noel at 12M AAV? That’s insane, no thank you.

  256. I’m not watching the game but if i was, now the only thing i wanted from this game would be a Miles Bridges huge dunk celebration… DOWN 30 !!! LOL

  257. what do you think soze, has nerlens demonstrated he can be an nba starter at the center position?

    I’d say he has, but, it would take another unique situation for him to start on a playoff caliber team like this year…

    his value seems to be around 8 million or so on something like a 2 to 3 year deal…

    i’m not sure nerlens believes that though…this should be an area where having leon and wes to talk for us should help…

    nerlens has been one of my favorite players to watch compete this year…he’s fearless out there…

  258. Watching Sabrina Ionescu is better than watching this play in game (or watching the Yankees trying to score runs).

  259. geo: what do you think soze, has nerlens demonstrated he can be an nba starter at the center position?
    (…)
    nerlens has been one of my favorite players to watch compete this year…he’s fearless out there…

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, i love Noel on our team. It’s just that 12M is a lot of money and would get in our way to improve the team. Unless it’s another 1 year deal, i’d pass. Mitch, Taj, some other center around 5M (or a rookie), and we’ll be good. Now, if Noel can be had not much above 5M, say 7M or 8M (like you said), then we should bring him back.

  260. Win or lose the play-in, after a rough start the Wizards clearly won the Wall for Westbrook deal, even if that 2023-2027 pick eventually conveys to the Rockets. The gulf between Wall and Westbrook in the second half of the season was enormous, and it’s cool that the Wizards are rewarded with post-season games for rolling those dice.

  261. Wizards are on that golf game right now, but sadness is to come when they remember that basketball is scored differently.

  262. Well if the Rockets are lucky to have tanked enough to keep their pick it might be a win-win.

  263. “Joinone
    May 18, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Well if the Rockets are lucky to have tanked enough to keep their pick it might be a win-win.”

    *

    Yeah, I guess. But the odds are close to 50/50 that they keep the pick even with winning the race to the bottom. (Houston still has a bunch of first round picks in 2021 regardless of whether they keep their own). Meanwhile Wall and Westbrook make the same amount, only Wall seems pretty close to done while Westbrook is resurgent.

  264. The Wiz really look like they couldn’t give a shit about this game, could they be subconsciously tanking thinking they’d be better off getting the 8 seed and playing Philly?

    I know it’s risky because they still have to beat Indiana, but it sure looks like a stealth tank to me.

  265. ***The Wiz really look like they couldn’t give a shit about this game, could they be subconsciously tanking thinking they’d be better off getting the 8 seed and playing Philly?***

    No way. Completely impossible. That would ensure a 2nd round matchup with the Knicks. Nobody wants that.

  266. Hubert: So how was I still so fucking wrong about the season, even when I believed in the coach from Day 1? It’s the roster, dude. I got the players wrong. Way wrong, in some cases (Randle, Rose).

    Thibs didn’t turn water into wine. Guys like Randle turned themselves into wine. And then Thibs masterfully crafted the different wines together into a superb blend. But that’s something we all knew Thibs could do. What no one expected was that maybe there was some wine here in the first place.

    Dude, you are actually making my argument. First, since you said you expected Thibs to be the reason the Knicks made the playoffs. you are crediting him for most of the improvement from the 22 wins predicted by Vegas and most pundits. Second, you seem to have forgotten that Thibs is responsible for Rose (and Taj) being here and playing well in their respective roles. Third, one of us said this when Thibs was hired:

    Z-man
    July 26, 2020 at 3:55 pm
    re: Randle, my preference would be to trade him in an asset-neutral trade (i.e. not giving up picks or taking on a longer-term deal for a flawed player). But he is in great shape, works hard, and seem to improve under Miller. In his last 17 games, he had an above average TS%. I’d like to see what Thibs can do to help him be better on D and more team-oriented before making a bad deal to dump him.

    Looks like that’s exactly what happened. Randle is playing better D and passing more and better. So unless you are dumb enough to think that it’s Randle’s scoring efficiency has improved despite his TS% being substantially lower than it was in the 2 years before he got here, again, it’s Thibs’ strategic approach (pass the rock out of double teams, shoot “good” 3’s, defend hard for the 40 minutes a game you will play under me) that is most responsible for Randle’s statistical…

  267. …improvement. Can you actually refute this?

    Then there’s this and this, both from 538.

    The first article refers to a strategic choice by Thibs to make Julius a point forward. The second refers to the incredible excess value the team is getting from most of its veteran role players (Rose, Bullock, Burks, Noel, and Taj). Considering that we have the lowest payroll in the league, shouldn’t Leon get the credit for bringing these guys on at modest salaries, and Thibs get the credit for getting them all to buy in to his offensive and defensive approaches and to play at or above expectations based on their careers?

    Does anyone really think that, say, Kenny Atkinson gets this team anywhere near 41 wins? Or that any POBO would have done a better job of turning this franchise around in one year without compromising the future than Leon Rose, starting with hiring Thibs and building a team on a shoestring budget that is perfect for him? Or by putting necessary guard rails around him with Aller, Payne, Perrin, etc?

  268. Tatum is really good at basketball, especially for a tween

  269. Tom Thibodeau can coach defense like a motherfucker, nobody will ever convince me otherwise. On paper this team did not have the personnel to play like the #3 defense in the NBA. Yet here we are.

    The offensive leaps from Randle and Barrett, that probably came down to those two guys having the talent and drive it takes to improve at this level. I don’t think you can credit Thibs for Randle and Barrett turning into 3PT snipers. But the defense– that’s Tom Thibodeau. This team has a defensive identity. If you don’t play defense the way he wants, you don’t get to play.

    I underestimated the difference he would make, I admit it. I liked the hire, I thought he’d get us to play league average defense, which in itself would have been a really big leap. But #3 overall? The guy has my eternal respect.

    I also find him to be highly likable. He’s a no-bullshit kind of cat.

  270. It still boggles my mind tgat we are one of the top teams in the East and get to wait until Sunday to play while lesser teams battle it out to get into a full play off series.

  271. JK47: The offensive leaps from Randle and Barrett, that probably came down to those two guys having the talent and drive it takes to improve at this level. I don’t think you can credit Thibs for Randle and Barrett turning into 3PT snipers.

    Oh, without question, Randle andf Barrett deserve HUGE props for improving their 3pt stroke. The fact that Randle is not only hitting them but hitting off the dribble step-backs is incredible. But that, in and of itself, is not the reason our offense is so much better than was anticipated. Thibs anointed Randle our ball-dominant point forward (be real, how many of us were in favor of that going into the year) and preached constantly about taking the right 3pt shots, not just launching them D’Antoni-style. Lots of Randle’s assists are kickouts to RJ after he draws double-teams. There are hockey assists galore in our offense based on unselfishness and reading the defense. He preaches things like “the game will tell you what the right play is” and “just because it’s your play doesn’t mean it’s your shot.”

    Every guy on the team other than Elf is playing offense at a high level compared to his career number. That’s not just about guys working in the gym during the offseason. It’s about guys buying in to a philosophy of unselfishness and efficiency. That’s why the team is shooting fewer 3’s than most teams, but shooting them at a high efficiency…3rd in the league as a team! 28.3% of our 3’s are corner 3’s…that’s #1 in the league. Isn’t that about coaching? No one expected that. We also don’t turn the ball over much and are a decent offensive rebounding team. All of those things are in large part attributable to coaching. Shot selection, taking care of the ball, working possessions.

  272. Our most glaring offensive weakness? 2-pt efficiency. We are the second worst 2pt shooting team in ther league. Randle is having a down year from 2. RJ is improved, but still far from good. Payton is in the same class as Randle and RJ, to put it in perspective. Quickley and Burks are terrible from 2. Bullock and Nerlens are extremely low volume.

    Who is the man from 2? Derrick Rose. We’d be lost from 2 without him. Thanks, Thibs!

  273. To get this kind of performance from this payroll is unbelievable. At $6.1 million, Frank is the fourth highest paid Knick. That’s just crazy!

  274. Goddamn Celtics

    Not an auspicious start for the play in format. Those were terrible games.

    I understand why Marv is retiring. His pipes aren’t what they used to be.

  275. Owen:
    Goddamn Celtics

    Not an auspicious start for the play in format. Those were terrible games.

    I understand why Marv is retiring. His pipes aren’t what they used to be.

    Yeah, Marv sounded terrible, I wonder if it’s more than just being 80 years old. To be honest, he lost his fastball a long time ago. In his younger days, no one was better, not even prime Mike Breen. He was a HUGE part of the championship experience, especially because many games were only available on radio. Alas, time marches on.

  276. Marv was my all time favorite. My favorite line was around 1990 or so, Knicks – Sonics, Johnny Newman dunked on Xavier McDaniel and then kindly handed him the ball for the inbounds play. X didn’t appreciate the kindness and got in Newman’s face.

    Marv described it: “Johnny Newman and Xavier McDaniel exchanging recipes”

  277. I am sure no one wants to read anything I write about Frank Ntilikina, but you guys are crazy if you think Atlanta is going to wander into MSG and be afraid of the #3 defense in the regular season. Atlanta dropped 95 points in 35 minutes (ie. on pace for 130 points in a 48 minute game) the last time we played, and it was only getting worse as the game went on.

    It’s fine if y’all want Alec Burks to start – that would be perfectly fine with me too. But without a doubt we need to do something differently on defense. Trust in Thibs and scheme all you want, but the two changes he needs to make are to a) have a better offense so that our defense is set on more possessions, and b) guard Trae Young with someone better than Elfrid Payton. Both a) and b) are accomplished by literally getting any other guard on the floor other than Payton.

  278. We don’t know for a fact that our defense, which excelled all year without Frank Ntilikina, will be completely unable to contain Trae such that it’s worth playing perhaps the worst offensive player in the NBA just to try to stop him.

    This is just trolling at this point. We DO know that our defense can’t stop Atlanta. They haven’t done it all season. 3 games with Atlanta having an ORtg of about 117 against us. 95 points in 35 minutes before Trae went down in the last game, with Trae just toying with the defense.

    And news flash – Frank Ntilikina is not the worst offensive player in the NBA. That designation belongs to Elfrid Payton given the combination of his usage (23.2) and his TS (48.7) and his complete inability to shoot from any place on the floor. I don’t really know what to make of RPM but Payton is the worst PG by far by O-RPM (-4.08). The difference between Payton (#91) and Saban Lee (#81) is about the same as between Saban Lee and Chris Paul/Jamal Murray.

    Teams are not going to respect Frank from 3, but he’s shooting it with more confidence and volume (5.4 3PA/36, about the same as players like KCP 5.5 3PA/36 and Miles Bridges 5.4 3PA/36). And is shooting amazingly from 3 this year (47.9%, small sample of course), but is at 36% over the last 2 seasons combined (185 attempts).

    Hubert: The answer to trae young isn’t locking him down. it’s punishing him for being on the floor when you have the ball.

    Absolutely agree. So you have to start NOT Elfrid Payton.

    I don’t know, this is a 5 alarm DEFCON 1 situation as a Knicks fan. Against a good offensive team, we could be down 20-6 five minutes into the game, and poof – there goes home court advantage.

  279. If a guy came here on the forum and said “i bet 1000$ that Frank won’t start”, any of you would take that bet?

  280. I don’t know, this is a 5 alarm DEFCON 1 situation as a Knicks fan. Against a good offensive team, we could be down 20-6 five minutes into the game, and poof – there goes home court advantage.

    Can’t be said any more effectively or efficiently. Payton’s nearly 24 usage is a design flaw on par with the old Ford Pinto’s exploding gas tank.

    Really hope the game isn’t on Sunday night. Not a fan of Sunday night sports and it’s not a function of not being 25 anymore, because I wasn’t when I was 25 either. My mental state on Sunday nights was comedied pretty well by Elaine Benes in the Puerto Rican parade episode. I’ll obviously watch my team’s playoff games on a Sunday night (and other really big games like the Super Bowl), but it’s my least favorite sports window of the week by far.

  281. After all the arguments, I’ve settled on the opinion that Payton will likely start and we’re gonna be just fine.

    The Hawks are not going to be easy but I think if you check your anxiety at the door (easier said
    than done) you’ll see this series has a Knicks W written all over it. Our ability to occasionally get stops will be key.

    And don’t forget: we’re fucking blessed this year. Trae Young will probably get put into covid protocols or something.

  282. GHenman:
    To get this kind of performance from this payroll is unbelievable. At $6.1 million, Frank is the fourth highest paid Knick. That’s just crazy!

    More crazy: At ~ 18M Frank has the same career earnings over four seasons that Reggie Bullock has career over eight seasons.

  283. E, all merc’d out: My mental state on Sunday nights was comedied pretty well by Elaine Benes in the Puerto Rican parade episode.

    That was an epic episode, thanks for making us remember it. Kramer burning Puerto Rico’s flag is one of those TV moments i’ll remember forever. Beyond hilarious.

  284. what a team does against another during the regular season is a lot different than how they are approached in a 7 game series…. just because we didn’t do so hot during the reg season doesn’t mean we can’t do well in the playoffs just changing up our scheme… and drilling through all of trae’s pet plays and moves…. this isn’t the first time thibs had to scheme against a singular force in the playoffs….

    usually the worst thing you can do is change up how you’ve played all season in favor of ‘matchups’…. maybe frank gets an opportunity but i highly doubt that if he didn’t get one during the reg season that we would all of a sudden start now at our most crucial juncture…. maybe frank goes jerome james / mark lemke on everyone…. but generally speaking… it’s a bit silly to start the guy at the end of the bench purely because of ‘matchups’… and you would want at least some evidence that they’re ready to handle regular high leverage minutes…

    what we’ve seen so far… is def not it….

    edit: and wasn’t this similar to how fizdale pulled at the start of the 2019 season? when he started trier cause he wasn’t happy with any of our pgs and that lasted like 3 minutes before it blew up in his face royally?

    what’s going to happen once frank starts giving away possessions?

  285. I don’t know. Since The Knicks went on this win streak to close the season there have been plenty of games where we’ve been down 8 or even 14 points early and then we win the game. The game is won at the end of the 4th quarter, not the first. We may not be able to stop Trae. They won’t be able to stop Randle. We have home court advantage. And Payton has been playing way worse than he actually is. Maybe he turns it around. We have all week to rest and practice and prepare. Its going to be a good series. They won’t be easy but its not like we played our hardest/best defense all 4 quarters against them in the regular season too. All Payton has to do is be serviceable for 10 minutes to start the game and we’ll be fine. If he really shits the bed in game one, Thibs will probably make an adjustment. And all the people advocating for Frank to start. Come on, bros. Get real. Frank might get some minutes but you cannot act like its a fact Frank will be fine as the starter. Its a HUGE gamble.

  286. djphan: what’s going to happen once frank starts giving away possessions?

    lol. we are talking about replacing Elfrid Payton here who has more turnovers than points over the last few weeks and has never been able to shoot anything beyond a layup (and can’t even do that now).

    I am not necessarily advocating to start Frank, but I would not be at all surprised if Frank plays a lot more this series than many of you think…

  287. Owen: Not an auspicious start for the play in format. Those were terrible games.

    So bad. It’s funny that in all the debate and discussion about whether or not the play-in was fair or whatever it doesn’t seem like anyone, myself included, ever stopped to consider whether this product was going to be fun and entertaining.

    I do think last night was pretty much a worst case scenario with four really badly banged-up teams at the end of what’s been a real slog of a season, and neither of the games ending up close at all. In an average year your expectation is obviously not going to be that the healthiest team among the four is the one whose best player can’t jump because he rushed back from a hamstring injury (to be clear I’m talking about Beal here since this could also describe Brogdon I guess if Indy didn’t also have like three other significant injuries). If Lakers-Warriors is a barnburner tonight I’m pretty sure that will justify the whole enterprise in the eyes of the league.

    But I definitely have a lot more questions now than I did originally about whether building this showcase product around a bunch of .500ish teams scrapping it out is actually a good idea.

  288. swiftandabundant: Come on, bros. Get real. Frank might get some minutes but you cannot act like its a fact Frank will be fine as the starter. Its a HUGE gamble.

    Yes. This.

    Thibs has been all about “team defense” from day one. The idea that he would throw total focus to a single matchup (at this point) is nonsense. Right now I’m sure he’s showing everyone tape of Tray Young’s tendencies and expecting good work from everyone who will guard him. Frank will play “situationally” as he has all season.

    I predict Elf will have a “fine” series and play better than he did in his last few games. We will still scream at the TV when he’s out there — because he sucks — but he won’t cost us the series.

  289. But I definitely have a lot more questions now than I did originally about whether building this showcase product around a bunch of .500ish teams scrapping it out is actually a good idea.

    i think the idea is that more teams have something to play for which means the overall quality of games at the end of the season are better and hence an overall better product….

    there are guys who built careers (e.g kwame brown.. eddy curry) by what they showed in april when 75% of the league was winding it down… it was basically preseason quality games….

  290. ***you guys are crazy if you think Atlanta is going to wander into MSG and be afraid of the #3 defense in the regular season. Atlanta dropped 95 points in 35 minutes (ie. on pace for 130 points in a 48 minute game) the last time we played, and it was only getting worse as the game went on… Both a) and b) are accomplished by literally getting any other guard on the floor other than Payton.***

    Didn’t the Knicks sweep the Hawks this year? So whatever adjustments the team made must have been effective, no?

    Also, I don’t understand conflating the “Payton shouldn’t start” argument with Ntilikina. They are separate. I don’t think I’ve read anybody here argue that Payton is contributing anything worthy of being a starting or even playing. People are saying changing the season-starter for the playoffs is something Thibs isn’t going to do, and that they trust his approach because he has earned their respect. That said, IF Thibs were to bench Payton, then there is a debate to be had about who should take his minutes, but the answer clearly isn’t Frank Ntilikina. You think Jk47 was trolling you, but he made the point convincingly in my view, and the fact that this discussion is continuing now for a second straight day is kind of a downer.

  291. Any chance Mitch is available down the line in the playoffs?

    Depending on how long they last in the playoffs, I think that there’s an excellent shot for Mitch to eventually show up in the playoffs, yes. Perhaps when the Knicks play the Wizards in the second round.

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