NY Post: Knicks’ free-agency flop means tank is on for Cade Cunningham

Berman tried to throw a bit of a grenade into our general “feeling good about the Knicks’ front office for the first time in decades” attitude:

The Knicks entered free agency with a league-high $40 million in cap space and with heady visions. They wanted to be a major playoff threat in coach Tom Thibodeau’s first season and bring glamour back to the Garden – even if it might be empty for the 36-game home schedule.

That is why they drafted a more ready-made forward in native New Yorker Obi Toppin, age 22, over Israeli project forward Deni Avdija, 19, when both surprisingly dropped to No. 8.

Avdija, a playmaking forward, could be the next…Gordon Hayward. The Israeli had his fans in the Knicks organization.

The Knicks acted like a title contender on Wednesday’s draft night when they wanted to keep open a roster spot for free agency and decided to hastily trade the 33rd pick in the draft – which most executives covet – for a 2023 second-round pick. They had little time to wheel as all their targets came off the board, including Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. at 32.

Those are not the actions of a rebuilding team, but one looking to turn around its miserable fortunes right away in a hurried, chaotic 2020-21 season. They wanted to give star-caliber coach Thibodeau, who usually doesn’t covet rookies, the best chance.

As it unfolded on Blue Saturday, the Knicks went from potentially being a legit playoff contender (10 teams qualify in each conference) to competing for the No. 1 lottery seed in the 2021 draft with a chance at 6-7 combo guard Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State, whose season begins Wednesday vs. UT Arlington at 4 p.m. on ESPN2. He’s the NBA’s Trevor Lawrence.

Now, yes, let it be said that the plans that Berman goes on to list, if true, were not smart plans (and whatever else we think about Marc Berman’s journalism, he tends to be spot on about stuff like this), however, I think it is important that Rose actually pivoted to something intelligent when his first plan didn’t work. That’s huge. When Mills and Perry had their initial plan for last offseason dashed by Kevin Durant’s injury, they pivoted to just absolute nonsense. Here, Rose pivoted to well-considered, intelligent moves, while keeping the Knicks cap space open for future moves. He added undervalued complimentary veterans who will help, but there is little chance of Elfrid Payton, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks “carrying” the Knicks to a high 30s win team. If the Knicks win in the high 30s, it will be on the backs of their young players like RJ Barrett taking a leap, Obi Toppin being better than expected as a rookie and Mitch continuing to be Mitch (but maybe with a fabled outside shot now?).

That’s the correct way to manage these things. So yes, Rose’s initial plan was a bit ill-considered, but at the same time, his ill-considered plans were so ill-considered (Hayward taking barely a raise on a two-year deal? Huh?) that it struck me that he was fully prepared for these plans not happening and if/when they didn’t, he was prepared to go with a reasonable plan.

That’s a good thing.

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382 thoughts to “NY Post: Knicks’ free-agency flop means tank is on for Cade Cunningham”

  1. I can’t bring myself to be excited about this team until Julius Randle is gone. I just can’t see their being a cohesive offense or defense when we have a $19M washing machine camped in the paint.

    It’s funny, whenever I think about the team and rotations, I don’t even factor him in anymore. So yeah, he really needs to get gone.

  2. Berman’s article is what it is. We didn’t end up with Augustin or Hayward because the front office didn’t want to add them on ungodly contracts, and I think everybody acknowledges that those two would have been upgrades on the Knicks. Say what you want about our draft strategy, but it appears we had guys we wanted going on and we ended getting them and leaving the draft with more assets. I like what we’ve done so far, but I’m not raising my expectations either.

    This team will hopefully go where Mitch, Obi, and RJ Barrett take them. We’ll see what ends up happening to Randle one way or another, but everyone knows his days in New York are numbered. FWIW, Scott Perry was in zoom attendance at UK’s midnight madness and their hot ticket prospect is BJ Boston. I’d expect us to be linked to him all season.

    Also, Austin Rivers to the Knicks lol

  3. Continuing from the old thread:

    I’m not saying that

    Payton
    Bullock
    Burks
    Randle
    Mitch

    is a good or great team, but it’s probably the best 5 the Knicks can put out this year.

    I know a lot of people hate Randle, but he really wasn’t the problem with the offense last year. This lineup puts more shooting around Randle & Mitch than we had at any point last year. Moreover, putting Burks in the starting lineup will take the ball out of Randle’s hands more often.

    I’m not even convinced we’ll start the season with Randle on the roster, but based on what we have now this is a lineup we should consider.

  4. The Payton move now makes zero sense. (*) Either a sop to Perry or to CAA.

    (*) Technically, less than zero. It made zero before.

  5. there’s no way rivers could play point.. at least on this team….

    it’s a very meh move….. but it gives thibs another vet to potentially ruin rotations with….

  6. Rivers makes sense if RJ can run the offense, which I’m not convinced of.

    Rivers doesn’t seem like he’s actually run the point in a few years. He’s a decent option as a backup.

  7. RJ is definitely starting imo. Here’s what I expect the starting lineup opening night to be:

    Payton
    Burks
    RJ
    Obi (I don’t see how Randle starts over him unless Thibs has his way or Obi really bombs in training camp–this is what he was drafted to do)
    Mitch

    That’s some baaddddd shooting but it’s watchable in other respects–Elfrid to Obi and Mitch dunkshow will be appointment viewing I think

  8. I also want everybody to know that I will not take off my tinfoil hat until you all prove that Payton, Rivers, Randle, and Noel aren’t actively conspiring to keep the ball away from RJ Barrett.

  9. Austin Rivers for 1 year?

    Is this another CAA connection?

    I’m not a huge fan.

    2021 is going to be a repeat of 2020 except for any upside we get from Mitch, RJ, Frank, Knox, a chance to see the rookies and better coaching.

  10. randle is almost definitely starting if he’s on the team….. this is thibs we’re talking about…..

  11. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada: Payton
    Burks
    RJ
    Obi (I don’t see how Randle starts over him unless Thibs has his way or Obi really bombs in training camp–this is what he was drafted to do)
    Mitch

    If RJ starts, then this is a player development year or RJ has taken a step forward. We should be happy about either outcome.

    If RJ doesn’t start, then our shooting will be fine.

    Obi projects to be an acceptable shooter.

    This doesn’t mean we’ll be good, but it should be watchable and we haven’t tied up money for the next 3 years.

  12. I’d start him at the 1, honestly. It actually makes me dislike the Payton move a bit.

    i don’t get this at all. the only argument for having a veteran point is to help guys like obi and mitch. why would you want to start a shitty guard who can’t pass over a shitty league guard who can?

  13. Stefan Bondy
    @SBondyNYDN
    Eight of the nine players acquired/drafted by Leon Rose since he took over are either CAA clients or Kentucky players. Organization going with familiarity.

  14. The Payton move now makes zero sense. (*) Either a sop to Perry or to CAA.

    The conspiracy goes way deeper than that, IMO.

    What I think happened was the Knicks needed a point guard desperately, and the guy with the 6th best AST% in the league last year who worked well with Mitch was available for 1/$5M. So they signed him.

    Stay Woke.

  15. This is just Mercs, Part Deux. Noel, Rivers, Burks replace Portis, Taj, Ellington. Payton gets re-merc’d. Pointless, really.

  16. The Glass Half Rebuilt: I also want everybody to know that I will not take off my tinfoil hat until you all prove that Payton, Rivers, Randle, and Noel aren’t actively conspiring to keep the ball away from RJ Barrett.

    RJ Barrett is actively conspiring to keep the ball away from himself by sucking at basketball… until proven different.

  17. If RJ starts, then this is a player development year or RJ has taken a step forward. We should be happy about either outcome.

    If RJ doesn’t start, my head will explode. I’d estimate the chances he doesn’t start at close to zero. Even if Thibs thinks one of the vets a bit better, RJ is perceived as the franchise cornerstone. He’s simply not coming off the bench on this terrible team unless he’s hurt, we get a much better player, or he’s so horrible Thibs has no choice.

  18. Austin Rivers is, uh, still pretty bad at the game of basketball. That’s a roster spot you could have pretty safely given to whatever guy you picked at 33.

  19. i don’t get this at all. the only argument for having a veteran point is to help guys like obi and mitch. why would you want to start a shitty guard who can’t pass over a shitty league guard who can?

    Yeah, Austin Rivers is simply not a point guard. I don’t see overlap here at all.

  20. This is just Mercs, Part Deux. Noel, Rivers, Burks replace Portis, Taj, Ellington. Payton gets re-merc’d. Pointless, really.

    What would your plan have been, E? Are you a “give $20M to Jerami Grant” kind of guy or are you more of a “give out an instantly regrettable mega-deal to Gordon Hayward” dude?

  21. Deeefense: If RJ doesn’t start, my head will explode.I’d estimate the chances he doesn’t start at close to zero.Even if Thibs thinks one of the vets a bit better, RJ is perceived as the franchise cornerstone. He’s simply not coming off the bench on this terrible team unless he’s hurt, we get a much better player, or he’s so horrible Thibs has no choice.

    If he’s not good enough to start on this dreck-fest (*), the million billion miles away they currently are becomes a billion trillion miles away. It’s not even a watchable product if he isn’t good enough to start.

    (*) Or is pronounced not good enough to start.

  22. Wow, I didn’t realize Rivers’ numbers were so bad. Oh well, just another placeholder I guess…

  23. JK47: What would your plan have been, E? Are you a “give $20M to Jerami Grant” kind of guy or are you more of a “give out an instantly regrettable mega-deal to Gordon Hayward” dude?

    To not have traded Kristaps Porzingis for a third of his asset value, for starters. Once you do that, you’ve dug yourself a massive hole. Then at that point, my plan would have been to have signed Kevin Durant and another max guy.

    This year, I would have given Bogie and Ingram offer sheets. And traded Randle for whatever I could get for him and obviously not resigned Payton.

  24. No team makes a trade for an asset like Porzingis was in the way it was made, for the reasons it was made, and for the return it brought. It’s old news by now, but it’s going to be extremely hard to recover from.

    The other part of my plan would be to change the culture from its obviously toxic state in which it currently is.

    It’s a bit odd to see all the discussion of “asset management” and “asset accumulation” side by side with a defense of the complete squandering of the Porzingis asset.

    They’re a million billion miles away.

  25. What would your plan have been, E? Are you a “give $20M to Jermai Grant” kind of guy or are you more of a “give out an instantly regrettable mega-deal to Gordon Hayward” dude?

    We are in a cycle of not being able to attract good players without paying a huge premium (like Charlotte) and not being able to escape lottery hell until we get some good players or the 19 year old kids we drafted get better as the years pass. Maybe Toppin will come out predictive right away.

    I’m a whiner and I’m not necessarily smart enough to find the players we need to break this cycle faster (or they’d be paying me Riley bucks) , but this is why I am whiner. I saw this coming and potentially lasting for a long time.

    We need a break. One or two of the kids has to take a big step forward and with better coaching maybe we’ll look like real team on the upswing. Then our fortunes will change. The players we are rumored to be chasing and the ones we were interested in that told us up front they weren’t interested might give us a look.

  26. Austin Rivers is, uh, still pretty bad at the game of basketball. That’s a roster spot you could have pretty safely given to whatever guy you picked at 33.

    I don’t dislike Rivers, but yes, the idea that this team doesn’t have room for undrafted free agents (and a #33 pick) is also bonkers to me. Undrafted free agents allow you to have long term success. You can sign Rivers or you can sign an undrafted free agent that could be Rivers and will be under team control for the minimum. That was one of the part of the Philadelphia process that the Knicks have never followed, even under Rose.

  27. They need a major breakthrough by Barrett, Knox, Toppin, or Quickley. I hope they realize this, but I fear they don’t.

  28. Ed Davis flipped to Minnesota for Omari Spellman, Jacob Evans, and… you guessed it: a future 2nd round pick.

    Once a Knick, always a Knick, Ed Davis.

  29. seems like davis is getting traded to minny for spellman… evans and another future 2nd…

    maybe an incoming mcgee trade….

  30. Rivers is VERY Knicksy. This signing will be acceptable to me if and only if DSJ gets traded.

  31. Ed Davis to Minn for Omari Spellman, Jacob Rvans, and, you guessed it, a future 2nd (not clear which year)

  32. To not have traded Kristaps Porzingis for a third of his asset value, for starters.

    That was the killer.

    We didn’t have our own 1st round pick before him and after him all while we were a bad team that could have picked up some good young talent with those picks. Then we tossed him away for way less than he was worth on the pipe dream of signing Durant and Irving when what was leftover after KP was a G league team. It wasn’t going to happen.

    It would have been risky to sign him to a long term deal, but if the doctors convince you the injury risk is too high, at least put him on the open market and get back an all star caliber young player. Lots of teams were interested and publicly said they didn’t even know.

    Even with the 2 missing picks, KP, Mitch, RJ, and Frank would feel pretty good. I haven’t given up on Knox, but throwing Mikal Bridges into Knox’s slot would feel even better in the short term pending Knox’s development. No matter what happens to KP, that trade was a major setback to the rebuild because we got nothing back except future picks that are very unlikely to yield a major piece like KP. We surely could have gotten back a real “player”.

  33. That’s now 3 second rounders for taking on 1/$5M of Ed Davis. Also I recall kind of liking Spellman?

    Regardless, I’m ready to build the Leon Rose statue myself.

  34. Spellman can shoot if Obi can’t play with Mitch or Noel, he should fit comfortably with Spellman

  35. We have to cut somebody to fit both Spellman and Evans onto the roster, unless we can complete the trade first, cut one of the guys, then sign Rivers. Boy, I hope it’s not Iggy.

  36. Spellman’s a wide-body who shot 39% from three last year (!). Evans is a shooting guard who can’t shoot.
    Rivers can run very fast from point A to point B, but is not really good at anything else.
    Even though it’s making my head hurt, I kind of hope we’re not done yet with musical chairs.

  37. Alan:
    We have to cut somebody to fit both Spellman and Evans onto the roster, unless we can complete the trade first, cut one of the guys, then sign Rivers. Boy, I hope it’s not Iggy.

    I’m guessing Rivers and some other players aren’t officially signed yet, so we can probably do the trade, then cut Jacob’s, then sign Rivers or whomever.

  38. Austin Rivers kind of sucks but I don’t care about mercs as long as they are on one year deals. He shoots a lot which isn’t ideal but whatever.

    The Ed Davis thing is great. Another pick. I liked Spellman in college although he’s been mediocre so far. I actually thought he would be a little better.

  39. I also liked Evans in college, but it doesn’t seem as if he’s shown much in the League yet. Nonetheless, great trade.

  40. I was ok with our other free agent signings, but I see no point to Rivers. I hope they paid him the league mimimum, but even if so, it’s a forgettable move.

    Can anyone tell me about the two players we apparently traded Davis for? And does that mean our only centers are Noel and Robinson?

  41. this is getting amazing. we need to hold out on spellman until we can flip him into a second rounder and an even worse big (i liked spellman too actually) who will turn into yet another second rounder and yet worse big. before it’s over we are going to turn the second round of 2023 into a damn hilbert hotel and morey will retire in shame.

  42. I’m hoping they got Rivers do they could trade him for McGee. We need a third center.

  43. All this activity and yet no news on the Randle front..

    …the suspense is killing me

  44. Alan:
    Blech. Woj:

    I repeat: Blech.

    Seems weird especially after grabbing Quickley who seems like a better version of Rivers in the long run.

  45. Why in god’s name did we sign Austin Rivers? Are shitty guards that can’t shoot the new market inefficiency?

  46. vincoug:
    Why in god’s name did we sign Austin Rivers?Are shitty guards that can’t shoot the new market inefficiency?

    So Russ will have a buddy on the team. Three years is the tell.

  47. Alan:
    Blech. Woj:

    I repeat: Blech.

    Holy shit. I guess if you’ve got a player who’s had a positive VORP once in 8 seasons I guess you gotta do what you gotta do to lock that up.

  48. It’s only slightly more than a minimum deal, and I guess he’s the one non-mercenary of the bunch, but… I don’t get it.

  49. You know, it’s not like any one of these moves is terrible but in aggregate it’s a near-disaster. I do like the Ed Davis for Spellman/Evans trade but holy shit the rest of this is ridiculous.

  50. I do like the Ed Davis for Spellman/Evans trade but holy shit the rest of this is ridiculous.

    Yeah, that was a great trade. So paired with the Rivers deal, it really doesn’t make sense.

  51. Yeah, the Rivers deal is as bad as the Davis deal is good. Taken together, probably a slight win.

    What I like about Rivers is that he’s a two-way player…equally mediocre on both ends.

  52. So are we really going to have only two real centers and both are foul prone? I guess putting Randle at center wouldn’t be horrible, but this still has me scratching my head.

  53. Yeah, the Rivers deal is as bad as the Davis deal is good. Taken together, probably a slight win.

    And they’re like the exact opposite of each other, too, right? That’s what’s so especially odd about it to me.

  54. Knick fan not in NJ:
    So are we really going to have only two real centers and both are foul prone? I guess putting Randle at center wouldn’t be horrible, but this still has me scratching my head.

    Omari Spellman is a center

  55. Omari Spellman is a center

    Yeah, and he has some actual upside. He’s precisely the type of player the Knicks should be taking fliers on.

  56. All of the Ed Davis stuff worked out great. It’s like that thing where you trade a paper clip and eventually end up with a house. Except instead of a house we ended up with Omari Spellman and some 2RPs.

  57. All of the Ed Davis stuff worked out great. It’s like that thing where you trade a paper clip and eventually end up with a house. Except instead of a house we ended up with Omari Spellman and some 2RPs.

    It’s so encouraging to see.

  58. Oh, the last 2 years of Rivers deal are non-guaranteed. That’s fine then. He sucks, but whatever, he’s playable for a year.

  59. Begley:

    The final two years of Austin Rivers’ three-year deal with the Knicks are non-guaranteed, per SNY sources. He has a three-year, $10 million deal, ESPN reports.

    That’s a lot better

  60. Yeah, Rivers is mediocre, but that’s a very cheap and very flexible contract. If he’s utterly useless, we drop him next summer. If he plays himself into being an appealing trade chip, the contract functions as either an expiring contract or an inexpensive one for the longer term.

    I don’t like every one of the talent decisions, but Brock Aller seems to be very good at the whole managing assets part of the job.

  61. training camps open in about a week and a half…

    it’ll be interesting to see who’s still on the roster…don’t get the austin rivers signing…

  62. A couple of things that stand out by the so-called mercenary class this year: they are all on more affordable deals and play different positions compared to the 10m+ PF class of last year. So it should be easier to trade them.

  63. I kinda like the Spellman pickup. He can shoot for a bigman and it gives us a different look than Mitch/Nerlens

  64. I’m glad to hear Spellman can play center. He’s listed as a power forward where I looked him up, so I didn’t know.

    What are we doing with Evans? Aren’t we at one too many players?

  65. 3 years, $10M with the last two being non-guaranteed feels like a Perry move.

    I was about to panic and worry that we’d be giving 25 minutes a night to Austin Rivers until the 2023 2nd round picks save us all.

  66. Doc and Thibs are pals- my guess is they asked Thibs if there was anyone left out there he’d want on the roster and he picked Rivers. If the last two years are team options then whatever- not a big deal even if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

  67. Thibodeau and Doc are close.
    Also Austin Rivers wearing the NYK 25 will bring back Doc memories…
    A possible last chance for a comeback ala pulp fiction Travolta under Quentin Thibs ?
    Can’t think of anything else

  68. So now we have 2-way players Harper and Pinson, contractually committed to returners RJ, Mitch, Randle, DSjr, Knox, Frank, Bullock, Iggy, draftees Toppin and Quickley, free agents Noel, Payton, Rivers, Burks, via trade Omari and Evans, and UDFA Myles Powell. Sounds like there’s one more camp slot open, right? And not counting the 2-way guys and Powell, there are 3 guys that need to be waived or traded…

    Smells like a Russ deal is coming…

  69. So is this what we’re dealing with?

    C: Mitch, Noel, Spellman
    PF: Toppin, Randle
    SF: RJ, Knox, Iggy
    SG: Bullock, Quickly, Burks, Evans, Frank,
    PG: Elfrid, DSJr, Rivers
    and 1 player has to go, right?

    Have they hit the minimum?

  70. I agree with everyone here, turning $5M in cap space into three second round picks and two 23 year old prospects is nice work.

  71. Z-man: Smells like a Russ deal is coming…

    I guessing that you’re right. Just a guess, but Randle, Frank and DSJr at least. And we’re gonna send some 2nds :)

  72. I assume Evans gets cut, which leaves us at 15 for the roster plus two 2-way players. So we now have a full roster.

    We’re still ~$7.7 million from the minimum.

  73. Question: Does re-signing Elfrid avoid the $1 mill of dead cap? Or are essentially paying him $6 mill with a $1 mill trade penalty on the cap?

  74. Z-man:
    So now we have 2-way players Harper and Pinson, contractually committed to returners RJ, Mitch,Randle, DSjr, Knox, Frank, Bullock, Iggy, draftees Toppin and Quickley, free agents Noel, Payton, Rivers, Burks, via trade Omari and Evans, and UDFA Myles Powell. Sounds like there’s one more camp slot open, right? And not counting the 2-way guys and Powell, there are 3 guys that need to be waived or traded…

    Smells like a Russ deal is coming…

    I’m not sure how you conclude three players need to be waived or traded. I count seventeen on your list including Powell and not including the two way players. That means two players have to be moved somehow.

  75. Rivers sucks, but on the other hand he has one more 40-point game than anyone else on the roster. He might get hot a few times a year which will be fun on a team where no one else can score.

  76. Knick fan not in NJ: I’m not sure how you conclude three players need to be waived or traded. I count seventeen on your list including Powell and not including the two way players.That means two players have to be moved somehow.

    Powell is almost certainly only around for training camp when we can have 20 players.

    I think we can hold Evans until then but I’m not sure. But he’s the only one that really needs to be cut.

  77. I have never understood Rivers. He is completely mediocre, yet he has played at least 1300 minutes every year in his career including for 5 playoff teams. He has earned $46 million dollars and I honestly don’t know what he is even above average at. Why does he keep getting minutes on good teams? Maybe we can trade him at the deadline, a super team-friendly contract like that could be attractive to over the cap teams like Milwaukee or the Lakers or to Philly for a father-son reunion.

  78. Knick fan not in NJ: I’m not sure how you conclude three players need to be waived or traded. I count seventeen on your list including Powell and not including the two way players.That means two players have to be moved somehow.

    I mistakenly calculated based on 13 roster spots (should be 15) and 2 2-ways. I think we have to cut only one, unless there’s a trade.

  79. Here’s a take: I like the Rivers contract.

    The fact of the matter is the archetype that is most overvalued on the trade market right now is “decently mobile guy who can shoot a lick.” You can be awful at just about everything else, a la Austin Rivers, and still see minutes on good teams if you fit that description. You don’t need to look any further than Rivers himself, who has somehow spent a lot of his career in the rotation of contending teams, and not just ones coached by his father.

    My read of the Rose/Aller strategy here is to use surplus cap space to stock up on the type of player contending teams try to pluck off the waiver wire when one of their pieces gets injured, or is otherwise not as effective as they hoped.

    So if Danny Green is fully a pumpkin now, or Lou Williams falls off a cliff, or Wes Matthews is useless, or Jordan Clarkson turns out to be Jordan Clarkson, etc. we can now extract a second round pick out of it.

    Between Burks, Bullock, and Rivers we’ve got a poor man’s war chest of pieces contenders might want. It stands in stark contrast to the “load up on big men” strategy, which involved hoarding the most undervalued archetype in the league.

    Or maybe I’m just overthinking all of this and Austin Rivers sucks and this was stupid, but even if that’s true the risk the contract presents is negligible.

  80. Why does he keep getting minutes on good teams?

    Apologies in advance for doing an appeal to authority on this, of all blogs, and I will surely earn the Jowles beatdown that’s coming to me. But is it possible that Rivers keeps getting minutes on good teams, even when his father is not involved in the decision-making process, because advanced stats don’t accurately measure his contributions? Not that he’s a secret all-star, but simply that he’s a useful rotation piece despite the up-and-down shooting numbers, et al?

  81. The two non-guaranteed years on the Rivers makes it a fair enough deal. Not a good one, per se, but fair!

  82. thenoblefacehumper:
    Here’s a take: I like the Rivers contract.

    The fact of the matter is the archetype that is most overvalued on the trade market right now is “decently mobile guy who can shoot a lick.” You can be awful at just about everything else, a la Austin Rivers, and still see minutes on good teams if you fit that description. You don’t need to look any further than Rivers himself, who has somehow spent a lot of his career in the rotation of contending teams, and not just ones coached by his father.

    My read of the Rose/Aller strategy here is to use surplus cap space to stock up on the type of player contending teams try to pluck off the waiver wire when one of their pieces gets injured, or is otherwise not as effective as they hoped.

    So if Danny Green is fully a pumpkin now, or Lou Williams falls off a cliff, or Wes Matthews is useless, or Jordan Clarkson turns out to be Jordan Clarkson, etc. we can now extract a second round pick out of it.

    Between Burks, Bullock, and Rivers we’ve got a poor man’s war chest of pieces contenders might want. It stands in stark contrast to the “load up on big men” strategy, which involved hoarding the most undervalued archetype in the league.

    Or maybe I’m just overthinking all of this and Austin Rivers sucks and this was stupid, but even if that’s true the risk the contract presents is negligible.

    Well said. I’m in the Austin Rivers just sucks and this was stupid camp, but he might be fungible on that deal. Maybe Doc wants him at some point.

  83. djphan:
    i don’t think spellman or evans are worth a roster spot…. they will probably get cut….

    If Spellman isn’t worth a roster spot then we need another center. Didn’t we get rights to some European center as part of one of the deals we made recently?

  84. The problem with having Austin Rivers is that he needs minutes to have value at the deadline. I’d guess Austin Rivers plays 23-28 minutes a night, and that’s discouraging considering Frank Ntilikina and Immanuel Quickly probably should be getting those minutes based on where we are in the win curve.

  85. djphan:
    i don’t think spellman or evans are worth a roster spot…. they will probably get cut….

    Spellman’s a 23 year old big who shot 39% from 3 and 79% from FT last year and is a good enough rebounder and shot blocker. He’s absolutely wort a roster spot.

  86. I really hope Spellman sticks around. He was pretty good last year and is a very good three-point shooter. Shooting has value and a player that shot 39% from three last year and over 40% in the g-league and college is worth a flier. As an end of the bench big man, you can do worse. Plus he is only 23.

    As for Evans, I don’t really have a lot of hopes but he put up interesting numbers in college especially his sophmore year. He was a good defender in college and if his shooting comes around could be a 3 and D guy. He has been mediocre and done nothing in the NBA but Iike Spellman he is only 23.

    I like both more than DSj and if push comes to shove would rather cut him. A good shooter and a potential 3 and D guy are both better than a ball-dominant PG that can’t shoot or defend.

  87. When do we have to decide on Frank and DSJ’s options? I’d guess we pick up Frank’s and not DSJ’s but who knows?

  88. austin rivers gets chances because of his father…. his father gave him pt on a playoff team and when you’re picking amongst the usual crowd of replacement level players who are young and have playoff experience usually gets whatever opportunity ahead of others… even though he probably didn’t deserve to get those opportunities in LA and Houston and probably cost them a series each for that….

    the contract we gave him is reflective of that…. he had one foot out the door and probably on his way to china or the spanish league….giving away 2 non guaranteed years near the league minimum is unheard of…..

  89. If Spellman isn’t worth a roster spot then we need another center. Didn’t we get rights to some European center as part of one of the deals we made recently?

    we don’t need a center…. we need good players…..

  90. At least it’s starting to feel like we have some competent people working with Rose. They may have the impossible task of trying to attract real talent to a bad team, but they are accomplishing more than just signing mercenary players to inflated contracts. They’ve managed to add assets (nothing I consider especially valuable, but beggars can’t be choosers). I also like the Noel signing and getting Payton back for even less. These are baby steps, but at least the baby is walking forward now instead of stumbling backwards.

  91. I mean has it really been that much of a flop? Sure we missed on some “big” names, but given what some FA’s have accepted I am not entirely sure that is terrible for us.

    I am personally pretty meh about the off-season, but meh is better than dumpster fire. Not wild on Elf coming back, but maybe he looks better playing for an actual coach. The Rivers deal is fine given the last 2 years are team options. I also like we have a visible plan B in place. I mean we had Ed Davis for like a day and turned him into picks and at least 1 or 2 interesting young guys.

  92. Never know, this could all be part of some elaborate long game where Rose trades our 20 2nd rounders for 5 OKC first rounders,

  93. If we are able to move Randle then I think Spellman could compete with Knox for the backup PF spot. He is only a little older and if Knox can’t beat him out then maybe Spellman could be a long-term rotation piece.

  94. Okay, roster breakdown time, again:

    PG: Payton/DSJ/Quickley/Harper (2-way)
    SG: Bullock/Frank/Rivers/Evans
    SF: RJ/Burks/Iggy/Pinson (2-way)
    PF: Randle/Toppin/Knox
    C: Mitch/Noel/Spellman

    Depending on the order in which we do things, and also whether other trades are in the works, we may have to cut one of Evans or Spellman, or perhaps someone on the fringes of the returning roster like DSJ or Iggy.

  95. I don’t know if the rules changed because of COVID, but in regular years you couldn’t trade a signed free agent until a certain date. I don’t know what that means for this year, though.

  96. I definitely would like to hold on to Spellman. I have no illusions about him being an unearthed gem but 6’9″ guys who can shoot, rebound, and protect the rim a bit don’t grow on trees.

  97. My guess, btw, is that another trade is coming. Aller doesn’t seem like the type to make one move without knowing another move is possible. We could well be done with DSJ or Iggy or even my irrationally beloved Frank, but if so, we have a trade lined up for one or more of them to create room.

  98. What makes some people still think a Westbrook deal is coming?

    I don’t see a team I think makes great sense for him, but even if he requested a trade and mentioned NY as a satisfactory destination, the deal still has to be acceptable to both sides.

    That contract is a load, but I’m sure the Rockets and many other people still see him as a star player. They aren’t going to give him away for trash. It could come down to the Rockets saying we’ll try again at the deadline and him and Harden having to try to make it work.

    Speaking of Harden, I haven’t heard any recent noise about Harden to the Nets. Either there’s going to be a Woj mega bomb or Harden isn’t going anywhere.

  99. >Why in the world would the Wolves make that deal? Ed Davis was terrible last year.<

    I read that he was injured on and off last year and NY felt he would bounce back this year. That was obviously before they traded him.

  100. Deeefense:
    >Why in the world would the Wolves make that deal? Ed Davis was terrible last year.<

    I read that he was injured on and off last year and NY felt he would bounce back this year.That was obviously before they traded him.

    Right, but we got two picks for taking him…it didn’t really matter how he played. They gave up assets for him.

  101. The Berman story sounds like the sort of thing someone might have told James Dolan when he asked how are we going to be competitive this year.

    I always kind of figure you’ve got to have a plausible cover story to tell Dolan. You just can’t make it too exciting or he’ll start telling the media that Durant and Irving are coming to the Knicks and you get to watch all your dreams collapse in slow motion.

  102. What makes some people still think a Westbrook deal is coming?

    The accumulation of low-level assets.
    The accumulation of way too many shooting guards
    The desire to win for Thibs.
    The desire to end a long-running playoff drought.

    Remember that 20 teams make the playoffs, sort of, this year. There’s a 4-team playoff for the 7-10 teams in each conference. a 30 win season could mean playoffs.

  103. Z-man:
    Why in the world would the Wolves make that deal? Ed Davis was terrible last year.

    I think the Wolves had or would have had 16 guaranteed contracts. So they traded for Ed Davis rather than cut one.

  104. I went to a few games in BK when Davis was there two years ago.. He was pretty awesome in his minutes. Probably has something left in the tank.

  105. Shooting guard is probably the thinnest position in the league, so if you were looking to load up on marginal guys you could trade if they shot well for half a year that would be the place to do it

  106. As much as the players themselves, I really am looking forward to seeing Thibs’ impact on the team and on rotations. One of the positives right now is that there isn’t a single guy who they can’t get rid of on a moment’s notice. If any players can’t deal with Thibs’ incessant bellowing, they can be traded or waived. Thibs is going to set a high standard for work ethic and defensive commitment. While some guys will be “gifted” undeserved minutes early on, primadonnas and slow learners will likely not be suffered for long, especially young ones. Thibs is probably going to coach to win every night and will settle on a 10-man rotation, with only minimal deference to the guys on rookie deals. If Knox doesn’t grow up, he will be benched and either traded, cut, or sent to the G-League, if there is one. Obi will eventually have to earn minutes if he gets burned too often on D. Frank will have to show something on offense to play ahead of Payton. DSjr will have to pull his head out of his ass or he’s gone (and I think he will be gone the first time his body language goes south.) RJ will have to be humbled…he got spoined last year. Mitch is going to be challenged by Noel, who is a formidable alternative…much more so than Taj or Portis were. If nothing else, my hope is that win or lose, teams are not going to like playing us…

  107. I don’t hate the Austin Rivers deal at all, I do think he’s not a good player, but he could definitely fit a Marcus Morris from last season role. I can totally see him and Noel playing well for us or at least impressing with counting stats (for Rivers) and getting us a pick for nothing at the deadline. Of course that depends on what is Rose’s actual plan which we don’t really know, but he’s gonna have some value for teams that need ball handling and shooting or have some serious injuries.

  108. >Right, but we got two picks for taking him…it didn’t really matter how he played. They gave up assets for him.<

    I don’t know what their team looks like now, but he was a pretty good player prior to last year. Personally, I don’t place a lot of value on 2nd round picks. If they think they need the bench depth at that position to make a run at the playoffs this season and think he still has something left in the tank, they are more or less trading future minimal value for current minimal value.

    I’m kind of at the point where I think almost everything is overvalued except all stars, picks fairly likely to lead to all stars, and not overpaying. The rest is interchangeable parts that fit specific needs and timing.

  109. We’re passing the marshmallow test. That’s fucking awesome. I am really hungry for a marshmallow. Like 40 years wandering in the marshmallow-less desert. (One marshmallow now desert?) but three next off season will taste very good. Austin Rivers is like the keto diet. Stick to it, Leon!

  110. I definitely would like to hold on to Spellman. I have no illusions about him being an unearthed gem but 6’9? guys who can shoot, rebound, and protect the rim a bit don’t grow on trees.

    Word on Spellman is FO are keen for him to be at camp, so he at least survives until then. Good they are at least wanting the coaching staff to look at him.

  111. Second round picks are very useful in making both big and small deals work. Their actual value is probably less than their perceived value, which is why they are good to have. And as I said previously, they can be helpful to contenders who already traded first rounders to get star players.

  112. danvt:
    We’re passing the marshmallow test. That’s fucking awesome. I am really hungry for a marshmallow. Like 40 years wandering in the marshmallow-less desert. (One marshmallow now desert?) but three next off season will taste very good. Austin Rivers is like the keto diet. Stick to it, Leon!

    lol

  113. What do people say to 195 million for Donovan Mitchell? I mean, #60 in PER. (Do only goobers talk about PER?) How about Tatum?

    One more question. Who’s better Rivers or TH2? Remember when we gave him 72 million? I know the K’s embarrass us but it does look like we’re running in the right direction for a change.

  114. The hope for Boston and Utah is that they actually get up to the $195 mill levels (need to be all-NBA, etc. benchmarks to get there. Otherwise it’s still an obscene $160+ million which would be an overpay.

    Boston has a very solid team that could make the finals, but they are now capped out and dependent on young players continuing to improve. This is a big year for them.

    Utah is in good shape for a long playoff run, but the WC is just brutally difficult.

  115. Yeah, Mitchell falls into the Jamal Murray category of a small market team that has a dude who might eventually become a superstar, but if they let him go they’re kinda screwed on trying to replace him. I don’t like the deals because both are not consistently playing nowhere near this level of wages, but I can understand it as a bet for the future. I wouldn’t want them at the Knicks for this salary, but alas, it’s an understandable deal for a very talented young player.

  116. I think if you have Donovan Mitchell you have to pay him unless you can trade him for a player you think is even better. If you start counting dollars with players that can be a key piece to a championship team (I think Mitchell can) you’ll find yourself in rebuild mode every few years. Even if the guy is not some kind of super elite franchise player, you just pay him and keep trying attract, trade, develop, or draft what you need.

  117. Not a Donovan Mitchell guy

    Got roped into The Morning Show by the missus. It’s better than i thought it would be. And any show that uses Grounds for Divorce by Elbow knows what it is doing.

  118. Seems like all teams run into the problems we do. Overall, I’m happy we’re not the capped out team with the conference finals as a ceiling hoping for improvement from maxed out vets. Hoping for improvement is what you do and what you might even expect from young first round picks. Max deals for non max players seems to be the new market (in)efficiency. With every Austin Rivers type signing it looks like we avoid that fate. (I’m sure Russ is coming tomorrow now that I’ve written this)

  119. Here’s a question.

    If you were “guaranteed” 3 more very productive years from Westbrook, that RJ and Robinson would both take a significant leap this year and continue moving forward after that, and some of our other young players would develop into solid role players, would you take Russ now or would you gamble we can sign a different star player next year that was younger or cost less and possibly come up empty?

  120. It’s pretty well established here that no one would trade for Westbrook even with picks attached, unless they are likely to become lottery picks in the next 3-5 years. Even then, it’s a questionable move. Hypotheticals involving Russ being guaranteed 3 more healthy years are pointless. He is who he is…a very exciting but likely declining former superstar who only makes his teammates better by accident.

    The only question is how bad of a deal would it be….just detrimental to a proper rebuild or catastrophic, sort of like the range from tropical storm to category 5 hurricane when you’ve been in a long-term drought. My vote is some degree of hurricane-level detrimental…depending on whether we give assets, get assets, or just do a neutral trade with Randle, DSjr and some filler going out. If we gave up a 1st rounder, it starts to lean more to the catastrophic end of the range. I doubt that it would ever be a Melo-level category 5, but it would set a tone of more short-sighted decisions to come from this management team.

    I think Russ has a lot left in the tank and would be an exciting player that would add lots of juice to this bunch of scrubs for at least the next 2 years. So if it happens, I’ll shake my head, shrug my shoulders and go along for the ride, But under no circumstances is fixing a drought with a hurricane a good idea.

  121. I don’t think Russ at his prime helps you win much. It’ll get you to 45 wins but you’ll be quickly removed from the playoffs. He is total fools gold, even in his prime. Now that he’s past his prime he’s even worse. He is like Carmelo, he is only productive when he is the focus and that means he only needs to decline a little bit before he falls off a cliff.

  122. I think Westbrook is a lot better than he was in the bubble playoffs, he had the big break, then had covid, then got injured and was terrible. With a full season ahead of him he should be a lot better, because he was pretty decent before the covid break. However, yeah, still completely against getting his terrible salary on our team, it simply does not fit anything we should be trying to do this season. It would make for very good TV, for sure, specially when we play Brooklyn, but I’m still against it in every way. The same goes for Wall but even less interest in him.

  123. Westbrook’s game is also very reliant on his athleticism, he’s not going to age well and isn’t already. It doesn’t really show in his traditional numbers yet but his advanced stats have cratered the last few seasons.

  124. I don’t even get the Marc Gasol signing for the Lakers. Seems like hats on hats.

    Also, with their starting center and power forward plus their Finals MVP from the previous season all leaving for Los Angeles, what does the future of the Raptors look like? Will they even be good this year? They signed Aron Baynes to replace Gasol, so he’s their new starting center, but he’s not that good.

    They’re obsessed with the 2021 free agent class, but why? Who’s going to Toronto?

  125. Brian Cronin:
    I don’t even get the Marc Gasol signing for the Lakers. Seems like hats on hats.

    Also, with their starting center and power forward plus their Finals MVP from the previous season all leaving for Los Angeles, what does the future of the Raptors look like? Will they even be good this year? They signed Aron Baynes to replace Gasol, so he’s their new starting center, but he’s not that good.

    They’re obsessed with the 2021 free agent class, but why? Who’s going to Toronto?

    Are they obsessed after that FVV signing?

  126. Are they obsessed after that FVV signing?

    Yeah, they wouldn’t go to even two years with Ibaka or Gasol to keep them because they wanted to keep their cap space open for 2021. Lowry’s contract is up at the end of the season, so that’s why signing FVV was both A. very important for the future of the team and B. not a problem with their 2021 obsession.

  127. I think Westbrook (for just Randle and one of the scrub rookie deals if necessary) would be a bad use of cap space, but not catastrophic. I really think that there is next to nothing that the Knicks FO can do over the next three years to win a championship, or even really sniff competition. But that doesn’t mean the games can’t be entertaining. Sure, there’s an opportunity cost, and the lotto picks may not be in the top 1-4, but that’s not category 5, that’s probably just some downed power lines and a few thatched roofs in need of repair.

    The team, as currently constructed, has some diversity and appeal, but it’s clearly missing “alpha”. I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that Rose/Dolan isn’t looking for that guy, and 3 years of Westbrook during the waning famine might actually be better than whomever they max from 2021-2026 nine months from now.

  128. Re: Immanuel Quickly, he had intel that his draft range was 20-30. He has some short documentaries up on his YouTube page and his trainer, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, said as much in one of the sound bites. I know it’s been consensus around here that he would have been available at 33 but that clearly was not the case.

  129. I think the Raptors have more less thrown in the towel on this team and are beginning the rebuild process with FVV, Siakim, Anuoby and any other young players they have now they think they can develop.

    To me, this is pretty much the ideal (hope) for how you should do it. You build a competitive team with a mix of veterans and young players. You typically need some hardened playoff experienced vets to win it all anyway. You make your serious run at the title with that mix and hope for the best. Then when you know it’s done, you clean house of the old guys and begin fresh with 2-3 good young players that have hopefully since developed and gotten some playoff experience. That avoids deep lottery hell. Toronto has a disadvantage in attracting free agents, but they have a good young core to start that will at least make people think about going there. they will also still be able to trade and draft as part of the next cycle.

  130. Re: Immanuel Quickly, he had intel that his draft range was 20-30. He has some short documentaries up on his YouTube page and his trainer, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, said as much in one of the sound bites. I know it’s been consensus around here that he would have been available at 33 but that clearly was not the case.

    But that could easily be that he knew that the Knicks were going to draft him with their second pick (especially because of the Kentucky connection). Remember, they traded back when another Kentucky player (Maxey) fell off of the board, so they very easily could have let him know that he was their pick if Maxey was gone.

    I’m not saying for sure that other teams were not thinking about him at #21-30 (I doubt it, but I can’t say for sure), but him knowing he was going in that range doesn’t necessarily mean anything since teams often give players an indication that they’re planning on taking them.

  131. Ha. Yeah, if that “intel” was just that the kentucky-fucking Knicks were going to pick him at #27, then it doesn’t prove too much about his not slipping to #33.

  132. What do people say to 195 million for Donovan Mitchell? I mean, #60 in PER. (Do only goobers talk about PER?) How about Tatum?

    I think Tatum is a no-brainer, he is worth that contract. Mitchell has been incredibly good everytime I have seen him, although his numbers are a bit worse than I thought (still 1.9 bpm is very good, and was fantastic in the playoffs except for the last game). Given that Utah is solid playoff team, and that has difficulties attracting FAs, I think it is the correct move. Also, I do not remember many max extensions to rookies that have gone wrong except for Wiggins. You are getting the best years of a player, and if it has shown something, he will do that or better (injuries notwithstanding).

  133. I think the Knicks roster is complete, for better or worse:

    PG: Payton will start. He’s the only one we know can run the offense. Frank may have virtues, but they’re not running the offense.

    Backup PG: It’s Frank’s job to lose, but DSJr will be given a chance. If both fail, then Austin Rivers will take over. He’s also there if DSJr is unplayable so he can backup Frank when Payton inevitably misses 15 games. Who knows, maybe Quickley gets a shot.

    SG: Burks or Bullock. If Bullock can get back to pre-injury form, then he should start. Burks provides shooting, rebounding and a bit of passing. If the offense gets bogged down this year, I expect Burks to feature more prominently to create offense. Both players can start or backup either wing position. Rivers or Quickley can also step in.

    SF: RJ is RJ. Hopefully he starts at the 3 this year now that Morris is gone. Bullock & Burks will back him up. Iggy will probably spend more time on the bench than we like.

    PF: Obi or Randle. There’s reasons to stick either one in the starting lineup. With Randle you can rehabilitate his value. For Obi, you stretch the floor a bit and showcase the franchise’s future. It may also take pressure off Obi to create his own offense. Either way, you have a high-scoring PF.

    C: Mitch. I could see Thibs benching Mitch if he makes too many mistakes, and Mitch is prone to mistakes. Playing with a healthy Payton and alongside Obi should open up the paint for Mitch to catch more lobs.

    Backup C: Noel may be the closest Mitch substitute in the league. With either one, you can trust they’ll play impact defense and dunk everything. I love this signing.

    Third C: Omari Spellman is a useful 3rd string C with some upside. He can shoot, play defense, and rebounds just enough. Obi is the future. If Obi struggles playing alongside Mitch or Noel, then we may see a lot of Spellman stretching the floor.

  134. I don’t expect the team to make the playoffs, even the expanded playoffs. That said, Thibs is known for squeezing the most out of players on the defensive end. More importantly, Thibs has Mitch & Noel who might be the two scariest defensive players in the league after Gobert.

    Based on that alone, I think we’ll play more competitively than some here think.

  135. We played competently for Mike Miller (17-27). i expect that we will play about that well…a 31-32-win team in an 82-game season, or about 27-28 wins in a 72 game season. That number could come down if we play an imbalanced schedule with lots of games in the Atlantic. Nets, Celts, Sixers, Raps…no freebies there. A lot depends on player development, and what we actually have in Obi besides a potential slam dunk champion.

  136. The other x-factor is Randle. Was he miscast as a #1 last year and not up to the role or is he what he was? If he gets his TS% back up to .600 and cuts bak on turnovers, he’s a very good player.

  137. Couple thoughts after a thankfully uninteresting weekend of moves.

    1) Elfrid Payton – I am fine with it. It’s a do-no-harm move assuming they don’t start him. If they start him next to RJ and Mitch…. we’ve already done that. It’s not good. Payton should be your break-glass-in-case-of-emergency PG. Would MUCH rather start Frank or Quickley (obv we haven’t seen Quickley play for 1 second yet, but the idea of Quickley makes sense).

    2) Austin Rivers – meh. I don’t know what to make of it. 1 year with 2 nonguaranteed years sounds like some sort of trade asset, but the salary is so low I’m not sure that it’s valuable?

    3) Omari Spellman – worth a flyer I guess? Semi-Shooting big who can space it out for our crappy ball handlers? Jacob Evans – crappy 2-way wing? These feel like developmental “2nd draft” guys – it’s fine. whatever.

    4) Ed Davis – 3 second rounders to act as a middle-man to get Davis from Utah –> Minnesota seems good. The combined salary of Spellman and Evans is actually less than Davis. Small victories I guess. Would be nice if that 2nd rounder is Minny’s own pick (they also own the “most favorable” of Denver and Philly in 2022, seemingly will be in the 50s).

    5) Gordon Hayward – very very happy to send him to Charlotte for 4 years 120M. Good luck there Gordon. And while Charlotte won’t be good, they also won’t be that bad — my guess is they will end up with the 82game equivalent of 35-40 wins, which should comfortably move them behind us in ping-pong balls. I liked the idea of Hayward but very much agreed with our FO’s 2 year limit (I think I trotted out 3 years 80MM with 3rd year partially g’td as my max offer).

    Overall I would like to think there’s another big move on the horizon (and by big I don’t mean Westbrook or Wall) that ties all this maneuvering together, but even if this is just small wins on the margins, it was a positive and non-dramatic weekend. I am feeling good about this front office.

  138. Meanwhile – wandering through the trade machine, I really can’t find a home for Julius Randle unless the team is willing to eat a worse long-term contract or send out assets to get rid of him. I guess we’ve accumulated all these 2nd round picks – I would not be super-opposed to attaching one or two of them to get Randle out of here.

    Lastly – I think we should trade Reggie Bullock — we have a lot of wings who need minutes, and Bullock could bring an asset in return. Like maybe to GSW for Looney and Minnesota’s 2021 2nd? Seems like GSW could use more wing depth.

  139. I can imagine the negotiations with Rivers went something like the Knicks wanted one year at the vets minimum, but insisted on more per year. They were only willing to give it to him if he gave very team friendly options.

  140. I think the team now has a lot of NBA level players on reasonable deals. We shouldn’t try to trade them now, but it’s likely some team somewhere during the season will unfortunately have an injury or just find they need more fIrepower. That’s when we can trade someone (except our centers). I leave out our centers because we don’t have as much flexibility there as at other positions and our two main guys are foul prone and need a backup.

  141. Maybe we can revisit that Randle-for-Rozier trade? Rosier actually shot the three ball well last year.

    I still don’t get the Rivers signing, other than combo guard insurance. I hope he’s ok with sitting on the bench a lot. Really hope it’s not a precursor to a Westbrook trade.

  142. If Houston starts imploding and Russ demands a trade, the Knicks are going to at least strongly consider it. If Rose was going to give up assets to do it, it would be done by now. But I still think there’s a 50-50 chance that he’s here before the deadline, maybe in a 3-way deal where we get Russ and assets for Randle, whoever out of Frank, Knox and DSjr plays worst, and some of the one-year guys. It won’t include Mitch, Obi, RJ or draft picks. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t happen and Donnie Walsh-ish if it does.

  143. I’ve been watching Obi highlights, and the most impressive thing about him is how he gets out on the break and throws down ferocious slam dunk contest-quality dunks one after another. If he gets his legs to catch up with his upper body, he’s going to be a force in transition. Elfrid is an excellent rebounding guard, so that could be a thing on this team. (that’s one reason I would have liked Kira Lewis Jr., but there clearly was no prudent way to get both him and Toppin.)

  144. Frank: If they start him next to RJ and Mitch…. we’ve already done that. It’s not good.

    I have never understood this narrative. It’s completely unjustified by any metric or even the eye test.

    The Knicks offense was significantly better after Payton returned. Jumped from 103 ORTG to 109 ORTG.

    In 300 minutes that Payton/RJ/Mitch shared the floor the Knicks were +1.9 per 100 possessions.

    When Elf & RJ shared the floor, the Knicks were -5 per 100 possessions. When Frank & RJ shared the floor the Knicks were -10 per 100 possessions.

    Knicks ORTG was higher when Payton was on the floor than for any other player. The Knicks on-off ORTG was highest for Payton also.

    Why do people hate Elfrid Payton?

  145. I guess we are loading up on guys that could possibly be marginally useful / developmental prospects that are on team friendly contracts that could be traded very easily, while also maintaining some cap space to do unbalanced trades. I hope we leave $10MM+ in cap space for deadline-type moves.

  146. Early Bird: I have never understood this narrative. It’s completely unjustified by any metric or even the eye test.

    The Knicks offense was significantly better after Payton returned. Jumped from 103 ORTG to 109 ORTG.

    In 300 minutes that Payton/RJ/Mitch shared the floor the Knicks were +1.9 per 100 possessions.

    When Elf & RJ shared the floor, the Knicks were -5 per 100 possessions. When Frank & RJ shared the floor the Knicks were -10 per 100 possessions.

    Knicks ORTG was higher when Payton was on the floor than for any other player. The Knicks on-off ORTG was highest for Payton also.

    Why do people hate Elfrid Payton?

    Yeah, he was our most competent PG by a wide margin. Which is more about the other options than him, but whatever.

  147. I have never understood this narrative. It’s completely unjustified by any metric or even the eye test.

    The Knicks offense was significantly better after Payton returned. Jumped from 103 ORTG to 109 ORTG.

    In 300 minutes that Payton/RJ/Mitch shared the floor the Knicks were +1.9 per 100 possessions.

    When Elf & RJ shared the floor, the Knicks were -5 per 100 possessions. When Frank & RJ shared the floor the Knicks were -10 per 100 possessions.

    Knicks ORTG was higher when Payton was on the floor than for any other player. The Knicks on-off ORTG was highest for Payton also.

    Why do people hate Elfrid Payton?

    The problem is not team performance per se — the problem is that Payton is more than useless off the ball, and for the future of the team, you need to see if RJ can be the guy. At least that is my thought on it. I miss NBAwowy where you could see san individual player’s stats when other players were on/off the floor.

    If you ask me (and barring any significant PG trades), you ride or die the beginning of the year with RJ handling the ball. If you tell me that RJ and Mitch are the main building blocks, that they were basically untouchable in trade talks, and assume that RJ is not suddenly a 38% 3 point shooter, it means RJ has to have the ball in his hands. And Payton’s presence makes RJ’s job harder in that respect.

    maybe RJ flops in that role and then you need to recalibrate, but you need to see what that looks like IMO.

  148. And in the more than 300 minutes that Frank shared the floor with Bobby Portis and Kevin Knox, the Knicks were plus 8.8 per 100 possessions.

    The team needs floor spacing. Elfrid Payton is the anti-floor spacer. He isn’t any good, but if the question then goes to why he’s “hated,” the answer for me is that he’s a symbol of the merc year and of Scott Perry’s bizarre obsessions, and because his absence was used as the incompetent Fizdale/Perry/Mills trio as the excuse as to why the team sucked so much last year. He’s a walking, talking avatar of incompetence.

    Most of the fanbase with more than a little soul can’t stand the guy. It’s easy to see why. Might be one of those things like a joke or a piece of art where if you have to explain why the joke is funny or the art is good, it’s already too late.

  149. To be fair to Payton, not all of the incompetence is his own and he’s taking a bit of a hit as a symbol of the incompetence of others — but that’s life in the big city.

  150. Payton really needs to be the last resort – ie. the team looks so bad with any of the young players handling the ball that he is brought in to salvage the other “dependent” players ie. Mitch/Toppin. Frank will presumably get minutes either as a wing or some minutes at PG so his minutes will likely be guaranteed, but DSJ can only play on the ball. If you’re trying to give DSJ a last chance, he needs to get the backup PG minutes at least at the start – otherwise they may as well just cut him or trade him for a top 55 protected 2nd.

  151. HERE COMES AUSTIN RIVERS should be a macro for the next 1-3 years. Maybe my favorite moment in NBA history and we get to relive it every night.

  152. Frank: Payton really needs to be the last resort – ie. the team looks so bad with any of the young players handling the ball that he is brought in to salvage the other “dependent” players ie. Mitch/Toppin.

    This is exactly what happened last year. RJ, Frank, & DSJr were incompetent. Payton came back and the Knicks were competent.

    E: because his absence was used as the incompetent Fizdale/Perry/Mills trio as the excuse as to why the team sucked so much last year. He’s a walking, talking avatar of incompetence.

    He’s the avatar of incompetence because he made them competent???

    Not the players who actually sucked or the office guys who actually sucked, Payton?

    RJ Barrett can’t run an offense or shoot? Is that RJs fault? Nope, Payton’s fault.

    It’s all very Mike Woodson asking, “Did Beno have to pass JR Smith the ball?”

  153. I will say it again: the Elfrid Payton vitriol stems from the fact that Frank Ntilikina has a cult-like following of people who think he should play 3000 minutes per season. You see it every time DSJ has a good game too. There is nothing more to it and there’s no reason to pay it any mind.

    Never mind the fact that the offense overall was much better with Payton than Frank last year. Never mind that Mitchell Robinson was better with Payton than with Frank. Never mind the fact that at this point there’s not even a clear reason to play Frank over Payton from a win curve perspective–they’re both signed to one more season.

    Anyway, during Frank Ntilikina’s first 3 seasons with the Knicks they have played him way, way more minutes than he deserved on the merits alone, and almost definitely way more than he would’ve played on any other team. I anticipate that will continue, so if he’s better than Elfrid Payton he’ll have a chance to demonstrate as much for the first time in his career.

    I miss NBAwowy where you could see san individual player’s stats when other players were on/off the floor.

    https://www.rotowire.com/basketball/court-on-off.php?team=NY

  154. I don’t understand the Payton hate at all.

    I see a 25 year old guy whose had several seasons of his development interrupted by random minor injuries.

    When healthy he’s had periods of multiple triple doubles.

    Last year was his worst shooting year since his rookie season. imo that was partly due to missing time at the start of the season and partly due to the horrible team construction that caused several other players to also have down years. Despite that, the team was still pretty good when he was on the floor because he was doing a lot of other things so well.

    IMO, he’s a 3 point shot away from being one of the better PGs in the league.

    He would not be the first guy to develop an adequate 3 point shot after age 25. At 5m, imo he is an absolute steal. I have no problem seeing what he can do coming into the season healthy and with a little better spacing. If he fail or gets hurt again so be it. I think he still has a chance to be a very good PG. I don’t see why anyone is upset about him playing. I thought they were idiots for dropping him at 7m for one more year, though I understood they wanted to maximize space “just in case”, This is only Perry “obsession” idea I like.

  155. This is exactly what happened last year. RJ, Frank, & DSJr were incompetent. Payton came back and the Knicks were competent.

    This isn’t exactly true. When Payton was out the PG duties were mostly split between Frank and DSJ. On average that was bad. DSJ was really bad and Frank wasn’t good enough to raise the team’s point guard average level of point guard play enough. When Payton came back Frank was the backup point guard and he was ok at that job. He obviously wasn’t great at all, but his defense made up for some of his lack of offense and he could hold the fort when Payton was out. We had a competent pair of starter and backup and it helped a lot. His plus minuses became good and I don’t think he was that much worse than Payton overall, he just had a completely different set of strengths. DSJ was terrible and the experiment with RJ at point guard didn’t work and it’s not fair to lump Frank in with them in terms of point guard performance.

  156. Deeefense: I see a 25 year old guy whose had several seasons of his development interrupted by random minor injuries.

    Then you should turn your calendar. It’s November 2020, not November 2018.

  157. Some news and/or analysis:

    * Macri: “I can say with some degree of certainty that Randle has been involved in trade discussions all week long. I do not believe he is long for this team.”

    * Berman thinks Spellman is the more likely of the two guys from Minnesota to make it to camp.

    * Vorkunov has a nice column up on The Athletic, which acknowledges that the team hasn’t substantially improved talent-wise, but that the pieces are much more complementary and flexible than last year’s, and that a boring offseason at this stage of the win curve can be a good thing:

    Sometimes free agency can be a MacGuffin. It’s not actually about who a team signs but about how the front office works and acts and the choices it makes. That can be much more telling about the future than just the players they did or did not sign.

    The Knicks seem to have been deliberate and judicious. They avoid empty calorie sugar-rushes like a reunion with Carmelo Anthony or doling out $100-plus million to Hayward. As in the draft, when they dealt up to No. 23 in an attempt to jump up further in the lottery before ultimately sliding back, there was an attempt to do something big but not a rush for it.

    There is a difference between maintaining cap room just to have it, hoarding it for future offseasons over and over again but without any real payoff. Yet, like someone who wraps their living room furniture in plastic to stave off any stains, there’s more to life than just taking precautions. Cap room can be created if necessary. This week, the Knicks made their cap space work for them, even if only marginally, but that’s what smart front offices do

  158. I will say it again: the Elfrid Payton vitriol stems from the fact that Frank Ntilikina has a cult-like following of people who think he should play 3000 minutes per season. You see it every time DSJ has a good game too. There is nothing more to it and there’s no reason to pay it any mind.

    That’s obviously not true of me based on my prior post.

    I still love what Frank does well and think it would crazy to give up on him at this point. imo he can still play a key role player on a team that already has its #1 and #2 options set. He’s not going to run a team at PG in the traditional sense. He can be the PG for a team that takes a multi positional approach to playmaking. Since we aren’t going in that direction, he needs to be on the wing and maybe play some backup PG, but he’s potentially too valuable to rot on the bench. He needs minutes because part of what has held him back is maturity and his comfort level on the court. Let him play, let him mature, and hopefully he’ll develop at least solid corner 3 and improve his other skills and become a very useful piece.

    In the mean time, Payton should be the starting PG. That’s obvious.

  159. Huge props to Strat for having a rational Elfrid Payton opinion despite the phenomenon I just described

  160. Ran out of characters in that last comment, but I’ll add that I wouldn’t be surprised if Randle is still here to start the season, just so Thibs can try to rebuild his trade value a bit. But it definitely sounds like the FO knows Randle is doing more harm than good to this roster.

  161. Let him play, let him mature, and hopefully he’ll develop a solid corner 3 and improve his other skills and become a very useful piece.

    As long as Frank is on the team, he should play. We’ve got nothing to lose but games. No argument here. The relevant question is what do you do if he has a 4th consecutive dud of a year?

  162. thenoblefacehumper: I will say it again: the Elfrid Payton vitriol stems from the fact that Frank Ntilikina has a cult-like following of people who think he should play 3000 minutes per season. You see it every time DSJ has a good game too. There is nothing more to it and there’s no reason to pay it any mind.

    Own the libs!!

    Frank has some very good on/off numbers with a bunch of different lineup combinations. I’d suggest another perusal of the data. I posted one point; there are more. He was very good with the floor spacing types, the Dotsons, the Knoxs, etc. Once the offense becomes modernized and proper-ized and de-Randle-fied, there’s no real reason to believe that won’t carry over.

  163. As you can tell from my post I think Frank’s not so bad. But I agree with Strat, Payton is a steal at $5M per year. We needed him. It’s fair to see who wins the starting job in preseason, but we are much better off that we don’t have to rely on DSJ to be the backup point guard or hope Quickley has a miraculous break out. I don’t see Rivers as a good backup either.

  164. * Macri: “I can say with some degree of certainty that Randle has been involved in trade discussions all week long. I do not believe he is long for this team.”

    I’m not the praying type, but I might start now. Please, please, please happen.

  165. I’d suggest another perusal of the data. He was very good with the floor spacing types, the Dotsons, the Knoxs, etc. Once the offense becomes modernized and proper-ized, there’s no real reason to believe that won’t carry over.

    Lineups with Frank/Knox/Dotson on, Payton off: 107.9 ORTG

    Lineups with Payton/Knox/Dotson on, Frank off: 114.1 ORTG

    Anything else you’d like me to peruse?

  166. thenoblefacehumper: Lineups with Frank/Knox/Dotson on, Payton off: 107.9 ORTG

    Lineups with Payton/Knox/Dotson on, Frank off: 114.1 ORTG

    Anything else you’d like me to peruse?

    Payton/Dotson/Knox, plus 0.7/100 possessions.

    Ntilikina/Dotson/Knox, plus 11.1/100 possessions.

    You can’t even play the most mundane data point straight.

    And it’s not just the Dotsons and the Knoxs; it’s the Portises and the Ellingtons.

  167. This is what I would say about the lineup data that people are quoting:

    a) generally extremely small sample sizes. Finding lineups that we here at KB would find logical is like looking for the Loch Ness monster.

    b) it’s hard to know what to make of lineups that have really terrible players in them. Any lineup that included DSJ or Knox basically = the worst lineup data in the league.

    I think you just need to decide what your team wants to do, construct lineups that put those priorities first, and then mix and match to hide players’ weaknesses.

    Meaning – if you’re going to play Elfrid Payton, you can only have one other non shooter on the floor. If you’re going to play Bobby Portis, you can’t surround him with Alonzo Trier and Julius Randle without getting absolutely torched on defense.

    For this year – I very much like the idea they picked up Noel — that leaves a great rim protector (and switch defender) in the game no matter which unit is on the floor. Noel and Mitch will clean up a lot of mistakes. I sort of wish they had signed him to a multiyear contract. And I like the flow from Mitch–> Noel — very similar players, can play the same offense no matter which is on the floor.

  168. Payton/Dotson/Knox, plus 0.7/100 possessions.

    Ntilikina/Dotson/Knox, plus 11.1/100 possessions.

    You can’t even play the most mundane data point straight.

    Wait, wasn’t the whole point of this how well Frank plays with “floor spacers?” How does that implicate defense whatsoever?

    The reality is these samples are too small to mean anything anyway, it was just funny how embarrassingly wrong you were.

    Anyway, if you think on/off data is meaningful Elfrid Payton necessarily has to be your guy. Of course, if you think it’s meaningful if and only if it can be tortured enough to make Frank Ntilikina look good I can understand why that wouldn’t be the case.

    Again, don’t fret. He’ll have plenty of chances to prove he’s the best point guard on the roster. You seem worried he won’t be able to do so, which is understandable given his track record.

  169. The reality is these samples are too small to mean anything anyway,

    Funny — they seemed perfectly fine when you were completely misrepresenting them. But I guess it’s entertaining in a way.

  170. by the way – Noel at $5-6MM/year makes you think hard about what Mitch is worth on the open market. Their statistics really are extraordinarily similar. Noel is also an amazing finisher at the rim, 71 TS last year, can switch on the perimeter also.

  171. I like Frank too and think the Payton hate is way overblown. But especially over at P&T Frank has a cult like following.

    I hope Frank continues to develop and I would love to extend him at the right price. I think as a bench option he can be a great player because he is so switchable. I can play the 1,2 or 3 so depending on who is lighting it up for the other team, he can come in and defend that player.

    Payton at 5 million is a steal. I’m very optimistic about the FO now. Of course they could change that with a bad Westbrook trade but I’ve been very pleased with the moves. The guys they brought in they brought in for cheap. There’s definitely a possibility that we can flip some dudes at the deadline for more picks if we want.

    On paper while we didn’t really upgrade by overspending on free agency, the parts seem to fit a whole lot better than last season when we signed 9 power forwards.

    If RJ and Mitch both improve we could be a fun team to watch. Toppin starting out on the bench behind Randle while we up Randle’s value isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    Our C position with Mitch and Noel is gonna be beastly.

    And I do think we have better outside shooting than last season although its still not good.

    If anyone can make the whole be better than the sum of its parts, its Thibs. The vets aren’t making enough to warrant any entitled behavior as far as PT. We were much more enjoyable to watch last year once Fizdale was gone and this roster makes more sense than last year’s, so I’m kind of excited.

  172. Wait, wasn’t the whole point of this how well Frank plays with “floor spacers?” How does that implicate defense whatsoever?

    Because playing defense is part of “playing well.” Duh.

  173. Berman suggesting on Twitter that the Knicks like Spellman’s game but think he has “fitness issues.” If I’m remembering right from offseason reports, Kenny Payne has a famous treadmill workout that he used to whip Kentucky prospects into shape.

  174. swiftandabundant: I like Frank too and think the Payton hate is way overblown. But especially over at P&T Frank has a cult like following.

    It’s kind of a Tao of Sports observation, but if your opinion of an athlete is dependent on only how his “advanced stats” calculate, you’re doing it all wrong.

  175. thenoblefacehumper: As long as Frank is on the team, he should play. We’ve got nothing to lose but games. No argument here. The relevant question is what do you do if he has a 4th consecutive dud of a year?

    It would depend in the details of his season and how much it would cost to keep him.

    From his comments and Tweets, he seems like a guy that bleeds blue and orange and does not want to leave. So it’s possible we could retain him at a reasonable price and still give him more time. I would be happy to do that. IMO, he was making some clear strides last year even in a bad situation. A lot of months and practice have passed, he’ll have a coach that will appreciate the things he does well, and hopefully a mildly better constructed team. But if he makes no progress and wants an extension at significant dollars it’s adios. Plus, he won’t get it anyway, It’s on him to show he should stay.

  176. by the way – Noel at $5-6MM/year makes you think hard about what Mitch is worth on the open market. Their statistics really are extraordinarily similar. Noel is also an amazing finisher at the rim, 71 TS last year, can switch on the perimeter also.

    That’s good news if we want to resign Mitch. Nerlens TS is Mitchlike because he can shoot FT., Noel shoots (poorly) outside of the paint sometimes and Mitch is a significantly better finisher.

  177. Elfrid Payton has higher DPIPM, DRAPTOR, and equivalent DBPM to Frank. That doesn’t mean Payton’s a better defender, but it does mean they’re very close to one another except in certain defensive situations that the box score can’t quantify like blowing up plays (I’m fine with accepting Frank is very good at non box-score defense, but he gives some of that away with his bad rebounding and mediocre steals numbers). Elfrid Payton, unlike Frank Ntilikina, can also play offense at an NBA level. It’s peculiar to think that he’s the problem here, or that he’s not a terrific value at 5m. A league average PG usually costs way more than that. Play them both, but Payton should be starter on the merits. Frank should play 20-30 minutes a night at various positions.

  178. My experience with line up combination is that if a combination makes “intuitive sense” based on our understanding of basketball and the data supports it, I have more confidence it’s telling us something meaningful than if those two things conflict. Either way the samples are small so you can never be sure, but the more evidence you have on one side of the scale the better.

  179. Anyway, regardless of the minutiae of whether Elfried Payton, DSJ, or Frank should play the most PG minutes, it is definitely encouraging that we did not chase shiny objects this past weekend, and even if we did chase the Hayward shiny object, it was for an objectively good player with a definitive limit on how much we would throw at that shiny object. IN years past (ie. last year), we would’ve been whatever Detroit is doing with their team or Charlotte. And by the way, I don’t hate what Charlotte did — just making the playoffs would be a huge accomplishment, and having a smart player/great shooter to play next to like Hayward should help Lamelo a lot. If your goal isn’t to win a championship but to be semi-relevant and be in the playoff chase, it’s not too bad a start. I would hope the Knicks have a higher bar than that, but for Charlotte, it might be ok.

  180. Small sample sizes are problematic when used to make inferences about (1) general ability or (2) the future. However, they do describe what actually transpired during that sample.

    My claim was about refuting statements about Payton’s past performance. Because I’m not trying to extrapolate from the data, but rather take it as describing what transpired, the data is valid. Namely, there’s nothing about his performance last year that justifies the pessimism concerning him or his fit with Mitch & RJ (at least none that doesn’t make Frank look worse).

    I thought Frank acquitted himself well last year as a backup, and I hope he continues to improve. For now, I’m starting Payton ahead of Frank. But Frank should definitely be the frontrunner for backup PG with a small chance to pass Payton.

  181. Payton was actually a pretty good distributor based on his league ranking in assist%, but he can’t shoot a lick, which is tough with Mitch and RJ on the floor.

    But maybe RJ has improved as a shooter? If he can at least bury the midrange and make his goddamn free throws, that would be enough. And if Mitch can actually make occasional threes in drive/kick situations, we might be onto something.

    We need Payton to execute a drive-and-kick play with Bullock/Obi/Burks/and maybe Mitch, and RJ to refine the pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop with Obi/Mitch. That would at least be the start of a competent half-court offense.

  182. A lot of our success this season is going to hinge on RJ. We’ve surrounded him with a bit more shooting in various lineup combos, especially if Obi starts at the 4. But Payton still can’t shoot from outside and Mitch probably can’t. And if Frank or DSJ improbably start at the 1, they don’t exactly help with spacing, either. (Though I suppose the only scenario where Smith gets the starting job is if he’s shooting lights out in the preseason.) So RJ’s going to have to help the rest of the team improve more than vice versa. Players can and do improve substantially in their second seasons, he’s a hard worker, and we have some great developmental coaches for once. But so much will hinge on him getting better on his own. I hope he can.

  183. I still think someone would be smart to sign Damyean Dotson.

    He’s not going to change anything significantly, but he missed all of last off season recovering from surgery and could not work on his game and then took awhile to get back into game shape once he came back last year. I feel certain he can still improve and help someone at a bargain price off the bench.

  184. Interesting from Chris Mannix’s SI article – he is pretty plugged into the Celtics as a Boston homer – from this AM:

    The 30-year old Hayward gives Ball a proven scorer to pass to, but at what price? A sign-and-trade with Boston is still possible, but if not the Buzz will waive Nicolas Batum and stretch the $27 million Batum is owed next season over three years, per the Charlotte Observer.

    Is that the other shoe to drop and why we are still holding onto a pretty large amount of cap space? maybe we will be the facilitator of a Hayward S&T.

    As long as it’s not for Terry Rozier I am good

  185. I have considered myself a pretty big Frank stan over the past few years, but I’m at the point where I’m accepting that, within a well-run offense, Elfrid is clearly the more valuable player. You can’t have a Frank-sized offensive negative on the floor but for a few minutes a game. And Frank won’t be worth a 2nd contract unless it’s in the 2-4 mil range, making him an end-of-bench guy.

    And say what you want about Elfrid being Perry’s precious draft baby, but his age 22 season was far better than anything we’ve seen thus far from Frank or DSJ (who I won’t even go into because he’s such a waste).

  186. Elfrid Payton has higher DPIPM, DRAPTOR, and equivalent DBPM to Frank. That doesn’t mean Payton’s a better defender, but it does mean they’re very close to one another except in certain defensive situations that the box score can’t quantify like blowing up plays

    let me take the other side here and say it’s obvious to me that frank is a better defender than elfrid payton. first, note that the boxscore components of all three of those metrics are very highly correlated, so their agreement doesn’t provide much marginal information. second, the overall sample correlations between the defensive version of those metrics and drapm is fairly low, especially among guards.

    if we take the actual 3-yr DRAPM (i.e. 17-18 to 19-20) of elfrid and frank we get (these may differ slightly from public rapms):

    frank: +1.21 87/775
    payton: -1.70 742/775

    payton is right in front of d’angelo russell while frank is between jaylen brown and thaddeus young. now i will go full strat and say this does not seem far off to me having watched them both play quite a bit.

    this is a decent, but merely decent, sample size for rapm. a good rule of thumb for defensive value when the rapms conflicts with the combined metrics is: if you have changing teammates and at least 5K minutes each on and off, take the drapms every time. you don’t quite have 5K on and off here, but it’s in the ballpark.

  187. As the founder of the “Frank will never be a starting-caliber NBA PG” movement, I think the whole Frank vs. Payton argument is ridiculous. You might as well be having a “Randle vs. Payton” argument. The only benefit to starting Frank at PG is that you will certainly lose more games. Payton is light years better at running an offense.

    In that sense, I agree with strat that the only way that you can have Frank play PG that contributes to winning is if you have a LeBron/Harden/Jokic/Giannis type (PG’s main responsibility is to get them the ball) or run a positionless offense. Even in those cases, Payton is a much better option unless Frank does something he has not done in 3 years….hits 3’s at a better than league average rate.

    In every offensive and defensive category other than 3-pt and FT shooting, Payton is as good or better (and in some things waaaaay better) than Frank. Important things, like:
    -gets to the line more
    -rebounds more (by a lot)
    -gets more assists (by a lot) with a far better ast/tov ratio
    -handles the ball better
    -defends better in the post
    -fouls less (by a lot)

    Frank’s only hope to be a better all-around player than the Elfrids of the NBA is via shooting. He’s never, ever going to be a great ball-handler, efficient finisher who goes to the line, strong rebounder, or elite passer. That ship (the SS NBASTARTINGPG) has sailed long ago.

    If he puts up another season of below .500 TS%, he will be weighing overseas options shortly. I think his shooting will improve and he will become a valuable piece as a bench combo guard/wing. Bat at this point, that’s his realistic upside.

  188. I’d think the goal is to clearly identify what RJ does well offensively and fit him into a system that allows him to mostly stick to doing whatever that is. Assuming he’s a potential centerpiece and expecting him to be effective in a high usage role where he carries a significant amount of the scoring or playmaking burden is probably setting him up for failure. If he eventually matures into something more than a defensive specialist role player that’s great. I don’t see much reason to expect that. And a defensive role player who develops some niche low usage offensive skill is still valuable. Draft position and overblown expectations don’t have to define what success looks like for him.

  189. Because playing defense is part of “playing well.” Duh.

    Excellent save, in which the defensive rating of a Frank-Knox-Dotson lineup that played all of 176 minutes is somehow a relevant data point despite the original point being about “floor spacing.”

    Like I said, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Frank will be given a chance to approach league averageness again. Only someone worried about the outcome of that would be apoplectic over a 1/$5M contract that John Hollinger of all people regards as value added.

  190. @StevePopper
    Advantage of drafting a New Yorker – Obi Toppin was at the Knicks training center and has signed his rookie contract this morning.

  191. As the founder of the “Frank will never be a starting-caliber NBA PG” movement, I think the whole Frank vs. Payton argument is ridiculous. You might as well be having a “Randle vs. Payton” argument. The only benefit to starting Frank at PG is that you will certainly lose more games. Payton is light years better at running an offense.

    I agree with this, which is why it’s weird the Frankophiles are so upset over bringing back Payton. Payton is a point guard. Frank Ntilikina is not and never will be. He’ll learn to shoot and be a wing, or he’ll learn Mandarin.

  192. Anyone have any word on which specific second round picks we brought in via the Ed Davis wheeling and dealing?

  193. Most of the fanbase with more than a little soul can’t stand the guy.

    this is so fucking perfect, congrats on all the soul buddy!!

  194. Anyone have any word on which specific second round picks we brought in via the Ed Davis wheeling and dealing?

    We still don’t know. The Knicks even put out a press release a few minutes ago that was vague on the details.

  195. Frank’s only hope to be a better all-around player than the Elfrids of the NBA is via shooting.

    I not a big fan of any single number models (Including DRAPM) , bit I think Frank is clearly the better defender. I’m with PTMILO.

    I’ll go beyond that.

    I think there are multiple things to consider on defense.

    One is how well you defend on a day to day basis against a variety of opponents with different skills and importance to their team.

    One is can you shut down certain players and plays at times and totally disrupt the opposing team’s offense. I call that the “impact” defender. A player like that can change a game all by himself just on defense. We’ve seen glimpses of that from Frank where he was screwing up the player he was guarding and that player was so significant to the other team they were targeting him for switches just to get him off the player he was assigned to. If you have a guy that can screw up and shut down a lot of opposing PGs in this league, you have an impact weapon on defense. He just to be healthy and tuned in every night consistently, Hopefully Thibs is the perfect coach to make him that player.

  196. Payton > Frank for a lot of reasons, but especially because he’s a better pick and roll player, and with the players we have we should be running a shit ton of pick and roll. Mitch was-by a significant margin-the best pick and roll finisher in the NBA last season and Obi scored primarily off p-n-r in college.

  197. thenoblefacehumper: Excellent save, in which the defensive rating of a Frank-Knox-Dotson lineup that played all of 176 minutes is somehow a relevant data point despite the original point being about “floor spacing.”

    Never said anything about “defensive rating” either. You’re a bit … untidy … at playing it straight with what other people write and data points generally. I said Frank has some nice 3 and 4 man lineup data playing with some of the better floor spacers on last years shitshow, and he does.

    For some reason, you plunked out a small chunk of the overall data and posted it to make it look like Payton was better with those players, but of course the actual data to measure the thing shows the polar opposite. (Which I knew or else I *wouldn’t have posted the idea in the first place*.) Probably easier to just play it straight. If you’re able, anyway.

  198. So a real (sort of) question for the hive mind. I keep reading about ‘play through RJ’ as a tactic. And I don’t get it. It only makes sense to me because a) all our point guards really suck and it’s a less embarrassing take than ‘play through Mitch’, b) if you squint or close your eyes entirely he kind of sort of resembles Draymond Green, or c) he knows Steve Nash therefore.

    Seems to me that a small forward who’s weak at a bunch of things critical to wing play should just be told to develop those things and not worry about being a point guard, too. And be put in positions to maximize those wing things. In a few years, who knows. But maybe that’s me?

  199. Deeefense: I not a big fan of any single number models (Including DRAPM) , bit I think Frank is clearly the better defender. I’m with PTMILO.

    Frank is also a way, way better defender than James Harden. Maybe we should ask Houston to include picks in a straight-up trade based on that.

  200. Z-man: In every offensive and defensive category other than 3-pt and FT shooting, Payton is as good or better (and in some things waaaaay better) than Frank. Important things, like:
    -gets to the line more
    -rebounds more (by a lot)
    -gets more assists (by a lot) with a far better ast/tov ratio
    -handles the ball better
    -defends better in the post
    -fouls less (by a lot)

    This isn’t necessarily true, and obviously shooting is more important than the parenthetical treatment it’s given here but the more important point is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s true. So Elfrid Payton can be a better starting PG on an awful team playing with awful players. Who cares? There’s not really even anything to “agree” or disagree” with. It’s irrelevant. He isn’t even close to starting caliber on even a decent team and so there’s no conceivable role for him if the Knicks ever become decent. Ntilikina, OTOH, is easily projectible as having a role on a decent or excellent team. If Payton doesn’t get in the way of that developing, I don’t really give a shit if he’s the placeholder PG for dreck; if he does, I care a lot.

  201. So to boil it down to its essence — anything that Elfrid Payton can do better than Frank Ntilikina isn’t anything a good or great team would ever look to the likes of an Elfrid Payton to do for it.

  202. Z-man: Frank is also a way, way better defender than James Harden. Maybe we should ask Houston to include picks in a straight-up trade based on that.

    Let’s not get silly. We’ve been getting along great lately.

    I spent most of the morning arguing in favor of the Payton signing and that he should clearly start at PG over Frank, but if we are going to insist on comparing them, you can’t leave off the one thing Frank does very well and better than Payton when it’s a huge part of the game.

  203. IMO, Frank’s role on a good team is a bench role player. Back up PG who can also play the 2 or 3. So that is the role we should have him play now. I’d much rather Frank get consistent bench minutes all season in a defined role and thrive against other team’s benches than start and maybe not perform as well and flounder.

    Frank was doing well last year once Elf came back and he waas the back up. Why mess with that?

    Just because he doesn’t project to be a starter and was maybe a reach when we picked him doesn’t mean he’s useless or we shouldn’t keep him. His defense is good. If he can be a part of the rotation off the bench and we can keep him at a good price for that going forward, I think we can all be happy with Frank even if he isn’t a starter. Who cares if ESPN labels him a bust?

  204. E: This isn’t necessarily true, and obviously shooting is more important than the parenthetical treatment it’s given here but the more important point is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s true.

    Of course it’s not true and if it is it doesn’t matter. Right.

    E: If Payton doesn’t get in the way of that developing, I don’t really give a shit if he’s the placeholder PG for dreck; if he does, I care a lot.

    Clearly you do give a shit about it….your tiresome diatribes against signing Payton are evidence of that. You just don’t want to accept that Payton is not getting in Frank’s way. Frank’s own shitty-ness is getting in his way. And as a fourth-year player, if Frank is not good enough to displace whatever Payton does to get in his way, We’re arguing over which cheek of the Knick’s ass is it worse to have a pimple on. It could be the single most tedious argument on this site in the last 5 years.

  205. Hi guys,

    Long time lurker here, from the other side of the Atlantic, in Porto, Portugal.

    I don’t know if new users make a small introduction of themselves, but i’ll do it. Feel free to skip to the next comment if you’re here only to discuss basketball, like if Frank will ever be an ALL-STAR someday or not! ;D

    I’m a software developer, but also an entrepreneur, as from 2004 to 2016 i had my own company, then i worked on 2 projects for entrepreneurs that are friends of mine, and now in the middle of a pandemic i’m starting my own company again, still in the software market. I must be crazy, but being a Knicks fan you’ve already guessed that!

    Have a family of four – me, the wife, a stepdaughter and our son. Speaking of my son, i promised him that we will go to the Garden to see a game if the Knicks reach the Finals. But now that i think of it, maybe i should extend it to the ECF, or it’s kind of an empty promise, don’t you think? :P

    Don’t have the time to have many hobbies, so i only do my running around the block (usually 3 miles) and follow avidly my favorite teams – FCPorto (my hometown team) and the Knicks.

    It was the year of 1989, and although we were aware of the NBA in Europe, here in Portugal there were no games on TV except for the finals, so i was aware but didn’t really pay attention to it. But in 1989 my favorite player at the time (Drazen Petrovic) joined the NBA by going to the Portland Trailblazers, so that was my first NBA team (still support them in the west, but i only follow the Knicks).

    Was a nice time with them, because they went to the finals that year (but lost to the Isiah’s Pistons). The following year they traded Drazen to a team that i thought was trash, so i didn’t follow them… i kid you not, it was our “beloved” neighbours – the Nets! ;P

    That year the Trailblazers “only” got to the WCF, eliminated by the Magic Johnson’s Lakers, and i didn’t get to see any games, so i decided to check if the Trailblazers were really my team or not (because we all know that sports fandom it’s a serious business! lol).

    By that time i was in my teens and going through a punk-hardcore phase, and following closely the Ramones and CBGB’s i had (or still have, i should say) NY as the other city i would like to live, 2nd place to my beautiful hometown of course, so i decided to check the NY teams, and fell in love with the Knicks and those teams of the 90s (defense! defense!)… and the rest is history, because any sane person would have stopped being a Knick with what we’ve been through this past 20 years, but having been only 1 game away to be NBA champions, man that made me a Knick for life, that’s for sure.

    Sorry for the long post, and to finish i only would like to add that this blog (which i’ve been following occasionally since 2010 and daily since 2014) is a bright light in my Knicks fandom, of course i would still be a Knick without you guys, but this way is way easier to endure this dark times and even have a laugh as there are posters that are very funny. And i like it even when it’s not about basketball, like pizzas or tv series (one post of this even got us Fizdale fired, so it was a double-win). Thank you all for that!

    Don’t know if i’ll starting posting regularly or not, but now i have a user and if i feel the urge i will do it! ;)

  206. I mean Frank Ntilikina could be one of the best players in the NBA instead of one of the worst and it would still make sense to bring in Payton because Ntilikina can’t stay healthy.

    I’m telling you, E and co. will not approve of any move that lessens the probability that Frank Ntilikina will lead the NBA in minutes this year. It’s like trying to talk some sense into a religious fundamentalist. Utterly pointless.

  207. swiftandabundant:
    IMO, Frank’s role on a good team is a bench role player. Back up PG who can also play the 2 or 3. So that is the role we should have him play now. I’d much rather Frank get consistent bench minutes all season in a defined role and thrive against other team’s benches than start and maybe not perform as well and flounder.

    Frank was doing well last year once Elf came back and he waas the back up. Whymess with that?

    Just because he doesn’t project to be a starter and was maybe a reach when we picked him doesn’t mean he’s useless or we shouldn’t keep him. His defense is good. If he can be a part of the rotation off the bench and we can keep him at a good price for that going forward, I think we can all be happy with Frank even if he isn’t a starter. Who cares if ESPN labels him a bust?

    Yes, pretty much this exactly. He needs to be developed toward that end. If Payton gets in the way of that development, bad; if not, whatever. Pretty simple. I want our players developed toward roles they could have on the next good Knicks team, assuming that doesn’t happen when they’re in their graves.

  208. But really, DSJ should get the backup minutes at pg just to raise his garbage-fire value even a little bit. Frank is a solid enough bench wing defender, but he might have to play some 3 now that we have Rivers/Burks hogging minutes and Quickley hopefully getting time at either guard spot.

    Then there’s the “what to do about Knox” question. Maybe he will finally get minutes at the 4? Although I’m sure he still isn’t going to earn minutes.

    Yup. Some really, really good drafting.

  209. Deeefense: Let’s not get silly. We’ve been getting along great lately.

    I spent most of the morning arguing in favor of the Payton signing and that he should clearly start at PG over Frank, but if we are going to insist on comparing them, you can’t leave off the one thing Frank does very well and better than Payton when it’s a huge part of the game.

    But it’s incredibly pointless to quibble over who is the better defender. Mitchell Robinson might be the greatest defensive PG of all time, yet he could never play the PG position without killing his team.

    The Harden example makes that clear. You have to look hard to find a worse defender than James Harden or Trae Young. It is likely that Frank is as statistically superior to Harden or Young on D as James and Trae are statistically superior to Frank on O. But a PG’s main job is to run an offense, and no amount of defense makes up for that. Payton is so-so at offensive PG things, Frank is near league-worst at it. And even his defensive value is debatable. He fouls a ton, and doesn’t get defensive rebounds (to end opposing possessions) or offensive rebounds (to extend offensive possessions, which isn’t defense per se but is correlated with the whole PPP thing.)

  210. Dotson to Cleveland on a 2/$4M deal. Au revoir to a guy who is not very good and posed more ethical questions than any end-of-bench scrub should.

  211. If I’m a Frank supporter, I’m less worried about Elfrid Payton and more worried that Austin Rivers takes all the backup PG minutes.

  212. Welcome cybersoze! It’s always fun to have overseas posters. And now is probably the right time to start a new software company. If you’re planning on bootstrapping and raising capital later on, some of the most successful companies got their start that way during the 2008 recession.

  213. Z-man: But it’s incredibly pointless to quibble over who is the better defender. Mitchell Robinson might be the greatest defensive PG of all time, yet he could never play the PG position without killing his team.

    I don’t want Frank to play PG on a team heading in our direction.

    I want him to defend opposing PGs, shut them down, screw up the other team’s offense, move the ball, be a secondary playmaker, and get good enough at 3 pointers (at least from the corner) so that teams can’t cheat off him. If he does that he can play wing WITH Payton or Magic Johnson for all I care. :-)

    He’s going to be a role player. What I an hoping (and we should all be hoping) is that his offensive game and emotional maturity takes enough of a step forward this year that his defense makes him a net plus player because of what he does overall. Anything above that is gravy. PG or not is irrelevant. He can become a high value role player.

  214. thenoblefacehumper:
    Dotson to Cleveland on a 2/$4M deal. Au revoir to a guy who is not very good and posed more ethical questions than any end-of-bench scrub should.

    I’m glad he found a home. He has more to show and will probably show it against the Knicks off the bench at least once this year. lol

  215. If he stays healthy, Burks should clearly be the starter at SG with his numbers. I have no idea how he is as a defender, but he’s been a great shooter. Elfrid/Burks/RJ/Toppin/Mitch isn’t a playoff team, but it might be able to beat the Washingtons and Clevelands of the world. Baby steps out the door…

  216. ess-dog:
    If he stays healthy, Burks should clearly be the starter at SG with his numbers. I have no idea how he is as a defender, but he’s been a great shooter. Elfrid/Burks/RJ/Toppin/Mitch isn’t a playoff team, but it might be able to beat the Washingtons and Clevelands of the world. Baby steps out the door…

    If we beat out Washington & Cleveland, we’re halfway to the playoffs!!!

  217. Early Bird:
    Welcome cybersoze! It’s always fun to have overseas posters. And now is probably the right time to start a new software company. If you’re planning on bootstrapping and raising capital later on, some of the most successful companies got their start that way during the 2008 recession.

    Thanks a lot! And you’re right, maybe this is a good time, i’ll keep you posted on my journey! ;)

  218. Glad Dot found a team. It’s totally irrational but I’m 100% sure that if he’d been drafted by Toronto he’d be like a $8-10M a year player by now.

  219. Welcome cybersoze! Man, your story is interesting to me as a mid 20s Knicks fan for a simple reason–I literally do not know a single person my age who has chosen to be a Knicks fan.

    Most of my friends I grew up with are just due to the geographic loyalty, but of all the people I know who have consciously chosen to root for a team not one of them went with the Knicks. This, of course, is only logical for obvious reasons.

    It’s just beyond my comprehension that there was an era in which the Knicks could attract the NBA’s undecided voter.

  220. thenoblefacehumper:
    Welcome cybersoze! Man, your story is interesting to me as a mid 20s Knicks fan for a simple reason–I literally do not know a single person my age who has chosen to be a Knicks fan.

    Most of my friends I grew up with are just due to the geographic loyalty, but of all the people I know who have consciously chosen to root for a team not one of them went with the Knicks. This, of course, is only logical for obvious reasons.

    It’s just beyond my comprehension that there was an era in which the Knicks could attract the NBA’s undecided voter.

    Thank you! :) And i’m very pleased that you chose to be a Knicks fan, you are young but i have learned a lot from your posts about how to build a winning team! Let’s hope Leon reads this blog too! ;)

  221. There was an era in which the Knicks could attract the vote of the D-lover.
    Right after the Detroit bad boys era.
    That’s why Frank is so likeable (despite the pedestrian numbers) and any D-oriented knicks fan wants him to succeed.

    Welcome cybersoze!

  222. Welcome, fellow lusophone new poster!

    I also chose the Knicks as team sort of intentionally, but it was mostly because I was always a sucker for underdogs and everyone around me loved the Bulls during the Jordan era, so obviously I went for the tough underdog that was always trying to dethrone them in the east… I wouldn’t say it was my finest sports related choice ever, but I ended up sticking with it, went to New York to study once and watched a few games at MSG and from that point on unfortunately there was no return :)

  223. ***Dotson violently raped a woman at Oregon***

    Hey, what happens in Oregon stays in Oregon. (Didn’t you violently threaten to kill Z-Man from Oregon once?)

  224. Yeah, I’m glad to be rid of Dotson and the moral grossness of having to root for him. The idea of him largely outweighed the actuality of him, anyway, especially on defense. Whether that was because he was mishandled by the coaches or because he’s a marginal NBA player, I don’t know. But he’s another fanbase’s quandary now.

  225. At least the drafting of Dotson led to reub showing us his whole ass and got us to a point where were now reub-less, which is always a good thing.

  226. Knew Your Nicks:
    There was an era in which the Knicks could attract the vote of the D-lover.
    Right after the Detroit bad boys era.
    That’s why Frank is so likeable (despite the pedestrian numbers) and any D-oriented knicks fan wants him to succeed.

    Welcome cybersoze!

    Thank you! And you’re totally right about the Knicks attracting the D-lovers back then, maybe we’re re-installing some of that this year… you guys already commented that our centers will be hard to pass by, so that’s a start! ;)

  227. Welcome, cybersoze!

    Always nice to meet a non-posting reader (we have lots of them, which is why our polls always get so many more responses than it seems like we have regular posters).

  228. Btw, I really like the new feature of replacing the Knicks Morning News aggregate bot with a real live human named Alan. It fits the 2004 design of the blog much better.

  229. Bruno Almeida:
    Welcome, fellow lusophone new poster!

    I also chose the Knicks as team sort of intentionally, but it was mostly because I was always a sucker for underdogs and everyone around me loved the Bulls during the Jordan era, so obviously I went for the tough underdog that was always trying to dethrone them in the east… I wouldn’t say it was my finest sports related choice ever, but I ended up sticking with it, went to New York to study once and watched a few games at MSG and from that point on unfortunately there was no return :)

    Thank you, Bruno! Yeah, we can understand each other in more than one language! ;) I’ve been in your city once, so bad i didn’t know you by then! Never been in New York, so that’s Sao Paulo 1 NY 0*! :D

    * – NY will level this when the Knicks reach the Finals, by… 2050? LOL!

  230. cybersoze’s emergence is like a Euro draft-and-stash pick finally making his way over to the team

  231. @highkin
    Neil Olshey on Carmelo Anthony: “We’ve kind of become the custodians of his legacy. He’s going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer … the longer he stays in Portland, the more we’re associated with his legacy.”

    By all means, Neil Olshey…

  232. Brian Cronin:
    Welcome, cybersoze!

    Always nice to meet a non-posting reader (we have lots of them, which is why our polls always get so many more responses than it seems like we have regular posters).

    Thank you, Brian! :) And you’re 100% right, i voted in all the polls, something like no (westbrook), no (hayward), no, no… ;P

  233. Hey, what happens in Oregon stays in Oregon. (Didn’t you violently threaten to kill Z-Man from Oregon once?)

    No, I was in New York and urged him to try a rather noxious cocktail. Oregon has been good, clean air for my psyche. Also not being a dead-broke grad student helps.

  234. By all means, Neil Olshey…

    What a weird thing to say when you’re signing an active NBA player.

  235. Doug Chu:
    cybersoze’s emergence is like a Euro draft-and-stash pick finally making his way over to the team

    LOL! As i said you guys are very funny and here’s the proof! ;) Thank you Doug, for this welcome joke that is totally spot on! :)

  236. Melo going into the Hall of Fame primarily as a Blazer would be like when Wade Boggs wore a Tampa Bay cap in his Cooperstown plaque. But I am also happy to wash my hands of the entire legacy of Melo’s time in New York. Even the one year of his tenure when the team was great, very little of my pleasure came from his play.

  237. @ChaseHughesNBCS
    Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard: “There’s no plans to trade John. Obviously, it’s unfortunate at this time of year… I was with John this morning. I watched him work out.”

    I mean, what else is Sheppard going to say under this circumstance. But we’ve got dueling games of chicken in Washington and Houston right now. (Houston really has two games of chicken in one.)

  238. And I’ve been to Porto once, so we’re tied! Beautiful city too.

    I do feel like Melo will still be remembered for a long time by a younger Knicks fan base who literally never saw the team even reach the playoffs outside of those couple of years, but outside of this very specific generation, he’s had very little lasting impact. His most memorable game for the Knicks is probably the 62 points one against Charlotte, which was a completely meaningless game in January in a dreadfully mediocre season so yeah, not a lot of lasting memories.

  239. howdy cyber soze…glad to have you kicking in…looking forward at some point to talking about your favorite foods there where you live (hmmmm, must be close to lunch time here)…

    it’s always awesome when folks drop a little bit of info about themselves…otherwise we’re all just names and avatars…

    Speaking of my son, i promised him that we will go to the Garden to see a game if the Knicks reach the Finals. But now that i think of it, maybe i should extend it to the ECF, or it’s kind of an empty promise, don’t you think? :P

    that’s funny, yes, the poor child may just have a child (or even grandchildren) of their own by the time we get around to making it to the finals…

    i forgot who it was, (maybe it was BC or mike K) who said they had no plan to foist knick fandom upon their progeny)…to heck with that – gotta toughen kids up and expose them to some of the harsher realities of life – like being a knick fan…

  240. Asked for Patience and Opportunism from the FO during the off-season.
    Got both without shortcuts and pf-plan-b’s
    So far I’m thrilled!

  241. Would it be possible to lure Brandon Ingram out of New Orleans with a package of RJ, Randle, DSJ and the 2 Dallas picks?
    I find it kind of ackward that if they are commited to give him the max, why not do it right away?

  242. I find it kind of ackward that if they are commited to give him the max, why not do it right away?

    That’s just how restricted free agency works if you’re willing to give the max. There’s no need to rush it, since you can match whatever offer that they can get.

  243. : Hey, what happens in Oregon stays in Oregon. (Didn’t you violently threaten to kill Z-Man from Oregon once?)

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: No, I was in New York and urged him to try a rather noxious cocktail. Oregon has been good, clean air for my psyche. Also not being a dead-broke grad student helps.

    Nothing that doesn’t happen on a daily basis in the Z-man household…featuring my lovely but cantankerous Sicilian wife. (Not only is she far more fearsome than Jowles, she’s a much better cook.)

  244. Btw, I really like the new feature of replacing the Knicks Morning News aggregate bot with a real live human named Alan. It fits the 2004 design of the blog much better.

    Haha. Anything to procrastinate from writing.

  245. Alan: Haha. Anything to procrastinate from writing.

    (alsep is an industry shill generating clicks for his brethren, but we’ll take it)

  246. (alsep is an industry shill generating clicks for his brethren, but we’ll take it)

    Dammit, I’ve been found out!

    [turns tail and runs]

  247. geo:
    howdy cyber soze…glad to have you kicking in…looking forward at some point to talking about your favorite foods there where you live (hmmmm, must be close to lunch time here)…

    it’s always awesome when folks drop a little bit of info about themselves…otherwise we’re all just names and avatars…

    Thank you, Geo! For the welcome, and for being kind of the UN of the blog… sometimes people are mad at each other, and here you come with a comment about something else to lower the anger… that’s precious! ;)

    One of these days i’ll tell you about the foods from around here… spoiler alert, they are delicious! :)

  248. Brian Cronin: That’s just how restricted free agency works if you’re willing to give the max. There’s no need to rush it, since you can match whatever offer that they can get.

    But from the player’s point of view, wouldn’t you be mad that they didn’t do it right away and are waiting to see what your market value is?

  249. alsep, not sure where else to put this, so I’ll just throw this out here: I watched The Leftovers for the first time (!) over the past couple of weeks, and reading your recaps after every episode was immensely gratifying. Really loved your analysis on this brilliant show (which may have just supplanted The Wire as my favorite ever).

  250. One of these days i’ll tell you about the foods from around here… spoiler alert, they are delicious! :)

    i recently did one of them dna kit things…turns out most of my dna junk comes from the iberian peninsula…we could be like 20th cousins are something :)

  251. Re: Westbrook:

    @stevekylerNBA
    The Knicks were the team I expected to nab him, most of the league thought that too — then New York went cold on him. I am not longer optimistic they go that way.

    You love to see it.

  252. Marechal, few things make me happier in this job than hearing people talk about how much they loved The Leftovers. If Brian ever gave me gif power, this blog would be flooded with Nora Durst reactions to the Garden decisions.

  253. But I am also happy to wash my hands of the entire legacy of Melo’s time in New York. Even the one year of his tenure when the team was great, very little of my pleasure came from his play.

    I’m always going to hate his shot selection, that stupid smirk on his face, arguing with the ref instead of getting back on D, the way he drove people out the organization, the way he was jealous of Lin (who wants to PG in the NBA again) and argued and disrupted MDA’s offense over it. All those things I disliked about him coming on top of trading Gallo and Chandler etc.. for him pretty much destroyed years of my basketball enjoyment. There were times I was so anti-MeIo I was rooting against the Knicks and took great pleasure in cashing bets against them. I wish I could take all that back. Sure, I didn’t like the guy and didn’t like his game, but I shouldn’t have allowed it to spoil my pleasure the way I allowed it to. You aren’t going to love every player on your favorite team.

  254. I have tried the Leftovers twice and haven’t gotten liftoff. Is it known as a show that takes a while to get going?

    Melo, so happy he is staying Portland. Didn’t really believe he was coming back but lord that would have been awful.

  255. Owen:
    I have tried the Leftovers twice and haven’t gotten liftoff. Is it known as a show that takes a while to get going?

    I had watched the first episode perhaps 3 times in the past until I finally followed through this year. Season 1 is super grim and heavy, and it has some of its detractors, but I couldn’t stop watching from Episode 2. Then Seasons 2 and 3 just take the show to the stratosphere. A combination of lyrical and entertaining at the same time.

  256. I find that it takes me awhile to warm up to almost any series.

    I watched a 1/2 season of Ray Donovan. I thought it was horrible and stopped. One night there was absolutely nothing on TV and an actor I like was on an episode. So I watched that episode and loved it. So I watched another, then another. Then I rewatched the whole thing and it became a show I enjoy a lot. I’m not sure what it is, but I seem to have to warm up to the characters before a show hits me.

    Queen’s Gambit was a recent exception. I’m a bad chess player and never put much energy into it, but I love the game and keep up with the tournaments and ratings. Some of my friends hated that series. I’m crying that I finished it already and there may not be a season 2. I loved it. I watched the whole series in 2 days.

    I watched 2 episodes of Leftovers, threw in the towel, and never went back.

  257. I remember Homeland episode 1 being impossible not to follow up with episode 2. But, yeah, few TV shows have ever hooked me right off like that. And ALL the shows everybody here seems to love were all pretty disposable after episode 1 (and apparently got much much better after that). I am curious about the Leftovers, and will try it out at some point…

    (I’m about 6 years late to it, but I’ve been watching Mozart in the Jungle lately, and find it a lot of fun, partly because it’s about a world that I love and understand immensely, but also because it is incredibly light and easy to consume. It’s virtually conflict free, and never leaves a bad taste in my mouth. (I just watched an episode that was directed by Jason Schwartzman, which was fantastic—I love that he’s involved in it, because everything he does is great).

  258. Yeah, Owen, I would say that season 1 of Leftovers is tough sledding. It was my favorite show of that year, but it’s grim as hell and kind of all over the map, story-wise. But seasons 2 and 3 are some of the greatest dramatic television ever made, and it doesn’t work nearly as well if you haven’t watched that first year. A bunch of fellow critics who weren’t nearly as high as I was on the show at the start fell in love with it with the season 2 premiere. I usually hate when people tell me, “Oh, that show gets good if you watch 7 or 8 hours of it!” In this case, it’s worth it.

  259. The thing is I actually really liked Melo when he was in Denver. That team that got to the WCF with Billups and took the Lakers to 6…that was a really fun team and it really looked like Melo was about to be a superstar.

    So when he said he wanted to come to the Knicks, I was into it. But then the melodrama. We just kept adding piece after piece after piece to that trade and it was never enough. And Melo did nothing to help us in those negotiations. But when we made the trade, I thought well we got him now. Lets make it work.

    The Lin thing really made me sad. I always wonder what would have happened if Lin hadn’t gotten hurt. After Dantoni left, they had a healthy Lin, Stat and Melo under Woodson and the team just looked ready to compete. Won like 9 in a row…had a few blowout wins where it looked like Lin and Melo were enjoying playing together and I always felt like Lin was more than happy to defer to Melo anyways. Then he tore his meniscus but I thought “they’ll sign him.” Then the poison pill. I couldn’t believe that.

    But I did genuinely enjoy the 54 win season with the vets, especially the first part of the season when we came out going 18-6, beat Miami twice…creamed them on their home court around the holidays. I remember after that game I thought we really had a shot. The end of the year run was nice with Kmart but it just felt a little different. Then it all fell apart when JR elbowed Terry. UGH.

  260. re-watching vikings right now…the first few seasons are outstanding…need to check out the second season of the mandalorian, took me til episode 6 of the first season to start getting in to it…trying not to get my expectations too high, but, looking forward to seeing one of my favorite star wars characters make their live action debut…

  261. Alright, Leftovers is on the list. I still have some time before my appt to have all three viruses shot into me at once come through. I have never looked forward to a needle more….

  262. “I usually hate when people tell me, “Oh, that show gets good if you watch 7 or 8 hours of it!” In this case, it’s worth it.”

    How good can anything be if more than one-third of it is described by a fan as “tough sledding?” I mean, how many all time classic novels or movies you’ve never read/watched could you have spent 28 hours with instead of “The Leftovers?”

    Whenever people talk about today as “The New Golden Age of Television,” I always want to point out that it’s really “The Golden Age of Very Well Made TV Shows That Appeal To Very Small Audiences.” It’s great for the fans of those shows who never could have gotten TV like that in the past but there seems something societally unhealthy and economic unsustainable about it. It’s like super-hero comics which are now intentionally written for people in their 20s and 30s and are probably read largely by people in their 40s and older.

    Mike

  263. Humper, there is no E and co – as an original Frank stan, who in fact bet you and Hubert $100 each that Frank would be a league-average player by 2022, I am glad they re-signed Payton. He’s a competent point guard, albeit one who can’t shoot, but then that’s why they could get him for $5 mil and one year.

    An agent traffics in the perception of value, and all Rose’s moves show him to be an astute judge of value. Coming from CAA, he places a premium on process, and that was revealed by the various secondary hires, people with proven records of evaluating talent and managing cap space etc. Whatever has been said about his putative intentions, his actions themselves have been prudent. Signing Noel for nothing; declining most of the options; bringing Payton back for very little; the Davis trades – all solid. We didn’t do any of the stupid shit we used to do – we didn’t overpay Hayward, we didn’t trade for Westbrook, we didn’t hope that FVV could be more than he is, we didn’t throw away draft picks like pocket lint. Really the only thing I didn’t like is not offering Wood that deal. But once we had Toppin, it made sense not to, so even there I can’t complain.

    As for Obi and Quickly, they wouldn’t have been my choices, but they are hard to argue: for a blog focused on analytics, people seemed surprisingly negative. Obi’s advanced stats are excellent, and his team performed very well with him on the floor, so it seems worth the risk that Hali or a few others could turn out to be better. And Quickly was superb in his limited role. It’s a bit of a swing from the pure wishcasting of Knox and Frank, but it’s better on this side of the pendulum than the other.

    For the first time in many years, I think we can tentatively embrace ephus’s refrain: It (could be) a good time to be a Knicks fan…

  264. let’s get one thing straight…. obi’s ‘advanced stats’ rely entirely on his shooting % which as we’ve seen so far is not usually a strong predictive factor (eg., lonzo ball, okafor)…. his rebounding and def #s are quite mediocre… so his good advanced stats is really his ability to finish inside…. which is probably explained by his outsized transition buckets….

    quickley under no circumstance was superb by any measure….

  265. i’m glad they’re punting on next season and i’m happy they’re acquiring assets.

    but this idea that “at least they pivoted well” ignores the fact that they fucked up their whole draft by having this stupid plan in the first place.

  266. How good can anything be if more than one-third of it is described by a fan as “tough sledding?”

    “Tough sledding” in this case means “unrelentingly dark and harrowing, but spectacularly acted, written, and directed.” It was a great show from the start. But also one where I get why it may not be anyone’s first choice, especially in pandemic times.

  267. How good can anything be if more than one-third of it is described by a fan as “tough sledding?”

    i give you: spartacus; blood and sand…that refers to the first season of the show…episodes 1 thru 3 are okay, episode one is a little tough to make it through (strong finish though to the episode) – but, from episode four (the thing in the pit) on, that show just rock and rolls…

    best stand alone season eva…

  268. We’re about to finish Normal People, which has several times torn my heart out of my chest, stomped on it, dusted it off, gave it a kiss, and put it back in its place.

  269. Owen, you’ve endured 20 years of being a knicks fan. You can get through season 1 of the leftovers. At least there’s a payoff.

  270. But from the player’s point of view, wouldn’t you be mad that they didn’t do it right away and are waiting to see what your market value is?

    Oh, of course, but what can they do? Take the qualifying offer and risk losing over a hundred million dollars?

  271. Alan: Melo going into the Hall of Fame primarily as a Blazer would be like when Wade Boggs wore a Tampa Bay cap in his Cooperstown plaque. But I am also happy to wash my hands of the entire legacy of Melo’s time in New York. Even the one year of his tenure when the team was great, very little of my pleasure came from his play.

    are we sure Melo is a hall of famer?

  272. are we sure Melo is a hall of famer?

    If it were just an NBA Hall of Fame, yes.

    Since it is strictly a “Basketball Hall of Fame,” a hundred times yes. The guy won a college title and three Gold Medals at basketball. He was a shoo-in years ago.

  273. @thenoblefacehumper, I’m around the same age as you and voluntarily chose to be a Knicks fan. I started getting into the NBA in high school during Stoudemire’s first year with the team, and I was too much of a contrarian to root for the Bulls (I’m from Illinois), so I went with what seemed to be a youngish team on the rise, with STAT highlights playing a big role there. Finding this blog was what cemented me as a Knicks fan, and now ten years later I think I’m locked in for life, for good or ill. . . One of these days I’ll actually go to New York for a Knicks home game.

  274. I’ve already surprisingly seen it with his views on comics, as well, but it is good to know that all of Mike’s views are terrible. You almost have to admire the consistency.

    Brian

  275. Hubert: are we sure Melo is a hall of famer?

    Have you seen who makes it into the Hall of Fame? Melo’s definitely getting in.

  276. Hollinger and Duncan are both down on the Knicks’ off-season acquisitions:

    “On the surface, New York signed a good contract by getting Austin Rivers on a three-year deal for just $10 million, with the final two years non-guaranteed. This is another New York deal that should have some asset value at the trade deadline and deliver a second-round pick.

    Here’s my one concern about New York’s free agency: The Knicks sure are making it hard for R.J. Barrett to thrive. Last season’s team choked all the space around Barrett in his rookie season, making life extremely difficult for a born slasher who needs driving lanes.

    Instead of adding off-ball threats, however, New York has gone in the opposite direction. Signees Rivers, Elfrid Payton and Alec Burks all thrive best with the ball in their hands and aren’t the most threatening floor spacers. Bringing back Reggie Bullock helps, and perhaps rookie Immanuel Quickley can fill a role here too, but New York needs to make it easier for last year’s third overall pick to succeed.”

    Duncan basically echoed the same thing. He’s always been down on RJ so I take this as a grain of salt. 2-Man/3-Man data is behind a paywall on BR, but is there any indication of which players specifically RJ played with on last year’s team?

  277. It’s weird to consider Burks as not a good floor spacer. He’s a career .364 shooter from three and last year shot .385 from three.

  278. 2 and 3 man data isn’t really worth all that much … especially with the shortened season and especially with a coaching change and especially especially that rj’s play as a rookie is going to look a lot different than how he plays going forward…. it’s not really all that informative in usual circumstances yet people rely on it for whatever reason and it leads to bad analysis….

    and as far as spacing being an issue…. it’s really not an issue…. our problem is talent and production…. much better teams than us have the same exact ‘spacing’ issues as us and it doesn’t hinder them from having decent records….. if you’re good at basketball someone like julius randle or marcus morris isn’t going to be the difference between you being good or bad….. if it is then you’re probably not all that good to begin with….

  279. The problem with RJ is unless he learns to shoot he’s not worth building around. Better spacing would help him but tbh benching RJ to give Randle and Mitch better spacing would make a bigger difference in wins and losses this year if RJ’s shooting doesn’t improve. Obviously wins and losses aren’t going to matter this year but unless you think RJ has a real future as a point forward it’s jumper or bust. If he can’t shoot jiggling the lineup is only going to make marginal improvement to his game.

  280. Sportsbooks are coming out with regular season win totals. Here are the main competitors in the tankathon:

    NBA Regular Season Win Totals

    30: Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bulls
    29: Kings
    28.5: Wizards
    26.5: Hornets
    26: Thunder
    24: Pistons
    22.5: Knicks
    22: Cavs
    (via PointsBetUsa)

    Might be tough to beat out the Pistons and Cavs but I think the Knicks can do it with the current roster.

  281. nicos:
    The problem with RJ is unless he learns to shoot he’s not worth building around. Better spacing would help him but tbh benching RJ to give Randle and Mitch better spacing would make a bigger difference in wins and losses this year if RJ’s shooting doesn’t improve. Obviously wins and losses aren’t going to matter this year but unless you think RJ has a real future as a point forward it’s jumper or bust. If he can’t shoot jiggling the lineup is only going to make marginal improvement to his game.

    I’ve been struggling with that too. Especially at the line. If he can’t fix his free throw shooting dramatically, if the team miraculously makes the playoffs, he becomes a hack-a-shaq candidate – a huge liability.

  282. “Owen, you’ve endured 20 years of being a knicks fan. You can get through season 1 of the leftovers. At least there’s a payoff.”

    Hahahahaha

    It’s funny to find the right comp for 20 years of the Knicks. It hasn’t really been dark and harrowing. It’s been mostly a total clown show.

    If I had to pick one movie it would probably be Battleship, maybe with David Lee in the Brooklyn Decker role. That is a gloriously, hilariously bad movie.

  283. Z-man predicts that the most pleasant Knicks surprise of this coming season will be…..Ignas Brazdeikis.

    Iggy had excellent college stats, shooting well from 3, 2 and FTs. Athletic, dedicated, ambidextrous…rebounded, got to the line…didn’t pass much but hey, can work on that. He played reasonably well in the G-league, seemed to work on his passing a bit. I’m assuming he worked his ass off for the last 8 months. He’s still only 21. (I wonder where he would have went in this year’s draft had he stayed in college.)

    He’s no Ron Baker (i.e. not worthy of a $5 mill no trade deal) but there’s potential there.

  284. The glaring flaw in Hollinger and Duncan’s analysis is they assume the goal is to “build around” RJ. I like RJ, but that’s insane. He’s done nothing that would come remotely close to justifying that.

    The real goal seems to be “put the young core in a decent position to succeed without overpaying in terms of dollars and ping pong balls to do so.” The young core consists of three players: RJ, Mitch, and Toppin. The latter two project to get most of their points of assists, so signing one of the better assist men in the NBA to a tiny contract makes a lot of sense, even if he’s not a perfect fit with the former. Burks and Rivers do help with spacing about as much as anyone at their price point ever will.

    At the end of the day, RJ isn’t going very far as a player if he doesn’t provide some damn spacing himself. It would be silly to construct the team as if we have Giannis.

  285. It sounds more and more like Perry, who seems clueless about talent, has been Berman’s source for these latest stories.

    That, or one of Rose’s guys is now feeding Berman info to make Perry look bad and explain why Rose will soon be firing him. There’s a degree to which keeping Perry around through the draft made sense, since his administration had been doing all the scouting. But now that the draft and the first wave of free agency are over, maybe he gets cut loose and Aller, Perrin, or Zanin gets the GM job?

    More likely, though, it’s Perry trying to cover his ass so he doesn’t get blamed for another tank season.

  286. I would very much like to see Iggy play this year. The shortened preseason will hurt him, as will the rumored lack of a G-League season. Hopefully, he balls out so much in training camp and scrimmages that Thibs has no choice but to give him some run. Even though I know “fixing” Knox is among this group’s priorities.

  287. Z-man:
    Z-man predicts that the most pleasant Knicks surprise of this coming season will be…..Ignas Brazdeikis.

    I love your optimism, Z-man, and i would love if Iggy has a breakout season, but i think if the most pleasant surprise doesn’t come from one (or more) of Mitch, Obi and RJ, we’re screwed!

  288. Z-man: Z-man predicts that the most pleasant Knicks surprise of this coming season will be…..Ignas Brazdeikis.

    Odds are he doesn’t see the floor. Who does he jump ahead of?

  289. I don’t really see from the linked article that Perry’s job is in jeopardy. He has his player preferences like any NBA executive, but it’s not his job to set player strategy or evaluate player potential. That’s done by Aller and Perrin. His job is get targeted players at reasonable cost and maybe to help decide what a reasonable cost is. I think he should keep doing just that.

  290. Alan:
    I would very much like to see Iggy play this year. The shortened preseason will hurt him, as will the rumored lack of a G-League season. Hopefully, he balls out so much in training camp and scrimmages that Thibs has no choice but to give him some run. Even though I know “fixing” Knox is among this group’s priorities.

    It will be interesting to see how the prolonged offseason will affect player development. Remember how people were spooked by MitchRob quitting organized basketball to work on his game in private? It certainly didn’t seem to hurt him, to the point that there are less questions about Wiseman than there might have been otherwise.

    My daughter is experiencing kind of the same thing. She is a D3 volleyball player who was scheduled to enter her sophomore year and just turned 19 in October. Once they cancelled their season she decided to take the fall off, saving a year of eligibility at the cost of not graduating on time with her class. She didn’t play much last year and had an all-american and another very good outside hitter in front of her. She’s a bit undersized to boot. (5’8″ is short for an OH in her league) so she is using the down time to do crossfit training with a personal trainer and work on specific volleyball skills. She already backsquats 205 and clean and jerks 175 and still has 8 months to get ready for training camp 2021. Even though the rest of the team stayed on campus and had workouts and scrimmages, there is no doubt that she’s better off not being there and working individually.

    That’s what makes this upcoming training camp and preseason so interesting re: the young guys. At their age, there’s no telling what happened to them in 8 months of private workouts.

  291. I think we have our next poll question! Relative to past performance I’m going to pick our baby giraffe Kevin Knox to be the biggest surprise. I realize it’s an absolutely horrible pick given he’s been objectively a bottom 5 player in the league in each of his first two years and I have absolutely no good reason for making it but there it is. I think he gets more consistent with his shot and strong enough to draw more fouls raising his TS% into the .530-50 range which still isn’t good but would make a very surprising giant leap forward for him!

    Mitch (or really RJ) hitting threes would be the best surprise but I think Knox becoming a passable offensive player is more likely.

  292. Would love to have you be right, Z-Man, and would certainly love to see Iggy get some burn to find out. My real concern is numbers. There are is a great mosh pit of players in front of him, all of who purportedly do sort of the same thing (badly, largely, but still). We have RJ, Burk, and Bullock as 6’6″ wings (also Iggy’s size), then we maddeningly traded for Rivers, and there’s Frank, and with Randle still here at the 4 with Toppin (and now Spellman, who I like) that means Knox will probably have to play some wing.

    This is yet another reason why I don’t like the Rivers pickup (outside of not liking Rivers). He just muddies the waters without bringing anything at all, really. But he won’t be left on the bench because he’s Rivers.

  293. Z-man: She already backsquats 205

    I told her that she posted this and she corrected me to 225. I only put the numbers up b/c there was an extensive workout discussion here a few months ago; the numbers don’t mean much to me but I’m assuming they must be good. :)

  294. Raven:
    Would love to have you be right, Z-Man, and would certainly love to see Iggy get some burn to find out. My real concern is numbers. There are is a great mosh pit of players in front of him, all of who purportedly do sort of the same thing (badly, largely, but still). We have RJ, Burk, and Bullock as 6’6? wings (also Iggy’s size), then we maddeningly traded for Rivers, and there’s Frank, and with Randle still here at the 4 with Toppin (and now Spellman, who I like) that means Knox will probably have to play some wing.

    This is yet another reason why I don’t like the Rivers pickup (outside of not liking Rivers). He just muddies the waters without bringing anything at all, really. But he won’t be left on the bench because he’s Rivers.

    Yeah, it will be very tough to crack the rotation without trades, injury or underperformance by others. His defense was pretty bad…he may suffer from a fatal case of allonzotrieritis…especially if Thibs is the judge. So the question is, has his defensive aptitude improved via a physical makeover or is he still a walking bucket for the other team?

    I’ll be rooting hard for him, though…and all the young guys.

  295. In a way, it seems like Rose has set up a flea market stand for used NBA players…Rivers, Payton, Bullock, Noel….all available at a modest price…maybe the young guys take a back seat while those guys are showcased…or included in a bigger deal with Randle.

  296. oh man, i was athletic once…it must feel so good to be 19…i got an okay memory of my past, but, i can’t remember what it felt like to be in really good shape anymore…time and lifestyle has gravitated a good bit of my mass from my limbs to torso…

    the thought of squatting 225 hurts…

    very cool that you have her back home for a while…

  297. geo:
    oh man, i was athletic once…it must feel so good to be 19…i got an okay memory of my past, but, i can’t remember what it felt like to be in really good shape anymore…time and lifestyle has gravitated a good bit of my mass from my limbs to torso…

    the thought of squatting 225 hurts…

    very cool that you have her back home for a while…

    All 3 of my “kids” are home…it’s not nearly as cute and fun as it was when they were little, but not terrible either!

  298. Never believe squat numbers until you see the depth

    Never trust that Ntilikina can dribble a basketball into the paint until you see it with your own eyes

  299. I’m doing this just to help me keep track. My brain feels Trumpified with all these trades.

    PG: Elf, DSJ (please no)
    1-2 Variety Pack: Frank (defense), Rivers (running around fast), Quickley (offense)
    Actual SG: Bullock, Evans
    SF: RJ, Burk, Knox (sigh), Iggy
    PF: Randle, Toppin, Spellman (fat stretch 4), Knox (skinny bad stretch 4)
    C: Mitch, Noel, Spellman

  300. f I had to pick one movie it would probably be Battleship, maybe with David Lee in the Brooklyn Decker role. That is a gloriously, hilariously bad movie.

    i have, for a long time, been touting the virtues of Battleship, which i first saw on an airplane. nothing like the knicks, though. that movie is bad i enjoy it. i do not enjoy the knicks.

  301. The really disturbing thing about that lineup is that the only players who can shoot threes at all are our third-string center/power forward, our second-string small forward, our starting shooting guard, and perhaps our fourth or fifth string rookie point guard. Which suggests that for much of any game, we probably won’t have more than one actual shooter on the floor. Occasionally two. Very possibly lengthy stretches of none.

    Modern day basketball, Knicks 2020.

  302. it’s not nearly as cute and fun as it was when they were little, but not terrible either!

    the boys mom came to pick them up this afternoon…can’t wait to get home and listen to: silence…i love a quiet home…

    after a couple of days though, i’ll look in their rooms and miss them…miss seeing god daughter in her room a lot…just something about knowing the kids are safe in their rooms that makes for such a comforting feeling…

    then again, quiet, less cooking and cleaning is nice too…

    still undecided about how much time i’ll spend at moms during thanksgiving…sis already cancelled from coming down from the bay area…

    i’ll where a mask, we’ll open windows and keep some distance from one another, but, i know ma likes it when i spend a couple of days there…she has her home set up like a comfy bed and breakfast…other than my sis (a few months ago) and myself – nobody’s visited her since the virus started…

    it’s just tough, i’m still going to work each day, i’m around the kids every weekend, going to stores…i don’t know…

  303. Never underestimate the heart of the underdog
    Watching Ntilikina driving in the paint for a facial dunk over a center tells you all you need to know about his heart and gives you power to carry on as a long tortured knicks fan.

  304. Hollinger and Duncan are both down on the Knicks’ off-season acquisitions:

    Duncan thought Dennis Smith Jr was the best prospect on the Knicks last offseason. He’s a lawyer who watches a lot of basketball, he’s not particularly insightful.

    The Knicks signed some scrubs to one year contracts, but they make more sense than last years and are making no money. It’s fine, we’re punting this year.

  305. Has anyone taken a good look at the teams that finished behind us last year to see if they made any moves that would make them likely to jump over us this year?

    We made two 1st round picks, have some young players with upside, and a better coach, but other than that the core team is arguably the same as last year.

    This is the tankerblogger forum. I think we might as well start evaluating the next draft class and our lottery competitors now. A couple of them probably came away with better players out of the draft and others may have made more improvements elsewhere. Even with some upside we might be positioned well for another good lottery pick. One of these years the ping pong balls will smile on us.

  306. no way are we significantly worse than the:
    cavs
    pistons
    wiz
    bulls
    hornets
    maybe even the hawks (they play way worse than they should)

    8th or 9th seed and the “playoffs” – here we come…

  307. Knicks three point percent this year and career:

    Elf: 20.3 / 28.9
    Frank: 32.1 / 31.1
    DSJ: 29.6 / 31.4
    Rivers: 35.6 / 34.8 (he’s average at something!)
    Evans: 33.3 / 31.5
    Quickley: 42.8 / 39.7 (college)
    Bullock: 33.3 / 38.5
    Burks: 38.5 / 36.4
    RJ: 32.0 / 32.0 (one year)
    Randle: 27.7 / 29.5
    Toppin: 39.0 /41.7 (college)
    Spellman: 39.1 / 36.6
    Noel: 33.3 / 28.6 (career 2-7)
    Mitch: 00.0 / 00.0 (that’ll change!)

    I’m pouring a long one and hitting the sack on that one.

  308. Looked at a couple betting sites for early win totals and we’re in the 22-24 range. Is it finally time to bet the Knicks over?

  309. Charlotte is probably better than us. They signed an actual NBA player and drafted a PG that’s a shot away from star potential. They may be positioned much worse, but they are probably better than us now unless we get good upside from the young players and coaching.

    The Hawks are not even a conversation. They are massively better than us.

    The Bulls are better than us when healthy.

  310. >Looked at a couple betting sites for early win totals and we’re in the 22-24 range. Is it finally time to bet the Knicks over?<

    How many teams are ranked below us?

  311. detroit actually has some talent on its roster…. delon wright and grant will make them appreciably better…. okc might be in the running depending on how much horford has left in the tank or if he’s even going to stay on the roster….. they are very obviously tanking pretty hard….. cleveland also probably has less talent than us so they’ll be in the running too….

    other than that i think we have pretty smooth sailing to a bottom 3 record barring any injuries.. i think even a small breakout or two we might be safe…..

  312. Yes, Detroit signed Grant and has Blake Griffin too who hardly played at all last year. He supposedly rehabbed.

    Even Washington could be better if Wall returns and can still play.

    Some of theses teams are positioned worse, but they have a few real NBA players and might be better than us unless we get good development.

  313. So 3p specialist Bullock with 33,3% was considered good last season over Frank 32,1% and RJ 32,0% who were terrible from 3 ?
    (I suppose due to his career % echo?)

  314. Extremely Early Pythian Oracle
    If the strategy is “kill em all” i see the knicks at 36-36 record due to Thibs’ influence.
    If it’s “Tanks Not Dead” i predict 16-18W.

  315. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    We’re about to finish Normal People, which has several times torn my heart out of my chest, stomped on it, dusted it off, gave it a kiss, and put it back in its place.

    I thought it was really good as well even if half the time I wanted to shake them and say “What the hell are you doing?” Also had some of the most realistic sex scenes I’ve seen- not particularly erotic (at least to me) but felt very, very real.

  316. not particularly erotic (at least to me) but felt very, very real.

    i like it, now we’re getting personal…

  317. The Thibs effect will be worth a couple of wins. We are running out roughly the same team as last year, with Obi, Burks and Noel probably adding at least as much as we lost in cutting 1 1’s and Dotson.

    We were 17-27 after Miller took over. No reason to believe that we can’t win at that rate with this bunch. None of the draft picks will move the needle much for EC teams, and there wasn’t a massive influx of talent into the conference. So that translates to 27.9 wins in a 72-game season. If you want to say that some lottery teams improved while playoff teams stayed better than us even if they regressed, 22-24 wins seems fair. I think between Thibs and at least marginal improvement from young returners, the over is a good bet.

  318. I think we are better than the wizards

    Going to have to think about it but I can’t remember taking the under not working out…

  319. The Thibs effect could also be to play playoffs intensity bball during the reg.season.
    We may end up exhausted/dead and swept during the playoffs but we could upset many teams on and off msg during reg.season imo.

  320. as stands today: 27 to 33…that’s a big range, should be clearer once camp is in session…

    8th seed came in at 33 wins, 10th seed was 23 wins (only 65 games played though)…if miller was there from the beginning last year, we would have most likely hit 25…fiz was just that bad…seems like a really nice guy, just ill-equipped for that job…

    no doubt we wear well deserved brownish shaded glasses, but…thibs = at least 27…he’ll bellow it out of them…but, who knows what’ll really take place a month from now, even then we may not have a good idea of who the team will be for at least 20 games…lot of new pieces on the team…

    i hope frank starts day one…

  321. Adam’s got a 2 year 35 million extension. Interesting price point for Mitch too.

    I like Adams a lot and looks like the Pels do too. With how he plays defense seems a very fair price.

  322. Never trust that Ntilikina can dribble a basketball into the paint until you see it with your own eyes

    Look up “Frank Ntilikina vs Wizards 2020” on YouTube. Sadly, I’ve watched it more than once. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

  323. Raven:
    Knicks three point percent this year and career:

    Elf: 20.3 / 28.9
    Frank: 32.1 / 31.1
    DSJ: 29.6 / 31.4
    Rivers: 35.6 / 34.8 (he’s average at something!)
    Evans: 33.3 / 31.5
    Quickley: 42.8 / 39.7 (college)
    Bullock: 33.3 / 38.5
    Burks: 38.5 / 36.4
    RJ: 32.0 / 32.0 (one year)
    Randle: 27.7 / 29.5
    Toppin: 39.0 /41.7 (college)
    Spellman: 39.1 / 36.6
    Noel: 33.3 / 28.6 (career 2-7)
    Mitch: 00.0 / 00.0 (that’ll change!)

    I’m pouring a long one and hitting the sack on that one.

    I’m glad you posted this. I listened the recent Dunc’d on podcast where they reviewed the Knicks moves this morning. They thought the Knicks didn’t get enough floor spacing and had too many people who needed the ball in their hands. But when you look at the list you posted, all the new players the Knicks acquired shoot 33% on threes or better. It’s the hold overs from last season who shoot the worst. I’m not sure what Knicks management was supposed to do, if you agree Hayward was overpaid and Van Vleet wasn’t going to move. Dunc’d on agreed on this but still wanted some miracle from Knicks management. I guess the Knicks could have not signed Payton, but actually management hesitated with Payton and only signed him when it was clear they couldn’t get someone better. It’s similar talking about players who need the ball in their hands.

    Most people assume this year’s team will be worse than last year’s but I am not so sure. It’s a more balanced team and I don’t think anyone, even RJ, will get a pass into the starting lineup without winning the position.

  324. We’re missing Marcus Morris who carried our team for awhile with his .500 3p%. No way he does that ever again, but we’ll definitely miss that shooting this year.

    Otherwise, we should shoot better across the board.

  325. Shooting better across the board and shooting well — or even not terribly — are two very different things. We were horrendous last year. This year, as currently constructed, we have two people who shot above league average at the three — our third-string power forward and our second-string small forward. Even if Bullock comes back to his mean (which I think is likely) that’s gag-inducing. Remember, the league AVERAGE is 35.8. Go back and look at that list again. Most of the team isn’t even close. To league average.

    A lot of snipers changed hands over the last few days. We got two guys who aren’t terrible, and two rookies who maybe aren’t bad, but I wouldn’t pop any corks over that.

  326. This is the first year in many years where I’d take the over. And that’s with a bunch of new players, a very short training camp, and a lot more play against tougher teams in the conference. It’s not the off-season of 1000 forwards and a clueless coach.

    Of course, it’d be nice to finish with the worst record, but with the flattened lottery odds I can’t even get to upset about it if we don’t.

  327. Raven:
    Shooting better across the board and shooting well — or even not terribly — are two very different things. We were horrendous last year. This year, as currently constructed, we have two people who shot above league average at the three — our third-string power forward and our second-string small forward. Even if Bullock comes back to his mean (which I think is likely) that’s gag-inducing. Remember, the league AVERAGE is 35.8. Go back and look at that list again. Most of the team isn’t even close. To league average.

    A lot of snipers changed hands over the last few days. We got two guys who aren’t terrible, and two rookies who maybe aren’t bad, but I wouldn’t pop any corks over that.

    We don’t need good shooters. We just need shooters who keep the defense from planting 5 guys in the paint every trip down the floor.

  328. I think the context of this discussion is will our new acquisitions improve our offense from last year or will it be the same or worse, as the Kas Vegas line suggests it will be. It’s worth recalling that our offense was dead last or 29th all last year even with Morris shooting well. That’s not surprising given how well we shot threes (and twos, for that matter). If we start Payton, Barrett, RJ, Randle and Mitch, there is no reason to assume the offense will be much better than last year unless RJ takes a big leap or the bench shoots lights out. After all, that’s basically the same starters as last year. Perhaps we’ll have Toppin, Quickley and Burks as rotation players and that might make a difference, along with Frank being better at open threes, but it’s hard to imagine the bench being a big effect. I mean we did improve our three point shooting on paper, but unless those new players are good enough to get significant minutes and they shoot well, I don’t expect to see an even top twenty five offense.

    And I hate saying this. I went into the exercise thinking the new players will help us improve offensively, but couldn’t come to that conclusion when I tried to estimate who would actually play.

  329. Galloway signed for the minimum in Phoenix. If he was that cheap, I would have preferred to give him a few million over Rivers.

  330. Knick fan not in NJ:
    I think the context of this discussion is will our new acquisitions improve our offense from last year or will it be the same or worse, as the Kas Vegas line suggests it will be.It’s worth recalling that our offense was dead last or 29th all last year even with Morris shooting well. That’s not surprising given how well we shot threes (and twos, for that matter). If we start Payton, Barrett, RJ, Randle and Mitch, there is no reason to assume the offense will be much better than last year unless RJ takes a big leap or the bench shoots lights out. After all, that’s basically the same starters as last year.Perhaps we’ll have Toppin, Quickley and Burks as rotation players and that might make a difference, along with Frank being better at open threes, but it’s hard to imagine the bench being a big effect. I mean we did improve our three point shooting on paper, but unless those new players are good enough to get significant minutes and they shoot well, I don’t expect to see an even top twenty five offense.

    And I hate saying this.I went into the exercise thinking the new players will help us improve offensively, but couldn’t come to that conclusion when I tried to estimate who would actually play.

    If we have a PG all year, there’s reason to believe we’ll improve.

    Our offense would have tied for 21st I’d we only count the time after Payton’s return, putting together a 109 ORTG.

    Prior to Payton’s return our offense ranked 30th with a 103 ORTG, approximately 2 pts below the next worst team.

  331. Knicks could still sign Bogdonovic. $18 million might be enough.

    I’d enjoy that, though Begley’s latest says the rest of the league is getting signals that NY would rather rent out its remaining space for more assets than take on long term salary. I guess Bogey could be the exception, though, since he is a long-term asset.

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