NY Post: Knicks nip Pacers to reach .500, pull into fourth place in Eastern Conference

From Peter Botte:

Twice in the previous 10 days, the Knicks had wasted opportunities to push their record to the .500 mark in unsightly losses to the Magic and the Warriors.

They appeared headed for another blown chance to even their record and move up in the murky Eastern Conference on Saturday night. Coach Tom Thibodeau’s surging squad stormed back from a 16-point deficit in the first half, however, and moved into a tie for fourth place in the playoff standings with a gritty 110-107 win over the Pacers at the Garden.

The Knicks improved to 17-17 and are deadlocked with the Raptors entering Sunday’s visit to conference-worst Detroit (9-24).

Imagine if the Knicks had an actual winning record after 35 games!

Very nice win, with RJ playing some phenomenal basketball during a stretch where he brought the Knicks back into the lead. Yes, he bricked two free throws that could have been brutal, but, whatever, the other stuff was more important than two missed free throws.

The Eastern Conference, man, it is high-larious that the Knicks would technically have home court in the first round at this point, with a .500 record! This Conference is such a mess. However, it is a mess that everyone else is involved with, as well, so it is not like the Knicks aren’t playing the same teams as everyone else. Best of a mess is still something to be proud of for this franchise.

Having a winning record after 35 games would be even sweeter!

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108 thoughts to “NY Post: Knicks nip Pacers to reach .500, pull into fourth place in Eastern Conference”

  1. BigBlueAL:
    Very quiet past couple of days from the Thibs haters, only win with mercs crowd.

    sorry, I was having myself a Saturday.

    38 minutes for Rose, 13 for IQ. Another night with a game 7 minutes distribution. 48 minutes of Bullock & Burks. Do you want us to beat the drum every time?

    This team is 17-17, not 24-10. And we lead the league in minutes played by our starters. Maybe save your victory lap.

    I don’t hate Thibs, I just question if he has the optimal priorities. I do hate Derrick Rose, though, and evidence indicates Thibs is holding the team back by giving him this much PT over IQ.

    Nice to see Frank get some burn. To echo ptmilo, we really ought to see if he’s developed a bit before we toss him aside, but he’ll likely never see the court when Payton comes back.

  2. Good win and man it feels so good to be a respectable team (plus, Grapefruit League starts today, days are getting longer, you could feel spring in the air).

    Julius Randle has transformed right before our eyes from a twirling turnover machine to a legitimate All-Star and it’s been really nice to watch.

    With one exception this team is easy to root for, they never give up (yesterday was another case study, the first 18 min were bad).
    They need to bathe in the grit and grind à la Memphis, always keep 100% laser focused on defense and never relentle.
    Every time they get too fancy or take their foot off the pedal they get killed and when it happens they could lose with everyone, because the talent is what it is.

    I’m not a Thibs hater, he and the coaches are doing a very good job with the defense and allowing Randle to show his potential within a system that helps him not to overdo it too often.

    Pointing to some perceived flaws is not “hate”, let’s not shape every discussion in a “with me or against me” argument, reality is way more nuanced.

    I don’t like his feticism for former players and yesterday he played Rose way too much and IQ too little.
    Watching the game I never thought Rose could have 11 assists, on the other hand I would have bet on more turnovers, he become careless as the game went on..
    I think he’s effective if used 20-25 minutes, 38 like yesterday is really too much, he doesn’t seem fit enough to support it.

    We’re playing with the same rules that everybody use, I don’t think Dallas feels bad for beating the Nets without Durant and Irving, so I’m happy with our position in the standings regardless.
    We need to bank as much games as possible now, because the second half schedule’s start’s gonna be brutal.

  3. Tonight’s game vs the Pistons is gonna be rough, being down two centers and a point guard. I hope this means more minutes for Obi at the 4 with Randle sliding to the 5 when Noel takes a breather. It feels like this team could use another deep bench big body.

  4. Perry’s always been Berman’s source for these hatchet jobs on Rose and the new guys and in return, Berman pretends out loud that Perry (and Mills LOL) actually did a good job. This one was particularly petty and transparent, right down to the “Perry’s been banished to G-League scouting while others sit in his old Garden seats” tidbit.

  5. 1. Thibs is a good coach and he’s making a huge difference in how this team performs, especially on defense.

    2. The Mercs are getting way too many minutes and it hurts the team’s long term chances of becoming great.

    Is this a reasonable take?

  6. What needs to explicitly happen so that Knicks definitely DO NOT re-sign Derrick Rose for next season?

    That’s the only thing on my mind at this point. I think he’s back barring a catastrophic injury and that blows.

  7. Ingmarrrr:
    1. Thibs is a good coach and he’s making a huge difference in how this team performs, especially on defense.

    2. The Mercs are getting way too many minutes and it hurts the team’s long term chances of becoming great.

    Is this a reasonable take?

    I think #1 is self-evident, as close to a fact as you can get.

    #2 is a reasonable opinion, but there are valid counter-arguments that we’ve gone over…in short, while it is agreed that we would mostly all like to see the young players more, it is not determined whether young players develop better via “tough love” or being used more, either as on equal footing with vets (say, Rose vs. IQ) or in spite of bad play (say, Obi or Knox). As to “mercs”, surely winning more games on the backs of players not likely to be a part of the future dilutes the odds of drafting a franchise player. But with the flattened odds, the impact is less than it was in the past. Winning theoretically builds credibility that could lure free agents, which some believe is just as expedient of a path to building a long-term contender. It’s also possible that the mercs like Noel (yay!) or Rose (barf!) will be re-upped. There’s no consensus on this, although the preponderance of posters seem to prefer the “play the kids and lose more games as a result” route.

  8. I think the main differences in posters is the degree to which they they a) enjoy the way the team is currently playing b) credit Thibs for the progress made by Randle, RJ, etc., c) feel about minutes distribution, d) think that Randle can be a cost-effective part of a future big 3, and e) see a path to a bright future under current front office leadership.

    Areas of agreement:

    -Drafting Obi at #8 was a mistake
    -Drafting IQ at #25 was a steal
    -Trading for Rose was a mistake
    -Randle is having a great year but is not worth a max contract

    One other area of disagreement is on trading assets for guys like Beal, LaVine, etc. I think the board is leaning towards expecting a major transaction to happen, and most would prefer to ride this season out.

  9. Z-man: in short [… shortened as to not run into the words limit …] “play the kids and lose more games as a result” route.

    Thanks for summarizing this in both posts, very cool.

    I wonder how do we interpret the evidence we have on our players.

    1. Frank got a lot of minutes (is this actually true, relatively to others with his production level?), performed horribly on offense and now in his 4th season stunningly has good advanced stats, although in limited minutes.

    2. Knox got a ton of minutes, played at bust level, and now in his 3rd year is still a bust.

    3. Mitch got less than the max minutes he could stay on the court for in his first 2 seasons, and now in his 3rd is a competent starter.

    4. RJ got what seemed like way too many minutes in his 1st year, and now in his 2nd his stats are mediocre but clearly improved and seems like he’s on a good trajectory.

    Based on the above can we come to any conclusion? I wish someone took the time to do research for the past 3-4 years across the entire league.

  10. #2 is a reasonable opinion, but there are valid counter-arguments that we’ve gone over…in short, while it is agreed that we would mostly all like to see the young players more, it is not determined whether young players develop better via “tough love” or being used more, either as on equal footing with vets (say, Rose vs. IQ) or in spite of bad play (say, Obi or Knox).

    This isn’t the only issue though. Another problem is Thibs’ approach leads to a distribution of roster spots that hurts the team’s long-term chances of becoming great. We already lost out on Justin Patton due to the presence pf Taj Gibson. There are a number of guys looking pretty good for the Westies (and other G-League teams), but it seems inevitable that we’ll lose out on them too due to a “roster crunch” that accounts for Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose.

    You can reasonably argue that the chances moves like these make a difference in our long-term outlook are remote, and that might not be wrong. The problems with this argument are 1) building a contender in the NBA is hard, and necessarily requires some long shots working out in your favor and 2) it’s not clear what exactly we’re gaining by punting on these long shots. Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose aren’t exactly the new age minutemen, how much worse would we be with Patton, King, Powell, Harper, etc. in their place?

    All that said, I’m not an unambiguous Thibs hater. I’m solidly in the Ingmarr camp–he clearly is doing some things well, and it’s possible we’ll be able to trade on those things in trying to build a contender. I just think it’s annoying when people scream “RECORD” in the face of any discussion of how what we’re doing now may affect the long-term.

  11. 2. Knox got a ton of minutes, played at bust level, and now in his 3rd year is still a bust.

    Knox is a trickier case because he played way too much in his first season and then was frequently in the doghouse in his second and now third. He also seems to have much less business being in the NBA than any of our other recent prospects. So… dunno.

  12. IMHO, “low BBIQ” rookies benefit more from a good coach, system and perhaps a ‘tough love’ approach. Some of these kids are very talented, but put effort in areas where they are unlikely to a) succeed or b) take advantage of in the future. For example, Mitch Robinson shooting threes might be focusing on a wrong aspect to improve. In the end, the players are responsible to improve, but I give credit to Thibs for making it easier for them.

    OTOH “high BBIQ” players might better learn from experience and following the rigid scheme of a coach might hamper them. I think Thibs should let Quickley have a bigger role. For me it is clear he is not the best in athleticism but is very quick (he!) to figure out how to outdo his opponents.

  13. Ingmarrrr: 1. Frank got a lot of minutes (is this actually true, relatively to others with his production level?), performed horribly on offense and now in his 4th season stunningly has good advanced stats, although in limited minutes.

    Most feel that Frank is at least competent in a 3-and-D role and might actually flourish if he played more. I, for one, wonder why defense-centric Thibs doesn’t spot him in more frequently, especially when rotation players are struggling. At this point, the prospects don’t look great…unless Frank continues to play better and better tonight and until Payton returns, it’s unlikely he will rejoin the rotation unless there is a trade or an injury.

    Ingmarrrr: 2. Knox got a ton of minutes, played at bust level, and now in his 3rd year is still a bust.

    His defense is still awful and he is still prone to vanishing on O. Yes, still a bust.

    Ingmarrrr: 3. Mitch got less than the max minutes he could stay on the court for in his first 2 seasons, and now in his 3rd is a competent starter.

    There was a lot of anxiety that Thibs would start Noel over Mitch, which turned out not to be true. However, Mitch’s offensive game has not developed one iota, making him somewhat less of a golden child around here. That Noel is giving Mitch-level production at $5 million suggests that Mitch is not as untouchable as folks thought going into the season.

    #4: RJ had a god-awful first 8 or 9 games. Since then he’s been mostly very solid…a bit erratic as you would expect from a 20yo but at least you can visualize a path to an all-star appearance. There is still a serious debate about his ceiling, and some (like me) wonder whether he might be best thought of as trade bait for a true star before his rookie contract runs out and you have to max him, in which case he will probably be overpaid. But his hard floor is quality starter on a good team, which is comforting given how badly he played at the start of the season.

  14. thenoblefacehumper: All that said, I’m not an unambiguous Thibs hater. I’m solidly in the Ingmarr camp–he clearly is doing some things well, and it’s possible we’ll be able to trade on those things in trying to build a contender. I just think it’s annoying when people scream “RECORD” in the face of any discussion of how what we’re doing now may affect the long-term.

    Exactly this. Especially when the record is 17-17.

    We just eked out a 3 point win where our top 4 guys averaged 39 minutes and it’s like “who can doubt Thibs now?” Come on.

  15. tnfh, I hear you, but viewed differently, that is the beauty of the merc situation. You don’t have roster spots tied up in long-term salary and you can free up a spot at any time simply by waiving one of the mercs. There are also the highly fungible two-way deals. If the Knicks felt strongly about Patton after getting a good look at him, they could have easily locked him up.

    I expect that there will be some roster moves made around the trade deadline, either picking up waived players or filling holes left by trades with more players going out than coming in. Rivers is surely a goner, and I wouldn’t be shocked if one of Payton/Bullock/Burks gets traded or waived.

  16. Hubert: We just eked out a 3 point win where our top 4 guys averaged 39 minutes and it’s like “who can doubt Thibs now?” Come on.

    Except that exactly no one said that…

  17. To clarify, I do believe that if you came aboard as a win-now coach, the RECORD is a fair measuring stick. Just being a win-now coach doesn’t make it so. Thibs has delivered as advertised. Whether you like the way he’s doing it or not is totally irrelevant to judging whether he is a good coach or not.

  18. The other issues are:

    1. the RECORD isn’t actually that good

    2. the RECORD is being achieved in part by a trick that is kinda smoke & mirrors, i.e. leaning on your starters more than any team in the league (that’s an actual stat this time that I didn’t make up).

    So maybe chill out a bit, and if people want to say IQ should start or Frank deserves some burn, don’t act like we’re haters of an almighty god.

  19. Hubert: that’s an actual stat this time that I didn’t make up).

    Can you point me to that actual stat? While there are a number of ways to calculate this, I am getting a different answer.

  20. it is not determined whether young players develop better via “tough love” or being used more, either as on equal footing with vets (say, Rose vs. IQ) or in spite of bad play (say, Obi or Knox). As to “mercs”,

    I think players do most of their skill development in the off season and practice, but there is an element of “experience” that is also part of development process that is probably different for each player.

    Beyond just their skill level, Quickley is a rookie, but he was mentally ready to come in and perform under pressure right away.

    Frank still looked like a deer in a headlight at times in year 3.

    I would say they both benefit their skill more practicing, but Frank needed the court time more to learn how to relax and get comfortable, not worry if he made a mistake, etc..

    I think the playoffs are the next level in that mental development. It’s one thing to hit 2 late free throws in game 34 against the Pacers and another to hit them in game 6 on the road when you are down 3-2 in the series playing the Bucks in the conference finals. That partly why they want to get into the playoffs.

  21. Hubert: 1. the RECORD isn’t actually that good

    It’s as good or better than the Celts, Heat, Raptors, Pacers and Hawks, all who any rational person would say had far better player personnel than the Knicks. That is factorial.

    Hubert: 2. the RECORD is being achieved in part by a trick that is kinda smoke & mirrors, i.e. leaning on your starters more than any team in the league (that’s an actual stat this time that I didn’t make up).

    Smoke and mirrors?! Trick?! Are you serious?!

    Is it a trick that the Nets are winning on the back of Harden’s league-leading MPG? Or that TOR is playing FVV the same amount of mpg as Randle?

    RJ is now 41st in mpg at 33.3 mpg. He’s 20 years old. His BPM is -2.3. Is he a merc that’s part of that smoke and mirrors?

    The next leading minutes-getter: Mercenary Mitchell Robinson (28.8 mpg) I guess his right hand just gave out from all those minutes.

    Next? Future HOFer Elfrid Payton. You know, the guy you say over and over sucks dogshit and should never play because he fucking sucks? That really must be a magic trick when your coach can win games by overplaying guys who don’t help you win games.

    So Thibs is winning by “overplaying” his all-star (that you and nearly everyone else had given up on and wanted to trade for a bag of balls), a 20yo, a 22yo, and two journeyman scrubs who have a combined BPM of -5.1?

    I gotta hand it to you Hubert, you really outdid yourself with this statememt.

  22. I like our record, but I’m more interested in the fact that we sucked at defense for quite a long time and now we are among the league leaders with a lot of same players we’ve had.

    Do you think coaching matters yet?

    One point that hasn’t been discussed is that this season is shorter by 10 games and we didn’t play in the bubble. Players should be able to handle more minutes before wearing down this season. If it get ridiculously excessive it could have an impact. We have a few guys (like Rose, Taj, and Noel) that will have to be watched, especially on back to backs and during tough parts of the schedule. But I don’t think we are anywhere near that point yet. We’ll see what he does tonight on a B2B after a tough game last night.

    People that don’t like Thibs will grasp at anything to criticize him because they didn’t get the coach they wanted. It would practically be impossible to do better unless maybe we had Pop here.

  23. Correct, strat, as I said, it’s one thing to hate the direction that Rose and Thibs have embarked upon, that’s fair game. It’s another to grasp at straws to tear down his coaching efficacy because of that disconnect. Whether you like the wins or how he’s getting them, the record speaks for itself. Frankly, it’s getting harder and harder to dispute the impact on player development, i.e whether a coach like Atkinson would have the young players playing any better than they are right now.

  24. ***It’s as good or better than the Celts, Heat, Raptors, Pacers and Hawks, all who any rational person would say had far better player personnel than the Knicks. That is factorial.***

    I think that’s part of the “smoke and mirrors”. They are tied in the loss column with the Raptors, Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Pacers, and Hornets. Some of these teams were projected to be first in the conference going into the season, some were projected to be last. The record tells very little about this team because it is such a goofy year. The Raptors won 58 games last year, and will probably win 58 games next year. The Knicks (and Bulls and Hornets) are, most likely, benefiting from playing in a weak conference during a covid impacted season, neither of which is sustainable going forward (or at least neither of which are in their control). That said, Thibs is clearly doing the job that he was brought in to do which is win games with the roster he is given. You guys may not be happy with him, but Rose and Dolan certainly are, and he works for them, not us.

  25. To me, its clear that they’re playing Frank now because he’s been put on the trade block and want to showcase his skills. I think its the wrong strategy, but I’ve been very critical about Thibs and management’s personnel decisions this season. IQ should’ve been starting awhile back, but its also rather clear to me Thibs had his heart on the team trading for Rose so he didn’t want to put him in that lineup to pull him back on the bench. It’s also clear that Frank has value as a 3 and D guy at least. I don’t see how the FO can sell when he’s been playing so well…but this is the same organization that continues to give Elfrid Payton starting minutes…

  26. Can you point me to that actual stat? While there are a number of ways to calculate this, I am getting a different answer.

    I stole it from the Tjarks article that was passed around here recently.

  27. Z-man: It’s as good or better than the Celts, Heat, Raptors, Pacers and Hawks, all who any rational person would say had far better player personnel than the Knicks. That is factorial.

    Smoke and mirrors?! Trick?! Are you serious?!

    Is it a trick that the Nets are winning on the back of Harden’s league-leading MPG? Or that TOR is playing FVV the same amount of mpg as Randle?

    RJ is now 41st in mpg at 33.3 mpg. He’s 20 years old. His BPM is -2.3. Is he a merc that’s part of that smoke and mirrors?

    The next leading minutes-getter: Mercenary Mitchell Robinson (28.8 mpg) I guess his right hand just gave out from all those minutes.

    Next? Future HOFer Elfrid Payton. You know, the guy you say over and over sucks dogshit and should never play because he fucking sucks? That really must be a magic trick when your coach can win games by overplaying guys who don’t help you win games.

    So Thibs is winning by “overplaying” his all-star (that you and nearly everyone else had given up on and wanted to trade for a bag of balls), a 20yo, a 22yo, and two journeyman scrubs who have a combined BPM of -5.1?

    I gotta hand it to you Hubert, you really outdid yourself with this statememt.

    what a bunch of nonsense… conflating points,
    building straw men, dipping into your bag of personal attacks.

    that’s a big old yawn for me, dog.

  28. I like the job Thibs is doing, mainly because they’re playing a level of defense that we haven’t seen in years, which is so refreshing.

    But if I was going to assign responsibility for their current surprising record, I’d go 30% Thibs and 70% Randle. I mean, how many games are we winning without Randle’s phenomenal 3 point shooting and overall superb play? You can play all the defense you want, but if you can’t score, you’re losing a lot of 100-90 games.

  29. .500 is .500.

    It doesn’t matter who else is .500.

    There’s always been an army of people here who would die to be on the treadmill of mediocrity. Now they’ve got their guys.

  30. Just to get back the Noel discussion from the previous thread, I love having Mitch and Noel. But if memory serves me correctly, Noel once turned down a huge contract because he wanted more and got burned badly by it. I think he’s in NY now playing for a bigger long term contract as a starter and not to be Mitch’s backup. That’s probably why we heard a little buzz that he wasn’t happy when Mitch took the starting job. I don’t think he’s going to come back to NY unless we pay him. So the only chance he comes back is if he can’t get a better deal outside NY. But he’s playing well. So think he’s going to get more than we might be wiling to pay for a backup C that mostly just defends the paint.

  31. To me, its clear that they’re playing Frank now because he’s been put on the trade block and want to showcase his skills.

    He certainly could be on the block, but I think he’s playing because Payton got hurt and they needed another guard.

    Do you think it’s a coincidence that he only started playing when Payton got hurt and we needed another guard? The only thing hinting at a showcase is that he’s playing over Rivers. But Rivers could be on the block.

  32. Hubert: I stole it from the Tjarks article that was passed around here recently

    Thanks Hubert, I’ll take a look. I must be doing some calculation incorrectly or perhaps we just have vastly different assumptions on what constitutes a “starter”

  33. Deeefense: Possible, but do you think it’s a coincidence that he only started playing when Payton got hurt and we needed another guard? The only thing hinting at that is that he’s playing over Rivers.But Rivers could be on the block.

    I think Rivers and Frank are on the block according to the rumors that were circulated around the rumor mills around a week ago. And I see Payton is conveniently “hurt” at the same time that Rose came in to replace him and that rumors about Austin Rivers and Frank being traded were circulating….

  34. Hubert: what a bunch of nonsense… conflating points,
    building straw men, dipping into your bag of personal attacks.

    that’s a big old yawn for me, dog.

    Is this supposed to constitute a rebuttal? Whatever.

  35. I’m not going to rebut a bunch of horse shit.

    Every time you get a bug up your ass, you take something someone said, twist it into a completely different take, add some bullshit that they never said, and induce them into blowing up a thread explaining the difference between what they actually said and what you’re pretending they said.

    Sorry, bud, you’re not gonna djphan me today. (no offense, dj.)

  36. I for one am very excited that the Knicks are going to be paying something like $50 million to Derrick Rose for the 2022-24 seasons. How can you possibly rebut this piece of basketball genius given that 34 games into a freakish season with few or no fans and players left and right sitting games out because of pandemic virus, the Knicks have a .500 (!!!!!!!) record?

    The Knicks are going to be paying Derrick Rose and Julius Randle $45 million or so of their 2022-23 salary cap. Maybe more. I doubt Thibodeau will ever make Immanuel Quickley a starter over Derrick Rose. The minutes were a preposterous 38-13 last night.

    This is unsustainable and heading nowhere good. That will have to wait to become apparent, but eventually it will indeed become apparent. The good things Thibs does are inevitably front-loaded, the bad things inevitably take awhile to show.

  37. Before the season started the Knicks were supposed to be the worst team in the East and Randle should be traded cause he sucks. They have played way beyond anybody’s expectation and now it’s who cares they are just .500 its nothing to celebrate or brag about. Really man some of you honestly don’t give a shit about rooting for the Knicks or enjoying watching them play. To each his own I guess.

  38. Hubert said before the season that he worried Thibs was quick-fixy enough that the Knicks would fight for the last playoff spot and fuck over their future. I didn’t think the roster was good enough to even get to that point. He was right. They lucked ass backward into Quickley (who Thibodeau doesn’t *really* want to play), and Randle got himself into great shape with the hope of getting paid, and RJ took a nice second year leap. Those things took the roster from where I projected to something just good enough for Thibs to quick fix.

    I’m never going to apologize for ripping an old fart coach like Thibs who has no clue how to evaluate and use young players. He plays Elfrid Payton over Immanuel Quickley. That’s dumb as fuck.

  39. Deefense, that is true about Noel turning down that contract but another way to look at it is he might be willing to take a decent multi year deal bc he turned down that bigger one a few years ago and got burned by it and since then he’s only been able to get one year deals for small money.

    Like if you turned down a job that paid 100K cause you thought you could get a better one and then the economy went bad and you had to freelance for a few years you’d probably be happy when an offer for 70K was given to you after that experience.

    And sure he might be mitch’s back up but he can still have a big role and even start sometimes.

  40. Donnie Walsh: I think that’s part of the “smoke and mirrors”. They are tied in the loss column with the Raptors, Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Pacers, and Hornets. Some of these teams were projected to be first in the conference going into the season, some were projected to be last.

    This is simply not true. Every single serious pundit projected all of those teams to have better, if not significantly better records than the Knicks. It truly isn’t even debatable. https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/30564545/nba-season-preview-new-rankings-projections-2020-21-opening-night#nyk The Knicks were 29th and forecast to win 22 games. BPI projected them at 17-55. 538 had them at 23 wins. The major caveat: what could Thibs do with such a shitty roster? It’s not smoke and mirrors. It’s exceptional coaching.

    The Hornets and Bulls are also overachieving and the other teams are underachieving. And by season’s end, the Knicks may still miss the play-in tournament. But it is simply impossible to be ahead or even with of all of those teams with the roster we have without exceptional coaching. This isn’t Fisher riding the coattails of a still good but declining roster and outperforming the team’s pythag where a reversion to the mean was imminent. That was smoke and mirrors.

  41. To shift the thread topic a bit, did anyone else find yesterday’s game intensely aggravating and nauseating — both in terms of the level of play and the wildly oscillating score? It felt like we were watching the absolute worst of certain players, and then the best — Rose repeatedly losing the ball on careless ‘cute’ plays, but getting 4 steals and 11 assists; RJ (dog) repeatedly driving on Miles Turner (fence) with the end result known to everyone but RJ, then with dagger threes and key passes (after clearly being allergic to passing earlier); Thibs with the Rose/IQ minutes thing, but the team won.

    It was the first game in a while where I repeatedly wanted to throw my shoe at the screen. We’ve seen all these things before, but it just seemed exaggerated. It was exhausting.

  42. An “exceptional coach” doesn’t play Elfrid Payton over Immanuel Quickley or play lineups of Derrick Rose/Alec Burks/Reggie Bullock/Julius Randle/Nerlens Noel for huge chunks of fourth quarters. He’s getting very, very lucky with his poor personnel decisions. The RECORD would likely be even better without them.

    This is absolutely as much smoke and mirrors as either Fisher, or Hornacek’s even better start in 2017-18. That will inevitably be seen as the case. It might not be this year given the generally flukish nature of the year.

  43. I was on the optimistic end before the season thinking Thibs could get this team to maybe win 30 games but most likely win in the late 20’s. That could still be the case, the Knicks opponent winning% wise have the 2nd hardest schedule in the 2nd half although in terms of travel and amount of games played it’s I believe the 2nd or 3rd easiest schedule wise. But they have played so far way beyond my wildest expectations and for me has been great and fun to watch.

    The fact the Knicks are winning because of Randle, RJ, Mitch when he plays and IQ making an impact absolutely nobody here expected makes it even better. Noel is also a guy who has contributed and can certainly have a spot on the team in the future. Those 5 guys I mentioned are all in the Top 7 in minutes played along with Payton and Bullock who aren’t exactly old men. Seriously all this merc bullshit nonsense and Thibs only winning with veterans who are hurting the future of this franchise has grown tiresome.

  44. E, all merc’d out: who Thibodeau doesn’t *really* want to play)

    Please elaborate. Sounds like complete conjecture (to back up your continual singular narrative), and certainly is not supported by minutes played versus metrics of comparable rooks (or non merc Knicks for that matter).

  45. E, all merc’d out: I for one am very excited that the Knicks are going to be paying something like $50 million to Derrick Rose for the 2022-24 seasons.

    If the Knicks do that I will gladly board the “Thibs is a moron” train. Of course, there’s absolutely no evidence that this is going to happen.

    E, all merc’d out: How can you possibly rebut this piece of basketball genius given that 34 games into a freakish season with few or no fans and players left and right sitting games out because of pandemic virus, the Knicks have a .500 (!!!!!!!) record?

    Right, the Knicks haven’t had to deal with a single injury to a key rotation player. Sure.

    E, all merc’d out: The Knicks are going to be paying Derrick Rose and Julius Randle $45 million or so of their 2022-23 salary cap.

    Possibly, but if Randle gets $38 mill and Rose gets $7 mill that’s not a cataclysmic outcome by any objective standard.

    E, all merc’d out: This is unsustainable and heading nowhere good. That will have to wait to become apparent, but eventually it will indeed become apparent. The good things Thibs does are inevitably front-loaded, the bad things inevitably take awhile to show.

    Possible. Time will tell. I haven’t discounted that possibility. Still, this is a different argument than whether Thibs is doing a good coaching job or not, an argument that you are losing, terribly.

  46. Jeff Hornacek was 16-13 in 2016-17 and 17-14 in 2017-18. Melo turned his ankle on that dumbass ref in Game 31 in 2017 and that was that.

  47. E, all merc’d out: Hubert said before the season that he worried Thibs was quick-fixy enough that the Knicks would fight for the last playoff spot and fuck over their future. I didn’t think the roster was good enough to even get to that point. He was right. They lucked ass backward into Quickley (who Thibodeau doesn’t *really* want to play), and Randle got himself into great shape with the hope of getting paid, and RJ took a nice second year leap. Those things took the roster from where I projected to something just good enough for Thibs to quick fix.

    Sure, whatever. Both of you are arguing from pre-formed worst-case conclusions. Nothing that happens will change your minds. If and when the gloom and doom you are predicting happens, I will be humble enough to credit you for your brilliant foresight. But as you said yourself, you “are never going to apologize” which is really the issue here. Your mind is totally closed.

  48. Z-man: Still, this is a different argument than whether Thibs is doing a good coaching job or not, an argument that you are losing, terribly.

    It’s the exact same argument, because a coach’s job includes preparing the team for the medium and long term future. If what Thibodeau is doing is unsustainable and heading nowhere good — as you seem to admit is a possibility — it means he’s doing a shitty coaching job right now.

    Nothing that happens will change your minds.

    Thibodeau showing he knows which players to play and how much would change my mind tomorrow.

  49. Raven: It was the first game in a while where I repeatedly wanted to throw my shoe at the screen. We’ve seen all these things before, but it just seemed exaggerated. It was exhausting.

    I think that is just the nature of our team. Other than Randle, our personnel is not all that good. What accounts for that? They are either neophytes or modestly-paid journeymen. By definition, you should expect lots of streaky and frustrating play,

    But they play hard as hell from start to finish. Under another coach, or with less team chemistry, games like this don’t happen. Our shitty roster would get down 16 in the second quarter and stay there. There would be garbage time galore, which some here would seem to favor as it would allow the scrubs to play more. This team is not built to win at all, so winning pretty will definitely be the exception to the rule.

  50. This is hilarious, now apparently if Thibs was actually a good coach the Knicks would have a better record cause apparently Thibs is holding back this roster of All-Stars. BTW those teams under Hornacek were lucky to have winning records because they were being outscored on the season up to that point, the current Knicks actually have a positive point differential.

  51. BigBlueAL:
    This is hilarious, now apparently if Thibs was actually a good coach the Knicks would have a better record cause apparently Thibs is holding back this roster of All-Stars.BTW those teams under Hornacek were lucky to have winning records because they were being outscored on the season up to that point, the current Knicks actually have a positive point differential.

    Also, the Knicks were built around a player who was injury prone and faded deep into the season. Its a bad comp IMO.

  52. Question for the anti-Thibs crowd: if we were 10-24 what would you be saying about him? That hiring him was a mistake? Or that he’s doing a good job getting us a high lottery pick?

    Just wondering…..

  53. E, all merc’d out: It’s the exact same argument, because a coach’s job includes preparing the team for the medium and long term future.

    This is not true. That’s the front office’s job. Whether it was Miller, Mark Jackson, or anyone coaching for his future, those coaches are going to try to grind every win they can out of the roster they have.

  54. d-mar:
    Question for the anti-Thibs crowd: if we were 10-24 what would you be saying about him? That hiring him was a mistake? Or that he’s doing a good job getting us a high lottery pick?

    Just wondering…..

    My guess is they’d argue he stumbled into a lotto pick for the wrong reasons aka Knicksian result. And then the critique would be about how a losing record doesn’t guarantee us a top 3 pick anyways so we’ll end up with the 8th pick again getting the next Knox/Ntilikina/Toppin type player while the next Mitchell/Bridges/Gilgeous-Alexander is taken by another, smarter FO.

  55. Hubert:
    Now we’re gonna sit here and talk about preseason expectations as if they matter.

    Of course they don’t matter when they utterly refute your argument. Naturally.

  56. Who is the anti-Thibs crowd? I was one of the biggest supporters of his hiring and spent the whole summer saying he was a great coach.

    y’all some binary bitches, man.

    I don’t think Thibs is the reason Randle is playing so well, I think his attachment to some veterans is not good for us in the long term, and I don’t like his minutes allocations. Must I love everything he does to avoid being anti-Thibs?

  57. Thibs should definitely be blamed for playing the second best player on the team (IQ) less than starters minutes. It’s doubly stupid when remembering that our anemic offensive play is what’s holding us back as a team in general. There’s really no convincing argument that IQ shouldn’t be starting imo—he’s earned it as much as anybody on the team not named Randle. That DRose is getting the starting job over IQ is just transparent favoritism.

    Does this mean Thibs is a bad coach? Hell no, he’s doing a great job, all things considered. But he does have a glaring issue with playing young guys minutes in close games, even when they objectively deserve them (E.g. IQ and, with his recent quality play, Frank) and he clearly plays favorites.

  58. I don’t dig his PT choices regarding IQ vs. Rose (and IQ vs. Payton before) or his use of Toppin on offense or other small details, but right now Thibs is one of the top candidates for the COTY and for good reasons.

    The FO made his intents clear by choosing Thibs, once that’s done there’s no room for tanking, pure devolopment or don’t play to win, they want to Install a “culture” and win as much as they can.

    There are reasons to be worried and the criticisms are legitimate, I am the first to make them, but the basic philosophy is firm, like it or not, litigating it over and over now makes no sense, that ship has sailed months ago.

    Would I start IQ over Rose or Payton? Yes. Would I like to play more small ball with Julius at the five and Obi at the four against selected opponents lineups? Yes. Would I play Frank instead of Bullock? Yes.

    But at the end of the day I’m generally happy to play meaningful games in march and hear/read/watch all the Knicks haters in the media eat crows, we’ve been an easy punchline for too long…

  59. Max:
    I don’t dig his PT choices regarding IQ vs. Rose (and IQ vs. Payton before) or his use of Toppin on offense or other small details, but right now Thibs is one of the top candidates for the COTY and for good reasons.

    The FO made his intents clear by choosing Thibs, once that’s done there’s no room for tanking, pure devolopment or don’t play to win, they want to Install a “culture” and win as much as they can.

    There are reasons to be worried and the criticisms are legitimate, I am the first to make them, but the basic philosophy is firm, like it or not, litigating it over and over now makes no sense, that ship has sailed months ago.

    Would I start IQ over Rose or Payton? Yes. Would I like to play more small ball with Julius at the five and Obi at the four against selected opponents lineups? Yes. Would I play Frank instead of Bullock? Yes.

    But at the end of the day I’m generally happy to play meaningful games in march and hear/read/watch all the Knicks haters in the media eat crows, we’ve been an easy punchline for too long…

    Well said.

  60. I hope we’re ready for the Dennis Smith Jr revenge game tonight

    I hope the boys got some rest last night

  61. I also think that building team chemistry falls squarely on the coach’s shoulders. Thibs failed at that in Minny, which is doubly egregious because he was also the GM. I think he’s done very well in building chemistry here so far. The only two incidents of grousing I can recall are with Mitch’s cryptic tweet and Rivers recent lamenting of his future. So for now, it’s hard to criticize how he’s handling role and minutes when the players seem to understand it.

    I’m with those who would like to see IQ, Obi and Frank more. But it’s not that big of a deal for me. I’ve really enjoyed watching the team, even in losses, because everyone plays hard and is ready when his number is called. I like that Rivers has dropped below IQ and Frank on the depth chart. And I like that Obi is being carefully managed and agree with Thibs that playing him any more would be counterproductive because he’s just not ready for a bigger role. Frank is the one guy who I think should have a bigger role and have an issue with him being buried. But even he was ready when his number was called.

    I don’t even care that much about Payton or Rose starting over IQ, and think that more is made out of that than it should be, but sure, that’s a legitimate gripe based on stats. It can be argued that rookies tolerate playing less more than vets, so it’s better for team chemistry. It can also be argued that IQ does lots of rookie stuff out there that would be exposed in a larger role, and that Thibs is kind of protecting him. It is also possible that Thibs wants to keep the improvement fire lit under IQ by not giving him too much too soon. Finally, as I said, IQ was using the massage gun on his calf, he might be nursing a minor injury, and Maybe Thibs is worried that if he gives IQ and his frail 190 lb self too many minutes he will break down and become injury-prone like Frank and KP did. So while it’s not what I would prefer, I’m willing to defer to his judgment.

  62. Thibs overall is doing a fine job. Phenomenal or coach of the year is a bit much. I predicted 32 wins Thibs is doing a bit better than that, but the Knicks have been one of the luckiest teams in regards to Covid and injuries.

    I do think Thibs deserves real credit when it comes to most of the defensive improvement but our offense is a real problem and Thibs does not seem to be making any real effort to fix it.

    The fact that Thibs keeps the starting lineup the same, even with injuries he just replaces the injured party with the most similar player, as if to shake things up the least despite the fact that our offense isn’t working.

    Bullock, Payton, Rose, Burks, and Gibson are often unproductive and yet their minutes are carved in stone. This is not nitpicking it is a real problem. We are winning half the time right now despite our offense and largely unproductive starting unit but I have a hard time believing the good times will continue unless we make some real changes.

    Also, on top of everything else I watch games because it’s fun and watching Rose, Bullock, Payton, Gibson, and Burks all get more minutes than more productive and entertaining players like IQ and Frank is not fun. It is also not fun to barely be able to see our high lottery pick, the most “NBA ready rookie in his draft class” not be able to get consistent minutes or have any opportunities on the offense.

  63. Players who’ve been injured this year:
    Mitch
    Noel
    IQ
    Obi
    Burks
    Frank

    I don’t know what’s usual, but that’s half our rotation that’s been injured at some point. We haven’t exactly been immune from injuries.

  64. I have a sense that we have played a lot of depleted teams. But that might be wrong or not materially an advantage relative to the rest of the league.

    We have had injuries but not to Randle. Noel only missed a little time and everyone else other than Mitch isn’t really material.

    That’s a story anyway.

    I think that only swings a couple wins into the loss column but 15-19 would feel a lot different.

  65. Owen:
    I have a sense thatwe have played a lot of depleted teams. But that might be wrong or not materially an advantage relative to the rest of the league.

    We have had injuries but not to Randle. Noel only missed a little time and everyone else other than Mitch isn’t really material.

    That’s a story anyway.

    I think that only swings a couple wins into the loss column but 15-19 would feel a lot different.

    This is fair, but it applies to other teams as well. I agree that it’s possible that our record is a bit inflated by good fortune, but even at 15-19 we’d be exceeding most expectations.

    What’s curious to me is that folks are saying that IQ is better than Payton and we’d be better if we started him. Are people really suggesting that this team would have a better record if Thibs played IQ more? That we are actually better than a .500 team and Thibs’ bad decisions are holding us back?

  66. Burks has been far from unproductive, he’s been just as valuable as IQ. Heck earlier this season he was playing so well some people here were talking about trading him for a 1st rd pick which was way unrealistic. He’s had his bad games since returning from his sprained ankle but still overall he has been arguably the best guard on the team this season.

  67. Before season started Thibs would burn down our players from overplaying.
    Now we are lucky to be extremely healthy!
    Make up your minds!
    ;-P

  68. Since we talk PT and Development…
    How many minutes IND’s Bjorker gave to his rookies/sophomores yesterday?

  69. They lucked ass backward into Quickley

    Of all the things you can say about the Quickley pick (and I’ve said many of them myself), this is simply not one of them. In fact it’s pretty much the opposite of the truth. These guys specifically targeted Quickley to such an insane degree they weren’t willing to take the (low IMO) risk that he wouldn’t be there 8 picks later. I viewed this as a major process failure back when I was a lot lower on Quickley than I am now.

    Are people really suggesting that this team would have a better record if Thibs played IQ more? That we are actually better than a .500 team and Thibs’ bad decisions are holding us back?

    I think it’s a bit more complicated than this. It’s definitely fair, and probably accurate, to come to the conclusion that Thibs has been a net positive for our win total. That’s different than saying every decision he’s making is optimal though.

    At this point I think the arguments for Quickley not getting starter’s minutes (I don’t really care if he literally starts or not) are laughably weak. The numbers say it would lead to more wins and he’s obviously more important to our future than the guys taking minutes from him (Rose and Payton). You can always adjust things if he struggles for a prolonged period of time, but I don’t see anything about him from a playing style or personality standpoint that leads me to believe he should be an exception to the general idea that “your best players should play the most.”

    I think Thibs has an irrational soft spot for Rose specifically, and more generally is hesitant to trust inexperienced players. I am not saying this has cost us wins because that would require comparing him to a theoretical different coach, and it’s impossible to say if another coach who didn’t have these issues would have us playing defense this well, or wouldn’t have issues of their own.

  70. Idk, people are acting like we haven’t had any injuries but Mitch, Noel, & IQ are arguably 3 of our 4 most important players and have all missed games. Burks missed a large chunk of games and has played really well too.

    Don’t misconstrue this as saying the front office is great, but credit Rose & Perry for building in a lot of redundancies for the team. That’s why we don’t miss a beat when someone goes down and why it seems like we haven’t had any injuries.

    Maybe we’ve been luckier than other teams, I don’t know, feel free to check the numbers. But this teams seems well-suited to withstanding injuries to everyone except one guy. Even then, IQ might be able to step up, play big minutes, and hold us over for a short stretch.

  71. Offense is sexy, impressive and easier to quantify and notice in a game.
    Defense is more of a chore that is not so visible on the boxscore, don’t pay you money and demands a lot of physical/mind effort.
    Since Thibs uses his D as the basis of team’s success i decided to trust his rotations even tho i don’t agree with them 100%.
    Our difference is that he’s responsible for team’s performance while I’m just a fan who has no serious inside knowledge of the team or consequence over a failed rotation.

  72. thenoblefacehumper: Of all the things you can say about the Quickley pick (and I’ve said many of them myself), this is simply not one of them. In fact it’s pretty much the opposite of the truth. These guys specifically targeted Quickley to such an insane degree they weren’t willing to take the (low IMO) risk that he wouldn’t be there 8 picks later. I viewed this as a major process failure back when I was a lot lower on Quickley than I am now.

    Half as a conspiratorial joke and half seriously, I think they promised coach Cal to draft a Kentucky player as a quid pro quo for taking Payne. Moreover, that they were angling for Maxey and missed with the unintended result of them scooping IQ early to avoid whiffing on him and needing to reach for Nick Richards.

    But conspiracies & learned Knicks pessimism aside, IQ was an excellent draft pick. I liked his numbers enough, just questioned the process. Information released later on indicates several other teams were looking at IQ in the late 1st, contradicting the assessments of mock draft gurus that he belonged early-to-middle second. The initial lack of info, pre-assessment work, & Kentucky connection threw the board into a frenzy, especially a week later when we signed every available Wildcat FA, that resulted into an overreaction (not unjustified).

    Anyways, IQ should definitely get starters minutes. Last game Rose did play well, so I don’t think it’s the right time to complain. Longterm, I still think Rose will fall off and IQ is the better option.

  73. thenoblefacehumper: At this point I think the arguments for Quickley not getting starter’s minutes (I don’t really care if he literally starts or not) are laughably weak. The numbers say it would lead to more wins and he’s obviously more important to our future than the guys taking minutes from him (Rose and Payton). You can always adjust things if he struggles for a prolonged period of time, but I don’t see anything about him from a playing style or personality standpoint that leads me to believe he should be an exception to the general idea that “your best players should play the most.”

    This is a legitimate point of contention. But I can think of lots of good reasons to not play IQ more minutes if the goal is to win as many games as possible. I think we all agree that defensive metrics are hard to trust, and that rookies tend to be bad defenders. I know that when I key in on IQ I see lots of defensive issues, and that’s against second unit guys. Even so, I’d like to see him play a consistent 20 minutes a game, but I don’t get too worked up about it.

    The thing is, Thibs is not a tinkerer for the most part. He settles on a rotation and will expand or contract minutes based on his own reads. Whatever his reasons are for starting Payton or Rose and playing them more, I truly think it boils down to his feeling that he trusts those guys more to grind out more wins.

    That said, I don’t believe that IQ is a durable NBA player yet, and feel strongly that if he got starter’s minutes on a consistent basis he would break down in short order. He’s physically not ready to chase starting-caliber veteran point guards around 7-footer screens for 30 mpg. I saw him self-treating a sore calf last night with a theragun when he was on the bench. Even if it’s not the reason why he is playing so little on some nights, it might be a blessing in disguise.

  74. What’s curious to me is that folks are saying that IQ is better than Payton and we’d be better if we started him. Are people really suggesting that this team would have a better record if Thibs played IQ more? That we are actually better than a .500 team and Thibs’ bad decisions are holding us back?

    This is how I was thinking about it, at least. Thibs is to get credit for having the team exceed any reasonable preseason expectations, and, like tnfh, I think he’s a net positive for the team. We’ve played .500 ball (we have an SRS of -.5, very close to “average”, and good for 8th overall in the east). But one of the biggest things holding this team back is, simply, that we’re getting replacement level play or worse from two of our five starters (i.e., Bullock and Payton). Just replacing Payton’s minutes with Rose’s is a noticeable improvement, but if this team wants to battle it out and eke out the most wins possible, we should really start IQ and sit Reggie and Elfrid permanently. To me, the obvious thing to do is sub Reggie and Elfrid for Burks and IQ, which would do wonders for our shooting, spacing and ball-handling (Reggie is a 0 as far as anything other than three-point shooting goes–he can’t handle or score 2s!). Then you have Rose and Frank (if he maintains his quality play) come off the bench instead of Elfrid and Reggie. Maybe Reggie plays spot minutes. But Elfrid is permanently glued to the bench unless we have an injury.

    Maybe IQ isn’t ready for starter’s minutes, but you really don’t know until you try. So Thibs should try, if he really cares about maximizing wins rather than maximizing the minutes of his golden children. If Rose continues to start over IQ, I won’t riot, but I’ll take it as evidence that Thibs doesn’t think clearly when it comes to player evaluation (which isn’t surprising to me, given how much he played Jamal Crawford in Minnesota).

  75. Yes, if IQ had played more than 18 minutes a game we might have won another game.

    And it would likely have helped his development. Do I think he could handle 32 minutes as a rookie? Probably not. But he should be getting at least 24.

    Does the six minute difference make that much of difference? I don’t really think so.

    But getting him more minutes likely will help him develop faster. Seems like a no brainer.

  76. I don’t think maximizing playing time is essential to player development.

    IQ should play more minutes simply because he’s really damn good and we’re trying to win games.

  77. Are people really suggesting that this team would have a better record if Thibs played IQ more?

    Yes, because it would mean playing Payton less minutes. And that’s the reason why our offense has performed better with even a subpar replacement like Rose filling in there at PG.

  78. made it through the game thread a little earlier…best part – pepper’s cooking excursions throughout the game :)

    i have a confession – i saw the end score prior to watching it…i know we’re pretty evenly matched with indy right now, i knew it was gonna be close either way – but, i was planning on watching it anyways…might’ve fast forwarded through some of the more chilling moments, but overall – it was a good game…

    i like our 90’s brand of basketball…

    wow, even knowing the end result i was still a little doubtful we’d get the w…RJ came up big (except for those two free throws at the end) – stats aside, you just wanna see him continue to contribute to winning basketball…yeah, maybe that last sentence don’t really make much sense…

  79. i once had this friend that if you said the sky was blue – first word out of their mouth would be: No

    then would be some stream of reasoning as to why what was happening was really more aquamarine…

    was fascinating to witness that repetitive type behavior…when i got bored – i would just say some weird shit to see how he’d react…

    on a really good day i could get him to argue with himself…

  80. i sometimes wish iq played more, especially in his 13 min or less outings, but i don’t think it’s a big deal. he’s got his ass kicked on defense at times. i think if we’re about to give frank away as flotsam or let him fly free for nada we should make sure he didn’t finally pimp his shot. that information is almost free, since the marginal cost of playing frank some over our mediocre veteran guards is just tiny. he’s not like obi who gets hunted on D or a gunner who might shoot you out of a game. it’s an insult to thibs to say we should expect nothing different because of his known win-now condition. surely he is capable of marginal nuance. he’s probably going to be here for a bit; even win-now sufferers have discount rates below 100pct.

    sometimes young guys have already improved and their teams haven’t played them enough to notice. i think this happened with tobias harris when the bucks traded him for two months of redick and maybe also with ariza. even if it’s a long shot, the cost of making sure is so low.

  81. geo: i once had this friend that if you said the sky was blue – first word out of their mouth would be: No…

    Depends on what you mean by “was”. In this essay, I will argue…

  82. The Knicks (and Bulls and Hornets) are, most likely, benefiting from playing in a weak conference during a covid impacted season, neither of which is sustainable going forward (or at least neither of which are in their control).

    People keep writing that it’s helping us to play in a weak conference, but it’s actually much less true this season than other seasons. This season there are just as many games against non-conference teams as against conference teams. In normal seasons and probably also in the next full 82 game season, we will play more games in the conference than outside the conference.

  83. Knick fan not in NJ: People keep writing that it’s helping us to play in a weak conference, but it’s actually much less true this season than other seasons.This season there are just as many games against non-conference teams as against conference teams. In normal seasons and probably also in the next full 82 game season, we will play more games in the conference than outside the conference.

    I believe there’s 42 games against the Eastern Conference and only 30 games against the Western Conference. We play each Eastern team 3 times (14 non-Knick teams * 3 = 42) and each Western team 2 times (15 teams * 2 games = 30) for a total of 72 games.

    The ratio is flatter than most years, but we still benefit from a weaker conference.

  84. i do get it early bird, vigorous discourse is like a game or activity for a lot of folks…for whatever reason the only person i feel competitive towards is myself…

    it almost sounds odd – but, i can’t imagine any gain towards “proving” myself more correct or “better” than some one else…maybe i don’t really get it…

  85. So I was correct that next season we will probably play a larger fraction of games against eastern conference opponents than this season; but not correct that the number games against each conference is the same this season.

  86. For me its no so much how much IQ plays as it is who he plays with. Anyone saw that stat on the Tjarks article where the +/- numbers with IQ and Randle were laid out? He compliments our starting lineup so well.

  87. geo:
    i do get it early bird, vigorous discourse is like a game or activity for a lot of folks…for whatever reason the only person i feel competitive towards is myself…

    it almost sounds odd – but, i can’t imagine any gain towards “proving” myself more correct or “better” than some one else…maybe i don’t really get it…

    That was a joke/copypasta going around for awhile. Someone starts with a controversial or random opinion and then trails off with the overused (but not necessarily bad) beginning to an essay, “In this paper, I will show…” Maybe it’s not well known and I just frequent academic Twitter too much.

    But I definitely get caught up in arguing at times so I definitely think it describes me at times. I think a lot of posters on this board enjoy arguing up to the point it turns toxic… and some beyond that point. It’s why we’re just as likely to argue about random Knicks players as Groundhog Day or (unfortunately in the absence of Knicks news) politics.

    I certainly throw out a lot of theories that contrast with each other, but I’d like to think they hang together in a way that doesn’t actually produce contradictions. There’s just a lot of nuance in basketball and effects working in opposite directions. I’d like to think posters here are trying to describe these effects, and just sometimes appear to contradict themselves, but that’s a little idealistic.

    Continuing my idealism, I do think quite a bit on here is honest intellectual discourse in attempts to understand the game of basketball better.

  88. looks like DSJr just had a good game against the kings (him and just about everyone else in the league) – 17 pts, 6 assts and no turnovers…

  89. I wrote inexactly — I didn’t mean the Knicks lucked ass-backward into IQ, I meant Thibs did.

  90. geo:
    i do get it early bird, vigorous discourse is like a game or activity for a lot of folks…for whatever reason the only person i feel competitive towards is myself…

    it almost sounds odd – but, i can’t imagine any gain towards “proving” myself more correct or “better” than some one else…maybe i don’t really get it…

    You know, geo, I’ve had to learn that sometimes there’s more important things than being right. And it’s tough for me because the truth matters deeply to me and is a function of how I carry myself. Being married and living here in LA, I’ve had to learn to tamper some of my dogma, or at least learn to express my truths and believes without the whole “I’m right/you’re wrong” angle.

    I know many of us have very specific methods on how they would build and manage an NBA team. And a .500 record – while far beyond our collective expectations – still allows for half-glass full vs empty viewpoints. What puzzles me, though, is that I see some here are holding their methods against our current management and coaching staff to the point that they’re too far entrenched in what the coach/management isn’t doing. This would be fine if the Knicks were doing their normal fuckery, but there’s just too much evidence that the organization has turned a hard corner towards competency and maybe even good decision making (good, not perfect) to ignore that while continue to pound the doom-n-gloom drum.

    BTW: in regards to the debate about Randle’s improvement, that Undefeated article points to Kenny Payne being a root cause of it. I feel like in the whole “Thibs is a win-now coach” narrative, it’s not discussed enough the potential impact of his assistant coaches. Maybe… just maybe… Leon Rose & co have found the right team of assistants to balance Thibs’ style and negate enough of his liabilities…?

  91. The Infamous Cdiggy: What puzzles me, though, is that I see some here are holding their methods against our current management and coaching staff to the point that they’re too far entrenched in what the coach/management isn’t doing. This would be fine if the Knicks were doing their normal fuckery, but there’s just too much evidence that the organization has turned a hard corner towards competency and maybe even good decision making (good, not perfect) to ignore that while continue to pound the doom-n-gloom drum.

    Amen

  92. As much as I hate to admit watching The Last Dance (blame the wife, not me lol), I did learn quite a bit.

    I wasn’t into sports in the 80s, so I didn’t know anything about Doug Collins when he coached the Bulls. The short of it is that he turned the Bulls around and got them from bad to good. But Jordan & Co couldn’t get past the Pistons in the playoffs and he was replaced – GM Krause had a liking for one of his assistant coaches who we all know, and wanted Collins to incorporate said assistant’s ideologies into his plans (such ideology involved a 3-sided polygon that would ease the team’s total dependency on Jordan). Collins refused, he got let go, and the legend of Chief Triangle was birthed.

    My point? Thibs may or may not be our Phil Jackson in the long run, but he can be our Doug Collins – the guy who gets us from consistently bad to consistently good and then gets replaced when it’s clear the coach’s system is keeping the team from making that final leap to true championship contender.

  93. I really haven’t seen anyone on this site other than E be very dug in against Thibs.

    The issue here seems to be that some think the achievement of a .500 record is enough that anyone who disagrees with him should yield bc we’ve never had it so good.

    I’m not convinced we’ve turned a corner. I remember having the same conversations with the same people many times before. When we were .500 with Afflalo and Derrick Williams, all those stupid player option contracts were supposedly vindicated. When we were .500 with Rose & Melo, Phil Jackson had us headed in the right direction. When we were .500 with Porzingis, he was a max player who we just had to pay.

    No one is anti-Thibs, there’s just a lot of premature ejaculation from the usual suspects who get way too excited at the earliest sight of mediocrity.

    Also, I’m deeply concerned that ptmilo is right about Frank possibly having developed and if we miss out on that bc we’re obsessed with Bullock, Burks, and Elf, that’s a critical error.

    I think most of us are fine Obi is glued to the bench. He’s playing terribly.

  94. ***People keep writing that it’s helping us to play in a weak conference, but it’s actually much less true this season than other seasons. This season there are just as many games against non-conference teams as against conference teams.***

    Beyond playing eastern teams more, though, there is also the reality that .500 is good for home court advantage in the east at the moment, and is out of the playoff picture in the west. It’s part of the “smoke and mirrors” of the team’s success. (Of course, there is also the part that isn’t smoke and mirrors, which is actual improvement, it’s just not as extreme as the record indicates, I don’t think).

  95. I’m a charter member of Team Realist, and we obviously have quite a long way to go. The front office could very easily screw this up. But we’re in way better shape than we’ve been in a very, very long time, because we have:

    1. A good young core in Quickley, Barrett, and Robinson
    2. Surplus first round draft picks in two out of the next three drafts
    3. No bad long-term contracts on the books
    4. A current roster that is playing .500 ball

    It’s been a real long time since we had a situation like this, where we’re not asset-starved and where the team we’re actually fielding is not the dregs of the league. I don’t have a ton of faith that the front office is going to remain patient, and I’m expecting the “we traded for Russell Westbrook” shoe to drop any day, but as of right now things look somewhat promising.

  96. Hubert: The issue here seems to be that some think the achievement of a .500 record is enough that anyone who disagrees with him should yield bc we’ve never had it so good.

    This is not even close to accurate. No one is satisfied with a .500 record as a high water mark. The disagreement is about whether it is a sign of good things or bad things in the future. It’s pretty insulting that you boil anyone’s argument down to the simple proposition above.

    Hubert: I’m not convinced we’ve turned a corner.

    Totally valid.

    Hubert: I remember having the same conversations with the same people many times before. When we were .500 with Afflalo and Derrick Williams, all those stupid player option contracts were supposedly vindicated. When we were .500 with Rose & Melo, Phil Jackson had us headed in the right direction. When we were .500 with Porzingis, he was a max player who we just had to pay.

    And you’ve been wrong a whole bunch of times as well. For example, you thought Fizdale would be a fine coach. Please don’t act all “here we go again.” The archives will prove just as embarrassing for you as most others.

    Hubert: No one is anti-Thibs, there’s just a lot of premature ejaculation from the usual suspects who get way too excited at the earliest sight of mediocrity.

    Lovely.

    Hubert: Also, I’m deeply concerned that ptmilo is right about Frank possibly having developed and if we miss out on that bc we’re obsessed with Bullock, Burks, and Elf, that’s a critical error.

    Totally fair.

  97. Hubert: I think most of us are fine Obi is glued to the bench. He’s playing terribly.

    Some folks here think he should play more, either for developmental purposes, or because his advanced stats aren’t terrible for the minutes he’s playing. I think it’s just about the right amount.

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