NY Post: Knicks ripped by Suns in front of boisterous Phoenix crowd

From Marc Berman:

This was the first time all pandemic season the Knicks played in front of a real, live, half-packed, hostile crowd.

They didn’t handle it well. They blew a seven-point lead late in the third quarter. Taj Gibson and Julius Randle later lost their composure. And the powerhouse Suns routed the Knicks, 128-105, before a boisterous crowd of 8,063 — the NBA season’s largest — at Talking Stick Arena on Friday night.

Despite the loss, the Knicks (37-30) are still half-game ahead of the Hawks in the battle for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

All the frustration of the Knicks’ collapse boiled over midway through the fourth quarter when Gibson went after Chris Paul while the Suns guard was bringing the ball up-court. Gibson body-checked Paul to the floor like it was hockey, with seven minutes left.

Gibson was called for a flagrant foul, and Paul jawed with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau over the infraction.

“It was a physical play,’’ Gibson said. “I talked to Chris. When you’ve played so many years, you know everybody on the job by first name. It was nothing personal it’s completion. It was a stupid foul on my end. I got to be better.’’

The more important thing is that the Celtics lost to the Bulls (can you imagine how frustrating it must be to trade for a star player to pair with your own star player and then see your star player go on the COVID list for 11 games? The Bulls are like night and day now that LaVine is back), so the Knicks’ chances of avoiding the play-in game went up despite this loss. This lowers their chances at maintaining the #4 seed, but A. Who the heck knows, right? The Hawks still have to win their games and as we’ve seen, the Knick opponents seem to lose games to some weird ass opponents while the Knicks tend to only lose to legitimately superior teams to them and B. The Knicks might still win the next two games, in which case, they’ll be in great shape.

But yeah, tough loss, no doubt about it. Hopefully they rebound on Sunday.

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120 thoughts to “NY Post: Knicks ripped by Suns in front of boisterous Phoenix crowd”

  1. Without Burks and Quickley, we just didn’t have enough firepower to stay with these guys. In that way, these last couple of beatdowns feel useful, because they make clear that we’re still at least a level below the NBA elite. I doubt Leon Rose was intending to just resign our free agents and run it back next year, but just in case the win streak had him wavering, games like these are evidence that we still need a significant upgrade on both talent and depth.

  2. Alan:
    Without Burks and Quickley, we just didn’t have enough firepower to stay with these guys. In that way, these last couple of beatdowns feel useful, because they make clear that we’re still at least a level below the NBA elite. I doubt Leon Rose was intending to just resign our free agents and run it back next year, but just in case the win streak had him wavering, games like these are evidence that we still need a significant upgrade on both talent and depth.

    It also calls into question the MVP talk re: Randle, he has seemed much less effective against the good teams we have faced lately.

  3. Predictable loss but disappointing for how the game went.
    Burks’ and IQ’s absences were too much against a superior team.

    Man, how embarassing were the last 10 seconds of the third quarter? The entire game changed on that sequence and Barrett’s turnover on the inbounds was unexcusable.

    While is true that we were missing 3 rotation players (if you count Mitch) I agree that this game reminded us who we are, a fighting, gritty, lovable team still miles away from real contention.

    The best thing the FO can do after this great feel good season is to understand that we really need to improve our talent, but without endangering the future sending picks left and right…

    Boston’s loss was huge, now it’s time to start taking take care of our destiny by ourselves…

  4. Wow, we were up in the 3rd when I went to sleep. Such a bummer.

    We maybe missed Quick, but Noel was also really ineffective coming off that injury and RJ was forcing it.

    On the plus side, Obi seems to be finding a groove (2 steals, 2 blocks). We should improve even just with another year’s experience for RJ, Quick, Mitch, and Obi (plus another rookie or two).

    It would be great to steal a #1 scorer from someone in a forced trade or free agency, like a Tatum, to add to this mix.

  5. Man, how embarassing were the last 10 seconds of the third quarter? The entire game changed on that sequence and Barrett’s turnover on the inbounds was unexcusable.

    At the end of the 3rd quarter it was obvious to me we were about to get blown out. Those last 10 seconds gave them a huge adrenalin rush and sapped us. There’s wasn’t much chance of beating a superior team in their gym when they were flying high and we just gave away the lead on foolishness.

    We knew this road trip was gong to be tough. At least some of our playoff competitors are losing games also. We have to steal at least one of these next 3. There are no more easy games.

  6. Our team isn’t there yet. We’re a work in progress. But we’re on the right track, well coached, well managed, plus we sure play hard, don’t we?

  7. These are the kinds of games that give a team the seasoning that will come in handy in the future. We have some very young players. This playoff push and the playoffs themselves are going to help next year.

  8. that was the good part. next was this

    RJ was ‘Doing the Elf’ all game, that sequence was just the culmination of shitty play. Everybody has games like that, and unfortunately RJ regularly has entire quarters like that (whatever his pre-game ritual/drink is, he needs to switch it out), but that was a stinker start to finish for the lad. Let’s hope he’s suitably embarrassed and comes out with more focus for SoCal.

  9. I agree that game was not among RJ’s finest (although he was 5-11 from 3)

    What I don’t get is the total lack of respect he gets from the refs. Two foul shots for a guy who repeatedly attacks in the paint makes zero sense.

    He might have the Melo problem – drawing and absorbing contact but not making it look obvious to the officials

  10. At least no one on the team had a fight about raccoons and rats. We’re better than that.

  11. He might have the Melo problem – drawing and absorbing contact but not making it look obvious to the officials

    Yeah. He’s built like a tank, so fouls that would seem blatant against a slighter wing just seem like incidental contact against RJ. Shaq and Zion and other players have dealt with similar issues at different phases of their career. David griffin wrote a whole letter to the nba yesterday blaming Zion’s new injury on players feeling emboldened to foul him because it won’t be called as much as it should.

  12. But unlike Shaq and Zion, RJ, while built like a tank, is really more of a hummer. He drives head-down into double-teams, hits the wall, and gets his shit blocked because he isn’t seven feet tall or has super-human hops. When you initiate contact with your body near the rim the NBA doesn’t call that a foul all that often unless there’s a clear hack involved, or you get knocked silly. If you watch Randle vs. RJ, Randle seems to go directly into or tries to weave through traffic (or pulls back for a fade-away), all leading to block attempts often becoming hacks. RJ tends to move alongside or even away from the contact after it happens while throwing up shots that were going to be lay-ups but are now fugly five-foot push-shots, which allows people to block him (or just throw him off his shot) without whacking him with an arm or two. Hopefully he’ll figure out how to draw those fouls soon, but right now it’s throw-your-shoe-at-the-screen stuff. I don’t blame the refs at all (well maybe a little, but it seems they’re fairly consistent, or at least consistently random, with those types of calls).

  13. It also calls into question the MVP talk

    It should have been called into question the moment it was published. I’m surprised that Kevin Porter Jr. didn’t get MVP buzz after that one good game he had.

  14. We aren’t an elite team so we’re almost always going to lose to elite teams when we’re dealing with significant injuries. Not much more to last night than that.

    Relatedly, I’m starting to think Phoenix is being slept on as a legitimate finals contender. The numbers have been there all season, they’re not dealing with much in the way of health issues (this of course could change at any moment given CP3’s age), and CP3/Booker has got to be pretty high up on the list of duos you want to have when defenses tighten up in the playoffs.

    Crowder and Bridges are damn good options to throw at the LeBrons and Kawhis of the world, and Ayton can do a lot of damage against smaller lineups.

  15. puts on positive perspective – well, at least we did win 5 out of the last 8 quarters…

    that’s something…maybe…no, not really…

  16. it’s wierd, looking at the box score RJ is listed as our shooting guard and reggie as our small forward, all year I thought it was the other way around…

  17. it’s wierd, looking at the box score RJ is listed as our shooting guard and reggie as our small forward, all year I thought it was the other way around…

    Yeah, it’s stupid. RJ’s obviously the 3, but they always list him as a 2. I’m sure it’s technically the Knicks who are saying he’s the 2. But yes, he’s clearly the 3 while Bullock is the 2. I think it comes down to the fact that RJ is shockingly short. He plays way over his size, but he’s only 6 foot 6. Bullock is 6 foot 7.

  18. I think you both are correct, but also that the media is struggling to evolve, there’s no 5 defined roles nowadays. There’s a lot of people pushing to define just 3 roles – guards, wings and bigs. Some teams play with 2 guards, 2 wings and 1 big (small ball) and some teams play more traditionally with 1 guard, 2 wings and 2 bigs, which is what the Knicks do.
    What is interesting in the Knicks case, is that our 2nd unit leans to the small ball with 2 guards (DRose and IQ), 2 wings (Burks and Obi) and 1 big (Noel/Taj), and the results look promising. That, or Payton is so bad that he dooms the starters for being the starting guard.

  19. Vildoza’s buyout from Baskonia cost $2MM, writes Berman for The New York Post, citing a report out of Spain. NBA teams are prohibited from contributing more than $750K to a buyout this season, so Vildoza had to make up the $1.25MM difference himself. The terms of his deal with the Knicks made that more palatable, as he’ll earn $3.5MM in 2020/21 despite signing so late in the year, Berman notes.

    Now this makes much more sense about the Vildoza contract. If he has to pay by himself 1.25M for the buyout, he “only” earns 2.25M this year.
    The contract is for a total of 13.6M, so there’s 10.1M for the next 3 years.

  20. RJ and Bullock are both tweener/wings. RJ is clearly the better ball handler, so I would call him the shooting guard.
    Bullock is a scrappy, but undersized forward. I would love to replace him in the starting line up with someone like Otto Porter this off season. We are going to have a very hard time matching up size wise in both the LA games.

    Also, we really miss Mitch. Noel is a good backup, but I don’t think he has the size to start for a contender either.

  21. Barrett, Bullock, and Burks are all listed at 6’6″. We really need a 3/4 who can shoot 3’s and has some defensive shit with ’em. This is where Knox really hurts us. Jae Crowder would be perfect. I’d even take MKG for spot minutes.

  22. Today is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow is another story. Heat-Celts at 1PM followed by Knicks-Clips at 3:30. I tried to figure out magic numbers if all 4 scenarios and it got too confusing because of that last Knicks-Celts game…if we are either down or up 1 game with them or tied, the winner of that game finishes higher, as ties will go to the winner.

    I am praying we clinch a top-6 spot before that game…It would be the pits for that game to relegate us to the play-in.

  23. Jae Crowder is just another 6’6″ (he does outweigh our 6’6″ guys…). And his career 3% is 34.5.

  24. Traditional roles have been antiquated for a long time. Players like LeBron, Durant, Giannis, Jokic, Westbrook, etc. are so hard to showhorn into a position. Their role can vary on each possession.

  25. The game changed when Phoenix started blitzing Rose in the second half. The Knicks had no secondary play-making at all, especially with them playing Randle straight up for the most part and both IQ and Burks out. Frank was, aside from one nice pass, utterly useless on offense.

    On RJ: First thing on agenda for the summer has to be figuring out how to finish over length. He looks tired to me right now which exacerbates the issue but far too many drives end up in high difficultly attempts due to his lack of explosiveness. He doesn’t get a great whistle but I don’t think it’s been egregious- he throws up a lot of weak shit that doesn’t deserve bail-out calls. He’s been particularly bad in transition lately (or maybe that’s just the eye test) but some of that is the fact that no else really runs the floor so he winds up going one on two a lot- getting a point who can really push (Rose seems more of a half-court guy these days) or a really athletic wing who can create space on the break should help him but he needs to make better decisions in transition.

  26. nicos: but he needs to make better decisions in transition.

    This. I think everyone in the league knows that when RJ gets to about the foul line he’s 100% committed to taking the shot no matter what (and on the break he commits around the three-point line). Every once in a while he’ll dump it off or toss a lob, but that’s rare. He almost never throws it to the corner or back up top if things look bad in the paint.

    Okay, done with the Barrett bashing. I like the guy, by the way. He just needs to clean off some of that Elf dust.

  27. Why didn’t any of our 19 year old’s grow at all? I think I kept growing until around a 21. Frank and Knox seem to be shrinking. Someone suggested giving Obi some minutes at the 3. It’s probably worth a try.

    @Raven Crowder is 6’6″, but strong and tough enough to defend bigger players. PJ Tucker is another one of those type of guys. We need to find one.

  28. Someone suggested giving Obi some minutes at the 3. It’s probably worth a try.

    Feels like he’d get roasted on defense there. At best, he’d be like Aaron Gordon in Orlando, where they kept playing him out of position at the 3 because they had too many other big men. And he had to go to Denver to play the 4 to truly seem like a guy worth all the fuss.

  29. good quotes from the article in the post today from Thibs and Taj about these games being good for them and learning experience, etc….also CP3 with some kudos for the knicks intensity level….

    see what they bring tomorrow against the clips…

  30. Relatedly, I’m starting to think Phoenix is being slept on as a legitimate finals contender. The numbers have been there all season, they’re not dealing with much in the way of health issues (this of course could change at any moment given CP3’s age), and CP3/Booker has got to be pretty high up on the list of duos you want to have when defenses tighten up in the playoffs.

    I’m with you. I mentioned this a month ago here, and I put a nice wager on them at plus 3,500 to win the title, which I thought was just stupid. They are down to plus 1400 now.

    Owen was taking a look at it, too. Don’t know if he went in.

  31. Hubert: I’m with you. I mentioned this a month ago here, and I put a nice wager on them at plus 3,500 to win the title, which I thought was just stupid. They are down to plus 1400 now.

    Owen was taking a look at it, too. Don’t know if he went in.

    still soaking up the plus 6 road points bets?

  32. Hubert – I have a friend that I tried to get on board who has an account. He was not a believer.

    But I think that was a great bet. They look legit to me and those were outrageous odds even before the Lebron injury.

  33. i have this pet theory that it’s really hard for team’s that revolve around great but short pg’s to do well in the playoffs because a single short pg has a much tougher time against better defenses and it’s much easier to neutralize the players around them that depend on that great pg to generate offense.. that’s part of the reason why cp3 has struggled in the playoffs but also why folks like nash and kidd and stockton and other great nba pg’s haven’t had as much playoff success as great players at other positions… a great center or wing player can take over no matter the defense… unless you’re name is curry it’s much harder for shorter players to do that…

    guys like ayton and bridges derive most of their offense from shooting open under the hoop or from behind the arc… those opportunities become much less frequent and much tougher and they will be forced to hit tougher shots and to create for themselves eventually… something that they are not that good at… cp3 will help them but it’s very hard for them to carry for 4 straight series with defenses keying on all their pet plays…

    phoenix has a good defense and that will help them win a series or two but that’s why when you face a team like the lakers or denver or the clips … when the game slows down and you need a bucket… you much rather depend on kawhi scoring for you than booker or cp3… and that’s why i think people are down on the suns relative to their top billing…

  34. This. I think everyone in the league knows that when RJ gets to about the foul line he’s 100% committed to taking the shot no matter what (and on the break he commits around the three-point line). Every once in a while he’ll dump it off or toss a lob, but that’s rare. He almost never throws it to the corner or back up top if things look bad in the paint.

    i think this was definitely true last year.. but this year he’s been a lot better… and he’s not exactly forcing too many shots esp so since feb…. a lot of the bad looking shots is either him fishing for a foul… which i don’t blame him.. usually a guy that hits the rim as much as he does get some of these calls… or him actually getting fouled but no call…. or him just making a bad assessment….

    yesterday though he was getting jobbed by the refs… those transition misses were both fouls as he hit the deck… and you can say what you want about rj but he doesn’t flop nor does he ever complain…. he got bodied on both of those plays… and the elbow to crowder was quite atrocious also…. for whatever reason he will be on the short end of these calls at least once or twice a game…

    he does need more work on his drives…. but he’s already light year’s beyond what he was doing in college and clearly better than last year… and obv his future is tied to how high he can get his 2p% up and his ftr… but this guy has never been shy about driving to the bucket in his life so i wouldn’t be all that concerned about it…

  35. RJ has been blocked a lot, but he is still far behind Zion. Coming into yesterday, RJ had been blocked 120 times (2nd in NBA) and Zion had been blocked 174 times.

    Both attack the rim. Both are unlikely to get fouls called on defenders. If you turn 1 block/game into a foul, you have a very different picture.

  36. This has been a great NBA season so far. Lots of intrigue. I didn’t like the play in tournament idea at first, but really has made these end of the season much more interesting.

  37. Alec Burks (contused left knee) and Immanuel Quickley (sprained left ankle) are doubtful for tomorrow’s game at LA Clippers.

    Again, this sucks. We can survive missing one of them, but not both.

  38. Tim Bontemps article on RJ’s year 2 improvement:

    “I don’t view him as a franchise or star-level player,” a Western Conference executive said. “I think he’s a complementary scorer and bucket-getter. His shooting has helped his efficiency, but he still plays a lot off the bounce and hasn’t proven able to make those shots.

    “If he can improve as a finisher and his shot selection, he has a chance; because he can get to the paint and get to the line, and that’s what the best players do.”

    Some thought the ceiling could be higher though.

    “I probably don’t hold him in the same regard as Jaylen Brown, [but] that’s his upside,” an East scout said. “That comes to mind because of similar draft position and size, though I’d rather have Brown. [He’s] the upper end.”

  39. Brown is just a better athlete than RJ: longer, faster, springier, although RJ is stronger. So the only way RJ can match his level of play is by becoming a better facilitator in my opinion.

    Better results in the paint will obviously help, but he’s limited there. Ultimately, he may be closer to a smaller perimeter shooter/defender like George Hill than a guy like Jaylen Brown.

  40. So w/o Burks and IQ we probably lose, right? Assuming we do:
    -If Celts win, magic number to finish ahead of them is 3 if two of those come via a game 72 win, otherwise it’s 4. For the Heat it becomes 4. For ATL it stays at 4.
    -If Heat win, magic number over C’s is 2 (if we win last game we finish ahead of them no matter what else happens, it’s 3 if we lose that game) For Heat it stays at 5, for ATL it stays at 4.

    If somehow we win:
    -If Celts win, magic number to finish ahead of them is 2 via a game 72 win, otherwise it’s 3. For the Heat it becomes 3. For ATL it becomes 3.
    -If Heat win, magic number over C’s is 2, whether via last game or otherwise; For Heat it becomes 4, for ATL it becomes 3.

    (please correct me if I’m wrong on any of this)

    So in my opinion, it is best to root for the Heat, as we have lots of ways to finish ahead of the Celts if they lose no matter what we do today. Then it becomes tricky for the second game, all would depend on how much you favor playing ATL in the 4-5 series, which would suggest that rooting for the split is better.

    I’m pretty ambivalent re: facing the Heat or the Hawks if both of them are healthy. I’d rather not face the Celts because I wouldn’t want to end the season losing to them. But whatever, I just would rather us avoid the play-in, rest up, and take our chances with whoever it turns out to be.

  41. I’m rooting for a 4 vs 5 match up with the Hawks since we swept them and lost to the heat both times. Looks like the Hawks may catch a break with Beal now being day to day with a strained hamstring.

  42. I think absent a Miami sweep…we may be hosting Charlotte in the 7-8 matchup..

    now that Beal is out…ATL may go 4-0 or 3-1 but if we can tie them…I guess we win the tiebreaker and get the 6th seed…

    if we lose these next 2…i don’t see us sweeping the last 3 at home…but who knows..maybe they can pull it off…

  43. Thing is, the playoffs have kind of already started for us. If we can’t go at least 3-2 we’re probably not going to win a first round series against any of the top 6. So getting one of these next two, by hook or by crook, is essential.

  44. Owen:
    Hubert – I have a friend that I tried to get on board who has an account. He was not a believer.

    But I think that was a great bet. They look legit to me and those were outrageous odds even before the Lebron injury.

    probably for the best. I think they’re going to have a hard time with the Clippers in round 2 (a matchup that looks pretty likely).

  45. Jaylen Brown is an interesting comp for RJ. They’re the same size, basically — just another in the 6’6″ pile of wing players (hi Alec, Reggie,,,), Jaylen’s a little heavier, has two inches in wingspan but it’s 6’10 vs 7′. He also didn’t actually break out until his fourth year. Comparing trajectories is a fool’s errand, but playing the fool one could say RJ is ahead of Jaylen’s year two, with the giant asterisk that something happened in his year 4 to make him a star. Not sure what as I spend an inordinate amount of time ignoring the Celtics.

  46. Z-man: Curious thing to say after a 4-game winning streak…

    And tied for first place with a 15-13 record, despite bad starts with the bat by Lindor, McNeil, Conforto, and Smith. There are certainly some long-term concerns about the Mets, though.

  47. Raven:
    Jaylen Brown is an interesting comp for RJ. They’re the same size, basically — just another in the 6’6? pile of wing players (hi Alec, Reggie,,,), Jaylen’s a little heavier, has two inches in wingspan but it’s 6’10 vs 7?. He also didn’t actually break out until his fourth year. Comparing trajectories is a fool’s errand, but playing the fool one could say RJ is ahead of Jaylen’s year two, with the giant asterisk that something happened in his year 4 to make him a star. Not sure what as I spend an inordinate amount of time ignoring the Celtics.

    Sorry, this is simply not true about Jaylen Brown. He was better than RJ in both year 1 and year 2. He was also a very good player in the playoffs for them in his second year and beyond. KBers shited on him all the time back then, and I could never get why. He’s really, really good. Maybe not max contract good, but an excellent 2-way player.

    RJ has a long way to go to catch up with Jaylen…maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But if he gets there, I’d be very happy.

  48. Jaylen Brown is one of the prototypical “can he learn how to shoot out of nowhere?” guys. There are lots of them who get drafted high in the lottery because, if they can learn how to shoot out of nowhere, their other skills are outstanding. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who learns how to shoot out of nowhere. Brown, though, clearly has, and he’s a stud now.

  49. Rojas got away with one yesterday in terms of his bullpen management. Familia was losing the plot after throwing 30+ pitches and he had Loup available to face lefties. It worked out, but it was pretty questionable leaving Familia out there.

    The big worry about the Mets was that their bullpen would be terrible but that has really not been the case. The bullpen has been outstanding. Half of the starting lineup isn’t doing anything but the Mets do seem like a team that could take off if a few guys start hitting.

  50. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who learns how to shoot out of nowhere.

    Work ethic, intelligence, coachability, and good instruction are probably factors. So are when he started playing, how much outside shooting he was asked to do while younger etc.. But I agree there is no magic formula. It’s just one thing you weigh when you draft. What is the probability of “x”? Then sometimes you’ll hit and sometimes you’ll miss.

  51. Brian Cronin:
    Jaylen Brown is one of the prototypical “can he learn how to shoot out of nowhere?” guys. There are lots of them who get drafted high in the lottery because, if they can learn how to shoot out of nowhere, their other skills are outstanding. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who learns how to shoot out of nowhere. Brown, though, clearly has, and he’s a stud now.

    What bugged me is that for like 3 years, lots of folks here acted like his reasonably good shooting was a fluke and he would regress to his college percentages. The truth is that he was never a “bad” shooter in the NBA, not even his rookie year, so it’s weird to say that he improved “out of nowhere” given that his college shooting was a tiny sample. He never shot lower than 34% from 3 or 50% from 2. He still doesn’t shoot FTs well, but after year 1 it should have been clear that shooting was not going to be a problem for him overall, especially for a very good defensive player.

    I mean he’s not Kawhi Leonard, who had more reason to doubt his 3pt shooting (two years in college) but the Celts hate runs deep here and I think it negatively impacts how some think of their players. For example, if when suggested that RWIII might be as good or better than Mitch based on per minute stats, some here scoffed. As it turns out, they are almost identical statistically.

  52. JK47:
    Rojas got away with one yesterday in terms of his bullpen management. Familia was losing the plot after throwing 30 pitches and he had Loup available to face lefties. It worked out, but it was pretty questionable leaving Familia out there.

    The big worry about the Mets was that their bullpen would be terrible but that has really not been the case. The bullpen has been outstanding. Half of the starting lineup isn’t doing anything but the Mets do seem like a team that could take off if a few guys start hitting.

    That ball hitting the railing vs. PHI was a turning point. If they blew that game, who knows what would have happened since? So sure, Rojas has been fortunate, but maybe you could have picked a more opportune moment for calling for his head.

  53. Comparing trajectories is a fool’s errand, but playing the fool one could say RJ is ahead of Jaylen’s year two, with the giant asterisk that something happened in his year 4 to make him a star. Not sure what as I spend an inordinate amount of time ignoring the Celtics.

    jaylen brown age 20 – bpm -3.7 ws48 .053
    rj barrett age 20 – bpm -1.5 ws48 .078

    year 2’s jaylen’s probably slightly ahead although it took him 5 seasons to get to rj’s ft% and 3p%…. rj’s ahead on the playmaking front also… jaylen’s ahead around the basket which is important but i don’t think that gap is going to continue to be one for much longer…

    jaylen just started becoming a bpm positive player at age 23…. i think rj is probably going to be one as soon as next year….and i think generally came in more highly regarded and is ahead of jaylen’s pace…

    they’re close though… but i would absolutely take rj here….

  54. djphan: they’re close though…

    I guess that’s my take, although it’s all just looking at numbers as I don’t know Jaylen’s game much (he seems to be less ground-bound that RJ but that’s all I got). Z-Man’s right that Jaylen started out a decent shooter and has slowly gotten better; RJ basically sucked and then got a lot better quite suddenly. Jaylen blew up in Year 4 (for some reason he was mostly playing off the bench in year 3…). Jaylen’s certainly better than Barrett right now, but looking at year 2s…

    Maybe we’ll have the opportunity to see them head-to-head in the playoffs.

  55. Is any baseball fan happy with the way his team’s manager handles his bullpen? I feel like I’ve been singing this same song since Willie Randolph was the Mets’ manager.

    Maybe it’s harder than it looks, I dunno

  56. JK47:
    Is any baseball fan happy with the way his team’s manager handles his bullpen? I feel like I’ve been singing this same song since Willie Randolph was the Mets’ manager.

    Maybe it’s harder than it looks, I dunno

    I think it is harder than it looks. The human element is so big, it’s easy to say go with the percentages but baseball is such a momentum sport that the matchups get sticky. Then there’s the limits on using certain pitchers…the who do you save for tomorrow stuff. I’m not defending Rojas, but honestly the team would be several games higher in the standings if their hitters had showed up even a little bit. The management of the bullpen is way down the list for me right now. And being that they’re on top of a tough division without hitting a lick, I’ll give Rojas a pass for now.

  57. @JCMacriNBA
    As expected, Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks are out today. Thibs says they’re both progressing, but no word yet on expected availability for the Lakers game.

    Sigh.

  58. My comment about IQ and Burks definitely being out for today’s game is stuck in moderation for some reason. But they’re now officially out. Which… fun.

  59. Alan:
    My comment about IQ and Burks definitely being out for today’s game is stuck in moderation for some reason. But they’re now officially out. Which… fun.

    Frank didn’t do much of a job replacing them against the Suns, did he?

  60. Celts down big again, and this ain’t the Spurs they’re playing…

    The Heat are gonna be a very tough out.

  61. Hey DudesTown, just wanted to chime in on sending positive thoughts your way, glad the Knicks are interesting at least!

  62. Root for the Heat against the Celtics these 2 games then hope the Heat lose to Philly and Milwaukee. Not worried Knicks will fall to 7th but gonna be difficult to stay at 4/5 which is the hope. Although falling to 6th and playing the Nets in the 1st rd would certainly be fun during the week leading up to the series but don’t think it will be too fun once the games start.

  63. BigBlueAL:
    Root for the Heat against the Celtics these 2 games then hope the Heat lose to Philly and Milwaukee.Not worried Knicks will fall to 7th but gonna be difficult to stay at 4/5 which is the hope.Although falling to 6th and playing the Nets in the 1st rd would certainly be fun during the week leading up to the series but don’t think it will be too fun once the games start.

    I would rather not see the Nets benefit from the publicity of a subway series. Let them go up against the Wiz, at least maybe Beal and Westbrook go off against them.

  64. Z-man: I would rather not see the Nets benefit from the publicity of a subway series. Let them go up against the Wiz, at least maybe Beal and Westbrook go off against them.

    Best Wizards can finish is 8th seed and Philly has the 1st seed basically locked up. Nets and Bucks are in a battle for the 2nd seed. Assuming Boston finishes 7th not sure if they could cause the Bucks or Nets any problems, heck at this point the Knicks might put up a better series vs any of the Top 3 seeds than the Celtics will.

  65. RJ basically sucked and then got a lot better quite suddenly. Jaylen blew up in Year 4 (for some reason he was mostly playing off the bench in year 3…). Jaylen’s certainly better than Barrett right now, but looking at year 2s…

    i usually look at it by age which explains where we’re differing… at age 19 jaylen was still in college whereas rj was trying to be efficient in the pro’s.. if jaylen was on the knicks at age 19 he probably would have struggled worse..

    which is another thing that separates them at the same age… rj is carrying more of the offensive load which you can see through assisted 2p fgs..and usage… boston was a much better team with veterans who were more of a focal point.. jaylen was absolutely a contributor.. but he didn’t have to be a 2nd option until kyrie and hayward left…

    rj had to deal with fizdale and now thibs with the pupu platter as pg’s and up until randle anything close to what boston had as offensive weapons… so he’s slightly more productive in a much harsher environment… you surround rj with kemba/kyrie, hayward and tatum in a more pass friendly offense… and i’m pretty sure this jaylen and rj thing isn’t even a discussion…

  66. Z-man:
    Hey DudesTown, just wanted to chime in on sending positive thoughts your way, glad the Knicks are interesting at least!

    Thanks, ZMan!

  67. Yeah Dudes Town same from me, wishing you all the best in your battle with cancer. My mom is currently going thru chemotherapy and it’s really beating her up so I know how tough it is, hang in there man and stay positive.

  68. So the Mets rush deGrom back, and he has to leave today’s start after 68 pitches because of the same tightness in his side that was bothering him in the first place.

    Very Metsy

  69. After this good start maybe it’s better not to have a thread…

    With Burks and IQ out this game has gone from very difficult to nearly impossible…

  70. Max: With Burks and IQ out this game has gone from very difficult to nearly impossible…

    Knox will go off for 30 points!

  71. pepper:
    Randle playing like shit

    Yeah, gotta feeling nothing’s gonna be easy for Julius for the rest of the season.

  72. Another block on RJ. It’s really a problem that should be addressed.

  73. Z-man:
    DRose scoffing at the KB haterz again…

    I don’t think he even has haters anymore, pretty much everyone who hated the trade has manifested that he’s playing insanely well so far and the trade has been absolutely worth it.

  74. KB Apprentice: Yeah, gotta feeling nothing’s gonna be easy for Julius for the rest of the season.

    He must count on it and deal with it, that’s what happens to the best players. Let’s see how it goes.

  75. Bruno Almeida: I don’t think he even has haters anymore, pretty much everyone who hated the trade has manifested that he’s playing insanely well so far and the trade has been absolutely worth it.

    Agree. No doubt.

  76. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not surprised when every Derrick Rose shot goes in

    And I’ll say it again, Thibs has a tough decision come playoff time whether to start Rose or not. Can’t have these terrible starts every game.

  77. I would honestly rather see Pinson or Harper get a chance before Frank, holy shit how useless he is

  78. Bruno Almeida:
    I would honestly rather see Pinson or Harper get a chance before Frank, holy shit how useless he is

    Frank’s airball followed by Rondo just blowing by him. I mean talk about ruining your own chances.

  79. It’s actually nuts how bad Frank is. He’s even forgotten how to play good d

  80. That’s the thing, we keep hearing about Frank being a good defender, but he hasn’t even shown that lately, he’s too slow for fast guards and too weak for strong wings, so what’s the point?

  81. I’d like to see Obi play a bit more with Rose. Derrick is definitely looking to get the young guys in good spots.

  82. Rose’s scintillating play makes The Plague looks even worse…

    Another air ball for Frank… and a foul!!! He’s killing us…

  83. where’s strat… I need someone to explain Frank’s intrinsic value to me

  84. I, a pretty big Frank stan, am officially done with Frank after that dump he took on our lead. He’s brutal. Just cut him.

    edit: I don’t care that he just made that shot.

  85. Not great that a recent 8th overall pick is unqualified for the “give us 15 minutes when two players ahead of you on the depth chart are injured” role

  86. Well, at least Frank is taking the shots. Now he must be more effective.

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