NY Post: Knicks’ season on the brink after disastrous Game 4 loss to Hawks

From Marc Berman:

The Knicks’ fairytale season is nearly over.

Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks were a terrific-regular season team, but their flaws have been revealed during this depressing first-round series against the Hawks.

Julius Randle was a little better and RJ Barrett was a lot better, but neither was nearly enough to stifle Atlanta’s weaponry. The Hawks have put the Knicks on the brink with Sunday’s 113-96 victory before 16,458 at raucous State Farm Arena.

The Knicks are in a 3-1 hole in the best-of-seven series and have never come back from that deficit in 13 tries in their history. Just 13 teams in 260 instances have ever recovered from a 3-1 deficit.

“We’ve got to fix it,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’ve got to fix it fast.”

Game 5 is back at what will be a frenzied Garden on Wednesday. In the fourth quarter, the Atlanta fans did themselves proud, chanting “Hawks in Five” as they led by as many as 26 points.

Randle begs to differ with the odds.

“I like our chances,” Randle said. “To answer your question, I love our chances. It’s not over. It’s not nearly over.”

Shooting 24 percent in the series entering the afternoon, Randle scored his playoff-high 23 points and added seven assists and 10 rebounds, but shot just 7-for-19 and committed five turnovers. He was on the receiving end of “overrated” chants all game.

That was depressing enough that I waited until now to write about it.

Let’s get the perfunctory “the series is not over” stuff out of the way. That’s very true. Look at the situation the Clippers were in after losing the first two games of their series at home and now look how that series looks, with the Clippers winning both games in Dallas by sizable margins. So a series’ look can change very quickly.

That said, obviously it is a lot to ask any team to win three in a row against a playoff team. So this series is likely not going to end well for the Knicks.

However, I continue to not mind it that much, as this really feels more like a beginning than an end. What I think would have been an iffy approach would have been to just run this team back next year, as there is a clear difference in your supporting cast being a bunch of still young, good lottery picks and one of the hottest free agents of the past offseason (think how good Bogo would look on the Knicks) and your supporting cast being Reggie Bullock, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson.

The former is likely to get even better while it’s hard to imagine a next gear next season from the Knick vets. I think it isn’t unreasonable to expect similar production next year, but for long term success, they’re probably better off using their cap space on someone who can grow with their young stars, Randle and Barrett (and Immanuel Quickley and Mitch Robinson and I guess Obi Toppin).

The future is still bright, though, with a cupboard full of assets plus a lot of cap space. Rose could trade for a young player, as well. Lots of great possibilities, so I’m quite happy about the position this team is in overall. Is that good position also a bit precarious? Of course. Things could go way wrong, but if they do, i think it will be from a bold move that just didn’t work out, not by being overly conservative.

So I think that, while frustrating, there is a silver lining to the limitations of this team being so glaring so far this series.

Or I could just be trying to convince myself of that. Either or.

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281 thoughts to “NY Post: Knicks’ season on the brink after disastrous Game 4 loss to Hawks”

  1. I’m at least hopeful that for however many games remain (hopefully we get at least three), Randle and RJ play like we know they’re both capable of. It doesn’t really matter that much in the long term. But regarding offseason narrative and perhaps our image around the league for the next disgruntled superstar, it’s a much bigger deal for our core building blocks to turn back into pumpkins than if that happens to Bullock or Nerlens, you know?

  2. Whoops, I posted two threads back for some reason. If there’s a Game 7, I will be in NYC for it, so– go Knicks. May Thibs score all of the Knicks’ 150 points in the next basketball contest.

  3. Alan, RJ and Robinson are the only potential core building blocks on this team as far as I can see. Randle is a victim of the max individual salary, causing the best to be underpaid and 3rd tier stars to be overpaid.

    I am generally very anti-image. considerations like culture building and image changing I think our traps for people looking for shortcuts. I guess all people who want the thee Knicks to succeed would like it to happen faster, so we’re all looking for shortcuts to some extent. They are traps in my opinion because you can bend them to rationalize lots of different choices. We’ve seen the last decade or so rationalized with these arguments over and over again. The knicks’ success in the early 2010s did not translate it to free agency success. The team should stick with pursuing obvious net wins, i.e. acquiring upside players and concentrating on development. For that reason, I hope Thibodeau loses influence as a consequence of this playoff flameout. Give Tom pieces that can be a part of a long-term turnaround, and I’m OK with him as a coach, but I don’t like that we have players like Burks, Rose, Gibson… Even Bullock. Make sure maybe one or two of these guys can be helpful, but As the rotation is shifted more and more in their direction, the team starts feeling more and more like 2013… A lot of things going right for a veteran team all at once… Not anything that can be a foundation in the long run.

  4. ha! I knew it ;)

    The Honorable Cock Jowles
    May 31, 2021 at 10:08 am
    Z-man: Even your “I wish Jowles still posted, bc I know he’s laughing at this bullshit” comment backfired.
    No, I was laughing. Just too busy to sift through a 400-comment fight. And unfortunately I’ll be back in NY from Wednesday through Sunday, but not back in NYC until Saturday night to watch Thibs single-handedly win Game 6 : (

  5. Just thought it was important to remember that without Reggie we would have lost game 2, not just because of his shooting but his 4th quarter defense on Trae. I don’t see any realistic path to winning without him being a key player unless someone else is going off. Burks went 4-12 and IQ had the same 0 points as Bullock and is at 22% from 3 for the series, not to mention that he hurts us on D. We already lost Payton’s minutes, so losing Reggie’s would put that much more pressure on Rose, Burks, and IQ to step up, and only Rose has done so consistently.

    Reggie is taking the heat because he, like Randle, has been pretty reliable during the playoff chase and it’s jarring to see him miss so many open shots that he consistently knocked down. But he’s still a key player for us. We can quibble about whether he is a long-term piece, but for this series, benching him makes little sense. You might as well talk about benching Randle. It’s just not gonna happen unless either IQ or Burks go off in the first half.

  6. Hubert:
    ha! I knew it ;)

    The Honorable Cock Jowles
    May 31, 2021 at 10:08 am
    Z-man: Even your “I wish Jowles still posted, bc I know he’s laughing at this bullshit” comment backfired.
    No, I was laughing. Just too busy to sift through a 400-comment fight. And unfortunately I’ll be back in NY from Wednesday through Sunday, but not back in NYC until Saturday night to watch Thibs single-handedly win Game 6 : (

    Jowles, how many 3’s do you think Thibs will make?

    PS If you come in, let me know where you are so I can pick you up on my scooter…

  7. Alan, RJ and Robinson are the only potential core building blocks on this team as far as I can see.

    In terms of potential All-Stars, that’s probably true, though there are ways to squint and see an appearance or two in the future for any or all of Mitch, IQ, and Obi. But those five guys all seem like they’ll be useful players in the league for quite some time, even if it’s not for the Knicks. (As discussed, unless Thibs figures out a way to play Julius and Obi together for substantial minutes, both Obi and the team are probably better off with him being traded.) Add in whatever Leon and company are able to do with our draft assets and cap space, and there are still lots of ways to improve the team.

    I think some of Thibs’ sorcery created the illusion that Julius and RJ might soon be capable of being 1 & 2 on a good team, when this series has suggested they’re better off as 2 & 3. Obviously, getting the 1 guy is the hard part, but I believe there is a real foundation here. Now it’s a question of how much the front office can build on that foundation.

    I just don’t want to spend the summer hearing pundits and fans of other teams calling the Knicks frauds, you know?

  8. Ahahah, vicious

    For real, if we have a Game 7 I expect everyone to show up at a watch party. I’ll be buying pitchers for the KB section, and two thumbs of Johnny Walker Red with a packet of Splenda for our eldest curmudgeon.

  9. Yeah, a game 7 would be amazing, but now i’m not greedy anymore, i just ask them to force a game 6. Losing in 5… AT HOME? Please no.

  10. If there’s a game 7, and I sincerely doubt that will happen, I’m definitely down to make a visit to NYC.

  11. Thibs needs to get creative. We’ve had problems against zone defenses all year.

    The only way to bust a zone is with outside shooting

  12. Max, I don’t totally agree with the assertion that the 2010s success of the Knicks didn’t lead to free agency wins.

    It’s hard to get big free agents when you don’t have cap space which was the case for basically that whole era. But they did land Tyson chandler, who was one of the biggest free agents that year. The problem is they amnestied Bill ups to create the cap space to do that and afte that they were capped out and it wasn’t really feasible for them to go after big free agents. It’s one of the many reasons why the Melo trade was so bad (instead of just waiting to try and get him in free agency). But even with the mid levels and such they got Kidd, etc. but they didn’t really have the ability to add much to that core especially with stat being untraceable bc of his injuries.

  13. IQ had the same 0 points as Bullock and is at 22% from 3 for the series

    there are no easy answers bc no one is shooting lights out. But I did address this yesterday. Bullock is missing the easy, wide open shots that the defense is giving him while they focus on Randle. IQ is playing without Randle, and has to create offense on his own (both his misses yesterday were from very deep). It’s apples and oranges.

    You’re right, we wouldn’t have won game 2 without Bullock. That was his one good half for the entire series. It goes to show you that we can win this series if we have someone doing well at that position.

    If Reggie can’t do it (and he hasn’t done it for 7 out of 8 halves), next man up. He’s not Julius Randle, he’s a fungible role player.

  14. mase:
    Thibs needs to get creative. We’ve had problems against zone defenses all year.

    The only way to bust a zone is with outside shooting

    1. With the way the Hawks are defending Randall, I just don’t think we can create the type of ball movement that can consistently tilt the defense.
    2. Our shooters are not the type that can just light it up consistently from anywhere beyond the line, save for maybe IQ.

  15. Something has to change quickly no pun intended.
    Idk maybe bring randle off the bench, Basically when capela exits the game

  16. Unsurprisingly, “Thibs sorcery made Julius Randle look like a #1” is not sitting well with me. But Alan is a god so I’m going to tread lightly.

    Julius hit impossible shots all year for an offense that couldn’t create good looks. That’s your sorcery.

    I wonder what this team’s record would be if we changed the conversion rate on Julius’ shots to what the expected conversion rate should have been for those shots. I’m sure ptmilo can find that answer in a few seconds but I’m just gonna guess it would be less.

  17. I didn’t see many good shots in the last two games, and also not the type of shots that Randle and RJ got during the regular season. The degree of difficulty is much greater in this series, and it looks to me like everything the Knicks get is under pressure and rushed.

    I’d give the credit to the Hawks defense, especially Colins’ D on Randle.

    It’s not a pleasant thought but did Randle get going after his 90’s style hard foul on Colins? I’m surprised he didn’t get ejected for it, it was pretty nasty.

  18. Hubert: Bullock is missing the easy, wide open shots that the defense is giving him while they focus on Randle.

    Bullock is not being given wide open shots, and it would be incredibly stupid for any NBA defense to do that. He is an excellent career 3pt shooter (including this season, and any coach would tell him if you are left open, let it fly, I don’t care how many you missed.

    The opposite is actually true. He’s getting fewer looks per 36 than he did in the regular season. He was terrible in Game 1 (only 18 minutes), great in game 2, and so-so in game 3 (11 points on 8 shots). He took only 3 3PA in 34 minutes in game 4, and at least one of those was rushed.

    If anything, they are letting Randle and RJ shoot rather than collapsing and leaving Bullock open.

    And if he’s choking as you suggest, is the same true for RJ and Randle, both of whom have played around one good half, give or take? Or IQ, who has been absolutely terrible since game 1? Or Burks, who sucked in game 3 and 4?

  19. I don’t know, Z-Man, it sure feels like most of the team (barring Rose) has been choking. Although that’s a strong word; I actually give a lot of props to the Atlanta D, I haven’t looked at the numbers but it feels like the opportunities just aren’t there, and while the Hawks make the periodic bone-head defensive play, in general they’ve locked up the Knicks as well as any team this season. But when the shots are there the whole gang seems to hesitate just that fraction of a second that allows the defense to catch up.

    Someone earlier mentioned that the Knicks need three players to play well on offense to win (Randle, and then two of Barrett, Burks, Bullock, Quick, or Rose), and these playoffs have usually only seen one play well. I don’t agree that we’re that much worse than the Hawks — on paper they’re clearly better offensively but there’s a reason we swept them during the regular season. But if the whole team has the yips, we’re not going to win anything.

    The only players playing aggressively and without over-thinking are Rose and Obi (!); I guess you can say Barrett but he’s mostly been playing badly, too.

    Edit — also Taj on that last point, but he’ll never score much…

  20. This was Z-Man’s description of Bullock’s jumpers yesterday:

    Z-man
    May 30, 2021 at 2:13 pm
    Bullock’s two wide-open misses are the difference in the game.

  21. Or IQ, who has been absolutely terrible since game 1?

    Honestly, of all the Knicks (who are still in the rotation), Quickley seems to be the one who has been the most exposed in this series, as the Hawks have been shutting him down with ease and barely seem to take him seriously (play him far outside the three-point line so he can’t shoot a deep three and then wait for him to make the same floater move every time and try to disrupt/block it. He hasn’t shown a third move as of yet). The Hawks are at least working hard to shut down Randle and RJ.

  22. Julius hit impossible shots all year for an offense that couldn’t create good looks. That’s your sorcery.

    Obviously, a lion’s share of the credit goes to Julius and RJ for the offseason work they put in on improving their shots. What I meant by “Thibs’ sorcery” was the fact that he had those guys and the rest of the rotation treating every single game like Game 7, in a way most of our opponents were not. The effort level was higher on both ends of the court, where we’re seeing what happens when Randle attempts these same circus shots with even slightly more defensive resistance than he got on a Thursday night in late February. And if we can somehow import more offensive firepower — whether that’s adding more consistent shooting up and down the lineup, or somehow bagging a disgruntled high-usage, high-efficiency superstar — then I would love to see what the combination of that talent upgrade and Thibs’ insanity does for this team.

  23. Yeah, exactly. He had this team overachieve like crazy, so if they give him even better players (especially on offense), it could be really special.

    I think Thibs’ teams (like other, similar coaches, such as Skiles, for instance) are going to always have problems adjusting to the playoffs, but the key is once you have the team good enough, that playoff adjustment won’t matter as much (like his Bulls teams, for instance. They made it to the Conference Finals in his first year and then Rose got hurt the next postseason and it all sort of fell apart).

  24. Hubert and Z-man going at it reminds me of Democrats arguing on Nov. 9th, 2016.

  25. Brian Cronin: Honestly, of all the Knicks (who are still in the rotation), Quickley seems to be the one who has been the most exposed in this series, as the Hawks have been shutting him down with ease and barely seem to take him seriously (play him far outside the three-point line so he can’t shoot a deep three and then wait for him to make the same floater move every time and try to disrupt/block it. He hasn’t shown a third move as of yet). The Hawks are at least working hard to shut down Randle and RJ.

    I agree, IQ needs to work on some kind of pull-up jumper Burks’ style and/or a driving bank shot, to avoid the “deep three-or-floater” alternative that make him easy to defend and an extreme streaky shooter.

    The good news is that many of our players are known hard workers and gym rats: Randle, RJ, Obi, IQ (jury’s still out on Mitch).

    And they all need to work really hard this offseason, Front Office and Coaching Staff included…

  26. At this point I don’t even think I can say the sky is blue without Z-Man typing a 5,000 word rebuttal. It’s pathological.

  27. The series isn’t over but the Knicks are on life support. The 3 losses were painful. Yet through it all, I am happy that I’m able to feel post-season emotions again. Playoffs reveal a lot about a team’s weaknesses. Someone, somewhere said “We’re a year behind Atlanta” and I agree. I’ll assess everything after the Knicks season ends, be it after game 5 vs the Hawks or lofting the trophy overhead.

    A quick comment about tennis. I’m not a huge fan but today Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open because she was fined and threatened with being kicked out of the tournament because she refused to meet with the media. She is suffering from anxiety. I first learned about this by listening on the radio to ESPN and the discussion about it was “She should know that it’s part of the job”.

    I’ve got a problem with that sentiment. My wife, a niece and several other people I know have crippling anxiety. I don’t know what the laws are like in France, but this feels like a viable lawsuit if it was in the US. There are some people who just should play ball and not have to deal with the media. At the very least, some alternative way of handling things should be considered.

  28. This is a tradition for the French Open. Take some brutally stupid stand and cause a tsunami of negative press for absolutely no discernible reason. Serena’s bodysuit was another case.

    I find the gleefully callous responses to this to be pretty disgusting. There are some classic ones on Twitter right now.

    At the end of the day, tennis stars do need to promote the game and media availability is part of that, but it doesn’t have to be done the way it’s done now.

  29. I think this must be a lawsuit against the ATP/WTA more than against the Roland Garros management, in the same form for which NBA repeatedly fined Kyrie Irving fined for skipping pre and post game press conferences.

    Those things are mainly a useless joke and shouldn’t be mandatory.

    How many times, for instance, do we need to hear Julius Randle tell us that “we need to adjust”?
    Are movie directors or writers forced to answer to our questions? No, they talk if and when they want (ask JD Salinger), and they too made money in the “entertainement” business, so where’s the difference?

    It’s very telling of us as a society that we feel the need and the “moral right” to force sports players to answer (mainly stupid) questions or be fined/banned because “it’s part of their job”, while politicians, big company owners and other much more important decision makers can always hide and shield against sensible questions.

  30. At the end of the day, tennis stars do need to promote the game and media availability is part of that, but it doesn’t have to be done the way it’s done now.

    there’s also few good reasons to think the obligations have to be homogenous across big stars. it’s somewhat common to bemoan the single price effect of max nba players getting underpaid, but you don’t hear enough about the unnecessary universal-pr/duty obligations among players who pay much different prices to satisfy those obligations depending on personal proclivity. it’s a crying fucking shame since most of the value of press interactions can be largely provided by players who do not absolutely fucking dread it. berman is a just another example of the inherent brain melt that come from spending your life as an oversimplifying attention baiting gossip poacher who loses clicks for every ounce of nuance.

  31. Sure Hubert, the next time you say something intelligent I’ll be happy agree with it. It’s gotta happen eventually!

  32. Five thoughts:

    1. Sending best wishes of health and solidarity to Dudestown.
    2. Reading that Thibs wanted Norman Powell at the deadline encourages me, because Powell is an offense-heavy wing who is outside of the stereotype that he only wants defense-first players.
    3. The Knicks inability to hunt Trae Young on defense, even when he picked up 3 fouls in the first half yesterday, is a coaching failure.
    4. The salary cap will depress (not increase) Randle’s salary, if he signs a so-called Max Extension. Randle’s Max salary for the first year of the extension will be $26M – 120% of his salary next year. That is far below the $33M (30% of salary cap) he could make as a free agent, if the Knicks did not exercise the option for next year.
    5. The two losses in Atlanta are like losing House Money at the casino after going on a big winning streak. Losing House Money never feels good. The key is to end up ahead of where you started. Barring injury, I think the Knicks will start next season far ahead of where they were in December 2021.

  33. I feel that the covid pandemic has taught the NBA two valuable lessons:

    1. Coaches don’t need to wear business suits.

    2. Fans in the arena is a bad idea.

  34. Thibs needs to get creative. We’ve had problems against zone defenses all year.

    Thibs need a legit #1 option to go with Randle and RJ and a young starting PG so Rose can go back to the bench here he belongs. We played an entire season to figure out what we already knew at the start of the season.

  35. I’m glad to see agreement on the French Open.

    Back to hoops. Yeah, IQ has been exposed. Bullock has been neutralized. Payton’s out of the rotation. Noel is struggling. What can I say about Randle? And RJ? There’s also Obi, who’s shown growth and DRose, without whom there wouldn’t be a series.

    What we are learning is that there’s work to be done and exactly what that work is. IQ needs several more moves and to work on his defense. The Knicks need a bulky big to deal with the likes of Capela, Embid, Valanciunas, Ayton and Gobert. Maybe it’s Mitch? Randle needs another scorer on the court. The Knicks need a stud point guard and a wing that can play defense and score from all three levels. They need another shooter.

    I never looked at the Hawks as easy prey. They are playing like predators.

  36. Donnie Walsh:
    I feel that the covid pandemic has taught the NBA two valuable lessons:

    1. Coaches don’t need to wear business suits.

    2. Fans in the arena is a bad idea.

    The fans are acting like they’ve been locked down for over 12 months, were just set free, and are loaded with pent up energy that’s being released in bad ways by the handful that can’t control their passions.

  37. Thibs and the house money reminds one of Julie Hagerty blowing the entire nest egg in one night in Vegas in Lost in America.

  38. I think Max Fisher-Cohen had a great post above that we kind of glossed over. Probably a better topic for after the series. There may be more similarities between this team and the Melo team than we’d like to admit. It really comes down to how we handle our business this summer.

  39. There are some definite similarities, but they’re much better prepared for the future than the 2013 team. It’s just a matter of what they do in the offseason. I think the fact that this current squad’s weaknesses are so glaring right now will avoid them committing long term to this specific team, which was the concern after 2013 (which is that that was the peak of that particular team). This might be the peak of this particular team, but if that’s the case, then Rose doesn’t have to accept that outcome.

    Here’s an interesting thing, though – Beal probably is no longer on the market, right? What does that do the market of the guys not as good as Beal?

  40. The fans are acting like they’ve been locked down for over 12 months, were just set free, and are loaded with pent up energy that’s being released in bad ways by the handful that can’t control their passions.

    At least no one brought zip ties

  41. There is absolutely no comparison whatsoever with this team and the Melo playoff teams. Like they couldn’t be more opposite. Forget about the roster just the fact that this off-season the Knicks have 3 draft picks between the 19th and 32nd picks, almost 50m in cap space and all of their future draft picks. The only young player on the Melo teams core was Shumpert where as this current roster has RJ, Mitch, IQ and Obi plus the afforementioned future draft picks. I guess you can compare Bullock and Burks to JR Smith and Felton as “veterans” but Randle is 3 years younger than Melo was at the time and hell even Rose is younger than guys like Kidd and Prigs. That team was capped out and could only use the exemptions to sign decent free agents and obviously after the Bargs trade was limited in future draft picks.

  42. Not watching the game but just checked in to the box score — Tobias Harris is 4-15, but our dear friend Russell Westbrook is 1-10. Although he does already have a triple double in the first half, if you could shots taken, not points.

  43. Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and the words anxious and anxiety are of similar origin). The dictionary definition for angst is a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.

    it’s like you’re mainlining fear, and then chasing it with anxiety…

    everything is gonna be alright E – i promise…

    thought for the day:
    Barring injury, I think the Knicks will start next season far ahead of where they were in December 2021.

    i got something for you to worry about E – overpopulation…seriously, we’ll be lucky to have enough trees to put in a tree museum in a couple of hundred years…

  44. GoNYGoNYGo – Gearing up for the playoffs: A quick comment about tennis. I’m not a huge fan but today Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open because she was fined and threatened with being kicked out of the tournament because she refused to meet with the media. She is suffering from anxiety.

    It’s shameful, and to make matters worse May is the mental health awareness month here in Europe.

  45. the embiid landing look very knee-scary when it happened, but he was grabbing more toward his hip. but now he’s out with knee soreness.

  46. I think the fact that this current squad’s weaknesses are so glaring right now will avoid them committing long term to this specific team, which was the concern after 2013 (which is that that was the peak of that particular team).

    This is a smart take. On the other hand, though… Dolan.

  47. ephus: 4. The salary cap will depress (not increase) Randle’s salary, if he signs a so-called Max Extension. Randle’s Max salary for the first year of the extension will be $26M – 120% of his salary next year. That is far below the $33M (30% of salary cap) he could make as a free agent, if the Knicks did not exercise the option for next year.

    Randle’s contract doesn’t have an option, it’s partially guaranteed for next year (4M).

  48. Well, if in 2013 Carmelo were 8 years younger and still on his rookie contract instead of the 33% of the cap he earned that year, and Amar’e were 4 years younger, a zilion injuries less and making around 20% of the cap instead of the 33% he also earned, then yeah there’s probably some similarities.

  49. tough situation, hopefully naomi makes it through well…it is encouraging to hear young prominent athletes speaking out so honestly, display considerable control and reason…

    shame on the ITF…WTA needs to step up…

  50. It is correct that Randle is on a partial guarantee, not a team option, for next year. It is functionally the same. The Knicks can either bring back Randle for $21.8M next year or waive him before June 30, pay him $4M and make him an unrestricted free agent. If they do not waive Randle, the maximum extension for 2022-23 would be $26M (120% of next year’s salary).

    If Randle were to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, he would likely get a 30% Max/4 year contract frim one of the teams with cap space (such as Miami).

  51. With Embiid out for the rest of tonight with a “sore knee”, the stakes for Wednesday’s game just increased. I think the Knicks or the Hawks would have a chance against the Sixers without Embiid, even though I think the full-strength Sixers would dominate either team.

  52. Yeah, ho hum, another brilliant take by Hubert. Mensa level stuff. Just like 2013.

  53. It is Max Fisher-Cohen’s take. I think it’s a good post and worth consideration. It doesn’t seem like anyone replying has read it, with the exception of Brian.

  54. we’ve never actually had this much young talent … combined with the cap space and the draft picks… since.. ever… closest is probably 96 when we signed houston.. childs… johnson and had three firsts which we used to draft mo.. larry and curly …

    relative to our history .. this is an embarrassment of riches… it’s so much that it’s almost dolan proof…. everybody could play fantasy gm and unless it involves lighting our draft picks on fire or the names westbrook or wall… then it’s probably reasonable to succeed in some fashion….

    the trick is going to be maximizing this into a longlasting contender… and there’s a path to it if we stay patient enough and with enough luck… and only besides the hinkie sixers is one of the most super interesting problems in terms of team building the nba has had in a long time… it will be fascinating to see it play out….

  55. MFC’s take on how he wants the front office to pursue players this off-season is spot on, thats not the issue I had with what he wrote. It’s making this roster seem similar to 2013 talking about it might not feature many players that can be part of a long sustained run is the huge issue I have. Another thing is this notion that every player on the roster has to be some young to mid 20’s player because anything older is a waste. You need veterans like Bullock and Burks on any NBA roster, you’re not gonna have a 10 man rotation of draft picks and young free agents if you want to actually win. You need some solid veterans sprinkled in with the younger building block players as well.

  56. Yeah, and neither Burks nor Bullock are ancient veterans the way that Kidd and Rasheed and even Pablo were on the 54-win team. I don’t know that I necessarily want to bring both back, or even one, but it’s not like their wheels are going to fall off next year, or even two years from now. They’ll still be viable rotation players somewhere in the league, even if it’s not here.

  57. It’s an embarrassment of riches, djphan,but it’s going to be a challenge to convert those riches into foundational pieces. While others are just focusing on the age of the role players, MFC’s post seemed to be focused on the likelihood that they can repeat vs this just being a magical year.

  58. Hubert:
    I think Max Fisher-Cohen had a great post above that we kind of glossed over. Probably a better topic for after the series. There may be more similarities between this team and the Melo team than we’d like to admit. It really comes down to how we handle our business this summer.

    I disagree, pretty much in every way with Max.
    This is what development is like. You become a good franchise when you start to do whatever it takes to win. Frank, Knox, DSJr all marginalized. It takes guts to sweep bad draft picks under the rug and move on.

    The Knicks have a young core of talent. RJ, Randle, IQ, Obi, Mitch. That’s a conceivable starting lineup. They have gained prestige. Do you think that scene outside the Garden after the first playoff win is lost on free agents? They have draft assets. 10 picks the next 3 years including 5 first rounders. They have tons of cap space – 2nd in the league behind the Spurs. And everything here:

    cybersoze: Well, if in 2013 Carmelo were 8 years younger and still on his rookie contract instead of the 33% of the cap he earned that year, and Amar’e were 4 years younger, a zilion injuries less and making around 20% of the cap instead of the 33% he also earned, then yeah there’s probably some similarities.

  59. Hubert:
    It’s an embarrassment of riches, djphan,but it’s going to be a challenge to convert those riches into foundational pieces. While others are just focusing on the age of the role players, MFC’s post seemed to be focused on the likelihood that they can repeat vs this just being a magical year.

    That’s always a challenge. Boston Gad an embarrassment of riches a few seasons ago. They have a good team now, but it still has holes. It hard to get everything right, even if you have money, picks, etc.

  60. Who determines these flagrant fouls? How is that foul on Simmons not a flagrant when other similar fouls are?

  61. I read Max’s take, for the record. I don’t think it’s a fruitful thing to worry about as I don’t think Rose has shown any signs of being all-in on this veteran-heavy but young roster, leading to some kind of Bargnani-like trade where there’s clearly the delusion that it’s a contender but with absolutely no vision of what makes a viable NBA player.

    I urge patience through the offseason. We will get a sense of Rose come draft time, knowing that those three picks could be packaged to move up, or moved for a veteran, or future picks moved for one. Too early to tell. We are still getting a Game 5 tomorrow night. Too early.

  62. It’s an embarrassment of riches, djphan,but it’s going to be a challenge to convert those riches into foundational pieces

    that’s a question for every team in every year for anyone that’s not in the elite 6 or so teams in the league…. how are you going to get elite talent to break into contention?

    i don’t think it’s going to be hard to convert our assets into nba players… we can at least be competing for the playin and slapfight with the celtics and then get swept in gentlemanly fashion in the first round by real teams… we can have that sort of team for the next four years even if we had phil jackson back at the helm…

    but as far as any other team not in the discussion… we probably have the most immediate assets to potentially jump into the conversation… probably moreso than okc who is probably looking at a longer timeline… and that’s about as good a position you could ask for aside from hitting on multiple high lottery picks in a row…

  63. ephus:
    Five thoughts:

    1. Sending best wishes of health and solidarity to Dudestown.

    Thank you, ephus! It’s not an easy road.

  64. So let me get mfc’s and hubert’s position straight….if management is not careful and doesn’t make smart decisions given the situation the team is in right now, the team might not improve as much as we hope it will. Thanks for clearing that up, I thought we were surely going to be a contender for the next 25 years.

  65. Donovan Mitchell has really cleaned up his line.

    I can see the offseason post. “Who would you rather be? The Knicks or the Grizzlies?”

    Whatever, let’s beat the Hawks and put off getting RSI for a month.

  66. Snark aside, I don’t think there’s a sure fire core building block on the roster, so I agree with mfc that RJ is only a “potential” core building block.

    That’s one of the issues with having a ton of flexibility. There are lots of ways to go. That’s a great problem to have, though! It’s better than being boxed in by being capped out with players who aren’t worth the money and bereft of draft assets and young, promising players on rookie deals.

    So beyond that, the “hey, management could still fuck this up by locking up our rentals on long-term deals” is a legit worry, but only in the Knicks PTSD sense. Every deal this team has made so far has yielded better production than the expended assets with minimal opportunity cost, with the possible exception of drafting Obi at #8, and even that is looking much better lately.

    Think of all the PTSD bullets that have been dodged: first Mark Jackson and then Jason Kidd were our coaches. Then we were surely trading a bunch of stuff for CP3 or Westbrook. Then we were getting into a bidding war for Gordon Hayward. Then we are surely trading for Andre Drummond with the goal of maxing him. The comparisons to 2012-13 are made of the same stuff…when will the other shoe drop?

  67. LOL Greg Anthony,” the Grizzlies take great pride in their defense”

    Score after 3 quarters: Jazz 100 Grizz 87

  68. PTMilo I am sure just lost his shit with that Melton three.

    Greg Anthony dissing Gobert’s defense is hilarious

  69. “Owen
    May 31, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    I can see the offseason post. “Who would you rather be? The Knicks or the Grizzlies?”

    *

    Only the most pie-eyed knickerblogger would not choose the Grizzlies. Not only do they have more birds in the hand, but they have Utah and Golden State 1st round picks in the bush.

  70. Hubert: This is a smart take. On the other hand, though… Dolan.

    Lol… I’m Team Optimist but let’s keep it a buck: Dolan is the reason why Team Pessimist will always have an reason to be – well – pessimistic. It’ll take a lot more than one season of good team management and building to mitigate concerns of his looming specter.

    Z-man:
    Snark aside, I don’t think there’s a sure fire core building block on the roster, so I agree with mfc that RJ is only a “potential” core building block.

    That’s one of the issues with having a ton of flexibility. There are lots of ways to go. That’s a great problem to have, though! It’s better than being boxed in by being capped out with players who aren’t worth the money and bereft of draft assets and young, promising players on rookie deals.

    So beyond that, the “hey, management could still fuck this up by locking up our rentals on long-term deals” is a legit worry, but only in the Knicks PTSD sense. Every deal this team has made so far has yielded better production than the expended assets with minimal opportunity cost, with the possible exception of drafting Obi at #8, and even that is looking much better lately.

    Think of all the PTSD bullets that have been dodged: first Mark Jackson and then Jason Kidd were our coaches. Then we were surely trading a bunch of stuff for CP3 or Westbrook. Then we were getting into a bidding war for Gordon Hayward. Then we are surely trading for Andre Drummond with the goal of maxing him. The comparisons to 2012-13 are made of the same stuff…when will the other shoe drop?

    While identifying how to obtain the upgrades we need along the perimeter and maybe in the middle, there’s a good deal of improvement that can come internally. I’m trying to think of the last time…

  71. the crazy fan behavior we’re seeing this postseason has been pretty bizarre, can’t remember the last pro basketball game we’re someone tried to run on to the court…six separate incidents now…

  72. ***At least no one brought zip ties***

    Very fine people on both sides of the Kyrie/Westbrook/Quickley/Trae/Morant incidents…

  73. ephus: It is correct that Randle is on a partial guarantee, not a team option, for next year. It is functionally the same. The Knicks can either bring back Randle for $21.8M next year or waive him before June 30, pay him $4M and make him an unrestricted free agent. If they do not waive Randle, the maximum extension for 2022-23 would be $26M (120% of next year’s salary).

    You can’t do that. Or in other words, you can do it, of course, but wouldn’t be very smart as when you waive a player he’s placed on waivers and can be claimed by the other 29 teams. Which team wouldn’t claim, even if for 1 year, an all-star in his prime for 21.5M ?

  74. The Honorable Cock Jowles: I urge patience through the offseason. (…) We are still getting a Game 5 tomorrow night. Too early.

    I’m with Jowles, we’ll have a lot of time to talk about the offseason when we’re out of the playoffs, which hopefully doesn’t happen tomorrow. Don’t throw in the towel just yet.

  75. As to Dolan, I don’t expect any meddling. The Knicks have knocked the Nets off the back page and have sold out their tickets in minutes, with fans closing down 7th avenue after a single playoff win. He’s probably pretty happy with Leon right now.

  76. The fact that the head of the French Tennis Federation came out to read a prepared statement about the Osaka situation and then refused to take questions from the press….. I saw it yesterday but didn’t realize it.

    I don’t exactly know what category of thing it is but it’s sublime.

    Melton was magnificent in the fourth quarter. But Utah was too good, despite having to carry Gobert. Also, for you baseball lovers, Chris Taylor had one of the best at bats I have ever seen last night.

  77. geo: you must not actually be from new york KBPR…shoot, new yorkers – we don’t really need a reason to be mad :)

    i like that house money analogy a bunch, puts things a bit better in perspective…whatever happens wednesday, happens…wouldn’t mind though to see at least one more postseason win this year…

    Maybe the 10 years living in California made me soft. Watching the games — I’m plenty mad. However, anger without perspective is why Dolan plays the blues.

  78. The idea that having some success in the 2010 period didn’t lead to free agent signings is delusional.

    You can argue they gave too many years to Amare to get the ball rolling and mortgaged too much of the future for Melo, but those were individual moves and trades we all thought were highly suspect. They were not a failing of the strategy. What we are doing now is fine. They just have to execute and be more patient this time by not overpaying, giving up too much, getting very old players or hurt players etc..

    Without Amare is there is no Melo/Billups trade. Without Amare/Melo there is no Kidd/Chandler or even some of our veteran bench pieces that played a role in the most successful season. Good players and teams absolutely attract other good players. Just do it right this time.

  79. Snark aside, I don’t think there’s a sure fire core building block on the roster, so I agree with mfc that RJ is only a “potential” core building block.

    If your criteria for “building block” status is high level all star caliber players/potential #1 options, then we don’t have many building blocks. You do need that #1 and #2 option and we have more of a #2 and #3 option now. But building a championship team is also about the role players and bench. We have several very good building blocks there. We have to find the #1 option. That’s the toughest position to fill. I’d be worried except we have a good young team, good coach, good management. a lot of cap space, excess picks, and duplicate position players that might come in handy when a #1 gets unhappy where he is and wants out. We are an attractive destination and have the firepower to get it done.

  80. I don’t meant to say the Knicks are positioned the same as 2013 but instead that the front office has continually shifted the rotation away from its young players and with that has brought wins. So at a glance you can say “oh they won 47 adjusted to an 82 game season and have all these young pieces..”. that sounds awesome, but it’s not the same as for instance the Hawks who won the same number of games, seem similarly “pretty young” but then when you look at who was winning them those games, it’s far more a product of young guys in Young and Collins.

    I would add too that hte Knicks’ success is on the backs of a lot of anomalously exceptional performances from players who aren’t young… Randle, Bullock, Burks all had career years. Rose and Gibson both had renaissance years despite their advanced ages. The same was true back in 2013 when you had career years from mid-career players like Melo, Copeland, Novak, Smith, Felton and renaissance years from Kidd, K-Mart and even momentarily from Sheed and Kurt Thomas.

    These are signs that the impression you might get from a cursory inspection (or one with rose-tinted glasses) of both these teams is going to leave you with a an even more overly optimistic sense of the team’s trajectory. In 2013, that meant “well, we’ll stay a 50 win team going forward” and now in 2021 it might mean “well, we’re a couple role players away from perennial 50 win seasons”.

    AFA management goes, I don’t give them benefit of the doubt. Sorry. Smart people have failed here, not just idiots, and that’s due to pressure from above. When there’s fodder to rationalize a shortsighted and arrogant approach, the Knicks tend to go that direction.

  81. good post, latke. I’d like to further add that many of the rebuttals are “this team is younger” and “this team has draft picks.” We all get that. But those things aren’t going to make all the fortunate things that happened to us sustainable.

    We probably aren’t the 3rd best shooting team in the NBA, regardless of how much younger Derrick Rose and Reggie Bullock are than Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace. Miami and Boston are not going to have the same shitty injury luck just bc we have draft picks.

    And, you know, he had a great point about Randle. But let’s see if Julius can turn it around before we address that.

  82. Did you miss game 5, Jowles? We had a 12 point lead at the half and lost by 7.

  83. Only on Knickerblogger is a 26 year old player “old.”

    Randle is just entering his prime. Barring injuries, he will be in his prime for another 5 seasons minimum. That is young.

    Also, we lost Mitch halfway through the season to an injury. Prior to that, he was starting and playing starter minutes. We would not have relied on Taj at all if Mitch hadn’t gotten hurt.

    Obi and IQ will play way more minutes next year. RJ was also top 5 in minutes played this year.

    Rose, Bullocks and Burks are all older but Rose is the only one really who can’t be relied on in 2 seasons from now to be providing what he did this year.

    There is also Villadoza, who is 27 (again, not old).

    The 54 win team Kidd was 39. Camby, Sheed, KT, Kenyon Martin…all north of 35.

    Bullocks and Burks are what, 30? 30 year olds are reliable for at least 2 or 3 more seasons.

    Plus draft picks and cap space. I mean, shit its crazy what going down 3-1 makes people think. We absolutely can build on this and the idea that this is similar to the 54 win season…that are window is closing…is so insane. I get that team pessimist is having a moment after having to be quiet all season but seriously?

  84. Ingmarrrr: Did you miss game 5, Jowles? We had a 12 point lead at the half and lost by 7.

    I’ve had way too much shit going on in my professional and private lives — I nearly fell for this.

  85. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Are we in the offseason already?

    I had a friend,, who started practicing his 88-year-old father’s eulogy eighteen months before his dad passed. Said it gave him comfort to be prepared.
    To latke’s point about Leon, it seems to me that he has been pretty conservative in his moves to this point and that this season has probably given him even more freedom to pursuit his rebuild process without undue interference from Dolan.

  86. Good luck Jowles.

    And good thoughts out to you, Dudestown!

    I’m just mad that I thought Game 5 was today. Have to rethink my whole evening now.

  87. History is not on the Knicks’ side
    https://nypost.com/2021/05/31/history-not-on-knicks-side-in-nba-playoff-series-vs-hawks/

    Anyone has read this article of the Post?
    Well, this might cheer you up, because although Vaccaro is better than Berman i guess he doesn’t know much about Probability & Statistics.
    He starts the article saying that in the NBA teams were 260 times in the same situation as the Knicks, down 1-3 in a best of 7 series. And only 13 teams went on to win the series. That is 5 percent. Well done, Mr Vaccaro, you know math.
    Then comes the best part:
    You don’t need a calculator for this one:
    The Knicks have fallen into a 3-1 hole in a best-of-seven playoff series 13 times in their history — and sure, if the reappearance of the number 13 in this allegory seems like a bad omen, it probably is — and they have come back to win that series zero times. That — checking my math here — is 0.0 percent of the time.

    What Mr Vaccaro doesn’t know is that each time the Knicks fail to come as the winners of a series in which they were 1-3, the probability to win the next time increases. So, as there’s a 5 percent probability to overcome this deficit league wide, and the Knicks will try a 14th time, we now have 51.23 percent chances to win the series.
    Feeling better now? :)

  88. cybersoze: I’m with Jowles, we’ll have a lot of time to talk about the offseason when we’re out of the playoffs, which hopefully doesn’t happen tomorrow. Don’t throw in the towel just yet.

    Yeah. I will sit down tomorrow night, log on to Knickerblogger, turn on the game and root my ass off. The Knicks don’t make things easy…ever.

  89. cybersoze: each time the Knicks fail to come as the winners of a series in which they were 1-3, the probability to win the next time increases. So, as there’s a 5 percent probability to overcome this deficit league wide, and the Knicks will try a 14th time, we now have 51.23 percent chances to win the series.

    Or you can go Cyber’s way and throw a crazy probability act.

  90. Raven: Good luck Jowles.

    It’s all manageable. Just my dad’s brother/best friend dying and my family holding a much-needed memorial across the country, the very week that my biggest customer kicks out $5M of my top competitor’s inventory out of their warehouses and replaces it 100% with mine. And on top of that I have Hubert and Z-man squabbling like Paulie Walnuts and Chrissy trying to pawn off a dinner bill to each other.

    Knicks in 6

  91. Only on Knickerblogger is a 26 year old player “old.”

    It’s possible this line of thinking is the result of some studies done by the Wins Produced folks that were popular years ago. IMO, Wins Produced was measuring player productivity badly to begin with and then some of the errors carried forward to age productivity analysis. Even if that’s not the case here, the age curve seems to be changing. With fewer back to backs, more rest games. better nutrition and medical care, players are staying productive longer than they used to. Randle is still improving and may inch forward for another 2-4 years even if he slips a hair in some ways as he reaches 30.

  92. I think we will figure out a way to take game 5, but winning in Atlanta will be a very tall order.

    In a way, this is almost the best long-term outcome. Mission has been accomplished this year for the franchise in that we are no longer a laughingstock. An unexpected visit to the second round might have convinced Leon and co. to skip steps, like so many FOs have done before him. And nothing magnifies where you’re weak like getting your ass handed to you again and again.

    That said — have to wonder where we’d be in this series if it were Mitchell Robinson starting instead of Taj (who has been amazing) and Noel (who has not been amazing). In the playoffs, team (should) mercilessly attack your weak points, and for our team, it’s two non-offensive bigs who don’t threaten with the lob or jump shot. That lets them crowd Rose, it lets them basically ignore whoever’s in the dunker spot and flood the paint anytime Julius gets near.

    Truth is, our roster has overachieved all season. Bullock is good but cannot be counted on to make plays – he is Danny Green-lite, who in this series has been tasked with more than he should have been. I don’t think we know who Julius is yet, but clearly the roster is not very well constructed around him.

    At the end of the day the defense actually has been pretty good – holding the Hawks to a 109.4 offensive rating. It’s the offense that has been horrendous. Short of people just making shots, I agree with many about trying to switch it up, go small, Randle/Knox or Randle/Toppin pairings. That clearly won’t be great for the defense, but gotta try something.

  93. I have Hubert and Z-man squabbling like Paulie Walnuts and Chrissy trying to pawn off a dinner bill to each other.

    I’m glad I took a few days off and didn’t read any of that. ;-)

  94. The other difference btwn now and 2013….we have THIBS as our coach and not Mike Woodson.

    Look, no disrespect to Woodson. He’s fine. But that 54 win team was also coached by Jason Kidd on the floor. Woodson had Melo’s respect and was able to get JR to not be crazy that year, but other than that he is not on the same level as Thibs. So even if Burks/Bullocks/Noel don’t come back, if we replace those dudes with similar dudes who will buy in to what Thibs is preaching, we will be fine especially with continued improvement from the youngsters, especially RJ.

    Seriously, RJ took a HUGE step forward this year and Obi has looked nice in the playoffs. Imagine if the Randle/Obi pairing can actually work defensively and rebounding wise? We could scorch teams on offense with Randle/Obi once they get their chemistry down especially if we can upgrade to a starting PG who can run the pick and roll. And if RJ takes even half the leap next year he did this year, we are in fantastic shape going foward.

    I mean, seriously people. That 54 win team had Shump and that was it for future development (and Hardaway the next year). We already have RJ, Obi, IQ and Mitch as youngsters on the team and have 5 first round picks the next 3 seasons (plus a lot of second round picks in 2023). The team is as loaded from an assets perspective as its ever been in the entire 30 years I’ve been following hte Knicks.

  95. @swift

    but doesn’t Thibs add to the illusion that we’re better off than we are? TT maxes out wins from the roster, leaving less room to grow. At least with Woodson you could say, “a competent coach could add wins.”

    My argument was never that the teams are parallel but instead that the the teams both have qualities that create an impression that they are better off than they are. The KNicks’ youth today creates an impression of a rising team when in fact few players that contributed this year are of an age where improvement is likely. Barrett for sure and Quickley to some extent… when Robinson got hurt, the Knicks were 12-15, 36 win trajectory, so he wasn’t a part of the successful portion of the season. They aren’t winning on the backs of players with room to grow like the Hawks or Suns or Grizzlies or Mavs.

  96. I don’t buy that theory. Its a completely unprovable theory.

    Did he max out Chicago with The Bulls? They got to the ECF his first season but had to go up against The Heat. After that, D Rose got hurt and they were never quite as good. Who knows what happens with that team if D Rose doesn’t blow out his ankle. And in Minny he was just starting to get them to a good place when KAT and Butler decided they hated each other.

    I just don’t believe this idea that he coaches every game like game 7 and therefore his teams don’t have an extra gear to go to. Its not like Thibs always loses in the first round. A lot of coaches (in any sport) would argue that the team that has the discipline to play hard in the regular season has an extra gear they can go to because they hard work they’ve put in all year has improved them as a team and individually. And also, this theory that he maxes out wins means what, The Hawks were coasting all season until now? Yeah, The Nets and Clippers do load management for their stars but most teams don’t do that if they have a team of younger players.

    And even if he is maxing out the current team, he can max out a younger/more talented team in the next few years because the youngsters on the team will improv and we have cap space and picks. Maxing out implies that RJ, etc…can’t go any higher, which is absurd.

  97. Ingmarrrr: Or you can go Cyber’s way and throw a crazy probability act.

    LOL! I have the Knicks in 7, so i had to debunk that article. ;)

  98. I just don’t believe this idea that he coaches every game like game 7 and therefore his teams don’t have an extra gear to go to.

    I definitely don’t think that’s a factor in this series.

    This series is about Trae shining vs Randle struggling, and how Trae gets to run with horses while Julius mostly has ponies.

    Speaking of horses… I remember many mock drafts last year saying Atlanta was in love with Tyrese Halliburton as both a backup and sometimes running mate for Trae. I am pretty glad they didn’t go that direction, bc damn that would be impossible to defend.

  99. If you guys follow the beat writers on Twitter, Clint Capela has been talking some major smack today about the Knicks, and Randle and Rose have very entertainingly refused to directly reply, even though Rose is passive-aggressively insulting Capela while doing so.

    This kind of stuff probably has no impact on the game tonight, but it’s an entertaining overture, at least.

  100. Yeah, I just think its kind of a crazy notion that other playoff teams only give 80 percent during the regular season so they can save that extra gear for the playoffs. I think specific teams/players will do this, especially older stars like Lebron, but I think in general most teams play hard during the regular season and try to kick it up in the playoffs even more. They can do that because they have more time off between games. But I don’t think teams actively coast in the regular season or at least not as much as some people claim. And I think you can argue that a team practicing/playing hard in the regular season could lead them to have an even HIGHER gear in the playoffs.

    Especially a young team like The Hawks. If we were facing The Lakers then obviously they have another gear cause they’ve won a chip and they got Lebron. But was Trae Young saving himself for the post season? Nonsense.

    The student who aces his final is the one who studies hard all semester and treats every pop quiz like its the finals. Not the student who half asses it the semester and crams the night before.

  101. The Honorable Cock Jowles: No.

    https://squared2020.com/2020/10/30/approximating-curves-i-mechanical-process/

    I know many other studies have been done on aging, but Wins Produced had it’s moment on this blog years ago. That model had players peaking and declining earlier than than I think most people think is true now.

    I believe the thinking of critics at the time was that Wins Produced significantly overrated individual rebounding relative to scoring and some other attributes and since rebounding declined earlier than some other attributes they had players declining earlier than reality…but not before convincing fans of that model that guys like Randle are too old. lol

  102. I’m not sure I entirely see the point of the 10-odd illusory regular season wins Thibs seemingly/allegedly generates. Particularly if those wins have hidden costs (beyond just playoff underachievement.)

    The more and more illusory the regular season becomes, the more and more difficult it becomes to judge your roster’s true talent and plan the future. I mean, is Julius Randle good … or isn’t he?? (And thus we see the real parallels to 2013.)

  103. I had a friend,, who started practicing his 88-year-old father’s eulogy eighteen months before his dad passed. Said it gave him comfort to be prepared.

    i got this comment stuck in my head now Bo, i’m not sure what to make of it…on the one head it sounds pretty damn gruesome and depressing – on the other hand, barely a sit down meal with mom passes without her letting me know how much better it would be if my sister and I cleaned up and organized her house now before she passes…

    i mean, it is pragmatic, but, i don’t know…her house isn’t a mess at all, she just likes to shop…shoot, i still ain’t done my own will yet…one of many life things i need to get around to…i got to be honest, considering i myself would be either dead or incapacitated – hard to get really motivated…

  104. Yeah, I just think its kind of a crazy notion that other playoff teams only give 80 percent during the regular season so they can save that extra gear for the playoffs.

    I don’t think players can give 100% in every game like they do when in the playoffs when there are no back to backs, there’s less travel, you play through injuries where you’d normally take the game off etc.

    The Thibs argument is not about how hard the players play anyway. It’s that Thibs is willing to play his best players more minutes, likes to use a shorter rotation, gives out fewer “rest” days etc.. than other teams do in the regular season. So he squeezes out a few extra wins. And of course he’s so obsessive about film and preparation there’s no upside to find in the playoffs when everyone is focused on one team. He already knows everything in the regular season. lol

  105. Deeefense: I don’t think players can give 100% in every game like they do when in the playoffs when there are no back to backs, there’s less travel, you play through injuries where you’d normally take the game off etc.

    The Thibs argument is not about how hard the players play anyway. It’s that Thibs is willing to play his best players more minutes, likes to use a shorter rotation, gives out fewer “rest” days etc.. than other teams do in the regular season. So he squeezes out a few extra wins.And of course he’s so obsessive about film and preparation there’s no upside to find in the playoffs when everyone is focused on one team. He already knows everything in the regular season. lol

    As I said above, I have a very real question about whether those “squeezed” wins really have any meaningful value. They would if they made the players *actually* better, but that’s a hard sell given what we’re seeing. And then when you have to plan the future, you have the extra confounding variable of how “real” the regular season is and how “real” the playoff games are.

  106. The more and more illusory the regular season becomes, the more and more difficult it becomes to judge your roster’s true talent and plan the future. I mean, is Julius Randle good … or isn’t he?? (And thus we see the real parallels to 2013.)

    He’s very good.

    IMO, the difference is that In the regular season he faces good and bad defenses, good and bad matchups, well and ill prepared teams, and has some good and bad nights personally. The net of all that is very good. But he’s not a #1 option because a well coached team with the right matchups focused on stopping him can take away enough of what he does well to slow him down very noticeably (I’m not just talking about random bad game or two). There are some players whose skills are so diverse and high quality they are hard to slow down no matter you throw at them. Randle is not one of those. That’s why he’s more of a #2 if you are trying to win a championship. But imo you shouldn’t discard a #2 easily. They aren’t so easy to find either.

  107. E, all merc’d out: As I said above, I have a very real question about whether those “squeezed” wins really have any meaningful value.They would if they made the players *actually* better, but that’s a hard sell given what we’re seeing.And then when you have to plan the future, you have the extra confounding variable of how “real” the regular season is and how “real” the playoff games are.

    They have value when they lead to an easier matchup in the playoffs or home court advantage that enables you to win a series you would have otherwise lost. But there are downsides in that your players may not be as fresh at the end. This was a unique year though in that they were only playing 72 games. So maybe extra minutes and games was the right thing this year but will be wrong next year. He may play some of our key players fewer minutes next year.

  108. TT is not capable of making decisions that consider the long term. All he can think of is the game in front of him. The evidence of this is overwhelming and spans his career as head coach. The only way he plays his players fewer minutes to rest them for the playoffs is if there’s some electroshock therapy clause in his contract.

  109. I don’t think this is difficult. The Hawks have a lot more talent, are fully healthy, and now have a legitimately good coach.

    We have also been in a shooting slump, but Randle really should be a secondary creator, not your primary one. This Knicks team has a lot of heart but still has some holes to fill. I just hope they can steal at least one more playoff game before we start debating the draft up in here…

  110. Alan:
    If you guys follow the beat writers on Twitter, Clint Capela has been talking some major smack today about the Knicks, and Randle and Rose have very entertainingly refused to directly reply, even though Rose is passive-aggressively insulting Capela while doing so.

    This kind of stuff probably has no impact on the game tonight, but it’s an entertaining overture, at least.

    man do I wish the game was actually tonight!

    Meanwhile – seems odd we have not heard anything about Joel Embiid’s knee yet today…

  111. the more I think about it, the more I think the lack of Mitch is really the deciding factor in this series. Much harder to lob over Mitch than Noel or Taj, and you better believe the Hawks wouldn’t be able to abandon Mitch on the roll the way they do Noel or Taj.

    Makes you think even more that the answer has to be going small with Julius at the 5, then everyone sell out to get the defensive boards. We are not running in transition anyway.

  112. where y’all find the randle and rose replies?

    I don’t think the Hawks respect the Knicks. They know they’re better. They know we have no adjustments up our sleeves. They also watched us lose our cool in game 4. I thought it was embarrassing watching the whole team celebrate Randle meekly shoving Gallo. If I saw an opponent do that, I would think the series is over, too.

  113. man do I wish the game was actually tonight!

    Dammit, I keep making that mistake! Did it last week, too.

  114. @MikeVorkunov
    “I’m 32 years old,” Derrick Rose said. “I never talk shit like that in my whole life. I’m not going to start now once Clint Capela starts talking crazy. It don’t get to it like that… I’m too old for that shit, bro.”

    @MikeVorkunov
    “Why would I give a hell what Clint Capela has to say?” Julius Randle said.

    And he adds about Capela’s comments: “Don’t care.”

  115. Breen and Clyde will be back on the call for Game 5 on MSG, while TNT has Marv Albert in what may be the final game he ever calls at MSG. (He’s retiring after this postseason.) Ordinarily, I’d be tempted to forego our guys to hear Marv’s farewell, but once Reggie Miller is involve as the analyst, it makes choosing the MSG telecast no choice at all.

  116. I have a very real question about whether those “squeezed” wins really have any meaningful value.

    i have a very real answer – they were “meaningful” to me…

    TT is not capable of making decisions that consider the long term.

    you mean like ordering pizza for lunch, when you had already made plans to have pizza for dinner…

  117. the more I think about it, the more I think the lack of Mitch is really the deciding factor in this series. Much harder to lob over Mitch than Noel or Taj, and you better believe the Hawks wouldn’t be able to abandon Mitch on the roll the way they do Noel or Taj.

    Noel has been an excellent fill-in for Mitch and Taj has been an outstanding fill-in for Noel, but yeah, we are now seeing that there’s nothing quite like the real thing.

  118. Yeah – health really has been an issue. No Mitch for us, and we don’t get the benefit of them playing Cam Reddish minutes also.

  119. E, all merc’d out
    June 1, 2021 at 3:16 pm
    I’m not sure I entirely see the point of the 10-odd illusory regular season wins Thibs seemingly/allegedly generates. Particularly if those wins have hidden costs (beyond just playoff underachievement.)

    So you really don’t think that this experience in the playoffs is beneficial to our players? Those 10 odd illusory wins gave them a 4 seed and a chance to win a playoff series as opposed to a quick sweep at the hands of a vastly superior opponent

    Every guy on the team now knows how hard it is to win a playoff game and I’d bet it affects how they approach this off-season. I’m thinking it’s going to make them better

  120. For me, the takeaway for this season is that we’re good, and we’re headed in the right direction, but it’s premature to push all the chips in. If we get incrementally better next year and maybe win a first round series, that would be a good outcome.

    I want to win a chip as much as anybody, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some sustained success. Roster all three of the draft picks, select guys who Thibs might actually play. Avoid making long-term commitments to vets who are entering their decline phase. Stay the course. Keep improving until that top tier star is available.

  121. I’d rather have them knowing what it takes to win a playoff game after actually playing well in playoff games. Like Trae Young did, for example.

    I’ve enjoyed the shit out of this year’s playoffs. The first two games at the Garden were awesome and I expect tomorrow to be pretty good, too. We’ll see how bad the hangover is. I’d probably pop 3-4 prophylactic Advil and have the hair of the dog at the ready.

  122. I mean, is Julius Randle good … or isn’t he?? (And thus we see the real parallels to 2013.)

    What does Thibodeau going harder in the regular season than most have to do with Randle shooting .411 on tons of 3PT attempts and .414 on long twos? What about with him posting a career high AST%? With him having the best defensive season of his career, by both the available numbers and the eye-test?

    Even if you give Thibs some credit for the latter two because he put Randle in the point-forward role and drew up the defensive scheme, Randle still had to, you know, make the damn passes and play the damn defense.

    There’s no way Thibodeau can somehow “fake” that stuff for Randle. All he could do was play Randle a ton of minutes, which he did in fact do, but it’s not like that made him look like a better player. If anything it may have hurt his efficiency.

    I mean, if Thibodeau has the ability to make secretly bad players play like 2020-2021 Julius Randle, we should give him a lifetime extension. You’re giving him a bizarre amount of credit in what’s allegedly an anti-Thibodeau argument.

  123. I would add too that hte Knicks’ success is on the backs of a lot of anomalously exceptional performances from players who aren’t young… Randle, Bullock, Burks all had career years.

    We definitely relied on Bullock and Burks to some extent, but let’s not get carried away. Burks played 1255 total minutes due to injuries and Covid. Bullock was third on the team in total minutes at near 2000, but it stands to reason we can replace a lot of his production with a certified non-merc in Quickley before too long. That’s assuming we don’t re-sign either player, and I see no reason to believe that’s out of the question. We have the flexibility to re-sign both while maintaining space/assets for the #1 option type we need.

    Including Randle here is just a massive stretch. He’s 26, signed for next year, and we’ll have his full Bird Rights in 2022. I’m not sure who isn’t an old merc if someone who fits that description is supposedly one.

  124. JK47: For me, the takeaway for this season is that we’re good, and we’re headed in the right direction, but it’s premature to push all the chips in. If we get incrementally better next year and maybe win a first round series, that would be a good outcome.

    Exactly this ^

    And now let’s focus on the playoffs, because until we’re out of it i’ll still believe we can win this in 7. :)

  125. i think we really need to ditch this idea that thibs is some puppet master lording over these players … the coach does certain things to improve the quality of the play but aside from rotations and playcalling the coaches don’t have that much impact on the game to the point where he’s controlling the brains of his players and extraciting maximum effort on demand.. the players are playing hard but that’s not all that uncommon in the nba anymore… thibs isn’t exactly cracking a whip out there…

    thibs does deserve credit for formulating a consistent defensive gameplan…. and holding his players accountable on that end and it wound up working for a top 5 defense.. that’s not easy and he’s gotten all that deserved recognition …

    but it’s not like he’s getting pedal to metal effort every game in the reg season and carrying it over to the postseason also… he would be cutting his rotations if he would be doing that and extracting every minute he can from his top players… but his rotations are generally the same as long as there wasn’t an injury….

    if this playoffs taught us anything is that thibs… more than anything… is a creature of habit… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing but it can sometimes lead to bad things like.. ooh.. starting payton in the face of every evidence in the world for the first two games of the playoffs… this is sometimes also mistaken for lack of out of the box thinking but i’m sure thibs is creative enough…. he’s capable of that in his previous stops at least on the defensive end… on the offensive side he’s probably much less enthusiastic trying new things unless he’s seen it for a few games…

    that more than anything is what we’re seeing… atlanta gave us a newish sort of look on defense and we responded by doing what we’ve always been doing… and i believe that’s the extra gear we’re missing… at least this year…

  126. I think people are underrating the impact of Noel’s injury on his performance in this series and overestimating how much better Mitch would have done compared to a healthy Nerlens. I think I was one of the first ones to bring up the possibility that Mitch would have helped us more in THIS series than typically because he would have kept Capela a little more honest with his help on Randle, but I wouldn’t go overboard.

    Nothing has changed in my mind, Mitch is better and has more upside than Nerlens, but the gap is not huge now and there’s at least some question about Mitch’s durability. As much as I like Mitch he’s not an untouchable in my book. If I could get a large upgrade for a still young player at another position by trading Mitch and still retain Nerlens, I would most certainly consider it.

  127. It is clear that Bullock does not have the handle to run the pick & roll to try to get Young switched on to a more dangerous ballhandler. I hope that we see Bullock set screen for Randle. That should get open looks for one of them.

  128. Failing to exploit Young’s terrible defense is the most inexplicable part of all this. They’ve got plenty of tape on this defensive scheme and if they don’t crack it open tomorrow will look just like the other blowouts.

  129. i don’t know, after capela brought out the fugazi comment reference the knicks’ “toughness” – i’d almost be a little surprised if reggie or julius doesn’t pile drive someone in to the court…

  130. ***It is clear that Bullock does not have the handle to run the pick & roll to try to get Young switched on to a more dangerous ballhandler. I hope that we see Bullock set screen for Randle. That should get open looks for one of them.***

    I am going to adapt Ephus’ work into a limerick, just because…

    It’s clear that Bullock does not have the handle
    To run pick and roll, he should set screens for Randle
    To get a mismatch with Young
    So Jules won’t shoot like dung
    And maxing him won’t be a scandal.

  131. Ugh, I see Portland/Denver once again gets left off the national networks. I so rarely seek out a game to watch, but that’s twice now in this series alone. Dumb lakers.

  132. Donnie Walsh:
    ***It is clear that Bullock does not have the handle to run the pick & roll to try to get Young switched on to a more dangerous ballhandler. I hope that we see Bullock set screen for Randle. That should get open looks for one of them.***

    I am going to adapt Ephus’ work into a limerick, just because…

    It’s clear that Bullock does not have the handle
    To run pick and roll, he should set screens for Randle
    To get a mismatch with Young
    So Jules won’t shoot like dung
    And maxing him won’t be a scandal.

    this, the good shit

    Donnie stans Lillard so hard

  133. I am going to adapt Ephus’ work into a limerick, just because…

    yeah, you most certainly do need more tv time in your life…and yes, get a phone, it’s just not fair you not having to lug that crap around with you everywhere like the rest of us…

    cell phones are like little hand held slot machines…feed me seymour…

  134. ***Donnie stans Lillard so hard***

    I wish that Dame Lillard would be on
    National TV until his team be gone
    But when I watch basketball
    All I see is Chris Paul
    And some guy flopping around named Lee-Bron

  135. OMG, someone from here found me on reddit. They’re kind of an asshole and I’ve had to remove comments by them multiple times so I’m assuming it’s THCJ.

  136. vincoug do not dox me or I will come for you

    The Nets are a force, man. Joe Harris might be the perfect wing for that team and they could plug a literal tree in at center and win the East if Embiid can’t play at 100%.

  137. I’m not scared of you jowles.

    All season, it’s been hard to imagine Brooklyn losing the title barring injury. I hope they lose both because Durant/Harden/Kyrie is one of the least likeable collection of players ever and because it would be boring as fuck if they did win. Also because who gives two shits about the Nets? The only thing notable about that team is how stupid their name is. I’m rooting for every team that plays against them.

  138. If we sign Norman Powell and Cameron Payne it will be a successful offseason.

  139. Anybody have a strong rooting interest in Denver/Portland? A part of me still resents the Nuggets for the agita the Melo trade caused us (and for taking Jokic and now MPJ when we took stiffs a few spots earlier), while another part of me is rooting for the extreme longshot chance of Dame wanting to be traded this summer if the Blazers bow out early again.

  140. I can’t root against Jokic.

    It’s on NBATV Donnie. Also pretty solid limerick. I chuckled.

  141. ***Anybody have a strong rooting interest in Denver/Portland?***

    I’m rooting for Portland, but if Denver wins, I’ll root for them to win the championship.

    ***it’s on NBATV Donnie***

    Yeah, I don’t get that channel.

  142. Man, never seen a cable package without it. Get a free YouTubetv month trial? It’s on there.

  143. Carmelo meanwhile just dribbled the ball out of bounds with four minutes left down 2.

    Which I enjoyed

  144. I’m not assuming the Nets will make it past Milwaukee. The Bucks wiped Miami out in four while the Nets took five games to defeat Boston and you can make an argument that Miami is a tougher opponent than Boston.

  145. Austin Rivers just turned the ball over with the Nuggets up 4 and under 20 seconds left. Lillard found McCollum for an open 3. It’s a one point game.

  146. Rivers had a nice assist earlier.

    I have to say, I am baffled that the Blazers think Melo is a closer. I mean, I am hearing Jay Pharoah as Stephen A every time he bricks a three

    And then Austin Rivers fouls Lillard 35 feet out.

    How is guarding Dame?

  147. The Commish is happy the Suns out scoring the Lakers by 30 in the first half was the main event

    Austin redeemed himself slightly

  148. I don’t want to harp on it but Dame is insanely good at basketball. Especially the 38 footer part of it.

  149. What a pass by Jokic

    This is the best basketball game I have seen in years and I can’t remember a better performance than Dame’s

  150. A missed dunk off a great Dame drive and pass, plus CJ stepping out of bounds as he was about to drive from the perimeter… geez.

  151. And that was a awesome pass by Jokic to find Porter Jr in the corner for that 3.

  152. They should’ve ruled that ball off Jokic to give Dame another shot to tie the game just off GP

  153. 17-24 for 55 points, 6 boards, 10 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 3 blocks . . .was that the best offensive performance in playoff history?

  154. Dame shot 70% from 3 my goodness

    Dame: 17 PTS in both OT
    Rest of Blazers: 2 PTS in both OT

    Dame: 6-8 FG in both OT
    Rest of Blazers: 1-19 FG in both OT

  155. I don’t want to give Jokic short thrift but other guys did stuff. He has incredible touch around the basket. I can’t remember a guy who could convert 7-8 foot floaters so well.

    Romdae Hollis Jefferson was a -21 in 9 minutes. Carmelo was bad. He missed a bunch of clutch threes. Norman Powell was his doppelgänger.

  156. I’m a big Dame fan so maybe my judgment is clouded, but Lillard had one for the ages,
    one of (if not THE) best offensive performance in a meaningful game I’ve ever seen.
    It’s a sin that it went wasted.

    P.S.
    Oh, and it was nice to watch the Suns crush the Lakers merciless.

  157. Donnie Walsh: I wish that Dame Lillard would be on
    National TV until his team be gone
    But when I watch basketball
    All I see is Chris Paul
    And some guy flopping around named Lee-Bron

    Great stuff

  158. Is there a disagreement on the fact that starting DRose has been a crappy move?

  159. Ingmarrrr:
    Is there a disagreement on the fact that starting DRose has been a crappy move?

    Not sure if it was a crappy move but it clearly hasn’t worked in the context of a 48 minute game. Bottom line is that ATL is better than us on paper and playing better than us, with or without starting Rose. If Randle continues to be inefficient and Bullock and IQ keep missing shots, it’s over. If we shoot better as a team, at least we have a fighting chance in Game 5.

    I’ll be at the game tonight, really hoping they extend this gift of a season a bit longer.

  160. Z-man: I’ll be at the game tonight, really hoping they extend this gift of a season a bit longer.

    One more game it’s all i ask, enjoy the game, it’s been a blessing although painful also. :P
    Pacers, Heat, Celtics… all out of the playoffs and we’re still IN. Cheer up, guys. :D

  161. Ingmarrrr: Is there a disagreement on the fact that starting DRose has been a crappy move?

    Like Thibs, i would have done it to shake things up. Keeping Elfrid was not an option. But yeah, you’re right, it has backfired as this way we get even lower return from Julius and DRose’s performances. I think Quick hasn’t killed us on defense, and Trae is scoring easily anyway, so i’d switch DRose for Quick to balance the 2 units again. And please start Noel. Taj has been playing well but it’s not the same. And even if Noel is not 100%, this can be our last game, might as well do everything we can to avoid it. And then we’ll think of the next, in the event it exists.

  162. Oh, and Dame asking for a trade to the Knicks would be the best possible offseason gift. :)
    I just don’t know what team would we be able to keep around him… the Blazers would ask a king’s ransom for him, right? But how much should we be willing to pay (even for such a great player)?

  163. Dame would cost both of this year’s picks, probably the other Dallas 1st and our 1st from two years from now + Randle, Mitch, and Quickly.

    My guess at least.

  164. They’d probably take Frank for him straight up though if we asked nicely.

  165. Z-man: Not sure if it was a crappy move but it clearly hasn’t worked in the context of a 48 minute game.

    In other words even Thibs cannot start Rose, and also bring Rose off the bench during the same game.

    Z-man: Bottom line is that ATL is better than us on paper and playing better than us, with or without starting Rose.

    They are, but the gap was smaller when Rose was brought off the bench.

    Z-man: I’ll be at the game tonight, really hoping they extend this gift of a season a bit longer.

    Have fun!

  166. Ingmarrr, I also prefer bringing Rose off the bench, but that’s just a guess. I don’t think who starts affects the gap between the two teams very much. Bottom line is that there is no clearly better or worse option if we play badly and they play well. to me it feels like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. OTOH, if a couple of individual players step up and play like they have all year, or at least how they played in Games 1 and 2, we have a chance regardless of who starts.

    Thibs runs a variation of a motion offense with lots of flexibility. It’s up to the players to adapt to the defense and to execute better. At some point, guys just have to make the same reads, passes and shots that they made all year. There’s no magic bullet either roster-wise or tactics-wise. We have very little margin for error and ATL has more options than we do on their bench.

  167. I also vote to bring Rose off the bench. His production wanes after the first 20 minutes, or so, and the team seems to do better with the jolt that he gives us coming in halfway through the first quarter. But who would we start and is it too late to make a change now?

  168. Chaos in Beantown!

    @ShamsCharania
    Boston head coach Brad Stevens is planning to transition from his current role into becoming the new head of basketball ops. of the Celtics, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.

    Danny Ainge plans to resign from his role as Celtics President, sources said.

    @wojespn
    Brad Stevens is moving into the front office on a full-time role, and Celtics are expected to start a search for a new head coach, sources tell ESPN. Celtics staff and coaches have been informed of the changes.

  169. You know who would make a GREAT coach in Boston? Data-lovin’ David Fizdale, that’s who!

  170. @ChrisBHaynes
    Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd and former Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce are expected to be head-coaching candidates for the Boston Celtics, league sources tell @YahooSports.

  171. I find this Ainge/Stevens news to be mind boggling. Ainge’s unwillingness to pull the trigger and use his draft assets to make the team better in “in the now” in recent years is a fair criticism, but the Celtics still have an excellent young core. They need a few upgrades among the role players and TO REMAIN HEALTHY to become a serious team again. If you are a Knicks fan I guess this is good news. Two very good basketball people are out in Boston.

  172. Oh, and it was nice to watch the Suns crush the Lakers merciless.

    Truly one of the best moments of these playoffs for me.

  173. DudesTown:
    If we sign Norman Powell and Cameron Payne it will be a successful offseason.

    I have my eyes on Powell. But he is 27 so maybe he’s totally washed. lol

  174. Dame is the most cold blooded assassin I’ve ever seen. It’s sad that he may get eliminated and I won’t get to watch him play in another series this year.

  175. Owen:
    I mean, this detail about why Ainge decided to leave (if that’s what happened) is kind of hilarious

    https://twitter.com/AnthonyIrwinLA/status/1400106629635452931/photo/1

    You have to wonder why he’d even take a nitwit like Kyrie seriously. Kyrie is operating with a half a deck, the half that handles the ball and shoots. The other half needs professional help. The funny thing is that I heard that Garnett was very upset about that also.

  176. I mean, this detail about why Ainge decided to leave (if that’s what happened) is kind of hilarious

    I’ve seen that paragraph in a longer tweet that was clearly a joke. So I don’t know if that part of it is real and then the later part is an exaggeration, or if the whole thing is.

  177. @bomani_jones
    what i find interesting: brad stevens, a man without an agent, is going to be a gm? if he didn’t like agents enough to hire one, whew, he’s gonna have it every time his phone rings.

  178. I hope we are competitive and pull out a win tonight. I’d hate to see a season like this go down in flames at home. We knew coming into the playoffs we weren’t a contender. I also suspected that Atlanta had too much firepower for us. But I thought our defense would keep us competitive. Nerlens being less than 100% (on top of Mitch being out) obviously hurt. So did Payton going in a coma and forcing to us to try Rose as a starter. I would have loved to have seen Frank guard Trae for a couple of full games just to see if he could have made a difference defensively, but we don’t have enough firepower. We can’t have Frank, Bullock, and any of our Cs on the court at the same time. The only possible way would be trying Frank instead of Bullock who wasn’t doing much on offense anyway and was probably being impacted on offense from trying to chase Trae part of the time. But that would feel like a panic move based on too short of a sample.

  179. It appears that Ainge story might have been too good to be true. The story was that Ainge was so upset about Kyrie disrespecting the Celtics logo that he went to the Celts locker room and tried to get his players to go confront him about it. And they didn’t give a shit, making him feel out of touch.

  180. Just one more win for the season. Come on, Knicks. You’ve given us so much joy this year.

    Teams rarely come back from 3-1 but you take it one game at a time. We win tonight, the pressure is on Atlanta to close it out at home.

    I’ve made my peace that we aren’t getting to the second round. Atlanta is a good team for sure and has more weapons. But man it would just be nice to win one more off the backs of RJ and Randle having good games.

    Really wish we had Mitch and Noel at 100 percent. But you know what, it is what it is.

  181. Knick fan not in NJ: Those tweets don’t exist when I click on the link.

    Tweet was deleted, with the following explanation:
    I was fooled by the internet. My apologies.
    Still gonna go back and laugh at the thing because I feel like it.

  182. Decided to pull the trigger on tickets for tonight. I figure I’ll either give a proper sendoff to arguably the most fun Knicks team of my lifetime or help them live to fight another day, either of which is worth it.

    Sadly the viral Ainge thing is fake, but don’t let that stop you from laughing at it because it’s fucking hilarious.

  183. bidiong the not so great: Dame would cost both of this year’s picks, probably the other Dallas 1st and our 1st from two years from now + Randle, Mitch, and Quickly.
    My guess at least.

    That’s a lot! :( But there’s even worst, next year starts Dame’s extension and his salary will be 43.75M !? :O

  184. thenoblefacehumper: Decided to pull the trigger on tickets for tonight.

    Enjoy. Of course we’ll live to fight another day, and then another day, and then the Sixers. ;)

  185. So, please remind me what team did Ainge screw over some years ago? Well, if karma ain’t really a bitch… LOL!

  186. Dame could have been a free agent this year if he wanted to leave. He doesn’t seem like a guy angling for a way out.

    There’s also nothing to suggest we’re better than the Blazers. We’re talking about how much it would help us if we threw a lot of money at their 5th best player, you know?

  187. Also hoping Julius plays more like he did most of the season, so the post-season narrative is not he spit the bit in the playoffs, or that he was a flash in the pan. Maybe ISM will show up tonite.

  188. I hope Brad does as well as the GOAT of coaches did when he had a POBO job. LOL

  189. cybersoze:
    I hope Brad does as well as the GOAT of coaches did when he had a POBO job. LOL

    Honest to God, I have no idea if you’re taking about Phil Jackson or Thibodeau.

  190. Remember when Bill Simmons was wondering whether Brad Stevens was more valuable than an MVP player?

  191. vincoug: Honest to God, I have no idea if you’re taking about Phil Jackson or Thibodeau.

    I was talking about Phil. ;)

  192. ***There’s also nothing to suggest we’re better than the Blazers. We’re talking about how much it would help us if we threw a lot of money at their 5th best player, you know?***

    Lillard in the eastern conference would be a top 3 team in-and-of-himself.

  193. Is Norman Powell their 5th best player?

    Also, statements like this are really misleading. The biggest need we have is upgrading our starting PG position. Powell backs up Lillard but we have no idea what he would be like if he was a starter and not behind Dame.

    The Blazers aren’t really that concerned about PG because they have freaking Dame as their starter. If they had a back up PG worse than Powell, it would hurt them but not that much. But for us, getting someone better than Elf could significantly improve our team even if its someone like Powell who is good but not a star. So statements like we’re talking about adding their 5th best player…its so misleading.

  194. IF we’re giving up Randle, RJ and picks, what is even the point of getting Dame? He’s awesome but he’s 30 and even by himself, we’re not much better than we are now if we get rid of our current 2 best players and picks.

  195. I also vote to bring Rose off the bench. His production wanes after the first 20 minutes, or so, and the team seems to do better with the jolt that he gives us coming in halfway through the first quarter. But who would we start and is it too late to make a change now?

    Deeefense: I have my eyes on Powell. But he is 27 so maybe he’s totally washed. lol

    I didn’t realize that he was ancient. Never mind.

    Payne has been on fire and his asking price might be too high for what we need.

  196. Point guard has been our Achilles heel for so long that I actually wouldn’t mind drafting three of them this year until we find the gem.

    Something like Jared Butler, Jaden Springer, Tre Mann and/or Dosunmo or Miles McBride.

  197. The biggest need we have is upgrading our starting PG position. Powell backs up Lillard but we have no idea what he would be like if he was a starter and not behind Dame.

    powell is not a point guard

  198. You’re right. My point is still valid though. Saying someone is a team’s 5th best player means they’re a starter, right?

    I mean, you could probably go through most NBA playoff teams and if you took their 5th or 6th best player, you could find a place for them on our roster to help make us better, no?

  199. Our 5th best player is probably who, Bullocks or Noel or Burks? These are the same guys that everyone believes will sign big contracts with other teams this off season. I’m pretty sure most of hte playoff teams right now would take one of those guys on their team and could find someone in their rotation that they could replace with one of those dudes, no?

  200. Yeah, we have a lot of guys on the roster who would comfortably fit into rotations throughout the league, but only two players at the moment (JR and RJ) who would be starting for a majority of NBA teams. Powell seems like a legit starter in a way that Bullock and Burks probably are not, and his presence would slot other guys further down in the pecking order where they belong, whether said guys are our returning mercs, new mercs, trade acquisitions, or plug-and-play draftees.

  201. Went for workout-shootaround this morning after many months since the athletic playgrounds are legal again after the covid shutdown.
    16/100 3s my first set
    6/61 my second (couldn’t shoot more due to exhaustion!!!)
    Psychology is Up again due to workout so i put on my NY hat and sweater got me chips and cola and I’m ready for tonight’s fight.

  202. marechal:
    Remember when Bill Simmons was wondering whether Brad Stevens was more valuable than an MVP player?

    Lol

  203. swiftandabundant:
    Mitch would probably start for most teams I think.

    I haven’t gone through each roster to figure that out, but I would think his lack of shooting means he could only start for certain teams when healthy. And we have other guys on the roster who would definitely start for some teams. But we’ve got a lot of sixth through eighth men.

  204. Our 5th best player is probably who, Bullocks or Noel or Burks?

    nice swift…i like lists :)

    1). julius
    2). RJ
    3). rose
    4). mitch???
    5). burks ( i have a feeling he’s gone next year)
    6). noel
    7). reggie
    8). quik
    9). taj
    10). obi

    oh my gosh, even i seem to now realize [redacted] is flotsam here…

  205. I liked Thibs comment yesterday about staying focused on the game and not being distracted by provocative plays or comments.
    Randle’s and Bullock’s hi5 and previous frustration was childish, ridiculous and dissapointing to me.

    STAY FOCUSED

  206. Our 5th best player is probably who, Bullocks or Noel or Burks? These are the same guys that everyone believes will sign big contracts with other teams this off season.

    Actually a lot of us wondered why anyone would expect Bullock or Noel to suddenly get paid now. I think this postseason confirmed neither of them should be too hard to retain if we want them. Certainly neither of them are at the level of Covington, Powell, or Jurkic.

    Alec Burks will probably get paid bc he’s multifaceted on offense.

    But the Blazers are pretty good. Look at this way: our 2nd best player is RJ, and there’s a gulf between him and CJ McCollum.

  207. Remember when Bill Simmons was wondering whether Brad Stevens was more valuable than an MVP player?

    To be fair, things get a little weird when a coach is having a great year. There are people here who wouldn’t give up Tom Thibodeu for Karl Anthony Towns.

  208. Keep in mind that for a lot of the season, while Nurkic was out, and McCollum was out, and Powell was in Toronto, Portland’s “5th best player” was the three-headed beast of Gary Trent jr, Derrick Jones, and Rodney Hood. (Yes, Enes Kanter was the #3 player and Melo was the #4 player). And, even still, Lillard carried that squad to a 15-11 record in the west, and their .577 winning percentage during that span was better than what Thib’s sorcery mustered in the east (.569).

  209. Hubert: To be fair, things get a little weird when a coach is having a great year. There are people here who wouldn’t give up Tom Thibodeu for Karl Anthony Towns.

    Thibs wins more games than Towns does

  210. If i had to bet between them on who would get a chip I’d put my money on TT.

  211. Thibs isn’t “having a great year.” He’s one of the most successful NBA coaches of the last 15 years.

    This isn’t some random coach who randomly has a good season like Horns in Phoenix. This is a guy who consistently won in Chicago even when the team was dealing with injuries, took Minny to the playoffs for the first time and ages and has improved the Knicks by more than 20 games this year.

    Not to mention Defensive coach for the Celtics when they won it all (and had one of the best NBA defenses ever) and was a successful assistant under JVG with the Knicks.

    I mean, seriously, after this season how can anyone say coaching doesn’t matter? Towns is talented but has won nothing in the NBA. HE’s been to the first round exactly once (with Thibs as his coach!). But man, he sure is efficient!

  212. Lebron or Popovic?
    Pick one
    I’d pick the grouchy one!
    But that’s just me…
    Always rooting for the underdog!

  213. Hubert: To be fair, things get a little weird when a coach is having a great year. There are people here who wouldn’t give up Tom Thibodeu for Karl Anthony Towns.

    Does that include a pick so we can select a defensive specialist?

    Going from Thibs as the coach to Towns as a C would cause me to have to change my ID from “Deeefense” to “eeefense” because of the lack of D. :-)

  214. swiftandabundant: Thibs isn’t “having a great year.” He’s one of the most successful NBA coaches of the last 15 years.

    This isn’t some random coach who randomly has a good season like Horns in Phoenix. This is a guy who consistently won in Chicago even when the team was dealing with injuries, took Minny to the playoffs for the first time and ages and has improved the Knicks by more than 20 games this year.

    Let’s not overstate his case. I don’t know how you want to define “most successful NBA coach” but I find it pretty hard to put a coach who made 1 Conference Finals 10 years ago, got swept, and hasn’t gotten close since even in the top 10 of most successful coaches of the last 15 years. Just off the top of my head, he pretty much has to be behind Popovich, Spoelstra, Kerr, D’Antoni, Vogel, Carlisle, Nurse, Doc, and Lue.

    He did deal with a lot of injuries in Chicago but are we completely separating those injuries from his coaching style?

    He did take the Timberwolves to the playoffs in the first time in forever but that was after he made a big trade for Jimmy Butler who then forced his was out of town a year later. His record in Minny without Jimmy Butler was 46-63.

  215. Thibs is 25-35 in the playoffs. After that first Bulls year, he’s 16-28. Enough already.

    In a couple hours, I’ll be rooting hard, in person, for him to go to 26-35.

  216. The only thing I’ll say for TT is he’s never been blessed with a big 3. You get that it basically elevates you to a big time coach.

  217. Maybe successful wasn’t the best word to describe Thibs but how about skilled?

    After Popovic he goes easily to my 2nd tier* along with Doc, Carlisle who obviously had slightly better rosters to work with.

    *Out of the coaches mentioned above

  218. It looks for all the world that Thibs does generate excess regular season wins, but that advantage is mostly or entirely dissipated by the time he gets to the playoffs. And if you think about it, the regular season overachievement leads to a better-than-expected playoff seed, which makes the playoff relative underachievement worse, not better. This year, where they got to play the Hawks with home court advantage, is a perfect example. It’s one thing to get smoked by the Bucks or the Nets in the playoffs, another thing altogether to get smoked by the Hawks — with home court.

    But he hasn’t been officially smoked by the Hawks yet and we’re all hoping he winds up beating the Hawks.

  219. I think that’s unfair.

    He got to the ECF with The Bulls. The other seasons he was dealing with injured teams. Again, its not like Thibs goes out in the first round every year.

    And like many have pointed out, The Hawks and Knicks had the same record but The Hawks got a new coach and were so much better in the second half of the season (so were we but on paper they’re supposed to be better).

    Also, the series is not over!

  220. #It’s one thing to get smoked by the Bucks or the Nets in the playoffs, another thing altogether to get smoked by the Hawks — with home court.#

    And of course it’s Definitely Another Thing to be considered a bottom 3 team talentwise and manage to make the playoffs quite easily…

  221. E, all merc’d out:
    It looks for all the world that Thibs does generate excess regular season wins, but that advantage is mostly or entirely dissipated by the time he gets to the playoffs.And if you think about it, the regular season overachievement leads to a better-than-expected playoff seed, which makes the playoff relative underachievement worse, not better.This year, where they got to play the Hawks with home court advantage, is a perfect example.It’s one thing to get smoked by the Bucks or the Nets in the playoffs, another thing altogether to get smoked by the Hawks — with home court.

    But he hasn’t been officially smoked by the Hawks yet and we’re all hoping he winds up beating the Hawks.

    It’s good to have you back after your long hiatus. Were you taken captive for most of the season?

  222. @MikeVorkunov
    Knicks running it back with Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose in the starting lineup, along with Randle, Barrett, Bullock

  223. Ainge deserves to lose his job after turning down Turner and McDermott for Gordon Hayward who was leaving anyway.

  224. Why wasn’t E doing his “Thibs sucks” routine when the talent-starved Knicks were overachieving their way to a #4 seed?

    He was sitting in the corner shutting the fuck up. Now that the team is losing he’s back to tell us all how very smart he is!

    Troll. Straight up

  225. Alan:

    @MikeVorkunov
    Knicks running it back with Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose in the starting lineup, along with Randle, Barrett, Bullock

    Can’t say i like it, but let’s hope for the best.

  226. Ainge deserves to lose his job after turning down Turner and McDermott for Gordon Hayward who was leaving anyway.

    Historic fuckup. Think of how the Celtics weren’t even that awful without Hayward and then add in Turner and McDermott? Holy shit!

  227. Brian Cronin: Historic fuckup. Think of how the Celtics weren’t even that awful without Hayward and then add in Turner and McDermott? Holy shit!

    It’s really unbelievable how badly he managed that team. I think he just got so full of himself that ridiculous hijacking of the Nets that he refused to make another deal unless it was around that good again.

  228. For years Ainge was a media darling, a GM that can’t do anything wrong and is too smart to bargain with, only because he once stole candies from 8-year-olds Nets.

    His mistake last offseason was Bargnani Trade bad,
    and don’t forget that he was saved by Michael Jordan years ago,
    when he proposed 5 first rounders for the Charlotte’s pick because he desperately want Kaminsky.
    This time he wasn’t so lucky.

    I’m very happy he’s finally exposed.

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