NY Post: Leon Rose’s grand Knicks roster plans went up in flames

Berman’s hearing voices again:

“They took a conservative approach by signing one-year, stopgap players,’’ ESPN’s cap guru and former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks told The Post. “This is a huge year for RJ [Barrett], [Kevin] Knox and Obi from a development stage. It’s important for the young kids to develop this season. That will be the draw to free agents.”

This wasn’t Rose’s Plan A, however. When Rose came aboard, The Post has learned, he talked internally about his grandiose plans of trading for point guard Chris Paul, his former CAA client, to hasten the rebuild.

Then Rose planned to sign ex-Knick Carmelo Anthony, Paul’s buddy. Anthony also is a former Rose client who rejuvenated his career in Portland.

According to a source, Paul wanted to stay close to his son in Los Angeles and was not feeling the Knicks. Paul wound up being traded to Phoenix. On the record, the veteran All-Star point guard said a New York move without the trappings of a packed Garden wasn’t appealing.

So Rose went into free agency looking to bolster the moribund point-guard position but lost out on his top targets that included Fred VanVleet, who never gave the Knicks a passing glance while re-signing with Toronto.

Rose wound up bringing back starting point guard Elfrid Payton, also a CAA client.

Rose and Wesley, a former CAA adviser who is close to the Kentucky basketball factory, get a pass for now. But the honeymoon will be over if 2021 passes without a star being drawn to New York.

The burning question is whether a win-now Thibodeau can deal with this rebuilding roster filled with five former Kentucky players, none of whom has reached his potential. Thibodeau is not a patient man.

I don’t know who’s leaking this stuff to Berman, but they seem like they are kind of troublemakers (I’m not saying they’re not telling the truth, of course, but still). And hey, whatever, the end result is that they didn’t trade for Chris Paul or re-sign Carmelo Anthony. So I’m not going to knock them for it. But I’ll admit that it is not fun to read that.

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440 thoughts to “NY Post: Leon Rose’s grand Knicks roster plans went up in flames”

  1. The article is clearly trying to stir up some shit, but if you phrased it in terms of:

    the Knicks looked hard at a number of opportunities to use their cap space to improve in the short-run, decided the price on those opportunities was too high and/or circumstances mitigated the appeal of those options, and pivoted to hoarding the space and accepting being bad this year

    …that describes a pretty okay process right? Rose’s plan A would not have been my plan A, but I don’t really have a problem with them looking to improve in the short-run provided that they’re doing it in a way where they’re averse to bad long-term commitments in the free-agent market or overpaying in trades.

  2. Berman is just a dumber Isola or the Knicks version of Manish Mehta (Jets “reporter ” for the Post)

  3. Nick C.:
    Berman is just a dumber Isola

    This is an accurate description of Berman, well done Nick! ;) And i would say why listen to him, but we gotta have new threads, so you did well, Brian! :)

  4. cybersoze:
    Knicks basketball is around the corner? Can’t even believe it! :P

    So finally we can try and see progress (even if there’s none) on the play of Mitch (likely), RJ (probably), Obi (total mistery).

    Been missing that, and also been missing the one thing the Knicks are #1 in the NBA… our beloved broadcasters Mike Breen and Clyde! :)

    Oh sorry, there’s another thing we’re #1… Farfa’s game recaps! Been missing that a lot, as those were epic recaps… and sometimes watching the games i wondered ‘how can Farfa write about this!?’ LOL!

    Farfa:
    Well, if anything this prolonged hiatus gave me a chance to refill my gas trunk and get ready for the upcoming season! I’m also quite bullish on the recappability of this roster (barring a Westbrook/Wall trade, that is).

    So glad to see so many new posters :) and more glad that some are fellow Europeans like you, cybersoze!

    From the last thread, to not get lost and for you guys to know Farfa is alive, well… and planning some more epic recaps! :)

    And thanks Farfa, i think we’re at least 4 europeans… me (Portugal), you (Italy), KYN (greece) and an Arsenal fan that i don’t remember the username!

  5. The article is obviously another way to knock the Knicks and win the day’s headlines for a tabloid rag.
    Still, the message is what I’ve been saying. There are two angles and they’re different:

    1) The Knicks tried to sign a big name. They played cute and failed to make offers that free agents could refuse.
    2) There was an order to be cheap that came from the top. I imagine a conversation that went something like this:
    LR> Mr. Dolan, it’s going to take a max deal to get our point guard. We promised Thibs a PG.
    JD> Leon, we lost a zillion dollars last year. We didn’t play in the bubble. Cuomo won’t let us have fans at MSG and we’re going to lose money in 2021. Tell Thibs to chill out. We’ll spend money when we make money. Let’s look at spending big in 8 months.

  6. Again, a piece like this comes down to who Berman’s source is, and why they’re telling him this. Rose brought in a lot of his own people, but he kept Perry, and I don’t recall reading any reports about him cleaning out the rat’s nest of Dolan toadies in the front office. (David Griffin didn’t take the job, remember, because Dolan wouldn’t let him fire those people.) So this could all be sour grapes coming from a holderover a previous regime. Or it could be very accurate.

    The thing is that so far, Rose has done no harm. We can debate the draft picks, but Toppin was the college player of the year and absolutely not a reach at 8, and time will tell on Quickley vs Terry/Flynn/Bane/etc. Rose didn’t trade away valuable assets for a couple of years of an aging Chris Paul. He hasn’t acquired Westbrook. He didn’t overpay to get Melo to leave Portland. He offered Hayward a contract that I wouldn’t have, but which wouldn’t have been terrible value based on the rumored numbers. He assembled a roster that will be bad, but that should be bad in more useful ways long-term than when Mills or Phil grabbed their own mercenaries.

    But he also hasn’t made a big move yet, and that’s when we’ll know for sure what Rose is about. Berman may be right that Rose would have traded a haul to OKC if Paul really wanted to come here. We could still trade for Westbrook or Wall, or give a max deal to a non-max player next summer. As Knicks fans, we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But until Rose does the stupid thing, I want to relax just a little.

  7. The situation with Kemba’s knee doesn’t sound great. Boston has enough depth to get by without him for a while, but Ainge might have to actually use that Hayward trade exception at some point.

  8. This is just clickbait. Nothing more.

    Tanking for Cade is the best plan there is. Get er done, Leon!

  9. when I saw this article yesterday, I had to check the date because it looked like the same thing he wrote 2 weeks ago.

    And yes, it does sound like sour grapes from a holdover who wants to make the new regime look bad.

    I take issue with the idea that “Rose has done no harm”, though (and I’m quoting Alan, but this is a common narrative). It comes down to this:

    Did he come here with the right idea from day 1 (i.e. long term rebuild), or did he come here looking to compete immediately?

    It really does look like it’s the latter, and that drove his decision to hire Thibs over a developmental coach like Atkinson; draft the singularly talented Toppin over players that fit the modern NBA better like Avdija, Halliburton or Vassel; and punt on 33 to keep a roster spot open for free agency. That is prioritizing the short term over the long term, and that is doing harm when you’re in a rebuild.

  10. Not sure why people see it as clickbait or Berman hearing voices. People are telling Berman what Rose is saying in meetings by way of trying to undercut him; in reality, that’s quite dysfunctional. It’s either Perry or Thibodeau.

    This stuff never happens with the Ranger front office or probably any other front office in the NBA. The Knicks are set up (by Dolan) as a shop where everyone has to look out for themselves. In part, that’s because they’ve lost and project to lose so much, but that’s not all of it.

  11. Hubert:
    when I saw this article yesterday, I had to check the date because it looked like the same thing he wrote 2 weeks ago.

    And yes, it does sound like sour grapes from a holdover who wants to make the new regime look bad.

    I take issue with the idea that “Rose has done no harm”, though (and I’m quoting Alan, but this is a common narrative).It comes down to this:

    Did he come here with the right idea from day 1 (i.e. long term rebuild), or did he come here looking to compete immediately?

    It really does look like it’s the latter, and that drove his decision to hire Thibs over Atkinson, draft Toppin over Halliburton or Vassel, and punt on 33 to keep a roster spot open for free agency.That is prioritizing the short term over the long term, and that is doing harm when you’re in a rebuild.

    Yep. Not sure why people are just airbrushing this away, beyond the optimism that generally coincides with a new regime and a new season about to begin. The worst thing is that the leaker is selling Rose’s actions as a strategic success but tactical failure, which means he thinks he will benefit by it being seen that way — and that would come only from Dolan. It’s not as though the leaker is saying, “OMG, what a stupid plan this guy had, we should be rebuilding.”

    This shit is just a perennial with the Knicks. They’re never going to be successful this way.

  12. This was a good post from Early Bird in the other thread that sums up how easy it will be for this team to significantly improve upon last year:

    Early Bird:
    If we are trying to win, and we probably shouldn’t want to win, then there’s several paths to improvement:

    1 – Don’t play Knox 1100 minutes
    2 – RJ doesn’t play like Knox for 1700 minutes
    3 – Noel plays better than Taj
    4 – Bullock returns to pre-injury form
    5 – Someone steps up when Payton gets injured
    6 – Keith Smart doesn’t wreck everyone’s shot
    7 – Thibs is the genius his record shows
    8 – DSJr doesn’t make Knox look like Jordan for 500 minutes

    I know none of these vets are good, but they’re all kinda average. Pitiful to average is a big jump.

  13. The leaker’s probably Perry — See, it wasn’t my fault we couldn’t get stars to come here; the new guys are putting on the full court press to do it and it still isn’t happening. It could even be Mills, though it’s unclear how much he’s in the loop. Perry’s probably running to him with the goings-on, too.

    It passed significant comment at the time, but it was a bad sign that Rose either didn’t want to or wasn’t able to clear out Perry. Again, as with Mills sticking around after Jackson was hired, this shit always happens with the Knicks. It’s never truly a new regime and a new start.

  14. The headline doesn’t match the content of the article. There are multiple optimistic paragraphs. Click bait.

  15. E: The leaker’s probably Perry

    I think Perry is smart enough to prioritize keeping his job over feeding Berman.

    A detailed reading of the article reveals that there really is no significant leak. The only thing attributed to a source is that Rose wanted to bring in Chris Paul, and if he did that he was going to add Carmelo Anthony. That’s not exactly ground breaking news.

    The rest of the article is all conjecture and bullshit.

  16. The Payton signing looks for all the world like “Plan A” failed and then no one gave a shit or knew what to do next so they just did the easy thing and let Perry have his guy, maybe even in the hopes that if they give him one he’ll keep his trap shut.

    Perry gets Payton, Wesley gets MKG, and on and on it goes …. It’s never, ever, ever just about basketball.

  17. Hubert: I think Perry is smart enough to prioritize keeping his job over feeding Berman.

    He already kept his job after the regime change, probably because of Dolan or Mills. Rose can’t or won’t touch him.

  18. I am in the “going to wait to freak out” boat too.

    We’re always going to obsess over everything that happens like a bunch of witch doctors examining goat entrails, portents of doom, but I feel slightly reassured so far.

    I believe Leon has some bad ideas but my sense of things is that the people around him have steered him in the right direction. Who knows how long that lasts but this ranks as one of the best offseasons in a long time just for not having done anything egregiously stupid.

  19. Owen: We’re always going to obsess over everything that happens like a bunch of witch doctors examining goat entrails, portents of doom,

    Because we all know that’s how the Knicks operate and have for years. The FO is a mishmash of people and factions and agendas, particularly when you throw the strong-minded coach into the mix. It’s not a structure that warrants optimism. Maybe a miracle will happen; in terms of pure basketball, again, the only thing that matters is the development or lack thereof of about six guys. And then if an RJ Barrett DOES develop, at that point you have to worry that he’ll tire of the losing and the shitshow and the drama and start looking elsewhere, a la a certain elongated ectomorphic Latvian.

  20. Begley wrote pretty much the same story with a much different slant. It looks like Rose et al wanted to add some good veterans to try to win more in the short term but were priced out. I don’t think that was a great strategy, but if you want to be optimistic they had prices they were will to pay for guys like Hayward or Van Vleet and they stuck to their valuations and then didn’t do anything really stupid after they missed out on the guys they wanted.

  21. Wait right there team pessimism! If the new team is so bad, that’s good… we’ll be in the top3 of the draft and will have the most possible ping-pong balls (in a packed draft). So plan B is good.

    If the team is balanced and might surprise, as team optimism is saying, that’s bad (for draft purposes) but it’s good for the development of the young players. Our veterans will surprise noone, they are what they are, unless they surprise for the worst like Randle last year.

    So this season it’s a win-win… if we are bad we’ll select a franchise-player, if we are good our young players are becoming stars!

  22. I am in the “going to wait to freak out” boat too.

    To be clear, I’m not freaking out. At least not internally. It’s entirely possible my posts give another impression.

    I just think I’m grading Rose fairly. His draft was somewhere between “uninspiring” and “a whiff that sets us back a year”. We’ve made a couple of trades that show intelligence but ultimately are not very significant. To me, that grades somewhere between a D and a C.

    Forgive me, but I wanted an A offseason for once.

  23. Hubert, your posts do come across as freaking out or maybe I’m just a sensitive team optimist person.

    I think when I read these articles, they seem more nuanced than the headline. And I agree that it feels like Rose wanted to add dudes like CP3 if it wasn’t costing them too much (same with Westbrook) and also with signing FVV or HAywood. They were open to doing that but not at a cost that would hamstring them in the future.

    Some people would not have liked us to trade for CP3 but if it didn’t cost us a lot but cap space for 2 years and then we signed Melo for the minimum or the mid level, that would not have hamstrung our future.

    So to me it feels like Rose had the right idea and wasn’t willing to go all in for Cp3 or Westbrook or pay a boatload for FVV or Haywood. So how into the idea was he, really?

  24. Hubert: I just think I’m grading Rose fairly. His draft was somewhere between “uninspiring” and “a whiff that sets us back a year”. We’ve made a couple of trades that show intelligence but ultimately are not very significant. To me, that grades somewhere between a D and a C.

    Forgive me, but I wanted an A offseason for once.

    Tough to fully grade it because we need to see the organizational offseason philosophy, which includes the hiring of a possibly win-now coach, play out. If the young guys get marginalized in favor of the Elfrid Paytons and Austin Rivers’s and Julius Randles of the world, the offseason was an F. Right now, it’s trending poorly IMO and basically all they did was replace the old mercs with some new mercs. They’ve gone bulk marginal merc each of the last two offseasons. We’ll see.

  25. Whatever I feel, it has nothing to do with the articles. The articles are trash. The three reasons I’m grading Rose poorly (I’ll officially give him a C minus) are Thibs, Toppin, and kicking the 33rd pick to the curb.

  26. I think Rose “leaked” it to save face with the majority of fans and Dolan, who think more like GoNY than this board’s consensus.

    So we’ve got a win now GM who’s not a complete idiot. That’s better than.. It could be worse. No unpleasant surprises when we trade for Wall midseason.

  27. If you read the article carefully, there is very little “sourced” material, and the material is about possible musings when Rose came on board…not a “plan” that he entered fre agency and drafting with. His public statements were all about patience, and he floated the idea that they would be building for long-term success, in direct contrast to prior FOs.

    It’s also possible that the “source” is no longer with the organization, given the fact that they are talking about what Rose said when he came on board. Quite a few were let go, starting with Mills. And he’s as low-rent backstabbing of a SOB as there is, and very possibly Berman’s sour grapes go-to guy, either directly or via a crony. I can imagine Mills right now ruminating over what he would have done this offseason.

  28. Whatever I feel, it has nothing to do with the articles. The articles are trash. The three reasons I’m grading Rose poorly (I’ll officially give him a C minus) are Thibs, Toppin, and kicking the 33rd pick to the curb.

    This might be a bit harsh but I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Thibs is not a particularly inspiring hire-it is hard to objectively analyze coaching jobs, but his track record suggests he’s a competent NBA coach but nothing more. The draft process doesn’t seem to have been particularly good, and free agency was fine, I suppose, but didn’t show much evidence that we have a really talented front office.

  29. Berman is a strange fellow.

    When I read his articles I often come away feeling like I wasted a few minutes of my life, but I’ve heard him on podcasts and thought he had a very good grasp of the game and team and really enjoyed him. I suspect a lot of his articles are designed to ruffle feathers and get people talking and not necessarily to be a deep analysis of the team and management strategies. That’s why he was obsessed with Marbury for years and now likes to write about Frank. He knows it’s going to get the blood pressure of both camps up a bit.

    Personally, I didn’t think CP3 was ever a serious option. He would have to be crazy to come to NY. Everyone knows he’s one of the greatest PGs ever. The one thing missing on his resume is a championship. He has a very short window. He wasn’t going to waste it in NY. Not that the Suns were a great option either, but at his salary it was hard to find a spot. At least they are way further along than the Knicks and closed the season well in the bubble. He’s what they need.

  30. I can imagine Mills right now ruminating over what he would have done this offseason.

    Now that is a fun exercise.

    It think he’d have matched Charlotte’s offer to Hayward, and/or broken the bank for FVV.

    At worst, we’d have almost the same team we have now, except all the veterans would be making three times as much on their one year deals.

    Toppin seems like he’d be the pick either way. He fits the Mills profile to a T.

  31. I’m giving Rose a B-.

    I’m going to leave out speculation about what he may have wanted to do and look at what he did do. I think he kept himself open to all options in a difficult situation for attracting good players and the result was OK. I can’t rate him higher because he’s paid millions to “surprise guys like me” and not just do the same things anyone else could have done. Also, giving him credit for not making a bad mistake is just Knicks fans being so used to blunders, not making one seems like a success.

    1. I like Thibs and much of the coaching staff a lot

    2. I like quite a few people in the new management team. At first I was pissed off when he hired Wes, but I think overall he did fine job even if I could do without Wes and all the CAA influence.

    3. I have no major problem with who he drafted, but I had no strong opinions.

    4. There were no free agency or trade blunders, but no upside surprises.

  32. I really don’t get why folks think this draft was a disappointment. Hubert liked Avidja, Vassell or Haliburton over Obi. Fair enough, but Avdija shot poorly and may have physical limitations, Vassell looks like a run-of-the-mill 3 and d bench wing, and Hali is a 6’5″ beanpole with a weird shooting form who has never been in the same area code as the rim. None of them are locks to overperform their rookie contracts. Obi is much more likely to have “perceived” value beyond his “actual” value (see: LaVine, Gordon, Wiggins) during his rookie deal and might be useful in a trade package for a star even if his game doesn’t evolve. The FO turned the 27 and 39 picks into Quickley and a 2023 second rounder. That’s hardly a red flag outcome, at least not until you see how it turns out.

    The thing about the draft is that what you saw in March may not be true any more. The players had 8 months to work on their games and scouts/GMs had access to the finished product that we didn’t have. Obi may have corrected things in his footwork that but him above other players. The Knicks worked out a bunch of draftees and made their decisions accordingly. I don’t see a thing wrong with either the process or the outcome on its face.

  33. I’m still suspicious of Rose’s overall strategy and am bracing myself for the inevitable John Wall trade, but the whole business of turning taking on Ed Davis into three second rounders and some of the other marginal moves gives me some hope that Rose will at least go about his business without trashing the team’s assets. That, at least, is an improvement over past regimes. If he flips one or two of Burk/Bullock/Rivers at the deadline, I’ll be even more pleased.

  34. #The three reasons I’m grading Rose poorly (I’ll officially give him a C minus) are Thibs, Toppin, and kicking the 33rd pick to the curb.#

    Seems like a matter of taste to me.
    I don’t see the great alternative moves for Rose to do something better in the off-season.
    Atkinson, Haliburton and overpaying injury prone all stars and possible future stars ?

    I’m giving him an A so far.
    A- cause of Rivers.

  35. If you give this offseason an A you’re going to have to invent some new letters to grade the moves in the unlikely event that this team ever gets good. I’ve got this down as pretty much the epitome of a C offseason: Avoided big mistakes but failed to do anything to really move the needle in a positive way either. If a student handed in this work you’d be frustrated that you had to spend time to grade it because it’s so decidedly average.

  36. If we knew for sure that Morey/Rivers would be available even 1 day before the 2020-2021 reg season start i’d say GET THEM instead of Rose/Thibs.
    Since nobody knew/expected these two to become available i’m more than fine with our POBO/Coach tandem and trust them till they fuck things up.
    So far I’m good

  37. I don’t make much of the Berman article.

    This offseason was treading water, which is fine, and what you should do until you find the right all-in move.

    One bad move could easily screw everything up but a couple good moves could put us in great position.

    I’ve resigned myself to the fact we’ll never go all out tank mode on purpose. Signing vets on 1yr deals was the right move once a superstar didn’t join.

  38. #If you give this offseason an A you’re going to have to invent some new letters to grade the moves in the unlikely event that this team ever gets good. I’ve got this down as pretty much the epitome of a C offseason#

    Which are the moves that would give Rose an A during this off-season ?
    Are there any ?
    Or C was the ceiling ?

    Getting Giannis or AD for the minimum ? lol

  39. You can debate grades, but if you give this assignment an A or whatever it’s because it’s only worth 5 points. When the Knicks go all in for a superstar it’ll be worth 200 points and make everything that happened this year irrelevant.

    Same principle if you give it a D-, if we miraculously sign Giannis next year or bring in multiple superstars this year makes no difference.

  40. I don’t think it’s fair to evaluate the Rose regime based on a bunch of stuff that someone said he wanted to happen but did not in fact happen. Also, one thing I tentatively like about Rose is he seems to have brought in a braintrust of sorts. So it’s possible he wanted to do a bunch of dumb stuff but was talked out of it by Aller, etc.

    My evaluation of him so far isn’t terribly different than Strat’s. I’d probably go with C+ because I found the draft pretty disappointing, but everything else has ranged from defensible to savvy.

  41. You kinda have to grade this offseason in categories:

    -Pulled a blockbuster deal that moved us to the fringe of being a contender without sacrificing the ability to make further moves: F
    -Drafted a sure-fire PG of the future: F
    -Eliminated all suspicion that we’re not in for 5 more years of futility: F
    -Made it impossible for Hubert and E to concoct conspiracy theories: F
    -Wasted tons of cap space by signing aging vets or miscast #1 and #2 options to bloated long-term deals: F
    -Bid against themselves to sign mercenary players: F
    -Signed multiple PFs: F
    -Stated definitively that veterans will sit behind rookie-deal players no matter how poorly they play: F
    -Severed ties with CAA: F
    -Avoided concerning allegiances to one particular college program over all others: F
    -Fielded a roster guaranteed to win less than 20 games: F
    -Fielded a roster guaranteed to win more than 35 games: F
    -Hired a head coach that will lose games on purpose: F
    -Hired a head coach that will state before training camp starts who’s playing and who’s not playing: F

  42. Every year I look at the Knicks’ roster and I ask myself, how does this team shape up Four Factors-wise? And just about every year I come away with the same thought: the offensive eFG% is going to be terrible, so likely we will be terrible as a team.

    Seems like the same story this year. I’m looking around trying to figure out how we’re not going to have a poor eFG% and 3PT% and I don’t really see it. I see lots of guys who can’t score. I game out various lineups and it’s hard to put one together that has reasonable balance and spacing. There are 3 or 4 non-shooters on the floor in most of the plausible lineups you can put together.

  43. Given the circumstances, an A would have been an overt, explicit commitment to developing the kids, refraining from signing mercs who got in the way of that philosophy, disposing of existing players who got in the way of that philosophy, signing players who furthered that goal, and hiring a coach commensurate with that philosophy. They fell significantly short of that.

  44. Look, I like to think that we’re all smart enough to kinda know what a great off-season looks like, and obviously this ain’t it, there hasn’t been any obviously great moves that we are super excited about, maybe the Noel signing but even that has a relatively limited ceiling.

    The point is that it also just wasn’t terrible. It did not involve squandering financial flexibility, it didn’t fill the roster with overpaid bad players with 4 year contracts, it did not involve drafting a clear obvious bust or trading away draft picks for nothing, etc. It’s a low bar but it’s the very definition of a C grade, one that will be adjusted as we see Toppin and Quickley on the court and how the veterans signed mesh up with the other players. It’s nowhere near as panic inducing as signing Joakim Noah or trading for Derrick Rose or trading every asset on the team for Melo or re-signing him to a mega max with a NTC, etc. I don’t think there’s much else to discuss until preseason starts, it is what it is.

  45. The fact is, the FO deserves an INCOMPLETE. They have been extraordinarily tight-lipped. Here’s what we DO know:
    -They drafted a player projected by tons of outlets to not be available at #8 without using assets to trade up for him as was widely speculated
    -They turned two trades for the same player into 3 draft picks and at least one intriguing young F-C.
    -They wasted not a single dollar of future cap space on a multi-year deal
    -They did not sign a single 1-year player to an above market-value contract
    -They hired who was widely considered to be the best available coach
    -They finished the offseason with more draft assets than they started with
    -They demonstrated that they understood player valuation, capology and the win-curve by avoiding overpaying for quick-fix vets
    -Other than Steve Stoute, they avoided being a league-wide laughing stock

  46. I guess the other part of the grade would be putting together a front office with clear lines of authority and responsibility where all are pulling in the same direction, and they failed at that, too. That one might be undoable, given the reality of Dolan.

  47. I’d give the off season a B.

    Toppin was a great pick in a weak draft for the #8 spot. We didn’t trade up for him. Every prospect this year had major flaws. He fell to us. We picked a guy with a very obvious floor. Toppin will most likely be able to put up points in the NBA. Sure, we need a PG. We always need a PG. But maybe it was wise to not pick a PG just to pick one when Toppin was still on the board at 8.

    Quickly I really like and I think its really unfair to call him a reach at 25. He was SEC player of the year and shot 40 percent from 3. If the NCAA season doesn’t end, UK gets to at least the sweet 16 and his stock most likely rises. Quibbling over someone being picked 3 or 4 spots early is what you do in the top 15, not at pick 25.

    The 33rd pick was punted down the road a bit. Not a big deal.

    For me, turning $5 million in cap space into Spellman and 3 second round picks without giving up anything was a really sweet move and something The Knicks have NEVER done. Same with turning 27 and 38 into 25 and 33 for nothing. I think those 2 moves warrant some real positivity. As does not picking up Elf’s team option and then turning around and getting him back for 3 million less. As does getting Rivers for only 3 million with a team option for next year and the year after that. As does signing Burkes and Noel for cheap. We got a lot of cheap veterans that aren’t useless. Those are going to come in handy come the trade deadline.

    So I give us a solid B for the off season. No bad long term moves were made. We signed vets for cheap (which is a good sign for the future) and we picked up a lot of extra future second rounders. Those always come in handy too.

    Plus I think this year’s team fits together on paper a lot better than last year’s.

  48. Due to salary cap, fagency rules and nba’s environment strict rules in general the way to get an A out of your POBO is which ?
    To attract Lebron, Kawhi and KD ?
    Which is pretty possible to happen coincidentally ?
    To Draft Giannis, Kawhi, Mitch ?
    Which is also a HUGE matter of luck ?

    I find this knicks off-season very controlled beyond the most optimist predictions to the point that most fans are still expecting a big splash that will fuck things up.

    Call it an A, a C or a Z I’m more than fine with the POBO moves so far.

  49. i forget how long Berman has been in the beat reporter role…did he take over for Vecsey or was Kevin Kernan the bridge…but I am with Strat…I never read his articles and feel like I learned anything…I just skim for quotation marks to see if there are any nuggets….but I have heard him on the radio and he comes off different….anyway

    I don’t see where anything that has been done to date speaks to above or below average…picks were either down the middle of the fairway (Toppin) or a little bit of a reach (Quickely) and they didn’t expose themselves in free agency either way (really bad deals or excellent deals) or in trades (they showed some savy but then pivoted by not using the 2nd rnd pick)….this year is going to be shit show anyways…may as well let the youngun’s play ball and assess next year…and hope for luck in the lottery…

  50. Well to brighten your day, here’s a joke for today:
    The Suns did very good (100%) in the bubble without CP3, now that they got him they will be even better! :D

  51. Bruno Almeida: Look, I like to think that we’re all smart enough to kinda know what a great off-season looks like, and obviously this ain’t it, there hasn’t been any obviously great moves that we are super excited about, maybe the Noel signing but even that has a relatively limited ceiling.

    See, I don’t buy this. Great moves are often the ones you DON’T make. In fact, what makes this off-season great is that IT ISN’T OVER! Say what you want about who you would have drafted…they aren’t sure-fire short-term (and likely long-term) busts like Ntilikina and Knox were. We aren’t even at the cap floor yet. Every deal signed is moveable or waive-able without repercussions. By this stage last year, we were capped out with overpaid, redundant players and counting on ugly stepsister draft pick RJ to make us feel less bad about losing out on Zion and Ja and ditching KP for pennies on the dollar, and Fiz was at the helm. There was zero hope that further transactions were coming…even the Morris deadline deal was a pleasant surprise.

    There was nothing Mills-ian about this offseason. Nada.

    Seriously, what were the obviously great moves that would have made this off-season an A for you? In other words, is it fair to set a standard that is unattainable?

  52. #Bruno Almeida: Look, I like to think that we’re all smart enough to kinda know what a great off-season looks like, and obviously this ain’t it…#

    I like to think that we’re smarter than casual knicks fans and realize that Not Do Flashy Shit Moves was the Best Thing To Do this off-season.

  53. E:
    Given the circumstances, an A would have been an overt, explicit commitment to developing the kids, refraining from signing mercs who got in the way of that philosophy, disposing of existing players who got in the way of that philosophy, signing players who furthered that goal, and hiring a coach commensurate with that philosophy.They fell significantly short of that.

    But this is simply not true. An “overt, explicit commitment to developing the kids” and signing the likes of Payton, Rivers, Noel, Burks, and keeping Bullock are not incompatible. You don’t develop kids by coddling them. Knox, Frank and DSjr have been coddled and got oddles of playing time in the NBA that they didn’t deserve. I’ve said over and over again that they all should have spent tons of time in the G-League until they could play in the NBA without stinking up the joint. They’re at the point where they either need to shit or get off the pot. If they can’t outplay journeyman-level players in years 3-4, they should be treated just like the journeymen…i.e as 1-year expiring deals. The proposition that the mercs are getting in their way is preposterous. I would argue that playing them too much confused them and ultimately hurt their development.

    As to Mitch and RJ, same goes for them, although it is a near certainty that they will play no matter what and will deserve to. Same will probably be true for Obi, although I imagine that he will (wisely) be Randle’s backup at first.

    As to Quickley and Iggy, they should not play in the NBA unless they are ready to. The nice thing is, if any of the young guys step up, you can simply bench, trade or waive any of the vets in their way without any future implications whatsoever, maybe even getting assets back. That’s the beauty of one-year market-level deals and cap space.

  54. Well, my point is that doing the rational thing, I.e. the possible best course of action given the limitations is not a great off-season, it’s a good / ok one.

    A great off-season for me is one that is expected to change the future of the franchise for the better, stuff like making a very crucial trade (AD to the Lakers, for example), or making a brilliant draft move (the Mavs trading up for Luka Doncic), etc.

    Obviously I know that these types of moves are context based and depend on many factors which weren’t necessarily available for the Knicks front office. If we are grading on “what was the possible thing Rose could have done”, then yes, I can agree it was pretty good overall, I have no issues with it. But I can’t really say I think it was a great off-season when the most relevant thing attained was just staying flexible on cap and drafting 2 guys who have potential but are still pretty much unknown factors. I am happy that they’ve shown basic rational thinking ability, but like we used to say before, I’m not going to praise a GM as great for simply not setting his own house on fire.

  55. Exactly, Z-Man.

    We still have 18 million in cap space and a ton of cheap vet contracts (Payton, Burkes, Bullock, Noel, and Rivers).

    That alone gives us so much flexibility this season. Any combo of those players along with that cap space and/or Randle will probably net us a first round pick.

  56. Bruno Almeida: I am happy that they’ve shown basic rational thinking ability, but like we used to say before, I’m not going to praise a GM as great for simply not setting his own house on fire.

      

    But even that standard is conditional. In the Knicks case, just about any move they made would have set off the smoke alarm. If you want to say that an “A” would have involved modestly overpaying for Christian Wood and drafting Haliburton, Bane and Terry, that’s totally fair. But think about all the speculation that circulated before the draft…trading picks and players to trade up for LaMelo, or to land CP3, Westbrook, or Wall; or to max FVV, or pay what Charlotte did for Hayward…this was a house doused in gasoline with the FO holding a lit torch during an earthquake. It took A-level restraint not to lurch at the big splash.

  57. I’m somewhere in the C+ range at the moment, recognizing we’re early in the school year. There were some moves I didn’t like — Rivers, the 33, and maybe Toppin (still getting over my crush on Haliburton, and a concern that Obi is Amar’e Lite, good offense and terrible defense — and as someone raised on the 90s Knicks and who alway pissed off everyone in the gym by playing hardnosed defense in pickup games, I hate bad defense). But the first two are relatively minor and Toppin may well work out. The staffing included some great development choices, and a few lame-ass ones. There’s a rank odor of CAA/Kentucky nepotism, but at the same time lots of nice little moves (e.g., Davis). As per Z-Man’s tongue-in-cheek post (I hope), there was no game-changer out there, no great point guard we whiffed on in the draft. Free agency had mostly mediocre vets that were too old and/or wouldn’t move the needle/weren’t on our win curve, I didn’t like that we were likely fishing for them but glad we cut bait (or were saved from ourselves by using the wrong bait). Woods was about the only one that made sense, and not so much once we took Toppin.

    I just don’t think that 1) there were any home runs to be had this off-season, and 2) we’re not even really in position to hit them right now. Too many holes to fill. Let’s see if the kids can fill some of those holes, then we can find ourselves some big motors to drive the boat.

    I apologize after the fact for an overabundance of metaphors.

  58. Payton was signed for a $4.76M cap hit, which is notable only because that’s equal to the room exception. The Knicks were at least contemplating signing him using the exception and may have held tentative plans to use the rest of their cap space. Or simply hoped they would.

    Dallas gave Terry a 4yr contract with $4.6M guaranteed, equal to the 24th overall pick. I continue to be jealous of Dallas.

  59. But this is simply not true. An “overt, explicit commitment to developing the kids” and signing the likes of Payton, Rivers, Noel, Burks, and keeping Bullock are not incompatible.

    Huh? It’s hard to imagine something more incompatible with an overt, explicit commitment to developing the kids than signing mediocre, young-ish veterans to one-year deals. They’ve now done it two years in a row. The mercs are too young to have any interest in mentoring and the one-year deals mean they’re going to get all pissed off if their minutes are reduced or if they have to give way in the least to kid development.

  60. Despite an emphasis on youth in the front office, I still think Thibs will look to maximize wins. As such, I think Rivers is a dark horse to start at pg. I think he’ll put RJ and Burks at the wing spots and Randle at the 4.

    I know, I know… but Thibs likes to get guys paid in contract years, and Toppin surely will not be ready to get thrown to the lions. He will start Mitch, though, unless he has regressed a lot. I think the guys that work the hardest on D will get more minutes.

    That’s a very early-2000s-looking lineup, but maybe it will work against some teams?

  61. @IanBegley
    ·
    1m
    Tom Thibodeau was asked about playing young Knicks even if they may not give NYK the best chance to win on a given night. He said game play is an important part of development, but not the only part (practice, G League, film, etc). Said roles will be ‘earned’ & ‘not given’ w/NYK.

    That’s why it’s helpful that we got very mediocre vets

  62. Thibs is talking to the beat reporters right now. Here’s the most pertinent quote so far, via Begley:

    Tom Thibodeau was asked about playing young Knicks even if they may not give NYK the best chance to win on a given night. He said game play is an important part of development, but not the only part (practice, G League, film, etc). Said roles will be ‘earned’ & ‘not given’ w/NYK.

  63. I really liked Terry and am disappointed we passed him over. Not sure he’s any better than Jared Harper but would have liked to find out. I’m not advocating for an “A”, just an incomplete until we have more data on Quickley, Obi, and the players we passed over. The Rivers signing is pretty inconsequential. He’s better than a vet’s minimum player and is getting less than DSjr, Knox or Frank. I don’t see the problem with that deal.

  64. Said roles will be ‘earned’ & ‘not given’ w/NYK.

    Over/under on games Mitch comes off the bench (because he has to “earn” it) before his agent starts leaking trade rumors and free agency destinations:

    20.5

  65. Who wins in a “why the fuck” contest: the Paul brothers or Lavar Ball?

    Lavar’s got talented sons. The Paul brothers are just uber-Chad Aryan-looking dudes. They’re uniquely talentless. And if Jake Paul ever steps in the ring with a real boxer, he’s going to get flattened. We can only hope he goes the way of Ronda Rousey (who is not an offensive person at all, but whose career died immediately upon a more-talented fighter landing a few hits on her chin).

    The Paul brothers are a fucking virus.

  66. E: The mercs are too young to have any interest in mentoring and the one-year deals mean they’re going to get all pissed off if their minutes are reduced or if they have to give way in the least to kid development.

      

    Who said anything about mentoring? It’s about earning playing time. And if they get pissed off by not playing, trade them or cut them. Same if the young players get pissed off, tough shit, they should play better or sit/get sent to G-League. Or do we have to have the “we didn’t develop WHG” bullshit argument all over again? He’ll be developed any day now…

    BTW can you name a young team that didn’t have any vets on it? You are not making any sense. You have to fill out a roster, and you have to meet a salary floor. Your implication that we should have signed 15 young players is downright silly.

  67. If you made me assign a letter grade, I would give this offseason a C or a B-. Some really savvy moves, some head-scratchers, but nothing that screams “we’re incompetent” or “we’re playing 4-d chess”. Really, it’s still TBD, like Z-Man said. There was no possibility of an A offseason unless chance broke in our favor (say we traded down for Hali or Kira a good first pick over Toppin with Hayes off the board and signed Wood to that Houston deal, then did the arbitrage with the later picks and picked Quickley at 33 and Tillman or Terry or something at 25)–there just wasn’t enough firepower in this FA class and draft for that. But I’m content with C /B- offseasons, because that’s what most front offices get most of the time, and because the Knicks usually get an F-

  68. I don’t really see the free-agent signings as getting in the way of the young players too much. Our young players of most importance are Robinson, Barrett, and Toppin. No one we signed looks to get in their way. Our next most important are Ntilikina and Knox. Rivers and Payton might get in the way of Ntilikina but this is Ntilikina’s 4th year in the league and if he can’t win playing time over Rivers and Payton I am okay with him not playing much. As for Knox, Randle and Toppin are the players in his way and neither of them were free-agent signings so while he might have a hard time cracking the rotation early I don’t think our free agency is the reason.

    Finally, the rest of our young players; Quickley, Brazdeikis, Harper, Smith Jr, and Spellman don’t need to be in the rotation right away and will probably get their chance because of Covid or after the trade deadline.

  69. C+.

    I think I was a C last year, and this year the Knicks actually acquired some future picks in a nice couple of minor deals, and maybe one of the short termers yields something down the line.

    Probably one vet too many (Payton or Rivers, but not both). Yeah, the 33rd pick thing. But these are just minor annoyances. No really dumb moves, so far.

    Toppin is the X factor. If he turns out to be good, then this will have been a “good” offseason (B).

  70. Yeah I just don’t get the whole play the kids no matter what, don’t have any vets logic.

    We did that one season under Fiz and our youngsters (Frank and Knox) failed to develop. The ones we did play like Mudiay still didn’t amount to much. If Frank in year 4 can’t beat our Payton or Rivers and earn PT, he really doesn’t belong as part of our future. Thibs runs hard practices throughout the season. Young players will still get developed even if they don’t play every night. And thibs won’t play favorites with vets, which I think is maybe the concern. I think Thibs will play whoever earns it and if that’s a vet or a youngster, it won’t matter…no matter their salary or experience or lack thereof.

    Our record isn’t going to be drastically better because Riveres and PAyton are playing over Frank and Quickley. In fact, if the young players are playing over the vets under Thibs then I imagine our record will be better than we think bc those young players are moving forward in their progression.

    Plus some of the vets will be gone by the deadline.

  71. The only thing I’m worried about is the amount of times a game Austin Rivers will hijack the offense.

  72. Jake Paul is a cruiserweight. That weight class is heavily populated with very hard-ass, bruising Eastern European dudes. A top 50 cruiserweight would put some serious hurt on Jake Paul.

    Maybe we’ll get to see that someday.

  73. Z-man: Who said anything about mentoring? It’s about earning playing time. And if they get pissed off by not playing, trade them or cut them. Same if the young players get pissed off, tough shit, they should play better or sit/get sent to G-League. Or do we have to have the “we didn’t develop WHG” bullshit argument all over again? He’ll be developed any day now…

    BTW can you name a young team that didn’t have any vets on it? You are not making any sense. You have to fill out a roster, and you have to meet a salary floor. Your implication that we should have signed 15 young players is downright silly.

    Can you name a single team in NBA history that has spent this much cap money on this many one-year mercs? No other team operates this way. Why? Because it’s a ridiculous way to operate. I’m not going to bemoan a guy his fun and his entertainment, but if you’re really into watching Elfrid Payton and Alec Burks and Austin Rivers and Julius Randle play ugly, mediocre basketball for the Knicks this year, have at it.

    And it’s not that the young guys “can’t” win playing time; it’s that they won’t be looked at properly vis-a-vis the mercs and will be falsely seen as not having “earned” their time, and therefore won’t be played. The win-now coach will prioritize more “known quantities,” which is the kind of thing that win-now coaches and managers have done pretty much since sports began.

  74. Made it impossible for Hubert and E to concoct conspiracy theories

    This is like the 40th time you’ve accused me of concocted a conspiracy theory, and each time you’ve done so has led me to ponder the same question:

    Do you know what the word conspiracy means?

    Because there is a pretty big difference between a theory (of which I have many) and a conspiracy theory (of which I have… none).

  75. swiftandabundant: Our record isn’t going to be drastically better because Riveres and PAyton are playing over Frank and Quickley.

    Then by definition Rivers and Payton shouldn’t be playing over Frank and Quickley. If they aren’t good enough to win more games, then the whole point of playing them becomes even more bizarre.

  76. For the record Z-Man (and to save you the trip to Wikipedia you are undoubtedly making as I type this):

    A theory is “Rose hired Thibs and drafted Toppin because he wants to start winning right away.”

    A conspiracy theory is “The Brooklyn Nets conspired to plant Leon Rose in MSG so he could make bad decisions that would help them to eclipse the Knicks as the premier team in NY.”

  77. Huh? It’s hard to imagine something more incompatible with an overt, explicit commitment to developing the kids than signing mediocre, young-ish veterans to one-year deals. They’ve now done it two years in a row. The mercs are too young to have any interest in mentoring and the one-year deals mean they’re going to get all pissed off if their minutes are reduced or if they have to give way in the least to kid development.

    The idea is that signing veterans to the extent it allows for the kids to play on a semi-coherent basketball team actually helps with the development of the latter. I think reasonable people can disagree on the extent to which this is true. There are definitely some players who would “develop” on any team–LeBron James and Kevin Durant were going to pop regardless of the rosters surrounding them.

    There’s probably more to it the further you get from prospects of the “can’t miss” variety. I definitely think it helps Mitch to have a real point guard on the floor. This kind of speaks for itself:

    Mitch with Payton: 17.2 PTS/36, .758 eFG%

    Mitch without Payton: 13.7 PTS/36, .729 eFG%

    Toppin profiles as a guy who will similarly benefit from having a real point guard, so Payton was well worth it on those grounds alone.

    As for the rest of the guys we signed/traded for, the rationale is they can pretty much all shoot (aside from Noel who is simply great value as a much needed backup center) and that allows the kids to develop in a semi-coherent offensive environment. Again, tough to say how valid that is, but even if it’s a bunch of bullshit there’s not a lot of risk involved in signing these guys and they might be movable.

  78. Once certain guys are placed into “known quantity” status and young guys are placed into “they have to earn their time” status, the die is pretty much already cast.

  79. There’s probably more to it the further you get from prospects of the “can’t miss” variety. I definitely think it helps Mitch to have a real point guard on the floor. This kind of speaks for itself:

    Mitch with Payton: 17.2 PTS/36, .758 eFG%

    Mitch without Payton: 13.7 PTS/36, .729 eFG%

    It obviously doesn’t speak for itself, because this is like the fourth time you’ve said it and each time you’ve said it, it’s been easily and quickly debunked. At this point, the only thing to conclude is that you aren’t going to play any of this stuff straight and you have your bugaboos and your obsessions and stubbornly thereto shall you cling.

  80. i don’t know how people don’t think all the incestuous connections that seemed to drive every decision point in this offseason is not throwing up huge red flags …. it’s probably the reason Leon Rose isn’t talking to the media….

    at best it’s incompetence because there’s absolutely better guys out there then toppin, quickley, austin rivers, mkg…. at worst… there’s some very rotten things going on …

    and as long time observers of the franchise did this come as a huge surprise with anyone with how this Rose era would end up?

    there’s no benefit of the doubt from me…. and i gave every knick gm a lot of rope including phil and mills and perry… this has a chance of working out purely because they have a chance to nab cade or a number of strong prospects next year which thankfully they did not screw up but Rose will absolutely sink this franchise eventually…

    and yes i realize sinking this franchise even further is a really tough accomplishment but that’s what happens when you get parasites that reward relationships over merit leading your organization…. it’s either dysfunction or corruption…. and neither portends good things….

  81. it’s been easily and quickly debunked.

    by who? enlighten us.. because i must’ve missed this….

    yes i’m calling bullshit….. please demonstrate….

  82. It obviously doesn’t speak for itself, because this is like the fourth time you’ve said it and each time you’ve said it, it’s been easily and quickly debunked. At this point, the only thing to conclude is that you aren’t going to play any of this stuff straight and you have your bugaboos and your obsessions and stubbornly thereto shall you cling.

    Huh? It’s an empirical fact. Go ahead and debunk it, if that is in fact a thing that can happen, let alone has already happened three times. Since it’s apparently already been debunked three times it shouldn’t be hard to do!

  83. We have only had one great conspiracy theorist on this board and it definitely wasn’t Hubert

  84. Oh no!!!

    The Knicks are signing players repped by CAA! A talent agency that literally represents more than half of the league!

    Oh no!!!!

    The Knicks are bringing in players who went to the top college basketball program in the country!

  85. I do wish the team had taken one or maybe two fliers on under-the-radar young players in free agency. Like Elie Okobo, who is a pg that I liked and is 22ish, just signed with the Nets. He could have been a smart signing for us, maybe?

    But otherwise, I’m generally okay with the direction they are going — which is down the standings and up to the top of the lottery.

  86. Nah E. You have it backwards. If Rivers and Payton are playing over Frank and Quickley, it means Frank and Quickley aren’t good enough to play over them. You can’t honestly expect a coach to play them just because they are younger?

    Put it another way. You’ve worked at a job for 10 years. You’re competent at it. The boss hires a kid right out of college. Would you be offended if the kid went in to pitch a new client with no experience when you have experience doing that?

    Of course you would.

    Would you expect the boss to fill his department with only kids right out of college because they potentially could grow into better employees?

    Nope.

    Its the same with basketball teams. Young players have to prove they’re better. I guess you want us to win less than 10 games with rookies and young players and G-leaguers? Why? How did that help Knox his rookie year?

    Young players can develop plenty without playing all the time. Its called practice. That’s why they have them an that’s why they hired the development coaches.

    This whole argument is so dumb because we haven’t even seen yet who Thibs is going to play.

    RJ, Mitch and Toppin will all get plenty of PT.

    Frank and Knox are in years 3 and 4. Time to show something.

    Quickley, Iggy, etc…would not be guaranteed PT on most teams anyways.

  87. i don’t know how people don’t think all the incestuous connections that seemed to drive every decision point in this offseason is not throwing up huge red flags …. it’s probably the reason Leon Rose isn’t talking to the media….

    This is the strongest point against the Rose regime. Even if you give them a pass on Toppin being a CAA client (fair enough because he went more or less where he was projected, even if I wouldn’t have made the pick), it strains credulity to think Quickley, who I don’t think I ever saw mocked in the first round, would’ve been drafted at 23 absent the Kentucky connection. That pick stinks to high heaven.

    The only push back I’ll offer is the other moves that seem connection-based have been either inconsequential or objectively sensible. Noel was a good signing. MKG isn’t an awful flyer on a zero-risk contract. I honestly forget who else has CAA/Kentucky connections but no non-Quickley move looks outright bad regardless.

    However, I am strongly of the opinion that late-firsts are very valuable and it would be an awful move to blow one because a guy went to Kentucky. So I hold the Quickley pick strongly against them and will continue to do so unless it becomes obvious they saw something no one else did.

  88. Quickley is a red flag for me because I think there were better players available. That said, Quickley has promise and potentially replicates the skills of Vassell who several people on this board were pleading for us to draft 8th. If Quickley didn’t go to Kentucky I’d be fine with the pick.

    Obi Toppin was likely the consensus pick at 8 for NBA GMs, scouts, and draft afficionados alike. Even the numbers say great things about Obi. This board really liked Hali & his numbers, including me, but Hali doesn’t actually project any better than Obi. Of all the things to get upset about drafting Obi isn’t one of them.

  89. Overall, I think we had a solid free agency. If not for the Noel signing I’d give it a B- but signing him raises the grade to a B+ or maybe even an A-.

    Burks – Had a great year last year, extra playmaking is something this team needs, good shooter, could have value at the trade deadline – B-

    Bullock (picking up his option is equivalent to signing a one-year deal) – Looking to bounce back from an injury-filled year, great shooter, could have value at the trade deadline – B

    Noel – Excellent player, fills a need, hopefully, stays here long-term. – A+

    Payton – Fills need, the team needs at least one legitimate pure PG, is a decent player, if Frank or Smith Jr. win playing time over him (unlikely), his contract is moveable and cuttable. – B

    Rivers – The worst of the veteran rentals but has an extremely team-friendly contract which could give him value at the trade deadline and the team could always use more playmakers and attitude, also a decent shooter. – D

    MKG – Unguaranteed, could be a favor, does play excellent defense and showed signs of developing a three-point shot a couple years ago, still fairly young, could surprise, could be movable at the deadline. – C

    Both the Davis trades – Solid work for three 2nd round picks and one potential keeper in Spellman. – A

    Making no long-term franchise killing moves – A+

    Overall, I would only grade one of those moves below a C. That is the RIvers signing, he is the only player that potentially creates a logjam, but his contract is very team-friendly so he could have some value.

    If any of these players get moved for 1sts at the deadline their grade immediately goes to an A+, and our overall grade moves up a notch. Mainly all these moves have value because they are very low downside with at least a little upside.

  90. Oh no!!!

    The Knicks are signing players repped by CAA! A talent agency that literally represents more than half of the league!

    Oh no!!!!

    The Knicks are bringing in players who went to the top college basketball program in the country!

    ok… what’s up with trading away a 2nd rd pick to give a roster spot to rivers?

  91. I know it’s the off season and we don’t have much else to talk about (hey, what about that guy Frank Ntilikina?) but how the hell are we giving our front office grades already?

    We just went through one of the weakest drafts in recent memory, where no one really knows which players will pan out and which will be the next Andrew Wiggins. I mean, we may look back a year from now and rue the day we didn’t pick Aaron Nesmith or Precious Achiuwa.

    If you want to grade Rose on free agents and 1 year deals, fine, but it’s WAY too early to be grading draft picks.

  92. djphan: ok… what’s up with trading away a 2nd rd pick to give a roster spot to rivers?

    I definitely think we should have traded the pick, we have 9 players on rookie contracts. There’s really no playing time for another rookie. I’m not even counting Evans or Powell.

    The real issue is we should have gotten more for the pick, ideally 2 future 2nd rounders. The 2023 play is likely better than other random drafts, but theres a risk the double draft doesn’t happen.

    Apparently, I’m the only one who believes that Rivers is here as a stopgap. He’s an undersized SG that can play PG in a pinch. Rivers isn’t playing over RJ & if anything pushes RJ to the 3 where he belongs. He’s not playing over Burks or Bullock. Frank is likely a better pure PG (sad, I know) than Rivers.

    Rivers is the break in case of emergency PG or give RJ more space to run the offense PG. I really don’t think Rivers cracks the rotation unless RJ shows he can operate with better spacing (Frank shooting relatively well compared to Payton but actually quite awful doesn’t count).

  93. To be clear, our “core” consists of three players: Mitch, Barrett, and Toppin. That’s what any objective observer would say. If veteran free agent signings take minutes and/or opportunities from those guys, that’s bad.

    Frank, Knox, DSJ, and, well, everyone else on the other hand haven’t proved so much as being NBA players. It would be malpractice to make roster decisions based on them.

    Frank and Knox have done nothing but suck in both their now extensive pre-NBA and NBA stints. DSJ was arguably the worst player in the NBA last year, and I say that as someone partial to him. No semi-rational team would make roster decisions based on a 23rd overall pick like Quickley, a fringe prospect like Iggy, two-way guys like Pinson/Harper, etc.

    Regardless, there’s no reason to think anyone we signed will deprive guys in the latter category of opportunities to develop. I bet Frank and Knox get over 1,000 minutes each this year, and if DSJ stays healthy and on the team it wouldn’t surprise me if he does too. Iggy and Quickley will get their chance if they deserve it. We don’t exactly have Wally Pipp blocking anyone–if Austin RIvers need to ride the pine I don’t foresee that being a huge issue.

  94. I think a solid B grade for the offseason. They didn’t reach at 8, converted some low end assets into more low end assets, and didn’t remodel an 80k kitchen only to order take out every night. The missed on FVV, without overpaying, and when the dust settled Payton was the best no commitment option left. They have cap space, draft assets and flexibility. Now if we could just add rising stars to that mix.

    When approaching a dumpster fire, proceed with caution.

  95. Hubert, by conspiracy theories, I mean that you ascribe motivations to people without a shred of evidence. The motivations you ascribe often involve an undertone of deluding the public perception behind a given action. And even if not, it implies a hidden agenda. You do that all the time and E is also prone to it.

    For example, is there any evidence that Rose was forced to retain Perry as a condition of being hired?

    Re: Rose hiring Thibs and drafting Toppin means they wanted to win right away….yet they passed on multiple trades and free agent signings that would have had a much more drastic impact on winning right away (CP3, Westbrook, Hayward, to name a few…) or traded the #8 pick for established win-now players. You are accusing Rose of saying publicly one thing (we are going to be patient and build through the draft, we think Thibs is a great developmental coach for our young players…” and “conspiring” to build a win-now team.

    Why is that more plausable than Rose thought that Thibs was the best available coach and Toppin was the best available player? What does the evidence of every other move made suggest about “win now?”

  96. I’m pretty even keeled on this board with a slight tendency towards the optimists because that’s my personality. Guys like E and Hubert are really out of whack today.

    E:
    I guess the other part of the grade would be putting together a front office with clear lines of authority and responsibility where all are pulling in the same direction, and they failed at that, too.That one might be undoable, given the reality of Dolan.

    That being the most ridiculous comment of the day. They have absolutely put together an FO with clear responsibilities and a coaching staff as well balancing Thibodeau with player dev guys. And also you have no idea what’s going on in the front office.

    Id also like to get everyone’s understanding of grading. In my world B- is average. Anything below a that and my mom would lock me in my room lol. That’s my grade for now. Draft is unknown. FA was do no harm when prices went over their valuation. Downside was minimal creativity. However, I give Rose a bit of a pass this time due to this being his first go round and the limited time/weird circumstances of the signing period.

  97. There’s really no playing time for another rookie.

    why not? the grizzlies have 10….. how is there playing time for rivers? what are we doing with iggy or pinson anyway?

  98. Z-man: Hubert, by conspiracy theories, I mean that you ascribe motivations to people without a shred of evidence. The motivations you ascribe often involve an undertone of deluding the public perception behind a given action. And even if not, it implies a hidden agenda. You do that all the time and E is also prone to it.

    Right, but as Hubert rightly said, there’s no “conspiracy” involved in any of that even if you had “our” motives spot-on.

    In the mid-late Trump era, “conspiracy” became a synonym in certain parts for “dubious, a bit out there, and faintly or more than faintly right-wing.” That’s not proper English usage.

  99. They have absolutely put together an FO with clear responsibilities and a coaching staff as well balancing Thibodeau with player dev guys.

    What’s Scott Perry responsible for and who does he report to?

  100. E: What’s Scott Perry responsible for and who does he report to?

    He’s the GM and reports to the POBO, Leon Rose.

  101. Apparently drafting a player in an underwhelming draft at #8 who was projected to go higher and comes to the table with offensive skills that will most likely translate to the NBA is now a “win now” move.

    I mean, if you aren’t drafting an 18 year old player with a theoretical sky high ceiling who has no discernable NBA ready skills, who needs a minimum of 4 years to even start showing their potential and also has huge bust potential then what the hell are you even doing?

  102. JK47:
    Every year I look at the Knicks’ roster and I ask myself, how does this team shape up Four Factors-wise? And just about every year I come away with the same thought: the offensive eFG% is going to be terrible, so likely we will be terrible as a team.

    Seems like the same story this year. I’m looking around trying to figure out how we’re not going to have a poor eFG% and 3PT% and I don’t really see it. I see lots of guys who can’t score. I game out various lineups and it’s hard to put one together that has reasonable balance and spacing. There are 3 or 4 non-shooters on the floor in most of the plausible lineups you can put together.

    <
    Good point. Here’s my crack at a lineup that could work and develop the kids and MAYBE gives you some efficiency

    Payton – his game is what it is at this point
    Bullock – def gives floor spacing and D
    RJ – with improved FT % to 70-75 and 3% to 35 you can accept him here
    Obi – he’s efficient and will at least attempt to shoot from range which will help RJ with lane clogging when he gets to the tin.
    Mitch – my guess is Thibs is gonna let him take cornet 10 – 15 footers. If Mitch could shoot 40% in this range (AD numbers) and up his USG from 13 to 20 then you have a star in the making.

    That to me is our best lineup. You can trade Burks for Bullock if you want.

  103. cybersoze: Wait right there team pessimism! If the new team is so bad, that’s good… we’ll be in the top3 of the draft and will have the most possible ping-pong balls (in a packed draft). So plan B is good.

    You must be too young to remember not winning the title for 47 years. We probably lead the league in ping-pong balls over the past 5 seasons.

  104. Grocer: I think Rose “leaked” it to save face with the majority of fans and Dolan, who think more like GoNY than this board’s consensus.

    I certainly don’t think like a majority of fans. Definitely not here or elsewhere and that’s my complaint :D

  105. good day for prospect watching if you’re hungry for ball tonight:

    Ziaire Williams vs UNC
    Cade Cunningham vs Marquette
    Jalen Johnson vs Michigan St.
    Brandon Boston (also Terrence Clarke) vs Kansas

  106. Z-Man, you asked what’s wrong with the Rivers pick-up a while back up the thread. My real problem is he just wasn’t needed (barring injury or Covid), and takes what almost made sense in terms of playing time split between the kids and the vets to a chaotic level. For example, without Rivers:
    RJ maybe gets on average 30 mpg at SF. Burks backs him up for some 15 mpg. Iggy (or ick, Knox) gets some mop-up.
    Bullock starts at SG at maybe 25 mpg. Burks backs him up for another 10 mpg, giving him 25 total. Frank gets 10 mpg, with Quickley mopping up the last few minutes.
    Peyton gets maybe 25 mpg at the point, with Frank getting 15 (totaling 25) and Quickley (or, ick, DSJ) mopping up.
    That gives the kids a chance to show something (anything?), while giving the lineup some shooting and some passing, at least most of the time.
    Now throw in Rivers, who has averaged ~25 mpg on teams much better than the Knicks over his career. You think he’s sitting on the bench waving a towel?

  107. E: In the mid-late Trump era, “conspiracy” became a synonym in certain parts for “dubious, a bit out there, and faintly or more than faintly right-wing.” That’s not proper English usage.

    So I’m essentially using the phrase like virtually everyone in the year 2020 is using it…thanks for pointing that out. I’ll have to think of a more semantically accurate way to succinctly say “pulls shit out of one’s ass based on rumor, innuendo, fitting a presupposed narrative, or ascribing the basest possible motivation…despite any and all evidence to the contrary.”

  108. thenoblefacehumper: There’s probably more to it the further you get from prospects of the “can’t miss” variety. I definitely think it helps Mitch to have a real point guard on the floor. This kind of speaks for itself:

    Mitch with Payton: 17.2 PTS/36, .758 eFG%

    Mitch without Payton: 13.7 PTS/36, .729 eFG%

    I understand this point. It underscores everything I’ve been saying. This team desperately needs a floor general. It’s an NFL team without a QB (thanks Denver for showing us what that looks like). And TNFH, no matter who the starting PG is, I like Elfrid as the backup but not the starter. As a starter, he’s overmatched by the stars and superstars of the NBA. Finding a top-15 point guard is and continues to be an imperative for the Knicks.

    BTW, where did you find those stats?

  109. Of all the things to get upset about drafting Obi isn’t one of them.

    well, I am quite upset about Obi.

    the nba has become a very simple league. beyond the special talents, everyone needs the same type of player. Two-way wings who can shoot like Vassell are gold. Secondary playmakers who exhibit on-court intelligence and can spot-up shot at a high clip like Halluburton are coveted.

    the problem with Toppin is so obvious and i don’t care what the so called experts say about where he was supposed to be drafted:

    no one in the modern NBA covets bigs who cannot defend, don’t pass, and cannot stretch the floor with elite shooting.

    what would have caused me to give Rose an A, you ask? demonstration that he knows what’s valuable in the modern NBA.

    his two biggest swings this year were coach and the 8 pick, and with each selection he gave me reason to believe he’s a decade behind the rest of the league.

  110. Raven,

    I get what you’re saying about Rivers but the 3 year deal with two team options to me says maybe they want Rivers back and at that price, its hard for me to complain about an actually competent vet.

    It just seems like we’re back in the ole should we only play the kids vs. should we play some vets and kids argument and I just don’t think the people who want to only play the kids at all 10 rotation places are thinking about this logically. I think you would be hard pressed to find a coach who would be cool with that, even a “development” coach like Atkinson and I think that product would be almost unwatchable. And unlike last year, the vets are spread out among multiple positions and all are so cheap that I think it will be very easy to move them for more picks at the deadline.

    I mean any combo of Noel plus Rivers/Bullock/Burkes would give a playoff team a great back up big man and some wing shooting/defense for a playoff push for the grand total of like 9 million dollars.

    Put it another way. Sure a team with just kids taking up 90 percent of the minutes might give those kids more PT to develop but it would most likely mean we couldn’t pick up any additional picks at the deadline and for a sucky rebuilding team, getting to pick up more draft capital is super important. The more picks we add to our cupboard, the easier it will be to move up in a draft to draft a real franchise changing player or swing for a trade for a real superstar. Put it another way. If the Knicks in 2010 had a bunch of extra first round picks, trading for Melo would not have hard capped that team the way it did because we still would have had the ability to build around him.

  111. Raven: Z-Man, you asked what’s wrong with the Rivers pick-up a while back up the thread. My real problem is he just wasn’t needed (barring injury or Covid), and takes what almost made sense in terms of playing time split between the kids and the vets to a chaotic level.

    Rivers should be a backup on a good team. On this team he’s a hinderance. If the Knicks suddenly traded Elfrid, Frank and DSJr for a real point guard, then having him come off the bench makes sense. But we have 5 point guards on this team. 4 suck, the other just got drafted.

  112. Swift, to be sure I’m not a ‘play the kids at the expense of the vets’ kind of guy. But I do think this is the year to find out what we have with the kids. So they need some decent playing time, at least at first — if there’s no development, screw them, plant them on the bench. If they break out, great, play them over the vets. My imaginary lineup mixed vet and kid time (again, a start-of-the-season plan), with vets starting at two of the three positions. If Rivers gets his allotted 20-25 minutes, then ugh. He’s not really worse than the other players, but he’s not any better than most of them either. He’s a meh minutes suck.

    If we make a bunch of trades fairly soon with various of these guys then I take it all back. But certainly as it stands now, it’s not a pretty picture.

  113. I still gave the guy a C minus, which is not very far off the consensus here.

    as knew your knicks said, it comes down to taste. guys like Toppin are not my flavor. I see mediocrity on offense, nothing by way of playmaking, and abject awfulness on defense.

  114. swiftandabundant: I mean any combo of Noel plus Rivers/Bullock/Burkes would give a playoff team a great back up big man and some wing shooting/defense for a playoff push for the grand total of like 9 million dollars.

    The saving grace of this season would be if the Knicks sent a package of 3 vets like Randle, Noel and one of the wings off to a playoff team for a top point guard on a multi-year deal.

    BTW, according to Spotrac, there are 17 point guards making an average of $20M or more per year in the NBA. That’s 15 earn over $25M.

  115. A bit too early to give grades to our FO, I would rather give them next year with the benefit of hindsight, ;-)

    – Draft: ?. I feel unable to give grades on the draft, I am just clueless about it and trust no ‘big board’ out there. I kind of wished we drafted Haliburton, and he materialized into our PG of the future, but I know very well that I have no grounds to say he will be better than Obi. I am equally clueless about Quickley, but one thing I have pretty clear is this: If you feel that somebody has value towards the end of the draft, it is better not to gamble that you are going to be able to draft him afterwards. The difference in value between a late first and an early second is not very much, but there are very few real NBA players there. If you feel you have identified one of them, just take him. So, criticize the Quickley pick as much as you want if you think he is not a good player, but i find arguing about taking him 25 instead of 33 to be silly.
    – Coach: B. We made a good choice. I would have preferred Atkinson, but Thibs is a solid coach. If the team is not playing well, I don’t think other coach would do much better. Also, I trust Frank will be more scared of Thibs than the basket, and will be more aggresive, :).
    – Releasing Portis, Ellington, Gibson: A. Perhaps Portis could have value towards a future trade, but given that we have drafted Obi Toppin, it is absurd to keep him.
    – Keeping Bullock: F. I think we are fooling ourselves if he is going to be any useful in the future.
    – CP3, Hayward, Westbrook non-deals: A. No point in CP3 and Hayward with how expensive they were. Westbrook seemed to be a bad idea that could turn ugly, glad we took a more sensible path.
    – Other non-deals: B. I am glad we did not signed FVV, although it would not have been the end of the world. I would not have minded if we signed Gallinari for the same contract that Atlanta gave him. Bogdan Bogdanovic was intriguing, too. I wish we have traded for Rubio, who went…

  116. (continued)

    very cheaply to MIN.
    – Payton, Noel: C. Very good value, but only 1 year deals. If they play well we will have to pay a fair salary, and we have no window when to use all of our salary cap and then go over the cap resigning them. Payton is probably needed as a stopgap at PG. But a 1-year deal for Noel, no matter how good he is, does not make sense to me. I guess we could possibly trade them, but they do not have the profile of player that is urgently needed halfway during the season.
    – Burks, MKG: D. Same as above, but I don’t expect much value from them.
    – Rivers: A (joking, kinda). I firmly believe he has trade value, in the sense that Doc Rivers will force Morey to trade for him, just let’s see what can we get for him.
    – Ed Davis trades: A+. We got a few 2nd rounders and to try Omari Spellman who is still in his rookie contract for 2 more years.

    So overall a B for me. I am not feeling that the Kentucky/CAA connection has been detrimental to us (yet).

  117. And TNFH, no matter who the starting PG is, I like Elfrid as the backup but not the starter.

    I mean, who on the current roster do you think should start? We have two guys who can be described as point guards: Payton and DSJ. The most recent data on DSJ indicates he is broken. If that changes then sure, start him instead. Until then Payton is the only sensible choice.

    BTW, where did you find those stats?

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

  118. Hubert: his two biggest swings this year were coach and the 8 pick, and with each selection he gave me reason to believe he’s a decade behind the rest of the league.

    And with this we kind of get back to the not really commented on enough fact that Rose really hasn’t been “in the league” in any serious sense. He was an agent. He’s not a personnel guy and has no experience as a personnel guy. He should have structured the FO to have a great, proven basketball GM who did the vast majority of the actual personnel judging with Rose retaining final sign off on the really big decisions and using a very light touch even then. (And under the GM, a really good cap guy, a pro and college personnel guy, etc.)

    How it should have worked is that Rose gave players comfort with the organization and an “in” to get meetings and the like. I never wanted Rose as the primary personnel out-front decision maker and it’s bad that he is. He has zero experience in that role and there isn’t any translation between recruiting players to your agency and that role. Steve Mills, of course, didn’t really have any experience or chops as a personnel guy, either, but that’s again a bar a flea couldn’t limbo under.

    (William Wesley isn’t a personnel guy either, in any sense. Sigh. It might be nice if someday the Knicks actually got a proven personnel guy as their top basketball personnel decision maker.)

  119. GoNYGoNYGo – Tanking forever: But we have 5 point guards on this team. 4 suck, the other just got drafted.

    Quickley & Rivers are both shooting guards. Frank is arguably better at SG.

    Quickley averaged 1.9 asts & 1.6 TOVs per game in the NCAA.

    Rivers averaged 2.6 asts & 1.1 TOVs per 36 last year.

    When I say Rivers is an emergency PG, I mean he’s better than last year’s DSJr. He’s not good at PG and should not play PG unless Payton goes down AND DSJr repeats last year.

    We do not have a PG logjam.

  120. @Hubert

    Fair points, but I think you’re underselling Obi’s 3 point shot and passing a bit. If you just look at his box score his assist and 3 point numbers don’t stand out–2.8 assists per 40 and 41% from 3 on 2,2 attempts per game over his two years in college. But I think his “true” 3pt and assist skills are better than the box score indicates; part of that has to do with him being the focal point of the offense in a league where he physically dominates. Dunks are still king in basketball–there is not much incentive to take threes or to pass when you average 69% from 2 point land (especially in a league with poor spacing like the NCAA). He’s not going to be shooting as well from 2 point land in the NBA (we will be ecstatic if he does), and that’s going to open up his three point shot (where he’s shown flashes of stepbacks and more generally good, repeatable form) and his passing (which is genuinely good–the numbers belie just how good his passing is imo–he’s not Jokic but he’s definitely a plus passer at PF). Obi really does have all the makings of a modern NBA 4 if you’re a believer in his 3 point shot. The real problem has been his age–which limits his top-level projection imo–and defense, where he shows the kind of awareness deficit in team d that you can’t really train out of a player, along with the stiffest hips I think I’ve ever seen in man scenarios, which maybe can be changed. Even there, I think it’s possible he can avoid being, say, bottom 10% at his position defensively. There’s the makings of a legit player there. Would I have picked him at 8? Probably not. But I don’t think Obi serves as evidence that Rose isn’t trying to fashion a modern team, especially considering the Quickley pick, Bullock’s exercised team option, and the Burks signing, which were all because of their shooting.

  121. Hubert: no one in the modern NBA covets bigs who are minus defenders, don’t pass, and cannot stretch the floor with elite shooting.

    Last I checked, Obi shot pretty well from 3, so I don’t know why you are insisting that he doesn’t stretch the floor. He makes his living at the three most efficient locations…the rim, the 3-pt line and the foul line. He is also a monster in the high PnR, the most efficient play in the modern offense.

    If his defense wasn’t a question, he would not have been available at #8.

    It becomes a matter of whether you think he can become at least serviceable on D. He was a late bloomer physically and Thibs, Rose and the scouts seem to think that he can improve. He already has shot-blocking skills. If he improves to slightly below average and has Mitch/Noel behind him and decent defensive
    players in front of him, they might have drafted a top-3 option offensively who will be locked in until age 27 at $5-6 mill AAV.

    Hubert: Two-way wings who can shoot like Vassell are gold. Secondary playmakers who exhibit on-court intelligence and can spot-up shot at a high clip like Halluburton are coveted./blockquote>

    It’s fair to have preferred Hali or Vassell over Obi…I preferred Hali myself…but let’s not act like Obi’s ceiling is dime-a-dozen NBA player. Or that string beans Hali and Vassell don’t have low floors.

  122. Early Bird: Quickley & Rivers are both shooting guards. Frank is arguably better at SG.

    Quickly claims to be a point guard.

    Early Bird: We do not have a PG logjam.

    It’s arguable that we don’t have a single point guard.

  123. The one deal I think it’s better than people are giving credit for is Austin Rivers. Yes, he’s kind of a meme and he was truly terrible in the beginning of his career, and yes, his stats are still mostly really bad, but with thr way the NBA is trending, I can definitely see him getting good minutes with us, having some scoring explosions and that’s all you need for a ball handler who can shoot and somewhat create shots to be imminently tradeable. There’s definitely a possible scenario where a contender sees Rivers as the missing piece they need for depth at the guard position, specially with the way this season van go with covid and injuries etc. I would love to see another Marcus Morris type situation where we end up getting a valuable late first for him.

    I truly like his signing and Noel’s signing and I think they’re at least indicative that Rose is paying attention to the current NBA trends and understands at least how to properly evaluate players, CAA connections withstanding. If it will play out in a positive way or not remains to be seen, but it’s much better for me than taking a flyer on inefficient PFs like Portis or Gibson, who had very little chance of generating any sort of value.

  124. I was going to make a post about how the swing factors for Obi are his 3PT shot and defense and evaluating his chances at developing in both areas but Silky made the same post better than I could, so read that.

    Point being, while my big board makes clear he wouldn’t have been my pick I think it’s far from indefensible. I’ll give him and the front office the chance to prove me wrong, at least. It’s also kind of nice to have a guy we can be pretty sure won’t be a complete bust for once, though that’s admittedly not a very good rationale for the pick.

    The one deal I think it’s better than people are giving credit for is Austin Rivers.

    Agreed. A 3/$10M deal with two team options for a guy you know can soak up minutes on a contender is pretty much per se a good deal. Not much more to it than that.

  125. Every bad team needs a usage soaker, and we may have found the greatest usage soaker of them all in Austin Rivers

  126. Bruno Almeida: If it will play out in a positive way or not remains to be seen, but it’s much better for me than taking a flyer on inefficient PFs like Portis or Gibson, who had very little chance of generating any sort of value.

    The problem wasn’t with Portis and Gibson per se. The problem was that Portis was paid $15mill AAV for $3mill worth of production and Gibson was just as bad of an overpay. No one could possibly have viewed them as an asset at those numbers.

    Payton at $4.7mill for one year is a fungible asset.
    Same for Burks at $6mill
    Same for Noel at $5mill
    Same for Bullock at $4.2mill
    Same for Rivers at $3.1mill

    I don’t see how anyone can dispute this.

  127. The fact that “Somehow Taj still” is currently sitting at #2 in that poll has me cracking up. XD XD XD

  128. being impressive on offense in college isn’t that difficult…. jahlil okafor dominated because he bullied peopled near the basket…. obi’s not quite as unathletic as okafor but there are plenty of warning signs that he’s a bit overrated from a physical standpoint…. his rebounds, steals and blocks were all mediocre and especially mediocre at his age and in a weak conference…..

    dayton runs a pretty sophisticated offense and one that pretty much ran circles around everyone…. and obi was the centerpiece of that but he was also in supremely ideal conditions and he still didn’t exactly dominate in the ways you would want a big man to dominate….

    if he’s pulling down 6 boards per game… he’s generally not going to be dominating inside scoring wise either… and that puts a lot of emphasis on his outside shot… which to his credit looks good… but if you discount his 70% 2p rate to something under 50% in the pro’s then all of a sudden he’s not very good at all….

    that’s why a guy like obi has a pretty high bust rate…. and why you should watch out for extreme outliers in any one category… being strong across a number of box score metrics means your able to leverage your basketball abilities and your physicality in a number of ways and not just hack it a one dimensional way because in the pro’s it’s inconsquential to take away what you do best especially when what you do best relies on other people….

  129. Tim MacMahon
    @espn_macmahon
    · 1h
    Luka Doncic on a key to contending this season: “Which team is not going to have [COVID-19] positive people.”

    Can’t say the kid doesn’t understand basketball.

    If he had just ended up on the Knicks. It really isn’t that hard to imagine.

  130. E: But we have Elfrid Payton. He makes Julius Randle better than Dennis Smith, Jr. does!!!

    GoNYGoNYGo – Tanking forever: Quickly claims to be a point guard.

    It’s arguable that we don’t have a single point guard.

    I shouldn’t bother explaining why these are both incredibly dumb takes, but:

    – Payton was 6th in AST%
    – 6th in AST/36
    – Top 10 in AST/TOV ratio (NBA.com is dumb and won’t let me sort by total minutes played; I don’t care enough to prune it to find the exact ranking).

    These are objectively good numbers and show Payton to not only be a PG, but a good PG. He had a bad shooting year. A return to his career FT% & 3P% makes Payton even more valuable.

  131. The hate on Payton by the Frank gang has been inexplicable, really, I just cant understand it. I was a proponent for drafting Ntilikina, I loved his profile and willingly ignored all the red flags because I saw an elite defende who could learn how to shoot, damn, I spent a year in here fighting with Z-Man about how Frank was going to be great… but it was a mistake and he was right, I was wrong, and let’s move on please. Let the kid earn his minutes and I truly hope me proves me wrong once again and this time becomes a real high level player.

    Payton is an adequate Point Guard who can do Point Guard things pretty well, there’s evidence of it, it is available to the eye test and to anyone who pays attention, and he’s simply a better guard than the other options, its also super simple. Is he the long term future of this franchise? Obviously not. It is infuriating to see how he’s still the same player he’s been in the NBA ever since he arrived with little progress, but he’s a real NBA player which I doubt DSJ and Frank will ever be as Point Guards.

  132. Okafor really isn’t a great comparison for Obi. I think the best guy in the modern game to compare him to is Aaron Gordon, another 6’9″ uber-athletic guy who doesn’t rebound or block shots anywhere near how much he should. Even though Gordon has maybe a bit more ball skill than Obi, they are both physical freaks with poor defensive instincts whose true value is a factor of their TS%. Gordon has never become an efficient offensive player, so his value is limited. If Obi puts up a .530 TS% year after year like Gordon does, he will never justify his draft position or next contract, and maybe he doesn’t even get one because he’s older than Gordon, Wiggins and LaVine were when they got theirs. However, if his TS% is around or over .600, you could probably get his defense up to the point where he’s a tremendous asset on a rookie deal and then trade him before he gets maxed.

  133. z… you keep thinking i’m comparing these people like they are carbon copies… i’m not… these are just illustrations of one-dimensional players and how extreme outliers in one category … like 2p%… can color your expectations….

    same thing happened with lonzo ball…. he hacked his way to stupendous advanced metrics and it meant squat because the advanced metrics thought he was dominant driving to the hoop when he was absolutely not that….

    the advanced metrics think obi toppin is like shaq inside… he’s definitely not that…. he’s going to be way short of it… and how far short of it is going to determine how good he will be…..

  134. Bruno Almeida: I spent a year in here fighting with Z-Man about how Frank was going to be great… but it was a mistake and he was right, I was wrong, and let’s move on please.

    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then ;-)

    I think Frank will be a positive contributor this year as a part-time 3-and-D 2-guard and part-time backup PG. He might have been there already had he played in the G-League for all of year 1 and some of year 2 and stayed healthy. I think this is the year when the maturity and hard work kick in, along with Thibs using him properly. I expect a 3pt% in the mid-high 30s%. Payton will not get in his way. I expect that he will earn a mid-level deal. He was just a bad draft pick anywhere inside the late 20s, i.e. slightly better than a Quickley-level prospect due to being younger.

  135. djphan:
    z… you keep thinking i’m comparing these people like they are carbon copies… i’m not… these are just illustrations of one-dimensional players and how extreme outliers in one category … like 2p%… can color your expectations….

    same thing happened with lonzo ball…. he hacked his way to stupendous advanced metrics and it meant squat because the advanced metrics thought he was dominant driving to the hoop when he was absolutely not that….

    the advanced metrics think obi toppin is like shaq inside… he’s definitely not that…. he’s going to be way short of it… and how far short of it is going to determine how good he will be…..

    I didn’t belabor the point, but okay. That said, many of Obi’s 2-pt shots came in transition, where he was an absolute monster at getting out on the break and finishing. He also was a very impressive roll man in the PnR. And it’s not like he had lots of space to operate, he was keyed on every night, and dis a great job of passing out of double-teams. He also drew fouls at a high rate and hit his FTs. It’s really not fair to suggest that he “hacked” his way into his advanced metrics. That’s the same nonsense that was said about lots of players whose games translated immediately to the NBA, most recently Brandon Clarke. Remember all the talk about him being a 6’8″ 215lb 23yo whose game wouldn’t translate because he was taking advantage of younger, smaller players with superior teammates masking his deficiencies (and his pre-Gonzaga stats were very mediocre). Yet he went on to be all-rookie first team.

    To suggest in any way that Obi piled up stats simply by bullying his way to the rim against smaller players is not justified. He has a nice offensive skillset for a 6’8″ power dunker with a long wingspan.

  136. GoNYGoNYGo – Tanking forever: You must be too young to remember not winning the title for 47 years. We probably lead the league in ping-pong balls over the past 5 seasons.

    Too young? I wish! ;)

    And just because you guys tend to throw stats you don’t know if they’re real or not, i did the math on the chances for #1 draft pick in the last 5 years.

    1. PHO , 5 seasons , 73.8% (top5s: one #1, two #4)
    2. BKN , 3 seasons , 43.4% (top5s: one #1, one #3 – BOTH FOR BOSTON… but LOLKnicks, of course)
    3. LAL , 4 seasons , 38.6% (top5s: two #2, one #4 – all used to get AD)
    4. PHI , 2 seasons , 36.9% (top5s: one #1, one #3)
    5. ATL , 3 seasons , 36.7% (top5s: one #3, one #4 – passed on DONCIC on the #3)
    6. NYK , 5 seasons , 34.3% (top5s: one #3)

    As you can see, the only team that was in the lottery all 5 seasons had a lot more ping-pong balls and is now a good team. The others, on a per season basis tanked more than us, got good picks, and then stopped tanking.

  137. i’m telling you exactly how they hacked their way into it… it’s not nonsense… if you want to handwave it ok that’s your perogative….. but players with extreme efficiency #s usually don’t translate…. because they’re not as efficient in 2p% then the rest of their value collapses….

    the same is probably going to be the case with brandon clarke…. right now he’s shaq at 19% usage… that’s not going to continue and while he’s solid elsewhere and should have a career… he’s not destined to be some superstar like his shooting is indicating… it’s a hack and that’s why you can’t really take advanced stats too literally and why you have to contextualize everything when forecasting….

    when seeing a 100% TS your first instinct shouldn’t be that wow that dude is a great player… it should be what did he do to achieve that…. and once you break it down it usually starts becoming less impressive…..

    that doesn’t mean obi is hopeless… i had him #10 on my board …. it just means that all this gushing over his potential and his athleticism is overstated…. athleticism is a lot more than just dunking the basketball in transition and that is what i’m pushing back on….. it’s what leads people to believe that knox was athletic…. he wasn’t and obi while he elevates well … he isn’t amare…. and if you’re expecting that then you’re going to be very disappointed….

  138. DRed
    December 1, 2020 at 10:25 am
    Begley wrote pretty much the same story with a much different slant. It looks like Rose et al wanted to add some good veterans to try to win more in the short term but were priced out. I don’t think that was a great strategy, but if you want to be optimistic they had prices they were will to pay for guys like Hayward or Van Vleet and they stuck to their valuations and then didn’t do anything really stupid after they missed out on the guys they wanted.

    As fans, this board is peculiar in the sense that we probably don’t think like the average fan. We think, “finally a smart off season”; many fans probably think “the Knicks struck out again, they have nobody good on the team once again”. I’m hoping these sources are a kind of damage control to reassure fans the Knicks were trying to get better.

  139. If anything, Z-Man is more confident than I am today on Frank’s to be a real player, which is still kinda funny to me (and also how you were my “strat” before strat was relevant, but once I got over it you became one of the posters here that I always respect and like, which I truly never believed would happen at the time lol)

  140. Bruno Almeida:
    I was a proponent for drafting Ntilikina, I loved his profile and willingly ignored all the red flags because I saw an elite defende who could learn how to shoot, damn, I spent a year in here fighting with Z-Man about how Frank was going to be great… but it was a mistake and he was right, I was wrong, and let’s move on please.

    I’m with you, Bruno, when i read Z-Man’s first critics “this guy doesn’t have PG skills, doesn’t have the handles, doesn’t have the court vision. he needs to learn how to shoot 3s and be a 3-and-D wing”, i thought “what a dumb opinion, i would bet all my money this guy is wrong”.
    Thank God i didn’t had a login at the time! :D

  141. Brandon Clarke can also block shots in addition to being magnificently efficient at lowish usage. And he doesn’t seem to need the ball much in his hands.

    Aaron Gordon does seem like a decent comp and looking at his numbers and his salary that is pretty troubling.

  142. Early Bird:
    I shouldn’t bother explaining why these are both incredibly dumb takes, but:
    – Payton was 6th in AST%
    – 6th in AST/36
    – Top 10 in AST/TOV ratio (NBA.com is dumb and won’t let me sort by total minutes played; I don’t care enough to prune it to find the exact ranking).

    These are objectively good numbers and show Payton to not only be a PG, but a good PG. He had a bad shooting year. A return to his career FT% & 3P% makes Payton even more valuable.

    He was also 6th in STL% , not bad for a PG to be 6th in both AST% and STL% leaderboards.

  143. this is kind of cool:
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    This one-night-only benefit will feature unforgettable performances by Alice In Chains, as well as performances from Metallica, Billy Corgan, Korn, and more.

  144. djphan: the same is probably going to be the case with brandon clarke…. right now he’s shaq at 19% usage… that’s not going to continue and while he’s solid elsewhere and should have a career… he’s not destined to be some superstar like his shooting is indicating… it’s a hack and that’s why you can’t really take advanced stats too literally and why you have to contextualize everything when forecasting….

    I’d like to phone a friend. Jowles, are you there?

  145. #As fans, this board is peculiar in the sense that we probably don’t think like the average fan. We think, “finally a smart off season”; many fans probably think “the Knicks struck out again, they have nobody good on the team once again”.#

    Not only the majority of this board said “finally a smart off season” which could also seem as blind optimism right now but We also crossed our fingers for that kind of approach by the FO to happen.
    Threads before the start of the FAgency don’t lie.

  146. Early Bird: I shouldn’t bother explaining why these are both incredibly dumb takes, but:

    – Payton was 6th in AST%
    – 6th in AST/36
    – Top 10 in AST/TOV ratio (NBA.com is dumb and won’t let me sort by total minutes played; I don’t care enough to prune it to find the exact ranking).

    These are objectively good numbers and show Payton to not only be a PG, but a good PG. He had a bad shooting year. A return to his career FT% & 3P% makes Payton even more valuable.

    He is a decent point guard, an ideal backup. It’s fair to say that he had a down year but Elfrid has never been known for shooting well. These are his career TS% numbers:
    14/15: 45.6
    15/16: 47.8
    16/17: 52.0
    17/18: 53.8
    18/19: 50.2
    19/20: 47.0

  147. thenoblefacehumper: I mean, who on the current roster do you think should start?

    Sorry, you misunderstood. I think he’s one of the best point guards on the team but I would rather see if Frank or DSJr or (yes) Quickly get the starting job. For Frank and Dennis, this season will decide their futures.

  148. TNFH, btw, thanks for that link! Very cool – bookmarked!

    +/- for Mitch with…
    -50 DS Jr
    -38 Frank
    +44 Elfrid

  149. I’d like to phone a friend. Jowles, are you there?

    Clarke’s game log speaks for itself. Just look at his advanced game log sorted by USG%. He played >30 minutes twice and had forty games scoring in double digits with the 5th-best TS% and eFG% in the entire league. He may never be a 25 a night superstar, but he is exactly the kind of guy who wins a handful of rings and never makes more than $15M a year. He’s the next Draymond, except with dominant interior moves instead of elite court vision.

    His high-usage games almost all come with sky-high shooting percentages. I don’t know how to look at that any way but optimistically.

  150. Bruno Almeida:
    If anything, Z-Man is more confident than I am today on Frank’s to be a real player, which is still kinda funny to me (and also how you were my “strat” before strat was relevant, but once I got over it you became one of the posters here that I always respect and like, which I truly never believed would happen at the time lol)

    Thanks, Bruno. I’ve had contentious exchanges with nearly every long-time poster here and, you know, win some, lose some, it’s all good. Humor and humility are critical in my profession, and definitely in my household, which is like a raging sit-com most of the time. We’ve all been wrong enough times to not gloat too much when we’re right, and to have a thick skin when we’re embarrassingly wrong. Over time, the frequent posters have gotten to know each other’s personal stories a bit, which adds empathy to the mix and waters down any hard feelings. I find your story to be immensely compelling, and the same for many others.

    It’s a great board, and if we can agree on one thing, we all deserve a good team to root for. Hopefully the worm is starting to turn.

  151. nicely put z-man :)

    and, count me in as one of those whom are very thankful to see a few long time posters come back and participate, as well as a whole new group of first time posters – which is way cool…

  152. Yeah, and it’s honestly all about the way it happens, really. If both people involved know how to respect the arguments of the other, even though it gets inflamed and heavy handed, it’s easy to go back and rethink. In the end sometimes we’re arguing like mortal enemies with people who actually are super close to our own values and ideas, but they differ in that one aspect that initiated the discussion, which is what happened with us lol. Just thr nature of online interactions, and a big, big reason why my interest in basketball comes and goes with my life, but I always end up back here.

  153. the argument with clarke was whether he was worthy of a top 3 pick…. ppl were actually making this argument… and knowing what we know now i still wouldn’t trade rj for clarke straight up and i think ppl would be nuts to … you can get guys like clarke pretty readily… and a superior guy with more upside was just signed for ~12mm aav….

    you dont’ spend high lotto picks on that…

  154. Everyone wanted to trade down from three and take Clarke. Not take him there. If possible.

    I understand that Clarke may never amount to much more than an elite role player. But that’s a better outcome than I see for RJ.

    Hope to be wrong

  155. djphan:
    the argument with clarke was whether he was worthy of a top 3 pick…. ppl were actually making this argument…and knowing what we know now i still wouldn’t trade rj for clarke straight up and i think ppl would be nuts to … you can get guys like clarke pretty readily… and a superior guy with more upside was just signed for ~12mm aav….

    you dont’ spend high lotto picks on that…

    What? We were comparing Obi to Clarke. You made the point that they are “hacking” to get their stats. Who said anything about trading RJ with Clarke straight up, or #3 picks? (and in retrospect Clarke would have been an excellent #3 pick, but I digress…)

  156. the argument with clarke was whether he was worthy of a top 3 pick….

    The argument about Clarke was whether it would be wise to pick him at #3 when he would likely be there later, and what you could get out of trading down.

    and knowing what we know now i still wouldn’t trade rj for clarke straight up

    Which seems nuts to me, because Clarke just proved that he can grind for 12 efficient points per game, help you stay lean and quick at the 4 during smallball lineups, and play solid D without any danger of fouling out (he reached 5 fouls in only two games last season). And RJB was one of the very worst players in the league, falling short of Darius Garland’s meager nadir. So… upside, I guess?

    you can get guys like clarke pretty readily

    Like who?

    and a superior guy with more upside was just signed for ~12mm aav….

    Who? Christian Wood? Yeah, I’ll take both for $15M AAV combined, please.

    you dont’ spend high lotto picks on that…

    Clarke was +103 in TSAdd; Barrett was -144. Barrett nearly made more in his rookie season that Clarke will in his first three seasons combined.

    So much disrespect for a positively stunning rookie season. And comparing him to Barrett, who is looking like a real fuckin’ bust? C’mon, dude!

  157. Like who?

    glad you asked!

    montrezl harrell
    nerlens noel
    christain wood
    paul millsap
    richaun holmes
    derrick favors
    serge ibaka

    that’s only what you could get with free agents of the last two years …. i could keep goin….

  158. Now list their 2019-20 salaries, and career earnings. And scoring efficiency. And best of all– AGE.

  159. You made the point that they are “hacking” to get their stats.

    you are not reading dude! i was responding to what you were saying about clarke… i was not comparing anything and say that he was hacking… you thought i made that argument… i did not… but i responded anyway….

  160. Which seems nuts to me, because Clarke just proved that he can grind for 12 efficient points per game, help you stay lean and quick at the 4 during smallball lineups, and play solid D without any danger of fouling out

    You’re more compelled by that than most basketball people and fans, who are more compelled by stars, star potential, and upside. There’s maybe something beyond basketball that leads you to that. It’s neither “wrong” nor “right,” but simply a way of looking at the world and valuing what we value.

    He’s a nice player and among the very best of what you clearly (and rightly) perceive as his “type.” But I’d need a lot more convincing that having the best or near-best of that type correlates with wins or … egads …. multiple championships as you seem to be saying. I don’t trade a guy whose “type” is “potential star” for that type and I put RJ in that bucket, as do most people, I’d say. I may miss on him actually becoming the star, but it’s worth the risk.

  161. Aaron Gordon is a terrible comp for Toppin. Sure they might have similar builds, but has Gordon ever even tried to operate in the pick and roll? Let alone be excellent in it like Obi?

    Also, Gordon shot something ridiculous from the charity stripe in his one college season, like .415 or something. He never was or will be a good shooter.

    And actually Gordon was considered an excellent defender early in his career if not elite.

    Obi shoots, passes, and dribbles much better than Gordon does right now. Yes, they are both 6’9” high flyers but are otherwise quite dissimilar.

  162. Now list their 2019-20 salaries, and career earnings. And best of all– AGE.

    and what? i don’t see what point you’re trying to make….

    you trade down from a top 3 spot so you have the privilege to draft something you could’ve gotten with the MLE? in any year?

    that’s pretty terrible when you think about it right?

  163. I understand that Clarke may never amount to much more than an elite role player. But that’s. Better outcome than I see for RJ.

    We’ll see. Clearly a risk worth taking, IMO. As we sit here today, wouldn’t give RJ for Clarke straight up a second thought. Could turn out to be a bad decision looking back, but if that’s your worry, you’re in the wrong business.

  164. Would I trade them for Clarke:

    Barrett — No
    Toppin — No
    Frank — Yes, but with some hesitation and trepidation because Frank could be as elite a role player. I’ll accept the laughs I know are coming. I’d hesitate a bit, then do it and not look back.
    DSJ — Obviously
    Knox — Yes
    Robinson — Yes. I’m far less high on him than what I’ll shorthand label the efficiency crowd
    Quickley — Give me a few games. If I had to literally decide today, then yes.

  165. most recently Brandon Clarke. Remember all the talk about him being a 6’8? 215lb 23yo whose game wouldn’t translate because he was taking advantage of younger, smaller players with superior teammates masking his deficiencies (and his pre-Gonzaga stats were very mediocre). Yet he went on to be all-rookie first team

    It’s a shame there was no real combine this year because what sealed the deal for me on Clarke was that he tested out as an incredible athlete, even for an NBA player. So I wasn’t as worried that he was as good as he was in college just because he was a superior athlete to overmatched younger college kids-he was going to be a better athlete than most of the guys he would be playing against in the NBA as well.

  166. I respect your opinion a great deal but most definitely not on this. The guy was a rookie and put up 20% usage on 5th-best efficiency in the whole league. At $8M AAV he’d still be a steal. And he’s 24.

  167. RJ over Clarke in the draft is a defensible gamble. I probably would have taken Clarke, but if you hit on RJ, having a wing who can create his own offense at a high usage and add some playmaking is more valuable than having a good big except in a few rare cases, so I get that. The chance that Clarke becomes a good NBA player is basically 100% though. He was good last year, and unless he gets badly injured or addicted to drugs it’s very very likely he’ll be good for the next few years at least. I don’t know what the odds are for RJ, but he was pretty bad last year, so it’s safe to say it’s a lot less than 100%

  168. Well, the Knicks’ FO seemed to agree with you, E, and they ended up with a bottom-5 guard in Barrett.

    We’re really over here discussing whether one would trade a bust (Frank) and an epic disappointment (RJB) for a guy who had a real case for ROY. I don’t understand it at all. Barrett is the 2-7 offsuit that you’re telling me might turn into a straight flush someday.

  169. The lack of understanding, assuming it actually exists, probably originates in the use of the words “ended up.”

  170. i don’t really know who any of these folks are: nancy wilson, mark lanegan, liv warfield, jeff fielder, ben smith, andy stoller, ryan waters – but they just covered “brother” magnificently…from their own homes…how cool…

  171. this is what opportunity cost is… on this very board we’ve argued on the value of the draft and the value of targeting upside for years and it’s the one thing we’ve probably had consensus on…. this has LOOOONG been settled and so i have no idea why are we still litigating this now….

    there’s absolutely no use targeting the type of guys like clarke…. this is the same type of thinking with drafting 3pt specialists with 1st rd picks….. these guys are readily available for a low low cost… what makes clarke special? his shooting? is there something so special about clarke that you can’t just readily replace with about 30 guys in the league and not really miss too much?

    there comes a point in the draft where picking someone who you think can def contribute makes sense… and in every draft that’s different… if i graded clarke in this draft he’d probably be just ahead of toppin and in my top 10…. in 2018 he’d be a mid first pick grade same as 2019…..

    and if you don’t like rj that’s fine… but guys like rj routinely get picked in the high lotto…. andrew wiggins with a worse profile got picked #1….. josh jackson got picked #4…. tatum got picked #2…. jaylen brown got picked 3…. brandon ingram got picked 2….

    and this is not purely some appeal to authority…. you cannot get guys like tatum on the free agent market… not even a guy like brown….. and ingram you had to trade anthony davis for…. and yea i’m sure there were a lot of ppl talking shit about ingram too….

    you have zero shot at these guys unless you draft them…. if i want to replace clarke i can do so very very easily…. if not in FA then the draft…. guys like him are readily available every year….

    and that’s why trading back from 3 to get him is like trading up to get quickley….

  172. is there something so special about clarke that you can’t just readily replace with about 30 guys in the league and not really miss too much?

    How many other rookies were in the top 30 in BPM this year?

    if not in FA then the draft…. guys like him are readily available every year….

    This is just utter ridiculousness. I am not sure you are thinking clearly. If you think you can find a rookie who can put up those numbers, and do so not just in spot minutes but a healthy dose of reserve minutes in a stacked conference… what the fuck league you watching, man?

  173. djphan I agree with your larger point re: positional scarcity and have talked about it a lot myself, but I think Clarke specifically is a bad example. I’d argue he’s significantly more skilled than the Noel, Holmes, etc. types you can find on the cheap. He can shoot a little bit, is more well-rounded defensively, and even has some playmaking chops (at least compared to those guys). He’s more Bam than JaVale.

    I’d probably trade Barrett for him, but the positional scarcity argument weighs so heavily in Barrett’s favor I could easily be talked into the other side of that one.

    Relatedly, my gut feeling (off-brand, I know) tells me this is a pretty huge year for Barrett. If he doesn’t show improvement we may look back at this thread in a year and laugh that we were even debating this. It’s very hard for me to see him being productive without a reliable 3PT shot so hopefully at least that starts to come along.

  174. well i know montrezl harrel was #30 in bpm and he got 9mm per for 2 years….

    like i don’t know why it’s important that he’s a rookie… he’s already 24… that makes him the same age as christian wood….. and a year older than domantos sabonis and john collins….. and 3 years older than mitch robinson…. heck he’s only two years younger than steven adams and drummond….. same age as jusuf nurkic and clint capela too…..

    all those dudes had a higher bpm than pascal siakam too… is anyone in their right mind trading any of those guys for siakam?

    what exactly is the significance of bpm here?

  175. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, am fine with RJ but would have been okay with trading down…maybe land Herro and Clarke.

    More generally, sure, positional scarcity counts….but so does probability of success. Clark was as close to a sure thing you could get for his particular position…and you take a stab at RJ’s position at #8-12, or whatever pick you traded down to.

    RJ was pretty far from a sure thing. If we were talking Zion or Ja it’s a pretty ridiculous argument. But RJ had several red flags that wound up rearing their ugly head (and one that didn’t…he’s clearly a better defender than advertised.) But the odds of RJ becoming a non-replaceable player at his scarce position were not great when we drafted him and are even longer now.

    I’m not quibbling, but the odds at this moment clearly favor the trade-down being the better option.

  176. The other thing is that the notion that you can’t get those guys outside of drafting them at #3 is not really true. Kawhi, PG13, Jimmy Butler, etc. have bounced around to at least 3 teams, and chose teams in part because they had Brandon Clarke types not tying up the cap. It’s when you whiff on #3’s that you have trouble attracting those guys. Toronto leveraged its high picks into a championship team with no players picked in the lottery. Good scouting can help you find the Kawhis, Bookers, Mitchells, Bam’s, etc. outside of the top-10.

    Getting sure-fire good players is never a bad strategy, especially when extra assets are attached.

  177. like i don’t know why it’s important that he’s a rookie

    Because the NBA has a completely different playstyle than the NCAA. They are not remotely similar, and rookies often play like shit because the level of competition is so, so much higher than even the most competitive NCAA games. The ’12 Bobcats would have smashed through the NCAA tournament with ease, and they were a 7-59 team.

    … he’s already 24… that makes him the same age as christian wood….. and a year older than domantos sabonis and john collins….. 3 years older than mitch robinson…. heck he’s only two years younger than steven adams and drummond….. same age as jusuf nurkic and clint capela too…..

    Nah, you got your facts all catawampus here.

    Wood is a full year older.
    Sabonis is 4 months younger.
    Collins is a full year younger.
    Robinson is 18 months younger.
    Adams is nearly 3 years older.
    Drummond is nearly 3 years older.
    Nurkic is nearly 2 years older.
    Capela is 2 1/2 years older.

    Might seem like I’m nitpicking, but 3 years is an eternity for a professional athlete.

  178. Clarke was a prolific shotblocker in college and that doesn’t seem to have carried over-I wonder if that has to do with how Memphis play defense. I can’t say I watched many Grizzlies games last season.

  179. The other thing is that the notion that you can’t get those guys outside of drafting them at #3 is not really true. Kawhi, PG13, Jimmy Butler, etc. have bounced around to at least 3 teams, and chose teams in part because they had Brandon Clarke types not tying up the cap.

    uh what?

  180. I’m not sure why we’re arguing about Brandon Clarke specifically, but last year’s draft in the lottery was a mess after the first two picks, as everyone thought at the time. RJ has his warts, but I need a better argument for why RJ was a bad pick at that spot other than citing a player that twenty other teams passed on.

  181. You’re undervaluing present-day Clarke and overvaluing a nebulous Barrett future. It’s better to have a sure-thing glue guy big from age 23 to 26 than a bad wing at 19 with maybe a glimmer of hope five-plus years out.

  182. I need a better argument for why RJ was a bad pick at that spot other than citing a player that twenty other teams passed on.

    I don’t think he was a bad pick at #3. I agree with positional scarcity, and ceiling, when it comes to ball-handling, two-way wings. I just think that after his dismal rookie year, and Clarke’s monster year as a sixth man on a team that missed the playoffs by a single game, it’s clear which one I would take at #3 if forced to choose between the two.

  183. Compare RJ and Brandon across the board, advanced or counting, and it’s not even close in almost every respect. Brandon Clarke is a very good NBA basketball player right now. RJ Barrett is not a very good basketball player. If you want to say RJ still has a higher ceiling and was used badly and not properly coached, I can squint and think maybe you could be right. But right now, I’d rather have the guy with the .618 FG% over the guy with the .402 FG%, And Brandon’s not just a dunker — he hit 36% of his 3PTers (admittedly not a big sample size, but that would put him among the leaders on the Knicks). So I would imagine he has some upside left, too. One difference is he’s starting way up the hill, while RJ is way down at the bottom.

  184. i mean i showed you why that’s not true…. you can believe what you believe… but if you want to engage further… you should show me why you think it’s true… if you jsut want to will it into existance i cannot help you….

    here’s another question i hope you will answer… were you trading age 20 brandon ingram for jakob poeltl or domantas sabonis in 2018 too? or is clarke super special that this is a stupid comparison?

    and if it is a stupid comparison are you saying that clarke is going to be better than sabonis and poeltl?

  185. THCJ – I think the absolute sureness in your opinion about Barrett is quite something. Most scouts still think he showed a lot of promise his rookie year and most still think he has a bright future. To completely write him off seems really silly.

    As for Clarke he came in last year and was immediately sort of a best case scenario. He has been nothing short of amazing and the fact that his offense is almost as good as it was in college right from day one is pretty astounding.

    I would have loved Clarke and when he slipped I wanted us to trade into the 1st round to take him. But I still think based on their age and college career Barrett was a better pick. So far Clarke has been better than could be reasonably expected and Barrett is very much a work in progress. Now seeing what Clarke has done I would trade Barrett for him, not because Barrett has been bad but because Clarke has been so good.

    As for Toppin, Clarke actually gives me hope. Toppin was a similar high efficiency forward that scored a lot of points on dunks. If his offense translates even 80% as well as Clarke’s then he will be quite a player. His defense will never be close to as good but he has a better shot and a more polished offense so his offensive upside might be a bit higher. With that said I would trade him for Clarke in a second.

  186. djphan: jakob poeltl or domantas sabonis in 2018 too? or is clarke super special that this is a stupid comparison?

    I mean, on its face Clarke is more efficient than Poeltl and scored nearly 2x as many points per 36. Clarke was a rookie and Poeltl isn’t.

  187. The argument about trading RJ or Obi for Clarke is silly. First, it’s not going to happen. Second, it’s best to trade guys at peak value. Since RJ and Obi have been drafted, it is prudent to determine when they will reach their peak value. RJ has nowhere to go but up. We’ll know a lot more about Obi in a couple of weeks.

    You could also argue that we already have a better version of Clarke at a different position in Mitch, except for the fouls. You don’t really need two low-usage/high-efficiency players. It makes the gamble for RJ more palatable.

    The hope for me is that a Mitch-Obi-Knox-RJ-Frank quintet will show some promise…at least in terms of perceived value. I’d like to see that lineup for 5-10 minutes a night in preseason.

  188. djphan – I don’t even know if I would trade Clarke for Ingram now but would definitely trade 20 year old Ingram for Clarke and I would much rather have Clarke than Poeltl or Sabonis.

    Clarke averaged almost 20 points per 36 he is not just a low usage dunker. It’ll be interesting to see if he regresses this year. I don’t completely buy his 3pt shooting and as his role increases he will see more defensive pressure but his rookie stats are outstanding.

    Both Sabonis and Poeltl suffer from playing a style that isn’t ideal for modern basketball, that is not a problem for Clarke. Also, Ingram could easily regress, his shooting got better all at once and I want to see another good shooting year before I completely buy him as a star.

  189. Clarke & Mitch are different style players. Clarke is average/slightly above average usage big. He shoots the ball. Mitch only scores at the rim. Clarke took a bit less than half his shots at the hoop, Mitch has taken one shot more than 10′ from the hoop in his career.

  190. can i get ppl on record on whether they would trade rj for clarke right now? like who else thinks this… this is bothering me…. and we have another contingent that wouldn’t trade frank for stephen curry…..

  191. Clarke averaged almost 20 points per 36 he is not just a low usage dunker.

    82% of clarke’s buckets were assisted…. the only other big man above him was noel… and everyone else was a 3pt specialist…. that should tell you how much of that is sustainable….

  192. In a vacuum I would trade RJ for Clarke right now. As it sits I would pause because Toppin plays the same position as Clarke but I still probably would.

    On the other hand I’d trade Toppin for Clarke in a second. Again not a reflection on Toppin, who I think has a solid chance to be quite good but a reflection on how good Clarke has been.

  193. I’d trade RJ for Clarke but that says a lot more about what I think of RJ than it does Clarke. I think Clarke pretty much is what he’s going to be- a very good role player. I don’t think he’s big enough to be any more than a very occasional 5 and he doesn’t have the kind offensive game to play wing. He’s a high energy 4 who could maybe start eventually in the right line-up but is probably best suited to come off of the bench. Still, he’s a quality rotation player making end of the bench money for the next three years. As for RJ, he has a higher ceiling but his floor is a comparative sub-basement to Clarke’s. And he has all the earmarks of turning into a inefficient chucker who gets maxed because of his draft position and his ppg. Too much risk for me when Clarke is already sure to outperform his contract.

    I’d rather kick the tires on Obi than trade him for Clarke. If the three point shooting is real and what pretty much every scout said about his feel for passing despite the low assist numbers turns out to be true he might be good enough to make up for what will be mediocre at best (and probably worse) defense. His weird trajectory also makes him more intriguing than most guys his age. And I’m looking forward to watching he and Mitch dunk everything in sight- if you’re going to lose, at least put on a show while doing it.

  194. dang, looks like we got snubbed again for a christmas day game…I’ll tell ya, the level of disrespect for our storied franchise is disconcerting…

  195. Hey, a win is a win, even if Rose pulled a Homer to get there. It’s been a good offseason thus far. They could have easily “gotten it done” with Hayward, which would have been business as usual with prior regimes.

  196. His own coaches played the guy 22.4 minutes per game. Are they stupid, too? And his usage wasn’t 20%, it was 18.7%. Being able to use possessions is a skill; it’s not a random thing.

    It’s an old story by now, but the people who overvalue the Mitchell Robinsons, the Cole Aldrichs, the Willy Hernangomezs, and then to a different degree but similar kind, the Tyson Chandlers and the Brandon Clarkes put way too much stock in “efficiency” and way too little stock in the ability to create and get off shots. It’s really that simple and it’s too late in basketball internet/analytics history to spend much more time arguing about it. Brandon Clarke can’t create usage at anything close to star levels, so he’ll never go into the star bucket and that’s why his coach didn’t play him anything close to star minutes and why he wasn’t drafted at a star height and why his value on the marketplace isn’t star value. If certain types want to turn him into their own cult hero, that’s their business, but it really doesn’t have much to do with basketball.

  197. He couldn’t even use his fair share of possessions (1/5) playing primarily bench minutes against primarily bench guys. Within his limited skill set he’s very good and very efficient, you could even argue that he’s among the very best of that archetype. He’s certainly a guy you’d like to have on your team. It should just be left there but of course this is the internet and so it won’t be.

  198. To take one of a zillion possible examples throughout basketball history, Tracy McGrady’s usage rose from 19.1 at 18, to 21.9 at 19 (pretty significantly less than RJs), to 24.3, to 31 the next couple years, to 35.2 at 23. Little to none of that has to do with the way he was deployed or anything else; it’s virtually all game and skill growth. He didn’t use that few possessions at 18 because he was “inefficient,” or “not a focal point of the offense”; he used that few possessions because he didn’t have the game yet to use many more. No need to relitigate this one — to the extent one doesn’t understand this obvious truth of basketball life, one doesn’t understand basketball.

    But while this is a necessary condition to stardom, it certainly isn’t a sufficient one. If you don’t make enough of the shots you’re able to create, it’s not going to work.. (And of course since they use so many possessions so inefficiently, those are the types of players analytics types detest beyond their actual, true skill detestiblilities. Their numbers seem loathable, and I guess they are — but their games aren’t necessarily so. High usage guys put themselves out there and risk loathability, the Mitchell Robinsons and Michael Cages and James Donaldsons and Brandon Clarkes really don’t.)

  199. E: To take one of a zillion possible examples throughout basketball history, Tracy McGrady’s usage rose from 19.1 at 18, to 21.9 at 19 (pretty significantly less than RJs), to 24.3, to 31 the next couple years, to 35.2 at 23. Little to none of that has to do with the way he was deployed or anything else; it’s virtually all game and skill growth. He didn’t use that few possessions at 18 because he was “inefficient,” or “not a focal point of the offense”; he used that few possessions because he didn’t have the game yet to use many more. No need to relitigate this one — to the extent one doesn’t understand this obvious truth of basketball life, one doesn’t understand basketball.

    Doesn’t all this actually argue in favor of Brandon Clarke? If T-Mac had lower usage than Clarke and it grew as he expanded his game, then Clarke’s usage can grow too. A more extreme case would be Kawhi Leonard, whose usage in his first three years was 14.5, 16.4 and 18.3 and currently is at 33.

    It is fair to say that RJ Barrett is still considered to have more upside than Clarke, that ball-handling wings are rare and incredibly useful towards building a winning team, and there are lots of players that came like RJ, trying to doo too much until they actually found how to be productive (and Ingram is one of them). But Clarke has surpassed expectations out of the gate and it is also fair, given their rookie years, to think that Clarke will have the more productive career.

    I am fairly confident RJ will turn to be a useful player. But right now, I am thinking more of a Richard Jefferson/Rudy Gay career than a T-Mac career, but it could go the way of Andrew Wiggins. While Clarke, I don’t know, I would say a Chris Bosh career; but in any case, at worst a David Lee type career.

  200. Is Jerami Grant a good comp for Clarke? He just got 60 million. Much more than he should have but I think at least some indication you can’t just pick up that kind of player for nothing. Maybe Grant is a much better defender.

    The idea you can just pick them up in free agency is silly. Contenders do pick up useful pieces for discounted prices but that’s a different thing.

    Clarke also costs a lot less than Barrett.

    I’d definitely make that trade right now. RJ may shock me this year but I’d take the bird in hand.

  201. If T-Mac had lower usage than Clarke and it grew as he expanded his game, then Clarke’s usage can grow too.

    It could a bit sure, but (1) Clarke doesn’t have the game to expand his usage all that much more; (2) his high growth years of 18-24 are all pretty much behind him now; and (3) he wasn’t even really a high usage guy in college at 22-23 (only 24%). To his great credit, he’s excellent at knowing his limitations, playing to his strengths, and generally staying in his lane (so to speak), but that only gets you so far.

  202. I think Clarke has a fair usage. If he played 36 minutes we would be talking about a 19/10 guy with a couple of assists and a block, that is not a niche player that shoots seldomly (and even some of those cases, like Kawhi, grew to much larger roles). And there are plenty of players that came to the league as “old” rookies and still improved a fair amount.

  203. Not that you have to have done so to know basketball, but I’ve actually played competitive basketball and literally the defining feature of moving up in competition levels is that you eventually don’t have enough game to drive your usage levels to the point where you could at lower levels. At top level, very competitive, great public university intramural competition, I was probably about a 30% usage guy with probably something like high 5/low 6 TSP. Six-two, white, white man can kind of but not really jump, fast and quick, nice creativity as these things go, excellent shooting form, excellent range, good player. Take that to the Michigan varsity and boom, all of a sudden the guy popping out to help after I get by the ball defender isn’t 6 feet or 6-2, he’s 6-7 and 6-8 or 6-10 and I’m no longer even “open.” Plop that template onto a number of shot-creating moves that can work at lower levels and poof — there goes the 30% usage. Take it to the NBA, and the usage shrivels up to pretty much nothing. Which is why you can scour Kenpom and BB-ref and find hundreds and hundreds of guys who were efficient 30 and 35 usage players in college and don’t have anything close to NBA games and whose only chance of hitting 35 usage in the NBA would be to shoot wide open shots from 3/4 court every time they touch the ball.

    The ability to routinely get off high numbers of makeable shots in the NBA is the rarest skill of them all. Again, making them is a different story. You need both for stardom.

  204. E, I agree with what you said. But Clarke, in his rookie year, almost reached his share of usage (20%) with a ludricous efficiency. For the sake of the argurment, he could airball and extra possesion a game to get to that 20% and still have an incredibly good efficiency.

    Let this one sink in: Clarke scores more per 100 possesions than RJ Barrett. So all this talk about getting you shots against NBA competition, results in that Clarke is better than RJ. Perhaps he cannot do on its own and needs to rely on his PG, but basketball is a team sport and is not only measured on how good is your dribble.

  205. I’m more than willing to hold the player hoping that he will eventually make more shots. He’s a potential 30+ usage guy and those are very hard to find. It’s obviously a risk; his shooting form is not that great. Not that T-Mac is somehow his comp, necessarily, but there isn’t a vast difference between T-Mac’s .504 TS% on 21.9% usage at 19, and RJ’s .479 on 24.0% usage. I need more than a Brandon Clarke to punt that away right now. Three years from now, might be a different story.

    One way to put all this is that if you can’t stomach the risk and the wait with someone like a Barrett, you really don’t have the stomach and the temperament for rebuilding.

  206. /scours BB-ref …

    Yeah, LeBron James’s TS% at age 19 was .488 on 28.2 USG%. I’m happily holding the player.

  207. i mean i showed you why that’s not true…. you can believe what you believe… but if you want to engage further… you should show me why you think it’s true… if you jsut want to will it into existance i cannot help you….

    You didn’t show anything. You claim he’s older than he is and that 19 points per 36 on .650 TS% is more common than it is. You say that there are plenty of other players out there like him, yet can’t seem to account for the fucking gulf between Serge Ibaka’s $17M salary and .580 TS% and Clarke’s numbers by comparison.

    This is stats trutherism where a top-5 shooting efficiency rookie is unfavorably compared to a bottom-5 efficiency rookie because the latter plays a more in-demand position and is several years younger. Might as well bookmark this thread because it’s not going to age well.

  208. The Honorable Cock Jowles: This is stats trutherism where a top-5 shooting efficiency rookie is unfavorably compared to a bottom-5 efficiency rookie because the latter plays a more in-demand position and is several years younger.

    You’re just hearing what you want to hear, and arguing against strawmen you want to argue against, because it’s nothing like that. Everyone knows Clarke was efficient and Barrett was inefficient and the real import of those things has been pored over at length.

    Clarke was very efficient last year. Barrett was inefficient last year. Literally everyone knows that and there isn’t a single person or a single sentence disputing that, as best I can tell anywhere in the discussion.

  209. Personally, I’d take Frank Ntilikina over both of them. I think he’s really going to start dunking it this year!

  210. You didn’t show anything.

    wait … if i didn’t show anything what exactly did you contribute to this?

    is just repeating stuff and pretending it’s true is how we do things? i can do that too but maybe moving conversations forward would be better for all around….

    you don’t have to be convinced… it’s obvious that’s not happening… but dont’ pretend like i contributed nothing…. like i don’t know what you offered besides a narrow view on a guy who apparently is going to be some all-star since there’s a huge gulf between him and serge ibaka….

  211. It looks like the Clarke/RJ discussion got very interesting, but I don’t have time to read it all now.

    I’m a Clarke fan.

    I think the usage/efficiency debate is about role. If you want to contend, you need a solid #1 and #2 option (along with other good role players).

    To be a legit #1 or #2 option, you have to be able to score at a solid efficiency level in quite a few ways. If you are more limited, no matter how efficient you are at 1 or 2 things, good defenses can take those things away or at least limit them to the point where it becomes a problem for you to score. Almost by definition, that makes you a role player. Role players can generate a lot of “statistical” value as part of team that already has its #1 and #2 option, but they can’t “lead” a team to contention and you can’t “build around” them. They are complimentary pieces and easier to come by than legit #1 and #2 options.

    At this point, Clarke looks like a very high end role player. If a good defense wanted to slow him down, it would have no problem doing so. It’s going to take a leap in skills for Clarke to become a #1 or #2 option. He’s the kind of guy you want to add to the Mavs. They are set a #1 and #2. Now they need high value role players.

    A guy like RJ is the flip side of the coin.

    He has a greater variety of basketball skills at a “threatening to be really good” level, but he can’t do anything efficiently enough yet to be a #1 or #2 option yet.

    The debate is whether it’s more likely for Clarke to expand his skills, be able to create more off the dribble, shoot efficiently from a greater variety of places in a variety of ways, and become a much more complete offensive basketball player or whether it’s more likely that RJ can improve his efficiency level at a variety of things that he can already do fairly well to a high enough level to become a #1 or #2 option.

    There’s no easy answer to that, but age, work ethic, athletic ability, coaching, and things like are certainly a factor.

    IMO, RJ has the higher ceiling but he also has the lower floor.

  212. Rather than the woulda coulda shoulda stuff, I just wanted to say that while he has his faults, I think Thibs will be good for this team of undisciplined young fellas.

    I also think tough defense is – or should be – what ball at MSG is about.
    Rock-ribbed defenders get the Garden rocking.

    It pleases me to think again that if you come into the Garden, you’re in for a scrap. I think Thibs is that kind of guy.

    I hope he changes the nature of this team back to its roots. FWIW

  213. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada:
    Personally, I’d take Frank Ntilikina over both of them. I think he’s really going to start dunking it this year!

    We are trying to turn Frank into a super high level role player. He already brings a lot to the table defensively, as a secondary playmaker, and as a willing ball mover and team player. All he has to do is not be a total bust as a scorer. That means adding 1 or 2 things he does efficiently (shoot 3s from the corner, get to the FT line more often than average and make them at a high clip, etc..). He has to add a couple of weapons and then he’s a solidly plus player. No one has any delusions about him becoming a #1 or #2 option. He’d become the guy you are thrilled to death to add to the team that’s already got #1 and #2.

  214. If a good defense wanted to slow him down, it would have no problem doing so.

    Well, for one, he roasted the 7th-ranked OKC defense for 27 points on 19 shots in just 25 minutes. At what point do you think Mike Malone said, “Hey, we should probably try to slow that rookie down?” And if he didn’t say that, why is he employed as a basketball coach?

  215. I really think Frank is a bust.

    He feels like any number of players we all hoped would achieve, but in the end he was an empty vessel.

    He was not even a decent player among a bunch of bad players.

    Deeefense: We are trying to turn Frank into a super high level role player. He already brings a lot to the table defensively, as a secondary playmaker, and as a willing ball mover and team player.All he has to do is not be a total bust as a scorer.That means adding 1 or 2 things he does efficiently (shoot 3s from the corner, get to the FT line more often than average and make them at a high clip, etc..).He has to add a couple of weapons and then he’s a solidly plus player. No one has any delusions about him becoming a #1 or #2 option.He’d become the guy you are thrilled to death to add to the team that’s already got#1 and #2.

  216. I do think we have a chance to a be a decent defensive squad this year.

    Mitch and Noel means rim protection and shot blocking for the entire game (assuming both don’t foul out!)

    Frank is a good defender, so I imagine Thibs will have him in the rotation.

    RJ, Rivers, Burkes, Bullock are all pretty decent defenders. Payton isn’t good but he’s not horrible either. Quickley if he plays is supposed to be good.

    The PF spot is the weak spot with Randle and Topping obviously. Also, kind of weird that a huge chunk of our scoring will come from the PF spot but that’s also where our weakness is on defense. But I think the good news with that is that the PF spot can be a weak spot of D if you got good defensive Centers, which we do.

    And of course we got a good defense oriented coach. If they buy in, I think we could be good on defense.

  217. what exactly is brandon clarke doing that he is roasting these teams? is he posting them up? he’s taking them off the dribble?

    82% of his baskets are assisted…. i’m kind of curious to know what you think he’s doing that teams need to focus to ‘stop’ him…

  218. Seth Partnow did a good job discussing this in his player ranking series recently on the Athletic I thought: there just isn’t a good budget replacement for guys who can be the main component of efficient, high-volume offense. There are lots of areas of the game where you can get cheaper, more flawed players to give you a particular skillset – if you need shooting you can find a guy on the scrapheap who is a good shooter; he will have lots of other flaws but you can get a guy who can shoot the ball (Bryn Forbes say). Same with a rim-running shot-blocking C; you’re not going to get Rudy Gobert at the minimum obviously but for less than $5M there are guys like Dwight or Noel available who can give you solid productive minutes in those roles just with some other flaws.

    If you need a guy who can have the ball in his hands and drive efficient offense, where do you turn? There’s simply no supply of those players. If you had your pick of literally all the free agents this offseason it’s still not clear you could get what you need. AD is obviously amazing but is mainly a play finisher not starter; Brandon Ingram is still below that top tier and has only one productive year under his belt; FVV is a really nice player, but no. You could trade for CP3 but he’s very old and might fall apart at any moment.

    That’s why teams do everything in their power to try to get those players and why they take even very risky bets in doing so. RJ is very probably not going to get there in my opinion and I’d think long and hard about trading him for Clarke, who I love, if that was a real option but just comparing their productivity is not the right way to look at it. You have to factor in the outsized return due to the scarcity of the player type people think RJ could possibly become, even if the odds of that are really low.

  219. Creating shots is a worthwhile skill only if you can make them. Getting open and converting shots when someone passes you the ball is a skill.

  220. DRed:
    Creating shots is a worthwhile skill only if you can make them.Getting open and converting shots when someone passes you the ball is a skill.

    Agreed on both counts but I don’t think this at all rebuts anything I wrote.

    Creating and missing shots is not valuable but is often a precursor to creating shots and making them. My point is that the guys who can create shots and make them are so rare that you have to take some chances on guys who might become that – if you give up on all the young guys who take and miss a lot of shots you’re going to have some really, really, really big misses. Like giving up on some of the best players of all-time style misses.

    Getting open and converting shots created for you by someone else is definitely a skill. The question is how replaceable is that skill and how well compensated is it in the market.

  221. Another epistemological crisis at KB.

    We have argued for years over how much the delta between elite and average role players matters. I think we all agree that it’s important but not critical. You can find reasonable substitutes.

    What really matters in the NBA is the delta between the truly elite superstars and your generic average #1 option. The difference between, I don’t know, Luka Doncic and Pascal Siakam, is really important.

    That’s not to discount the Clarke’s of this world (or the Siakams). The Mavs lost their own version of Clarke to an achilles tear last year when Dwight Powell went down and it hurt them. But it hurt them a lot less than losing Doncic would have. Kleber and others were able to soak up those minutes without giving up too much.

    I think my take on this argument is that it’s really about RJ. The way I see it, he can’t shoot. He’s maxed out physically. He’s already had the best player development you can have. He’s got a Mamba mentality which is a big detriment to his future value – you saw how awkward that was next to Zion – and it also keeps him from making what I would say are the optimal offensive decisions. I don’t think he is a dominant athlete and I think the defense is less impressive than some here do.

    You don’t have to be crazy about Clarke to make the trade. You just have to believe that RJ’s eventual outcome is one that can be particularly damaging – being a max contract but well below average #1 or #2 option.

    I think Barrett is tracking to be the next Wiggins and I’d trade him for basically any above average piece almost just to avoid that outcome.

    Obviously, he may breakout and improve this year. Anything can happen. But I wouldn’t want to bet on it.

  222. Creating shots is a worthwhile skill only if you can make them. Getting open and converting shots when someone passes you the ball is a skill.

    No need to quibble about whether it’s a “skill,” but it clearly isn’t a “skill that helps identify good basketball players and that is shared by good basketball players,” or otherwise shitty basketball players like Cole Aldrich — he of the .626 TS% on 18.4% USG at 27 — wouldn’t be able to put up the numbers that purportedly demonstrate this skill.

    People. Are. Vastly. Overrating. “Efficiency.”

  223. thenamestsam: Creating and missing shots is not valuable but is often a precursor to creating shots and making them. My point is that the guys who can create shots and make them are so rare that you have to take some chances on guys who might become that – if you give up on all the young guys who take and miss a lot of shots you’re going to have some really, really, really big misses. Like giving up on some of the best players of all-time style misses.

    Bingo. You know who else can create NBA shots well at a young age, or at least could? Kevin Knox. I consider the apparent effort to make Kevin Knox more “efficient” between years one and two to be entirely misguided. I’ll now duck for cover.

  224. I’d take Clarke in a heartbeat. I’d have drafted Clarke over RJ last year too, wouldn’t even have to trade down. I’ve never thought RJ’s ceiling was a #1 or even #2 option. He’s not athletic enough to score efficiently while driving. He’s not a great shooter. He’s not a great defender.

    I’d probably bet on Clarke as more likely to develop into a high usage & efficient scorer because he’s athletic enough to beat his defenders off the dribble if he works on that part of his game and he looks like he can actually shoot the ball. Clarke also led the league by hitting over 60% of his floaters or something ridiculous, that’s not something Mitch or most bigs can do.

    Maybe I’m wrong but the Clarke critics are failing to grasp how unique his game is. Comparing Clarke to players who score at rates significantly lower is ridiculous.

    Oh yeah, Clarke is potentially an elite defender.

  225. Anything can happen, I guess, but Clarke wasn’t a high usage player even in college. He was a 24.1% USG his last year at Gonzaga. At SJ State as a 20-21 year old it was 25.1. He’s never come close to demonstrating the ability to drive offense that stars demonstrate.

  226. Owen, I generally agree about Barrett, with on caveat:
    One intangible with Barrett to me is intelligence.
    Smartness can cover for a lot of other limitations.
    His dad is a smart guy as well.

    But even with that, I see him as a rotation player, not as a 1 or 2 option.

    But if you are correct about him, I doubt you get an above average player for him.

    Owen:

    I think Barrett is tracking to be the next Wiggins and I’d trade him for basically any above average piece almost just to avoid that outcome.

    Obviously, he may breakout and improve this year. Anything can happen. But I wouldn’t want to bet on it.

  227. I think my take on this argument is that it’s really about RJ. The way I see it, he can’t shoot. He’s maxed out physically. He’s already had the best player development you can have. He’s got a Mamba mentality which is a big detriment to his future value – you saw how awkward that was next to Zion – and it also keeps him from making what I would say are the optimal offensive decisions. I don’t think he is a dominant athlete and I think the defense is less impressive than some here do.

    This is what it sadly comes down to for me, though there are good arguments on both sides and for that reason everyone should be 10% nicer to each other.

    Barrett vs Clarke has become a proxy war for low-floor/high-ceiling/high usage Player X vs high-floor/questionable ceiling/low-to-medium usage Player Y. In reality the specific question is a lot more narrow than that, and if you’re just not that big of a believer in Barrett it should be pretty uncontroversial to say you’d trade him for an unambiguously productive player like Clarke.

    I’m not so out on Barrett that I’d be shocked to be proved wrong on this in hindsight, but as of now I just don’t see him becoming the kind of irreplaceable player being discussed.

    I agree with the larger point that high usage, high efficiency scorers/ball handlers (who tend to have other skills as well, with e.g. Devin Booker being an exception of sorts) are worth a lot more than limited bigs, even if the two players in question are graded similarly by box score aggregators. I just don’t see Barrett becoming one of those dudes.

    A familiar refrain: I hope I’m wrong!

  228. You don’t have to be crazy about Clarke to make the trade. You just have to believe that RJ’s eventual outcome is one that can be particularly damaging – being a max contract but well below average #1 or #2 option.

    I agree with your points Owen but just want to add one thing that maybe clarifies my point (or maybe not). Let’s say, just hypothetically, we knew for sure there was a 10% chance RJ becomes James Harden. That’s still a long shot (a pretty long one in fact) but I think most people would agree that giving up on a 10% chance of having your own young, team-controlled James Harden for a nice role player would be a very bad idea. What if the chance is 1%? What if it’s 0.1%?

    I honestly don’t know the answer to at what level it becomes worth gambling on the upside and I certainly don’t know what the true odds are of RJ becoming a guy you can build your offense around; I’m just saying that pointing out that there’s a good chance RJ becomes nothing special and that Clarke is already a really nice player doesn’t necessarily do all that much to help answer the question.

  229. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qn_MFGT-rs
    Should be a good video for discussion.

    Yes indeed. Obi-1 is not a good defender. In one of his first interviews after he got drafted and in a few before, Toppin admitted his weakness. He worked on defense over the summer and he claimed to be eager to work with Thibs and the staff to improve those skills.

    I will repeat what I’ve said, no 2020 draft pick was considered a tier-1 or tier-2 player. Toppin was a tier-4, borderline tier-3 prospect. Tier-3 being a full-time NBA starter. That being said, there are no tier-1, 2 and few, if any tier-3 players on the Knicks. If Toppin can develop defensively, it’ll help elevate him to those top tiers. It’s why, up until draft day, I liked the staff that Rose assembled, starting with Thibs. They are teachers. But so was Larry Brown, supposedly.

  230. thenamestsam: That’s still a long shot (a pretty long one in fact) but I think most people would agree that giving up on a 10% chance of having your own young, team-controlled James Harden for a nice role player would be a very bad idea. What if the chance is 1%? What if it’s 0.1%?

    RJ Barrett has a 0% chance of becoming James Harden. Does this resolve the debate?

  231. Bingo. You know who else can create NBA shots well at a young age, or at least could? Kevin Knox. I consider the apparent effort to make Kevin Knox more “efficient” between years one and two to be entirely misguided. I’ll now duck for cover.

    See, I cringed whenever he tried to do his Melo impression and that was completely independent of the shots rarely going in. It just looked awful and lacked fluidity. The guy is kind of a stiff. I definitely would’ve known he was inefficient if I watched the games and never looked at numbers, whereas with inefficient rookies who went on to become #1/1A options I think that would’ve been a much harder determination.

    To me Knox’s only prayer is that he limits himself to threes, transition points, and the occasional drive. I find his shot creation to be a hopeless endeavor.

    This is what made it so perplexing to me that he was viewed as a “high-ceiling” pick compared to someone like Bridges. It was fair to note Bridges’ relatively low-ceiling, but Knox is just as limited if not more so! Unlike Barrett, this is simply not a guy who has ever demonstrated a wide variety skills.

  232. “I’m just saying that pointing out that there’s a good chance RJ becomes nothing special and that Clarke is already a really nice player doesn’t necessarily do all that much to help answer the question.”

    Well, I don’t think we are going to have an answer for a few years. We may still argue about how good RJ is at that point too. We have all placed our bets at least.

    Harden was another case. He was demonstrably good as a rookie and great by his third year and people slagged him for coming off the bench and said he could never make it as a high usage option. Seems pretty ridiculous in retrospect.

    Quite happy to have won that argument at least.

  233. E: No need to quibble about whether it’s a “skill,” but it clearly isn’t a “skill that helps identify good basketball players and that is shared by good basketball players,” or otherwise shitty basketball players like Cole Aldrich — he of the .626 TS% on 18.4% USG at 27 — wouldn’t be able to put up the numbers that purportedly demonstrate this skill.

    People. Are. Vastly. Overrating. “Efficiency.”

    Cole Aldrich randomly hitting 18% usage at age 27 for 800 minutes with a large sample of the rest of his play is not the same as a rookie in 1300 minutes, his only sample of NBA minutes, hitting 18% usage. Also, Cole still was not nearly as efficient as Clarke.

  234. Early Bird: RJ Barrett has a 0% chance of becoming James Harden. Does this resolve the debate?

    I probably shouldn’t have used Harden as my example since he had such a different developmental curve, and really was out of the gate a pretty productive bench player on a team that was already getting really good.

    But I do think if you truly believe there’s a 0% chance RJ makes it as a guy who can have the ball in his hands and drive efficient offense, then yes, that does end the debate, and I would gladly trade him for a guy like Clarke if possible. I just don’t agree with that. 0% is a very low number and there are a number of guys who developed into centerpiece offensive players who started off by primarily showing the ability to take, and miss, a lot of shots.

  235. RJ Barrett has a flaw that has to be fixed, but maybe it can’t – shooting. One thing he said (starts at 4:13 of RJs media day Interview)that I did not like was about his perception of his shooting. Spencer Julian from MSG Networks asked him about what he worked on as far as shooting and he said, “Especially from the free throw line I started off really bad and that’s what kinda got me… Over the course of the year it wasn’t terrible.”
    Truth is, that’s wrong, across the board. Sorry about how the table looks but..
    His numbers by month were as follows
    Month (minutes) FG% / 3pt% / FT%
    Oct (180 min) 47.4 / 42.1 / 40.7
    Nov (414 min) 39.0 / 30.0 / 55.6
    Dec (419 min) 34.1 / 30.2 / 63.6
    Jan (268 min) 40.9 / 35.5 / 74.0
    Feb (239 min) 40.6 / 24.9 / 54.1
    Mar (184 min) 44.8 / 33.3 / 75.8

    He actually started off better from the field and from 3pts in October. Yes, he got off to a poor start at the line. January and March were better but what happened in February? He was inconsistent. He needs to shoot 45% / 35% / 75% consistently. He has to give us 6 full months of that March pace.

  236. I think this is a pretty spirited but healthy discussion… if only we could keep the discussion moving…

    RJ Barrett has a 0% chance of becoming James Harden. Does this resolve the debate?

    what about a 50/50 shot at brandon ingram?

    let’s take the last 6 drafts as an example…. the top wings drafted were wiggins.. parker.. ingram.. brown.. tatum.. jackson…. (leaving out doncic cause someone is going to cry foul)…. 3 of those are probably out and out busts… and 3 of those probably made it…

    and ingram is sort of in the barely made it category… like rj he struggled in his age 19 year shooting from basically every where…. and i see the same ppl talking shit about rj who buried ingram…. have ppl not learned their lesson on this?

    that’s not to say they are exactly the same….. or that rj is going to figure it out… there’s no guarantees in life…. but i’d take a 50% shot at brandon ingram over a 100% shot at brandon clarke…. especially when picking #3….

  237. Barrett has always been a pretty difficult guy to find comps for, at least for me. He’s clearly got a nice variety of skills but lacks promise as a scorer specifically. Without really looking, that seems rare.

    When I try to project a good outcome for him I usually wind up at Iguodala. At his peak, Iggy gave you something like 18-5-5 with above average but not stellar efficiency and great perimeter defense. That seems like a reasonable 85th percentile or so outcome for Barrett. Barrett will never be as good of a defender as Iguodala, but there’s a chance he becomes a better shooter largely because there’s so much more emphasis on that now than when Iguodala was at his peak.

    I guess the question is whether or not you view that outcome, which is unlikely but plausible IMO, as worth gambling on vis-a-vis someone like Clarke. It’s not the profile of a #1 option type, but it’s still a very valuable player and harder to get than someone like Clarke.

  238. rj’s right on his free throws…. he was about 68% after he switched his shooting motion early on when he was shooting in the 50s….

  239. He’s nothing like Iguodala. Barrett can drive offense and Iggy couldn’t. Iggy’s low/medium usage, Barrett is high. Iggy never had a single usage year in his career as high as RJ had as a 19 year old, and most were far behind. If RJ can get the TS% into the 555 area where Iggy’s career number wound up, he’s going to be a multiple time all-star.

    By build and athleticism, there are some similarities, and they pretty much end there.

  240. Iggy was an electric athlete when he came into the league. A terrific, explosive slasher who wreaked havoc defensively and who was a tornado in transition. I don’t think of RJ that way at all.

    I think there are tons of reasonable comps out there for RJ: Derozan, Stackhouse, Wiggin? How about Joe Johnson? Maybe even Carmelo?

    None of those are the kind of player I want to make a big long term investment in.

    Re Clarke, I fully agree with those who think he may have considerable upside. He does have amazing touch and he isn’t a terrible three point shooter. I also think his defense might end up being really useful. But this argument really isn’t about him as I said above.

  241. Dwayne Wade was a rookie at 22 and had a USG of 25 with a TS% of 530. I’d make it at least 50/50 RJ is at those numbers or better by 22. He’s practically there in usage already and for a 19 year old wing a 24 usage is pretty much off the charts in terms of historical comps. And for anyone who watched the games, there wasn’t a lot of bullshit shot selection and forced-up garbage in that 24 usage.

  242. DeRozan gets so much shit but dude was part of a Raptors team that consistently won 50 plus games year after year and got to the ECF only to lose to Lebron at his absolute peak. He was good enough to be the central player in a trade that netted Kawhi Leonard. Honestly, if RJ turns into Derozan, we should all be very happy with that outcome. He’s a good player. Just because he doesn’t fit some people’s ideal of the modern NBA player doesn’t mean he isn’t a really good player.

    Another thought. When you list Stackhouse, Carmelo, etc…I think we need to consider how those players would have turned out if they came up in today’s NBA and not the ISO NBA that was their generation.

  243. I like RJ’s game. I want him to develop as a shooter. If he can’t he’s a bust and a bad draft pick because the was drafted 3rd overall. He’ll fall into the mold of Ntilikina and Knox who just can’t take that necessary step forward. I hope I am wrong about all three.

  244. Dwayne Wade was a rookie at 22 and had a USG of 25 with a TS% of 530. I’d make it at least 50/50 RJ is at those numbers or better by 22.

    2003-04

    TS% .530
    TS% 103

    2019-20

    TS% .530
    TS% 94

    If Barrett is a .530 TS% shooter at 22, he’ll still be a scrub.

    Iguodala’s .555 career TS% means he was above average over the course of his career. If Barrett lands at .555, he’ll be below average, and the league continues to trend upward as almost all players are practicing deep jump shots out of the womb at this point.

  245. RJ is 4 years younger than Clarke. I know he had a bad rookie year efficiency wise, but I think we tend to forget just how young RJ is.

    And I think we tend to forget that because outside of shooting, RJ is a pretty well rounded basketball player who seems extremely mature and even keeled and highly competitive for a 20 year old kid. I often forget that he just turned 20 because when I watched him play last year, he didn’t act like a 19 year old on the court. I know that is eye test stuff but I think his demeanor and attitude bodes well for his development.

    Also, we’re so focused on his shooting because its the one area he really needs to improve to become a good player. But he will most likely improve in the other areas of his game as well. Its not like his defense, playmaking and rebounding numbers are all gonna stay the same while only his shooting will or will not improve.

  246. djphan: I think this is a pretty spirited but healthy discussion… if only we could keep the discussion moving…

    More than happy to keep the discussion moving but making ridiculous comparisons doesn’t move it forward.

    djphan: what about a 50/50 shot at brandon ingram?

    let’s take the last 6 drafts as an example…. the top wings drafted were wiggins.. parker.. ingram.. brown.. tatum.. jackson…. (leaving out doncic cause someone is going to cry foul)…. 3 of those are probably out and out busts… and 3 of those probably made it…

    This is a pretty specious method to determine likely outcomes. Tatum & Brown came into the league much better than RJ. Also, Clarke scored only 2 less points per 36 than Brown. So if that’s your example of success Clarke is already there.

    Ingram has had 1 good season and giving 1 example of an outcome does not make the outcome likely or serve as proof that another player will make the same leap.

    I think you’re vastly overstating the likelihood RJ turns into Ingram.

    But sure RJ has a reasonable chance to score slightly above average at high usage. However, once you’re outside of the elite high efficiency and high usage players, then you need to play off the ball. RJ uniquely seems to lack that skill. He needs the ball in his hands and he doesn’t project as elite at having the ball in his hands.

  247. The Honorable Cock Jowles: If Barrett is a .530 TS% shooter at 22, he’s still be a scrub.

    If one’s argument is ultimately relegated to calling 2003-04 Dwayne Wade a “scrub” it’s fair to conclude that we’re pretty much in Rule of Holes territory.

  248. I often forget that he just turned 20 because when I watched him play last year, he didn’t act like a 19 year old on the court.

    He’s got a classy jumper. It’s a real clean stroke. There’s some work to be done, I’ll admit that.

    Does he have an ugly girlfriend? He passes the eye candy test. He’s great at playing the part. He just needs to get some playing time.

  249. I think it’s fair to say RJ is nothing like Dwyane Wade who was an explosive above the rim athlete unlike RJ.

    Maybe I’m underrating RJs strength and he’ll just bowl over defenders and finish much more efficiently, but I don’t see it.

  250. If one’s argument is ultimately relegated to calling 2003-04 Dwayne Wade a “scrub” it’s fair to conclude that we’re pretty much in Rule of Holes territory.

    I’m going to give you another chance to read my argument before I light yours on fire with an aerosol can and a blowtorch.

  251. Iggy was an electric athlete when he came into the league. A terrific, explosive slasher who wreaked havoc defensively and who was a tornado in transition. I don’t think of RJ that way at all.

    To be clear, I was just talking about projecting an optimistic statistical profile for RJ. I could see him arriving at an Iguodala-like profile but he would definitely get there a lot differently. There are multiple ways to skin the 18-5-5/.560-.580 TS% cat.

    He’s nothing like Iguodala. Barrett can drive offense and Iggy couldn’t. Iggy’s low/medium usage, Barrett is high. Iggy never had a single usage year in his career as high as RJ had as a 19 year old, and most were far behind. If RJ can get the TS% into the 555 area where Iggy’s career number wound up, he’s going to be a multiple time all-star.

    If you take it as self-evident that Barrett can “drive offense,” whatever that means, sure. Without specifying I find that to be kind of a meaningless designation though. Of course RJ Barrett can be the highest usage player on a given team because, well, anyone can. Iguodala could’ve been too.

    Can RJ Barrett be the highest usage player on a contender? I think the answer is no, and for that reason I think a lot of people are asking the wrong question vis-a-vis Clarke.

  252. This is a pretty specious method to determine likely outcomes. Tatum & Brown came into the league much better than RJ.

    yea no…

    player A – 2p% .482 ft% .654 3p% .294 pts 21.2 reb 7.8 ast 2.9 stl 1.2 blk 0.9
    player B – 2p% .529 ft% .665 3p% .308 pts 25.7 reb 8.6 ast 4.9 stl 1.0 blk 0.5

    choose…

  253. THCJ – I’m not clear what those numbers are and for whom. I think the 2003-04 numbers are Wade’s at age 22 and that the second number is WS/48. Can you clarify?

  254. The Honorable Cock Jowles: I’m going to give you another chance to read my argument before I light yours on fire with an aerosol can and a blowtorch.

    ‘m a curious soul, so I’ve read all your stuff. It’s mostly all purely reductionist and you seem to have no sense whatsoever that players tend to get better with time. I see no evidence whatsoever that you know much of anything about basketball and then you kind of strut and peacock around as if you somehow have superior knowledge. That’s rather amusing, you must admit. And usually people who ridicule the eye test are people who don’t have the eye for the subject matter at issue and then default to thinking no one else does either. One can’t help but see more than a little bit of that at work here, too.

  255. I think you’re vastly overstating the likelihood RJ turns into Ingram.

    i showed you the comps he had in college… showed that he performed as well and in some cases better than his peers and showed how he was similar to ingram in his first year…. i made no proclamations that he’s guaranteed to do anything…. merely that he is performing inline with his peer group….

    and you’re making some pretty bold proclamations based on…. the eye test….

    what’s this about specious again?

  256. That’s an interesting non-response. Do you want to try again?

    THCJ – I’m not clear what those numbers are and for whom. I think the 2003-04 numbers are Wade’s at age 22 and that the second number is WS/48. Can you clarify?

    The second number is TS% , which is adjusted for league-average, like OPS or ERA .

    In 2004, .530 was 103% of league average. In 2020, it 94% of league average. Wade’s rookie campaign was outstanding, for the era. If he put up those exact numbers in 2019-20, he would have been substantially less productive.

    Edit: I see the issue now. Apparently the text field will not accept a plus symbol and it’s removed after submission. So it should be TS% PLUS SIGN.

  257. The Honorable Cock Jowles: Iguodala’s .555 career TS% means he was above average over the course of his career. If Barrett lands at .555, he’ll be below average, and the league continues to trend upward as almost all players are practicing deep jump shots out of the womb at this point.

    It won’t mean anything of the sort, but in any event all I said is that if RJ gets his TS% to somewhere around 555 he’ll be a multiple time all-star, and he will be. I’m too busy to start running through the whole list of current guys, but the first one I picked on the 2020 all-star list was Donovan Mitchell and his 2020 TS% was 558. I suppose it’s possible that I picked the one guy at random who had the very lowest TS% of the 2020 all-stars and if that’s the case, guilty as charged. But it’s still all-star level.

  258. djphan: i showed you the comps he had in college… showed that he performed as well and in some cases better than his peers and showed how he was similar to ingram in his first year…. i made no proclamations that he’s guaranteed to do anything…. merely that he is performing inline with his peer group….

    Cool, let’s ignore the year RJ spent in the NBA as a rookie in which both Brown and Tatum out produced RJ. I was referring to their rookie years.

    djphan: what’s this about specious again?

      

    Arbitrarily choosing 6 players is what exactly?

  259. Yeah, Wade was a high performing rookie (given that most rookies suck). Then he was very good his second year and a superstar his third. And was great in college too. He was a lot older than RJ but he also didn’t have all the resources RJ has had.

    I loved watching Wade when he came into the league and had him on a fantasy team too. Very hard to find guards who average 2 steals and a block. He was such a dynamic athlete, words you would never use to describe RJ.

    It’s not particularly fair to RJ to comp him to a HOF, I have to say, but if we are doing it then it’s only fair to say he doesn’t remotely resemble one.

    And yeah, there is a chance that RJ ends up an all star but that’s meaningless except that it might trigger some escalator on a stupid contract we gave him.

  260. Ah, so you are showing how 55% is now below the bar. Gotcha.
    I agree that a consistent TS% of 55% for RJ would be the floor he needs to establish. That was what he did in the 6 games in March. I’m hopeful but I’m still skeptical about RJ. I’ve lost hope in Frank and Knox.

    Yes, Clarke is much better at this point and probably going forward. Rewinding to last year’s draft with comparisons to a player we’ll never see on this roster unless Clarke becomes a free agent, doesn’t get me excited. Nerlens Noel was drafted 9 picks ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted and, of course, Anthony Bennett was drafted first. That’s how drafts go and we move forward and worry about getting better.

  261. Tatum & Brown came into the league much better than RJ.

    vs.

    I was referring to their rookie years

    ok…..

    Arbitrarily choosing 6 players is what exactly?

    what’s arbitrary about rjs peer group?

    what’s less arbitrary for you then and more applicable… let’s see it ..

  262. The era adjustment is trickier than at first glance. A lot of guys even in 2003 *couldn’t* really shoot the 3 well — D-Wade among them. They really shouldn’t get “credit” versus today’s guys for the fact that most of the league *wasn’t* really shooting the 3 that much.

    But in any event, D-Wade was only set out as yet another example of the way players of a certain type who’ve shown the ability to drive offense at a young age can grow. Even guys who haven’t driven offense at RJ’s level young have grown into stars and superstars. T-Mac was one; there are a bunch of others, I’m sure.

  263. Right now RJ doesn’t shoot well, doesn’t finish well at the rim and is an abysmal free throw shooter. That’s, uh, kind of a lot of things to fix. Maybe it’s possible. I hope so, because I like the rest of his game. The whole “throwing the ball in the basket” part really needs some work though.

  264. I think I am the only person who both thinks highly of Barrett and would still probably trade him for Clarke.

    I think Barrett showed a lot of promise last year. His efficiency was very bad but I think part of that was our terrible offense. Almost every player on the Knicks shot career lows in eFG% and TS%. I think he was better than his overall statistical profile showed. This year will really bear that out. If his efficiency shoots up to close to league average levels, which I think it will, his future will look bright, if it stays sub .50% TS% then we can start writing the obituary.

    As for Clarke, there are still a lot of question marks. His shooting could be a mirage and if that went away his usage could easily drop to the 14-15% range and he will be much more of the pure role player that E and djphan already think he is. On the other hand, his shooting could be real and he could take an additional 2-3 3pt shots a game and his usage could climb. 18.5% usage as a 23-year-old rookie isn’t low. Jimmy Butler didn’t top that will his fourth season at age 25, Kawhi didn’t top it till his fourth season at age 23, Siakim had a 15.7 usage at age 23 in his second season and barely topped it in season 3 with a 20.8 usage.

    This next year will be very important for both Clarke and Barrett. I think both will keep developing and both will have value. If I had to choose I would take Clarke because he has already proven to be a starter-level player in the NBA, and we need as many of those as we can get right now, but I think both will look like future all-stars this season even if Barrett will likely still be a couple years away and Clarke might very well get there this year.

  265. Just wanted to pop in to say that Rudy Gobert is a top 10 player in the league and he absolutely cannot be the #1 offensive option on a team. Shot creation is important but you can be a superstar without having pretty much any ability to make your own shot–you just have to make your mark in other ways. Clarke can be that kind of guy if his defense is for real, though he’ll never quite be Gobert, an all-timer of a defender at C.

    I would trade Clarke for RJ (pre-draft or if we didn’t draft Obi), simply because I don’t think RJ will reach his high-level outcome after his awful first season. But I’m not super down on him. He’ll probably end up being a decent if unspectacular player like Rudy Gay.

  266. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada:
    Just wanted to pop in to say that Rudy Gobert is a top 10 player in the league and he absolutely cannot be the #1 offensive option on a team. Shot creation is important but you can be a superstar without having pretty much any ability to make your own shot–you just have to make your mark in other ways. Clarke can be that kind of guy if his defense is for real, though he’ll never quite be Gobert, an all-timer of a defender at C.

    Rudy Gobert is the 100th percentile outcome for a player who can not drive offense and I think it’s pretty clear that even he is not one of the 10 best guys in the league: he has 0 top-10 BPM seasons in his career, one 2nd and 2 3rd team all-NBA seasons, one season in which he got an MVP vote (finished 11th that year), one all-star appearance. I don’t see any way to conclude he is one of the 10 best guys. I think he’s a pretty perfect example of the idea that there’s a hard limit on how valuable you can be if you can’t drive offense.

  267. Speaking of Rudy Gay, I do think it’s fascinating to think of what Donovan Mitchell’s reputation and outlook would be if he hadn’t played with Gobert. I love those kind of counterfactuals. Where would Mitch be reputation wise if the Lakers had taken him for instance?

    Did I mention that Ringer piece on Christian Wood? The guy dominated the D-League (apparently) and put up pretty strong numbers in the scattered 500 minutes he was allowed to play across his first three seasons in the NBA. And then basically fell into more minutes last year by accident and was awesome but in a way you could totally have predicted from that 500 minute sample.

    It’s such a strong contrast with a guy like Barrett or any of these other prospects who have been anointed and carefully managed for so many years. The story outlines the situation, basically bad work ethic and a diva complex that he only really shook after getting cut by a Chinese League team.

    But that in itself is amazing. How the hell did a Chinese league team cut Christian Wood?

  268. Gobert is top 5 in both PIPM and RAPTOR and borderline top 10 by RPM. I’d also be willing to bet money that he’s top 10 in DRAPM though I can’t find those numbers right now (paging ptmilo). BPM is not very good at capturing overall defensive contribution, since rebounding, blocks, and steals are pretty weak proxies for good D.

    But let’s change up the diet of examples: How about Bill Russell, a top 10 player of all-time who was a barely above average offensive player? Peak Dwight Howard? Peak Draymond? KG? John Stockton? These are all superstar level players at peak who did not contribute that much in terms of shot-making. I agree that the superstar archetype is usually a shot maker, partly because offense is more valuable than defense, but there are plenty of ways to be a top 10 player that don’t involve elite shot-making. Lack of shot-making just means you have to be that good in other respects, say by being a disruptive defender who also scores 20 ppg on Shaq efficiency. Is Clarke going to continue to be that? Probably not–his defense is not that good and the 2pt% is eye poppingly outlier. But if he does become that, he’s a top ten player even if he gets 80% of his baskets assisted. Productivity doesn’t care about who’s throwing you the ball.

  269. djphan: what’s arbitrary about rjs peer group?

    what’s less arbitrary for you then and more applicable… let’s see it ..

      

    What makes this RJs peer group?

    Do they all profile the same way? Play the same way?

    Why are we ignoring his rookie year by only looking at draft position?

    Ingram appears to be a success, but do all or even most players who put up multiple years of mediocre numbers suddenly blossom or is this actually a rare occurrence? A sample of 1 player doesn’t seem very indicative.

  270. Sorry, top 10 in RAPM, not DRAPM.

    Edit: Let me modulate my statement a little bit. Clarke is not an elite defender, but if he were an elite defender and scored 20 ppg at his efficiency while adding some kind of secondary skill–either passing or 3 point shooting, he’d be in the conversation for a top 10 player, and it would be merited.

  271. Also: Can we get rid of the edit timer on KB? Sometimes I’m thinking and run out of time to edit. Surely we’re not worried about people selectively editing their past contributions in order to misrepresent things, right? If not, then why have an edit timer?

  272. What makes this RJs peer group?

    they were all picked in the top 5 in the last 6 drafts and all played in college…. and rj performed probably right in the middle of that whole group and yes performed better in college than guys who made it… jaylen brown and brandon ingram…..

    Why are we ignoring his rookie year by only looking at draft position?

    because we were talking about the draft….

  273. I agree that the superstar archetype is usually a shot maker, partly because offense is more valuable than defense, but there are plenty of ways to be a top 10 player that don’t involve elite shot-making.

    I agree with most of what you said and I think we’re actually mostly in agreement but a couple things I want to add: first, the word “plenty” here sticks in my craw a little. Basically every guy you listed was somewhere between all-league and all-timer level as a defensive player. So I would argue that really there’s precisely one way to be a true superstar level guy without primary shot creation skills, and that’s the combination of all-league defense and very good secondary offensive skills. But I’ll concede to you that it is possible.

    But the point I started out trying to make (which I openly admit to having cribbed from Partnow) is that if you have one of the kind of superstar you’re describing, you still need to find at least “pretty good” shot creation somewhere and shot creation is the hardest skill to find guys who are “pretty good” at, because it’s so rare and so coveted and so valuable that even the guys who are pretty good at it are on max contracts and are incredibly highly valued by their current teams. Because of that I think you end up with the conclusion that it’s much harder to put together a team that looks like elite secondary skills guys plus pretty good shot creation than the other way around, and I think that’s borne out by the history of who does most of the winning of championships in the modern NBA.

  274. I think in the end we’re mostly agreeing as well. I guess my worry is this: I don’t really know what “elite shot creation” means and what essential role it’s supposed to play in a modern NBA offense. It’s a pretty nebulous term. I think Nikola Jokic is an elite offensive player–perhaps even an elite shot maker (his touch is unreal and his TS% is routinely 60%), while having little to not shot creation, since he doesn’t put the ball on the floor. But, he’s still a top 10 player, and one of the five best offensive players in the league, even if he’s not an elite shot creator per se. No one on the recent WCF Nuggets team would fit the mold of elite shot-creator except maybe Jamal Murray on a good day. In this day and age dominant offenses are usually driven by elite shot creators (e.g. Harden, KD), but I don’t think that’s a necessary condition on good NBA offense, though it makes things easier.

    On the other hand, I agree that it’s much harder to find elite shot creation than elite secondary skills guys, but I think that’s just as much a consequence of a market preference among GMs. And I think the fact that teams with elite shot creators have won the majority of championships is just reflective of the fact that in a superstar dominated league like the NBA the best players of all time usually win rings. I don’t think it serves as evidence that elite shot creation is inherently better for winning championships than having a bunch of efficient scorers who can, say, pass and play d (like the chip-winning Knicks of yore or maybe the pre-Kawhi Spurs depending on what you think of Manu/Parker…), though certainly the best teams usually have both. In the end I’m just not sure there’s much of a reason to harp on guys who can shot create in team construction versus guys who can, say, penetrate, dish, and score efficiently by picking their spots.

  275. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada: KG? John Stockton? These are all superstar level players at peak who did not contribute that much in terms of shot-making.

    I beg to differ on these two…KG averaged 18 shots per game for most of his prime in Minny, then took a back seat in Boston…but was still a shot-creator when needed (killed us many a time from mid-range in crunch time.) Stockton took fewer shots but could score any time he wanted to and in a bunch of different ways. You might as well include guys like Magic Johnson and Reggie Miller if you’re including Stockton and Garnett.

  276. It’s been awhile since someone pointed to All-Star selections as an indicator of production. Really great chatting with y’all in this, the year of our Lord, 2007.

    And this E fucker has the gall to talk about reductionist takes. What a fucking troll.

  277. TS% has never really been a metric that you could eyeball the Top 10 guys and go, “ooh, yeah, look at all the stars there, that’s a really important number” but even since 2007, it’s become more and more removed from that. Last year’s Top 10 are

    M. Robinson
    Ol’ Stale Dwight
    Gobert
    D. Robinson
    Clarke
    J. Allen
    Collins
    Wood
    Thomas Bryant
    Seth Curry

    It barely even correlates with being “good” (other than in a tautological sense) much less anything much more than that. In 2007, the list was

    Nash
    Amare
    Mikki Moore (an old school precursor to the Aldrich/M. Robinson/WHG line)
    Prime Dwight
    Kevin Martin
    Nene
    Biedrins
    Eddy Curry in his one good year (LOL)
    Dirk
    Manu
    … then Chauncy and Yao.

    That’s a pretty nice group.

    So basically the modern breakdown of 3PT, 2PT, pace, and FT is severing most/all the connection between TS% and being good. This is the kind of looking behind the numbers thing that has to be done rather than just rote reciting them.

  278. I think it also has to do a bit with the nature of the game itself and how uber talented prospects are developed. Like, if you pick up LeBron James and remove his ability to dribble the ball extremely well, he’s still a top tier player in literally every other aspect of the game and very likely still one of the top 5 players in the league, and definitely a guy who would be a part of teams that win a championship. It’s more that every guy who’s not extremely tall ends up developing dribbling and shot creation skills because they’ve always had the ball in their hands, they’ve always been the best player on the court at every level and it’s just logical to keep the ball in the hands of the best player the most.

    The only cases you can hypothetically think of a LeBron like player without the shot creation would be elite centers, like Silky mentioned, or old school point guards that were not expected to score much, which are pretty much extinct in the league by now. I’m on the camp that a team could absolutely win a title with Jokic as the best player, as the Spurs won with Duncan as their best player etc, but it requires a very specific situation for a player like that to develop.

  279. this thread has been fun and i appreciate the distraction. list post then a word post.

    gobert’s overall rapm for the last five seasons is 10th. he is first or second on defense and pretty highly ranked on offense but not elite, somewhere around the 15-20% percentile. to me it looked like he lost a half step last year, but last year was weird.

    curry
    lebron
    cp3
    embiid
    lowry
    butler
    holiday
    kawhi
    jokic
    gobert

    edit: that’s top ten one version of rapm over the last 5 years. no i am not saying holiday is better than kawhi.

  280. To further the point, Nash and Amare of the D’Antoni modern ball Suns likely got a massive tailwind from being far more close to modern in terms of shot/pace breakdown than the rest of the league, which kind of confirms the hypothesis.

  281. I think in the end we’re mostly agreeing as well. I guess my worry is this: I don’t really know what “elite shot creation” means and what essential role it’s supposed to play in a modern NBA offense. It’s a pretty nebulous term.

    I agree it’s a fairly nebulous term, but I certainly think Jokic qualifies. He’s 7 feet and kind of chubby, but he can bring the ball up the court, score from inside and outside, score in isolation, pass, he has everything you’d expect except the normal shape and size. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a guy who can run a PnR in my eyes; basically the way I think of it is a guy who “give the ball to X” constitutes a pretty good to maybe even great offensive play, basically regardless of circumstance.

    And I think the fact that teams with elite shot creators have won the majority of championships is just reflective of the fact that in a superstar dominated league like the NBA the best players of all time usually win rings.

    The fact that the guys generally considered the best of all time and the elite shot creators have a strong overlap was really the point I was trying to make. You can certainly pick out teams who had great winning formulas (not even talking just about championships) built in a different way, they’re just rarer is my only point.

  282. Z-man: I beg to differ on these two…KG averaged 18 shots per game for most of his prime in Minny, then took a back seat in Boston…but was still a shot-creator when needed (killed us many a time from mid-range in crunch time.) Stockton took fewer shots but could score any time he wanted to and in a bunch of different ways. You might as well include guys like Magic Johnson and Reggie Miller if you’re including Stockton and Garnett.

    Well, let me rephrase: They did not contribute much in terms of shot creation for themselves. I think this is part of my issue with the idea of the “elite shot-creator” role. I understand what paradigm cases of “elite shot creator” look like: MJ, James Harden, and KD. But surely John Stockton and KG are not shot creators the same way that MJ, Harden and KD are, even if they did or could take a lot of shots–they’re not, for example, elite iso scorers, who can score from anywhere on the floor in a myriad of ways. Rather, they’re just elite offensive players despite their not being an elite shot-creator in the intended sense. So I think “elite shot-creation” in the intended sense is a red herring as far as team-construction goes. What we care about are guys who can contribute to a well-run NBA offense. So I don’t think elite shot creation is some uniquely valuable thing qua team productivity–it’s just particularly scarce in the market, so when you’re trying to assemble the final iso-scoring puzzle piece for a champ team you have to back up the Brinks truck for it. As far as Clarke and RJ go, I don’t think we would be much or at all worse off if we traded for Clarke and they both ended up being top 10 players, but RJ was an elite shot creator and Clarke wasn’t. It would depend on the alternatives, financially and player-wise, which we don’t have access to in this counterfactual.

  283. Z-man: I beg to differ on these two… You might as well include guys like Magic Johnson and Reggie Miller if you’re including Stockton and Garnett.

    No, we’re not including Reggie Miller in anything. Let’s agree we don’t talk about that dumb prick.

  284. Brandon Clarke may expand his offensive game, but for now he’s pretty limited. If he was Steve Novak on D, he’d likely have no place in an NBA rotation. That said, being a consummate glue guy is incredibly valuable. It’s easy to find guys who are good-very good in that role, but guys that are great at it are few and far between. Draymond, Battier, Marion, etc. I’m not convinced that Clark will get to that level, but he’s approaching it.

  285. I think people overrate shot creation. It is how not elite players like Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony get elevated as some of the best players in the game all the while never making it anywhere in the playoffs and overall being considered overrated by stats guys.

    What you need to win a championship in the NBA is a top 5-10 player and a good team around them. It is true that all of the top 5-10 players are shot creators but that does not mean that being a shot creator is inherently a more important skill than other things like efficient scoring, or passing, or defense.

    Unless you are an elite shot creator it is better for you to take a more secondary role and be efficient than it is to dominate the ball and score 25 while driving down your team’s offensive rating. The problem with shot creators is frequently when on a team with better, actual elite shot creators they become redundant and don’t help the team nearly as much as if they were better secondary scorers. It is why Westbrook couldn’t exist with Harden and why Carmelo couldn’t adjust to a more secondary role as he got older.

    So unless a player looks like he is going to become one of the top 10 players in the NBA I will take efficiency over shot creation every day.

  286. I can’t believe we’re still effectively litigating Melo v Tyson 8 years later….

  287. Also, BenR, I’m glad you’re posting again, because I find I agree with you most of the time.

  288. About the open discussion RJ versus Clarke, i think every year we tend to do this – try to compare the 19 years old high-ceiling rookie with the 23 years old high-floor rookie – although all of us had agreed at the draft that the latter was going to have a huge impact right out of the gate whereas the former would need 3/4 years to reach his ceiling.

    So for now, i’m still on camp RJ!

    And by the way, i think we shouldn’t trade for a PF with a 3PAr of .134, that’s the opposite of a strecht-4. Or are we trading Mitch also?

  289. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada: But surely John Stockton and KG are not shot creators the same way that MJ, Harden and KD are, even if they did or could take a lot of shots–they’re not, for example, elite iso scorers, who can score from anywhere on the floor in a myriad of ways

    I still disagree somewhat. They had such a high skill level that they could score whenever they wanted to in isolation. They just chose to pick their spots. Most of the time they preferred to make other players better.

    It doesn’t change your general point, I just disagree with these two being included.

  290. We aren’t going to kick having old arguments to the curb…

    It’s a big part of what we do here….

  291. One of the things I sincerely love most about this blog is how passionate people get about arguments like Barrett v Clarke and Frank v his value (or lack thereof) that most NBA fans would dismiss as trivial. The specific topic might very well be trivial in the grand scheme of the NBA, but you get to see a lot of interesting arguments about what people value about NBA productivity.

  292. Owen:
    We aren’t going to kick having old arguments to the curb…

    It’s a big part of what we do here….

    LOL! That’s funny! ;)

  293. what is the marginal value of a wing with high usage but medium efficiency compared to a big with low usage, high efficiency, and high versatility? it’s always been a hard question. i think it’s useful to stick to the aforementioned comparison and not throw in bigs with severe spacing or defense limitations like favors, harrell, holmes or noel, all of whom have more polarized value contributions.

    the tricky thing about this is how all or nothing it is. i think if you can (1) shoot from the outside (3) be a non-terrible passer (2) be a 25% usage guy with near league average efficiency, you are almost always a scarce and valuable offensive player. you can try to isolate these traits and regress them against orapm samples and you get good things. last year these are the jamal murray and cj mccollum types. i added shoot because there is some evidence with obvious intuitions behind that the shot creation by players with this profile who don’t shoot threes is quite a less valuable on average. the counter to this: efficiency fall off matters a ton, both in terms of actual value added to an offense and the surprising number of players who can get 25% usage at modestly worse efficiency, say more in the .51 to .54 range today. guys like dillon brooks, terry rozier, devonte graham, kyle kuzma, kenrick nunn can all provide this if you just stick them in a lineup where they are the alpha creator.

    meanwhile a truly versatile big has become a rare and valuable thing. pj tucker is a sort of caricature of this kind of versatility with just zero shot creation but has been a very valuable player, even before entering hardenville. paul millsap was mentioned above but this is an awful example. millsap has been an incredibly valuable nba player precisely bc of genuine two-way versatility, undoubtedly (to me) a more valuable player in his prime than the medium efficiency high volume guys. it’s still unclear how much genuine versatility clarke will turn out to have.

  294. The thing about Clarke that I think is largely being dismissed is he was not low usage. He was medium usage, he scored over 19 pts per/36. The fact that even as a rookie he managed to have a decent usage shows the potential in my opinion to maybe become a higher usage player. No, you are not going to isolate Clarke on the wing and let him get to work but, if his shooting is real, he could easily raise his usage up to 21-22 and become the 2nd or 3rd option on a good team.

  295. ptmilo: what is the marginal value of a wing with high usage but medium efficiency compared to a big with low usage, high efficiency, and high versatility? it’s always been a hard question.

    It’s comparing apples and oranges. These are different roles. I don’t expect to take Noel and Mitch to drive the team offensively, but they can, none-the-less, be dominant in certain needed areas. Ideally, you want high usage, high efficiency players but there’s only one Greek Freak.

  296. rama is cautiously optimistic:
    I can’t believe we’re still effectively litigating Melo v Tyson 8 years later….

    I think it’s funny that the advanced metrics now in vogue clearly favor Melo (by a lot). Tyson only really became the stats choice at the time because the metrics in use were so awful.

  297. A team made up of the top ten TS%ers of 2007 is a championship-caliber team, as is a team made up of the top 10 usage guys in 2020 (and I’m certain, 2007) .

    The outlier is the top 10 in TS% in 2020, which isn’t even a playoff team. Figuring out how the game has gotten that way will answer a lot of these questions. The starting point clearly is the significantly changed mix of 3’s, 2’s, FT’s, and pace and together with that, something to do with the decline in congestion in the lane would be my guess. But efficiency has been decoupled from quality massively in just the last 13 years, at least at the very high end.

  298. this clarke and rj discussion is good stuff, straining my brain a bit, but player valuation is intriguing…

    if we’re just talking on the offensive side, usage and efficiency are critical…so, what more does a guy like clarke or mitch have to add to be more effective offensively?

  299. rama – I tend to post more at the beginning of the season and offseason. I’m like the KP of posters I come on real strong but after a month into the season I start to drop off and by January I’ve disappeared completely.

    E – The top 10 usage guys for the most part have and are allowed by their coaches to have high usage because they are elite. It doesn’t mean having high usage is necessarily an indicator of being elite it just means there is no way a good coach is letting a mediocre player post a 30+ usage even if he was capable of it.

  300. LiAngelo Ball to the Pistons on a 1-year non-guaranteed deal.

    NEVA LOST~

    They waived Zhaire Smith for this?

  301. if we’re just talking on the offensive side, usage and efficiency are critical…so, what more does a guy like clarke or mitch have to add to be more effective offensively?

    bam or brook. pass or shoot.

  302. i think it’s useful to stick to the aforementioned comparison and not throw in bigs with severe spacing or defense limitations like favors, harrell, holmes or noel, all of whom have more polarized value contributions.

    all those bigs that were mentioned because they offered similar approximate value to clarke… they might do so in different ways or be at different stages of their career but they all can provide very similar value as a rim runner…. outside shooter…. rebounder… defender ….. and the numbers show that there’s not much separating any of these guys….. favors.. harrell… holmes or noel are more polarized versions of clarke but you’re sacrificing some outside shooting ability for more paint protection….. on some or even most teams you would gladly trade that off….

    and that’s the point… clarke is a good big but isn’t likely to be appreciably better than other bigs or even be versatile… he’s just like every other good big… that doesn’t mean he’s a carbon copy of serge ibaka… but if you called up the clips and asked them to trade ibaka for clarke they probably wouldn’t do that….

    and that’s why seemingly good bigs have had a tough market…. every team has a good big… even the knicks! what makes clarke so special… he’s not even that versatile relative to these other bigs…

    he’s a fine player.. but this type of player is generally not going to get too much better and in the case of clarke is likely to regress a lot…. someone made the comp before of dwight powell and i think that’s pretty appropriate here… and i don’t think anyone really gave dwight powell a second thought on this board….

  303. The thing about Clarke that I think is largely being dismissed is he was not low usage. He was medium usage, he scored over 19 pts per/36.

    82% of his shots were assisted! yes at a raw usage cap ~20 is pretty good… but it’s not sustainable….. once that drops to a normal ~70ish% then his usage will crater to ~14-15….

    he wasn’t exactly known for his shot creating ability in college and it’s not like he was developing that at all last year so it’s very likely he’s going to regress a ton…

  304. Just listened to Austin Rivers media soundbites from today. Loved what he had to say. Essentially:

    -Obi is beyond a freak athlete
    -Came to NY to try to turn things around, went from being one of the youngest guys to the 2nd oldest
    -Has been the young guy on a very good team, now wants new challenge to bring NYK back, to be a role-model vet with playoff experience on a young team, same with Burks.
    -wants to teach young guys how to compete hard
    -brought up Clips after CP3 and Blake were traded, how his dad coached a team of excellent role players to ignore expectations and overachieved; when they went to the playoffs they became attractive to FA stars.

  305. At least we’re not the Pistons. Damn.

    I think we got incredibly lucky with our draft position this year. I am all out on LaMelo – I think he’s a total trap pick, in that he’ll flash enough to make you think he could be amazing but never deliver enough on a consistently high level to make your team good. I am so relieved we don’t have him. He’ll be more than Wiggins, but a similar kind of all upside pick that never materializes. And Wiseman may end up being good, but he’d be making five times what Mitch is! Beyond that, there’s so much variability….I am not sure Obi was the right pick, but I also can’t point to any player chosen ahead of him that I pine for.

    More importantly, the salary difference for #1 and #8 is not small – it has a real impact on your available cap space. $4 mil now, $4.5 mil in year 3 …. that is a big deal.

    We got lucky, even though it may not have looked like it.

  306. What’s the hive mind’s thoughts on a good over/under for Michael Jordan punching LaMelo in the face before the end of his rookie contract?

  307. djphan – you talk about Clarke as though he is a five-year veteran. He was a rookie last year, the fact that he produces as much or more than very good role-player big men in their prime like Harrell or Noel or Favors or Holmes seems to reflect really well on Clarke’s potential. None of those players were close to as good as Clarke in their rookie year.

    I know Clarke was on the older side as a rookie but that does not mean he is done growing as a player. Most players, even ones that entered the NBA at *gasp* 23 tend to improve on their rookie year.

  308. he’s 24 now…. he’s what two years younger than noel? 3 years younger than harrel?

    what was your view on the potential of noel and harrell that long ago?

  309. he’s a fine player.. but this type of player is generally not going to get too much better and in the case of clarke is likely to regress a lot…. someone made the comp before of dwight powell and i think that’s pretty appropriate here… and i don’t think anyone really gave dwight powell a second thought on this board….

    dwight powell is a solid bad case choice for clarke, not expected. powell has averaged 7.9 2PA for his career, clarke did 11.5 at 66% as a rookie. powell has tried to shoot threes but it hasn’t worked out and defenses treat him like he’s brad stevens running on the court to call a timeout. whether clarke can become half a threat out there is tbd. but if this was a conversation about bad cases, rj would lose. it’s about good cases. i don’t know rj’s good case. it’s not james harden. is it cory maggette? in that case the trade makes sense at almost any realistic probability of hitting it. if it’s better than that at a reasonable chance, it gets harder. i don’t know really know clarke’s good case. maybe larry nance sr.

  310. Age isn’t the only factor in improving as a player, experience is also important. Rookies tend to improve over their first 2-3 seasons even old ones. After that older rookies tend to level off and young rookies often keep improving. Age is a factor but so is experience. By age 26 I would expect Clarke to be in the same developmental space as age 26 Noel or Harrell but you cannot compare a 23-year-old rookie and a 23-year-old 4-year veteran and expect them to be at the same level developmentally.

  311. dwight powell is a solid bad case choice for clarke, not expected

    is it really?
    %assisted fgs for clarke 82%

    career %assisted fgs for powell 84%
    look at powell’s career years coinciding with doncic on the team…. not a huge coincidence….

    these guys are very dependent on the team around them…. the secondary #s are pretty similar… 3p shooting powell isn’t strong in but it’s not clarke was shooting a ton from the outside either…

    what exactly do ppl think clarke is? do ppl think he’s going to be draymond green running the break and guarding all 5 positions or something? have ppl actually seen him play outside of youtube videos?

  312. The Honorable Cock Jowles: Well, for one, he roasted the 7th-ranked OKC defense for 27 points on 19 shots in just 25 minutes. At what point do you think Mike Malone said, “Hey, we should probably try to slow that rookie down?” And if he didn’t say that, why is he employed as a basketball coach?

    There are going to be nights or even matchups when guys I consider high level role players are going to go off. IMO, the real test is a series of games in the playoffs when good teams are making adjustments and game planning to stop whatever was hurting them previously. If good teams (plural) are focused on stopping a player and the best they can do is slow him down a little, that’s a serious #1 or #2 option. Then it’s on him to try to expand what he’s been doing or try something else to counter it. If he can’t, then maybe he comes back the following year with another new weapon (like Giannis is still trying to add a 3). When all you have in your bag of tricks is 2 things and they take 1 away, it becomes problematical to adjust back. You are a role player. If they consider you a problem and they have the right matchup, they’ll slow you down enough to not worry about you anymore.

    There’s no reason Clarke can’t add new tricks, but to be that real key piece he’ll have to do that.

  313. @ShamsCharania:
    Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $85 million maximum contract extension with the franchise (contract runs through 2023 — when his son, Bronny, graduates high school and could have option to enter the NBA Draft if the league and NBPA change the high school-to-pro rule)

    So next AD signs also a 3 year contract, becoming a free-agent only in 2023. And maybe followed by Giannis’ max extension.
    The so called “star studded” 2021 free agency is getting weaker by the day.

    I secretly want Kawhi, so all is still good for me!

  314. High usage reflects an expectation/role (#1 or 2 option) that implies a justifying skill level in the ability to make shots efficiently when covered. RJ’s high usage role in college reflected expectations based on his HS rep that he had that skill level, and persisted despite his inefficiency because of his teams’ success. Because he was the number 3 pick, it was easy to predict that he’d be overused as a Knick rookie and expected to create more shots than his past performance suggested he could handle efficiently. The team and his development both suffered from those misplaced expectations.

    If they’d insisted on better shot selection and given him a more limited role, I suspect we’d think of him as more valuable now and be clamoring for him to be given a larger role. When usage and scoring efficiency don’t scale together I bet it’s often because of reputation effects like this dominating a more straightforward rewarding of performance.

  315. So what I’m hearing is that Clarke is truly elite at putting himself in positions to get assisted baskets. The fact that he got so many high percentage assisted shots tells me he must be really good at putting himself in a position to catch a pass and score a basket. He does this better than and more often than Powell, or Noel, or Holmes and he is only a rookie. Imagine if he gets even better at putting himself in advantageous positions to catch even more passes.

    Karl Malone over the last 8 years of his career (I only have the last 8 because before that the stat wasn’t kept, I’m guessing it is probably mostly the same throughout his career) had over 79% of his baskets assisted. Including two seasons (age 33 and 34) where he scored over 27 points a game. I am not comparing Malone and Clarke just pointing out that having your baskets be assisted does not mean you are a one-dimensional offensive player.

    Having his shots be assisted isn’t a bug but a feature of a player like Clarke. The fact that he can score almost 20 points per 36 and not need the ball in his hands is an asset, not a weakness.

  316. Z-man: -brought up Clips after CP3 and Blake were traded, how his dad coached a team of excellent role players to ignore expectations and overachieved; when they went to the playoffs they became attractive to FA stars.

    Just listened to it too. That last bullet is the most important. I won’t belabor my points but that was the underlying objective that I’m worried we will not achieve.

  317. Age isn’t the only factor in improving as a player, experience is also important. Rookies tend to improve over their first 2-3 seasons even old ones.

    this is true… but this is usually true from someone coming from a low point of production .. say if they were shooting poorly… and then gradually improve that aspect over the years…. that is basically what happened to draymond….

    but by and large older prospects that come into the league are generally already at the tail end of their development curve….. they’re not adding new skills…. well passing sort of tends to develop later… .but in terms of scoring or even defensive ability (from a box score perspective) clarke isn’t going to turn into tim duncan ….

    more reading on this subject:
    https://bleacherreport.com/articles/964894-nba-draft-why-age-should-be-a-big-factor-when-evaluating-prospects

  318. So what I’m hearing is that Clarke is truly elite at putting himself in positions to get assisted baskets. The fact that he got so many high percentage assisted shots tells me he must be really good at putting himself in a position to catch a pass and score a basket.

    Karl Malone over the last 8 years of his career (I only have the last 8 because before that the stat wasn’t kept, I’m guessing it is probably mostly the same throughout his career) had over 79% of his baskets assisted. Including two seasons (age 33 and 34) where he scored over 27 points a game. I am not comparing Malone and Clarke just pointing out that having your baskets be assisted does not mean you are a one-dimensional offensive player.

    so your first inclination is to say that brandon clarke is karl malone and that he is truly elite vs something must be incredibly off about it?

    ok i’ll bite… why? what specifically about his game is comparable to karl malone….

  319. what exactly do ppl think clarke is? do ppl think he’s going to be draymond green running the break and guarding all 5 positions or something? have ppl actually seen him play outside of youtube videos?

    i’ll tell you what i hate most about the haveuevenseenhimplay police. it’s that when the answer is ‘i’ve seen him play more nba minutes than you, djtanner,’ i have suddenly been tricked into bragging about something that should in fact be a little humiliating.

    the point you seem to be missing is that clarke has upside even if he can’t be much of a shot creator. if he merely shoots the 3 okay in addition to keeping up his short range (assisted) volume and turns out to be a pretty good, versatile defender, he is a very good player, importantly better than dwight powell. and since you watched him almost as much as the cooler kids, you know that he *already* does things on offense that dwight powell could never do, because he has better short-range touch and looks like he makes better decisions.

    you can still be a much better offensive player than dwight powell with a high assisted %. john collins has 75-78% of his shots assisted but he’s still very viable shot creator, since creation is not all about unassisted shot attempts. i do not think clarke is going to be collins as a shot creator. but he’s a decent bet to be a better offensive player than powell, and that’s even if he doesn’t shoot the 3. but it’s true that if he can’t shoot a lick from deep like powell it will still limit his upside in a meaningful way.

  320. I was actually not comparing Malone and Clarke I was simply using Malone to demonstrate that having a large % of your baskets assisted is not a death knell to being a complete offensive player. You have used the fact that 80% of Clarke’s baskets were assisted as the center point of your view that he could never be more than a role player offensively.

    Also shooting, the thing you said often improves even in older rookies, is the thing Clarke needs more than anything else to become an elite offensive player. If he all of a sudden can shoot 6+ threes while maintaining a 38%+ percentage he becomes truly special. I don’t know if this will happen and like I said his shooting could easily be a mirage but if it does he will be better than all but the most optimistic projections for Barrett.

  321. I was simply using Malone to demonstrate that having a large % of your baskets assisted is not a death knell to being a complete offensive player.

    ok so what are some other examples or is malone it? what typically do you expect with players that are 80% assisted fgs then? is it malone or is it something else?

    let’s throw john collins in also since people are finally looking into this… what is the norm here? what are we expecting?

    like are you arguing malone is the base case or is he just simply possible?

  322. Looks like ptmilo beat me to the point.

    Clarke has real upside potential as an offensive player that simply dismissing him as old, or too reliant on assists, or not high enough usage ignores. He was a fairly unprecedented college player putting up eye-popping stats and is now a fairly unprecedented rookie still putting up eye-popping stats. Let’s wait until he stops being ungodly productive before we bury his career in the only role-player coffin.

    He could regress, but so far he has only improved at every stop he’s made, I would bet on that before I would bet on a huge drop-off.

  323. the point you seem to be missing is that clarke has upside even if he can’t be much of a shot creator. if he merely shoots the 3 okay in addition to keeping up his short range (assisted) volume and turns out to be a pretty good, versatile defender, he is a very good player, importantly better than dwight powell. and since you watched him almost as much as the cooler kids, you know that he *already* does things on offense that dwight powell could never do, because he has better short-range touch and looks like he makes better decisions.

    how much of an upside is there? dwight powell with a 3pt shot… is… who exactly? paul millsap? shawn marion? are we calling clarke that? i don’t think it’s that but are you?

    is there a model out there that we’re looking at what his reasonable projection going to be so i don’t misinterpret anyone’s stances here?

  324. and for the record…. saying things are possible with clarke is A-ok…. karl malone… john collins… it’s evidence at the very least… i endorse that….

    but when we say that rj barrett could be brandon ingram…. when there’s more evidence of that across a lot more metrics… and there’s a collective… ‘naaaaah’….

    i’m kind of sensing a huge disconnect in this logic…..

  325. What in Clarke’s high TS% peer group would possibly make one think a high TS% is indicative of anything important (again beyond the tautological “he’s a good player because he has a high TS%”)? That list is pretty much just a random assortment of jabronies.

    It looks like around 62-ish is where you start getting to the actual good players in the league. We finally get down to KAT at 13 (642). We don’t get to a good guard/wing until all the way to Lillard at 17 (628). And then at that point we start getting to some real stuff — Harden at 18, AD at 21, Booker at 24, Giannis at 28. But even then, they’re sprinkled in with some fluff. Theis 23, McLemore/McDermott 25/26. What’s it even a signal of?

  326. djphan,

    I think the RJ pessimism is much more simple than what you’re making it out to be, and that might be responsible for what feels like a bit of talking past one another. RJ could become Ingram, sure. But here’s the thing: the probability that any rookie posting the productivity stats that RJ (or Ingram) posted as a Rookie becoming current-Ingram-level are pretty low in general. Even if RJ is highly similar to Ingram, that doesn’t explain why we should be so confident that RJ will break good–we should be down on RJ’s overall potential right now and update his median outcome downward after the year of data we collected. On the other hand, Clarke is already good–approximately as good as his comparison class in his first year (e.g. Powell). That gives reason to at least keep his median outcome stable or update it upward given the year of evidence we gleaned. No one thinks Clarke is likely to become Karl Malone, but even if he treads water–and we have good reason to believe he will–he will still be a good player, a useful player; and he may still be a terrific offensive player at peak, if the Grizzlies get lucky. So may RJ, but we have little reason to believe that, in the same way one had little reason to believe that Ingram was going to break good after his first year.

    The fact that Ingram ended up hitting doesn’t mean that you should’ve believed in him after year 1–when he was abjectly terrible. And it doesn’t mean we should think RJ has a 50% chance of hitting to the same degree, even if their profiles are similar; it should be significantly less than that, because players that post horrible first seasons more often than not fail. This whole discussion, it seems to me, turns on base rates that are being neglected or underemphasized. And the base rates of success–or failure, in RJ’s case–should affect your valuation of him vis a vis Clarke negatively imo.

  327. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada: On the other hand, Clarke is already good–approximately as good as his comparison class in his first year (e.g. Powell).

    Do you have an explanation as to why, beyond his true shooting percentage? Like I said, I’m looking at the TS% group, particularly his top 10 peers and I’m not really getting that signal. I have significant doubts that that roster would even make the playoffs.(*) Maybe I’m not seeing it.

    (*) Take it down to 12 so you get another guard in there and the starting lineup is Seth Curry, JJ Redick, Duncan Robinson, Brandon Clarke, and Rudy Gobert. Sorry, but I’m just not salivating to have that as my starting lineup.

  328. djphan: so your first inclination is to say that brandon clarke is karl malone and that he is truly elite vs something must be incredibly off about it?

    ok i’ll bite… why? what specifically about his game is comparable to karl malone….

    I guess you missed this part…

    Ben R: I am not comparing Malone and Clarke just pointing out that having your baskets be assisted does not mean you are a one-dimensional offensive player.

    Says something about you.

  329. In 2007, the top TS% starting lineup would have been Nash, Manu, Dirk, Amare, Prime Dwight. Bench of Chauncey, Yao, and Kevin Martin. Probably a championship winner. Quite the difference. So something else, something dramatic, is happening with TS% as a signal. It basically isn’t even a signal at all anymore. Used to be an excellent one, now isn’t one at all.

  330. RJ could become Ingram, sure. But here’s the thing: the probability that any rookie posting the productivity stats that RJ (or Ingram) posted as a Rookie becoming current-Ingram-level are pretty low in general. Even if RJ is highly similar to Ingram, that doesn’t explain why we should be so confident that RJ will break good–we should be down on RJ’s overall potential right now and update his median outcome downward after the year of data we collected.

    this is a good point…. but consider….

    a player like rj playing bad in his rookie year is not the same as ….. kevin knox playing bad in his rookie year or myles powell… or some random 2nd rd pick or udfa…. this isn’t a one size fits all… pedigree matters and it is proven to have predictive value… that is why preseason high school rankings have some predictive value… it is why draft position has predictive value.. silky out of everyone here you know this….

    so ingram struggling his first year is yes… more informative for rj…. there’s plenty of rookies that shoot terribly their rookie years and they bounce back the 2nd year… there’s also plenty of rookies that shoot terribly and are gone with the wind…. the players who tend to bounce back usually were pretty good… it’s not just ingram too… you have kemba and westbrook and just about any guy picked in the lottery that struggled early on… there’s plenty of examples of this…..

    and there are instances where one year of data is informative… which i’ve continually harped on and rj is not in that category as frank and knox were… and since he’s not… you should probably be careful sealing his coffin….

  331. Do you have an explanation as to why, beyond his true shooting percentage? Like I said, I’m looking at the TS% group, particularly his top 10 peers and I’m not really getting that signal. I have significant doubts that that roster would even make the playoffs.(*) Maybe I’m not seeing it.

    Here’s Clarke’s all-in-one productivity numbers this year:

    BPM: 3.5; PIPM: .87; RPM .2; RAPTOR 1.21

    Here’s 3 comparison players (numbers again from this year) that I plucked from this thread:

    Collins: BPM 3.1; PIPM .93; RPM 1.7; RAPTOR -.35
    Harrell: BPM 2.9; PIPM .59; RPM 2.0; RAPTOR 4.05
    Powell: BPM 1.4; PIPM 1.13; RPM .3; RAPTOR .69

    So Clarke is #1 in BPM, #3 in PIPM but quite close to Collins, #4 in RPM and #2 in RAPTOR. Average of ranks being 2.5
    Collins is #2, #2, #2, #4, respectively; average of ranks is 2.5
    Trez is #3, #4, #1, #1, respectively; average of ranks is 2.25
    Powell is #4, #1, #,3, #3, respectively; average of ranks is 2.75.

    Now this rank averaging totally ignores how the numerical differences in each metric’s valuations, which obviously complicate things (Collins has a crazy bad RAPTOR valuation; Trez is polarized in general; Clarke seems more consistent across the metrics but for RPM) but I venture that these results are enough to motivate the idea that he’s been approximately as good as his comparison class.

  332. Very minor point, but Clarke is 6’8″ and 215, which makes him exactly two inches taller than RJ and one pound heavier. I just bring that up because everyone is calling him a ‘big’ and comparing him to giant 7-footers. He’ clearly a 4, but he’s no monster. And now I’ll just make everyone on both sides furious by saying I think of him as a multi-talented, hyper-efficient Kenny Sky Walker…

  333. @djphan,

    I agree with all that, which is why I’m not as low on RJ as I was on, say, Knox or Frank after y1–I think he’s going to turn into, say, a Rudy Gay type. That’s not horrible–certainly not out of the league like Knox will be–but I take it that’s worse than Ingram currently is. I thought, before he stepped on the court last year, that he would be better than Rudy Gay. So my estimation of his median outcome dropped; but it’s not in the basement, despite that, because I agree with you on the particulars.

    That said, even noting all of RJ’s differences from Frank and Knox that affect my estimation of him, I still have a pretty strong prior regarding the general rule of “bad first year, fairly likely [perhaps: between 40-60% chance] bad outcome, ceteris paribus” (and likewise with “good first year, fairly likely good outcome, ceteris paribus”). I thought the same about Ingram as well, even though I was more up on him than the stats alone would indicate. But still, the base rate of failure for bad first year guys is high enough to depress my estimation of RJ, even given pedigree differences and all the granular differences you rightly cited. I guess we’ll see in the next month or two.

    The point I’m just trying to make is that it seems like we should be more down on RJ than we were one year ago, and this should affect the comparison to Clarke as well, who we should be more up on imo, and by my lights the median outcome adjustments are enough to tip the scales in Clarke’s favor for this hypothetical trade scenario.

  334. Many 19yo rookies who play 1000 minutes are pretty terrible, so I’m totally fine with the notion that it should be discounted. At the same time, you should take a look at why he was terrible his rookie year, and the likelihood that those things are more a product of too much too soon or reflective of fundamental issues…physical, positional, emotional, IQ, processing…

    Ingram was exceedingly weak and thin when he came into the league. Not saying that was the only issue, but becoming heavier/stronger by itself is a pretty simple problem to correct over time. Shooting and dribbling are much harder to improve. Defensive reactions i.e. making quick reads is also very hard to correct, much harder than “build leg strength to avoid getting backed down by stronger players.”

    RJ is about as strong for his position as you can possibly be for his age, that’s an asset already so not much room for improvement. He has excellent court awareness on both ends. The problem for RJ is that the things he needs to improve most are among the hardest things to improve at his position. Not impossible, just extremely hard. He has grown up knowing how important it is for a player his size to have a tight handle, shoot 3’s and FTs, and finish with both hands. He’s played a billion minutes of AAU, HS and college ball and has surely worked on those things with top-notch coaches and is still not a great shooter or ball-handler. I expect some improvement in those areas, but for him to be elite, he needs pretty dramatic improvement. So long as he’s far more comfortable going left than right, and shoots 70ish% from the line and 33ish% from 3, he will have a tough time being anything but a decent rotation player…maybe a somewhat better than Shump, but not much. Problem is, #3 picks who don’t completely suck tend to get paid well beyond what they are worth. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if his shooting and ball-handling improve much.

    The good (or bad) news is that he’s not going to be traded, so the discussion is moot. Let’s hope he goes the way of Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram, and not the way of Stanley Johnson and Justice Winslow.

  335. Shams Charania just reported:

    48 NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 546 tested during initial testing phase from Nov. 24-30, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA

    wheeeeeeeee

  336. geo:
    i don’t really know who any of these folks are: nancy wilson, mark lanegan, liv warfield, jeff fielder, ben smith, andy stoller, ryan waters – but they just covered “brother” magnificently…from their own homes…how cool…

    Hey Geo, forgot to answer you yesterday. I’m with you in not knowing those folks, but not Mark Lanegan. I like Mark Lanegan a lot, and seems like he’s been on my life forever, he was on the grunge scene (Screaming Trees) and then evolved into a solo career. He’s also a very nice guy, always contributing to other musician’s projects.

    If you want to know more about Mark and his music, here’s a good video for that:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwKzkAYZtCE

  337. djphan: am i the asshole for asking too many questions?

    I wouldn’t say asshole, nothing you are saying is the least bit offensive. I just don’t sense that you’re here to be much of a learner.

  338. I wouldn’t say asshole, nothing you are saying is the least bit offensive. I just don’t sense that you’re here to be much of a learner.

    why are you being so passive aggressive about this? are you calling me a troll or no? am i being toxic? am i not engaging in good faith or something?

  339. I like how you’re all still fighting to see which hill to die on, RJ or Clarke, and E is still there trying to instigate trolling by arguing again ts% is useless without understanding any of it lol

  340. Djphan, nobody’s saying you’re toxic or a troll. You’ve helped create a fun thread today (with E going off his meds and Jowles dragging out the flamethrower!). The thing is that you’re misinterpreting what people are saying. Re Malone, nobody — nobody — is suggesting that Clarke = Malone or will become Malone or even CAN become Malone. The point was that assisted baskets are not indicative of a lacking scoring prowess, with a classic example being Karl Malone. Brandon Clarke gets a lot of assisted baskets. The counterargument is that that’s okay, as it doesn’t have to mean he sucks at other things.
    It does NOT mean he’s Karl Malone.

  341. nobody — nobody — is suggesting that Clarke = Malone or will become Malone or even CAN become Malone.

    i’m pretty sure you guys are misinterpreting what i’m saying… or reading too much into it… i had a bunch of followup questions after that should make it clear so i’m not really sure where the confusion is…..

    ok i’ll bite… why? what specifically about his game is comparable to karl malone….

    if you’re using karl malone as an indicator of elite ability… which ben absolutely made that claim… you should be able to elaborate on why we should believe it’s possible instead of it being an outlier …

    i mean asking why is a completely fair question is it not?

  342. djphan: why are you being so passive aggressive about this?

    I think I’m being pretty direct.

    djphan: are you calling me a troll or no?

    Not a troll. Just flailing around because you are unwilling to give in an inch to well-supported opposing viewpoints. Hopelessly entrenched in a position. A non-learner.

    djphan: am i being toxic?

    Not at all.

    djphan: am i not engaging in good faith or something?

    Totally in good faith, just not open to the possibility that you are even partially wrong or misguided, and flailing to support your position by misrepresenting that of others others. The example re: Karl Malone is pretty telling of that. Your assisted basket% argument against Clarke is objectively weak, and the Malone case should help you to acknowledge that. Yet instead, you blustered on about comparing Clarke to Malone, when the poster specifically said that he wasn’t trying to do that. The point was that off-the-ball scorers tend to have a high percentage of their baskets assisted, and Clarke being an off-the-ball scorer isn’t in and of itself limiting, as one of the greatest scorers of all time was an off-the-ball guy.

  343. Man, looking at Ingram’s B-R page – it is hard to believe a guy who shot about 66% on the ~670 free throws between his freshman year and first two years in the pros suddenly turned into an 85% shooter. I can easily believe a 66% FT shooter turned into a 70 and then a 75% shooter, but 85% from the line is elite territory.

    I guess that is hope for RJ, but man it would be very hard to imagine RJ topping out at anything better than 37% from 3 and 75% from the line.

  344. Frank:
    Man, looking at Ingram’s B-R page – it is hard to believe a guy who shot about 66% on the ~670 free throws between his freshman year and first two years in the pros suddenly turned into an 85% shooter.I can easily believe a 66% FT shooter turned into a 70 and then a 75% shooter, but 85% from the line is elite territory.

    I guess that is hope for RJ, but man it would be very hard to imagine RJ topping out at anything better than 37% from 3 and 75% from the line.

    The Athletic had a good piece on this the other day – specifically about RJ’s abysmal FT% as a rookie and how historically that translates into later performance. Ingram is the best case scenario and an aberration but the others guards who shot less than 70% are – surprise! – players we are well familiar with, such as DSJr, Payton, Mudiay as well as Ben Simmons and Josh Jackson. Improvement there isn’t unprecedented but the odds are against him right now.

  345. I might reconsider my feelings about the season. With 48 players testing positive for COVID-19, extreme depth (bodies) is going to be critical for NBA teams to win. 15 man rotations might be needed.

  346. Just flailing around because you are unwilling to give in an inch to well-supported opposing viewpoints. Hopelessly entrenched in a position. A non-learner..

    was i being misleading somewhere about me being here to learn or something?

    i’m asking questions that i genuinely would like an answer to… this is how civilized people discuss things…. i asked why… i dont’ need to learn anything here… i’m here for the interaction and the entertainment and hopefully i add something of value and maybe i do learn something….

    i dont’ think i misinterpreted anything and even if i did… is it really worth making snide comments about having some sort of ulterior motive …. you have misinterpreted many things that i’ve written and from many others… are you immune to this too or something or is it fair to also question your motives when you don’t understand things too?

    if i did something wrong i’ll apologize… but this grief is a bit unfounded and i’m not offbase on this….

  347. Bruno Almeida:
    I like how you’re all still fighting to see which hill to die on, RJ or Clarke, and E is still there trying to instigate trolling by arguing again ts% is useless without understanding any of it lol

    I have the correct modern understanding of it, which is that isn’t signaling anything beyond its own self-referential self. A guy with a high TS% is a guy with a high TS%. That’s it. The list of the leaders says that clearly. It used to signal something else, but I’ve moved on from 2007 to 2020. I was pretty certain it had become an overrated metric, but confess to having been shocked at the actual list.

  348. djphan: was i being misleading somewhere about me being here to learn or something?

    i’m asking questions that i genuinely would like an answer to…this is how civilized people discuss things…. i asked why… i dont’ need to learn anything here… i’m here for the interaction and the entertainment and hopefully i add something of value and maybe i do learn something….

    i dont’ think i misinterpreted anything and even if i did… is it really worth making snide comments about having some sort of ulterior motive …. you have misinterpreted many things that i’ve written and from many others… are you immune to this too or something or is it fair to also question your motives when you don’t understand things too?

    if i did something wrong i’ll apologize… but this grief is a bit unfounded and i’m not offbase on this….

    Whatever, feel free to ignore me and/or respond in kind. I stand by my take on your posting. If you don’t like snide comments (especially when you say dumb things), you’re in the wrong place.

  349. E: I have the correct modern understanding of it, which is that isn’t signaling anything beyond its own self-referential self.A guy with a high TS% is a guy with a high TS%.That’s it.The list of the leaders says that clearly.It used to signal something else, but I’ve moved on from 2007 to 2020. I was pretty certain it had become an overrated metric, but confess to having been shocked at the actual list.

    more drivel

  350. Saw Mark Lanegan with the Twilight Singers back in the day. It’s funny when you see people with their side projects not knowing what their prime was like. He’s a great singer. Very distinctive voice.

    This thread taking me back to some KB glory days. Some prime Eddy Curry and David Lee joints for instance (before I realized he couldn’t play any defense at all, well neither of them could)

    Also making me kinda excited to watch some basketball again. Half the fun is seeing how predictions you make here pan out.

  351. Bruno Almeida:
    I like how you’re all still fighting to see which hill to die on, RJ or Clarke, and E is still there trying to instigate trolling by arguing again ts% is useless without understanding any of it lol

    yep…some classic shit…

  352. Igno-Bot 3000: The Athletic had a good piece on this the other day – specifically about RJ’s abysmal FT% as a rookie and how historically that translates into later performance. Ingram is the best case scenario and an aberration but the others guards who shot less than 70% are – surprise! – players we are well familiar with, such as DSJr, Payton, Mudiay as well as Ben Simmons and Josh Jackson. Improvement there isn’t unprecedented but the odds are against him right now.

    RJ absolutely must improve his FT shooting. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets it into the mid-70’s, his shot is arms-y/push-y but doesn’t seem broken or hitch-y. Seems like his makes and misses are bunched, rather than a consistent pattern. 80’s is a stretch, but if he can just settle in to the form that lets him make 16-20 from time to time, it’s possible.

  353. He’s a great singer. Very distinctive voice.

    it’s weird…all about timing i guess…not a big fan of tom waits voice, but – listening to more of mark lanegan live now (live at the ding dong lounge)…perfect backdrop for the day…really enjoy jeff fielder’s work on the guitar…

    once it’s cool to go to shows again, wanna make it more an emphasis to catch certain artists in smaller more intimate settings…

  354. Whatever, feel free to ignore me and/or respond in kind. I stand by my take on your posting. If you don’t like snide comments (especially when you say dumb things), you’re in the wrong place.

    woah ok … i’m saying dumb things too… all this cause i committed the cardinal sin of not learning….

    what the fuck is going on? everything ok in your life?

  355. DJphan – Not sure why you are catching so much heat. You are a big scout right, so I get why yo remain committed to your views here You aren’t in on Clarke as a big difference maker and that’s fine. And you are for RJ (well, possibly) and that’s fine too.

    It always takes time to sort things out. And half the time when we all look back three years later we still don’t agree despite a lot having happened.

  356. So what I’m hearing is that Clarke is truly elite at putting himself in positions to get assisted baskets.

    The biggest concerns I have with present-day Clarke are these:

    (1) I don’t think I’ve ever seen him set a good screen. He feints like he’s going to, and then rolls to the basket after making virtually no contact. This might be good for him as a roll man — and that appears to be the case, given how many great looks he gets at the rim — but it sure as hell ain’t good for Ja (or Kyle Anderson, or any other player you can see in the Clarke highlight videos) unless the PNR defense totally fails and Clarke beats the weakside defender to the rim. Which he does. Often. That said, if Mr. Strat is right, and teams begin to pick at Clarke’s tendencies, he’s either going to have to help create space for the ball-handler or he’s going to have to learn to pass out of the roll and hit a teammate for a backdoor flush or a corner three. I have not really seen him do this much, yet.

    (2) He also seems to get beat off the dribble or in PNR coverage, but uses his superior athleticism and ball-hawkishness to track down the penetrator and contest the shot in the paint. Too many clips of him going after a penetrator from the side or from behind. He’s not afraid of contact, but also plays it safe too much. His foul rate is either a reflection of superior spatial awareness and body control, or a deep-seated desire to stay on the floor and not get pulled from foul trouble. Maybe a little of both, but not neither, as far as I can tell.

  357. Oh shit, did Suggs tear his Achilles? Everything about it looks that way.

    I put on the game to get a look at him and they said he was on the bench holding the back of his heel in a lot of distress and then I turned the TV off

  358. We officially dodged a bullet here.

    Houston has agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to Washington for John Wall and a first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 3, 2020

  359. A guy with a high TS% is a guy with a high TS%. That’s it.

    ::upside down smiley and a 1/2c of bleach hitting my esophagus hard while I endeavor as spiritual exercise to keep it down, yet fail miserably, and then make a show of drinking the ejected fluid a second time, looking straight into the webcam, and so on::

    On another note, I am so glad I am not a Rockets fan. Nor a Wizards fan.

  360. Wow. Love it. Twitter line I liked best, Wall and Harden is going to be the perfect stimulus package for Houston nightclubs.

    As for Suggs, the NCAA is the worst

  361. God bless the rest of the nba for saving the Knicks from themselves throughout this offseason.

  362. Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson are putting the Mets on the map with some solid lowkey signings tonight.

    Leon Rose didn’t trade for Westbrook.

    Today is a good sports day.

  363. Forget 2007, the signaling value of the TS% top 10 has changed dramatically since 2017.

    Top 13:

    Rudy Gobert
    DeAndre Jordan
    Kevin Durant
    Nikola Jokic
    Clint Capela
    Stephen Curry
    Otto Porter
    LeBron James
    Dwight Howard
    Danilo Gallinari
    Kyle Lowry
    Kawhi Leonard
    Karl-Anthony Towns.

    Now that’s more like it.

    Something happened in the last three years, most of which was a bunch of role player types getting themselves up above the 62/63-ish sweet spot where you’ve pretty much always consistently started to see the actually good players when that didn’t use to happen. Not sure whether it’s teams using role players more smartly, divvying up the workload even more efficiently or what, but it’s a clear and obvious, unmistakable change. Or maybe it’s just a fluke and all the role players will revert back. Anyone who really and truly wanted to “learn” would “listen” and try to figure out why.

  364. I figured the Knicks were going to draft Suggs at #5 after we inevitably drop two spots in the lottery; now I guess we’re gonna draft BJ Boston. Blech.

    Maybe he’ll be available at #13 after we win 32 games from Austin Rivers starting!

  365. I am so happy about Westbrook. Now we just sit back and enjoy the season. The Westbrook shaped sword of damacles no longer resides over our heads.

    Djphan – I was enjoying our debate no negative feelings. As for my Malone example it had nothing to do with Clarke specifically, they are extremely different players and Malone is worlds better. I was simply using Malone as an example as Z-Man said, to show that having a high amount of your baskets being assisted is not indicative of a limited offensive game.

    Whether Clarke’s offensive game is or isn’t limited is another matter, I don’t think it is nearly as limited as you do, but the fact 80% of his shots are assisted is not proof of anything except he’s scores without needing the ball in his hand.

  366. geo: you rock cyber soze, that was 21 minutes and 27 seconds very well spent…perfect timing for a bit of a down day…

    Glad i could help! :)

  367. WTF are the Rockets doing? I can see it from the Wizards perspective. They weren’t planning on winning a championship anyway and at least Westbrook has functioning legs, although that first round pick, ouch. And the sheer hilarity of Westbrook and Beal co-existing has the potential to be funnier than when Gilbert was bringing pistols into the locker room.

    But mainly, I think we have been soft pedaling how great this off-season has been. Hopefully we get some scrappy play next year and one or two of the kids busts out. But even if not, at least we aren’t paying some lead-footed usage soakers to lose ugly twice a week.

  368. Alan:
    God bless the rest of the nba for saving the Knicks from themselves throughout this offseason.

    Amen! A pick for Westbrook? That’s insane!! :O

    Didn’t thought it was possible to live again in a world where the Knicks were not in the Top5 of the NBA’s dumbest franchises, but here we are! I propose a toast to celebrate (with Port wine, of course)! :D

  369. I have to assume the Rockets are at least very open to dealing Harden now if not actively shopping him. Westbrook is very flawed but still 100% a good player. John Wall’s last healthy season was 2016-2017. How would you even venture a guess about how good he might be now? Getting just one protected first rounder for the exchange seems really low to me. The only world in which it makes sense is if they’re dealing Harden and going full rebuild and they just wanted max draft assets back regardless of player talent.

    I guess you get half a season to roll the dice with Wall first too and on the off chance he’s still really good you can always stay the course and try to contend. But if the likely outcome occurs and Wall can’t play this has to portend a Harden trade.

  370. @ShamsCharania:
    Sources: Protection on the first-round pick that the Wizards traded to Houston in Russell Westbrook/John Wall trade: 2023, Lottery; 2024, Top 12; 2025, Top 10; 2026, Top 8; then becomes two second-rounders.

    This makes (a little) more sense!

  371. Djphan – I was enjoying our debate no negative feelings. As for my Malone example it had nothing to do with Clarke specifically, they are extremely different players and Malone is worlds better. I was simply using Malone as an example as Z-Man said, to show that having a high amount of your baskets being assisted is not indicative of a limited offensive game.

    yes i understood that… but malone is an outlier yes? and if he’s an outlier then it’s reasonable to assume that clarke is closer to guys like dwight powell … of which there are many examples of… than malone … and in that case %assisted fgs is indicative of their skill… right?

    but what do i know…

  372. Amen! A pick for Westbrook? That’s insane!! :O

    I think of the the pick not as giving something for Westbrook but rather giving something to get rid of Wall.

  373. Knick fan not in NJ: I think of the the pick not as giving something for Westbrook but rather giving something to get rid of Wall.

    Oh, you’re right, that makes total sense! It’s late here in Portugal, almost 2AM… Zzzzzz… :D

  374. WTF are the Rockets doing? I can see it from the Wizards perspective.

    The Rockets are talking a good game about trying to win with Harden but they know they’re going to have to trade him and they wanted to get something for Russ. At least that would be my guess.

  375. cybersoze: Oh, you’re right, that makes total sense! It’s late here in Portugal, almost 2AM… Zzzzzz… :D

    i’m jealous man..one of my favorite dishes is porco alentejana…it’s tough to find it here in the US (a well made version that is)…

  376. I don’t know if Westbrook – Beal or Wall – Harden is the weirder pairing. A protected pick is going back to Houston is a lot but Wall’s health had to be a big factor. I think it works out for both teams.

  377. I thought maybe Wall has a shorter or smaller contract than Westbrook but he doesn’t, they’re identical. I don’t get the trade at all from Houston’s perspective. I’m assuming they’re blowing it up and Harden will be on the move at some point.

  378. i kind of like the wizards team…. not bad considering the situation they were in with wall….

  379. I don’t think Malone is an outlier, he is just someone elite I could think off the top of my head.

    Current players career numbers:
    John Collins – 74%
    Klay Thompson – 69% (74% over last 4 years)
    Bam Adabayo – 71%
    JJ Reddick – 74%
    Kyle Korver – 85%

    There are probably better examples these are just ones I quickly grabbed. There are a lot of other players especially non-post bigs and 3pt shooting wings that also get a lot of their points from assisted FGs. It’s not a bad thing at all.

  380. pepper: i’m jealous man..one of my favorite dishes is porco alentejana…it’s tough to find it here in the US (a well made version that is)…

    Oh that’s amazing. Have ever been in Portugal? Of our traditional dishes to be known outside, i wouldn’t bet on that one, but it’s also one of my favorite dishes. ;)

    If you live in NY metro, there’s a large Portuguese community in Newark, NJ. Where there’s portuguese people, there’s bakeries and restaurants, so probably there you can find it.

  381. https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2020_shooting.html

    you can sort through % assisted #s and you can keep going back… if you look at the type of players that get over 80% year after year… you can see what i’m talking about….

    if you’re still not seeing it… then ok… but this is what i’m basing it on…. 1 or 2 or 3 players doesn’t mean you just throw away all these other examples… it means you need a good reason to believe that he’s closer to malone than these other guys and that’s what i was trying to tease out of you….

  382. cybersoze: Oh that’s amazing. Have ever been in Portugal? Of our traditional dishes to be known outside, i wouldn’t bet on that one, but it’s also one of my favorite dishes. ;)

    If you live in NY metro, there’s a large Portuguese community in Newark, NJ. Where there’s portuguese people, there’s bakeries and restaurants, so probably there you can find it.

    i was in Lisbon and the Algarve about 25 years ago…i ate it like every day that I could find it…when I lived in NYC there was some places (also in Jersey) that did it well…now I am in Northern California…haven’t found any good Portuguese food…so now only drinking Port…i can find that pretty easy!

  383. He’s not closer to Malone but Bam or Shawn Marion (69% assisted) those are very nice outcomes as well. My point is high assisted % is not proof of anything by itself. It just shows he is not a guard or ball-handling wing and not a post-up big.

  384. If Wall can shoot threes, that might be better for Houston than Westbrook was, since it would mean they could play actual big men centers without messing up someone’s game

  385. Houston needed the pick to save face after giving OKC 2 picks for Westbrook only a year ago. Even a heavily protected pick is enough for casual fans to think they got a pick. As long as HOU has Harden, they’ll be in contention.

    I’m still really down on Russ, but this will also help push WAS further ahead of us. This move is double good for the Knicks & their draft next year.

  386. I think the trade makes a lot of sense for Houston. I think they are probably not much worse without Westbrook even if Wall never plays. Any minutes Wall is productive is gravy. The key is they don’t have to play him. There is no baggage with Wall. There is a lot with Westbrook. Plus they get a pick to save face.

    This frees Houston to just bring out the Harden show and probably make the playoffs again. Wood could be a great signing for them and I bet the whole team shoots better from 3 with Westbrook gone. I predict they are just as good as last year.

  387. If Wall can shoot threes, that might be better for Houston than Westbrook was, since it would mean they could play actual big men centers without messing up someone’s game

    Yeah, I was just thinking that Wall’s recent improvement in three point shooting is a key factor here.

  388. He’s not closer to Malone but Bam or Shawn Marion (69% assisted)

    he’s wasn’t even at 69%… he was at 82%… there’s like 100 players in between 82% and where 69% is…

    you see that right?

  389. Suggs came back out and finished game. Had a great block in closing seconds actually. So that’s good.

  390. Brian Cronin: Yeah, I was just thinking that Wall’s recent improvement in three point shooting is a key factor here.

    Just a reminder that the “recent improvements” you’re talking about took place in the fall/winter of 2017.

  391. djphan: he’s wasn’t even at 69%… he was at 82%… there’s like 100 players in between 82% and where 69% is…

    you see that right?

    Yes – but it is one year and his rookie year, it might stay above 80% it might not. But most of the players on that list around him scored a lot less per 36. If you look at players with over 75% assisted and over 19 pts per 36 I’m betting that list looks both shorter and more impressive.

  392. Just a reminder that the “recent improvements” you’re talking about took place in the fall/winter of 2017.

    Well, all relative for a guy who has lost so much time. Just noting that he did at least hit 37% from three for a season, while Westbrook’s career high is 34.3% (the only time he ever shot over 33% from three). The Rockets really just need a guy that the other teams have to sort of pay attention to.

  393. pepper: i’m jealous man..one of my favorite dishes is porco alentejana…it’s tough to find it here in the US (a well made version that is)…

    Oh that’s amazing. Have ever been in Portugal? Of our traditional dishes to be known outside, i wouldn’t bet on that one, but it’s also one of my favorite dishes. ;)

    If you live in NY metro, there’s a large Portuguese community in Newark, NJ. Where there’s portuguese people, there’s bakeries and restaurants, so probably there you can find it.

    The Ironbound, my current home! I can confirm that there are a bunch of great portuguese and brazilian spots. I really like the porco alentejana at Seabra’s Marisqueira. They’re more known for their seafood, but all their pork dishes I’ve tried have been superb. No Pão is the place for sandwiches. Everyone should try their francesinha once before they die.

    It is an insane sandwich.

  394. Enjoyed that Clarke Film School interview. Seems like a smart kid.

    He said that slipping hard and early off screens is something they are taught by Grizz as a way to generate better opportunities at the hoop.

    He said he think his block rates are down just because of adjustment to higher skill level in NBA and size in particular. Not as easy to roam and slough off his man. And people are just better.

  395. Mark Lanegan is TOP.
    Among the warmest/deepest/most substantial vocals i’ve come across.

    Between RJ and Clarke I’ll stick with the “underdog” and wait for his puberty to be completed.

    Totally unaware of Portuguese food but I’m a fan of some “Portuguese” music such as Saturnia! Jose Cid is cool too! Madredeus are beautiful!

  396. Houston is acting very Knicksy. Two recovering former all stars in their new starting lineup. So glad we don’t have that problem anymore.

    And yeah..Harden is definitely getting traded. Most likely for Brooklyn’s package and I don’t wanna see that. I’d love to see him traded back to OKC for SGA and some of that War Chest that Presti has built up, but Harden wants a chip so that’s not gonna happen

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