NY Post: RJ Barrett has career day as Knicks rebound to thump Thunder

From Peter Botte:

The Knicks face one of the NBA’s most daunting schedules for the remainder of the season, which only increased the importance of Saturday’s visit to Oklahoma City to help maintain their playoff positioning.

RJ Barrett netted a career-high 32 points as coach Tom Thibodeau’s team bounced back from a blowout loss Thursday in Milwaukee with a redemptive 119-97 win at Chesapeake Energy Arena over the undermanned Thunder for their 20th win of the season (20-19). The Knicks’ victory total represents one fewer win than they recorded all of last season, when they finished 21-45 under first David Fizdale and then Mike Miller, now a Thunder assistant coach.

“In Milwaukee, we weren’t really us, we didn’t really feel like we played as hard as we could,” said Barrett, who shot 12-for-21 from the floor, with three 3-pointers. “Today, we had to show who we are and be tough at both ends of the floor.”

All-Star forward Julius Randle had endured his worst game of the season with only seven points in Thursday’s loss to the Bucks, but Saturday he posted his second triple-double of the season with 26 points, 12 rebounds and a career-best 12 assists. That made him the first Knick to post multiple triple-doubles in one season since Mark Jackson in 1988-89.

Great win. They really needed this and they got it, which I think is a real testament to Thibs’ “Every game is Game 7” mentality, where the Knicks never take games off.

Two tough games after this on Monday and Tuesday but, A. The Nets are bound to lose a game and they almost lost to the Pistons and B. The Sixers are playing without Joel Embiid, and he had recently moved ahead of Lebron in MVP odds, so, well, that’s obviously a big loss for them.

Imagine if they could take both of those games!!

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158 thoughts to “NY Post: RJ Barrett has career day as Knicks rebound to thump Thunder”

  1. I don’t expect RJ to keep hitting 3s at his recent rate, but if he’s turned himself into at least a useful shooter from deep, then what is his ceiling and/or best comp now? The Iguodala comp never quite fit (even though he’s turned out to be our best wing defender), and even with the improved shooting he’s still not Pierce (who had a more varied offensive repertoire). It’s obvious we have a good player here, maybe even an All-Star down the road. But we’re conditioned to look for past players who resemble current ones, even in combinations (i.e., LeBron is Magic Johnson in Karl Malone’s body), in order to figure out their most obvious pathway to success. So what’s the best precedent for Rowan Barrett Jr?

  2. Scottie Pippen? As RJ develops and gains confidence, he will become more and more poised.

  3. Pippen was a top 10 player in his time. I love RJ but I’m not sure he’s quite that good.

  4. Pippin was also an elite athlete in a way RJ isn’t. That’s where this gets tricky. And why Pierce keeps coming up, since he wasn’t a great athlete.

  5. That feels low, Farfa, but I may be harsh on Evans because I’m thinking of his whole disappointing career.

  6. Peak Tyreke was a pretty good player. Problem is his peak patty was stuffed inside a lot of very disappointing buns, cheese, pickles etc

  7. most of the RJ comps feel either too lofty or too low. I’m pretty confident his shooting will continue to improve, so I lean to the lofty side. His closest comps are in Boston, I think: a better Jaylen Brown, not quite Jayson Tatum. If you averaged those two together, that’s where RJ is headed.

  8. I was just looking at mock drafts and I see Kentucky has a center named Isaiah Jackson projected to go in the 2nd half of the first round so I guess the only question now is who will be the other player we draft.

  9. From NBC Sports.com:

    Measurables: 6-foot-10, 205 pounds
    Age: 19
    Why Jackson?
    Sign me up. There are very few things that are unteachable in the game of basketball. Blocking shots is one of them. Jackson has a natural ability to hunt and divert shots. In the right situation, this could be a Dennis Rodman type player. He’s a hot mess on offense, but what Jackson can do on a court is pure instincts. If you can teach him some basic pick-and-roll sets and get him in the weight room, this could be a game changing steal.
    Thibs love his defensive-minded players and Jackson has potential. He will take time to develop, but there might be something here.

  10. Hubert:
    From NBC Sports.com:

    To me, this sounds like a paraphrase of “look what a great athlete he is, he just has to get better at ____________ [fill in the blank] and he’ll be a good NBA player.”

  11. We are so close, yet so far from from being really good.

    1. We’ll see how RJ closes out the season, especially when he faces a tough defensive matchup, but he seems to be developing into a legitimate scoring option on a good team that also defends and he’s only 20. A few weeks ago I was saying things like “he’s really not a starter on a good team yet even though I love the progress”. His progress has been impressive though and imo there’s still more to his playmaking that he’s not showing yet.

    2. With Randle, RJ, Mitch we have a good 3 man starting core with a lot of upside.

    3. I love Quickley, but I understand why Thibs is playing him off the bench as a 6th man instead of as a starter. When you don’t have a legitimate playmaking PG, you need guys that can create for themselves and score. That’s what Quick can do. But he’s not a PG and he’s still a little too wild and inconsistent trying to score for himself. When all the PGs are out and he starting or he’s playing off the bench, he will add a lot. But IMO he won’t be ideal as a starter until he both settles down and plays better off the ball.

    4. We need a real PG that can shoot.

    5. Mitch has to expand his game beyond just dunking.

    6. We need patience to allow these young guys to grow while we try to add and make upgrades where we can.

    The problem is we have to get that quality PG without sacrificing what we already have in place. That means giving up picks in a trade or moving up in the draft to grab him.

  12. Farfa: Peak Tyreke was a pretty good player. Problem is his peak patty was stuffed inside a lot of very disappointing buns, cheese, pickles etc

    Tyreke’s best years by ws/48 were .126, .105, and .98 (his rookie season) and he didn’t give you much on defense. RJ’s ws/48 this year is .075 and his defense is average to strong. There also seems to be a consensus here that he’ll improve significantly. So I’m with Allen, RJ projects much better than peak Tyreke.

  13. Knick fan not in NJ: To me, this sounds like a paraphrase of “look what a great athlete he is, he just has to get better at ____________ [fill in the blank] and he’ll be a good NBA player.”

    sounds about right. But if he’s available and Calipari speaks highly of him, does anyone want to bet that we pass?

  14. I looked up the 538 Raptor comps for Barrett. They comparisons were all over the place. The top comparison was Brandon Ingram, followed by JR Smith, and Kevin Knox was also in the list. Carmelo was there too, but so was Andrew Wiggins and Stanley Johnson. The comparisons were as of Dec. 17th, so they are a little out of date. Actually, the similarity scores were mostly pretty high but the players in the list are so different from each other, it’s hard to trust the list. It’s ok with me if he doesn’t have a good comp. He can just be himself and that’s fine by me.

  15. There’s so much angst about a PG but when Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley are playing 48 minutes at the position it doesn’t really stand out as a weakness to me. I would be careful about using assets to upgrade that position. I think we can afford to be patient.

  16. Hubert: sounds about right. But if he’s available and Calipari speaks highly of him, does anyone want to bet that we pass?

    You make a good point.

  17. Isaiah Jackson actually ranks well by most statistical models…but how many offensively limited, rim protecting centers do we need?

    A very general grab bag of players who could conceivably be in our various pick ranges I’d be happy to have: Franz Wagner (unlikely to be in our range but not impossible), Sharife Cooper, Terrence Shannon, Chris Duarte, Josh Christopher, Josh Giddey, Cam Thomas, Ayo Dosonmu, Jared Butler, Ben Mathurin, Tre Mann.

    They’re literally all guards and/or wings and that’s intentional. The wisdom of spending draft capital on bigs is questionable for any team, and for all of our needs a big is certainly not one of them.

    It’s possible we regress and more opportunities open up (I’d love to draft Jaden Springer but these guys seem like the most realistic targets as of now.

  18. Ingmarrrr:
    Pippen was a top 10 player in his time. I love RJ but I’m not sure he’s quite that good.

    I admit I’m a bit giddy, borderline delusional, after RJ’s career night yesterday, to dare to compare RJ with Pippen. But what I also find interesting is that RJ’s first two seasons compare quite favorably with Scottie’s year 2 and year 3’s stats, except for steals and blocks. And Pippen was 4 years older at the time than RJ is now.

    I think Pippen’s defensive prowess likely improved significantly due to MJ’s presence. And I hope Thibs has the same kind of effects on RJ

  19. conboy: I think Pippen’s defensive prowess likely improved significantly due to MJ’s presence.

    I dunno. Pippen was a great, great defender. 10 times all defense, which is 6th overall in the all time list and 8 times 1st team, which is tied for 5th. His defense was scary good.

  20. I agree with your assessment, TNFH, but I’m reading the tea leaves. I’m pretty sure if you’re from Kentucky and Calipari likes you, you’re gonna be high on our draft board. And they were focused on Vernon Carey last year despite Mitch, so I doubt they’d pass on a guy they love just bc he’s a C unless Noel got locked up on a great, team-friendly deal

  21. Ingmarrrr: I dunno. Pippen was a great, great defender. 10 times all defense, which is 6th overall in the all time list and 8 times 1st team, which is tied for 5th. His defense was scary good.

    What I meant was MJ demanded his teammates to play hard, play defense, no slacking off. I’d think that Pippen, as a raw, young player coming into the league, benefited greatly from having MJ as his mentor, especially on the defensive part of his game.

  22. I think comparing 20 year old RJ to guys like Pierce and Pippen is a futile exercise since they were playing in college at that point in their basketball careers. If we’d have seen Scottie Pippen as a 20 year old NBA player I can assure you all that no one here would’ve thought much of him. He didn’t enter the league until 22 and wasn’t even an above .100 WS/48 player until he was 25 years old.

    The comps with dudes like Brown and Tatum make more sense to me. And, yes, RJ seems like he’s somewhere in between the two of them in terms of development. The one thing I see that is distinct though is RJ’s strength. You can especially see it when he plays on a court full of guys who are around his age last night. He just bulls through defenders despite just entering physical adulthood. I predict him bodying lots of dudes as he matures into his physical prime.

  23. Hubert:
    There’s so much angst about a PG but when Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley are playing 48 minutes at the position it doesn’t really stand out as a weakness to me. I would be careful about using assets to upgrade that position. I think we can afford to be patient.

    Hypothetical questions:

    If we have Kyrie as our starting point guard, can the Knicks win the East?
    If we have CP3, do we have enough to be in the EC Final?

    I 100% agree that we need to be careful using assets to upgrade our point guard position. I’m also interested in what you guys think. Are we elite point guard away from being very good?

  24. conboy: Hypothetical questions:

    If we have Kyrie as our starting point guard, can the Knicks win the East?
    If we have CP3, do we have enough to be in the EC Final?

    I 100% agree that we need to be careful using assets to upgrade our point guard position. I’m also interested in what you guys think. Are we elite point guard away from being very good?

    imho no.

  25. Paul Pierce isn’t an EXACT comp per se, but that TYPE of player is RJ’s ceiling. Versatile two-way guard/forward. Maybe the actual Paul Pierce is above RJ’s ceiling but like a 90% Paul Pierce type is not an unreasonable comp to me.

  26. thenoblefacehumper: Isaiah Jackson actually ranks well by most statistical models…but how many offensively limited, rim protecting centers do we need?

    Well not to play devil’s advocate or anything, but one could argue that the last couple of weeks suggest the answer is three.

  27. and even with the improved shooting he’s still not Pierce (who had a more varied offensive repertoire).

    pierce at 21 was not the same pierce you knew and loved… he wasn’t that great of a shooter… and he lived at the 3p line (relative to his time) and most of his 2p offense came from postups and midrange shots….

    RJ has been expanding his game ever since that bad first month…. he’s a lot more reliable in midrange even featuring a pretty consistent stepback which is thankfully used sparingly…. he’s got a variety of floaters…. he uses a hostage dribble to change his pace once he gains separation from his defender … and after 19 years of his life he’s finally using a crossover…. that’s on top of the various euros he uses to sidestep bigs who don’t want to contest…. and the hesitations with the various ways he’s able to finish around the basket….

    at the rate he’s adding things successfully we should expect another pretty solid leap next year and much like pierce he doesn’t do it by bullying defenders or with overwhelming athleticism… he’s doing it by making solid decisions and using a variety of moves to leverage a small advantage into a bucket or a positive offensive possession…

    rj’s definitely not some one-note player… and really these comp debates are rather silly…. the question really is how much of an efficient scorer rj becomes and how much usage his game can tolerate … and of course nobody knows what that’s going to be but i think the mistake most people are making is ruling out certain outcomes for a guy who was definitely improving and now firmly established across the board new levels of play….

    that doesn’t mean he’ll definitely get there but at this point we should keep an open mind about it…

  28. Madonna would also send a car for Pippen. You can’t forget that.

    I love what RJ is doing right now though. I think his ceiling remains fringe all-star but that’s a good result, though not one I would want to max.

    Maybe he makes me change my mind though.

  29. conboy: I 100% agree that we need to be careful using assets to upgrade our point guard position. I’m also interested in what you guys think. Are we elite point guard away from being very good?

    I think the biggest upgrade this team can get is on the wing. The value added from upgrading Bullock/Burks to an elite wing is much greater than the value added from upgrading Rose/IQ to an elite PG.

    I would use assets to upgrade the wing, be patient on the PG.

  30. Comparing 20yo’s to first ballot HOFers is always a dubious proposition but RJ is looking more and more legit every game and has a multiple all-star level trajectory going on. I’d like to see more creativity on the perimeter and less tunnel vision on the drive, but he’s looking like a legit top-3 in his draft class player, which is all you can ask for at #3. And we can shut the door on the comparisons to Brandon Clarke, that ship has sailed and won’t be returning to port. Questions remain about whether he will be worth the max deal that he will certainly command if he continues improving. I’ve gone from skeptical to neutral.

    I don’t like the Brown/Tatum comparisons, more due to playing style/athleticism than trajectory. I also don’t know why folks are saying that Tatum is the better player, they seem dead even to me…and both are legit low-level all-stars. But yeah, if RJ can get to where they are at that age, that would be freakin’ awesome!

  31. It’s amazing how quickly Barrett ended the Brandon Clarke debate. I don’t remember exactly where I fell at the time, but completely concur with Z-Man that we can officially score that round.

  32. Brandon has come on after a very bad start. Couldn’t contain Poku though.

    I still am not sure I wouldn’t rather have a great role player at a reasonable price than RJ for a mint but who knows.

    PTMilo, who ya got, RJ or De’Anthony?

  33. I was shocked at the Thunder/Grizzlies score, until I saw that SGA played today. Man, the way that stars transform their teams is astonishing.

  34. 2 months ago some posters were lambasting djphan for insisting the range of outcomes for RJ Barrett was still incredibly wide and now we can compare him to Paul Pierce and no one blinks an eye.

    RJ has come along way but it’s really not that surprising.

  35. RJ beat a bunch of nobodies yesterday, lest we forget. He tends to struggle greatly when faced with rim protectors. I remain hopeful.

  36. From the last thread:

    djphan: chris duarte …who coincidentally was profiled by hollinger recently along with cyber’s boy neemias queta….

    Yeah, i think that article was great for Queta, and now he’s borderline 1st round. I hope he makes it, and now i don’t have any hope the Knicks will pick him because we sent the “extra” pick to DET for DRose. For the 3 picks we kept, there’s better priorities than centers.

  37. Owen: I still am not sure I wouldn’t rather have a great role player at a reasonable price than RJ for a mint but who knows.

    All depends on where RJ tops out. But even at where Brown/Tatum are, that’s harder to find than a Brandon Clarke, at any price. What is impressive about RJ and those two is that they can handle extended minutes at a high level of play, score will at a high usage, defend, rebound and pass. those kinds of players are worth the post rookie-scale max.

  38. Hubert: and no one blinks an eye.

    Does this count as blinking an eye?

    Z-man: Comparing 20yo’s to first ballot HOFers is always a dubious proposition

  39. About the comps for RJ, and yeah i know he’s a PG, but i see some parts of Chauncey Billups’ game in RJ’s game, mostly in the way they go to the rim (although Billups looked to assist and RJ only looks to score) but also in the way they are always far from their defender on the perimeter waiting to get the ball back (and start a play or launch a 3 pointer).
    He also came to the league super young, and struggled even more than RJ, only by the 4th season (with 24) he was starting to get it together.
    When all was said and done, he was 1x NBA Champ, 1x NBA Finals MVP, 5x All Star, 3x All NBA, 2x All Defensive.
    Sign me up for that! ;)

  40. Elfrid Payton is doubtful to play tomorrow night for the Knicks, per the injury report. Knicks play the Nets in Brooklyn. Derrick Rose (health and safety protocols) is still out. Immanuel Quickley is probable. Austin Rivers and Mitchell Robinson are out too.

    From Vorkunov. Wonder if this is the excuse for Thibs to finally start Quickley, or if he gives Frank one more shot in hopes of slowing down one of the Nets guards even slightly.

  41. From Vorkunov. Wonder if this is the excuse for Thibs to finally start Quickley, or if he gives Frank one more shot in hopes of slowing down one of the Nets guards even slightly.

    Luckily, Rose should be back on Tuesday. So I bet he still starts Frank, since Rose will start on Tuesday.

  42. 3 months ago if you were saying that Randle will go for the supermax contract people would send you food and medicines and now it’s a no-brainer!

    Can RJ become Pierce or Pippen?
    Not impossible.
    What’s the possibility right now according to my ass?
    1%

  43. I think this time Frank makes perfect sense, to (try to) contain Kyrie. He would absolutely torch IQ on offense.

  44. The reason Thibs keeps starting Frank is simple. If he starts Quickley he runs the risk of Quickley killing it and being much harder to move back to the bench.

    Thibs doesn’t want Quickley playing too well because that would eat into Rose’s and to a lesser extent Payton’s minutes which he does not want.

  45. Missed the first half yesterday and watched it a few hours ago to see mainly why Frank was benched.
    He wasn’t playing badly I’d say.
    The most worrying thing about him is that he glues to opponents like an octopus and he’s called for shitty fouls by triggerhappy refs.
    He needs to learn to avoid these stupid ones.

  46. Z-man: And we can shut the door on the comparisons to Brandon Clarke, that ship has sailed and won’t be returning to port.

    Well, the alternatives were RJ or trading for the TWO Atlanta picks (8 and 10, if i remember correctly) to select Clarke and Alexander-Walker.
    Hollinger did a re-draft four days ago, and the Top4 remained the same, but Clarke has climbed to 7th and Alexander-Walker to 10th (they were picked at 23rd and 17th!?).
    I think it’s still a close call, but i prefer the superstar route (RJ) and we all hope that pans out.

  47. Z-man: Does this count as blinking an eye?

    Yeah, well, you spent a week aggressively calling someone ridiculous for suggesting it was possible and now 20 games later you’ve got treadmarks on your chest. No one expects you to admit you were hilariously wrong.

  48. Friendly Reminder:
    Can RJ become Pierce or Pippen? can be translated also as:
    Can RJ become one of the best small forwards of all times?

  49. Knew Your Nicks: say

    But overall, the Knicks were out scored by a lot when Frank was on the floor in the first quarter. I can see Thibs, or other coaches for that matter, taking that into account

  50. RJ’s rookie season wasn’t nearly as bad as people suggested if you were grading it as an age 19 season and not comparing him to seasoned vets. We probably won’t really know his best comps til he’s 22 but with his improvement this year and his seemingly 1% work ethic, I wouldn’t rule out too much.

  51. “But overall, the Knicks were out scored by a lot when Frank was on the floor in the first quarter. I can see Thibs, or other coaches for that matter, taking that into account”

    Yeah, i saw that but didn’t see Frank playing the point position. More like a ballcarrier guard!
    We’ve also seen on a previous game Knox having the best plus/minus on the team without doing anything for a few minutes.
    It’s happening.
    Don’t mean something.

  52. Brian, can you please fix the quote button? When I try and quote someone, only the first few words show up. It’s not about for my meaning to be clear

  53. Hubert: Yeah, well, you spent a week aggressively calling someone ridiculous for suggesting it was possible and now 20 games later you’ve got treadmarks on your chest. No one expects you to admit you were hilariously wrong.

    Whoa, so now it’s confirmed that RJ is on his way to a Pierce-level career, i.e. a #1 option on a multiple finals team and a first-ballot HOFer? Yup, gotcha, I see it now, my bad!

  54. Hubert: No one expects you to admit you were hilariously wrong.

    PS I have admitted to being hilariously wrong on a number of KB occasions, and have no problem laughing at myself when it happens. See: Bargnani, Andrea. I would like nothing more than to be wrong on this one…just like I would love to have been wrong on Frank, Knox, etc. Anything that makes the Knicks better is good by me. I realy, truly hope that I’m wrong about RJ and that he goes on to be Paul Pierce 2.0. (let me spare you the suspense…I won’t be.)

    You, on the other hand, will dig in and prevaricate till hell freezes over no matter what happens. The next time you admit to being dead wrong will be your first. Even in the face of irrefutable evidence, you will spin the situation and whine that you were “misrepresented.”

  55. I would like nothing more than to be wrong on this one

    It’s cute that you talk about it as if you aren’t already wrong.

    You were hilariously wrong in January, now there’s just some evidence to show you how stupid it was to write off a 19 year old.

  56. you will spin the situation and whine that you were “misrepresented.”

    You mean how like right now in front of everyone you are trying to recharacterize the argument as if it was “Will RJ Barrett be Paul Pierce, yes or no?”

    The argument was always whether or not the range of realistic outcomes for RJ Barrett was still wide enough to include his development into a top player such as Paul Pierce. It was then, and it is now.

  57. Hubert: It’s cute that you talk about it as if you aren’t already wrong.

    You were hilariously wrong in January, now there’s just some evidence to show you how stupid it was to write off a 19 year old.

    Did I write him off? Is saying that a Paul Pierce comparison is wrong the same as writing him off? Or are you just being Hubert? Why don’t you check the thread to make sure? (PS you would discover that I stayed away from the Clarke vs. RJ argument…so maybe you are calling out the wrong guy…)

  58. Hubert:
    RJ’s rookie season wasn’t nearly as bad as people suggested if you were grading it as an age 19 season and not comparing him to seasoned vets. We probably won’t really know his best comps til he’s 22 but with his improvement this year and his seemingly 1% work ethic, I wouldn’t rule out too much.

    Out of 134 players since 2000 who played in the NBA at 19 RJ ranked 124 out of 134 in win score. He was really bad even for a 19 year old. That said, unlike some guys (like Knox, Frank, and Mudiay) his badness was pretty much confined to his shooting numbers so I think everybody had him way ahead of those guys coming into the season.

  59. thanks hubert.. i think that was more of a misunderstanding which i hope by now is cleared up(or not).. i think for the most part people know that pierce is sort of a possible outcome… i mean in a world we have kawhi.. harden… giannis… curry and jokic being all time great players that have transformed how we know and play the game… to get from where each of them was viewed at age 20 is a much bigger chasm than wherever you thought RJ was to pierce….

    part of it is how people view risk differently… some people still view risk like it’s one true outcome…. like biden or trump was always going to win their elections based on whatever the tea leaves said.. and some people talk about basketball players like they’re king arthur fulfilling their destiny… like kobe was always going to be kobe … i mean i do that sometimes too.. it’s easy and people seem to understand that better…

    but for the most part that’s the wrong way to view risk as it’s been pretty well established that risk is best expressed as a range of possible outcomes…. and i know most people on this board inherently know this except when it comes to basketball they tend to get entrenched in destiny since they think it proves their basketball acumen and this is just how talking heads talk about ball..

    but it doesn’t.. nobody has the right answers all the time…you can’t account for all the variables that go into developing a player because outside observers are just not privy to them and it’s impossible to tell if say a jumper ever develops even if you have all those data points….

    and the other thing is that ppl underestimate how bad some good to great players were… yes even pierce… and yes even someone like durant was pretty bad at a young age.. the point is that unless you’re irredeemably bad you have a good chance to be good.. and with some luck great as long as you have foundational skills and you have age on your side…

  60. and the thing about comps with RJ is that his archetype is pretty common.. grabbing an above average number of boards.. mediocre to solid defender… throwing some number of assists.. scoring with middling efficiency… that’s why the comps are sort of all over the place…

    is he going to be a lockdown defender with increased ball distribution? that’s igudoala…

    is he going to stay where he is and shoot 3s really well? that’s jaylen brown…

    is he going to get to the line alot more and shoot a little better? that’s paul pierce

    is he going to stay exactly the same and not improve? that’s wiggins or harrison barnes

    is his shooting just going to regress and turn the ball over a lot more? that’s josh jackson…

    that’s not even getting to the derozan or rudy gay or jason richardson or richard jefferson… or jeff green.. or jimmy butler or just any number of guys who do what RJ does… you can slice any of these names up and serve up some RJ comps….

    the problem with RJ is he’s not doing anything super special or unique… everything he’s doing is very derivative of a long list of nba wings…. the good part is that he’s ahead in a lot of ways to most of these guys… he was better in college and now he’s better than some of them at age 20…. that puts him on a trajectory to be pretty good with some chance to be very very good….

    but that’s going to look like a lot of things and probably going to continue being a topic… stylistically he’s going to look like a piece of all the above players but the end result is probably going to be near the higher side of that list… which is something to be pretty happy about…

  61. someone said it earlier, but – my hopes for RJ is a player whom typically makes the right basketball decision…

    at his best, I like RJ’s methodical and physical pace a lot…

  62. No, he said Rose is still out. Unless I am misunderstanding that part of the tweet.

    Rose is out for Monday’s game, but I think he should be eligible to return for Tuesday’s game. So if Quickley started on Monday, he’d be back to the bench on Tuesday, so I can see why Thibs would prefer to just use the stopgap Frank again.

  63. Brian Cronin: Rose is out for Monday’s game, but I think he should be eligible to return for Tuesday’s game. So if Quickley started on Monday, he’d be back to the bench on Tuesday, so I can see why Thibs would prefer to just use the stopgap Frank again.

    Ah, I understood the tweet but misunderstood your comment. Typical.

    Also, I had a dream last night that I was playing on the Knicks against the Pistons in a high school gym, because of Covid, and I didn’t know how to play at all. Yet even with me being completely incompetent, the team was still better than the Pistons, who couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean. But IQ kept trying to throw me the ball on a fast break, and my shoe kept coming off.

  64. If he starts Frank at PG tonight the Nets could be up 20 pts before Quickley gets in the game.

  65. If he starts Frank at PG tonight the Nets could be up 20 pts before Quickley gets in the game.

    No matter who starts the Nets could be up 20 before the bench gets in the game

  66. There’s so much angst about a PG but when Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley are playing 48 minutes at the position it doesn’t really stand out as a weakness to me. I would be careful about using assets to upgrade that position. I think we can afford to be patient.

    That’s because Derrick Rose IS a good PG, but he’s obviously not a long term solution. He’s here for awhile to play PG off the bench. He can’t handle the load as a starter over the course of a season and he’s getting older.

  67. Hubert:
    If he starts Frank at PG tonight the Nets could be up 20 pts before Quickley gets in the game.

    Quickley should get the start because he can create his own shot.

    The idea that Frank is playing PG is simply wrong to begin with.

    If Frank was hurt and people suddenly started calling Bullock the PG would that make him a PG?

    If the offense sucked because he couldn’t penetrate aggressively and make enough plays would we blame Bullock for being a lousy PG and trash him?

    Obviously not. That would be nonsensical. Bullock’s job on this team is to defend, space the floor, and keep the ball moving if he has nothing. Anything else you get is a plus. That’s the criteria he should be judged by. That’s the criteria Frank should be judged by too. Even when he played in France Frank was NOT the PG. This whole PG spiel came about because we were going to play the triangle. He could be a PG in the triangle because it doesn’t actually require a PG. There are multiple playmakers, a lot of movement, and usually the penetration comes via the post or a great offensive player etc… That’s not a PG. It’s a guard that defends the PG. But we changed direction and somehow the poor kid became a player without a position or a player being forced to try to play and be judged as a traditional PG. He is what he is. He’s a young player trying to become Danny Green plus and minus some skills. You play him off the ball WITH a PG and that’s how you judge him. Does he defend really well? Does he hit the open 3, especially from the corner really well? Does he keep the ball moving? etc..

  68. Knick fan not in NJ: No matter who starts the Nets could be up 20 before the bench gets in the game

    Anything is possible but it would be surprising if our best lineup got blown out in 6 minutes.

    On the other hand, this team struggling to score for 6 minutes with Frank as the PG seems highly likely and we’d just have to hope the Nets miss shots until we correct the blunder.

  69. The great thing about starting Frank at PG is you force the ball out of Kyrie’s hands and into KD’s or Harden’s.

    Really what you want to do is play Frank on Harden and force Kyrie and KD to shoo… no, we’re just fucked.

  70. I think the difficulty of finding comps for RJ speaks a little to why I still harbor some doubts about him – it’s not really clear what his bread and butter offensively will be. When I try to imagine what the all-star version of RJ looks like it’s hard to do specifically because right now he’s pretty decent in a lot of areas, but lacks any real standout tool. He seems to have gotten the shooting, both from the FT line and behind the arc, up to a respectable level much faster than any of us expected, but certainly it would be a bit of a surprise if dead-eye marksmanship became his trademark skill. His drive game looks good at times but he’s mostly a straight-line guy without that much wiggle to him, and he struggles to convert his drives into really efficient offense consistently because his free throw rate is just okay and he so often has to settle for shots from floater range where he doesn’t have great touch. He’s a good but not standout finisher at the rim and because he already has such a mature body that I’m not sure you can project as much improvement there as you would for some other young guys. Maybe on a team with better spacing he could convert a lot more of his floaters into rim attempts, but he doesn’t really flash the elite handle or athleticism for me totally buy that.

    His game could grow in a lot of different directions and I certainly wouldn’t foreclose on anything for a 20 year-old who has already shown a great capacity for improvement but I think if the over-under was set at 0.5 career all-star games I’m still taking the under (albeit not with a lot of confidence). Seems like that puts me significantly lower on him than most when over the summer I feel like I was higher on him than most posters, which is interesting.

  71. I wonder what it would take to pry Graham from Charlotte with LaMelo’s emergence? Would Elf and a 2nd be enough? Or, it were, would he waive his NTC to play for a team that he’d have a clear role in Charlotte as opposed to having the threat of Rose taking his job(which I hope happens btw)? Hopefully it won’t take that Dallas pick to get him..they’ve never really been shrewd since MJ took over.

    In any case- I would love to replace Elf with Graham or even Rubio. Rubio’s probably alot easier to get though

  72. thenamestsam: His game could grow in a lot of different directions and I certainly wouldn’t foreclose on anything for a 20 year-old who has already shown a great capacity for improvement but I think if the over-under was set at 0.5 career all-star games I’m still taking the under (albeit not with a lot of confidence). Seems like that puts me significantly lower on him than most when over the summer I feel like I was higher on him than most posters, which is interesting.

    RJ seems to have corrected some things since being drafted…right hand is much better, consistency on 3pt and FT shooting form. There are some things I believe will present major, perhaps insurmountable obstacles to becoming a #1 alpha dog closer…shooting mechanics, elite athleticism, size, separation off the dribble…I don’t see RJ as a guy who will need to be double-teamed away from the basket…but that’s fine. A Jaylen Brown trajectory would be a perfectly fine outcome. Brown worked his way into being a 2, where he manhandles opponents. I can see RJ doing that, but more based on strength and finesse than athleticism. I was not in the camp that projected RJ more as a 3…which is one of the several ways the Pierce comparison breaks down for me. I also think that Pierce didn’t need to change his game at all, just needed consistency and reps to be among the best closers of his era. The footwork, jump shot mechanics including a high release point, and ability to elevate his game in big moments were there as a rookie. His game and mentality was suited to be an alpha dog from the get-go. There’s a story beyond simply comparing stats. But he clearly is on his way to being a potential all-star and that’s good enough for me. Anything beyond that is gravy.

  73. Well Dan takes on RJ on the Ringer, with this line straight from KB:

    comparison is the thief of joy

    Also, this:

    he’s on pace to be just the sixth NBA player ever to average at least 18 points, six rebounds, and three assists per 36 minutes before his age-21 campaign; before this season, only LeBron James, Chris Webber, and Luka Doncic had done it.

  74. I think the reason why RJ gets compared to Pierce a lot is because their games feel similar. Neither are/were super athletic or fast but both used their strength and craftiness/ability to change directions, to score. And both are/were two way wings.

    That being said, I think there is A LOT of revisionism about Pierce going on. He was a great player, multiple all-star and definitely a hall of fame player but the narrative on him changed A LOT when he joined up with KG and Ray Allen and won a title. He deserves all the praise in the world for his career but before 2008, Pierce was considered a very talented guy who was inefficient and didn’t care that much on defense. The season before KG and Ray Allen showed up the Celtics won like 23 games or something. He did have some earlier success with Antoine Walker where the Celtics were decent for a few seasons and I think even got to the ECF, but those were literally the worst years of the Eastern Conference and they weren’t nearly as good as even the JKidd led Nets.

    So I don’t think its that outrageous, after the improvement RJ has shown so far this season, to make that comparison. And yeah, he’s not elite at any one specific thing (yet) but having a two way wing who is decent at everything, good at defense, and can get you 20 a game somewhat efficiently…that’s pretty valuable. He might not be prime Iggy or Butler good on defense (again…YET) but he’s VERY SOLID to good on defense. He’s a very solid to good rebounder. He’s a solid to good passer and his shooting has gotten much better. I honestly believe with his work ethic, support system and tempermant, RJ could possibly become a hall of fame player.

    So I don’t think its that outrageous to s

  75. Just read a stat that said when defending opposing forwards RJ holds them to 43.5% shooting and opposing guards to only 40.7%. Mentioned that he covers forwards 48% of the time while covering guards 47% so basically a 50/50 split. His offensive improvement has been nice to see but watching him this season I’m more impressed by his defense.

  76. Z-man: A Jaylen Brown trajectory would be a perfectly fine outcome. Brown worked his way into being a 2, where he manhandles opponents.

    I think Brown is a pretty reasonable comp and would be a good outcome all things considered. Brown has really turned himself unexpectedly into an excellent shooter; he has been one of the best high-volume midrange shooters in the league this season and he’s solid from every range. That’s a mix that I can see working for RJ but I still worry about whether his jump shot will ever get to quite that level despite the impressive improvements he has already made.

  77. One skill Pierce had that RJ doesn’t was backing guys down and hitting an almost unstoppable turn around jump shot. Right now, RJ’s mid range game is pull up jumpers or floaters.

    And as much as I hated Pierce for his preening and posing and Knick killing, he was an all time great who was incredibly clutch in big moments.

  78. @BigBlueAl

    ESPN’s RDPM agrees with you. They have him as the 12th best defensive SG in the game on a per minute basis this season at only 20 years of age. Easily the youngest in that percentile by at least four years.

  79. RJ seems to have corrected some things since being drafted…right hand is much better, consistency on 3pt and FT shooting form.

    aside from shooting, bc it’s so hard to know where his shooting will shake out, i would say rj’s single largest improvement this year has been improved exploitation of his change of pace skill. rj has always been very good decelerator, but this year he has used it much more effectively and creatively in half court, including some pretty damn fun stop and go moves. this was arguably manu’s single greatest skill, although with manu it’s hard to pick your favorite. from my seat rj hasn’t yet advanced much in joining this kind of pace control with late-drive reads, i.e. to the extent he is making better decisions it looks like he is just trying fewer doomed “fuck it i’m going” drives and passing out early. i don’t know if this is something he’ll be able to improve but man would it be fun if he could.

  80. Paul Pierce comp for RJ sounds good to me. Not sure RJ will ever be able to be THE primary scorer on a team, but man, it’s awesome watching him grow right before our eyes. Literally, the dude just listed all the weaknesses on a piece of paper and is checking them off one by one.
    Finishing – much better

    FT shooting – much better, still not great, but not an overt weakness

    3 point shooting – better to the point we are wondering about regression, because he couldn’t be as good a shooter as he has been…right? According to Tommy Beer’s twitter:

    There are only three players in the NBA that have attempted more than 75 three-pointers and shot over 48% from 3-point territory over the last two months:

    Joe Harris, Joe Ingles … and …
    RJ Barrett

    Right hand – finishing much better, but is also doing that snaking thing in the lane to get to his left hand — that snake must be a Johnny Bryant special, since all the Knicks are doing that now (Even Frank!)

    Defense is very solid.

    There’s nothing not to like about RJ’s sophomore year. He’s really been great.

  81. d-mar:
    One skill Pierce had that RJ doesn’t was backing guys down and hitting an almost unstoppable turn around jump shot. Right now, RJ’s mid range game is pull up jumpers or floaters.

    And as much as I hated Pierce for his preening and posing and Knick killing, he was an all time great who was incredibly clutch in big moments.

    This is part of what I’m talking about. He would also abuse players who overplayed him for that shot with spin-fakes. I disagree with swift…there was some dissatisfaction in C’s-land because fans think they have a birthright to a championship every year…just like they were bitching and moaning about Tatum and Brown a few weeks ago when they were below .500. At the very least, he was always regarded as being on Melo’s level.

    And RJ’s D is probably benefitting from being on a defensive-minded coach’s team, just like Pierce’s D benefitted from playing with KG. That’s a good thing…not a swipe. You have to have the ability and mindset…and RJ definitely does have both.

  82. Re: Quickley — he clearly is not a traditional PG, and he isn’t great on defense yet, but he just opens up the floor so much for others. When he comes off a screen, the defense basically freaks out, creating openings everywhere. For dudes like RJ who can’t necessarily beat a set defense, IQ is perfect — defense is slightly broken the second a screen is set for him. IQ may not be Lillard or Steph but teams are actually playing him as if he is at least a poor man’s version of them.

    Sample size is growing ever larger. Now 311 possessions with IQ+RJ+Randle and it’s a 99th percentile offense (124.8) and 87th percentile defense (107.5) on cleaning the glass. Weirdly on NBA.com it is not nearly as good (but still amazing) at +13.8 net rating – maybe there is some padding of the net rating during garbage time. But that 3 man lineup is far and away the best 3 man lineup we’ve thrown out there (minimum 150 minutes).

  83. by the way I think we are getting smoked tonight.
    nets are really really good. I honestly only think a full strength Lakers team has a chance against them. Until proven otherwise I’ll never believe a Budenholzer team in the playoffs. Sixers maybe. I don’t think the Clips have enough on offense to score with the Nets.

  84. DRed:
    I really hate those Drummond rumors!

    I don’t like them either…

    The question is whether Drummond has just played badly of whether he’s just a bad player. I don’t think the answer is obvious, and at the right price he might be an excellent reclamation project. But I’d much rather let someone else find out.

  85. If Frank starts tonight, it might make sense to let RJ be a secondary initiator after Randle.

  86. Z-man: I don’t like them either…

    The question is whether Drummond has just played badly of whether he’s just a bad player. I don’t think the answer is obvious, and at the right price he might be an excellent reclamation project. But I’d much rather let someone else find out.

    I don’t see it at all with Drummond. Maybe whoever in the Knicks FO thinks we can zig while the rest of the league zags with an old-school center, but he’ll get matchup-d off the court in the playoffs. And as far as I can tell, despite being such a great rebounder and big body, he’s never been part of an above average defense. Hard to imagine that for a theoretically dominant inside presence. If we’re giving up a top 55 protected 2027 2nd round pick and sending out Payton, then sure, I guess it’s fine. But any more than that– no thanks.

  87. Bo Nateman:
    If Frank starts tonight, it might make sense to let RJ be a secondary initiator after Randle.

    Might be best to bring in Frank when the Nets rest Harden and go to Kyrie as primary ballhandler. He’s always been great against Kyrie.

  88. Frank has also had good moments against the Beard. Just start him and hope that he stops committing ticky tack fouls. He’s been reaching in too much instead of playing defense with his feet.

    We have nothing to lose in this game tonight, being vast underdogs. That can lead to an upset.

  89. Frank: I don’t see it at all with Drummond. Maybe whoever in the Knicks FO thinks we can zig while the rest of the league zags with an old-school center, but he’ll get matchup-d off the court in the playoffs.

    Playing devil’s advocate in part, I don’t think Drummond is as much of a liability on D as one might think. He protects the rim, grabs a ridiculous amount of defensive rebounds, and can move laterally fairly well.

  90. The Drummond rumors feel like they were specifically summoned to answer TNFH’s question from earlier about how many offensively limited, rim protecting centers do we need.

    You just know Thibs would be thrilled to go to war with Derrick Rose, Julius Randle, and Andre Drummond for the next 3 seasons. Might as well use Mitch to trade for Evan Fournier.

    Help us, Allerblogger, you’re our only hope.

  91. Z-man: I don’t like them either…

    The question is whether Drummond has just played badly of whether he’s just a bad player. I don’t think the answer is obvious, and at the right price he might be an excellent reclamation project. But I’d much rather let someone else find out.

    fwiw, Hollinger is dubious that Drummond will fetch a draft pick.

  92. Jowles posted a video of Drummond offensive bloopers recently that would give anyone pause. Would he accept a more limited offensive role? How much would he sign for?

    I think it’s pretty clear that Mitch is not going to develop anything resembling a diversified offensive game. Mitch is clearly the better perimeter defender and better on switches across the board. Drummond is an historically good rebounder and can block shots well enough, and in a limited offensive role (putbacks and lobs) could be a problem for other teams.

    For me, it’s all about the price tag. How much is Mitch going to get paid? Since he’s only locked up for another year, is it worth kicking the tires on Drummond? I say no, but if we can get Drumond on a 3yr/$36 mill kind of deal, that would be hard to get all worked up about. At 3 years/$60 mill, that’s another story.

  93. Z-man: Playing devil’s advocate in part, I don’t think Drummond is as much of a liability on D as one might think. He protects the rim, grabs a ridiculous amount of defensive rebounds, and can move laterally fairly well.

    I am just not sure if he’s Hassan Whiteside on D – counting stats amazing, actual impact… not amazing.
    by the way I must’ve looked at something wrong. from 2016-18 the Pistons were ok on defense.

  94. RJ’s 3s are almost all assisted and over 40% are coming from the corner….. he’s not taking any 3 unless he’s open so shooting a pretty high % on those is not crazy since these shots are basically extended free throws… and given his improvement at the line it makes sense he’s also improving here…

    his 3pt shooting will regress… but it probably will be because he’s trying to get more volume and get above the break 3s to punish teams going under on screens… that will probably come at some point in his career maybe even next year but you could make a living just limiting your 3 opportunities in this way… bruce bowen did exactly that…

  95. it’s been a month since mitch’s injury and the knicks have a def rating of 111.2 … thats good for 16th in the league…

    theres a lot of bad juju that points to a bad 2nd half but on top of a more difficult schedule… it’s going to be a tough hill to climb without mitch during some of these games…

  96. I’d be sort of into Drummond if we’re talking about a buyout situation or low-cost FA acquisition. If anybody could salvage Drummond’s career I think it would be Thibs. He obviously is as tools-y as just about any C out there and if you see him on a night where everything is clicking you can think he should be an all-nba level guy. I’m a little bit worried about what he has left physically because you don’t see him skying for alley-oops the way he did 3 or 4 years ago but the rebounding numbers are still immense so hopefully it’s more of a role issue.

    But all of that is totally contingent on it being essentially zero acquisition cost. He’s a non-shooting C who hasn’t actually been productive the last couple years and really could be past his best. If we acquired him tomorrow there’s a good chance he would deserve to be out of the rotation whenever Mitch comes back – it’s really not obvious that he’s better than either Mitch or Noel. If we acquired him in that vein – a flier on a talented guy who has lost his way but might be a really nice fit in Thibs’ system I like it. If we’re acquiring him with the idea that he’s a star C who’s a big part of our future we’re at least a couple years out of date. That’s the concern.

  97. I don’t see where we need Drummond. There aren’t enough minutes for our centers as is when Mitch returns.

  98. It does make for interesting discussion but I don’t think it happens. Too many teams out there that are better fits for him and that could afford to give up salary filler and a 2nd rounder or something.

  99. If you’re Drummond and the Cavs are already paying your huge salary for the year, you are choosing your new team based on who is best equipped to get you a ring, or who is best equipped to help you get a good new contract in a league that increasingly devalues players like yourself. Ideally, he would find a team that can do both. We’re not winning the title this year with or without him, and we have a lot of big men. So we don’t seem to check either box for him.

  100. Interesting 3 point splits for RJ per NBA.com

    Left corner 15/28 (53.6%)
    Right corner 10/33 (30.3%)
    Overall corners 25/61 (41%)
    Above the break 21/69 (30.4%)

    BUT – if you just do starting 1/1/21:
    Left corner 14/23 (60.9%!)
    Right corner 10/28 (35.7%)
    Overall corners 24/51 (47.1%)
    Above the break 19/55 (34.5%)

    Basically he’s been unconscious from the left corner and pretty ok everywhere else.

    crazy that he was 3 for 24 in the few games before New Year’s.

  101. He doesn’t look washed to me…obviously highlight reels have their warts, but just in terms of the way he moves, handles the ball, jumps, etc., Drummond looks pretty much how he did 5 years ago, except more skilled.

    I think the Celts would be an excellent landing spot for him…hopefully they don’t bite.

  102. RJ is making teams pay for leaving him open…that’s a great first step in the process. Still has a long way to go before he can iso and attack a top defensive wing in crunch time. Right now, it’s mostly Randle in that regard, and maybe (but not really) Burks. He does have some bully to him, but needs that fade-away move. His low release point hurts him in that regard.

  103. >>>if we can get Drumond on a 3yr/$36 mill kind of deal, that would be hard to get all worked up about<<<

    I would be despondent if we offered that deal to Drummond.

  104. >>> If you’re Drummond and the Cavs are already paying your huge salary for the year, you are choosing your new team <<<

    Alan, the rumor is actually that we might trade for him.

  105. Hubert:
    >>> If you’re Drummond and the Cavs are already paying your huge salary for the year, you are choosing your new team <<<

    Alan, the rumor is actually that we might trade for him.

    I can’t imagine that we will get him if we don’t trade for him…why would he choose to come here rather than go with a contender? It probably wouldn’t take much…a second and maybe a young scrub like Iggy. I’m still a hard no, but would be far from despondent if that happened.

  106. I’m gonna throw a lot of “if’s” at ya to see what y’all think.

    IF Thibs could bring out the best defensively from Drummond and he could be resigned for a reasonable deal. And IF Mitch was then traded as the centerpiece of say a Lonzo Ball deal (let’s say Mitch and some second rounders) would you bite?

    I guess I’m just thinking Mitch has been good on defense but that’s about it. But he’s still probably our most valuable trade piece (outside of RJ and Quickley) because he is getting paid so little and a team would have him next year too. And he is a NO homegrown kid, so maybe NO would like to pair him with Zion? And maybe if you use him in a trade, he can be the main piece of it as opposed to having to throw in a first or two?

    Then you resign Noel as the back up and Drummond as the starter and Thibs can hopefully bring the best out of Drummond on defense? Plus ya get Lonzo?

    I don’t know.

  107. I say no, but if we can get Drumond on a 3yr/$36 mill kind of deal, that would be hard to get all worked up about. At 3 years/$60 mill, that’s another story.

    3/$36M is a ton for a center these days. The only centers making $12M+ AAV are Nurkic, Lopez, Wood, Valanciunas, Capela, Dieng, Turner, Vuc, Horford, Jokic, Drummond currently, Towns, Porzingis, Embiid, and Anthony Davis.

    If Drummond isn’t the worst player on that list, he’s a close second to Dieng. That’s an albatross number for a guy who can’t shoot a lick and who has been

  108. 1. We shouldn’t want Drummond

    2. If we want Drummond, we’ll be able to sign him with very little competition in the offseason

    NBA teams are often faced with tough decisions. This is not one of them. Do not trade assets for Andre Drummond!

  109. If the rumors are true that the Knicks are exploring giving Drummond a multi year deal if he’s bought out, that probably means Mitch is on the block to add another piece. I don’t think they keep Mitch and Drummond. That means they could very well be after Lonzo Ball using Mitch plus a pick of some sort.

    How do we feel about Drummond, Randolph, Bullock, RJ, and Ball with Nerlens as the backup (and Reddick probably part of the deal)?

  110. swift, here’s my “if” in response…

    if we trade for Andre Drummond so we can put Mitch on the block, it means Tom Thibodeau is getting his way.

    If Tom Thibodeau is getting his way, Mitch will be traded, but not for Lonzo Ball. You have to put your Thibs hat on and start thinking of “seasoned veterans.”

  111. I have no problem discussing purely theoretical possibilities but just so we’re clear there is no indication the Pelicans want to trade Lonzo. Amick says it’s very unlikely, indicating the Pelicans would likely have to be blown away in order to do it. The merits of a market value trade are dicey enough, so I think we’d all agree the merits of a godfather offer are no bueno.

    A more interesting question might be whether we could get an asset for taking on Bledsoe. He’s been bad this year but would still be by far the best point guard on our roster. He’s only signed for one more season (2022-2023 is a team option) and Lonzo is likely to become a lot more expensive for them.

  112. Hubs,

    I just disagree with the idea that Thibs wouldn’t want Lonzo.

    Lonzo is not a rookie. Does Thibs not play RJ the second most minutes on the team?

    Thibs is unlikely to play too much and will have a shorter leash on rookies. Or if they’re young players like Frank, Knox or DSJ, who just aren’t very good. But a younger player who is already a solid PG, can improve, plays defense, good passing PG, good outside shooting? Why would Thibs not want that?

    I just don’t agree with this idea that Thibs won’t ever play a young player. He wants players that will help him win. He plays RJ a lot because RJ helps him win. He wanted to trade Randle before the season started bc based on last year’s results, he didn’t think Randle would help him win. He started Mitch all season. He’s played IQ plenty of minutes (granted with a shorter leash) because even though he’s a rookie, he’s helping him win.

    Austin Rivers is a vet but he’s not playing. How does that fit into the Thibs narrative? If your narrative was totally true. Rivers would be playing over Quickley and RJ.

  113. RJ is so much better than Burks and Bullock it would be insane not to play him that many minutes. Thibs is biased but he’s not stupid.

  114. swift, here’s my “if” in response…

    if we trade for Andre Drummond so we can put Mitch on the block, it means Tom Thibodeau is getting his way.

    If Tom Thibodeau is getting his way, Mitch will be traded, but not for Lonzo Ball. You have to put your Thibs hat on and start thinking of “seasoned veterans.”

    I disagree. This is just coming from Thibs hate.

    Thibs is not all in on getting veterans and contending this year. Thibs is all in on getting better both now and long term by any means possible (including draft, trades, and FA). What he doesn’t want to do is accept losing just to improve our draft position.

    I’m 100% certain Thibs understands we don’t have a starting PG, Lonzo Ball is a clear upgrade over Payton, and he still has upside. Thibs would love that addition unless there was a better PG available that was still young enough to be around for quite awhile.

    What I don’t know is what he thinks of Drummond or what he really thinks of Mitch’s long term potential. If he thinks Mitch’s ceiling is a more athletic Nerlens, then he might prefer Drummond and Ball to Mitch and Payton both long and short term.

  115. >>> Thibs is not all in on getting veterans and contending this year.<<<

    Thibs wanted to trade RJ and Mitch for seasoned veterans.

  116. Thibs is not all in on getting veterans and contending this year. Thibs is all in on getting better both now and long term by any means possible (including draft, trades, and FA). What he doesn’t want to do is accept losing just to improve our draft position.

    So you’re telling me that Thibs’ preferences are completely indistinguishable from your own? That’s quite a coincidence!

  117. thenoblefacehumper: 3/$36M is a ton for a center these days. The only centers making $12M+ AAV are Nurkic, Lopez, Wood, Valanciunas, Capela, Dieng, Turner, Vuc, Horford, Jokic, Drummond currently, Towns, Porzingis, Embiid, and Anthony Davis.

    If Drummond isn’t the worst player on that list, he’s a close second to Dieng. That’s an albatross number for a guy who can’t shoot a lick and who has been

    I didn’t think all that hard about the number, but most of the guys on your list are making WAY more than $12mill AAV. Even Dieng is making $17 million this year. Capela is at $18 mill AAV through next year. He’s probably in the Jonas V class of C’s, and he’s making $15 per. And he’s 27, not some grizzled has-been. Frankly, I don’t think he’d be anywhere near an albatross at that amount, maybe a minor overpay, more likely a bargain.

  118. Deeefense: I disagree.This is just Thibs hate.

    Thibs is not all in on getting veterans and contending this year. Thibs is all in on getting better both now and long term by any means possible (including draft, trades, and FA).What he doesn’t want to do is accept losing just to improve our draft position.

    I’m 100% certain Thibs understands we don’t have a starting PG, Lonzo Ball is a clear upgrade over Payton and still has upside.Thibs would love that addition unless there was a better PG available that was still young enough to be around for quite awhile.

    What I don’t know is what he thinks of Drummond or what he really thinks of Mitch’s long term potential.If he thinks Mitch’s ceiling is a more athletic Nerlens, then he might prefer Drummond and Ball to Mitch and Payton both long and short term.

    Lonzo will not be traded. Rubio should be available. What about a lineup of Rubio, RJ, Bullock, Randle and Drummond? It wouldn’t cost us very much, I don’t think.

  119. >>> I’m 100% certain Thibs understands we don’t have a starting PG, <<<

    We have Derrick Rose. I guarantee you Thibs is not lobbying to replace his favorite player with a 23 year old.

  120. So Hubs, by your logic, if Thibs was given the choice of upgrading the PG position, since he isn’t “stupid” he would want that, no?

    Is Lonzo an upgrade from Elf?

    I think so.

    Ergo, he would want Lonzo.

    Now you might say, why not start IQ? And that is a valid question.

    But IQ IS still a rookie. And as exciting as he has been, he has been inconsistent. Also, IQ is NOT A pure PG. He has some of that playmaking ability but he is a combo guard really.

    The other PG options are Frank and Rivers and Pinson. As much as I don’t like Elf, none of them are better than Elf.

    I think its pretty obvious. Thibs will keep a rookie on a short leash. And he’s not going to sacrifice wins for young player development if those young players suck (Frank, Knox, DSJ, etc). But if the young player is good (RJ, Mitch) he will play them.

    Is Mitch that much better than Noel? I would say “no” (although I do think he is better). Yet, Thibs has started Mitch over Noel ALL SEASON. Explain that?

    Lonzo is a 4th year player. He is not a rookie. He is also not a bad, young player. So Thibs would play him and would want him.

  121. Lonzo wouldn’t be replacing Rose. Rose came in to be a bench player, not a starter. He was only thrust into that role because Elf got hurt.

    Getting Lonzo isn’t replacing Rose. Its replacing Elf and putting Rose back to his intended position, which is back up PG. Rose himself has said he can’t play starter’s minutes for a sustained period of time because of his age.

  122. Swift that was not logically sound.

    If Lonzo Ball were on the roster, I agree with you that Thibs would play him. But if Thibs is asking Leon Rose for a player to help him contend, I am sure he is not asking for Lonzo Ball. He is asking for someone more established.

  123. Does he want to trade RJ now?

    Thibs is not the GM. Rose is. Just because he threw Thibs a bone and got him DRose doesn’t mean Thibs is secretly running the organization. So if Rose trades for Lonzo, Thibs WILL play him. Its as simple as that.

    It doesn’t really matter what thibs “wanted” before the season started. No one in the organization really knew what we had with RJ, Mitch, Randle and if they’d be good enough to be the pieces of a competent basketball team.

  124. It would be stupid to trade anything for Drummond because he isn’t an upgrade over Mitch or Noel, costs more this season, and will likely cost more than either of them if he’s re-signed next season. Mitch and Noel are both better by BPM and VORP this year and are both younger than Andre. What am I missing?

    You have to be a really big believer in ‘Thib magic’ if you’re cool with a Drummond trade.

  125. You have no idea what he is asking for. Neither do I.

    I just disagree that Lonzo isn’t established. If you look across the league at PG’s that might be available right now (and Lonzo may not even be available) he is about as established a PG as their is. Its not like Rose can go out and get him CP3 or somebody like that.

    Rubio could be an option too.

    But to me Lonzo would represent a nice balance between what Thibs would want (upgrade at PG) and what Rose wants (player that has long term potential).

  126. Thibs wanted to trade RJ and Mitch for seasoned veterans.

    Thibs was OPEN to doing anything that would improve the team short and long term including trading Mitch and RJ. That’s a different thing.

    Around here there were quite a few “trade RJ while he still has value” advocates too. Only a handful of us (me among them) was saying he’s talented in a variety of ways and if you are going to advocate for building via draft at least give the kid a few years to develop his shot because he’s good at everything else.

  127. >>> Thibs is not the GM. <<<

    And that's the only reason this stupid rumor probably will not come to pass.

  128. We have Derrick Rose. I guarantee you Thibs is not lobbying to replace his favorite player with a 23 year old.

    You are being beyond ridiculous.

    We didn’t have a backup PG. Quickley NOT a true PG.

    He wanted a backup PG because we needed one. He likes Rose. Rose knows how he wants to play. Rose wanted to come to NY. He made the team better immediately, the long term cost was a non event, and they gave a new start to DSjr who wasn’t going to play. Everybody wins.

  129. Because New Orleans drafted Kira Lewis, Lonzo is a free agent this summer (and will cost money for a small market team) and Mitch is from New Orleans and is a very nice trade piece. Teams don’t have to publicly announce that they’re thinking about trading someone in order for them to be available for a trade.

  130. The other scary thing about Drummond is visible in the first part of that highlight clip. A lot of his play replicates what Randle does around the paint (not counting Randle’s good jumper). You’d either have to under-utilize Drummond to keep him from clogging everything and ruining Randle’s ability to drive, or have him replace Noel as an 18-minute understudy to Mitch, playing him only on the second unit. Which is kind of intriguing, but I imagine a non-starter for all kinds of reasons.

  131. >>> You are being beyond ridiculous <<<

    Says the guy who thinks Tom Thibodeau wants to trade for an inconsistent 23 year old PG.

  132. NetsTown:
    Lonzo is not coming here. Why does anyone think it’s even a possibility?

    The story all year has been that the Peilcans were taking calls on Lonzo Ball.

    It is well known that LaVar was not happy about the trade from LA to New Orleans because he wanted his son in a bigger market.

    It is well known the Knicks need a PG.

    It is well known that LaVar was hoping LaMelo was drafted by the Knicks.

    The math on this one is not too complex. New Orleans probably thinks Lonzo is going to leave as a free agent to go to a bigger market eventually. So at some point they are going to have to trade him. The question is when, for how much, and can they convince him and his father to stay and win in New Orleans because of their good young core.

    That doesn’t mean any of it will happen, but that’s the thinking and imo it’s fairly logical that there would mutual interest.

  133. It is completely logical that the Knicks would have interest in Lonzo Ball!!

    What is illogical is that they would want Andre Drummond. So if a Drummond trade comes to pass, I would suggest you stop thinking of next moves that make sense to you and start thinking of next moves that make sense within the context of a team that just inexplicably traded for Andre Drummond.

    You feel me now?

  134. Hubert:
    >>> You are being beyond ridiculous <<<

    Says the guy who thinks Tom Thibodeau wants to trade for an inconsistent 23 year old PG.

    I didn’t say he WANTS to trade for Ball. I said he wants the team to get better in the short and long term and would be happy with a young player like Ball if “management” can pull off a deal he thinks makes the team better now and in the future.

    The question is what he thinks about Drummond and Mitch. I don’t know the answer to that. For all I know he hates Drummond and loves Mitch and would tell management to go F themselves if getting Ball means signing Drummond and trading Mitch.

  135. What is illogical is that they would want Andre Drummond. So if a Drummond trade comes to pass, I would suggest you stop thinking of next moves that make sense to you and start thinking of next moves that make sense within the context of a team that just inexplicably traded for Andre Drummond.

    You feel me now?

    No, because you are still missing the overall picture

    If you know you desperately need an upgrade at PG, Ball is available, you like him short and long term, but it’s going to cost you Mitch, in order to do it you have to replace Mitch.

    So you look at the landscape and ask who can we get to start at C to replace Mitch that is good enough and young enough for the overall result to make sense and make us better.

    It’s not necessarily that they don’t want Mitch or that they like Drummond. It’s that they want the team to be better after the series of deals required to get Ball. It could take Mitch to get that done. So you have to replace him.

    Again the question is how much do they like Ball vs. Mitch (and whatever else it takes) and do they like Drummond at all. We don’t know.

  136. Strat acting like anyone other than Tom Thibodeau might want to ditch Mitch to get Andre Drummond is adorable.

  137. once he’s inside the arc – i don’t think quik’s eyes are focused on anything but the rim…i don’t know though – he says he’s a point guard, maybe he can develop in to more of a playmaker…

    i wonder how much of mitch’s fairly limited offensive game is a result of him playing the “role” he’s been assigned…anytime he touches the ball and dribbles a time or two (which is very infrequent) he looks comfortable to me…

    i’m not sure if he’ll suddenly turn in to brook lopez if he ever gets the green light, but, who knows, i’d hope he can do more than what he currently does on offense…

    if the question was – would you trade mitch for lonzo straight up just based on current talent and potential, that would be a tough question, but – i’d probably lean slightly towards hanging on to mitch…his impact on defense is significant…

  138. New Orleans is not trading Lonzo, their starting point guard, for Mitch. It’s not going to happen. Mitch and a #1 might do it.

  139. I’ve recently become very high on Lonzo. I see him as a foundational piece at PG. We could then focus draft assets elsewhere. He is a RFA next year. What’s the consensus on what it would take to sign him?

  140. Well there was that game early in the season where the Cavs played the Knicks and Andre Drummond had 33 points and 23 boards.

    I’d trade Mitch for Lonzo in a heartbeat. I was in favor of trading Mitch for LaMelo and wish they had. The Pellies ain’t taking Mitch for Lonzo. Mitch and a 1, maybe.

  141. NetsTown:
    New Orleans is not trading Lonzo, their starting point guard, for Mitch. It’s not going to happen. Mitch and a #1 might do it.

    I agree. I think I mentioned that earlier or in another thread. It’s going to take more than Mitch. If that happened I’m sure a lot of people here would be pissed off because they love Mitch, but it’s really hard to get a young high quality PG and our 5m backup C that no one wanted is doing a fine job replacing him without a huge impact on winning.

  142. Hubert:
    Strat acting like anyone other than Tom Thibodeau might want to ditch Mitch to get Andre Drummond is adorable.

    You should at least TRY to get the point instead of just hating on our COTY candidate THibs.

    I’m pretty sure NO ONE in the organization wants to ditch Mitch for Drummond. But a lot of them might prefer Ball than Mitch. If it takes Mitch (plus something else) to get Ball THAT’s something to think about.

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