Preseason Game Thread: Knicks @ 76ers

We join the game in progress with the Knicks leading 17-11 in a rather odd game, with neither team playing particularly well so far.

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65 thoughts to “Preseason Game Thread: Knicks @ 76ers”

  1. Coach got the nice suit going again tonight. Much better than replacement level suitgame.

    The man’s a sharp dresser, that’s for sure. Now all he needs is a meticulously groomed goatee.

    I’m not sure whether we’re winning because we’re playing well, or because Philly’s team is full of “what’s his face” and “who was that?”

  2. I’m like 2 more pre-season games in this vein away from being legit excited by playmaking-triangle-shump.



  3. I’m not sure whether we’re winning because we’re playing well, or because Philly’s team is full of “what’s his face” and “who was that?”

    Early on it was the latter but now it is both.

  4. Haven’t been able to watch any of the preseason yet but we gave up 96 the first game to the celtics, then 80 in game 2 and 81 to Toronto in game 3. Today it’s holding philly to 29 points in the first half. Is this bad opposing offenses, preseason who cares, or is the team D actually better?

  5. Philly is really, really fucking bad.

    Pretty backdoor cut by Shump right there. I feel like he’s picking up the triangle faster than most of these guys.

  6. If through some strange confluence of events, someone, somewhere was to make a Luc Mbah a Moute poster, Sam Dalembert would be on it.

  7. I’m concerned that Cole might be on the outside looking in. That would be very disappointing.

    That said, I like Jason Smith.

  8. I just don’t understand why Cole isn’t playing. Dalembert is a good player, but he’s 33 and hasn’t played 2,000+ minutes in a season since he was 28. Jason Smith has never been more than an average basketball player. Cole deserves a chance to be in this rotation, especially when you consider that we’ve already handed Quincy Acy the keys to the starting PF job. Out of STAT, Dalembert, Smith, Bargnani, Acy, and Aldrich, you have to think Aldrich is at least one of the three or four best players in our front court. He should be playing. It’s great that Bargs doesn’t get to see the floor, but the preseason is where you let young guys prove themselves. I was hoping to see Cole Aldrich become apart of the core rotation this preseason. We have a long season ahead of us, though, so there’s still hope.


  9. Well, it’s obvious that the inexplicable love affair that folks here have with Cole Aldrich is not shared by the Knick brain trust. Personally, I think he’s a piece that could fit the bigger puzzle and be a good role player.

  10. @15

    Not playing Cole sucks, not playing Bargnani is awesome.

    I don’t even care if Cole ends up being actual terrible. I just want to know if his 0.122 career WS48 and 0.171 WP48 are flukes. 1000MP isn’t a whole lot, but it’s enough to be like, “Hey, we found a decent center in the scrap-yard!” And that would be awesome.

    Or we could go with the reanimated body of Max-Contract Amar’e Stoudemire, or the Worst Player of the 21st Century™ Andrea Bargnani. I see no downside to playing Cole.

  11. Yeah, what jowles said. Amare has looked like dogshit so far-what’s the harm of playing Cole 28 minutes in a pre-season game and seeing what he looks like?

  12. @18

    Maybe you figure that it always takes Amar’e a little time to find his shooting touch and that Aldrich is relatively consistent in his production regardless of his playing time.

  13. @19

    hahahahaha, I would love for this to be made a public statement by anyone in the organization

  14. Cole Aldrich needs minutes, plain and simple. Apparently, we’re going to be trying to sign Marc Gasol this off season. That’s cool, but why not at least see if you have a player at that position already? Aldrich’s per minute and advanced stat numbers added to the fact that he’s actually a good defensive player make him a potential top player at his position. And it’s not like Cole Aldrich is Jeremy Tyler in terms of “potential” where he got drafted in the 2nd round and only played in like Japan or something. Aldrich was the DPOY at Kansas and was a lottery pick who just hasn’t gotten a chance to play for whatever reason. Best case scenario is Aldrich is actually the stud we think he is, we sign Marc Gasol, and we have two 7 footers to run the triangle with. Worst case scenario? Cole actually sucks and we play Sam Dalembert and Jason Smith until we have an opportunity to sign Marc Gasol.

    There is no real downside to playing Cole right now, so I really don’t see why he doesn’t play. Especially when we signed Cole Aldrich right after one SL game and didn’t play him another minute. It’s confusing as to what is the plan for Cole right now.

  15. So, some non-Cole (quick aside, only 2 Knicks have more offensive rebounds in the pre-season than Cole has pulled down in 18 fucking minutes (#freecole)) preseason observations so far:

    Shump looks like the starter at 2 guard. The ball is moving a lot more than last season, although not always to good effect. Acy looks like a viable hustle/offensive rebounding/defense rotation option. He’s turned it over too often, but hopefully that’s a least in part down to learning a new system. Timmy remains a hideous trainwreck on defense, but has drawn more free throws than anyone on the team so far, which is nice, because for the last few years we have sucked at drawing fouls, and he’s managed to pass and rebound a little bit. Melo’s looked pretty Melo-esque, although like the rest of the non-Calderon Knicks he’s not shooting the 3 ball all that well. That’s probably a sample size thing-at least to my eyes the shots have been there from downtown.

  16. Oh yeah, Shump has to be the starter I think. Especially with JR not having a clue regarding the Triangle (it is almost adorable how clueless he is about it all – almost).

  17. Does anybody else remember when Shump said that he didn’t like playing defense, he just did it sothat he could try to score again? I think that shows at times in his play where his defense has suffered when he’s not playing well or not getting opportunities on offense. Consequently, I don’t think it’s too surprising that an offense more focused on sharing the ball and providing everybody with opportunities has brought a little pep back to his step. Definitely seems to be playing his way to the starting 2 spot.

  18. “Does anybody else remember when Shump said that he didn’t like playing defense, he just did it sothat he could try to score again? I think that shows at times in his play where his defense has suffered when he’s not playing well or not getting opportunities on offense.”
    Yes, and I came to the exact same conclusion that you did. I think that it explains why his defense last year consisted of reaching in to try to steal the ball — presumably so he could streak downcourt with the ball and promptly blow the layup on the other end. He has been much more aggressive defensively — and not just going for steals — so far this preseason than last year. I think that the whole team’s effort has been pretty good defensively so far — and it is really nice to see them not switching at every possible chance and actually trying to fight over picks.

  19. I don’t know, I think Shump’s improved defensive play at the end of last season and so far this preseason has a lot more to do with him getting his lateral movement back after the ACL injury rather than a big uptick in effort due to his getting more involved in the offense. He played really good defense down the stretch last year despite basically being told to go stand in the corner on offense. I think Phil’s arrival may have woken him up a bit too but I think his defensive struggles were more physical than mental.

  20. Shump’s problems on offense last year weren’t all just standing in the corner related-he took too many shots that he created by himself, and shots that Shumpert creates have, to this point, been pretty low quality shots. His D may have slumped a bit, but he was still our best (only) perimeter defender by a country cole mile.

  21. Shump has never received quality coaching in either his college or pro career. In college he was encouraged to chuck away at all times, and as a pro he got jerked around by D’Antoni, who tried to use him as a SSOL point guard with predictably awful results, and then he got the chance to be the main scapegoat for the Son Of Wood’s dumpster fire last year. Maybe he’s a good player when he’s not being coached by fools. Hopefully we’ll get to find out.

  22. Shumpert seems to have advanced his skill set this summer, as he’s relying more on his handle than his athleticism. He looks like he can create in a pinch, and he’s clearly improved his ability to finish around the rim. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shump be a 13, 5, and 5 guy this year, but I say that every year about Iman Shumpert. When he’s scoring well, he’s by far our best two since he demonstrates an ability to be good at passing, rebounding, and defending more nights than not. I like Shump, and I hope he has that breakout year as his contract is expiring.

  23. @30

    Do you think the Knicks should

    a) Gamble and sign him to a lower deal on par with his performance from last year.
    b) Wait for him to improve as he should and pay him higher.

  24. Holy shit, the Sixer’s got a dude, Drew “I’m not Drew Gooden” Gordon, on their roster, and they don’t even have a picture of him.

  25. @31, I don’t think Shumpert or his representatives would want Iman Shumpert to take a deal paying him on par for his production last season. Shump is my favorite player on the team, so I’d want to see him get locked up long term for a deal below market value. Shump is going to go into free agency this year, and hopefully he plays well enough and the Knicks sign him to a longterm deal that he earns.

  26. My 2 cents on the Cole thing. When he was in Houston, basically he’s the guy coaches love to “teach kids a lesson.” He has no talent (relative to other NBA players) but works hard and practices hard. Whenever a Rocket big would slack off and not play defense, McHale would go with Cole to show that he’s willing to play a crappier but more dedicated player. He’s the guy to go to for all those “intangibles.” But once players with talent started playing like they have talent, Cole stops getting minutes. And it’s not like the Rockets had incredible talent behind Asik that season either. Patrick Patterson, Motiejunas, Greg Smith all played some center.

    My guess is that the Knicks don’t play him because he literally has no upside. All his upside, he’s already shown in games because he really does play hard. If he’s outplaying someone, it’s because the other person isn’t trying hard enough, not because Cole is a better player. Ideally he’s the 12th man on the bench you keep around because he’s good for the locker room. But there’s really no upside in actually trying to develop him or anything.

  27. He doesn’t need upside when what he does right now is good enough to be a rotation player. That Fisher apparently doesn’t see that is a knock on Fisher, not on Aldrich. Hopefully something changes quickly before the season starts.

  28. Cole is an optical illusion. He looks so awkward doing what he does that it’s hard to believe that he is more productive than other bigs. But he has consistently put up impressive stats in limited minutes, and he won a DPOY award in college, so there is no reason that he shouldn’t get a good look relative to the known mediocrity on this team.

    The only thing I can imagine is hurting his chances is that he is having trouble passing/shooting in the triangle offense during practice. That may be a legit concern, that he doesn’t fit the system. But that would be a very rigid approach, given that Fisher is preaching the importance of defense.

  29. What’s interesting is that Cole and Fisher has history playing/practicing in OKC together. Maybe he still sees the player Brooks sat on the bench.

  30. Please already with the Cole Aldrich love fest. He’ll get into the occasional game but will be riding the pine all year. I like him but he’s not Kevin Love. He’s not David Lee. He’s not Serge Ibaka. He’s a good piece on the bench. Your 10-man rotation:
    Dalembert – Jason Smith
    Acy – Stoudemire
    Melo – JR Smith
    Shump – Hardaway
    Calderon – Larkin
    The last 5: Prigioni, Early, Bargnani, Aldrich, Travis Ware

  31. You starting unit might need a little more offense and your second unit might need a little more defense. Maybe flip Smith for Dalembert or Stoudemire for Acy? By the way, re: David Lee — does anyone else think that he would be a great fit for the triangle?

  32. Cole’s rebound, TS, and block% from last year all would have been career highs for Dalembert. Yes, he turns the ball over way too much but Dalembert isn’t making the good hands team any time soon either. To me Cole is Dalembert with a higher motor- I don’t think he’s an all-star but he looks like a solid starting center. And he’s young and cheap. And it’s preseason so unless he’s singlehandedly destroying every offensive set in practice I can’t see why he’s not getting at least 10-15 minutes a night.

  33. 2014-15 New York Knicks Roster and Stats
    Franchise Encyclopedia ? Previous Season

    Roster & Stats
    Schedule & Results
    Record: 0-0, (Schedule and Results)
    Coach: Derek Fisher (0-0)

    Arena: Madison Square Garden (IV) ? Buy Tickets
    Attendance: NA

    KnickerBlogger.Net sponsor(s) this page.

    Cole Aldrich, this is your year. I know I said it last year, but I mean it this time. True, I don’t make any decisions for the organization, nor do I have any sway. But I feel it in my excel sheet. May the per-minute stats be with you!

  34. Apparently Mike pulls in so much money from this site that he can toss it away on vanity basketball-reference page sponsorships.

  35. I don’t give a damn about motor. All I care about is dat ORB total. Get ’em, Cole!

  36. I’m soliciting volunteers to help me sponsor Ray Felton’s Basketball-Ref page. It’s $100 total.

    High donor gets to name the fictitious cheeseburger joint whose name will grace the page.


    “Big Greasy Burger Boys thanks Marion, S.C.’s own Ray Felton for keeping us in business for the last 30 years! To quote Tommy Wiseau’s The Room: ‘You’re our favorite customer!'”

    Only funnier. Help.

  37. Re: Cole – let’s just see what happens. This is the same player who played 1 or 2 games in the summer league before they shut him down and gave him a contract. The other possibility is that he’s not doing well in practice – if I remember correctly there were some stories last year about how he was not practicing well. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be playing over Bargs who just is bad, but maybe that’s a reason.

    I see we picked up Larkin’s option.

    Anyone think we should try to extend Shump on the cheap? I think it’s pretty obvious over the last couple years that he’s a difference maker on defense. If he would re-sign for $6-7 MM per year for 3 additional years I would do that if I’m Phil. The cap is going way up and those dollars are not outrageous for someone who is 24 and is a difference maker on the side of the ball we need the most help on. If that can happen then I’d spend most of the rest of my time trying to find a taker for JR. JR’s contract isn’t that bad and some offense-hungry team might take him if he gets off to a good start.

  38. I’d re-up Shump at 6-7 million per no problem, but I don’t think he’d take that. He’d get at least that on the open market even if he played as poorly on offense as he did last year.

  39. yeah i guess you guys are probably right. the only difference would be that signing an extension would take the risk of injury this year out of the equation, and for a guy who has had so many injuries, it might make a difference.

    i guess we could always let him get an offer from someone and then match. worst we do is overpay, hopefully after we sign whatever big FA(s) is coming down the pike after this season.

  40. I don’t give a damn about motor. All I care about is dat ORB total. Get ‘em, Cole!

    Well ORB% is the one area where Dalembert has a clear edge over Cole: 12.3% vs. 10.4 for their careers and he’s been over 14% his last two seasons while the 12.8 Cole put up last year was his career high. So maybe it’s time for you to jump off the Coletrain and embrace the Haitian Sensation! Me, I’ll take a slight decrease in offensive rebounds for a guy who’s going to reliably hustle back on defense and doesn’t take three seconds every time he has to leave the low post to come out and set a screen.

  41. I think this board is fairly united in agreeing that Dalembert is a solid center. He’s lazy, and he hasn’t averaged over 26 minutes a game in like 7 years, but when he’s in there he’s generally good. He’s also 33 and on the final year of his current deal, so he’s not an answer going forward. Maybe Cole is, even if it’s just the answer to “who will be the Knicks backup center for the next 3 years”, but we’ll never know if we don’t fucking play him. There’s certainly plenty of evidence to suggest he could do well given heavier minutes, and since this team is not a title contender, there is no good reason not go give him a shot.

  42. Also, Cole’s defensive rebounding prowess makes him a very good fit on a team with some frontcourt players who are subpar defensive rebounders. At the 4, Melo, Stat, Smith, and (god help us) Bargs are all below average on the defensive glass, so they’re a natural fit with someone like Cole.

  43. The Knicks are just gonna need Cole’s rebounding, plain and simple. I don’t know who’s supposed to get rebounds when Dalembert is not in the game, I guess Melo or something. All of the other potential backup centers are quite poor rebounders for centers, and it’s not like there’s some terror of a rebounding PF on the roster either.

  44. Should the rule that Aldrich is required to be mentioned in every K-Blogger post be referred to as Cole’s-law?

  45. I see Acy is no rebounding whiz. Somehow I thought beard + PF + limited offense = Reggie Evans type of player.
    Edited to add: Cole should play more.
    Cole’s Law 2014 KB bylaws Section 3 par. 47

  46. Cole Aldrich is starting to turn into my new “Heath Bell.”

    Heath Bell was a relief pitcher who came up with the Mets, who had ridiculously awesome K/BB numbers in the minor leagues year after year. But he stalled at AAA for two reasons: 1. He was victimized by poor BABIPs in a couple of seasons, and 2. He was sort of a chubby, slob-looking type guy. He became my cause celebre, a guy that I absolutely KNEW would succeed if he got a real shot in the majores. Of course the guys the Mets were running out there instead sucked.

    Well, he finally got some meaningful innings at the age of 27, and to my dismay he was once again victimized by poor BABIP. Despite a high K rate, low walk rate and low HR/9 rate, he had a 5.59 ERA. Omar Minaya was too dumb to look at the advanced stats and realize Bell was due to regress to the mean very soon, and that the .373 BABIP that Bell was running was very likely to come way down in a bigger sample size.

    The next year he was back in AAA and the Mets were an excellent team, so he didn’t really get any meaningful innings. Then he was traded for absolutely nothing, a player named Ben Johnson who never had a major league at-bat again. Then of course he became a dominant all-star reliever for the San Diego Padres. He was Cole Aldrich, but as a relief pitcher.

  47. I see Acy is no rebounding whiz. Somehow I thought beard + PF + limited offense = Reggie Evans type of player.

    It really does seem like he should be a voracious rebounder, doesn’t it? Iwas pretty surprised when I looked at his stats to see only 8-9 rebounds/36. Based on the absurdly small sample of preseason minutes I’ve seen so far, he does seem to be pretty good at getting his hands on balls for tips etc. and keeping some rebounds alive, so maybe that slightly underestimates his rebounding impact? But still for his player type (i.e. the undersized, hustling PF) you would expect more rebounding.

  48. So apparently the Knicks are pegged at 40-42 by SCHOENE, which seems like a pretty reasonable number.

  49. So apparently Amar’e is now bathing in red wine.

    Honestly, that is Marbury-vaseline-level weirdness. Amare’s a strange dude.

  50. I am a convert who has come to believe that Cole should get meaningful minutes since, every time I have seen him play, he has been at least somewhat effective and occasionally very effective. It’s weird — he was a lottery pick who we all think could be a decent rotation player, but he has now played for about 5 different coaches and none has seen fit to give him regular playing time. I’m not sure why.

  51. The lottery pick part is what seems out of place in the whole story. It wouldn’t seem that unusual for a guy who doesn’t really look the part of an NBA player to struggle to get opportunities even though he has played well in his limited minutes since I think we all accept that NBA teams sometimes make bad decisions based on guys where the eye test doesn’t match their actual production. But the weird part is that Cole was the 11th pick in the draft, and according to DraftExpress he was considered a bigtime prospect his whole time at Kansas (supposedly would have gone even higher if he had come out after his Sophomore year instead). And it’s not like scouts completely whiffed on him. From his DraftExpress profile:

    The prevailing opinion amongst NBA scouts has always been that Aldrich is a likely role-player at the next level—a player who projects as a significant presence in the paint defensively and on the glass, but can’t be expected to score much more than what his guards are able to create for him around the basket.

    While some may balk at using an extremely high pick on a player who projects as a very effective defender and rebounder and limited scorer, big men with Aldrich’s physical tools are very difficult to come by. Even though his upside may not be off the charts, he doesn’t have very much downside either, as you pretty much know what you’re getting here, which is an excellent all-around role-player, and an Academic All-American on top of that. A good NCAA tournament showing will help Aldrich enter the draft process with some strong momentum behind him, but teams should be comfortable at this point with the type of prospect he is.

    That…is pretty much exactly right. So NBA scouts had a dead on read on the guy and considered him a really good prospect throughout college. He comes out a year early and is picked 11th. And then he never gets a shot in the league? It’s just weird.

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