Recap: Knicks 95, Pelicans 87

Brian Cronin wrote Saturday in the recap for the Cavs game that he didn’t get the Kevin Seraphin signing. Neither did I. Seraphin was part of a mess of bigs Phil Jackson added this summer: Robin Lopez, Derrick Williams, Kyle O’Quinn and Kristaps Porzingis were the others. It was hard to see how Seraphin could fit in, especially after suffering through an injury to start the season.

Well, Seraphin had himself a game Sunday against the Pelicans. Before the game, he shaved “Paris” into the back of head. It’s a small gesture; everything about a basketball game is going to seem small in the wake of such an awful and absurd spasm of violence. But they keep playing the game and we keep watching and we don’t worry about the alternative and that’s a good thing.

Seraphin was +9 in 14 minutes, scoring 12 points on 8 shots, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. He was key in the decisive fourth quarter. He came in midway through the third for Robin Lopez, who has been up and down this year. Seraphin looked energetic right away, logging a dunk and a board within a minute. He closed the quarter on a 20-footer on a broken play that had Alvin Gentry throwing up his hands.

He got downright feisty in the fourth. For about six minutes in the heart of the period, he did everything for the Knicks. He forced Ryan Anderson into a turnover on a drive, leading to a nifty fast Grant-Galloway fast break. On the next trip down, he played the two-man game to perfection with Lance Thomas, screening for him, posting up, then dishing to a cutting Thomas for a dunk. Phil Jackson is going to put it in his Triangle instruction video.

After hitting a hook shot, he gave another lesson, this time hitting a cutting Galloway, set free by a meaty Melo backscreen. On the next trip, Seraphin missed a hook shot, but elbowed Anthony Davis in the face in the process (Vive la France!) leaving him free to put back the rebound. Seraphin put the Knicks up 10 with another hook shot, and that pretty much sealed the game.

I should mention Melo here. He had another solid game. That makes five in a row by my reckoning. He scored 29 points on this one, and I hardly noticed, aside from a blow-by dunk on Anthony Davis, one of the few human moments Brow had in this game. (The other was Seraphin clocking him in the face. Vive la France!) He mostly scored in the system. I did notice Melo’s mighty and prolific board work, helping the Knicks secure a 41-36 rebound advantage, crucial in a game in which they were outshot.

The Knicks host Charlotte Tuesday. Maybe they’ll be a .500 team by the end of the week?

Random notes:

Davis has a physical advantage over Porzingis and he used it. Our guy competed, though.

I don’t get why Amundson gets minutes, especially with Seraphin rolling. He came in for Lopez in the first, immediately fouled, then screwed up a pick and roll coverage to give Ryan Anderson an open jumper, then let Davis cut behind him for an alley oop. Derek Fisher subbed Anderson in again during crunch time, and he AGAIN gave up an alley oop to Davis, allowing the Pelicans to cut it to four with less than 30 seconds to go.

Jerian Grant continues to look so poised. One play I loved in the fourth. He was setting up a screen and roll with Porzingis. He saw Eric Gordon lean way left toward the screen, and immediately drove right, earning free throws. Good players make quick decisions, and Grant’s a quick decider.

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93 thoughts to “Recap: Knicks 95, Pelicans 87”

  1. This team has a weeeeeeird bench. Dudes don’t play at all and suck when they do play and then suddenly get big minutes and play great. It is very strange.

    But great to see them get the win! Big, big win as they really need to not lose to any shitty teams if they’re going to have a shot at the playoffs. Now they just have to avenge their loss on Tuesday and they’ll be at .500! Awesome!

  2. The brutal thing for the Knicks is that the East honestly has legitimately improved. Thus, even with the great improvements that this team has made, it is still going to be difficult for them to make the playoffs, where in other seasons, I would be saying, “38 wins probably gets you in.”

  3. I have to keep asking since I haven’t seen a reply yet – do you guys think you can go back to the humorous individual player grades you did in the past?

    It’s the main reason why I started reading Knickerblogger in the first place, and would really love to see that style of writing again.

    Many thanks!

  4. The rebounding has been a big factor in the Knicks improved play so far. They seem to be out rebounding their opponents regularly which has been making up for some lousy shooting for stretches of games. It will be tough to make the playoffs even in the East, but 36-38 wins should be attainable.

  5. We still have major defensive issues in the backcourt, and our bench is devoid of a consistent scorer.

    The good news is that a few of the big question marks have panned out in our favor thus far:

    Melo seems to be back to his pre-surgery self and has put together a nice run of games (but will he remain so if we play him 40 mpg like yesterday?)

    KP is already a legit NBA rotation player and decent starter, and looks like a great #4 pick in a stacked draft

    Grant is a quality backup level PG

    Galloway is a quality backup level combo guard

    Calderon is shooting more like we expected (still a huge negative on D, but we expected that too.)

    The bad news: while the jury is still out on Afflalo, Lopez, Oaq, Williams, Vujacic, Seraphin, Lance and Lou, none of them are trending in a direction that suggests that they will be significantly better than their recent career stats say they are.

    Early is clearly not an NBA-level rotation player at this point.

    So the playoffs are still an outside possibility, but someone has to step up, or we need to find a consistent scoring threat off the bench, like a Lou Williams-type guard. Without that, the only road to the playoffs is to burn out Melo.

  6. Surprising stat– the East actually has a winning record against the West so far this year.

    While that definitely is surprising, I think it’s a bit less so when you see just how shitty the Pelicans, Lakers and Kings are and how improved so much of the East is. The Pelicans, man, now that Davis is locked in for the next few years, I really think that they should nuke the entire team. It is just a poorly put together team (made worse by not hiring a more innovative coach, but still).

  7. So the playoffs are still an outside possibility, but someone has to step up, or we need to find a consistent scoring threat off the bench, like a Lou Williams-type guard. Without that, the only road to the playoffs is to burn out Melo.

    It’s funny that you mention Lou Williams, since he has been a horrible fit on the Lakers (“Hey, our two best young players are guards and our dominant ancient star player is a guard – let’s bring in another guard who needs to score! And then keep our terrible coach who can’t possibly figure out a way to make this work! Yay!”), so he might actually be acquirable for not much of a return (perhaps even just a second round pick).

  8. “It’s funny that you mention Lou Williams…so he might actually be acquirable for not much of a return”
    I’m not in favor of trading for any player who eats into the playing time of Galloway or Grant, even if it might mean a few more wins this year. I’d like to see them stand pat until the trade deadline approaches. At that point, if the season is going dramatically better than anyone hoped for and it appears that they might be able to do something in the playoffs, maybe they should make a trade (although, if the season is going that well, it will probably mean that Galloway and Grant are playing very well, in which case, I wouldn’t want to eat into their playing time). If the season is going as expected (i.e., maybe sneak into the playoffs if they are lucky), the only trades that they should be looking at are maybe trading Seraphin in a Prigioni-type deal.

  9. This and the last few recaps have been barely more in depth than your average AP post-game article, to me at least. Couple of paragraphs and bullets, some storylines get all of one sentence. They tend to focus on one main storyline of game (hence the comparison to AP type summary articles) with a few mentions of others (“porzingis: still good, fisher’s rotations: still crazy”). The writing is still great and the comments are still fun, and it’s early in the season so it’s not like there are things that demand tremendous coverage but y’all have set the bar high all these years!

  10. have to keep asking since I haven’t seen a reply yet – do you guys think you can go back to the humorous individual player grades you did in the past?

    It’s the main reason why I started reading Knickerblogger in the first place, and would really love to see that style of writing again.

    Many thanks!

    The recap is up to the individual writer. Everyone has their own preference/style.

    Also note that this kind of recap is more intensive than a normal one. First you have to keep notes for every single player. So concentrating on Vujacic or Amundson for the 5-10 minutes they’re on the floor takes away from the other things you’re trying to see. Then you have to write it all up. And again every sentence on Vujacic or Amundson takes one away from the real action that happened. Finally you have to make sure the HTML formatting comes out OK – which often does not and requires more editing.

    That’s not to say it won’t happen, but I don’t see it as an everyday occurrence.

  11. The Pelicans may be an interesting example of the grass is greener syndrome. They were good last year and made the playoffs contrary to the expectations at the beginning of that season. But the general story line was that this was because Davis was so good. The coach didn’t get any respect. They fired their coach after the season and hired a new coach who was supposedly better. Now look at them. Of course, they have had injuries, but they are worse than expected, even with the injuries. Maybe it’s just taking time to learn a new system, but it also seems clear to me that their old coach wasn’t so bad.

    I think about this when I look at Fisher and the Knicks this season. The Knicks are doing better than expected. Maybe Fisher has something to do with this. And it’s not like he hasn’t made changes. He’s the first Knicks coach since Pitino who has really kept to the idea of having a first team and a second team instead of subs that spell the starters. He also has apparently let players win playing time by performing well in practice. I want to see how this works out over the season.

  12. This and the last few recaps have been barely more in depth than your average AP post-game article, to me at least. Couple of paragraphs and bullets, some storylines get all of one sentence. They tend to focus on one main storyline of game (hence the comparison to AP type summary articles) with a few mentions of others (“porzingis: still good, fisher’s rotations: still crazy”). The writing is still great and the comments are still fun, and it’s early in the season so it’s not like there are things that demand tremendous coverage but y’all have set the bar high all these years!

    Here is the AP coverage of the game.
    http://www.si.com/nba/game/2015/11/15/pelicans-knicks-sunday-november-15th-2015

    At least half of it is about the Pelicans. Hardly any mention of shot attempts. More than half the article are quotes that’s meaningless sports-speak.

    ”When you see the star of the team, especially a guy like (Anthony), giving me the ball and telling me to get in the post and he’d get me the ball, it gives you confidence,” Seraphin said.

    Throw out four factors. Basketball is about the star of the team giving the rest of the guys confidence. Maybe instead of figuring out per-minute stats, we should just mic up the All Stars and calculate “confidence statements/minute.”

    Granted I get your point about the bar being high. And yes we’ve been short on in-depth articles, but we do have primarily a new staff here. (And I had a huge back-end issue that I had to work out which ate up much time.) To paraphrase “Rob and Jim ain’t walking through that door.”

    But I think comparing what we do here, to an AP wrap up is a bit harsh. It’s a new season for us too, so give us the same benefit of the doubt as you would let’s say Phil Jackson.

  13. Best blog I go to, that’s for sure. I for one don’t need to to see a detailed recap after every game, but I would LOVE to see it once in a while especially after meaningful games against good teams (hopefully we have more than a few of those)

  14. Galloway is a quality backup level combo guard

    I think there’s a good chance that Langston is a quality starting level combo guard. Although he’s played only 11 games this year and isn’t going to shoot 56% from 3, it’s still very unusual for a strong defensive guard with less than 2K minutes in this league to be the kind of efficienct offensive player he is turning into.

    Just to put a fine point on it, in the first 11 games he has a usage rate over 15%, a TO% under 6%, a TS% over 60% and an assist percentage over 10%. That has never been done for a full season in the history of the the NBA. And before you credit his above trend 3pt shooting, it’s actually never even been done with a TS% above 55, unless you count 900 minutes by one of my favorite all time Knicks Trent Tucker. Did I mention he’s an excellent rebounder?

  15. Thanks Mike.

    All things aside, the reason I love the individual write ups as much as I do is because of the sheer hilarity of the write ups. I appreciate the in-depth coverage of an individual player, but it’s just not written in the same style as it was before in terms of me busting my gut.

    I love everything you guys have done (and most of the commenters too) for so many years so please don’t take this the wrong way. The subtitle under Knickerblogger is Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks. I think I miss the humor in the recaps more than others.

    Appreciate you taking the time to reply to me.

    ONWARD TO .500!!!

  16. 3 observations:

    1. Galloway has to play 36 minutes a night. I’m not sure how to accomplish that, but he’s too good to be a part time player. Maybe we can try a little Porzingis (C), Melo, Afflalo, Galloway, Calderon “at times”. Not sure if KP is ready for that, but Galloway has to get more minutes. I don’t think he’s a PG.

    2. The offense sucks. If it wasn’t for the terrific offensive rebounding, we would be dreadful. The team TS% is terrible and almost everything about the half court offense looks bad.

    3. The east is a LOT better than it used to be. That’s going to make it really difficult for NY to make the playoffs even if the team exceeds Vegas expectations for games won (which I expect it will). One of the kids (either Porzingis or Grant) is going ot have to step up and become more of an efficient scoring threat in addition to the other things they do for us to make it.

  17. @Mike

    You know, you’re absolutely right. Def a bit harsh. I thought about reading this sort of recap from the perspective of someone who had missed the game, and it definitely would get across the main takeaways with efficiency and clarity. In other words, it recapped.

    I’m still gonna read each recap posted by you guys and by P&T, so I hope the ship begins to run more smoothly, because what I love most about this site and the comments is gaining insights I missed out on while watching the game…aka the stuff that is almost a bonus on top of the essential recapping. The stuff that is less actual recapping and more post-game analysis, I suppose, though it’s not like there’s a clear bright line distinction between the two.

  18. I think about this when I look at Fisher and the Knicks this season. The Knicks are doing better than expected. Maybe Fisher has something to do with this. And it’s not like he hasn’t made changes. He’s the first Knicks coach since Pitino who has really kept to the idea of having a first team and a second team instead of subs that spell the starters. He also has apparently let players win playing time by performing well in practice. I want to see how this works out over the season.

    I have a major problem with Fisher’s rotation decisions, weird devotion at bizarre times to Lou Amundson, micro managing mistakes by pulling guys immediately, out of timeout and clock awareness issues, etc., but the Knicks are 12th in ORtg and 15th in DRtg according to BRef. I think we’d all have been pleased with that at the start of the year, since it profiles as a likely playoff team. It does seem like much of the criticism he’s getting is because the Knicks are playing much better than initially expected. It’s still a small sample and there could be regression on both sides of the ball, but we haven’t been playing the minnows of the league so this doesn’t seem all that flukey.

  19. 2. The offense sucks. If it wasn’t for the terrific offensive rebounding, we would be dreadful. The team TS% is terrible and almost everything about the half court offense looks bad.

    We are a terrific offensive rebounding team, like almost every single team Phil Jackson has had a hand in. Why are we eliminating this from the equation of offense?

  20. Mike – I may have to rethink that high cost subscription I am paying you…..

    Owen, I’ve cancelled your subscription, refunded your money, and removed your KnickerBlogger Platinum Access. Please immediately spill out the rest of your organic fresh-squeezed bellini. Enjoy being a commoner here.

  21. We are a terrific offensive rebounding team, like almost every single team Phil Jackson has had a hand in. Why are we eliminating this from the equation of offense?

    I’m not eliminating it. I’m saying that whatever it is we are running is not producing efficient shots, the players are not executing it well, or we are not hitting open shots. Up and down the line the TS% is poor (except for Galloway who has been extra hot from 3 and for a couple of lower minute players). That’s the same thing that happened last year. A bunch of players saw their efficiency drop from previous levels. I’m glad we are getting extra possessions, but we need to run the offense better.

  22. And seriously – thanks to all for your input/feedback. We do take it seriously and always hope to give the best experience for our users with the resources we have.

  23. I agree Fishers rotations are sometimes weird. But I attribute a lot of this weirdness to his having more information than we do because he sees all the practice sessions and can test out what players can do in them. We all though it was odd to put in Thomas, but then t turned out Thomas was better than we thought because he worked hard over the summer. Fisher almost certainly knew this from seeing practices. So although I too wonder about some of the stuff he does, I don’t have a problem with it because I assume he has good reasons that we don’t know much of the time and because of the overall team performance the Knicks are showing

  24. A couple of days ago, people were down on trading zinger for cousins………. i love the kid and wouldn’t trade him but for like 10 guys in the league. Saying that i would trade him for cousins, the guy is is averaging 28 and 11 on 44 from the field , 44 from three (4 attempts a game) and getting to the line 11 times a game on 75%. I was watching the game against toronto last night and basically when valancuinas was guarding him he shot threes and drove past him for layups. When they put a quicker guy on him he went into the post and bullied him. If the three point shooting is legit he is the player we all want zinger to be. Obviously he has some mental issues but i think Phil/Fisher can handle him.

  25. @24

    The main issue is the only guard we have that can penetrate is Grant. The starters aren’t getting any easy buckets or many catch and shoot 3’s because Calderon is a non threat off the dribble though I’m happy he found his jump shot again.

    Seeing Jerian Grant 3rd among all rookies in Net Rating however is a big surprise, especially considering the lack of buzz surrounding the 23-year old Notre Dame product. After diving into some more advanced stats, the reasons start to become clearer. The Knicks are scoring at their highest rate from paint, in transition, and the free throw line at their highest rate when Grant is in the game, more so than any of the Knicks’ other regular rotation players.2

    Defensively, the Knicks are generating turnovers at their highest rate when Grant on the floor, at a rate of 15.7% with him on the floor versus 11.2% when he sits. Grant himself is scoring 45.2% of his points in the paint, and a further 27.4% from the free throw line. Those are the best shots in basketball, and as long as he continues to generate them, Grant has a good chance to replace Jose Calderon as the starting point guard.

    http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/11/13/freelance-friday-rookie-watch/

    So regardless of what we want to do with Grant we absolutely need to find another guard that can consistently beat a man off the dribble and get in to the lane. I think that will open up way more efficient shots for us instead of having to watch Calderon force feed the ball to fucking Lopez in the strong side post and clear the side for him.

  26. Also to add to that a legitimate big that can post up would also open up a lot of quality shots for the Knicks. Just for example Seraphin playing well out of the post yesterday led to a bunch of very good quality shots.

    @27

    If we trade Porzingis for Cousins then nothing about this franchise has changed and we desperately need Phil Jackson to keep changing things about the way this ridiculous franchise has operated for the past 20 years.

  27. I mean i understand the love for zinger but are we saying he is untradeable? Demarcus cousins is 25 years old putting up the numbers i stated above and being payed 15 mil this, 16 next year and 18 the year after. Again i understand the character concerns but as a player he is to ten in the league and the only big i would want over him is davis, maybe drummond.

  28. I was silent for the last two days. I was watching a recording of the game on DVR so I didn’t want to read the game thread. Then I rewatched it. Now I’m reacting.

    This was a huge game for reasons I have not seen written about here: KP vs Davis. I watched and rewatched every one-on-one battle between them. What I saw was a kid that matched up well but wasn’t as polished as the Brow. I paid particular attention to how Davis scored on KP. Defense is such a huge part of Davis’s game. I wondered what it would take to get KP to reach that level. I was surprised to see that he actually played him very well. A few of the inside moves Davis made on KP were actually Calderon’s fault on pick-and-rolls where he got totally lost and left KP to guard both men.

    While I’ve seen and read many comparisons of Porzingas to Dirk, Darko and Bargnani. I think that his up-side is much more comparable to that of Anthony Davis. Zinger’s size, athleticism, defensive instinct and ability to score are not fully developed yet but if I were to project out two years, yeah Anthony Davis is the type of player that I am hoping he develops into. What are your thoughts?

    @30 – Yes, KP is not to be traded. Cousins is 5 years older and a head case. I am hopeful that KP will exceed Cousins in the long term.

  29. I agree Fisher makes some strange substitutions at times, but a few of those moves basically won 2 games for us. Against Toronto, he gave Lance Thomas major crunch time minutes and he delivered big time, and yesterday he threw Seraphin out there, who had barely played the last few games, and we know how that turned out.

    Those are the kind of moves that if they didn’t work out, we’d all be yelling “Fire Fisher”. I give him some credit for rolling the dice; when you have inferior talent sometimes you have to make unorthodox moves.

  30. @30

    What I’m saying is the kid is 20 and he’s already making a big impact on the defensive end of the floor while showing flashes of the offensive skill scouts claimed would be his only NBA ready skills when he entered the league. It’s not a Cousins thing, it’s a let’s actually develop our own young talent and reap the benefits of surplus value on rookie contracts thing.

    Also really don’t think the Kings want to trade him or are in any rush to do so given how many years he has left on his contract.

  31. This and the last few recaps have been barely more in depth than your average AP post-game article,

    Just be glad Mike finally paid the bill.;) Grades often spur discussion. Though this site’s infrastructure is more primitive than a Cole Aldrich hookshot, maybe a poll at the end of each article/recap might also spur discussion. Example question: Gallo/Grant closed this game. Do you think this should continue?

    So concentrating on Vujacic or Amundson for the 5-10 minutes they’re on the floor takes away from the other things you’re trying to see.

    Yeah, and don’t even think about using the ole anagram filler trick. Vujacic? Ugh.
    My best shot: I C, U C – Has Java (but still missing “S”)

    I agree Fishers rotations are sometimes weird.

    I don’t mind our mad alchemist’s experiments this early. It builds team unity and Fish needs some time before settling on rotations given rooks, new vets, players returning from imjuries. I would think starting in December (when easier schedule)rotations should be clearer. That said, there are immediate things he should change. For example, a PnR guy (Zinger or KOQ) should always accompany Grant on the court. Part of the reason the 2nd unit’s struggled is that KOQ was benched. And Lou closing out a close game? Nah

    *******

    Finally, you know we’re doing well when all Jowles is able to muster is some nostalgia for Tyson and his protege (CNB aka Capt Luke) fails to post.

  32. I love this site but though the player grades brought an element of humor to the site that helped lighten the mood and that had an effect on posters too. Like its hard to get to serious and go after each other when we have these funny recaps. It was also a really unique thing this blog did that no other Knicks blog did. When I first really started reading Knicks stuff every day about 6 or 7 years ago, I was drawn to this blog over others like The Knicks Blog bc of the grades. Now I find myself going to P and T more and I hate saying that!

  33. Just be glad Mike finally paid the bill.;)

    Finally, you know we’re doing well when all Jowles is able to muster is some nostalgia for Tyson and his protege (CNB aka Capt Luke) fails to post.

    Though this site’s infrastructure is more primitive than a Cole Aldrich hookshot, maybe a poll at the end of each article/recap might also spur discussion.

    Very intelligent, witty commentary. We need a lot more of this on this site.

  34. Maybe we could have monthly player grades or something less than one for each game. I enjoyed them, but found after seeing a lot of them, that I didn’t want to see them for every game. I like having variety and not just the same sort of post every time.

    But by all means, keep up having humor here and there.

  35. I have to keep asking since I haven’t seen a reply yet – do you guys think you can go back to the humorous individual player grades you did in the past?

    The quality of writing on this site is consistently high, but the two guys responsible for the delirious left-field stuff — Bob Silverman and Jim Cavan — don’t contribute to the site anymore.

  36. Yeah monthly or weekly grades might be a good compromise. If the two guys who wrote them are gone now I can see how it would be hard to match their style. But maybe weekly or monthly grades could give the writers more time to do something like that.

  37. If the Knicks traded Porzingis for Cousins I would boycott the team for a decade. I wouldn’t trade Seraphin for Cousins. I don’t even want Cousins in MSG when the Kings play NY. I’d rather forfeit. He’s poison.

  38. This was a huge game for reasons I have not seen written about here: KP vs Davis. I watched and rewatched every one-on-one battle between them. What I saw was a kid that matched up well but wasn’t as polished as the Brow.

    I felt the same way. KP clearly recognized and relished the challenge of going up against a somewhat similar player in AD. He also clearly lost the battle in the first half, but he came back in the second and played pretty good D. I got the sense I was seeing the first of many epic battles between the two – wishful thinking, maybe, but it really was exciting.

    Which is why anyone suggesting we trade KP right now is just crazy. As Cronin noted, EVERYTHING THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HIS WEAKNESS HAS BEEN HIS STRENGTH THIS YEAR. When you watch his improvement from first to second half in a game like yesterday, and you remember that he figured out he should front Okafor in preseason after getting torched in the first half, and you see that he responded to all the concerns and criticisms between being drafted and starting the real season, what you can deduce is that the dude is smart and driven. Combine smart and driven with his already significant skills and the fact he’s 7’3″ and athletic, and you have the recipe for extended dominance.

    If Cousins weren’t a head case, I’d understand the suggestion – but he is. And while $51 mil over the next three years is a pretty good deal, I like Porzingis’s rookie contract better. As has been pointed out again and again, THAT’S HOW YOU BUILD A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM. You need guys on value contracts.

    Where else can you go to learn that the best SG in the NBA is a quality backup?

    Exactly. Let’s get Cousins and Kobe instead. Those guys are Big Names!

  39. I got the sense I was seeing the first of many epic battles between the two – wishful thinking, maybe, but it really was exciting.,,,Which is why anyone suggesting we trade KP right now is just crazy.

    +1 on that. The way I look at the Knicks right now, they’re a team with 2 stars – one rising (Porzingis) and one fading (Anthony). But we need a third. Everyone else on the team hovers around the “average” and that’s simply not enough to win in the NBA. You need 3 stars and above average players rounding out the rotation. Plus you need a deep bench. But the Knicks are on the way up.

  40. Yeah, you don’t trade KP. At all. Ever. Understand?

    You trade Calderon, Afflalo, D Will. One of those guys if they’re playing well and can net you a good asset because a contender needs their skill set. There will be playoff teams near the deadline that will need a “quality veteran” for their playoff push. You wait until then and rip them off. You do the opposite Knicks thing.

  41. That should be the test before anyone posts a trade idea. Would James Dolan do that? If yes, bad idea. If no, possibly the right thing. Somebody needs to make one of those fancy flow decision charts.

  42. Third star? Hello? Like, for instance, the best shooting guard in the national basketball association?

  43. Kobe has the heart of a champion guys. He says he wants to end his career in LA but no one can flip a switch like the Mamba. I think the bright lights of Broadway are just what he needs to stretch that achilles out….

  44. I mean i understand the love for zinger but are we saying he is untradeable? Demarcus cousins is 25 years old putting up the numbers i stated above and being payed 15 mil this, 16 next year and 18 the year after. Again i understand the character concerns but as a player he is to ten in the league and the only big i would want over him is davis, maybe drummond.

    This is the Isiahest comment here in years.

    Boogie Cousins – on the court makes Valacunis looks like Bargnani, and off the court makes J.R. Smith look like Steph Curry.

  45. This is the Isiahest comment here in years.

    I take it back. To Zeke-it-up, you’d have to throw in a couple of first rounder swaps, and give Cousins a full extension, max contract.

  46. Kobe has the heart of a champion guys. He says he wants to end his career in LA but no one can flip a switch like the Mamba. I think the bright lights of Broadway are just what he needs to stretch that achilles out….

    Yeah, and think about it…Melo, Kobe….ticket resale prices would go through the roof! Go get him!

    Signed,

    Stu B. Hub

  47. BTW as for grades, From my recollection, half the comments were something of “Carmelo got a B+. He should have gotten a B/B-!”

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  48. These trade scenarios are killing me. Neither Cousins nor Bryant are being traded by their respective teams and even if they were those two are all wrong for this team.

  49. Third star? Hello? Like, for instance, the best shooting guard in the national basketball association?

    You speaketh of Galloway, I assume? Your new crush?

    I like him and I also like Grant. Galloway is ahead of Grant right now but I really value a great point guard over a great shooting guard. I don’t either Galloway has that kind of an upside (becoming a star). Neither going to become Kobe or Harden or Curry or Nash or Westbrook or Rose. I would list them as part of the potential “above average” players that could surround the stars. But that’s what we need – third, great 2-way player.

  50. and even if they were those two are all wrong for this team.

    Ras – I was kidding. My dislike of Kobe on this site goes back almost 10 years at this point. I was the guy who didn’t want to trade David Lee for him. (which is an interesting one to revisit – I think I came out pretty well there despite Lee’s fall from grace.) But yeah, if I wouldn’t trade Lee for Kobe in 2006 I am not trading Porzingis for him 10 years later.

    And again, the day we acquire Cousins is the day I become a total hypocrite, continuing to follow the Dolan Knicks despite past commitments to quit the field if we ever acquired him.

  51. I would like to see them resume the pace they were at in the first few games. They’ve fallen way off. Even with teams trapping Grant more I think they have the tools for a decent transition offense. Without one and without a consistent secondary scoring option I’m worried that they will become ever easier to defend.

  52. @58 – I hear you but the game is one of adjustments. Teams adjusted to Grant and now it’s his turn to adapt. But yeah, it’s that half-court stagnant offense that you’re talking about. The problem lies with the guards. When Calderon is running the offense he STOPS fast breaks. He knows that he’ll lose the footrace and would rather control the game out of the half-court offense. But notice that with 4 minutes left in the game, Galloway and Grant replaced Afflalo and Calderon…and we won! (Also with Amundson and Thomas closing).

  53. BTW as for grades, From my recollection, half the comments were something of “Carmelo got a B+. He should have gotten a B/B-!”

    You’re 100% right Mike. I wouldn’t say it was the grades I cared about. I think I just miss the player by player recaps littered with the awesome jokes – definitely the part I enjoyed the most and I can sense that some others agree with my take.

    I swear, I lost it when I saw this pic come up on a recap of a 20 rebound game by Tyson. I laughed for hours and showed it to just about everyone in my family. I was having a not-so-good-day, and this picture single-handedly made me feel better.

    Tyson

    The quality of writing on this site is consistently high, but the two guys responsible for the delirious left-field stuff — Bob Silverman and Jim Cavan — don’t contribute to the site anymore.

    THCJ – I never, ever thought I would ever say this in my entire life… but thank you for the great insight. It makes a lot of sense. Now… I must stare in a mirror very hard for the next few hours.

  54. But notice that with 4 minutes left in the game, Galloway and Grant replaced Afflalo and Calderon…and we won! (Also with Amundson and Thomas closing).

    Didn’t Melo, Gallo, and Grant play the ENTIRE 4th quarter? Kind of bizarre? He really must have believed that winning this game was very important after 2 straight losses and playing Melo, Grant, Galloway the entire 4th may give us a clue to whom he trusts most at the end. Our defense in the 4th quarter was a key reason we won. Charlotte at home is another winnable game so if Grant & Gallo are in at the end – and i hope so! – we’ll have a better idea about Fish’s thinking.

  55. Superstar Langston Galloway is actually 4th in the NBA in 4th quarter minutes played this season. That’s why he gets to drink the coffee

  56. But that’s what we need – third, great 2-way player.

    GoNY – despite DRed’s hyperbole, he’s speaking truth: Gallo IS a third, great, 2-way player. Because he wasn’t drafted, he doesn’t look that way to you; because he’s shorter than the average 2 guard, he doesn’t look that way to you; because he isn’t a starter on a playoff team (yet), he doesn’t look that way to you. But if you put his numbers against every other 2 guard in the league, you’d see he’s in the top 10 in almost every metric – TS, Reb%, defensive stats, etc. He’s had one bad game that I saw (a few games ago, I think it was Charlotte), but otherwise he’s been great.

    I’m hoping most GMs feel the way you do, though! That way we can lock him up for $6mil a year instead of $16mil.

  57. @61 – great observation. Actually, here’s the entire 4th Quarter pattern (taken from ESPN play-by-play):

    Start of Q4: Grant, Galloway, Thomas, O’Quinn, Seraphin
    TIME/SCORE
    10:45/68-69 Carmelo Anthony enters the game for Kyle O’Quinn
    3:51 /78-86 Kristaps Porzingis enters the game for Lance Thomas
    3:35/81-86 Lance Thomas enters the game for Kevin Seraphin
    1:19/85-89 Kevin Seraphin enters the game for Kristaps Porzingis
    0:29/85-91 Lou Amundson enters the game for Kevin Seraphin

    @63 – We all appreciate DRed’s hyperbole. In fact, when I want to say that someone is using hyperbole, I say “He D-Redded it”. But no, Rama, we probably have a different measure of what a star is and Galloway doesn’t meet MY criteria. To be a star, he needs to be an All-star. He isn’t quite there yet and I’m not sure if we’re seeing his ceiling now either. But I could (I hope) be wrong and this is just him coming into his own. In the East he’s still behind a lot of 2-guards (Beal, DeRozan, Wade, Butler, Middleton…) but he’s pushing himself up the rankings, for sure!

  58. THCJ – I never, ever thought I would ever say this in my entire life… but thank you for the great insight.

    You must have missed the years — oh, I don’t know, maybe three in a row — that I accurately predicted the Knicks’ record, usually against the brain-numbing optimism that’s pervaded Knicks’ fandom for the last fifteen years. But you’re welcome.

  59. But no, Rama, we probably have a different measure of what a star is and Galloway doesn’t meet MY criteria. To be a star, he needs to be an All-star.

    lol dude I just can’t, I can’t even at all

  60. Two random comments.

    1. James Harden got credit last year for improving his defense after a lot of offseason youtube mocking. I don’t think it improved that much after the first month or so. This year, his defense is as bad as ever.

    2. The Kings are like the evil T-Wolves. Cousins is evil Towns, Rondo is evil Rubio and while Rudy Gay may not quite be evil Wiggins he is a kind of a Ghost-of-Christmas-Future Wiggins.

  61. @67 THCJ, I really wasn’t clear. I often hear superstar refer to a top-50 player and star referring to solid starters. So I often clarify statements about how my scale works. Top-10 (all-star starters) are my superstars and stars are the 30 players on the All-star team.

    @70 – That is awesome!

  62. BTW as for grades, From my recollection, half the comments were something of “Carmelo got a B+. He should have gotten a B/B-!”

    Yeah, it definitely led to squabbling over abstract and subjective grades, but it created conversation, which often led to more conversation about things other than grades. So I think that if people were coming to the site for the grades and sticking around for the conversation, they were a net +. (More so than round tables where all the contributors offer the exact same answers to all the questions:)

    And, to second Jowles, asking a new writer to be The Next Jim Cavan is like asking Jerian Grant to be The Next Jason Kidd.

  63. Optimist: we are 1/100 of a second from being 6-5 (projects to 45 wins)

    Pessimist: we are a blind-bat ref away from being 4-7 (projects to 30 wins)

    Reality check: we are 5-6 (projects to 37 wins)

  64. James Harden got credit last year for improving his defense after a lot of offseason youtube mocking. I don’t think it improved that much after the first month or so. This year, his defense is as bad as ever.

    Tonight the Rockets are getting their asses kicked by the Celtics at home. I would think McHale is on a very hot seat.

  65. Man Russ has become such a great player.

    40 on 18 shots with 11 ast so far.

    I’d definitely take him over Harden

  66. @ Commenter #4

    I agree the grades are sorely missed! I got way into the knicks blog culture just for the grades here, i hope to see some of those posts return.

  67. @75 – agreed, very good post. You are what your record says you are, and we’re almost OK. Not the garbage fire we all endured last year, not a playoff team. But almost OK is so much more fun than rooting for losses!

    “Porzingis!”

  68. Optimist: we are 1/100 of a second from being 6-5 (projects to 45 wins)

    Pessimist: we are a blind-bat ref away from being 4-7 (projects to 30 wins)

    Reality check: we are 5-6 (projects to 37 wins)

    Excellent point. Their point differential correlates almost precisely to their record, so yeah, this is basically where they should be based on how they’ve played so far. Which is not bad. I mean, a win tonight and they’ll be at .500! That would be awesome to see this “late” in the season.

  69. [Galloway]’s had one bad game that I saw (a few games ago, I think it was Charlotte), but otherwise he’s been great.

    I’ve been a huge Galloway fan since my little boy and I watched him outclass other D-league guards up in Westchester. I’m sure Derek Fisher sees a lot of himself in LG. To me he’s sort of like slightly smaller George Hill. Just solid all-around. It’s really hard to think of the last truly solid 2-way guard we’ve had who can really impact the game on both sides of the ball.

    Re: that Charlotte game – it’s clear to me we lost that game precisely because Galloway wasn’t on the floor in crunch time. Jeremy Lin absolutely owned Calderon down the stretch. Gotta figure that in a 1 possession (0.1 second!) game, Galloway could have / would have made the difference. To me, it’s inexcusable for Fisher to play Calderon there, especially when the other team is running an offense that is predicated on the PG getting into the lane (otherwise known as 90% of NBA offenses).

  70. If we are looking at Galloway as being an essential cog in this team going forward, doesn’t it pay to sign him now, before he realizes his full potential? What would you offer?

  71. If we are looking at Galloway as being an essential cog in this team going forward, doesn’t it pay to sign him now, before he realizes his full potential? What would you offer?

    He’s ineligible to be signed right now. They have to wait until the end of the season. Galloway will be a fascinating case this offseason. The Knicks can only offer him a longterm contract of roughly $5.6 million per season (unless they want to just use their cap space on him and sign him as essentially an outside free agent). That looks to be low in the modern “exploding cap room” era of the NBA, but Galloway is subject to the Gilbert Arenas provision, so any team that signs him for over $5.6 million would have to give him a poison pill style contract that the Knicks will be able to match, but the Knicks would just have to pay the balloon payment in year three of the contract. So if the Knicks want Galloway next season, they will keep him, it’ll just be interesting whether other teams will try to sign him away.

    Then, of course, you get into the question of whether Galloway would even want to sign a contract for just $5.6 million a year. He could take a one-year deal and then become a restricted free agent again in the 2017 offseason (when the cap might increase again by about $12 million or so dollars), but without the Knicks’ ability to use the Gilbert Arenas provision on him to dissuade other teams from signing him (the Arenas provision is only for players who become free agents after two years). The Knicks, though, would then be able to go over the cap to give him a larger contract as they would now have his full Bird rights. Is it worth it to Galloway to risk injury or other deterioration in his skills to hopefully lock in a much bigger contract in 2017? Or is it better for him to get his money now? I really don’t know how I’d advise him. It’s worth noting that he’s already shown a willingness to become a free agent (as he specifically turned down any attempts to get him signed for a third year with the Knicks), so he seems like he does have faith in his own skills.

  72. If we are looking at Galloway as being an essential cog in this team going forward, doesn’t it pay to sign him now, before he realizes his full potential? What would you offer?

    i’m not sure what the rules are for early extension of undrafted FAs. We definitely don’t have any cap room right now. Brian? Ephus?

    never mind, i was away from my window for a while and forgot to hit save, and Brian answered it while I was gone!

  73. That is a very tricky question, GoNY. Gallo’s agent knows that his client is looking at a serious payday – maybe not quite mid-eight figure serious, but a hell of a lot more than he’s making now. So I can’t imagine he’d take less than $6mil per year for four years, a Patrick Beverly level contract. But probably he wants $8 mil, and with the cap going up, he is likely to get it. Do I think the Knicks should do it? Yes. Do they? Probably not until they see if the market is out there other than themselves, which as we know can be risky.

  74. Frank – ditto! Brian already answered the question, and with actual knowledge of how the cap works.

    I do think $8 mil is the market, though. Front offices don’t value D-league call-ups like stars, even if their stats say otherwise.

  75. Let’s say we agree that $8 million is his market.

    The Knicks can’t give him that unless they use their own cap space and I presume they don’t want to do that, so all they can offer is $5.6 million (the nice thing is that they can use his small cap hold until they sign other free agents and then go over the cap to give him the $5.6 million contract).

    An outside team is constrained by the Gilbert Arenas Provision, so they can only offer him the following contracts if they think he’s worth $8 million per year…

    A three-year deal at $8 million per year, which would look like this:
    Year 1 – $5.6 million
    Year 2 – $5.6 million
    Year 3 – roughly $13 million

    A four-year deal at $8 million per year, which would look like this:
    Year 1 – $5.6 million
    Year 2 – $5.6 million
    Year 3 – roughly $10.5 million
    Year 4 – roughly $10.5 million

    I don’t know if any outside team would be interested in those types of contracts, though, so he might be best off just waiting a year and taking a one-year deal with the Knicks and then going back into the market place in 2017, still a restricted free agent, but without the Gilbert Arenas Provision to scare teams away.

  76. Thanks for that answer. It really is a tough situation when we develop a player just to the point where they can become a useful contributor and then lose them to someone that’s willing to go the extra mile. It’s also discouraging because he already turned down the third year. It feels like Jeremy Lin all over.

  77. While don’t get me wrong, it’d obviously be better for the Knicks if they did have him locked into a third year, I don’t think him turning it down was a big deal. He just was confident in his abilities enough that he didn’t want to lock himself in to a minimum salary contract in year three where now, even if he takes just a one year deal, he’s looking at a lot more than a minimum salary, ya know? Heck, his qualifying offer alone is over $1 million.

  78. Re: that Charlotte game – it’s clear to me we lost that game precisely because Galloway wasn’t on the floor in crunch time. Jeremy Lin absolutely owned Calderon down the stretch. Gotta figure that in a 1 possession (0.1 second!) game, Galloway could have / would have made the difference. To me, it’s inexcusable for Fisher to play Calderon there, especially when the other team is running an offense that is predicated on the PG getting into the lane (otherwise known as 90% of NBA offenses).

    Galloway was in the final possesion of that game. And Lin hit ridiculously hard shots at the end against Calderon, who defended him reasonably well.

  79. And again, the day we acquire Cousins is the day I become a total hypocrite, continuing to follow the Dolan Knicks despite past commitments to quit the field if we ever acquired him.

    +1

    Owen, I’ve cancelled your subscription, refunded your money, and removed your KnickerBlogger Platinum Access. Please immediately spill out the rest of your organic fresh-squeezed bellini. Enjoy being a commoner here.

    Who says the humor’s gone. That’s freakin’ funny and I don’t even know what a fresh squeezed Bellini is.
    I do a pretty good Silverman impression btw, Mike (I’ll show myself out!)

    if Grant & Gallo are in at the end – and i hope so! – we’ll have a better idea about Fish’s thinking.

    Like Ray Williams and Micheal Ray Richardson. A home grown backcourt.

    brain-numbing optimism

    Yes siree. Guilty as charged. Though you got lucky with Chandler breaking his leg in the fall of 2013.
    But it’s not that I deny your brilliance it’s that you really don’t give us much Jowleekins. You deign to prove us wrong. I have actually walked around mad at you, Bravo, really.

    Its because coffee is for closers.

    Who needs recaps with shit like this!

    Galloway was in the final possesion of that game. And Lin hit ridiculously hard shots at the end against Calderon, who defended him reasonably well.

    and Grant made some costly TO’s in the 4th Q. By my count 3, but maybe I’m misremembrin’

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