Starks Sees Big Things With Bargnani

On Wednesday, news hit that John Starks saw potential in Andrea Bargnani.

“I know he’s going to have a bounce-back year,” former Knicks great John Starks said on Anthony Donahue’s “The Knicks Blog Podcast” last week. “This is a tailor-made offense that’s good for guys who can shoot the ball, especially big guys, and he’s one of the best in the league that can stretch the defense. So I’m looking for him to have a very big year.”

I’ll save you, dear reader, from 10 minutes of eye-rolling if we both agree that Andrea Bargnani is in the discussion for “the worst NBA player who have played 14,000 or more minutes” and will never have positive impact to any NBA team over the course of a season. Agreed?

Good.

So then why bring up this tidbit if I’m not going to rag on the Roman Oh-No’s (as in when he comes in, everyone says “Oh-No!”) with some number kung-fu? Well today’s rant is on the omniscient front office of the NBA. And before we start, yes I know John is just a P.R. guy.

Cole Aldrich, explorer
Cole Aldrich, explorer

Follow me for a second. Usually us numerologists fall in love with the statistically stout player who receives as much playing time as the quick-change act. The logic to such desire is simple: the simplest way for a team to improve is give the most minutes to the best players. Any seemingly productive player who doesn’t receive ample minutes is perhaps among the worst crimes an NBA coach can commit. For fun let’s give a name to our imaginary player, and we’ll pick a ridiculous name that is completely un-NBA-like: Cole Aldrich. (Cole Aldrich sounds like a 17th century American explorer or Dutch Prime Minister.)

Unfortunately our bookish vision is, at times, met with resistance. The counter-rationale to why such a player doesn’t receive any minutes is simple: the criteria that we used to judge the player is inadequate. Or more specifically this “Cole Aldrich” has deficiencies that aren’t recorded on the stat-sheet. These flaws are witnessed by the coaching staff, who use their own non-arithmetical yardstick.

Now when this yardstick is challenged, there is usually an interrogation of authority. Coaches (and front office folk) are usually ex-professional players. And when that guy has played 23,514 minutes for the NBA, it’s hard to take the word some guy who spent a week reading Basketball On Paper.

However, my point is 23,514 minutes of NBA action doesn’t amount to anything when it comes to NBA analysis. Michael Jordan played 41,011 minutes. Isiah Thomas 35,516. These folks are terrible at deciding who should be on an NBA team.

Also what's the deal with airline food?
Also what’s the deal with airline food?

And the fact that John Starks isn’t a front office person doesn’t matter. Even if John Stark’s job is to only say positive things about the team (which is probably true for a P.R. guy), can’t he come up with someone else concerning Bargnani that is anywhere in line with reality? “I think the triangle offense will get the most out of Bargnani and he may have his most productive season yet.” Instead John Starks said the equivalent of “Honey, not only don’t those jeans make you look fat, those are the hottest pants you own and you might as well get 10 pairs of them & chuck everything else in your closet.”

There’s no chance that John Starks would have said that Bargnani is going to have “a very big year” if he didn’t actually believe it was in the realm of possibility. And for that to be true, he must have the same narrow vision that crappy appraisers of talent have. It’s barely a notch up from someone who uses NBA Live as a evaluation tool. Even the commenters of ESPN’s article have a better understanding of NBA. And I’m pretty sure they’ve played the same amount of NBA minutes as yours truly.

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Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

72 thoughts to “Starks Sees Big Things With Bargnani”

  1. It’s barely a notch up from someone who uses NBA Live as a evaluation tool.

    Especially since NBA Live is such a crappy game.

  2. “Andrea Bargnani” should be the only needed counter-point to those people who say “Do you really think (insert coach/GM) doesn’t have more information than you and can’t make a more informed, sound decision?”
    I mean, the guy is on his 5th coach now? And all of them think he deserved starter’s minutes (I may be, hopefully, jumping the gun on Fisher).

  3. I’m pretty convinced most ex players and a lot of fans evaluate players using a kind of skills checklist.

    They ask “What can he do that many other players at his position cannot do?”

    They do not ask if he does those things well enough to actually add value and they do not take an inventory of the things he does poorly.

    They look at a guy like Bargnani say, “He handles better than most big men. He shoots better than most big men. He may even pass better then most big men”.

    The problem is that “better then most big men” doe not necessarily mean he is GOOD relative to other players with those skills. They also fail to recognize his shortcomings on defense and on the boards.

    They see a net positive when statistically he is a huge net negative relative to most big men.

  4. #3

    I’ve always felt that people who were great at something didn’t always make the best teachers, because they take so much for granted. So much of their greatness is just innate to them that they can concentrate on the finer things. Grandmaster chess players don’t hold their finger on their queen when they move it to see if she’s safe. They’ve automatically done that. They’re thinking five levels ahead like “if I can reach an endgame my 3 on 2 pawn majority on the kingside should be enough with my rook supporting it.”

    Basketball players like having 7 footers on their teams, because they block shots, rebound, defend, etc. So when they see one that can shoot, they automatically add those attributes of the normal 7 footer to that player. It’s a fallacy of being unable to quantify those attributes in a tangible way. They don’t understand how Bargs’ really shitty rebounding actually hurts a team. Like how people truly can’t tell the difference between thousands, millions, billions and trillions.

  5. #4

    And this is an issue with availability heuristics. As we’ve argued (over and over) on this site, some believe that an expert can discern between a guy who collects 8 rebounds and a guy who collects 10 rebounds over the course of 30 minutes. Or that the 8 rebounds he collects are more valuable than the 10 rebounds someone else collects.

    I would argue (over and over) that (e.g.) it’s likely more accurate that a 10 TRB/36 player is simply better at rebounding than a 8 TRB/36 player (given that they play the same approximate position on the floor). Better meaning “greater rate of converting an average opportunity.” And it’s even easier for our stupid brains to be unable to measure the impact that those 2 missed rebounds have when the deficiency comes from all five positions. Five net points per game separates a mid seed from a lottery team. That’s hard to process.

  6. I’ve got 20 wiz bucks that Bargs is averaging more minutes than Cole when he has yet another season ending injury.

  7. Let me also say that if I saw Andrea Bargnani playing at the local YMCA, I would be totally floored by his skills. He’d probably torch every team in the most competitive league without even trying, and he could (gasp) play center and dominate all but the very best of the former D-1 rec league artists. Seeing most NBA players in-person is a treat. The dude is seven feet tall and he can actually put the ball on the floor. My first year of college, I had classes with a kid from Stuyvesant who was 6’8″ and couldn’t touch rim.

    Unfortunately, he’s in the NBA, where the difference between 58% and a 52% TS means the difference between a superstar and an average player.

  8. “Seeing most NBA players in-person is a treat.”
    The other day I saw a video of JR Smith shooting around and effortlessly swishing corner 3’s with picture perfect form — left-handed. Go stand on the 35 yard line of your local high school football field and look how far it is to the corner of the end zone, and then realize that every single NFL quarterback, even the ones who never set foot into a real game, can fire a line drive from the 35 with a flick of the wrist, and hit a one foot square target that is moving at 20 miles an hour in the corner of the end zone. Pro athletes are amazing creatures — even the ones who we think are complete stiffs.

  9. John Starks is a “former Knicks great”?

    Isn’t that title reserved for people who a) are great, or b) won a championship?

    Does the Miami media refer to “former Heat great Voshon Lenard”?

    Does the LA media ever say “former Clipper great Cuttino Mobley”?

    Is it that crazy for Starks to over-value Bargnani when Starks, himself, was/is over-valued himself?

  10. Starks was a Knicks great, which doesn’t equate to people thinking he was a great player. Are we really comparing John Starks to Voshon Lenard and Cuttino Mobley?

    Starks was a big contributor to the most consistently successful period the Knicks have had since the championship teams and as such is remembered fondly by fans. Nobody here or anywhere is clamoring for the guy to be inducted in o the HoF.

  11. Starks-not, by any means, a great player. The only guys from those teams who can legitimately be called Knicks greats are Ewing and the Oakman. If you wanted to be super pedantic you could refer to him as ‘fan favorite John Starks’.

    My first year of college, I had classes with a kid from Stuyvesant who was 6’8? and couldn’t touch rim.

    Talk about a huge nerd!

  12. Starks was a fine player in his best seasons. To say he was a “great” is obviously pushing it.

    The years immediately AFTER the Knicks run to the finals in 1994 were Starks’ best seasons– he was good for .360ish three-point shooting and high-energy harassing defense during those seasons. And Starks was actually quite good in the playoffs– his TS% and eFG% in the playoffs were both substantially higher than his averages in the regular season.

  13. Most people misuse the words “great” and “superstar” because they listen to the media. Let’s just equate those two words for a moment. How many superstars do you count in the NBA today? Me, it might be 1 or 2. LeBron and Durant. That’s a bit restrictive for most people so let me add a few people to the “great” group. A couple of years ago I might have included Rose. Before that Kobe, Nash, Duncan and Dirk would have earned that right. What’s common about all of them is that they are MVPs. They are bonafide hall-of-famers. I might add CP3 and DWade and even Melo to the mix. Not everyone is blessed with teammates.

    The next tier down for me would be “star” and that would include anyone else that is an all-star. Jeeze, that word, “star” is there. Starks, who played in 1 all-star game (93-94) was a marginal star. I would rather call him a “very good” player that was sniffed stardom.

    So, to say John Starks was a superstar or was great is a vast overstatement.
    Ewing, BKing, Frazier, Reed = Great/Superstar
    Houston, Oakley, Starks, Monroe = Very good/Star

  14. Some of you honestly seem to watch a basketball team like it’s an investment portfolio.
    Starks was a great Knick. You can’t have been a fan in those years and not know that.

  15. Have you guys seen the latest Open Court on NBATV about the changing/evolution of the NBA?? There were a couple of segments about analytics and new trends in the NBA and MY GOD was it embarrassing to listen to the panel talk complete nonsense (i read about it on Twitter before seeing the episode). The panel was the usual Turner guys (Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaq, Reggie Miller, Webber) plus Chauncey Billups and the person who by far showed that he had no clue about analytics and how to evaluate a team or its strategy was Isiah Thomas. I mean he went off about basically how stupid it is that teams now only want to get dunks, ft’s and 3pters. He called it something about the NBA becoming a video game because thats all people do when playing basketball video games.

    The really stupid part was guys talking about how they prefer to read scouting reports that actual scouts who were at the games wrote and saw with their own eyes in terms of player’s tendencies because they trust that more than some stats on a sheet of paper. Do they not realize that there are stats that describe exactly what they are looking for and do so alot better and more precise than a scout would write down from watching a game?? So stupid. The thing is you are talking about a panel that featured 4 HOF players, CWebb and Billups who are borderline and Kenny Smith who was a very good player in his prime yet they seem to have no clue whatsoever about what they are talking about.

  16. There is still, in 2014, an unbelievable amount of stupid writing/speaking when it comes to advanced stats IN BASEBALL. I live in a city where Bill Plaschke is paid money to write about baseball, and his great passion in life is sticking it to the stat nerds. He’ll tell you RBI is the most important stat, and that WAR is for dweebs, and he’ll also tell you that human beings play baseball, not numbers on a sheet of paper.

  17. I get that older writers would not want to adapt their thinking. But I mean you are talking about basically a group of GREAT former basketball players who seem insulted by analytics and stats. Do they not realize that these stats confirm how great they were as players?? I mean seriously they seem like insulted by this stuff and by GM’s who just look at stats on paper apparently. So strange to me that they dont seem to take the time to just do a little reading and research on this stuff considering their job now is to analyze the game and this is stuff they should at least be somewhat familiar with.

  18. Are we really comparing John Starks to Voshon Lenard and Cuttino Mobley?

    The Mobley comparison comes courtesy of BR’s similarity scores. As for Lenard, he was a decent pro-basketball player that was the starting SG on a couple of also-ran teams. Was Starks really that much more, just because he played in a big market?

  19. “Fan favorite” is the best way to describe Starks, but I dunno, I can’t get worked up too much by calling him a “Knick great.” He was an All-Star during the best stretch the Knicks had since their championship wins in the 1970s. That’s going to make people think very kindly about you.

  20. He called it something about the NBA becoming a video game because thats all people do when playing basketball video games.

    It is pretty funny that that is actually pretty accurate. People playing video games figured out the most efficient way of scoring in the NBA quicker than most NBA head coaches.

  21. I find the Bargnani debate here fascinating. Team GMs, whose jobs are at stake with how well they pick players, clearly value basic scoring stats more than this board does. Coaches do too. Every coach Bargnani has had has played him for significant minutes. Ric Carlisle, who gets good results as a coach played Monta Ellis many minutes last season. A list of such examples could go on and on. It looks like Fisher is frustrated by not being able to play Bargnani many minutes in pre-season, which is definitely not how posters on this board feel. It’s hard for me to believe that all these guys whose jobs depend on winning are wrong about playing these players a lot.

    Cole Aldrich is a different case. You don’t need advanced stats to see he gets results. His basic stats on a per minute basis and on a per 100 possessions are very good. He just doesn’t play very many minutes. He wasn’t a low draft choice, and he’s not old; so I see no reason that coaches wouldn’t give him a chance. You have to assume that coaches completely ignore stats in choosing who to play, which I don’t think they do. It’s a mystery to me.

  22. Stratomatic,

    What do you think would happen if you played Bargnani at SF? Assume that, for example, Aldrich is the center and Acy the power forward. Then he wouldn’t be replacing another big man and lessening rebounds for the team. (I’m not proposing making him our starting SF, that’s clearly Carmelo; I’m thinking of him as a backup for Carmelo.) He probably could guard small forwards one on one, and they might have trouble because of his size. Wouldn’t that create a lot of matchup problems for the other team?

  23. It’s hard for me to believe that all these guys whose jobs depend on winning are wrong about playing these players a lot.

    …and most of the coaches who have played Bargnani big minutes haven’t actually succeeded in doing the winning their jobs depend on. In fact, Bargs hasn’t been on a winning team since his rookie season when he played with Bosh and Calderon (and didn’t play as much as he would in the future). Seriously, Andrea Bargnani fucking sucks.

  24. What do you think would happen if you played Bargnani at SF?

    You’d have Steve Novak who couldn’t shoot. He’d fucking stink.

  25. You’d have Steve Novak who couldn’t shoot. He’d fucking stink.

    Yes, but what if you had him as your 3rd string SF on your D-League’s practice scrimmage team? I bet he’d be really great in that role.

  26. DRed,

    That’s not true, Bargnani is a much better one on one defender than Novak, he can drive to the basket and scores with reasonable efficiency on mid range jumpers. Novak didn’t do any of these things, and mostly scored his three pointers when left wide open. I agree Bargnani’s not great at three pointers, but I think he would draw much different defense than Novak did. Novak didn’t get a lot of rebounds either.

    and Humper,

    That doesn’t contradict my argument, which was that almost every coach in the NBA seems to weight scoring when deciding playing time more than posters here do.

  27. Steve Novak was really, really good at shooting 3s. Bargs is really good at being tall. Bargs is a better one on one post defender than he is a team defender. He’d get toasted by any reasonably quick SF on the perimeter. The only thing bargs doesn’t totally fucking suck at is taking the worst shot in basketball. I’m fine trying him at the 3, losing a bunch of games, and dealing him to the Lakers, where he will fit in perfectly with Scott’s hilariously stupid no-three pointers offense. But playing Bargs at any position isn’t going to help the Knicks win.

  28. I can’t believe how terrible of a choice Scott was. He was a terrible choice as soon as they hired him and has only proceeded to actually get worse.

  29. That doesn’t contradict my argument, which was that almost every coach in the NBA seems to weight scoring when deciding playing time more than posters here do.

    That doesn’t mean they’re right to do so, and in Bargnani’s case I think it’s been made pretty clear that they’re wrong in doing so.

  30. How many different ways are there to say “If Bargnani was used THIS way, maybe he wouldn’t suck”?

    Next we’ll be hearing we should use him as a point guard, because his handle is pretty good for a 7 footer, and can you imagine the nightmare matchups you’d create with a 7 foot point guard?

  31. Next we’ll be hearing we should use him as a point guard, because his handle is pretty good for a 7 footer, and can you imagine the nightmare matchups you’d create with a 7 foot point guard?

    Let’s ask Jason Kidd at the end of the season.

  32. Jason Kidd is surprisingly willing to be unconventional for an ex-jock. I wonder what he thinks of more advanced stats.

  33. Count me in the “Bargs sucks at basketball” camp until there is clear evidence to the contrary. Fool me once…

  34. Count me in the “Bargs sucks at basketball” camp until there is clear evidence to the contrary. Fool me once…

    Is there another camp? I maintain that everyone is in the same camp, they just may not know it.

  35. People don’t like it when machines do things better than people. I mean, there are a bunch of writers on this board. Let’s say someone developed software that could write a great novel. There’d be all sorts of people saying, “well, it’s machine-like, predictable, lacks creativity.” People would come up with some reason to put humans above, and they’d tout that reason well past the time it was obvious to any unbiased observer that the machine novelists were better. You want to feel purposeful. It’s a human need to feel needed. Each time we offload something to a machine, it becomes a little harder to justify your existence. That’s why even some very smart basketball people don’t like analytics. It makes the game seem less artful — less human.

    As far as Bargnani goes, I think a big part of it is supply and demand. There is a reasonably liquid supply of big men who can rebound, so we get to a point where we forget how important that is to the game. It’s like how you don’t think about the gallons of water that are pouring out of your shower head as you stand in the shower another 30 seconds so you can finish singing along to “Born to be Wild”. It doesn’t matter to you at the time because, at least here in the US, water is plentiful, but if you had no water, you’d sacrifice just about anything to get some. Bargnani’s lack of rebounding for a person his size is so rare that it’s a deficit we aren’t really familiar with. We don’t have it in our instincts to be wary of it because it’s just so damn rare to see it in a person his size.

    I think there are other aspects to his game that contribute to his status as the ultimate fool’s gold player, but that to me is the biggest one.

  36. The only aspect of Barganani’s game I want to see is a repeat of the swan dive through the lane resulting in the season ending broken elbow. Sooner rather than later. Then his Knick career can end along with his sucking up so much valuable cap space.

  37. People don’t like it when machines do things better than people. I mean, there are a bunch of writers on this board. Let’s say someone developed software that could write a great novel. There’d be all sorts of people saying, “well, it’s machine-like, predictable, lacks creativity.” People would come up with some reason to put humans above, and they’d tout that reason well past the time it was obvious to any unbiased observer that the machine novelists were better. You want to feel purposeful. It’s a human need to feel needed. Each time we offload something to a machine, it becomes a little harder to justify your existence. That’s why even some very smart basketball people don’t like analytics. It makes the game seem less artful — less human.

    Now that our computer overlords have surpassed humans in chess, there’s an informal term “computer move” where a computer sees a move that is perhaps a few points better than another move, without any real compensation. To a person it makes no sense, and seems almost random. So I can see non-statistical analysts look at the players “we” tout and see flaws in a move that the numbers don’t.

    However I don’t think that’s happening here. Old statistics were pretty bad at evaluating players in the NBA. So people learned to ignore them. It takes years, and sometimes generations for people to believe things that go against what they’ve been taught and how they perceive the world. Today we can see that with gay marriage, marijuana legalization, etc. First support starts small and for the most part stays in the minority. However should there be slow and steady growth in this new paradigm, a tipping point occurs where only the hardcore stay with their belief. 10 years ago I thought were were reaching that tipping point in the NBA. It appears I was largely wrong.

  38. Crazy preseason observation that will look stupid in a few months number 43: Lebron has lost half a step.

  39. I have been listening to siriusXM NBA radio in my car quite a bit these days. Frank Isola is on in the morning and he’s less annoying to listen to than he is to read.

    But to Mike K’s point, there is rarely a mention of any advanced metric during these discussions. Until advanced metrics become part of the conversation on these media venues, the conversation is largely going to be limited to blogs like this one and associated podcasts that mainly preach to the choir.

    I’d love to hear some of the smart guys here calling in to these shows to challenge the conventional wisdom spouted by the Isolas and Starks of the world.

  40. You do occasionally hear the word “efficient” or “efficiency” in broadcast, though it could just be Mike Breen.

  41. If he is going to play at all (and it looks like he definitely will at first) I’d like for us to hover around .500 or above with Bargnani playing well enough for us to ditch him for any kind of an asset, a 2nd round pick, anything. Maybe the Celts will take him to appease their Italian fan base.

  42. I do have faith in Phil Jackson, though. And although a lot of us are in favor of benching Bargnani and leaving his career for dead, if Jackson and Fisher can give him 35 MPG for the first fifteen games and tell him to shoot as much and as often as he wants, I will be happy.

    I will be happy only because I know that some idiot-run team like the Kings will see his scoring and think, “Oh boy, look at those skills!” and take his contract and suckitude off our hands. I really do think that this could happen. Brandon Jennings got a huge contract not too long ago.

  43. But to Mike K’s point, there is rarely a mention of any advanced metric during these discussions

    Is Max Kellerman still on the air anywhere? He talked more advanced baseball stats than any sports radio guy I can think of. Is imagine he’d at least be somewhat knowledgeable about basketball.

  44. Fool me once shame on you, fool me 6,000 times, shame on me. I can’t believe I’m reading another Bargnani thread. I really can’t believe coach Fisher would play this guy. Ultimately, teams like the Knicks, the Jets, the Nets, the Mets are all clown acts. They get guys like AB or Harvin, so that Dad’s and their sons will turn on the game with a little hope, or better still buy a ticket and a Shake Shack burger. The less you know the more fun it is. John Starks is famous for almost winning with Ewing. Bargnani is famous for being a #1 pick. The Knicks can sell nosebleed seats for 100$/ per (partly) because Starks gives Bargs a big thumbs up in a tabloid. The bottom line is that NYK are the most valuable franchise in the NBA, so these tactics won’t change soon.

    Writers on this blog are like Roger Ebert at a Jennifer Anniston movie.

  45. The Mobley comparison comes courtesy of BR’s similarity scores. As for Lenard, he was a decent pro-basketball player that was the starting SG on a couple of also-ran teams. Was Starks really that much more, just because he played in a big market?

    No, Starks was that much more because he was a great defensive player who upped his game in the playoffs and contributed heavily to very successful Knicks teams in the early 90’s. Again I’m not arguing Starks is an all-time great, but he is somebody that was a major player during one of this franchise’s most successful runs over an extended period of time.

  46. I used to love Starks but I agree with the label “fan favorite” and not “great”

    Pretty much like Sprewell.

    Lenard was a very different player but the comparison seems to fit. Good defender, probably third best player in a successful team that, as soon as he got traded, fell into oblivion.

  47. What was the advanced stat that said the Mavs were going to beat the Heat in 2011?

    I’m not arguing that advanced stats are bad or that Bargnani is good, but real life is a bit more than a math problem.

    Take a look at Memphis. Didn’t they get rid of Rudy Gay because he’s not that great by advanced stats? But what is the biggest weakness that team now has? That their best one-on-one perimeter scorer is now Mike Conley.

    Advanced stats are useful in illustrating how guys like Rudy Gay aren’t as valuable as they look. They are harmful when they make you forget the value of having a guy who can get 30 any night, can carry a team’s offense for a quarter or more and can get a decent shot off even against great defense.

    Mike

  48. Take a look at Memphis. Didn’t they get rid of Rudy Gay because he’s not that great by advanced stats? But what is the biggest weakness that team now has? That their best one-on-one perimeter scorer is now Mike Conley.

    The season they traded Gay they won 56 games and made it to the conference finals. This season they won 50 despite Gasol being injured and ineffective when he played. Rudy Gay sucks.

  49. Rudy Gay does kinda suck, but he’s not close to Bargs level. Rudy’s had some solid seasons, some mediocre seasons, and one or two stinkers. Bargs has generally been one of the 5 least productive regulars in the league. He’s seriously the worst.

  50. It’s weird that we are this close to opening day and neither the starting lineup nor rotation is obvious beyond:
    Sure starters: Melo, Calderon, Dalembert
    Probable starter: Shumpert
    Candidates to start, in rotation: JR, Acy, Jason, STAT
    Other sure rotation players: TH2

    That’s 9. Then either Prigioni or Larkin will certainly be a rotation player, but probably not both. My guess is Larkin unless someone tweaks something. So that’s 10. I doubt that Fisher goes much beyond that at first, and then as soon as we start losing he’ll try other stuff.

    That leaves Bargnani, Cole, Early, one of Prigs/Larkin, and Outlaw outside the rotation to start the season. I’m guessing that Bargnani might replace Acy at some point and then work his way back to the bench, and Cole will see increasing time due to injury, foul trouble, or if Dalembert drops off in efficiency. Same with Prigioni.

    The nest 2 preseason games at the Garden will tell us a lot. I’m going on Wednesday vs. Wizards, that should be interesting.

  51. Prigs seems such like a natural fit to play in the offense, so I don’t know why he’d be out of the rotation. He’s obviously a strong passer and a high-IQ player, and he can knock down an open shot, and he offers at least SOME defensive resistance. He just seems like a far better player than Larkin to me at this stage of their careers.

  52. I’m not convinced that we’re trying to win this year. Which is fine by me. Larkin is certainly not ready, but maybe he’ll develop into a decent change of pace guard if we give him some playing time. I can see the logic in that. Its not like this team is winning shit this year anyhow.

  53. I think Larkin is going to pick up stuff quickly. My hope is that his head is spinning a bit right now, and once he settles down and starts hitting shots like he did in college, he’ll be alright. He seemed to be a bit spooked by NBA length in summer league, getting shots blocked around the rim, etc. He just needs to adapt. Prigs is there if Larkin doesn’t develop, but I think Fish needs to find out what he can do before making a decision. These next 2 games will determine which one gets the nod early on.

  54. The chances that Cole Aldrich has a significant positive impact on the Knicks this year are zero. The chances that Andrea Bargain has a significant positive impact are greater than zero. That is why he gets more minutes…

    That appears fairly obvious to me despite the weird infatuation with Aldrich on this board. Not trying to troll either. I just don’t get it!

  55. “The chances that Cole Aldrich has a significant positive impact on the Knicks this year are zero. The chances that Andrea Bargain has a significant positive impact are greater than zero. That is why he gets more minutes…

    That appears fairly obvious to me despite the weird infatuation with Aldrich on this board. Not trying to troll either. I just don’t get it!”

    Here, I’ll help you understand:

    http://oi58.tinypic.com/2hi5st5.jpg

    See how he’s below average at just about everything that an NBA basketball player should do to help his team win? I hope that clears things up for you. I am glad you decided to weigh in on the matter, though. Great analysis.

  56. From ESPN:

    Derek Fisher explained why he decided not to play Cole Aldrich in the past two preseason games. The coach said it had nothing to do with Aldrich’s performance and everything to do with wanting to see Jason Smith, who missed the first two games while his wife gave birth.

    “Jason Smith originally was out for personal reasons, so once Jason was back, Cole had played some, it was important that we got Jason some minutes so we could see how he might be able to help us,” Fisher said. “[Cole’s absence] was just a byproduct of that, nothing else. Cole’s been solid and has done everything we’re asking him to do, so it wasn’t a demotion or any reason related to his performance, just continuing to try and find the best way to put our team together.”

    Maybe there’s still hope.

  57. Here, I’ll help you understand

    Yep. Cleared it up for me. Nothing basketball related, however.

  58. The chances that Andrea Bargain has a significant positive impact are greater than zero.

    Did anybody else catch this hilarious typo/autocorrect moment? Andrea BARGAIN? He may be a lot of things, but a bargain ain’t one of ’em.

  59. The Knickerblogger front office is in agreement. We can all rest easy now… If only you were in charge.

    Step1) Collect underpants.
    Step2) ?
    Step3) Championship.

    Does that about sum it up? Haha.

  60. Maybe there’s still hope.

    A little, but not a whole lot. That certainly sounds like a guy who doesn’t view Aldrich as a rotation player. To wit, wanting to see Jason Smith in action sure hasn’t affected Quincy Acy or Samuel Dalembart’s playing time. So while he likely does plan on playing Aldrich more minutes than, say, a DNP, that sounds like about it. Which is quite disappointing to see from Fisher.

  61. I think Larkin is going to pick up stuff quickly. My hope is that his head is spinning a bit right now, and once he settles down and starts hitting shots like he did in college, he’ll be alright. He seemed to be a bit spooked by NBA length in summer league, getting shots blocked around the rim, etc. He just needs to adapt. Prigs is there if Larkin doesn’t develop, but I think Fish needs to find out what he can do before making a decision. These next 2 games will determine which one gets the nod early on.

    I think Larkin can definitely improve (he’s certainly young enough) and I generally agree that this team should let the younger players play as much as possible, but if his head is spinning now in his second year in the league after playing for a solid veteran team with one of the best coaches in the NBA last season, then that does not say a whole about where his head is at.

  62. Larkin was hurt early on last year and playing on a contending team with little margin for error probably didn’t help. Rookies point guards often struggle. Since Prigs will hit the ground running whenever he gets minutes, I hope Larkin gets a good look in the next 3 games and does the most with the opportunity. It would be nice to see him play with rotation players a bit more.

  63. Speaking of Larkin, it looks like we picked up the 3rd year option on his contract, so I’d imagine we’ll be giving him a real chance to see if he can play.

  64. The season they traded Gay they won 56 games and made it to the conference finals.

    Where they got swept by the Spurs.

    I’m not saying they would have won a title with Gay. I’m saying that the biggest problem Memphis has is that they don’t have anyone who can score the way Gay can, no matter how inefficient that may be.

    Mike

  65. MBunge Mike,

    Want to bankroll me at Vegas blackjack? I may not be very good at winning hands, but I sure can play ’em. I can go for hours on end. That’s important, right?

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Jowles

  66. Although rudy gay was grossly overpaid, there is some truth to the point that they were thin at the SF position and had few players that could hit the 3pt.

    The Grizzlies were 29-13 when they traded rudy gay and finished 27-13, so they didn’t exactly turn things around when they did trade him. They didn’t lose steam, but you could argue the hypothesis that it hurt them during the playoffs.

  67. I look forward to the day, 15-20 years from now, when someone refers to Bargs a “Knick Great” and those who don’t know better follow suit.

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