Knicks Meet-Up Trivia

At the first ever KnickerBlogger Meet-Up, I had some posters to give away. Looking for a fair way to distribute them, I came up with the idea of a trivia quiz. Unfortunately my questions were a bit harder than I thought, especially without the help of the internet. So I ended up giving the winner of the quiz the poster (only 4 people got more than 1 answer correct), and the other by randomly picking names out of a hat. Thought I’d share them here for fun, see how many you can do without surfing the web.

#1. In the 1980s (1980-1989 seasons) 9 players played 246 or more games for the Knicks. Name as many as you can. (3 points for correct person)

#2. In the 1990s (1990-1999 seasons) Patrick Ewing had the highest Knick PER (min 246 games) with 22.4. Who was second? (10 points)

#3. In the 00’s (2000-2009 seasons) Latrell Sprewell had the most steals (411). Who was second? (10 points)

#4. Second round pick, Andy Rautins went to Syracuse. Who is the last Knick drafted that came from Syracuse? (10 points)

#5. Who is the only Knick in the 3-point era (1980+) to appear in an NBA game before his 20th birthday? (10 points)

#6. Which Knick had a PER of 90.3 when he was 20 years old, albeit in only 3 games played? (10 points)

#7. Only 5 Knicks have appeared in a game after the age of 37 in the 3-point era (1980+). Name as many as you can. (3 points for correct person)

#8. Mike D’Antoni’s best TS% (NBA/ABA) in a single season was: (10 points)
A. 46.9
B. 48.9
C. 50.2
D. 53.8

#9. In the 3-point era, the 5 tallest Knicks have all been 7-2. Name as many as you can. (3 points for correct person)

#10. Opening day 1990, with 38 points Ewing led the Knicks to a 134-130 win over Charlotte. Which of these players had the highest score for the Hornets? (10 points)

A. Kelly Tripucka
B. J.R. Reid
C. Johnny Newman
D. Armen Gilliam

#11 Opening Day 200, the Knicks lost 101-72 to the Sixers. Which player did not play for the Sixers that day? (10 points)

A. Pepe Sanchez
B. Nazr Mohammed
C. Dikembe Mutombo
D. Toni Kukoc

Knicks 2011 Season Preview – Point Guards

With the Knicks 2011 season almost upon us, it’s time to analyze the roster. Usually teams have some stability from one year to the next, but New York has only a third of the players returning. How New York is going to perform is more of a mystery than previous years. This year’s I’ll look at each position and attempt to address the critical question for those players.

Point Guards: Is this really an upgrade?

Last year if you had to find a single scapegoat for the Knicks abysmal record, you might want to place some horns on Chris Duhon. He played the 5th most minutes on the team, while providing virtually no offense (8.6 pts/36). His scoring was so futile that he would often drive into the paint and be left alone, only to kick the ball out in lieu of an easy layup. Defenses were able to play off of Duhon and concentrate on his teammates, disrupting the offense.

So this season New York decided to invest $7M on a new point guard: Raymond Felton. Based on last year’s stats it seems that Felton is an upgrade to Duhon. He had a better true shooting percentage (TS%: 52.5% to 50.1%) and three point percentage (3P%: 38.5% to 34.9%) while scoring nearly five more points per 36 minutes (pts/36: 13.2 to 8.6). Additionally he was a better ball hawk (stl/36: 1.7 to 1.0) and rebounder (reb/36: 3.9 to 3.1). However a look at his career stats show Duhon’s superior in regards to true shooting percentage (52.4% to 49.3%) and from downtown (36.2% to 32.7%). It’s painful for me to write this, but over the course of their careers Duhon had been a more efficient scorer than Felton.

CAREER MP FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB TRB AST STL TOV PTS PER TS% eFG%
Douglas 1087 12.9 5.8 38.9% 2.3 0.809 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 1.8 15.9 14.9 57.1% 54.5%
Duhon 12706 8.5 4.3 36.2% 2 0.797 0.5 3.2 6.5 1.1 2.1 9.8 11.5 52.4% 48.5%
Felton 13939 12.5 3 32.7% 3.2 0.782 0.7 3.5 6.6 1.5 2.6 13.7 14.1 49.3% 44.8%
2010 MP FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB TRB AST STL TOV PTS PER TS% eFG%
Douglas 1087 12.9 5.8 38.9% 2.3 0.809 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 1.8 15.9 14.9 57.1% 54.5%
Duhon 2072 7.8 4.5 34.9% 1.7 0.716 0.5 3.1 6.6 1 1.9 8.6 10.7 50.1% 47.2%
Felton 2643 11.5 2.1 38.5% 2.4 0.763 0.7 3.9 6.1 1.7 2.3 13.2 15.2 52.5% 49.4%

So it boils down to which Raymond Felton are the Knicks getting? Unfortunately even last year’s Felton wasn’t a big upgrade over Duhon. Even worse if that was a fluky career year, then the Knicks have made no progress. Ultimately it means they didn’t significantly upgrade the one position that is most crucial for a Mike D’Antoni run team. From what I’ve seen, the Knicks’ coach requires his point guards to be good passers, hence why he stuck with Duhon last year. Statistically there isn’t much of a difference between the old point guard and the new one. So if Felton hurts the New York offense with poor shooting, it’s likely that D’Antoni will stick with him as well, much to the team’s detriment.

The backup PG will be Toney Douglas, although it’s possible that he’ll play more SG than PG this year. Douglas is more of a scorer than Felton, but a better passer than his predecessor Nate Robinson. Last year Douglas was the forgotten man until mid-March but he played well once given the opportunity. His TS% was well above average (57.1%) and he provided strong defense on the perimeter. Douglas struggles running the offense, as his low assist total (3.7 ast/36) would attest. This year I don’t see D’Antoni ignoring him like last year, but I do see him as a huge underdog in unseating Felton. In the end I think he’ll fit nicely as the backup guard role, much like Barbosa did in Phoenix.

At the end of the line is Andy Rautins. It’s hard to predict how Rautins will do in the NBA, because he was a three point specialist who played mostly zone for the Orangemen. The rookie looked over matched in summer league, but has looked capable in limited minutes this preseason. Considering how selective D’Antoni is with his PGs, I don’t see him playing a lot of minutes, at least early on. However if in D’Antoni’s mind Felton isn’t cutting it, and Douglas isn’t the type of PG he wants, then Rautins could have a small window to show his stuff.

Poll

Did the Knicks Upgrade the PG position in 2011?

  • A little bit. (60%, 380 Votes)
  • Greatly. (32%, 203 Votes)
  • Not at all. (8%, 52 Votes)

Total Voters: 635

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2010 Summer Interview: Andy Rautins

I sat down with Andy Rautins for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

Mike Kurylo: How are you doing? I’m Mike Kurylo from KnickerBlogger.Net.

Andy Rautins: Nice to meet you. [Looks at my ancient iPod with a voice recorder.] Oh this is nice. I haven’t seen one of these before.

Mike Kurylo: It’s top of the line 2001 technology right there.

Andy Rautins: (laughs) There you go.

Mike Kurylo: What have you been doing this offseason?

Andy Rautins: I was working out in Dallas before the draft started. It was pretty intense, high level work outs there. Trying to transition from a 2 to a 1. Working with point guard coaches, and that helped me tremendously. Obviously there were the workouts for every team. That was tough. It was a grind; I worked out for 15 teams. But now that we got settled and I’m here right now working with our strength coach and the coaching staff. It’s been a great process and I’m looking forward to the season.

Mike Kurylo: How did that feel going from college to workout drafts to the summer league?

Andy Rautins: It was a bit of transition. The game is much quicker, the guys are little more physical. It was a good transition. I was able to get my feet wet out there. I don’t think I played as well I would have liked to, but now that I have that under my belt and have my confidence going I think I’ll be alright.

Mike Kurylo: Who are you looking forward to playing with this year?

Andy Rautins: Everybody on the team. You got a lot of guys, it’s a whole new team. Being able to play with Amar’e and Ray, the ball is going to be moving, the inside out game is going to be there. It’s going to be a fun year.

Mike Kurylo: What aspect of your game are you most proud of?

Andy Rautins: Probably my ability to see the floor. I can be a floor general out there. On top of that my ability to shoot the ball and push it in transition when I get it. I think there’s going to be a lot of up & down and a lot of open floor this year.

Mike Kurylo: What do you feel like you need to work on?

Andy Rautins: Probably the 1 on 1 defense. Where they’ll isolate you and try to put you in the post. It’s obviously tougher than playing in a 2-3 zone. But I’ve been working on that a ton so I should be alright come game time.

Knicks Sign Rautins

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

New York, NY (Sports Network) – The New York Knicks have signed guard Andy Rautins, the 38th overall selection in the 2010 NBA draft.

The 6-foot-4 Rautins averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 35 games for Syracuse during his senior season in 2009-10.

He shot 40.7 percent from three-point territory last year and finished second on the school’s all-time list with 282 three-pointers made.

The offseason has officially begun.

From the Mailbox: T-Mac for 2011?

Been a while since I’ve gotten a request from the old inbox, so I thought I’d take the time to answer.

Do the Knicks have any interest what-so-ever in resigning Tracy McGrady? I know that most people think T-Mac will never be half the player that he once was, and there is more than enough evidence to support that. However, he won’t be worse than he was last year, and last year, even injured, he still always seemed to have the highest IQ on the floor, especially in a Knicks uniform. He can pass as good as anyone in the NBA, and hes clutch. Additionally, Wilson Chandler is a small forward, not a 2 guard. I like him, but he does not have the handling, or the jump shot the Knicks need at SHOOTING guard. Bill Walker is good, but i dont think he is ready to start just yet. So again, do you know if the knicks have any interest in T-Mac? Looking forward to your response!

Thanks,
James

First, the reliable Alan “my sources say LeBron is going to Miami” Hahn tweeted that neither McGrady nor the Knicks were interested in a reunion. So it doesn’t seem like a likely possibility.

Second, I’ll start this off by saying I’m not a fan of McGrady’s, and I’ll try to convince any New Yorker not to be either. Let’s look at what I said about him after the season ended:

I had hoped that McGrady would benefit from a reduction in shot attempts upon arriving in New York. But even when he cut his FGA/36 to 12.6, T-Mac put up the lowest TS% of his career (46.6%). You know your career is over when you’re a former All Star trying to beat out Chris Duhon for a starting job, and you fail. Probably some team will sign him to a minor contract this year, I just hope it isn’t New York.

How bad is a 46.6% TS%? Well Jared Jeffries managed a TS% of 52.4% for the Knicks last year. Chris Duhon was at 50.1%. Larry Hughes was at 47.3%. Darko Milicic 47.1%. This number is a personal low for McGrady, but poor shooting has been a staple of his late career. In 4 of the last 5 years McGrady hasn’t gotten his TS% above 50%. And mind you that 54% is the league average for true shooting percentage.

I agree that McGrady has good basketball IQ with regards to passing. However the prerequisite for shooting guard is, as you aptly put it, “SHOOTING.” And hands down T-Mac was one of the worst in the league. If there is any role for McGrady to play in an NBA offense it’s point guard, but even then he’d need to be the basketball equivalent of Stephen Hawkin to make up for his poor shot.

Now, it’s been no great secret that shooting guard has been a Knick weakness for the past few seasons. As you point out, Wilson Chandler is a forward masquerading as a guard and this summer didn’t do anything to improve Bill Walker’s stock. However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Chandler finally addresses one of his offensive weaknesses (although I’m still waiting). Nor is it inconceivable that Bill Walker turns into an NBA starter at shooting guard. But if neither happens New York has more depth beyond them. Azubuike was a starter for most of 2009, and seems to be a great fit for D’Antoni. Douglas will likely see time alongside Felton, and either Fields or Rautins could surprise fans this year as well. Between Chandler, Walker, Azubuike, Fields, Rautins, and Douglas the Knicks finally have some better options to get some real production from the 2 spot this year.

The U.N. Intramural Squad Or Something More?

Standing outside Madison Square Garden some summers ago, near the atm’s, yards away from Gerry Cosby’s. Through the glass doors, newly hired Knicks boss Donnie Walsh walked out. I watched as he stood there, lit a cigarette, a Clifford Odetts character in the flesh, he shoulda been named Sydney. As in the guy with the job nobody else wanted, toiling under the boss the whole city smirked about, for a franchise in perpetual free-fall. The suit too big, the bags under the eyes, this was a guy, this Donnie Walsh, made Jeff Van Gundy look like Randy Couture. This Donnie Walsh was a guy, you see him in a bar and you’re compelled to buy him a drink, sit him down and tell him (a’la Tony Curtis in The Sweet Smell of Success), “the cat’s in the bag and the bag is in the river.” You tell him run for your life, it’s not too late to quit this job you have undertaken.

I shake his hand and wish him luck, mentioning to we share the same alma mater, Fordham Preparatory School in The Bronx. We alumni refer to it simply as “The Prep.” Learned a lot about patience at “The Prep.” Jesuits are part Obi Wan Kenobi, part F. Lee Ermey, the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket (may he rest in peace).

Donnie Walsh knows a lot about patience having learned from the best. He waited patiently before he removed Isiah Thomas as coach. The replacement, Mike D’Antoni, was known for his seven seconds or less offense, a perception of his teams lack of defense, international fame a result of years playing in Italy, and his ability to recruit all-star talent.

Donnie Walsh had a vision. He waited, traded away the Knicks best players, and watched the team lose to clear cap room and got the Knicks in position to pursue free agents. One can only guess that he painfully watched as several of the bigger names formed their own fantasy basketball camp in South Beach.

Those unsure of his vision for the team need only take a second look at the group now assembled in blue, orange and white. For just a second, forget about the “Chosen One” who chose not to be in the Knicks picture. Look instead at the team Walsh has assembled.

Because it might be that all Donnie Walsh has done is carve a team out of the same stone of which New York City is built. If he pulls it off, if this team wins, ignore the suit, dismiss the wheelchair, if he pulls this off cabbies should scream out “Donnie Basketball” as they drive by.

New York is and always has been a “melting pot” of cultures, religons, ideas, tastes, culinary delights, dances, dialects, music, sounds. Go to Little Italy, Harlem, Chinatown, the Theatre District, Wall Street, the energy is there, distinctive, bright colors, vibrant sounds… one bold experiment.

The 2010 New York Knicks for the first time in franchise history are an extension of the shared experiment that is New York. On the likely fifteen man roster, there’s an Italian, a Russian, a Canadian, a Frenchman (from Martinique), a German, a Londoner, a Jamaican… nearly half the roster are players with passports from their home nations. How will these guys pick what restaurant they eat out at together?

None of this is by accident. Donnie Walsh sought out a “team that made sense…” He sought out personality types as well as skill sets that when together might add up to a sum greater than the parts.

He also sought out individuals who were up to the challenge that is New York, who want to be here. Ask any native New Yorker or passing tourist: when you step out on the streets of New York, you had better be ready. The sidewalk warns “keep up, or get out of the way,” in about twenty different languages. You get the point, whether its a horn, a shout or a finger. At Madison Square Garden, the cheers don’t get any louder in the league, but the same can be said of the boos. On that stage you can become legendary or you can become infamous. In the case of John Starks you can become both. And in New York, you become that for life. Like being a “Parcells Guy.” Or playing for ” Mr. Torre.”

This current team, this 2010 edition seems special. Gallinari the Italian Knick, has in two years proven to be one of the top shooters in the NBA. It is no accident his nickname is “The Rooster,” an inference to his cockiness. The new aquisitions are long on edge. Turiaf, the Frenchman is a veteran willing to dispatch his limbs in the path of those bold enough to speed into his paint. Mozgov, the seven foot one Russian, has displayed a fire and flamboyance, a desire to dunk and block shots. And the Jamacian Jerome Jordan, a seven foot draftee joins him. Anthony Randolph, the German born player, is the simply the second coming of Marcus Camby, an uncanny dunker who posesses a jump shot that at his height is matched only by Kevin Durant. Azibuke, the Londoner, is smooth, among the best shooter/slasher the Knicks have had in a decade. The Canadian, draftee Andy Rautins, a coaches son, and a three point arsonist, who at Syracuse, played his college home games at Madison Square Garden.

They are led by All star Amare Stoudamire and Raymond Felton, both provide leadership and heart. The New York Knicks may have quietly turned the corner. The J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets finished a game away from the Superbowl as that team took on the attitude of its new coach.

This team, Donnie’s team, seems to be an extension of a vision, perhaps without a single name written on it, but rather characteristics, personality traits, skill sets.

How will they fare? Will they simply look like the United Nations Intramural squad, against say the Celtics? We’ll know soon. The New York Knicks will unveil their new look in Milan and Paris this fall as part of an NBA Global initiative. The anticipation is high. The Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Braves once laid claim to “America’s Team.”
Now the stage is set for the 2010 New York Knicks, The World’s Team.
Knick fans across the globe can dream of the playoffs in English, Italian, Russian, French, German or the language of their choice.

If they win, we should all give “Donnie Basketball” the credit for having the vision.

Vegas Summer League Game One: Nuggets 100 – Knicks 90

Ah the summer league…

All potential. No consequences. It’s kinda neat actually. Instead of the sturm und drang of LeBrocalypse/obsessively following twitter for rumors about gossip about hearsay, one can watch an actual basketball game. Novel idea, I know

For those who missed it (or, you know, have a life), the ‘Bockers lost to the Rocks 100 – 90. SL games tend to be a rather haggard affair and this tilt was no exception as the Nix engaged in a bit of a hack-a-palooza, compiling 46 fouls in 40 minutes of play. But before your humble correspondent focuses his oh-so keen powers of observation and/or scouting acumen upon our hardwood heroes-to-be, lemme spew a few random/general observations…

Oddly enough, the game played out in eerily similar fashion to the Nix regular season affairs for the past few years. They quickly fell behind by double digits, crawled back with some hot shooting, couldn’t get over the hump, and then lost by ten. They also didn’t play a lot of defense and scored primarily from the perimeter/threes. Strange. Considering these cats have only been in Vegas for a few days, it’s impressive/vaguely nauseating that they’ve managed to absorb the Knicks’ basic DNA so quickly.

Was Kenny Atkinson wearing parachute pants?

For some reason, the Knicks didn’t have uni numbers on the front of their jerseys. This isn’t an SL-wide phenomenon as the other teams seem to have managed to iron-on some plastic onto their very YMCA-looking shirts. Did someone forget? Is it some convoluted, “You have to earn a front number” motivational technique? I must have this information!

Seriously, I think Kenny Atkinson was wearing parachute pants. And to make matters worse, they were practically riding under his armpits. Kenny, Dude!

Ty Lawson is hella good. Knickerblogger-istas far and wide were royally pining for this guy a year ago and, hot damn, it’s not hard to see why. He truly toyed with the Knicks out there, penetrating at will, finishing w/ease, and finding teammates all over the court. He pretty much controlling the game to the tune of 28 points, 10-16 from the field, 7 dimes, and 5 steals. Lawson then proceeded to plug the oil spill in the gulf, reveal the identity of the second gunman on the grassy knoll, and develop a diet soda that actually does taste as good as the real thing. He’s just a got a complete and polished game. If I were Denver, I’d send him home ASAP. He really has nothing to learn/prove here.

They were beige parachute pants too. Ugh.

THE GOOD

Toney Douglas did what Toney Douglas do. His jumper is silky smooth and effortless, even from 30 ft. out. He snuck into the passing lane a few times and converted a really acrobatic and-one on the break on the way to amassing 27 points, 6 boards and a couple of steals. As far as PG skills, eh. I counted at least four occasions where he missed a cutter in the lane. His tendency, still, is to look for his own shot first. The Felton signing, though, will allow him to be a score-first PG off the bench – the role he’s really best suited for.

Landry Fields has a really nice nose for the ball and tends to play within himself (Wow. I’m really starting to master the use of these bball/sportswriting clichés. It’s like sticking a hatpin in your cerebral cortex. Stuff writes itself!) Where was I? Oh yeah, Fields Landry or whomever looks like a nice small forward, though nothing about his game jumps off the page. His jumping, ironically, does.

THE BAD

Andy Rautins sure was channeling his inner Eddie House today. Like Free Eddie, he shot with utter impunity but aside from a stretch in the 3rd, was laying serious bricks. During the regular season, unless he’s Steve Kerr-ing it at a 40% or better clip, it’s hard to see him getting a lot of pt.

Jerome Jordan – It’s still hard to avoid typing Jerome James – is raw.  He is both big and tall and long and those things tend to come in handy. Aside from that, it was hard to tell what the skill-set he brings to the court might be.

THE UGLY

Tweet! Bill Walker just fouled somebody again. Aside from Asst. Coach Atkinson’s aforementioned sartorial splendor, the ugliest part of this afternoon’s tilt was the game that last year’s late-season find, Bill Walker had. He seems to have lost a lot of weight and with it his ability to play professional basketball. His jumper was strangely high-arced and he generally was sluggish and seemingly disinterested out there, leading to 9 fouls and 7 turnovers. Granted, game one, but the SL is a setting where a cat like Billy Sky Dubs should dominate.

C’est tout. Next time hopefully Charles Garcia and PEJr. get some spin.

Okay – maybe they weren’t parachute pants, but if not, they were some oddly wide, beige sweats that he for some ungodly reason insisted tucking his polo top into.

Can someone please run to The Gap in Vegas and buy this man a set of khakis?