Tonight’s 4 Factors (11/13/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks lose to Suns, 102 – 113

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
NYK	96.0	106.3	50.0%	18.6	29.3	17.7
PHO		117.7	61.0%	32.9	27.3	19.8

Seems a bit silly to look too closely into this one. Phoenix got whatever they wanted. Much of the game was garbage time or a close approximation, and so the stats won’t be completely true to the competitive portions. New York ended up with an offensive performance right at season average. Phoenix performed like an elite team on offense rather than the 9th place, 108 point per 100 possession team they had been up until tonight.

Of course much of the story with the Knicks right now is not in the box score. With Marbury AWOL and a rash of injuries (Q, Balkman, Collins, Nate’s hamstring), the season seems to be falling apart only 6 games in, if that’s even possible.

4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on

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39 thoughts to “Tonight’s 4 Factors (11/13/07)”

  1. The Suns won tonight because they are good and the Knicks suck. That is all you need to know. Even at full strength I doubt the Knicks could’ve won this game. They are a .500 team in the East, and the Suns are contending for an NBA championship…they might as well be in different leagues. I

  2. Maybe the most disturbing thing to come out of this game (other than multiple injuries) is how bad David Lee looked, again. 4 pts, 5 reb in 27 minutes on 2-10 shooting. And he got blocked about 4 times. I think we very much have to consider the possibility that he puts up good numbers against backups, but against elite or even very good starters he is average at best. He looked completely overmatched last night– granted a lot of people look overmatched against Marion and Stoudemire, but to have Fred Jones have nearly the same rebound rate is embarrassing. And Curry had more rebounds in less time also.

    And is it just me or does Curry get called for an offensive foul every time he even touches a smaller player? The play he fouled out on — Nash was already flopping before Curry even turned into him. I think officials in this league really need to understand that players in this league are strong and have good balance, and they only fall like a tree when they want to. Or, they have to start calling fouls on players like Chauncey Billups who drives his shoulder into everyone who guards him every time he posts up.

  3. What I find most interesting is how this reflects on Isaiah’s desire to both coach and serve as President of the team. This was something Isaiah once said would be impossible to do, before he changed his mind after losing Larry Brown and did it.

    And, actually, he seemed to be doing it pretty well.

    But then comes all this — a star player (and loose cannon) who claims that if the “coach” tries to bench him then he will reveal what he knows about the “organization”? This shows that the experiment doesn’t work.

    “Coach” should be able to bench any player he feels will better the team and its performance. And the management side needs to build an organization that runs a lot better than this one ever seems to.


  4. Frank –

    Couldn’t agree more on Curry. Everyone knows just to flop if he touches you and they’ll call the foul on him. I’m not saying he never fouls the defender, but some of these flops are so obvious that it’s hard to believe.

    Lee looks a little out of shape to me. It’s not fair to say he only played well because he was facing backups though…he may have been coming off the bench, but it wasn’t like he only played in garbage time. Everyone goes through a rough’s worth monitoring, but I’m not going to get carried away just yet.

    I know it was just a little damage control by Isiah after the game saying he liked what he saw from a lot of the players – but man was that not the case to my eyes.

  5. It’s just amazing to me how the team is already in complete disarray. Our point guard goes home in the middle of a road trip, leaving the backcourt in shambles. Say what you want about Steph, but he’s easily our most competent guard. The rest of the backcourt is garbage– a turnover machine who plays no defense (Crawford), a 5’9″ chucker (Robinson), generic roster filler (Collins) and a marginal journeyman (Jones).

    The frontcourt isn’t much better. This is probably the softest defensive frontcourt in the league.

    Well, at least we get to keep the inevitable lottery pick.

  6. Get rid of Isiah and marbury and you will have a good team. You’ll be surprised what a new coach and owner can bring to a team. Look at Dallas, who was a Dallas fan 10 years ago? They got a new owner, coach and drafts, next thing you know, they are a solid team. If you want to see Knicks getting anywhere near the playoffs, get rid of the sexual harrasers!

  7. I think we’ll be ok once Q and Zach get back on the court. With Marbury AWOL for now, we really need Q to help stretch the floor — couldn’t have been more obvious during the PHX and MIA game that Collins, Lee, and Balkman can’t hit a shot from more than 5 feet away to save their lives, and have trouble even getting off a shot within 5 feet without getting blocked.

    I think we’ve already seen how important Zach is to this team as currently constructed. When Curry got the ball yesterday 3 Suns collapsed on him — that will not happen with Zach on the floor at the same time, nor would it have happened if there was anyone but Crawford who could hit a shot from 3 point range on the floor.

    Meanwhile, why is Nate only playing 26 minutes in a game like that? He certainly couldn’t have be defending much worse than everyone else on the Knicks so I can’t imagine it was because of that. His hammy must be bothering him.

    One bright spot (relatively) was Wilson Chandler. I liked his moxie (Kenny Smith loved him) and he didn’t look completely lost out there in his first NBA game. I’d be in favor of giving him 8-10 minutes/game.

    Sorry, one more bright spot. Is anyone but me impressed in general with how Curry is playing? He’s cut his TO rate by about 35% and over the last 3 games at least is shooting 72% from the line to go with his 65% overall shooting percentage for the year. I don’t know how to calculate an eFG or true shooting percentage, but that’s gotta be pretty good. And there is no doubt he is more active trying to block shots than he was last year (still below average effort to be honest but some effort is better than no effort).

    Trying to find some silver lining. At least you don’t get 2 losses in the standing for absolutely getting your butt whupped like we did last night. And if you’re going to play terribly, you might as well do it on the road in Phoenix where even if we played our best we probably would’ve lost anyway. Might as well save those good games for an eastern conference foe.

  8. I am a fan of Lee, but I also am one that always saw him as a sound role player.
    Still, to be critical of Lee, or Balkman, or Robinson, which I am want to do, seems unfair and knee-jerky.
    First, when they actually get to start, or play significant minutes, the bench behind them utterly sucks.
    At least when Curry and Randolph and Q and Crawford or Marbury comes out, they have Lee and Balkman and Robinson coming in.
    There is balance.
    But when so many folks are injured, Lee and Balkman and Robinson are faced with their limitations.
    Let’s face it, even the most dominant teams eventually require relief pitchers because in most cases major league hitting is too good, and if they see a certain pitcher for too long, they will lock in.
    Basketball is similar. After a while a guy like Lee, who is energy and positioning and athleticism, can be figured out and anticipated. He is getting his shot blocked a lot because teams are looking for him.
    It’s now up to him to adjust, diversify his moves and give a fake here and there. He’s got to adjust.
    Robinson’s limited are height and, well, his brain. He can teach himself to improve one area. The other area will always be there. but I’m convinced he’s going to be very good.
    Balkmanplays defense and rebounds. that is valuable, but when a team is missing top scorers, his limitations become liabilities.

    So, while I don’t see any of them as the second coming like some on this board do, I’m also willing to cut them slack because right now there are a lot of holes in the dike and not enough fingers.
    Plus it is a blow to the spirit of the team what Marbury just pulled. His not saying Isiah gave him permission and he would never just leave his teammates is total crap and him trying to have it both ways.
    If he were for team, he should be on the bench to support his guys. I never saw Ewing just decide not to show up when he couldn’t play…
    And it is clear Marbury didn’t have an injury or death in the family. He’s merely sobbing at home because the inevidable is happening. He’s being benched for playing poorly.
    If I’m a player on that team it would take a lot for me to just forgive that kind of crap. No class.

  9. I’m getting really sick of finding excuses every season — injuries, feuds, tragedies, etc. Every team goes through injuries and drama but they don’t all collapse like the Knicks at the first sign of such things.

  10. On the bright side, Randolph and Wilson didn’t look half-bad, though the game was over so that may be deceptive.

    Is it too late to beg forgiveness from D Nichols and Jared Jordan?

    Lee doesn’t look comfortable starting, but maybe he’ll get over it in time.

    One thing about Marbury – he’s probably the only player who could make Jamal look judicious.

  11. Fire Isiah! Trade Marbury. Start Collins and Lee. You have a pass first/defensive minded PG, and a great rebounder to go along with your 3 potential 20 PPG scorers (Curry, Randolph and Crawford). Q can come off the bench for instant scoring. Balkman and Nate for energy off the bench. There’s your 8 man rotation. No more Fred Jones or Malik Rose or Jared Jefferies.

  12. Dan and Frank are exactly right. On paper, you can justify this team looking like a contender, but games of course aren’t played on paper and the hallmark of the Isiah Thomas Knicks is that the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Nothing has really changed. There’s still no coherent plan other than “acquire a lot of talent.”

    You have to hand it to Isiah– it’s gotta be difficult to assemble this many malcontents in one place. Lee and Balkman are pretty likable and Q is a solid pro, but most of the Knicks are tough to root for. The face of the franchise (Marbury) is a complete tool, the “star” center is passive and mopey, and the other star player is Zach Randolph.

    Mix in the incompetent boobery of the front office and the constant swirling soap opera plot twists… Asking this team to win is a tall order. This team has bad vibes all around it and reeks with the stench of failure. It’s being run by bad people who deserve to fail, so I can’t take the losses too hard.

    It’s fascinating to watch, in a way, far more interesting than the Shandon Anderson/Keith Van Horn years. If you’re gonna be bad, you might as well be bad in surreal, bizarre ways.

  13. This game seemed like a 1 seed vs a 16 seed game in the NCAA tourney. Knicks spent the first quarter hustling trying to keep up with the 1 seed, but eventually the great athletes of Kentucky outran the plucky student athletes of Austin Peay. Honestly, the Knicks were totally outmatched and Phoenix didn’t even look like they even worked up a sweat in beating the Knicks. i felt like the Suns showed the Knicks mercy. This game was much more one-sided than the score. Lee in particular looked overmatched, he got blocked several times and missed several easy put-backs. He definitely looked like a Patriot League 6 ft. 7 center player going against an ACC powerhouse 7 foot center.

    This team is a complete joke with a bunch of clssless louts at point guard, coach/president and chairman. Dolan makes you want to reinstate the inheritance tax. No way a moron like this deserves to inherit more money from his Dad tax free.

  14. Shogun, that is an awful idea. Lee cannot defend small fowards and if Crawford is your only 3 point shooter you’re screwed. If we’re dreaming of crazy lineups, the better one would be…

    Nate (He can shoot, and sometimes play defense)
    Crawford (Perimeter scoring)
    Balkman (Defense)

    Honestly though, and while I know the Knicks would NEVER do this, the best thing they could do is Curry and filler for Dalembert and Korver.

  15. OK before we all jump off the deep end here, let’s remember that we all loved this team about 5 days ago when they beat the Nuggets. The only things that have changed are injuries that we can’t do anything about, deaths in families that we can’t do anything about, and Marbury’s brain, which we can’t do anything about. The players will get over the injuries and unfortunately the deaths in the family, and eventually Marbury will show up again and do his no defense me first thing which is still 50x better than watching Mardy Collins throw up 14 footers from 15 feet. And we’ll be fine. We’re only 6 games into the season and it’s all fire and brimstone already! And as bad as the team has looked over the last 2 games, it’s still just 2 games. If we’re playing games like this in February I’d be a bit more worried. I’d love to play fantasy football against the doomsayers here
    — the first day LaDainian goes for 45 yards and no TD’s I’d trade you Ryan Grant for him.

    That offer is open all the time by the way.

    Also I second Nathan’s starting lineup — that looks like a good mix to me.

  16. OK before we all jump off the deep end here, let?s remember that we all loved this team about 5 days ago when they beat the Nuggets. The only things that have changed are injuries that we can?t do anything about, deaths in families that we can?t do anything about, and Marbury?s brain, which we can?t do anything about. The players will get over the injuries and unfortunately the deaths in the family, and eventually Marbury will show up again and do his no defense me first thing which is still 50x better than watching Mardy Collins throw up 14 footers from 15 feet. And we?ll be fine. We?re only 6 games into the season and it?s all fire and brimstone already!

    I’ve been saying all along that this team isn’t very good, but never in my wildest imagination did I think it would come apart at the seams by November 13.

    We might be able to beat enough bad teams to squeak into the playoffs, but this team is miles away from being a truly competitive team. I think we’re in for a long, tumultuous, ridiculous season.

  17. Not sure if someone posted this, but, from Isola via True Hoop…

    “Man oh man does stuff attributed to just one anonymous source make me nervous. But Stephon Marbury’s alleged threat to blackmail Isiah Thomas into a starting spot … wow. Frank Isola reports in the New York Daily News: “Upon hearing that he would back up second-year guard Mardy Collins, Marbury marched toward the front of the plane to meet with Thomas. Five minutes later, an enraged Marbury told his teammates that if he wasn’t starting he wouldn’t suit up for the game. But it was something else Marbury said that stunned his teammates in the back of the luxury plane. ‘Isiah has to start me,’ Marbury fumed, according to the source. ‘I’ve got so much (stuff) on Isiah and he knows it. He thinks he can (get) me. But I’ll (get) him first. You have no idea what I know.’ It is unclear if Marbury made the same threat directly to Thomas …” Whether that happened or not, this is a sign of an organization that is flailing about.”

  18. I don’t think anyone here thought this year’s team would be better than the back end of the Eastern Conference, which is something I think they can still achieve with the return of Randolph.

  19. I think they’ve still got a reasonable shot to make some noise in the NCAAs, if they gel.

    in all seriousness, they could easily be the worst team in the East at the end of the season.

  20. And yeah, Owen, the extortion thing is insane.

    That being said, like I said in chat last night, Thomas was foolish to think he could bench Marbury without it making Steph go insane. I mean, Isiah knows who he is dealing with here, right? Being benched for Mardy Collins would piss off about 90% of the NBA – add in Steph being insane, and it was just a terrible decision on Thomas’ part.

    A much better way of handling it (and how I think Isiah WILL end up handling it) is just to start Steph and cut his minutes accordingly.

  21. in all seriousness, they could easily be the worst team in the East at the end of the season.


    They could also make the playoffs.

    The back end of the East is wiiiiide open. Washington, Charlotte, Philly, Miami – they’re all playing like crap, too.

  22. JK47,

    Nate Robinson’s a chucker? He didn’t have a great FG% but he hits very well from 3. Last year he was 11th among PG’s in true shooting %. And he’s hitting even better from three this year.

    Nate has faults, but he’s not a chucker…

  23. Nate had a ts$ of 55.2 last year, higher than Marbury and Q, and significantly higher than Craw. Only Steve Francis was better on this measure at 1-3 positions.

  24. Did Owen just use a positive Francis measurement to support his point on Robinson?
    Your Honor, I object!

    Frank, I’m not sure people are jumping off any buildings. I think this implosion merely confirms something that has been gnawing at Knicks’ skeptics for some time.
    Who wasn’t a bit taken aback by Marbury’s summer weirdness? I recall saying a lot about how he simply appeared dumb and thinking that explained some of the difficulties he seemed to have discerning what to do on the court. He seemed like a guy that needed to rely on instinct rather than smarts. And point guards, the good ones, need to be strategic and tactical thinkers.
    Any team that loses this many starters and primary minute consumers at once will have trouble competing with any NBA team. It is exacerbated by a team like the Suns.
    I think what is disgusting is the absolute lack of professionalism shown by Marbury by losing it over losing his starting job. If he truly were a team guy, he’d suck it up and work to prove Isiah wrong. I mean, the deck is stacked in his favor, if he would just show even mild interest in defending and leading the team.
    Short of that, however, he needs to sit. His erratic play, crunch time mistakes, and inability to do fundamental things correctly is what makes him so infuriating.
    The fact that the Knicks have coddled this clod for so long also is mind-bending.

  25. And Owen:
    I’ve grow to love Nate’s game. I would make him our starting point guard right now. He clearly is a guy that responds to challenges.

  26. I love this line from a competing blog:
    “Mardy Collins (sprained foot) said he expects to play tonight. Q-Rich might have to play through the hyper-extended elbow injury, just so the Knicks have enough bodies. Q said on Tuesday that he wanted to play, he just couldn’t shoot.”

    So essentially Q would be like the rest of the Knicks on the perimeter…?

  27. “Q-Rich might have to play through the hyper-extended elbow injury, just so the Knicks have enough bodies. ”

    I’m just glad that we held onto Jerome James over Nichols, that was some solid decision making.

  28. “I don?t believe the Knicks COULD cut James, as he was injured.”

    The Knicks couldn’t cut Jerome James. His contract is guaranteed. He could have been, and still can be, bought out of his contract. I think Jon was referring to buying him out.

  29. yeah, buying him out, he’s our Carl Pavano.

    the soap opera keeps getting better, by the way: the Bergen Record is reporting Isiah and Steph exchanged punches on the charter en route to Phoenix.

  30. Jon:
    As you might expect, the Knicks are denying punches were thrown.
    But no one seems to be disputing that Marbury threatened to expose stuff about Isiah.
    For me, that’s just another good reason to sit Marbury or buy him out.
    I’d love to know if it gets worse cause that might lead to Isiah leaving too.
    At that point, this franchise hits rock bottom and can start to rebuild.

  31. Jon:
    I’m working late tonight watching Congress go through its machinations. What is your website and does it have music I can listen to on the web?

  32. Throwing punches? You serious? Awesome…

    I am going to throw Kevin Love into the Derrick Rose Roy Hibbert conversation at this point….

  33. Yeah thats right it is time to worry, here are some reasons:
    no true point guard or leader in any position
    curry still can’t play big against any decent center
    curry still makes the same mistakes
    lack of depth of outside shooters or forwards that can knock down at least a 15 footer.
    crawford is still turnover prone and makes poor decisions
    poor perimeter defense
    A recently outed cancer in the locker room
    A coach who’s job is on the line in the BEGINING
    three months of the season and who may try to trade away a potential lottery pick in order to save his hide. (dolan may have put the clamps on him though)

    I like Isiah but had to laugh when during last nites game they replayed the earlier interview regarding marbury and how he want’s specific things from his point guard like leadership and defense.
    AT What Point in his career before you traded for him was he known for those qualities. Time to step up and admit you made a mistake Isiah.

    (only if I’m in the starting line up)

  34. Would you trade Lee, Balkman, and Collins for Kobe?

    Would you take Lee, Balkman, and Collins if you were the Lakers?

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