Tonight’s 4 Factors (vs UTH, 11/26/07)

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 defeat Jazz, 113 – 109

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
UTH	91.0	119.8	51.8%	24.7	46.2	15.4
NYK		124.2	57.6%	27.8	31.4	15.4

Probably the best win of the young season. The Knicks snapped their losing streak against a struggling Bulls team, but this win over the Western powerhouse Jazz certainly feels more like the turnaround game.

After a prolonged drought, the offense bounced back in a big way tonight. 124 points per 100 possessions is easily the best offensive performance of the season for the Knicks. Even more impressively, it came against a stingy Jazz team that had been 4th in the league in defensive efficiency coming into the night (allowing 102.4 pp100). The offense was clicking on all cylinders– a modest TO rate, superb showings at the line and on the offensive glass, and most impressively, a fantastic eFG near 60% after a long stretch of shooting efficiencies in the low 40s.

And all this was accomplished with an offensive no-show from Eddy Curry (8 points on 4-11 shooting). The lionshare of the credit goes to Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford, and a resurgent Stephon Marbury. In a nutshell, the offense looks great when the guards are clicking. Getting them to click is the hard part, especially the ever-streaky Crawford. The Knick offense as a whole has been streaky this season, seemingly in step with the whims of Crawford’s game. If that pattern continues, it’s bad news for the Knicks over the long haul.

For all the credit going to the offense, the D was just about as bad, however. The Jazz’s rate of 119.8 points per 100 possessions tonight was the most efficient offensive performance against the Knicks this season, over 9 pp100 better than Utah’s season average. None of the 4 factors on D were good tonight. In particular, Utah just crushed the Knicks on the offensive glass, literally rebounding just under half of their misses. This marks another troubling trend in the early season– with the kind of rebounders the Knicks have, the one area they should do decently at on D is to protect the offensive boards.

Still, ultimately what it comes down to is that for this team, the offense must be very good in order for them to win. They got that offense tonight. Whether they can get it on a consistent basis will determine the fate of the season.

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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64 thoughts to “Tonight’s 4 Factors (vs UTH, 11/26/07)”

  1. Betting is legal where i live, glad i took the over on 194 points combines, with such bad D from both.

  2. I was struck by the free throw shooting. If the Knicks have one of their “normal” free shooting nights, they lose this game.

  3. You know, their defense was nothing to write home about, but what really impressed me was their overall energy and cohesion. Just a totally different team from a week ago. And like him or not, it all starts with Steph, he made them go tonight. Will be very interesting to see how they play Boston on Thurs.

  4. this was more of a defense in spurts type of game. you don’t look at the game and say they played great 48 minute defense, but a play here, a play there winds up being the difference.

  5. Crawford and Marbury are in 8 out of 10 of the top 5 man rotation units for the team more than any other players so I think your right about the importance of the guard play. Crawford has had 2 turnovers in the last 2 games and only 1 last nite in 40min so there seems to be a correlation between the wins and the guards efficiency especially t/o rate. (spells trouble for collins)
    Curry’s pts are nothing to worry about. The thing I take out of Curry’s performance last nite is that he was +8 against Okur. I didn’t see the game but that stat tells me he was doing the little things that are keys to wins. that block at the end of the game is the kind of stop that wins many close games over the season.

  6. Was at the game last night and by 2 minutes into the game I leaned over to my buddy and told him that this was a completely different team than the one I saw last week against Golden State. Sure, they had about 5-6 defensive lapses where someone got right to the rim (one in particular was comical — right after the Knicks scored a big hoop the whole place was rocking with “DE-FENSE!!” and the Utah guy just drove to the hoop and dunked it with about 14 left on the shot clock… great use of crowd energy guys!). But the guards played very under control and Zach played like a man possessed, especially in the 1st half.

    Some positives —
    – was that Balkman hitting a jumper and then hitting 2 free throws?
    – Crawford only got called for 1 palming violation rather than his customary 2-3. Still taking shots with too high degree of difficulty, but it is so gratifying when they go in!
    – Curry — 2 BIG blocks (the one on the dunk was just as amazing as the block on Deron near the end of the game), only 1 turnover on the 1st play of the game
    – Marbury playing Deron Williams to a standstill — if he can play like that night in and night out (big IF) we can go to the playoffs


    – Up 111-104 with ~1 minute to play — why aren’t your defenders and rebounders in the game? I’m yelling (from the 300s of course) at Isiah to take out Crawford and Curry and put in Lee and Balkman, only to watch several easy baskets go in for Utah and turn a comfortable lead into a nailbiter.

    – Jefferies looks completely lost out there. My buddy who was at the game with me doesn’t watch the Knicks much, but still noted that he looked like he was playing with a different playbook.

    – As big as the blocks were, how does Eddy Curry score only 8 pts and get 5 boards in 33 minutes with Mehmet Okur guarding him. No free throws? Still, if we can get 33 points and 19 rebounds with only 3 TOs combined out of Curry/Randolph on a nightly basis, I’ll take it.

    Anyway, a great win, great confidence builder. The crowd was louder at the end of the 4th than at any game I’ve been to in the last 2 years. Good to hear again.

  7. They made their shots. Very good win. Utah didn’t have the energy you expect from them, cross country travel can do that to a club (note Knicks in Denver).

    Agree that when Crawford plays real well, the team jumps a notch. He is probably the streakiest guy on the club.

    1. maybe isiah should try bringing crawford off the bench. He’s so streaky that when he’s having a bad night he offers nothing, and he could bring a lot off the bench. (remember Vinnie the microwave thomas from Isaiah’s bad boy teams?). I’ve never seen a guy that can go from all star to barily there. He’s one of the few decent passers the knicks have though (but his defense is god awful)
    2. is Jeffries an NBA level player? Seriously?
    3. Agree about the defensive intensity–Isiah just has to convince these guys that this is the way to win. despite all that was said about the marbury situation, if he’s bought in, it was worth it.
    4. One thing worth mentioning is that Utah played the night before. Truth is, a home team should be able to beat a team on the 2nd night of playing back to back. Especially early in the season. Especially a team coming from out west.

    Still–agreed, they looked promising yet again. Its amazing how no matter how much I’ve sworn I’m off this team and then they have one decent game and I’m right back thinking this is it, they’ve finaly turned it around. I’m such a sucker

  9. The trouble with Crawford is that he plays much better as a starter. While in theory his streaky instant offense would be good off the bench, he seems to have had a much harder time getting it going in the past than when he starts.

    Jeffries is one of the worst players in the league. Period.

  10. Now this is interesting. This is a guy that might help the Knicks defensively.

    ESPN –
    Anderson Varejao’s frustration with his contract status has finally come to a head.
    Saying he is waiting for Cleveland General Manager Danny Ferry to “show me that he values my contribution to the team,” Varejao said in an exclusive phone interview with this weekend from his home in Vitoria. “I just want to be treated fairly, and I don’t think Danny’s done that.”
    Varejao expected to be helping the Cavs defend their East crown by now.
    “I wanted to come back,” he said. “I love the fans, and I really love my teammates. But there are others there that have made it very difficult. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t want to play there anymore. I’m just hoping for a sign-and-trade at this point.”
    Ferry isn’t ready to give up on bringing Varejao back.
    “We fully understand that negotiations can be emotional,” Ferry told “As for Anderson’s potential to remain a Cavalier and put this behind us, we value his presence in this organization on and off the court, and that has not changed.”

  11. didn’t we do this yesterday? let me go through it again:

    Varejao plays PF. Randolph and Lee also play PF. none of the three of them can really play any other position. Varejao isn’t much of an upgrade on Lee (assuming the real Lee is somewhere between what we saw last year and what we’ve seen so far last year). so unless we can send them Randolph and his contract (very very very doubtful), this makes no sense for NY.

  12. right after the Knicks scored a big hoop the whole place was rocking with ?DE-FENSE!!? and the Utah guy just drove to the hoop and dunked it with about 14 left on the shot clock? great use of crowd energy guys!)

    That happened when Marbury crashed to the ground after a tough basket, so the Jazz knew the Knicks would be a man down down court, and since the Knicks had trouble stopping Williams with ALL five guys, they had NO chance with only four.

    But yeah, that was really annoying.

  13. One thing that I’ve noticed that irritates me is the spacing for Randolph and Lee.

    Randolph gets the ball near the three-point line WAAAAY too often. He is absolutely lost out there. He’s either going to get stripped, or put up a terrible shot. Knicks – DO NOT give Randolph INCENTIVE to shoot horrible 19-footers! Even if they go in, it’s a bad play.

    Lee, meanwhile, is asked to post up too often. He doesn’t seem very good at it (maybe it’s the injury, or maybe he is just not good at posting up, I dunno).

  14. Grumpy jon abbey:
    I confess I thought Varejao was a better defender than his stats would indicate upon further investigation.

  15. like I said yesterday, I love Varejao, I’ve been touting him for quite some time. but he wouldn’t really help us, unless we can move Randolph in the deal.

  16. Varejao is a great defender and he can defend centers. He was 22 in the league in adjusted +/- last year. His stats were excellent. His major problem is staying on the floor. But I would much rather have him on the Knicks than Curry, even if Curry’s play has picked up this year. A frontcourt of Lee, Varejao, Randolph, or Lee, Varejao, Curry, would be much much better than what he have now…

    Here are his per 48 stats…

  17. Ok can we be realistic who the hell we trading to get him. Cleveland being cheap so they not taking Curry or Randolph (why the hell would we trade randolph anyway )So all they would want is Lee you guys dont love david no more LMAO silly Knicks fans

  18. Who is suggesting trading Lee for Varejao?

    I don’t think ANY of us would want that deal.

  19. I still love David Lee. I bought his jersey yesterday.

    Re “One thing that I?ve noticed that irritates me is the spacing for Randolph and Lee.”

    I do think Randolph is bad for Lee. Is there anyway to check how Lee has performed with Randolph on 82games? I can’t seem to find that data for this year. As I remember, you need them to bring out the player pairs stuff….

  20. it’s a great point about the rebounding. D-Lee needs to be on the floor for 30 minutes a night. i don’t care where those minutes come from.

  21. Owen – I think the player pairs stuff is only available at the end of the season, I don’t think there is anyway to check it mid-season.

    Also I think Curry-Lee-Varejao is much better than Randolph-Lee-Varejao. Lee plays better with Curry and Curry is a better defender on centers than Lee or Randolph. In fact I think Curry-Lee-Varejao would be an outstanding frontcourt with Varejao filling the role Lee has now.

    I do not think they would do a Randolph/Varejao swap because they already have Gooden and Z. Maybe they would take Crawford and we could then work to move Randolph for an upgrade at the 2.

  22. What is with the constant shitting on Jared Jeffries? Do you guys realize he is the same exact size as Marcus Camby? 6-11 240.

    The problem is that IT keeps playing him out of position at the 2 & 3 positions.

    Check out Jeffries in these boxscores:

    Those boxscores are very balkman like to me.
    Yes he is not as consistent as Balk but the kid has potential. He has been oft injured in the beginning of his career(I think he may be playing hurt right now) but So was Camby… And Look how Marcus is playing the best ball of his career right now. Jeffries just needs to develop a consistant 16-18 footer like Camby has been doing the last couple of years.

  23. No way Curry-Lee-Verajao is better than Curry-Z.Bo-Lee… You can’t ever discredit the value of low post scoring and only Curry & of these 4 has that… plus can hit the mid-range jumper… Verajao may be the best of them defensively but he’s constantly in foul trouble.

    Now if the Knicks could do a sign and trade swapping Malik Rose(plus picks) for VErajao I’m all for it… cant ever have enough good bigs.

    Cavs could consider it because they desperately need a big off the bench right now and Malik would be easily tradeable next year.

  24. Islamatron–the problem with your theory on Jeffries’ development is that at 26 with 5 very lackluster nba seasons under his belt, he has done nothing to warrant any hope for the future. Offensively he has been awful even when at his best, averaging 5 ppg and 2 orpg and 2 apg for his career in close to 25 minutes a night and only achieving a career high of 20 pts. While occassionally touted as a defensive stopper, he has been anything but, especially with the knicks. On the few occassions ive seen him play he has looked very lost, less than enthused, and quite disinterested, if not just plain awful. Balkman on the other hand, despite providing similar stat lines is a consistently energetic, emotional player, and is new enough to allow some hope for the future.

  25. Maybe I’m more optimistic cause I seen him play well for the wiz… but I think he left college a little too early and has been injured much…mainly cause he doesn’t carry enough muscle… but I can see potential…He is nowhere near as athletic as Balk…I see much more of young Camby in him. But regardless IT waaaay overpaid for him.

    But I hear JJ is working hard on him game… I hope its on an 18 footer & defence.

  26. Islamatron – Jeffries and Camby have nothing to do with each other except their bodies. Camby is averaging 15 rebounds per game this year.

    I don’t think Jeffries is a terrible player. If we have a 9 player rotation I think he should be in it. Competent defender and role player. But Balkman is better than him….

  27. Honestly JJ is not good enuff to be wasting this much time on but I do think he is better than most of the posters on this board give him credit for.

    As a knicks fan I’d just be happy if he earned about half the money he signed for… that would at least put him in the Allen Houston catagory.

  28. I actually like Jeffries and I do not think he is a bad player. He is not in the same stratisphere as Balkman though. Balkman is a potential game changing defender who once he learns the tricks of defending in the NBA could very well be an nba all-defense type player. He should be our starting SF right now and hopefully for the next decade. On top of his defense he is a great rebounder, good passer, and good (for a SF) ball-handler. All Balkman is missing is a consistant jumper which is getting better and should be there in a couple of years.

    Jeffries on the other hand was too heavily touted by Isiah as a “lockdown” defender which he is not. What he is is a good defender who when near the basket isn’t a terrible offensive player and is a good passer and solid rebounder. He is a great backup PF who should play 15-20 minutes a night to provide defense and energy.

    Unfortunatly on the Knicks we have an albatross at PF relagating a much better player in Lee to the bench and eliminating the need for another PF.

    If we move Randolph for an upgrade in the backcourt(wishful thinking) and fail to get another big man I would feel fine with Jeffries playing 15-20 minutes a night backing up Lee.

  29. Yeah, I have no problem with the role Jeffries played with the Knicks the last few games, as the ninth man in a nine-man rotation.

    He was okay against Chicago and not so good against Utah, but he’s worth giving a look.

    I especially like the way he keeps Jones and Collins glued to the bench.

  30. “If people feel like they need to come here and do that, then that’s what they’re going to do,” the Coney Island product said. “I don’t even think they know why they’re booing.”

    Marbury talking about fans booing today in the Post. What an arrogant, ignorant fool. As a Knicks fan, he makes me sick. We boo because you don’t win games “Starbury”.

  31. You know, every time Crawford hits one of his hot streaks, it bums me out. It’s nice to win, but he never sustains his performance. And Marbury isn’t always consistent either.
    But I think Mike K. said, and I agree, that the Knicks winning seems to rise and fall on the streaky performance of Crawford.
    Zeke seems to have an unhealthy attachment to Crawford. He’s the only player that consistently gets 35-40 minutes per game, and yet his stats don’t seem to justify.
    As long as the Knicks are dependent on Crawford playing well to win, they will be in trouble.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Knicks winning percentage at the end of the year matches Crawford’s shooting percentage of about 40 percent.
    I hope I’m wrong.

  32. This is funny, and sad:

    Afterward, the reporters complained about what they viewed as a patronizing lecture. One called him a ?psycho.? It was, in all respects, a typically bitter start to a day in the life of a New York Knicks beat reporter.

    Not that it was always like this. After all, covering the Knicks was once one of the most coveted beats in the country.

    ?It?s Madison Square Garden, it?s New York City, it should be one of the top beats in New York,? said Newsday beat reporter Alan Hahn.

    Instead: ?It?s maddening. What it should be and what it is?it?s a shame.?

    Frank Isola, the 12-year Knicks-beat veteran for the Daily News, said, ?It used to be fun here. Now, there are some nights when you?re trying to talk your boss out of sending you here and maybe lie and tell him you?re sick or something.?

    ?I?ll admit,? said Howard Beck, the New York Times Knicks reporter, ?that the beat makes me miserable.?

  33. Charley Rosen is killing me…he named Jeffries as one of the best PF defenders in basketball. On the flip side, he named Balkmen one of the best at the SG.

  34. Tomorrow night, a nationally televised game where KG, Pierce and Allen likely are going to raise their intensity, the Knicks will need to respond in kind or it could get ugly.
    Not to mention something got stirred up when last these two teams met in preseason.
    This could be a defining game for the Knicks.
    Success should not be defined by a spirited loss.
    If the Knicks come in at all lax, this will be a resounding blow out.
    This is a team the Knicks can wear down. With the bench the Knicks have, and it’s healthy now, they should be able to A) wear down the starters or B) outplay their reserves.
    The key is that they don’t turn into a jump shot team because KG is lurking. The starting five need to hold up head to head. The reserves will put them over the top.
    I watched the Celtics and Cleveland and they’re beatable.

  35. Rosen named a lot of Knicks and former Knicks, and it was interesting that Balkman was listed as a SG. Here is what Rosen said:

    Point guard ? Darrell Armstrong, Lindsey Hunter, Royal Ivey, and Jason Kidd.
    Shooting guard ? Renaldo Balkman, Raja Bell, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade.
    Small forward ? Ron Artest, Shane Battier, Bruce Bowen, Trenton Hassell, Andrei Kirilenko, and Tayshaun Prince.
    Power forward ? Tim Duncan, Udonis Haslem, Jared Jeffries, Malik Rose, and Michael Ruffin.
    Center ? Marcus Camby, Jason Collins, DeSagana Diop, and Kurt Thomas.

  36. Hopefully the C’s will be tired from the overtime loss at Cleveland and traveling further than the knicks have to… Plus the Knicks have had 2 days rest. I am worried about Milwauki on the back end of a back-2-back, even if it is back at home.

    Can post up KG and get him in early foul trouble? Probly not in boston but they should at least try. They really should start Balkman. The benches will play a big part.

    House, Posey & Glen Davis have been Ballin… but if the knicks can beat Utah… than they have a chance.

  37. Mike,

    That article is more sad than anything. On the surface you could go how dare these guys complain, having a full-time job to cover pro sports and probably get paid halfway decently for it. But while we have sites like this, it is still the beat writers who have the access to deliver the information to the fans to discuss it in fourms like this and when their access suffers so does the perception of the organization, which is already at an all-time low before that article even came out.

  38. Boston has looked really good this season but a closer examination shows that the Celtics took advantage of a very soft early schedule. The two games they have lost were against the only two good teams they have played, the Cavs and the Magic.

    Boston has a very thin bench. I think the Knicks depth could allow us to run Boston down. Our biggest problem against the Celtics will be the perimeter defense.

    Boston has very good shooters in Pierce, Allen, House, and Posey. They average 7 made threes per game. We really need to keep up on shooters and limit the open looks.

    I worry that Ray Allen is going to eat Crawford alive. I worry that Pierce is going to eat up Q as well. Maybe Balkman should come of the bench early if Pierce gets hot. I noticed that you can slow Pierce down if you get a little physical with him. I’m pretty sure Balkman can frustrate Peirce into a bad game.

    I know Jeffries has gotten a lot of heat on this site, for good reason. However, I think he can be helpful against the Celts. We need to run fresh defenders at Pierce and Garnett. Jeffries has the lenght to bother either of them if Balkman gets into foul trouble.

    Besides the defense at the 2,3,and 4 spots, we need excellent play from Curry and Marbury. Boston is weak at the point and center. We need Curry and Marbury to expliot those weaknesses. Boston has no depth at point or center. We should attack at those positions and force Boston to play thier bench.

    We could win but it will take a much better defensive effort than we displayed against the Jazz.

  39. I think the only player on Boston’s team that is irreplaceable for them is Garnett. Our team has something that most others don’t — 2 bona fide low post monsters on the court at the same time. I think we should attack Garnett every time down the floor — having excellent scorers at both the 4 and 5 will make it so Garnett has to guard a real offensive threat every single time– no hiding or resting on defense behind Kendrick Perkins and his 6 fouls. Hopefully we can wear him down or better yet, get him into foul trouble. Pierce and Allen don’t worry me as much if they have no inside game to go to.

  40. By the way, on the Observer story, it is a little weird that the reporter brings up sandwiches and parties.
    I mean, I know sports reporters are a privileged lot, they have stats, interviews and other handy tools provided to them by the team.
    But he could have done much better focusing on being spied upon than citing how some teams threw a party for a guy when he left the beat.
    That’s just silly.
    But as a friend of mine noted when he read the story, “clearly Dolan’s strategy is working for them because the Knicks are the toast of the town…” ;)

  41. “2 bona fide low post monsters on the court at the same time.”

    Can we really call Randolph a low post monster? In the Utah game, I feel like I saw him in the post about four times, maybe…

  42. Owen,

    “Can we really call Randolph a low post monster? In the Utah game, I feel like I saw him in the post about four times, maybe?”

    That is a very good point. Randolph FG% is well of his career best and I think it is due to his working above the elbow so often. This really gets him into trouble because he is forced to dribble into the paint rather than catching in the paint. I wish the Knicks would set more back screens that allow Randolph more space in the paint. Randolph seems to have fallen in love with a 18 foot jumper and a dribble across the lane shot much like the one Ewing used after he stopped playing back to the basket. I would like to see Randolph do more work on the low block. This would mean that Curry needs to be off the floor. For a guy that never leave the paint, how does Curry not get more offensive rebounds?

  43. “For a guy that never leave the paint, how does Curry not get more offensive rebounds?”

    he has an almost inconceivably slow reaction time, also why he pretty much never blocks shots unless Owen is at the game to inspire him. :)

  44. Didn’t he ask Skiles how to get more rebounds, and Skiles said something along the lines of, “Try jumping.”

  45. Celtics have their biggest advantage over other teams at the SF position with Pierce and Posey. The PER for the SF is +14.1 with almost a 10pts differential in their favor, more than any other position by far. Looking at our SF’s and we have a per of -7.6, weakest on the team with opponents enjoying a 10pts swing in their favor. Balkman and Q have to play great defense tommorow nite and Crawford can’t lose site of Allen on the perimeter for this game to be close.

  46. Super interesting yet unsurprising stat from SI:

    F Renaldo Balkman doesn’t always show up big in the box score, but his energy and defense are reflected in the standings. When he plays at least 15 minutes, the Knicks are 4-1.

  47. Mike K – I agree Rosen is a bum, but atleast he agrees with you that Balkman can play some D. I am still less convinced that his energy is to blame, rather then his solid defensive skills.

    T-Mart – That stat might mislead you…
    He’s played over 15 against Min, Chi, Utah, Den. Min and Chi are push overs and should have been won without him. He played 12 mins in a loss to Den and 13 in a loss to Mia. Would his extra 2 or 3 minutes mean a win for the Knicks? Maybe in the Mia game.

  48. “When he plays at least 15 minutes, the Knicks are 4-1.”

    Oh, I love this type of data.
    When Marbury shoots 8 FTA, the Knicks are 3-0. They are 1-9 when he shoots more or less than that.

    When Mardy plays at all, the Knicks are 0-6. 4-3 when he sits out

    When the date ends with 4 or 6 (11/4; 11/6; 11/14; 11/16, etc), the Knicks are 4-2. 0-7 on all other days! Biorhythms, anyone?

    Hopefully, the Knicks will be 1-0 in games played in Boston tonight!

  49. some of those are relevant, others not. pretty clearly Mardy should never play except in extreme emergencies, and Balkman should play more.

  50. The SI stat is basically a throwaway… but I don’t think Balkman’s impact is a mirage. (I’d say the same about your Collins stat)

    Renaldo has by far the best +/- numbers on the team (except Morris and Chandler, who have played fewer than 20 minutes apiece, all season). I know that raw +/- has major limitations… but on the extreme ends, it says a lot. In this case, that the Knicks are about 15 points better, per 100 posessions, when he’s on the floor.

    A few other things that jumped out..
    – Lee is actually at -6.5 per 100
    – Randolph is +3.7
    – Marbury is +6.5 – Knicks are nearly 4 points better on defense, but a whopping 10 points worse on offense – mainly because when he’s out, Mardy Collins comes in.
    – Curry is -3.1, Crawford -2.5, Jeffries -3.3, Robinson -1.8, Jones -3.8, Q +2.1, Mardy -22.7.

    Those are raw #s, over just 11 games, so take them with a large grain of salt.

  51. p.s. I like reading Charley Rosen. He’s always over the top, but I like that he’s willing to be critical of big-time players, actually noting strengths and vulnerabilities. Most NBA scouts are complete boot-lickers, in public. With Rosen you get more of the sense that this is what they say behind closed doors. (like when a mic picked up Larry Brown talking about Smush Parker before the game, “just breath on him and he’ll turn it over,” something like that.

    True nuff, Charley exaggerates a lot – if you took his scouting reports literally, no NBA team could beat the local Sisters of Mercy squad.

  52. ‘Fire Isiah’ Chant Breaks Out During Knicks’ Front-Office Meeting

    Jesus, this has to be a new low point, the main front page article of theonion is now making fun of the Knicks:

    My two personal favorite segments:

    Even when the chants subsided, Dolan said, Thomas still experienced other forms of hostility from all 15 board members in attendance, including multiple rounds of sarcastic clapping when Thomas talked optimistically about his team’s four wins, several thrown C-cell batteries that narrowly missed Thomas’ head, and intermittent shouts of “You suck,” “My 5-year-old daughter could do a better coaching job,” and “Die.”

    In addition, when Thomas defended his coaching strategy and failed to offer any suggestions as to how he could immediately make the Knicks a better basketball team, frustrated board members began a 30-second-long “asshole” chant.

  53. The type of stat that goes “the team has X record when condition C holds, and Y record when C does not hold” are kind of coarse-grained version of +/-. In +/-, the dependent variable is team points (rather than wins) and the condition C is always a player’s presence on the court (instead of, say, a player playing at least 15 minutes or whatever).

    Both types of stats suffer from the same problem, which is that we cannot say to what extent the dependent variable is causally dependent on the condition C. Maybe Balkman helps the Knicks +/- and win% with his presence on the court. Maybe Balkman is typically on the court more in situations where the Knicks’ +/- and win% is likely to be greater than usual. Without being able to discern the direction of the effect, the stat is pretty useless.

  54. you don’t need any stats to know that Balkman needs to play more and Mardy needs to play almost never. you just need two eyes and a brain.

  55. It’s funny how, ever so slowly, my opinions of those two players have become totally polarized.

    I love Balkman and hate Collins.

  56. Smush is ?a turnover waiting to happen?? -LB

    Smush also got arrested for choking a female valet parker over a $12 bill.

    Sounds like he could be the next Dolan Delinquent on the Knick block.

    He’d be a perfect fit, except for the fact that he only makes $2 million a year more than the valet-in-question instead of the customary $13 million more.

  57. “he has an almost inconceivably slow reaction time”

    Ditto to that. Curry looks like a zombie sitting under the basket. The ball gets passed in to him, and he looks at it like he’s not quite sure what is in his hands. Before he figures it out, he’s double-teamed and left with contested shots or has to pass the ball out.

    In contrast, every time Garnett would get the ball down low, he instinctively pivots and goes straight to the hoop.

    Its straight up pathetic.

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