Two Changes Isiah Might Consider

So far the start of the 2008 season hasn’t been kind to New York. In fact it’s more like the new year has reared back and given the Knicks a swift kick in the groin. The Knicks have lost 8 of their first 10 games, the last two by a combined 58 points. While it’s easy to point to the off the court chemistry problems in the Big Apple, a large part of the problem has been their on the court chemistry.

One problem seems to be Isiah Thomas’ rotation, which doesn’t seem to maximize the talent he has. One of the Knicks’ problems is the lack of use of their younger players. Martin Johnson of the NY Sun noted this yesterday:

Even Thomas’s most fervent detractors admit that he drafts very well, yet it’s utterly mystifying why he doesn’t capitalize on that skill by playing his rookies more. Not only will they save him from playing players out of position, but they may further burnish his resume.

However the problem goes deeper than just playing the Knicks’ neophytes, there is an overall lack of a team concept. In yesterday’s game thread Ted Nelson noted:

It seems to me like their attitude towards building a team is: we?ll just get the most “talented,” “athletic” players and let them play. The attitude of the coach, interestingly enough, seems to be the same.

Watching the games, Isiah seems to have two major areas of weakness when putting players on the floor. The first is his starting lineup which he tends to end games with (that is when the Knicks aren’t down by 20 or more points). Thomas’ starting lineup tends to be Marbury, Crawford, Randolph, Curry, and whoever is healthy enough to play small forward. Usually that’s Quentin Richardson or Fred Jones. The problem with this lineup is obvious: too many players that require the ball to score and too few that can man their position properly on defense. The frontcourt issue is easy, sub in David Lee for Zach Randolph. I can hear the eyes rolling of KnickerBlogger readers everywhere, both from the pro-Lee and the anti-Lee crowd. However this is a no-brainer.

A Randolph/Curry pairing was suppose to create a twin tower effect, giving the Knicks a one-two punch on the blocks. However the actual effect seems to be Curry forcing Randolph out of the post and into mid-range territory. Randolph’s shooting percentages (40% eFG, 44% TS) are well below not only his career averages, but the league averages as well. If you’re a defense facing Zach Randolph, you want to force him out to the perimeter instead of the low post, and this is exactly what Curry is doing. It’s not to say that the pair can’t coexist on the court (possibly by moving Curry to the high-post, but that’s a thought for another day), but for the time being it’s clearly not working. Not only would Lee complement the high usage starters, but Randolph would provide potent scoring off the bench for the reserves. In other words it makes sense to let Randolph anchor the bench than play an out of tune second fiddle on the first team.

While it’s obvious that Quentin Richardson isn’t helping out the first team, especially with his sore elbow, another area to look at are the guard spots. One idea would be starting Fred Jones instead of one of the guards. Jones has started when Richardson has been unavailable due to injury, but the problem has been starting him at small forward. Two sites have Fred Jones listed at 6-2, while another has him at 6-4. Either size is too small for the swingman spot, but the former slam dunk champ is athletic enough to be a good defender at the guard spot. And unlike Mardy Collins, it’s unconceivable that Jones could knock down a jumper here and there.

Isiah’s other rotational deficiency is his desire to play small-ball. Frequently he’s been putting out three guard rotations, something he likes to do with the diminutive Robinson. But Thomas went over the small-ball deep end against the Warriors last night when he put Robinson, Marbury, Crawford, Collins, and Randolph on the floor at the same time. That’s right Mardy Collins was playing power forward. Isiah’s small ball tactic doesn’t work because the guards don’t particularly complement each other. All the Knick guards excel when attacking the hoop, and other than Robinson, none are particularly adept at hitting the outside shot.

The three guard lineup also hurts the team on defense, where the guards’ poor defense is exacerbated by their lack of size. The Knicks would be better suited throwing a couple of swingmen on the court. A trio of made of Balkman, Richardson, Chandler, Jeffries, or Lee flanked by a guard (Robinson, Crawford) and a big man (Randolph, Curry, or Lee) could make an athletic group. This team would be ideal for a press/trap style of play and they would be able to play passable, if not strong, defense. Thomas could mix & match depending on opponent. Balkman or Jeffries would be able to shut down shooting guards with their length. Balkman is especially adroit at giving shooters trouble. Meanwhile Richardson or Chandler could provide shooting on the offensive end. However with a Robinson/Randolph combo (per se), the Knicks should have too much trouble generating shots on the offensive end.

It’s clear that Thomas’ faults as a manager go further than forging a relationship with his point guard. If he wants to turn this season around, he should find a way to make his players complement each other. These might be two ways Isiah might go about doing that. Certainly they’re no worse than anything the Knicks have done so far.

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Mike Kurylo

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

64 thoughts to “Two Changes Isiah Might Consider”

  1. Good points.

    I thought it was obvious from jump that Curry and Zach would never be the down low powerhouse that IT advertised when the trade was made. In order for that tandem to work, two things would have to happen: 1) Marbury would have to learn to feed the post properly and 2) Curry would have to learn to pass to Zach out of a double. Not likely either of those two things will happen.

    As usual though, IT will never admit to being wrong so don’t expect the situation to change as long as he remains at the helm.

    As to the “small” rotations…don’t even get me started.

  2. I don’t know anything about Fred Jones except what I’ve seen of him as a Knick, but he does not look very athletic to me. I was shocked when they said he was a slam dunk champion.

    I was unclear about your 2nd to last paragraph, if you are suggesting Balkman and Jeffries be played together. If so, I think that combination would thwart the offense more than benefit the D.

  3. Count Zero, I think Fat Eddy is passing better this season. He started recognizing double teams a bit better in the 2nd half of last season, and it seems that is still the case. I think I even saw him hit a cutter once this year. Further improvement in that regard seems possible.

  4. i think he was saying to use either balkman or jeffries, but not both at the same time. that would just be silly.

  5. Curry tried passing last night. Zach refused to pass. Worse than that Zach flat out refused to even come back on defense multiple times. Zach showed why a team (Portland) trades a 23-10 guy for chump change.

  6. A few things…

    Isiah is a good drafter but unfortunately even the best of his picks (Lee) is at best limited at the offensive end, and at worst (Balkman, Collins, not to mention his signings JJ1/JJ and Fred Jones) are completely useless at the offensive end. I know it’s hard to find well-rounded players in this league, but it’s almost like he’s sitting with an a la carte menu and just choosing “defense” while leaving “offense”, “passing”, “dribbling”, “brain” unchecked on the menu. That leads to horrible sequences like last night where over and over Curry/Randolph were being fed down in the post by Mardy Collins or Fred Jones — they’d double down on the post, the ball would go back out to a person who can’t shoot from more than 4 feet. The Knicks do have shooters, so why not have Crawford, Marbury, Q, or Nate feed the post. It just doesn’t make any sense to force a double team in the post and be unable to take advantage of it.

    Second thing… does anyone think Jeff Van Gundy would ever come back? He is exactly what this team needs. There’s enough offensive talent here to score but his discipline and defensive genius would go over well. Not to mention he has street cred with the fans at MSG and with the old Knicks. Maybe could convince Patrick and Mark Jackson to be coaches.

    Any other thoughts on coaches? I honestly would prefer someone who is not a “players'” coach, someone who is a bit of disciplinarian. In my mind, Marbury deserved at least a 5 game suspension (ie. $1 million) for deserting his team. Instead, he gets to play in the next game. Just ridiculous. I think that decision (against the vote of the team no less) has completely demoralized this team.

    And why can’t see Wilson Chandler play, even if they’re down 20 in the 4th?

  7. Isiah: Guys I want you to vote on if you want Marbury to play. I will abide by your wishes.

    Players: We all vote not to play Marbury

    Isiah: You votes do not count. I play who I want.

  8. all i want is a semblance of a plan from the knicks. is that really too much to ask?

  9. Great post on the Wages of Wins:

    The two best snippets are…

    Marbury: (From NY Magazine) In the midst of our upbeat Charleston conversation about religion and the new season, he raised the subject of his reputation for selfishness. ?If I didn?t play the way how I played, I wouldn?t have gotten no max contract,? he said. ?They can talk about whatever they wanna talk about me, because I got maxed. I?m a max player. Don?t get mad at me, because I?m telling you what?s real. One plus one is two, all day long, and it?s never gonna change. And that?s factorial.?

    Again, this is the same story. Marbury is a scoring point guard. And Starbury explains quite clearly why he plays the game this way. Scoring – or selfishness – is what gets you a maximum contract. And it appears he is right.

    Owen: Marbury may be crazy, but he is crazy like a fox. HE GOT MAXED for being an average player.

    and this, from Glenn Robinson (from his rookie year): ?I expect to do what I?m supposed to do. But a lot of people that don?t know the game, they think it?s all about scoring. I look at it from a team perspective. We have to do well as a team. I don?t need to go out there and score 30 points a game and have us lose. That won?t do us any good. It would help me individually.? Robinson added: ?But I want to see all of us get something done.? So a very young Robinson notes that scoring helps him individually but may not help the team. It is interesting that this quote captures the essence of the argument we make in this chapter. Scoring does help a player earn more money. Wins, though, are about more than scoring.

    I made the argument recently in the Lee-Randolph thread that C’s and PF’s develop a mid range game not because it helps their team, but because it allows them to score more, and get paid more. Most C’s, for physical reasons, don’t shoot as well. But they go do it anyway, because they know more points scored, regardless of efficiency, means more money.

    A lot of people don’t buy the WOW player metric, Wins Produced. Which is fine I suppose. But what he has to say on this one issue is important to the Knicks. We have four players who are the embodiment of the “score to get paid” philosophy. Marbury, Crawford, Randolph, and Curry. All these people learned that if you simply focus on scoring as much as possible, even if it hurts the team, you will make a lot of money. Robinson, is a junior version of this, although he scores relatively efficiently, and does enough things well on the court to satisfy me. For all that people say that stats don’t really matter (not most people here obviously), they have made big a difference in New York. Isaiah went with his idea of stats, the scoring at any price philsophy, and IT’s proved a very steep price for all of us to pay…

    At the end of the day, the foundation for my liking for the Wages of Wins (not that anyone cares ;-) remains the hope that the NBA (and of course the Knicks, pray god) can escape the score at all costs mentality and return to a concept of team play. It would be much better to watch. That is much more likely if people start using WP instead of PER and NBA Efficiency.

  10. We all agree that the team has talent. The problem is obviously with Isiah.

    In basketball, you can’t teach athleticism or height, but it is the coach’s job to teach decision making. Whatever line-up is out there has to understand how to execute. Putting up 29 or whatever turnovers, as Isiah would agree, falls on the coach.

    Now to the line-up. Balance is the goal here. You need players who compliment each other. Yin-Yang. You cannot have players who have the same problems, or it just makes it worse. So, that means, Curry or Randolph, but rarely together. Marbury or Crawford, but rarely together. Be like San Antonio where you have perhaps your best player (Manu) come off the bench to make sure that your squads are balance throughout the game. To me, the best line-up is Nate, Crawford, Balkman, Lee and Randolph. Curry and Marbury are the first two off the pine. Let them both come in, chuck it up for a while against the second team guys, then sit them when we need a real team again.

    As a note on Lee and Balkman. It is true that they are unskilled offensively, but that does not mean they are ineffective. Their energy, hustle and intangibles get them points on a regular basis. Points are points, no matter how they come. (and this is without even going into the bad plays they don’t make on defense and with turnovers).

  11. Frank,
    The problem is that the guys who can shoot, have problems feeding the post and vice-versa. It’s very comical when you think about it. Also, remember that Van Gundy left in a bad way, the kind of thing Dolan really hates (again comical), so I don’t see a return.

    The only problem I have with this “vote” thing is that it was reported by only one source. I don’t believe any other reporter has come out and said that they actually spoke to the players and can confirm that everything went down as reported. Instead everyone seems to be quoting the same report in their own stories.

  12. Did you see how often shooters were left with literally no one within four feet?
    Crawford at one point didn’t even react to a wide open Jackson behind the arch and some other Knick who was even further away at least tried to run at him while Crawford turned to watch the shot go in.
    Crawford is the worst defender in the NBA today. He simply doesn’t care.
    I am so sick of these starters. I shouldn’t have watched replays from the game. It made me sick.
    If Isiah stays, he needs to do something radical.
    Bench Marbury, Crawford, Q and Randolph or Curry and get Lee, Balkman, Robinson and maybe Jones in there.
    Then slow down the game, make it into a defensive struggle, a limited possession game and keep feeding eddy or zach in the post. Set Robinson up as a shooter, he shoots at a higher percentage than any other Knick, and let Lee be active off the ball.
    You may face some low scoring games, but at least we know the young guys will play hard.
    The current starters, Q, Craw, Steph,Curry and Randolph play as if they don’t care.
    Why they hell not go young???? It certainly can’t get any worse, it will give fans something to cheer for, and eventually these guys could develop.
    Otherwise, it ain’t getting better

  13. BrooklynKnicks:
    Thekey point about the vote is when the Knicks were asked if this actually happened all they would say was they are handling this issue in house. the players are saying the same.
    If it were not true, it would simply have been denied…

  14. There are minor adjustments that need to be made in order for the knicks to become winners. The players are in shape minus Zach Randolph. They have to commit more to the offense. they play great ball the first 8min(ball movement hard Defense)Then they fall apart. Im a true knick fan and I think Thomas is doing a great job so far sticking with the idea of playing those guys that are gonna defend. The ass kicking there recieving this season is a well deserved lesson. Charactor is building Lets go Knicks!!!!

  15. Some very good points regarding intelligent personnel deployment and the limitations of the current roster, but this is all tantamount to simply asking Isiah to become a good coach (leaving aside the question of his GM prowess). Recognition of strengths and weaknesses, identifying effective player combinations and intelligent substitution patterns are rudimentary aspects of coaching ? just an awareness of one?s own team. During a tenure with the Pacers marked by underachievement as well as his time on the Knick?s bench, Isiah has proven to be neither a ?system? coach or a good bench coach (x and o guy, game manager, whatever you want to call it). Does anyone see signs that his coaching is improving? And if it were, would insightful commentators even need to write pieces like this one?

  16. Insightful commentators meaning Mike K. above, not me – sorry its a bit unclear how I worte it :-)

  17. Frank-

    -I think JVG knew about the Knicks’ organization what all of us are finding out now a long time ago, and would not be interested in returning. I also think his return would prove to be Larry Brownesque in certain regards.
    Unless the Knicks remake their roster I think a defensive minded coach with little offensive creativity would be a poor fit: with the current talent level I think the defense would be average at best even if JVG really convinced them to try, and JVG’s offense wouldn’t look much better than what we have now I don’t think. They would control the ball better and have a plan, but they’d still probably be standing around watching each other. Worked ok for the veteran teams he coached here before who played D and shot well, but I think we need a motion offense.
    I think Rick Adelman would have been the man: his teams in Sacremento, despite their reputation, were all good defensively (not that he would make the Knicks as currently constructed good on D, and not as good as JVG would, just pointing out that despite Sacto’s rep they were good on D), and even with the Knicks’ deficiencies I think he could install a decent motion offense if the players bought in.

    -Also, I think the Knicks can take advantage of the double teams without having good shooters be the ones who get the ball out of the double team. They just need to start moving the ball and themselves.


    You make a good point.

    Frank O.-

    Absolutely, at some point you have to play the guys who actually want to play hard, the guys who are coachable.
    Even though Lee and Balkman and Jeffries are criticized for being so “limited” offensively, if you put 2 of them Robinson, Curry/Randolph, Jamal/Steph/Q in there with a game plan they can get some high percentage looks and be better offensively than the “more skilled” unit. Basically I would mandate having at least 2 of Balkman, Lee, Jeffries, maybe Jones, and maybe Wilson Chandler, and probably not Mardy but maybe if he can improve be on the court at all times. All of the Knicks have at least 1 redeeming quality offensively. Just give these guys some assigned roles in the offense instead of putting them out there and hoping to out talent, magically outscore as Owen alluded to, the other team. Then, of course, they have to buy into and understand these roles (unlikely in some cases). If they don’t bench them for good.

    You don’t need 5 guys who can score from anywhere on the court at all times to be a decent offense, as other people have said you need some guys to complement one another. Guys who can pass, cut and finish around the basket, obviously defend, set picks… then maybe a high usage guy or two like Randolph, Curry even, gulp, Marbury or Crawford.

    Maybe Isiah has tried to do this, but it seems like he’s failed. He insists on having the mid-range jump shooting PF next to Curry. It’s killed Frye and now Randolph’s scoring efficiency. Marbury has publicly stated that he doesn’t understand his role how many years in a row now? Crawford’s role is to shoot whenever he gets the ball. And then they all stand around and watch each other. Plus a lot of players he brings in seem to be as cocky and egoistic as himself: the whole the best hitters make the worst hitting coaches thing.

  18. The saddest thing about Marbury is that I feel like he really DOES care. He just doesn’t know how to focus that into a productive effort. Truth is, when he is focused, he is actually a pretty good defender. I thought the job he did against Kevin Martin in the 2nd half of the SAC game was really quite good. And overall I actually think he was the best player on the floor last night for the Knicks. He gave up a bunch of points to Baron Davis, but Baron Davis is awesome– and he had to work really hard for those points. Some of those fallaway shots he hit were just amazing, not due to bad defense.

    I think Jamal also cares a lot, but just is a bad defender. There are players out there who are tenacious and go straight to the ball, and there are others who for whatever reason are watchers and not doers. Curry and Jamal both fall into that category — players who have the athletic ability to be good defenders but just not the mentality. If you could stick Balkman and Lee’s tenacity into those 2 players, we’d really have something. Instead, we have 2 highly paid/played players who play no defense and 2 lowly paid/played players who just don’t have the physical gifts to make their tenacity a true asset.

    Randolph I think is just athletically limited and so has a lot of trouble guarding guys like Al Harrington etc.. He really is a great rebounder and has a great nose for the ball, but on defense he plays scared because he knows he doesn’t have the foot speed to guard on the outside or the quickness to defend the post.

    So how do we fix this — we definitely need to separate the worst defenders, or at least play no more than 2 at a time. That’s why I think we should start Marbury, Q, Balkman, Lee, and Curry and have Jamal sub in for Marbury, Nate sub in for Q, Zach in for Curry, and have Balkman and Lee get rest where they can with Curry and Randolph on the court together for no more than 12 minutes/game.

    Also I’d like to see a bit more of Morris and Chandler. Both have reputations as decent defenders, why not see what they’ve got? (maybe they stink so badly in practice they never see the floor).

  19. The Author hit on all of the importiant points
    1. The Guards are too small and…
    2. They cannot shoot or play defense
    3. They don’t pass well with too many turnovers
    4. Did I say they can’t hit an outside shot?.

    Randolph and Curry are fine; the Perimeter players are killing this team. Just look at the combined shooting percentage of their perimeter players and compare it to any winning team. The Knicks have been woeful for over 3 seasons.
    Fix the Guard/Small Forward situation; keep all the Bigs, and this team will turn around fast.

  20. I know Lee gets a lot of love from Knicks fans, and i love him too. But how bout trading him for a pass first PG?

    He is great for 20mins a game but over 35 is he that good? And right now his stock is high, we may be able to get something good back. And besides we have Balkman for defensive spark off the bench.


  21. the main problem is eddie curry
    while a talented low post scorer, hes not the guy that can have an offense run through him. Also, he has gotta be the worst defender in the leauge rite now. He literally watches as people drive through the lane. Everytime currys on the floor(cept the denver game) the knicks have played worse. Hes also responcible for creatin the stagnent offense, as he holds the ball for like 8 seconds b4 makin a move

  22. Isaiah’s team has no identity, and the pieces don’t fit.

    What kind of offense does it play, what kind of defense? To me, it seems the win come by with some kind of alignment of stars that gets some kind of decent effort from the team and some kind of less than decent effort from the opponent. But there is not much that can lead to some kind of consistency.

  23. Great points, agreed all way around. When Isiah threw out the lineup of 4 guards and Randolph last night, it didn’t make a lick of sense. The game was well within reach before they came in, and Lee had just finished showing that he can score and defend in the low post on nights when Eddy doesn’t feel like it.

    Seriously, the only way I could make sense of that lineup was that Isiah is trying to get fired.

  24. “It?s clear that Thomas? faults as a manager go further than forging a relationship with his point guard. If he wants to turn this season around, he should find a way to make his players complement each other.”

    It’s too bad Isiah the coach doesn’t have a basketball superior above him at the Garden. If labor was divided and the Knicks had a strong GM I think Isiah would look better as a coach than he does today. The problem is not in his coaching but in his assemblage of players. He’s not that good of a coach to make up for how bad of a GM he’s been. (He put himself into a corner that he can’t coach his way out of).

    If Isiah the GM held himself to the same standard he’s held all the other coaches he’s installed for the Knicks he would have fired himself after the Warriors game and had Garden security escort himself from the building.

    Lenny had a similar losing streak and was fired. Chaney had a similarly unimpressive couple of seasons and was fired. Brown had about the same record after 10 games and was fired.

    Isiah, just to be consistent, should eat his own contract.

    (Since Herb is the only guy of the bunch with no fireable offenses to his name, let’s give him another shot already)

  25. Its totally unrelated but i figured people might look at it. I’m not sure if it would work but i thought of a good trade. Now that we have Zach Randolf, Lee’s minutes are going down, so it wont be as big of a deal to trade him. I see us tradin milwaukee Lee, Balkman, Nate, Randolf Morris, and Stephon Marbury who they would buy out. We would get Mo Williams and Michael Redd. Their team would be in great shape to be rebuilding, with a core of Yi, Bogut, Lee, Nate, Balkman, and Vilaueva. We would have a great team that would contend.

    pg: Mo Williams
    sg: Michael Redd
    sf: Quentin Richardson
    pf: Zach Randolf
    c: Eddie Curry

    Personally that is maybe one of the best starting lineups in the game at this point. Best PF/C combo, a great pg with williams and michael redd is an amazing scorer. Fred Jones, Jamal Crawford, and Jared Jeffries would round out the rotation, and we always have a few young players to take the scrap minutes. I think that we could actually contend for a title if the team developed some chemistry.

    If theres something that doesnt work with the trade please tell me because i really dont know much about the rules of those things.

  26. Also, we have all the main parts of the team for another 2-4 years. The only problem i see is that Quentin Richardson has injury problems, but even with them we could run small lineups with two SG’s in at once.

  27. MALIK ROSE!!! WTF. Put in Chandler for Christ’s sake. And why isn’t Isiah benching Curry every time he fails to put his damn arms up on defense. If I see him with his hands down by his waist one more time when a player blows by him on offense — i’m going to lose it. No – I have lost it. This year is over before its really begun. I’m sorry – I’ve had it with this team.

  28. Curry has been the biggest problem for the us.
    He can’t rebound, cant defend cant pass, cant block or change shots by penetrators. Having his typical game at end of 1st, 10 pts 2 rebounds, no defensive presence and +/- of around -13 & no assists.

  29. no, Marbury is the main problem, like most nights (he did play pretty hard against GS). Billups went by him at will, just like Baron Davis last night. his +/- is -19 at halftime, Billups has 11 points and 11 assists to Steph’s 3 points and 3 assists. let the Derrick Rose era begin!

  30. Interesting to watch Isiah try to go from the player’s confidant and friend to a tough love coach. Not sure that that you can move that direction. Most great coaches break their players down first, get them on board with the program and then build them back up to greatness. I think Larry Brown has done this with his NBA teams. Problem is, Isiah doesn’t have a program. He’s not advocating a certain type of basketball. He wants his players to play D and offense. They’ve been told for three years that “I understant you”….now they’re being told shape the f**k up… but with no real bite. I actually think that the team has a lot of good citizens..Curry and Crawford are good, young guys who have NEVER been brought along…not with the Knicks and not with the Bulls. The Knicks are deep with talent and I believe have many kids that want to do it the right way but aren’t in an organization near capable of supporting them.

    The last couple of days have been about fire Isiah the coach but it’s the gm that I have issues with. The coack gets a few more games until this nuttiness settles down. the gm can be cut loose right now.

  31. How can anyone at this point honestly say that Randolph is better than Curry. The only skill which he posesses that is better than Curry is rebounding, and we have Lee to pick up Curry’s slack.

    Randolph is a worse defender, I know its hard to believe but he is worse than Curry. Curry might be slow to react and is vunerable on the pick and roll but at least he tries. Randolph sometimes makes no effort to even defend his man, especially on the perimeter or when he walks down the court after an offensive sequence.

    Curry is a much much more efficient scorer.
    Curry: Career TS% of 58.2% this year 60.6%
    Randolph: Career TS% of 51.9% this year 44.0%

    Curry this year is less turnover prone.
    Curry: TO Rate of 12.6 and 2.8 per 40 minutes
    Randolph TO Rate of 14.5 and 4.3 per 40 minutes

    Curry is scoring more points per 40 on less shots.
    Curry: 22.9 points on 15.8 shots
    Randolph: 21.0 points on 21.3 shots

    Curry demands much more of a double team while Randolph can quite often be guarded one on one on the perimeter.

    Curry is playing very well this year and from watching the games his defense while not good has been almost passable this year while posting career highs in TS% and turnover rate.

    Randolph is playing terrible and his defense has been some of the worst I have seen. At least three times against Golden State his man scored before Randolph even crossed the three point line. Randolph isn’t even attempting to be a good defender. Also he is posting career lows in both turnover rate and TS%.

    Bench or trade Randolph, hopefully trade, and start Lee and Curry. Mike K. was exactly on with that point.

  32. “Randolph is a worse defender, I know its hard to believe but he is worse than Curry. Curry might be slow to react and is vulnerable on the pick and roll but at least he tries. Randolph sometimes makes no effort to even defend his man, especially on the perimeter or when he walks down the court after an offensive sequence.”

    agreed 100%. he actually makes Curry look good at times, that’s amazing.

  33. “They looked like they didn’t want to compete,” Detroit guard Flip Murray said. “They were just out there. All you had to do was look at their body language. I don’t know what’s going on over there, but they’ve got a lot of issues.”

  34. CONSPIRACY 101

    Look, I really really don’t want to come off as that annoying conspiracy guy, because that’s really not me. But at this point, is anyone else thinking that perhaps Dolan/Isiah and Co. looked at this season and realized they weren’t going to get anywhere in the playoffs, took notice of the fact that next year marbury and rose will be huge trade assets, that we don’t have a 1st rounder in 2009, and that 2008 would be a terrific opportunity to acquire the desperately needed pure pg in the form of a top 3 pick? Now obviously in order to engineer an air-tight conspiracy you have to have the fewest possible people knowing abot it. I think it’s quite possible that only Dolan and Isiah know what’s going on if this is indeed the case. The Knicks K-9 level basketball IQ would translate into manipulatable sheep in a scheem like this. For example, the Isiah Thomas v. Marbury fiasco, the team-vote, Isiah defying the vote alienating the whole team, now suddenly you have other team players saying:

    ?They looked like they didn?t want to compete,? Detroit guard Flip Murray said. ?They were just out there. All you had to do was look at their body language. I don?t know what?s going on over there, but they?ve got a lot of issues.?

    I recognize this is an off the deep end theory, but my mind has brain-stormed to this level of obscurity to try and explain this season so far. It was never this bad last season, yes we had awful games, but then they would come back and surprise us and beat Detroit in double over-time. We certainly never lost 8 straight games.

  35. I like the way Mike K is thinking with the rotations but at this point I think IT has to do something much more drastic then isolate Marbury as the bad guy to really send a message to the whole team. As it stands now, not a singe one of the, uh, “best players” starting is playing well on both sides of the court, so let’s go with the guys who seem to give it 100% who also happen to be the underpaid youth – Robinson, Balkman, Chandler, Lee and Morris as the starting unit. The energy would be there for sure even if the talent wasn’t. The message would be loud and clear to all the current starters – you stink! The crowd would probably get behind the young guys if nothing else because they would probably show some heart and hustle. As it stands, he can’t get the starters to rally together. Maybe benching them all at the same time will give them a cause to bond over – their hatred of Isiah. At least then the players will be on the same page as the fans. With no wins in the past 8 games the results couldn’t get any worse. In fact, if they kept loosing, the result would be better in the long run with the growth of young players and a top draft choice at the end of the year.

  36. T-Mart Interesting theory and actually somewhat plausible. However I cannot believe that Isiah is anywhere near that intelligent to either concieve or execute a consipiracy such as you describe… Great thought though and not so “off the deep end”…

    And your logic is sound – that is considering for some strange reason another GM would have interest in actually acquiring Marbury. If so, they’d just let this terrible fiasco continue, let the buyout rumors run rampant and just wait until he is indeed released and bought out. At that point another team could sign Marbury at a substantially reduced price – opposed to picking up his HUGE contract.

    Additionally, the longer this circus continues, the interst in Marbury from other teams will continue to drop and drop dramatically, making it harder and harder to trade him and more likely he will be released. Although I beleive IT has to go first, as he will never release him.

    I think Marbury’s next stop will be in a league other than the NBA.

  37. i think T-MART’s conspiracy theory would have a lot of truth to it. unfortunately, we are dealing with two people who have never shown the ability to come up with a plan and then see it through.

    so, unlike every other conspiracy theory in the NBA, i don’t think there can be any merit to this.

  38. T-Mart

    It’s an interesting theory that I hadn’t even considered; however, you can throw a season without embarrassing yourself personally on a national level. Which both men have done at this point.
    Trading veterans for shorter contracts and playing the youngsters would be a good place to start, the fact that the Knicks have done neither and hyped the Randolph-Curry frontcourt as the NBA’s best leads me to believe that they’re trying to win. Throwing the season, it seems, might have been a better idea…

    BEN BOW-

    Not sure if the salaries work (they should be close), but one problem I see with your trade is that Milwaukee has no incentive to make the deal. They’re currently 6-4 (which I would guess might not last considering they haven’t played well on either side of the ball), and they already have an abundance of young talent in their frontcourt. Don’t see why they would trade their starting backcourt for more young frontcourt talent. Maybe if they fall out of contention.

    The other problem is that Redd/Williams is not an upgrade defensively over Marbury/Crawford, at least definitely not a significant one. So your squad (Curry, Randolph, Richardson, Redd, Randolph, Crawford, Jeffries, Jones) could very well be the worst defense in the NBA. They’d probably have to be one of the best offenses in the league just to make the playoffs (Washington, for example, was the 28th ranked defense in the NBA last season in terms of points/possession, but managed to make the playoffs as the 5th ranked offense by the same measure). Offensively, you’d have two spot up perimeter shooters (Redd and Richardson) and two dangerous scorers inside (Randolph and Curry), but because none of them pass well Mo Williams would have to be one of the best PGs in the NBA (Nash/Kidd level) to make it work. Maybe Crawford and Jeffries could inject some passing into the rotation.

    Maybe Redd would be a good target if the Knicks want to ignore defense altogether and go Wizards style, plus Milwaukee gets to the point where it wants to trade its franchise player. I don’t know if I’d give up both Balkman and Lee for him though. Not to hate on MO Williams he’s a good palyer, but Derrick Rose or O.J. Mayo probably has a better shot at being the best PG in the NBA then Mo Willams.

    Speaking of Rose, who seems to be the crowd favorite potential Knicks’ lottery pick, what do people think of him? From what I’ve seen, the kid definitely has the ability, but he’s got a long way to go. Completely normal for a 19 year old PG, but without knowing anything about the kid’s personality he looks to me as much like Steve Francis as Jason Kidd and (like any other prospect, espcially PG, and as Knicks fans know well) his attitude is going to determine how good he is in the NBA. Like I said, I don’t know anything about the guy’s personality, but considering the two John Calapari Memphis recruits which jump to mind are Qyntel Woods and DeJuan Wagner I would definitely see if he has a head on his shoulders before I drafted him and handed him my franchise. Anyway, overall Rose does look like a good bet to be exactly what the Knicks need:

    “A point guard in the truest sense of the word. His development in this area has been phenomenal in the past 2 years (which is apparent when you read his profile from a year and a half ago) ? Knows how to run a team, and raises the level of play of his teammates ? A pass-first point guard with excellent court vision ? Has a rare ability to create passing lanes ? finding and creating shots for teammates who do not appear to be open ? A relentless defender with quick hands and length. Gets low and will lock his man down on defense and should only improve. Gives the same intensity and effort on both ends of the floor ? Excellent handle on the ball, with a deadly crossover, very tough to contain one on one ? A constant threat to blow by his man off the dribble ? Rarely shows much emotion, very calm on and off-court demeanor, does not get rattled easily ? Plays with a high level of intensity remaining level-headed ? Deadly on the fast break with his passing ability and athleticism ? Powerful leaper. Can get his head at rim level and has the strength to go into traffic and dunk on people ? Catlike quickness and body control ? Excellent finisher around the basket even after contact? Clutch player who raises his level of play against good competition and wants the ball in crunch time ? ”

  39. Rose and Memphis visit MSG in a couple of weeks, taking on OJ Mayo and USC in the Jimmy V Classic. Michael Beasley and K-State are in the other game, Chad Ford has those three as the top three in the draft right now.

    yes, that’s right, some MSG hoops to actually look forward to…

  40. I say UGH

    Why did Isiah cut nichols to keep Fred Jones? It’s utterly mystifying to see Jones keeps taking time away from players that could help the team, like maybe shooters that would actually shoot when curry and randolph constantly fact double teams. Shooters like I dunno, Nichols?

  41. I feel sorry for the people that still support Isiah. They must have a “my team right or wrong” attitude, which makes the inevitable all the more tragic. The number one characteristic that both Isiah and other people ascribe to him is that he is a survivor. Looking back at his past failures, he always manages to land on his feet. After he gets fired, does any one think that he’ll go away quietly, content with being branded a loser? He’ll do everything he can to reclaim his reputation by trashing the players and everything else about the organization, either directly or through a third party. It will be interesting to see the reaction of his supporters when this happens.

  42. T-MART:

    Good luck trying to out-tank the Wolves. Earlier in the season they had a couple of chances to win games and gave the last shots to Antoine Walker and Sebastian Telfair respectively.

  43. Matthew come on, lets be serious, Isiah is the first coach in pro sports history to have a last-shot play-book which somehow even defies the laws of physics by having a negative number of pages.

    I tell you what, I have a magic trick. First go get a calculator. Pick any number between 1-9999999. Divide that number by the number of pages in Isiah’s last-shot playbook. If it says error, just pick another number between 1-9999999, keep doing this until it doesn’t say error and then come back.

    On the real though, Im pretty confident Isiah can be competitive with any team in the league in tanking/last minute shot incompetence. Although Im sure you’re right that Minnesota could be our staunchest competition.

  44. Yep. The Wolves were down by 3 and put in Antoine Walker, a career 32% three point shooter who attempted his only FGA of the game and missed it (surprise).

    Like I said, you can’t out-tank the Wolves. On the last game of the 05/06 season Mark Madsen attempted 7 three-pointers, his only 3PAs for the entire season. Good luck going after Rose though. It’ll be an interesting race to the bottom.

  45. Minnesota will probably draft Mayo and make the same mistake they’ve already made twice (Rider, Marbury).

  46. I can barely even watch these starters anymore. They are atrocious to watch. Q Rich should not be starting — he isnt healthy and isnt shooting well (but that doesnt seem to deter him from jacking up threes). If you are going to start Z Bo and Curry, starting Balkman seems to make sense to me. Also, Id like to see Morris get some time at Center. Its mandatory they develop him and see what he can do. Thats the only way you can consider trading Curry (who has actually played fairly well and has shown some improvement).

    Marbury and Crawford as a starting backcourt is an utter failure and changes are needed.

  47. IMissBernardKing – I think you are right on the money about our backcourt and our starters. I would also like to see Z-Bo not starting or even playing until he shows at least a little effort on defense and stops shooting fadeaway 20 footers.

    I would say that the only starters not playing like complete garbage are Curry (who is actually playing well) and Marbury (who caused such a distraction off the court his barely passable play on the court does not make up for it).

    Until we can move Randolph and Crawford for an upgrade in our backcourt I would like to see:
    Nate/Collins/Balkman/Lee/Curry starting, because at least they will play with fire and defend.

    Chandler and Morris should see at least a little time in the game to futher their development and see exactly what we have. Our backups can be: Jones/Chandler/Jeffries/Morris.

    Those nine players would not be great but at least they would play hard unlike the rotation we have now.

    Richardson should not play at all until he is truly healthy. Marbury needs to be traded or waived before he creates any more problems in our lockerroom. Randolph and Crawford still have some value so they are the pieces we need to use to get at least one legitimate starter in the backcourt. Rose and James are utterly useless and should never leave the bench.

  48. I see Collins right now as a Trenton Hassell type player. A very good on ball defender with very little offensive talent. I hope in the future he can develop a good enough outside shot to be an Eric Snow type point guard but right now he is purely a defensive player and is probably our second best defensive player.

    It would be better if we did not need to start him right now or even play him much but I would still prefer him even with his massive shortcomings over Crawford and Marbury because he at least knows not to shoot very much and is a great defender.

  49. the problem with comparing him to Hassell is that as long as he’s playing PG, he has to handle the ball, and he’s a turnover machine. Hassell, like Bruce Bowen, plays SF and can mostly stay away from ballhandling.

  50. jon – That is true but I think he can also play SG and if the coach puts him next to Nate, Nate could be the PG taking the ball handling pressures off of Collins.

    Still I agree he is not nearly ready to be a starter in the NBA. I guess I am just so sick of Marbury and Crawford I would honestly start just about anyone in thier place.

    Also our team is so turnover prone this year Collins at 3.9 turnovers per 40 is only slightly worse than both Crawford (3.6 TOs per 40) and Jones (3.8 TOs per 40). So even if he did play a major role on offense it would not hurt us any more than we are already being hurt by our other SG’s.

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