Why The 2008 Knicks Can’t Win (Some Plays Count)

The other day I was on the train and overheard two Knick fans talking about the state of the team. The first man asked the other what was wrong with the team to which the second replied: “Isiah has to go. They have a good team on paper.” It seems that there’s the idea floating around Knick-nation that with a coaching change and a few tweaks the Knicks could have a good team. However, watching last Wednesday’s loss to the depleted Kings gave me a clear picture of why the Knicks just can’t win with this current roster. In reality it was just two Kings that helped sort things out: Brad Miller and John Salmons.

One one possession (4:28 1Q) Miller is on the left blocks being fronted by David Lee. Salmons has the ball, lofts it over Lee to Miller, and Brad has an unobstructed path to the hoop for an easy two points. After Lee fronts Miller, someone is supposed to give backside help. On this play Eddy Curry is on the weak side, but he’s oblivious to what’s happening with the ball. Curry is engrossed in covering the ever dangerous Mikki Moore on the weak side. Miller’s layup exposed two weaknesses – Lee’s inability to play better man to man defense and Eddy Curry’s lack of awareness on defense.

In the second quarter at the 5:51 mark, the Kings bring the ball up on offense. Brad Miller is on the far side behind the three point line while Garcia and Moore play the high pick & roll. Lee is defending Moore and helps double on the pick & roll. Garcia passes the ball to Miller who is standing behind the three point line. Even though Miller is able to hit from downtown, Curry gives him space is and is about 2 feet from the paint. Despite Curry playing Miller deep, Miller is able to dribble right past him. Lee, recovering from the high screen, comes over to help, but can only offer token resistance by putting up his arms. Miller scores an easy two points over David Lee. Again Curry and Lee have revealed their weaknesses on defense. This time Curry shows his inability to stay with his man on the perimeter (something I’ve mentioned often here) and Lee is unable to provide assistance in the form of shot blocking.

In this game, John Salmons scored a lifetime high of 32 points. Reading over the play-by-play Salmon had 6 baskets recorded as “Driving Layup”. Watching the game it felt like it was 30 baskets. I could have analyzed any of his layups, but I chose to review his first – 40 seconds into the game. At the top of the key, Miller passes the ball to Salmons who is at the free throw line extended. Miller sets a pick on Salmons’ defender (Jeffries). Miller’s man, Eddy Curry is supposed to help, but again he’s unaware of what’s happening and fails to react to the pick & roll. Salmons goes right past Curry unhindered. Zach Randolph watches the play unfold and moves in front of the restricted area in preparation for Salmons’ approach. Yet Salmons drives right past Randolph for the easy layup. A series of mistakes on this possession lead to an easy bucket: Curry’s inability to read the screen, his failure to slow down Salmons’ drive so that Jeffries can recover, and Randolph’s futile help under the basket.

These plays expose a fundamental flaw with the current Knicks team: the lack of interior defense. It’s no secret that nearly every player on New York is a bad defender, but good defense usually begins from the inside. There’s a reason that bigmen who are offensively limited but can prevent scoring can have long careers. Players like Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, and David Lee aren’t strong defenders so they need a defensive minded compliment in the frontcourt. In Curry’s only winning season, he was flanked by a few strong defenders: Tyson Chandler, Antonio Davis, and Andres Nocioni. In Randolph’s only winning season, he was coupled with Rasheed Wallace, Arvadys Sabonis, and Dale Davis.

Instead of a frontcourt pairing of an offensive player with a defensive player, the Knicks have two poor defensive big men on the court at nearly all times. And this has been a recipe for disaster. New York is dead last in the league in defensive efficiency, and there isn’t a coach in the world that could make the current rotation average defensively. Without the addition of a defensive frontcourt player to the rotation, New York will remain a bad defensive team. The Knicks aren’t a good team on paper, they’re just plain bad on defense.

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Mike Kurylo

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

115 thoughts to “Why The 2008 Knicks Can’t Win (Some Plays Count)”

  1. Yeah, that’s dead on, there are a lot of guys considered stiffs who could really help this team.

    I am pretty sure I got ridiculed last year for saying that I thought Joel Pryzbilla would be a better center on this team than Curry. I am going to stand by that. Give me the vanilla gorilla…

  2. Owen – I would love to get Pryzbilla but only after we got rid of Zach. My biggest worry is that Isiah will decide to stick with Zach and trade Curry and Lee to get a better center to pair with him.

    If Curry gets traded first then we should all prepare for 4 years of Zach which would be much worse than the last four years.

  3. Randolph puts himself before the team more than any player i have seen on the Knicks in my life, I want him gone too, even if he is a better player than Curry. I don’t see how you build even a playoff team around Zach…

  4. I still think a Randolph for Thomas and Nocioni would give one good, possibly great, defender in Thomas and a solid defender in Nocioni, while also giving us much needed outside shooting from Nocioni. I really think Chicago would trade for Randolph, they are almost as desperate as we are.

    I would do the Miami trade because I want Zach gone but Haslem is not a great defender and I think Lee is almost as good defensively and better offensively and at rebounding.

  5. You dont have to be a shot blocker but you have to be able to communicate and be a student of the game.

    On the best defensive teams you see the bigs spearheading the defense because they have the best view of the entire floor from along the baseline and they can direct the guard on how they are gonna play the screen roll. I see no talking from Eddy or Zach and I also dont see either of them adjusting over the course of the game to what an opposing offense is doing. If you see that lil guard exploiting the same play off a screen then at least ONE TIME you make it a point to haul @zz over there and catch him just once. Its the competitive nature of basketball thats missing that really disturbs me .

  6. re: tyrus thomas and nocioni

    Of course I’d prefer that, but there’s no way chicago does that. Well, a small chance now that Skiles is gone, but that team is built on effort players, which zach is the opposite of. I mean why don’t we just trade eddy back to them and get one of the two picks we gave up for him? I don’t say that cuz it owuld be a better deal, but just to point out that Isiah has a huge ego, and to trade for one of the picks he gave away would be way too humble of him.

    As far as the chicago end goes, you probably could get Ben Wallace for Randolph, and do you really want that? A player who is already well into his decline, and who makes more money? Haslem is a simple player who can hit the 17 footer, defend, and rebound. Lee can start, and Haslem is perfect as a FC to not mess anything up too bad backing them both up.

    Plus you have j-will’s contract, 9 million off the books at the end of the season. I appreciate that the knicks aren’t getting under the cap next year, but it has been proven time and again that these expiring contracts, most of the time, only get you back flawed players like randolph and curry. The knicks have to start aiming to get under the cap sometime. Now sounds good to me.

  7. the other problem is that our total lack of a competent PG means the offense is always essentially a one on one clearout. this is as intrinsically disastrous a problem as our lack of interior D, either one of these issues could potentially kill a team, and thankfully we have both and no potential resolution in sight for either (until the draft, at least).

  8. I disagree, jon. There are two different kinds of clear outs. Randolph gets a clear out and has the skills to stand around, manipulate around, search for a shot. Curry is a pure power player. When he gets the ball, in order to be effective, he is pretty much limited to a move, and then a countermove. Little or no dribbling, little or no standing around. It doesn’t bring the offense to a standstill the way a lot of randolph’s possessions do.

    Crawford’s last possession of the quarter plays, and shot clock running down plays are really the only other kinds of one on one clear outs that happen in the knicks offense.

    Now it’s true that the knicks have a lot of players who have one on one skills. That is to say, they are not best at catching and shooting, or catching and finishing around the rim (though Lee and Balkman fit this bill). But that does not make the offense necessary stagnant. The ball can still move, be it by slashing, passing out of quick double teams, etc. This is what it means to put pressure on a defense. You can do this with players who are skilled one on one, but they have to be thinking team.

  9. If you look at the Knicks last year, even with mediocre outside shooting we were a top ten offense for a couple of months.

    It was not until Lee, Crawford and Q went down that our offense started slipping.

    Even with our average guard play, we can be a good offensive team if Lee and Curry are starting and we get at least some positive production at the SF position.

    This year Randolph has replaced Lee’s team oriented play at the PF position and Richardson has lost every single one of his basketball skills.

    Our offensive decline has nothing to do with Crawford or Marbury. Sure, we could get alot more from those positions, but we were good on offense last year with Marbury and Crawford, I don’t see why we couldn’t be effective again.

    I say on offense our problems start with Zach and Richardson and on defense our problems start with Zach and Eddy.

    If we can get rid of Zach and Q then it solves both of our biggest offensive holes and also as an added bonus fixes one of our biggest defensive ones.

    Doing that would not solve all of our problems but at least it would return us to the .500 team we were last year. Then we can address the less immediate problems like Eddy, Steph and Jamal to try to get us better than last year. But first lets at least fix our most recent problems.

  10. If the Heat would be silly enough to trade their only good player other than Wade for Randolph, then sure, I’d jump on it.

    It would never happen, though.

    The Knicks cannot hope to get value for Curry or Randolph. Their only hope (and it is not a good one, as no one wants them) is to dump the pair for equally shitty (just hopefully expiring sooner) contracts.

  11. Brian – I disagree, I think Randolph still has a little value. Not alot but I think he has some.

    As for Curry, I think his value is actually pretty high. Every team that we play talks about figuring out a way to stop Curry. On the right team with the right players around him Curry would be a dominant offensive player. On defense next to good defenders his shortcomings would not be that bad.

    I think we could get quite alot for Curry and maybe something for Randolph if we found the perfect trading partner.

    I do not think that Miami would do that trade either, but I think we might get something positive from Chicago, Cleveland, Indiana, LA Lakers, New Jersey, Philly, Sacremento, or Washington. I am not saying all of those teams would bite for Randolph but I am sure more than one would. We could get something at least a little positive from one of those teams. No stars but possibly solid players with mediocre contracts, and maybe even a late pick or an okay young player.

    Who would have thought Korver could get an expiring and a first, or Walker could get two expirings and a shorter contract, or Murphy and Dunleavy could get Harrington and Jackson. When GM’s get desperate 20 and 10 starts to look really good. Isiah is not the only GM who makes bad trades, he just makes more of them.

    My biggest worry is not whether we can trade Zach and Curry but whether Isiah will and if he does whether he will make the right trade.

  12. “My biggest worry is not whether we can trade Zach and Curry but whether Isiah will and if he does whether he will make the right trade.”

    I wonder if Isiah’s even allowed to make trades anymore.

    “Randolph puts himself before the team more than any player i have seen on the Knicks in my life, I want him gone too, even if he is a better player than Curry. I don’t see how you build even a playoff team around Zach…”

    Owen– I may regret saying this in the morning, but I am at the point where I want to see Randolph gone so desperately that I would package Lee with him just to see him go.

    And I wouldn’t even care what I get back.

  13. Z – I am almost there with you, I have never hated a player more than I hate Randolph. David Lee and Zach Randolph for Antione Walker and Marko Jaric. I would almost think about it just to get Zach gone. Almost, not quite, but give me a month and I might change my mind.

  14. Finally an article that goes to the heart of what is deadly wrong with the team and most of its players. Defense requires basketball IQ, Anticipation Toughness and Trust- Curry and Zach don’t, will never have it and there is nothing more frustrating for a teamate than playing with guys who don’t put the effort on D but want the rock everytime on offense.

  15. I don’t think it matters too much if we don’t get value for Randolph. We did’nt really give up much to get him. Think about it this way, say we never traded for Randolph, what could we get today for Francis and Frye given their current stats/contract? Could we do much better than the current trade possibilities for Randolph? In terms of player talent, probably not. But in terms of roster flexibility, we probably do much better because Francis and Frye are not locked into long lucrative contracts. We would need to take back a long contract for a marginal player. Throw one more on the fire.

  16. heres how to save the knicks:

    -fire isiah
    -draft michael beasley with number one pick
    -package david lee + bad contract (curry, jerome james, z-bo, etc) for draft picks + cap relief + nice young player (ie lee and curry for ratliff craig smith and future 1st rounder)
    -buyout marbury
    -let other bad contracts expire
    -build around beasley

  17. I DEFINITELY think the roster is the problem, although Isiah isn’t helping the situation either.

    Let’s say we could wave our magic wand and change situations with another team. Change the entire roster, cap situation and all. I can’t think of a single other team I wouldn’t want to do that with. Look at all the other teams that are worse, or almost as bad, as the Knicks:

    Sacto – a nice core with Bibby, SAR, Artest, Miller; and young guns in Kevin Martin, Garcia, Hawes, and Salmons.

    LA Clippers – Brand is a star, Kaman and Maggette are nice pieces, and Livingston (despite being injured) is a nice young player. Maybe the team isn’t that much better on paper, but their cap situation sure is!

    Seattle – two good rookies, tons of cap space, expiring contracts, stockpiled draft picks, and a sharp GM.

    Minnesota – yes, they stink, but have you seen Al Jefferson play?!? And Foye, Gomes, Green, and Brewer are nothing to scoff at either.

    Memphis – Gasol is better than anyone on the NYK roster right now. They have chemistry, know fundamentals, and are in a better cap situation too.

    Charlotte – Arguably the best young nucleus in Wallace/Felton/Okafor/Morrison, with J-Rich, Matt Carroll and Nazr as nice role players. This might be the team I would covet the most.

    Miami – Yes, Shaq is really old, but who doesn’t love the big guy? And in a year he’s a tradeable asset, too. And Dwyane Wade is better than anyone on our roster, too.

    Milwaukee – Again, another team with a nice young nucleus in Redd/Bogut/Yi/Villanueva, and role players in Gadzuric/Simmons/Voskuhl/Williams who actually know their role. And I think Charlie Bell is possibly one of the most underrated players in the league.

    I defy you to name a single team on this list you wouldn’t want to swap with.

  18. “I am at the point where I want to see Randolph gone so desperately that I would package Lee with him just to see him go.

    And I wouldn’t even care what I get back.”

    It’s a horrible situation, no question.

    What are you thinking if you are David Lee? (who was featured in a great interview with John Andariese two games ago.) I think I would want to be out of here as fast as possible.

    Lee was great in that interview btw, appealing blend of confidence and modesty. Very interesting stuff, he played alongside Curry in the Mcdonalds All American game, he says the dished him five assists, and joked, sort of, that he handed him the MVP award, which he would have otherwise won himself. Curry ended up with 28 points to Lee’s 24.

  19. the problems:
    1. the owner
    2. the coach
    3. the roster

    other than those small intangibles, we have everything it takes to be a winner!

    The fix? Short of Bloomberg buying the team (my NBA fantasy of the moment), we won’t get a new owner…and very few clubs would trade for Curry or Q or Jeffries…best there is to eat a contract or two (and Dolan won’t do that either…).

    What’s left?

    Fire the coach. Job 1.

    Play the guys who have defensive skills and can run the floor…let us root for the kids who show some energy out there…try to pick up a young shot blocker/scorer (Hakim Warrick might be available).

    Both Zach and Curry sulk when coming off the bench…I say put them both there until they act like the millionairres they are instead of children…

  20. Anyone else (Owen?) noticed this about Lee the last few games? (Yes I watched them. I’m this far away from donning a cowboy hat, marching up to Zeke and saying “Why can’t I quit you?”).

    He (Lee) cuts to the basket and/or beats his man downcourt and when he doesn’t receive a pass from the gaurds (Jamal, Nate, Steph) who are waiting for Fattie 1 or Fattie 2 to set up in the post, he literally slumps. He’s pissed/frustrated/dissappointed. you can see it. Jeff Van Gundy (imp of the perverse) mentioned that Lee hasn’t played as well this year in a Post article on Sunday.

    I’d posit that, esp. since Lee’s effectiveness derives so a large degree from what would be termed “hustle” plays, that the reason he isn’t as dominant as he was last year is that his frustration is showing on the court. And who would blame him?

  21. Knowing the Knicks, when David Lee’s contract is about to expire and the Knicks resign him, its going to an Allan Houston deal! I like Lee a lot, but if we package him, we might be able to have cap room in a few years. We can sign a vet and we’ll have a good draft pick this year and maybe next. Plus, David Lee kinda deserves better doesn’t he?

  22. What about moving Randolph and young gun (your pick) to Denver for K. Mart and Denver’s first round pick this year, or instead of the first round pick, JR Smith?

    Denver needs someone who can score in the post. K-Mart’s contract is just as long as Randolph’s so Denver does not take on additional salary. Randolph is a good rebounder and his lack of D is masked by Camby’s skills. Randolph is younger by about 4 years.

    Kenyon’s knees look a bit better and he is a much better defender than Randolph. Plus since Martin really should not be playing more than 25 per night, he would not get in the way of Lee getting 25-30 per night. Depending on match ups Kenyon could play some center with Lee at the 4.

    I’m sure you guys will point out the flows in this scenario, but is there really a bad trade for Randolph at this point? Well, maybe Randolph for Larry Hughes is a bad deal.
    Pleeze furgive aney speeling errers or misteaks gramatikal.

  23. I’m pretty sure we’ve come to the point where Knicks fans would envy an NBDL team’s roster…at least they play hard! The main problem is that MSG is run by people with egos bigger than their talent/intellect. Isiah wont change his ways, convinced that growing up in a tough Chicago neighborhood is all it takes to be winner (he mentions it all the time). And Dolan is too proud to admit he is a total idiot owner who continually supports losers like Isiah. I don’t see either one changing (i.e. Dolan firing Isiah) for another year…by that time, even Dolan will realize that alot of Knicks fans are gone and with the Nets moving to Brooklyn, he’ll have to deliver a better product.

  24. “What about moving Randolph and young gun (your pick) to Denver for K. Mart and Denver’s first round pick this year”

    Mr. Black– I never thought I’d sign off on bringing Kenyon Martin’s contract to NY, but I give my blessing to your trade scenario.

    I think you make a good argument for why it would help both teams. Plus, Randolph for Martin is a trade that Portland never would have done, so it is valid as something that Denver would actually consider.

    But Isiah’s successor will have to be the one to pull that trigger.

  25. Z,

    But according to Isiah, only death will move him from the Knicks’ bench. Clearly Dolan does not care about the team, so we can forget about Dolan firing him. It seems that Dolan just picks people he is comfortable with and pays them to stay around him. Houston is a good example. Maybe Dolan is that insecure kid who always tried to buy friends, loyalty, and company.

    At this point I just hope it improves since we may be stuck with Isiah and Dolan. We are Clippers East.

  26. Ken B – Yeah, I have noticed that too. A bunch of times in the last game Lee cut wide open to the hoop and nothing. It’s really painful to watch. The Knicks don’t really seemed focused on winning when they are on offense, they seem focused on fighting over who takes the shots. Steph I actually think is deferring quite a bit now and being a team player, in an effort to keep everyone happy. There were a few times where I thought he could have found Lee but elected to get the ball to Curry. But you just can’t play good basketball that way, it’s impossible.

    I couldn’t believe Isiah took Lee out of the last game after they had brought the lead down to eight points with him and Nate on the court and they were charging. He had a strange look on the bench. It was pretty funny, Walt said it point blank, “they should put him back in the game.”

    Re if he has played as well as last year, the answer is no. Lee posted a WS per minute of .392 last year. He is at .305 so far this year, although it’s been steadily rising basically since that disastrous Phoenix game. So his play is off, but he has still been outstanding this year and easily the best player on the Knicks. If Randolph weren’t here, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to thing his per minute production would be within 10-15% of what he offered last year.

  27. Folks:

    We really can’t make any deals without absorbing yet another bad contract.
    The Bricks need to get cap healthy.
    Zach Randolph is a rebounding machine, but a black hole. The telling stat from last game was that he made seven shots but turned the ball over six times, as someone wrote earlier.
    It’s the same issue with Crawford.
    They are so inefficient and yet require the ball to do what they do.
    So these players will always be on bad teams.
    When will NBA coaches understand that efficiency trumps athleticism? Crawford and Randolph can make their own shots, but they waste a terrible amount of possessions.

    I think the Bricks would do better to have a defensive center. You can make the case that Jeffries is that guy. He’s 6’11, 240 (a little light), and with a wingspan of a 7-footer. He’s been playing well lately.

    You play Lee at PF
    Balkman at SF.
    Robinson is a dangerous 2.
    And then you have Marbury.
    High energy and youthful.

    Team two would be offensive subs:
    Curry for Jeffries.
    Randolph for Lee.
    Chandler for Balkman.
    Crawford for Robinson.
    Jones for Marbury.

    We’re looking for chemistry and defense.

    That’s the most efficient and balanced team the Bricks can put on the floor. You can say the front five might be a little weak on scoring, but you have scorers on the bench to stir the offense if you run into problems.
    Plus, defense wins in the NBA. I think this lineup could begin to keep opposing offenses under 100 points per night.

    They have defense (Balkman and Jeffries), a dangerous scorer, who can hit from 22-plus feet to stretch defenses (Robinson), a hustling, high-flying PF, who can score without plays, and a competent, creative point.
    This lineup reduces turnovers, improves flow, and you get the sense they would be all over the floor for loose balls. When last did you see that in a Bricks uniform?
    Foul shooting won’t be great, which will cost them wins.

    But you stick with this team and you probably can play .500 the rest of the way.

    This is going to be an exciting and interesting team that will be fun to watch. They will have a lot of disappointing loses because of their youth and foul shooting. But they won’t be losing by 20, which this current offense-oriented team loses by routinely….

    It’s risky, I know, and likely to evoke a lot of criticism on this board.
    But Zeke keeps talking about the talent of players like Randolph. I don’t see that kind of player fitting well and playing well at this level on a winning team.
    Randolph’s kind of talent takes over high school basketball games and wins them.
    His kind of talent affects college hoops, too.
    But in the NBA, that kind of talent is statistically productive for that person and that person alone. He won’t make his teammates better and his inefficiency, as well as Crawford’s, eventually will add up to turnovers, missed shots, and, as we’ve seen to date, losses. A lot of losses.

  28. “that kind of talent is statistically productive for that person and that person alone.”

    What low efficiency scoring has seemed to produce for some time in the NBA is big salaries. Say what we will about Randolph, Marbury and Crawford, but these guys are making a combined 42 million this year on contracts they signed somewhere else. While their style of play doesn’t produce wins, it is aligned perfectly with their self interest in making the most money possible.

    Zach Randolph is no dummy. He was a good player in college, on a good team, but I think it clicked for him at some point, that if he scored 20 points per game and averaged ten rebounds, someone would pay him a lot of money. He had the rebounding ability, all he had to do was take a lot of shots. In the two years before he signed his current contract he posted a ts% of just 52%, but as long there are NBA decison makers willing to pay you 12 million + to do that, what would you do?

    Zach Randolph is the perfect player for a bad team. Put him somewhere like the Blazers where he has no teammates who can take a lot of shots more efficiently than him, and he seems like a good player. Put him on a team where all the scoring players other than Q are scoring more efficiently than he does, consistent with their histories, and all of a sudden things get really ugly.

    I think the incentive to score at all costs is incredibly strong in Randolph, who understands that if at any point he concedes shot taking responsibilities to his teammates he risks becoming a very marginal player. He has no defensive talent. Yes, he is a great rebounder, but that is not close to enough reason he should be the 26th highest paid player in the NBA. He will come off his contract age 29, having been paid 17 million, and he wants to make sure he gets another contract of a similar size, that’s what is driving him. I don’t respect that kind of mentality, but I can’t blame him for it either. It’s almost logical why he behaves this way, he has been handsomely rewarded for doing so in the past…

  29. There was talk a few weeks ago on this board about having another protest outside of the garden before the Boston game on MLK day. Are people still interested in doing that? I know I am…

  30. The first question is: are the current Knicks playing up to their potential?
    All of the weaknesses of our players have been demonstrated by all of you, and they’re all true. But still, properly coached, this really is a 42 win team, not the atrocity that we see night in and night out. What the Knicks desperately need is a no nonsense-this-is-my-house coach that will, with a qualified staff, teach these players what they’re doing wrong and how to fix it.
    That last one’s important. Zeke says “we need more block out of Eddy”, but obviously noone is teaching him how to get position to make blocks, or pass out of a double-team, or teach the guard how to facilitate a pass out of the double team, etc…
    Many of these problems are correctable. In fact, this is how Larry Brown wanted to teach these players (he had issues of trying to do Zeke’s job, and maybe was a little too testy, but at least he TAUGHT.)
    Zach does have skills, but his game has never been corrected.
    What we need desperately, is a George Karl type coach that will start the most talented players while TEACHING them the team game. Choose the starters, but anytime someone doesn’t give effort on D: pine. Crawford takes crazy shots 3 seconds into the shot clock: pine. Randolph holds the ball for 15 seconds and takes a contested 18 footer: pine.
    Point out what they did wrong and keep teaching, move on. Obviously, Zeke doesn’t do that.
    I think a lineup with Curry and Randolph can work. Look at the Pistons w/ Wallace and McDyess? They were selfish, busted players at one point. They were taught THE GAME, bought into it and they’re great.
    The real problem with the Knicks is Starpower. Look at the Celtics. In this league, you need at least one player that can become an all-star and elevate the rest of your players. The Cavs w/ LeBron, Kobe w/ the Lakers, Celts w/ Pierce and KG, Spurs and Duncan. The Pistons with 3-4 high quality team players are the exception to the rule. So basically, we need a star asap.
    Since we are so far over the cap, our only chance is through the draft. We are in no position to trade for a star (the best chance is when a star wants out like KG, then you get a trade in your favor.) Maybe Derrick Rose is that star, although you usually need that guy at the 2, 3, or 4 spot. So we have to go for that guy. Maybe clear house for LeBron? Maybe try to make a deal for Arenas? Not sure if he’s good enough though. And hoard draft picks. Seattle has 2 first rounders and 4 2nd rounders next year. They are a smart club, rebuilding in a short time, and they got their future-star. I thought Gerald Wallace had that potential, but Zeke went for Randolph instead.
    So basically, my point is, we can trade Randolph for Chris Mihm, or whoever, as long as we GET BELOW THE CAP and PICK UP DRAFT PICKS. This is what we need to do to get a Rose or Beasley or trade for a real bonafide star. You can mourn the loss of Ariza, and hope Balkman or Lee pans out or try to pick up Marko Jaric, but the players are all on a roll-player level; they are interchangable. We need that superstar.

  31. I thought Frank O.’s lineup suggestion was intriguing so I looked at 5-man unit stats at 82games.com. Needless to say, Isiah has never fielded a lineup of Marbury-Robinson-Balkman-Lee-Jeffries, nor has he used a lineup with 4 of these players

    However, out of 20 5-man units, 8 have included three of these players.

    A) Robinson-Marbury-Crawford-Lee-Curry
    +/- = -9 ::::: eFG = .326 ::::: eFGA = .463
    B) Crawford-Richardson-Jeffries-Lee-Randolph
    +/- = +9 ::::: eFG = .533 ::::: eFGA = .526
    C) Robinson-Crawford-Balkman-Lee-Curry
    +/- = +1 ::::: eFG = .486 ::::: eFGA = .500
    D) Robinson-Crawford-Jeffries-Lee-Curry
    +/- = -1 ::::: eFG = .556 ::::: eFGA = .514
    E) Robinson-Crawford-Balkman-Lee-Randolph
    +/- = +3 ::::: eFG = .485 ::::: eFGA = .464
    F) Robinson-Richardson-Jeffries-Lee-Randolph
    +/- = +4 ::::: eFG = .459 ::::: eFGA = .580
    G) Marbury-Crawford-Balkman-Lee-Curry
    +/- = +6 ::::: eFG = .500 ::::: eFGA = .414
    H) Robinson-Crawford-Jeffries-Lee-Randolph
    +/- = +2 ::::: eFG = .400 ::::: eFGA = .386

    All of these lineups have been on the floor for no more than 30 minutes, so you can’t really draw any conclusions from the analysis, but it certainly seems that the +/- is encouraging, considering almost every other Knicks lineup, especially those pairing Curry and Randolph are heavy minuses.

    It’s also worth noting that while the overall team eFGA = .527, all but 2 of these 8 lineups trumps that, and both probably had painfully slow Richardson trying to guard a faster player.

    Offense suffers slightly under these ‘defensive’ lineups, although is still generally better than the overall team average of eFG = .464. The top lines that Isiah uses shoot from eFG = .478 to .542, but their defense is horrendous. And by the way, offensive does not die when Balkman and Jeffries are on the floor.

    Like I said, can’t really draw any conclusions from such a small sampling, but if I were Isiah, I’d look at this data and Frank O.’s suggestion and think that maybe his ideas has some merit.

    I’d probably try this lineup
    Marbury-Crawford-Balkman-Lee-Jeffries (substituting Crawford for Nate). Crawford gives you someone who can create a shot at the end of the shot clock if needs be, and I’ve seen flashes of his ability to control his shot selection under the right circumstances.

  32. Hahn over at Newsday had an interesting take on the Bricks. He wrote:
    The Bricks “lost the game in Houston for several reasons: 1. they are a poorly conditioned team with very questionable work habits and zero discipline (take the time to watch teams like San Antonio and Houston go through their pregame and watch the Knicks…see which team has three to four players sitting on the courtside seats shooting the bull with each other…see which team has more assistant coaches on the court than players at a given time). 2. they have no structure (am I the only one that has seen enough of this so-called “playbook” that includes nothing more than one-on-one plays and not much in cutting and passing?) and 3. they don’t have a point guard who can run an offense and take care of the ball.”

    It was the first time I heard someone say they Bricks were poorly conditioned. Any one else able to support Hahn’s contention?

    I have always said Isiah appears to call plays that consist of Crawford dribbling down the clock and then heaving up a prayer. This was the first time I have seen someone in established media refer to Isiah’s playbook…

    But this points to an underlying problem that further diminishes my view of Isiah’s coaching ability.

  33. First off there is no chemistry with Marbury on the court.With his abandonment of the team any respect the current group had for him is gone.

    Id start


    Jones and Crawford are our best defensive backourt

    I want to get the ball off the glass and get it up court.I dont want to rely on jumnpshots or halfcourt execution over 48 minutes to win basketball games .In todays nba game youve got to be able to get easy baskets and getting the ball up the floor plays a big part in that.

  34. Roshi:

    Thanks for that research. My view was more superficial than the research you did, but it reflects my feelings generally.

    I do disagree with you about Crawford.

    People seem seduced by his ability to create his own shot in crunch time, but what kind of shot is he creating? Certainly they are not high percentage. His overall shooting percentage is barely 40 percent. That reflects either poor shooting or poor shot selection. He also only hits 32 percent of his threes. He’s averaging almost three turnovers a game, while offering almost no defense and three rebounds a game. His turnovers almost offset his 4.6 assists per game.

    In my book, Crawford is worse than Randolph, who at least contributes in two statistical categories.
    Crawford only scores.

    No, Nate would be a better choice in my book at SG.
    True, he’s only shooting 41 percent right now, but his numbers suffered in part because he was injured (hamstring) for the first half of the games to date. But in the last eight games he’s shooting about 50 percent from the field.
    What also is striking is that Robinson’s 3-point shooting percentage, 39.6 percent, is almost equal to Crawford’s overall shooting percentage.

    All this means is that, given more burn, Robinson likely would be shooting closer to or better than the 43 percent he shot last year.

    I think you are right that the player market is skewed toward these stat guys. The mere fact that mainstream media refers to Randolph as a 20-10 guy says it all.

    Bill Simmons’ last column had it about right: there is a new trend emerging. Teams are looking at the Spurs, who have turned away legit stat guys to preserve balance and chemistry.
    Look at Phoenix, which dumped Marbury, or Portland, which dumped Randolph, or Orlando when they dumped Francis…aside from the fact that the Bricks picked up all these guys, those teams made a decision to dump a stats guy to benefit the team.
    They added by subtracting.

    Let’s hope the Bricks some day see the light.

    I would be a big fan of dumping some of these stat guys for character guys or lesser “talent,” and shorter contract commitments. Maybe the Bricks wouldn’t get expiring contracts, but maybe shorter term ones that they can shed sooner.
    Meanwhile, the people they pick up would at least not dominate the ball and would be more likely to be team players…
    And the Bricks might then play their young talent more so that they can be evaluated in a time when clearly this team is going to be taking loses anyway. Might as well see what your popular young guys can do.

  35. Luke, actually at this point, Fred Jones and Nate are probably the best defensive backcourt, and that’s sad, but true. Frank, I agree about Crawford, but who’s the ONLY proven clutch scorer at the end of a game? JC. I like him as a 6th man like Ben Gordon in Chicago.
    You can point at conditioning, warm-ups, the playbook, it all points to a lacking coaching staff.
    Now, I’m actually partial to having Zeke play out the season, so that we will get a lottery pick. Then fire him at the end of the season. Bringing in Scott Skiles or someone like that now could play us into a 9th or 10th pick instead…

  36. “Jones and Crawford are our best defensive backourt”

    If this is true, then we may still be playing for our ninth win come March.

    Frank O.– your proposed lineup may be our best defensive lineup, but it is not THAT good defensively to be able to make up for its own offensive shortcomings. I think there is a (un)happy medium that makes this team on the cusp of mediocrity that looks like the Knicks of last year but with Q benched and Balkman (wherever the hell he is), or Jeffries starting at SF.

    But at the same time, I like the idea of radical changes and starting Jeffries at the 5 does have some appeal.

    “I’m actually partial to having Zeke play out the season, so that we will get a lottery pick.”

    If the Knicks play .500 ball from here on out the best they can finish at is 33-49. They are getting a lottery pick whether Isiah stays or goes (unless he stays and trades it for Ron Artest).

    “-tank -draft michael beasley with number one pick”

    Tanking the season is fine and pretty much already accomplished, but Minnesota has wrapped up the most number of ping pong balls already.

  37. “Jones and Crawford are our best defensive backcourt.”

    That is true, and it is so sad I think I’m going to cry.

  38. Frank O., what 2 can Nate defend properly? He’s only about 5-7. Most NBA 2’s are almost a foot taller than he is. True, he has blocked Yao Ming, but wouldn’t he be facing a massive one on one size mismatch every game?

  39. “It was the first time I heard someone say they Bricks were poorly conditioned. Any one else able to support Hahn’s contention”

    Conditioning doesn’t explain why they get blown out so often from the get-go — if they were ahead most nights and lost it in the 4th quarter, maybe…but generally they get crushed early and then put some lipstick on the pig at the end of the game…

    I don’t buy that as their major problem…though it’s clearly true for Curry. I don’t see guys like Nate, Zach, Marbury, Crawford showing conditioning ills….decision-making is out of condition, not their bodies…

  40. Mike K. – good in depth analysis. We see that night in and night out, I’ve never seen a team give up more uncontested layups in a game. And guys like Salmons and Brooks have career nights against us. However, I don’t know where it came from, but in the Spurs game they looked like a different team defensively (granted Duncan was not 100%, they played the night before, etc.) but Curry, for example, was rotating on D, flashing on the high pick and roll and actually guarding his man one on one. Plus he had 12 boards. Unfortunately, this may have been a one time thing, but it did prove your point that it all starts and ends in the middle. If your bigs aren’t protecting the paint, it makes it real easy to score. If they help, rotate, etc., it’s a totally different game.

  41. “Tanking the season is fine and pretty much already accomplished, but Minnesota has wrapped up the most number of ping pong balls already.”

    Luckily the odds are based on where you finish, not number of losses, so I would say our chances are pretty good.

  42. Ared Effries will be replacing Q in the starting line-up. At least he won’t be forcing up bricks.

  43. Isiah is tanking the season, but not on purpose. We’ve come full circle; the team is so bad that it is paradoxically headed in the right direction.

  44. Just noticed on True Hoop that Brevin Knight has committed one turnover while notching 46 assists. And this is actually pretty consistent with what he has done most of his career. He is a good player. I would feel so much better if he had hired him to a mid level exception at some point….

  45. JK47,

    There is somthing to that paradox. The
    knicks have to be better next year since you cant possibly be worse than this next year. At least I hope so.


    Jared to start is a good thing. As bad as his O is, it is better than Q’s right now. Hope to see Balkman backing him up. Maybe Jared can help some of the interior D problems. This is also good since it places one fewer big forward on the bench. Lee has got to be the first forward off the bench now.


    Does anyone remember the last Knick win that made you feel good? Was it the Denver win? Utah? This should be easy since there are only 8 from which to pick.

  46. “Does anyone remember the last Knick win that made you feel good?”

    Feb. 13th, 2007. Crawford threw an alley-oop to Curry to beat the Lakers at Staples by one. It matched the previous season’s win total of 23 with 30 games still to play! The playoffs were in sight…

    Then Isiah got extended and, well, we all know the rest…

    That was the last Knick win that made me feel good.

  47. Andrew:
    Nate certainly can put more effort than Crawford, who is arguably the very worst defensive guard in all of basketball.
    Nate shoots at a better rate and is a far better shooter from 3pt range.
    He also can create shots for himself, and others.
    It’s not perfect, but Crawford is an empty shirt on defense, and his scoring is so inefficient that he hurts the team when he shoots a lot.

  48. I have already posted quite a few times about context. Marbury’s ONLY job was to keep people coming to the game until a core has been assembled.

    As I said earlier – when you consider the trade(Francis for Randolph) in the CONTEXT of having a 20 million dollar a year bust who you may have HAD to buy out (Francis) and realize the 40 million – 60 million -gives you -20 milion dollars -for a 27 year old double double guy (yes- he is a BLACK HOLE ON DEFENSE) but he has a sweet shot and unfortunately -is the best shooter on the knicks as well as a good rebounder (who may actually STILL get better).

    The problem is he wants to be more Bob McAdoo then James Worthy. James/Rose/Jeffries were all remnants of the defensive minded Larry Brown – as was Steve Francis – and as I have said all along – no ONE gives the highest paid coach in NBA history -ONLY coaching decisions-he defintely had input and was DIRECTLY responsible for atleast 80-90 million dollars of catostrophe. Just because Isiah – does not bitch in public and whine like other GMs- doesn’t mean – he agreed with the Francis/Rose/extra pick for Antonio Davis deals. No coach gets FIRED immediately for ONE bad season- but HE DOES GET FIRED for bringin on board 80 million dollars of bad debt (james/Rose/Francis).

    Isiah is NOT getting mercy and love from Dolan like Manna from Heaven. Isiah is getting what he is due- he is due ANOTHER year – since it cost him atleast a year and half – due to the Larry Brown decision.

    As I SAID BEFORE- look at the first year – 3 draft picks in the FIRST round!! Frye/Lee and Robinson- despite giving up TWO draft picks for Marbury.

    The core HAS been assembled. Lee is slowly becoming a full time starter, and robinson a very useful contributor and has improved his shooting TREMENDOUSLY. Chandler will be a beast – he has KRAZY hops and has shown he can block shots and has hustle at the NBA level – plus he has a better shot than both Lee and Balkman. He will be a better player than Ariza- who we gave up for Larry Insane Browns’s preference for both Marbury and Francis in the back court. Bakman is an up and coming ‘rodman’ – who also took a bunch of years to become fully developed – however- these days -you can’t be a Ben Wallace/Rodman type – you need to score. Defense doesn’t always win championships – look at Detroit!! Morris – is a project always has been and is a classic boom bust prospect. So considering Ariza- Isiah has drafted quite well and is on his way. Curry – regardless of the ‘muffins’ etc and the foolish talk about how ‘Dampier’/K. Thomas is better – (ridiculous) -maybe Chandler from the bulls (that I may gve you)- he draws double /triple teams and in the NBA – if you do that – you ARE good – regardless of self-appointed statisticans/fans/critics who have a different opinion.

    Q. Richardson is out and out a BUST and I would move his ass – way before I move randolph- period. Yeah he gets a few rebounds but thats it- but no way is that gonna happen – btw – we should nickname him Baby FAT -cuz after all these years he needs to lose it. Crawford and Richardson are the FULL responsablity of Isiah – no doubt. But with the Suns- he was shooting roughly over 40 percent from the three and could run the court and rebound — who knew – he would regress BADLY!! Crawford – in my opinion is getting better – he being moved to the PG position has less turnovers and less ‘bad; shots. He is streaky – like John Starks and if he can EVER work on his handle and get inside – he would be a useful bench player- with his salary – unfortunately we are stuck – as NO ONE is gonna take him and so in that sense – isiah is trying to smooth out HIS mistake as best a he can.

    I guarantee you the Bulls rue trading Chandler/Curry – Chandler has turned out to mature sooner than Curry – but Curry has flashes where he is an unstoppable beast in the paint. The effort against Duncan – shows the potential that needs to blossom on a night in and night out basis. I would GLADLY settly for a Curry who averages 18 pts and 6 rebounds a night as long as he is drawing frantic doube and triple teams. Does he need a year or so – to become wise – absolutely – ALL big men who can dominate in the paint – feel they can take it to the hole and with the rule changes – particularly Shaq rule changes – you just can’t be a bull in a China shop anymore. Only the Ewings/Dreams and Shaqs actually make the leaps faster -since they can score in the post from day one.

    Marbury has basically quit on the Knicks since the summer -when he knew there was no extension – the unfortunatel death of his father – is just a confounding factor which obfuscates the real reason for his lack of effort and professionalism. For 20 million a year- I would take Iverson EVERYDAY – he may shoot a lot , he may hog the ball – but Iverson plays b@lls to the wall -every game. He is todays Isiah Thomas in my view – tuff as nails and a better all round game then he ever really gets credit for.

    Even if the Knicks ARE stuck with Randolph – it is not so bad. He still averages close to a double/double – can be the back up center for Curry. They don’t HAVE to be on the floor at the same time- he can spell the asthmatic curry for long enough for Curry to give a GREAT 25 mintues a game- and have the front line of the OPPOSING team get a quick 4-6 fouls. That is vauable- thats basically how detroit lost – Duncan kept gettin foul cals and pretty soon Rasheed/Wallace were out of the game and BAm – he took over- the longer the series went – the more obvious it was – that WAS the gae plan of the Spurs. Randolph must be FORCED to develop a POST game – from 3-4 feet in- so he can also continue to keep up the pressure – we all know he has the versatility to step out and hit the three- and I have watched the games – and Isiah IS asking him to take it inside – and of COURSE he is getting blocked and humiliated – but HE HAS TO DO IT – for the sake of the team and the long run.

    In terms of trades- I agree with Isiah – wait- you have a MASSIVE expiring contract – Kobe may be coming up and personally I think his days as a Laker are over -regardless of how well they do. Kobe has paid his dues to the Lakers and its his time to REALLY cash in. NY can do that- with Marbury/Rose/Richardson etc all coming off in the next two years- it wont matter.

    So in fantasy land – you could have Kobe/Curry/Lee/Jeffries/Crawford- which is basically a team with an average hieght of like 6’9!! Off the bench – you get Balkman/Robinson/Randolph/Chandler/Collins

    Why trade- unless you can take the close to 30 milionin expiring contracts and get Michael Redd or some other premier player and a draft pick next year!!

  49. “Jared to start is a good thing.”

    No it’s not. He’s started 3 of the last 5 games. Has that been any improvement? He doesn’t even play good D, from my perspective.

    “Hope to see Balkman backing him up.”

    Fuck that. I hope to see him backing up Balkman, and rarely. Why has Balkman been buried?

  50. I LIKE to CAPITALIZE things at RANDOM sometimes AS well.

    The CORE has BEEN assembled AND the RESULTS speak FOR themselves. THIS team SUCKS.

    CHANDLER will BE a BEAST? The KID has PLAYED just FORTY eight MINUTES of BASKETBALL in THE NBA, and THAT is SPREAD out OVER six GAMES. Chandler WILL be LUCKY to GET a SECOND contract IN the NBA at THE rate HE is GOING.

    And YES, if YOU get DOUBLE and TRIPLE teamed YOU are GOOD….at SCORING. Unfortunately, THERE is MUCH more TO being a BASKETBALL player THAN scoring, AND Curry DOES all OF it POORLY.

  51. He may have been talking about Tyson Chandler, but who the hell knows.

    Odd that for like four years, I had no idea how to differentiate Chandler and Curry. I knew they had been drafted at the same time and were young kids on the horribulls. But I wasn’t watching the NBA at all, and every time I heard about them I had no idea which was which. Of course, now that we have one I realize they are very different….ours can score and do nothing else…the other can rebound but can’t score. And neither is a Bull.

  52. Johnny Twisto,

    “‘Jared to start is a good thing.’

    No it’s not. He’s started 3 of the last 5 games. Has that been any improvement? He doesn’t even play good D, from my perspective.”

    It is good in that taking Q out of the line up is good. Q has not found his shot so in order to score 8 a game he takes 15 shots. We already have two inefficient, high volume shooters on the floor (Z and JC). We cant have three.

    Jared is limited but at least he realizes that he is limited. Q is just to stubborn to stop shooting. Jared is a better passer than Q and his size will make it easier to give post entry passes to Curry.

    I want to see more of Balkman on the floor too but I will settle for Q out. Besides I think Balkman is

  53. The last good win was in San Antonio….

    Oh wait, that was just a moral victory, not a W.

    Remember last year when Zeke tried to spin that the Knicks weren’t many games out of the playoffs — he tried to put the focus on games behind rather than win/loss.

    Notice he hasn’t talked much about games behind this year…huh, wonder why…I think Dolan should make him the assistant coach, give Herb the coach’s job…full humiliation in the public demotion, require him to sit on the bench as a #2 the rest of the contract… he is 80 games under .500 in his four years, I’d like to see him concentrate on making Marbury a real point guard, little else…He’s been a sham from the start.

  54. Everyone talks of firing IT…so who is his replacement?

    Side Note,
    Over the last 10 years, the NBA is evolving into a faster paced, above the rim game. 8-12 years you had Shaq, Ewing, Mutumbo, and The Dream in the middle. Today, you have few guys that play with your back to the basket. The traditional centers like Curry are becoming more obselete as American basketball is more influenced by Europe.

  55. I was talking about Wilson Chandler and time will tell. When you have a team that has Balkman, Q Richardson, Jeffries – there will be a wait before you get minutes. Richardson being the ‘best shooter’ of the three has to necsessarily be there onthe floor in the hope that he will finally get his shot back and reduce collapsing of the post by the defense- he plays Ok defense and does run the court. Balkman and Jeffries are both liabilites with the ball and can not make the 15 foot jumpshot much less the 7 foot shot with nay consistency. However- they also deserve minutes on the court -because they play hard and Chandler does not have the overall development in his game to justify giving him more minutes yet. He is still a raw player with trmendous athleticism – in a few years he will have that outside shot and we will see him get much more playing time. It is his first year and he is only 20 just out of college.

    Q Rich first and then Jeffries (because of his length are going to get the majority of minutes at the small forward spot. After that it has to go to Balkman an then finally Chandler. Developing youth doesn’t mean putting them out there and having them log heavy minutes. It means preparing them in practice and having them work on their flaws – so that down the road they will be more effective contributors.

    I am not sure how many people agree- that the Larry Brown firing was more to the fact of his signing players like Jalen Rose, Steve Francis, Jerome James – but it is there- I am pretty sure you will find L. Brown’s quotes in either the NY Times or ESPN regarding these players. The point is – that Randolph wouldn’t be here is it wasn’t for the Francis signing – and I am sure that many GMS would rather have traded for Randolph then end up with close to 70 million dollars in buy outs- not including Larry Browns buy out.

    Lee/Robinson/Balkman/Chandler/Crawford and Curry are probably the only members that are going to be with the team in the next three years. Curry has been discussd to death – and although there is opinion that says that Curry is not worth 11 million a year just because he gets tripled team a lot and averages say 16 points and 6 rebounds a game in 30 minutes. This makes no sense- despite his defensive lapses- if Q Rich/Crawford were actaually the shooters they were supposed to be- it would be a different story.

    Bth Lee and Robinson have improved every year, Jeffries is definitely playing better this year – and Balkman still brings his energy to the game . As I stated previously it took years and years for Bowman and Wallace to develop a shot- Wallace is STILL working on it.

    Also – Curry till he got to the Knicks – never played heavy minutes – but at 11 million a year- and being only 25 this year- it is worth the investment. If Randolph can spell him at center- you are looking at 30 points and 20 rebounds a game out of those two on a decent day. Throw in David Lee and your center/PF combo will avaerage close to 40 points/25-30 rebounds in a game- which is VERY good.

    The weakness has been the backcourt. Watching the Golden State game last night – you could see that the Baron Davis/Stephen Jackson backcourt was the difference last night against San Antonio. I feel that Curry/Randolph get a lot of blame because the Knicks backcourt is weak. Recently robinson has shown that he is using his quickness to get to the hole effectively and he effectively out quicked Tony Parker- one of the quickest players in the league. But it will take him time – to learn to pick his spots and in the meanwhile he has worked hard on his jumpshot.

    The backcourt- with the exception of Robinson (sometimes) and perhaps Marbury- is filled with people who can not handle the ball- Crawford, Jones, Collins etc. It is their weakness that is adding additonal pressure on the frontcourt. But if the plan is to build a team inside out- it is going along Ok in my view. See the difference TJ Ford makes/made by going to Toronto.

    If Brown HAD focused on developing Lee/Robinson/Curry more than trying to get his veterans – the team would defintiely have been better by this year. Lee/Robinson/Curry and improved substantialy last year. But they still need a few years to develop the ‘complete’ game.

    Most teams (Portland/Seattle/Minnesota) etc resign themselves to a three/four year spell of being terrible when rebuilding. isiah came in 2004- it is now only 2007- and you can throw out 2005-2007 because of Larry Brown. The team is younger, they are paying the price for signing Marbury, Q Rich and Crawford (all Isiah’s picks) but still there is more promise on this team – which I think we have seen glimpses of particularly against San Antonio.

  56. iyam, you say Brown should’ve developed his young players more, but also say that young players like Chandler need to develop on the bench…? I think that’s what Brown was doing by giving his first year players few minutes and trying to develop them in practice while Stephon was undermining him. The bad veteran signings, who knows who was in charge there, but I feel like Jalen was probably Zeke’s doing. Francis was probably Brown, evidence that he was F’ing fed up with Marbury.
    One thing we do agree on is that Curry’s specific skills could be maximized with a better lineup. It is obvious that Zach’s “game” hurts Curry’s offense, and they are both too weak on defense to pair up. While Lee isn’t the greatest defender either, he would make up for some of Curry’s faults on D, and give him room to maneuver on O (if he could hit a deeper jumpshot, that would be perfect.)
    As for the guards, you are correct about Nate. Even though he is still a flawed player (but improving) it is obvious what his speed brings to the team. Penetration on O (occasionally Marbury is up to this if he wants to show off) and the ability to stay in front of quick guards on D. Jones is probably the 2nd best guard defender, but he’s even too slow to guard a Nash or a Parker properly.
    Anyway, let’s just keep losin’ man. More ping pong balls!

  57. Unless his leg is broken Balkman should be getting starter’s minutes at the 3, until he proves that he’s not worth it. The 600 minutes or so that he’s played in his career have been a lot better than anyone else we have at the 3. He was the best rebounding small forward in the league last year and posted off-the-charts defensive +/- numbers, which gibes with what was obvious to anyone watching the games.

    I agree that Chandler is a good prospect, but almost definitely a below average player right now. (Anyone who’s above average at age 20 is a guaranteed future superstar).

    Considering where the team is, I’d still like to see Chandler play, to see what we have.

    Jeffries or Q can fill in, it doesn’t matter. They’re both awful.

    And Curry does have some value, but is wildly overpaid at $11 million. That’s all-star money.

    “Lee/Robinson/Balkman/Chandler/Crawford and Curry are probably the only members that are going to be with the team in the next three years.”

    Don’t forget Randolph and Jeffries — they’re both signed through 2011 and it’s a longshot that anyone would ever take those contracts off our hands. Maybe next year we could pull off a Jeffries & Rose for Larry Hughes, something along those lines… it’d be worth it just to make sure we’re under the cap in 2010. In fact we should make any trade we possibly can, if it dumps Randolph, Curry, Crawford or Jeffries (the 2011 guys) for a shorter contract. Good luck with that.

  58. Speaking of trades, there are good point guards out there who might be available… whether because of injury (TJ Ford), being hated by the coach (Devin Harris), contract (Kirk Hinrich), or just having too many guys (Kyle Lowry, about 3 PGs in Portland)… it’s not inconceivable we could pull off a trade with one of those teams, especially next year when Rose’s contract will be a decent chip.

  59. The Randolph trade crushed any last hope this team ever had of becoming decent.

    We could have stuck with some combination of Lee and Frye at the 3 and 4, and we wouldn’t have seen a precipitous drop in rebounding, defense or offense. Instead we’ve mostly had Randolph and Q at the 3 and 4, and they’ve been awful. Q has been one of the worst players in the NBA and Randolph’s weaknesses amplify the weaknesses of every other player on the floor.

    I don’t even expect this team to go on its usual mild winning streak that saves Isiah his job. We’ve “earned” our status as one of the worst teams in the NBA. We’re every bit as bad as our record, and the scary part is that the team has been mostly healthy. There’s no excuse for the suckitude.

  60. Would anyone trade for Marbury at this point? Pat Riley? Maybe the Kings? I would love to get Lowry or maybe Earl Watson to run the point. What we really need is a real 2 guard that can score and play D. Crawford’s a bench player, Nate’s too short for the 2, Q’s awful, and Jones doesn’t have any O. If we could get rid of Zach and Steph for some solid team players and draft picks/cap room, that would be the way to go…

  61. Eddy Curry, Marbury, and Rose for Jason Williams, Marc Blount, and Shaq. I heard that at work today.
    The logic behind it is both teams need a shake up. The Heat need a PG and a younger Shaq. We need a PG and a leader. We want Shaq to play 20-25minutes a night because it still allows us to play Lee and Randolph a lot. The big thing to me a leadership. Plus even a broke down Shaq puts people in MSG.

    What do you guys think?

  62. I don’t think the Heat would do it in a million years… Curry is radioactive in this league.

    I don’t know the details of their cap situation; it’s conceivable they would do basically a Marbury for Shaq trade, that would clear out their salary space a year sooner… but a) I think they are holding out for 2010 to make a run at LeBron and bigger names than will be available next year; and b) even though business is business I don’t think Riley would torture Shaq by making that trade…

  63. The only thing worse than what we have would be picking up Shaq right now. He may have intangible leadership qualities, but his contract is kryptonite and he just plain sucks these days. I’d rather have Curry than Shaq. The only player from the Heat that would help the Knicks, other than the obviously untradeable Wade, is Haslem. I wonder if we can prey on Miami’s need for some scoring to get Haslem, a solid workmanlike PF.

  64. p.s. I’d guess there are plenty of teams that would be glad to have Marbury if for some reason we bought him out and they could sign him to the mid-level, something like that…

    But the only teams who would trade for him with his current contract are teams who could unload a bad deal of their own, that’s longer.

    There’s actually an opportunity for us… in that we could take back a deal expiring in 2010, without really affecting our cap situation… even as we help someone else get under the cap in 2009 (when his deal ends). For our trouble, we’d insist on a draft pick or a young cheap player.

  65. Roshi, even now Shaq is so much better than Curry, it’s funny. And his contract is a year shorter, so it’s a heck of a lot better than most of the guys we have on the team. If we could trade Randolph for Shaq that’d be a keeper but Pat’s not that stupid.

  66. Trading right now will be dumb.

    The Bricks simply will pick up another horrible contract for an over-the-hill talent.

    Sit tight. Run the young guys out there.

    I realize this board is a bit like therapy where you can hear (or read) some crazy shit.
    But some of the stuff I’m seeing sounds like preseason, on paper chatter that has no connection to reality.

    In the last 10 minutes I read that:
    – Isiah deserves another year.
    – That Curry is good.
    – That Brown was expected to used his young guys despite the fact that he has never, ever run young players onto the court.
    – That Chandler has matured, in all of his 45 minutes of basketball this season, more quickly than Curry.
    – That center-dominated teams no longer win championships.
    – That Randolph isn’t so bad.
    – That Q should shoot his way out of this season-long slump.
    – That Crawford has improved this year.
    – That the Bricks should trade for Shaq, his mammoth contract, and his 14 pts and 7 rpgs. The only difference between him and Curry is 1.7 blocks per game, and 10 years of wear and tear.
    – That the Heat would take Marbury and pair him with Wade…


    I can only say that I fear Isiah read all of that and said to himself, “hmmm, that sounds pretty good. Let’s try that.”
    At that point, I can only hope he steps out of a Starbucks and into and oncoming Lays Potato Chips truck on Broadway before he could even raise his cell phone to his ear to launch the new makeover…

    Please just back away from the computer, the hash is doing all the typing.

  67. “That the Bricks should trade for Shaq, his mammoth contract, and his 14 pts and 7 rpgs. The only difference between him and Curry is 1.7 blocks per game, and 10 years of wear and tear.”

    This is a great example of looking at stats the wrong way, in this case looking at per-game stats.

    Shaq’s got plenty of wear and tear, but in 25 minutes a game he hasn’t slipped much at all.

    His TS% this year is 58.2 (Curry’s is 55.7). The last 4 years, Shaq’s TS has been 57.8, 58.3, 58.6 and 56.7 last year).

    His rebound rate is 16.5, same as in 2002-2003… he was in the 17s for 3 years after that and 15.7 last year. Curry’s rate is 11.0, worst in the league for a center.

    Shaq’s assists are down (still twice as high as Curry’s rate), his turnovers up and clearly he’s lost a lot, but he’s just as obviously one of the 5 or 6 best centers in the league when he’s healthy.

    He’s also a much better defender than Curry, even now.

    Of course it’s beside the point… the reason to trade for Shaq is to dump a longer contract for his deal that ends in 2010. It doesn’t matter that he has a mammoth contract because we’d be shipping one back just as big.

    It’s even more besides the point bc Miami wouldn’t trade him here in a million years.

  68. its hard to argue that any team wants anything to do with several players, ie. Curry, Zach, Steph, Q, Craw….pretty much our starting 5…when any of these players were acquired every other team stayed away except for us!

  69. Ess-dog- Larry Brown’s modus operandi has always been bringing in veterans and stifling the development of players. In philadelphia it was Tyrone Hill etc- he never developed Larry Hughes, in detroit (not a single rookie developed – look at Jason Maxiell this year) – same thing. I am not sure I want to go all the way back to the clippers – in Indiana – same thing -getting Detlef Shrempf- the Davises, Mark Jackson. However- we can agree to disagree.

    Jalen Rose and Steve francis were both Larry Brown signings. Jalen went on to have a few good years-but Larry knew him from Indiana. The point I am making is you don’t sign a coach to the highest salary in history and fire him after one season unless there is something more. Was he alientating the box office guy in Marbury – yes. But that and an abysmal record (in general) does not get the highest paid coach in NBA history fired in ONE year. It is more than possible that the Jerome James/Rose and Francis signing can all be attributed to Larry Brown. This is the only thing that makes sense. Combined those guys basically put 80 million dollars on the roster and were grossly under-performing AND they have no NY following like Marbury. Just because Dolan/IT don’t crib about that and use it as an excuse doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. JEffries may be in there too- many coaches are victimized by trying the same old style when the players don’t fit. Larry Brown BELIEVED the hype that it was defense – and forgot that he had ateast 3 all-stars (Wallace/Billups/Hamilton) that could SCORE. The fact that Ben Wallace- arguably one of the best defensive players in the league was NOT re-signed by Detroit points out that when you get to the finals you can not have a liability on defense. Even Bruce Bowen has now become a contributor despite being a great defensive player – because the NBA is full of talented scorers and defense will only go so far- it is not ike good pitching in baseball.

    Randolph is a DIRECT result of Larry Brown. As we discussed over the summer- no one wants Steve Francis for 20 million a year when he doesn’t have the wheels he used to and is not a consistent outside shooter. The deal was actually – Portland buying out Francis (our problem) and getting Frye (wasn’t doing great-but a decent player) in return for taking their problem (Randolph).

    At 26/27 years old – the guy definitely has a few things over Francis- he can rebound, he can shoot the ball with consistency and he is taller and younger. If he did have a good year or two in NY – he woud or could be moved- especially to say a team like Chicago who desperately needs a power forward that can score and rebound or the Nets.

    As for Hinrich- he is getting 10 mill a year I think and he has no blow by speed, not a great ball handler – he is a good shooter – but is streaky. I don’t see getting Hinrich as big improvement when you consider his salary is similar to Curry’s and Curry does give you post presence and scoring. Chris Paul/Derron Williams etc yes- not Hinrich.

    The average salary going into this year is 6 million a year, when you consider what all-star players like Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnet, Le Bron, etc – you are getting atleast 20 million a year and Shaq is getting 30 million a year! So Curry is FAR from being paid like an all-star player. Compared to what I make – he is getting paid like the best player of all time – but compared to the average NBA player -no.

    Ay coach/GM etc would have had to try the Curry/Randolph combo onthe court for atleast 20 games in hopes that if they did click- it really would have made the Knicks much better. So far – they haven’t clicked – but all is not lost. By splitting time at center – they can be an effective combo- giving atleast 25/20 a game which is pretty decent. Don’t look at the salary per se on this one – because as mentioned – it is better than a Steve Francis/Curry combo- atleast for two years.

    If they ever do learn to play together its all great – if not – you have a 27 million hybrid center – that gets you 30 points/20 rebounds a game. It is expensive but not unbearable -considering they are both young and may actually improve – I mean Dampier and many other centers took years to improve. Thats why teams are willing to mortgage their number one draft picks for the Olawakandi’s of the world. Al Jefferson is getting 12 million a year and they say he took a CUT in potential salary!!(http://www.thesportswatchers.com/2007/11/al-jefferson-forgoes-cash.html).

    As for the Jeffries/Balkman argument- you have a choice of a 6’11’ veteran – who can also play defense. Balkman gets 4 pts and 4 rebounds in 14 minutes and Jeffries 5 points and 5 rebounds in 16-20- but his extra length -really helps and until Balkman can develop more offense – I am not sure that Jeffries is detracting from the lineup.

    I don’t have any bias towards or against Isiah or Dolan. But I do see that between Layden, Grunfeld, Riley – the Knicks had gotten into a tradition of wasting draft picks, signing old players to big contracts and glueing together teams that made it to the playoffs but were never in the mold of Chicago, Detroit or San Antonio. Chicago is the exception because only Jordan and Pippen could be seen as the core. Bt Detroit has 4 players that are in their core – maybe five if you count Tayshaun Prince. The Spurs have Duncan/Ginobli and Parker with a healthy long time backus f Horry, Finley and Bowen. The Suns- with Nash, the Matrix and Stoudemire. The Nets even have Richardson, Carter and Kidd.

  70. Caleb:
    I don’t think I’m looking at it in the wrong way.
    In 05-06, Shaq played in 59 games.
    In 06-07, Shaq played in 40 games.
    Looking at his body, body language, and fitness, one has to see Shaq will miss a lot of games again this year.
    He hasn’t averaged more than 10 rebounds since 04-05.
    He averages about 3 turnovers per games.
    He plays about 28-29 minutes per game, not 25, meaning he is producing less than you thought.
    He shoots a shitty 48 percent from the charity stripe, significantly under his shitty lifetime average of 52 percent.

    I’m not a Curry fan, but I’m also not a fan of rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.
    If you think the paint is clogged with Curry and Randolph now. Imagine how clogged it will be with a lumbering Shaq. There is a reason the Heat is terrible.
    You shouldn’t just look at stats either. Shaq will require the ball.
    The offense will not flow.
    Randolph will continue to shoot whenever he touches the leather.
    And Bricks’ guards still have trouble moving the ball into the paint.

    I do agree that maybe getting a guy with a shorter contract is better; been arguing for those kinds of trades for weeks.
    And it would be nice to have 1.7 blocks per game rather than .3.
    But Shaq’s effort is seriously in question, and I suspect that would undermine his “leadership.”
    Last, since his wife was caught cheating on him with her physical trainer and stashing money secretly away, Shaq hasn’t been the same guy.

    I’m tired of the Bricks making moves that accomplish little.

  71. “As for the Jeffries/Balkman argument- you have a choice of a 6?11? veteran – who can also play defense. Balkman gets 4 pts and 4 rebounds in 14 minutes and Jeffries 5 points and 5 rebounds in 16-20- but his extra length -really helps and until Balkman can develop more offense”

    This is way off base. Balkman’s numbers are down this year (one reason we all think he’s hurt) but even now:
    – he’s rebounding better than jeffries (13.5 rate vs. 11.4). Last year Balk rebounded better than any small forward in the league.

    – He scores more than Jeffries (8.3/40 this year, vs. 6.3 for Jeffries)…

    – …and scores more efficiently (53.1 TS last year, 44.9 this year which still kills JJ’s 39.7, which is Mardy Collins territory).

    – Then there’s defense. JJ has a rep as a defender but I don’t see it. Our defensive #s are pretty much the same when he’s in there, and that’s comparing him to backups like Cripple Richardson and Malik Rose.

    Balkman on the other hand is a huge impact player… based on +/- we were 9 points a game better defensively when he was on the court. This year it’s still something like +5.

    Aside from plus-minus, last year when he was healthy he put up amazing #s… of NBA small forwards his rate of blocks was 4th in the league, and in steals he was 5th.

    To quote John Hollinger:
    “Balkman managed to be 75 percent better than the league average in both blocks and steals; in the past 20 years only three other players have played over 1,000 minutes in a season and done that. One was Gerald Wallace in 2005-06; the other two were a couple chaps named Hakeem Olajuwon and Ben Wallace.”

    As for Curry’s salary, he’s an average player at best, getting twice the average league salary. How is that good value? You can’t build a successful team if you’re giving $11 million to guys like Eddy Curry.

  72. Alec Said:
    January 8th, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Everyone talks of firing IT…so who is his replacement?”

    Herb Williams. Not so we can finally win,it’s too late for that(the season should be about getting energy guys some burn in real games now) but because Zeke is toxic, proven ineffective, lacks credibility, competence and integrity…all accompanied by a supposed street-guy brand of arrogance that just comes off as smarmy.

    If the Bricks are going to lose, they should lose with class…Herb has some. Zeke has none. I can root for Herb, I cannot root for Zeke…and I’d like to root for these guys 100%, not worrying that a few wins might save Zeke’s hide…Make him work for Herb…that’s what he’s earned, a public demotion, below a current subordinate…nothing less.

  73. If Herb Williams is so great, why hasn’t he found a job anywhere else?
    I hear his name a lot.

  74. “He hasn’t averaged more than 10 rebounds since 04-05.
    He averages about 3 turnovers per games.
    He plays about 28-29 minutes per game, not 25, meaning he is producing less than you thought.”

    Every # I gave you is a per-minute number… the point is that his numbers are down mainly because he’s playing fewer minutes, not playing much worse.

    “He shoots a shitty 48 percent from the charity stripe, significantly under his shitty lifetime average of 52 percent.”

    This is accounted for in the TS #s; even as a terrible free throw shooter Shaq is an extremely efficient scorer (as is Curry)

    “He averages about 3 turnovers per games”

    This is the one area he’s gotten a lot worse, and Curry has improved… for 25 games.

    “There is a reason the Heat is terrible.”

    Sure, look at the rest of the roster.

    Clogging the lane? Are you kidding? Shaq is a terrific passer. if it means Randolph sits when Shaq was on the floor that’s no problem at all… our starting PF should be David Lee anyway. Zach would get his minutes when Shaq goes down.

    I know it’s an academic discussion, but if this option were really on the table… we should do it in a heartbeat. Sure, injuries are a problem, and he’s gonna get worse every year, but when he’s on the court he’s still very good…

    Curry is average at best – easy to replace.
    Unfortunately he gets $11m a year and is untradeable… if anyone offered a shorter contract for him we should grab it in a heartbeat. If that shorter contract comes with 50 games of good center play a year, it’s a major bonus.

  75. I have to admit it would be nice to have a center that might defend the paint. It might make people think twice about driving on the Bricks.

  76. Does anyone know the chances of us being able to sign Lebron James when he becomes available under free agency? I know we’re over the cap but is it very unlikely that we can sign him? My dream right now is for us to tank the rest of this season and pick up a high lottery pick. Coupled with Lee, Balkman, Chandler, Morris, and Robinsion, we do seem to have a nice core of youth. Then, when Lebron is available, sign him. I know, a guy can dream can’t he?

  77. “Frank O. Said:
    January 8th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    If Herb Williams is so great, why hasn’t he found a job anywhere else?
    I hear his name a lot.”

    Nothing great about Herb, but he’s here and won’t cost any more money.

    It’s about removing Zeke from any semblance of decision-making. He’s been a blight on the franchise — he doesn’t win, and his moral character is an even worse record. Herb is benign, which is an enormous lift from current leadership.

  78. iyam, if all of Zeke’s moves are beyond reproach, why have we won 8 games? And your reasoning is specious- you can’t say ‘Francis/Curry’ is worse than ‘Randolph/Curry’. Is ‘Randolph/Curry’ better than ‘Lee/Frye/Curry’? That’s a similar position matchup and I think most of us would say no. Frankly, I don’t think having Franchise back would hurt us- at least he’s got some speed and less attitude than Star-bury.
    Curry is overpaid, but at least he’s still got some potential to learn the game. It’s hard to see Zach changing his game much ever. I mean, that’s why we got Brown in the first place: to mold selfish players into team players. Does anyone remember Billups before he went to the Pistons and in college? He was shoot-first all the time. It’s silly to blame this mess on Brown. Blame Dolan, Isaiah, and Marbury. And maybe eventually Zach but not yet. These 3 stooges are suffocating the Knicks organization with their lies and petty, egotistical decisions.
    My point about trading Marbury shows that there isn’t any way to trade him or probably Randolph, that would help the club, so now we have to ride it out. We were so so so much better off before the Randolph trade. Now we’re pinched.

  79. We would have been way better off with Francis at the end of the bench, Frye in the lineup and Randolph on the Trail Blazers. Curry and Randolph together is just an idiotic pairing.

    Blocks Per Game
    Curry 0.45
    Randolph 0.14

    Once every other game, Curry blocks a shot. Once every five games, Randolph blocks a shot. They both play about 30 minutes a game. YOU CAN’T WIN LIKE THIS.

  80. To trade Curry is extremely short sighted- he led two different teams in FG percnetage – but life is more than statistics. No one can deny that teams only plan against the Knicks is to stop Curry. No one cares about stopping Crawford/MArbury/Balkman/Lee etc. To think about trading him for a lout like Dampier is beyond silly- as has been pointed out- Dampier plays with Nowitizki, Mashburn. Terry, Howard so he never has to score- nor does he have to be a defnsive force- nor was he EVER a defensive force- ask Shaq – who openly derided him i the finals.

    The guy is ONLY 25 years old-the last year was the only year he basically got full time strter minutes for a season and he responded with a 22/7/2 season- at 24 years old! If one can be patient – he will be a fine, solid addition for the Knicks in the next few years.

    The Knicks problem is they have no other player of any caliber. To say that David Lee is the best player on the Knicks unfortunately is not a strtch (after Curry) but it demonstrates how little Curry has to take pressure off him.

    As for trading an 11 million dollar center for a 35 year old 30 million dollar a year center – what does one say to this?!/ Perhaps – if the Knicks had other players – like a Dwayne Wade and a Gerald Wallace or a Baron Davis – but then if we HAD those kinda players- I am quite sure Curry would not have the same issues.

    I totally agree with Frank O regarding Herb Williams. This guy is the most prolific knick parasite in history. He was a LOUSY player – yet always made the team, he has no credentials in anything and yet he manages to hang on like a tenacious flea- Riley, Van Gundy, Wilkens, Brown, Thomas- whoever is the coach or GM – this guy is always there- I have NO clue what he does- other than being the unofficial Knicks mascot.

    Caleb- regarding Balkman- although I see your point- I must say that not everything is stats. Its not in the stats how often some one gets double/tripled teams and so leaves open rebounds for someone else. I trust Isiah on this – last year – a lot of people on this board felt that Lee should be a starter- his game spoke for that. Sure enough – he is the starter this year – so its not like Isiah is blind to effort or production.

    Balkman is a good player and will be a great contributor- but he still lokks raw. Even David Lee is raw as can be seen from the in bounds pass NS few other things.

    The problem is a backcourt and no veteran leadership. Marbury could have /’should have’ been that guy – but he isn’t and never was -otherwise he would have been more than a seat filler for the Knicks.

    Kobe/ Iveson/ Duncan/ Le Bron/ Baron Davis are those guys. They have improved their all round game every year and become more versatile as the time passes. Look at Iverson tis year with Denver- it took them a year or so – to learn to play with each other- but undoubtedly he is the leader on that team and not just in scoring.

    I agree with Isiah in the sense that when things are going bad- one doesn’t jump into the fray and start making trades. Give these guys another year-at the least. James Jones, Wallace etc are just a few of the players that people felt were busts – but they are good players now- let’s not forget Gilbert Arenas as well in there , Caron Butler etc.

    Curry, Lee, Robinson, Balkman are the only untouchables in my view regarding a trade. Also if Randolph can learn to fit in – then so much the better. The real dead weight on this team is Richardson , Marbury, Crawford- althouh crawford is somewhat useful – in terms of the future and going forward.

    If it hads not been for the Larry Brown signing – I am sure the team would have been doing more with the players they have- and sure that Randolph would not have been inthe mix. Isiah is also under pressure regarding the cap – and it will be a big relief -after this year – to know that you are getting over 25 million dollars off your cap space- because if expiring contracts.

    I will make a bold prediction that by 2010- the Knicks will have as much depth and promise as the Pacers did when Larry Bird -tried to steal the credit from him.

    Imagine now Oneal, Harrington, Artest, Tinsley (who took almost 4 years to develop into a stable – but still has a ways to go PG), Foster and Miller with Granger, Jones,- as a core of a team. The Stephen Jackson would have been the ‘extra’ they needed to be a perennial playoff team.

    Look at GoldenState -who could be cosidered the Celtic- by getting Baron Davis, Jackson, they have gone from a perennial laffing stock to a potential perenial playoff team.

  81. The Knicks can still finish the season with a winning record. They just need to win 80% of the remaining games (40-10) to finish with 48 wins. Four out of five the rest of the season. Start tonight.

    I have been home the last two days with a fever..I don’t think it is affecting my perceptions though.

    God said: “Walk into the light my child.”

    Mr. Black said: “I won’t die until the Knicks win a championship.”

    God: “Oh c’mon. Do you really want to live to be 143?”

    Mr. Black: “God, will it really be another 110 years?”

    God: “Yes my child. Isiah did not read the fine print in that contract with Lucifer. Oh well, looks like his lawyers failed him again.”

  82. iyam, Balkman may be raw – I’m not saying he’s Scottie Pippen – but to see him sitting behind Jeffries and Richardson is ridiculous. (Unless — chorus now — “unless he’s injured!”)

    And I have to respectfully disagree about Curry. 25 years old isn’t that young… you might expect some slight improvement, but at this point he is what he is… an excellent low-post scorer but the worst center in the league, no exaggeration, in the realms of defense, rebounding, passing and turnovers. In other words – a role player. A few weeks ago someone compared him to James Edwards from the old Pistons — sounds about right to me.

    In the meantime he has four years left on his contract, and there’s a good chance that $11 million will be the difference between being able to sign a real free agent in 2010, or not. IMO that screams out: trade the guy for anything, as long as the contract coming back is shorter.

    p.s. I don’t know what they look like this year, but last year Lee’s numbers (points and rebounds) were better with Curry OFF the court, and Curry’s numbers were better with Lee ON the court — I don’t see any sign that Eddy is making the players around him better.

  83. “The guy is ONLY 25 years old-the last year was the only year he basically got full time strter minutes for a season and he responded with a 22/7/2 season- at 24 years old! If one can be patient – he will be a fine, solid addition for the Knicks in the next few years.”

    I don’t know who you’re talking about here, but it’s not Eddy Curry.

    And I really doubt we will ever see improvement from Curry; he’s been the same player since his second year in the League, the only difference is that he gets more minutes. Last year was supposedly his breakout year, yet he achieved career highs in two categories: turnover ratio and usage rate.

  84. Compare him with centers of his age – he is the only -only center to have scored 6000 points already- other than phenom and or all-stars – Amare Stoudemire/ Brad miller.
    Nene, Pryzbilla, Tyson Chandler, Dalembert, Kaman, Eton Thomas, Brendan Haywood, Jeff Foster-even older guys like Dampier, Olawakandi, Jason Collins.

    Curry is a scoring machine in the post -especilly when you consider that since he has come to the knicks he would have scored 3000 points in 3 years!!!

    Thats who he is and thats his role- and so for 11 mill- compare Nene- it would be foolish to trade him. This site should becalled the knickerblogger critics forum. I am not nor has anyone ever said that Curry is ne of the top 5 centers in the game etc. But he has averaged a 1000 points a season in two years- cut the guy some slack.

  85. Caleb- perhaps he is injured. I dn’t know – i do know that Isiah has really let Lee and Robinson get as many minutes as possible. Which in my mind tells me :
    1. Balkman is not yet ready for heavy minutes – or he is injured
    2. He feels that Jeffries brings more- what exactly I am not sure- but I have liked him in the last few games.

  86. Ess-dog:

    I disagree with your assessment of the Marbury/Francis combo. The backcourt would have still been horrible whether you had them both or not. In addition – you would stifle the growth of Robinson and perhaps crawford.

    I never said Isiah did’t make mistakes. Q Rich, Crawford are the glaring ones as far as i can see. Marbury is the box-office seat filler and there is really no other reason to give up two draft picks for this guy except to keep fans interested.

    Iveson did not make the Nuggets better last year – in fact they may have regressed. But this year he has really been a contributor. The load on Mello has decreased and it did take them a year or so for them to play with each other. This happens sometimes- and as I said the worst case scenario has happened and Isiah did try to stick it out for 20 games or so in hopes of them playing better together.

    I have said over and over again -the Larry Brown fiasco should afford Isiah some slack.

  87. “Thats who he is and thats his role- and so for 11 mill- compare Nene- it would be foolish to trade him. This site should becalled the knickerblogger critics forum. I am not nor has anyone ever said that Curry is ne of the top 5 centers in the game etc. But he has averaged a 1000 points a season in two years- cut the guy some slack.”

    I would trade Curry for Nene in a heartbeat if Nene were healthy.

    And I get it, Curry can score. When your listing of his accomplishments includes anything but scoring, let me know. Scoring is not all that valuable if the player providing it doesn’t do anything else.

  88. Yeah – in a heartbeat for a guy who averages 10 pts/ 6 rebound/2 turnovers and 3.5 fouls a game. A guy who is the same age as Curry – yeah THATS a steal – man – no wonder everyone hates isiah – I mean I should have seen this one coming – what a no brainer.

  89. Well if we hadn’t trade Camby and Nene to Denver.. Nene would be sitting his fat but on our bench instead Jerome James. Blame Layden for that. But if we didnt trade for Antonio McIcemyknees, then we couldn’t have traded for Marbury, we wouldnt have traded for Francis, who was brought in because Brown hated Marbury, then we would have kept Ariza, drafted Marcus Williams because having Ariza made Blakman superflous, but we probably couldnt have drafted Williams since we use the Toronto pick from the Jalen Rose trade to get balkman when we should have taken Williams then taken Balkman with the 29th pick. Of course, we would not have made the Jalen Rose trade because we would not have needed Antonio Davis since we had Nene and Camby still. However, we could have still sent Tim Thomas to Toronto for Jalen Rose since tim probably would not have been included in the Eddy Curry trade, or maybe we do stil trade for Antonio but send Hardaway’s contract to Chicago instead. So if Davis is not included in the Eddy Curry trade and we still had one of either Camby or NENE, assuming one of them would be sent to Chicago for Curry most likely NENE since Camby and Tyson Chandler are very similar players, Curry would have a defensive PF to play along with that is much better than Davis. We likely end up with a much better record since Davis was statistically the worst player in the NBA his lone year with NY (check 82games.com). SO with a better record, our draft position could be much different (I know Chicago had our 2006 pick, but I’m talking about the pick from Toronto, which could have been MUCH better if the Knicks were much better because the Knicks would have beaten Toronto more often and sent Toronto lower on the draft board. No, that wrong because the first of our two 2006 draft picks came from Toronto via Denver and I really should not speculate on how Denver would have done in 2006. Oh what the Hell! Lets say Denver isnt very good in 2005-2006 because they they did not make the Ant0ni0 Mcdyess trade. That pick could have been higher and it wasnt draft protected. So say we have that pick and its the 12 pick in the draft, we could take Ronnie Brewer at 12 then taken a Balkman at 29. But like I said, Balkman could be superfluous with Ariza on the team still. So our roster could be…

    Earl Watson (I assuming we could have gotten Watson since in the paralel universe in which we do not trade for Mcdyess, we do not need to sign the JJs and we have more salary cap room because we did not get Marbury and Francis. Houston’s contract would be gone and we would have some money under the cap to sigh a decent PG that can pass and penetrate.) This roster is much better the the starting five we have now.

    I think we still make the Kurt Thomas trade, so I think we will still have Robinson and Q. I think we still make the Nazr trade because Isiah want to get Tim Thomas, so we still have Nazr to make the Rose trade that landed us David Lee.

    As you can see this is all Layden’s fault for trading away Camby. Give Isiah a break, it wasnt his fault.

  90. “Yeah – in a heartbeat for a guy who averages 10 pts/ 6 rebound/2 turnovers and 3.5 fouls a game. A guy who is the same age as Curry – yeah THATS a steal – man – no wonder everyone hates isiah – I mean I should have seen this one coming – what a no brainer.”

    I look at other things. I look at the fact that his teams are generally better when he is on the floor, while the same is not true of Curry. I look at the great defense he played against Tim Duncan in the playoffs last year. I look at the fact that he is a much better rebounder than Curry. A big man who plays great defense and hits the boards is much, much more valuable than a big man who scores and is a liability elsewhere.

    The only thing Curry has on Nene is his scoring, which isn’t even that great, and his health. Nene is a much better overall basketball player. Plus, even if one-dimensional scorers were not grossly overrated(and they are), Nene is simply a better fit for the Knicks. The Knicks have plenty of one-dimensional scorers, they do not have any great post defenders.

    Trading something you have too much of for something you need is almost always a great move.

  91. I don’t think Isiah deserves any sort of pass for Larry Brown – he hired the guy in the first place.

    As for the trades, even if some ridiculous ones were Larry’s idea – we’ll never know, anyway – no one had a gun to his head.

  92. iam – there are a dozen or more pertinent things you can do on the basketball court. Eddy Curry does one thing well. And he’s just awful in every other aspect. There’s a reason the Bulls let him go. There’s a reason he’s been a loser nearly every year of his career. There’s a reason the Knicks haven’t been able to move him.

    You can write a thousand words praising Isiah Thomas and Eddy Curry. But in the end you run into occam’s razor — the simplest answer is the correct one. You can try to complicate things and create excuses for the pair, but ultimately they have both been failures.

  93. 1. Isiah wants to run the whole show – always did
    2. Larry Brown gets hired and a bunch of over-paid players are acquired and traded, bought out or benched
    3. Larry Brown the highest paid coach in NBA HISTORY is fired in just ONE year
    3. Isiah is back to running the show and the coach

    Answer- Not Isiah

    Perhaps others may apply this principle -instead of reflexively saying it’s all Isiah’s fault -because he was in charge.

    I really have no idea why there is such a hard on to blame everything on Isiah. Larry Brown was never a ‘friend’ of Isiah’s- and Isiah was never given the purview that a Parcells was given in Miami.

    If any one wishes to skip to the next post please do- I skip entire sections of analysis by statistics that are basically made up and have no basis in any science.

    Occam’s razor enough for you.

  94. That was the first time we’ve had someone in double-digits for assists since last season, when Mardy Collins!, had 11 in that Toronto game when he almost had a tripple double.

  95. “I really have no idea why there is such a hard on to blame everything on Isiah.”

    Because it’s his fault? Seems obvious enough to me…

  96. Just a few nagging and blatant misconceptions being spread here and/or by Zeke.

    1-Jared Jeffries was not brought in by Larry Brown he came here last year when Brown was already gone. There are countless other dubious commment ragarding Larry Brown but this is the most repetitive. To be honest if you’re wrong on something so obvious then why should anything else you say be given any credence.

    2- Marbury was not brought in as a seat-filler. There was no decline in decline in attendance (or at least listed attendance) when he came here. In fact it’s been the opposite – depite what you read here or in Zeke’s self-congratulatory remarks.

    New York Knicks Attendance

    Year Total Avg
    2006-07 770,617 18,795
    2005-06 776,176 18,931
    2004-05 800,144 19,515
    2003-04 785,739 19,164
    2002-03 779,389 19,009
    2001-02 810,283 19,763
    2000-01 810,283 19,763
    1999-00 810,283 19,763
    1998-99 494,075 19,763
    1997-98 810,283 19,763
    1996-97 810,283 19,763
    1995-96 810,283 19,763
    1994-95 810,283 19,763
    1993-94 810,283 19,763
    1992-93 804,840 19,630
    1991-92 731,371 17,838
    1990-91 654,962 15,975
    1989-90 730,432 17,815
    1988-89 746,851 18,216
    1987-88 586,752 14,311
    1986-87 538,058 13,123
    1985-86 592,486 14,451
    1984-85 457,317 11,154
    1983-84 495,944 12,096
    1982-83 438,823 10,703
    1981-82 444,189 10,834
    1980-81 546,441 13,328
    1979-80 508,597 12,405
    1978-79 545,715 13,310
    1977-78 626,815 15,288
    1976-77 644,811 15,727
    1975-76 672,745 16,408
    1974-75 760,786 18,556
    1973-74 784,433 19,133
    1972-73 790,031 19,269
    1971-72 785,298 19,154
    1970-71 763,487 18,622
    1969-70 761,226 18,566
    1968-69 569,153 15,383
    1967-68 534,568 14,448
    1966-67 410,057 11,716
    1965-66 369,812 10,566
    1964-65 322,870 9,225
    1963-64 293,704 8,392
    1962-63 302,775 8,905
    1961-62 265,153 8,035
    1960-61 326,895 10,215

  97. “Does anyone else just scroll down to the next comment when they see the first NEEDLESSLY capitalized word?”

    I don’t know about that, but I do scroll to the next comment when the background of the comment is colored in frilly powdered pink. What next Mike, Sandalwood candle scented posts?

    I kedd with you. It’s a joke you see.

  98. Nick you were right

    regarding Jared Jeffries.

    However- does that mean I am wrong about Jalen Rose, Steve Francis and Jerome James.

    My only point was – that L. Brown experiment set the ‘plan’ back a year and a half – and the trade to Randolph was precipitated by the Steve Francis contract.

    So far – Lee, Robinson have produced and are getting better. Curry did improve last year and may still improve- regardless a scoring center in the NBA – is not a terrible thing- even if its all he does- thats my opinion. I don’t disagree that there are a few well rounded centers in the NBA – the premier center -probably Yao Ming- who boards, blocks shots, and shoot over 80 percent from the charity stripe.

    As for Marbury- attendance is not the prime indicator per se- my contention is that bringing Marbury back was a great PR move- hometown boy comes back – he had good numbers and the feeling probably was that although not in the category of Nash etc – he would be a valuable person to bridge.

    All I am saying is -that if we write off the year of Larry Brown and his associated signings. The team is headed in the right direction. People may disagree and may wish to have a Shaun Bradley/Michael Olawakandi for Curry trade. A marbury for Jason Williams trade, a Waaly Szerbiak for Crawford trade because they are ‘convinced’ that this is the best thing to do.

    That may be so – but Isiah did have a good record in Indiana- the situation with NY is not the same.
    I am sure that even that will be in dispute as everyone would rather criticize than be objective. It is always easier to be critical rather than be correct. I doubt Dolan who heads a vastly successful enterprise is unaware of the team situation. He did fire Brown after signing him to richest contract in NBA history. My simple explanation is that it was not just because of a poor record but poor signings which left the Knicks in an even deeper hole. This is the simplest explanation – not some convoluted attempt to ‘save; Isiah.

  99. It’s not you but Isiah who has spead the untruth that attendance is up under his tenure. Stephon was brought in to make the team a winner. The buzz wore off the second the Tim Thomas deal was made and has never returned.

    One more thing Isiah got fired from Indy becuase prior to his coming in they were making the finals and going deep into the playoffs. They never got out of the first round in his three seasons. Also Larry Bird may have hated his guts, but that’s just an educated guess.

  100. Larry Brown was bad in his year here as a coach but seriously, how can he be responsible for the bad trades. Isiah was the GM and in control of that. Isiah gets the blame for bad trades in my book.

    As for why Brown went in one year and Isiah seems to stay on forever, I think the reason was that Larry spoke his mind to the press and Dolan didn’t like it. Isiah on the other hand puts on nice suits and speaks the party line. It’s the Emperor has new clothes story with Dolan happily hearing what he wants to hear from Isiah even when it has nothing to do with reality.

  101. “the Larry Brown fiasco should afford Isiah some slack.”

    Actually the Isiah Thomas fiasco should afford Larry some slack.

    Isiah is playing this season with the singular goal of not finishing with a worse record than Larry Brown. His reason for not playing Balkman, according to the Post today, is because he’s so desperate for victories that he can’t afford to find time for him.


    (The West Coast edition of the Post has an expanded article, specifically stating that Isiah is not playing the kids, and especially Balkman, because he wants to out perform Larry’s 23 wins).

    The idea that we are wasting a season trying to win 24 games is outrageous. This is another reason Isiah must go. If Herb, or anyone else, set the rotations, the goal would be to develop talent and see whether the young kids are even worth holding onto. Maybe even win a few games in the process.

    Not to play against the ghost of Larry Brown.

  102. “Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Said:
    January 9th, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Mr. Black – it’s more of a peach from my keyboard. I think you should check out this link:


    And thanks for telling me it’s a joke, because otherwise I would have no clue. Usually when people tell jokes I can figure it out on my own since I’m usually amused by it. With you I need to be actually told.”
    Peach you say, well that changes everything. That is much less…well never mind.

    Yeah I err on the side of caution with humor. Not everyone can appreciate my humor, or my Triumph the Insult Comic Dog quotes. But now that I know that you can’t keep up, I’ll let you know when I’m poking fun at you.

    By the way, I’m not joking this time.

  103. “His reason for not playing Balkman, according to the Post today, is because he’s so desperate for victories that he can’t afford to find time for him.”

    And, of course, the irony in the whole thing is that the team would probably win more games if Balkman played more minutes.

  104. “The West Coast edition of the Post has an expanded article”

    Isiah’s quote from the article, re: Balkman’s lack of minutes:

    “The energy and effort he brought to the game and the consistency, he was able to change the game with his effort and energy and on the defensive side of the ball. That hasn’t happened much this year…I don’t think it’s a [sophomore] jinx. I think what happens when your name goes on the blackboard, people are conscious of the things you do and a gameplan to take those things away.”

    A gameplan to take away energy and effort? Wow. If other teams have a plan of taking energy and effort away from players, and it actually works, isn’t that more of an indictment against Isiah himself, who too often this year has seen opponents put up career nights against the Knicks?

    re: Randolph Morris’ 5 minutes of PT this season:

    “We just haven’t had the opportunity to give him court time. He’s a good post-up player, a good rebounder. There’s three guys playing in front of him. With a veteran like Malik (Rose), it’s been tough to get him court time.”

    There are three backup centers on the Knicks? And Malik Rose is one of them? And Rose is taking away PT from a “rookie” who’s a free agent at the end of June? Interesting…

    And finally, re: Isiah on Isiah

    “This is really the first time in my career that I’ve really been on the downside.”

    I guess Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown, and Dick Helm are all officially off the table as scapegoats.

  105. I agree with Z.
    Which is odd.
    But recently I’ve been finding myself agreeing with people that I have routinely disagreed with. And Caleb recently convinced me that his view made more sense. I’m speaking of our exchange on the value of Shaq to the Bricks…

    Having said that, I can’t believe we have people still comparing Brown and Isiah, as if Isiah wasn’t the father of all these problems.
    Remember folks, Brown worked for Isiah and that mook, Dolan.
    Isiah gave Starbury the green light to undermine Brown.
    He assembled the team. Whether Brown made trade requests or not, Isiah was the GM and made the deals. It was his call; his responsibility.
    And there is no way Brown could have sat Marbury, which probably would have been the smartest thing he could have done at the time, if for no other reason but to establish himself as the head coach.
    Isiah undercut Brown.
    And now Isiah is living with all the deals he’s made. He shows the bipolar approaches of trying to win now and building a team from the ground up with youth. He keeps putting doddering veterans on the floor at the expense of some solid young talent.
    He says Balkman hasn’t had the impact this year that he had last. But Balkman was injured for a time and when he was healthy he seemed like he was affecting the game in very positive ways.

    No, this shouldn’t be a comparison between Brown and Zeke.
    It’s all Zeke.
    He controls the ground. This is his baby.

    Now I know there will be people who will harp on Brown’s vacillations on his starters, but Marbury was a constant, undermining force, and regardless of the line up, Marbury was a starter.
    The moment the team saw Marbury was calling his own shots, Brown lost the team.
    Brown didn’t want Francis to play with Marbury. He wanted Francis to supplant Marbury.
    Zeke should never have made that deal, but in his way, he keeps trying to recreate the three guard rotation of his Pistons’ glory days.

    So let’s please leave Larry in the past.
    The Bricks won one last night. Curry was solid.
    He was solid two of the last three games.
    If this continues, the Bricks might be a .500 team the rest of the way.
    But that is nothing to be happy about.
    This team sucks and will continue to suffer until some fundamental changes occur.

    And Zeke hasn’t shown any ability since the Pacers to accomplish anything close to what is necessary.

    And then we also have the Mook.

  106. I am not sure why it is unfathomable too many that when you bring in a hall of fame coach and they ask you for certain things- the wise thing to do – if your boss has hired them- is to give them what they want and let them hang themselves with their own rope.

    We can all agree that Dolan – didn’t have tremendous faith in Isiah (short contract) – as he had Wilkens and Brown be coaches before finally assigning it to Isiah (by default almost) – last year.

    Look around the league – Rick Sund, Chris Wallace, KiKi etc have all drafted horribly and i doubt they were willing to go to a Knicks team that had all the imprints of implosion from age and salary cap and most likely continue to damage their already flawed and tainted careers.

    I think – Dolan got gawd awful tired of seeing picks like Frank Williams, Charlie Ward, Marcel Lampje, Vujajnic, Levar Postel- and one thing is for sure – (deservedly or not) – Isiah got a reputation for drafting well – which is really what the GM does -as well as assembling talent.

    Marbury, Crawford, Richardson were his first moves followed by the draft with Lee, Robinson and Balkman. If people wish to be obdurate and continue to claim that as Isiah was the GM – he had all decision powers- I find this to be ludicrous and obviously exhibiting a tremendous naivete and ignorance of how the ‘real world’ works. Also Francis and Jalen Rose are practically carbon copies of an older Crawford and Marbury) why wold you want two of the same exact type of players!!

    The obvious and simplest explanation that Brown had over-reached badly with the signings of Jalen Rose, Steve Francis and Jerome James and this in addition to the Marbury issue as well as only winning 24 games – seems to eschewed despite all logic and evidence- because ‘Isiah was in charge’.

    No one in professional sports pays an established hall of fame coach to come into a rebuilding organization and NOT have any input. In fact – I doubt -you could get any hall of fame coach who demands 10 million dollars a year not wanting to be able to get his old veterans or some of hs veterans so that he can implement ‘his system’ asap. Parcells is the clearest example of this as we have seen with Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde, Keyshawn Johnson, Jumbo Elliot -ad nauseum. Its what coaches do – and that is real life- not some jumping to conclusion with out any consideration of context.

    frank O – makes an excellent point – that Zeke since the Pacers had not exhibited any ability. What team did he ever become the GM of after the Pacers – none. He had two shots – Toronto – where once he got Carter, Stoudemire and McGrady – they said thank you very much- we’ll take it from here. Indiana-O Neal, Harrington, Tinsley, Jones, Artest, Foster- same thing – thanks but we’ll take it from here. Even there -despite going to the playoffs- the team actually needed the fourth year – (when they won 61 games) to jell. If they hadn’t broken them up – they would be a serious potential contender.

    As for Balkman- You have a log jam at small forward – and if Q Rich is not playing – because he makes stoopid passes like the one last night for which he deservedly got benched the rest of the game for- then in my view Jeffries has to be the next one up. At 6’11” – he allows you flexibility to guard a PF/SF/C and possibly SG. Balkman can not guard PFs or Centers- it would be a mismatch.

    Many times he had Lee, Curry, Randolph last night – with Lee moving over to the SF for a bit. Again – he should get the nod over Balkman- he is a good rebounder, can defense and provides another big body – even Chicago’s Boyle mentioned they had trouble aganst the big bodies of the Kicks last night -especially in the second half.

    Balkman – still does not have a shot and Lee is much more fluid of a player offensively than Balkman. That leaves Balkman as the fourth choice in that scenario.

    The same can be said for Collins at the PG spot – since Jones, Crawford, Marbury and Nate are all playing better. They are the first line players and so the available minutes should go to them.

    Isiah has not stunted Lees, Robinson’s minutes in the least – because they deserve it. As for center- the hybrid center of Randolph/Curry keeps pressure in the post and that is what I feel any coach should do. Morris must not be ready for prime tie and Malik Rose- as per Curry and others has been instrumental in helping to make sure the KNicks keep track of their assignments on defense and offense- probably why he was named captain despite beig a non-starter.

    Jeffries games does not get many stats bt from what i have seen he has helped out quite a bit- and in this game so full of talent – no one is that good a defensive player- Wallace got eaten alive by Curry last nite – and he is not even the best offensive center in the league. But he does change the game of the opposition enough to make a difference and he is a veteran.

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