Four games into the season and the New York Knicks are still undefeated. I have to admit, I’ve never been this excited about a Knicks team. The last time they started this strongly (1993-94), I was seven, so it makes sense. Usually, with teams who seem like they can’t keep up a great start (sorry, but it’s true), the underlying numbers make the case. With the Knicks, however, I’m not so sure. Let’s examine some NBA metrics to try to make a conclusion about this New York team.
Player Efficiency Rating (PER
This statistic, pioneered by ESPN’s John Hollinger, has become the poster-stat for basketball metric fans everywhere. Basically, it explains how effective a certain player is while on the court, taking into account a variety of factors. Currently, New York’s own Carmelo Anthony is ranked fourth in PER, mostly due to a very high Usage Rate (simply, how often he gets the ball on offense – ‘Melo leads the league) and the fact that he plays 36 minutes a game, third most in the top ten (behind Kobe and Kevin Durant).
The worrying part of this equation is Anthony’s poor True Shooting Percentage (TS%, what a player’s percentage would be with free throws and three pointers included, then adjusted). His .546 is by far lowest in the top ten, and the only person lower than him in the top-23 is Brook Lopez (who, in my opinion, kind of sucks). This is partially attributed to his poor free throw shooting early in the year, which should improve. I think Melo’s PER should hover around fifth in the league for most of the year, strictly due to the aforementioned Usage Rate. Continue reading
Congratulations Dallas!!! Why am I congratulating Dallas? They are the first team to actually beat the spread against the Knicks (I am assuming the Knicks are now favored by 20 points every night). They are also the first team to actually put up a real fight against the Knicks. This game was close most of the way especially through the first three quarters. I was actually getting scared especially midway through the 2nd quarter when the Knicks could not hit a 3 and the Mavs pulled up by 9. The Knicks ended up pulling away in the end thanks to tough D, JR Smith and, of course, new and improved Super Melo. Here are my thoughts:
- I have to hand it to Dallas they did a wonderful job defending the Knicks uncontested free throws. The Knicks missed 12 tonight including 4 in a row by Melo and 4 in a row by Felton.
- Last season it was especially frustrating to see how hard the Knicks had to work for every basket. It has been nice to have real point guards this season. It has also been nice to watch how hard their opponents’ have had to work for each basket.
- If you told me ahead of time Knicks would miss 12 free throws, Felton would shoot 3-11 and Melo would be in foul trouble all night I would have assumed this would be a loss.
- High props to JR for stepping up when Melo went out with foul trouble and to Melo for playing hard even when in foul trouble.
- Statistically the Knicks defense was the worst when JR was on the floor last season. I haven’t checked the official statistics but I cannot imagine that trend has continued this season as JR has looked pretty darn good so far on defense.
- I loved the fact that near the end of the 4th when the Knicks needed to score Melo was extremely aggressive about taking it to the basket.
- At one point when the Knicks were up by 12 in the 4th, JR took one of his patented terribly inefficient shots – and missed. I think it was Frazier who basically said let’s excuse that stupid shot because he has played so well tonight. Continue reading
If you read some of the preseason breakdowns of the Knicks the consensus was that this team was old and slow and that the Knicks made some rather baffling off-season moves. I think most people are still baffled because this old and slow squad is now 3-0 and winning games by an average of 20 points. This is the first time in team history that they have won the first 3 game of the season by double digits. Think how much better they would be if they went even older and slower.
Things could not be going better for the Knicks but no one outside of New York is going to give them credit. Here are the top 5 excuses to be given as to why the Knicks are just getting lucky (with sarcasm):
- Miami couldn’t bare to really play after the hurricane unlike the Knicks who are energized by tragedy.
- The Knicks were lucky enough to play without Amare who promises to single handedly subtract 12 points a night.
- Of course they beat Philly because they were missing Bynum who just never suffers injuries and Jason Richardson who is just at the peak of his career.
- Melo is only playing well because he still thinks this is the Olympics.
- The Knicks players all have extra energy because they did not have to run the marathon yesterday.
Here are my thoughts on tonight: Continue reading
The Knicks are now 2-0 which is in a word, shocking. They have looked good on offense and ferocious on defense. If they keep playing with this intensity they may have a shot to play some basketball in late May or even June – not to get way ahead of ourselves. They could easily blow the next two but if you are a Knicks fan and you are not excited then check yourself for a pulse. Here are some thoughts from how the Knicks treated the 76ers like a small child today:
- There was a guy playing for the Knicks wearing #7 who was diving for lose balls, blocking shots, playing stellar defense and even dove into the stands for a lose ball. I have no idea who this player was but I hope he can give Melo some tips on how to play.
- I am going to go out on a limb and say that whenever either the Knicks hit 19 treys like Friday or JR Smith actually plays well the Knicks are going to win. And, JR with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals – did that really happen???
- The Knicks are winning by an average of 18 points a game. The Knicks are winning by an average of 18 points a game. I had to write that twice because it sounds so absurd but is true.
- How is it that the Knicks won by so much in back to back games yet I was on the edge of my seat and kept waiting for the Knicks to blow it in each game?
- Hey Philly, you better hope Bynum comes back soon or this is going to be a long season for all of your fans. I may regret saying that tomorrow night but right now I am sticking my tongue out at your mediocre squad. Continue reading
I know it was only the first of 82 games but I am freakin ecstatic that Knicks won tonight. No disrespect to the Nets – there will be plenty of time to disrespect the Nets later in the year – but beating Miami was so much cooler than beating the Nets would have been to start the season. The Knicks were not flawless tonight but they played aggressive, were tough on D and hit about a thousand three pointers. Everyone predicted tonight would be a blowout but no one thought it would be one for the Knicks and I guess that is why you play the game. Here are my thoughts on tonight:
- This is why it is nice to have actual point guards. The triple headed monster of Felton-Kidd-Prigi looked real good tonight.
- Dwayne Wade said tonight’s game should not have been played and apparently in honor of that statement Miami took the night off.
- Carmelo was awesome then not awesome and then awesome again. I feel like Carmelo is going to drive me crazy all season but I loved the fact that he had energy and actually tried on defense.
- JR Smith was not awesome. At some points it seemed like he was having a contest with Carmelo to see who could take a more ill-advised shot.
- I don’t know about you but I sure missed Amare’s lack of defense and lane clogging on offense. Continue reading
Finally, games that count! Win or lose I’m so excited to watch an actual meaningful game. Thoughts, predictions, rants, comments, etc go here.
We won’t be seeing this for a while
OK we all knew he wasn’t going to play 82 games, but after missing 3 out of 4 preseason games Amare is now out for 2-3 weeks with a ruptured popliteal cyst behind his left knee. Yes it’s the knee he had micro-fracture surgery on. It’s not serious, but he won’t be ready for the beginning of the season.
So will Woodson do what everyone hopes and move Melo to the 4 until Amare comes back or will we see Kurt Thomas and Chris Copeland man the 4? And how many more injuries before this officially becomes the worst contract in the NBA?
“I don’t want that (scoring) role anymore. I can do it. It is what it is, that’s what I do best. But in order for this team to be successful with the guys that we have on this team right now, we need a more well-rounded team. So if I have to sacrifice doing some things out there on the offensive end I’m willing to do it.” – Carmelo Anthony
What does this really mean?
A. Exactly what he said and we’ll see Melo 2.0 playing team ball.
B. What he thinks we want to hear but in reality we’ll get Iso-Melo again.
C. Anthony is now not going to try on both ends of the court.