Marc and Jay talk about what might have been the last week of the NBA season, Franks coming out game and back to earth game, the OT win against the Hawks and draft implications, who we want to come back next season, and free agents to keep an eye on
In Episode 447 we proposed 29 trade scenarios involving the Knicks, one for each team in the NBA. Not all of them were great, but Marc and Jay each proposed three scenarios that we agreed were pretty interesting and would work for both teams. In no particular order here are the 4 proposals:
#1 – The Knicks received Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier for Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Celtics do this if they get paranoid about Haywards health and Roziers regression and want to clear up a lot of cap space, the Knicks do this if they think Hayward bounces back next season and think Rozier might look better in a new situation.
#2 – The Knicks receive Klay Thompson for Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, and Mitchell Robinson
The trade machine says the Knicks only get 1 game better, but if I were a betting man I’d guess the Knicks would be way better after this trade. Of course the only way the Warriors do this is if Klay says he’s definitely leaving and wants to be in NY.
#3 – Knicks get Ben Simmons and T.J. McConnell for Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mudiay
Too many ball handlers on the 76ers right now with Butler and Embiid, and Simmons seems like the odd man out. He can be the man in NY and Philly can have a front court of Porzingis and Embiid for a decade.
#4 – Knicks get Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay for Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee
The Spurs do this because they are in win now mode and this makes them better. The Knicks do this to clear up a bunch of cap space over the next two years.
Mets started their season off 11-1 before becoming a goddamn laughing stock. The Jets had a huge opening night before crashing back to earth. I hope the Knicks didn’t peak tonight (peaking in preseason would be especially cruel).
It’s nice that the Knicks could actually win in OT which has not exactly been their specialty in recent memory and it was especially fun to see them do it with the 3rd string guys. Who knows how much the Wizards cared about winning but whatever, this was a fun way to kick things off. Here are my observations: Continue reading
|Rank||Player||Comments||Last weeks Rank|
|1||Porzingis, Kristaps||Please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured.||3|
|2||Kanter, Enes||The fact that Kanter is a double-double machine and McDermott is a solid bench player while Melo is averaging career lows in just about every category makes me feel so much better about this trade than I did a few months ago.||2|
|3||Lee, Courtney||Lee has had some monster games lately. Definitely picking up scoring void Hardaway left when he went down.||1|
|4||McDermott, Doug||McDermott was a big reason that all of the starters had a negative +/- while all the bench players had a positive +/- against the Hawks.||7|
|5||Beasley, Michael||If Beasley keeps playing like this it’s definitely going to effect the odds on Knicks making the playoffs.||5|
|6||Ntilikina, Frank||Up and down season, which is normal for a 19 year old PG. This week was a very up week.||11|
|7||Jack, Jarrett||Jack had a similar week to last week. He’s only moving down because so many Knicks had an even better week.||4|
|8||Thomas, Lance||Thomas has moved into the starting lineup and hasn’t looked too bad. No apology coming.||8|
|9||O’Quinn, Kyle||O’Quinn hasn’t been getting many minutes lately but he’s definitely been making the most of them.||9|
|10||Hardaway Jr., Tim||The Knicks have been winning, but they are going to need Timmy to get healthy soon. A ton of away games in January and against much better competition.||6|
|11||Baker, Ron||Baker came back and has looked like a 4M a year player. Take that however you want.||13|
|12||Dotson, Damyean||Looks like Baker took Dotsons minutes. Not sure how I feel about that. I don’t think I feel great about it.||10|
|13||Hernangomez, Willy||Willy better figure out defense and fast or he’s going to be out of the NBA in a year or two.||12|
|14||Sessions, Ramon||Since Jack is the Knicks veteran PG presense what value does Sessions bring?||14|
|15||Noah, Joakim||Parsons is averaging over 12 PPG this month, making Noah the official worst contract in the NBA.||15|
(Note, we apologize to Declan for getting this very well written recap up late. We would also post a recap of last night’s loss to the Pacers but that would be NSFW)
Knicks lose at home to Magic, 105-100
With Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis out through injury, the Knicks (11-11)
fell to the visiting Orlando Magic (10-14) 105-100 in what was an uninspiring 48
minutes of NBA basketball.
Sunday’s loss sees the Knicks having won only 1 of their last 5 games, the only win
in that stretch coming against the Whiteside-less Heat on Wednesday. The absence
of both THJ and KP made a seemingly perfect opportunity for Frank Ntilikina to be
green-lit for sizeable minutes, yet as the game progressed it became obvious that
Jeff Hornacek had other ideas.
Immediately shifting the blame to the foul disparity in his post-game interview,
Hornacek failed to justify why at 8.55 in the 4 th he decided to bench Ntilikina for
Ramon Sessions’ first and only minutes of the game – not bringing the French rookie
back onto the court until the game was almost over with 25 seconds left to play.
Sessions immediately missed a wide open 3 pointer and had a -5 in his 4 minutes of
action. This substitution left the Knicks with a lineup of Sessions, Baker, Lee,
Beasley and KOQ playing important clutch minutes, where Ntilikina could have
instead been gaining invaluable experience in a game where despite foul trouble
early, he was being productive offensively.
Notwithstanding the 4 th however, the Knicks will rue their ineptitude in the 1 st where
they were down by as many as 17 points. Jarrett Jack and Enes Kanter were most
noticeable with their self-destruct style of defense allowing the Magic to enter the
paint like a hot knife through butter. On the surface Kanter’s 18 points and 16
rebounds seem more than serviceable for the Knicks most talented starter on
Sunday, but he allowed the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic to have 34 points and 12
rebounds, offering a stark reminder of perhaps why Kanter won’t be the long-term
answer at the 5 position for the Knicks – Vucevic had his number all game.
Unfortunately for rookie Damyean Dotson his first career start was met with great
effort but poor execution as he ended the afternoon with 2 points on 1-3 shooting, 1
rebound, 0 assists and with the worst +/- of any Knicks player with a -16 for the
game. Michael Beasley had a nice 21 points but made numerous poor decisions
especially in the 4 th that ultimately cost the Knicks, going 1-3 with a foul and a
turnover in the final 5 minutes.
Phil Jackson should still be with the Knicks
For all the damage Phil Jackson inflicted on the New York Knickerbockers, and all
the criticism he took during his time in the city, he may have actually saved the
This year we are witnessing Kristaps Porzingis live up to his multiple alter-egos, we
have seen flashes of both ‘Porzingod’ and the ‘Unicorn’. I’m not entirely sure what
either of those would look like, but I’m pretty sure KP is the closest thing you can get.
In fact, this season Porzingis has outperformed most of his talented 2015 rookie
class. So far in this season KP is producing 30 ppg, whilst also increasing his
efficiency across the board. Compared to the Latvian’s previous two years of 44.5
FG%/ 35 3FG% he has improved 6.2% from the field and 3% better from deep. The
numbers seem steady, until you explore the usage this year (35.7 USG%) which has
increased by more than 10% after Carmelo’s departure in the summer. Usually we
don’t see efficiency increases co-inside with a dramatic usage increase. Therefore,
seeing Porzingis’s development this year has surprised most. Also noteworthy is the
fourth quarter heroics, on three occasions now Kristaps has single handedly won
games (looking like 2009 Kobe). His new-found mamba mentality was on full show
during the Knicks’ recent game vs an in-form Indiana Pacers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsBT7kihaTE (Real GD’s Latest Highlights)
But we already knew Porzingis was going to be a scorer after his first few games in
the league, and with Carmelo Anthony as a mentor it seemed even more likely. What
is more encouraging for the Knicks faithfuls is the dynamic defensive ability KP can
produce, especially in the clutch. In the very same Pacers game KP rejected six
shots, four of which came in the second half, and all during the Knicks come back.
After the theatrics New York witnessed during KP’s first two years it was clear he
was a steal at the 4th pick back in 2015. Although that wasn’t commonly known in
June 2015, and while some saw athletic Dirk, most saw Darko. Even after some
impressive, well-edited highlight videos started to appear, many still were calling for
the Knicks to select Justice Winslow (a sure thing in many people’s opinion, even
mine). Then it happened; Phil Jackson rang-in the selection of a skinny 7’3″ European
and the rest just may well be history.
Fast forward two years, and things are really reaching a boiling point. Phil wants
Melo gone, Melo loves NY but hates Phil so agrees to make two teams available for
a trade (either of which he would join later in the year). Then it comes out Hornacrk
thinks KP plays ‘like a pussy’, so then Kristaps flies home before meeting with Phil
and Horneck. Or so it is rumoured.
Finally, the 2017 NBA draft, the one event that the Knicks excelled at, or at least
when they have had a 1 st round pick. And again, Phil Jackson along with his Knicks
staff select a long, skinny European, who like Porzingis had been playing
professional ball for a couple of years. Frank Ntilikina (the ‘t’ is silent) has gone
reasonably unnoticed among his peers, but that is by no means a reflection of his
potential. What’s most striking when watching Ntilikina is his defensive IQ, coupled
with a relentless motor. After 11 games, the 19-year- old has averaged 1.6 spg whilst
only playing 20 minutes, he’s also within the 100th percentile for his position on steals
per team possession (cleaningtheglass.com). In comparison to Dennis Smith Jr’s
defensive numbers 0.8 spg (1 spg per 36 minutes) Frank looks much more capable
‘The French Prince’ (Ntilikina’s favoured nickname) has also shown his ability to be
that floor general teams look for in an all-star point guard. Proving that his high
basketball IQ is not just a defensive one, he’s averaging 5 apg during is 20 minutes
of playing time. He’s also in the 73rd percentile in his position on what percentage of
his teammates’ buckets did he assist on (cleaningtheglass.com). At 19, his overall
game is impressive and throughout the year we are bound to see mistakes and
brilliance from the rookie. Once again it is difficult to criticise the pick.
So that’s one franchise player selected and a 6’5, 19-year- old point guard who after 11
games has shown he can defend really well and find his teammates. Plus let’s not
forget the trade Jackson made to acquire Willy Hernangomez (drafted and stashed
by the Philadelphia 76ers), another highly skilled European who was selected in the
NBA first all-rookie team just last year.
So, the question has to be asked, should Phil Jackson still be with the Knicks? Well
quite clearly no, but his time with the Knicks shouldn’t be remembered as a failure. In
fact, Jackson might have been one of the rare executives that leave a team in better
condition than when they started. Perhaps the Knicks could make the 11-time NBA
champion their head European scout? He could even live in Lithuania with
Kuzminskus once he gets cut to make room for Phil’s best friend, Joakim Noah.