Why Kristaps has a Westbrook like MVP Case

Why Kristaps has a Westbrook like MVP Case

Written by Daniel Yurchenko

We all remember last year’s MVP narrative. Whether it was loyalty or history or clutch time performances and maybe most of all how he single handedly carried the Thunder last year. Well through eleven games Kristaps has close to single handedly carried the Knicks to a positive record. Much like last year when Westbrook averaged a career high in points and rebounds and matched his career high in assists, Kristaps is too.

You can attribute part of Kristap’s rise to Carmelo Anthony’s departure. Kristaps usage has jumped from 24.3 in 2016-17 to 35.7 this season. His PPG has risen to 30 from 18.1 last season. His rebounds have risen to 7.5 per game, and blocks per game to 2.3. But you can’t attribute all of his improvements to having the ball more. His FG% has improved drastically to 51% from 45% even though he’s experiencing tighter coverage than ever. His 3 point % is improved from 36% to 38%. Kristaps is ranked #5 in the last edition of the Kia MVP ladder and if he continues this superb season and the Knicks are still playing in late April, #1 isn’t that far away.

Advertisements

Changing Tides, KP, Frank, Playoffs?

Changing Tides, KP, Frank, Playoffs?

Written by Declan Ryan

Just over 2 weeks ago the Knicks were returning from Boston, reeling from a disappointing 21pt loss to the Celtics. KP looked flustered and the team looked sloppy in a game where the corpse of Ramon Sessions played 26 minutes – and Kyle O’Quinn played only 6.

Those were the dark days of the winless Knicks, 3 games into what appeared to be another long season filled with dreams of a top draft pick and little hope of competitive basketball.

Fast forward 2 weeks and there is a stark contrast in mood around the team, yet more
importantly there is a contrast on the court – ‘stark’ just doesn’t do it justice. In his 3 rd NBA season, Porzingis has blown all expectations out of the water, and his play has been bolstered by a functional and dynamic offense brought forth by coach Jeff Hornacek.

When they’re not turning the ball over, the Knicks have a half-court set that still contains triangle concepts, with lots of high-low action helped by a physical and offensively gifted frontcourt. However, unlike last season, the team no longer runs the triangle as a means to itself – that is to say that there is a clear goal for each possession – to give Porzingis the ball.

Continue reading

A Look Back at Patrick Ewing’s Career

Written by: Jared Jerome

Last year as a Knick, Carmelo Anthony surpassed the 24,000 point mark becoming just the 25th NBA player to reach that milestone. He is a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the great scorers in NBA history. The accomplishment though, got me thinking about his tenure as a New York Knick. In his first three seasons in New York he led the Knicks to three brief playoff berths (one series win). After this modicum of success though, four straight seasons of missing the playoffs, one more disappointing than the next ensued. Last year specifically he had some decent talent around him. A burgeoning if at times enigmatic star in Kristaps Porzingis, a one dimensional, still athletic but flawed former MVP in Derrick Rose, and a mix of seemingly decent role players in Courtney Lee, Willy Hernangomez, and others. Nobody other than Rose himself would describe this as title contending talent, but to not even compete for the 8th seed in a perennially weak Eastern Conference? And its not like Melo, at age 33 couldnt play anymore. He was right at or around his career averages in just about all major statistical categories. But this is not to say I’m not a Carmelo Anthony fan. His deficiencies and weaknesses are well documented and often accurate, but again, he is still a first ballot Hall of Famer, like it or not. In fact, as puzzled as I was by another disastrous Knicks season, this milestone had me thinking less about Carmelo and more about a previous Knicks great, Patrick Ewing.

Patrick Ewing finished his career with 24,815 points and will likely be caught in career scoring by Anthony sometime before the All Star break. Both players are or will be Hall of Famers, are possibly top 50 all time players and were perennial All Stars (10 for Anthony, 11 for Ewing). Both are/were also much maligned. Probably the biggest trait that separates them however, especially as it pertains to their time in NY was that Patrick Ewing simply didn’t have losing seasons.

After coming into the league in 1985-86 and playing for bad teams in his first two seasons, he went on an incredible run of success. From 1987-88 through 2000-01 (his age 38 season) he made the playoffs 14 consecutive seasons, winning 17 playoff rounds, and reaching two NBA Finals. For a player to be the clear star of a team for that long with that consistency of success (despite not winning the ultimate prize) one or both of the following things would need to be true for him not to be considered an immortal player: His playoff runs must have been ended by poor teams, teams that his greatness alone should’ve been able to overcome, and/or he played with other great players, leaving him without excuse for playoff series losses, no matter his opponents. Lets delve into these questions a bit deeper.

The following is a list of the teams that ousted the Knicks from the playoffs during Ewing’s 14 year stretch:

1987-88 – The Larry Bird, McHale, Parish Celtics.
1988-89 – The young but still Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen led Bulls
1989-90 – The Champion Bad Boy Pistons
1990-91 – Jordan and the Champion Bulls
1991-92 – Jordan and the Champion Bulls
1992-93 – Jordan and the Champion Bulls
1993-94 – Lost in Game 7 in the NBA Finals to the Rockets
1994-95 – Finger roll loss to the Pacers
1995-96 – Jordan and the Champion Bulls
1996-97 – Heat (more below)
1997-98 – Pacers
1998-99 – Lost (an old, breaking down Ewing was injured) in the Finals
to the Spurs.
1999-00 – Finals bound Pacers
2000-01 – Raptors

To review, they lost to the dynastic Jordan led Bulls fives times, four of which were during Bulls championship years. Nobody beat Jordan. That is well established. Ewing just joins a list of all time greats (Barkley, Malone, Stockton, Payton, and everyone else in the 90’s). In the year that Jordan decided to give baseball a try, the Knicks won the East and held a 3-2 lead in the Finals only to fall just short to Olajuwon and the Rockets in 7. In 96-97, the Knicks got some reinforcements and were a 57 win team gelling at just the right time. They swept their opening round series against the Hornets and were up 3-1 to a 61 win Heat team before PJ Brown body slammed Charlie Ward, most of the team including Ewing got suspended, and they lost in 7. The Bulls were up next. By the late 90’s, Ewing was no longer the best player on the team as he hit his late 30s but he still helped them to a second Finals appearance in 1998-99 but could not play in the Finals against the Tim Duncan/David Robinson led Spurs. In all, I don’t think the argument could be made that the Knicks lost to bad competition during Ewing’s playoff run. Maybe the one series where they underachieved was in 1994-95 where Game 7 against the Pacers ended on the infamous missed Ewing finger roll. It is worth noting though, that the Knicks were down 3-1 in that series and won Game 5 on a Ewing buzzer beater on the brink of elimination and then won game 6 handily in Indiana before losing the aforementioned Game 7.

Ok, so what about the talent surrounding Ewing during his illustrious but ultimately unfulfilling career? Lets have a closer look. To have that run of consistency and success, this guy must’ve been surrounded by stars and HOFers. The following are the awards/recognitions handed out to Ewing’s teammates from 1987-2001:

1987-88 Rookie of the Year – Mark Jackson.
1988-89 All Star – Mark Jackson
1993-94 All Star – John Starks
1993-94 All Star – Charles Oakley
1994-95 Sixth Man of the Year – Anthony Mason
1996-97 Sixth Man of the Year – John Starks
1999-00 All Star – Allan Houston
2000-01 All Star – Allan Houston
2000-01 All Star – Latrell Sprewell

In 14 playoff seasons Ewing played with 6 All Stars and 2 top bench players. Thats it! In 88-89 Mark Jackson was a second year player and the Knicks were not contenders. In 99-00, and 00-01, Sprewell and Houston were the stars of the team and Ewing was a third banana at the end of his career. The only other year with an All Star teammate was 93-94, the year they came within a John Starks 3-pointer from winning it all. During this era, Jordan had Pippen for all six of his titles (and of course he’s Jordan). Karl Malone (the second all time leading scorer in NBA history) and John Stockton (the NBA’s all time leader in assists and steals) played together every year of the run. Barkley played with Dr. J, Moses Malone, Hersey Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler and more over his career and
never won a championship. David Robinson didn’t win until his twilight years when he got Tim Duncan. Shaq didn’t win until he got Kobe Bryant. Both top 15 all time players. Who was Ewing’s best teammate when he was at the top of his game from 85-97? John Starks? Charles Oakley? He never played with a first, second or third team all  NBA player and won 17 playoff rounds. Frankly its remarkable. And when I think about this and compare it to the Carmelo Anthony led Knicks that failed to sniff 8th seed in a weakened East for four years, its hard to even comprehend how this warrior and consummate performer and winner was so under-appreciated. If Carmelo Anthony is a Hall of Famer, what does that make Patrick Ewing?

2017/18 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 4

Another 3-1 week with the only loss coming in a game that Porzingis (get well VERY soon) missed. The Knicks also came back from double digits to win in back to back games for the first time in franchise history, which is a lot more fun than the fake comebacks we saw in previous years.
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Porzingis, Kristaps Against the Pacers Porzingis had 40 points on 24 shot attempts with 8 rebounds and 6 blocks. A stat line Melo wouldn’t have even in the wettest of dreams. 1
2 Kanter, Enes Kanter looks like he’s improving on defense. He’s got a long way to go but he looks like he’s putting in effort and getting some stops. Very good news for the Knicks. 2
3 Hardaway Jr., Tim With Porzingis out Timmy stepped up with a nice 26 and 11 game. He’s been very inconsistent with his shot but at least he’s contributing in other ways. He’s more than doubling his average in assists, rebounds, and steals than he did his first time with the Knicks. 8
4 Ntilikina, Frank Over the last 3 games Frank is averaging 8 assists per game while playing some of the best defense on the team. He’s only 19. Be excited. 5
5 O’Quinn, Kyle I think it’s fair to say KOQ has one of the best contracts in the league. 4
6 McDermott, Doug McDermott felt like a throw in with the Melo trade, but he’s now a key part of the Knicks bench. 7
7 Lee, Courtney Lee hasn’t been bad this week, but a number of his teammates have played better. 3
8 Thomas, Lance Lance had a +/- of +58 in over the last 4 games. Impressive but not quite ready for a Lance apology episode yet. 13
9 Jack, Jarrett Just goes to show how this team is playing right now. Jack had a decent week and is still ranked 9th. 6
10 Dotson, Damyean I think we’ll see more Dotson when coach realizes that the Beasley experiment isn’t working. 9
11 Beasley, Michael With Porzingis out it was time for Beasley to step up and show what he’s got. Except that didn’t happen. 11
12 Baker, Ron I was pretty high on Baker a few weeks ago and now I can’t see where he gets minutes. 12
13 Hernangomez, Willy In the limited time we’ve seen Willy it looks like he does the same things as O’Quinn only worse. 10
14 Sessions, Ramon At this point Ramon’s official position is injury insurance. 14
15 Kuzminskas, Mindaugas The Knicks are looking to trade Kuz. Probably should have started that process a few games ago. Everyone knows he’s getting waived by the end of the weekend to make room for Noah. 15
16 Noah, Joakim I mentioned above KOQ might have the best contract in the league. If you don’t count Chandler Parsons the Knicks might have the best and the worst contract on their roster. 16

Episode 400: Porzingod

Marc and Jay talk about the last 4 games, the rotation, our thoughts on each player so far, 10 minutes with a die hard Knicks fan, and much more

2017/18 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 3

I got busy at work so this is coming out 2 days late, which means I have to include the Houston game instead of it being a 3-0 week. A 3-1 week is still way more fun than last weeks 0-3 week. Maybe I won’t have a meltdown halfway through the rankings this time.
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Porzingis, Kristaps Porzingis averaged 33 and 9 in the three wins and 19 and 5 in the loss. Porzingis has now scored over 30 in 5 of 7 games this season. Would like to see him average more than 1 assist a game, but everything else about his game looks pretty great right now. 1
2 Kanter, Enes Really hoping Kanter can improve on defense. He’s so efficient on offense every night. If he plays over 24 minutes you can pretty much lock in a double double. 2
3 Lee, Courtney Speaking of consistency, Lee doesn’t light up the box score but he knows his roll. He defends, shoots a good % and does what he’s supposed to do. One of the best signings the Knicks have made in the last 10 years. Of course that’s not saying much. 5
4 O’Quinn, Kyle O’Quinn has been so good Knicks fans aren’t even grumbling that much about not seeing fan favorite Hernangomez on the floor. One of the best deals in the NBA. 3
5 Ntilikina, Frank Frank finally got healthy enough to play and the team ripped off 3 wins in a row. His defense is already way above average and he’s had some really nice passes. Not much of a scoring threat but I’d rather defense and passing. We tried a scoring PG with Rose and it didn’t work. 10
6 Jack, Jarrett Jack gets a huge bump for bringing league average talent to the PG position. It doesn’t sound like a complement but the Knicks haven’t had that in years and the difference was immediately noticable. 12
7 McDermott, Doug McDermott has been better than advertised so far. His defense isn’t great but hasn’t been the train wreck we were expecting. 7
8 Hardaway Jr., Tim Two good games this week. And those games were really good. Still going to have to do that more than once or twice a week to be worth that contract. I feel like the inconsistency is going to be absolutely maddening. 15
9 Dotson, Damyean Seeing minutes for Dotson way earlier than I thought we would. He’s looked pretty decent so far in limited playing time. 9
10 Hernangomez, Willy Willy looks like he hasn’t improved at all on defense which is probably why he can’t get minutes over O’Quinn. 6
11 Beasley, Michael I’m beginning to see why so many teams passed on Beasley. 11
12 Baker, Ron Baker really got injured at the wrong time. I wonder if there will be any minutes left for him when he comes back. 8
13 Thomas, Lance I almost forgot Lance was on the team. He has two more years after this one on his contract because Knicks. 13
14 Sessions, Ramon The team looked so much better when Sessions got benched. Not a good sign for Ramon. 4
15 Kuzminskas, Mindaugas Pretty sure Kuz will be wearing a suit for 4 more games and then will get cut. 14
16 Noah, Joakim 4 more games and then Noah will take minutes from a more deserving player. 16

 

 

The New York Knicks Show – Episode 399: A Win Streak

Marc and Jay talk about the last three Knicks games, two of which were wins, lineups, the defense of Frank, Timmy catches fire, and much more

Download Episode 399

2017/18 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 2

I thought it would take a little longer to get this down on the Knicks, but they are already one of only 3 teams in the NBA without a win after two 20 point blowouts and one blown 20 point lead.
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Porzingis, Kristaps Porzingis was terrible against the Celtics but he gets a pass for looking pretty incredible in games 1 and 2. 1
2 Kanter, Enes If you blinked during the first quarter of game 3 you would have missed 8 rebounds by Kanter. He finished with 19. If he could develop even leauge average defense the Knicks could really have something here. 3
3 O’Quinn, Kyle O’Quinn looked like a solid backup in games 1 and 2, but was only given 6 minutes in game 3. I get Hernangomez needs minutes but I figured that would wait until KOQ hit a slump. 6
4 Sessions, Ramon Sessions hasn’t looked very good, but he’s ranked this high because I’m taking into account he’s a backup being thrust into a starting role. Considering that he’s been OK. 12
5 Lee, Courtney Lee’s best days are clearly behind him, but he’s not terrible, which is more than I can say for almost everyone ranked below him. 4 Continue reading

Episode 398: First Week

Marc and Jay talk about the first week of the season, the Thunder and Pistons game, Hernangomez, what is and isn’t working, around the NBA, 10 minutes with a die hard Knicks fan, and more

Pistons 111, Knicks 107 – Where do the Knicks go from here?

Pistons 111, Knicks 107 – Where do the Knicks go from here?

Written by Declan Ryan

The odds on a top draft pick going to New York at the end of the season just increased after what can only be described as a ‘routine’ loss for the Knicks Saturday night.

Leading by as many as 21 points in the first half, the visiting Pistons were sluggish and
noticeably off their game after coming off a loss to the Wizards the night before. However, a 13-point half time lead quickly became 1 point following a characteristic Knicks collapse in the 3rd quarter, and it wasn’t long before Detroit had the lead in the 4th quarter.

$71m man Tim Hardaway Jr. had a night to forget in front of the Knicks faithful, as he only hit 1 of his first 12 attempts from the field, including 0 of 6 from 3pt range. Blame can fairly be placed on his shoulders, as KP’s 33 points (including 23 in the first half) should’ve been more than enough to see the Knicks to their first win of the season, providing his teammates could produce even a semblance of scoring and defense.

For the team’s second scoring option, Hardaway’s night would’ve looked even worse if it wasn’t for the impressive performances from both Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn, who combined for 32 points and 17 rebounds in around 24 minutes on the floor each. I would argue that apart from Kanter and KOQ, none of the Knicks supporting players had games to remember.

Courtney Lee had a dismal 4 points 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 28 minutes of action, and
whilst Ramon Sessions had a passable Continue reading