|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|
|Four games since the last rankings. 2 and 2 which is pretty amazing considering Porzingis and Hardaway each missed three games.|
|Rank||Player||Comments||Last weeks Rank|
|1||Lee, Courtney||Someone needed to step up when Porzingis and Hardaway were out and it looks like Lee was more than happy to take on that roll. Great week for Lee.||3|
|2||Kanter, Enes||Three double-doubles this week for Kanter. It’s so nice having someone down low who is able to grab seemingly every rebound.||6|
|3||Porzingis, Kristaps||Beasley did better than expected when starting in place of Porzingis, but I think we can all say thank god Porzingis is back.||2|
|4||Jack, Jarrett||Jack has definitely been this seasons most pleasant surprise. I guarantee that in the beginning of the season there weren’t too many NBA betting sites that had Jack averaging over 6 assists per game.||4|
|5||Beasley, Michael||Beasley backed up his words with a surprisingly good week. Color me impressed.||8|
|6||Hardaway Jr., Tim||Of course as soon as Hardaway starts looking great he gets injured. Knicks really need his scoring. They averaged just under 99 points a game in the three games THJ missed this week.||1|
|7||McDermott, Doug||McDermott hit 14 shots this week and only 3 of them were threes. Weird.||7|
|8||Thomas, Lance||The bench has been very mediocre lately. Not terrible, but no one has stood out either. Lance leads the ‘meh mob’.||10|
|9||O’Quinn, Kyle||KOQ did almost nothing on the court this week but I still love his energy.||5|
|10||Dotson, Damyean||Dotson got to start a couple games this week and even grabbed 7 boards on Monday. Progress.||11|
|11||Ntilikina, Frank||Frank had me really excited a few weeks ago. Lately….not so much.||9|
|12||Hernangomez, Willy||Willy played one game this week where he didn’t look like trash, tying his season long record.||14|
|13||Baker, Ron||Baker is back. Hooray?||13|
|14||Sessions, Ramon||We had a Ramon sighting this week. Rad.||15|
|15||Noah, Joakim||To everyone who got mad at me for criticizing the Noah contract: apology line starts on the left.||12|
(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.
|The holidays got in the way so this raking will cover two weeks and 6 games. Unfortunately 4 of those games are losses and injuries are finally playing a factor.|
|Rank||Player||Comments||Last weeks Rank|
|1||Hardaway Jr., Tim||Well I didn’t see this coming. Hardaway has kicked it up a couple notches since last rankings. He’s still inconsistent but in addition to scoring he’s been rebounding and assisting at an impressive rate.||3|
|2||Porzingis, Kristaps||Porzingis shot has still been way off since it came out that his elbow has been injured. Still he’s been averaging over 20ppg and is still the prohibitive favorite among the most improved players 1/4 through the season.||1|
|3||Lee, Courtney||Other than the first Raptors game Lee has played well. On a team of inconsistent players the consistency has been appreciated.||2|
|4||Jack, Jarrett||Jack had a 14 assist game this week. It was in a loss to the Hawks, but still.||6|
|5||O’Quinn, Kyle||O’Quinn isn’t the best player but man is he fun to watch. Gotta love his energy.||8|
|6||Kanter, Enes||The Knicks have a lot of big guys but not a lot of good ones. This was really apparent when Kanter went down. Bonus points for trolling LeBron.||5|
|7||McDermott, Doug||Can’t put all the blame on McDermott but his +/- this week raises all the eyebrows.||7|
|8||Beasley, Michael||Beasley had 24 points at the half against the Rockets. In the 2nd half he showed why so many teams gave up on him. He didn’t even cross half court on a couple defensive stints.||11|
|9||Ntilikina, Frank||Frank had a rough couple weeks. He’s looked out of his element lately. Coach seems to notice too, his minutes are way down.||4|
|11||Dotson, Damyean||Didn’t get to see much of Damyean lately.||10|
|12||Noah, Joakim||3 minutes in the last 2 weeks. Noah is going to get run in Westchester this week, that’s the way to slowly bring him back. I like it.||12|
|13||Baker, Ron||Baker is also playing in Westchester this week. If you’re doing the math that’s over $20 million in salary playing in Westchester instead of MSG.||14|
|14||Hernangomez, Willy||Willy has been so bad I went from ‘the Knicks have too many big men’ to ‘I wonder what Luke Kornet is up to?’||13|
|15||Sessions, Ramon||Nothing to see here.||15|
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.
Why Kristaps has a Westbrook like MVP Case
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.
Changing Tides, KP, Frank, Playoffs?
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.
|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|