May 25, 2018, 1:38 am
Compared to last year, this was a very quiet season for the Knicks. There was no James Dolan-Charles Oakley drama. No Phil Jackson-Carmelo Anthony Drama. No Derrick Rose going AWOL drama. No Kristaps Porzingis blowing off exit interviews. Not a very exciting season from a media perspective but good for the Knicks. Sadly, this is was one of their only positives. There was the Joakim Noah saga if that counts. Noah got into an argument with Jeff Hornacek over playing time with some rumors of physicality involved, but details were kept on the down low and Noah was eventually told to stay away from the team for the rest of the season, and that was the end of that.
With Phil Jackson’s unceremonious firing in the offseason, a new era was to begin in New York. Scott Perry was hired as the new GM, but not before interim-GM Steve Mills threw a four-year, $71 million contract at Tim Hardaway. It was strange that an interim-GM was allowed to pull off such a bold move, using up so much of the cap space, before a new GM was announced… or maybe Dolan just wanted to make sure he got Hardaway back for some reason. It wasn’t a terrible contract considering the potential that Hardaway has with his scoring ability. Scoring however, is kind of the only thing that he does well, and not always either. Oh yeah, and the Knicks traded a 2019 second-round pick, a valuable asset, to acquire Scott Perry, which is kind of crazy. Perry must be that good, right?
Perry made a huge splash as his first move as GM… signing Ron Baker to a two-year, $9 million deal. All kidding aside, his stat-line and shooting percentages are poor and other teams likely wouldn’t have given him anything above the minimum, but hey, Jeff Hornacek liked the guy. It wasn’t a huge contract but the Knicks had only $1.5 million in cap space to work with after this deal. Another Hornacek-inspired move was trading away Willy Hernangomez midseason for two second round picks (2020 & 2021). Not only was he Porizngis’ best friend on the team, Knicks fans thought he had quite a bit of potential with his savvy rebounding and slick passing and shooting touch. But for whatever reason, Hornacek didn’t like the guy and refused to play him. At least Perry seems works well with coaches if there’s something positive to take out of this.
The Knicks already had Frank Ntilikina, “the point guard of the future,” but started obsessing with signing as many point guards as possible with Ramon Sessions, Jarrett Jack and Trey Burke. Although Burke was waived three days later (nice one) before eventually rejoining the team for the stretch run. They also traded for Emmanuel Mudiay during the season. Perry was reportedly a huge voice in selecting De’Aaron Fox fifth overall for the Kings so maybe he just has a thing for point guards.
The first real big move by Perry was trading away Carmelo Anthony for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott (later traded with a draft pick for Emmanuel Mudiay) and the Bulls’ 2018 second round pick. After seven seasons and two playoff appearances, the Melo era was finally over. It was a disappointment that Perry couldn’t get at least one first rounder in the deal and although Enes Kanter had a terrific season, he may opt out of his contract this offseason and sign elsewhere, which would at least give the Knicks a little cap room. (In terms of real assets being moved, and assuming Kanter walks, the Knicks ended up trading Carmelo Anthony and two second round picks for Scott Perry, Emmanuel Mudiay and one second round pick. Am I missing something?)
Perry brought in Michael Beasley to round out the bench and things were underway. Just like the previous season, the Knicks were competitive until around Christmas. They were 17-14 until they lost to the Pistons on December 22, which was the start of a 2-and-10 slide. Things never got back on track after that. The Knicks had a stretch of losing 16-of-17 games between January 31 and March 15, with the awful Porzingis injury in the middle of that on February 6. They ended up with a 29-53 record, good for ninth-worst in the NBA.
Jeff Hornacek didn’t have much to work with but nothing in the team stats showed that the offensive or defensive schemes were working in today’s NBA. The Knicks ranked second-to-last in 3-pointers made and attempted. They didn’t attempt a lot of threes so they must have taken it to the basket a lot, right? Not really, as they ranked third-to-last in free throws attempted. On the defensive end, they placed in the bottom-10 in almost all categories and were second-to-last in steals per game.
Hornacek was the first coach to be fired after the season but not without James Dolan providing some harsh criticism of his performance, reminding people once again why very few people want to work or play for Dolan. “I think Hornacek had the same kind of issue that Phil did in that he didn’t grasp how different the players are now in the way they think and deal with management and the coaches. I think he was way behind on that.” Even though Dolan seems clueless on many basketball-related aspects, he may not have been that far off on this one. Hornacek has a history of butting heads with players. This was seen with Marcus Morris when he was coaching the Suns and continued on the Knicks with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and likely others. Even everyone’s favorite neighborhood center, Kyle O’Quinn, was caught shouting at Hornacek during a game this season.
Scott Perry said that the Knicks, “Were looking for a skilled communicator and effective leader who connects well with today’s players.” Based on that description, one would have hoped the Knicks bring on Mark Jackson, someone the Knicks have passed over time and time again for others that always end up being the wrong choice. Again Jackson was passed over and David Fizdale got the job at the end of the day. He had a 50-51 record as the head coach of the Grizzlies over the last two years and seems like a mix of a players’ coach and corporate guy. He may seem like a good talker but will he be the inspirational, motivational guy the Knicks desperately need? We will see.
ADP: 26/20 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 95/84 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 24/19 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 48
2017-18: 32.4 MPG | 22.7 PPG | 1.9 3PM | 6.6 RPG | 1.2 APG | 0.8 SPG | 2.4 BPG | 1.9 TOV | .439 FG% | .793 FT%
The organization has said time and time again that they are building around Porzingis but they have not been able to build much in the three years since he has been with the club. They are somewhat competitive when Porzingis is on the floor but have been one of the worst teams in the league without him. They collected only six wins from February to April. Only two teams, the Grizzlies and Suns, had less than that.
In his third season, Porzingis put up career-highs in points, triples and blocks. Unsurprisingly, his field-goal percentage dipped to 43.9%. This isn’t going to cut it but being a team’s main, and sometimes only option, will take its toll. More surprising was his 1.2 assists per game. Not that Porzingis has ever put up good assist numbers but with a 31.9 usage rate, fifth-highest in the league, it is extremely low. No one in the top-15 in usage rate had less than three assists per game. Only two players in the top-30 in usage had less than two assists per game, Jusuf Nurkic with 1.8 and fellow Knick Michael Beasley with 1.7.
Even though Porzingis suffered a huge setback with his torn ACL, he will be only 23 years old at the start of next season and already possesses the ability to take over games at times with his scoring and defense. He was second in the entire league at 2.4 blocks per game and his scoring average will continue to climb but there are still facets of his game that need improvement if he wants to truly be a elite player, mainly his rebounding and passing. He’s unlikely to play a full season next year as he recovers from his injury so expect plenty of updates on his condition in the coming months.
ADP: 98/116 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 58/54 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 55/47 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 71
2017-18: 25.8 MPG | 14.1 PPG | 0.0 3PM | 11.0 RPG | 1.5 APG | 0.5 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 1.7 TOV | .592 FG% | .848 FT%
Kanter’s toughness and warrior-like mentality were a breath of fresh air for the Knicks. When LeBron criticized the Knicks for taking Frank Ntilikina over Dennis Smith Jr., Kanter immediately came to his teammate’s defense. It was a reported that he came to the arena in December on crutches and still played in that day’s game. With the Knicks completely out of contention late in the season, Kanter still insisted that he wanted to play even though he was dealing with terrible back pain at the time. The Knicks did however choose to sit him for the last six games of the season due to a combination of those back problems and tanking.
Kanter played only 25.8 minutes per game this season but still averaged a double-double and still managed to be sixth in in NBA in rebounds per game and fourth in offensive rebounds per game with 3.8. He also put up a career-high field goal percentage and free throw percentage. These percentages helped him produce fourth round value even with the low defensive stats and non-existent 3-point game. Given that he was drafted in the 8th-9th round of most drafts, he was definitely one of the big steals this year.
Kanter is currently mulling a decision if he should leave $18.6 million on the table and opt out of his contract. It is indeed a difficult decision as only a few teams are projected to have that much money available this offseason. Knicks fans certainly won’t mind having him back for the excitement he brings and his leadership ability.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
ADP: 93/101 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 158/155 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 116/86 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 57
2017-18: 33.1 MPG | 17.5 PPG | 2.3 3PM | 3.9 RPG | 2.7 APG | 1.1 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 1.6 TOV | .421 FG% | .816 FT%
Knicks fans grumbled when the team decided to bring back Tim Hardaway Jr. on a four-year, $71 million contract. Last time he was in New York, he mostly just chucked up wild shots, rarely looked for his teammates and didn’t do much on the defensive end. However, Hardaway took the challenge and put up career-highs across the board. It may not have been that difficult with the Knicks’ lack of talent but there were games where his contract seemed like a bargain. There were also many games where it didn’t as inconsistency was the main issue this year with Hardaway this year. He did miss 20 consecutive games with a stress injury to his left leg so maybe we should give him a little leeway.
Hardaway put up 15.0 shots per game but his field goal percentage was only at 42.1 percent, while his three-point percentage was at 31.7. This is not great but he did put up at least 30 points five times this season. He dropped 38 on the Raptors, 37 on the Wizards and 39 on the Wolves. 11 times, however, he failed to score even 10 points. He is a more willing facilitator and rebounder this time around but the Knicks need more consistency out of his shot and better defense. He has a lot of work to do to become a star in this league but hopefully he can be more disciplined and bump his average up to 20 points next season.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 275/273 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 162/147 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 36
2017-18: 21.8 MPG | 12.8 PPG | 1.1 3PM | 2.0 RPG | 4.7 APG | 0.7 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 1.2 TOV | .503 FG% | .649 FT%
It turned out that Trey Bruke’s G-League dominance was not a fluke as he carried over his strong play back into the NBA. He took over the starting point guard job for the last nine games of the season and put up top-50 fantasy value with 18.7 points, 7.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.4 triples and 1.9 turnovers on 48.3 percent shooting over that stretch. He went off for 42 points and 12 dimes against the Hornets and dropped 18 and 15 against the Pistons during this nine-game onslaught as well.
Most impressive was his efficient shooting from the field. A career 40.4 percent shooter, Burke posted a 50.3 field-goal percentage this year with his newly found confidence and was unguardable at times. He was one of the few bright spots for the Knicks this year and it seems as though they have found a diamond in the rough. His contract extends for $1.8 million next season. Hopefully, he can carry this momentum over and there is chance that he starts the year as the starting point guard — deservedly so. We’d bet against the percentages staying at that level, however.
ADP: 140/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 96/90 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 122/110 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 77
2017-18: 18.0 MPG | 7.1 PPG | 0.1 3PM | 6.1 RPG | 2.1 APG | 0.5 SPG | 1.3 BPG | 1.3 TOV | .582 FG% | .772 FT%
Just like Kanter, O’Quinn is a good locker room guy in his own right. While Kanter brings toughness and must-win mentality, O’Quinn brings the lightheartedness to the team that makes the game fun. Also like Kanter, O’Quinn has a player option for $4.2 million that he is likely to decline considering how well he played this season. Although he played only 18.0 minutes per game this season, his presence was felt whenever he was in the game. Knicks fans value him for his hustle plays as well as his passing ability, always looking for cutting teammates.
In the 20 games after the All-Star break, O’Quinn put up top-50 fantasy value in only 21.6 minutes with 8.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.9 blocks. Analytic minds have been trying to figure out for seasons why O’Quinn doesn’t play more minutes as almost all the stats seem to show that he deserves more. This article attempts to dissect the issue and identifies defensive awareness as the problem. Nonetheless, fantasy heads would love to see what he can do with more minutes.
ADP: 140/144 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 103/89 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 86/103 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 76
2017-18: 30.4 MPG | 12.0 PPG | 1.5 3PM | 2.9 RPG | 2.4 APG | 1.1 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 1.1 TOV | .454 FG% | .919 FT%
It was another efficient, under-the-radar season from Courtney Lee. The 32 year- old veteran netted career highs in assists and free-throw percentage. He matched his career high in triples and the 12.0 points was the most he’s scored since the 2009-10 season. He hovers around top-100 value year after year in fantasy and remains forgotten in many drafts and this year was no different. Mr. Reliable has now played at least 76 games in six straight seasons and is under contract for $25 million over the next two years. Expect him to maintain a similar role next season.
ADP: 140/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 131/151 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 137/156 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 74
2017-18: 22.3 MPG | 13.2 PPG | 0.5 3PM | 5.6 RPG | 1.7 APG | 0.5 SPG | 0.6 BPG | 1.9 TOV | .507 FG% | .780 FT%
Michael Beasley had a decent year and was certainly fantasy relevant in the second half of the season thanks to the Porzingis injury. As a starter, he played 27.8 minutes and averaged only 18.6 when coming off the bench. He surpassed the 30-point mark four-times this year and had his biggest role since the 2011-12 season. He put up top-125 per-game value after the All-Star break and top-70 value over his last eight with 17.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.9 blocks.
You could see the effort from him and he was making a lot of hustle plays. He called out his teammates after the March 2 game against the Clippers for not sharing the ball and pointing out their lack of assists. His emotions may have been a bit misguided as Knicks offense was not necessarily the problem that game as they let the Clippers shoot a ridiculous 56.2 percent from the field. Still, Beasley was engaged, and when that was paired with solid minutes it resulted in some productive fantasy showings.
ADP: 140/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 178/271 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 225/349 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 79
2017-18: 21.9 MPG | 5.9 PPG | 0.6 3PM | 2.3 RPG | 3.2 APG | 0.8 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 1.7 TOV | .364 FG% | .721 FT%
The 19-year-old rookie was hesitant on offense in his first year, shooting 36.4 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from deep. You could already see the All-Defensive Team potential but his shot clearly needs a lot of work. The organization experimented with him playing some off-guard this year, especially after Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay were brought on. It helped relieve some of the pressure but it was surprising how quickly the Knicks seemed to give up on their point guard of the future actually playing point guard. Whether at the one or the two, Ntilikina should come back a stronger, more confident player next season.
ADP: NA/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 265/296 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 292/351 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 64
2017-18: 19.5 MPG | 8.6 PPG | 0.7 3PM | 2.4 RPG | 3.2 APG | 0.6 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .368 FG% | .686 FT%
Mudiay can be a force when he is focused. More times than not however, that is not the case. Three years into the league, he is still turnover prone and he still puts up way too many shots for someone with such a low percentage. His field goal and free throw percentage were bad enough as it was but his 19.6 percent from the 3-point line was even more “impressive.”
Mudiay started 14 straight games for the Knicks at one point, for which they went 3-11. His numbers weren’t any better than they were coming off the bench and eventually Trey Burke overtook him for the starting gig. Hopefully Mudiay can follow in Burke’s footsteps of being a highly-touted rookie that quickly turned into an afterthought but still managed to turn his career around.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 226/258 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 216/270 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 62
2017-18: 25.0 MPG | 7.5 PPG | 0.4 3PM | 3.1 RPG | 5.6 APG | 0.6 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 1.9 TOV | .427 FG% | .840 FT%
It was Ramon Sessions who started the first game of the season, but it was Jarrett Jack that started games 2-through-57. The Knicks eventually gave up and he ended up picking up a DNP-CD in 18 of the next 19 games but the Knicks threw him a bone and let him play in the final four. The 13-year veteran showed that he still has some gas left in the tank and his pass-first style was a good fit where the other four starters’ assist numbers were greatly lacking to say the least. His triple-double on January 10 against the Bulls with a 16-10-10 line was his standout performance of the season. He was only signed for one season it is unlikely he re-reigns with the Knicks considering how many point guards they have, but you can never doubt the Knicks.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 293/289 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 382/374 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 73
2017-18: 18.5 MPG | 4.1 PPG | 0.7 3PM | 2.4 RPG | 0.6 APG | 0.4 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 0.5 TOV | .382 FG% | .830 FT%
Thomas started 31 games this season with 22.5 minutes, 4.5 points and 2.6 rebounds. He came off the bench 42 times with 15.6 minutes, 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds. Nothing to write home about obviously and he certainly isn’t a player anyone targets in fantasy leagues but he brings value with his defensive versatility. Even though his stats have declined in all three seasons with the Knicks, David Fizdale has very high expectations of Thomas saying, “I think he can push the ball off the break a lot like Draymond Green plays. Obviously, the thing I’m going to demand from Lance is to play defense like Draymond. And be a guy that’s pushing to be a first-team all-defender.” Optimism is always a good thing. Thomas has at least one more guaranteed season with the Knicks for a cool $7.1 million. His $7.6 million for 2019-20 is not guaranteed so he better start watching some Draymond Green film.
Have James Dolan sell the team to someone who has a clue about basketball or completely let go of being involved with the management of the team. Neither of those things are going to happen so it appears the Knicks are doomed. Dolan, the “The Grandmaster of Chaos,” according to this NY Times article, has been making poor decisions for the last two decades and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. They have finished over .500 just three times in the last 17 years and seems like they can’t do anything right, including tank.
Looking at roster construction, Kanter-Porzingis-Hardaway-Ntilikina-Burke is interesting. All five players are 25 years or younger. The only thing they need is continuity and time. With the Knicks constantly shuffling players and coaches, it seems unlikely but one can hope. The main thing that seems to be missing from this group is an All-Star small forward. With the ninth pick in the draft, maybe they can find this piece.
If Kanter and O’Quinn opt out of their contracts and Ron Baker opts into his $4.5 million deal, the Knicks would have about $30 million to play with in free agency. However, with Kristaps Porzingis likely not returning until January (optimistically), the Knicks should focus on making moves for the future. Another lottery-bound season for the Knicks is already underway.
August 22, 2019, 3:27 pmKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.
Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.
August 22, 2019, 12:25 pmIsaiah CanaanPG, International
Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.
Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter
August 22, 2019, 11:58 amPatty MillsPG, San Antonio Spurs
Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.
The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.
August 22, 2019, 11:54 amMyles TurnerC, Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.
Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.
August 21, 2019, 6:26 pmTrevon BluiettPF, Utah Jazz
Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.
Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.
Source: Tony Jones on Twitter
August 21, 2019, 5:25 pmZach CollinsC, Portland Trail Blazers
Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.
Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.
Source: The Athletic
August 21, 2019, 10:34 amCory JosephPG, Sacramento Kings
Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.
Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.
Source: John Casey on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 10:33 pmTyronn LuePG, Los Angeles Clippers
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.
The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 10:28 pmPJ TuckerSF, Houston Rockets
P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.
The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.
Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 6:11 pmJaylen AdamsPG, Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks officially announced the signings of guards Jaylen Adams and Rayjon Tucker on Tuesday.
Adams and Tucker have their work cut out for them in their bid to claim a roster with the big club, as the Bucks have a reasonably deep guard rotation. Adams and Tucker are more than likely competing to get playing time in the G-League this season and can be ignored in fantasy.