• The New York Knicks made some big moves this off-season to reshape their roster, but the likelihood of those changes being dramatic improvements is low, so low that it would be difficult to justify the risk of making them.

    Now that isn’t to say that I don’t understand the motivation behind high-risk/high-reward moves in their position.  As a franchise virtually starved of talent beyond Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, and stripped of their first round pick by a trade made years ago, sometimes it’s best to swing for the fences because it’s your best way to get better.  The issue in the Knicks’ case is the irresponsibility of the moves made.

    Derrick Rose was the first in a series of less-than-stellar moves for the Knicks.  Rose has dealt with major knee injuries for years now, although to be fair, he played 66 games last season and 51 the year before.  So as far as injuries are concerned, there have been quite a few, but the trend is starting to go in the right direction at least.

    The problem lies in his production.  According to Basketball Reference, a box plus-minus of -2 is considered “replacement level” and 0 is essentially average.  Derrick Rose posted a box plus minus of -3.3 last season, and because it doesn’t factor in playing time, it not only isn’t skewed by his injuries, it fails to acknowledge the negative impact of his inability to make it through an 82 game season.

    Derrick Rose hasn’t been able to post a positive box plus minus since the 2011-2012 season, so the idea of him returning to anything similar to his MVP days is well beyond optimistic.  This has been fairly easy to see on the court, and shouldn’t be shocking considering how much of his success was predicated on his explosiveness, which has been severely lacking since his knee injuries.   He shot 51% within three feet last season, which was dramatically lower than his career average of .568, and also dunked considerably less last season, which is a direct consequence of his prior injuries and lowers his overall effectiveness.

    Rose’s lack of outside shooting doesn’t help matters, and there isn’t really any reason to believe that he’s headed toward improvement.  Ignoring all of that for a moment, it’s still hard to understand the motivation behind a deal like this.

    Rose will be a free agent at the end of the season, and even if he is able to show a small amount of the talent that he once had, would the Knicks really want to sign him to a long-term deal? His history will be hard to get past, and it’s likely that his injury issues will be a question mark hovering over him for the rest of his time in the NBA.  With Anthony and Noah, two players that have recently struggled with injury and are past their primes, already signed to lengthy deals, signing Rose to something similar would be essentially begging for an injury to affect every season for the franchise going forward.   A team can only assume so much long-term risk before it becomes irresponsible, and it wouldn’t be hard to argue that the Knicks have reached that threshold even without Rose.

    The Joakim Noah signing made even less sense.   Carmelo Anthony is at a point in his career where the team should be actively working to transition him to playing power forward, meaning that Kristaps Porzingis should be groomed for the starting center position, which isn’t at all out of position when you consider the fact that he’s well over seven feet.

    When these are the only two assets that your franchise has, you don’t go out and sign a player that can only play center to a large four year contract, and that’s before recognizing his declining play and injury history.

    Joakim Noah played last season like he wanted to define the infamous Mendoza Line for the NBA.  He posted a horrid field goal percentage of .383% and took the offense ineptitude to an even higher level with a free throw percentage of .489%.  Without any context, these are horrible numbers, but then when you consider that he took over 73% of his shots from within three feet and barely managed 10.5 shots a game last season they become nearly unacceptable.

    Throughout his career he has built his success on passing and defense, but even last season he had a turnover percentage of 25.4%, which was far and away a career high and his defense has been declining for the last few seasons.

    Beyond the injuries, he’s about as inept as a player can be on offense and is trending in the wrong direction defensively.  Considering the fact that he’s going to be playing next season as a 31-year-old, the odds of him making any sort of improvement are very low, and the odds of him declining past the point of him being a starting caliber player are decently high, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the team cut him before his contract ends.

    This all ignores his obvious injury concerns as well.  He started two games last season and only appeared in 29 overall, and that’s a year after he only made it into 67 games.  The idea that Noah, Rose and Anthony will all be healthy next season and beyond is almost laughable.

    With Carmelo Anthony gracefully entering his prime, and Kristaps Porzingis showing that he is both the present and the future for the Knicks, the team would have been much better off signing one of the young, high upside free agents that were available during the off-season.   Even if these options didn’t work out, cap flexibility should have been a much high priority than acquiring players like Rose and Noah who, at best, make marginal improvements to the current roster.

    The Knicks need young talent, and without their first round pick in this year’s draft, they weren’t in a good position to add any.  Kristaps Porzingis is a great building block, and Carmelo Anthony still has quite a bit of talent left to help a team, but the Knicks didn’t add enough talent to make a true run in the Eastern Conference, which makes it difficult to justify the cost.

     

     

Fantasy News

  • Jon Horst - Team - Milwaukee Bucks

    Jon Horst has been awarded the Executive of the Year award.

    Horst added Coach Budenholzer and retooled the roster to perfectly fit Giannis Antetokoumpo and his style of play. This led to the best record in the NBA and to a team that many believed to be the favorites to come out of the east. Obviously this was a regular season award, because Masai Ujiri came in fourth place and if voting were done today it would look a lot different.

    Source: https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1143346008673398785" target="_blank">NBA on Twitter

  • Rudy Gobert - C - Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert has won the 2018-2018 Defensive Player of the Year Award.

    Gobert helped anchor one of the best defenses in the league and this makes it the second consecutive year he's taken home the award. The Jazz are always steady due to his efforts on that end of the floor and the team's identity starts with him.

    Source: NBA on Twitter

  • Mike Budenholzer - Team - Milwaukee Bucks

    Mike Budenholzer has been named the Coach of the Year for the 2018-2019 season.

    In his first season as the Bucks’ coach, Budenholzer helped propel the team to an NBA-best 60 wins. The Bucks revamped their offense and did their best to play through Giannis Antetokounmpo’s strengths and the drastic shift in performance compared to years past makes this a well deserved award.

    Source: NBA on Twitter

  • Lou Williams - SG - Los Angeles Clippers

    Lou Williams collected his third Kia NBA Sixth Man Award on Monday night, winning it over Domantas Sabonis and Montrezl Harrell.

    Williams wasn't needed quite as much this season due to the heath of his teammates. That caused his minutes to drop from 32.8 to 26.6 per game, but he still scored 20.0 points per game and even increased his rebounds and assists to career highs.

    Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter

  • Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies

    Mike Conley won two awards Monday night that were voted on by the players, the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award and the Sportsmanship Award.

    It's nice to see Conley getting some attention this summer. This is his third Sportsmanship Award, and he'll be taking that and his Teammate of the Year Award to probably the best team he's ever been a part of in Utah. Now let's see if he can get his first All Star nod, too.

    Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter

  • Pascal Siakam - PF - Toronto Raptors

    Pascal Siakam took home the Kia Most Improved Player Award, beating De'Aaron Fox and D'Angelo Russell.

    This award was seemingly wrapped up back in November. Siakam exploded this season, improving significantly is every fantasy category (excluding turnovers). He finished the regular season with per-game averages of 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 threes on 54.9 percent from the field and 78.5 percent from the line. His three-point percentage has increased from 14.3 to 22.0 to 36.9 as well. Whether or not Kawhi Leonard returns, Siakam should easily make his way into the top-40 ranks next season.

    Source: NBA on TNT on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic - PG - Dallas Mavericks

    Luka Doncic won the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award, beating finalists Trae Young and DeAndre Ayton.

    Ayton had the best fantasy season and Young had an amazing second half. However, Luka was a team leader, primary ball-handler and clutch shot-maker all season. His per-game averages of 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.3 threes exceed most expectations. If he can bump up his percentages, he could be an early-round fantasy star for over a decade.

    Source: NBA on TNT

  • Patrick Beverley - PG - Los Angeles Clippers

    According to Brad Townsend, Patrick Beverley plans to meet with the Mavs, though a meeting has not been scheduled.

    He's also planning to meet with other teams, as we've heard before. Beverley appears to be in-demand this summer and he should produce similar stats to what he's put up over the last few seasons regardless of his landing spot. Whether he's with a bad team like the Bulls, a middling team like the Mavs or a potential contender like the Lakers, one would think he'll be signing in a spot where he'll be starting.

    Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter

  • Markelle Fultz - PG - Orlando Magic

    Markelle Fultz (shoulder) will not play at Summer League, according to GM John Hammond.

    Fultz has reportedly been making good progress and the Magic are excited about what he's been able to do since coming over at the trade deadline, but this is not great news. Hopefully Fultz will be ready to contribute in the preseason so we can get a look at how he'll fit in Orlando. The upside is immense but it would take a strong showing to confidently draft Fultz in redraft formats as his shoulder issues have completely derailed the first few years of his career.

    Source: 96.9 The Game on Twitter

  • Haywood Highsmith - PF - Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers have waived Haywood Highsmith.

    Highsmith joined the Sixers on a two-way deal last season but only appeared in five games. Expect them to use that spot on a more established G-League player or a rookie with some upside.

    Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter