Note To Peter Vescey: Easy To Second Guess, Harder To Propose A Better Alternative

It’s easy to second guess.

I think most people are on board with the 2010 plan, recognizing that the team Isiah constructed was going nowhere fast anyway. There are differences around the fringes, such as, did the Knicks give up too much to clear Jeffries and Hill when they already had max cap room? Fine. Fair enough. The New York Post‘s Peter Vescey makes the point in his typically carmudgeony way:

Judging by their reaction, Walsh’s latest moves had gone over big with New York’s renowned “sophisticated” fans. Potentially, he had traded three pristine picks to the Rockets for a micro-surgically repaired 30-year-old (Tracy McGrady) in order to build for the future, yet they anointed him with oil.

It’s fine to disagree with the Jeffries move. There is an intelligent and rational way to do it. We have a great reader/commenter (Italian Stallion) who does it all the time. But the way Vescey did it is just wrong. The Knicks traded a single pick: the 2012 one, which is protected. They also traded Jordan Hill, who may or may not be a contributor in this league. They also gave Houston the right to swap 2011 picks. Depending on how things go, this right may or may not be exercised.

But the Post has taken its penchant for revisionist history to new levels with a decidedly faulty outlook at what-might-have-been:

Despite the reality, had Walsh selected his draft picks more prudently and chosen a path of resistance vs. concession, the Knicks’ current starters would be Randolph, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Brandon Jennings and Crawford . . . and they would own their own first-rounders in 2011 and 2012 instead of the distant hope of landing James, Wade or both.

But wait a minute Peter, surely an astute basketball mind like you would realize that a playoff caliber squad like the one D’Antoni inherited [sarcasm] wouldn’t have had a lottery pick two drafts ago, so they wouldn’t have had a chance to draft Lopez, the “dominant” center on a 6 win team.

But playing Vescey’s game, Lopez would only improve the Knicks with his dominating play and therefore they surely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to draft the amazing Brandon Jennings [sarcasm]. If you want to be completely honest rather than trying to have it both ways, I’d grant you that the Knicks could have been Ty Lawson, Crawford, Lee, ZBo, and Roy Hibbert. AWESOME!!! Move over Raptors!

Anyway, the completely mythical lineup that Vescey proposes has Lee as a small forward (surely he’s capable of containing athletic NBA wings out on the perimeter), two ball dominating guards with poor shot selection and another ball hog at power forward. Surely the recipe for success right?

I dont know as much about Lefty McCorish, Patches O’Barnaby, Solomon “One Foot” Bilzheimer, or Moishe “48-minute clock” Rothman as the venerable Vescey does, but to my novice mind, if my options were Vescey’s impossible fantasy line-up or a roll of the dice coupled with future cap flexibility that has value well beyond Plans A-C that Vescey purports to be privy to, I go with the latter.

30 comments

  1. Jon

    Nice. I’ll still take Gallo over Lopez too. For those of you who disagree, I completely understand but let’s talk in a couple of years.

  2. Alex

    VERY WELL DONE!!! These writers are so funny. I’ve heard of 20/20 hindsight but so many of them show they have 20/60 hindsight.

  3. BRIGGS

    Yes–we already had 24mm in cap space and we would likely have enough cash in 2011 to be another big player in FA–especially is we could not find a player worthy of spending huge cash on. If Lebron James truly wanted to come to NY–does he seem like the guy who would HAVE to have another max FA–are you kidding me? I honestly don’t even think these guys like each other too much. Lebron is his own man as is Chris Bosh etc… if one of them wanted to come to NY –they would come unconditionally–they dont need hand holding.

    To hedge out the draft picks was inane–incredulous–warped –what else can I say. If we are bad–we get no reward. Has recent history say stay away from doing this stuff–when we pick an Evan turner et al for the Jazz this summer–wont that serve as a reminder?
    On top it we lose the potential to trade an high draft pick for an existing all star—a reasonable and required compensation in most cases. We simply gave that way for the right to spend 8.9mm or so–and my bet is we dont spend it –and if we do –we may regret it for 5 years. We had the cap space for Lebron–even if we pull two max players–we wont have a team for them to play with. So many unanswered questions–just stupid business to the core. You have to ask yourself–what other team does this? Answer only the team who has had the worst win–to cash spent ratio in the history of sports over a decade and second place isnt close. worst run franchise in pro sports dollar for dollar.

  4. BRIGGS

    For those who think this is a good strategy–build a team with two max fA–I will give you Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire. remember we need to clear another 1.5mm in cap to get this done–with a projected cap of 53mm so Tony Douglas is gone and we had to buyout Curry for 500k to make it work. Did I mention we had to renounce everyone? Every existing free agent –Ill even give you Bill Walker –maybe they can get another 800k out of Curry.

    Go to it

    Basically its
    C-Stoudemire
    F Gallinari
    F Chandler
    G Bill Walker
    G J Johnson
    7 min players and 2 second round picks

    I have taken the liberty to draft Jimmer Freddette and Jamine Petersen for you–we do need a PH and players who can score and fit the *system* off the bench. If we didnt like Jordan Hill we are not taking Jarvis Varando or any other 7 footer who can shoot a three or run like a gazelle.

    • Dan L

      I don’t think its that we didn’t like Hill, I just think giving him up was the cost of doing business.

          • CeeLARock

            @ Dan L

            I am still one of the biggest Starks fans around and it broke my heart when he left BUT it was a clear upgrade at both spots…J Hill is a bust one thing i can say is Zeke has an eye for talent when it comes to drafting players, F A is somthing else..our scouts need to be replaced and sorry to say never been sold on Walsh. Walsh said today that theres a good chance we might not sign either Wade or James!!!

    • Italian Stallion

      I agree that we gave up too much for Jeffries considering we already had a lot of space and he was coming off the cap in 2011 anyway.

      I agree that overpaying for Joe Johnson is a huge risk especially because D’Antoni seems to like him.

      To be honest, I can’t think of too many scenarios that would make me happy other than landing one of the big 3 because I think we’ll have to overpay for everyone else that could help.
      Initially I was really upset by this, but I think we have to wait and see what happens before we get too stressed. It might work out very well.

      • Dan L

        Yea I really don’t want to overpay for anyone but I can at least envision a decent overall outcome if the knicks overpay for Johnson. Not ideal but might not be the end of the world depending on the rest of the moves.

  5. Bobby B.

    Grow up, Bro. Vescey is right on point. I’ts laughable when anybody offers real insight on Old Man Walsh and Mike Damphoney, guys like you get thin-skinned and hysterical and come out swinging.

    Vescey ha been coving B-Ball a lot longer than you, buddy.

    • Dan L

      I know he has but he’s clearly wrong. I don’t see you defending his ideas other than just to waylay Walsh and D’Antoni. Defend his ideas intellectually so we can have a debate. K? Thx.

      Clearly Vescey’s “insight” was a bit juvenile. I suspect you agree with it. Try to defend rather than just making personal attacks. I’m happy to debate the merits and prove you wrong.

  6. Ewingoak

    Dan L- it seems that you have you have uncovered some negativity with your last passage. I am on your side with your thinking on this one, but I will also recognize that you don’t write in an aggressive fashion, insulting or belittling others viewpoints the way some others have been chiming in. Kudos to you for not stepping in that direction. There are so many ways to think about all of this and everything that could be going on in the future, and no one really knows how it will pan out, including Donnie and Mike. But they are taking a chance to rebuild in a way that they believe is the right way. So much can happen in an NBA season and so many different directions can be taken by so many different teams. Who knows what the Knicks might be offered from other teams that are attempting to rebuild in the next few seasons? I have always felt that as a fan I will look at it all in a positive manner and not suffocate everything that I write and think about the Knicks in a negative tone. I am realistic no doubt, but it gets a little tiresome to read all the negativities on a daily basis before this master plan has even materialized.

  7. Virgil

    Well I for one love a good debate, so lets see what I can come up with.
    Jordan Hill was still a lottery pick. PERIOD, so in a sense I view it as 2 picks given up. You say he may or may not be a player in this league, then why the heck did we pick him when CHASE was on the board. Even Ty Lawson. Now I am all for most of the moves cept I wanted Mark coaching, (he woulda gave steph a shot)but i digress.
    Anyway where do we go from here, do we build with one or two max guys. IMO 2010 1 max guy and a Mid guy and LEE. in 2011 another max guy.

    • Dan L

      Well that’s a legitimate point. If you go far back enough, isn’t everyone a draft pick though? Do we say the Knicks gave up a draft pick because they traded Nate or Jeffries?

      • Virgil

        Yes we could say that although Jeff wasn’t our pick. But at least we gave nate a try to see what he can do. Hill was not, but as you say it is the cost of doing business, I can accept that if that is what it is? i just do wish we could somehow keep some of the guys here and give them a shot. Not saying it would all work out, as with this trade only time will tell. But if we would have thought back when frye and ariza were here that they would become the role players they are, would we have given up on them so quickly. Again the cost of doing business? or not sticking to a plan?

        • Dan L

          Well frye and ariza were traded during the previous disfunctional regime and each trade added salary. I think if walsh was in charge then and/or there was a plan to get under the cap, those trades wouldn’t have happened.

  8. CeeLARock

    Guys i’ve been a fan of this site for a while and only once did anyone bring up the fact about crawford and Randolph. look at this line up had we kept them…Randolph, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Brandon Jennings and Crawford . . . and we would own our first-rounders in 2011 and 2012 instead of the distant hope of landing James, Wade or both. I am sorry that is a stud line up and for the Gallo fans keep add him in and there still a beast of a squad. We should have not got rid of Zach nor crawford..bad move and if we get Joe johnson and Bosh ok isnt that the same as crawford and Randolph????

    • Dan L

      CeeLa, first off, we definitely appreciate the fact that you’ve been visiting us regularly. Our readership means a lot to us.

      The thing about the line up you and Vescey propose is that in my opinion it’s unlikely it could ever happen.

      For example if the Knicks kept Jamal and Zach a lot of people think the Knicks would have been a playoff team. But that would mean the Knicks would have had a pick 15 or higher. Lopez went 10th, so the Knicks couldn’t have drafted him. Same with Jennings. He went 10th too. The Knicks would have had no shot at him.

      And they wouldn’t have Jordan Hill either obviously.

      In my example in the blog I said the Knicks could have had Lawson and Hibbert. That’s ok but I’m pretty sure the Knicks will put something better together over the summer.

      • CeeLARock

        @ Dan L

        My point was missed what im saying is we cleared all this cap room to sign a big ticket free agent i.e. Wade or James but Walsh stated today that its more than likely we would not get either..So whats the point if you already had Randoplh and crawford on the team olny to get rid of them to sign J johnson and Bosh? They are pretty much the same except now we lose draft picks? Would you not agree if we had Zach and craw on the team all we would really need would be a true PG and a center..We even got rid of frye who Phx has converted into a sharp shooter..We lost Ariza who helped Kobe in my opinoin more than Artest..We gave up alot just to get back what we already had…please help me understand why??

        • Dan L

          Ok I get what you’re saying. Crawford and Zach are nice players but I don’t agree with you that they’re the same as Johnson and Bosh. I think Johnson is better than Crawford and I think that makes sense since Crawford is his backup right now. I also think Bosh is a better all around player than Zach. Probably a first ballot hall of famer. I don’t think you can say that for Zach. I think if you get those two you win at least 50 games and possibly contend for the title depending on what else you can get. With Jamal and Zach, the Knicks didn’t really do that well.

          As for the Ariza and Frye trades? Well first thing is the Knicks traded Frye for Zach so they couldn’t have had both. But I agree both trades were pretty bad. You can’t really put the blame for those trades on this regime though since they happened in the middle of the last regime’s era. I definitely wish the Knicks still had Frye and Ariza.

          • Virgil

            Dan what has Bosh shown that would make him a first ballot hall of fame. Honestly I still have to question whether or not Bosh is as good as his hype. To me if boozer is healthy he is just as good as bosh and even brand for that matter. Health is their issues.

          • Dan L

            That’s definitely fair. I do think Bosh is better than those guys though. Maybe not a first ballot guy until he does more in the playoffs.

        • Dan L

          As luck would have it, Jeff Van Gundy had a quote about this issue that hit the papers today:

          “I’ve always thought that the Knicks, as far as from a pure talent standpoint, people have overrated what they’ve had,” said Van Gundy, an analyst for ESPN. “They’ve had some pieces. But they have absolutely no defensive presence in the middle. And if you don’t have any shot-blocking or any basket protection, it’s impossible to be good defensively. And if it’s impossible to be good defensively, then you’re limited how good you really can be.”

          ***

          “Without question, they did the right thing,” Van Gundy said. “Both places will get somebody good, really good — if not this year, then next year or the year after. They were stuck in that torturous place of mediocrity, 32 to 43 wins if they maxed out their talent and they had kept the same talent.”

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/06/sports/basketball/06knicks.html?ref=sports

          • Jon

            I thought Van Gundy’s take on the lack of shot-blocking was interesting. I don’t think of that as such a debilitating hole in a defense because I think teams that rotate actively, take charges and gang rebound can still be effective on defense. Houston is a great case in point. They’re extremely conscientious on defense and their focus and grit masks smallness on the interior.

            But just about every player on that team, with the exception of newly acquired Kevin Martin, is a well-above average defensive player. And they have to scrap and claw for 48 minutes every game to make it happen.

            The Knicks, on the other hand, are littered with truly lousy defensive players sprinkled in with a couple of average ones (Chandler, Gallo). And, worse, they don’t fight on defense to make it happen at all.

            So, in the Knicks case, since they aren’t going to play team D with commitment — make it to every spot early, take charges, etc. — a shot-blocking big would be a huge boon because his presence would compensate for at least some of the Knicks’ overall defensive crappiness. That’s what we saw when the Knicks had Jeffries, whose presence clearly camouflaged how terrible the rest of the Knicks truly were/are.

            And I imagine that’s the point that Van Gundy was making. A team can survive defensively without shot-blocking but it’s much, much more difficult and probably not sustainable over time.

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