Steve Adamek warned today that excited Knicks fans should heed the lessons of history and remember that somebody has to get stats on a losing team. I must confess that the first thing I thought of when Bill Walker started impressing us was Qyntel Woods (Jon and I called him good Q. Richardson was bad Q. Then we lost track of which was good Q and which was bad Q). In light of Douglas’ emergence, I, like Adamek, also thought of Mardy Collins, the nightly triple double threat on Isiah’s last team.
Two differences though. The first one is that with Toney playing well, the Knicks are, so far, winning. The Knicks barely won in Collins’ big month. The second, as Jon pointed out to me is that it’s a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. Here are Collins’ “impressive” numbers (courtesy of ESPN.com):
14 points, 6 assists, 7 boards. Wow. 44 minutes. 39% FG. In those games Collins surpassed the “Per 40″ or “Per 36″ number that is useful in equalizing stats for evaluation purposes. His per 40s were 12, 4 and 5. He also never had a PER higher than 9.54.
Toney’s last 5 games:
14 points, 4 assists, 2.5 boards. Pretty nice for a rookie playing in just 28.2 minutes. If you adjust for minutes played (caveat: I’m not good at math), Douglas has per/40 averages in his last 5 of 17.4 ppg, 5 assts, and 3 boards. He’s also a far better shooter than Collins. And his PER is already a 15.
It is tempting to get excited about guys like Douglas, who appear to be playing so well when the season is in the tank. I was excited about Collins too and to a lesser extent, good/bad Q (Woods). It is also equally easy to dismiss end of season contributions as “somebody need[ing] to score”. The difference though is deeper in the numbers. Compared to Collins, Douglas looks more legitimate.