Tagged: Toney Douglas

In The News: McGrady, Toney, LeBron, Kobe, Mullin

Here’s my own skewed view of recent Knicks news:

  • Apparently Mike D’Antoni doesn’t want Tracy McGrady back because he has to far to go in his recovery and is an injury risk. Come on Mike. I mean, he’s better than Penny was when he was a Knick. But seriously, I can’t wait for Berman to approach T-Mac and ask him: “Do you have any reaction to Mike D’Antoni saying he hates you and thinks you’re a an awful basketball player?”
  • In other T-Mac news, according to the New York Post, the Knicks let his body guard, Harveaire Berrien, have access to the locker room. That’s cool, just don’t let him cross paths with Hassan Gonsalves.
  • When Toney Douglas was drafted by the Knicks, he didn’t know who Walt Frazier was. He learned about him though, and I’m glad to see that Toney plans to pick Clyde’s brain. Clyde’s a legend and should be able to teach Toney a lot about offense and defense.
  • LeBron James said he “won’t stop” until he brings a championship to Cleveland. I’m not sure what that means. After he brings Cleveland a championship, he stops? At any rate, I think this means I’m supposed to be rooting for Cleveland, although I hate them. I hate their city, I hate their teams, I hate their faces. Honestly, as badly as I want LeBron to come to the Knicks, I want to see the Cavs get knocked out by Orlando again.
  • Frank Isola updates us on the Chris Mullin situation, which, so far as I’ve been able to tell, hasn’t changed since a year ago. Also, way to be creative with your headlines Daily News.
  • Kobe Bryant just signed a roughly $90 million extension to stay with the Lakers. Kobe, can I just have $1 million? I won’t tell anyone, I swear. And it’s not like you’ll even realize it’s gone. In all seriousness, Kobe was eligible for so such a monumental contract because he’s stayed with the same team for so long. That made him eligible to receive a fixed percentage raise every year and with every new contract. If he had hypothetically decided to switch teams he could only sign for roughly $16 million in his first year, which is roughly the max salary for free agents who switch teams (unless he switched in a sign and trade, in which case he could’ve gotten his $90 mil). At any rate, LeBron and other future free agents will likely never see that kind of money, even if they stay with their current teams, because under the forthcoming collective bargaining agreement, not only will the maximum salary likely go down, but there will also be a hard cap, meaning teams won’t be able to exceed the cap, even to re-sign their own players.

Is Toney Douglas Mardy Collins 2?

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.

The Knicks Don’t Fancy Themselves As Scrubs

How is it that a team like the Houston Rockets that boasts a rotation of role players and nobodies, is 4-2, and has competed in every game this season? These are the players in Rick Adelman’s rotation:

  • Trevor Ariza
  • Carl Landry
  • Shane Battier
  • Aaron Brooks
  • Luis Scola
  • Chuck Hayes
  • Chase Budinger
  • Kyle Lowery

Is that a rotation that so clearly outshines what the Knicks put out on the floor, so much so that they can take teams to overtime (LA Lakers) that would surely build a 20-30 point lead on the Knicks in the first quarter?

What is the difference between these two squads? Why can’t the Knicks play like the 1999-2000 Orlando Magic, which had no bonafide stars, and players who knew they wouldn’t stick around after that season, yet still managed to win 41 games?

My theory is that the Houston Rockets realize that they suck. They realize that they are outmatched on the talent flank in most games and they know that they have to make up for it with heart and effort. The current Knicks, by contrast, are a collection of players with an overinflated sense of their value.

Larry Hughes makes $14 million this year. It is possible that he thinks he’s already proven himself a successful player in this league, otherwise, he couldn’t have earned that contract. He earned that money taking any old shot he liked.

Al Harrington makes $10 million and he did it playing his game. Why should he buy-in to the system whole-heartedly when he’s already proven his value and worth around the league, doing what he has always done (being a complete ball stopper)?

Wilson Chandler is the future, right? The next Matrix. Why shouldn’t he run up and down the court firing indiscriminately.

Jarred Jeffries? Man did he put in work over the summer. Now he’s a marksman. He doesn’t have the same limitations he previously had, and he’s going to pull the trigger more than he used to. Nevermind that everyone but him seems to notice that these shots aren’t falling.

David Lee? Same story. He put in work on that jumper, and yes it has improved, but I am pretty confident that any team will feel comfortable letting David Lee try to trade baskets with a legitimate scorer on the other side. It is pretty infuriating watching the team concede that the best look they are going to get on a possession is a David Lee 18 footer.

Nate Robinson? Nobody can stop him. His shot is deadly. Any shot he takes is a good shot, even if there are 22 seconds left on the shot clock and the D is back, and there’s nobody to corral the board, because it’s going to go in.

None of these guys realize their limitations. They play with an inflated sense of their skills. They don’t make the effort on the defense because they are convinced that they outscore the other team. Nevermind that none of them move without the ball. Nevermind that in reality, they have the 4th worst FG% in the league and have already lost to the teams that are last (Bobcats) and third to last (Bucks) in FG%.

The Rockets’ players on the other hand are a hodge-podge group of blue collar workers, none of whom (yet) have settled into the complacency afforded many of the Knicks by virtue of a monstrous contract. They know that they are basically scrubs, and if they want to win they have to work, get dirty, mix it up, move without the ball, fight. They aren’t so heartless that they give up offensive rebounds off of missed free-throws multiple times a game.

If the Knicks are going to lose, why do it on the backs of heartless veterans that don’t realize their limitations. Instead, Coach D’Antoni should start to play guys who want to do what it takes to win, even if they can’t make it happen because they aren’t good enough, yet. At least they’ll try. So I think Coach D’Antoni should play Toney Douglas and bench Chris Duhon. I think he should play Jordan Hill and bench Jarred Jeffries and take minutes away from Al Harrington. Hell, play Marcus Landry and tell Wilson Chandler to take a seat. If he’s anything like his brother, he’ll earn more minutes if given the chance.

If it isn’t clear to the Knicks, it is clear to everyone else. They are scrubs, and they better start playing like it.

Starting, for YOUR…NEW…YORK…KNICKS!

Courtesy of Tommy Dee, the starting 5 for the first preseason game, tomorrow (!) is:

PG- Chris Duhon
SG- Larry Hughes
SF- Al Harrington
PF- David Lee
C- Jared Jeffries

My initial reaction is (A) this might not be the lineup that starts the regular season (Hahn tweets that D’Antoni said not to read into it), and (B) that youth is not being served.

However, 4 out of these 5 have been on winners in their careers, and they know what effort is required (plus nobody questions Lee’s effort) to win. It is going to be up to this group to set the tone for the youthful second unit, which, by the way, is going to be dynamic between  Douglas, Nate, Chandler, Gallinari, Darko (is there room for Curry here?). These starters will have to lead by example and avoid falling into big holes to start out games.

Other than that, I think the majority of the scoring load is going to fall on Harrington and then Hughes. They will both have to prove that they can keep the ball moving, something neither has done much of in his career.

In addition, it appears that Jeffries has earned a starting spot with some great play in camp. Like I’ve previously said, I’ll believe he’s transformed into, at a minimum, a consistently useful player when I see it. Nothing would make me happier. Otherwise, even if he starts, I don’t see him getting more than 20-25 minutes.

The Overlooked: Toney Douglas

In all the distress and disappointment that many of us had after the draft, I feel that Toney Douglas has been a bit overlooked. When the Knicks drafted him with the 29th pick, my reaction was a sarcastic “yay”. Unfair to him but it didn’t really have much to do with him; I had that reaction for the same reason people booed Hill. It was a manifestation of the disappointment of losing out on Stephen Curry.

I have to confess to never seeing Douglas play. I didn’t catch an FSU game that I can remember over the last few years, but I watched some clips, and Berman did a good job of laying out what Douglas can do for the Knicks, quoting Pistons director of Player Personnel George David:

“He’s one of the steals in the draft,” said the Pistons director of player personnel George David. “I thought he’d be 18, 19, 20. That kid is not a 29th pick. He’s a big-time scorer and lockdown defender.”

I’ve also reviewed his numbers (image via ESPN):

Strikes me as a lethal scorer, and effecient, plus able to do a lot of different things on the court, from rebounding to steals (and his reputation is certainly as a defensive stopper). Usually you don’t get much out of late first round picks, but sometimes you do. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on Douglas.

Picks for Sale! And PG Rankings.

Chad Ford reports that the Knicks, Pacers, and Rockets are among the teams looking to buy a pick. Who are the sellers in the first round?

…The Wizards have a high lottery pick they’d consider moving.

The Pistons at No. 15, the Hornets at No. 21 and the Blazers at No. 24 are also all willing to deal. And a few teams with multiple first-round picks — the Thunder, Grizzlies and Bulls — might be willing to sell, too.

Ideally I wouldn’t want the Knicks to give up an asset besides cold hard cash for a pick. I like the idea of building a young, core group of guys that will include Chandler and Gallo.

Ford also did a straw poll of NBA GMs to get the current consensus rankings for point guards. It has to worry Steph Curry/Knicks fans that he is currently considered the second best PG prospect:

1. Rubio

2. Curry

3. Flynn

4. Holiday

5. Evans (I don’t believe he’s a PG)

6. Teague

7. Jennings

8. Maynor

9. Lawson

10. Mills

11. Collison

12. Calathas

13. Toney Douglas

I would be happy with any of Curry, Flynn, or Holiday, with Curry a strong preference (not including Rubio because I think he’ll be gone). It looks like the Knicks could definitely get one of them.