Tagged: Washington Wizards

Knicks-Wizards Trade Talk Moot

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports:

The Washington Wizards have acquired Minnesota Timberwolves guards Randy Foye and Mike Miller for Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov and Darius Songaila and the fifth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, a league executive with knowledge of the deal told Yahoo! Sports.

I’m thinking the Wolves have to be making this deal as a prelude to a trade with Memphis for the second pick. The Wolves are reputed to be dying to move up for Rubio.

Guest Blog: Wilson Chandler, Deal or No Deal?

With the recent tidal wave of speculation surrounding a potential trade whereby the Knicks would send Larry Hughes and Wilson Chandler to the Wizards for the 5th pick in Thursday’s draft and some expiring contracts, it’s definitely important that the Knicks’ braintrust carefully consider the merits of Chandler, since he’s the lone, long-term asset that DW would be sacrificing in the deal. To that end, loyal reader and frequent contributor Italian Stallion posted an awesome (and very comprehensive) evaluation of Chandler’s present day value and his potential going forward that we think is worthy of a separate entry. Without further ado:

Wilson Chandler’s name has been coming up in trade talks with Wizards as part of various deals that include moving up to the #5. Given that Chandler is generally viewed as a key part of our core group, I think it’s important to get clearer view on how good he is now and what his potential is.

There are two schools of thought on Chandler.

1. He’s a very inefficient scorer that is not special at anything else either. The evidence for this is actually extremely strong. Stats guys will point out that his TS%, eFG% and FG% are all quite a bit below average relative to other starting SFs. Basically, in English, he’s not a very good 3 point shooter but shoots a lot if them (a terrible idea). He also rarely uses his athletic ability to get to the free throw line. That’s an extremely significant attribute to be missing. If you draw a lot of fouls you can get 3 points on some easy shots or 2 free throws if you miss (getting 2 free throws is better than most shots because the probability of hitting them is higher than for the average shot – at least for a good free throw shooter). So lacking this is a major downside in his game. All his other stats are about average at best (rebounds, blocks, steals, assists etc…) for a SF.

PER: 12.9 (below the average of 15 for all NBA players, let alone starters)
TS%: .515 (below the average of mid 50s)
3P%: .328 Below th average of about 36% or 37% for starters)

2. All the above is true, but some of his flaws will be very easy to correct because they are mental. He also has the athleticism and work ethic to correct much of the remainder. Last year was basically his rookie year and he finished the year playing at a higher level than he did when he started (rebounding and various shooting stats were higher).

I more or less subscribe the second view.

I think you have to build age, experience, athleticism, work ethic etc.. into any evaluation of a young talent. Some people may overdo it (including some GMs on Thursday night LMAO), but to look at stats alone and/or a player in his current snapshot in time is basically leaving out a major part of the probabilities. That’s a ridiculous way of thinking about things – especially if you are stats and numbers oriented to begin with.

To me Chandler is a MORTAL LOCK to improve if he stays healthy.

It’s going to be easy to teach him how to avoid some of those bad 3 pointers he takes from time to time. It’s also going to be easy to teach him that many of the 2 pointers he takes just inside the arc are especially dumb because they are very difficult low percentage shots, but you only get 2 points for making them (a very dumb idea). So to me, he can improve his scoring efficiency enough to get to a more average level just by tweaking his shot selection.

Second, he HAS the athleticism to get to the hoop and draw fouls. He has demonstrated that ability on many nights. The key is going to be getting him to maintain that level of aggressiveness on a more consistent basis. That will be up to D’Antoni and whether or not he has the proper mental makeup. It’s not a mortal lock, but I think we can expect more.

Third, he was a better shooter last year than the year before and he was better at the end of the season than he was for much of the rest of the season. I think we can expect a little more improvement this year.

Fourth, he clearly has a strong work ethic. The coaches all say so. The players all say so. He has been twittering and saying himself that the recent surgery is going to stop him from working as hard on his game this off season as he wanted to.

Fifth, he’s an above average defender.

Sixth, he’s extremely versatile and can play anywhere from the 2 to the 4 depending on the matchups.

OK, now that I’ve given what I feel is an unbiased look at the pluses, minuses, question marks etc…. it is necessary to determine where he is now and to guess what his potential is.

To me, right now he is clearly a below average starting SF. There’s almost no doubt about that. The stats scream it and he plays in a system that tends to help statistically.

However, given his age, lack of experience, athletic gifts, and the ease with which some of his flaws can be corrected, I think it’s almost certain he can become an above average SG/SF with borderline All-Star possibilities.

So after the first 4 selections of the draft and we get to see who is left at #5, we have to ask whether any of the players available at that point can be as good/better and have the same probability of doing so. The other miscellaneous details (expiring contracts etc…) seem less significant than usual because none of the players mentioned are ever going to be part of the core and I am already sure that Walsh will handle that part correctly.

Wizards Trade Buzz Gaining Steam (UPDATED)

Alan Hahn reported this morning that the Knicks have engaged in some trade discussions with the Wizards concerning Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries. Evidently Chad Ford is hearing very similar things because he posted the following this evening on ESPN:

Second, the Knicks have had talks with the Wizards about acquiring the No. 5 pick. If the Knicks draft a point guard there, they’d likely go in another direction with their second first-round pick. Their offer was Larry Hughes for Etan Thomas and Mike James and the fifth pick. The Wizards were once high on Hughes and are in the market for a veteran player who can propel the team to a championship right now. They’d save some money in the deal, get a player who could help them … but is that enough for the No. 5 pick?

Frankly, I’d be absolutely floored if Larry Hughes can really net you the 5th pick in the NBA draft, no matter how weak it’s believed to be. If this rumor came to fruition, though, of course I’d be ecstatic. The other day we all discussed permutations of what the Knicks could do with two lottery picks here and here.

This nugget about a Wizards deal was actually a tangent to the main point of Ford’s entry which was to discuss what direction the Knicks might take if they stayed put at 8. This afternoon in his latest mock Ford projected that the Knicks would select Brandon Jennings with the 8th pick (heaven forbid) but is reporting tonight that Jrue Holiday’s second workout, which was held earlier today, went much better than his first. Chad believes that, should primary targets Rubio, Curry, Evans, and Jordan Hill already be gone, Holiday may have overtaken Jennings on the Knicks board and is now very much in the mix to be the pick at 8.

UPDATE: Hahn is still on top of the situation and confirms through multiple sources that the Knicks offer would indeed include Chandler in addition to Hughes. With the 5th pick the Knicks would take Stephen Curry or Tyreke Evans and take Gerald Henderson or DeMar DeRozan with the 8th pick to replace Chandler, unless Jordan Hill is available.

From Around the Knicks-O-Sphere

This morning’s draft rumblings from the beat:

  • Star-Vermin tells us that the Knicks would have interest in Rubio if he slid all the way down to 8th. Earth-shattering stuff. POST EXCLUSIVE?

Holiday or Curry? Steph or Jrue?

There’s been a lot of scuttle in the Knicks-O-Sphere that the team may be higher on Jrue Holiday than Stephen Curry. While you all know we prefer Curry here (it’s a little mind-boggling that Curry gets a rep as a guy with limited experience at the point but Jrue, who hasn’t played the position at all above high school, gets a pass), we couldn’t really get mad at Donnie if he preferred Jrue. At 19, he’s brimming with potential and, from a size/speed/power standpoint, is the NBA prototype.

The thing is, though, it may be a bit of a semantic point as, unless the Knicks move up at least a couple of spots, they’re unlikely to even get a crack at Jrue. In fact, in all likelihood, when the Knicks pick at 8, Donnie won’t really have a choice between them, because one of Curry or Holiday will be gone. In other words, if Jrue is there at 8, it will probably be because some other GM in the top 7 preferred Curry to him.

So, I propose this as an ideal scenario: If Jrue is sitting there when the Wizards come up at 5, the Knicks offer Harrington, Duhon, and $3 million cash to the Wizards for Etan Thomas, Mike James and the (very available) 5th pick. Then we wouldn’t be forced to choose between them. Steph and Jrue could make for quite a backcourt.

Start Turning Those Wheels

Virgil, our favorite visitor from the Atl, asked a good question of HoopsWorld’s Bill Ingram during his chat this afternoon and got a pretty favorable answer:

virgil in atl ga:
the knicks have some decisions to make, do you think they have enough to trade for the #1 or 2 pick

Bill Ingram:
I don’t think they get the #1. The Kings are high on Griffin, though the dream scenario would be for OKC to win the lottery and get the local hero. Could they get #2 from the Wiz? I don’t know. Would they take something like Nate Robinson? The Wiz are built to win now or win never, so maybe . . .

So that’d be cool. Let’s start cooking up some scenarios. I’ll go first. How’s about:

A sign and trade of KryptoKlown and the Knicks’ 1st round pick (presently 8th) for Mike James and the Wizards’ first round pick (presently 2nd).

Of course, there are some mitigating factors to consider such as: (1) this all becomes moot if the Knicks win the lottery and work their way up into the top 3 and (2) KryptoKlown can’t be moved until July 9th because it would have to be in a sign and trade. This means that on draft day the Knicks and Wizards would have to agree to draft a player on each other’s behalf and then consummate the trade several weeks later.

Additionally, while Ingram provided some optimism about possibly moving up in the draft, he then proceeded to pour cold water on the Nash to New York scenarios:

Mike D’Antoni in NY, NY:
Will Nash and I be reunited next season?

Bill Ingram:
I can’t imagine Nash leaving one project team for another. If he leaves Phoenix it will be for a contender, not a lottery team.

Moral Victory vs. Zephyrs?

Rough game last night. Anytime you miss an opportunity to get a win against a lifeless, 8-31 team it’s difficult to draw anything positive from it. But the Knicks had a chance to win this game, and they should’ve won it, so I’m going to try:

  • The Knicks outrebounded the Wizards…er, Zephyrs 49-42 (and at certain points during the game that margin was even more pronounced). They pounded the defensive and offensive glass and mostly did a very good job of holding the Wiz to one shot. As ever, David Lee was the standout here (21 rebounds, 4 offensive).
  • The defense was outstanding. Two days after getting torched by Nick Young, the Knicks did a much better job of holding him in check. That baseline fadeaway is nice, but last night that’s pretty much all Young could get, and as a result he shot 6-14 for just 13 points. Likewise, the Knicks held Caron Butler completely in check for 47 minutes. Granted, he knocked down the top-of-the-key dagger to put the game out of reach (gotta love Tough Juice), but for most of the game he was not a factor. The Knicks obliterated the Wiz defensively in the 3rd quarter as they played themselves back into the game, and then out in front. They just couldn’t finish the job.
  • Jared Jeffries. We’re all finally seeing the value of Jared Jeffries (8 pts, 11 rebs, 3 blks). In fact, there’s a pattern forming. In games the Knicks have won (or played well in) Jeffries has played a crucial role at the defensive end and on the boards. D’Antoni (the no D label is getting ridiculous) realizes he has a defensive weapon in Jeffries and each night he seems to come up with a game plan to deploy him with maximum effectiveness (Check out Peter Vescey’s column in yesterday’s NY Post for more on this). Jeffries was indispensable in the wins against Boston and New Orleans and a big reason why the Knicks had a chance to win the game last night despite atrocious shooting (more on that in a minute).
  • The Knicks ran the offense. Even in the first half, when it appeared the wheels might come off completely as the Wizards built their lead, the Knicks stayed true to D’Antoni’s system. And it produced an endless supply of good looks. Even though the Wizards were far more effective defending the pick and roll last night than they were on Wednesday, the Knicks exploited their aggressiveness showing on the pick and roll to find wide open 3’s. In the second half, the Knicks came out of the tunnel with great energy and unselfishness and slapped the Wizards around during a 35-21 3rd quarter that put them in position to win the game. The system works. With better players, it will work even better.

So, why’d we lose? Well, even when they’re open most of the Knicks aren’t great shooters and sometimes the shots just don’t fall (Nate’s slump is really hurting). The team left about 10 assists out on the floor last night. The Knicks shot 37% from the field and 31% from 3. It’s really tough to win games shooting those kind of percentages, even for the very best defensive clubs. As we’ve known for a while, on the nights when the Knicks go cold from outside, they’re going to struggle to win games. And after a very impressive 3rd quarter, the Knicks failed to sustain that effort and execution in the 4th.

But they should have won the game last night. If they’d knocked down a couple more shots, they would have. And if they keep playing defense and finding the open man the way they did last night, they’re going to win a lot more games in the future. Someday, maybe even more than they lose.