Posted on: July 5, 2010 8:00 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 8:16 pm
 

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Now that the signing of Amar'e Stoudemire by the Knicks has been agreed upon (though it can't be finalized until Thursday), we have to look at several angles. But how Stoudemire will fit on the Knicks is a question that has yet to be answered, because there are other max free agents in play for the Knicks. We can't look at the impact for Amar'e without knowing who could really be playing next to him (KB has some info on a possible sign-and-trade for a Knicks point guard ).

But what we can look at is if the Knicks made the right decision, committing close to $100 million towards Stoudemire. Amar'e comes with tremendous explosiveness and top-level scoring ability. But he also comes with significant questions as to whether he can play elite level defense, or even acceptable defense, and if he's a good enough player when he's not on offense. So the question is, would the Knicks have been better off if they'd managed to get Chris Bosh?

I took a look at the numbers on each player defensively via Synergy Sports . Synergy Sports tracks every moment of every NBA game and brings you an in-depth look, possession by possession, on how players do not only overall, but in certain situations. For example, their key stat is PPP, points-per-possession. It factors how many points are scored with a player as the primary defender, and then divides by the number of instances a player was in that certain play scenario. It factors turnovers, free throws, and points to bring you how many points per each possession a player gave up overall, and in certain possessions.

I looked at four specific play types breakdowns for Bosh and Amar'e in comparison: overall, pick-and-roll man (guarding the player providing the pick and rolling (as opposed to the ball-handler), isolation (pretty simple, one-on-one defense), in the post, and spot-up (off a pass in a catch-and-shoot situation). The results were pretty surprising.


Play Type Amar'e PPP Bosh PPP
Overall .86 .89
Pick-and-roll man .76 1.13
ISO .95 .65
Post-up .89 .84
Spot-up .84 1.03


Right off the bat, Amar'e Stoudemire allowed fewer points per possession last season than Bosh did. The first thing that you'll say is that the Raptors' defense was a crime against basketball. And you're absolutely right. It's certain that Bosh's defense was impacted by how terrible the rest of his team defended.  But the individual play types are kind of startling in terms of where he was good and where he was bad. The same can be said for Stoudemire. Pick and roll being the biggest alarm bell if you're a team out there still looking at Bosh as your signature big. Stoudemire, despite being known as a terrible help defender, was ranked 18th in the league overall as a pick and roll defender, one of the more complex defensive sets requiring combination and knowledge of where your teammates are.

But Stoudemire certainly struggled in ISO situations. If you put him straight up on a player, he gave up .96 points per possession, a far cry from Bosh's .65. And there were nearly twice as many instances of ISO defense versus pick-and-roll man situations. At the same time, help defense is something you can account for, and switching assignments is something Mike D'Antoni can do to alleviate a situation where Amar'e is getting taken repeatedly straight up.

How about the post-up numbers? I had anticipated a huge advantage for Bosh in this area, with a more physical reputation and Amar'e's notorious softness. Yet Amar'e is still allowing less than .89 in the post, and Bosh is at .84. A difference of .05 points per possessions? Not exactly what I would have expected.

Finally, spot-up, which deals with recovery, is probably the most affected by the Raptors' terrible defense. Bosh was repeatedly having to overcompensate to help his teammates, meaning his man was open for jumpers as he tried to cover too much defense to recover. It's a terrible mark for Bosh at 1.03 while .84 is reasonable for Stoudemire.

The big takeaway here is that Bosh is a better defender, no doubt. But the separation is not one where you would feel the Knicks made a horrific mistake in getting Stoudemire. Stoudemire's defensive numbers match up favorably with Bosh, both play in high-possession systems last year, and both have issues in various defensive sets.

Many will claim that the Knicks got the rough end of this choice between Bosh and Amar'e. But if the evidence from last year is any indication, the Knicks may have gotten a better deal than the consensus believes.


Posted on: July 5, 2010 6:41 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 6:54 pm
 

Amar'e Stoudemire already rocking No.1 for Knicks

The Knicks wasted no time to announce the acquisition of Amar'e Stoudemire as KB told you the were closing in on . Once an agreement was reached today, the Knicks had this image on the front of the Madison Square Garden Marquee, courtesy of Howard Beck of the New York Times on Twitter:



Read more on Amar'e headed to the Five Boroughs from Ken Berger .



Posted on: July 5, 2010 5:15 pm
 

For some odd reason, Sloan wants Boozer back

You'd think the Jazz would be doing backflips with Carlos Boozer possibly leaving and taking his significantly high paycheck with him, opening up more cap flexibility and time for Paul Millsap. But according to Jerry Sloan, who spoke with Chris Tomasson at the Orlando Summer League, the Jazz have established a desire among team officials to bring Boozer back to Utah. This despite Boozer going on multiple radio shows in Chicago and Miami and saying he'd love to play there, and despite Boozer's considerable pricetag in this market.

Boozer's productive, able to knock down mid-range jumpers and work in the post as well. He's a veteran leader that can also work the glass. He's also prone to games where he's completely invisible and is a block magnet, being eighth in times blocked in the league , without elite size or athleticism to compensate.

But the Jazz also would like to remain in contention with Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko, and Boozer represents their best chance for a major power forward. Boozer may not be the most inventive or value-oriented option, but he's reliable. We'll see if the Jazz can produce the kind of dollar signs Boozer is looking for in a year he looks to sneak in as a default option for big spender teams.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 4:14 pm
 

Carmelo Anthony 'serious' about Nuggets offer

There have been rumors about one of the big spender teams in this free agency period making a play for Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, a rumor sources told KB were "laughable."

As funny as those talks of Denver trading away the franchise might be, apparently the discussions between Melo and the Nuggets' three-year, $65 million extension is no laughing matter.  The Denver Post reports that Anthony is "very serious" about the extension offer, but also wants to see the Nuggets add another frontcourt asset before he commits. Which is understandable, given Kenyon Martin's continually failing health and Nene's offensive limits. Let's not even start to discuss Birdman's offense.

Melo's getting married in New York on July 10th to longtime girlfriend La La Vasquz on VH1 . He also selling his Colorado home , but there's been nothing to suggest he's relocating, only moving closer to town.

Anthony is in a similar situation as Chris Paul, where he's committed to the team that drafted him, but has also seen a recent high point (in Anthony's case, making the Conference Finals in 2009) fall off hard in following seasons.  The Nuggets obviously have the very understandable excuse of George Karl's illness, but it doesn't change how far off the Nuggets seem now. Their second star, Chauncey Billups, is getting older, and the Nuggets don't really have a secondary option.

But just as we've seen so far in this free agency period, the logical answer is always to stay home, where you can get the most money and be comfortable. So we may see Carmelo get locked up for the next four years which would give the Nuggets a confidence in their core to pursue pieces to put next to him.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 1:26 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 1:28 pm
 

Free-agency 4th of July weekend winners

After the first weekend of the most important free-agency period in history, and one of the wildest, who were the winners and losers?


WINNERS:


New York Knicks: They continued their rally from Friday by getting a second conversation with LeBron James' people Saturday night. Chicago is the only team we know of to get a second meeting with a max agent or his representatives. On top of that, they're zeroing in on Amar'e Stoudemire. The Knicks have done a complete 180 in the last four days, and look like they're going to be improving at some level in the first week of free agency.

Cleveland Cavaliers: They had to make their shot count. Seven years of hard work and dedication could have been eliminated if they hadn't made a significant pitch when they met with LeBron James Saturday morning. They didn't pitch him a billion dollars or a super team, but they did do a pretty good job of making an appeal to his sense of drama:



David Lee: Dude's getting paid . Lee had meetings with the Timberwolves, who have already proven they love to overpay frontcourt players. The Knicks are looking to use him as a sign-and-trade option to land a major player, which keeps his value high in that scenario. And he gets out from under the Knicks who haven't really valued him much despite his contributions. Win-win weekend for Lee.

LOSERS:


Miami Heat:
They haven't even gotten a meeting with their own free agent yet. The Chris Bosh rumors have cooled off, and Amar'e is headed for New York by all indications. The Heat are still in this thing, but it's their lack of activity over the weekend that makes you think they lost some ground this weekend. The next four days are going to crucial for them.

Chicago Bulls:
They got a second meeting with Wade. They pushed up their meeting with LeBron. They gambled huge to try and pull off a coup over the weekend, and they missed. The Bulls have some great signs, including the latest from ESPN's Chad Ford that Wade's divorce may be leaning him that way .

Joe Johnson:
How could a guy that signed a max-max contract lose? Because he's nearly guaranteed that he won't win a championship in his career. In four years he's going to be one of the worst contracts in the NBA, constantly shopped around as the Hawks try to get out from the crushing yoke they've put on themselves. And Johnson will be facing all the responsibility thereof. Hope he can comfort himself in the gigantic bed made of cash.


Posted on: July 4, 2010 1:06 am
 

Amar'e recruits Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony?

The New York Daily News is reporting that Amar'e Stoudemire, outside of the production of the Broadway play he helped produce, said:

"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony that he needs to come out here," Stoudemire said. "I've talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here. So we will see if we can work it out."
KABOOM.

And so there's that. The number of questions this brings to mind is stunning:

  1. Is Amar'e going to get fined for tampering here?
  2. How will this affect Parker's relationship with the Spurs?
  3. How will this affect the Nuggets' attempts to extend Melo?
  4. Where did Amar'e get the idea to talk to those two about it?
  5. What's Amar'e thinking that he thinks talking about this is a good plan, true or not?
Let's go into La La Land for a second: Parker dribble penetrating from the perimeter, running the pick and roll with Amar'e Stoudemire's athleticism and Melo available for the pick and pop. Two man game with Amar'e and Melo. Running and gunning with those three, all under the age of 29

Ye Gods.

But in reality, if there's one thing we can take away from the Daily News article, it's that Amar'e is already mentally checked into the Knicks.  You don't start shopping for other partners already on rosters unless you're committed to the squad. It also means that the next 24 hours are going to be full of denials and speculation. The 2010 Free Agency Apocalypse: The self-propelling hype machine.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 3, 2010 10:21 am
Edited on: July 5, 2010 12:52 pm
 

Free-agency day 2 winners and losers

After the second day of the most important free-agency period in history, and one of the wildest, who were the winners and losers?

Winners:

New York Knicks: From worst to first in 24 hours, folks. Yesterday the Knicks were losers , having not made a dent in LeBron James and looking at the up close side of panic. But Friday, everything turned around for them. Their meeting with Dwyane Wade went well enough to get Wade to say he was "intrigued." And as close as these free agents are playing their cards to their vests? That's a huge win right there. Then, the Knicks advanced talks with Amar'e Stoudemire after the Suns basically let him walk, and came to a "broad agreement" with him , KB reported.  Huge upswing for the Knicks Friday.

Chicago Bulls: Any time you get one of the top free agents in the field who isn't one of your guys to provide a second meeting, along with the third best player? That's a win. Huge win. The Bulls jumped hard into this pool and made an impact. If they can convince LeBron James today to buy-in with Wade, they'll have pulled off one of the biggest gambles in NBA history and be the impact team for the next decade.

Los Angeles Lakers: Signed Steve Blake to a 4-year, $16 million deal, which essentially means that combined with Derek Fisher's expected one year, $2.5 million contract, they'll have their starter and backup point guard positions improved and solidified for $6.5 million. It's good to be on top.

Losers:

Miami Heat: Pat Riley made an impassioned plea   to LeBron James based on sacrificing to win championships, and the Heat have met with every available free agent except Dwyane Wade. So far, there have been no reports that anyone is "leaning" towards Miami aside from a few Chris Bosh rumblings. Meanwhile, Wade was "intrigued" by New York, and took a second meeting with the Bulls. Not a great day for the Heat, but they didn't lose much ground, it seems like.

Los Angeles Clippers: In a stunning turn of events, absolutely no one is talking about the Clippers' meetings having any effect whatsoever on any of the top free agents. It's almost like a lifetime of misery and bad luck compounded by having the worst owner in the NBA has negatively impacted their chances at getting a top free agent in the most competitive class ever. Huh.

Phoenix Suns: I like Hakim Warrick. You'd probably like Hakim Warrick. He works hard. He's tall. He's talented. He's not Standing Tall and Talented. He's not Amar'e. The Suns watched as arguably their best player (considering Steve Nash's age) walked away from the table, likely headed to New York. Even though the Suns chose to go this route and were proactive in their approach, it's still a rough day for the Suns, who had an era end for them today.

Posted on: July 3, 2010 9:09 am
 

Amar'e and D'Antoni together again?

KB reports that Amar'e Stoudemire has a "broad agreement" with the Knicks on a 5-year, $100 million dollar contract.

There's a million things that could change in this regard, and a milllion ways this could develop with Amar'e and other free agents over the next week. But for the time being, let's focus on what this deal would conceputally mean.

Stoudemire's best season was D'Antoni's last in Phoenix, in 2007-2008, when Amar'e posted a 27+PER to go along with 26.7 points and 9.7 rebounds (and 2.2 blocks). D'Antoni understands Stoudemire's game. It fits perfectly with the Seve Seconds or Less strategy, freeing him up to finish off the trailer in transition, and constantly in the pick and roll. It makes sense that Stoudemire would feel comfortable going back to a coach that for the most part simply told him what he was doing was awesome.

But there are questions. Stoudemire, in all likelihood, is not going to have a quality point guard, much less Steve Nash, running the show if he takes the New York deal. He won't have the plethora of shooters at his disposal. And if the Knicks are unable to find another max free-agent willing to play with him, he'll be solely responsible for bringing the New York Knicks back to prominence. That's a lot of pressure for a tough situation.

But money talks, and right now, the Knicks' gums are flapping. We'll see if the medical tests come out clean on Amar'e, and if he elects to take on this massive responsibility.
 
 
 
 
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