Lance Thomas: The Competitive Fisher

[Fishing] was never really a hobby for Thomas — more like a passion — but now it’s a competition, with tournaments scheduled through the spring and summer across the Gulf Coast.

Thomas’ team, Slang Magic (more on the origins of the name later), is a newbie to the circuit, and its boat was recently built with the goal of earning big prize money and “bragging rights across the whole Gulf Coast, from Texas to Florida.

“We’re at the point now where we want to compete against other people, we want to compete,” Thomas added. “And naturally my competitive side is I want to win, I want to go against the best. I do it in my profession in the NBA, I want to do it in a different realm.”

via Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News

Evaluating the 2017-18 Knicks using a new shooting metric

Drew Steele developed a new metric he calls Zone True Shooting:

Zone true shooting helps individuals understand where players are shooting on the court and if they are converting those shots in an efficient manner. If a player has a higher true shooting percentage compared to his zone true shooting percentage, the conclusion should be that despite that player being efficient from the field, he is not taking the most efficient shots on the court.

via Drew Steele, Posting and Toasting

The impact of the new statistic is most profound on a player like Trey Burke, who shot fairly well from the field last season, but since most of his shots were mid-range attempts, which, by zone, aren’t very efficient shots, his zone true shooting percentage was relatively lower.

Read the full article and see how all of the 2017-18 Knicks performed.

KAWHI SPECULATION

Multiple league sources also told ESPN that the Spurs have grown worried that Leonard’s group has an ulterior motive to fray the relationship and get Leonard traded to a larger market such as Los Angeles (Leonard’s hometown) or New York or Philadelphia (Robertson lives in New Jersey).

via Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright, ESPN

Kawhi Leonard’s situation in San Antonio has become, well, strange. He has been working out in New York, and appears to like the city.

If he somehow becomes available, should the Knicks consider trading for him, even if it means giving up Porzingis?

Hassan Whiteside for Joakim Noah?

It’s that time of year when everyone is ready to react to a playoff loss. The Heat lost in five games to the Sixers, so it’s their turn.

However, the future of Hassan Whiteside is a legitimate question. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post speculates whether the Knicks would make an interesting trade partner.

So would the Heat be willing to trade Whiteside? At this point, the answer is yes. Given how much better they looked when Olynyk played, rookie Bam Adebayo’s potential and the chance to move Whiteside’s remaining $52 million over the next two seasons — no chance he’d pass on the $27 million player option he’s owed in 2019-20 — it’s easy to see why moving on from him would be appealing.

Perhaps the New York Knicks would be willing to give up Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls’ second round pick for Whiteside. Noah is the definition of dead salary (even though he’s on the books for about $37 million the next two years). Miami potentially could buy Noah out to save a few million more if he had another destination in mind.

via Tim Bontemps, Washington Post

Whiteside is owed approximately $7-8 million more than Noah over the next two years, with the final year a player option he will likely accept. As the Knicks look to shed salary off their books ahead of 2019, and assuming they would share the same concerns about Whiteside that has led to the Heat’s dissatisfaction, I don’t see this as a likely scenario.

Knicks themed Air Jordan 5s on the horizon?

A New York Knicks themed Air Jordan 5 is in the works, and it’s a lot different than the “Knicks” Air Jordan 5 Low that released in 2016.

Instead of a deep royal blue, nubuck upper, this upcoming Air Jordan 5 is built on a “sail” tumbled leather, accompanied by the familiar orange and blue hues on the shark teeth and “23” branding. Additionally, the mesh paneling of the Air Jordan 5 features a blue and orange geometric pattern which can also be seen on the inner lining.

via Kyle Rooney, HotNewHipHop.com

Tommy Beer makes the case for the Knicks to go ALL IN on Kawhi

Admittedly, I have long been an outspoken proponent of a patient rebuild in New York. For instance, I was against trading away Porzingis for Kyrie Irving. And if the Knicks are unable to land Leonard, I will continue to advocate a methodical approach. However, Leonard is a game-changer, in the truest sense of the word.

New York’s current plan is to build a solid foundation around Porzingis and eventually clear enough cap space to sign a top-tier free agent. The problem is the Knicks haven’t had any success attracting max-level talent. Even in the years they’ve entered the offseason with money to spend, they were often forced to settle for average, overpriced players. The chance to trade for a player like Leonard is simply too great an opportunity to let slip by.

Read Tommy Beer’s full article here.

Inside the process of interviewing and hiring an NBA coach

Interviews can last for hours, or sometimes even bleed into a second day, with the former league executive saying his lasted four hours on average, and another saying they sometimes had split sessions with the GM talking to a coach one day and other members of the front office engaging the coach the next day without the executive present.

“Some coaches are great interviewers and not-so-great coaches,” Grunwald said. “I’m not going to say who, but I fell victim to that.”

Interviews can be strenuous. Executives have said it’s routine to ask a coach to draw out plays, like early offense or defensive coverages, on a whiteboard. Those moments can be used as a test of their Xs and Os fluency or to see how they teach.

via Mike Vorkunov, The Athletic

How did the 2017-18 Knicks perform based on their age?

Knicks Age Expected Wins

Jared Dubin of Nylon Calculus recently published a study on how teams perform based on age, and he found that while the correlation isn’t perfect, there is a strong relationship between team age and team performance.

Instead of simply using the average age of the roster, he used minutes-weighted age to take into account the age of the players who actually played. For the Knicks, this means that Jarrett Jack’s impact on the team’s age was less significant as the season progressed and he sat on the bench in favor of younger guards. By playing a group of young players, and a 19-year-old rookie most of the season, the Knicks minutes-weighted age ranked in the bottom 20% of all teams modeled since 1977.

The 2017-18 Knicks underperformed their expected win total based on their minutes-weighted age by more than 10 wins. The closest comparable team was the 2015-16 Pelicans.

Read more about the model here.

Interesting read for Knicks fans looking to understand the broad landscape of coaching candidates