The Mind Of D'Antoni...
This is a very interesting read, i will bold the main points.
By KEVIN CLARK
A few minutes before a game against the Washington Wizards earlier this month, the Knicks coaching staff slipped one piece of information to their defenders: John Wall, the rookie sensation who had carved up defenses with his speed and agility, made 72 percent of his shots when he was driving to the rim.
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Ronny Turiaf impedes John Wall's path to the basket in Knicks' 112-91 victory over Wizards on Nov. 5.
The number, simple but vital, began to register in the heads of each player. There were pages of scouting reports and mountains of videotape, but this one number clicked more than all of that.
"So we made sure all night that when he came down on the fast break he saw bodies in the paint," forward Anthony Randolph said. "We had to make sure he thought twice about [driving to the rim]."
Every time Mr. Wall looked to the basket, the Knicks would be there. They blocked his path and drew charges—and Mr. Wall finished with nine turnovers, 13 points and only four field goals, his least productive game of the season.
Though they were a disappointing 3-7 heading into Tuesday's game in Denver against the Nuggets, the Knicks increasingly are benefiting from the use of these advanced statistics, even if it has yet to result in more victories.
They have grown into a team with what one assistant coach said is a "counter-culture" view of basketball, relying as they do on new, in-depth ways to measure on-court success.
Want to understand the Knicks? Throw away the box score and turn on your laptop.
Knicks' Pick-n-Roll Is MIA Knicks Suffer Growing Pains in Defeat Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni began to rely on quantitative statistics when his team's up-tempo style made basic statistics such as points scored, points allowed, total rebounds and total steals misleading.
Instead, the Knicks rely on statistics like "ball movement,'' which calculates how many assists per field goal, "total shooting percentage,'' which calculates basic field goal percentage but also puts value in being fouled, and "effective field goal percentage''—which is a weighted percentage that incorporates three-pointers.
Effective field goal percentage is perhaps the Knicks' most telling statistic, due to their heavy reliance on three-pointers, Mr. D'Antoni said. For instance, if the team is making 40% of its three-pointers, it is equivalent to 60% of regular field goals.
This Knicks team is shooting a subpar 43.5% in regular field-goal percentage, but that figures improves to 48.3% when three-pointers are factored in.
Mr. D'Antoni relies on such statistics to give him a more accurate read on how his players are performing in the high-scoring games his style produces.
"A lot of people throw out stats without thinking about it and you get a bad rap," Mr. D'Antoni said. "The teams in Phoenix were always pretty good defensively, but we would score 120 and give up 110, and they'd say 'Oh, you beat them with your offense,' But even 110 is pretty good defense because we had so many possessions.'
While the Knicks have given up an alarming 105 points per game, enough to rank in the bottom five of the league, their points per one hundred possessions, the number the Knicks look at, ranks 11th in the league.
The problem this season has actually been their offense. They rank 25th in points scored per 100 possessions at 103.2.
Players say the reliance on advanced statistics comes in most handy when preparing to defend an opposing player.
For example, Knicks guards were informed that the Warriors' Monta Ellis shot better than 50 percent when he was able to penetrate near the basket. So the Knicks worked to prevent that and limited him to 22 points, his lowest total in the month of November.
A New Way To Keep Score
The Knicks rely on these statistical measures to measure performance.
SCORING EFFICIENCY: Points scored per 100 offensive possessions.SHOOTING EFFICIENCY: Also called effective field goal percentage, a statistic adjusted to incorporate a three-pointer's value.TRUE SHOOTING: Incorporates field goal percentage, three-pointers along with getting to the free-throw line.BALL MOVEMENT: Assists per field goals made.PACE: Possessions per game.FG OUTSIDE PAINT: The percentage of two-point shots made outside the paint, which is statistically the worst shot in basketball. (Source: New York Knicks) The Knicks aren't alone in their reliance on advanced statistics. Teams like the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder are at the forefront of the trend.
Shane Battier, the Rockets forward and stats advocate, said that it took him about five years, "blind faith" and experience to fully trust the new numbers. He said it will take the Knick players time to develop a similar trust.
"What they've done is force a lot more bad shots, and in this league that means long twos and over time, those poor shots create wins for the defense," Mr. Battier said.
Sometimes, however, execution is more important than information. In a game against Minnesota, the Knicks were told to watch out for forward Michael Beasley, who went to his left when driving in the lane 80 percent of the time. Knowing this information, they still couldn't stop Mr. Beasley, who used his favorite move to score many of his 35 points.
Similarly, the Knicks knew Rockets guard Kevin Martin shot 80 percent when he pulled up for a shot from the left side. Mr. Martin still scored 28, with the majority of those points coming from the left side.
Already, however, the numbers' focus has begun to have its converts on the Knicks. Wilson Chandler said it's been useful to learn that he shoots 70 percent when coming at the rim from the right side, and he said he's adjusted his game accordingly.
Mr. Chandler said a typical statistics-driven speech from the coaching staff involves telling the team to push the ball, since their effective field goal percentage improves the quicker and more often they pass.
There are also some players, like forward Amar'e Stoudemire, who stick to the basic scouting reports instead of delving into the numbers.
The person most responsible for statistics on the coaching staff is third-year assistant Kenny Atkinson, a former pro who was skeptical about numbers until he served a stint on the Rockets' coaching staff. As more information was presented to him, Mr. Atkinson started to rely on statistics as much as video or scouting reports.
For example, Mr. Atkinson said he was delighted that instead of telling point guard Rafer Alston he needed to improve his play near the basket, he could quantify it, telling him he's in the bottom-third percentile in that category, a motivator like no other, Mr. Atkinson said.
Though assistant coach Phil Weber said Mr. D'Antoni's staff has tried to use numbers since their days in Phoenix, the biggest difference now is technology and the ability to get such in-depth numbers instantaneously.
Basic hustle plays that were tallied only in the minds of hard-nosed coaches are now documented in detail. "Deflections", for instance, are counted and stressed by the Knicks—guards Toney Douglas and Raymond Felton are the best on the team.
The stat also helps quantify another hard-to-measure concept: energy. If the team's deflections dips below 20 per game, Mr. D'Antoni knows the team's energy is lacking.
Center Ronny Turiaf said the value of these statistics was driven into him as a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Mr. Turiaf is one of the Knicks' most statistically valuable players.
Plus/Minus, a rating that measures how a team fares when a given player is on and off the court—and a stat studied by Knicks coaches—puts Mr. Turiaf at plus-25, the highest on the team. His true shooting percentage is 64.5, the highest on the team. His recent absence with a leg injury has been a major factor in the team's recent slump.
Of course with such a struggling team, it's not surprising that the Knicks have not achieved any of Mr. D'Antoni's statistical goals, all of which are designed to help them win more games.
Knicks president Donnie Walsh, a 40-year veteran of the NBA, is open to the newfangled statistics, but does have some reservations about it.
"Everyone in The Garden knew Lenny Wilkens was going left and he still did it," Mr. Walsh said. "I can tell you that scouting report: Don't let him get by you."
No computer needed
What do you guys think?
STAT says that the players just need to buy into the system....
is it really the coach?
is it really our defense?
or is it ou offense that is crippling us? if its really the offense, we need to lay off of coach for a bit and wait it out until Azubuike, Randolph, Curry and Turiaff are back to full strength.
Honestly, we miss a lot of great looks. It feels like everyone is in a slump together. I attribute that to our team being so young and missing the mental toughness to man up and not hang their heads.
Great shooters don't care about the last shot and always believe the next one will go in. Our team kinds gets depressed when we miss a few and grow hesitant. Gallo is especially guilty of this. He hesitates more and more instead of just flowing into the game.
Turiaf is definitely our glue guy and you can notice how much we missed him in our losses. His energy is infectious.
People say Dantoni doesn't develop players and he's taking a lot of crap for not playing AR. However, he's the one Joe Johnson and Marion owes their contracts to. He found out how to fully get the most out of Boris Diaw who never recovered his play after he left Dantoni. He refuses to play guys like Darko and hamburger helper Curry who don't keep in shape. I can't believe my eyes when I read that some on the forums want Curry and Marbury back! Me first Marbury who makes everyone around him worse and Curry who has never ever made any effort to keep in shape. Why play someone who isn't trying their hardest to get on the court?
Now I'm not saying we're without fault. Our endgame plays have been horrible and our PGs can't seem to figure out the pick and roll. We still make bone headed mistakes on defense and dumb turnovers. However, if we had just made a few more of those open 3s, we would still have won at least 2-3 more games. That shows how close we are. Theres no need to despair and start ranting. Have patience with a young team.. Walsh did a great job with our salary, so we'll have plenty of options in the future.
real food for thought...
i still think we need a defensive minded coach
Wow! I have basically been making all these points in all threads attack D'ant and his system. It makes sense to me especially about the Suns being underrated on defense and the fact that our problem this year has been offense.
I named plenty of reasons why I don't want this coach here. But most of all, I just don't get his stubbornness, and why do some support his flawed system, especially when they can see the problems for themself. If he changes and adjust then maybe he can gain some respect. But, as he struggles to beat weaker teams and give outrages minutes to players who have been playing poorly.... I can't be phony, and support a delusional coach. The extreme optimism has tanked the last 2 seasons, thats already enough slack for any fan to give to their team, not to mention the years prior. Accountablilty is now at hand.
i can tell that you didnt read the thread, lol, its all good tho homie
Originally Posted by Real NY Baller
yeah, my bad. I barely skimmed thru it. Just merely giving my own observation of the guy. which may, or may not be more on point. I know he's a stubborn coach who is pushing his 3ball system on players (I feel) is not equip. Pardon me if I'm not interested in inaccurate views that were made to make the coach look good (imo). It wasn't until recently he decided to adjust his ways and adapt to what he actually haves. Now, I can cut him a bit more slack, but I still don't think he's NY material...not when we give up 100 points a game.
Damn. Tight thread and article find. That's a lot to digest.
The one thing I most immediately take from this...is that it will take *some* time, and a *willingness* on players' part, to truly adapt by way of confidence.
The kinks and WTFs we have been seeing on court can likely be attributed to this.
Same time, at best we were realistically looking to fight for a playoff spot. W
And we still can! Gallo has been a key: his early struggles harpooned our ability to be winners early. His present and hopefully future successes will likewise catapult us.
Plus, our rooks and youth will grow, or grow OUT of playing time. Either way, we will improve as a team in that sense, too.
All this speaks yet again to not being too reactionary. And throwing out proven pieces that cam reasonably work out, in favor of much bigger unknowns.
This franchise really needs a steady hand. And consolidation.
And to then be ruthlessly logical and expert in signings and deals.
according to nba.com...
the knicks are 1st in team bpg
the atlanta hawks have jsmooth on their team, leading the nba in blocks, but they are 22nd in team bpg.
the knicks are 10th in team steals per game at 8 per
open your eyes people, its not our defense.
We lost turiaf for a few games, and we lost most of them.
Turiaf should start. He knows and understands the system. He's bigger than boris diaw for sure.
Whats killing us is rebounding and second chance points.
A winning streak in NYC depends on Danilo Gallinari...
I read a report on him being the most important man in new york sports. Well we have seen what happens when he is off.
Its hard to argue that, if Gallo plays well, we are a team to reckon with
Azubuike is also a key piece of the puzzle, when he returns, tat gives competition at the 2 guard starting spot, which should bring out the best in both buike and fields.
Again, Anthony Randolphs development is key, and will show what the GS steal was all about. Randolph turned 22 earlier this year, and is a big man. I really dont mind if he plays a few minutes here and there, because he needs to ease his way in.
With the addition of the offensive weapons we will have once our team is at full strength, we can then judge them on a 10 game yard stick.
As much as i hate to say it...
I Trust Mike Dantoni.....
"You’re up and down, fast-paced and you get extra possessions in the game," Anthony said. "On the flip side, I’ve been on teams where we weren’t known for our defense, and that’s not something I want to ever deal with again."
Anthony seems like hes a stat guy too. But we are a good defensive team, Melo knows this
denver is 18th in rebounds
knicks are 22nd in rebounds
knicks 1st in blocks per game
denver is 28 in blocks per game
knicks 10th in steals
denver 13th in steals
We are a better defensive team....and with melo, were pretty elite.
melo would be a perfect fit for our system. we would have more positive outcomes on our possessions per game. this is the most important thread on MDA
Great thread. Great bump.
Originally Posted by Toons
I forgot how good that article was.
Damn Toons as much as we have disagreed and feuded in the past, i have to say this is a great post.
I agree w pretty much everything you and Isayuggh added.
Only sad thing is I saw you started this thread and I passed on it in November. My loss.
our problem is not our supporting cast....its our stars and their fg%. this iis the worst amare and melo have shot in their careers. its not thae fact that "we will never win a championship with dantoni as coach" its more like " with amare shooting 42% (last year 52%) and anthony shooting 39% we will never win a championship" Anthony needs to get healthy and amare needs a pg. with jr smith in the mix, i see us putting on an impressive push after sll star break when jorts comes back
Originally Posted by Toons
So in this very thread you said Melo would beast. Now we need a PG. What will you guys that are riding MDAs sack say next? We need to play on 8 ft baskets?
But on to the real truth as said by the Harvard grad after the game. Not that it takes someone with an Ivy League education to decipher what ails us.
JL-They forced us into taking too many loooooooooooong shots.
Although forced is overstating things. He hit the nail right on the head...
Originally Posted by Clyde & The Pearl
Ok, let's turn to our great low post threats against the Pistons then! Oh wait....we don't have any? Damn...what next?
Hmm maybe we could unleash our world-class slashers like Bill Walker, Toney Douglas or Jared Jeffries...they're well known for their unstoppable penetration to the basket.....not? Daaaamn
We could establish a little pick and roll to get our expensive one-trick-poney Stoudemire going...what? We don't have a point guard? Daaaaaaaaaamn
Honestly what is D'Antoni supposed to do with this roster? I'm far from a pro-D'Antoni guy, I couldn't care less about this man, but our roster is a complete joke, in terms of ability, depth and chemistry.