Knicks “Goats”, poor time shot, Rudy Gobert in New York and more

We haven’t finished answering the questions.

Earlier this week, we published a mailbag touching on trades related to the nix, but there are more answers to be answered.

Here are the remaining questions, including questions about the Knicks’ unlucky point spread, the mysterious Rokas Jokubaitis, Miles McBride, Rudy Gobert’s fake script and more.

Let’s go to it.

(Questions have been edited for clarity).


Fred, the Knicks have an overall points difference for the team that must score more wins. Do you know what explains this difference? Is it luck? Poor training? – @marcreiner

The Knicks have 0.4 points per 100 possessions this season, which should correspond to 40 or 41 wins if the math works out perfectly. Instead, they finished eight games under 0.500.

It wasn’t the league’s biggest disparity in this direction. Knicks fans, just for this time, be glad you’re not a Spurs fan. San Antonio has had a positive points differential this season, outpacing the rivals by five points per 100 ownership. However, it has gone disappointingly 34-48. With Knicks, it’s all about the games.

Forty-four games for the Knicks came into what the NBA defines as “clutch time,” within five points with five minutes or less left, the sixth-most in the NBA. However, the Knicks won only 41 percent of those games, the sixth worst win percentage in the league in those scenarios.

To put it simply, the Knicks have played in a lot of close matches but they were some of the worst in close matches. This is not a recipe for success.

Despite all the justified talk of attacking late in the match, the defense was utterly weak. New York ranked 29th in points per possession during clutch time this season, but also ranked 28th in points allowed per possession. He had the worst points difference per possession in clutch time as well.

Julius Randle hit 38 percent in clutch time. Alec Burkes repaid 30 percent. Emmanuel Quikley repaid 22 percent. Evan Fournier hit 35 percent. They are the four of the six Knicks team to have played the most endgame minutes. This gives way to questions about lineup selection. There were times for head coach Tom Tebodeau drooling with hot hands during the fourth quarter, but there were other times when he came back to units whose numbers said they’ve been underperforming all season.

Mitchell Robinson did things for Mitchell Robinson, and RJ Barrett’s 3-point accuracy was the only increase over the norm – 8 out of 17 in clutch time – although using shot numbers from such specific and prevalent situations is no way to drop what can happen in the future.

So, why was the Knicks’ performance below the net? They couldn’t close the games. And why couldn’t they close the games? They could not register and could not prevent anyone from registering.

Any gurgling on Rokas jokobaitis? It is not the solution to our problems today but it looks like it could become one of those European players. – Osir A.

I haven’t yet heard of any timetable on when Jokobaitis, the 21-year-old who was traded on draw night last summer, will be in the NBA.

He stayed abroad this past season, where he starred for FC Barcelona in La Liga ACB, potentially the world’s top professional league outside of the NBA. Of course, I don’t have any authority in La Liga, but I went up to a scout to ask about Jokobaitis, who was 34th last June. He has averaged 7.8 points and 3.0 assists in 17.8 minutes per game for Barcelona this season. He did it efficiently, shooting 58 percent on two throws, 57 percent on a small 3-second volume and 80 percent of the streak.

Scouts said he could see Jokobaitis transform into an NBA rotation player, but the goalkeeper is “still far from” being there. The scout added: “At most, I think he’s a third goalkeeper in the NBA (one day), but he’s probably a long-term Euro player.”

He calls Jokobaitis a “prankster” and considers him a potential combo keeper. He said he could “create a dribble and perform strongly” for others. He noted that Jokubaitis can pass with either hand, which is a big positive, and he can also play in a transitional period.

Jokobaitis has taken a good shot from deep in Spain this season, but it takes time for him to get away from his shot. He averaged 1.2 attempt 3 points for a game. The scout noted the shooting form of the guard as something to watch. He said it was “slow” and a fairly steady shot, but it was “good (and) it didn’t break.” He believes Jokobaitis is “making an effort defensively” and “working past the screens,” but he questions his speed at the NBA level.

Nick goat? Ewing or Fraser? – @CoolClyde10

It’s Clyde. Ewing did it for longer – 15 years, compared to 10 years in New York for Frasier. Ewing has all the numbers count. But it’s Clyde. We all know it’s Clyde.

I interpret GOAT Knick as the person with the best legacy, and the most influence on the franchise. Frazier has two nicknames – the Just two addresses. He’s been on broadcasts for so long that he invented a new lexicon for an entire fan base. He might have the highest Q rating of any athlete from New York. In an age when even the most likable people are haters, Clyde is completely uncontroversial and wildly popular.

People misuse the word unique in an original sense, but it means unique. Clyde’s legacy is unique.

Why does Deuce McBride distrust? He’s been playing like the best goalkeeper in the G League during his minutes there, but beating the reporters seems to pique the eyes of fans who want to see him on the field more. Ayo Dosunmu and Herb Jones got more runs in better teams. – Nicholas S.

It is not distrust. McBride could become a useful player in the future, but his playing time in the NBA during the junior season was not out of the norm.

The Knicks earned McBride with the sixth selection in the second round of the 2021 draft. He has played 372 minutes in the NBA this season, 13 among the rookies in the second round. The player chosen right behind him, JT Thor, played just 262 minutes for the unclassified team in Charlotte. Nemeas Quetta, who put three picks behind McBride, played 120 minutes for Sacramento’s 52 losses. McBride’s playing time during his first professional season was in the middle of the group, an unremarkable experience either way for someone drafted where he was.

Yes, he played Dosunmu (chosen twice behind McBride), as did Jones (chosen before McBride), but that’s because they both produced. Jones is indeed one of the best defenders in the world. Dosunmu helped Chicago straight away, exhausting nearly 38 percent of his triples and fighting back with defensive power. McBride ran on numbers in the G League, which is better than not doing it, but it’s also not always indicative that he’s willing to contribute at the highest level. He shot worse than 30 percent of the field in the NBA.

The most valid criticism to make about McBride’s playing time this season is that of his G League minutes, not his NBA minutes. He played only nine games for Westchester, for 355 minutes there. This gives him 727 total minutes between the two levels, which is unnecessarily low. If the Knicks had known he wasn’t going to play for the NBA team, they could have given him more time in the J-League.

But this is a different conversation.

Most second-round picks don’t play right away for the same reason that they fall out in the second round.

Outside of Donovan Mitchell, has there been any talk of interest in Rudy Gobert? me I understand that he is 29 years old and has a ridiculous contract, but it will increase what Thibs & Co. wants from their position and will probably be easier to get in the trade. – @jface_22

I’m intrigued by the Knicks as a potential Rudi Goubert team. Even if Utah was willing to answer calls regarding these two men (and we don’t know if or how that will happen), it’s not like it’s a burn-for-sale. Jazz wants the world for Mitchell. The same goes for Joubert. The man who runs their front office now, Danny Ainge, has historically traded players too soon rather than too late, but he’s also notorious for ordering arms, legs and any other types of parties in trade negotiations. That wouldn’t change if he cheated on deals that would have kept All-Stars off in their prime.

Having said that, Gobert’s market will be somewhat limited, just because it fits perfectly: a paint and diving protection post.

But it’s also a single defense in the regular season. Some teams have to do everything they can to get it. For example, why should Dallas, a team in dire need of more edge protection, go to Joubert in this hypothetical scenario where it becomes available? Imagine what Joubert and Luka Doncic could do together.

I see Knicks professionals entering into Joubert’s conversation. Nobody likes tire protection like Thibodeau, and nobody likes tire protection like Gobert.

For all his frailty, and despite his bad upswinging season at Utah, he’s still the best defensive position in the league. The Jazz are out of the top 10 allowed points per possession this season, but not because of him. They conceded 104.5 points per 100 possessions when he was on the ground, which would have been the best number in the NBA if he belonged to a team. Competitors only fired 49 percent in kicks and kicks when the defender was closest, according to Second Spectrum. That mark was the second best in the league. It’s better than guarding the ocean than its reputation says. He can swallow most ball players with his length, which he also uses to block passing lanes in pick-and-roll balls. Thibodeau would play Gobert for 49 minutes if he could.

I didn’t vote for awards this season (even though I’ve been a voter for the past three years). If I had one, I would seriously consider choosing Joubert as the best defensive player in the NBA again.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that something was going to end with this innovative hypothetical from Joubert to Nix. It will be the first big name in the door. He is 29 years old. He has four years and nearly $170 million left on his contract. I don’t think it would take as much to get away from Utah as Mitchell does, but the price wouldn’t come cheap.

If I was in Atlanta, I would get into the mix. If I were to stick to the mindset of, say, the Hornets — an organization hungry for playoffs, already with a young and dynamic point guard at LaMelo Ball and more desperate for an edge protector than any other team in the NBA — I would have paid all my chips In the middle is for Joubert.

It’s different with the Knicks. Given how abstract this assumption is, I’d avoid potential packages, which would require a lot of salary with select people or young adults. But that’s the main problem with New York as a destination for Joubert: All of those other options you mention already have a big guy who suits him well. Dallas has Doncic. Charlotte has a ball. Atlanta has Tra Young. All of these players will be Joubert-type intuitive matches. But Joubert, in this fake Knicks scenario, would be the No. 1 best player. He’s great, but he’s flawed. Given these flaws, it could create clashes with player number 2, whoever he is. The goal, of course, is to find and acquire Max Player No. 2.

He’s not perfect with Barrett, who is joking. Joubert will present in the middle issues similar to Robinson’s comment there. It is not complete. So, I wouldn’t advise giving up what I imagine Joubert would be valuable to make it the main target.

If you can replace a Xerox machine and a couple of his staplers, make sure of that, go get Rudy Gobert. Anytime you can make a big trade objectively, you should be making this great trade objectively. But without further details, I’m skeptical, even if Joubert’s presence on the ground basically ensures that you’ll put up a solid defense in the regular season.

(Photo by Obi Tobin and Tom Thibodeau: Jeff Burke/USA Today)

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