Report: Knicks free agency plan to get free agents who fit triangle offense

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Get the best talent and design the system around them? Or, pick a system and get the best players you can to fit that system? It’s a long-standing debate not just in the NBA but throughout sports. Th

The Knicks are going with option No. 2. They are sticking with the triangle and getting players who can fit it.

That’s what Kurt Rambis — who will be with the Knicks in one capacity or another next season — said, as reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

“It shouldn’t be a balance (between finding players to fit a system and building a system around the players). It’s whatever decision you want to make,” Kurt Rambis said. “The decision with management is to get players who fit into the system. Neither way is wrong. It’s about your mindset and what you want to do. And I think the whole process has been to get players who we feel will fit into the system. No team stays pat except the exceptional teams. Everybody is trying to improve and find ways to get better. Naturally, we’ll be one of those teams.”

The Knicks seem committed to the triangle (which certainly impacts the coaching search, but that’s another discussion).

Triangle-friendly players are high IQ players who are good passers and can drain shots from the outside. Or, put another way, the kinds of players every smart team is looking for. Demand for those players will be high, and the market will be flush with cash this summer thanks to the new television deal kicking in (and the salary cap jumping by $23 million or so), which will make finding value a challenge.

There are rumors the Knicks have Memphis’ Mike Conley high on their target list as they need a point guard (although elite point guards have not loved the triangle). He’s a good get, but likely a max or near max guy. Certainly the Knicks will make a run at other top players (Kevin Durant fits in any system) but whether they can get those players to really listen is another issue.

It’s up for debate how well the triangle will work under modern NBA defensive rules that allow a zone, but put that argument aside right now — what the Knicks need is talent. More, younger talent. Athletes. The best guys they can get. Notice how teams such as the Spurs have adapted their system multiple times over the years to accommodate the best players they can get and highlight them? Just a thought I’m throwing out there.

It’s going to be an interesting summer in New York.

 

 

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.