The Butterfly Effect: Has Immanuel Quickley unexpectedly become the Knicks’ best asset?

Note: this post was originally published for The Strickland. Give them a click!

I never check a weather forecast until 1 or 2 days before.

It’s simply far too difficult to predict – infinitesimal changes on one side of the globe can cause massive swings in the climate on the other. As the old saying goes, a butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo can cause a tornado in Tennessee. The Butterfly Effect – a tiny, seemingly irrelevant occurrence may cause colossal consequences weeks, or even years, later.

On July 1st, 2019, the New York Knicks verbally agreed to sign Reggie Bullock to a 2-year, $21 million contract. 

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Game 1 of Season 2: RJ Barrett’s 2020-21 Debut

Note: this post was originally published for The Strickland. Give them a click!

When asked in The Strickland’s preseason roundtable what Thibs’ most frustrating lineup trend would be, I said “Elf/guard/RJ/Randle/Mitch is my nightmare, and not because I don’t like RJ and Mitch, but because I do! These guys need the opportunity to not only play with spacing and show the front office whether or not they can be pieces on a winning team one day, but also grow with their current young’uns as much as possible. I’d rather see RJ come off the bench than stand on the wing and watch Elf/Randle buddy ball, or drive to the rim into seven help defenders at once.”

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Prime Mitch: A Robinson Deep Dive

Note: this post was originally published for The Strickland. Give them a click!

Knicks basketball is back.

It’s been a whirlwind of a month, from the draft to free agency to training camp, and there’s obviously a ton to talk about in the world of Knicks basketball. They have a brand new 8th-overall draft pick who hails from New York City, a bunch of fresh free agent faces on good contracts, and a brand new coaching staff from top to bottom. Despite all that, the most common talking point the past week has been this:

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Optimizing the Knicks’ Offseason

Note: this post was originally published for The Strickland. Give them a click!

The New York Knicks are entering yet another pivotal offseason. 

There are a myriad of decisions to be made by the front office: which free agents to add, which current team options to accept or decline (which they did today), and how many minutes to play each player per game once the season actually tips off. Luckily for them, they have a lot of flexibility — they have control over how they use their salary cap, roster spots, and minutes allocations throughout the season. 

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To Be Frank: A Ntilikina Deep Dive

Note: this post was originally published for The Strickland. Give them a click!

Hello. Welcome. I see you’re here to read a deep dive about Frank Ntilikina. I sincerely respect the decision.

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No All-Rookie? No problem: Projecting RJ Barrett’s future

Note: this post was originally published for The Strickland. Give them a click!

The third pick in the 2019 NBA draft failed to make an All-Rookie team.

However, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Knicks fan that was significantly disappointed by RJ Barrett’s rookie season. Though he didn’t exactly light up the league immediately like Ja Morant or Zion Williamson, RJ showed a little bit of everything in what was a significantly featured role for the Knicks. Operating at an incredibly high volume, he filled up the stat sheet like few other rookies in the league – and few veterans on his own team:

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Tanking is Over, Long Live the Process

Tanking has been a pest for the NBA for over a decade, but no team embraced tanking as blatantly as the Philadelphia 76ers. 47 wins over 246 games, winning one out of every five games over three years, was rewarded with four young players with very cheap rookie contracts: Joel Embiid (4 years / $20M), Jahlil Okafor (4 years / $21M), Ben Simmons (4 years / $27M), and Markelle Fultz (4 years / $37M). 

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Optimizing the Best NBA Expansion Team

Assuming league recovery post-COVID-19, an expansion team (or more) in the NBA feels like more of a “when” than an “if”. Growing team valuations, marketable superstars, and worldwide interest has turned basketball into the sport of the future, and there are plenty of places that could use a squad (looking at you, Seattle).

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Visualizing the NBA’s Trend Toward Positionless Basketball

The NBA has transitioned into a somewhat positionless sport. As the years have gone by, more and more teams have continued to employ lineups that don’t contain centers, or utilize point forwards that guard the paint but facilitate the offense. Players have been thought of less and less as “shooting guards” or “power forwards” and more and more as “wings” or “bigs”. We wanted to visualize this massive change in play style by using data science methods to compare the play style of the current NBA to that of the NBA in the 1980s. Through unsupervised learning, we were able to see how the clustering of player data by position has changed over time, and what that says about how the play style of the league has evolved.

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An Ode to Mook

Raise a glass.

An ode. A toast, if you will. To Marcus Morris, one of the most respectable yet disrespectable, elating yet frustrating players that have ever played a half-season for the New York Knicks.

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