Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

August 25, 2009

Finding Hope at the Garden

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 7:54 pm

Just the other day, I was remarking to a friend how sad it is to look at the 2009-10 projection for the New York Knicks in my SCHOENE spreadsheet. With restricted free agents David Lee and Nate Robinson still as yet unsigned, the Knicks have for the time being taken a step backward from last season. In the long term, New York’s future is bright should the Knicks be able to add some key pieces in the free-agent market next summer. 2009-10, however, is looking like a fairly long campaign.

Against that backdrop, New York Magazine asked Tommy Craggs to come up with four reasons for optimism at Madison Square Garden. He then turned to me, though fortunately I only had to supply one–Danilo Gallinari. I’ll let Craggs explain:

When the Knicks’ oft-injured top 2008 draft pick did play last year, he asserted himself as a deadly shooter—44 percent on threes—and according to 82games.com, the woeful Knicks actually outscored their opponents when Gallinari was on the floor. Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, who uses historical comparisons to project a player’s performance, pegs Gallinari as a league-average player this year. Since he’s just 21, that means eventual star potential: a J.R. Smith with fewer tattoos, a Dirk Nowitzki with more tattoos.… He’s a good player with one tattoo, is what we’re saying.

Go check out Craggs’ other three reasons.

For the record, here are the players most similar to Gallinari (based on his abbreviated 2008-09 campaign) at the same age: Mike Miller (94.7 similarity), Martell Webster, J.R. Smith and Tim Thomas. Knicks fans can feel free to ignore the last one.

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