Raise your hand if you've heard that the Knicks didn't make the playoffs last year. Oh, everyone's heard? Alright, sweet. Okay, now raise your hand if you want the Knicks to make the playoffs this year. Oh, everyone again? Cool. This has been an enlightening poll. Well, since we all agree that we want the Knicks to make the playoffs, it might be a good time to assess the moves made by New York's competition for said spot in the Eastern Conference side of the playoff bracket. So let's do that!
Sadly, there will be no graphs in this post. I know. I'm just as upset as you are. Instead, I plan on looking at how many win shares each team has added or subtracted this offseason. I'm going to take a weighted average of the players' last three seasons worth of win shares, with 2013-14 weighted most, 2012-13 second most, and 2011-12* least. Of course, if a player hasn't yet played three seasons or sat a season out, I'll change the formula as needed.
*For 2011-12, I'm multiplying each player's win shares by 1.24 because win shares is a cumulative stat, which basically means that the more games a player plays, the bigger the number will usually be. That season, as you'll remember, was only 66 games, and 82/66 is 1.24. It's technically not necessary for me to do this since everyone is similarly affected, but I'm more comfortable with the numbers this way.
Let's begin! (I'm not going to include draft picks or undrafted free agents. Anyone who hasn't signed with any team yet is left out also.)
Additions: Thabo Sefolosha (2.3 Weighted-Average Win Shares)
Subtractions: Cartier Martin (1.0 WAWS)
Change: +1.3 WAWS
Additions: Tyler Zeller (2.4 WAWS), Marcus Thornton (2.9 WAWS), Evan Turner (1.9 WAWS)
Subtractions: Kris Humphries (4.0 WAWS), Jerryd Bayless (2.9 WAWS)
Change: +0.3 WAWS
Additions: Jarrett Jack (3.8 WAWS), Sergey Karasev (-0.1 WAWS), Brook Lopez (was injured) (9.0 WAWS)
Subtractions: Shaun Livingston (3.3 WAWS), Paul Pierce (6.4 WAWS), Marcus Thornton (2.9 WAWS)
Change: +0.1 WAWS
Additions: Marvin Williams (3.2 WAWS), Brian Roberts (2.2 WAWS), Lance Stephenson (5.5 WAWS)
Subtractions: Josh McRoberts (4.3 WAWS), Luke Ridnour (2.2 WAWS), Anthony Tolliver (2.2 WAWS), Ben Gordon (0.0 WAWS)
Change: +2.2 WAWS
Additions: Pau Gasol (4.4 WAWS), Aaron Brooks (1.6 WAWS), Derrick Rose (7.4 WAWS)**
Subtractions: Carlos Boozer (5.2 WAWS), DJ Augustin (4.1 WAWS), Jimmer Fredette (0.8 WAWS), Lou Amundson (0.3 WAWS), Ronnie Brewer (1.2 WAWS), Mike James (0.1 WAWS)
Change: +1.7 WAWS
**I used only his WS from 2011-12 here, since he only played 10 games last year and not at all in 2012-13. I do think it's important to note that we have no idea what he'll look like over a full season at this point, so I'm cautious about following this prediction.
Additions: LeBron James (17.4 WAWS), Kevin Love (13.8 WAWS), Mike Miller (3.2 WAWS), James Jones (0.8 WAWS)
Subtractions: Anthony Bennett (-0.4 WAWS), Jarrett Jack (3.8 WAWS), Sergey Karasev (-0.1 WAWS), CJ Miles (2.4 WAWS), Spencer Hawes (4.3 WAWS), Luol Deng (5.5 WAWS)
Change: +19.7 WAWS
Additions: Cartier Martin (1.0 WAWS), DJ Augustin (4.1 WAWS), Jodie Meeks (4.1 WAWS), Aaron Gray (0.5 WAWS), Caron Butler (2.6 WAWS)
Subtractions: Rodney Stuckey (2.9 WAWS)
Change: +9.4 WAWS
Additions: CJ Miles (2.4 WAWS), Rodney Stuckey (2.9 WAWS)
Subtractions: Evan Turner (1.9 WAWS), Lance Stephenson (5.5 WAWS), Paul George (injured) (9.6 WAWS)
Change: -11.7 WAWS
Additions: Danny Granger (3.1 WAWS), Josh McRoberts (4.3 WAWS), Luol Deng (5.5 WAWS), Shawne Williams (0.7 WAWS)
Subtractions: LeBron James (17.4 WAWS), James Jones (0.8 WAWS)
Change: -5.2 WAWS
Additions: Jerryd Bayless (2.9 WAWS), Kendall Marshall (0.5 WAWS), Jared Dudley (3.9 WAWS)
Subtractions: Jeff Adrien (1.7 WAWS)
Change: +5.6 WAWS
New York Knicks
Additions: Jason Smith (1.5 WAWS), Jose Calderon (6.7 WAWS), Shane Larkin (-0.1 WAWS), Samuel Dalembert (4.0 WAWS), Quincy Acy (1.3 WAWS), Travis Outlaw (0.8 WAWS)
Subtractions: Tyson Chandler (7.5 WAWS), Raymond Felton (2.9 WAWS), Toure Murry (0.0 WAWS)
Change: +3.8 WAWS
Additions: Ben Gordon (0.0 WAWS), Evan Fournier (1.2 WAWS), Luke Ridnour (2.2 WAWS), Channing Frye (4.9 WAWS)
Subtractions: Arron Afflalo (4.4 WAWS), Jameer Nelson (2.8 WAWS)
Change: +1.1 WAWS
Additions: Alexey Shved (0.6 WAWS), Luc Mbah a Moute (1.2 WAWS), Hasheem Thabeet (0.8 WAWS)
Subtractions: Thaddeus Young (5.5 WAWS)
Change: -2.9 WAWS
Additions: James Johnson (1.9 WAWS), Greg Stiemsma (1.9 WAWS), Jordan Hamilton (1.1 WAWS), Diante Garrett (-0.6 WAWS)
Subtractions: Nando de Colo (1.1 WAWS), Steve Novak (2.8 WAWS)
Change: +0.7 WAWS
Additions: Kris Humphries (4.0 WAWS), Paul Pierce (6.4 WAWS), DeJuan Blair (3.3 WAWS), Melvin Ely (0.0 WAWS)
Subtractions: Trevor Ariza (5.5 WAWS), Trevor Booker (3.5 WAWS)
Change: +4.7 WAWS
So, ordered from most WAWS gained to most WAWS lost, the Eastern Conference stacks up like this:
|Team||2013-14 Wins||Change in WAWS|
|New York Knicks||37||+3.8|
By adding each team's change in WAWS to its record from 2013-14, we can approximate the 2014-15 Eastern Conference standings. Remember that rookies aren't included, nor is anyone who's still a free agent.
|9||New York Knicks||41||41|
There are a few things I'd like to highlight here. Most importantly, the Knicks unfortunately miss the playoffs. However, it's easy to see how my system is flawed. First, while 50 wins seems about right for the Bulls, I'm not sure about Derrick Rose, as I mentioned above. On the other hand, the method overrates Carlos Boozer, so it might even out. Second, even though the Cavs gained almost 20 wins, I imagine my method still underrates them. In a weak conference, they could easily approach 60 wins.
Regardless, I'd say the other 13 teams were pretty accurately represented. If I recall correctly, the Knicks' competition for a bottom playoff seed this year has been viewed as the Hornets, Hawks, Nets, and Pistons for a while now, and each of those teams rank in the 6-11 seed range here. As for the Knicks, I do think my method underrates them by two or three wins. That was basically a given, considering the 2012-13 and 2013-14 teams' true talent level probably lies closer to 45 wins than 54 or 37. They've made good additions in Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert and good subtractions in Mike Woodson and Raymond Felton. Also, you know, COLE WORLD. As such, I could easily see them getting to 45 wins and grabbing a seed anywhere from 6-8. Or, if you want to allow for blind offseason optimism, I could easily see the Knicks getting to 98 wins and hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy. Whatever works for you.