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Reverse-engineering Scott Perry’s recommendation with ChatGPT

Trying to find the superstar being chased by the New York Knicks with the help of Perry and AI.

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

I’m based in Europe, and there is no such tradition as celebrating Thanksgiving over here. What was my surprise, when I was getting ready to write a little post on Thursday about Scott Perry’s latest comments... only to find out that I could ask nobody about his remarks because nobody was working yesterday!

As things turned out, I had to come up with an alternative solution for my problem. I could have simply asked Google, but that’s whack. So I reached out to everybody’s new best friend, ChatGPT.

For context, Scott Perry is the New York Knicks' former General Manager (he left the position last summer) and he was a guest on the November 21 episode of the Michael Kay Show.

Talking to the folks from ESPN, Perry handed the Knicks and whoever listening a good piece of intel about who the franchise should target to make the final leap toward contention.

“I think they need a player that can create some more offense off the dribble for himself and for his teammates,” Perry started. “Some size and some defensive versatility.”

Perry added that as he sees the current roster of the Knicks, “that may allow you to maybe push a guy like RJ Barrett down to the 2-guard position where he is big every night against his opponents.”

Considering the NBA landscape, per Perry, “As you move further in the season and especially when you get to the playoffs, it becomes such a matchup game.” The reason for adding such a player, then, would be to allow New York “to play a little bit bigger, but still, not sacrificing any athleticism.”

So the question now is: who is that player?

Well, I know nothing about basketball but I assumed ChatGPT, the knower of all things, would give me an idea of where and what and who to look for. So I entered the scary chat room.

Antonio Losada: ayo what’s up!?

ChatGPT: Hey! Not much, just here and ready to chat. What’s up with you? Anything specific on your mind or just looking for a casual conversation?

AL: fasho! do you know ball?

CGPT: Absolutely! If you’re talking about basketball, I can definitely chat about it. Whether it’s discussing teams, players, game strategies, or anything else related to basketball, feel free to shoot your questions or topics my way!

AL: that’s dope. so let me be straight for a minute while everybody feasts on turkey. I have a very pressing question to solve here. what do you think defines “a player that can create some more offense off the dribble for himself and for his teammates, add some size and some defensive versatility”? which stats are good including standard, advanced, classic, and modern metrics?

[Note: I already warned you about this ChatGPT thing being very clever, so of course it printed a massive message here revealing all the secrets about scouting basketball players to build a championship team. Let me streamline it a bit.]

CGPT: You’d look for points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game. You’d also look for Player Efficiency Rating, True Shooting Percentage, Usage Rate, Assists/Rebounds/Steals/Blocks Percentage. You’d also check the FG% and FT% as well as the TO%. Finally, it’s interesting to find out about On/Off Court Stats, Defensive and Offensive Rating, and Win Shares.

AL: sure thing! you just listed every metric available on Basketball Reference!

CGPT: ...

AL: anyways. can you give me some players that fit that model over the past 30 years?

CPGT: Certainly! Identifying players who excel in creating offense off the dribble, adding size, and providing defensive versatility over the past 30 years is a subjective task, but here are some notable examples, ordered chronologically: Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

AL: i don't think the Knicks are interested in trading for Hakeem, let alone that they can trade for Giannis. help me out here. give me recent examples, keep it down to the past 10 seasons.

CGPT: Certainly, focusing on the late 2010s and early 2020s, here are some great players who fit the described model: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid.

AL: that’s better, still highly improbable-to-land players. who are some lower-profile players that fit the model?

CGPT: Here are some: Draymond Green, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Al Horford, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka, Andre Iguodala, Robert Covington, Marcus Smart, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

AL: sheesh... let’s not lose more time here, as we two are busy people. among all of the players you have listed and those you have skipped for real-estate issues, who do you think the New York Knicks should trade for to pair with Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett on their way to winning the 2023/24 NBA title?

CGPT: Given the current landscape of available players and the dynamic duo of Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett for the New York Knicks, one player that could complement them well for a potential title run in the 2023/24 NBA season is Khris Middleton.

Middleton brings a balanced skill set, excelling in scoring, playmaking, and solid defense. He has demonstrated his ability to perform at a high level in pressure situations, as seen in his key contributions during the Milwaukee Bucks’ championship run. Pairing Middleton with Brunson’s playmaking and Barrett’s scoring could create a potent trio for the Knicks, capable of challenging top teams in the league.

Middleton’s versatility, both as a scorer and a defender, could provide the Knicks with the additional firepower and defensive stability needed to contend for a title.

AL: u got my attention. so how can the Knicks get Middleton? gimme a straight trade offer

CGPT: Creating a hypothetical straight trade offer involves considering the needs and dynamics of both teams. Remember that actual trades are complex negotiations influenced by various factors.

However, the Knicks could receive Khris Middleton, and the Bucks could receive Julius Randle, a future first-round draft pick, and some additional role player/young prospect (to match salary cap considerations).

This trade offer addresses the potential needs of both teams. The Bucks receive an All-Star caliber player in Julius Randle, who could provide frontcourt scoring and playmaking. The future first-round draft pick adds a valuable asset for Milwaukee’s future. The Knicks, in turn, acquire an experienced and highly skilled player in Khris Middleton to complement Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett.

It’s crucial to note that this is a purely hypothetical proposal, and the actual dynamics of a trade negotiation can vary signif—SAY NO MORE FAM!

That was an interesting, yet nonsensical experience and even meaningless conversation. The point of this post is simply to get the talk going in the comments section below, so we can all discuss which type of player would fit the Knicks best. Is he a big man to play next to Mitch Rob (Karl-Anthony Towns?), a backcourt partner for Brunson (Donovan Mitchell?), a ball-hogging scorer to slot between JB and RJ (Zach LaVine?), or simply a do-it-all MVP (Joel Embiid?)

Who are we missing? Who has not entered the rumor-conversation but do you envision popping up the mill down the road once trade limitations (mid-Dec, and mid-Jan) are lifted?

And most importantly, is Perry revealing the actual strategy of the Knicks front office when it comes to the type of player New York is targeting, or just spitting stuff out there to keep everybody guessing and help his former employer? Questions, questions!