The Knicks are much improved, no doubt about it. Amare is getting MVP buzz. While I am sure that his off court contributions have been large, on the court Landry Fields has been far more valuable. Let’s look at how the Knicks play (adjusted for strength of opponent) for various combinations of players in and out.
We see that with Amare in and Fields in Knicks play 7.4 points (all numbers areper 48 minutes and adjusted for strength of opposition) better than average but with Fields out Knicks play 5.9 points worse than average. With Fields in and Amare out the Knicks play 4 points better than average!. Comparing the first column of numbers with the 2nd column you can see that just about anyone goes better with Landry in than out. A few more numbers:
- With Fields in Knicks are 7 points better than average; with him out Knicks are 9 points worse than average. This is consistent with Fields’ adjutsed +/- rating of +14. Amare’s adjusted +/- rating is +2.
- With Amare out and Fields in Knicks are fine: 4 points better than average.
- By the way, you can see that from the last 2 columns the Felton for all-star buzz is not justified. In many cases the Knicks are better off if Felton is out rather than in.
The nice thing about this is that an unheralded 2nd round pick who does the “little things” can make a big difference!