Somehow, the Knicks haven’t started a season 0-4 since Larry Brown was the coach and they won 23 games on route to watching the Chicago Bulls draft LaMarcus Aldridge with the Knicks’ first round pick (thank goodness the Bulls then moronically traded Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas. It would have been way too hard to watch that Bulls team have both Aldridge and Joakim Noah from Knicks picks paired with Derrick Rose).
I would imagine that they’re going to avoid an 0-4 start this season, as well, as the Knicks host the Bulls tonight and the Bulls are not particularly good, either, so you would typically give the edge to the home team in this situation.
The Knicks’ starting lineup remains the same (thank goodness Fizdale is committed to a consistent and logical starting lineup), but the rotation is off due to Dennis Smith Jr. leaving the team due to the sudden death of his stepmother. Our condolences to the Smith family. Frank Ntilikina will be the back-up point guard tonight, so expect Elfrid Payton to play 47 minutes.
In other sad Knick news, former Knick GM Al Bianchi passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 87. Bianchi helped build the early 1990s Knicks squad, finding diamonds in the rough like John Starks and Anthony Mason and making the excellent Charles Oakley/Bill Cartwright trade (less well known about that trade is that the Knicks and Bulls swapped first round picks in the deal, with the Knicks going from #11 to #19, where the Knicks took Rod Strickland. The Strickland pick technically worked out, as he was a very good NBA player, but they dumped him in his second season due to him complaining about his minutes). RIP, Al!
The Bulls matchup looks like a particularly good one for RJ Barrett, so I expect another strong performance from the rookie. I hope the Knicks play Mitchell Robinson more minutes tonight. Just let him foul out if need be. Let him learn from his actions.
Let’s go, Knicks!