NY Post: How Knicks’ Mike Miller is making David Fizdale defenders look bad

Berman doing a little more work for Mills, throwing Fizdale under the bus a little more after the bus left the station weeks ago:

There are still some excuses you can offer David Fizdale.

The last five games he coached with the Knicks, he faced title contenders in Philly, Boston, Toronto, Milwaukee and Denver. Fizdale did not have starting point guard Elfrid Payton, part of the recent resurgence, for 17 straight games.

And while Fizdale has gotten rousing support from the coaching fraternity, the old Bill Parcells adage is never false: You are what your record says you are.

After gaining revenge on the depleted Wizards in Washington Saturday to close out 2019, Miller stands at 5-6 – already one more victory this season than the 4-18 Fizdale.

All those coaches/ex-coaches who killed the Knicks for firing Fizdale — Rick Carlisle, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Erik Spoelstra, Stan Van Gundy — are eating New Year’s Eve crow.

Only Jeff Van Gundy was sharp enough to acknowledge Miller as a shrewd basketball lifer deserving a crack at age 55.

“Mike just wants to focus on basketball,” one NBA executive in touch with Knicks brass said. “David is a lot about the glitz and glamour. He may have created some self-created distractions.”

It’d sure be swell if Randle could just be the guy I really liked on the Lakers a couple of years ago. I thought he’d be a nice pick-up then and then he did even better in New Orleans. Then he came here and was horrendous. If he keeps playing like he has lately, though, I’d gladly stick with him (although, if a team wanted to make a compelling offer for him, I’d obviously still listen if I were the Knicks) and see if he can be part of the next good Knicks team in a couple of years.

2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks @ Isaiah Thomas and Four Guys Off of the Street

Bradley Beal has officially been ruled out for tonight’s Knicks/Wizards game. Isaiah Thomas is back from his two-game suspension, but the Wizards’ decimated roster continues to be decimated. It’s essentially IT and Troy Brown.

The Knicks get Wayne Ellington back and Mitchell Robinson is active despite toe issues.

Meaningless winning streak, here we come!

Let’s go? Knicks!

New York Knicks 94 – Brooklyn Nets 82 – Game Recap

I’ve started building my new Lego 1989 Batmobile. It’s made by 3306 pieces total, and I’m probably at 1700 after 6.5 hours of work. Honestly, it’s a total blast. The finished product will be so frigging huge. I couldn’t be more happy; I’m actually a grown kid, you give me food and/or games as gits and I’m the happiest person in the world.

Anyway, near the end of this day-conusming, brick-connecting romp, it dawned on us that at least two hours before we had made a mistake, putting a 4×4 plate just a bit right than where it should have been.

At that point, we had to make a choice. We could wash our hands and try to go on around that mistake (it would actually have been possible short term wise, none of the subsequent thirty so so operations – six construction manual pages – required that particular area again) or we could try and understand where we went wrong, disassemble the minimum amount of pieces required, fix the mistake, rebuild everything we disassembled and then go on to keep assembling the bat-themed behemoth.

We chose option number two. From where we are, we’re not sure it will be worth it in terms of effort spent in fixing the damn thing, but at the very least we’re positive we will be able to build the whole vehicle without any consequence.

The Knicks, winning behind the contributions of Marcus Morris and Julius Randle, are choosing option number one.

It’s possible than we won’t ever need to go around that particular area again, just as it is possible that Randle will become a foundational piece for the Knicks while Mook’s veteran leadership will rub on Knox and Barrett; it’s much more likely, though, that this type of wins will end up being more damaging than reinvigorating.

To wit:

Randle and Morris, combined: 55 points, 16 boards, 4 assists, 22/42 from the field, 6/13 from three, 5/5 from the line, +42 plus/minus, 69 minutes played.

RJ, Frank, Knox, Dotson, Mitch combined: 24 points, 25 boards, 6 assists, 9/27 from the field, 2/7 from three, 4/7 from the line, +8 plus/minus, 105 minutes played (I won’t torture you with what happens as soon as you remove Mitch from here).

Now, ok, this is pretty much an indictment of how much our young guys suck, but what should it matter that we’re winning games only because Randle and Morris can ball a bit? What’s our long time gain? Are we gunning for the 12th seed in the East and the #8/9 pick again, that yielded such good results for us in 2017 and 2018?

I can’t blame Mike Miller either. He’s a rookie interim head coach, and if he wants to prove he can stick around he has to try to win every possible game unless told otherwise, and you know as well as do I that Pills are simply starved for wins, so… it’s only fair that Miller’s leveraging what he has to gain the advantage over the foe du jour. If it means running Randle and Morris out there for 70-ish minutes per night, he should go for it. I hate it, but it’s definitely not his fault.

On the other hand, I’m not sold about his developmental coach resume. 10 games are nothing, especially in the middle of the season, but if anything every young player not named Mitch is regressing under Miller. It might be just the regular ebb and flow ways of rookie-scale contract players, but I just have the feeling they suck. Long-term wise, though, you should still give your coach a full vote of confidence to play them as much as you can. There’s literally nothing to lose apart from a few games (which would count as a win for the tank) and a chance for Miller to be a future NBA coach somewhere else, but let’s be real: how high are them anyway? Dude’s 55, and while a coaching lifer he’s never been a relevant figure. The chances of him ever becoming a real NBA coach outside of NY are slimmer than his hair on the central part of his dome. So, no blame on Miller, but Pills are screwing the team again just because they’re (understandably, but still not making sense strategically for the team) hanging on for dear life.

***

David Fizdale’s record: 4-18.
Mike Miller’s record: 4-6.

Sometimes I really wish Pills would read this board.

***

That said, I highly doubt Mike Miller is good enough to coach this sorry excuse of a roster to .400 ball for the season (and I don’t hope he is, as that would be inherently bad for lottery purposes). This game would have been a Knicks defeat 99 times out of 100. We shot 40.2% from the field, 31.0% from three and were still the best shooting team on the floor by a long mile. The Nets scored a NBA-record worst (since 1979-80) 8 two-pointers on 28 attempts for a Barrett-like 28.6% 2FG. That’s a really unprecedented level of futility. On the other hand, it’s not like the Nets’ defense was especially good, and we didn’t even reach 100 points. Let’s evaluate Miller in another 10 games.

***

It has to be said, though, that Mitch’s impact on defense was tremendous last night. His numbers won’t blow you away (a minimum-wage double double and 2 blocks) but he disrupted at least ten more possessions. In a game that ended on such a low scoring note, that’s really something. It was also good to see RJ’s being engaged on the defensive end. Also, Mitch definitely outplayed Jarrett Allen (who didn’t score a single field goal) and DeAndre Jordan.

***

Prepare for the ultimate Frank crusade: Kadeem Allen is coming. I kinda wish he’d usurp Frank’s place in the rotation as to try and light the ultimate fire under his ass. Frank’s playing like shit under Miller. And it’s not like Miller’s coaching him with the intent of benching him as soon as it’s possible. 1/5 from the floor, 1 ast, 1 steal in 14 minutes are just terrible numbers. Elfrid Payton (a solid 13, 7 and 4 for a game-high +25 +/-) looks like Rod Strickland next to Frank.

***

I think it’s time to bench RJ for a while. He’s still “contributing” somehow but honestly he needs to be playing better to earn even 20 minutes per game. Letting him play like this it just putting him at risk of indulging to his worst tendencies. His drives lack everything as of late: burst, overall speed, jumping ability, focus. His ORtg is 92. 92! For comparison’s sake, Lance Thomas has a 101 ORtg for his career. Jared Jeffries sports a 100 one. You have to go to Mardy Collins to plunge at a low enough career ORtg (88) as to not make RJ blush. Add to that the fact that his usage is 23%, and you have a very bad recipe here on your hands.

***

In the end, anyway, if you have to win games here and there winning against Brooklyn is always good. Let’s see if we can avenge last Monday’s monstrosity in the Wiz-Knicks rematch. See you!

2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks @ Nets

The Knicks head allllllllllllllllllll the way to Brooklyn to play the Nets tonight, in a rivalry that has lost so much juice that it was literally taken off of the nationally televised scheduled tonight (cutting the Knicks’ amount of nationally televised games from 3 to 2).

The Nets are playing strong ball, going 16-13 while playing without Kyrie Irving for quite some time and playing without Caris Lavert for a while now, too, as Spencer Dinwiddie has played so well that you’d have to imagine that the Nets could get quite a haul if they were willing to trade him when Irving returns (as Irving and Dinwiddie don’t exactly have complementary games). Obviously, with Irving’s injury history, it probably makes more sense to just hold on to Dinwiddie as a safety precaution.

The Knicks will be playing without Dennis Smith Jr. and Marcus Morris and Taj Gibson continue to be questionable.

The Warriors won last night, so the Knicks could probably afford a win, so beating the Nets would be nice, provided Mitch or Barrett were the reason for the win, of course.

Let’s go! Knicks?

Washington Wizards 121 – New York Knicks 115 – Perry Christmills everyone

I don’t know if I’ve already told you this: I’m color blind.

My color blindness isn’t severe (I’m not seeing the world in black and white, and I can actually get right even some “advanced” nuances, such as lilac or fuchsia), but nonetheless here and there it pops up, especially related to green/brown and blue/purple mix and matches.

It’s not like I ever forget being color blind, but playing a bit with an old game for iPad (Forever Lost is its name, a clunky, quirky escape room/puzzle game) I was reminded how frustrating it is for a color-impaired person to try and solve incredibly easy puzzles just because the game designer thought it was a good idea to base at least one third of the game on riddles that rely on the ability to discern bright green from yellow in a very small pixelated area. The game can be solved in around one hour, one hour and a half. It took me three hours to beat it. I breezed through hard puzzles with total ease and repeatedly clunked easy riddle after easy riddle because I didn’t understand what the hell I was seeing. I knew very accurately what I should have done: I simply couldn’t find a way to make my eyes collaborate and step over the amazingly low hurdle.

Why am I telling you this, you might ask.

It’s simple: these Knicks play defense just in the same way I approach color-coded quizzes. They theoretically know what they should do; they just have no means at all to translate theory into practice. They’re lost.

To concede 121 points to a glorified G-League team is very bad, from whatever angle you choose to look at it. This was a positively Fizdalian game: nothing seemed to be working, the choice to put DSJ into the game before Frank was puzzling (not trying to reignite the endless battle between Frankophiles and normal people – just kidding! I’m a Frankophile too – but the team struggled mightily on defense from the get go, maybe Frank would have helped stabilize the defensive mindset a bit), guys seemed very frustrated and resigned to lose, Mitch was in foul trouble for the second game in a row.

In short: maybe it’s recency bias, but this is probably the worst loss of the season. Good for the tank, I guess, but very discouraging.

***

But then again color blindness might also be the right metaphor/allegory for the talent evaluation area of our front office. There’s no way you build a roster like ours if you grasp the basic tenets of basketball and you’re capable of watching the damn game. You know those visual tests where there are a bunch of differently colored dots and you’re supposed to see a number or a letter in there? And you know how easy it is for people who see correctly to say 13! or B! and then wonder what the hell was that test, so easy that nobody could flunk it? Well, most of the time I see jack shit in there and get looked with a mixture of amusement and pity by standard people.

You see where I’m going, right?

Farfa : colors = Pills : talent.

Show us KBers a Knox and a SGA, and pretty much everyone will go for SGA. Show Pills a Knox and a Durant, and they won’t tell them apart one from the other. Where we see a .020 WS/48 peak talent, they see a vast stream of indistinguishable .100 WS/48 prospects, and if it’s so, why not go with the youngest, tallest people?

So there you have it, guys: these Knicks are a Mondrian painting made by me.

***

I wish there was something good to say about anything that happened last night. About how Julius Randle went for 35 shooting the ball just 21 times, but then I look at his pitiful 5 boards and 2:3 ast/to ratio and I’m like whatever. About how Mitch blocked 6 shots and got 13 boards but then I’m reminded he fouled out again (of course your job isn’t made easier by those swiss cheese cardboard people we call backcourt, but come on big guy) and I’m like who cares. Elfrid Payton dished 12 assists! What’s the point. Dotson drilled 5 threes! Sure, good effort, good job.

Fucking losers.

***

But they’re our losers, right?

I don’t know, honestly. Are they? Is there someone on the team you could wholeheartedly call “mine” (in a sports related sense of course)? This is a team composed by hired guns, second round picks and ill-equipped lottery picks on their rookie scale contracts.

You want to call the rookie-scale contracts “yours”? Be my guest. You can have Mitch, who’s good, great almost, but not enough if he can’t stay on the damn floor. His advanced stats and like ambrosia, but he needs to make a few extra steps to be really serviceable (in the meantime play him all you can you morons).

Then I’ll feed you a few basic advanced stats (#teamoxymoron FTW) for the other youngsters:

Player A: .031 WS/48, -2.7 BPM, -0.1 VORP
Player B: -0.032 WS/48, -4.1 BPM, -0.4 VORP
Player C: .015 WS/48, -2.7 BPM, -0.1 VORP
Player D: -0.085 WS/48, -6.6 BPM, -0.4 VORP

Can you guess who’s who? (The last one is super easy, if you watched at least three Knicks games this season).

This is not what a rebuild looks like. This is a headless chicken running around.

***

Anyway, guys. Christmas is here. It’s time to be happy. To celebrate. To stay with your family.

I have a family, of course. A loving mom, a loving dad who just retired from his job and is all too eager to help me with mine, a smart, smoking hot and snarkily strong woman (who I love with all my heart) on my side and a lot of friends.

But we’re all family too. There’s no Christmas without Knickerbloggers. Heraclitus said there’s no light without dark, no happiness without sadness; then, there’s no moral strength without Dolan, and we can revel in knowing that we all have it. Let there be a smile on your face for the next few days. Save the frowns for these orange and blue clad clowns.

2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Bradley Beal and Four Guys Off of the Street

The Knicks host the Washington Wizards, who are one of the worst teams in the league (along with the Knicks). However, the Wizards are in the middle of an absurd stretch of bad luck with injuries, losing their pretty impressive rookie (and staring power forward), Rui Hachimura, plus their starting center, Thomas Bryant, their fill-in starting power forward, Davis Bertans and one of their top reserves, Mo Wagner. Their point guard starter (he took the job from Ish Smith), Isaiah Thomas, is also going to miss the game due to a suspension over an altercation with a Philly fan (Philly had a deal where every fan would receive a frosted treat if an opposing player missed both free throws, so the fan was cursing Thomas out in hopes that he would miss and Thomas went into the stands to show his disapproval).

So that’s a whole lot of guys missing this game. Bertans, Hachimura and Bryant are their #2-4 leading scorers.

In other words, Mike Miller’s Knicks really ought to win this game.

Let’s go? Knicks!

SNY.com: Mike Miller makes first change to longtime rotation at PG spot in Knicks’ loss to Bucks

Sorry for the lack of game thread last night, folks. As you, I am sure, noticed, the site had some issues last night.

Anyhow, I figured we should have a new thread either way, so let’s go with SNY.com’s Coby Green on the inevitable move of Elfrid Payton to the starting lineup:

As the Knicks continue to figure out their point guard rotation this season, Mike Miller made his first adjustment to the starting lineup since taking over as head coach.

Elfrid Payton got the nod at the one spot for the Knicks Saturday night when they faced the Bucks at Madison Square Garden, a spot that for a majority of the season had gone to Frank Ntilikina.

Ironically enough, Payton had actually one the starting spot in training camp to start the season, but got injured just a few games in, leading to Ntilikina being inserted into the lineup thereafter.

In Saturday night’s blowout loss to the Bucks, Payton put up just six points on 3-of-7 shooting in 27 minutes, but that wasn’t the selling point of his night for Miller.

“Well we go back and kind of look and Elfrid had 10 assists and two turnovers,” Miller said at the post game press conference. “And so the one thing we’ve seen him do consistently here as he’s come back from his injury is he’s helping other people, and you have to have that facilitator and that guy that does it, and he’s taken that role and he’s done a very good job with it.”

“We’ll have to take a look and see what is best for out group,” Miller added when asked if Payton will start for the Knicks going forward. “We’re going to look at this film and see where we felt like our strengths were and take a look at it, like we’ve always been doing. But he’s been playing very consistently, he really has.”

Ntilikina went from the starter to fourth in the guard rotation behind Payton, Smith Jr. and Trier.