Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

NY Post: The Knicks’ failing youth movement is a David Fizdale fiasco

Something that we have all observed over the years is that while Marc Berman is not literally a Charlie Rosen/Phil Jackson-style mouthpiece for Knicks President of Basketball Operations, Steve Mills, he is certainly willing to be the guy that Mills can come to when he wants send a message through a Berman article. We’ve seen it a number of times over the years, most prominently during Phil Jackson’s tenure as the Mills’ predecessor as the PoBO, where Berman wrote enthusiastic things about Jackson early on and then tore him down later on, when Mills’ knife was stuck firmly in the Big Galoot’s back (Phil Jackson was terrible and should have been fired and Steve Mills backstabbed Phil Jackson to get him fired can both be true, ya know?).

So while most media ramblings can be easily ignored, a hit piece on David Fizdale from Marc Berman tends to have a bit more “heft” to it and that’s certainly what this is…

Knicks coach David Fizdale is not just being judged on the won-loss record, according to sources.

Progress is the company buzzword, which means a lot of things. But progress of their young players is the guts of it.

As the Knicks gear up for a Black Friday showdown vs. the 76ers following a brutal rout in Toronto on Wednesday in which they fell behind by 34 points, the advancement of their blue-chippers have seemingly hit a brick wall.

Fizdale’s desperation may have been revealed by staging a marathon closed-door meeting after the game.

The Knicks’ 4-14 record is the same as last season’s clip at this juncture. None of it bodes well for Fizdale finishing out his second season — unless owner James Dolan blows it all up in taking down president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry and their staff.

Mills hired Fizdale because of his reputation as a player developmental guru. Firing Fizdale would make Mills and Perry look foolish for erring so famously on such an important hire after firing Jeff Hornacek.

Yikes.

And yes, as an article leaked by Mills shows, the fact that Mitchell Robinson is listed fourth on a “Here’s a snapshot of the eight young players who matter most (eat your turkey first)” list is damning of Mills (and perhaps Perry? Who knows?). Note that the players listed above them are the two lottery picks made by Mills and Perry and the guy they acquired in the Porzingis trade. In other words, players whose success or failure directly affects people’s perceptions of Mills and Perry. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

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27 comments on “NY Post: The Knicks’ failing youth movement is a David Fizdale fiasco

  1. Brian Cronin Post author

    Ha! In all fairness (and don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with you on your main point, that they’re just absurdly scapegoating Fizdale when this mess is really their mess and not his), there was some of that “Fizdale liked Knox a lot” stuff back in the day. For instance, from Berman back right after Knox was drafted, “Though Fizdale never scouted any college games this season, the new coach pushed hard for Knox after his 3-on-3 workout nearly two weeks ago, when Knox got the better of Michigan State’s Miles Bridges”

    So it’s possible that Fizdale was the source of the nonsensical “3 on 3” love back in the day (obviously, Mills and Perry still had to make the call, so it’s ultimately their responsibility/blame, but still).

  2. Farfa

    Given what we saw from Fiz in 100 games, I find it very likely that he liked Knox very much. But I think Perry liked him even more.

  3. Nick C.

    The ranking of the prospects is disgusting. As for player development, then why go out and sign a glut of veterans that play their position, ie: Portis and Taj for Mitch Rob; Randle, Morris and Portis for Know; Payton for DSJ and Frank. Taj is the only plausible signing from a player development front. You can say “but they were one year deals”. The counter is players on one year deals may be consciously or subconsciously inclined to enhance their marketability a/k/a “pointz.” These charlatans make Fiz seem salt of the earth by comparison, which I would have thought impossible.

  4. ess-dog

    I’ve become convinced that the only current option is clean house completely. But then Dolan will need some confidant to tell him who to replace these clowns with if Mills is gone – who will that be? Allan Houston? Maybe he will hire an analytics company to help this time?

  5. Hubert

    Good points, Brian.

    What got me was the inclusion of liking Knox “over two-way forward Mikal Bridges”. That part seemed new to me, and seemed like another of those classic “mills really like the guy they should have taken.”

    Of course, the last time we had one of those, Frank was who we took, Smith is who Mills wanted, and Mitchell was the guy. Now we took Knox, and maybe Bridges was Mills’ guy, but SGA is who we should have taken! So even with two cracks at it, we keep getting it wrong!

    (If you have Mikal Bridges FOMO, btw, don’t: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bridgmi01.html )

  6. Hubert

    I’ve become convinced that the only current option is clean house completely. But then Dolan will need some confidant to tell him who to replace these clowns with if Mills is gone – who will that be? Allan Houston? Maybe he will hire an analytics company to help this time?

    I think Adam Silver is our only hope.

  7. d-mar

    While we are extolling the virtues of the Toronto front office (and rightfully so) the Pacers are an under the radar team with intelligent management and an underrated coach in Nate McMillan.

    Some of their smarter moves:

    – Traded Paul George for Sabonis and Oladipo. The trade was ridiculed at the time, now Sabonis is blossoming into a star in his own right and Oladipo has already established himself as a terrific 2 way player.

    – Obtained TJ Warren and the #32 pick from the Suns who were doing a salary dump (hmm, why don’t we do trades like that?) Warren is having a solid season so far

    – Did a sign and trade for Brogdon, and signed him for 4 years, $85MM, which now looks like excellent value. Brogdon has become one of the top PG’s in the league.

    They’re 11-6 without Oladipo, and granted their schedule hasn’t been that tough, but they’re kind of the anti-Knicks – a roster full of intelligent, tough 2 way players. When Oladipo comes back, they’re gonna be a handful.

  8. thenamestsam

    As I pointed out in the other thread the “Fiz was hired as a developmental guru” is also revisionist history. Fiz was hired primarily to have a good relationship with the superstars that Mills & Co. were going to recruit. But obviously “We hired Fiz primarily to backslap with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and despite a lot of promises those guys never showed up” isn’t quite as nice a narrative for Mills as the one he’s pushing now.

  9. Owen

    The continuing conspiracy to underrate Mitch might be a despicable plot to hold down his future contract value. Which hey….

  10. TheClashFan

    Well, Mills hired Fiz, so’s he’s gotta eat that one. I guess he’s just waiting for the schedule to be about to ease up just a bit before dumping Fiz.

    I also wonder if Fiz was maybe thought of as a guy who could smooth things overs with Porzingis after the abrasive duo of Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek alienated him. Well, smooth talking Fiz and Mills failed in that one, too (though admittedly, maybe no one would have been able to work things out with the diva formerly known as KP).

    The Common Denominators live on. Maybe one positive of this article is that, now that they’re trying to hang Fiz supposedly b/c of his lack of player development skills, they might actually look to hire a new coach who is good at that? Yeah, probably not.

  11. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    I like how, for the first time ever, it was actually David Fizdale who really wanted Kevin Knox.

    That was actually reported several times last year (I think by Berman) even before he started disappointing.

  12. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    I just watched the Nets game. Almost the entire post game analysis was dedicated to how the ball has been moving much faster and more often without Kyrie and that’s how they are overcoming him being out.

    I have another way of viewing it.

    Kyrie dominates the ball so much trying to create the ball does not move as much or as well. So even though he personally piles up points and assists, he does not add as much value as people think relative to just playing good team ball.

  13. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    The Common Denominators live on.

    1. They don’t value players correctly.

    a. overvalue offense relative to defense
    b. overvalue shot creation relative to ball movement and team play
    c. overpay for “a” above
    d. ironically, they overvalue draft picks. they learned the wrong lesson from our experiences trading
    picks years ago. they learned “trading picks is a bad” when they should have learned “protect
    lottery picks, actually get a good player when you trade a pick, make sure the player fits the timetable and team”.

    2. Don’t fit pieces well
    a. totally clueless

  14. Early Bird

    What’s wrong with Mikal Bridges? Those numbers look a lot like what I expected (except the terrible 3pt shooting this year). He’s a solid role player with strong defense, which coincidentally makes him much better than Knox currently is.

  15. The Infamous Cdiggy

    Sidebar:
    About 3 years ago my fiancee bought me a Porzingis jersey for my birthday. I haven’t brought it out of the closet since he was traded.
    Today, she wants me to “wear something sporty”. The jersey came up, and I explained the reasons why I don’t/”can’t” wear it anymore. She then hits me with, “so that’s more important than the fact your fiancee bought it for you? I paid over $100 for that jersey!”

    Guess what I’m wearing today…

  16. Grocer

    It’s not weird or strange that the Knicks got blown out by Toronto. The Raptors are really good and the Knicks suck donkey balls! Top tier teams are going to crush them like a little field mouse in a fetish video. It will be horrifying and disgusting to watch but you should have known that going in.

    Also it’s not a complete re-framing of Fiz as a development coach as Merry & Pills talked about that at the time of hire. But.. Lo0k, RJ is playing better than expected, Knox has improved, Frank is playing better. Mitch is the same. Trier is (I guess?) the same. DSJ is worse and who the fuck knows why but also who really gives a shit, Dotson is the same but he didn’t work out this summer due to surgery, and Iggy kinda looks like he’s real bad which is bog standard for 2nd rnd picks. If you’re looking for development, it’s actually happening! Or did you expect Knox to become real consistent in his second year? What are the actual expectations they have?

    I think it’s bullshit. Fiz is in the hot seat because the team sucks and he’s fucking horrible at the X’s and O’s and they are losing a lot. He’s getting the team to do what he wants. There’s more ball movement. The shot selection seems to be improving. It just doesn’t lead to wins because Fiz’s sets are stupid and the roster is badly lopsided and the players are mostly bad. But Merry & Pills can’t actually say that (or have Berman write it, same diff) since they were very careful to not mention the playoffs or winning at all and to always talk about development. Caring about winning would be shifting the goalposts. They also can’t say that the real reason this is bad is because Dolan is hearing sell the team chants at games and it pisses him off so he’s demanding wins from a team that clearly was not built to win anything.

  17. Grocer

    And thanks for the recap Farfa! I wisely did not click on any of those links as I have learned the truth about the endless time sink that is TV Tropes – I’m not gonna live forever.

  18. JK47

    RJ is playing better than expected,

    After a promising start RJ is playing… pretty much as expected. I think he’s still a legit prospect and he fills up a boxscore and plays better defense than advertised, but I can’t say overall that he has exceeded my expectations on the offensive end. The defense is nice though, that part has been a pleasant surprise.

  19. TheClashFan

    @17

    Guess what I’m wearing today…

    Well, since you asked, I’d guess that Porzingis jersey, a collar, and leash.

    !!Just kidding!!

    A semi-serious question: does she know that Porzingis has been accused of rape? If not, might telling her that get you off the hook? If not, buy her something hideous that costs you more than $100, and perhaps you can negotiate…?
    :-)

  20. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    there’s nothing a shitty, overconfident coach loves more than a good “athletic” player with “upside” and a “high ceiling”

    easy to blame the player when it doesn’t pan out

  21. Grocer

    After a promising start RJ is playing… pretty much as expected.

    I suppose the context is that he’s playing better than I expected. He’s certainly playing with a savvy and intelligence that I wasn’t expecting. Obviously little to no credit should accrue to Fizdale for that but he’s not obviously fucking him up, you know?

  22. d-mar

    Sidebar:
    About 3 years ago my fiancee bought me a Porzingis jersey for my birthday. I haven’t brought it out of the closet since he was traded.
    Today, she wants me to “wear something sporty”. The jersey came up, and I explained the reasons why I don’t/”can’t” wear it anymore. She then hits me with, “so that’s more important than the fact your fiancee bought it for you? I paid over $100 for that jersey!”

    Guess what I’m wearing today…

    Yesterday I was reminiscing with my kids about a few years when we talked about naming our new rescue dog Zinger when KP was tearing up the league.

    Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and we named him Melo (kidding, he’s Milo)

  23. Knew Your Nicks

    Fantasy orgies
    Fiz saw Knox as the next KD
    I saw him as a modern era Pippen

    Sometimes what you’d like to see overcomes what you really see …

  24. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Knox has an outside chance of being a version of Danilo Gallinari.

    Marcus Morris leads the league in 3PT%. We need to trade him before New Year’s Eve.

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