How fitting that we got a brand new KB look for this new Knicks course, devoid of Mills and Mooks and full of picks and Roses!
What’s that? It’s not really a new course? Are you saying that because in the end the team is the same minus a certain SF/PF? Or maybe because we got to win the third game in a row? Or maybe because the young players still don’t play that much? Well, you’re right.
Now, winning every now and then is physiological and winning at home always feels good, but watch this:
– Elfrid Payton, starter: 34 minutes – 1+1 years
– Frank Ntilikina, starter: 14 minutes – 2 years + RFA (plausibly)
– Reggie Bullock, starter: 3o minutes – 1+1 years
– Julius Randle, starter: 30 minutes – 2+1 years
– Taj Gibson, starter: 30 minutes – 1+1 years
– RJ Barrett, bench: 18 minutes – rookie!
– Mitch Robinson, bench: 19 minutes – 3 years + RFA (plausibly)
– Dennis Smith Jr, bench: 15 minutes – 2 years + RFA (plausibly)
– Kevin Knox, bench: 17 minutes – 3 years + RFA (plausibly)
– Bobby Portis, bench: 19 minutes – 1+1, buyout candidate
– Wayne Ellington, bench: 19 minutes – 1+1, buyout candidate
Is this what you want to see in a cellar-dwelling team? Because I don’t. I know, it seems trite at this point, but you can’t really stress enough the fact that if you’re losing and have pretty much no hope for this season, you shouldn’t waste time hunting for wins on the heels of guys who very, very likely won’t be here next year. Randle, I have no qualms with – especially if he plays like last night and “wobbly handle” doesn’t rhyme with his surname. Spot minutes for other guys who don’t actively hurt the team, I have no qualms with (15 minutes for Taj and Bullock can’t be bad, maybe even 10 for Ellington if Dotson and Trier can’t dress and RJ has to be eased back into the rotation). Payton on 28 mpg is okay, he’s the best PG we have and it would hurt not to have someone orchestrating things. From there, go with young and unproven guys and never look back.
Mike Miller is without a doubt someone who understands the basic areas of basketball, and that’s a vast improvement over a few guys we had in the last years and probably over some other guys employed around the league (Luke Walton comes to mind). The problem is that he’s been given 3000 random Lego pieces and he’s (likely) been told “show us you can do something with this!”. While Fizdale would probably have just stacked 25 4×2 studs without matching colors and called it a day saying “I built a futuristic lightsaber, don’t you see? Bzzzz bzzzz, *hand over mouth* Luke, eat what you kill”, Miller seems content building small red houses with flat roofs instead of trying to understand if there are a few pieces that might help build the UCS Millennium Falcon. Mike, we get it: you can do something with what you’re given. But what you’re doing is pointless. Nobody wants to post a pic on himself with 50 identical 3″ x 3″ Lego houses on the ‘gram.
Anyway, the game was pretty entertaining, what with all the stealing (Payton notched 8, a personal career high and just one short of the Knicks record) and three point bombing (Ellington came alive for a brief stint, hitting three triples in a row to cut the Magic lead). And a bit of dunking too, courtesy of Mitch and Randle.
On the positive side, Barrett looked goodish, even if he keeps shooting very very inconsistently: the form isn’t bad, but he never gets off the same shot type twice in a row. Payton looked good again, hitting 7 of 13, thieving 8 balls, dishing 9 assists and generally looking spirited while leading the charge. Randle looked relieved without Mook, but that might just be because the Magic aren’t really suited to defend burly, crafty types – and he blocked two shots in the same quarter! That’s rare. Taj did a very good job – even if that shouldn’t hamper Mitch’s playing time.
On the negative one, Knox was simply awful, missing all of his 5 shots and being totally terrible on defense (Terrence Ross looked like he had bought a Disneyland fastpass to the rim everytime Kevin was on him); Frank didn’t play enough even if he didn’t suck that much; Mitch didn’t play enough even if he looked lost at times, fouled a couple times in a stupid way, and got burned on defense by Vucevic (but the very negative point is that Mitch can’t crack 20 minutes and we don’t actually know why; it might be that Miller’s trying to teach him something, but it’s clearly not working); we played Portis.
Only one last thing (this is gonna be brief, as the Muse said time’s running out): Miller has won 12 games in 30 tries. Fiz won 21 in 104. I can’t still wrap my head around Fiz’s sheer incompetence.
Let’s see where this new CAA-branded course will take us (nowhere good is my guess)!