You already know I played some 2KNBA games in the past (I didn’t buy 2K19, I have some sort of on-again off-again relationship with the franchise). You already know I like to play MyPlayer/MyCareer as my go-to mode. You already know, also, that my build of choice is a stocky SF/PF that plays like a ground bound Shawn Marion with no dribble skills whatsoever. I don’t know why, but it looks like my brain refuses to learn the basic joypad coordination needed to achieve an average ballhandling level in the game, so that’s the best I can do.
Just once, though, I walked another path and created a 7’2″ center that (as per his ratings) shouldn’t have been able to do anything on the court for a while, at least until he theoretically got enough reps as to improve his rating. I don’t remember that avatar’s name, let’s call him “Longson Tallman”.
See, there’s some sort of a “cheat” in every 2K MyPlayer iteration I can remember. As long as you’re positioned well on defense and you’re not a total failure at timing things, you’re going to snatch a lot of boards. But, if you’re amazingly tall, you’re also going to block a huge amount of shots. While playing with Longson Tallman, by his 30th game in the League (OVR rating: around 65) he was given starter minutes, and he started posting lines like 18 points, 16 boards and 6 blocked shots in 30 minutes. As soon as it happened for the third straight game, I found the game not competitive and not realistic (a rookie with a 65 OVR posting numbers almost never seen? I know you’re supposed to be the best player in every game you play solo, but come on) and gave up.
I fear I might have given up too soon, as that avatar is coming to life under our own very eyes. I think we are so used to be prone to overreaction that we’re not able anymore to understand on a rational level what Mitch is doing in his minutes on the court. It’s going straight into videogame production. And I feel like I can’t process what’s going on when you factor his contract in.
Anyway, the game: first quarter futility blah blah blah terrible starters blah blah blah Magic stomping the ground yadda yadda yadda ENTER MITCH ok now it’s a game but wait what Mudiay is entering with him oh god Mitch will never see the ball
But actually Mudiay does a passable impression of a two legged freight train around the rim
But Mudiay never passes the ball to Mitch
But Henry Ellenson (who?), who will have the game of his life, has already learned to lob the ball to Mitch so in the end it’s all fine
Haha fools are trying to shoot above Mitch, yeah sure TWO BLOCKS in the same possession one on the perimeter and one around the rim oh my god
Hey it’s really a game! We’re close! Oh wait Knox is back into the game doing his Isadora Duncan routine
What are you serious this is our closing lineup: Mudiay Trier Jenkins Ellenson Robinson
Oh and by the way Mud passed the ball to Mitch just once in the game, two feet from halfcourt. Good job from a so-called PG
Zo entering spinning wheel mode
Mitch entering shutdown mode and hitting the free throw to put us in the lead
Ellenson plis stahp WE ARE TRYING TO TANK (cit. Spike) but yeah it’s good to hear a meaningful Mike Breen BANG from the Larry Johnson spot
And that’s the game. That’s it. No fake comeback, a pretty thrilling win (even if one that derails the tank a bit thanks to a few scrubs that probably won’t be here next year) and another monster performance by Mitch. Good stuff, in the end.
– I think you already expect it, don’t you? Mitchell Robinson (17 pts, 14 rebs, 6 blk, +5 +/-) just played one of the most dominant defensive performance I’ve ever seen from a Knicks post-Ewing. It’s not the numbers, mind you – I mean, of course it’s the numbers, but they don’t tell the whole story. It’s how he’s much more vocal on defense, directing people with his shouts and his long-ass arms, how people are genuinely afraid to shoot when he’s near them, how he slides alongside wing players, how he scored on a one-armed putback that also doubles as a classic dad-against-a-7-year-old-kid move, how a blatant foul he committed wasn’t called to give him a block (now, this last one might just be fortuitous, but it really looked like a star treatment). Guys, I think he’s arrived on the national scene. Keep also in mind that he played a lot of minutes with Mudiay, who really, really, really doesn’t know how to pass the ball to the rolling guy without turning the rock over. I’m afraid to open his B-R page because I’m not in the position to sport a boner for half an hour right now. I’ll just say he’s cruising comfortably over .200 WP/48. As a rookie. After not having played for a year. He looked gassed at a certain point in the first half after having played 16 straight minutes of pure bombshell basketball, but that was to be expected.
– Henry Ellenson (13 pts, 9 rebs, 5 ast, +18 +/-) played like 2008 Hedo Turkoglu’s skills went into Jonas Jerebko’s body. The numbers are great for a 10-day guy, but how he got there is even better. His lob to Mitch in the early seconds of the second quarter said a couple things: one, the kid understand basic principles of basketball better than the most famous recipient of Fizdale magic (throw the ball very high to the kid who jumps higher than anyone) and two, he likes to play team basketball. I don’t think he’ll stick around for much, but a Jenkins special might be in the making (this year plus next unguaranteed). Oh, you know who never recorded a 13-9-5 line in his Knicks stint? Yeah, the tall guy who wore number 6 (Oddly enough, Willy did once).
– Allonzo Trier (18 pts, 5 rebs, 2 ast, +21 +/-) played an amazingly efficient game, scoring 18 points on just 5 shots. Generally speaking, he was very good on offense, getting to the line repeatedly and being a menace every time he touched the ball. He also recorded 3 steals, and that was in just 21 minutes of playing time. I don’t know, if someone came to me telling me that an undrafted guy would average 10/3/2 in 22 mpg on Hardenesque splits (45/38/85) and an above average TS% I would have been very happy. It’s a shame they botched the Knox pick, otherwise the last one would have been a historical draft. On a side note: how ironic is that a guy they call Iso Zo is a much more reliable source of team basketball than your nominal backup point guard? On a different side note: how bad it is that as soon as someone sends a double Allonzo’s way he doesn’t know what to do with the ball? That’s the main thing he has to improve in the offseason.
– It’s difficult to single out a bad player among the starters, but I’ll ride with the 3-for-16 shooting guy. Kevin Knox (8 pts, 5 rebs, 2 ast, -18 +/-) should be ashamed, though it’s not his fault, that his fellow rookies are performing this much better than him. I can’t understand for the life of me how a guy can play 50 games in the NBA and still make the same basic driving mistakes. At times he looks like a floater maestro and a competent three point shooter. Most other times he looks like a terrible chucker who just learned what an orange ball is, and thinks that “Spalding” is a parody of the principal from “Saved by the bell”. In a few months he won’t be 19 anymore, and it’s going to be hard to excuse his limitations just pointing at his age. For the umpteenth time, not giving up on him so soon, but definitely not hopeful about his chances to become a good NBA player.
– The starters accounted for 33 of the overall 108 Knicks’ points. Not a single starter scored in double digit. Then again, a Lance-Vonleh frontcourt isn’t exactly a recipe for offensive success. Thing is, they were horrible even in their defensive rotations. Can someone tell me why are we playing Thomas again?
– Mudiay played a energizing game, but there is still no reason to play him this much when it’s evident that he don’t want to make the team run the way it should. He can score, yeah, but so did THJ. 19 points on 18 shots are merely mediocre, and while I dig his 8 rebounds, I’m sick of seeing him ignore Mitch’s diving enterprises. I’m also sick of the weird infatutation Fizdale has with him, but whatever, we’re still tanking in our own way, so we maybe need Mud’s awful defense.
– John Jenkins can shoot the ball, this we know. If only we had more people able to find him on the perimeter… oh wait, DSJ can do that, but no, let Dennis play off-guard as soon as Mudiay enters the game. I shook my head so many times during the game because of this that I might have generated a very small hurrican in my living room. I’ll call it “Chris Smith”.
– Dotson was completely out of rhythm today. 6 points on 2-for-7 shooting, a pretty meh way to follow on his great Spurs game.
– Vonleh only played 12 minutes, and I agree with that. Ellenson was much better than him last night. That’s scary and damning of the fact that we didn’t trade him away, even if it was for a 2025 second.
– DSJ played a blah game, but I still quite like his brand of basketball (on a grading curve, of course). I wish he’s gonna fix a bit his shot in the offseason. It looks like it can be fixed, and it would open up the game a lot for him. He found the time to throw a good lob to Mitch; it didn’t become an assist because Mitch got fouled, but they’re finding their chemistry. I like it.
– Has there ever been a 10-day contract getting interviewed after the game at center court? I think it’s a record set by Ellenson.
– Oh, guys. Mitch fouled just thrice in 33 minutes and notched 3 steals. How do you spell “future All-Defense player”?
And so we’re here, waiting for our next game against the Cavs and simultaneously praying to lose one and to see Mitch and the kids doing great things. I think we’ll win on Thursday, unless we play Mudiay and Thomas 48 minutes. Robinson is becoming too good not to heavily impact winnable games.