Immanuel Quickley and the Knicks vs. Cavaliers: 4th 2020-21 Preseason Game Thread

The Knicks are missing Noel, Frank, Payton, Smith Jr., Rivers and Burks tonight.

So that means that Immanuel Quickley will be starting for the Knicks. We presumably will be seeing some of the #15-20 guys, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Thibs is, like, “Nope, I’d rather just play Quickley 40 minutes and Randle will play the point for 8 minutes.”

The lineup to open will be:

Quickley
Bullock
RJ
Randle
Mitch

Let’s go, Quickley (and the Knicks)!

Knicks vs. Cavaliers: 3rd 2020-21 Preseason Game Thread

Back at the Garden!

Mitch is also back in the starting lineup, which Thibs says was happening even before Noel got hurt (which just makes Noel starting over Mitch make even less sense).

Burks is out tonight due to personal reasons, so Bullock is starting at the 2.

No Frank, Rivers or Noel, so we better see a heavy dose of Quickley tonight.

Let’s go, Knicks!

SNY: Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau says adding a star player is ‘critical’

From Alex Smith:

The Knicks have gone into the last few NBA offseasons with their hopes set on bringing a big-name to Star to New York.

Unfortunately, though, bringing that big star to the Big Apple just hasn’t yet materialized.

Still, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday that he knows the importance of having star-power in the NBA, and he believes there are a few different ways teams can add a star, including through player development, as Thibodeau himself saw a player taken 30th overall in the draft evolve into a game-changing talent.

“I think it’s critical,” Thibodeau said. “When you look at every team in the league, particularly the playoff teams, and there’s a lot of different paths to getting stars.

“Sometimes it’s the development phase that, I think when you look at Jimmy Butler when he came in he hardly played as a rookie, played more each year, and he’s become a top-10 player in the league. So, it’s a testament to his work ethic and how he approached things.”

The Knicks, of course, have a crop of young players that the team is hopeful can eventually grow into that elite level, including RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Mitchell Robinson, among some other younger players.

Developing a star can take time, though, and Knicks fans aren’t typically the most patient group, given the team’s struggles over the last two decades. On the other side of that coin, the Knicks have been giving themselves a lot of cap flexibility via short-term deals, paving the way for one or two potential superstars to eventually sign with the Knicks in the long term.

There are different ways to acquire stars in the NBA, but Thibodeau knows that teams can’t just sit around and wait when opportunities arise.

“Some guys continue to get better year after year. Sometimes you have to do it through trades, sometimes it’s free agency, but I think you have to be very aggressive in seeking out those opportunities,” Thibodeau said. “They just don’t happen by accident. You have to make them happen.”

It’s basically meaningless, but hey, it’s a new thread.

Knicks @ Pistons: 2nd 2020-21 Preseason Game Thread

Game 2 of the preseason!

Thibs, annoyingly, is sticking with his starting lineup from the first game.

Here’s to hoping that we see Quickley tonight!

Knicks vs. Pistons: 1st 2020-21 Preseason Game Thread

It’s the first preseason game and already not a great sign.

1. Elfrid Payton
2. Alec Burks
3. RJ Barrett
4. Julius Randle
5. Nerlens Noel

But hey, at least RJ’s at the 3. That’s something.

But yeah, Thibs, get over yourself, dude.

Let’s go, Knicks!

NY Daily News: Coach Tom Thibodeau hoping new format gives Knicks a shot at playoffs

Not a whole lot of news, so this is what we’ve got. From Stefan Bondy:

Just based on the number of openings, the Knicks have a greater chance this season at competing for a playoff spot. And Tom Thibodeau hopes his club takes advantage of the new format.

The league has adopted the play-in structure for 2020-21, which means the Nos. 7-10 seeds in each conference will hold a round-robin tournament after the season. One spot is guaranteed to either the No. 7 or 8 seeds, so it’s really a competition between three teams for the final playoff position.

“I think it makes it interesting,” Thibodeau said. “Obviously where we are, hopefully we’ll have a shot at that. It’s something that we have to work towards.”

The Knicks are again expected to fall into the lottery following a quiet free agency season, but finishing in the top-10 is certainly easier than the top-8. The format, which was first used over the summer in the Orlando bubble, is geared toward keeping more teams involved in the playoff race while dissuading tanking. Of course, the Knicks have been so bad lately that they haven’t finished in the Eastern Conference’s top-10 since 2014.

So it’ll require improvement from Thibodeau’s squad just to elevate into the play-in games.

“For us the important thing is to confront what the facts are. So we have a lot of ground to make up,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve got to work each day to close that gap. if we do that good things will come. There has to be the proper amount of patience, but sometimes too much patience isn’t a good thing. So we’ve got to move this thing along and everything has got to be about the team. Sacrifices have to be made. We have to figure out, develop our plan, and then we’ve got to work our plan.”

Again, it’s a slow newsday and the last thread had too many comments.

Since we have to have all poll content, here we go:

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NY Post: Frank Ntilikina still searching for role at key Knicks juncture

From Marc Berman:

On Dec. 21, the Knicks will face the deadline to give Ntilikina a rookie-contract extension and there’s no evidence they will do so.

Expected to be a restricted free agent in 2021, Ntilikina stands a chance of being dealt at the trade deadline in March.

Regarding his contract, Ntilikina said, “The business part is going to take care of itself. I’m here to get better every day, to get this team better.’’

Knicks president Leon Rose is his former agent, but Ntilikina dumped Rose for French rep Bouna Ndiaye. Rose, who took over on March 1, missed out on seeing whether Ntilikina would continue to rise.

“It was really disappointing,’’ Ntilikina said of the season’s abrupt finish. “The end of last season really motivated me a lot. I saw improvements. When you work really hard every day just to improve, it’s really motivating when you see those improvements, when you feel that on the court. It just gave me so much energy for the future.”

Now the 6-foot-5 Ntilikina faces a hodgepodge battle for the starting point-guard job. Elfrid Payton was re-signed, Austin Rivers was brought in and Dennis Smith Jr. still is here.

Most likely, because of his defensive gifts, defensive-minded coach Tom Thibodeau will find a niche for Ntilikina off the bench, perhaps off the ball.

“It’s part of the game,’’ Ntilikina said of the playing-time battle. “We have a lot of guards on this team, a lot of competitors, which is going to bring the best out of the team. We’re going to compete hard for minutes and the coach is going to decide what he wants to do. We have trust in him. He knows what he’s doing. He knows his job. So he’s going to put the best players together on the court.’’

There were rumors on social media this summer about Ntilikina being traded after he had taken his Knicks bio off his accounts.

“I heard about it. It’s been a while — a really long time,’’ Ntilikina said. “I don’t know. I’m here. I’m happy to be a Knick. I’m working every day to represent this team the best I can. And I’m really happy to be here.”

Berman really creates a false dilemma here with his “The Knicks have until December 21 to sign Ntilikina to an extension.” I mean, come on, even the most supportive fans of Frank don’t think that the Knicks are going to sign him to an extension. That’s basically just trolling.

Still, it was an otherwise interesting article about Frank.

As part of our all-polls, all the time content here…

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NY Daily News: Rookie Obi Toppin already wowing his Knicks teammates with his athleticism, but defense needs work

From Stefan Bondy:

Some players like to get loose with a few jumpers. Maybe some lay-ups. Get a feel for the rim and the muscles.

Then there’s Obi Toppin.

“He comes in the gym 8 in the morning and his first shot is a between-the-legs dunk,” Kevin Knox said. “His athleticism is just crazy.”

There are few certainties with rookies in the NBA, but this much can be assured about Toppin: athletically, he’s a monster. The 22-year-old power forward showed up to Knicks training camp and set a goal of breaking the conditioning test records.

First goal was achieved. We’re envisioning a Toppin-Zion final in the Slam Dunk contest.

“When I go out there I try my best to have the highest score — I always ask what the highest score is so I can beat it,” Toppin, the eighth overall pick, said Thursday. “And I believe I’m the highest person in the conditioning test.”

Toppin has the potential to electrify the Garden, and it’s a shame there won’t be fans to appreciate his high-flying act. But New York’s plan is to keep Toppin well after the vaccine will allow for a full MSG, and he’s stepping into a promising situation in Year 1 with a demanding coach and a roster that should provide him plenty of opportunities.

I mean, it’s nice to hear, I guess, but honestly, doesn’t it sort of sound like those “best shape of his life” stories, just about a rookie? Seems odd.

And since we have to have all polls all the time, let’s do some Rookie of the Year predictions, using just the guys who have betting odds right now.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

NY Post: Rockets trade Russell Westbrook for John Wall in shocking NBA blockbuster

Jake Nisse on the most important trade for the Knicks not involving the Knicks!

Someone had to do it.

After the Knicks were linked to All Star guard Russell Westbrook as a possible trade target, the Wizards pulled the trigger Wednesday night, sending oft-injured star John Wall and a first-round pick to the Houston Rockets, according ESPN. The Athletic reports that there are protections on the pick through the 2026 Draft.

Phew.

Unless, of course, the Wizards and/or the Rockets flip one of their newly acquired point guards to the Knicks later, of course. But that’s a fear for another day! For now, this is a great thing.

And because we have to have all poll, all the time…

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NY Post: Leon Rose’s grand Knicks roster plans went up in flames

Berman’s hearing voices again:

“They took a conservative approach by signing one-year, stopgap players,’’ ESPN’s cap guru and former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks told The Post. “This is a huge year for RJ [Barrett], [Kevin] Knox and Obi from a development stage. It’s important for the young kids to develop this season. That will be the draw to free agents.”

This wasn’t Rose’s Plan A, however. When Rose came aboard, The Post has learned, he talked internally about his grandiose plans of trading for point guard Chris Paul, his former CAA client, to hasten the rebuild.

Then Rose planned to sign ex-Knick Carmelo Anthony, Paul’s buddy. Anthony also is a former Rose client who rejuvenated his career in Portland.

According to a source, Paul wanted to stay close to his son in Los Angeles and was not feeling the Knicks. Paul wound up being traded to Phoenix. On the record, the veteran All-Star point guard said a New York move without the trappings of a packed Garden wasn’t appealing.

So Rose went into free agency looking to bolster the moribund point-guard position but lost out on his top targets that included Fred VanVleet, who never gave the Knicks a passing glance while re-signing with Toronto.

Rose wound up bringing back starting point guard Elfrid Payton, also a CAA client.

Rose and Wesley, a former CAA adviser who is close to the Kentucky basketball factory, get a pass for now. But the honeymoon will be over if 2021 passes without a star being drawn to New York.

The burning question is whether a win-now Thibodeau can deal with this rebuilding roster filled with five former Kentucky players, none of whom has reached his potential. Thibodeau is not a patient man.

I don’t know who’s leaking this stuff to Berman, but they seem like they are kind of troublemakers (I’m not saying they’re not telling the truth, of course, but still). And hey, whatever, the end result is that they didn’t trade for Chris Paul or re-sign Carmelo Anthony. So I’m not going to knock them for it. But I’ll admit that it is not fun to read that.

Oh, I forgot our all poll content now. How about…

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