New York Knicks 98 – Toronto Raptors 126 – After the KB blackout

Lately I found myself more and more invested in reading every nook and cranny of the spoilerrific site Tv Tropes. If I have ten minutes to spare and nothing else to read, I’ll fire up the aforementioned site and see what it has to say about one of my favorite movies (or series, or cartoons, or videogames). I have discovered through the years that Tv Tropes is the vastest hoard of hidden meanings, mindblowing theories and genuine fun facts you’ll ever come around in the ‘Net. If there’s an Easter egg in a semi-unknown Korean movie you just happened to watch while browsing your phone, sometimes enthralled by the plot but driven to peruse at least five different tabs on your once potent (now only fatigued) iPhone 7 in a classic case of “too many things on the web” 21st century telematic boredom, well rest assured: Tv Tropes knows it, and you’ll feel better after having read it.

Why am I telling you all this? Because nowadays there’s nothing to say about the Knicks. Even in games where they improbably find themselves up eleven in the second quarter, they’ll find a way to disappoint fans and bystanders alike in the most bland and unentertaining guise available. Just a few numbers for the Canadian blowout we just witnessed: 37.5% (field goal percentage as a team), 29.3% (three point percentage as a team, it also doubles as RJ’s FG%), 51.2% (three point percentage as a team by the Raptors), -26 (Marcus Morris’ game-low plus/minus in just 20 minutes), 21 (three point makes by the Raps, the Knicks made only 12), +29 (OG Anunoby’s game-high plus minus – not coincidentally playing the same position as Morris), 0 (good ideas by Fizdale).

So I thought: let’s rip a page off of TV Tropes and let’s assign a trope to a few selected Knicks players, why not? If anything, it should be more fun than whatever ill-fated attempt at describing this Masked Singer-like contrived ugliness of a game. Let’s start!

Word of God: “Once they get in there maybe for whatever reason we don’t play as fast as we’d like,” Fizdale said. “How they measure pace as well is not necessarily conducive to how fast you’re playing. Because sometimes if you don’t get a shot on goal it takes away from what your actual pace is. So the actual speed we’re playing at, I think, is fine.” The result of this game makes this statement appear like the (weak) meme that popped up in a few Facebook feeds last month. “Hey, I ingested this pill that makes your brain go a lot faster!” “Oh, so are you now way smarter?” “No, I’m the same stupid me but at a much higher speed!”.

Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Averted. While Frank Ntilikina has ultralong limbs, he wasn’t able to get a single rebound, steal or block in 21 minutes of action. The much sturdier VanVleet was running circles around him tonight.

Marionette Motion: Mostly played straight with Mitchell Robinson. He still moves in strange ways and acts weird as if he were controlled by a trigger happy toddler on a PS4 controller. In the third quarter he committed a goaltending so blatant that looked a giant F-Bomb to Fizdale. The same can be said about the totally useless, pretty classless foul committed with a few second to play in the fourth and the Knicks down 28.

Everybody Hates Mathematics: shout out to Team Optimist, y’all. Lampshaded with RJ Barrett, who threatens to be the fourth NBA player ever to hit at least a third of his three point attempts while hitting less than 52% of his free throws (minimum 3 3PA per game), after Ken Norman in 94/95, Dion Waiters in 18/19 and the Trope Namer Nick Anderson in 96/97.

Contrasting Sequel Main Character: (Over)Played with Marcus Morris and Carmelo Anthony.

Elite Mooks: Averted with Marcus Morris. Mook, yes. Elite? Nah. He totally sucked last night (7 points, 3 boards, 1 assist). Also played with Marcus Morris: he’s still shooting a blistering 51.9% from three for the season.

Hopeless Boss Fight: Haha. Did you ever think that Randle vs. Siakam would have ended well? Julius posted solid numbers (19 points, 8 boards) but Siakam was a beast (31 points, 8 boards, 5 for 8 from three and looked unstoppable).

Hollow Knight: Even if this Trope means an entirely different thing, I liked how its name applied to Randle. Every year, every bad team has at least a guy who posts “big” numbers that ring hollow and untrue. Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. are poster childs of this misunderstood (by me) Trope, but Randle is very well growing in their footsteps.

Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Played straight with Bobby Portis (15 million dollars for this guy is simply preposterous). Averted with Mitch Robinson, who’s too awesome to be paid this little.

Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: from the Trope description: “[…] in such a way that it is impossible to make money by buying something and then re-selling it elsewhere“. Lampshaded by this board. Overplayed with the FO’s acquisition of one-year vets. Who would want them after they play like this?

Dungeon Maintenance: Probably played in the future with Kevin Knox or Dennis Smith Jr, especially as soon as Elfrid Payton comes back. In nights like this, those two are borderline unwatchable. In the second quarter DSJ committed two consecutive turnovers, with the second being the most egregious one: a full court pass attempt that went high above Bobby Portis’ head by at least ten feet.

A Wizard Did It: Subverted with David Fizdale. Whatever it is, Fizdale magic is working no wonders on the offseason acquisitions: every single one of them is posting a worse WS/48 than last year (with the exception of Elfrid Payton, who has only played 4 games though).

Blatant Lies: Played straight with Steve Mills and Scott Perry, who somehow tried to convince James Dolan that this roster was playoff-contention worthy.

Chew Bubblegum: Clyde is here to chew bubblegum and snark about failing Knicks players and sets. And he’s all out of bubblegum. Early in the third the Knicks wound up turning the ball over right after a timeout by Fizdale. Let’s just say Clyde wasn’t pleased with the subsequent play.

Leitmotif: Fire Fizdale.


Happy Thanksgiving guys! See you after the Sixers game. Let’s hope it’s better than this. Or not, if it helps getting ridden of a few guys.

Note: this was supposed to be published yesterday at 10:00 AM, before the site went off for several hours.

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Just an Italian basketball fan with an insane passion for all things Knicks (and yes, linguine Alfredo is not a real Italian dish).

28 thoughts to “New York Knicks 98 – Toronto Raptors 126 – After the KB blackout”

  1. on point as usual farfa…have you ever enjoyed a “traditional” (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing – all smothered in gravy, green beans, jellied cranberry sauce, and buttered rolls) thanksgiving dinner?

    simply one of those things which is best in life…

  2. have you ever enjoyed a “traditional” (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing – all smothered in gravy, green beans, jellied cranberry sauce, and buttered rolls) thanksgiving dinner?

    Sadly I never did, but a friend of mine recently transferred to Buffalo for academic purposes. Maybe next year I’ll go visit him for Thanksgiving and I’ll definitely try it!

  3. Thank you Farfa. This nugget from a NY Post article from Berman, posted yesterday:

    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.

    Let us hope that this was leaked by the drummer for Jimmy D’s band. Here’s the article:

  4. Kevin Knox: Fizdale pushed for this draft pick at No. 9 in 20018 over two-way forward Mikal Bridges because he saw a Kevin Durant upside.


  5. Worth noting: that Berman article listed Mitchell as the 4th most important prospect in the Knicks organization.

    All signs continue to point to the Knicks having no idea what they fell into

  6. Clyde is here to chew bubblegum and snark about failing Knicks players and sets. And he’s all out of bubblegum.

    That is solid.

    Raptors are littered with successful development projects. It’s pretty frustrating.

  7. Mills hired Fizdale because of his reputation as a player developmental guru.

    That’s not really accurate right? Or am I misremembering? Fiz was most famous for being beloved by the big stars in Miami right? While they were obviously super succesful during his stint there they weren’t exactly a player development hotbed. Wade was home developed but older by then, and unless I’m forgetting somebody Mario Chalmers was the only other important homegrown guy on those teams (and even he was an older rookie, experienced coming out of college kind of guy who turned into a fine role player and nothing more).

    So where did Fiz pick up a reputation as a player development guy? I always thought of him more in the “communicator” category as far as coaching styles – all the players love him, FAs will want to play for him etc. It’s turned out he hasn’t really worked out on that front either but the idea that he was a “developmental” hire seems a bit like revisionist history.

  8. You’re probably so jaded that you’re missing the obvious similarities. For example, did you happen to notice that their first names are literally identical? Shit like that doesn’t get lost on Fiz.

  9. As to Fiz’s penchant for player development, Mudiay is playing quite well in a backup role, so there’s that. Fiz got him right.

  10. Fiz also is quite familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s work on the correlation between first names and career success…and there have been several HOF-caliber players named Kevin (McHale, Durant, Love, Garnett) and not a single current or former star named Shai or Mikal.

  11. Mikal may be underwhelming (he’s actually playing pretty well this year, especially on defense, where he’s stalwart) but at the very least he looks like someone who belongs on an NBA basketball court. Even projecting growth for Knox, he looks like garbage, just utter trash. He’s going to cap out as a replacement level player, probably. Totally wasted pick. But Kevin Durant upside!

  12. I’ve been saying since he was drafted that it’s extremely weird to me that the Knicks looked at Knox and saw some crazy high upside possibility. The fact that he’s bad with the ball in his hands and can’t get to the rim at all both seem like relevant facts here. I have no idea what he showed in the 3v3 workout but I’ve never thought that even his 95th percentile was a superstar (more like a really good second option – I like the Rashard Lewis comp a lot).

  13. I have no faith at all in Knox but still would be curious about what happens when you put him into the hands of a capable Xs and Os coaching staff. Maybe nothing, maybe Davis Bertans.

  14. I don’t understand drafting a guy when there’s a better player from his own fucking college team available.

  15. Mikal is playing 20mpg to a 12% usage on a lousy team who gave up a #1 pick to get him. He’s a 3-and-D player who isn’t shooting 3’s well.

    In a side-by-side comparison:
    Knox is killing Mikal on 3-pt rate and percentage
    They are virtually even in rebounding and passing combined
    Mikal averages 1.6 more steals per 36 (this is the most significant difference between them)

    Thing is, compared to last year, Knox has improved his TS%, 3PAr, FTr, 3pt%, AST%, TOV%, and cut his USG%. He still looks terrible on D but has shown improvement across the board. Mikal has improved his rebounding but has stayed the same or regressed at everything else.

    I’ll still take my chances on Knox surpassing Mikal’s level of play in 3 years.

  16. The fact that he’s bad with the ball in his hands and can’t get to the rim at all both seem like relevant facts here.

    He has a reasonably high FTr so to me that counts somewhat towards “getting to the rim.” His TOV% is also pretty low so “bad with the ball in his hands” is also overstated.

    His biggest problem is that he’s a piss-poor defender. Unless he’s posting a .600+ TS%, no amount of offense can make up for his suckitude on D. And Fiz yanking him on the basis of his D is one of the few positive developments I can point to this year.

  17. I’d take Mikal 10 out of 10 times ahead of Knox still. He’s a really good defender, and he still has better advanced stats across the board than Knox while shooting .192 (not a typo) on 3s. I get that his 40% career mark from 3 in college probably won’t really happen in the pros, but even if he goes back to the 33% or so he shot in his rookie year, he’s still a more useful player.

    Shai obviously was the right pick, I didn’t pay much attention to him so I wasn’t in his bandwagon at the draft, but many smart people including posters here had him as the right pick at the time.

    The thing is that I’m not even mad at Knox so much, it was a gamble, very probably the wrong one to take, but we were only in the position to take this failed gamble because the damn team couldn’t tank properly in the year where Luka fucking Doncic was available at the 3rd overall pick or at the 5 with an added pick thrown in, or even just pick Trae Young so we could have a real exciting prospect for once in our lives. Then they decide to tank in the year the lottery gets flattened and it’s a 2 and half player draft, where admittedly at the very least we got the half prospect.

  18. @19

    Mikal’s ytd 3pt% (19%!) is very obviously an aberration, and is overwhelmingly likely to progress to near league-average. If he were posting a league-average 3pt % at this time he’d be posting a 60% TS. The only reason they’re within the realm of comparison is because of Bridges’ unsustainably cold shooting from 3. With all that said, Mikal is still posting an above average WS/48, BPM, and PIPM, whereas Knox still ranks as among the bottom 100 or so in the league according to BPM and PIPM, and rates as sub-replacement by VORP. Mikal is a productive player and projects to be so for the remainder of his career. Meanwhile, Knox is regressing in his 3pt shooting (imagine his TS% if he regresses to league average–yikes!!) and his rebounding has somehow gotten worse. And, what’s more, he’s a defensive sieve. He’s a bad player, and will likely remain bad for the remainder of his career. It’s not even close. Only way Knox is ever good is if he somehow becomes a good passer (which he’s never, ever shown) and shoots like Ryan Anderson. That’s not likely to happen (and he’s a worse rebounder than Anderson too). I’d cut bait immediately.

  19. it’s so odd – it seems that just about everyone in the world knew the knicks would be capped at around 30 wins or so except for dolan…

    just looking at perry’s face standing next to mills at that press conference makes me think he was pretty aware of the situation also…

    from listening to KD it seems the knicks never really had any shot at landing a top free agent this summer…

    hopefully at some point jimmy d gets tired of looking like a complete idiot all the time and wakes up and cleans house…

  20. Three years of development at age 20 is a very long time. Knox’s 3-pt shooting does not look like an aberration…easy to see him at around 38-40% as a 23yo. I agree that Mikal is going to shoot 3’s better (and perhaps even well) at some point, and when it does, he’ll be a solid bench player. Knox is unlikely to ever be the defender that Mikal is, but I can still see a player in there if he works really hard at it. There’s no doubt that he’s improved thus far this year (every advanced stat confirms this) and until he tops out, he’s worth coaching hard and waiting on development. Let’s see how he responds to adversity, like he’s experiencing now for the first time. He’s been coddled both at Kentucky and here last year and had no worries about his shitty defense costing him playing time like it is right now.

  21. And this draft is shaping up to be a dismal one. Aside from maybe Wiseman, there’s no prospect that has emerged to get excited about.

    There are no two ways about it: We don’t need a Lebron-crony coach like Fiz, we need an actual real developmental guy, and we need a GM that can recognize talent (or at the very least, to keep Mills completely out of the process).

  22. from listening to KD it seems the knicks never really had any shot at landing a top free agent this summer…

    Once they lost out on Zion (the only “sure” thing in the draft) they had zero realistic chance. What 30 ish star players were going to bet on anyone on the Knicks roster other than MR??? Even a defender as great as Rodman isn’t worth a lot without players than can score the ball and play complimentary defense.

    There is no parallel universe (apologies to Lisa Randall) where Knox on his best day is ever better than a 9th man on a good team. Frank “could” be a valuable role player in a limited role on a good team, but that’s it. The roster is bereft of talent…..

  23. yeah, we didn’t exactly hit any homeruns drafting in the 8th spot those two years…

    like a lot of things we do it was weird to purposefully go after the youngest guys available…

    short of drafting a player like luka or maybe ja or zion – it’s gonna be a sloooooow and painful rebuild…

    maybe one day we’ll either draft the right player or trick a decent free agent to come run our offense…

    more and more I’m thinking a g-league or ncaa coach might be best for this team…

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