Early Season Report Card for the New York Knicks
This past Thanksgiving, basketball fans didn’t have much to be thankful for in terms of the New York Knicks. The team has performed far below par and their early season report card is disappointing. New York stands as the second worst team in the East and the third worst team in the League. This franchise simply does not know how to be successful. With that being said, fans should keep in mind that Christmas is a few weeks away. If Knicks fans should wish for anything this holiday, it should be for a new direction for this team
More than just the players
One could blame the players on this squad for the early season failures. When a team under performs, of course you must analyze those actually performing. For instance, Dennis Smith Jr. has been abysmal in a multitude of categories, averaging only 5.1 points per game. Julius Randle, who was brought in as the team’s star, has failed to be a consistent offensive threat for the team. Kevin Knox, who has been lethal from the three point line, has yet to explore the full breath of his scoring prowess. Marcus Morris has notably gotten into at least two unnecessary squabbles on the court, which is just a bad look.
As a whole these players have not brought everything to the table. That is their fault. Yet, they didn’t sign themselves to this team. They were brought together by this front office, who had foregone all other talent in favor of “hard nose” players. Yet, it doesn’t matter how hard your nose is. If you can’t put the ball in the basket and you can’t remain competitive, you will not win. Regardless, bringing in all of these players was a decision made by this front office.
Not all on the Coach
If the players don’t receive the brunt of the blame, does it fall to David Fizdale? The answer should be no. Fizdale was brought in to develop the young talent on the squad, and to some degree he’s done that. As mentioned earlier, Knox has started to seek the three point shot at a high level. Additionally, R.J. Barrett has been able to get good production in this rotation and come off with solid stats, averaging 15.3 points per game alongside 5.3 rebounds. While there has been some development, the fruits of Fizdale’s labor has been minimal. Most notably he has failed to put together a solid and consistent rotation that can compete in this league.
Fizdale’s time as head coach has not been an achievement. If anything, he has been at the helm of New York’s worst performances almost two seasons running now. To that end, there are stirrings that the team is looking to move on from him. In some regards, that is fair. After all, it is the coach’s job to take what you have and make it work. Yet, he did not trade Kristaps Porzingis. He did not go out and fail to acquire top tier players. He has struggled to get much out of this team, but that stands to reason that there was much to get in the first place. Thus, while the team’s losing can be placed on him, the front office has some explaining to do.
Time to Clear House
This entire front office formation was an attempt to save face after the failings of Phil Jackson. It was a hatch job and that has performed as such. The team is in no better standing because the front office wasn’t built to stand tall. There have been next to no intelligent basketball moves made, save for perhaps the draftings. The ultimate failure of the franchise in recent memory was letting Porzingis go. Even Carmelo Anthony is on a resurgence with the Portland Trailblazers, while the Knicks continue to bomb. The front office has failed to make dynamic moves in order to put New York in a winning position. For that reason, it looks like it is time to clear house and start fresh. The franchise is nothing more than an abysmal failure at this point. There is no better time to begin again, and that has to start at the very top.
Time for Dolan to Sell the Team
James Dolan is the worst owner in basketball. Players do not want to play here because of him. He has no knowledge of what a good deal looks like. His prowess for seeking talent is non-existent. He barely even likes the fans, as shown by him banning fans from the Garden. The feeling is mutual. In sum, he has dragged down the franchise in a multitude of fashions. The front office has failed to stand up to him and get the job done. Moreover, he isn’t even the slightest bit interested in the success of the team. If he was he wouldn’t be skipping drafts or killing potential deals with All-stars. His disregard for the team and it’s fan base is a sufficient accusation. Dolan must be forced to sell the team. If not, the franchise will fail to go any further and remain in this era of losing.
The Knicks have been nothing short of a disaster. Their early report card is filled with failure. This team has showed no signs of a resurgence. The only way to cure this franchise is to start fresh and clear house from the top down. James Dolan must sell the team and the front office needs new direction. Without those steps in place, the Knicks will remain at the bottom for an indefinite duration. This is not how the Big Apple’s basketball team should operate. In closing, watching this season has been the equivalent of the Patrick Ewing finger roll. This team needs to do better.