The Big Rotten Apple

image credit to Dailyknicks

 

Here we are, another episode of the Big Rotten Apple. It seems that this never-ending soap opera involving James Dolan and a revolving door of cast members that is the Knicks personnel has come up with another sad episode after the Knicks 2-8 start (now 3-10). On this Episode, the Knicks suffered a terrible loss to the Cavaliers. This compelled Scott Perry and Steve Mills to make an address to the media in an in-impromptu conference right after the loss. below is a link to the video in question.

barrettimage credit- Emile Chinn

The essentials of this conference were seeming to address the media and the general public of the disappointment the front office and the accountability all parties have in the matter. In essence with the roster currently constructed, the management team (Perry and Mills) believes that the Knicks should have a better record than what they have. The problem is, most of us basketball fans are not surprised by this Knicks team’s record. In fact, this is right where we expected them to be. Looking at the roster right now, there are several players who can play integral parts on winning teams.

Marcus Morris, Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis, and Tahj Gibson are all well-established role players that would give valuable minutes to teams looking to get over the hump. You combine them with young players the likes of Rj Barret, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilkina, Mitchell Robinson and Dennis Smith Jr and you come into some serious problems.

new_knicksimage credit to Kuba Przekwas

First and foremost, all of these players will be battling for minutes because all of them believe that they deserve them. This places pressure on the coaching staff to give everyone the minutes they deserve, which is no easy task.

Then players become disgruntled if they aren’t on the court. This dilemma hasn’t arrived yet, however it is an issue that can arise. The problem at hand is that everyone believes that they are better than the next, which creates a competitive atmosphere that no one needs. In simpler terms, there is no pecking order as far as roles go on this team. The role players would feel that they’re better than the young players, and that’s rightfully so. As a proven vet you should feel better than a young player attempting to find their footing in the league. There’s also the fact that a lot of these vets are on one-year deals, meaning they have something to prove this year. 

 

Then there’s the fit of talent. There’s poor floor spacing within this team. There are no true three-point shooters on this team. In a league that seems to thrive upon spacing and shooting, That is an enormous deficiency that is costing their offense. Only four of the Knicks 15 man roster are averaging more than 40% from beyond the arc, and Elfrid Payton technically doesn’t count because he’s only played 4 games so far. On top of that, the Knicks only have two players averaging over 50% field-goal percentage, Taj Gibson and Mitchell Robinson. Everyone else is in the 40% range. This type of inefficiency is not conducive to winning. The Knicks are in the bottom 5 in many categories such as offensive rating (30th) and defensive rating (22nd). These poor stats don’t lead to wins on the court. 

knicksimage credit to Ahmed Shifa

These deficiencies can be due to lack of Point guard play, Dennis Smith has only played 6 games, Payton only 4, and frank Ntlikina has proven he’s not completely prepared to run an offense. In fact, he’s more of a defensive tweener than an offensive guard. Nevertheless, The Knicks’ lack of a true point guard is exposed frequently.

There is also the fact that the expectations for this roster by management aren’t realistic with the team constructed. It is because of this that we see the poor record a reflection of this horrendous offensive efficiency. This and also because Fizdale is running an iso offense that isn’t helped by spacing or a true number one. Although Barret is the future of the Knicks and they have full faith in him as he’s their second-leading scorer and plays the most minutes per game, Marcus Morris averages the most points on the team. This is in large part to spacing and the lack of a structured offense that can create a prosperous team.

Lastly, there are questions about the direction. Steve Mills and Scott Perry had all summer into the season been convinced this team was built to win now. That they expected a playoff team this year. the question is how? How do you transform the 17-65 win team into a playoff team without any superstars? Especially this roster? Why would you have all these young promising players then sign players that take their position? Why not sign veterans that would play a mentor role and not have to double up on their roles? And why not try to trust the process and have a young and exciting team like what we were expecting to have? All these questions cannot be answered here, but the gist of all of this is that the Knicks management is suffering from a case of too much pressure. The pressure to WIN NOW. The pressure to prove that trading away Porzingis was a good idea. The pressure to prove they can win without stars. The pressure to satisfy the Knicks fans. The pressure to not get fired by Dolan, The NBA’s worst owner. And it is evident by their impromptu press conference last week that they are crumbling under that pressure.

david-fizdale-4image credit to Corey Sipkin

This press conference, although taking accountability on all fronts shows the lack of understanding or control of the situation. The conference in my own opinion seemed forced. This is because it was right after a loss with the coach in the locker room speaking to the players and expected to speak to the media right after. This type of conference is unusual and out of place. As if it were forced as if they were behooved to speak to the media after their terrible start. In fact, there were reports that Dolan berated Mills and Perry after the Knicks loss to the Cavs last week. this, in turn, led to the press addressing by the pair. If this is the case then it is just another bad apple on this dying Knicks tree rotting the entire plant. On top of that, the pair expressed their faith in the roster, a roster that doesn’t seem to truly have a direction! Is it win now or develop the youth?

 

Rather than putting faith in their youth and just allowing them to play, getting players that would fit a coaches system or allow there to be viable spacing for the team, You create a log jam at forward and center, limiting Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson’s growth. You add a veteran In Elfrid Payton when you already have two young point guards you can take the time to develop. One you should have drafted in the first place but passed upon instead of for your point guard who isn’t ready to run an offense and is more defense-oriented. 

So then you place the coach in a dilemma of fighting to win now and attempting to develop the youth for the future. Plus there’s generating more dysfunction by essentially firing the coach without firing him, and putting forth the necessary paperwork to fire the coach. 

Now Fizdale is unfairly on the hot seat, placed in a lose-lose situation. In all reality, there isn’t an expectancy for him to make it past Christmas. Which is a truly harsh reality. Fizdale is a great coach who deserves a chance to figure this dilemma out. This doesn’t seem to be the case for the Knicks management, however, and it only proves their dysfunction even further.

With all this evidence provided, It is clear that the problem isn’t the players or the coaching, But the management. Poor personnel decisions and bad management have been a staple in this trash bag of a knicks franchise. So what’s the real problem to this rotten apple tree? Management, and… James Dolan

The Knicks have had only one 50 win season in the past 20 years. These all under James Dolan’s regime. They have a .402% winning record over that time span. (courtesy of Woj’s BR report)Last in the NBA. That in combination with the 12 coaches and 7 different executives proves that ownership struggles with maintaining stability and is horrendous at running a team. This type of ownership has proven time after time to disappoint Knick fans and this is just another episode of bad apples. The story of the dying apple tree in the middle of Manhattan that once spurred fruits that New Yorkers loved eating. Now it is an old, withering tree that has been given poor sunlight and little water. If We’re not careful we’ll see the young rising apples (barret, Knox, Robinson, Trier, Ntilkina, and Smith) all turn rotten as well. 

 

Thank you for reading

 

Thank you for reading

Woj Knick BR

basketball reference knicks

Scott perry stevemills press

 

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