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- The ups, downs, hopes and realities of being a Knicks fan during a rebuilding season
- Happy Thoughts for a Happy New Year
- News Summary: Enes Kanter’s wild night in Milwaukee
- Noah Vonleh, the Giannis stopper
- Knicks Film School: How the Knicks are getting creative for Kevin Knox
Kanter unhappy with bench role
Enes Kanter lost his starting spot to Luke Kornet over the last two games. He has not been shy in voicing his displeasure.
- Kanter: “I don’t understand. This is too early in the season to shut me down. My goal is to go out there and try to be an All-Star this year. That was my goal. But now, look at the situation. You can’t do anything about it. You’ve got to stay positive. Just got to stay positive.” [Ian Begley | ESPN]
- When pressed about his feelings on the Knicks prioritizing player development, Kanter said, “Ask me after the [Nuggets] game. I’ll have a better answer. … We’ll just talk about it after the game.” [Marc Berman | New York Post]
Should the Knicks be playing Kanter? Using the difference in points scored vs allowed per 100 possessions when Kanter is on the court vs off the court, you can project his impact on team wins. This season, the Knicks have played like a 15-win team with Kanter on the floor, versus a 27-win team when he is off the floor. The team’s net rating is 6.2 points LOWER when he plays versus when he doesn’t. [Cleaning the Glass]
- If you are reading this blog, you know his limitations on defense; Kanter is also a limited player on offense, as a scorer out of the post or on put-backs. Regardless how you feel about the Knicks prioritizing youth over veteran playing time, it is debatable whether Kanter makes the Knicks better.
Meanwhile, Lance Thomas and Courtney Lee were reportedly told “a while ago that the organization was prioritizing ‘development,'” which I take to mean playing young players over veterans. [Stefan Bondy | New York Daily News]
- “Fizdale said there was a team-wide discussion Monday before its film session where the frustrations of the veterans who have seen their playing time decrease were addressed.” [Chris Iseman | The Record]
Mitchell Robinson back soon
Mitchell Robinson is hoping to return for the Knicks’ January 4th match-up with the Lakers, although it is more likely he won’t return until the final two games of the current west coast trip, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Robinson: “Hopefully the last two games or before I’ll be playing. I would like to play [against the Lakers]. I don’t like sitting down. I just want to play.” [Marc Berman | New York Post]
- The Knicks are 0-7 since Robinson left the lineup with a sprained left ankle. He recently shed a walking boot that he had been wearing during his recovery process. He injured himself falling awkwardly on December 14 vs Charlotte, the last game the Knicks won.
Knicks blown out in Utah
The Knicks nearly faced their largest halftime deficit in franchise history during their blowout loss to Utah. A Tim Hardaway Jr. three-pointer saved them from that dubious feat. The Knicks found themselves down by 37 points at halftime (their largest halftime deficit ever is 40 points).
- Fizdale: “[The Jazz] came out with force. We came out dead. We had no legs, no life, no nothing, couldn’t make shots, couldn’t get stops. It was a total avalanche.” [MSG Networks]
- Knicks assistants Keith Smart and Kaleb Canales gave it to the team at halftime. The Knicks responded with a better second half, but it’s hard to evaluate when the score was so out of hand.
Frank dunks over Gobert
FRANKIE DUNKS 💪 🔨 pic.twitter.com/kdh13DbBtX
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) December 30, 2018
This was literally the only highlight of the game.
Mudiay discusses troubles in Denver
Emmanuel Mudiay was not on speaking terms with the Denver media upon being traded to the Knicks. He tells the New York Daily News that questions about his struggles and benching became repetitive.
- Mudiay: “I kind of shut down for a little bit. That’s just the honest truth. I was young. I’m still young. But you have to kind of go through certain things.” [Stefan Bondy | New York Daily News]
- Mudiay admitted he was out of shape when coming to New York last season, finding his solution in giving up fried food. [Stefan Bondy | New York Daily News]
Dotson part of future?
The Knicks have a strong interest in Dotson as a part of their future, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Dotson has a non-guaranteed amount of $1.6MM that the Knicks have until July 15 to decide on.
- Since his 2019 salary is only about $800,000 more than a min roster charge, there is not much cap savings in letting him walk. It would seem to make sense to keep a young player with a strong work ethic, rather than looking to replace his production, at such a cheap price, with someone else.
Luke Kornet starts again
Luke Kornet received his second consecutive start in Utah. He connected on four more three-pointers in the Knicks loss, after making seven in his first start.
- Utah took advantage of the Knicks’ defense by putting Kornet in situations where he was forced to defend 1-on-2 out of drop coverage, as Gobert finishing most plays with dunks. The Knicks guards had trouble keeping the ball-handler in front of them on pick and rolls.
- The Knicks tried to adjust in the second half. They had Kornet show high on the initial screen to prevent penetration. He would then quickly recover back to his man. This worked in isolated situations, but didn’t in others. The Knicks’ off-ball defenders had trouble bumping or “holding” the roll man to allow Kornet enough time to recover.
Knicks come out of halftime with Kornet showing hard on the ball-handler and recovering.
Good defensive possession that ends with Mudiay holding his own (finally) vs Exum pic.twitter.com/QBGyTQH8RE
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) December 30, 2018
In his first start: Kornet became the first seven-footer to connect on 7 three-pointers in a Knicks uniform, according to Basketball-Reference. He also joined a small list of seven-footers across the entire NBA to connect on 7 threes. The others are Channing Frye, Brook Lopez, Lauri Markkanen and Dirk Nowitzki. [Kevin Pelton | ESPN]
- What starting means: Hopefully it means that Fizdale is starting to figure out that as much as Kanter racks up points and rebounds from post-ups and put-backs, he adds very little value as a pick-and-roll player in the offense, and becomes a net negative due to his defense. Kornet helps the Knicks stretch the floor up to the 5 position, providing a major threat to pop out of pick-and-rolls, and he is also a stable defender near the rim.
David Fizdale likes what Kornet can do for the Knicks’ defense.
- Fizdale once said Kornet “couldn’t jump over an envelope” in complimenting his ability to protect the rim despite his lack of athleticism. Kornet responded, “I was actually thinking about how many envelopes I could jump and then putting them in his office.” [Marc Berman | New York Post]
- How was Kornet’s defense vs Milwaukee? Milwaukee is the best team in the NBA scoring near the rim. In Kornet’s first start, the Knicks held them to 61.1% near the rim (which would rank 22nd). Part of this is a result of Vonleh’s defense on Giannis, and Kornet was beat convincingly by Brook Lopez on a few possessions, but overall, he helped the Knicks stay even on defense against a tough match-up.