To kick-off the new year, we thought it would be fun to step away from the film analysis and speak as fans. What are we hoping to see in 2019?
It would be easy for me to wax poetic about my two and a half decades as a Knicks fan, about all the games I’ve watched over the second half of seasons that have not only featured bad basketball, but effortless (and not in a good way) basketball as well, and for me to say that all I want in the New Year is for the Knicks to compete right down to the buzzer of the 82nd game.
That would be a cop out. It’s a long season, and I have a feeling as this one winds down, there will be tired legs and young guys looking like they miss their mommy and just want the warmth and comfort of their blankie at home. It’s fine. To be expected even.
So no, that’s not what my wish for 2019. No, the resolution I want the Knicks to have is a much simpler one: hold on to Frank Ntilikina. Hold on to him like life itself, water him, nurture him, tell him you love him, and give him the prioritization someone of his talent, personality and makeup deserves.
Is this a selfish wish? A little bit, sure. It’s entirely possible that some team out there is willing to give New York $0.85 on the dollar for Frank, at least in proportion to his draft slot. Given how he’s graded out as one of the very worst offensive players in the league through more than 110 games now, depending on what they got, it might actually be a smart deal.
I don’t care. In 25 years of watching basketball, I’ve never had an irrational belief in someone like I do our young French son. He deserves a chance to figure it out on the world’s greatest stage. The temptation is probably already there to pull the plug.
Don’t do it guys. Give me this one thing. I don’t ask for much.
Happy 2019 Everyone.
The 2018 calendar year proved to be one of setbacks and opportunities. After finishing 2017 with some hope (remember when the Knicks were 17-14?), 2018 brought the typical late season swoon, and we were confronted with our worst fear as Knicks fans when our beloved unicorn Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL.
During his absence, we’ve seen the defensive and playmaking potential within Frank Ntilikina, but also the passiveness and inconsistency that reminded me we’re dealing with a player that’s not even 21 years old. At the same time, the Knicks added THREE important pieces to their core: Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Allonzo Trier. We’ve also seemed to hit the lottery (pun intended) on a few of our comeback stories, including Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh.
In 2019, I hope for a continued path of development for our players, while also unlocking the hidden talents of others. I also wish for a level of patience and resistance. All of our players will go through periods of struggles and we must accept this as a fanbase. We must also aim to avoid temptations, especially when other players may have a better game or a couple of highlights.
2018 has been another year of hope and looking toward the future for our beloved franchise. But looking back to where the Knicks found themselves during the second half of last season, the organization finds itself in a relatively good position heading into 2019.
It wasn’t even two months into 2018 when Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL and the hearts of Knicks fans at the same time. We were left to think about who we would be drafting in the upcoming 2018 draft class, and on the verge of being in another coaching search as Jeff Hornacek was certainly not coming back for the next season.
Now, we have Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Allonzo Trier as products of last year’s draft (of course, Trier was our undrafted find); David Fizdale is leading the team on the sidelines; and 2019 represents a year of development.
So, in 2019 I hope we stick to the process of developing our young players. I wish for Frank Ntilikina to become the aggressive point guard we need going into the future; that Kevin Knox becomes the superstar he’s capable of being in this league; and that we continue to bring along Mitch Rob and Trier, two additional pieces to our rookie class who are very important to the Knick’s future.
I’m also excited for when KP finally returns and hope he is ready to get back to the dominant-All Star he was starting to become before his ACL injury. I want the team to remain patient and smart in the upcoming draft, and in free agency.
Patience is the key heading into 2019 with our beloved Knicks organization. Baby steps will lead to big leaps and the turn-around we hope 2018 laid the foundation for will manifest itself in this new year.
I began the 2018 season with optimism, quickly descended into frustration with every “WTF!” hurled at the television, told myself to be reasonable and patient, and here I am summoning every ounce of energy and rationale to try and follow my own advice.
Knox and M-Rob are my brightest of bright spots. Their development, plus that of Mudiay and Vonleh, have given me hope that this staff can excel in this regard. But in other regards? The inability to follow through on philosophies discussed in the preseason, the lack of accountability for select players, and the jerking around of Frank (and to a lesser extent, Dot) leave me concerned heading into 2019.
I will not overreact. When I wrapped my Rebuild Grades, I laid out things I needed to see for this season to be considered a success – a resolution to the rotation issues (and a full youth movement), a dealt veteran or two, and continued progress toward the on-court identity Coach Fiz spoke about in his introductory press conference. If the organization can check these boxes, we will be in a great place heading into the 2019 NBA Draft.
2018 has been another mostly disappointing year in an almost two-decade span of down years for our beloved Knicks.
The loss of star player Kristaps Porzingis in early February and the lack of experience in the team across the last twelve months have resulted in the Knicks losing 64 of their 83 games in 2018. Add to this, the ongoing rotation issues, similar to those that led to the dismissal of Jeff Hornacek in April, and you can understand why some of the fan base might feel trepidatious of what awaits the Knicks in 2019.
However, there were some positive moments: the arrival of new head coach David Fizdale and one of the most successful draft nights in the history of the franchise were key moments that will shape the Knicks future, both in 2019 and beyond.
What do I expect in 2019?
I expect 2019 to be another difficult year for Knicks fans, but I also expect it to be the final tough one for the foreseeable future.
Four more grueling months remain of the 2018-2019 season; it isn’t going to be pretty and the Knicks are destined for one of the top picks in the upcoming draft. Be it the first pick or the fifth pick, Zion Williamson or Kevin Porter. The success of the 2018 draft has given me faith that the front office will choose the correct player for the team going forward.
In David Fizdale and Scott Perry (and I guess Steve Mills), I have faith the Knicks will put forward the best possible recruitment of a max free agent in the summer. Even if they fail in their efforts, I can see the young core of the Knicks greatly improving this calendar year and be on their way to securing a playoff spot by late 2019.
2018 was one hell of a year for many, but if anything, I’ve learned that people are capable of astounding love and support even in the most trying of times.
I believe this holds as true in life as it does in sports. The Knicks are a part of our family and despite the ups and downs, I’ve seen a new energy surrounding our team. We’ve taken some major losses recently, but for the first time in years, the team is on a path to sustainable greatness. New management, a great young core and a coach that understands success happens one step at a time. I’d love to see more ball movement and a true commitment to defense moving forward.
For 2019 I wish all of us patience and progress (and cap space). Cheers all!
I should use this space to write about my hopes for the Knicks to continue to develop their young players, while trading short-term pieces for future assets and cap space, and how I hope this summer brings a superstar to New York, via draft, or trade, or both.
But instead, I will talk about our charity efforts. In just two months of time, we have raised nearly $10,000 to help people in need.
My hope for 2019 is that we can turn this little Knicks site into a community of fans looking to give back. Please help us help others!