If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
– Alexander Hamilton & Malcolm X, among others
Tomorrow marks exactly 30 months since Steve Mills hired Scott Perry as general manager of the New York Knicks, forming the front office tandem that was supposed to guide this team out of the darkness and finally, as we have heard so many times since that day, “build this the right way.”
Here’s the thing about the concept of “right” though: there’s no standard definition for it, especially when it comes to building a basketball team. You just kind of know it when you see it.
Before we get to whether or not this Kawhi thing matters (it does, just maybe not for the reasons you think) and whether there’s a good reason for such a story to be taking up people’s time six months after the fact (there is, kind of), let’s get the actual facts straight:
Much was made of the fact that on Friday morning, David Fizdale was allowed to conduct practice and meet with the media before unceremoniously being fired via a two sentence press release mere hours later. No cursory pleasantries. No “We thank him for his service.”
That’s how it felt, at least.
You have to remember that 25 years ago, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was a dead
zone for a car radio. This really didn’t matter, unless of course you were
listening to a game. And even then, without traffic, it took, what…two, three
Except this didn’t feel like two or three minutes. It felt like two or three years. Because this wasn’t any game…it was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and the team I’d just been introduced to less than a year earlier, but which had already captured my soul in a death grip that has only gotten tighter over the years, was on the verge of going to the NBA Finals.
Barring something extremely unlikely, Kristaps Porzingis will play more games against the New York Knicks before his career is over. As such, this last week is not the last time we’ll hear about the drama that proceeded his exit and the subsequent trade that sent him to Dallas.
But a funny thing happens to NBA narratives over time: they get warped and distorted, like a wood floor that’s seen one too many leaks. Eventually, if you put some pressure on it, the original truth will break into fragments…convenient bits of fact and fiction mixed and matched at the teller’s whim.
So before we get to that point, I thought now that the fiasco of KP is over for the year, I’d settle some things once and for all.
Last night in Dallas, Frank Ntilikina became the third Knick ever to compile four steals, three blocks, four dimes, and six boards in a game, the only others being Patrick Ewing and Michael Ray Richardson, per BasketballReference.com.
As Tommy Beer pointed out, he’s also the youngest Knick to pair those block and steal numbers with four made threes, as well as the youngest player in NBA history to pull off the feat.
David Fizdale hasn’t been known as a flip-flopper so much as someone who says what he needs to say if and when it’s convenient, even if the logic behind a new statement contradicts something he said earlier.
(Really though, all coaches do this shit. They just don’t have seven different media outlets, not to mention yahoos like me, covering their team 24/7)
Regardless, most Knick fans couldn’t care less about his latest convenient logic, and are simply teeming with excitement over the fact that Frank Ntilikina getting a start for the New York Knicks.
David Fizdale just made official what we all figured, which is that both Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton will not only be unable to play for the Knicks in Orlando Wednesday night, but on Friday night in Boston as well.
At first blush, the question is absurd on its face.
No, someone with the self-proclaimed nickname “Iso Zo” (it’s his Twitter handle, for crying out loud) and who teammates allegedly called out as a cancerous presence on the court at times last year should not man the position most directly responsible for ensuring others get to occasionally shoot the ball.
But then again, in the Bizarro World known as Knicksland, where having three nominal point guards really means you have zero, the Theater of the Absurd presents nightly double features (with free popcorn!)
I wouldn’t say there have been too many times when I’ve been able to use the terms “breath easy” and “Knicks” in the same sentence, but the Knicks did indeed allow us all (well, those of us who believe in a certain young Frenchman) to breath easy, at least for a bit.
There were a couple of news items this weekend as New York gears up to start the regular season. Some clarity was provided, but overall, regarding the rotation, starting lineup, etc, we’re still left with more questions than answers as we start the week…
The Knicks are gearing up for their final preseason game tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans, who will be without Zion Williamson for a period of several weeks, according to a report from Woj late Friday morning. Of course, he’s not the only one who will be missing the game.
Or at least that’s what many Knick fans are telling themselves today after Hield called the Kings’ latest offer of a reported $90 million over four seasons “an insult.” His camp is allegedly seeking something closer to $110, or $27.5 million per season as opposed to $22.5.
Friday night was a good reminder of just how much of a roller coaster ride this season is going to be. There will be ups. There will be downs. There will probably be a few more downs than ups.
The important thing isn’t whether the Knicks win or lose games (although at some point, the record will become so bad – or, I suppose, so good – as to matter), but how they do it. If they’re coming out, especially on their home floor, looking like that as we get deep into the regular season, it’s a problem.