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TOP STORIES

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

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.

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.

Knicks Briefing

What’s going on, Knicks fans!

The Knicks have a few days off to recover from an ugly loss to Philadelphia.

They play next on Saturday vs the Bucks.

Let’s catch up on the latest news.

TOP STORY

Orlando interested in Ntilikina?

The Magic have shown interest in the 20-year-old, according to a league source, with a scout in Philadelphia last night watching him.

“He’s intriguing,” a different scout said.

[via Mike Vorkunov]

  • What this means: Hopefully, it means other teams see the same potential in Frank that many Knicks fans see. Could Orlando be simply checking in on someone they consider a low-end prospect? Perhaps. But I suspect other teams would be “intrigued,” as the one scout put it to Vork, by a 20-year old guard who can defend all spaces on the floor.
  • Read more about what this story means and provide your own comment.

NEWS CLIPPINGS

Fizdale started connecting early with Knicks players

Vonleh said after he signed with the Knicks, he started participating in pickup games they were holding at Hunter College and Columbia University.

The feedback he received was important.

“[Fizdale] would tell me after those pickup sessions, ‘I like what you’re doing out there, keep going, keep being yourself,'” Vonleh said […]

“The player development stuff, everybody talks about the gym work, we’re all stealing from each other,” Fizdale said. “All the coaches get together in the summer. We work together, we exchange ideas. We’re all developing the same skill sets. It’s how do you get through to that kid to get him back to where he believes in himself and try to get him a game that can be reliable on the NBA court. That’s really what I’ve tried to do with these guys.”

[via Chris Iseman]

  • What this means: At this site, perhaps more than any, we focus on the technical aspects of the game, the Xs and Os. But you can’t overlook how much confidence and camaraderie impact player performance. Fizdale has done a wonderful job connecting with this young group in short time.

Dotson stays ready

In 23 minutes, Dotson pumped in 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 3-for-3 from the 3-point line in the Knicks’ 115-108 loss to the Pistons. It was the lone bright spot to a messy shooting night in Motor City as Dotson kept the Knicks within single digits within the final minutes.

“You’re always right there even if you haven’t played a game or two,’’ Fizdale said. “He stepped up big time. That’s what you call a pro. Keeping yourself ready and not let yourself get down and when your number is called, you go and produce. Dot’s a big-time pro. He’s a guy I really trust in.”

[via Marc Berman]

  • What this means: As Fizdale continues to experiment with lineup combinations, it would be easy for players to be frustrated when they don’t find minutes during a given stretch. It is refreshing to see a young player, like Dotson, continue to put in the work, even when he doesn’t play, so he can have a performance like he did last night, playing for the first time in five games.

Fizdale done tinkering with rotation?

David Fizdale appeared on The Michael Kay Show to discuss the state of the Knicks. He sounded more confident about what he has in his group in terms of deciding rotation minutes and roles going forward. It doesn’t mean things won’t continue to be fluid, but the group is so young, he explained that the constant lineup changes were a result of him trying to learn what the players can do, like an extended training camp.

I really liked this answer Fizdale gave about the process of building up a basketball team compared to other industries:

The difference with [basketball] than in most industries [is] people get to watch it while we experiment, and have to suffer, or go up and down through all of that… I was joking with one of my acting buddies the other day, ‘man, you get to do 100 takes and then come out with a great movie … but they didn’t see all of your screw-ups’ … basketball players are going through the ‘takes’ right in front of you.


Jimmy Butler never interested in Knicks?

With the Knicks set to face-off against Butler and the 76ers on Wednesday, local reporters are revisiting Butler’s supposed interest in New York.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia inquirer tells us Butler was never interested in joining the Knicks.

Why this matters: While Jimmy Butler seems happy in Philadelphia, and it seems increasingly unlikely he would leave a contending team in the East to join a lottery team next summer, the NBA is a crazy world where crazy things happen, so until he has signed his new contract with Philadelphia, the speculation will continue.


LISTEN

Happenings

Check out the new KP sneakers dropping December 1


ON THIS DATE

1969: “What a game! What a game!” shouts TV voice Bob Wolff.  The Knicks score six points in the final 16 seconds to defeat Cincinnati, 106-105, and run winning streak to a then-NBA record 18 straight games (the streak will end the next night with a loss to Detroit at MSG). The game against the Bob Cousy-coached Royals is played at the old Cleveland Arena.

1992: Knicks break an 11-game regular season losing streak against Chicago with a rousing 112-75 victory over the Bulls at Madison Square Garden. Patrick Ewing scores 26 points and grabs 15 rebounds.

2010: Amar’e Stoudemire begins his franchise record streak of nine consecutive games with at least 30-points, scoring 37 points and recording 15 rebounds and seven assists over career high 54 minutes in 125-116 double-overtime win at Detroit.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE


TOP READS

Is this the real Emmanuel Mudiay?

Michigan unite!

How Fizdale is rebuilding confidence in the Knicks


That does it for today!

Knicks Briefing: November 27

Good morning!

The Knicks play the first of a back-to-back tonight against Detroit. After the game, they fly to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Wednesday.

Let’s catch up on the latest news.

News Clippings

Teams are inquiring about Dotson

According to a source, the Knicks have been approached by a couple of teams about Dotson’s availability because of his precarious contract status.

Knicks general manager Scott Perry did not draft Dotson. Though president Steve Mills was GM for the 2017 draft, the Dotson pick at No. 44 was spearheaded by former president Phil Jackson and his top adviser, Clarence Gaines, according to sources.

[via Marc Berman]

  • What this means: Nothing. There is no indication that the Knicks are looking to trade Dotson, or that the second round standout is looking to be moved. I don’t doubt the report. I’m sure there are teams calling to check on Dotson, especially with Courtney Lee set to return and Fizdale’s rotation minutes as in flux as a Manhattan street corner. GMs and Agents are probably just checking in on the situation.
  • Read more from Jeffrey Bellone and Jonathan Macri

Fizdale wants Trier to rebound more

I’ve been beating him over the head about rebounding,” Fizdale said. “I just pause the film every time he’s flat footed when the ball’s in the air. Like how is it you can chase down a guy on the break and block it at the top of the square but you’re flat-footed on rebounds? He’s taken it to heart. The kid really wants to do well for the team so I’m really happy with how he did last game.”

[via Mike Vorkunov]

  • What this means: Fizdale has emphasized the importance of having his wings rebound the basketball so they can push it down the floor. That said, it’s important for a guard like Trier to learn how to rebound, and especially, since he is often mixed in multi-guard lineups that might require him to box out a wing.
  • As Vorkunov notes, Trier ranks in the 30th percentile for rebounding from his position, something that could be improved.

Trey Burke thinking playoffs

Obviously everyone‘s counting us out,” Burke told The Post late Sunday at FedEx Forum. “Look on paper, people don’t think we can do it. I think we believe we have a chance — and it’s early for me to say this — but I believe we have a chance to get in the playoffs this year. That should be our goal. I think that is our goal. It starts now.”

[via Marc Berman]

  • What this means: Players are competitive. No matter how much the fans want to talk about tanking or think realistically about the team’s chances, the players are always competing to win.

LISTEN

Happenings

Meet Allonzo Trier in SoHo this Thursday!

Stance Hoops is hosting “an uncommon kin conversation with Allonzo Trier” on Thursday, November 29 at 7:30 PM. The event will be held at 510 Broadway in SoHo.

Kevin Knox is giving back to his high school

ON THIS DATE

1999: Allan Houston & Latrell Sprewell score 30 points each to beat Orlando 99-96

UPCOMING SCHEDULE


TOP READS

Should the Knicks explore a trade for Fultz?

Allonzo Trier the greatest undrafted rookie ever?

Fizdale has Knick players believing


That does it for today!

Knicks Briefing: November 26

Knicks win for Fizdale

The Knicks beat the Grizzlies 103-98 in a game the players clearly wanted to win for Fizdale, as he made his return to the city where he was fired before being hired by New York.

The players celebrated by dousing Fizdale in water.

My suit is ruined. Emmanuel came up to me, him and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) both, were just hugging me and telling me it was for me. And then they all came in and I lost it (crying).”

After the game, Fizdale hugged Marc Gasol, apparently burying the hatchet on the rift that led to their separation.

MUDIAY !!!

Emmanuel Mudiay continues to reward his new head coach for the confidence boost. He scored 17 points on 5-12 shooting last night, but nothing was more impressive than his poster slam dunk on Garrett Temple.

As a starter this season, Mudiay is averaging 14.7 points per game on 52.1% shooting (remember, he is a 38.1% career shooter). He is also starting to knock down some threes to balance his best quality in getting to the rim.

It’s his finishing ability that has helped his game the most this season. He is making a career-high 60% of his shots near the rim this season. Don’t think of a player like Kanter, who shoots with a high percentage near the rim. Mudiay’s 60% rate near the hoop puts him close to the top 20% among point guards.

Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter was a beast last night. He became the first Knick since Patrick Ewing in 1997 to post at least 20 points and 25 rebounds in a game, finishing with 21 & 26, respectively. He is also showing glimpses of serviceable defense for stretches of the game.

Courtney Lee cleared to practice

Courtney Lee is finally inching closer to returning to the Knicks lineup after being sidelined with a neck injury since training camp. He has been cleared to practice with the team, but wants to get in “multiple practices” before returning to game action.

With the schedule how it is right now, we’re playing so many games and there’s not so many practices. Definitely gotta get in practice to get my timing down, learn all the plays. I pretty much know all of them. But he changed a couple wrinkles in some. Gotta get in there and feel comfortable with the guys, grow some chemistry. Once I get that rhythm, I should be fine from there.”

Remembering Willie Naulls

Knicks legend Willie Naulls passed away on November 22nd at the age of 84 due to a respiratory failure from Churg-Strauss Syndrome.

Naulls spent seven seasons with the Knicks after playing only 19 games with the St. Louis Hawks. As a Knick, Naulls averaged 19.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game and made the NBA All-Star team four times.

On this Date

2005: Nate Robinson hits a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Knicks a thrilling 105-102 (OT) victory over the Philadelphia 76ers before a sellout matinee MSG crowd.

1966: Cazzie Russell scores a season-high 34 points off the bench over 27 minutes in a 125-114 win over Baltimore at the Garden.

Knicks Briefing: November 25

Fizdale returns to Memphis

David Fizdale returns to the city where he was fired (which worked out well for the Knicks). Fizdale was let go early into the 2017-18 season when a rift developed between himself and star player Marc Gasol.

Gasol said he has moved on and even gave Fizdale credit in his first interview on the subject since the time of the firing, “I’m a better player because of David. I can say that 100 percent. Even though last season was really tough for everyone, I’m a better player this year than I was last year and a lot had to do with him.”

Meanwhile, Fizdale looks back fondly at his time in Memphis, “I got a standing ovation in that building from a great fan base, and that’s the moment I’m going to remember, in the playoffs when we fought our butts off against the Spurs, and those guys being able to give me that moment as a young coach, and to share that moment with them. I’ll never forget that.”

Remember what happened

Gasol recommended Fiz to KP

When Kristaps Porzingis asked Marc Gasol about David Fizdale, the fellow European star gave a glowing review, despite their tension.

“He asked me what I thought. I said, ‘He’s a great coach and you guys are going to do great with him.’”

A classy move by Gasol.

Courtney Lee close to returning

Courtney Lee has been out of the Knicks lineup since training camp when he was fouled hard by Ron Baker in practice. He seemed on his way to returning before opening night, but then aggravated the injury in practice.

Of course, Knicks fans continue to speculate whether Lee (and his $12 million salary) will eventually be traded.

A few key dates to keep in mind 

  • December 5, when the Knicks need to make a roster move to keep Allonzo Trier in the NBA
  • December 15, when trade restrictions are lifted for players signed last summer (i.e. Mario Hezonja, Luke Kornet, and Noah Vonleh).

Stephon Marbury admits to adding to his own pain

Stephon Marbury is still a Knicks fan after all of these years.

In an interview about the award with CNBC’s Beijing Inside China host, Eunice Yoon, the former Knick jokingly talked about the struggle of being a Knicks fan. After stating he believes one day the Knicks will “win the opportunity” to go to the playoffs, he discussed the struggle of being a Knicks fan.

“I’m still a Knicks fan, after all the nonsense I’ve been through, everything I’ve been through in my life with the Knicks, I’m still a New York fan.”

“LOOK, SEE, THIS IS WHAT WE GO THROUGH… I EVEN PUT US THROUGH IT (SMILING).”

Learn more

On this Date

2012: Knicks hit 17-33 (.515) from downtown en route to a 121-100 matinee win over the Pistons at the Garden. Carmelo Anthony leads the way with 29 points while Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace add 18 and 15 off the bench.

1946: The Knicks record first double-digit victory in team history with a 62-46 victory over the Pittsburgh Ironmen at Duquesne Gardens. Stan Stutz leads the way with 15 points (5-13 FG).

Knicks Briefing: November 24

It’s the Mudiay show

Mudiay had 27 points, including 15 in the final six minutes, to propel the Knicks to victory in his third straight start. The Knicks are 2-1 in those starts, with the only loss being a close one to Portland. That’s three quality games against legitimate opponents.

Fizdale on Mudiay’s performance, “Tonight was a breakout for him,” Fizdale said. “I got a lot of confidence in the kid. … And he’s taken it to heart and he’s really taken the floor general position to heart and he’s trying to lead that group.”

Meanwhile, don’t look Frank fans, but the difference in the Knicks’ net rating when Mudiay is on the floor versus when he is not is much better than the same difference for Frank.

Don’t forget about Trier

Allonzo Trier’s performance can’t be overlooked. The undrafted rookie finished with 25 points, making threes, and driving hard to the hoop. He became the first Knick player with at least 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 75% shooting off the bench since Anthony Mason did it in 1992.

Fizdale heads back to Memphis

Fizdale will face his former team on Sunday. If you somehow don’t know, Fizdale was fired from Memphis after failing to bridge a disconnection with Marc Gasol. I’m sure both Fizdale and Gasol have circled this game on their calendars, despite Fizdale downplaying the game.

I don’t want to put too much stock into it. It’s a story, but this is much more about my kids taking steps forward. I got a lot of people still in Memphis I care about and I root for them. I want to keep on track with my guys and keep them rolling.”

Emmanuel Mudiay, on the other hand, is ready to ball out for his coach, “I don’t know if it means something to him, but it means something to me for him,’’ Mudiay said of his coach’s return to Memphis. “We definitely want to get the win for him. I know I’m going to take it somewhat personally for him.”

Joakim Noah finally close to signing in Memphis

Too bad the timing didn’t work out, because how fun would have Sunday been if the Knicks were also returning to Memphis to face Joakim Noah?

On this Date

1984: Bernard King scores 52 points (19-31 FG, 14-17 FT) in a 119-100 win versus Indiana. It marks his third consecutive game with at least 40 points.

1979Knicks dish out a franchise-best 45 assists in 133-113 win over Cleveland at the Garden. Micheal Ray Richardson leads the way with 16 dimes.