New York City-based photographer featured for love/hate relationship with Knicks

Todd Midler’s series “Madison Square Garbage,” is a fabricated photographic archive of a fan’s love/hate obsession with the New York Knicks. The series will appear in VICE Magazine’s upcoming Photo Issue.

  • What inspired Midler: “I became obsessed with basketball fan culture. I decided to study the viewers of the game rather than the players. I was very interested in the different ways that fans expressed their loyalty to their favorite teams.”
  • Read more about Midler and his Knick fandom.

The Secret Meeting of Frank and Fiz

2018-19 was a strange season for the orange and blue. Stranger than usual – weird substitution patterns, sudden DNPs, the shocking trade of a homegrown All-Star. I, like many fans, thought it was simply the Knicks being the Knicks…until a contact at the CIA 1 gave me access to classified surveillance footage from inside the Westchester practice facility.

Exclusive to Knicks Film School, what follows is the shocking true account2 of a meeting that took place between Frank Ntilikina and David Fizdale only days before Ntilikina was shut down for the season.

Continue reading →

Fan Moments: Knicks Nation Germany Austria takes on London

We are nearing the end of a long season, so we thought it would be fun to look back at Knicks fans favorite experiences. This article was written by member if New York Knicks Nation Germany Austria. They attended the Knicks game in London together.

The article is translated from German, so forgive any minor grammatical mistakes.


Part I – Wednesday

“Even a day before the actual game I already know that this London trip isn’t primarily
about watching the Knicks play basketball, this is about friendship.” By Fabian

BONN, GERMANY. The alarm clock rings at 3:00 am, it takes just a few seconds and I’m
wide awake. The big day is here. I’m about to board a plane to London where I’m going to
watch the New York Knicks face the Washington Wizards. There’s just one more aspect
about this: I’m going to make this trip being part of a group of 52 Germans and I haven’t seen any of them in person before. I’m aware that this might sound desparate or insane to you, but let me explain.

There’s just one thing you need to know about sports in Germany: Soccer.

This is a country where parents make their kids join the local soccer club as soon as they’re
able to walk without help. This is a country where you discuss the latest Bundesliga news
with your friends, your colleagues, even with your dentist or your mailman. This is also a
country where a majority of the population probably has never heard of LeBron James. So, if you’re born and raised in Germany and you happen to be a die hard New York Knicks fan,
F*CK YES, you’re boarding this plane to London to watch the game with 52 strangers that for whatever reason share the same passion as you.

It’s hard to believe, but during the one hour flight from Cologne to London and the following transfer to the hotel, I am – for the first time in my life – speaking to other Knicks fans face-to-face. The entire crew comes together at a burger restaurant in London, where we’ve agreed to have lunch.

For me, this is the opportunity to finally get to know these guys. Everybody is in a great mood and enjoying the moment despite supporting a team that has been trash for two decades. After an hour of conversations, discussions, jokes and fun, it almost feels as if
we’ve known each other for years. Although we’re all coming from different areas of
Germany with diverse backgrounds, we’re united in orange and blue. I realize how much this franchise means to every single one of them.

After lunch, about 15 of us meet at the hotel in London, where the Knicks stay for their trip. Practice has just finished and we hope to get a glimpse of some players when they arrive back at the hotel. Unfortunately, the team bus needs another two hours to make it through traffic and – of course – it’s freezing cold and raining the whole time.

That’s the moment where my body reminds me that I’ve only slept 3 hours. In the end, the wait was worth it. As soon as the players see these chilled through and rain-drenched fans in Knicks gear, they come over and take time to take some pictures and write autographs.
The first day in London ends with dinner and beer at a local pub. Everybody fights their
tiredness, because it’s just fun to be around each other. Even a day before the actual game I already know that this London trip isn’t primarily about watching the Knicks play basketball, this is about friendship.


Part II – Thursday

“Like a little kid at Christmas, I am happy about each one, about every welcome,
about every hug. Now I know what it feels like to be part of something great.“ By Daniel

Good morning, London! Getting up knowing we’re gonna see the New York Knicks players
live in a few hours within the circle of the Knicks Nation family: Can there be anything better?

A few months ago, it was just an idea. The idea became reality. The fan club was born and
barely a few months later, we’re flying to London with 52 members. That’s incredible and this afternoon, I will finally realize how unbelievable it really feels.

We start the day in proper style with an English breakfast at the Breakfast Club (literally a
breakfast club at Canary Wharf) with bones, french fries, roasted sausages and coffee. Not
necessarily my preference to start the day but ok … Strengthened and motivated, we make
our way to the city center of London to hit the Mitchell&Ness store, the Nike store and the
Footlocker store. By the way, The new Nike lace-less shoes are amazing.

Shortly after, it’s finally time: We’re going to meet Tray and Terry from the United States! You all know them. In the middle of the Tower Bridge, in freezing cold and stormy wind, we fall into each other’s arms, happy about our first meeting. For me, this is the first highlight that day – meeting these two in person. During the following interview session at the City Hall, Terry and Tray ask questions about the founding of the fan club, our opinions on the current squad and expectations for the future.

Still, the absolute highlight was yet to come: The gathering of all New York Knicks Nation
Germany/Austria members who came to London!!!

Why a highlight? Well, I’ve never met the majority of them, including many founding
members. Like a little kid at Christmas, I am happy about each one, about every welcome, about every hug. Now I know what it feels like to be part of something great. We, the NY
KNICKS NATION GER/AUT, made history with our group photo. The first and only official fan
club of an American basketball franchise in German-speaking countries set an example,
paving the way for the future.

Many thanks to all participants, who made this trip a personal highlight in my life!


Part III – Thursday / The Game + Friday

“Hard to believe, but our next appointment is the game […] it’s really the game.“
By Thorsten

Hard to believe, but our next appointment is THE GAME, I‘m just saying to Daniel, it’s really THE GAME. After all we’ve done in the last 36 hours in London, it’s THE GAME. We just met Terry and Trey, maybe the nicest Americans I’ve ever met – by the way, they are mother and son – we took the group picture in front of the tower bridge (with all 52 German Knicks fans), and now a group of us is walking to the underground station. Next stop: the o2.

As we’re leaving North Greenwich station my heart begins to beat a bit faster. I’m getting
nervous – for the first time I’m gonna see my Knicks in an NBA game. I’ve been to summer
league in vegas 2014, but this is an NBA game and I’m really about to see Frank Ntilikina,
Mitchell Robinson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and all the other players play. Entering the o2, I can’t
help myself but feeling like I’m in a giant mall. If you’ve ever been to the o2, you probably
know what I mean. 5.30 pm.

Great news even before the game: Our president Joe has finally managed to arrive at the arena. Just six hours ago, he missed his flight in Salzburg, Austria and had to drive to Munich to take a flight there to be in London in time. And there he is … in the arena. In time! 6 pm. As appointed, our group begins to prepare for the interview with the
German sports TV station DAZN. The interview was fun, our two executives Daniel and
Daniel talked about the club.

I still remember the time at the arena right before the game as an accumulation of bizarre incidents: us meeting the French Knicks, some of us taking a picture with the former German soccer player Per Mertesacker, me eating all my cookies at once – because I couldn’t take them inside the arena, Fabian making an interview for
Hungarian TV.

6.30 pm. We’re inside the actual arena – finally! As we’re taking the escalator, which
apparantly never gonna end, I feel excited … and hungry. So Daniel and I decide to buy a
hotdog and a beer. The beer was great!

So there we are, all 52 members on our seat in section 420 D. A feeling hard to capture with words. It turns out that I sit between Daniel and Daniel. The game can begin.

The o2 arena is very quiet! So we decide to start some chants like Go NY, Go NY, Go! or
Defense!. We even start some Happy Birthday- chants for Allonzo Trier. The Knicks play well in the first half – they get nervous in the second an as it comes down to the final shot for the Wizards, everyone of us is standing nervously. We all know the result. Admittedly, it was close – but still goaltend.

On Friday, our last day of the trip, we decide that it is time for a good old fashioned
sightseeing tour. So Fabian, Muhammed, Sven and I visit Big Ben, Buckingham Palace,
Picadilly Circus before we wind up in sports stores on Oxford Street, where Sven buys some
shoes for his girlfriend.

It was a great trip. I’m really thankful for all we have experienced in London, for all the Knicks fans I met. Big thanks to all the other members who’ve been part of the trip! One thing is sure: we will come back!

Written by:
Fabian Sürdt – twitter: @swish_fa
Daniel Hartmann – twitter: @hombre4life
Thorsten Andratschke – twitter: @ThortschMann
New York Knicks Nation Germany Austria – twitter: @ny_germany

Don’t quit on these Knicks

Dear Knicks fans,

To say the past few weeks have been crazy would be an understatement. While we were focused on the murmurs around Anthony Davis, the Knicks front office pulled off one of the most polarizing trades in franchise history. To the surprise of most (outside of Steve Mills, Scott Perry & maybe the club medical staff), Kristaps Porzingis is gone. Done. Cancelled in New York.

The temperamental Latvian phenom went from unicorn savior to public enemy number one in a matter of hours. There are a lot of facts swirling about the whos, whats, whens and whys, but I’m not here to dive down that rabbit hole. As the dust settles and New York continues on in its rebuild, separating fact from emotion paints a very different picture for the future of our franchise.

Without the need to slander anyone or trade insults, I want to have an honest talk about Kristaps Porzingis. His skillset can’t be ignored. A 7-foot player who can shoot the three and block shots is ridiculous…on paper. When he was drafted in 2015, Kristaps’ skillset was relatively unheard of…until Steph Curry officially broke basketball. The league has been moving in the direction of perimeter scoring ever since.

KP was essentially the first of his kind (a big man who was a modern perimeter scorer) and the city, hungry for something good…anything good…celebrated him like he was the second coming of Patrick Ewing.

Can we agree that in hindsight this was definitely an overreaction?

Porzingis remains unique as a 7’3″ big man who can both block shots and score like a guard; but his scoring ability, alone, is not as unique as it once was with the rest of the league catching up to the modern style of the NBA. Every functional big man from Brook Lopez to Marc Gasol can shoot the long ball now. Spacing has become more important than ever, and as always, players continue to evolve. Let’s not forget the Lauri Markkanen once set a Bulls franchise record for threes against us. Sigh. The life of a Knicks fan is tough, but I digress. The point here is that Porzingis’ skillset is easier to find than it once was and what he brings to the game can be emulated by a combination of other players (shout out to Luke Kornet).

Another uncomfortable truth about Porzingis is linked to his injury history. It’s been so long since we’ve had homegrown, star-level talent that I think Knicks fans, myself included, got too emotionally attached. I’m the first to admit a bit of clouded judgement, but I have always thought something was worrisome about his injury profile. Even when considered “healthy,” Porzingis never played a full season or shot above 45% from the field. He’s ridiculously skilled, but what good is a star player who isn’t available? A front-court player with recurring lower body injuries is a major red flag for any organization. A cracked cornerstone leads to an unstable foundation.

It’s always bothered me that the “Unicorn” never finished a full season. Richard Gerrafo of Fansided noticed something was up too. He wrote of his concerns, noting that,

“From January of 2016 until February of 2017 (approximately one year and one month), Porzingis suffered six different injuries. He has injured his left Achilles, left groin, left leg, right shoulder, right ankle, and right foot. ”

In his time with the Knicks, Porzingis also had issues with his quadricep (an injury that occurred during his pre-draft workout and again less than a year later), elbow, achilles, and then, of course, a devastating ACL tear.

Scott Perry was well aware of this unfortunate truth. From a purely basketball perspective, Kristaps was too unstable to be a true franchise cornerstone. Not for a maximum contract without injury protections. And as much as people criticize the Knicks for not wanting to offer their resident star player a max contract, it seems they tried to negotiate a contract similar to how other franchises have navigated injury-prone players.

It would have been very “Old Knicks” of Perry to cave under the pressure from the Latvian’s management team, but Scott stood his ground and made a pragmatic move in the best interest of the team. Not only did he refuse to extend KP’s contract last year, he went on record to say his primary goal is “making the Knicks a very good basketball team going into the long term.” He believes in team success over the benefit of any one person and has shown an uncanny ability to think pragmatically about the future.

Team building – real team building, the sustainable kind that we’ve longingly watched from afar from RJ Buford, Pat Riley and Danny Ainge – is a game of chess not checkers. Singular moves must be dissected in the context of a broader strategy.

The news of the Porzingis trade was shocking, yes, but the Knicks’ front office made the right call and the team is set up for future success whether we land a premiere free agent this summer or not.

Yes, Porzingis is gone, but don’t quit on these young New York Knicks. Call me an optimist, but when I look at the current state of affairs in Knickerbocker land – a talented young core, the most open cap space in franchise history and 7 first round draft picks over the next 5 years – I can’t help but notice the upside of so much possibility. Even if the team strikes out on the Kevin Durant/Kawhi/Kyrie sweepstakes this summer, they are under no pressure to sign long-term contracts for anything less than a franchise changing star. There is no rush because our GM has transformed the draft from a desert into a wellspring of possibilities and there will always be another chance to ink a game changer in the future. It’s not a make or break summer when an organization has positioned itself for long-term success through young players and financial flexibility.

Scott Perry is not the inexperienced, short-sighted GM you are looking for. Just the opposite, actually. In just over a year, he has erased years of management failure, properly delegated authority, lifted the weight of bloated contracts and created one of the most talented scouting teams in the league.

I have faith that any future moves are made with one goal in mind – building a championship level roster. As a result of strong leadership, the Knicks go into the summer with an assorted mix of new talent, all the cap space in the world (for this offseason and beyond), no uncertainty about Porzingis, plus the added bonus of seven first round draft picks over the next 5 seasons. SEVEN. More than the last 10 years combined. We finally have picks, money and talented scouts…all at the same time. Recent social media reactions be damned, this regime is intelligent and pragmatic.

The future isn’t guaranteed to anyone, but the Knicks’ front office has done its best to minimize risk while placing the franchise in a position to be master of its own destiny. The change fans have longed for is finally here – if we can manage to see the forest for the trees. Don’t sell low on these Knicks.

KFS Teacher’s Lounge: David Fizdale Makes Me Feel…

It’s fair to say that through 50 games this season, David Fizdale has been the topic of discussion in Knicks fandom.  There are days when I feel like I am Fiz’s biggest cheerleader:

Then there are other days where I look at our performance and just feel:

In Part I of this discussion, I decided to consult with our Knicks Film School professors (writers) to answer the quintessential question: Fizdale Makes Me Feel?:

Su York:

Like I’m cheering for someone who has no intention of winning. I’m still cheering and praying really hard that he will show he knows how to use his players and win meaningful games next season. We can totally let this season slide and that’s the best part about it. So far, Fizdale is showing lots of passion and emotion on the sideline. I love that!  I expect that to continue next season with a set rotation as well as a real game plan. Right now he is working with what he’s got and the goal is to play well every single day. I have to accept this and constantly remind myself this is what it is and he is doing what he knows he has to do. Next season will be the real test.

Macri:

Like I have at the beginning of every relationship I’ve ever been in: filled with hope, eating every word like a bowl of chocolate ice cream, but with the sneaking suspicion it’s all lies and that the hammer is going to come down when I least suspect it. It always did…and then I met my wife. Fizdale’s hair isn’t as nice as hers, but I’m still hopeful a similar result can transpire.

Stephanie Enriquez:

Frustrated. I want him to succeed so bad, but we don’t have any kind of offensive structure and that worries me. I also understand that this season was going to be rough, which makes me not want to judge him too hard.

Topher Demetris:

Like rebuilding is a very difficult job to do in NYC. Our team is the rawest in the league – a combination of rooks and reclamation projects. The roster was always going to be limited no matter who was the coach. I’ve seen a combination of success, loss (tank) management, and inconsistency all year. In my opinion. that was always the deal for this season. Development isn’t limited to just players and I believe Fiz is learning on the job too. There’s a method to his madness.

TiffSal:

Optimistic. Say what you want about Coach Fizdale, and where he has the team currently, but he’s just working with what he’s been given. For the most part, each player on this roster has developed for the better in some way through the first half of the season. Especially our rookies. Looking forward to see how this team finishes out the season as the organization and Fiz prepare for a big off season.

Ernie Parada:

Respectable. It was not long ago that being a Knicks fan meant having to read insults in the media every day about dysfunction. Now you hear about players that choose to be here (well, ones not names Kristaps Porzingis, apparently), superstars who want to be here, and the possibility that one or two actually might join us. I get the feeling that he’s not coming in as a cure all, but as a guy who’s going to grow and develop with these guys, as one unit.
Concerned. A lot of the things Fizdale mentioned in the preseason have not come to fruition. Defense has not been made a priority and only certain players are being held accountable. The offense is stagnant and averages the fewest assists in the NBA despite Fizdale insisting on a one-second rule before the season. Fizdale has knowingly refrained from implementing a legitimate offensive system and instead uses simple building blocks of an offense that only caters to players that can create their own shot when they inevitably fail to breakdown defenses. I’m willing to give Fizdale the opportunity to mold this team in his image before I truly judge him, but I’ve seen some red flags during his tenure on the team that I can’t ignore.

Mike D.:

Like I’m a hypocrite. I’m patient with Frank, yet Fiz is also just a sophomore (151 games as HC).  With young players I cling to potential, yet with Fiz I find myself thinking he’s better as an assistant coach.  I see his current weaknesses – X’s & O’s, rotations, etc. – as permanent flaws while paying no mind to his strengths.

Knicks Nation Germany Austria heads to London

The New York Knicks Nation Germany Austria (NYKNGA) will travel to London to see the Knicks play against the Washington Wizards.

In prep of their trip, we thought it would be fun to hear what the three NYKNGA executives are thinking ahead of the game.

The interview below is conducted and translated by Thorsten Andratschke. He interviews Joe Zauner (president), Daniel Jahn (vice-president), and Daniel Hartmann (treasurer).

Describe what the club means to you?

Joe: When Daniels first asked me to do this, I was excited. We talked about doing something like this many times before, but nobody made the final steps to realize this fan club. It’s so great to be part of it and to have people around you, who share the same passion.

Daniel J.: This club means a lot for me. In particular because I‘m the Vice President and one of the twelve founders.

Daniel H.: A lot. The club is my, is our baby, we decided to establish the club and we live our passion for the Knicks through him.

What was your first reaction when you found out the Knicks would play a game in London?

Daniel J.: Oh man, I was extremely excited! In that moment it was clear that this should be our first big trip together!

Joe: Damn, I’ve been to the NBA Europe games in London in 2013 against the Pistons and 2015 against the Bucks. First I traveled alone, but in 2013 I met a few guys which was the beginning of our German-Austrian Knicks-fanbase. In 2015, we met again. And now, we are about 50 guys who come together there. This is fucking great.

Daniel H.: Goddammit, one of our aims is coming to reality sooner than expected. First London, then NEW YORK!!!

How many members will travel to London?

Daniel H.: 52, you really heard, 52 people. All with the same shirts! Can you believe it?!?

Daniel J.: 52 of 81 members!

What does this trip mean to you?

Daniel J.: Everything. We will have a lot fun together. And maybe meet one of the players from our beloved franchise in person!

Daniel H.: I’m as excited as I’ve ever been. Okay, except the birth of my two children and my marriage. But honestly, this is the biggest project in my entire life where I’ve been part of it.

Joe: Since I’ve heard that the Knicks would play in London, I’ve been excited to be there with my guys from the fan club. It’s a highlight for me in 2019.

Will you wear a uniform?

Daniel J.: Of course. We all will! Not only Knicks stuff, also I will wear our London game shirts.

Daniel H.: We will be wearing NY KNICK NATION GERMANY/AUSTRIA – NBA GLOBAL GAME LONDON 2019 shirts. And underneath I’m going to wear my all-time-favorite player jersey, Derrick Rose.

Joe: At the game I will wear the same T-Shirt as all the other guys from our fan club. And I will take my authentic white #85 Baron Davis Jersey with me.

What are you most excited about?

Daniel H.: To get to know all the members of the club personally. And especially the founding members. There are still some I haven’t met yet.

Daniel J.: I think both, the game and meeting our members!

Joe: I’ll see a few guys for the first time. And I really hope that we get the chance to see a Knicks player.

What do you think of the Wizards team?

Joe: Who? Sorry, I don’t care about them, Knicks first!

Daniel J.: I don’t really know why they are so bad right now. Sad that Wall and Howard will not play in London.

Daniel H.: And BAKER! I wish we had the chance to see him as a Wizard, but he is no longer with the team.

Which player are you most excited to see live?

Daniel J.: Everybody who knows me, knows the answer: Frank Ntilikina!

Joe: It would have been fun to see KP play near to his home, but obviously that won’t happen. So for me, it’s the rookies, Kevin Knox and Mitch Robinson.

Daniel H.: Michigan Squad 96 – WE ON – Timmy Hardaway jr. and Trey Burke – I love them both!

Who will win the game?

Daniel H.: Go New York go, go New York go …!

Joe: Hopefully the Knicks, and after this game they can go for the #1 pick again.

Daniel J.: Of course our NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS!


Find out more about the KNICKS NATION GERMANY-AUSTRIA club below:

Joe Zauner – Twitter: @joezauner

Daniel Jahn – Twitter: @jahn_deejay15

Daniel Hartmann – Twitter: @hombre4life

Thorsten Andratschke Twitter: @ThortschMann

The Knicks unite us in a city of passion

I’m from the South Bronx where basketball is life; it lives and breathes in the culture.

When I was a kid, it was like a love of the sport had been poured into us all, taking the shape of our individual personalities. Some were professional trash talkers, others played from sunup to sundown on threadbare courts without nets. On the corner of Valentine and Burnside, across from Echo Park, there is still a mural dedicated to the life of our own local hero – the late Malik Sealy.

Across several blocks, hundreds of people from all ages, races and genders mixed and matched on the court. Imagine that – a summer day in the South Bronx, hip hop blasting and every court full of laughter, shit-talking kids playing 21, 3v3 or full court (winner keeps going). We came from different cultures, spoke different languages and attended different schools. It would have been easy to focus on what separated us – but none of that mattered – we all just wanted to hoop.

I love basketball because it brings people together more than it drives them apart. I like to think that we connect with sports on an emotional level and teams become a part of our identity – extensions of our own personal wins and losses. With millions of different opinions, experiences and cultural expectations, it’s crazy to think how much we are all tethered by something as simple as fandom.

This is the point of view I feel the media that covers the NBA in New York has forgotten. In many ways we have been typecast, forever made synonymous with angry Stephen A. rants, booed draft picks and Charles Barkley cheap shots. While any of these events may happen in isolation, there’s a lot more to us than that.

New Yorkers are among the most diverse populations in the country and to summarize our fandom – the experiences, beliefs, habits and goals – with a set of hostile caricatures is for lack of a better word, dishonest. A more accurate perspective would take into account the loyalty, passion and unwavering (even stubborn) hope that unifies every true Knicks fan.

We come from around the world – in all genders, shapes, sizes and years of devotion. We root for different players, regimes, trades and leadership with nothing less than straight up passion and support. That level of dedication can result in some pretty extreme takes (enter Twitter threads about Carmelo Anthony at your own risk), but to know a Knicks fan is to know someone who values loyalty above all else.

Basketball should be a force that unites us instead of one that drives us apart. Fans aren’t looking for click-bait headlines or made-up drama about their team; they are looking for useful information and stories that offer a closer connection to the team.

In a city of over eight million people from all around the world, there are going to be a lot of different opinions. This is New York, after all. We will never be shy in sharing our thoughts. Being bold is part of our identity. Some takes will inevitably be more based in reality than others, but the one thing I believe all Knicks fans have in common, wherever they are from, is an unwavering belief that our team will be great again…some day.

We can be patient, too. We can survive a legitimate rebuild. These things are possible because passion and perseverance are as important to this city as Madison Square Garden itself. We represent the Mecca – a place that was once home to the NBA world champions, a city known globally as a beacon of art, history and growth. A place where we have all grown from struggle.

This is why NYC will always be Knicksland. It’s why we have bonded with communities of fans from all over the world. It’s why, even though we haven’t had a winning team in years, the Knicks are still more relevant than half the other teams in the league. Forget about booing fans who crave attention and hot takes from burned out writers. Remember that our team is one of the originals in the league; that while we’ve witnessed plenty of lows, there are over SEVEN decades of connection between the city of New York and Knickerbockers basketball. No shade to the Nets but they will never have the same historical roots planted in this city. I feel a great amount of pride in supporting this team, wins & losses be damned.

The other day I randomly Googled “Knicks fans” and was reminded of how a lot of people might see us. A child crying ridiculously over a European player he knew nothing about. Random articles pumping fresh toxicity into our daily discussions. A social media post where a so called “fan” auctions off his loyalty for purple and gold delusions of grandeur. Let me tell you something right now – anyone who truly embodies the spirit of this team, of this city, could never sink so low as to barter character for cash. Any self-respecting Knicks fan, no matter where they are on the globe, can separate real support from fake enthusiasm.

Knicks fans come from every walk of life and are among the most engaging and passionate group you will ever find. Don’t believe me? Walk up to anyone rocking the blue & orange and ask what they think of Ewing, Porzingis or Ntilikina. If you’re feeling especially brave, start up a conversation about Carmelo Anthony or Phil Jackson. Mention Oakley or Mason for extra cool points. What do we think of Fizdale? Is Perry really a low-key genius? Will the French Prince ever fulfill his destiny?

There’s a lot to discuss and none of it involves tears on national television or throwing slander at our home squad. Ask us ANYTHING about the team, from any era, and you’ll instantly become part of a multifaceted conversation about everything from defense, to team building, to draft pick analysis to ridiculous free agency hopes. That is who we are. Passionate, opinionated, hungry and always relevant.

Ignore the few who act out on national television for attention or those too burned out or impatient to recognize the team is headed in a new direction. The organization is in a healthy place and we’re lucky to have such pragmatic and motivated leadership. There is a deep history with this team, one that includes both hardship and championship success. My advice as we move forward in this new era of basketball is to focus on the unifying passion and loyalty that has always been the lifeblood of this city.

There are much better days ahead.

KFS Roundtable: New Year’s Hopes

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?

MACRI

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.

VIVEK

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.

TIFF

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.

Mike D

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.

ALEX COLLINS

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.

Topher Demitris

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!

JB (KFS)

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!

Donate just $1 and make a difference.

The ups, downs, hopes and realities of being a Knicks fan during a rebuilding season

As I sit here on New Year’s Eve after one of the most embarrassing games in Knicks history, it’s a great opportunity to take the time to reflect on what I thought was going to happen this season, what has happened, and what I want to see happen for my beloved Knicks in 2019.

What I thought would happen

As an overly optimistic, highly hopeful, extremely supportive (and always disappointed) Knicks fan, I decided this year was going to be different. I was ready to go into this season with no expectations and somehow find even more patience than I had ever given before. As if the last 24 years of my fandom were not enough.

With KP out of the lineup and nobody worth the excitement, I had no choice but to hop on the rebuild train packed with lots of patience and optimism. Yes, it was going to be another long season, but I was ready for it…or so I thought.

After watching our rookies in a few Summer League games and learning more about coach Fizdale and the front office’s plans for the future, I was all in. I was ready to support this team through the ups and many downs ahead.

A rebuild is not supposed to be exciting, extreme patience is necessary, and lots of alcohol helps, too. As Knick fans, we know better than anyone else what shortcuts can do to a supposed “rebuild.” But I was excited for the process.

I attended this year’s open practice with an open mind, and it was hard not to get excited for the young talent we had just acquired. Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson looked like they were going to be studs! Allonzo Trier totally shocked me. Was it possible for my Knicks to get this lucky in the draft?!?! We got steals in Robinson and ISO Zo! At that point, I was even rooting for Ron Baker! He looked ready for the season, and so did Frenchie! I wasn’t sold on Mudiay but hoped for the best.

What has happened so far

After a few wins and close defeats to start the season, the Knicks were exciting to watch again. It’s like they were our child’s team, and as fans, we were those extremely supportive and encouraging parents sitting on the bleachers, watching and cheering. No harsh tweets, no blaming the coach, we were looking for the positives, even after a loss.

The Knicks went on a short-lived winning streak after a heartbreaking loss to the Trail Blazers; they went on to beat the Celtics, Pelicans and Grizzlies. That was where I made the mistake of going off the tracks and not trusting the process. For a second, I was about to revert to my old ways and have hope the Knicks can make the playoffs this year. They were right there, almost at .500, and if they could have held on until KP came back, I was sure it was possible. At least the delusional Knick fan in me thought so. Boy, was I wrong… and in denial for what was about to come.

The Knicks went on to win two more games after that win streak, a great win over the Bucks (which cost us later) and an overtime triller against the Hornets. Recent games have been horrible. So horrible that I, out of all people, have jumped on the tank train! At this point, it’s what’s best for the rebuilding process and for the future. Especially for Zion Williamson, if the basketball gods can finally be on the Knicks side! We are due for a #1 pick.

What I want to happen for the rest of the season

What I want to see for the remainder of this season is for the Knicks to continue to compete and show signs of development. Recently, we haven’t seen this at all. It’s almost like the young players have run out of gas, already. To be fair, there have been a few injuries. And there are a few notable exceptions. Kevin Knox is really giving it his all for the Rookie of the Year award. He is slowly adding himself to consideration; it makes you wonder where he would be if he didn’t injure his ankle early in the season.

Noah Vonleh has made a tremendous impact on both ends of the floor. I would like the Knicks to find a way to keep him next season, especially if we are trying to build an identity as a defensive-minded team, plus he’s the Greek Freak’s kryptonite.

I have apologized to Emmanuel Mudiay several times! I really appreciate a player that makes you eat your words. He has done an amazing job and will be a great backup point guard next season. Yes, deep down I still question his consistency. I hope he proves me wrong.

I am so over Enes Kanter and his unsportsmanlike attitude! Yes, Enes we know you like double doubles, but like your friend in OKC, we want more than an impressive stat line from you! I’m so glad Fizdale is not afraid to sit him. His lack of defense is what the Knicks should keep in mind before they even think of re-signing him this coming summer. I think his Knick days are done after this season.

I really hope we continue to develop and give meaningful minutes to our young players, especially Frank! After all, the youth represents the future of this team.

I think we need KP to come back around March to show free agents that he is back and the team is building toward something good at the World’s Most Famous Arena, which is an attraction on its own, let alone if the team is stocked with promising young players.

However, for all the free agent talk, I’m ok if they don’t land one of the superstars in July, which seems unlikely anyway. I just want the team to do what they told us they were going to do.

Stick to the process.

There’s no need to rush the plan by spending money this offseason, just because they have money to spend. Hopefully, we get Zion or the #2 pick and keep grinding. What’s another year or two! We’ve waited this long. Knicks fans can wait a little longer to build the team the right way.

I’m mentally preparing to get though the rest of the season with tequila and my Knicks thread. We can do this Knicks fans, we’ve been through worse. Wishing you all a happy, healthy New Year… and the #1 pick for 2019 😁

Make sure to follow me on Twitter where I will be keeping the conversation going about the Knicks all season long!

How Linsanity made a kid uninterested in basketball a diehard Knicks fan

The Knicks have not won a championship since 1973. They have advanced past the first round of the playoffs only once since 2000. Yet, they have some of the most passionate fans in basketball. Why do people root for the Knicks? It’s about more than wins and losses. In our first installment of Why I root for the Knicks, Alexander Cohen tells his story.


By Alexander Cohen (@DaRealBootum)

As a kid, I hated basketball.

Sure, I played in rec leagues, but I looked more like a ref than a player; I did nothing besides run up and down the court and watch the game. I played with the same offensive philosophy as Frank Ntilikina; I’d pass the second I got the ball. I counted the seconds till I could go home and play games on the Wii.

Occasionally my dad would watch basketball games, and I’d watch a few minutes with him. The only value I got out of it was attempting to seem cool to my friends by making insightful questions and statements such as, “You see the game last night? I did.”

Even Amar’e’s called-off buzzer beater three against the Celtics didn’t intrigue me at all.

I had a vague understanding about what was going on in basketball through little comments my dad would tell me that I was half-listening to like, “Knicks got Tyson Chandler. They’re making the playoffs this year, which is nice.”

Then one Friday night in 2012, my dad and I were watching the Knicks play the Celtics at home, and everything changed. Well, my dad was watching, my focus was on beating my friend’s high score in Doodle Jump (Sorry, Kevin Durant)

My father’s offseason declaration was wrong: the Knicks were 8-14 as they played Boston that night. They were clearly not making the playoffs. Another lost season.

As we are watching, a player checks into the game that looks unalike any NBA player I had ever seen before.

It’s Jeremy Lin.

My dad gives me a few details on what makes this guy so interesting: he’s the first American of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA. He went to Harvard, known more for their smarts than their sports. Yet here he is in the NBA. He’s getting a chance with the Knicks because practically every point guard on the roster is injured. It would be pretty neat if this guy was good.  

Barely a minute after Lin enters the game, he turns it over. “Wow,” I think to myself, “no wonder this guy hasn’t been playing.” I go back to my iPod Touch. Lin finishes the game 0-3 from the field and the Knicks lose.

The next Friday night, I have a sleepover at my friend’s house. Jeremy Lin has just shocked the world. My friends and I were playing video games. The next morning, we turn on SportsCenter. It’s all about Lin. “Wait a minute! I know this guy, I think,” I boast to my friends.

SportsCenter starts off the show talking about how great Lin was going into the game, leading the Knicks to 3 straight wins while averaging 25 points and 8 assists. They show an interview of Kobe Bryant, one of the few athletes I actually know at the time, being dismissive of Lin. Bryant says he doesn’t know what Lin has done. When he’s asked whether he would choose to guard Lin if he’s having another sublime night, he retorts, “Jesus Christ. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

Finally, SportsCenter gets into the game highlights. Lin bested all-time-great Kobe Bryant, putting up 38 points and dishing out 7 assists en route to the Knicks’ fourth straight win. If Kobe truly didn’t know what Lin had done before, he knew now. After hearing the same SportsCenter story about Lin being looped what felt like 100 times as I waited for my parents to pick me up, I also now knew. I was starting to understand why people like basketball.

My dad bought tickets to next Friday’s game. Linsanity was in full effect, and we had to see it live. The Knicks had won 7 straight–surely this would be an easy win over the 6-23 Hornets. It was not. Lin turned it over nine times. The Knicks shot 4-24 from three and 19-29 on free throws. Perhaps the Knicks were distracted by the Hornets’ wild Mardi Gras jerseys. In the fourth quarter, the Knicks trailed by 12, but cut the lead down to two with five minutes remaining. Down 4 with 40 seconds left, Lin misses on a wild layup attempt. Linsanity is over. When my family stands up to leave, I’m still sitting. I’m nearly in tears. (Ok, I was in tears. That’s not so weird for an 11-year-old is it?)

“We could have won! We should have won!”, I scream.

I was upset over the result of the game, but I was now hooked on basketball. I was enamored by the story of Jeremy Lin, the thrill of the comeback attempt, and the atmosphere of the arena. Lin would go on to get hurt only a few weeks later and miss the rest of the season, but it was not enough to stop my new interest. I watched the rest of the season, exhilarated by our 17-6 record to close out the season, Carmelo Anthony’s game-tying and game-winning shots against the Bulls, Steve Novak and J.R. Smith scorching it from three, and lovable scrubs Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan.

When I’d go back to that friend’s house where I saw the SportsCenter report in the future, instead of playing video games, I’d follow the Knicks play-by-play on my phone. They’d play Smash Bros while I’d be astounded by Raymond Felton already having 5 assists when it was only the first quarter, wondering if he could finish with more than 15.

Basketball brings me to tears for the second and only time ever when the Knicks elect to not re-sign Lin in the offseason. I still stood by the Knicks and that next year, I witnessed the best Knicks team I had ever seen play, when they won 54 games in the 2012-13 season. I moved on from Lin, and my new favorite player became 28 year-old rookie Chris Copeland, who similarly beat the odds to make the NBA.

I took an interest in playing basketball as well. The week after the Hornets game, for the first time ever, I took a basketball and went to the park to work on my shot. I knew it would be hard to catch up to the skill level of my friends as they had been taking it seriously longer than me, but that did not dissuade me. If Jeremy Lin could make the NBA, so could I.

I didn’t end up making the NBA, because 6’3” post up centers aren’t a hot commodity at the moment. Though, I did hold my own against new Louisville commit Aidan Igiehon in high school and helped lead my 3-on-3 college rec league team to the playoffs. I no longer have the offensive mindset of Frank Ntilikina. Instead, I have the mentality of Cole Aldrich, if he had a score-first mentality: I shoot nothing but hook shots, nailing them half the time, air-balling them the other half.

Now I’m the one telling my half-interested dad facts about the Knicks, informing my dad on interesting developments such as how undrafted Allonzo Trier might go from not even having a real roster spot to one of the best players on the Knicks.

In 2012, the Knicks piqued my interest and in 2013 they peaked. In 2014, they won 37 games, and they have not hit 35 since. Since that Hornets game, I’ve seen countless more fake-comebacks by the Knicks. When I tell people I’m a Knicks fan, they rightfully laugh.

Now that I have found this team, I’m not going anywhere: I still have hope that one day the Knicks will be as exciting as they were during Linsanity. These struggles the past few seasons will make that day all the more sweeter.

Knicks Nation Germany Austria Launches New Website

At Knicks Film School, we want to help other brands grow. As part of that, we will feature articles from Knicks sites around the world to help give them exposure to a new audience. Today we highlight the freshly launched Knicks Nation Germany Austria!


Knicks Nation Germany Austria – who are these guys?

Knicks Nation Germany Austria is the first official Knicks fan club in the German speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The club was founded in September 2017. The club brings together Knicks fans from three different countries. The Club also has international members from the U.S. and France.

Visit the site that launched yesterday after checking out the sample article below!

KNICKS SEASON PREVIEW FROM KNICKS NATION GERMANY AUSTRIA

By Thorsten Andratschke / Twitter: @ThortschMann

Each new season means new hope, new ambition, and new frustration. But this time feels different. The 2018-19 season, for whatever reason, feels special.

Is it because of the new coach? Is it because of the already emerging rumors about Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Jimmy Butler joining the Knicks? There is a lot to look forward to as a Knicks fan, so let’s take a look at what the fans from Knicks Nation Germany Austria are excited about.

THE YOUNG PLAYERS

“I’m really excited how the young guns will play and how they develope in the 18/19 season. Building a team and smart coaching will be the keys.” [Holger / Deutschland]

“I’m really looking forward to see Knicks basketball. I want to see the young players beiing fired up to play for the Knicks … I just want to see the Knicks developing.” [André / Germany]

“We now have a young and talented group, with a lot of Potential to grow. Some of them (KP6, FortKnox) could become the next Stars of the League (NBA). So the Future shines bright again for the Knicks and hopefully we will see again some Championships in New York like in the good old days (70` & 73`)!” [Christopher / Austria]

With Kevin Knox (19), Mitchell Robinson (20), Frank Ntilikina (20), Emmanuel Mudiay (22), Allonzo Trier (22), Noah Vonleh (22), Kristaps Porzingis (23), Luke Kornet (23) and Mario Hezonja (23), the Knicks have eight players on their roster who are 23 or younger. Isaiah Hicks and Damyean Dotson are just 24, Trey Burke and Ron Baker just 25. It will be very interesting to see how Fizdale will deploy these young players. While Knox, Ntilikina, Burke and Hezonja are strong candidates for a starting role, players like Mudiay, Dotson, Trier, Baker, Hicks, Kornet and Vonleh first have to prove that they can be part of the rotation.

Mudiay had tough years in Denver and looked insecure and out of shape in his few games with the Knicks so far. This season is gonna be significant for Mudiay and his future NBA career. Though Mudiay had a tough preseason, you can’t give up on him yet.

Kornet, in contrast, had some really good moments in a Knicks jersey last season. The 7-foot center has all it takes to be a role player in the modern NBA. He is a good three-point- shooter, can stretch the floor and he is a solid shot blocker on defense.

Damyean Dotson is another very intriguing young player to keep an eye on. Like Ntilikina, he had an up and down rookie season. The highlight: in April, he scored a career high 30 points and 11 rebounds against the Miami Heat. This very promising performance which gives reason for hope for his second NBA season.

After a tough season under recently fired coach, Jeff Hornacek, where young players had to fight for every minute, Knicks fans are understandably very excited to see Fizdale unleash the youngsters. They will be fun to watch though they’ll obviously make mistakes and still need time to grow.

THE MICHIGAN SQUAD

“Imma excited whos gonna be our starting-backcourt. My dream would come true if the Michigan Squad, THJ and TB, will fill the spots. TB23 s gonna rock the pg-spot….until Kyrie Irving comes to Gotham City!” [Daniel H. / Germany]

The Knicks front office had high hopes for Tim Hardaway Jr. when they offered him a four- year, $71 million-contract. And he still hasn`t fully lived up to this expectations. Though Hardaway Jr. missed 25 games due to a stress injury to his left leg, he played a solid season. He had a carrer year in minutes (33.1), rebounds (2.8), assists (2.7), steals (1.1) and points (17.5) per game – plus a career-high 39 points in a 108–104 loss to the Timberwolves. Still Knicks fans feel he has the ability to be a star player in the league. But there is still room to grow – especially on defense.

Trey Burke, meanwhile, had a prototypical New York kind of Cinderella story last year. After choosing to revive his career with the Westchester Knicks, he had quite impressive games with the Knicks. He scored a career-high 42 points and 12 assists against the Hornets and became the first Knick to have a 40+ point and 10+ assist game since Stephon Marbury in 2005. Can he be the future starting point guard the Knicks are desperately longing for? Well, not only his hair style reminds Knicks fans of Allen Iverson … Although he struggled a bit in preseason, he might get the starting poing guard job at the beginning of the season.

While Hardaway Jr. has the best chance to be the Knicks starting shooting guard, the starting point guard spot is still vacant. Why not Burke? He is clearly the most gifted offensive point guard on the team. Surely, he can score, and his playmaking and passing abilities are admittedly underrated. However, like Hardaway Jr., the big “IF” lies on the other side of the ball. Can he be consistent on defense?

The two former Michigan wolverines Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. could truly build a phenomenal offensive duo – but can they coexist on defense? Will Tim play the t3? Tough questions for Coach Fizdale …

THE FRENCH PRINCE

“I am definitely the biggest Frank Ntilikina / French Prince / MY BOY fan out there. For me, he is an absolute part of our future. And if he improves his offense, he could become one of the most versatile players on the hardwood. I see in him a great future. Maybe a Giannis Typ of player.” [Daniel J./ Germany]

The Knicks‘ 2017 lottery pick Frank Ntilikina splits the Knicks fan base into two halves: on the one side, people think he is overrated, offensively limited and not more than a role-player; on the other side, Knicks fans feel Frank can become a unique (point-) guard with a rare skillset.

Though Ntilikina had a rollercoaster rookie season (let’s not talk about Hornacek here!), one could easily recognize what an impact Frank can have on the Knicks team. Defensively he is a DPOY-type-of-player. He does not need to be afraid of any star point guard in the league – ask Kyrie! He can easily guard three positions and he even managed to block centers last season.

But what’s his offensive ceiling? He showed flashes of playmaking, three point shooting, penetration and high-basketball-IQ-plays. But he needs to show it frequently – night in and night out. Can he put down his timidity and be an agressive player? Is he a point guard, a two guard or even a three? He showed some great improvement in summer league where he had a “good” and a “very good” game.

Knicks fans have every reason to be pumped about Ntilikina. If he can utilize all his talent, he can be a pest defensively and a constant mismatch offensively. He got one start in preseason and had a very solid first half until he got in foul trouble in the second half. Frank Ntilikina remains the most enigmatic player on the Knicks roster.

MITCHELL ROBINSON

“I‘m excited, how Mitchell Robinson can develope his game, because he has a stroh upside on both ends on the field, for example his defense or his athleticism. He could be the steal of the draft and our future Center.” [Stiebi / Germany]

Mitchell Robinson might be the most intriguing second round pick of the Knicks history. So it is more than reasonable that Knicks fans are fired up to see him play in the NBA. He might have been a top ten pick in this years draft had he played in College last season. His summer league performance was thrilling: 13.0 points and 10.2 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game – plus 4.0 blocks, which are the most blocks per games ever recorded in summer league. Admittedly he’s still vey raw but he might become the steal of the draft. Knicks fans already dream of a Mitchell Robinson-Kristaps Porzingis-big man duo! As Fizdale pointed out in Pre- Season, Robinson will play a some games with the Westchester Knicks, especially at the beginning of the season, but one thing is sure: when he steps on the court for the Knicks the Garden will be on fire!

THE VETS

“I’m looking forward to see the veterans and their leadership. Lance, Enes and Timi have to take responsibility on and off the court and guide the Baby-Knicks through a difficult season.” [Jörg / Germany]

This is a very underrated point. Though the Knicks have an intriguingy young team, they still need veterans to lead them. Don’t underestimate the influence Jarret Jack had on the team last year. Who will lead the team this season? Considering Courtney Lee‘s and Noah’s future remains uncertain, Lance Thomas, Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. might do this job. Lance Thomas has been a great teammate off the court for years. Since Carmelo Anthony is gone he has even more become the leader of the pack. He will fill out that role next season – no question! Fizdale already backed Thomas by giving him the starting power forward job in Pre-Season, but will he see constant minutes? Can he lead the team on the court? Kanter and Hardaway will certainly see those minutes – but can they step up and fill in the void Jarret Jack has left? We will see …

COACH FIZDALE

“For me, the most enticing thing about next season is, to see, how our young core (Frank, Trey, Knox, Mitchell, Dame, Porzingis after injury) will develop under our new coaching staff and how they will fit into the style of play, Fiz wants to implement in the Knicks’ offense and defense moving forward. Also the on- an off the court chemistry between the Knicks’ young roster and the coaching staff will be an interesting thing to see next year.” [Marcus / Germany]

“I want to see my Knicks growing and developing next Season. Coach Fiz has to prove, that he can build a squad which can compete.” [Ben / Germany]

“I’m totaly excited to see the young players grow as a team as well as individuals. I think with Fizdale we have a coach that leads them to be the best players and the best team they can be.” [Lukas / Germany]

David Fizdale is the first head coach Steve Mills and Scott Perry hired in their tenure with the Knicks. Mills and Perry met with several candidates prior to agreeing to terms with Fizdale. Fizdale last coached the Memphis Grizzlies and had his difficulties with star player Marc Gasol. Nonetheless Fizdale has one of the best reputations in the league. Mainly because of his time with the Miami Heat. He is said of having a close relationship to his players, something his predecessor Jeff Hornacek really lacked. At his first press conference at MSG he already expressed his basketball philosophy: positionless basketball. Knicks Fans will be really excited about how he will put his ideas in effect on the court.. With Ntilikina, Hezonja, Knox or Porzingis he has some very versatile players. But how soon can we see his system work with this young team. How can he help Mudiay, Hezonja or Burke revive their NBA- carreers? How big is his impact on young players like Knox, Ntilikina or Robinson. Can he turn Kanter or Hardaway Jr. into star players? Big tasks fort he coach, and it definetely will take some time, but Knicks Fans are completely right believing in Fizdale. He might be the most intriguing coacht he Knicks have since Mike D’Antoni.

THE LONDON GAME

“There are two things I’m exicted about the upcoming season. First one is the comeback of KP, hopefully at the Xmas-Game or at the game in London. And the most exciting thing for me is the NYKNGA trip to the London game. We’ll join the game with about 50 of our guys and I’m so exicted to get to know every one of them personally. We will rock you London!” [Joe / Austria]

“I’m really looking forward to be at our game in London with our Fanclub to collectlively support our Knicks!” [Marco / Germany]

As soon as it was clear that the Knicks would play a NBA-game in London the Knicks Nation went absolutely nuts. Some of us already had been there in January 2013, when the Knicks played against the Detroit Pistons. 2018 it will be the first game the Knicks Nation Germany Austria will attend as a group. Words can‘t describe how pumped we are to be there. So for every Knicks fan who will be at the game, look out for us, we would love to meet you!

NEW FUTURE / OLD GLORY?

“I truly wish to see my Knicks back in their old glory. Young players like Knox and Robinson with their strength and absolute will to compete let me feel confident for the development of the best franchise in the world. Go Knicks!” [Ruben / Germany]

This wish might be a bit overhasty, but in fact the Knicks appear to be on the right track since Scott Perry is on board. They still have all their draft picks, no thoughtless trades have been made, and the Knicks will have cap space for at least one max deal next summer. The Knicks are rebuilduing and the future might actually seems bright in New York City. Is this the beginning of a new era? No one knows – but for the first time in years we might be seeing the dawning of a new Knicks era.

Author: Thorsten Andratschke / Twitter: @ThortschMann

Knicks Nation Germany/Austria:

https://www.nyknation.com/

twitter: @ny_germany
instagram: knicksnation_gerauts
facebook: www.facebook.com/NYKNGerAut