• Michael Ryan

The Knicks Are Winning by Losing


New York Post

The Knicks season was never about wins and losses. Yes, this team is set up to lose a lot.

When I mean a lot, I mean we’re possibly looking at more than 55 losses this year.

And to tell you the truth, that’s perfectly fine.

The Knicks record stands at 3-6, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference. By the end of the year, it’ll be a shock if the Knicks aren’t a bottom three team in the East and a bottom five team overall in the league.

It’s not how many games the Knicks win or lose that’ll determine if it’s a successful year. It’s how the younger players develop and if they buy into David Fizdale’s message as a coach and a leader.

If David Fizdale is proving anything this season it’s that he’s willing to play the younger players in big moments and in long stretches of games this season.

That’s extremely encouraging and welcoming to see for Knick fans everywhere.

The best part is that the on-court basketball results are starting to pay off immediate dividends as well.

Right now, Fizdale is running a starting five of Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., Damyean Dotson, Noah Vonleh, and Mitchell Robinson. The average age of the starting five is just 22.6 years old.

The rest of the rotation are also younger players like Allonzo Trier, Enes Kanter, Mario Hezonja, Trey Burke, and Lance Thomas.

Since David Fizdale made the switch in the starting lineup four games ago, the Knicks have gone 2-2.

The lineup has produced a 108.9 offensive rating and a 100.8 defensive rating in the minutes they’ve played together.

Although it’s a small sample size, it is real encouraging considering the age and the four opponents have been the Warriors, Nets, Pacers, and Mavericks, all teams projected to be better than the Knicks this season.

The Knicks have been competitive in each of their nine games and the defensive energy has been there every possession. That’s an early indication players are buying into Fizdale’s message. You can also start to see the growth in the younger players too.

Damyean Dotson is developing into a nice rotational wing averaging 12.9 points on 37.5% shooting from three. A pleasant surprise this year with his strong wing defense and rebounding ability (6.1 rebounds a game).

Frank Ntilikina is starting to craft out his niche running the point guard and looks way more confident in his offensive game. It’s still a work in progress but he’s starting to look to score the basketball and looking to create offense at times. His shooting has already improved as he’s knocked down 34.3% of his three point attempts. That’s up from 31.8% a year ago.

Mitchell Robinson is doing this…..

Allonzo Trier is starting to look like the real deal as an undrafted free agent. His Iso Zo nickname looks better by the day everytime he blows by a defender for another bucket.

Noah Vonleh is looking like a late bloomer and Fizdale even has Enes Kanter buying into his bench role.

There’s been plenty of positives for the Knicks despite their record. All this young potential on the roster playing big minutes and this is without Kevin Knox who has missed the past six games due to an ankle injury.

All in all, this Knicks season has been a win. Fizdale is committed to playing the youth, they are staying in games and players are developing correctly. While losing is difficult, every loss increases the lottery odds for the team.

Optimism is brewing in the Garden. Things are starting to be on the come up for this Knicks squad. Losing the close games may sting a little now but it’ll pay off big time in the long run.

*Stats accurate as of 11-15-18

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