• Gus Saltonstall

OTG Team Awards: New York Knicks

Elite Sports NY

The New York Knicks were the worst team in basketball this year.

Even with so few wins in the 2018-19 season and a massive trade midway through the year, there were still bright spots throughout the roster that deserve mentioning.

Without further ado, here are the team awards for the New York Knicks.

Sixth Man of the Year: Allonzo Trier

Allonzo Trier has to be the feel good story of the Knicks’ season. The 6’5, 200 pound former standout at Arizona went undrafted, only to make the team after an impressive summer league showing. Trier followed that up by throwing down an absolutely monstrous dunk in the first game of the season and was actually one of New York’s most consistent players this season.

Trier has only started in three of the 64 games he’s appeared in so far this campaign and has provided New York with a spark off the bench all year. On the season he’s averaging 10.9 points, 1.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds on 22.8 minutes of play. He’s doing this on a super respectable 44.8% from the field, 39.4% from behind the three-point line and 80.3% from the charity stripe.

Most Improved Player: Damyean Dotson

Every single one of Damyean Dotson’s statistics’ are improved on from his rookie season to this one. Appearing in 23 more games, starting in 32 more games, bumping his minutes up by 16 a contest, scoring 6.7 more points, collecting 1.4 more rebounds and dishing out one more assist a game.

In an even more simple vein, in a season worth of New York Knick players not always giving there best, Dotson always appeared to be playing his very hardest and committing fully to the task of winning every basketball he was a part of. Additionally, from his rookie year to his sophomore year he adjusted his efficiency differential (team points scored per 100 possessions minus team points allowed per 100 possessions) from -4.0 to a +1.3.

Rookie of the Year: Kevin Knox

Kevin Knox getting the nod over Mitchell Robinson is no easy thing. However, taking into account the greater expectations put on Knox’s shoulders, with his larger role on the squad, and the harder transition to the pro level for a small forward than for a big—Knox deserves Rookie of the Year for the New York Knicks.

The rookie out of Kentucky undoubtedly had an up and down season. Missing a relatively long stretch of time in the beginning of the year due to injury, and having to find his comfort zone in a roster in a state of change.

The ninth pick in the 2018 draft is averaging 12.6 points, 4.2 boards and 1 assists a game on 28.4 minutes. As many rookies do he’s struggled with efficiency, shooting 37% from the field, 34.8% from three and averaging more turnovers than assists.

Positive notes are also all over Knox’s rookie season. He’s the third youngest player to participate in a game this season at 19 years old and he’s going to finish in the top ten in scoring, rebounding and minutes played for all rookies. His ceiling is still sky high and Knicks fan should be happy with how he played during his rookie year.

Defensive Player of the Year: Mitchell Robinson

Mitchell Robinson was the 36th pick of the second round in the 2018 draft. He didn’t get taken in the lottery, he didn’t go to a powerhouse college, and in fact he didn’t go to college at all. He’s only played 19.5 minutes a game on the season, but in those minutes and despite that seemingly lack luster resume—he is not just the best defender on the New York Knicks, he might be one of the best defenders in the whole NBA.

Robinson averages a stupendous 2.5 blocks in his 19.5 minutes of play. That puts the 7’1 center second in the league in the category and by far first within rookies. When Robinson is on the court, he blocks 6% of the shots the opposing team takes. Which puts him in the 98th percentile out of all players in the league.

He averages a staggering 6.15 blocks per 48 minutes.

Robinson has had comparisons to Anthony Davis since draft night, and the 20-year-old rookie has all the skills to become one of the best defenders in the league for the next decade.

Most Valuable Player: Mitchell Robinson

Honorable Mentions: Dave Fizdale, Kevin Durant Poster, Zion Williamson Questions, and Kyrie Irving Press Conferences

A player earning the most valuable honors for a team while playing less than 20 minutes a game is by no means a regular thing. Yet, the New York Knicks have not had a regular season. The combination of the endless amount of losses and huge roster overturn from the Kristaps Porzingis-Dennis Smith Jr. trade makes it challenging to select a most valuable player from the Knicks organization.

Dennis Smith Jr. just struggled too much and was part of too many losses to justifiably collect the award, and while I stand by the rookie of the year award going to Kevin Knox because of his larger role within the team; the most valuable player on this Knicks roster has to be Mitchell Robinson.

The combination of his age, body type and defensive ability are the beginnings of a possibly incredible career. To give more of an idea on just how many shots Robinson blocked. Myles Turner, the league leader in the category, averaged 2.7 blocks in 28.8 minutes of play. Robinson’s blocks per 28.8 minutes calculated out is 3.65, which would have easily been first in the league.

Robinson also showed a ton of promise offensively. The rookie didn’t actually qualify for field goal percentage leaders, but his .68% field goal percentage would put him at first in the league. First. Such a high percentage is a product of Robinson taking 97% of his shots within four feet of the basket.

No matter what the Knicks roster looks like next season, Robinson will play an important role within it. He’s maybe not the obvious answer for the Knicks MVP this season, but he is the right one.

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