Once again, I watch a Knicks game in hopes I see good ball movement, crisp passes, guys cutting, finding the open man. Our offense has no desire to find the advantage. Instead, Knicks and Fizdale seem content on leaning back onto the bad habit of ISO-ball bailing us out.
The defense was actually not that bad this game.
David Fizdale: Worst starting lineup we could have possibly did tonight. Portis, Randle and Morris as our starting front court should never see another minute again this season. Still questionable X's and O's coach. Another night giving RJ another 40 minute game in preseason. Much like Knox last year, expect him to run RJ into the ground by January.
Frank Ntilikina: 1-4 2 Points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists. You'd almost have to be a basketball purist to appreciate what he does defensively. He ate Trae Youngs lunch quite a few times, altering his shot with his length, forcing him to pass out of a few easy buckets he was hitting earlier, adding a couple nice blocks to his night. He is an average defender with the ability to show glimpses of above average defending. I think right now he's at his floor. Offensively, he's still a complete black hole if you're looking for points. He moves the ball nice and tries to set someone up with a shot. Unfortunately, he plays in an offense that doesn't suit his style. He's not ISO Frank. He should be the starting PG. IMO
Dennis Smith JR:First game back after sitting out previously with a lower back injury. First observation? He's rusty. Picked up two quick fouls in the opening minutest that sent him to the bench. Not a great shooting night for him either. 1-5 for 4 points.
Julius Randle: So far his best night as a Knick. Aside from two step back jumpers (Yes, two..wtf), he finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks. His defense is still not worth talking about.
RJ Barrett: 4-14, 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. It's going to be an up and down year in regards with his game to game efficiency. If Fizdale can tap into his inner-coaching and somehow teach RJ to reign it in a bit on nights he isn't feeling it, then he could be special this year. He's a plus playmaker, can bully his way into the paint, and actually finish. He did miss quite a few easy layups though. I'm chalking that up to youth. The flashes are there. You can see it. Even had a nice game defensively.
Kevin Knox: He looks like he's ready to be the first of our young guys to make the big jump this year. He looks much more fluid and confident. He moves the ball well, and stretches the floor. His shot looks good. He should be getting more minutes per game this season.
Last thoughts: This team is a 25-30 win team. They aren't well coached, or even coached it seems. I don't think Fizdale is the guy who can tap into and get the best out of every player. This team better find a way to keep it close, because we don't have the shooting to come back from double digits night in and night out. Speaking of keeping it close, I don't think we have one guy on our roster who I would trust to take the final shot.
DNP Coaches Decision for Payton, Dotson and Trier tonight.