The New York Knicks are finally a franchise that I can believe in. Full of young and exciting talent. David Fizdale has proven the ability to have this young core buy into what he’s selling. There have been rumors of upcoming free agents expressing their interest to join the greatest sports franchise of all time. The Knicks have a bright future. With all that being said, let’s see how our young core has performed this season, so far.
Ahhhh the scrappy, hard-nosed, defensive-minded Ron Baker. The MVP runner-up at your uncles’ 55+ YMCA rec league. Overcame all the obstacles of being a white man playing basketball and earned himself a spot, on the bench, of a team that will never play him.
If 2K had a player attribute rating for ‘likelihood to leave a game with a nosebleed,’ Ron Baker would be a 99.
He is a symbolic figure, a beacon of hope, too all the players chosen last in gym class. I don’t think I can bear watching him brick another wide open three, or dive in the stands face first when we’re down 26 with a 1:32 left in the 4th any longer. With all that being said, I really appreciate the effort.
(editor note: I would never disrespect the gawd, Ronny Bakes like this and if you’re reading this ron, just know that Lester Lee is still voting you onto the All Star team no matter what).
Mario Hezonja (Super Mario)
Mario is 1 of the 3 players drafted top 10 in the 2015 Draft, on the New York Knicks roster. His career has been full of untapped potential and overwhelming disappointment. (we’re on the same boat Mario.) It’s not Super Mario’s fault that he was drafted 5th overall (by Scott Perry) but it is his fault that he averages 7 points a game, shooting 40%.
With that being said, he was granted a chance for a career revival when he joined the Knicks this offseason. It’s safe to say, drafting him 5th overall will never be justified but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a good career.
I must say, through the first quarter of this NBA season, he is exactly as advertised.
His offensive game is nothing to be desired. He has a hard time creating his own shot and is not great from 3pt range. (25% this season.) He’s a pretty good cutter. Mario and Enes Kanter are replicating that 2017 O’Quinn-Mcdermott connection, to get a few easy buckets backdoor throughout the game.
He’s also a tweener defensively. Not big or strong enough to guard PF’s and not quick enough to guard SF’s. The sample size is small but I can’t see him improving much on defense. Hopes are high that he can improve his offensive game or his new nickname will be Below Average Mario.
After I watched Kevin Knox in summer league, I was fairly certain he was going to go down as the greatest player of all time. Wipe the floor with Jordan, type talk. He was spinning and winning, dunking on anything and everything in his path. I couldn’t wait for the regular season to start.
Then the regular season started.
I’m completely aware that he is 19 and I won’t grind his game into a fine powder. He’s super athletic, has a smooth looking jump shot, and is long enough to become a good defender. With that being said, I’d be remiss to overlook his motor and effort.
It’s actually the single most frustrating thing in the world to watch.
14 games into his rookie season he already looks jaded. It really seems like there are 10,000 other things he’d rather be doing but he just so happened to be good at basketball.
As a rookie, the one thing that should never be questioned is your effort. He doesn’t get hype or crack a smile when the bench is going nuts over a play from a teammate. It seems like he’s thinking of what flavor of Ben & Jerrys he’s going to pick up on his way home.
I think he has the potential to be an all-star caliber player. All he has to do is learn how to give a shit. (or at least pretend to.)
I’m a big fan of WholeTeamDot. He competes defensively and is not a complete liability offensively. He’s an average spot-up shooter and has a pretty decent mid-range game.
When he received consistent minutes earlier in the season, he scored 10+ points in 9 straight games. Since the emergence of Emmanuel Mudiay, his minutes have continually dropped. 4 previous games being DNP’s.
There have been reports of teams reaching out to check on his availability via trade. The Knicks have a ton of young guards and if there isn’t room for him to get minutes, this may be the avenue they need to explore. To quote The Godfather, ‘make an offer they can’t refuse.’
Frank Ntilikina (Franky Clamps)
Let me preface this by saying, I love Franky Clamps. Selected 9th overall, by Phil (sleep while scouting) Jackson. It’s always been the same story with Frank. A lockdown defender while being passive offensively.
He showed some offensive spurts in Summer League that had me giddier than an overweight 9-year-old when he hears an ice cream truck. He was putting smaller guards in the post, coming off screens and looking at the basket instead of the roll man. All promising signs that this may be the season he turns the corner as an offensive player.
I’m the president of his fan club but it doesn’t look like this will be the season that he’ll make that leap. He’s above average at dishing and swishing but when the defense knows your not a threat to shoot the ball, defending the roll man and staying home at the 3pt line becomes much easier.
I believe in you, Frank. Keep on clamping.
Mitch is a freak of nature. He is incredibly raw but has limitless potential. He already has a game with 9 blocks. When he’s not hacking the shit out of you when you drive the lane, he’s sending your shot to the 3rd row. It’s one or the other, no in between. A man of conviction.
He sets decent screens and is great at catching lobs off the pick and roll. Drafting him 36th overall may be the 2nd greatest steal of the draft. (See below for 1st, eye emoji, eye emoji.) Mitch just needs to get more experience under his belt. He will become a super valuable player to help facilitate an imminent Knicks championship.
Our Allen Iverson hybrid. Pick and roll maestro. An un-stoppable mid-range game and instant offense off the bench. Although he’s undersized, he’s a pest defensively. He also drilled that game-icing 3 in the Celtics mouth.
When he gets in his offensive zone, he can single-handedly carry the Knicks to a win. When he’s played 25 minutes or more, he’s scored 20+, 4/6 times. When he gets his minutes, he gets his buckets. Leaving ankles and souls in his wake. Keep doing what you’re doing Trey.
Mudiay has been a pleasant surprise this season. He was also drafted top 10 in the 2015 Draft. He’s been in the league for 5 years and is still only 22.
David Fizdale may have been exactly what Mudiay needed.
His resurgence of confidence has him playing very well, as of late. It seems like the game has finally slowed down for him. He’s a big PG who pushes the ball and finishes well in transition. He’s currently being investigated in Memphis for ending Garret Temples life with that dunk to ice the game.
He and Trey Burke have similar roles on this team. As I said with Trey, keep doing what you’re doing.
Vonleh is a beast. Another example of Fizdale getting the best out a young player that has been labeled a ‘bust.’ He was drafted 9th overall in 2014. He is one of the Knicks best all-around players.
Most of the young Knicks core do ONE thing really well. Vonleh is a jack of all trades, master of none. Shooting the 3 at a surprisingly high percentage(40%.) He defends the pick and roll decently even though he gets switched onto guards more often than not. If he can consistently hit that 3 pointer, rebound and defend, he has tremendous value moving forward.
A walking twenty-twenty. Enes is the most consistent player on the Knicks. You never have to worry about him bringing the effort or tenacity. He can’t be guarded in the low post when he takes his time. He’s also good at getting rid of the ball when the double comes.
Averaging 15pts and 12rebs a game shooting north of 50%. He’s was relegated to the bench for a short period of time because he can’t defend a paper bag in the wind. He moves around on defense like a dope. Nonetheless, his offensive output and rebounding ability outweighs his defensive woes.
Allonzo Trier (Iso Zo)
The steal of the draft. He was undrafted and the Knicks signed him to a two-way contract. Per 36 minutes: 17pts shooting 49%. Zo is unguardable. Bring the double all you want, he’s going to shoot it anyway.
He’s got this herky-jerky dribble but it’s extremely effective. He can get to the paint at will, with or without a screen.
Fizdale has him playing a lot of crunch time minutes and he’s kept them in a lot of games with his scoring prowess. Give the ball to Iso Zo and get the hell out of the way.
He’s my favorite Knick player of all time, this week.
Tim Hardaway is the Knicks best player right now.
He’s the first option on offense and has improved is his effort on defense this season. While Kristaps being out, he needs lead by example. If the Knicks ever want to make noise in the playoffs, it’s going to start on the defensive end. On another note, Hardaway does settle for too many three-pointers.
He likes to take those ‘juice’ shots. A juice shot would be a transition 3 with 20 seconds left on the shot clock to push a 4th quarter lead from 4 to 7 with less than 2 minutes left. It’s one of those shots when you yell ‘what are you doi-‘
If you’re the best player on the floor, you reserve the right to shoot those juice shots. I ain’t mad at cha. The most telling stat about Tim Hardaway is as follows: when he has 5 Free Throw Attempts or more, he’s averaging 29 points a game. When he has less than 5, he’s averaging 16 points a game. Drive to the basket, Hardaway.
(editor’s note: Again, I did not write this because Tim Hardaway is the worst player in the NBA. Okay, carry on.)
Keep hanging with the IG models. #UnicornThings
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