After last night’s 128-103 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the New York Knicks are now 4-11 through 15 games this season, sitting in last place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
The team’s dysfunction as of late has been something to watch for, as guard Frank Ntilikina was not in the starting lineup for the first time this season. Also, rookies Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, who both started, could not contain the Thunder’s Paul George and Steven Adams, as George put up 35 points, while Adams added 19 points. This is the third straight game the Knicks have lost by an average of 22 points and with a constant starting lineup yet to be determined, fans have started to grow impatient. Head coach David Fizdale called this a learning experience for the squad’s youth, but already through 15 games, how much longer will these “learning experiences” last?
With the timetable for return still unclear for forward Kristaps Porzingis after he tore his ACL on Feb. 6, the team has no star talent on the active roster at this moment, thus making all the sense in the world for the Knicks to tank in order to get a high draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Although the team is expected to have one of the largest salary caps in the league to sign a marquee free agent next off-season, that can’t be the only thing to rely on to save basketball in New York.
If you’ve been following the start of the college basketball season, then you must know that Duke University’s Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cameron Reddish are shaping up to be the top three prospects in next year’s draft. Despite Duke only being three games into their collegiate season, all three prospects have already proved themselves to most scouts around the NBA that they look more than qualified to be at least considered lottery picks.
Williamson, who has already drawn comparisons to Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James, is the most coveted out of the three. Standing at 6’7 and weighing 285 pounds, he has the physique of a big man, but the athleticism of a guard, that really hasn’t been seen since James entered the league in 2003. On the other hand, Barrett is being called the most pro ready, while Reddish seems to be the best shooter. It is very possible that all three could be the first, second, and third overall picks come June, but whatever happens, Knicks fans should want any of the three.
It’s understandable to want to defend the team, still 67 games left in the regular season, but if this same trend keeps occurring further into the season then something needs to be done. You can’t even think to call Ntilikina, Knox, or Robinson busts yet or Fizdale a bad coach, but if stability isn’t established soon, Knicks fans will riot and the Williamson, Barrett, or Reddish chants will soon be heard.