The 2018-19 NBA season is at the halfway point, meaning that the teams destined for the lottery are starting to appear. One of those teams is the New York Knicks, who are currently 10-30 on the season and are tied with the Chicago Bulls for the third worst record in the league. The absence of star forward Kristaps Porzingis has been a factor in the team’s record this season, but the team’s youth has also contributed to the Knicks’ play in 2018-19.
The Knicks only have five players over the age of 25 on the current roster with the majority of their contributors being either rookies or young players that struggled to perform in their first NBA stop. Emmanuel Mudiay is an example of the later as the fourth year point guard was unable to regain his rookie form for the Denver Nuggets, so they traded him to the Knicks. Despite the team’s poor record, he’s quietly been one of the league’s more underrated point guards as his 14.4 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting are career marks for him.
Mudiay still struggles shooting from behind the arc, but his ability to attack the basket has allowed for undrafted rookie Allonzo Trier to be one of the steals of the NBA Draft. His 38.5 percent shooting from behind the arc has made head coach David Fizdale have to play Trier, but the rookie guard has been quiet as of late. In his last five games, Trier has gone 7-30 from the floor for only 20 points and the Knicks need more out of a player that they rely on off the bench.
Young players being inconsistent is nothing new as rookie Kevin Knox has been one of the most inconsistent players in the NBA this season. In the first month of the season, Knox looked like he was not ready for a major role on a NBA team as he averaged 7.1 points per game on 31.6 percent shooting, only to be named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in December with 17.1 points per game.
The rookie from Kentucky has shown that he is capable of being a solid NBA player as he eclipsed 20 points six times in December, but only scored eight points on 1-6 shooting last game. Knox came into the NBA with high expectations and has lived up to those expectations in part, but needs to play with more consistency to meet those expectations.
The Knicks are capable of beating good teams as they knocked off the Lakers in the Staples Center last Friday, but they need to play with more consistency to win more of the those games this season.