Knicks Solidify Worst Record in League – March 7, 2019: Phoenix 107 NY 96

Phoenix has top rookie and #1 pick in draft Deandre Ayton and NBA star Devin Booker and a bunch of other good players — including Kelly Oubre Jr. and high draft pick Mikal Bridges — and still suck to high heaven. But they’re better than the Knicks. Booker went on a tear in the 3rd quarter to lead Phoenix to the easy win — they led by about 20 at times throughout the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Coaching is 65% of NBA Success

What is happening in Phoenix shows it takes a lot to win in the NBA. Coaching is 65% of it — a number pulled out of my rear but seems about right. Look at what coaches like Dwane Casey (in Detroit), Nate McMillan (in Indiana), and Kenny Atkinson (in Brooklyn) are doing this year with teams that have about as much talent as the Knicks. With the Knicks I’m getting that bad feeling again that their coach David Fizdale is a good player development coach and nothing more. Have felt that way all season, but there was a glimmer of hope when the Knicks won 3 of 4 at the All Star break; that all the losing was due to many of the players being ‘too young’. That hope is fading, and it may be turning the head of perspective free agents Kevin Durant and others.

Highlights for the Knicks

Mitchell Robinson always provides highlights; in this game he scored 8 pts (3-7) with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in 22 minutes. The day after this game it was announced he has signed endorsement deals with Nike AND Mercedes Benz.

Noah Vonleh played well (15 pts on 6-10), as did DeAndre Jordan (17 pts 14 rebounds, 2 blocks), and Dennis Smith Jr (15 pts 6 assists). Damyean Dotson made a lot of mistakes on defense but finished with good shooting 6-12 for 15 pts. Allonzo Trier 12 pts on 3-9 but worked the free throws (5-6).

Emmanuel Mudiay did not play that well, and Kevin Knox with another poor shooting performance (1-5) although he hit his free throws (5-6) for 7 pts in 25 minutes.

The Point Guard Situation

Jason Kidd visited with the Knicks prior to the game and spent time with Smith and Mudiay, while Frank Ntilikina was 20 yards away shooting practice shots. The NY Post’s Marc Berman speculated after the game that the Knicks appear to not see Ntilikina as a future point guard and his sources said Ntilikina needs to show more in the final 15 games of the season as an off guard, and that the Knicks would probably be shopping him on draft night.

My opinion: Ntilikina is only 20 & we’ll see within 3 years what kind of player he’ll be. So far:

  1. Frustrating to watch on Offense; little ability to break down defenses; his passing is average; nice shot but poor shooting %
  2. Overrated on Defense: quick guards blow past him; he’s soft on screens.

We’ll see.

The boxscore:

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