So we’re 38 games into the 2017-2018 NBA season and the New York Knicks officially now stink. They did their best to tickle our fancy and tease us for the first quarter of the season, but then, just like the last two seasons, they crapped their pants on Christmas and watched their season swirl down the drain. Feels like a tank is inevitable.
The Knicks are anecdotally speaking the worst third quarter team in the history of the NBA. While that’s not exactly accurate (they’re actually 23rd overall in third-quarter scoring with a 24.8 point average), it still feels true. It’s like they toke up or do dusters in the locker room at halftime, considering they’re 22nd in second-half scoring overall.
Interestingly, despite their bottom of the barrel second-half scoring, they’re ranked seventh overall in second-half field goal percentage (46.3), which tells me they score efficiently but lack the gas to keep pushing. Visually, they come out looking like Leo DiCaprio and Marky Mark in that one drugged up game in the Basketball Diaries.
Anyway, I’ve already ranted enough about the Knicks’ third quarter shit show. Today’s banter is instead about the issues us Knicks fans forget about, and there are a few..
First off, we got Knicks poster boy Kristaps Porzingis. He started the season like a unicorn on fire before an abrupt fall back down to earth. I think it was after this Jen Selter thing blew up that his focus moved from buckets to babes. Tough decision, I know.
.@cleantheglass broke down Porzingis lack of passing from the post today. Watch Wall on this play, he doesn’t need to double or cover his man because he knows the play isn’t going anywhere and the ball isn’t coming out pic.twitter.com/lj4U1Iv4cK
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) January 4, 2018
Constant double teams and tougher defense overall is forcing Porzingis to take tougher shots even at 7-foot-3. He’s become uncomfortably streaky and even admitted to being tired. Sounds like bologna, considering you’re 22 years old, play a game and workout for a living. LeBron James is 33 and playing his best ever; man up if you want to be great, Kristaps.
The Opportunity To Sell High
Trades. Now that the Knicks season is well on it’s way down the latrine, it’s time to start exploring trade opportunities while certain players are playing well. In other words, Courtney Lee and Kyle O’Quinn.
Lee is having by far the best season of his career with highs in points (13.3), assists (2.8), and free-throw percentage (.955 FT). I like what he’s doing a lot, but he’s NBA old at 32. If some veteran team wants him or any other team is willing to give up a first rounder or youth for him, I’d take it in a heartbeat. Same goes for O’Quinn. You gotta strike while the iron is out. Teams would love to have that big bearded ‘Bar Mitzvah Man‘ yelling and grabbing boards for them come playoff time.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 28, 2017
And if anyone would for some reason take Joakim Noah on, which is highly doubtful, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Knicks 2018-2019 Salary Cap
Another issue is cold hard cash, which the Knicks severely lack. They dumped all their money into Noah ($72 million) and Tim Hardaway ($71 million), only the latter of whom is actually panning out, so they have no money to spend this offseason.
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) January 2, 2018
The only way I can see them making room to get money to hurl at some free agent would be to trade both Lee and O’Quinn, and if Enes Kanter opts out to let him walk, saving $18+ million in the process and opening up the possibility of maxing a free agent. Though my guess is no team will pay Kanter that money when court-stretching centers are the current NBA fad. Then, Willy Hernangomez will be able to see increased minutes and develop with an affordable contract.
Point Guard Play
Finally, we get to the point guard play, which has not been good. 34-year-old Jarrett Jack has been regressing since he had his hot streak starting for the Knicks, although, he recently had his best game as a Knick in the victory on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans (15-7-4). Frank Ntilikina continues to improve, but he’s only 19. He needs to be aggressive and develop his scoring ability, which is something the Knicks haven’t had in a long time; a scoring point guard. That is why sometimes I wish they would have picked Dennis Smith Jr., but I think Frank will turn out fine. Besides those two, we got no one. Ramon Sessions gives a spark for 15 seconds and Ron Baker’s eye is broken. So, that leaves us with Trey Burke, the G League December Player of the Month, waiting to be called up. Knicks fans on twitter are begging for this. Bring him up and give him a chance. He averaged over 29 points a game in December and could help out with the scoring at the point guard position the Knicks desperately need.
Frank Ntilikina is a boss. pic.twitter.com/0ByE013kEp
— 𝚃𝚆𝙴𝙻𝚅𝙴 𝙿𝙾𝙸𝙽𝚃 𝙲𝙾𝚄𝚁𝙸𝙴𝚁 (@tpcourier) December 22, 2017
Time To Tank?
38 games in and the season feels over at 18-20. The Knicks can’t play on the road, in the third quarter, in the second half, or even at home anymore. Time to take the “Trust the Process” Sixers route, tank and go for a lottery pick. Can you imagine if the Knicks got Slovenia’s Luka Doncic to pair with Kristaps? Good lord. A lot of good players should be coming out for this draft and the Knicks finally have picks. Scott Perry is also a unicorn, in my opinion, and will have some tricks up his sleeve to bring our beloved Knicks back to glory. Knickstape.
Cover photo h/t SLAM