Sports

NBA Season 2018 – 2019 Coverage , New York Knicks Preparing For A Blockbuster Summer

With NBA Season 2018 – 2019 coming soon we will be covering all 30 teams on a detailed level. With this coverage you will be able to easily know everything there is to know about team rosters, team moves, top players, things to watch, salaries, management and be up to date with the best league in the world.

It starts with Numbers and stats and goes to projections and analysis of the team players, coaches, style of play (Scroll to the bottom if you are a gambler and all you care about are season projections..). Aside from projections we explain why the Knicks are one of the most interesting teams to follow this season and we highly recommend that you read the “what the hell are they doing?” segment.
This is just the start of our new sports section so stay tuned in upcoming weeks.

 

New York Knicks

Last season’s Standings: 29 wins and 53 losses (35% success).
Finished the season: 11th place in the East, out of the playoffs again.

Another Terrible season:  The Knicks missed the playoffs, lost their biggest star Krispas Porzingis to a serious injury (Torn ACL) which he haven’t come back from yet, rookies didn’t look very good and generally it was a pretty sad year if you are a Knicks fan.

Knicks are in full rebuild mode and made some interesting moves to get the rebuild running(more on the rebuild below).

The bright side last season: Shooting 40% from 3 point when you are one of the tallest human beings alive blocking 2.4 shots a game on defense shouldn’t be possible but that’s exactly what KP did.

 K.Porzingis MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG BLKPG STLPG PPG
2017-18 Regular Season 32.4 0.439 0.395 0.793 6.6 1.2 2.4 0.8 22.7

 

When he did play prior to the injury Porzingis displayed the incredible potential of a superstar in the making and the Knicks looked like a legitimate team. The Knicks officially have their franchise player.

Other positives to the Knicks season were

  • the losing produced a lottery pick that ended up being Kevin Knox .
  • Management didn’t add any additional weird contracts so the team is expected to have a lot of money to sign players next summer. When it comes to the Knicks and the pressure to produce New York brings with it that’s not very trivial.

 

 

What they did during the summer:

Draft:

New York Knicks have selected Kevin Knox from the University of Kentucky with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.  With the 36th overall pick, the Knicks selected Mitchell Robinson from Chalmette High School (Chalmette, La.), in the second round of the Draft.

Knox, 6-9, 215-pounds spent one season at Kentucky with averages of 15.6 points and 32.4 minutes over 37 games (37 starts). He led the Wildcats in scoring, 3-pointers made and recorded the eighth-most points (576) in school history as a freshman. Knox was a 2017-18 AP Honorable Mention All-America selection, 2017-18 SEC co-Freshman of the Year and named to the 2017-18 All-SEC First Team. As a freshman, he scored in double figures in all but seven games, including a team-high 10 games with 20 or more. He erupted for a game-high 34 points in a 17-point comeback victory at No. 7 West Virginia on January 27, 2018. In a victory over Davidson, he posted 25 points and six rebounds in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Robinson, 7-0, 225-pounds, finished his senior year at Chalmette averaging 25.7 points, 12.6 rebounds and 7.1 blocks. For his AAU team (Pro Skills), he recorded 15.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.1 blocks in the summer of 2016 and was named All-EYBL Second Team. At the Peach Jam Championships, Robinson posted 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.6 blocks. The Naismith Trophy All-America honorable mention was selected to the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game and participated in the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic.

(draft prospects stats source: www.nba.com)

Free Agency Signings:

 Left The Team: Kyle O’Quinn, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Johnny O’Bryant, Michael Beasley, Ramon Sessions, Jarrett Jack

Head Coach Jeff Hornacek (fired)

 Arrived To The Team: Mario Hezonja, Kevin Knox, Noah Vonleh, Luke Kornet , Mitchell Robinson, Kadeem Allen

Head coach David Fizdale
Expected Starting 5: Emmanuel Mudiay, Tim Hardaway Jr. , Kevin Knox, Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter

Full roster and salary:

Player Salary
Enes Kanter $18,622,514
Joakim Noah $18,530,000
Tim Hardaway Jr. $17,325,000
Courtney Lee $12,253,780
Lance Thomas $7,119,650
Mario Hezonja $6,500,000
Kristaps Porzingis $5,697,054
Ron Baker $4,544,400
Emmanuel Mudiay $4,294,480
Frank Ntilikina $4,155,720
Kevin Knox $3,739,920
Trey Burke $1,795,015
Noah Vonleh $1,621,415
Luke Kornet $1,619,000
Mitchell Robinson $1,485,440
Damyean Dotson $1,378,242
Kadeem Allen $1,349,383

 

Roster Analysis:

The Knicks have a unique unbalanced collection of prospects that can only play on one side of the court: The offensive bunch includes Enes Kanter , one of the top scoring centers in the entire NBA but is probably one of the worst defenders, Mario Hezonia is an excellent shooter but has been a below average defender so far, Ron Baker is a smart offensive point guard but can’t guard anyone.

The defensive bunch includes Frank Ntilikina, already one of the better defenders in the entire league at a very young age but a complete non-factor on offense, Emmanual Mudiay who can defend multiple positions with his size and athleticism but cannot found a consistent shot and Noah Vonleh who’s a legitimate defender that can guard positions 3-5 but doesn’t do much on offense.

Aside from the rookies being good the Knicks are banking on 2-3 of the following 5 are still very young, had huge upside coming into the league and can still get much better. Hezonja was the fifth pick in 2015. Emmanuel Mudiay was the 7th pick on the same draft Noah Vonleh was the ninth pick in 2014 and Trey Burke in 2013. Frank Ntilikina only in his second year has to make a leap on offense in order to stay in the Knicks future plans.

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Grades per position:

Point Guard: Emmanuel Mudiay/ Trey Burke/ Ron Baker

Mudiay progress is slow but he still seems to get slightly better every year and his physical gifts are still living a lot of room for him to get better.  Burke looked good at the second half of the season. At the deepest position in the NBA in recent years The Knicks starter at PG will be far worse than his rival PG almost every game but they still have a couple of good contributors here and they’ll be better than most teams in the 10-15 bench minutes at the position which is something.  

 Grade: C-

Shooting Guard: Tim Hardaway Jr./ Courtney Lee/ Frank Ntilikina

In contrary to the PG position the SG has the smallest pool of talent compared to other positions and aside from Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, CJ Mccollom and a few others  the Knicks SG can hold their own against most teams and are actually deeper than most.

 Grade: B

Small Forward: Kevin Knox/ Mario Hezonja

Unless Hezonja becomes the player we expected him to be 3 years ago or Kevin Knox is the new Donoven Mitchel out of nowhere just imagine how miserable any one of them will be going every night against MVP caliber players like Kawhi, Durant, Giannis etc.

 Grade: F

 

Power Forward: Kristaps Porzingis*/ Noah Vonleh/ Lance Thomas

With Porzings as one of the best at his position and a solid bench role players in Thomas and Vonleh, this is obviously the Knicks strongest postion.

*Porzingis is expected to miss anything between a month to a full season due to his injury. This ranking includes Porzingis in the starting lineup.

 Grade: A

Center: Enes Kanter/ Mitchell Robinson/ Joakim Noah

Already a stud on offense and a good rebounder If Enes Kanter can continue his progress on offense, if Robinson can be as good as he looked at Summer League and preseason , if Noah can stay healty and get back to half the player he’s been just 3 years ago the Knicks will have a scary , versatile frontline.

Those are too many “if” in one position.

 Grade: B-

Team Roster Overall Grade: D+
Coach: David Fizdaile, first season as Knicks head coach.
Fizdale’s job is to find stability in a team that lacked it for many years, get the young core to develop and make New York a promising team that’s interesting for for free agent class of 2019.

He should be the right man on the right time. No one expects him to win this year so the pressure is very low.

Style of play:

Finally the triangle offense is out of town. The Knicks are a very young team and expected to run at every opportunity, use a lot of zone defenses. We expect to see a lot of minutes with 3 guards and Knox at PF utilizing the defensive versatility of Courtney Lee, Frank Ntilikina and Mudiay. Fizdale loves experimenting different schemes which is good because most of the lineups will be pretty helpless most nights and he’ll need every trick he has up his sleeves to be competitive.

Things to look for, what should we follow?

  • Porzingis’s injury. In this article we counted him in but there a real possibility that he misses the entire season. In his words “We’ve done things differently because there is no protocol for a 7-3 guy..” rehabbing ACL tear.
  • Mitchell Robinson minutes. Our bold gamble is that by the end of this season he’s a full time starter. The potential on this kid is incredible, he needs all the minutes he can get and by the middle of the season when the Knicks realize that are not going into the playoffs they’ll embrace the youth movement and the losing(=more balls in the draft lottery) that comes with it.
  • David Fizdale’s screen time. Unless Lebron James was coaching a team.. the coach is never the center of attention. We think it’s going to be different this year in NY.Fizdale seems to be liking the media attention and pretty good at it. Couple that with the thirst of the New York Media for team news, Porzingis out and no other star on the team and we predict that Fizdale will be the center of media attention before and after every game.

Candidate for breakthrough year:

Frank Ntilikina. He looks extremely capable, just hasn’t had the “courage” to attack the basket and shoot the ball in most games last season. No longer a rookie and already one of the best defenders in his position , if Fizdale will indeed as he declared push him to be more aggressive offensively we might find out that the Knicks have a running mate for Porzings for years to come.

 

WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING? WHY ARE THE KNICKS ONE OF THE TEAMS TO WATCH?!

The Knicks are actually gambling on really interesting moves to speed up their rebuild. This season is just a part of a process they started a year ago. They have one star in Porzings and they are looking to have 4-5 pieces/stars within a year from now:

They will be ‘tanking’ (losing more intentionally) this season to get one piece in the draft; that means they will play more with the youngsters less with the veterans, keep Porzings at injured status for most of the season. That’s piece one- high lottery pick.

They are banking on getting at least one star and one rotation player out of 6 following new prospects: They signed 3 former high lottery picks in Hezonja,  Vonleh, Mudiay and drafted low floor- high ceiling prospects Kevin Knox , Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina.

They will try to clear more cap space for free agents by trading whoever they can(/even buy-out in Noah’s case)Hardway,Kanter,Thomas, Noah

They will bring Porzings back before the end of the season to show he’s healthy- another move to help get 2 more pieces in the puzzle- convince and sign two stars out of the 2019 summer free agents that includes Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Demarkus Cousins, Kyrie Iriving, Jimmy Buttler, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker and more.

If their dreams comes true they’ll be looking for instance at a team with Porzingis, Durant, Iriving Knox and Robinson as proven prospects, joined by a top 3 draft pick such as RJ Barret, Cameroon Reddish or Zion Williamson.

HOW ARE THE KNICKS ONE OF THE TEAMS TO WATCH?

They can lose everything if nothing pens out , be a title contender if everything works or something in the middle which is immensely interesting like any high stakes gamble.

PROJECTIONS:

*Best/worst realistic scenarios.

Best Case Scenario:

The Knicks finish the season with an improvement in standings, Knox , Mitchel and Nitilikina all look like future stars and Porzingis is back for the last month of the season to show he’s healthy. Kyrie Iriving and Jimmy Butler are joining as free agents (a move that’s been actually rumored this days) to form a new force in the league.

Worst Case Scenario:

The Knicks worst case is literally as bad as a worst case could be: if Nitilikina stays the same or regress, the 2 rookies don’t look like starters in the NBA and Porzingis doesn’t come back. With Fizdale insisting on playing the veterans and win as much as he can the Knicks finishes the season with a pick in the end of the lottery, no upside excluding Porzingis and in need to extend his contract without knowing if he can stay healty for the contract term. No star free agent will be looking at  New York at that case and the Knicks will be stuck in rebuild mode for at least 2 more years.

Realistic Projection

The Knicks will not let Porzingis come back until February, move Kanter to the bench and play a starting five with the youngsters, try to move Hardway in a trade and will be the worst or second worst team in the east knowingly and intentionally to get a very high lottery pick. The youngsters ,  especially Knox and Nitilikina will be impressive and exciting which will ease the pain a little bit for the poor fans.The next year if everything plays out nicely should be much better for Knicks fans who were patient enough to read all the way up to this point:  The Knicks will pick in the top 5, sign…  Kevin Durant on a 3 years deal which will also convince Porzingis to extend for Five year maximum deal. in other words we recommend on selling your season tickets for 2018-2019 and investing in buying as many seats at MSG (Madison Square Garden) as you can for the 2020 Knicks .

Standings: 26 wins 56 loses