Updated: Feb 29
Ok, the Knicks have some work to do. A few flashes of competitiveness recently and a win total that has already matched their wins from last season.
Now the real question is how can we build on those positive moments and not regress as we fall away from playoff contention.
1. Play the kids along with the veterans.
The Knicks constantly preach about building a culture, right? Well this would be a great time to incorporate the young core into that. Taj Gibson is going to be a great coach someday and he is the elder statesman of this Knicks squad. Playing him and Mitch together should definitely help keep Mitch focused on the defensive end and *hopefully limiting his stupid fouls. Letting Trier and Payton play together could actually help Trier since he cant defend his way out of a wet paper bag but when he gets hot, the kid can't miss. Giving him some play and letting him improve his defense in live game action for more than just garbage time could be the spark he needs to buckle down and get his act right.
2. Make the game fun
I know what you're thinking. It's basketball, it's always fun.
Sometimes it is just not that simple. You see it all the time, people get too stuck in their heads, start overthinking and get tunnel vision. This leads to shooting slumps, defensive lapses and becoming out of sync with your team. Kevin Knox is a big culprit of this. You can always tell if he is too deep in his head, air balls and bad fouls around the rim.
I guess what I would like to see is a little faster pace, some quick passes, hard cuts and some alley oops.
If you are going to continue to develop and lose games, keep the crowd entertained. Find a brand of basketball that will keep the fans from rioting at the next JD and the Straight Shots concert.
3. "Win One For The Gipper"
Mike Miller has already done a better job than David Fizdale with the same team. Should buy him some good will with ownership and front office, however it looks like we are heading for another complete overhaul.
With the recent Steve Stoute comments about finding a new coach and coaching staff that he made on ESPN's First Take, I would expect this team to come together and rally around their coach and try to be as competitive as possible to at least keep Miller in the conversation for an extension or removal of the Interim tag for the following season. I think he has enough of this locker room's trust and confidence that they (along with the fan base) would be more than O.K. if he was given a real chance to help build and coach his own roster next season.
Let's not forget how well he coached in the G-League. He deserves a legit shot.
4. Get Leon Rose on board already!
The "culture" is waiting... Leon Rose, Steve Stoute and *possibly* William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley are waiting in the wings to swoop in an make the Knicks a relevant franchise again. Ownership needs to hurry up, get these contracts settled and get this ball rolling. There is no better time to start getting settled before the craziness of the off season starts. Trades, draft combine, free agency is going to require far too much attention for someone trying to get their bearings in a new organization. We know what the Knicks look like now, get everyone settled and hit the ground running come off season.