分类目录归档:Knicks Jerseys 2021

Dennis Smith Jr. Jersey

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With the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree lit and the Radio City Rockettes kicking into high gear, a grimmer December tradition is coming into focus in the Big Apple: The New York Knicks are in big trouble. Handed their ninth straight loss in heartbreaking fashion against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, the Knicks fell to 4-19 on the year, equaling the record set in 2014 for the worst start in franchise history.

It is familiar territory for the Knicks, as they failed to attract star free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the off-season, with the bright lights and glamour of New York City eclipsed by six consecutive losing seasons.

Even the sudden firing of head coach David Fizdale, intended to reset the team’s trajectory, seemed to backfire, with stunned players lamenting their leader’s departure.

“It’s a family thing,” center Mitchell Robinson told reporters after their 103-104 loss in front of a rowdy hometown crowd. “(Fizdale is) still going to be part of us no matter what. He looked after us besides basketball but as people as well.”

While a gobsmacking 129-92 loss against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday and Monday’s 132-88 drubbing at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks should have foretold the coach’s impending fate, Fizdale’s departure nonetheless “caught everyone by surprise,” according to guard Dennis Smith Jr.

“We didn’t want it to fall all on him,” Smith told a scrum of reporters in the locker room, prior to Saturday night’s contest. “We talked about that actually, like, ‘we’ve got to start taking responsibility,’ because he would stand up in front of y’all and take all the bullets for all of us. It’s not 100% on him.”

Power forward Julius Randle, who missed a second free throw that would have tied Saturday’s game in its final moments, told reporters the team had no choice but to “keep fighting.”

“We’ve got a long season ahead and we have to keep moving on,” said Randle.

The team next flies west to take on the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday, kicking off a bruising four-game road trip that proves there is no rest for weary.

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The old cliched definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is where the Knicks are with Julius Randle. David Fizdale keeps using him the same way. Randle keeps playing the same way. Aside from a blip against the Cavaliers, nothing is changing and it’s not good. Something has to give.

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This is not a matter of the team still getting to know one another. This is not a chemistry issue. Unless Randle makes some kind of personal adjustment that makes a lot more of his shots go in and a lot fewer of his passes go to the opposing team, history is going to continue to repeat itself.

Julius Randle is a very talented basketball player, but he has not been able to utilize those talents to play winning basketball. He struggles to understand what a good shot is and what isn’t. His shots very seldom come in the flow of the offense, but rather on isolation plays. He shoots low-percentage shots early in the shot clock. He has very little feel for the game and what a good basketball play looks like.

NY Knicks
Bill Streicher/ USA Today Sports
The Knicks’ desire to bring Randle in this offseason was understandable. They were a team that lacked players that could score efficiently and create their own shot. Randle averaged 21 points per game last season with a 60% true shooting percentage. The year before he scored 16 points per game with nearly identical efficiency.

His scoring efficiency was so rare that he was only one of seven NBA players last season to score 20 or more points with a True-Shooting percentage of 60% or higher. Who were the others? It is a pretty impressive list: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Karl-Anthony Towns.

If a player can score in volume at that high of efficiency, it makes it much easier to swallow the obvious flaws. Randle was a bit of a ball-hog last season, with his focus on getting his own shot. Despite possessing passing ability, he has never been a good decision-maker. His defense has always been suspect.

The problem is that Randle has shown up this season with all those flaws on full display but without the efficient scoring. His true shooting percentage is down nearly ten points to 50.5%, with his raw shooting numbers a pedestrian .444/.262/.613. Randle is also shooting two fewer free throws per game than he did last season. Some of those numbers, especially the three-point and free-throw shooting should tick up, but the two-point shooting is the real problem.

Randle’s issues have everything to do with his shot selection and how he is being used by David Fizdale. The issues are easy to see when you look at Basketball Reference’s shooting chart that shows where his shots are coming from and how often he is making them.

10% fewer of his shots are coming inside the restricted area when compared to last year, and 20% fewer than two years ago. On those shots, he is shooting 10% worse than two seasons ago, and 6% worse than last year. He’s also shooting fewer shots from within ten feet of the hoop. Those shots have turned into mid-range shots and threes. They are never going to lead to efficient scoring, especially when Randle is not hitting his threes at a high rate.

The other telling number on that chart is the percent of his two points shots that are assisted. This year, a career-low 32.2% of his two-pointers have come off of someone else’s assist. It’s a drop of 17% off his career average. It is all the evidence anyone should need that he is being asked to do too much on his own as an initiator of the offense. It has not worked.

This is where Fizdale has to make his adjustment. Randle is being used as the roll man on pick and rolls and as an off-ball cutter too seldom. When Randle does set screens on the ball, he too often glides out to the three-point line rather than diving to the hoop. Until Randle proves he can be someone you can run an offense through, he needs to be used as a finisher rather than an initiator.

It doesn’t help that the Knicks lack a true high-level playmaking point guard, but Frank Ntilikina has proven an adept pick and roll passer, while Dennis Smith has gotten Mitchell Robinson involved with the second unit. It needs to be tired because the way the team is using him now isn’t working. The Knicks are actually a better offensive team when he is on the bench so far this season.

Fizdale could also try moving Randle to the second unit where he can regain some confidence going against other teams’ backups. Fizdale can easily insert Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson or Wayne Ellington into the starting lineup, and move Gibson and Randle to the second group. It would still leave the first and second units with a good mix of shooting and shot creation.

Something needs to change. Randle needs to shoot better and alter the types of shots he is taking. Fizdale needs to change how he is using him. Until those things happen, Randle will continue to play poorly, his acquisition will look like a mistake, and the team will keep losing games. The Knicks need his efficient scoring. They just need to figure out a way to get it out of him.

You can follow John on Twitter at @Schmeelk for everything Knicks, Giants and the world of sports. You can also check out “The Bank Shot,” his Knicks podcast, on most popular podcast platforms.

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Knicks forward Bobby Portis isn’t coming to the United Center on Tuesday to play bingo.

Since the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February, Portis’ agenda has been very simple whenever he faces them: Make them regret the trade every second he’s on the court.

In three games against the Bulls last season, Portis averaged 15 points, nine rebounds and 1.7 blocks — all higher than his averages. In the first game he played against the Bulls after signing with the Knicks during the offseason, he scored a season-high 28 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and shot 4-for-4 from three-point range.

Portis even let it be known before that beatdown of the Bulls last month at Madison Square Garden that it was coming.

‘‘He was juiced about this game as soon as he came to New York,’’ Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. said of Portis after that game. ‘‘He put it out on social media, looking forward to playing the Chicago Bulls.’’

Now it’s the Bulls’ turn. Or at least it should be. For a team searching for toughness, this rematch against the Knicks should be the ideal fuel for that.

‘‘Should be’’ are two key words for the Bulls. They should be better than 3-7 with the schedule they’ve played. They should be ready for Portis whenever they face him because they all know how personal he can make a game. And they should be taking some pride in playing better in front of a home crowd that has seen only 10 victories since the start of last season.

Carter gets it.

‘‘Oh, yeah, for sure, he did a lot of [trash-talking],’’ Carter said Monday. ‘‘Yeah, no words need to be said. We’re not letting that happen. Bobby, he wants to put on a show. I’m not going to have it. I hope he’s watching this, so he knows I ain’t having it.’’

Carter knows Portis well and considers him a friend. The two hit it off before Portis was traded to the Wizards, but Carter also is starting to get fed up with the losing. He said he and Portis can be cool with each other again after the game.

This is about someone on the Bulls matching Portis’ energy and anger levels.

‘‘He’s always juiced whenever,’’ Carter said. ‘‘For him and for Jabari [Parker, who was traded with Portis], every time we play against those two players, they’re very juiced. They play some of their best basketball. Those are some of my closest friends in this league, so I’m happy for them. They’re doing their thing. But we can’t have no All-Stars when it’s go time. . . . [We] can definitely play better.’’

Carter thinks he and his teammates are closer to playing better — with or without manufactured anger. Beating the Knicks would be a step in a positive direction.

‘‘I feel like we’re definitely one of the most talented young teams in this league,’’ Carter said. ‘‘We just have to play for 48 minutes. I feel like we have great spurts where we’re playing beautiful basketball, and sometimes we lose focus and show our immaturity.’’

Portis will be hoping for that — and letting his former teammates hear about it the entire time.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — David Fizdale will never know whether anything would have changed had point guard Elfrid Payton not sustained a freak hamstring strain in the season’s fourth game, forcing him to miss 17 straight contests.

Maybe, maybe not. But those close to Fizdale believe he needs a playmaking point guard for the way he wants to play and for his offense to click best.

Payton may have reemerged as a potential starter down the road after dazzling in his second game back from injury Saturday in interim coach Mike Miller’s NBA coaching debut.

For now, Miller said Payton is on a minutes restriction.

“He’s still returning and not total go yet,’’ Miller said after Sunday’s practice here. “He gave us a great lift with that group, started with the second unit, finished with the first unit. Games will dictate those things.”

Payton said his wind is there, but the team is holding him back this early.

“I don’t get tired,’’ Payton said. “It’s precaution.”

Enlarge ImageElfrid Payton
Elfrid PaytonPaul J. Bereswill
With Miller rolling him out for the entire fourth quarter, Payton looked a little like he did in the season opener in San Antonio as he racked up nine points, seven assists, three steals, one block and just one turnover in 17 minutes of court time in the 104-103 loss to the Pacers.

Looking so much better than his two point-guard compatriots, current starter Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr., it wouldn’t be shocking if Miller makes the move soon to start Payton.

“I did a decent job — played well in the fourth,’’ Payton said. “Just playing the game the right way. Taking what the game gives me.’’

Payton began the season coming off the bench before earning the starting nod following his gem against the Spurs.

“He played really well,’’ said Miller. “You could see the things that he was doing in terms of directing people and putting people in positions. The pace of getting downhill. I thought some of the defensive plays, like the steal he had for the layup [in the fourth quarter] was a big play at the time. He showed what a heady player he is.”

Politically, Payton is not high on the charts. Ntilikina is the franchise’s 2017 lottery pick and the Knicks picked up his fourth-year option for $6.2 million. Smith, selected one spot later in the same draft at No. 9 by Dallas, was the cornerstone piece of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.


Knicks’ final farewell to David Fizdale has telling omission
But if you judged their work in the loss to Indiana, it was evident who the most accomplished of the trio is. Ntilikina, who has started for nearly a month, was 1 of 5 from the field, missing both his 3-pointers and finishing with two points in 19 minutes.

Smith, whose outside shooting has not improved this season, was 0-for-5, missing his lone 3-pointer, in 11:39. He totaled one point with one assist and two turnovers. Smith is shooting 32 percent for the season.

Though he was rusty in his first game back against Denver, his second possession was noteworthy. Payton dribbled at the top of the key and tossed up a beautiful alley-oop lob for center Mitchell Robinson for the dunk. It is doubtful either Ntilikina or Smith could have threaded the needle on such a difficult play.

Like Fizdale at the season’s outset, Miller is juggling three point guards. The organization still is unclear about the future of the position. In fact, when the trade season heats up beginning Dec. 15, when players who signed as free agents this past offseason can be dealt, it will be a position of intrigue for the Knicks. Payton could be traded after signing a one-year guarantee for $8 million.

If anything, this is a chance to boost Payton’s trade stock by starting him or finding out if he’s part of the future. Payton, 25, was traded on draft day in 2014 to Scott Perry and the Magic and, The Post reported, was all but promised the starting nod when he signed.

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New York Knicks President Steve Mills’ job is reportedly in jeopardy following Friday’s firing of head coach David Fizdale.

According to Frank Isola of The Athletic, sources believe Mills will either be reassigned or fired because of the Knicks’ struggles during his tenure. Isola added that Knicks owner James Dolan is expected to attempt to lure Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri to the Big Apple once again.

At 4-18, the Knicks own the worst record in the NBA, and they will almost certainly miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

In 2013, Mills was hired as the executive vice president and general manager of the Knicks. Following the departure of team president Phil Jackson, Mills was elevated to the role and Scott Perry was hired as general manager in 2017.

The Knicks have not had a winning record nor have they made the playoffs during Mills’ tenure. They are also on pace to win fewer than 20 games for the second consecutive season and the third time overall since Mills was initially hired as GM.

There was some level of optimism surrounding the Knicks entering the 2019-20 season since Fizdale was set to begin his second year as head coach and several moves were made in free agency.

New York failed to land any of the big fish available, such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant, so Mills, Perry and Co. instead decided to hand out multiple short-term contracts in order to open the salary cap space back up in the near future.

The Knicks signed guards Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock, and forwards Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson.

While Morris and Randle have both been productive, most of the signings have not worked out as hoped. Also, New York’s young players have not developed as quickly as many expected.

RJ Barrett is enjoying a solid rookie year with 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, but 2018 draft picks Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, and 2017 first-round pick Frank Ntilikina are all averaging less than nine points per game.

With most of New York’s young core failing to develop at an acceptable pace and the pieces assembled by the front office not fitting together properly, it seems like a foregone conclusion that someone will lose their job.

Perhaps Perry will receive the benefit of the doubt since he has only been in his role for two years, but with the Knicks playing mediocre basketball throughout Mills’ tenure, keeping him in an important position any longer may be a tough sell to Knicks fans.

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New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett has given his sentiments regarding the team’s decision to fire head coach David Fizdale and assistant coach Keith Smart.

Barrett, the third-overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, thanked his former coaches for everything that they have done for him as he started his young career with the Knicks.

“I appreciate everything coach Fizdale and coach (Keith) Smart have done for me,” Barrett shared, per Coby Green of SNY.TV. “They were the first ones to give me a chance in the league so I appreciate them. I spoke to coach Fizdale. Wished me the best.”

Rumors of the Knicks’ plan to fire Fizdale came out a couple of weeks ago, but after the team’s eighth-straight loss, they have decided that it was time to make some changes. Mike Miller has been appointed as the team’s interim head coach, thoug he suffered his first defeat on Saturday after the Knicks bowed down to the Indiana Pacers 104-103.

Barrett was also asked if he had any idea on whether the Knicks’ front office had other reasons for firing Fizdale, but the 19-year-old refused to give any details.

“Oh that’s private. I can’t talk about what management told me,” he shared.

It is unclear if Miller will be the team’s head coach for the remainder of the season, but one thing is for sure: Knicks fans will have to continue to endure the franchise’s mediocrity since it seems that it is where they are headed once again.

The Knicks currently have the worst record in the league at 4-19. However, they will have the chance to at least get a win, considering that two of their next three games will be against fellow cellar-dwelling teams: the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday and the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

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Last week, Newsday’s Steve Popper reported that the Knicks have their eyes on Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri to replace current New York Knicks President of Basketball Operations, Steve Mills. If they decided to fire Mills along with General Manager Scott Perry.

According to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, Knicks owner James Dolan is intrigued by the possibility of hiring Ujiri.

“Sources also say Ujiri would be intrigued by the challenge of fixing the Knicks, the chance to build something from scratch and, not insignificantly, by the opportunity to elevate his Giants of Africa philanthropy by working in the New York market,” said Beck.

“Influential voices in the NBA have strongly advised Ujiri not to take the job, if it’s ever offered, sources say. But those same sources say Ujiri might do it anyway, if the money is right, if he’s granted the necessary autonomy and if Dolan funds Giants of Africa as generously as the Raptors ownership group has, Beck said.

“Ujiri’s contract is believed to run through 2021 but with an out clause under certain circumstances. He turned down a lucrative extension last summer, sources said, leaving the impression that he wants to keep his options open.”

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The Interest Between Knicks and Ujiri is Real
I recently spoke to a high ranking official in the NBA, and the individual shared with me that “The Knicks would be a dream job for Masai Ujiri. It will also bring more eyes to his work with the Giants of Africa,” the high ranking official revealed.

Ujiri is the mastermind that shipped DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick to the Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. He also fired the 2017-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey and decided to replace him with Raptors assistant Nick Nurse per, Kristian Winfield of SB Nation. Those two moves along with a trade deadline move for Marc Gasol helped the Toronto Raptors celebrate their first NBA Championship in franchise history earlier this year.

Knicks Fired Head Coach David Fizdale
On Friday, the New York Knicks decided to fire their head coach David Fizdale after a horrendous start of 4-18 this season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news. Wojnarowski also reported that the Knicks fired top assistant Keith Smart and named assistant Mike Miller as interim coach.

According to a report by Marc Berman of the New York Post, Allan Houston, who is the GM of the Knicks’ G-League team, the Westchester Knicks was the driving force behind Mike Miller getting his chance to be the interim coach of the Knicks. Houston is the former assistant GM of the Knicks.

Per Berman, Houston lost power within the organization once former President of Basketball Operations, Phil Jackson was hired on March 18, 2014.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Jim Dolan. I have gotten to know Jim, and he is totally committed to delivering a winner for New York. I started my career as a Knick, and know what it feels like to win in this great city,” said Mr. Jackson. “I take the task of helping to deliver a winning team to our fans seriously, and I look forward to combining my vision of the game with Steve Mills’ abilities as a General Manager.”

“When Jim first asked me to join the Knicks this past fall, I said my goal was to be part of a winning organization,” said Mr. Mills. “With Phil Jackson aboard, we’ve taken a major step in that direction. I look forward to working with him.”

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The Game: 1970 Finals, Game 7

The Series Situation: Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks tied, 3-3

The Play: Uncertain whether Willis Reed would be able to play through the muscle tear in his right thigh, the New York Knicks get an emotional rush when their captain hobbles onto the floor against the Lakers, hits two jump shots and boosts his teammates’ confidence and performance for their first NBA championship.

The Significance: Reed already had been named MVP of the 1970 All-Star Game and for the 1969-70 regular season. But his and the Knicks’ shot at a title was seriously in doubt when he suffered a torn thigh muscle in Game 5 and sat out Game 6 (Wilt Chamberlain had 45 points and 27 rebounds for the Lakers to tie the series at 3-3). “I didn’t want to have to look at myself in the mirror 20 years later and say I wished I had tried to play,” Reed later recalled thinking, so he received painkiller injections in his thigh and limped to the court during warmups. The crowd already at Madison Square Garden erupted and the Lakers stopped warming up to stare at Reed. “When I saw that,” Knicks guard Walt Frazier said, “something told me we might have these guys.” Reed finished with only four points and three rebounds but gave New York a noble half. He pestered Chamberlain into multiple missed shots while he was in the game, then flipped the keys to Frazier, whose 36 points and 19 assists wound up as one of the greatest and most overshadowed Finals stat lines ever.

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DENVER — Vince Boryla, a former player, coach and general manager in the NBA, died Sunday. He was 89.

The death was confirmed by the Denver Nuggets and the University of Denver, where he’s a member of the school’s Hall of Fame.

Before the Nuggets’ game against Dallas on Monday night, the team held a moment of silence to honor its former general manager. Boryla orchestrated a blockbuster deal with Portland in 1984 that brought Wayne Cooper, Fat Lever and Calvin Natt to town for Kiki Vandeweghe. Denver made it to the Western Conference finals that season and Boryla was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year.

Boryla played five seasons for the New York Knicks in the 1950s and averaged 11.2 points. He later took over as their coach for three seasons, going 80-85.

The Knicks and Nuggets each posted pictures of Boryla on their Twitter accounts, with the Nuggets adding: “Vince Boryla, our former GM and 1984-85 NBA Executive of the Year, passed away yesterday. RIP, Moose.”

Boryla also was a member of the U.S. team that won a gold medal at the 1948 Olympics.

Boryla is the only consensus All-American for the University of Denver in men’s basketball history. In 2013, the program renamed the Pioneer Award to the Vince Boryla ’49 Pioneer Award. It’s presented to the player who takes the extra step to make the program better.

He’s survived by his wife, Mary Jo, and five children, along with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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As he prepares to enter the Hall of Fame, let’s take a look back at Tracy McGrady’s brief stint with the New York Knicks.
The date of Feb. 19, 2010 will probably never ring a bell in the minds for many New York Knicks fans. It would be the day New York acquired future member of the 2017 Hall of Fame class, Tracy McGrady, in a surprising three-team trade with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings.

At the time, McGrady was battling knee issues that plagued him during his last season with Houston, eventually causing a rift between him and team management. McGrady was feeling left out of more plays and given less time on the court due to his deteriorating knee issues, pushing him to request a trade. New York at this time was fighting for the eighth playoff spot in the East and needed some temporary firepower and a spark to get the fanbase motivated.

The Knicks acquired McGrady and guard Sergio Rodriguez from Sacramento; the Rockets got Kevin Martin and Hilton Armstrong from Sacramento along with Knicks rookie Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries. The deal cost New York two draft picks from 2011 and 2012 in the process of gaining salary cap relief, as McGrady became a free agent after the season — giving the team a bonus of millions in spending money that summer.

The first opportunity in a Knicks uniform would come in a classic matchup with the young and hungry Oklahoma City Thunder squad led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. McGrady had the entire arena at Madison Square Garden on their feet as he caught fire through most of the game until fatigue set in late. McGrady poured in 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting in 32 minutes as the Knicks came up short in his debut.

After the game, McGrady spoke openly about his debut with reporters and detailed what would turn out to be a continuous issue regarding his knees and it’s effect on his conditioning.

“I didn’t have any legs at all, and I felt like why should I be out there if I’m hurting my team? It wasn’t the right thing to do. I didn’t want to be a hero in my first game back.

“I hadn’t felt that good in a while, and to hear those chants [the first “We want Tra-cy” chant occurred with 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter] really sent chills down my spine,” McGrady said. “It felt foreign when I first stepped out there. I had the jitters.”

The Tracy McGrady experiment didn’t lead to a playoff berth for the 2010 Knicks, but there were sporadic moments of greatness from the two-time scoring champion. Due to health issues, McGrady couldn’t play in back-to-backs and only ended up starting in 24 games for the Knicks, averaging just nine points per contest. He expressed interest in returning after the season, but eventually moved on to the Detroit Pistons in free agency.

It may not have played out the way many Knicks fans envisioned but it’s fair to say the Knicks are sporting a member of this year’s Hall of Fame class. I wonder if McGrady agrees with the slogan “Once A Knick, Always A Knick.”