The New York Knicks have already jumped into panic mode after a 2-8 start to the season. What are viable fixes before roster moves are considered?
The New York Knicks are bad. Okay, that was expected entering the 2019-20 NBA season. A 2-8 record and five double-digit losses bad, though? That forced public comments from a usually quiet front office, especially in dire times. They were rarely heard last season when the team went 17-65, but that horror show did not surprise.
Honorable mention: Make free throws
Free throws should be simple for NBA players, and they usually are. Not for the 2019-20 Knicks, though, with their 65.1 percent mark from the charity stripe. To no surprise, this ranks last in the league and by five percent. They are actually seventh in free throw attempts per game, making this number all that more nauseating.
4. Get Mitchell Robinson back
Missing Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks’ defensive anchor, is an obvious early-season problem. His shot-blocking ability and presence to force teams away from the rim are special, and not having that for long stretches hurts. This team does not have a suitable backup for him, and the glut of power forwards are not defensive-minded replacements.
A concussion can take longer for Robinson to return from, so patience is the only stance to take on this. Whenever he comes back, though, it will be a welcomed sight for the defense.
3. Maintain confidence in young players
Keeping players like Robinson, RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox in significant roles is imperative. Coach David Fizdale already toyed with the young big man’s job and minutes, and it resulted in one of the season’s worst losses. Knox has consistent minutes but off the bench.
Frank Ntilikina is the headliner of “maintaining confidence,” however. Consistently playing him pays off, as seen with the given role, without Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. around. If Fizdale continues to rely on the Frenchman, perhaps some continuity will develop.