David Fizdale might be approaching his final games as New York Knicks head coach, but he deserves to stick through the rest of the season.
The New York Knicks are 2-8, and after an awkward press conference from president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry, the 2019-20 season combusted. They sought superior results to what had happened over the first 10 games, and the presser undermined head coach David Fizdale.
Following this post-game event, after a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN reported that Mills is setting up for Fizdale’s eventual dismissal, playing to this roster being talented but underperforming in its current situation.
It is potentially bad news for Fizdale, but the Knicks have every reason to stay patient and give the second-year coach a chance to sort out these problems, rather than making an abrupt change in mid-November.
4. The poorly constructed roster
The 2019 offseason was supposed to feature grand events for a franchise without many in recent seasons. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were supposed to sign contracts, they were supposed to become the New York Knicks’ leaders for the next four years.
Instead, Durant and Irving went to the Brooklyn Nets, while the Knicks spent over $70 million on Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson and Reggie Bullock. RJ Barrett, their first-round draft pick, has been the most impressive player of this bunch.
These free agents were expected to flank the 2018-19 rookies and this year’s first-time players. Instead, they have pushed Kevin Knox out of the starting lineup, threatened Frank Ntilikina‘s playing time and even caused Mitchell Robinson to return to a bench role once. The result: a 2-8 record.
Each player signed could have fit into a potential contender, not as a top piece towards this Knicks team. They have jumped into larger-than-expected roles, similar to the 2018-19 Knicks, who had Luke Kornet, Emmanuel Mudiay and Mario Hezonja playing major minutes. While the acquired players are more regarded, that does not mean they fit properly.
Four power forwards have not worked, and the Knicks miss a backup center to Robinson, who is out with a concussion. Payton has missed more games than he’s played. Portis had the game of his life but has otherwise been mediocre. Meanwhile, Ellington has struggled to maintain playing time, and Reggie Bullock has yet to play due to injury.
To expect more from Fizdale, with a group like that, is head-scratching.