Through 19 games of the 2019-20 season, the New York Knicks have a worse record than the historically bad 2018-19 campaign.
Exactly five months to the day, the New York Knicks began free agent expenditures, that resulted in $70 million being spent on seven players. None of them were Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard, but on Marcus Morris, Julius Randle and Bobby Portis; hardly a star-studded group, but players with solid NBA backgrounds.
These players were expected to at least improve the Knicks from their miserable 17-65 season when development was prioritized, and players like Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter departed midseason. Brighter times were seemingly ahead.
Instead, the Knicks have a worse record through 2019-20’s first 19 games than 2018-19 of 4-15 to 5-14, respectively. Sure, the difference is just one game, but when last season’s roster featured a plethora of fringe NBA talents, it amplifies how poorly the first month-plus has been as December arrives.
It’s not as the Knicks haven’t been in games, either. They almost continuously lead by double digits, including Friday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, second-half letdowns usually follow, contributing to their ultimate demise. This disparaging trend has them with just three wins in November, and if the Knicks lose to the Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon, they will walk into their next game having not won in two full weeks.
Along with the worse record, the Knicks, unlike last season, have let the veterans take control of the rotation. Meanwhile, Kevin Knox just received the first “DNP-CD” of his career, and Allonzo Trier barely played in November. Mitchell Robinson is even coming off the bench, while previously being expected to start at center the whole way.
As this 4-15 record sinks further, the season will slip out of Fizdale’s hands. Perhaps it already has. At some point, does it mean a return to that old mantra of putting the kids first? Clearly, that’s not happening now, given where Knox and Trier stand, but if the Knicks walk out of this rigorous part of their schedule without a win, they could be 4-20 by Dec. 11, before a battle of the worst records with Golden State.
This Knicks team was never expected to be at the forefront of anything, but losing early and often has put them below last year’s horrible stretch. Yes, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton have provided little to nothing in production, but the replacement pieces were not supposed to stay even with a historically bad team.