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Knicks’ woes continue a quarter way through the 2019 season

Niels257 | Wikimedia CommonsMany fans thought the New York Knicks may contend for a playoff spot this season. Instead, they’ll compete for the top pick.

Already through a quarter of the 2019-2020 season, the National Basketball Association is shaping up as many predicted. The league is headlined by its top teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks in their respective conferences, and at the very bottom are the lowly New York Knicks. 

The Knicks are sitting at 4-17, good for last in the Eastern Conference, and tied for with the Golden State Warriors for the worst record in the NBA.

During the prior offseason, the Knicks made many moves, which on paper seemed to be productive. These included the signings of Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson and others, however these signings have not proven well for New York. 

Some had high hopes that the new additions would help the Knicks fight for a low playoff seed. However, it now seems that the 2019-2020 season will be another where the Knicks hope to land a top-3 pick in the upcoming draft and add yet another young player to their core. 

Fans and the front office expected a big jump from their young players at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, key players like Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Alonzo Trier have taken a substantial step backwards. 

Knox is shooting slightly better from the field compared to his rookie season, but he is doing so in nearly 10 less minutes per game. The lesser playing time is a result of acquiring Morris. Smith’s slow start can be attributed to missing time due to family issues, and the better play of Frank Ntilikina. Like Knox, Trier is averaging nearly 10 less minutes, along with many DNPs, or Did Not Play, designations.

It was thought that this young core of players would combined with the veterans signed and benefit the organization and the development of the team as a whole, but it has done the opposite. Calls for the Knicks to move on from the veterans and focus on giving the young players a bulk of the minutes has already begun. 

Doing this allow the Knick’s young players an opportunity to develop their skills, while learning from their mistakes.

Even after this very rocky start to the season, the Knicks have shown a couple bright spots, in particular their two wins over the playoff-bound Dallas Mavericks. Sophomore stud and MVP candidate Luka Doncic has powered the Mavs so far, along with former-Knick Kristaps Porzingis. 

For games between these two opponents, fans obviously showed out, especially after the ugly divorce between Porzingis and the Knicks last summer.

The first matchup between the teams took place in Dallas, and the Knicks played with a fire unseen in their previous first eight games. Played evenly for most of the game, and eventually tied at 92, Porzingis then airmailed a three-point attempt, subsequently leading to a quick 9-0 run to pull ahead for good. They eventually won the game 106-102. Morris scored a game-high 29 points, while Randle and Ntilikina added strong performances to contribute to the Knicks’ victory. The rematch took place just six days later, and Doncic, Porzingis and the Mavs were seeking revenge. Only this time it took place in New York in the “Mecca”, Madison Square Garden, in front of nearly 20,000 fans. Just like the last match, the game was evenly played up until the final minute of play when Morris hit a game-winning three-point shot with only 13 seconds remaining. The Knicks won this game too, 106-103 and spoiled Porzingis’ return to New York. 

These two games have been the high-points for the Knicks’ this season. After their second win against the Mavs, they only won one one of their next 10 games. 

For the remaining 2019-20 season, it appears the team is going into full tank mode, hoping to get another top-3 pick for the chance to draft either LaMelo Ball or Cole Anthony. The Knicks are only going to get worse this season, and for many years to come if significant change does not come soon. 

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