Last night’s 126-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks to kick off the NBA season was better than any Knicks fan could dream of.
It was like going to the doctor and getting a needle in your arm. You’re anticipating a very painful experience, but once it’s over you realize it wasn’t that bad at all.
There were no high-priced superstars looking for 25 to 30 shots. In fact, an undrafted rookie named Allonzo Trier chipped in 15 points as one of seven Knicks in double figures and brought the house down with a vicious dunk over several helpless Hawks defenders.
NBA on Twitter
ALLONZO. TRIER. WITH. AUTHORITY! ??? #NewYorkForever #KiaTipOff18 https://t.co/n75TFDbi7N
Maybe the Knicks finally have a collaboration of front office minds that can find the diamond in the rough, San Antonio Spurs style. An all-black front office featuring President Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry and first-year Knicks head coach David Fizdale — the first of its kind in NBA history.
The triumvirate inherited a mess of a situation from Phil Jackson, whose uninspired business acumen, distasteful beef with Carmelo Anthony and inability to attract superstar free agents sunk the Knicks further into the abyss.
In Jackson’s full seasons as Knicks president, the team went 80-166 and missed the playoffs all three years.
The only positive that came from PJ’s Era as Knicks Czar is Kristaps Porzingis and he’s injured. A 7-foot-3 franchise piece with bad feet, ankles and an ACL tear on his resume.
For the first time in history, every Knicks fan on the globe is in agreement that this is a rebuilding year, setting the stage for the 2019-2020 free agent superstar sweepstakes, where the Knicks will make their move on several max-money game changers.
Nobody expects first-year Coach Fiz to win more than 30 games — and that’s if everything shakes to perfection.
The Knicks are young and don’t have any established superstar talent. Enes Kanter , Trey Burke, and Tim Hardaway Jr. are solid NBA players, but nothing special. The All-Black front office has the unenviable task of trying to develop some young, talented pieces while tanking enough to acquire a high draft pick and still be viable enough to attract free agent talent.
Perry told y’all the deal in April. There won’t be any shortcuts.
NEW YORK KNICKS on Twitter
This is an opportunity for us to build something from the ground up and something that we think is sustainable in terms of winning.” – President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry have their sights set on the future. Full interview ?: https://t.co/1Y8w6h4DIB https://t.co/icoxnt392U
Before the Knicks even consider contending, the exorcism has to be complete and the old, lingering culture of the team has to be gutted, certain winning principles re-established. Fizdale, who was 43-39 and took the Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs in his only full season there, has brought a young, relatable flavor to the franchise and it’s paying early dividends.
NEW YORK KNICKS on Twitter
Welcome to @TheGarden, Coach. https://t.co/5cfa018rJH
Melo had his way of doing things and Jackson was a peculiar bird as well at times. There was a lot of bravado being flexed, but no leadership, player development, energy or winning happening on the court. The Knicks underachieved during the Carmelo Anthony Era and the energy, desperation, excitement, and appreciation that Fizdale’s band of no-name youngsters played with on opening night has been absent from the Garden for a long time.
The Knicks have to get back to lunchpail hoops and it’s clear that Fizdale is aware of the monumental 81-game task ahead and will demand nightly effort above all else from his squad. The Knicks have some talent. It’s just raw.
The veterans are going to have to carry them through the dog days, but Trier, No. 1 pick Kevin Knox and some other young guns trying to make a name for themselves in the NBA, bring a fresh electricity to the mix that Knick fans haven’t felt in a while.
Rob Perez on Twitter
Vince Carter just got double-teamed by Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. He’s two years older than both of them combined.
It’s possible that Tim Hardaway Jr. has finally found a coach that can get him to that next level. What a boost that would be for the Knicks to have a guy who can get 30 when need be.
NBA on Twitter
Tim Hardaway Jr. leads all scorers with 31 PTS at MSG! @nyknicks defeat @ATLHawks 126-107. Enes Kanter: 16 PTS, 11 REB Mario Hezonja: 15 PTS Trae Young: 14 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST #NewYorkForever #KiaTipOff18 https://t.co/c4ycwONQh7
The energy starts at the top, but the Knicks’ journey begins at the bottom of the mountain. Steve Mills and Scott Perry’s jobs will really heat up this summer, but so far their draft picks and rookie signings look promising. Fizdale is doing his most important work now, establishing the culture.
Knicks Film School on Twitter
Did anything surprise you tonight? “Allonzo Trier’s Dunk. I didn’t mean to celebrate, it was not good class on my part, but wow man, I’m still a fan of the game. And sometimes things happen in a game and you just go WHOA” https://t.co/7G2GiTTQB9
And from the looks of it, Dolan and Co. finally got it right.