The NBA season is still more than two months away, but New York Knicks fans have a few things to look forward to before then.
The offseason was largely centered around the draft for the New York Knicks. They were never making any big plays in free agency so draft night was the biggest night of the summer for the brain trust of David Fizdale, Scott Perry, and Steve Mills. So far, so good. The rookies, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson looked good in summer league.
But now that the offseason is approaching the quiet dog days of summer, what do Knicks fans have to look forward to?
5. Workout Videos
This one really depends on the person. Workout videos tend to get some fans going, while many others don’t pay them any attention. Although it’s an interesting way for players to stay engaged with the fans during the offseason, they are nothing more than that. It’s nice to see players working on their game, but they hold no actual significance.
Knicks fans watched “Hoodie Melo” all last season and some were convinced the superstar version of Carmelo Anthony was back. He wasn’t. And that isn’t even meant as a slight to Melo. But some fans tend to put far too much significance into carefully crafted and edited videos put out on social media.
4. Porzingis' Comeback Videos
This is similar to the workout videos in that sense that it is something heavily edited and carefully crafted to send a certain message. But this is far more compelling. Kristaps Porzingis holds much of the Knicks’ future in his hands — rather his knee.
Everyone wants to see how he is progressing and these are the best way to catch a glimpse. He’s released three episodes thus far and it wouldn’t be surprising if he dropped another one before the season began. This would be higher up on the list if we knew for sure episode four was set to release prior to the season.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear when the next episode drops so keep your expectations in check for any Porzingis content this August and September.
3. Preseason Games
Preseason games are enjoyable, but mainly because we’ve been deprived of NBA basketball for so long leading up to it. It’s an appetizer for the main course. There’s nothing wrong with that. The Knicks play five preseason games, the first coming on Oct. 1 in Washington. They play two games each against the Wizards and the Nets as well as one at home against the Pelicans.
Preseason is another chance to get a look at Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. It’s the first we’ll see of David Fizdale manning the sidelines for the Knickerbockers in Madison Square Garden.
The excitement will probably wear off by halftime of the first game, but if nothing else, preseason just means the real thing is close.
2. Schedule Release
The schedule release is always a sneaky fun thing to wait for during the NBA offseason. After free agency and trade rumors die down, the schedule release just gives one more thing for people to talk about.
The past four years the NBA has released the schedule sometime in the middle of August. My best guess is that the schedule will be out on Monday the 13th, but that’s just a guess on my part.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the schedule release is the unveiling of the opening week games and the Christmas Day games. These are usually marquee matchups and it will be interesting to see who the Knicks draw. Last year, the NBA announced these games four days prior to releasing the entire schedule.
My prediction for the Christmas Day matchup, the Knicks will see their crosstown rival — the Brooklyn Nets. The Knicks and Nets alike are in the stages of a rebuild, but both appear to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Both teams will have a tough time hanging with the likes of the Raptors, Celtics, and Sixers in the Atlantic Division.
But a matchup between the two teams on Christmas seems like a natural pick. Who knows, maybe Porzingis will make a miraculous recovery and return to the Madison Square Garden floor in a Christmas miracle.
1. Frank Ntilikina In French Qualifiers
According to FIBA, Frank Ntilikina is on the roster for France’s FIBA Basketball World Cup European 2019 Qualifiers. That name is a mouthful, but nonetheless, it’s another opportunity for fans to see Ntilikina in game action. France plays in Bulgaria on Sept. 13 and home against Finland on Sept. 16.
The new rookies seem to be the flavor of the month — and for good reason. Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson put together excellent showings in the Las Vegas Summer League. It was the first opportunity for the world to see the future of the organization play in a Knicks uniform. Knox and Robinson shined, but Ntilikina quietly showcased an improving game. He was more confident on offense and the Frenchman has future All-Defensive potential.
It’s far too early to tell if Ntilikina has “star” potential, but it’s plain to see there’s something there. That may be filling a role as a lockdown defender a la Andre Roberson or Tony Allen. But Frank’s far too young to make a final decision on yet. For now, we’ll just have to watch him continue to develop.
These qualifier games are another chance to get a glimpse at Ntilikina.
What To Read
Here are a few things to read as the next two months of the offseason crawl on by.
- ESNY’s Danny Small looks at an interesting offensive set with a Spanish flair.
- Zach DiLuzio of Posting and Toasting cautions the Mitchell Robinson hype train.
- Danny Small of ESNY discusses one offensive set from Utah that would put Kevin Knox in a position to thrive.
- An interesting look at David Fizdale from Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.