Christmas is almost here. What could the youthful and energetic New York Knicks, led by head coach David Fizdale, use the most?
It’s almost Christmas, and everyone knows what they want for a present this year. Some surely want new clothes. Some want that shiny new big-screen TV to watch the New York Knicks. Others may just want to spend time with family.
Some people might want a private island where the only mode of transportation is Triceratops-drawn carriage. Oh, wait. I’m sorry. That’s just me!
But as jolly ol’ St. Nick packs up the sleigh, he shouldn’t forget about a team that needs some Christmas spirit: the New York Knicks. For a team that plays in the greatest city in the world, the Knicks have little reason for Christmas cheer. They’re 9-24 on the year and have lost eight of their last nine.
Granted, this year was always planned to be a rebuild, and the Knicks have looked quite competitive despite their record, but that’s not the point. Being a losing team at Christmastime isn’t easy! It’s like going to the video store (yes, there was life before Netflix) looking for Home Alone, and only seeing Ernest Saves Christmas.
Nobody deserves a Merry Christmas this year more than the New York Knicks and their fans. Thus, if Santa Hoops is reading this, here are some things the Knicks could really use for the rest of the season that would make for excellent Christmas gifts!
Patience with Fizdale
I’d imagine sports fans across the world are much like the results-driven New York fans. If the team struggles, circumstances don’t matter. It’s the coach’s fault. After all, he’s the one who instructs the players, so a bad record must mean he’s doing a bad job.
That could not be further from the truth with first-year Knicks coach David Fizdale. Sure, the Knicks have lost more than twice as many games as they’ve won, but their ability to keep games close is uncharted territory.
For far too long, Knicks teams fell behind early and then laid down instead of fighting on. This Knicks team is not a typical losing squad.
For context, the New York Knicks have fully embraced Fizdale’s balanced system. While most other teams are moving toward fast-paced, guard-oriented offense, the Knicks are trying something different. Rather than scoring, New York is emphasizing tough on-ball and interior defense, and a unique mix on offense.
As a result, Enes Kanter is averaging a career-high 11.3 rebounds per game. Tim Hardaway Jr. has fully embraced his role as a go-to scorer and is averaging a career-high 21.2 points per game. Even Emmanuel Mudiay is finally reaching his potential, having averaged 22.2 points and 6.4 assists in his last five games.
This Knicks team won’t make the playoffs this year, but they’ve played quite well despite not having star forward Kristaps Porzingis all season. Fizdale deserves fan patience, so let’s put some of that under his tree!
An experienced wing
Don’t get me wrong. Kevin Knox has shown flashes of brilliance all year and has a high ceiling, but he’s also just 19 years old. He’s still learning the game on the NBA level. Thus, with the trade deadline not far off, maybe an early trade for an experienced wing would be a nice Christmas present.
That isn’t to say Knox’s play has been totally unacceptable. He’s averaging 11.2 points and four boards in 23.9 minutes per contest and has averaged 18.4 and five in an astounding 36.6 in his last five. Though only 19, the kid can play.
But Knox is still only shooting 37.4 percent from the field for the year. He’s shown marked improvement as of late, but it could also just be a hot streak. That said, with the Knicks linked to Jabari Parker, making a deal for him or a similar player would certainly help Knox’s development.
Kevin Durant karma
A popular holiday gift in my family’s house is tickets, be they to a show or a sporting event. Sure, it’s something that happens later, but it is still a thoughtful gift whose recipient now has something to look forward to.
That said, while this couldn’t become a reality until July, the Knicks should use their signature Christmas wish on one thing: Kevin Durant karma.
Let me explain. A common trend today is for people who need good luck to ask friends and loved ones for “positive energy,” so this is similar. Maybe if GM Scott Perry and owner Jim Dolan wish hard enough this Christmas, the two-time champion will choose to sign with the Knicks as a free agent this summer.
It’s a tall order for a Christmas present, and a bit out of the box, but could mean great emotional relief if it comes true. Knowing most Knicks fans, that’s practically a gift from above!
Kristaps Porzingis' return
Santa Hoops, if this desperate New York Knicks fan still has your attention, and if I haven’t earned more NBA-grade coal this year, I only ask for one thing. Really, everything else on this list is irrelevant except for this.
Please, for the love of Clark Griswold’s Christmas lights, for the soul of George Bailey, for Kevin McCallister’s disturbed little mind, please get Kristaps Porzingis back on the court this season!
This team is so tremendously talented. Their competitive fire is real. Adding KP back to the mix would mean the whole team taking a giant step forward. The 7-foot-3 star averaged 22.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game before tearing his ACL last February.
No disrespect to the rest of the roster, but Porzingis is the heart and soul of the team. Having him on the court would make the Knicks better without question, but he still has no timetable for a return.
With Christmas merely days away, and Knicks fans really needing some good news, Kristaps Porzingis’ suiting up would be the ideal gift.