After just 10 games, the New York Knicks are well on their way to another embarrassing season that could bring inevitable changes.
The New York Knicks continue to be a punchline. Year after year, the players and coaches change, but the song remains the same. The front office is smashing the panic button after just 10 games and the optics are not good.
General manager Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills addressed the media after a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Although their frustration with the team’s play is valid, it looks like they’re throwing head coach David Fizdale under the bus.
The front office has been preaching patience since Fizdale’s hiring, but now the team is in full-on panic mode 10 games into the second season of a long rebuild. So much for patience, huh?
"We're not happy with where we are" pic.twitter.com/3ETgaRwtsu
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) November 11, 2019
“We’re not happy with where we are,” Mills announced. “This is not where we expected to be at this point 10 games in and we just felt like we had an obligation to do that.”
Again, it’s fair to feel a sense of urgency after 10 games. The season is slipping away before the calendar turns to December. Although the playoffs were never a realistic expectation, 2-8 is obviously falling below whatever expectations they set for themselves.
During his postgame comments, Perry mentioned the team’s effort level as a cause for concern.
“I think the lack of consistency that for the most part, we’ve seen [effort] but you see sporadic efforts too,” Perry admitted. “That’s what we talked about as we sat during this game and it’s one of the reasons we came out and address you guys. We’ve got to be consistent in all areas of the game, starting with effort.”
The Knicks have had some games when they look like a cohesive unit, but the lackluster performances far outweigh the good so far. Blowout losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, and Boston Celtics are emblematic of some of the issues with this team.
The Knicks are prone to cold spells on offense and the defense comes and goes. Who bears more responsibility for the 2-8 start, Fizdale or the front office?
The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but Fizdale shouldn’t be the only fall guy. Mills and Perry put all their eggs in the free-agent basket, but that plan failed miserably. They had to pivot to sign a million power forwards instead of landing the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or Kawhi Leonard.
Julius Randle was brought in with the belief that he could serve as the team’s first option offensively. He’s underwhelming in that role. The 6-foot-8 big man is struggling to react to the double teams coming his way and although the organization billed Randle as a “point forward” type, he has more turnovers than assists thus far this season.
Who’s at fault for Randle’s struggles? The front office for believing he’s a legitimate first option for a competitive team, Fizdale for leaving him as the “point forward” despite the fact that it’s a complete disaster, or Randle himself for not living up to expectations?
Again, everyone involved deserves some chunk of the blame for this disastrous start. Outside of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, there isn’t a player, coach, or executive who should feel comfortable about their future with the team.
And this brings us back to Sunday’s impromptu press conference. By addressing reporters, Mills and Perry turned up the pressure on not just Fizdale, but the entire organization, including themselves.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, Fizdale is on the hot seat, but the front office is too. Mills and Perry have pieced together abysmal rosters for two straight seasons.
“This is a team that’s consistent with how we said we were going to build the team,” Mills said on media day way back in September. “This is a team that New Yorkers are going to like this team. The grittiness of these guys, the toughness of these guys, and it’s a group of guys that has places that they could go.”
So far, New Yorkers don’t like this team.
Perhaps the press conference from Mills and Perry will spur the Knicks onto a winning streak. Sometimes, dialing up the pressure can forge diamonds from coal.
However, if the Knicks continue their losing ways, fans will have to start warming up to the idea of Mark Jackson or someone else taking over as head coach while a new front office looks to embark on a franchise overhaul—yet again.
No one is safe, especially the fans.