May 13, 2019, 2:27 am
Speak to a Knicks fan about their team and you will most likely hear them reminisce about the Pat Riley-era team of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason and John Starks. Or maybe the Jeff Van Gundy era highlighted by Allan Houston, Larry Johnson, Latrell Sprewell and Kurt Thomas. The only issue with this is that these memories are from two decades ago.
Younger Knicks fans have no such memories. What can they even say? Remember that one year that the Knicks were good when they had Rasheed Wallace and Jason Kidd acting as player-coaches? What about the Linsanity-“era”? It was incredible indeed but in quotes because it lasted all but one month. So why haven’t the Knicks been able to build anything for almost 20 years? Is it a coincidence that this horrendous stretch coincides with when James Dolan took over the team?
Dolan took over the New York Knicks in 1999, the year they reached the NBA Finals. They made the playoffs again in 2000, Patrick Ewing’s final season. Then again in 2001, Jeff Van Gundy’s last full season as head coach, they made the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season. That brings us to the 18 years from that point to the present.
In that stretch, the Knicks have made the playoffs only four times, escaping the first round just once. Dolan isn’t actually the one on the court but he is has been at the forefront of all the bad executive decisions and hires they have made over the years. Even though he openly admitted that he is by no means an expert in basketball, he has been known to butt heads with GMs, sometimes forcing their hand — like when they traded all of their assets for Carmelo Anthony midseason when they simply could have just waited to sign him as a free agent in the summer.
The 2018-19 season was the first time in a while that the Knicks actually did something right, which is tank correctly. They put the youngest roster in the NBA on the court and in turn, finished with the worst record in the league. Their 20.7 winning percentage tied a franchise-worst mark they set in the 2014-15 season. By doing so, they have potentially set themselves up to draft a franchise player.
2019 was also the year they abruptly traded their former franchise player, Kristaps Porzingis, in a move that caught all NBA fans by surprise. It was reported that Porzingis and his brother met with Knicks management on the morning of January 31 to express his displeasure with the team and an hour later he was traded. Trading someone that had no interest at all in re-signing does make sense but fans wondered if the team at least did their homework and if this was the most they could get for such a transcendent player. The night he was traded, Porzingis posted on his Instagram, “The truth will come out :).”
To try and relieve Knicks fans, team president Steve Mills gave an on-air interview a couple of days later saying that they actually considered eight potential trade scenarios. He also said that Porzingis and his people requested a meeting with the Knicks and informed them that he did not want to play for them and he was not going to re-sign with them. That same evening Porzingis posted an Instagram message saying, “The city deserves better than that … My suggestion for knicks fans is to STAY WOKE!! Peace.”
Porzingis has yet to tell his side of the story but it’s clear the relationship has been sour ever since he skipped his exit interview in 2017 over not appreciating the way the Knicks handled the Carmelo Anthony situation. Yes, he is a game-changing talent but he has only appeared in 63% of the Knicks’ games since being drafted and maybe this actually was the most the Knicks would get in a trade. This move also allowed them to unload Tim Hardaway and Courtney Lee’s contracts, giving them the ability to sign two max-free agents this offseason.
Give the Knicks a Zion Williamson-Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving trio and maybe, just maybe, Knicks fans will forgive Dolan for the last two decades.
The Grizzlies fired David Fizdale after just 19 games the previous year after the team lost its eighth straight game with tension rising between Fizdale and Marc Gasol. The entire league was shocked with many players, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Vince Carter and Damian Lillard, taking to Twitter to show their dismay.
You see, Fizdale is genuinely liked throughout the league. In his 13 seasons as an assistant coach and short stint as a head coach, he has built a strong reputation as someone players love to play for. He builds relationships with players. He gets to know their families. He spends much time organizing off-court activities. Mike Conley was quoted as saying, “He’s constantly preaching service and trying to help other people and wanting to see the next guy succeed. When you have that kind of a leader, it’s easier for your team to follow. It’s easy to want to jump on board and do whatever he asks you to do because you know he’s on the other end trying to make sure that you are in the best position that you can be in.”
That is all well and good but can the guy win? His 50-51 overall record with the Grizzlies wasn’t overly impressive and after his first year with the Knicks, a lot of question marks still remain. This season was all about the future development and lottery balls. Fizdale’s support of this was evident with him casting aside proven leaders like Enes Kanter and Courtney Lee while giving Kevin Knox as many minutes as he could handle to force his development, no matter how bad he was playing.
The Knicks were so bad this year there was even a stretch when they lost 26-of-27 games from December 3 to February 13. They finished dead last in the NBA in field goal percentage, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio and offensive rating. They were a bit better on the defensive end but still ranked in the bottom-10 in most metrics.
Fizdale gets a pass for this season but a good coach should be able to motivate a group of NBA players to be at least somewhat competitive on most nights, shouldn’t they? Maybe the inexperience of this group made that an impossibility, so again, Fizdale gets a pass.
ADP: 140/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 104/69 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 80/46 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 66
2018-19 averages: 66 G | 20.6 MP | 7.3 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 6.4 REB | 0.6 AST | 0.8 STL | 2.4 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .694 FG% | .600 FT%
Being named a McDonald’s All-American in high school, Robinson sat out the following season after enrolling in Western Kentucky but left the school before appearing in any games.
A raw talent and a year removed from organized basketball activity.
This is why he fell into the second round and props to Knicks management for finding a diamond in the rough. With all eyes on the Knicks’ 9th pick heading into the 2018 draft, who knew it would be their 36th pick to claim the spotlight? But here Robinson is, with a full season now under his belt and several rookie records to match. The blocking ability is one thing but the 7’1” center with a 7’4” wingspan and 9’3” standing reach displayed great ability and willingness to get up and down the floor with impressive hops as well.
First, he broke two Summer League records. The 4.0 blocks per game and 6.2 offensive rebounds per game were both the most in Summer League history. He accomplished this playing only 24.7 minutes per game.
During the regular season, he set the Knicks franchise record for blocks in a single game by a rookie with nine (passing Kristaps Porzingis) and set the rookie record for most consecutive games with a block (passing Patrick Ewing). He finished second in the NBA in blocks per game behind Myles Turner and his 2.4 per game were the most by rookie since Tim Duncan in the 1997-98 season. He led the entire NBA with 24 blocked 3-pointers.
Looking at post-All Star break numbers alone, he led the entire NBA with 3.0 blocks per game in only 25.4 minutes to go along with 9.5 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 69.2 percent from the field.
Fouls were a issue for Robinson all season and were a big reason he did not play more minutes. Although he played only 25.4 minutes per game post-All-Star break, he was fourth in the NBA in fouls per game with 3.8 during that span. As he tries to work on that, he said he is also hoping to add another feature to his game. In a Marc Berman article Robinson was quoted as saying, “I shot [3-pointers] in practice a little bit,’’ Robinson said. “That’s just to mess around. Now I see what I learned in today’s game, there ain’t no centers really. Everybody’s out there shooting 3s. Big men shooting 3s. Putting it on the floor. I’ve got to add that to my game.”
Thanks to Fizdale, Robinson has taken up Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace as his mentors and plans to work out with Camby during the offseason. Fizdale said that he hopes Wallace can teach him how to be a defensive team-leader. Robinson also shares the same trainer as Anthony Davis and even worked out with him once last offseason. There is plenty to be excited about from a fan’s perspective.
ADP: 35/54 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 75/80 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 59/64 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 69
2018-19 averages: 69 G | 29.7 MP | 11.0 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 13.1 REB | 2.3 AST | 0.6 STL | 1.1 BLK | 2.2 TOV | .641 FG% | .705 FT%
Jordan only played 19 games for the Knicks this season as he was part of the big Porzingis trade. His minutes and numbers dipped once he joined the team as the Knicks were of course focused on player development first and foremost. Although admittedly difficult for him, Jordan ended up sitting the final seven games of the season.
Fizdale said the Knicks actually offered Jordan a buyout after the trade so he can go play for a contender which he declined and stayed on to mentor the young Knicks. He finished the year averaging a double-double for the sixth consecutive season and his free-throw shooting remained on the upswing. The 46.6 percent career shooter shot 70.5 percent on the year and 77.3 percent during his brief stint with the Knicks.
Now an unrestricted free agent, Jordan’s future is unclear. He said he loves it in New York and loves what Fizdale is doing. Fizdale surely wouldn’t mind having him back either. It might all depend on if the Knicks can lure Kevin Durant, and they hoping Jordan will help in the recruiting process as the two are good buddies. Maybe this is the reason Jordan rejected the buyout to stay in New York. If the Knicks do land Durant (and hopefully another max free agent), Jordan would have to take a significant pay cut from the $22.8 million he made last season in order to stay on the team.
Dennis Smith Jr.
ADP: 82/85 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 197/256 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 153/236 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 53
2018-19 averages: 53 G | 28.5 MP | 13.6 PTS | 1.3 3PM | 4.8 REB | 1.3 AST | 1.3 STL | 0.4 BLK | 2.9 TOV | .427 FG% | .635 FT%
Smith was the big player the Knicks got back in the Porzingis trade and immediately became the team’s starting point guard upon arrival. Many criticized the Knicks for selecting Frank Ntilikina ahead of Smith in the 2017 draft so the Knicks figured out a different way to get him.
Smith played 21 games for the Knicks, in which he produced 14.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 triples in 28.6 minutes. A 21-year-old averaging these numbers in only his second year in the league looks great on paper but the issue lies with his efficiency and shooting.
While on the Knicks, he shot 41.3 from the field, 28.9 percent from deep and 56.8 percent from the line. Although his highlight reel dunks are spectacular, a point guard is required to be able to make threes and free throws in today’s NBA and unless Smith can improve on those aspects of his game, his ceiling remains capped.
Although drafted in many fantasy leagues, Smith was eventually dropped in most because of his efficiency woes. Next year will be a big year for Smith to see if he can take the next step in his game but if the Knicks sign Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker, Smith’s playing time will take a big hit.
ADP: 139/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 153/152 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 157/151 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 68
2018-19 averages: 68 G | 25.3 MP | 8.4 PTS | 0.7 3PM | 7.8 REB | 1.9 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.8 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .470 FG% | .712 FT%
Like many players on the team this season, Vonleh enjoyed his best year as a pro on the Knicks, putting up career-highs across the board in his fifth NBA season and started 57 of his 68 games. On his fourth team in five seasons, the former top-10 pick is still only 23 years old.
Fizdale said that Scott Perry initially sold him on Vonleh and once Fizdale saw what he could do in practice, he was not shy in calling him the most complete player on the team. A cog in the rotation for most of the year, the forward missed the final 13 games of the season with an ankle injury.
There were rumors that several teams contacted the Knicks prior to the trade deadline to obtain his services for a second-round pick. The Knicks will likely get a decent amount of competition for his services this offseason so even though Fizdale really liked the guy, the Knicks may not not be able to retain him.
If he secures a 25 mpg role somewhere next year he should remain fantasy-relevant for his ability to produce near one block, steal and triple per game.
ADP: 117/128 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 224/261 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 266/319 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 75
2018-19 averages: 75 G | 28.8 MP | 12.8 PTS | 1.7 3PM | 4.5 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .369 FG% | .717 FT%
Considering that Kevin Knox is still 19 years old and was the third-youngest player in the NBA this season, maybe his stats were not so bad after all. Expectations were high after his Summer League performance, being named to the All-NBA Summer League First Team, but the regular season was full of growing pains for the rookie.
Knox was non-existent at times on the defensive end and his 36.9 percent shooting left a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, Fizdale was intent on playing him as many minutes as he could handle and minus Tim Hardaway, Knox finished the season leading the team in minutes per game despite some strange cuts to his playing time in the second half of the year.
As far as what next year holds for Knox, it’s possible he’s included as a trade chip if the Knicks are able to land Anthony Davis. If not, he will continue to develop his game with the Knicks. Fizdale already said that he plans to work one-on-one with him all summer to help him take his game to the next level.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 177/176 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 200/199 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 73
2018-19 averages: 73 G | 27.4 MP | 10.7 PTS | 1.7 3PM | 3.6 REB | 1.8 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.1 BLK | 1.0 TOV | .415 FG% | .745 FT%
Dotson was one of the few Knicks to have an impact on both ends of the floor. He was often overlooked but was yet another player that showed great improvement under Fizdale. He played sparingly in his rookie year after the Knicks selected him with the 44th pick in 2017 but his role increased dramatically this past season and he even started 40 games.
His role became steadier when Tim Hardaway Jr. departed. He played 33.0 minutes per game after the All-Star break, putting up 13.4 points, 3.8 rebonds, 2.8 assists, 0.7 steals and 2.4 triples, but like most Knicks shot poorly at 40.6 percent.
Although only two seasons into the league, Dotson was one of the older players on the team. He was a four-year college player, which in the old days would have been a positive, but has now somehow turned into a negative. At 25 years old, you may surprised to learn he is older than Noah Vonleh, Mario Hezonja and Emmanuel Mudiay.
He is expected back next season as he is on the books for $1.6 million. He provided some value this year for his 3-point shooting but his role for next year remains as unclear as any other Knick. Even if the Knicks sign the two max free agents, Dotson should be expected to stay in the rotation — but probably not enough to remain fantasy-relevant.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 181/214 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 155/202 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 59
2018-19 averages: 59 G | 27.2 MP | 14.8 PTS | 1.2 3PM | 3.3 REB | 3.9 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.3 BLK | 3.1 TOV | .446 FG% | .774 FT%
From a fantasy standpoint, Mudiay did not have much value. However, he was still one of the best players on the Knicks this year. Excluding Tim Hardaway, Emmanuel Mudiay led the Knicks in scoring. He stole the show on many nights with at least 25 points eight times while reaching the 30-point mark three times.
After shooting under 40 percent in each of his first three seasons, Mudiay shot a respectable 44.6 percent from the field this year. He still has not developed a consistent three ball and everyone knows how important that is in today’s NBA. Fizdale said he expects multiple teams to call Mudiay for his services in the offseason signifying that his run with the Knicks is likely over.
It’s unlikely that Mudiay will get the same freedom on another team, so fantasy owners shouldn’t enter next season with high expectations.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 272/251 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 212/185 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 46
2018-19 averages: 46 G | 17.0 MP | 7.0 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 2.9 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.9 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .378 FG% | .826 FT%
The Knicks wanted to see what they had with Luke Kornet this year after he showed glimpses the prior season when he made the third-team All-NBA G-League. The Knicks signed him on a two-way contract after going undrafted in 2017 and gave him a 1-year, $1.6 million contract in 2018.
He can be a deadly weapon as a 7’1” center whose main strengths are launching threes and blocking shots but inconsistency with his shot has plagued him. In February and March alone, Kornet shot 27.7 percent from the field 28.4 percent from downtown but his playing time was very erratic during this period.
From a fantasy perspective, if you look at only the 18 games he started this season, he put up 11.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.0 steals and 2.6 triples. Averaging 5.0 money counting stats per game is music to any fantasy owner’s ears even though his field goal percentage was still under 40, at 39.4 percent.
His role for next year is a complete mystery but if he should stay in the league thanks to his skill set. Fantasy players should be hoping for consistent minutes and an increase in playing time.
ADP: NA/128 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 248/268 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 230/267 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 58
2018-19 averages: 58 G | 20.8 MP | 8.8 PTS | 0.7 3PM | 4.1 REB | 1.5 AST | 1.0 STL | 0.1 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .412 FG% | .763 FT%
Another young, forgotten former first-round pick, Hezonja did not produce as some would have hoped on a depleted Knicks roster. Maybe it was not his fault as his minutes were very erratic throughout the season as Fizdale was more focused on Kevin Knox’s development.
It wasn’t until the very end of the season when the Knicks actually let him play some point guard, where he started putting up impressive numbers. This was highlighted by a three-game stretch where he put up 29/9/5, 16/16/11 and 30/6/5 lines in consecutive games.
Hezonja is now an unrestricted free agent and only 23 years old. He shows glimpses of promise but needs to improve his 3-point shooting as he shot only 27.3 percent from deep for the year. He will stay in stay in the league but is too early to guess where he will play next year.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 238/273 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 244/303 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 64
2018-19 averages: 64 G | 22.8 MP | 10.9 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 3.1 REB | 1.9 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.8 TOV | .448 FG% | .803 FT%
A former McDonald’s All-American, Trier went undrafted in 2018. He initially signed a two-way contract with the Knicks. Trier quickly surpassed his NBA-game limit and the Knicks quickly converted his two-way into a two-year, $7 million contract. Suddenly, he was making more than Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson. The second year, however, comes with a team option so it is unclear if the Knicks intend to pick that up.
Dubbed “Iso Zo” by the coach, Fizdale said Trier was a natural scorer and that he was going to let the kid be who he was. Although somewhat one-dimensional, Trier had some nice highlights this season which included a 31-point, 10-rebound effort on January 23, where the Rockets narrowly escaped with a win.
Trier’s popularity in the locker room was a concern, however. He developed a reputation for being a selfish player that looked to get his own rather than play team basketball. Nonetheless, his 44.8 field goal percentage was one of the best on the team and if he just picks it up on the defensive side of the ball, he might have a serious future in the league.
ADP: 140/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 325/344 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 313/362 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 43
2018-19 averages: 43 G | 21.0 MP | 5.7 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 2.0 REB | 2.8 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .337 FG% | .767 FT%
Already regarded as a strong defender in the league, all Ntilikina had to do was improve his non-existent offensive game. Sadly, that did not happen this year and he actually regressed in some aspects. The fact that his playing time and role on the team was erratic at best certainly did not help his development either.
Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke were both better equipped at running an offense so Fizdale tried using Ntilikina at shooting guard and small forward to somehow make use of his defensive skills.
He would eventually suffer a groin injury that would force him to miss 32 of the final 34 games of the season. The addition of Dennis Smith and the prospect of landing Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker in free agency pretty much removes any notion of Ntilikina being the point guard of the future and his role going forward is a big question mark.
First and foremost, he needs to improve his shooting. His 33.7 field goal percentage was the worst in the NBA of players that appeared in at least 40 games and averaged over 20 minutes per game. His 28.7 3-point percentage also declined from the previous year in which he shot 31.8 percent form deep.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 364/361 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 409/410 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 46
2018-19 averages: 46 G | 17.0 MP | 4.5 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 2.5 REB | 0.6 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .396 FG% | .750 FT%
Before the season began, Fizdale compared to Draymond Green and envisioned him as a First-Team All Defender. Looking at the box score only, you wouldn’t even know that he played on most nights if you didn’t look at the minutes column.
The longest-tenured and oldest Knick at 31 years old, he is also the currently the highest paid Knick under contract for next season at $7.6 million. Only $1 million of the contract is guaranteed however, so it is almost a certainty that Thomas will be waived to give the Knicks more cap flexibility.
Considering Fizdale really likes the guy and what he brings to the table on the defensive end, it is possible they bring him back on a much cheaper, one-year deal.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 407/401 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 347/332 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 19
2018-19 averages: 19 G | 13.6 MP | 6.0 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 3.5 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .411 FG% | .760 FT%
The Pistons gave up on Ellenson in his third season, as he appeared in only two games while missing most of the year with a left ankle problem. The Knicks made an understandable decision to take a flier on a former lottery talent, and quickly put him to work.
Ellenson logged three minutes in his team debut but logged a season-high 36 minutes in his second game with New York. He was able to post five games with multiple threes to flex his stretch four muscle, but ultimately his playing time was mostly a product of injuries to Noah Vonleh, DeAndre Jordan and Mitchell Robinson.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 359/357 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 178/187 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 19
2018-19 averages: 19 G | 21.9 MP | 9.9 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 2.7 REB | 4.0 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.4 TOV | .464 FG% | .778 FT%
Like many other players on this squad, Kadeem Allen is a guy that probably wouldn’t have gotten an opportunity on any other team. Being the 53rd pick of Boston in 2017, Allen has spent most of his career in the G-League before the Knicks grabbed him after he was waived by the Celtics around mid-season.
He was named to the All-NBA G-League Defensive Team last year and finished the 2018-19 campaign with a line of 15.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.4 blocks and 0.9 triples so it’s not like he didn’t deserve an opportunity.
Not only can he play defense, but he was also more efficient in scoring than any other Knicks guard this season. His sample size of 19 games was small but his 46.4 field goal percentage was best on the team among guards and his 47.2 percent from deep was certainly interesting. If not from the Knicks, he will surely get a look from other teams this offseason.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 419/416 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 443/439 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 26
2018-19 averages: 26 G | 12.8 MP | 4.7 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 1.4 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.0 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.3 TOV | .400 FG% | .833 FT%
Jenkins was another late addition to the roster after playing the first four of his 26 games with the Wizards. It marked his return to the NBA after he spent the 2017-18 season playing elsewhere following stints with the Mavs, Hawks and Suns back through 2012-13.
There wasn’t much space for him to play until the Knicks suffered a number of injuries and tank-related absences, though he did score 16 points in the season finale. If Jenkins plays 12.8 minutes a night for the Knicks next season, odds are that New York’s free agency didn’t go as planned.
Getting some of the big fish in free agency or winning the draft lottery would accelerate the Knicks’ timeline in a major way, but until that happens the Knicks should be focusing on developing their young talent. Robinson looks like a foundational piece, while Knox is expected to be part of the long-term solution if he isn’t traded for a star. Beyond that the Knicks should try to figure out just what Dennis Smith Jr. has to give and fill out the roster with cheap role players. Signing more players in the Vonleh mold would give them moveable assets to put on the trade market.
In the end, the Knicks just need to get some dignity back. The people of New York have sat through far too much garbage for far too long, and the Knicks’ future hinges on the whims of some potentially-disgruntled stars. While their building blocks are fun to play with, anything short of a splashy free agency period is going to feel like a disappointment.
May 21, 2019, 12:02 amDamian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard had his best game this series in Monday's 117-119 Game 4 loss to the Warriors with 28 points and 12 assists to go with four rebounds and four 3-pointers.
Lillard went 11-for-24 from the field and hit a signature logo 3-pointer, but in the end he couldn't convert on his layup or his 3-pointer in OT to keep the Blazers' season alive. He's been playing through a rib injury which explains why he's been a bit off on offense. Tonight he brought it all in an attempt to survive, but it just wasn't enough against the juggernaut Warriors.
May 21, 2019, 12:00 amCJ McCollum - G - Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum scored 26 points on 10-of-22 shooting with two rebounds, seven assists, a steal, two blocks and five 3-pointers in Monday's Game 4 against the Warriors.
McCollum has been the Blazers' most consistent threat on offense in this series, but he was unable to convert on some tough shots late in OT to keep the Blazers' season alive. He's improved upon last postseason, but this year ended the same as the Blazers were swept.
May 20, 2019, 11:59 pmMeyers Leonard - F/C - Trail Blazers
Meyers Leonard had a career-high 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting with 12 rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and five 3-pointers in Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Warriors.
Leonard had 25 points in the first half thanks to his 5-for-6 shooting from deep and both of those numbers already set new career-highs. Thanks to his hot hand, the Warriors had to respect him out on the 3-point line which freed up space for Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to operate on the perimeter.
May 20, 2019, 11:58 pmAl-Farouq Aminu - F - Trail Blazers
Al-Farouq Aminu scored zero points on 0-of-2 shooting with a rebound and a block in Monday's Game 4.
Aminu stunk it up again, but the Blazers didn't get much help from their bench either. Rodney Hood (40 minutes, seven points on 3-of-11 shooting with two rebounds, two assists, two steals and a 3-pointer) and Evan Turner (six points on 3-of-4 shooting with two rebounds and a steal) didn't do much, showing that coach Stotts didn't have many options to choose from.
May 20, 2019, 11:56 pmStephen Curry - G - Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a 119-117 OT Game 4 on Monday with 37 points on 11-of-25 shooting with 13 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal and seven 3-pointers.
Curry put on an off-ball clinic tonight, running circles around the Blazers to get open even though he drew consistent triple-teams. Steve Kerr wanted to end this series tonight so Curry played the entire second half including OT and the move paid off. There shouldn’t be any more noise about Curry’s ability to perform in the playoffs as he destroyed the Blazers in every coverage they threw at him. It’ll be all eyes on Curry again in the Finals as they look to three-peat.
May 20, 2019, 11:54 pmDraymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green notched a 18-14-11 triple-double to go with three steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer in Monday’s Game 4 win over the Blazers.
Green has proven over the past two games that he still has the ability to kick it into high gear. His defensive tenacity and anticipation might be the best in the league as he’s a one-man wrecking crew on that end of the floor. His only triple was a big one late in OT and his ability to ignite the Warriors on a big run thanks to his defense and passing were huge reasons why the Warriors swept the Blazers.
May 20, 2019, 11:52 pmJordan Bell - F - Golden State Warriors
Jordan Bell started in Monday's Game 4 against the Blazers and scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting with two assists and a steal.
Bell drew his first career playoff start after Damian Jones (DNP-CD) looked overwhelmed in his Game 3 start, but ceded the closing minutes to Kevon Looney (29 minutes, 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting with 14 rebounds, a steal and a block) who played the best out of all the Warriors' centers. Looney's timing and offensive rebounding have been huge for Golden State and his ability to switch on to perimeter players has also been a huge reason as to why he sees the floor more than the other bigs.
May 20, 2019, 11:52 pmKlay Thompson - G - Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson struggled in Monday's Game 4 win over the Blazers with 17 points on 7-of-21 shooting with six rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers.
Thompson has been forced to put the ball on the floor more with the Warriors lacking playmakers and you can clearly see him out of his comfort zone. His defense was stifling tonight in crunch time as he perfectly contested both of Damian Lillard's shot attempts at the end of OT.
May 20, 2019, 11:49 pmAlfonzo McKinnie - F - Golden State Warriors
Alfonzo McKinnie started in Monday’s Game 4 win over the Blazers and scored 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting with two rebounds and a 3-pointer.
McKinnie drew the start in place of Andre Iguodala (calf strain) and had the worst plus-minus out of all the starters but came up with some big offensive rebounds in OT. He can’t space the floor any better than Shaun Livingston (22 minutes, eight points on 4-of-4 shooting with a rebound, an assist, a steal and a block) who plays much better with the Warriors’ starters so the starting job is just in name.
May 20, 2019, 9:02 pmJordan Bell - F - Golden State Warriors
Jordan Bell will start at center in Monday's Game 4 for the Warriors.
Bell has played between 11 and 15 minutes in the three conference finals games, and he's unlikely to play too much more than that tonight. Look for Kevon Looney to continue to get more minutes than Bell tonight.
Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter