By Adolfo Lopez
From one Knicks fan to another, here are just a few brief takeaways from the New York Knicks Media Day today.
-The Knicks got some dogs. For those of you who don’t know what that means, watch a few Mook Morris highlights. Most of the new Knicks preached the same thing: this is a group of guys who play hard and view themselves as underdogs in this league. They seem tired of being overlooked and are ready to prove the naysayers wrong. This is a good thing, especially when you take into context the many young stars this Knicks team has. At times, when you have a team filled with young prospects, accountability can go by the wayside. Young guys haven’t been through the mud of countless 82-game seasons and don’t know how to overcome the many pitfalls of such a long season. We saw this with Knox last season, and with many other Knicks rookies before him. Enter the new cast. A group of tough-nosed, “dogs”, that will not let any player rest on their laurels. Last season, a “keep what you kill” mentality was espoused, but hardly ever enforced. There’s a different feeling with this squad though.
2. Cold Tubs are good…
-This doesn’t seem like it should be a talking point, but here we are. There were soooo many questions about ice baths that is was hard to keep up. However, if you were wondering, cold tubs work and help players recover and grind through a long NBA season. Shocker.
3. Knicks probably knew they weren’t getting Plan A
-Media day started with the Knicks front office, front and center. They talked glowingly about this particular cast of players and that, apparently, they had this exact fit of players listed as a roster on their big board. Take that as face value, but one thing that was certain is that it seems Mills and Perry went into the offseason knowing they wouldn’t land their big fish. Kudos to them for quickly executing THEIR Plan B, if this is the reality they faced on June 30th. Mills and Perry also talked about how they did draw interest from “max-level” guys, but chose to execute their plan. Insert sigh of relief here. One can assume that this means the second tier max guys were interested, but instead of making the same mistakes of Knicks Front Office Past, they chose to stand pat and execute their plan. Whether you agree or disagree, there is something to be said for a front office with enough belief and conviction to not be swayed by the prospect of increased ticket sales and marketability, if it means railroading the long-term plan.
4. Suns out, Guns out
-Kevin Knox’s biceps have entered the chat. Anyone who watched last season, knows Kevin Knox was skinny. I mean, he was a kid, it’s not exactly surprising. He said he hasn’t packed on many individual pounds, but he clearly has improved his muscle mass. That coupled with some newfound strength could pay dividends for the Knicks sophomore, as we consistently saw him struggling to finish at the rim last season. Looking forward to see if Knox can avoid that “Sophomore Slump” and make the leap all Knicks fans are hoping for.
5. All Point Guards Will Compete
-The Knicks point guard position has been one of the most contentious topics among Knicks fans forever. In the last few years, this has been ever more true. Frank Ntilikina has a large contingent of fans and supporters who feel he hasn’t been given a fair shake. Dennis Smith Jr. entered the fray last season, and quickly divided fans as many believed we should have drafted him over Ntilikina to begin with. Now Elfrid Payton enters the mix, as probably the one who has been the best in the NBA thus far. Payton is coming off a solid year in New Orleans that saw him notch many triples doubles. Dennis is coming off a productive summer where he allegedly fixed his shot, and Frank is coming off a very stellar outing in the FIBA World Cup. What does this mean? Apparently all three will have a shot to earn that starting spot in this weeks up coming training camp, which is a good sign. No one on this roster should just be handed a starting spot, with the only exceptions probably being Randle and Mitch. Everyone else? Keep what you kill.
6. Randle really wanted to be a Knick
-I know, I know, what was he supposed to say right?? Color me gullible, though. It seemed genuine. Randle consistently repeated how bad he wanted to be a Knick. He remarked about playing here in his second year, on Kobe’s farewell tour, and how the energy and the fans left an impression on him. That’s right guys, we did it! So in short, keep rocking the building every time you go to a Knicks game, we leave a mark and eventually some of these guys will have the guts to throw a jersey on. Cheers to Randle for dreaming to be here and making it happen.
Sidenote: Randle told a story about the first time he played against Mitchell Robinson last year. Needless to say, Big Mitch definitely left an impression. So we know the league took notice.
7. RJ has infectious energy
-I can see everyone liking this kid. He seems so carefree and ready for the world that it’s not hard to imagine him growing into a star. Everyone knows how high I’ve been on him and it’s just refreshing to have a young kid coming in the building who is fully ready for the bright lights of New York.
All in all, aren’t we all glad basketball in the Orange and Blue is back? This season surely has a little more promise than last year, when we faced an uphill battle without our best player and a gang full of misfits and youngsters. This year, we at least have a deep team of players who have been doing this for awhile and mostly carved out defined roles in the league. Some will be looking to expand their role while others will be looking to take over and make their names known. Regardless, it’s here ya’ll. We are going to embark on another journey together with a mostly new cast of players that we will love, and surely even grow to hate at times. This is the nature of Knicks basketball. Looking forward to it,
Check out Knicks Media Day on the team Youtube channel here: