If the New York Knicks were an actual student being administered a real report card at the so-called halfway point of the 2018-19 NBA season, it might be best if they tried to beat their parents home, cut-off the mailman, steal the envelope and rip it to shreds.
It’s been that kind of season for a franchise that is somehow finding new ways to reach new lows.
Coming out the other side of the All-Star break, the Knicks are a horrendous 11-47 through 58 games. It’s the second-worst record in the league behind the 11-48 Phoenix Suns, who also look to be doing their best to tank for Zion Williamson and the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft.
We all knew this was going to be a lost season. With no Kristaps Porzingis, who was recovering from a torn ACL before he was traded, the Knicks roster lacked any viable NBA-ready talent.
The biggest priorities of first-year head coach David Fizdale was to develop his bevy of young players, including rookie Kevin Knox, 20-year-old Frank Ntilikina, and reclamation project Emmanuel Mudiay. In the meantime, it was best to just hold down the fort until the draft and free agency this summer where the Knicks are expected to make a move for the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
It’s been a struggle just to do that as a recent franchise-record 18-game losing streak highlighted the disaster that has been this season for the Knicks. While the team would get an overall grade of an F (and I would go lower, if possible), the individual players and assets on a team that has been up against it since the very beginning has proven some things throughout this season:
Knicks post-ASG grades
David Fizdale, C- — While he’s a player’s coach that has brought out the best in the likes of Mudiay, there have plenty of instances in which he’s been outcoached by far-superior minds and teams.
Emmanuel Mudiay, B+ — After being shunned by the Denver Nuggets, Mudiay is proving he might be able to live up to the hype that came when he was drafted seventh overall in 2015. He’s averaging a career-best 14.7 points per game while shooting 50-percent from the field.
Kevin Knox, C — It’s been a bumpy ride in his rookie year as the No. 9 pick of the draft has exhibited plenty of growing pains as a 19-year-old. Inconsistencies might be difficult to watch, but a raw talent such as Knox still has plenty of upside to his game that will blossom once the Knicks field a decent product on the court.
Allonzo Trier, B — The undrafted rookie out of Arizona has looked like an absolute steal at times. At 23 years old, Trier’s offensive game has generated plenty of buzz behind a three-point game that has yielded a nearly 39-percent success rate.
Damyean Dotson, B — Like Trier, Dotson has provided the Knicks with another solid find. He’s an aggressive scorer that has exhibited a promising all-around game at 24 years old. He could develop into a valuable bench piece should the Knicks improve soon.
Mitchell Robinson, B+ — At 20 years old and with no college basketball experience, Robinson is as raw as they come. However, he’s becoming a force around the rim, averaging over two blocks per game in just 17.1 minutes of action. If his offensive game can catch up, the Knicks might have something special.