The New York Knicks have officially brought in the kids.
Monday night’s double-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls is going to be one of many during the 2018-19 season, but new head coach David Fizdale gave the franchise a small glimpse into the future as he started the youngest lineup in franchise history.
Rolling out Frank Ntilikina (20 years old), Allonzo Trier (22), Damyean Dotson (24), Noah Vonleh (23) and Mitchell Robinson (20), New York’s starting five had an average age of just 22 years, 100 days. The youngest Knicks starting lineup prior to this was in 2006 with an average age of 23 years, 73 days.
This was also without promising rookie Kevin Knox, the 19-year-old power forward who is expected to be a staple in the Knicks frontcourt alongside Kristaps Porzingis for years to come. He was limited to just five minutes in his first game back on Monday after missing two weeks due to an ankle injury.
There is no question that this is nothing more than a transition year for the Knicks, who are expected to look very different come next season thanks to two max-salary slots that will likely bring in some big-name, All-Star veterans to quickly transform the team into a contender in the Eastern Conference.
Yet it’s clear that Fizdale is taking this season to assess all of his youthful assets that he has while continuing to keep an eye on the future.
Trier and Dotson played nearly a full game, each logging just under 42 minutes. The undrafted Trier posted 21 points, second on the Knicks only to Enes Kanter’s monster 23-point, 24-rebound outing while Dotson put up 18 points of his own.
The duo has been the most productive amongst the Knicks’ youth movement. Dotson is third on the team with 13.5 points per game while Trier is right behind him at 11.5, including a 17.7 ppg average over his last three games.
They’re not going to win games, but they are showing all the things that Fizdale wants to see.
“Every night I’m just really proud of this group… I see great character in this team,” he said. “The way that they bring it every single night, no matter who’s on the court for us, no matter who’s healthy, these guys really compete.”