The New York Knicks are broken. That goes without saying.
Should they lose on Sunday afternoon to the Philadelphia 76ers, it will be the team’s 19th defeat in their last 22 games as the race for the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is fully on.
There is a litany of problems that are beyond first-year head coach David Fizdale’s control. He’s still without the team’s best player in Kristaps Porzingis, whose recovery from a torn ACL last February may keep him out for the rest of the year.
It’s left him with an underwhelming roster of cast-offs and underachievers that are fitting of their 11-31 record. A vast number of them are fighting for their professional futures, at least with the Knicks, as an offseason of major changes is expected. It just depends whether it is sparked by the acquisition of a top prospect like Zion Williamson in the draft, or an established veteran superstar like Kevin Durant via free agency.
The season-long tryout for the Knicks has featured ineptitude of the highest order, but the largest problem
Playing an explosive offense in the Sixers, it looks as though the Knicks’ streak of allowing at least 109 points to their opponents will increase to a mind-numbing 22nd-straight game.
Opponents are shooting over 45-percent from the field and hovering near 37-percent from three-point range.
Fizdale though stressed that the sieve-like defense was not due to a lack of effort. Instead, teams have just done their research on the Knicks.
“As the year goes, you add the more dynamic actions and things like that,” Fizdale said (h/t New York Post). “And so as we started to move through the year, we started to see more and more packages of plays and different things that teams are doing. Cute stuff that they do to confuse you.”
To put it plainly, the Knicks are too inexperienced a roster to seamlessly adjust to changes in their opponent’s gameplan.
It’s a fair point, to an extent. Four of the Knicks’ top eight in average minutes per game were born in 1996 or later. Of those four, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, and Frank Ntilikina are still major works in progress.
However, the Knicks simply don’t have a good enough roster that can help nurture the inexperienced portion of the roster when faced with a new or different challenge. There’s only so much Fizdale can do regardless of his standing as a player’s coach.