Coming off a bad loss in Detroit, the Knicks were hoping to bounce back on the road in Philadelphia, who is now 11-1 at home. The first six minutes were solid, Mario Hesonja was hitting some shots and the game was pretty much even, but then, it was all downhill from there.
Hezonja and Enes Kanter both let the team with 17 points, the latter with 6 board. While Hezonja took 15 shots, this may have been his best game since joining New York.
On the other side of the court, JJ Redick was scorching hot scoring 24 points on 10-14 shooting, going 4-6 from deep. Early MVP candidate, Joel Embiid was his dominant self piling up 26-14-7 stat line in just 30 minutes. The Knicks just simply did not have the answer.
What turned into a big blowout by halftime, there was some progress made. Damyean Dotson finally started to get some minutes again. Granted, the game was out of hand, however, he somehow had the only positive on the team being a +5. He scored 16 points on 6-11 shooting while playing so solid defense as usual. Kevin Knox showed some signs as well, scoring 9 and grabbing 7 boards.
What is the next step?
Knicks fans have different outlooks on how to develop this team. Some will say to build a culture of winning, some will say to play the players who deserve the minutes.
This is an extremely young and raw team. Its compiled of former lottery busts and talented rookies and second year players who are still learning the game. If the Knicks were a .500 team, on the cusp of a playoff birth, it would maybe behoove them to play the players who are performing best, however, at 7-15, in a rebuilding year, its time to give the real youngsters so serious run time.
Is this the proper way to develop young talent?
Depends on who you ask. This isn’t an NFL QB, where it takes time to learn and system, call audibles, read defenses etc. In the NBA, players need to play and they need to play to their strengths.
Frank Ntilikina is not a Small Forward or a Shooting Guard. What make him potentially special is his ability to lock down other Point Guards and not demand the ball on offense. From the SF position, you would like some scoring and play-making, same goes for SG. Playing along side Trey Burke and Allonzo Trier does not help him develop any real aspect of his game as evidenced by his recent donuts.
Mitchell Robinson is athletic, talented and young. He’ll block some shots but he’ll also foul a ton. This project will take time and for someone who did not play organized ball last year, he is doing just fine.
Kevin Knox showed some signs last night going 3-9. He needs to become more of a focal point in this offense. It can’t just be that when he is on the court with Trey Burke, Knox watches him play. Let him shoot through his struggle and learn to take good shots.
Next up, the Greek Freak come into town. They had a tough time with him last time they faced off. From one Eastern juggernaut to another.