Mike Miller should coach the New York Knicks next season

Adam Kester
Mike Miller, Frank Ntilikina
CLEVELAND, OHIO – JANUARY 20: Frank Ntilikina #11 listens to Head coach Mike Miller of the New York Knicks during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on January 20, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks have been waiting for a savior. There’s always hope that a star free agent, big-name executive, or a coach with a winning record will come and lead New York to the promised land. Maybe it’s time to stop daydreaming, and start building a team like everyone else.

Being disappointed year in and year out is difficult, especially for a fanbase as passionate as New York Knicks fans. When you’re so removed from not just a winning culture, but basic competence as an organization, you begin to look for quick-fixes that will “save” the team. This way of thinking is how you end up overlooking potentially valuable assets that you already have. The Knicks may have one in current head coach Mike Miller.

Let’s look at what Miller has accomplished since he took over for David Fizdale in December. Under David Fizdale, the Knicks offense ranked: 30th in field goal percentage, 29th in assist/turnover ratio, and 27th in pace. Under Mike Miller, the Knicks have ranked: 24th in field goal percentage, 20th in assist/turnover ratio, and 17th in pace.

His offense preaches a faster pace and efficient ball movement. Knicks’ forward Julius Randle recently said about Miller:

“Dealing with him (Miller) on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game — everything. We’ve responded really well to him and he’s done a great job.”

Rumors have already begun to swirl about who the Knicks head coach will be next season. Big names like Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Tom Thibodeau are amongst those frequently mentioned. So if we’re looking for a change in coaching scheme/philosophy, let’s ask ourselves a question:

What would any of these coaches do differently than Mike Miller?

The Knicks want Jeff Van Gundy because… he coached the team 20 years ago? The Knicks want Mark Jackson because… he’s from New York? He has “New York Grit?” Sometimes, good coaches start off as unknowns. Examples include Utah’s Quinn Snyder, Toronto’s Nick Nurse, and Brooklyn’s Kenny Atkinson.

The Knicks record under Mike Miller is 13-20. If you were to take away David Fizdale’s 4-18 record and use Miller’s current pace, the Knicks would have a .400 record at 22-33. That would put them in a tie for 9th place in the Eastern Conference, 2 games back from the 8th seed. Can you imagine?!

There is some understandable frustration with Miller in how he has opted to play veterans over the Knicks’ younger players. What fans must realize is that he is coaching under impossible circumstances. He is in a situation where the new front office is already talking about having a new coach next season on ESPN.

All Mike Miller has done is put his head down, grind out wins, and connect with his players. We’ll see how the rest of the season pans out, but the Knicks may have already found their coach of the future.