New York Knicks: Why we should keep an open mind on Mike Miller

After two straight losses by a combined 81 points, the New York Knicks fired David Fizdale and his head assistant Keith Smart on Friday.

The Knicks promoted assistant coach Mike Miller to interim head coach in a corresponding move.  Miller has been with the Knicks organization since 2015, in that time he has proven he deserves a chance to improve the team before they search elsewhere.



Miller has been coaching basketball since 1990 and got his first head coaching job in 1994 at Texas State. In his six-year tenure, Miller earned a record of 87-79, won two regular-season championships and won the Southland Conference Tournament in 1997 guaranteeing Texas State an NCAA Tournament appearance, somewhere they have not been since Miller’s tenure.

After his tenure at Texas State Miller would not be a head coach again until 2005 where he had a somewhat underwhelming tenure at Eastern Illinois, Miller had a 75-130 record in seven seasons. Since Miller’s departure Eastern Illinois has only had one winning season; the same amount they had during Miller’s tenure at the school.

After Eastern Illinois,  Miller was an assistant for the Austin Spurs of the G-League from 2013-2015. This was Miller’s last job before becoming head coach of the Westchester Knicks.

Miller was the head coach of Westchester for four seasons before being promoted to the Knicks coaching staff heading into this season.

Miller showed his ability to improve a team immediately upon joining Westchester as the team more than doubled their win total from the previous season. In the season before Miller’s arrival, Westchester had 10 wins, but in 2015-16 the team had 22 wins and made it to the postseason.

Miller made the playoffs three of his four seasons with Westchester including two semi-finals appearances.

Miller’s crowning achievement was winning G-League coach of the year for the 2017-18 season after leading Westchester to a 32-18 record and a first-place finish in the Atlantic division. The team lost in the semifinals to Raptors 905.

In Miller’s four years at Westchester, he turned the team from a bottom feeder to a team with championship aspirations. Westchester is struggling in their first season without Miller, currently sitting at 3-7.

  Throughout his career, Mike Miller has shown an ability to leave teams better than when he came. Whether college or professional, Miller has shown an ability to maximize his teams potential and get the best out of individual players, which is where Fizdale has failed. 

The Knicks have seen regression from the likes of Dennis Smith JR. and Alonzo Trier, along with ineffectiveness from important players like Julius Randle and Kevin Knox which ultimately lead to his dismissal.

In Miller’s tenure at Westchester, he helped developed a number of players who have gone on to make contributions at the NBA level. The likes of Luke Kornet, Trey Burke and current Knick Damyean Dotson among others have seen their careers improve after working with Miller.

It is only fair for New York Knicks fans to come in with an open mind and hope Miller can work the same magic he did at Westchester or Texas State at the NBA level.

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