The New York Knicks Media Day was rather tame this year.Â Not many are expecting big things from the team after a 17-win season last year, but there is a different feel this time around.
Besides the leaders of the team, not many players spoke to the media.Â Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr., Marcus Morris and Kevin Knox were the headliners, along with rookie RJ Barrett.
Randle spoke on behalf of Mitchell Robinson and is very happy that Mitch is now on his team because he did not go against him again.Â One of the biggest things that Randle mentioned that he was “a leader of this team.”Â Without even playing a game, he is without a doubt the leader in the clubhouse.Â Randle displayed leadership qualities already by mentioning he is going to push Robinson even harder since he has that freak-ish talent.
Morris sat with Randle and answered questions.Â If there are Knicks fans out there that are not fans of Morris yet, then watch this clip.Â Again, Morris is that player that you hate to play against, but love when he is on your side.
He is finally a Knick and is the perfect Knick as well.Â He is a ‘dawg’, has that mentality and is going to battle every night for his team.Â When Morris responded with, “Have you seen me play?” was all fans needed to hear to be on his side.Â Hopefully fans believe Morris when he said, “It is not going to be like last year.”
Dennis Smith Jr.
Smith Jr. also quickly mentioned about the teams toughness, which seems to be a running theme.Â He mentioned how he feels confident in his shot and will continue to work on it.Â Smith Jr. will need to as there will be competition for the starting point spot.
As for Knox, it looks like he put on a lot of muscle this off-season.Â He will be looking to capitalize on a below-par rookie campaign.Â Knox will need to be more aggressive and it appears he has put the work into do just that.Â His shot will be looking to improve similar to Smith Jr.
Steve Mills also spoke to media and had some good things to say this time.Â Usually, fans cringe when they hear him speak, but this time was different.Â Mills spoke about, allegedly, being able to sign “Max” guys, but wanted to construct this team a different way.
The front office built a deep bench.Â Mills and Scott Perry signed a bunch of “Dawgs” who are going to compete night and and night out.Â It is a very likable team.Â This was the first time we could believe something that came out of Mills mouth.Â “New Yorkers are going to love this team.”
Mills also complimented Frank Ntilikina over the FIBA World Cup.Â Let’s hope they actually watched and give him the opportunity he deserves now.
The biggest takeaway from Barrett was his maturity.Â Barrett already wants, “Coach to be tough on him.”Â That is the only way that he is going to grow into a great player.Â Thankfully, he is on a team that is going to push him, similar to how Randle is going to push Robinson.
Robinson was too busy being a comedian and funny guy and did not address the media.
The overall message of the Knicks Media Day was toughness and a team of ‘dawgs’.Â Everyone seems to be on the same page with one another, which is a good start.Â The toughness will need to be there for the Knicks, as their defense last season was atrocious. There could be some glimpses of the 90s Knicks, but even the smallest of glimpse will be better than last year.
The other key message was barely any mention of the playoffs.Â Being in New York, teams are always expected to make the playoffs.Â Those expectations are not there for the Knicks.Â But, if they can begin to turn the page as a franchise, that will be something all fans needed to see.