Am I mad we lost in London? No. HELL no.

Each loss I see more playing time (and therefore development) of our young guys. Mudiay looks like he’s turned a corner, Knox looks like the real deal, Mitch… well Mitch just came back but I fucking love that kid. I’m OBSESSED with the fact that Kornet is getting significant burn. Dotson impresses me every time I see him. And our 20-year old French Prince, Frank Ntlikina, is getting invaluable minutes which, IN MY OPINION, is going to pay dividends in our future… So it’s all worth it.

Plus… you know…

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The thing is though, as much as I am totally behind the tank & development of this 2018-19 season, I want to make sure we’re also acknowledging how obvious it is.

By that I mean, yesterday’s loss in London… In case you missed it, we lost 102-101 on a last second goaltend. Yes, that’s a close game, super unfortunate, ALMOST win, blah blah blah. Again, I’m happy with the loss so who cares, right?

The thing that makes it obvious it was a tank job though? Look at the defensive lineup on the floor for the Knicks.

Fizdale put out Knox, Vonleh, Mudiay, THJ and Trier… choosing to leave Frank and Mitch on the bench.

Now, I just want to make it super, super, SUPER clear, losing here is okay… But doesn’t this seem like kinda sorta putting in maybe NOT your best defensive players to lose and then be like, “Awww shucks!!“??

Take a look at the Per 100 possession stats thus far this season from the Knicks:

knicks defensive lineup at the end of the london game made no sense fizdale

Happen to notice that the second, third, forth and fifth WORST in that category (Hardaway Jr, Knox, Trier and Mudiay respectively) ALL were Fizdale’s choices to close out the game last night up one?? On the flipside, the BEST statistical “Per 100” player (Mitchell Robinson) was sitting on the bench??

Okay, but let’s check other stats and not explore every possibility, right? Maybe Fiz doesn’t believe in the “Per 100” possessions stats, right? Let’s check a different metric, the DBPM (Defensive Box Plus/Minus, this is a box score estimate of the defensive points per 100 possession a player contributed above a league average player, translated to an average team):

do stats support the idea that the knicks are tanking.

Different stats, same results.

I know Fiz can’t admit this openly (probably), but I’d just like to know if any part of his brain is like, “Let’s just put in these guys, who all stink at defense, and make sure we PROBABLY blow this last possession. At least that way we’ll have a better chance next year of having Zion play alongside Kristaps and I might have a chance at being a god in New York.

And listen, if he really does think like that, then GREAT. But if this is him coaching to the best of his abilities to win every game… That defensive lineup was, uh, NOT a good look!

Calling a spade a spade here, I think it was an outstanding move to help along the tank as best he could while also being able to mask it with “getting young guys experience in those situations down the stretch.

I’m trusting Fiz isn’t that dumb and he knew what he was doing, but the last time I trusted someone running the Knicks did NOT end well.

I still will keep the faith.

 

 

The Tank Rolls On,
@WCS_Taylor