SPANISH HARLEM – It’s that time again folks, and the New York Knicks are my go-to-in-the-clutch when I need something to write about. I know there aren’t that many of us out there. Some have sided with the Brooklyn Nets because of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving but a fan is loyal to his favorite team. Players come and players go but the name on the uniform stays the same – or at least in the Knicks case some players don’t come at all. It’s not easy for us by any stretch of the imagination but with the organization pushing the youth and development process, this team finally has some good young players they hope to build around. Because of that, we will keep this article to Four Young New York Knicks Players That Need To Improve ASAP.
Many fans considered Mitchell Robinson the one bright spot in a season of only 17 wins. What made his rookie season more impressive was that he was a second round pick and never played a minute of college basketball before declaring for the NBA Draft. Those that scouted him knew he was super athletic and could be the cut-to-the-basket center/forward that is ideal for today’s modern NBA. He also had the ability to guard multiple positions because of his size and agility. Robinson showed all that and more when he was able to stay on the court. He excited the crowd with every block and dunk and became a fan favorite very early on but we are not here to talk about what he does well. For Robinson to get to the next level he needs to add more to his game. That starts with finding another way to score, whether it be developing a jumper or adding a post game. His biggest attribute is his physicality and fouls will take you out of the game fast. Be smarter and don’t jump for every shot coming your way. Sometimes just putting your arms up will distract an opposing player.
Last year’s lottery pick was not a disappointment, like many will have you believe. There were a bunch of games throughout the season where you saw the potential and the ability to score as he racked up a few 30 point games. All in all, he was not an efficient scorer and played horrendous defense for someone with his size and length. He also averaged one assist per game so he needs to learn when to pass to the open player. Knox has a really smooth jumper but that won’t help you if your taking bad or unbalanced shots. It will be on him to build on his handle so he can create more space to get his shot off. Finally, he needs to work on staying with his man on defense. You have to know your assignment and where your player is at all times.
The player known as “Iso Zo” was the most developed player [offensively] from all the rookies added last season. Trier was not even drafted and was added as a two-way player to play in the developmental league and hopefully find his way onto the NBA roster. He not only stayed with the club but surpassed his two-way contract expectations as he never played a game for the Westchester Knicks. He showed the ability to score from anywhere on the court and created space for himself with dibble and move spins that allowed him to get to the basket. The one thing I would to see like him improve is his ability to create for others. With the ability to create for himself, the ability to create for others will make him more dangerous to defend.
The 3rd-year guard has to be the most disappointing player on this list. Ntilikina was Phil Jackson‘s last major move as General Manager for the Knicks before his firing. Improvements? Where Do I start… For one, stay healthy. It’s hard to see a guy develop if he can’t stay on the court. People can say all they want about how he needs more time on the hardwood but he can’t do anything being hurt. I understand that he will be 21-years old going into this season but I need to see him be less tentative with the ball in his hands. While he is a good passer, other teams will be jump the passing lanes if he doesn’t learn to finish at the rim, whether via a layup, dunk or foul. He also doesn’t have best handle, so he needs to develop that part of his game. Frank Ntilikina is young and raw and his defense is some of the best on the team. BUT… He will have to improve the other part of his game to truly reach his potential.
That’s it for now, come back tomorrow for Replacement Matt, who is now irreplaceable.