The New York Knicks have had a rough couple of years. In the past five seasons, the Knicks record is 146 – 264 with four different head coaches. The last time the Knicks made the playoffs was the 2012 – 2013 season when they finished with a record of 54 – 28. They would eventually lose in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals to the Indiana Pacers. Then the following year they finished eight games under .500 which lead to the Knicks hiring Phil Jackson as the President of Basketball Operations and the firing of Head Coach Mike Woodson.
Rebuilding the New York Knicks
The Phil Jackson era
Owner James Dolan and GM Steve Mills were excited to bring in Phil Jackson to run the operations and try to get this team back to a winning culture. Phil Jackson’s first move as President was hiring Derek Fisher as the head coach. Phil was after Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher but when the Golden State Warriors fired Mark Jackson, and then interviewed Steve Kerr for the job, it was a no brainer that Kerr would accept the head coaching position at Golden State.
The Knicks had a horrible season in Fishers first year as head coach with a 17 – 65 record. Midway through the season Phil Jackson traded JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers because Phil wanted Smith out of New York. The Knicks ended up with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Speculation was that the Knicks front office was after Duke’s freshman sensations Jahlil Okafor or Justice Winslow. When the New York Knicks made their selection of power forward Kristaps Porzingis out of Latvia, Knicks fan were shocked, disappointed, and some of them even booed but nobody gave Porzingis a chance to prove himself. Many experts had Porzingis as a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft.
The following season, Kristaps started the first game of the season at power forward for the Knicks. In his debut he finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block against the Milwaukee Bucks. Knicks fan were shocked by his debut and could see the potential that Porzingis had if he put in the work. Derek Fisher only lasted a season and a half in New York finishing with a record of 40 – 96. In his first full season with the Knicks, Kristaps averaged 14 PPG, 7 RPG and 2 BPG in just 28 MPG and he finished second in the Rookie of the Year Voting behind Karl-Anthony Towns.
Hiring Jeff Hornacek
The following off-season, the Knicks were looking for a new head coach again after firing Derek Fisher. They landed Jeff Hornacek. In Jeff’s first season in New York he finished with a record of 31 – 51. The Knicks franchise had a ton of drama that season between star player Carmelo Anthony and President Phil Jackson who called out Carmelo numerous times throughout the season. The Knicks then fired Phil Jackson after the season because of all the bad press that we was bringing to the team. They then hired Scott Perry as the new President of Basketball Operations.
The Knicks ended up with the ninth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft where they selected point guard Frank Ntilikina out of France to be a cornerstone for the franchise along with Porzingis. The Knicks has burned all bridges with Carmelo who wanted out of New York. Carmelo was eventually traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. The Knicks knew that they had a young team and they were going to be in rebulding mode for the next couple of years. The Knicks ended up finishing last season with a 29 – 53 record which lead to the firing of Jeff Hornacek which was expected with a new front office.
The new phase of the Knicks
The Knicks then held another coaching search for the third time in the past 5 seasons. New York interviewed many candidates knowing what they were looking for they found their next head coach David Fizdale. Fizdale was fired from the Memphis Grizzilies the previous season where many executives and players around the league feel that he was the scapegoat for the fall in Memphis. Fizdale had the support from many players around the league including LeBron James and Dwyane Wade who he coached while he was an assistant coach in Miami.
New York wanted a coach who preached defense and held players accountable but also wanted a coach who interacted with the players and got along with the players. David Fizdale is a young coach who can push these young players towards stardom while growing with them. The New York Knicks are in a very good situation where they have a lot of young pieces and a front office and head coach who are patient enough for a rebuild. During Fizdale’s press conference players like Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, Lance Thomas, and Kyle O’Quinn showed up to support their new head coach. A bunch of other Knicks players tweeted out their welcomes and congratulations to David Fizdale showing him a ton of support.
David Fizdale will also fly down to Latvia to visit Porzingis face to face and have a discussion with the franchise player. The Knicks already have their franchise player in Porzingis to pair along with their young players such as Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway, Burke, Mudiay, Dameyan Dotson, and Luke Kornet. The New York Knicks will also have a top ten draft pick this year to add to their young core. New York fans just need to be passionate and trust what the front office is doing and keep looking toward the big picture. New York is a big market who can attract free agents and they have the right guy at the helm to control everything else going on.