In no way, shape, or form did anyone believe the Knicks were heading into this season as a playoff team. The roster was full of young core players that still needed development, and many NBA veterans on short-term deals.
However, SNY's Ian Begley learned that Knicks brass had playoff expectations for their team under David Fizdale this season. Begley says during the team's first official meeting that this was the mandate handed down, according to SNY sources familiar with the discussions:
- Team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry believed the Knicks were a playoff team "and anything less than that was a disappointment."
- Players heading to free agency in 2020 -- many after most signed one-year deals or two-year deals with a club option for 2020-2021 -- would be judged on the team's overall record instead of their individual play
Maybe this directive was to spark a fire under the Knicks' feet, but if it is true, it's pretty lofty expectations for a team that owned the worst record in the NBA last season and missed out on top free agents like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard.
Fizdale was let go following a 4-18 start to the season, and Mike Miller was then named interim head coach. Though the team went 6-6 immediately after Miller took the reins, they still have the third-worst record in the league at 12-33 following their ninth loss in 11 games on Wednesday night.
The Knicks have had some bright spots despite their early failures. One of the team's free agent signees in Marcus Morris has been fun to watch, as he is averaging a team-high 19.1 points on 44 percent from the field with 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Also, Julius Randle is averaging 18.8 points in his first year with the team, while rookie RJ Barrett has 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists to his name thus far.
As a team, though, the Knicks have not been cohesive and defense has been rough to say the least. Does that all fall on Fizdale? Begley breaks it down in depth in his latest piece here.