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Thoughts following the Knicks’ massive road trip

There have been some surprises.

NBA: New York Knicks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks just finished off a season-long seven-game road trip. Let’s rap about it, shall we?

— As soon as the 2017-18 schedule came out, this slate of games appeared to be a make-or-break point for the Knicks. And they didn’t exactly break on the road trip, going a surprisingly respectable 3-4. Looking back, however, fans can probably point to the last few home games as the stretch that truly torpedoed the Knicks’ playoff chances, especially the two overtime losses against the Bulls and Pelicans. If the Knicks had pulled out those two home games, they’d be at 24-26 now instead of 22-28.

— Believe it or not, January has been the best month of the season for the Knicks in terms of offensive efficiency. The team has scored 107.6 points per 100 possessions this month, a full four points better than they did in December. So why are they losing? Oh, you can probably guess...


— There are only five more games before the Feb. 8 trade deadline: vs. Brooklyn, at Boston, at Milwaukee, vs. Atlanta, vs. Milwaukee. That feels like a solid 2-3 stretch. That doesn’t seem nearly good enough to move the Knicks out of the “sellers” column, does it? Does it? I hope not.

— Speaking of trade deadline stuff, it feels like Kyle O’Quinn will win the Nate Robinson/J.R. Smith Award for playing well with a contender after being traded away from the Knicks, causing NBA Twitter to mockingly tweet “Can’t believe the Knicks traded this guy away; what dummies!” Whatever. I was watching the Warriors play on Saturday and couldn’t help but notice how much they could use someone like O’Quinn as opposed to Zaza Pachulia. That would be the perfect situation for him—a team full of talented players who would force the ball out of his hands so he can concentrate on setting screens and blocking shots. Trade for him already, Warriors!

— The Trey Burke situation is one of those uniquely Knicksian moments when something potentially good happens (the team discovers a 25-year-old former lottery pick who might just have turned his career around) and it turns into a crisis. The crisis, of course, is what to do with Frank Ntilikina. Here are some options, just off the top of my head.

  1. Don’t play Burke.
  2. Cut into Jarrett Jack’s minutes.
  3. Play Frank alongside Jack and/or Burke.
  4. Send Frank to the G League.
  5. Play Frank 8-10 minutes a game, making sure to bench him immediately every time he makes a mistake.

Before we decide which strategy is the best, we should probably settle on which strategy is the absolute worst. It’s No. 5, right? That’s the worst. Please stop doing that, Jeff Hornacek. Let’s figure out a better way.