David Fizdale and his coaching staff have reviewed the tapes, the sheets and all the other deets. What was originally listed as a probable definite became an actual factual as the Knicks announced their opening night starting lineup. In a bit of a surprise, rookie Kevin Knox was left off the list. The other noteworthy revelation is the inclusion of Frank Ntilikina.
Starting at point guard for the Knicks on opening night: Trey Burke. Frank Ntilikina will also start. Kevin Knox off the bench.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 16, 2018
Many Knick fans (the good ones) were ready to light a furnace under Fizdale’s seat if this didn’t happen. Coach has had a somewhat silver tongue in all of his availabilities. So it’s satisfying to see him come through on Ntilikina who was arguably the best Knick on the court for large swaths of the pre-season.
The rest of the lineup is a little more predictable and includes Lance Thomas, who offically got the keys to his place in the middle of pre-season.
Rounding out the starting five: Tim Hardaway Jr., Enes Kanter, Lance Thomas. David Fizdale says Frank Ntilikina earned the starting spot based on his play in training camp/preseason. Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) is out vs. ATL. https://t.co/X0msBCugk5— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 16, 2018
This all makes sense. Kanter and Hardaway are hard to deny because of their offensive sustenance and Thomas helps keep them in line and working together on defense. Ntilikina’s defensive versatility also allows the team to shuttle or hide Burke and Hardaway as needed.
Certainly Knox, and fellow rookies Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier, should get some decent burn. Knox struggled through the pre-season and going up against rotation players might be just what the doctor ordered. Trier showed the ability to create for himself in quick bursts. Robinson gave the Knicks a vertical dimension that will freak out any unsuspecting opponents.
How the rotation minutes are doled out will be a work in progress for certain. No matter what happens the whole team knows that there is room to impress and carve out minutes if they bring the right combo of production and intensity.
In the NYK’s season-opening roster released last night, Emmanuel Mudiay is listed as inactive. Inactives (bottom 4) can change before Wednesday, but Mudiay missed practice yesterday w/an ankle injury. So there’s a chance he remains on the inactive list for NYK’s opener vs. ATL: pic.twitter.com/pOqNTgfwRa— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 16, 2018
The final piece to note here is that Courtney Lee, who has yet to play, will be listed as active. Whereas Emmanuel Mudiay (who I think played himself off the roster) is inactive with an ankle injury. Hopefully it’s just some general soreness and wasn’t something truly painful that he sustained while doing one of his signature baseline barrel rolls.
Way to go, Frank!