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Game Preview: Knicks vs. Pacers, 12/7/2019

End of an error.

The Knicks just pulled this car right over! Apparently James Dolan can only take about two years worth of are we there yets. Now David Fizdale is walking his ass the rest of the way home. Don’t feel bad for him though, the charismatic Fizdale will find his way onto a TV screen with Richard Jefferson soon enough. His responses to job security over the last several weeks made him seem like the type of guy who neatly displays his ATM receipts over the top of a waste basket overflowing with everyone else’s balled up little papers. Strangely enough that also turned out to be his offensive strategy. Just lay it there for everyone to see, it’ll be fine.

Well it would appear this has blown up in his face dale. In addition, the shot doctor that worked with Dennis Smith this summer, Keith Smart, was also shown the exit. In their place, assistant Mike Miller has been given the keys to the car. Miller was promoted to assistant with the Knicks prior to the season.

Mike Miller is not the Boston Terrier faced Mike Miller you may be thinking of. That Mike Miller is an assistant for the Memphis Tigers college program. This Mike Miller was at the helm of a highly rated Westchester Knicks team for the past couple seasons and prior to that he ran the show for the Austin Toros.

Coming along with Coach Miller is former player Keith Bogans. He was promoted up from his position as an assistant for the Westchester Knicks. Bogans’ playing career saw him all over the place. Nine teams total and two stints with the Magic. He was a journeyman but a willing participant, even playing with multiple Summer League teams to keep the dream alive. His last stop was with Boston at the beginning of the Brad Stevens campaign. The Celtics and Stevens went 25-57 that year, so Bogans should be able to commiserate with the veterans who may have a tough time with all the losing.

Much milk was intentionally knocked over when David Fizdale clearly said goodbye in his final practice yesterday. Take a look at this though. Are these the daps of a guy who is whipping ass and everyone loves the job he is going to continue to do? Or is this a guy who gave it a valiant yet impotent effort and his time has come?

I mean come on. With the media relations grim reaper dude ready to cast his net over any potential situation? Gimme a break. It needed to be done, it got done, and if the new guy is any good, we’ll finally get a peek at what these players potentials could be.

Projected Starters

For the Knicks, this probably isn’t what it will be, but is what it should be. Now is the chance to loosen Julius Randle’s suicidal strangle hold on the team. Just because he is paid like a star doesn’t mean he contributes like one or should be treated like one. His agent was able to leverage that amount of money in a deal to contribute whatever is asked of him to the New York Knicks. Thats the size of it. Now Mike Miller can help define what role will help Randle be the most successful. Don’t let this house be a money pit, Airbnb the fucking thing, and if you need a place to stay some night, well there it is!

Randle as a second unit wrecking ball is actually a great fit. You can still give him a heaping helping of minutes, but if he needs the ball as much as he commands it, he has to go a little further down the rotation, where some of his bucket getting would be in higher demand. Hold on, let me retrieve my damn fine pie from this big dumb sky. If I made it, it’s a crumble by the way, just saying. I’m sure Randle will start. Please pull his ass when he drives and spins into three Pacers the first time he holds the ball.

The Knicks are healthy aside from Wayne Ellington who suddenly came up lame with a sore achilles and Reggie Bullock who has yet to suit up for the team. Can’t wait to have him enter the fray. Damyean Dotson had his pinky turned into a crunchy taco in their last appearance but he practiced and should be good to go.

As for the Pacers, they’re missing Victor Oladipo still, who is getting closer to returning from his ruptured quad but seems to be in no rush. Indiana will also be without Jakarr Sampson who has a back injury. Thank goodness because that’s exactly the kind of tireless worker guy that figures out how to shoot for three quarters against the Knicks and dumps in 18 gut wrenching points before the starters come back to close the door.

Keys & Predictions

This may be a bit of a trap game for the Pacers. It’s entirely possible that the Knicks will be subverting any and all expectations just to sneak away with a trickery victory. Somehow I can’t imagine Indiana is unable to plant their foot in the ass of this uncertain team, but maybe Mike Miller will get these Knicks to keep it simple and that will be enough to push the Pacers around.

It is the second game of a back to back for Indiana. They have possibly the most efficienct point guard in the league right now in Malcolm Brogdon. They are also bolstered by guys doing the little things to help spring their teammates free. If you haven’t seen this Caitlin Cooper article on Domantas Sabonis, get your life together. If you don’t think Randle should be playing like this and only this, you’re a ninny.

What? By the way. Do you think the Knicks will actually run some high pick and roll and some drag screens in semi transition? I do. That idiotic 3-2 zone will be gone. It better be gone, punks. Miller might even have them get over screens and use their length to an advantage. Can you imagine!?

Pacers will pussyfoot in the early going and try to see if they can figure the Knicks out. New York will take advantage of the indecision and hop out to an early little lead. Indiana will rally behind a steady diet of pick and roll hoops, leading to kicks and swings back into pick and rolls that yield decent shots and alley ways for offensive rebounders to bully the 20-second defensive efforts of guys like Randle and Dennis Smith Jr.

In the closing moments, Frank Ntilikina will return to the game after having been busted up with a few dubious foul calls. He’ll hurdle screeners and cause havoc for the Pacers’ ball handlers. Indiana will get five bonehead turnovers in the final few minutes. But who will the Knicks rely on to get them a few buckets? RJ Barrett.

Knicks by -4.

Warm Up Music

Honesty is the best policy and in all honesty David Fizdale was hurting the growth of several young, promising, flawed players. Perhaps not stars, they still have value that can be mined. The Knicks have to use the demise of Fizdale and the rise of Miller to help reset the franchise’s course.