clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

February mailbag, part two: head coaches, joy, sadness and polls

Putting the ebb in February.

New York Knicks v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

In part one of the mailbag we discussed the draft, the big picture and The Ringer (more so Bill Simmons). In part two we look at coaching, what was, what is and what may be.

1) If Mike Miller is not retained...who would you like to see as head coach? How long will you disappear from the fandom if we hire a) Mark Jackson, b) Tom Thibodeau or Jeff Van Gundy?

— Jslashnoel

I’m fine with Mike Miller. For no good reason. It’s entirely a feeling, which could be a projection of God knows what. It’s a small and impossible sample to fairly evaluate him — the Knicks could literally be coached by rolls of the dice and look better than what the David Fizdale experience was trotting out of the barn. But how successful can anyone ultimately be with this team? On two-pointers the Knicks are the fourth-worst shooting team in the league, third-worst on threes and dead last in free throws.

You know how early in haunted house movies, strange things happen, but they’re innocuous? A faucet is running and no one knows why, or the door to the attic that the ceiling ladder leads up that’s always locked shut is open. Then the bloodshed starts and it turns out the house is built on a sacred burial ground. The head coach of a team that can’t shoot is water running. A roster perennially devoid of guards and shooters — two things the league has literally changed the rules in favor of — is not solid ground.

I like to think that the Knicks aren’t interested in Jackson or Thibodeau because they’ve had openings before when both were available and each time went in a different direction (Derek Fisher and Jeff Hornacek). Jeff Van Gundy is a good coach. It is known. A good coach is a fine thing to have. I been mad low-energy of late, so maybe it’s just me, but I struggle to imagine many coaches clearly superior to JVG who the Knicks would attract. Maaaybe Steve Kerr is hungry for a challenge? So he walks away from the best backcourt in the league coming back next year and Golden State set to reload in order to come to...the Knicks? I actually think that’s unexpectedly quite beautiful, like Miss Congeniality.

I’d like to hear who y’all have in mind. Who would you like to see here next year, then fired 1-2 years later?

2) If you could bring back any player that we let walk from the last couple years who wasn’t Kristaps Porziņģis, who would it be?

— garfzilla

My heart says it’s a tie.

But mine is the sort of bleeding heart that may have teared up a bit a couple weeks ago while seeing Jumanji: The Next Level. So my head wonders if anyone who’s moved on seems the type to one day make you think “We are stupid for letting them go.”

A graceful final curtain on Melo’s career here may have provided some narrative cushion as the Knicks crawl raw and wiggly toward some future. During Mudiay’s time as a Knick he improved his shooting from most of the floor versus his time in Denver. “Unsustainable!” the villagers cried. Yet he persisted, and though his minutes are down since joining the Jazz his shooting numbers are up across the board. Would you rather have Mudiay at $1.7M, or DSJ at $4.4M?

Noah Vonleh has played 329 NBA games. I feel like give him another 329 and he’s a valued part of someone’s rotation. For pure entertainment value, Mario Hezonja was a good time. Mindaugas Kuzminskas could light an arena with his smile. Trey Burke was a distant stylistic cousin to Allen Iverson, which was pleasing when it hit. Maurice Ndour was stunning.

3) Which Knick has given you the least joy to watch over the last 7-ish years? prior to the season was between Arron Afflalo, Samuel Dalembert and Andrea Bargnani, but honestly Bobby Portis fills me with so much rage every time he’s in the game that I’m not sure if he takes the cake or if it’s just recency bias.

— Headband RJ

I too find Portis exhausting to watch. If we go back seven years, the Knicks signed one of my handful of least-favorite players ever. That complicated a season that had otherwise been pure joy.

I’ll confess something: I always died a little inside when Isaiah Hicks checked into a game. He was just so obviously not an NBA rotation player that whenever he played I felt like some illusion was being shattered. Like when a boom mike drops into the picture during a movie, or when puppet strings are visible. Watching Lance Thomas steadily degrade over the years did not spark joy.

4) Which Knick would you rather have as a wingman if you were at a club?

— marcus7

I was excited when I first saw this question; it looked like a fun one to have fun with. But then I saw allzingers’ response and honestly it’s so perfect so enjoy it:

“Taj would be like bringing my father. Portis and his bug eyes would get us restraining orders. Randle would stumble over his own feet and spill his beer on people. Mitch would get too drunk and swat beers out of people’s hands. Trier and DSJ would def be all for themselves trying to slang wood. Knox would fuck things up with his lame-as-shit Fortnite suit.”

5) Just a suggestion — but it would be cool to incorporate polls more regularly on P&T, considering all the contrasting opinions within the community. Plus they’re fun.

— The Antisola

You asked. We listened.


Which Knick would you most enjoy having on your pickup team?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Reggie Bullock
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    Julius Randle
    (9 votes)
  • 62%
    Mitchell Robinson
    (302 votes)
  • 29%
    Frank Ntilikina
    (141 votes)
483 votes total Vote Now


Which Knick speeds up so you can’t merge ahead of him in traffic?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Bobby Portis
    (124 votes)
  • 57%
    Allonzo Trier
    (268 votes)
  • 15%
    Dennis Smith Jr.
    (73 votes)
465 votes total Vote Now


Which of this year’s Knicks will have the greatest playing career?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Julius Randle
    (31 votes)
  • 0%
    Kevin Knox
    (3 votes)
  • 62%
    RJ Barrett
    (298 votes)
  • 5%
    Frank Ntilikina
    (25 votes)
  • 25%
    Mitchell Robinson
    (123 votes)
480 votes total Vote Now


Iggy Brazdeikis braz dei gy. Kis ig dei braz gy dei? Braz gy kis ig dei ig?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Iggy Brazdeikis
    (77 votes)
  • 21%
    Iggy Brazdeikis
    (79 votes)
  • 32%
    Iggy Brazdeikis
    (118 votes)
  • 24%
    Iggy Brazdeikis
    (91 votes)
365 votes total Vote Now


Which P&T writer lost a bet and now has a Celtics tattoo?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (14 votes)
  • 9%
    (35 votes)
  • 3%
    (13 votes)
  • 5%
    (18 votes)
  • 10%
    Benny Buckets
    (38 votes)
  • 7%
    (27 votes)
  • 10%
    (39 votes)
  • 3%
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    (13 votes)
  • 41%
    Seth. That’s why he left. It was a mutiny.
    (148 votes)
357 votes total Vote Now

6) Can you please tell us the story about the funeral, the drunk and the machete?

— Navona

This was a wake in maybe the 1960s. An uncle shows up. He’d been abusive, cruel, treated kids something awful. Broken bones, the such. Real nasty, selfish, brute type.

He shows up drunk. At one point in the wake he’s up by the coffin and so unsteady from the booze he stumbles into the coffin and disturbs the deceased. There was a machete in the house. Soon after the stumble the machete was evidence and another funeral was being planned.

Th-th-th-th-th that’s this month’s mailbag! See you in March, friends o’ mine.