Weird times, huh? Hope everyone is staying safe, stocked with food and avoiding large gatherings.
Speaking of large gatherings, the NBA’s hiatus will last at least three months, according to a new report from ESPN, meaning June is the earliest possible time we will be able to watch live basketball be played.
To view your own reaction reflected as if the internet was a mirror, see this tweet from Damyean Dotson:
3 month Hiatus?— Damyean Dotson (@wholeteamDot) March 16, 2020
The silver lining — which is more of a bronze lining if not some other, lesser alloy — is the obvious joke that this marks the first chance the Knicks have to play in June since 2000, when the Indiana Pacers eliminated New York from the Eastern Conference Finals on the second day of the sixth month.
That 93-80 Game 6 loss represented the final time Patrick Ewing would don the Orange and Blue, as the Knicks traded him to the Seattle Supersonics just a few months later. The Big Fella put up 18 points (6-15 shooting), 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals in his finale. Latrell Sprewell was the team’s leading scorer in the loss with 32 points (13-26 shooting), 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and forever nemesis Reggie Miller led the way for the Pacers with 34 points.
This isn’t a ‘This Week in Knicks History,’ however. It’s a rare ‘Today in NBA History.’
The coronavirus is causing a lot of chaos across the globe, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski, “NBA owners and executives are bracing for the possibility of mid-to-late June as a best-case scenario for the league’s return.”
Though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended Sunday that no events or gatherings should include more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, the NBA is apparently preparing for the possibility of playing games without fans once the league is able to resume play, with the ESPN report noting the following:
For now, there’s a working plan that games would return without fans, and teams have been told to search out arena dates well into August for the playoffs, sources said. Teams have been directed to give the league office potential dates at smaller nearby game venues, including team practice facilities, that could spare the use of empty, cavernous arenas and possibly provide backdrops to unique television viewing lines.
It seems possible the league could decide to just consider the regular season finished in order to begin the playoffs once the coronavirus break has concluded. That would mean the Knicks’ 2019-20 campaign is officially over, which might actually be yet another silver lining since it’s been a brutal season. Then again, the Knicks might have finally been figuring things out; since Leap Day, the team is 4-3. Over .500!
Plus, Mike Miller seemed to be playing (some of) the young guys more of late (apologies to Dotson and Allonzo Trier, who were still getting very little run, if any). Since Feb. 29, here are the average minutes played for RJ Barrett, Frank Ntillikina, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, along with their stats:
Barrett: 30 minutes per game, 18.7 points (49 percent shooting, 39 percent from three), 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 steals.
Ntilikina: 21 minutes per game, 8.7 points (45 percent shooting, 38 percent from three), 1.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1 steal.
Knox: 17 minutes per game, 6 points (33 percent shooting, 41 percent from three), 3.4 rebounds and just under 1 block and 1 steal.
Robinson: 26 minutes per game, 14 points (79% shooting), 7.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks.
Encouraging! Minus Knox. Although there’s still hope for him. Don’t give up. Back to Robinson for a moment, who, if the season is indeed over, finishes his sophomore campaign with the best field goal percentage in NBA history, besting a guy by the name of Wilt Chamberlain, who in 1972-73 finished the year shooting just under 73 percent. Mitch is at just over 74 percent at the moment.
Does this mean I broke the FG record for the season?— Mitchell Robinson (@23savage____) March 16, 2020
Before you get back to sitting around your house and watching the news — by the way, definitely listen to the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci over anything Donald Trump says — there are a couple more items to discuss.
> Though they didn’t make a whole big deal out of it, the Knicks are one of the teams that appear to be stepping in and making sure Madison Square Garden employees get paid during this strange period of time in which major events are not allowed to take place.
Continuing to update the MSG event-based employee story, all staff recently received an email regarding the situation moving forward, the relevant portion of which you can read below: pic.twitter.com/3hAWJ3S5K4— Jonathan Macri (@JCMacriNBA) March 15, 2020
> Leon Rose, who decided to take his first big front office job at an extremely strange time in NBA history, is still working during the hiatus. The Knicks are rumored to be eyeing Brock Aller, who is currently senior director of basketball operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Aller is apparently a salary cap expert, which is a useful thing to have.
> Per that same Daily News article, Allan Houston is “another strong candidate for a larger role in Rose’s staff.” He currently holds the title of special assistant to the Knicks general manager. Still no word on what the future holds for Scott Perry, the guy who Houston is currently a special assistant to.
Alright, you know where to go during the hiatus for all your NBA news, in-depth articles about obscure shooting stats and Frank Ntilikina fan theories. Now go wash your disgusting hands you filthy animals!