Kevin Knox walked out of the locker room quickly and silently at the end of Wednesday when reporters were brought in. After Garden 114-96’s defeat against the Magicians in the Knicks finale before the All-Star Weekend, Knox wasn’t going to see if anyone wanted to talk to him.
It was a departure from last February, when Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. left the locker rooms in Atlanta and took a short drive with the team staff in Charlotte, N.C. Knox was participating in the Rising Stars Challenge, Smith in the dunk race.
Knox and Smith have become the shining emblems of a big problem to face: will the Knicks interim coach Mike Miller give young lottery picks more minutes after the All-Star break, even if their game is poor?
Miller usually shows no negative emotions, but he appeared agitated when asked for a second time Wednesday night if he needs to play with fewer and younger veterans.
Against Washington, Knox, their 2018 lottery pick, played 10 minutes and just hit the ball, making his lone shot, continuing his regression season.
Smith, a 2017 lottery pick obtained in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, was a disaster: four billed in six minutes.
Miller’s angry gaze on the interrogator spoke volumes. Miller ‘s point of view – one who has repeated – is that the development of the player can take place without wasting important minutes. Miller, who is looking to save his work with an improved record, said that the development of players and the attempt to win are not mutually exclusive.
Miller ‘s position may soon become irrelevant. Ownership and management essentially threw in the towel last season last week when they fired President Steve Mills and traded the team’s best player, Marcus Morris, for draft choices. (The mills wanted to keep Morris.)
Interim President Scott Perry has not ordered any edicts to start Knox or Smith. This may not be the case when President Leon Rose, transformed into an agent, will officially take office. Miller said they didn’t speak.
“As we get closer to this, it’s about development,” Miller said on Wednesday. “This will never change. It’s about how these guys only get better if they get another 10 minutes in a game. There are many things that go into development to make these guys better. Just having minutes isn’t everything. I think there are other ways and other factors. ”
It is a slippery slope as many of their perspectives are underperforming. Miller is determined to play with players who are effective. Frank Ntilikina was OK, but the being was outperformed by starting point guard Elfrid Payton, who scored 19 points with five steals and nine assists on Wednesday.
“They certainly need experience,” said Miller. “Experience is perhaps the best teacher sometimes. They are experiencing it as they pass through it. We will continue to work on development every day, improve the kids and move forward. As we do so, it puts us in a position where you also have a chance to win games. “If you say we’re focused on development, that doesn’t mean you’re not trying to win games.”
The second year center, Mitchell Robinson, and the rookie who starts the shooting guard RJ Barrett are getting their minutes.
Robinson has shown some progress since his beginner year, but hasn’t had the turning point of adding a low, medium or 3-point game. Barrett is headed for rising stars in part because he is on the world team as a Canadian.
The third draft choice was left in the top-10 of this week’s Rookie Challenge. Barrett’s very important percentage of goals on the pitch (an analytic that attributes more weight to 3-point shots) is only 43 percent, ranking a pitiful 303th in the NBA.
Robinson will not go to the rising Stars but is making a mess less, protecting the edge with bravado even if he is not always involved in an offensive way.
“It was a roller coaster,” Robinson said of his season to date. “I had good games, terrible games. I have to find a way to [be] consistent throughout. ”
New Knicks brand consultant Steve Stoute, in the comments for which he was reprimanded by the brass team, said that the club needs new technical staff to “help develop those younger players. Eventually get a coach and a staff of coaches who will help develop a team. This is what I expect to happen. “
It is no wonder that Miller is sensitive to the idea of not doing enough for the prospects, even though his 13-20 record is much stronger than David Fizdale’s (4-18).
The Knicks will not play until next Friday against Indiana, leaving Miller time to contemplate the problem further.