Interim Knicks coach Mike Miller put the starting point keeper Elfrid Payton on the bench for Frank Ntilikina against the Pacers on Friday evening, but not in the name of a youth movement.
Payton was injured. After the Knicks returned from the All Star break on Wednesday, he twisted his ankle in training.
Good or bad, despite losing 106-98 Garden on Friday against the Pacers, this stance should stay that way, even if Payton is healthy enough to return.
Either Ntilikina or Dennis Smith Jr. should end the season as a starter. After 26 games remaining, it's time for "Full Fizdale".
After a week of thought, Miller still seems ready to get Payton back there, and still justifies his guidelines for distributing protocols that haven't benefited the youth.
Nevertheless, there was an upward trend in the right direction on Friday. Miller even had Kevin Knox, the 2018 lottery player, on the pitch for part of the fourth-quarter race, playing 17 minutes.
In a fantasy sequence, Knox blocked a shot and Ntilikina came down to drop a 3-pointer. Miller also used 2017 second-round player Damyean Dotson to close, while Reggie Bullock and Maurice Harkless stayed on the bench and veteran Wayne Ellington was eliminated from the game.
Acting President Knicks Scott Perry "agrees" with Miller's policy against a fully equipped tank. Miller declined to say whether he spoke to the new President Leon Rose, who was not officially named.
"I speak to Scott every day," Miller said. "We talk about staff, we talk about player development, we talk about everything. Sometimes several times. We agree that we try to develop players at a high level. We follow the approach that your minutes are quality minutes. They add value to the team when they're out there. We believe that this will help them to develop and advance. "
Is it really like that?
"We look at the development in many different ways and don't say that it only takes 25 minutes per game to develop," added Miller. "I think there is more to it, there are more ways we can help these guys grow than they do. They gain experience and opportunity and learn. We see growth."
Last season, when David Fizdale was the Knicks' first year coach, it took five games to play the younger boys no matter what. After the fifth game, Fizdale announced that Center Enes Kanter would no longer start and project rookie Mitchell Robinson.
As such, Fizdale got a pass for the 17-65 record last season, but got no leeway this year.
Miller's case is different. Despite the damage limitation from public relations, Knicks' new brand advisor, Steve Stoute, essentially stated that the interim coach would not return as head coach.
Miller has supporters in the organization who want to see him again in a way – even if he returns to the G-League as head coach.
Coaches always make sacrifices from their players. Now it's time for Miller to sacrifice by violating his nature and pumping up the minutes for Smith, Ntilikina, Knox, Dotson, and Kadeem Allen, the two-way player the organization still appreciates.
Certainly Ntilikina and Smith, 2017 lottery picks, need it. The offensive stagnated against Indiana in the first half when the Frenchman led the show as he is rarely able to penetrate. But then he became a lively force in the second half, ending with 14 points and a comeback of 22 down.
Smith is the penetrator, but still too sloppy. On consecutive properties in the third quarter when the Pacers retreated, Smith lane and blew the layup, then lane the next time and lost control of the ball as it flew in the air. He was 1 out of 6 in 16 minutes.
Last month, The Minutes Police attacked Miller's refusal to deviate from the introduction of veterinarians Payton, Bullock, Ellington, and even Marcus Morris, who had been trading since then, at the expense of young point guards Dotson and Knox.
When Morris is gone, Bullock is stupid to start with a little striker over Knox. Against Indiana, Miller started newcomer Maurice Harkless at the start of the second half against Knox, who is unlikely to be here next season.
I supported Miller's allotment before the break. The Knicks & # 39; Brass were still evaluating their talent as a free agent. Müller was still struggling to show that he deserves to return as head coach.
This ship has probably sailed with Steve Mills' fall as President. Rose was all-in on the Morris deal 15 days ago.
The message couldn't be clearer – the season's win-loss record isn't as important as the future. The trade brought in the clippers late choice in the first round and a second round player.
With that in mind, it's time for Miller to adjust. The Knicks have now lost three times in a row without the momentum won in four games during the last winning streak.
It should start with a new starting point keeper and a new starting striker when the Knicks starts a three-game road trip in Houston on Monday. Smith and Knox need a kick start. Whatever the Knicks do to them, it didn't work.
Round two rookie Ignas Brazdeikis and two-way Kenny Wooten, who is stuck in the G-League, should also get their NBA minutes in mid-March.
A change in philosophy only has to start now.