The New York Knicks begin their 2018 Las Vegas Summer League adventure on July 7th at 5:30 ET airing on ESPN against the Atlanta Hawks. And it’s easy to say the anticipation is mounting as we are waiting to see the debuts of our draftee’s Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Alonzo Trier (undrafted), and along with the progression of Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson, and Luke Kornet. If you’re reading this and wondering if this years summer league is worth watching then i’ve got five reasons to help you decide on watching this year.
- The Knicks have an VERY intriguing roster of young players participating this year.
The Knicks have a handful of players that fans and analysts are going to want to watch, ranging from new draftees Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Alonzo Trier to Sophomore players Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson, Isaiah Hicks, and Luke Kornet. The roster is full of young assets who are oozing with potential and are looking to make a name for themselves in the league. It will be very interesting to see how Knox and Robinson are going to play considering Fizdale has voiced how much he loves to spread the floor and the crush he has on player wingspan, which both players have a lot of. Along with fighting for minutes as Fizdale has told the media and players that they will fight for their starting positions. Which leads directly into my next point…
- The players have a reason to go all out
David Fizdale the new coach of the Knicks is already growing a relationship with all players on the team and has expressed that no starting jobs are locked in, and that all players will be fighting for starting positions. Not only are they going to have great motivation to impress in Las Vegas but, they deserve more minutes than the other teammates at their position. I have no doubt that Fizdale is pushing every player to fight for every minute they are going to get and he is the perfect motivator to get these players working towards their maximum potential and this summer league is just the beginning of their long careers.
- The Knicks can make a statement
With a good amount of solid youngsters to watch this year it’s safe to say that they are looking to make a statement to these other teams that the Knicks have drafted a solid young core to put around Kristaps when he eventually returns completely healthy. If we see good performances from this year’s draft picks Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson it would also show that the front office has a good eye for players. Especially if Mitchell Robinson becomes even part of the player he was projected to be when deciding to skip college. This is a good chance for the Knicks to show that they are on the rise and if we preforme well it can also attract the bigtime free agents next year that the Knicks desperatly need.
4. Mitchell Robinson can prove no college was needed for him
As we all know, Mitchell Robinson was heavily criticized for decided to skip college and work on his game privatly instead. Fizdale was quoted saying “Ma-a-an, is he athletic,” and after a couple days of summer league practice he also added, “You would’ve thought he was playing the whole time. That’s how solid he’s been.” It looks like the Knicks got a huge steal in the second round with Robinson and the off year between high school and the draft hasnt stopped him from working on his game either. This is a huge chance for him to show that the other 29 teams that passed on the very athletic big man made a huge mistake. Which brings me to my final reason to watch this summer league…
5. It gives fans of a struggling team a reason to hope
This final point really resinates with me and a lot of Knicks fans because it has been a very long 15 years since the Knicks have been a consistant playoff contender. So when I watch this summer league it will be exciting to see a small portion of the full potential these players have. But not only the Knicks but all struggling teams around the league are givin a glimpse of their future with these youngsters which allows the fans to hope their team is on the rise. And while watching the Knicks we can hope that we are FINALLY in the right hands with James Dolan only controlling the financial aspects, Scott Perry and Steve Mills along with David Fizdale have all done a thorough job of figuring out who to draft and how to play. I believe we drafted two great contributers that not only fit with Fizdale’s scheme but also can develop very well over the next couple of years for the Knicks.