No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis has adeptly handled his rookie season thus far (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis has adeptly handled his rookie season thus far (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Following a brutal season the New York Knicks would much rather you forgot, the team jumped out to a solid 22-22 start this campaign. Unfortunately, the team subsequently experienced a bitter downturn in which it fired its second-year head coach Derek Fisher. And the struggles continue. On both sides of the ball, however, No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis has shown early signs of brilliance at a mere 20 years old. Plus, there are other promising developments, such as the continued improvement of Lance Thomas. To discuss these complex Knicks, Seth Rosenthal, SB Nation editor as well as the editor for SBN’s Knicks site Posting and Toasting, stopped by. Seth didn’t sugarcoat things, providing the good, the bad and the ugly. The highlights can be found below:

1:48 – 1:53 on the Knicks’ season:

“The worst thing that happened to them is that they started the year that strong, ’cause now they look so terrible in comparison.”

3:47 – 4:24 on Kristaps Porzingis:

“A lot of people assumed he would be a big, weak shooting big man kind of stiff, not a great defender…he’s been a very versatile scorer. If anything, his outside catch-and-shoot game is the weakest part of his scoring repertoire. He’s been a really solid defender…if he continues to grow…if he stays healthy, he’s going to have an extremely well-rounded game.”

6:23 – 7:14 on the precipitous decline of the Knicks after a promising start:

“On the court, it was palpable that the team wasn’t quite responding to (Fisher) the way they were before…The offense you have to play as a team, running the triangle, depends more so than other teams’ schemes do on brute effort. If the Knicks aren’t cutting…dribbling over screens, using their screens, and attacking the glass, that hampers them more than teams that are more open in their structure and more athletically gifted…Guys were starting to flag a little bit…Increasingly, within the team, (this) became attributed to Fisher.”

7:38 – 7:57 on why Derek Fisher was fired:

“He perhaps (was) still not taking the time between the games totally seriously…which may have rubbed players and the front office the wrong way and may have contributed to guys not willing to give their all for him.”

8:26 – 8:50 on the differing styles of Fisher and Kurt Rambis: 

“The primary difference is that Fisher…made a point of being very short with the media, very serious, sort of fatherly and protective of his players, and Kurt Rambis is just running his mouth…There’s a happy medium…The media certainly appreciates not being condescended to, which was their perception of Fisher’s relationship with them.”

12:08 – 12:15 on the team’s next head coaching hire:

“It’s totally unpredictable with Phil (Jackson). If it were any other team, I’d assume they would go hard after Thibodeau. Jackson might not even interview him.”

13:03 – 13:42 on the Knicks’ greatest weakness:

“They desperately need guards. This team isn’t terribly far from being decent, but they need an NBA-average point guard. They were interested in Jeff Teague…and Ricky Rubio, and just found that, without a pick that they were comfortable dealing…that put them out of those sweepstakes. They will remain active on that trade market this summer…probably do their best to get Mike Conley Jr., but it wouldn’t take a major signing to upgrade at that position.”

15:14-15:32 on Jose Calderon’s impact…or lack thereof: 

“Calderon can shoot the hell out of the ball and has nothing else to offer. Really nothing else. He’s like a mini-Steve Novak, which is a player you can have on your team but you don’t want starting at point guard.”

20:23 – 21:07 on Carmelo Anthony’s season:

“He’s been at his best rebounding this season, he’s passing the ball better than I’ve ever seen…He’s holding his own defensively…For all the weakness in his knee and the trouble he’s had scoring, he’s been that much better in other realms of his game.”

23:52-24:13 on the Anthony trade rumors:

“For the time being, I have seen nothing despite the amount of noise to make me believe that the Knicks have any interest in trading Melo and that Melo has any interest in leaving the Knicks. And that latter thing is most important. So until we hear from him, I assume it’s gonna be status quo in that regard.”

29:57 – 31:14 on “The Phil Files” and Phil Jackson’s outspokenness:

“It’s funny for a Knicks fan to complain about transparency after years of James Dolan keeping everyone from talking to anyone…It was cool to know what Phil was thinking, albeit months later…Phil has a long history of saying whatever he wants about people who work for him, without repercussions…On the whole, I would prefer a president, like Phil, who is willing to speak his mind and put his word out there, but…Phil does have a habit of saying things that might be uncouth or break some unwritten rule or maybe throw his coaches or players under the bus sometimes.”

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod