Knicks: NBA Champ Reveals Why Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr. Must Mature

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 26: Julius Randle #30 and RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks react to a foul call in the first half of their game against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden on October 26, 2019 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks are 2-8 and in last place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

Last night, after a 108-87 shellacking at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, management took the time to apologize to Knicks fans everywhere for their performance through their first ten game. “We’re not happy with where we are,” Knicks team President Steve Mills said after the loss.

“This is not where we expected to be at this point — 10 games in.”

“I think the lack of consistency,” said Knicks general manager, Scott Perry.

“That for the most part we’ve seen it, but you see sporadic efforts, too,” Perry said.

“That’s what we talked about as we sat during this game and one of the reasons we wanted to come out and address you guys. Because we got to be consistent in all areas of the game, starting with the effort.”

While many have lamented about the Knicks’ offseason in which they struck out in getting Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant during summer’s free agency, the Knicks salvaged their offseason by signing Bobby Portis, Julus Randle, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Morris and Taj Gibson.

The Knicks also drafted RJ Barrett out of Duke and Ignas Brazdeikis from Michigan.

The Knicks’ best win so far this season came in a win against the Chicago Bulls. Bobby Portis was on fire against his former team in that game. Portis scored a season-high 28 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining, and the New York Knicks beat the Bulls 105-98 for their first victory of the season.

Portis likes New York. This summer he told me that the Knicks have a lot of good pieces in place that’ll gel well together.

He also said that the Knicks have to maintain adversity this season.

“It’s going to come,” he said. “Try to stay healthy and not have any injuries. Obviously getting traded out of nowhere [last season], so definitely the adversity. I’ve been getting it my whole life so I can face it.”

Despite having the league’s worst record last season’s at 17-65 team, I stated at the begining of this season via Basketball Society Online’s Scoop B Unfiltered that the Knicks could win 38-40 games in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

I asked a familiar New York figurehead and legend if that is remotely possible.

Insert two-time NBA Champion, Kenny Smith.

“For them to win 40 games, someone has to live up,” the current NBA on TNT analyst tells me.

“They don’t even have to exceed, but they have to live up to their potential. So, what pick was Dennis Smith? 7? 6? Top ten? He has to be a top 10 pick this year. He can grow into that. RJ Barrett, he’s a number 3 pick, he’s gotta be a number 3 pick to pan out. Julius Randle; they all have to. They have to mature into their number pick, they have to be that this year. So D’Angelo Russell; matured into that. It took him four years. They gotta catch like D’Angelo Russell did last year, you know? You’re the number 2 pick? Alright, you’re the all-star! That’s what has to happen and both of those guys have that.”

The Knicks resume play on Tuesday when they play the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago.