Member Q&A with Jonathan Macri

Aktualisiert: 9. Okt 2019

NY Knicks Nation Germany/ Austria looks ahead to the upcoming season.

NYKNGA-member ask - Jonathan Macri answers!

The new NBA season is approaching. The Knicks had a solid summer - or an awful summer, all depending on your point of view. Nevertheless it will be exciting to see if the Knicks will be able to have a competetive team next season. They signed Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton and Marcus Morris while drafting RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis.

As every year NY Knicks Nation Germany/ Austria members have a lot of question regarding the upcoming season, and who could answer them better than Knicks expert, writer, podcaster, fan and NYKNGA-member Jonathan Macri.

Jonathan Macri writes for Knicks Film School, Oddchecker US and The Stepback. He host the Knicks Film School Podcast and passionately writes on Twitter.

Check Out Macri's stuff:

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Roberto: Do you think Melo will return to the Knicks – even for a short time? Would you like that move from the Knicks?

I don’t. There’s too many ways for it to go badly and neither he nor the organization needs any more bad press. I think it’s for the best.

Daniel J.: What do you think, is Coach Fizdale able to implement a good organized system until christmas? And more important for me, will it be a good balance between offense AND defense?

Fiz had a system last year – it’s basically just lots of screening action designed to get a guard rolling downhill – but it was either executed poorly, being run by ill-suited personnel, or both. As far as defense goes, last year’s roster (aside from Frank) had some of the worst individual and team defenders you’ll ever see. I think sometimes we draw the conclusion that because Fiz didn’t play Ntilikina heavy minutes, he doesn’t care about defense. I find this hard to believe, and am fairly certain he always knew last year would be a wash. I’d expect a fair bit of accountability on the defensive end this year, especially with how deep the roster is with capable (if not always consistent) defenders.

Sven: What do you think, which player will have a breakout year except our new rookies? Can RJ Barrett be the next big thing in NY?

I expect all three of last year’s rookies to take steps forward, albeit in different ways. And yes, RJ has what it takes to be a leader and focal point of this franchise; but it’ll take time, and his success will depend in part on how he’s utilized and how they continue to craft the roster around his strengths.

Daniel H.: Welcome home, Taj. What do you think how important is his impact, especially in the lockerroom and as a vocal leader for the team?

The “vet mentor” role usually works best when the guy actually plays, so for that reason alone I hope Taj doesn’t get squeezed out.

Marcus: Do you think Fizdale will move away from his preference to play offensive minded guards and give Frank a chance to operate in his system, and in addition to that how do you think the guard rotation will look like?

I think if Frank proves he can hit open shots and take opportunities to penetrate when they present themselves, he’ll play. He did both of those at times this summer, but needs to be even more consistent. My guess is that different guards will take turns being out of the rotation, but I’m fairly confident Smith Jr. and Payton will play, and that RJ will see at least some time at the two. I’d be shocked if Trier doesn’t get 15-20 minutes a night. I’m not confident in anything else.

Marco: Who is the most underrated knicks player of all time for you? And which Knick player will make the biggest step next season?

I don’t know about most underrated of all time, but Allan Houston gave this organization many damn good years before his body gave out on him, and he was as big a reason for their success in the late-90’s as anyone, yet all anyone ever thinks about with him is his contract, which is unfair. And if I had to pick only one? Mitch.

Marcel: Did the FIBA World Cup show that teams which open their offense with their big men and not with penetrating guards are the future of baskteball? Team USA had a lot of problems with this strategy. Could the Knicks use this strategy? Randle and Portis are two player who can run this offense. And Frank could do well in this system.

I don’t know about Portis, but I’m a huge advocate of the Knicks trying to use Randle like the Pistons use Blake Griffin. He hasn’t been nearly as good of a passer thus far in his career, and his decision-making leaves more than a bit to be desired at times. Still, the ability is there for him to be something of a poor man’s Blake, and I’d like to see how high that ceiling goes. And yes – very good system for Frank.

Thorsten: What moves can the Knicks make at the trading deadline?

I think they’ll make at least one trade. Morris strikes me as the most likely candidate, followed by Ellington (his contract is easier to move). I keep seeing people wanting to ship out Dot, but I’d much rather re-sign him than move him.

Mex: What do you think should Fiz change in his approach this year and what do you think is realistic?

I don’t think he’s going to change much, and honestly, I’m ok with that. The talent level last year was putrid. I’m not going to judge much off last season other than the fact that he kept morale fairly high, which was an accomplishment in its own right.

Ruben: Is the new rough and tough mentality, the young players are showing, some kind of grit and grind (which I would love)? Can such a young team be successful with that sort of defensive schemes they are trying to follow? And who needs to be the go-to-guy if they are trying to be defined by their fight-and-die-for-each-other-vibe?“

It hasn’t been talked about much, but we have no idea what kind of defensive scheme they’ll use. Are they going to aggressively trap pick and rolls? Will they switch everything (something that isn’t typically associated with “tough” defenses but which is probably best suited to this team’s personnel)? As for who will embody their supposed ethos, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team started taking their cues from RJ before long (although I see Mitch as being the leader on the floor, at least where defense is concerned)

Mipa: I think Morris, Randle, Gibson and Portis are four power forwards. If we say Iggy is a 4 we have five PFs. How do see their roles and who will get how many minutes at the 4?

I see Portis as a 5, and Morris as someone who will get a decent number of minutes at the 3. I could see a 4/5 rotation involving the 4 names you mentioned and Mitch. My gut feeling is that Iggy won’t see time until after the trade deadline when they move one or more of these pieces.

Lucas: Since you are living in New York and you are feeling the vibes of the people there everyday, I want to know what the majority of the people think about the Knicks before the start of the season. Especially, as the Nets are near by and they got the "big" free agents this summer. Whats the mood of the city regarding the Knicks?

It’s honestly tough for me to say. My guess is that the “casual” basketball fan probably stopped paying attention after KD and Kyrie signed with the Nets, and assumes the Knick will be bad again, but that’s only a guess because my fan engagement is mostly on Twitter, which I’m not sure is very representative of the “typical” fan. If there is a buzz surrounding the Knicks in the city amongst non-diehards, I haven’t felt it yet.

Patrick: Who wins the starting point guard battle and why? And what's the biggest weakness so far at the current knicks roster?

I know we keep hearing Payton will be given the chance to win the starting job, but I’d be shocked if it isn’t DSJ...which leads to your second question. If you put an elite (top 10?) PG with this roster, they’re a playoff team. At this point, I think everyone would sign for Smith Jr. being a top 20 PG this season. His success or failure will swing this team’s fortunes this year.

Dennis: What did you think when you first got to know us. Hundred of crazy Germans who chose to support the worst franchise of the league.

I think it’s the coolest thing in the world. Truly. People who grew up in the shadow of this team have given up on them, and yet here you guys are, supporting them with everything you got. I just hope they give something back to you pretty soon. You deserve that as much as anyone.

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