GM Knicks Scott Perry was one of the few front office figures to survive the purge that followed the hiring of the new team president Leon Rose. Many Knicks fans were perplexed, since Perry didn’t do much to stand out as GM. His trade in Kristaps Porzing has failed, his purchases of free agents in 2019 have mostly been sucked in and most of his young players haven’t developed much, if not entirely.
To the last point, many fans have wondered why troubled players like Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina haven’t had time to play in the G League. The answer, at least according to The Post’s Marc Berman, was that Perry was concerned about how such a move would be perceived.
According to an NBA source who is familiar with the situation, [vice president of player development Craig] Robinson lobbied for better prospects for the Knicks who didn’t have enough NBA time to spend a few games – or weeks – in the G-League to gain pace and increase confidence.
Perry dismissed the idea, feeling that it would be perceived as a great demotion and felt that practice time in addition to being with the NBA coaches was more vital, according to a source. Robinson’s counter was that during the NBA season, practice time and scrimmages are limited.
Craig Robinson, one of Steve Mills’ companions in Princeton, is no longer part of the team, but I happen to agree with him on this point. Many of the league’s best franchises, such as the Raptors and Spurs, have sent their first-round picks to the G League. And who was Perry worried about offending? The players? If children like Knox and DSJ thought they were too good for the G Leauge, they were seriously wrong. More likely, Perry was too concerned about how such a move would have pleased the New York press.
Look, I understand: the media in New York is much, much more massive than in San Antonio. But a good GM should make the right move for his franchise, regardless of titles.
The good news is that new head coach Tom Thibodeau came out at his opening press conference and immediately formulated a case to send young people to the G League:
“I think playing time is important. So if a young player isn’t getting the time needed for development, we will use the G-League. It has become an important part of our league. We will definitely take advantage of it. ”
I think it is right to be wary of Thibs’ commitment to his young boys, but nobody can say that the guy will be afraid to make a move because how he will be perceived. Maybe we’ll see players like Knox, Frank and DSJ in Westchester next season.