The firing of head coach David Fizdale did not address the biggest issues currently affecting the struggling New York Knicks, says Sky Sports NBA analyst Ovie Soko.
Ovie enjoyed a victorious BBL debut on Sunday, contributing 17 points and 13 rebounds as the London Lions beat the Glasgow Rocks 88-72 at the Copper Box.
“It felt good to be back on the floor playing again,” Soko told Sky Sports NBA. “It has been about six months since I last played a competitive game. I’ve still got a long way to go but it was a solid start.”
‘Changing the coach does not address Knicks’ biggest issues’
Julius Randle questions a call during a Knicks loss
This current situation with the Knicks is a tough one from a player’s perspective. I’m huge on team culture and, despite talented players rolling through New York over the years, things haven’t worked out. It is a deeper issue than players or coaches; you have to look at the way the organisation is run.
All the teams in the NBA that enjoy consistent success do so because they have built a culture of doing things the right way. Everybody can have a down year sometimes but, generally, teams like San Antonio and Boston are consistently good.
These are programs that have built a culture over time of doing everything the right way. One thing I know for sure is if you go into a locker room or training rooms, everyone involved has a certain pride in how they carry themselves and how they operate.
For the Knicks, changing the coach is not where their biggest issues lie.
One thing I have always said in defence of the Knicks is that New York is one of the toughest markets to perform in, period. You put a talented 19-year-old rookie in one of the biggest cities in the world with all the money they can spend, that’s a very dangerous combination. In that kind of city it is easy to get carried away.
It takes a player with a certain mindset to move to a big market city like New York or Los Angeles and stayed locked in, especially at a young age. Would Giannis have evolved into the player he is now if he had started his career in New York instead of Milwaukee?
Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry remain under pressure to improve the team’s fortunes
The city plays a role in the Knicks predicament and the players do have to take some responsibility.
Ultimately, though, things need to be done the right way at the top of the organisation. The GM and owner know what New York is all about. It falls on them to build an environment where the team can be successful, where players can focus on the job of playing basketball.
I don’t think the Knicks are being run in a professional enough manner. The NBA needs to take a look to put some measures in place to help guide the team to an acceptable level.
The New York Knicks are a team that represents the NBA around the world. Madison Square Garden is an international brand. The club has worldwide recognition and should, like the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, be operating consistently at a certain level.
The team’s current position is an indictment of the organisation. Free agents don’t want to sign there. It’s not attractive to players. They are one of the biggest teams in one of the biggest cities in the world and they really don’t have much to offer.
‘Giannis the architect of Milwaukee’s championship identity’
Giannis Antetokounmpo scores at the rim against Orlando
I love Giannis Antetokounmpo’s approach to the game. It’s a very old school approach. He has kept what I think of as a traditional purity in his game. I say that in the sense that he believes in work, doing it behind closed doors, it’s not about the world seeing him work, and it’s all about winning and not letting up.
When I think about describing Giannis’ approach the word I jump to is ‘relentless’. I believe he is vocal in the locker room but he also leads with his actions, something I think is huge in this day and age.
You have some guys who put up huge numbers and, for them, that warrants leadership. With Giannis, I feel he knows how far effort goes. He leads from within the team, not from above his team-mates. He does the dirty work. I’ve heard him say he doesn’t believe in resting players. I love all of that and it speaks to his relentlessness.
You can see in all these Milwaukee blowout wins. Giannis is transmitting that relentlessness and work ethic to the rest of his team. If your main guy doesn’t take days off, if he is putting up such dominant, efficient performances, how can you not follow suit? He is superman at the moment, he is doing everything for the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo goes airborne against the LA Clippers
Giannis has grown. When he came into the league as a kid he had certain physical tools. Over time, he realised he could be dominant in the league. His next step was to believe he could be the best player in the league. Now he is established alongside the league’s elite players and it is about winning a title.
I think last season was a huge lesson for Giannis and it has enabled him to grow big-time mentally. The Bucks had the best record in the league but fell short of their goal in the playoffs. He knows there can be no stopping, he and his team-mates have to keep taking steps forward.
For Giannis and that Bucks squad, this season is about running through that finishing line. That is something they are working on every single night and you can clearly see it. They are beating the brakes off teams. And they are building a championship identity.
Every night they are going out on the court and they are not playing the scoreboard. They know they have a much bigger goal and they are going to execute correctly for the full 48 minutes. Win, lose or draw, they are trying to execute every single possession to the best of their ability.
They don’t stop playing at their level because they are up by 10 or 20 points. They keep pounding away. They keep playing the correct way.
That is how you achieve a long-lasting winning culture by doing the right things all the time.
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