On the heels of a historically poor three-point shooting night, Austin Rivers took to Instagram to send a message to New York Knicks fans. In a show of strong leadership and true professionalism Rivers assured the agonizing brethren of the once mighty franchise that things are trending upward. It’s just going to take some time.
“Usually don’t comment on this type of stuff. But it’s a process,” Rivers said. “Trust us. We getting better.”
Toronto snapped New York’s modest two game winning streak 100-83 Thursday night in Tampa.
I am certain River’s words are difficult for Knicks fans to trust given Thursday night’s performance. After all, the team shot 3 for 36 from three-point range. The starting five was a disturbing 0 for 23. It was the worst three-point shooting effort by a starting unit in the history of the NBA. During one stretch of the contest, New York misfired on 20 consecutive attempts from behind the arc. Rivers ended the drought with a trey in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks entered the game with an NBA leading 45.9% shooting percentage from three-point range after the first week of the season, but fell to 13th at 36.6% after the frosty performance. RJ Barrett and Reggie Bullock were a combined 0 for 17. Barrett has missed 21 straight 3-point attempts since opening night.
“We have a new great coach, all new players, really young, learning to play with each other and get chemistry right still,” Rivers added. “And we still getting all the way healthy.”
First round draft picks Obi Toppin (hamstring) and Immanuel Quickley (hip) have been out since the opener at Indiana. Frank Ntlikina (ankle), Dennis Smith Jr. (quad), Alec Burks (ankle) and Omari Spellman (knee) were all unavailable against the Raptors.
Rivers made his debut for the Knicks Thursday after missing the first four games and all of the preseason with a groin injury. He played 21 minutes, scoring seven points and dishing out five assists. It is obvious however that the impact of the first-year Knick will be felt as much in the locker room as on the court.
“It’s a process but I promise we are getting there step by step,” Rivers continued. “Just be there for us. We need y’all. Y’all a part of our success and growth too. Knicks going to be [fire emoji] again.”
Rivers signed a three year, $9,975,000 contract with the Knicks during free agency, including $3,500,000 guaranteed. With his willingness to say and do the right things Knicks fans will be hoping that Rivers will be around for the duration of his deal. Maybe longer. The Knicks have been searching for a new leader for several years. It is possible they may have finally found one.
(Photo: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)