The New York Knicks are 6-7 and are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, good for the final play-in spot early in the season.
However, after the addition of Jalen Brunson this past summer and the expected progression of key young pieces, the Knicks hoped to drastically improve from their non-playoff finish. The Knicks begin a five-game round trip out West on Tuesday, starting with a contest against the Utah Jazz.
According to Newsday’s Steve Popper, Julius Randle called a pivotal players-only meeting before the trip to “stress accountability” and make sure they can maximize their performance.
The meeting was held in Utah following their embarrassing 145-135 loss in Madison Square Garden to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s game was amongst the leakiest, least inspired defensive performances by the Knicks all season; the Thunder had 122 points through three quarters.
This is especially disheartening because the Knicks had one of their best offensive games of the season, scoring a franchise-record 48 points in the first quarter. The Knicks are giving up 116.8 points per game this season, good for 25th in the NBA, with a 113.5 defensive rating, good for 24th.
Players-only meetings have historically had mixed results, but the Knicks are desperate to find consistency sooner rather than later. Their first chance to see if their dinner will yield positive results will be Tuesday in Utah at 9:00 PM EST.