Finally! The hopes and dreams of Knick fans have finally come true! Mike Miller was recently announced as the Knicks interim head coach, taking over for David Fizdale. Miller coached the Knicks G-League affiliate in Westchester, compiling a 108-92 record. The 2017-2018 season for Miller was an impressive one, winning the G-League Coach of the Year. Miller has made many coaching stops throughout his career, working for programs like Western Illinois, Sam Houston State, Texas State, Kansas State, UC Riverside, and the Austin Spurs. Mike Miller has head coaching experience outside of the NBA leading Texas State, Eastern Illinois, and the Westchester Knicks.
Mike Miller received his first coaching job in 1994, when he was named Assistant Coach of the Texas State Bobcats. During his tenure with the Bobcats, Miller had a record of 87-79, making the NCAA Tournament once, and winning the Southland Conference twice. After coaching the Bobcats, Miller went on to his next coaching venture, becoming the Head Coach at Eastern Illinois. While at Eastern Illinois, Miller went 75-130, never finishing ahead of fourth place in the Ohio Valley Conference. On top of this, Eastern Illinois never made any NCAA Tournament appearances under Miller. The next head coaching job for Miller didn’t come until 2015, when he took over the Knicks G-League affiliate. Miller had the most success with the Knicks, making the playoffs three out of five seasons with a .540 winning percentage.
Mike Miller will take over a Knicks franchise that resembles more of a G-League roster. The New York Knicks are one of the least talented teams in the NBA. The majority of this team is very inexperienced. Mike Miller’s main job is not about wins and losses, but the development of RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina, and Damyean Dotson. Miller knows how to coach young players and have development as his number one priority. Unlike Fizdale, Miller will emphasize giving playing time to the future of the franchise.
Every couple of years, NBA organizations “change the culture” by bringing in a new coach. The Knicks have not made the playoffs since 2013, and have been the laughing stock of the NBA during that time. Mike Miller, if nothing else, is a band-aid on a very large wound. If Mike Miller can remarkably turn this season around, he would be in line to get his first permanent NBA head coaching job. No one expects the Knicks to win; Miller can coach under no pressure and focus on the development of the young guys. If Miller can make Knick games watchable for fans, then he already exceeds expectations.
No matter the outcome of the Mike Miller era, it’s important to remember that the front office (and James Dolan) need to go. At some point they have to be held accountable for their mistakes. Until then, it’s up to Mike Miller to save the sinking ship.