The New York Knicks have nothing to play for this season.
At 30-46, they aren't making the playoffs. And after having traded their 2016 first-round pick in the deal that netted Carmelo Anthony, the team also has no reason to tank.
Yet interim head coach Kurt Rambis has been managing his players like every win matters. Since he replaced the fired Derek Fisher as coach, veterans like Anthony, Jose Calderon, and Robin Lopez have all seen their minutes go up, while young players like rookie point guard Jerian Grant have lost time on the floor.
While this seems counterintuitive—shouldn't a team with a lost season be resting its veterans under long-term contracts and giving more time to youngsters to see what they can do and get them experience?—it's also important to note that Rambis might be the least capable head coach in the league.
In his previous head coaching stint, he went 32-132 in two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and spent an entire year starting Ryan Gomes over a young Kevin Love. He's also said he wants to see rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis play small forward—entirely negating the advantage of having a 7'3" player able to draw opposing centers away from the basket with his shooting.
All of this is to say, Rambis, just like when he's on Twitter, has no idea what he's doing.
So Anthony and two other veterans came together in to show him the way.
According to the New York Daily News, Anthony, Lopez, and Calderon jointly stepped in to explain to Rambis how basketball works.
“I went to Jose and (Lopez) to kind of see what they felt, that whole idea of, ‘If you’re playing 35 minutes, how about 30 minutes?’” Anthony said. “Kind of spreading the minutes out and letting guys get other opportunities out there. And they were all for it. Then we went to Kurt and talked to Kurt about it. I’ve never done that. I’ve never been in that situation. Like you said, usually it’s the coach saying ‘We’re going to cut your minutes down coming down the stretch’ and saying, ‘We’re going to give other guys opportunities.’
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to be out there, just playing and competing. At this point, we can build guys like Jerian and Langston and (Williams) and (O’Quinn) and give those guys an opportunity they wouldn’t have or haven’t had in the past.”
Rambis reportedly ran the idea by team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills.
Fans and pundits alike have suggested the Knicks try trade Anthony in an attempt to get younger and rebuild around Porzingis. But if they did that, they'd also lose the best coach, by default, in their locker room.