Sources: Knicks president Leon Rose has been impressed with interim head coach Mike Miller

Ian Begley
SNY

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

When Leon Rose officially took over as Knicks president on March 2, the plan was to use the final six weeks of the season to get to know coaches, players and execs. That, presumably, would help inform Rose as he reshaped New York's roster, coaching staff and front office in the offseason. 

Obviously, that plan was altered two weeks ago when the NBA suspended its season amid the coronavirus crisis.

But in his 10 days on the job, Rose came away with a positive feeling about Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller.

Rose had said during that time that he'd been impressed by the way Miller handled the team and respected the job he'd done since taking over in early December, per SNY sources. 

The Knicks are 17-27 under Miller. 

 

That winning percentage, extrapolated over an 82-game season, would have given New York roughly 32 wins. (For those who want to compare Miller and David Fizdale, it's worth noting that Miller had a healthy Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock for much of his season).

Still, a 32-win season would have been better than most reasonable expectations for this Knicks team. 

In addition to the on-court results, Miller handled some delicate off-court situations with class. 

He was the lone public spokesperson for the team after the firings of Fizdale and president Steve Mills and the deaths of David Stern and Kobe Bryant

Because of those on- and off-court performances, some prominent people at Madison Square Garden would like to see Miller have a role with the team next season, regardless of who Rose hires as the head coach, sources say.  

Rose had been a prominent agent for more than two decades before taking the Knicks job. 

In that role, he'd developed relationships with many coaches, including Tom Thibodeau, John Calipari and Mike Woodson. Rose's association with Thibodeau has led opposing execs to speculate that he is a strong favorite to get the Knicks job. 

In addition to the coaching search, Rose and the Knicks have to prepare for the draft amid the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus. 

Video: SNY Out of Office Replies: Kaz advice for Leon Rose

It's unknown at this point if teams will evaluate prospects at the NBA Draft Combine or if they'll be able to work out potential draft picks in May and June. The combine and team workouts are big tools for the evaluation process; the Knicks may have to make their picks without them.  

Teams obviously also didn't have the chance to see many college players compete in conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament. So Rose and the Knicks -- along with all other NBA teams -- may be relying more heavily on previous in-person scouting and watching tape to evaluate college prospects. 

If the season doesn't resume -- or if it starts again in a playoff format - New York will finish with the NBA's sixth-worst record. That would give the Knicks a 9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the NBA Lottery and a 28 percent chance of a pick in the top three. In that scenario, they could slide back as low as No. 9. There is a minuscule chance (.01 percent) that they fall all the way back to 10. New York would have two first-round picks (No. 27 from the Clippers via the Marcus Morris trade) and an early second-round pick (No. 38, via Charlotte).

Rose gets endorsement from Bucks exec

Bucks president Peter Feigin, a former marketing executive for the Knicks, is a big fan of the Rose hire.

"I love Leon. I've known Leon forever. He is a quality, great guy," Feigin said in an interview on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. "There's no one who has a better supportive circle, in and around the league, than he does. This job is much different than, I'm sure, being a player agent. But Leon is so smart, so good, such a good people person. If someone can do it well, Leon can do it well." 

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