Category Archives: Knicks

How?-UPDATED

Don’t get me wrong, I never thought the Knicks would be good this year. But, I figured that with all the additions they would improve from last year’s abysmal record of 17-65 to something closer to a 30-win team. Bad, but not the train wreck we have seen twice in the past six years. All those additions had to make them better, right?

How wrong I was.  The Knicks are 4-18 and have been blown out by 81 points over their last two games.  Somehow, a team that added the third pick in the draft and some other moderately talented players is worse than a team that was a mishmash of mediocre talent last season.  How bad can this really get? And how do they fix this?

At this point, you really can’t call a bottom.  Over the past 20 seasons, the Knicks won one playoff series, made the playoffs a total of five times, and lost 50 or more games ten times!  The worst stretch in franchise history was from 1959 to 1966 where they missed the playoffs seven-straight seasons and finished 192 games below .500.  This will be their seventh-straight season missing the playoffs and they are 180 games below .500.  That means they have to go better than 24-36 over their final 60 games to avoid equaling or surpassing that string of futility.  Is there anyone who thinks that is going to happen?

Nope and we know what happens next- the coach will get fired.  I would put that as a certainty, with only the timing up in the air. If they don’t win before they play Atlanta on the 17th, he’s toast.  But if they scratch out a win or two (Hello @ Golden State) he may hang on a bit.  Either way, he won’t last until April.  His firing will probably be accompanied by the firing of the GM, leaving the two most culpable figures for this futility, Dolan and Mills, still in place.  Until one or both of that duo is gone, this will continue forever

UPDATED- Moments after pressing publish on this, Fizdale was fired.  He ran practice today, so the Knicks showed their usual class in handling this

 

What Are You Doing?

So the best thing to happen to the Knicks in the last decade returned to the Garden and got booed like he spit on the logo and trashed the place on his way out of town. Are you kidding me?

I get it, a bit, the 21st century has been a disaster for the Knicks, but the blame is easy to apportion.

1- Most goes to Jim Dolan, the atrocious owner of this team and the author of so many disasters. Beyond him, in diminishing order you can blame…

2- Isiah Thomas. Sexual harassment combined with terrible management, a double threat.

3- Steve Mills- He arrived in 1999 as the Knicks were starting to sink like a stone. He left in 2009 and returned in 2013 as the Knicks closed the books on their only stretch of decent basketball this century. He hired Isiah.

4- Phil Jackson- It takes a special kind of arrogance to treat the job and the team the way he did. Let’s just say Red Auerbach’s legacy is safe.

5- Carmelo Anthony- he could have been the cherry on the sundae of a team that Donnie Walsh had completely turned around, but that would have cost him some money. Instead he forced the trade, got it, and didn’t have enough talent around him to seal the deal. Oh, and he wasn’t a huge fan of Linsanity.

You know who should not be blamed for any of this?  Charles Oakley, Kristaps Porzingis, Amare Stoudemire, David Fizdale, Larry Wilkins, and hundreds of others who came to NY, busted their ass, and left without a ring. It’s not their fault and it’s certainly not the fans fault. I understand the frustration and venom, but let’s remember where it should be directed.

This Will be Interesting

Kyrie, KD, and DeAndre Jordan are apparently all heading to New York City to play!  By New York City, I mean Brooklyn and this has the potential to be the most interesting basketball move made here in years.

Let’s start with the optimistic view. Durant heals and returns to being one of the best players in the league. Paired with Kyrie and DeAndre, he turns the Nets into a championship team. Add in the fact that the Knicks have been horrible for 20 years and appear to have whiffed completely on free agency, and you might see a change in the rooting dynamics in our city- which is overwhelmingly skewed towards the Knicks.

On the flip side, what happens if Durant returns diminished, Kyrie continues to piss people off, and the Nets don’t become a great team?  The Nets will have swung and missed in a very public way and won’t be contenders for five years at least.

But here’s the hideous thing from a Knicks perspective. Their icompetent owner will almost certainly overreact to this super team created on his doorstep and overpay for mediocre talent. The spiral of doom will continue. I hope I’m wrong, but we all know I’m not.

The Curse of the Knicks

The Knicks haven’t played a game in two months. but they somehow keep losing. First came the draft lottery, where they fell to third. Then came a big Nets trade which enables them to match the Knicks dollar for dollar in free agency. And last night, their number one free agent target, Kevin Durant, crumbled to the floor with an apparent ACL injury that will almost certainly keep him off the court the rest of this calendar year and raises serious questions about his future performance.

And while most sane franchises would now steer way clear of Durant, it is almost a certainty the Knicks will bid against themselves and offer him a max deal to come to NY even with the injury questions. Probably the only way it doesn’t happen is if Durant decides to exercise his player option for next season and then hits free agency after the 2019-2020 season. Otherwise, we could see the strange spectacle of a guy on crutches signing a deal for over $100-million.  Only in New York kids, only in Knickland

 

Losing the Lottery-Again

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a win tonight. The Knicks went into this with a 14% chance at the first pick. The odds were basically 50-50 when it came to getting a top-3 pick. And then there’s History. Since the lottery started, the Knicks have been in it 17 times. They’ve moved up once (care to guess when?), moved down 5 times and ended up even 10 times. When they’ve been projected to be in the top-3, they’ve come out with a top-3 pick 50% of the time. So, maybe this result simply reflects their historical fate.

But now the Knicks face one of their toughest challenges ever. They need to figure out which free agents they have a good chance of signing before deciding how to using their pick. Maybe they trade it, but is Anthony Davis really going to walk away from New Orleans now?  And if Davis isn’t coming back in a trade, the Knicks need to use this pick on a player who can compliment their future free agents. Which brings me back to the start of this paragraph.

Done right, the two free agents and the #3 pick can make the Knicks into instant title contenders. Done wrong, we will be back in the pergatory we have been in this century.

It’s Hopeless

When I last wrote about the Knicks, almost a year ago, it was to talk about the strange parallel between Porzingas and Bernard King. in that post, I mentioned how King only played six more games for then Knicks after his injury. According to ESPN, Porzingas may never play another game as a Knick as he wants to be traded.

Its hard to fault him. The Knicks are a disaster and have been since Jeff Van Grundy resigned in 2001. The last 18 years have seen them have a losing record 15 times and win only one playoff series. 11 different head coaches have presided over this dumpster fire and the team is currently on pace to win 16 games.

And as I write this, the news is breaking that they have traded Porzingas to Dallas for Dennis Smith, Jr and a whole bunch of cap space. So the plan is to try to sign two max free agents and hit the Zion lottery? Good grief.

Heres the official deal as announced by the Knicks.

The team has acquired guard Dennis Smith Jr., center DeAndre Jordan, guard/forward Wesley Matthews and two future first round draft picks from Dallas in exchange for forward Kristaps Porzingis, and guards Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee.

Jordan and Matthews are going to be traded or bought out and with THJ gone, the Knicks are really, really, going to stink. The problem is, the worst record in basketball only guarantees you a top-5 pick these days you don’t get any more ping pong balls than the second or third-worst teams.

Deja Vu

It was a season that started with promise.  It saw an ascendant player turn in amazing performance and become and All-Star, and then everything came crashing down when his knee blew out as the season slipped away.

That season was actually 33-years ago and it immediately came into my head when I saw Kristaps Porzingas crumpled on the floor. In 1985, it was Bernard King, one of the most talented players in Knicks history and last night it was a guy of similar talents.

Bernard King missed the entire 85-86 season and almost all of the following one. In fact he only played six more games in a Knicks uniform. The only salvation for the Knicks was that they won the draft lottery and got Patrick Ewing a few months after that awful night.

Maybe history will repeat and the Knicks will get to draft another franchise player this June. Probably won’t, but at this point we have nothing to do but hope.

This Could Be Ugly

I am going to say that Carmelo scores more than 30 points tonight. It’s a conservative guess because most people think he might get 50, but he is going against Porzingas, which is not a great matchup for him on either end of the floor. One thing is for sure, Carmelo will be motivated to get revenge on the Knicks.

Beyond tonight, this is going to be a painful season as there are really very few reasons for optimism. But, you can also make the case that winning is the last thing the Knicks should be concerned with. They need to get another high draft pick and hope they can find the right guy. The NBA changed the lottery rules, so finishing last isn’t the priority, but finishing in the bottom three should be. (The new rules give the bottom three teams, the same chance to get the top pick- 14%)  A good draft pick is about all we have to look forward too. On the plus side, we at least have our draft picks, a big change from recent years.

That’s the sad reality of the Knicks these days. We are rooting for draft picks.

Melo is Traded

The Knicks have finally traded Carmelo Anthony!  He is headed to Oklahoma City for the equivalent of nothing- Kanter, McDermott, and a 2nd rounder. Kanter is actually a decent rotation player, but you get the point.

This really wasn’t about what they got back, it was about burying a mistake and moving on. Melo didn’t work out. Jackson compounded that mistake with a max contract and a no-trade clause. Revisiting it all again is pointless.

And now the Knicks launch their latest rebuilding attempt in earnest. It won’t be pretty and it won’t happen fast. But, they have Porzingas and Willy and that’s a start. If they drafted the right guy in Ntilikina, they will have a strong nucleus and if they are smart, they will lose a lot this year to get another lottery pick.

Knickfunction

The Knicks are reportedly firing Phil Jackson today. That’s not something I object to, his 80-166 record speaks for itself, but the timing of it shows how incredibly dysfunctional this franchise is.

What other franchise would allow the team President to run the NBA draft and then turn around and fire them three days before NBA free agency begins?  You either do this after the season ends in April, or you wait until after free agency and the summer leagues conclude. Doing it now cripples your ability to improve in free agency and calls into question why the Knicks drafted the guys they did just last week.

Again, firing Jackson is not a dumb idea. His record was atrocious, and his behavior even worse. He was the guy who gave Carmelo a max deal with a no-trade clause and a trade kicker. When he saw it wasn’t working he didn’t quietly try to get Carmelo to waive that and go elsewhere, he started trashing his own player in the press. For a smart guy, that is really stupid. Then he starts smacking the future face of the franchise around in the press and floats trade rumors about him. If you are a NBA free agent, why would you sign on the dotted line to play for this man?

But the sad reality is that this won’t make things better. A new president will come in, but Jim Dolan will remain. It was Dolan who created the culture of paranoia and dysfunction that surrounds this team. It was Dolan who forced Donnie Walsh to empty the cupboard for Carmelo when the Knicks could have waited three months and signed him as a free agent. It was Dolan who foisted Isiah Thomas on us, and may try and do so again. Phil Jackson deserves his pink slip, but until Dolan goes, Knickfunction will mean dysfunction.