What's Next for the Knicks
*Photo via USA Today
Quite frankly, the New York Knickerbockers are one of the worst teams in the NBA this season. It’s no surprise, considering half of the roster was gutted via trades and releases. However, it’s a season that many Knicks fans felt cautiously optimistic heading into, knowing that the current roster had intriguing talent, yet fatal flaws. Phil Jackson immersed himself into a situation that was hardly a quick fix. He knew that building a roster capable of winning an NBA Championship would take a few years, especially since he was working with limited cap space. I thought the trade of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks was a good one. It worked out for both parties as Tyson Chandler would be able to finish his career playing for a contender. On the other hand the Knicks were able to get Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, and two 2nd round draft picks. While Jose Calderon is no star point guard, he is very capable and a really good fit in the triangle offense. Shane Larkin has a lot of talent, but is still learning the point guard position in the NBA. I can see him as a future backup in this league. Wayne Ellington was traded almost immediately after he was acquired and Samuel Dalembert was waived in January. The two draft picks turned into Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, both of whom are talented young prospects. This deal was a success in my opinion because the Knicks were able to shed some money off of their salary cap. With free agency set to begin in July, the Knicks are going to need all of the money they can muster up in order to lure in potential free agent targets.
The triangle offense has been something of a debate throughout the entire season. I’ve heard many people say that the Knicks are better off ditching it and trying a new philosophy, however the triangle offense is not rocket science. It’s simply passing, cutting and creating space on the floor, so that key players can operate efficiently. It’s a system that players must buy into. It’s one of the main reasons the Knicks had to move on from JR Smith and Iman Shumpert, both of whom were extremely inefficient while running it. The triangle is a system that is proven to work. Look how many championships Phil Jackson has won by using it. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan thrived in this system and there is no reason why Carmelo Anthony can’t do the same. Would Kobe and Jordan have thrived in almost any system? I’m sure they would have. However, it’s a system that creates the necessary space for Carmelo to be at his best. As long as the front office can identify the players that fit into the triangle the Knicks should be in good hands.
Believe it or not, the Knicks actually have a few decent pieces in which they can build for the future. Langston Galloway, Lance Thomas, and Jason Smith have all shown flashes of excellent play. The main problem is that these players are being forced into roles which are not suited for them. This offseason Phil Jackson and Steve Mills must fill this roster out with at least one if not two more prominent stars to play alongside Carmelo Anthony. If you look around the league you see how all of the best teams, minus the Atlanta Hawks, have top tier talent. There is no excuse for the Knicks front office not to be able to attract free agents to the Big Apple.
When you couple that in with the fact that the Knicks might end up with the 1st overall pick in this year’s NBA draft you could see how a quick turnaround is possible. I’ve always admired the phrase ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and I believe that’s the approach Knicks fans must take in this situation. Don’t worry, there is light at the end of this tunnel.
-By Chris Johnson