What’s Wrong With the Knicks & Why You Should Watch Them
Current Record: 17-21, 11th in Eastern Conference
New York City. The Big Apple. Broadway. Madison Square Garden. The Mecca of Basketball. We always knew players found MSG to be a special place to play. The bright lights, the history, the billion-dollar renovation that added two Chase bridges across the ceiling.
We have the New York Knicks, a franchise that’s been on the wrong end of winning for almost two decades. The Knicks have only made the playoffs just 5 times out of the last 16 seasons, in which only once were they successfully able to get past the 1st round. Knicks fans are anxious. Perhaps they’re tired. Perhaps they want to see glimpses of hope before being disappointed again. They have hope of restoring basketball brilliance to this city. There were false prophets that once rejuvenated the city, only to be let go, or fade into retirement.
However, there’s a small light at the end of the tunnel. That light is Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot 3 Latvian big man. They call him the “Unicorn”. Most Knicks fan booed him on draft night. Trust me, he remembers. But KP understood, he embraced it. It made him understand he had to earn the trust of the city of Gotham. He is a better and more polished player than he was last season, which is what every Knick fan can hope for. He is the cornerstone of the franchise, and the Knicks should commit in rebuilding around the prized Latvian.
It’s no secret the Knicks have been struggling lately, and it’s mainly because of defense. According to basketballreference.com, Knicks are giving up 108.8 points per game to their opponents, fifth worst in the league. They are also allowing the 3rd most offensive rebounds at 11.5 to their opponents as well, making it even harder for them to beat teams. Opposing teams have a pretty simple scouting report, control the glass and contain the other players besides Carmelo. Knicks don’t have a reliable and consistent bench. They rely heavily on Carmelo, KP, and Derrick Rose to do the heavy lifting on offense. Playing at a slow pace, they are not going to beat many teams because they let their opponents score more points than them at 108.8 points per game compared to 105.7 they score themselves. With the news and rumors of Derrick Rose skipping Monday’s loss to New Orleans without informing team officials, Rose’s future with the Knicks becomes even more of a mystery.
Silver lining? There’s plenty. The Knicks own their 2017 draft pick. Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee were very good signings. Derrick Rose has looked healthy and is only on a 1 year deal, and with that said it’s good for the Knicks to test the free agency market for a point guard before they commit to Rose. If the front office decides to let Rose walk, the Knicks will have a real legitimate shot at Chris Paul, one of Carmelo’s closest friend in the league. CP3 would make Porzingis a 25-10 player. He would arguably be the best point guard that has ever put on a Knick uniform. Let me remind you, Chris Paul makes teammates better. In fact, he makes players All-Stars (See David West Blake Griffin). There’s even Willy Hernangómez, a 22-year old from Spain. Willy has great hands and feet for a young prospect, and he can surely become a quality NBA player.
Everyone wants to put a bounty on Phil Jackson, but Phil is the one who decided to draft KP. It’s easy to criticize Phil because the Knicks are struggling, but the job isn’t an easy task. Whether or not he signed Carmelo Anthony or Joakim Noah to debatable contracts, he still drafted a player in Porzingis that Knick fans will continue to cheer on for years to come.
The Knicks are going to be right there in contention for the playoffs all season, even with their recent slides. I believe and fully expect the Knicks to bounce back, and they will be fun to watch again. They are capable of winning ball games, because they have shown glimpses of a team that’s capable of playing good team basketball. However, time is running out for Carmelo and the Knicks. At least it will be a roller coaster ride towards April. Stay tuned.