Not All Rainbows and Unicorns in New York
It wasn’t just a living nightmare for Knicks fans, but a perfect symbol of what life has been like for the New York faithful since the turn of the century.
A stunned silence overcame the Madison Square Garden crowd as Kristaps Porzingis came crashing down to the ground at the 8:46 mark of the second quarter. Immediately, everyone knew their worst fears may have become a reality.
Porzingis, who was selected to participate in his first All-Star Game later this month, started to punch the hardwood floor as he went to grab his left knee. Trainers and teammates rushed to check on their star. Fans couldn’t look away and the face on Porzingis was a clear tell that the injury was even worse than it looked.
Just like that, the Knicks season vanished into thin air. What started out as a season full of promise and hope that the Knicks may have finally moved on from the Carmelo Anthony/Phil Jackson era that plagued the team for the past three seasons came to a screeching halt. Any optimism that the Knicks were headed in the right direction ended that night.
With the MRI confirming a left ACL tear, Porzingis will now be out for the next 9-12 months. He’ll miss a majority of the next season which means the Knicks rebuild has just been extended by a year. Time will tell if Porzingis will return to form. He had top five player potential one day and now it’s an uncertainty.
An optimist may look at this as a blessing in disguise. You can argue that the Knicks needed to blow it up regardless and needed to be preparing for 2-3 years down the road. The issue is the Knicks are currently slated to pick 10th in the draft. Porzingis already may have won them too many games to tank for a top five pick. Teams like the Grizzlies, Hawks, Magic, Mavericks, Kings, Bulls and Suns may even be so bad it might be impossible for the Knicks to even get to the top 7. Regardless, the draft is so deep, the closer you can get to the first pick, the better.
Porzingis is still only 22 years old. By the time he’s fully recovered, he’ll only be 24. His whole career is still ahead of him.
The Knicks can capitalize on this by simply tanking. Take a page out of the Spurs playbook when David Robinson went to down and tank to the bottom for Tim Duncan during the 1997 season. Look at how Sam Hinkie built the 76ers. This is model the Knicks need to approach until KP is fully healed.
There’s no choice but to sell everyone. At 23-35 and well out of the playoff picture, there’s no need to keep anyone on the roster over the age of 25. The Knicks do have value on the roster for contenders to acquire a late first round or early second pick in this draft. This should be Scott Perry’s only objective in preparation for this year’s draft.
The Knicks need to stockpile young players and draft picks to find that next diamond in the rough. They need to give themselves a chance moving forward. Trading for young players, draft picks, and expiring contracts are should be priorities one, two and three.
All may not be totally lost. More dark days and losing is ahead for the Knicks. Just know it may not be the end of the world. Although severely damaged, the Knicks and their outlook may not be totally ruined if the front office deals with Porzingis injury with the best approach.
Prayers to Porzingis. Wishing for all the best in his recovery. Injuries are just simply awful for the NBA and its fans.