NBA: WHY THE NEW YORK KNICKS WILL BE A CONTENDER AS EARLY AS NEXT YEAR
Regardless of how you feel about the New York Knicks, one thing is certain, a return to basketball relevance is something we all want. Even if you would never admit it, even the haters have grown tired of dumping on a team this bad. It’s just no fun anymore, like a one sided fight where one opponent is content to just cower in the corner and take blows with no penchant for fighting back, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, that’s who the Knicks have become. They are now a team that is content in its losing ways, riding out the last 3 weeks of this miserable season with the hope of securing one of the top two overall picks. The NBA as a whole is exponentially more interesting when the bigger markets like the Celtics, Lakers and Knicks can field teams that are at the very least serviceable. This is precisely why even New York’s biggest critics are as desperate for them to come out of this hole as their own fan base is. Times have been tough if you are a basketball fan in the city that never sleeps, but there are reasons to believe this dumpster fire is well on its way towards being put out.
The Knicks, for the first time in the franchise’s history have lost 60 games, a blemish that stands to threaten the legacy of President Phil Jackson if not quickly rectified. A quick fix at this point is nothing short of a top 4 seed in a weak Eastern conference next season. So how can a team that is the worst in the NBA by far, achieve such a drastic improvement? The formula is quite simple and only requires Knicks fans to be just a little more patient until the free agent season. The real season for the Knicks starts shortly after the season is over when free agency begins and the draft takes place in June. The Knicks who have done everything but out right say that they are tanking the season… have essentially tanked the season and assuming they finish dead last, they would pick no worse than 4th overall, but will likely secure a top two pick likely Carl Anthony Towns of Kentucky or Jalil Okafor of Duke. Both are double digit professional scorers that play above the rim, and both could shoulder the weight of an offense running through them. Look for Jackson to man the controls from behind the curtain, with a whopping $25 million dollars available to commit to free agents.
The only problem really which could continue to suck this franchise dry of life and money is Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is not getting any younger and being nothing short of cancerous as a teammate. Imagine the east coast version of Kobe Bryant with less moxy and way fewer rings. He hasn’t exactly been able to draw any big names to the big city, and there are reasons for that. Phil Jackson seems content to build the team around whomever they draft first, which the offense still running through Anthony, but since Melo’s efforts have yet yield any playoff success, expectations should be lowered. Jackson has successfully dismantled the team as it was trading J.R. Smith and Inman Shumpert to Cleveland for two 2nd round picks and future considerations. This is quite the stock pile for the Knicks who will also be big time players in free agency.
It’s easy to say Phil is failing because he didn’t inherit a stacked team, but many coaches have squandered bettered teams. With a small truck full of draft picks, including an early one, and millions available to sign whoever they hell they want, it’s hard to make the case that the tools aren’t there to turn the Knicks into a top team in the Eastern Conference as early as next year. Once we trust the process that has proven to be successful, and the Knicks get back to prominence – not only will the NBA benefit greatly, but we can all get back to hating them again. By Des Boodram