The New York Knicks are 27-41, and on the outside looking in when it comes to the Playoffs. Clearly, this season has not gone the way it was supposed to. When the team was initially assembled, bringing former MVP Derrick Rose into the mix, the Playoffs weren’t even supposed to be a concern. New York had pegged themselves as a black horse contender. They were supposed to surprise everyone. Instead, they became the kind of team that gives up 39 points to the Brooklyn Nets in the first quarter.
Everyone who refused to sniff at the New York Knicks “superteam” was absolutely right. Derrick Rose failed to get into form and Carmelo Anthony continues to feel the effects of age in his legs. If that weren’t bad enough, Brandon Jennings found the situation so bad that he expressed joy upon his move to the Washington Wizards. President Phil Jackson’s franchise went from a promising start to a tailspin.
Time To Bring Out The Tank?
With their last 14 games headed their way, the New York Knicks find themselves about 6 games behind the pile-up of teams fighting for a Playoff spot. By all means, it’s unlikely they’ll even make their way to the Playoffs now. What’s a team to do, then?
In basketball terms, the Knicks might do best in tanking. That means, worrying less about winning, and not minding the losses piling up. A worse record would equate to better chances in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery. Tanking is generally considered a shameful tactic, and one we can’t imagine a champion like Phil Jackson recommending. But as of right now, it looks like the Knicks have nothing to lose.
Fans certainly seem to be of that opinion. SB Nation fan site Posting and Toasting is celebrating a tough West Coast road trip coming up for the Knicks. The forums at Ultimate Knicks are also getting louder with similar sentiments about tanking.
With Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball looking like two strong prospects for NBA development, the Knicks would love every small push to help get their hands on them.
Tanking Doesn’t Work
But the race to the bottom is never a sure recipe for future success. Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks says as much: there’s never a guarantee that you’re going to end up drafting a future superstar, even if you have the worst record in the league. Plus, there’s the added danger of developing a culture of loss for the rest of the team – something that affects team morale and fans support along the way.
The best thing for the Knicks to do is to continue playing the way they do and trying to win. This, at least, guarantees development for Kristaps Porzingis. The 7-footer has been the lone bright spot for the New York Knicks this season, and he could grow into an All-Star yet.
This season is a bust, that’s true. But if the Knicks aim to build around KP, the future could be a lot brighter – and the tank can even stay in the back.