The New York Knicks are a bad team. Are they the worst team in the league? Perhaps not. But they are the biggest disappointment of the season so far. Picking up Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and grouping them with Carmelo Anthony seemed like an okay move in the offseason. But then the games started happening.
They’re sitting on a 17-21 record right now, and free-falling. They’ve lost 8 of their last 10 games. And Wednesday night, they lost to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, 98-97, via a TJ McConnell buzzer beater. That’s painful.
A Failed Experiment
Make no doubt about the acquisition of former MVP Derrick Rose from Chicago in the offseason; it was a risk from the start. And the risk doesn’t seem to be paying off at the moment. Rose is a shell of his MVP self, averaging 17.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. Again, not bad numbers. Just disappointing, given the expectations that were on him when he stepped into basketball-crazy New York.
After Rose signed with Anthony, netizens lampooned the decision, saying that the New York Knicks were trying to “win the 2011 championship”. This referenced how both superstars were more relevant, certainly bigger threats to opponents, about half a decade ago.
The current situation now has fans declaring the Knicks a failed experiment and calling for management to blow things up. The fan sentiment on SB Nation’s Posting and Toasting seems agreeable with that.
Rose remains a better-than-average point guard – even though his absence due to family matters against New Orleans this week had fans calling his commitment into question. Anthony’s scoring skills occasionally let him take over games. They both still have trade value. Some role players also ought to be switched with younger talents. Courtney Lee’s defensive capabilities, for example, could be traded for a younger piece.
Kristaps Porzingis is the Future
Where does that leave the Knicks? Well, the season hasn’t been all that bad. They’ve found a gem in center Kristaps Porzingis. The 7-footer has leapfrogged both Rose and Anthony now as the Knicks’ most important player. Mind that we say most important, rather than best player, which is still debatable. But KP is the future, and attempts to bring the Knicks back up to a Playoff-strong standards must be centered around him.
Sure, the Knicks could hold on to Carmelo Anthony and hope things turn around. But the East firmly belongs to the Cavaliers, with the Raptors and Celtics in tow. If New York thinks it will be looking at lottery balls rather than Playoff opponents by the time the season ends, it would be wise for them to get a head start. With this year’s draft being touted as one of the best in a while, they could try cashing in there.
Give it a few years. New York is too devoted, its fans too rabid, for the franchise to not rise again. They will, as they did in their 2010-2013 runs. Put the keys in the hands of Kristaps Porzingis, and give a few years.