By: Michael Bernardo
December 19th 2018
The Knicks are losing from the start of the season and I’m okay with that.
Wait, what was that?
Yes, you heard correctly. The Knicks are losing from the start of the season and I’m okay with that. Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to sit here and say that the Knicks should go out and lose every single night and finish the season with 70 of them. I care about this team too much to wholeheartedly watch them fall flat on their face game in and game out. However, with that being said, losing is winning for once with the New York Knickerbockers.
Aside from the generic “You want them to lose so they could pick higher in the draft” statement, (although that is going towards the wayside since the worst 3 teams now have the same amount of ping-pong balls for that coveted 1st pick) there is more to gain by losing than by winning.
If you’re a fan of a certain age, you are used to seeing the Knicks winning for at least more than one season. Of course I’m talking about the hard-nose bully ball of the mid-’90s when defense was king and the Knicks were wearing that crown. But everyone knows that story as it’s gotten played out now. But if you’re a fan of another certain age, mine to be specific, you weren’t even in elementary school yet during this time period. So, that means your version of the Knicks are years of Isiah Thomas as a miserable coach and GM with many questionable players that include but are not limited to: Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry, Andrea Bargnani and most recently $72 million for a has-been named Joakim Noah.
Oh yeah, and losing. Definitely losing.
But these Knicks are different. Sure, they are losing just like every other year this century that isn’t 2013. But it’s being done so with a much bigger purpose: player development. If you’re also a fan of the Mets and Jets like I am, that word is unheard of to you. But with the changes in those with power, GM and Presidents Steve Mills and Scott Perry, and with a new coach in David Fizdale, this team is preaching youth and patience. With the youngest team in the NBA to start the season with an average age of 24.57 years old, this team has its sights on developing its young players that have been picked up through the draft and other minuscule acquisitions.
With that being said, young usually means inexperienced. And inexperienced usually means losing. But this time losing has given the Knicks a sense of understanding. In the past, the Knicks have always given us just a glimpse of hope; something that after many years of losing, you’ll take what you can get. Around this time of the season, the Knicks are hovering around .500 making us all have that false sense of hope that maybe they can surprise some of us. But then Christmas comes around and just like clockwork, that record plummets but not far enough to grab that coveted 1st pick thanks to the almost hopeful start.
But this time around, the Knicks have lost 23 of their 32 games but still give glimpses of hope without letting us all down in the long run. They handed an Eastern Conference favorite Celtics a loss on the day before Thanksgiving and were keeping pace with the Warriors through the halfway mark of the 4th period. (that 28 point loss says otherwise but the Warriors will do that to literally anyone) However, for once, the Knicks are managing to take what they have and running with it. This team knows they are going to lose at least 50 games this season. They also blew a 9 point lead in the 3rd quarter and ultimately lost by 18 to the far worse Phoenix Suns (and that’s saying a lot.) But as I said, it comes with the territory. With the likes of youngsters Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Emmanuel Mudiay, Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier, Noah Vonleah and Damyean Dotson, (yes, that’s a lot) you’re not going to be planning your life in April around the playoffs this year. But with them and established players Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter, you may want to change those April plans for years to come.
Right right, then there’s the strong possibility of a max contract level player and that 7’3″ unicorn from Latvia but I can’t seem to remember his name at the moment.