Well, as Murphy’s Law states, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and that pretty much has been the story of the Knicks since even before the iPod came into existence. Since the new millennium began over eighteen years ago, season after season something has gone horribly wrong for the Knicks. Whether it’s the Knicks drafting someone who turns out to be a complete bust, signing someone during free agency and completely overpaying them, making a trade that is a headscratcher, or in this case a catastrophic injury that shakes the very foundation of the franchise, nothing EVER seems to go right for New York’s beloved basketball team since the “glory days” of Patrick Ewing.
For those of you that dont know, on February 6th the Knicks were playing the Bucks at the Garden, in the second quarter Knicks up and coming superstar Kristaps Porzingis dunked the ball all over Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Kristaps landed wrong when he came down from the dunk and had to be carried off to the locker room. At about 11 PM on February 6th reports came out that confirmed a Knicks fans worst fears, that the injury was severe and season-ending for Porzingis. Porzingis suffered a torn ACL, and he will not be on an NBA court for at least another eight months, possibly 12 months (which means he could miss most of next season to go along with missing the rest of this years NBA campaign). With Porzinigs out of the lineup until at least October (probably longer) and not knowing if he will ever be as good as he was before this injury, the Knicks must focus on what they must do now in the interim and in the long run, and that’s what I will be sharing with you in this article.
1. Knicks chances at making the Playoffs are now completely gone, so tank for a good draft pick, and let the young players PLAY.
Even with Porzingis healthy and playing well the Knicks chances at a playoff spot going into February 6th vs. Milwaukee were slim to none. The Knicks were four games out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference before Porzingis got injured, and now without Kristaps in the everyday lineup, the Knicks roster is one of the five weakest roster’s in the NBA. Obviously, no NBA team can go out on to a court and not try or put in effort, it’s their job, they are getting paid to put in a maximum effort on the court night in and night out. What the Knicks should do is trade expiring contracts for draft picks or to shed salary (the Knicks just traded Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte for two second-round draft picks), so I guess they’re off to a decent start in that sense, I guess. For the remaining games, this season the Knicks should (but knowing the Knicks they will not) also give more minutes to the younger players on the roster such as rookie Frank Ntilikina and sparkplug Trey Burke. Veterans such as Jarett Jack and Courtney Lee should ride the bench more often then they have been (if they don’t get traded by the deadline) so the Knicks can see what these young players have to offer the Knicks going into next season.
2. Don’t Sign Any Major Free Agents This Summer, Not Even Lebron.
If you gave me a choice between a small rebuild that will get the Knicks to the seventh or eighth seed in the standings next season, or sitting dead last in the NBA standings for the next three years so the Knicks can get high draft picks that could potentially develop into superstars, ill take the second choice every single time. Knicks fans everywhere are tired of seeing the Knicks miss the Playoffs, but being the eight seed and getting destroyed in the first round, and not getting a lottery pick in the NBA draft at the end of the days is actually worse for any franchise in the long run than missing the playoffs altogether. In that case, why did I say dont sign Lebron? What if New York is on his radar this summer? (which it probably is not, but crazier things have happened, Wouldnt having LeBron on the Knicks, even if the rest of the roster is a bunch of bench players, make them at least a top-four team in the East? Yes, it probably would, the Knicks if they got Lebron would probably be one of the best teams in the East if LeBron came to MSG. But again, is that whats best for the franchise in the long term? At the end of the day the Knicks will advance to at least the second round, but then lose to a deeper and more talented team such as Boston, Toronto, or even the Bucks. Would Lebron stepping on to the court in the 2019 playoffs as a Knick be an amazing spectacle? Yes, and as a Knicks fan I would cherish the moment forever, but at the end of the day, it is not what is best for the Knicks in the long term. The Knicks should sign serviceable players to fill up the vacant roster spots going into next season, and by doing that probably finish near the bottom in the standings, get a high pick in the draft to play along Kristaps when he returns, and go from there (but again knowing the Knicks, they probably will not do this).
3. KEEP LOSING GAMES (Even When Porzingis Returns).
As I just stated, I believe the Knicks should just sign serviceable players to fill up the roster spots on the Knicks going into next season. The Knicks shouldn’t sign any star players, or overpay any player, whether he is a serviceable player or a star player, why overpay for any player if you’re trying to lose games anyway? Again they should give the young players a lot of playing time next year to let them develop and see how good they can become, which will include the top 10 pick the Knicks will most likely get in this year’s upcoming draft. All this might make sense, just suck until you best player returns, But why continue to lose games once your star returns to the court? Well, Kristaps is going to coming off a serious injury that could possibly affect his jump shot, speed, and dunking/shot-blocking ability. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that it will not be known for at least a year or so after Porzingis returns if he is the same player or has the same potential he did before the catastrophic injury. If the Knicks and their front office try to be competitive once he returns and he is not the same player, that will leave the Knicks once again in limbo between the 9th and 12th seeds in the conference most likely, which means they will most likely not get a top 5 pick once we already know Porzingis will never be the same player he was before the injury. If this scenario happens of Porzingis not being able to reach his potential, and he’s still surrounded by guys that are more or less bench players, they wont make the playoffs but won’t get a super high pick in the draft either, leaving them in an undesirable spot (but knowing the Knicks, I will not be surprised if this is how everything plays out over the next few years). So at the least, the Knicks should keep losing games to get high picks as a safety net just in case KP doesn’t turn out to be the player all Knicks fans are hoping he will become (but again, Knowing the stupidity of the Knicks front office, they will most likely not do this). All I can tell you is if you are a Knicks fan is to hope and pray, and maybe for the first time in almost two decades Knicks fans prayers will finally be answered, maybe.