A New York Knicks Debacle: D’Antoni, Amare and Playoffs?
The New York Knicks suck.
Perhaps this is a bad time to write this given that they finally got their fourth win 12 games into the season—over the Sacramento Kings. Then again, a win over Sacramento doesn’t make up for a decade of irrelevance, and a promising offseason that many thought would inspire a turnaround at Madison Square Garden.
With the Knicks sitting at 4-12, much has to be questioned. Lucky for them, I have several of the answers.
Should Mike D’Antoni be fired?
I have written about this extensively, which is why I have no problem answering this question.
Of course D’Antoni should be fired…if the Knicks don’t make the playoffs. I’m not one that usually hesitates to get rid of someone once they have proven themselves inefficient, but in D’Antoni’s lone defense, he hasn’t had much talent to work with. Quite frankly, he still doesn’t have much talent to work with, but this is the bed he and his General Manager have made for themselves.
Speaking of which, if these Knicks don’t make the playoffs, forget about Donnie Walsh retiring from his position as leader of the Knicks; he needs to be rushed out the door at season’s end. It was his idea to make the Knicks wait for 2 seasons, and it was his failure to bring another top player to New York City along with Amare Stoudemire. So as much as I am willing to push D’Antoni out the door if his system does not work on the basketball court, Donnie Walsh has to be the first guy sent packing if the Knicks are a complete failure this season.
Was getting Amare Stoudemire the right move?
As a New York Knicks fan, I am just about as fed up with Amare Stoudemire as the rest of you are. But as an ardent fan of the game of basketball, I understand what Stoudemire means to this team. If the Knicks went with David Lee instead of Stoudemire, I know that would have saved the team money and our record may not be any worse than it is right now. However, if David Lee were the power forward here, we wouldn’t be talking about the prospects of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul teaming up with David Lee to come to New York. It just wouldn’t happen.
Say what you will, but people in the NBA respect what Stoudemire has done on the court as a winner. This is a guy who has had big games in the playoffs, and was the second-best player on a Phoenix Suns team that was hard to beat for a number of years out there in the desert.
So while the fact that in a two-point loss to the Denver Nuggets, Amare had just 24 points, 6 rebounds and a minus-12 plus/minus differential in 32 minutes of play makes me want to tear my eyeballs out of my sockets, I understand that in this new NBA, stars like stars. And it takes a star to get a star, and if the Knicks are ever going to be any good, we need to start with one star…any start…even if it’s a non-rebounding power forward.
Will the Knicks make the playoffs
And of course, this is the only question that matters. Knicks fans would love to go to the Garden in late April for a chance. The last time we got that opportunity it was in 2004, when they got swept by Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets. Obviously, that was a very forgettable moment in the time. Thus, it feels as if the Knicks haven’t really been a playoff contender in a decade, and to be honest, it feels even longer than that to people who never saw those late 90’s Knicks teams as a threat to win the title—even though they played in the NBA Finals in 1999.
The Knicks, as of Thursday morning, are 4-8 and in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. They are 1.5 games back of 8th place, and a mere 5 games out of first. Thus, making the playoffs is very much an achievable goal.
However, when looking at this team, it’s hard to see that. It’s hard to envision a team paying somebody $100 million to score 24 points and grab 7 rebounds a night making the postseason. Not to put this all on Amare, because the coach needs a better rotation, Danillo Gallinari needs to man up, and the team as a whole needs to play better defense. All of those goals are possible though. And if the Knicks can just be a little more consistent and get a little bit more out of their $100 million investment, they will be a better team than the New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Bobcats at the end of the season. Passing those teams would put them in the playoffs, which I fully expect to happen. And if it doesn’t, well, you already know who has to go.