The Knicks have been a lackluster franchise since Patrick Ewing unceremoniously left the team at the start of the new millennium. That’s twenty-one years of frustration, anger, and disappointment, with nothing but six playoff appearances to show for their effort. And of those six playoff trips, only once did the Knicks make it out of the first round.
If there’s any other team who comes close to holding a candle to the Knicks run of embarrassment, it’s the other New York team that shares the Orange and Blue: the New York Mets. But at least the Mets have been to the World Series in the new millennium.
But something felt different at Madison Square Garden earlier this year? Could it be that this team has talented players on the roster? I mean, the season opener against the Boston Celtics was a double-overtime instant classic, with the Knicks taking home the W, 138-134. Maybe the Knicks… are good?
Dubious Handles No More
Julius Randle continued his excellent play from last season, and R.J. Barrett continues to cement himself as the long-term future for the team. But newcomers Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier made the most significant impact early in the year.
Walker came to the Knicks after a contentious tenure with the Celtics after replacing Kyrie Irving at point guard. It’s not great coming into work after hearing that your GM has shopped you to every team on the planet to no avail. In the offseason, Walker signed a multi-year deal with the Knicks, where he’ll share duties with Derrick Rose. Fournier is also coming to New York from Beantown after the Celtics traded for his services at the deadline. So far, Fournier’s averaging 19 points in 31.5 minutes a game.
And the Knicks have continued showing that they have the skills and ability to back up their newfound swagger. In their fifth game of the season, the Knicks locked horns with a very well-crafted Chicago Bulls team. The Knicks took that game, 104-103. That’s good basketball against a good team? The Knicks are capable of that?
If the Knicks were able to keep this up, they’d be able to break that first-round losing streak this season. But, of course, it’s the Knicks, and it was early in the season, so we all knew what was coming.
Bing Bong Goes Wrong
Cut to today’s New York Knicks, slugging it out in the basement of the Eastern Conference, showing inconsistent signs of potential, and a general coin-flip of confidence every time they take the court. These Knicks should be folk heroes, like the Kirk Niuenhuis’s of New York. In a city where everyone is equally an underdog and a champion in their own right, the Knicks are just… bad.
After Kemba began the season hot, head coach Tom Thibideau pulled him from the rotation, forcing the 31-year-old point-guard to put out statements like “I have no choice but to live with it.” Meanwhile Derrick Rose, the People’s MVP, is having a solid year. But you wouldn’t know it by the way the Knicks are playing. Even Julius Randle has returned to his old ways of mediocre play mixed with squandered potential.
The Knicks began this season hotter than a Hell’s Kitchen subway station in summer, opening their season going 5-1, with wins over the Celtics and Bulls. That was then, and now the Knicks are facing fighting to stay above .500 in an already competitive Eastern Conference. Tom Thibodeau’s second year as head coach of the Knicks seemed to be a continuation of last season’s success. But now it appears that Randle, R.J. Barrett, and the rest of the Knicks will need to step up, or hope the magic didn’t wear off last Spring.
When the Knicks shocked the Celtics in their season opener, the rallying cry from the MSG crowd became an overnight sensation. “Bing Bong” was a celebration of New York in so many ways. It’s the sound of the subway doors opening, the sound of arrival, and the sound of the Knicks.
For a brief moment in time, the New York Knicks had arrived.
We all had hoped that this was a new Knicks team, one that was built on drive and grit, a team that understood just how downtrodden the fanbase is. Instead, as we heard the doors open, the same Knicks team that has graced the floor of Madison Square Garden for the last… eternity, has once again returned.
Bing Bong, it’s that good old Knicks Seasonal Depression once again coming to remind you that the Nets are in first place.
- / 10 months ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.