First of all, I was surprised how much I missed basketball. When the season started, I couldn’t be puled away from keeping track of the Knicks via League Pass. Whenever I got the opportunity, I would take advantage of the NBA League Pass two week free trial to watch the new Knicks. Before the season started, I had all but decided to purchase League Pass but something happened during that free trial.
The Knicks sucked.
In retrospect, I should have seen this coming. While it was great to acquire Tyson Chandler via free agency so SOMEBODY would try to play defense, having to give up Chauncey Billups was a big deal. If he hadn’t been hurt during the playoffs against the Celtics, I think the Knicks had a chance to win at least two of those games. Going into the season with Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby (coming off a NBA Finals where everyone begged Erik Spoelstra to take him out of the starting lineup) as our point guards should have raised a bigger red flag. But I couldn’t imagine how bad it would have gotten.
The opening day defeat of the Celtics raised expectations that maybe this was a good team but now we know the truth, the Celtics just weren’t very good. The Knicks aren’t just losing these games. More times than not, the Knicks are falling behind by double digits early and have to play catch up. Without a true PG, the offense never gets going. To say that defense has always been a problem for the Mike D’Antoni-coached Knicks would be an understatement but the solution was always “as long as we score more points than the other team, it doesn’t matter.” Well, now that we can’t, it DOES matter. Amar’e Stoudemire looks lost without someone to do a pick and roll with. Because of the deficits, the Knicks throw whatever game plan they had out the window and see if Carmelo Anthony can shoot us back into the game. Tyson Chandler has been getting better on the defensive and offensive end but he can’t do it alone. Iman Shumpert has been a bright spot as a rookie but sometimes he buys into his own hype and shoots more than Amar’e. Landry Fields might want to see if Modells will take him back.
I used to think that the Knicks were losing to bad teams. Now I’ve come to accept that the Knicks ARE one of those bad teams.
I find it laughable every time someone says “Wait until Baron Davis is healthy”. While I am a fan of Davis, I don’t see plugging him into the team as the end-all, be-all solution. For starters, we don’t know which Baron Davis we are getting. Are we getting the Golden State Warriors Baron Davis who carried that team to a first round upset of the top seeded Dallas Mavericks in 2007 or are we getting the Clippers/Cavaliers version who carried himself to the International House of Pancakes? We’re putting all our eggs in the basket of a player the Cavaliers didn’t want.
After last night’s defeat, I found myself missing the old Knicks. Not the 90’s Knicks that we’re perennial playoff contenders (although I do miss that defense), I miss the pre-Carmelo Anthony Knicks. They weren’t great either but this team was more Mike D’Antoni’s speed. The ball movement was fluid. Raymond Felton had a good rapport with Amar’e. They didn’t have elite talent like Carmelo Anthony but that team looked like they ran plays on offense. I always hated the Carmelo trade. Not because I didn’t want Carmelo but we should have gutted the entire team in the process. I would have rather taken out chances getting him in the offseason than trading away Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. Even if we ultimately didn’t get him, we would have been a possible destination for Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. I ever think the pre-Carmelo team with just Tyson Chandler added would be better than this one.
Short story long, I did not order NBA League Pass because I couldn’t bear to watch this team. At least not yet. Maybe with Baron Davis running the point, Mike D’Antoni will figure out how to coach this team. Maybe Chandler and Amar’e will find out how to co-exist in the paint. Maybe Carmelo will run the pick and roll with Amar’e (which seems like a no-brainer but rarely do we see it). Maybe James Dolan will fire D’Antoni and Phil Jackson will leave whatever zen retreat he is on to restore glory to Madison Square Garden.
Or maybe the Knicks will just continue to suck. Sadly, I find this one more likely.