There used to be a time when playing in New York simply implied a higher standard. That once high bar has been drastically lowered now by a majority of the city’s teams — most notably the last-place, 2-8 New York Knicks.
It’s never a good sign on any front when a team’s general manager and president feel the obligation to address the media over poor performance in the opening 10 games of a season.
That, though was the reality for Knicks fans when President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry took to the microphone following a 108-87 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, which put the Knicks at the bottom of the NBA barrel.
Although Mills did say “we’re committed to making this better,” speaking on behalf of the Knicks organization, it’s time to consider how long things have been straight up terrible.
One of the most storied NBA franchises that plays in the sports mecca, Madison Square Garden, the Knicks have had 15 losing seasons versus just four winning seasons since 2001. In that span of time, they’ve had two 65-loss years and made the playoffs just five times. They haven’t even had a 30-win season (which, in the typical, 82-game NBA season, translates to a .362 winning percentage) since the 2016-17 campaign.
Truth is, the “sporadic efforts” which Perry has noticed in the current Knicks squad have been plaguing MSG and its ever so loyal, depleted fanbase well before Carmelo Anthony’s departure or any of the other recent setbacks the team has endured.
While Mills literally said last night that “we have patience and we believe in coach,” a new report from ESPN tells that Mills is eyeing for a premature departure of Head Coach David Fizdale.
On Sunday night, Mills also told media members that Knicks owner James Dolan is as “passionate as we are about this,” adding that the owner “has the same kind of expectations that we have.”
Amid this nearly 20-year run of failure, many Knicks fans have blamed Dolan for the team’s ineptitude. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. even went as far as to call upon Dolan to sell the Knicks because of a perceived disinterest in the team’s success.
Diaz does make a legitimate point. When a sports franchise has been as bad for as long as the Knicks have been this century, it’s not so much an issue of talent, management or coaching. It’s dysfunction coming from the top down.
Angry Knicks fans have every right to point their overpriced foam fingers at Dolan. At the end of the day, he’s the one responsible for failing to find competent coaches, scouts and front office management to make the team successful — and failing to let them do their job.
But one wonders just how much longer NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will put up with a perennial losing team in the nation’s biggest market without doing something to fix it.