To fix Knicks, Leon Rose must start at top

Mitchell Robinson
Mar 2, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) goes in for a dunk over Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Leon Rose era started on a surprisingly high note on Monday night.

Just hours after being officially named the new president of the New York Knicks, the lowly MSG tenants took down the high-powered Houston Rockets 125-123 for their second-straight win.

It’s just the sixth time over the last two seasons that the Knicks have won two or more games in a row where they’ve gone a combined 36-107 during that stretch.

And now it’s up to Rose to try and turn around an organization that has not made the playoffs in seven years and has been a laughing stock throughout much of that period.

This isn’t the first time the Knicks are promising a change of pace. We’ve seen it throughout the promotions of Steve Mills and the hirings of Phil Jackson, Glen Grunwald, Donnie Walsh, and Isaiah Thomas.

But nothing has changed for a franchise that hasn’t won a championship in almost 50 years, which means Rose will have to pull off the miraculous to will the Knicks back toward relevancy within NBA landscape.

In order to do so, his changes are going to have to start toward the top and trickle down. No, that doesn’t mean James Dolan selling the team because there has been no inclination that he would do so.

But a realistic gameplan from Rose that overhauls the Knicks’ front office could at least provide competent structure and provide a light at the end of the tunnel.

It will start with finding the right general manager to put the Knicks on a set path and build accordingly.

Over the next four years, they have seven first-round draft picks and plenty of cap space — which some might not feel are safe in the hands of current GM, Scott Perry.

After all, it was he — along with Mills — who bungled the Knicks’ offseason plans last season by whiffing on major free agents and giving out sizable deals for players who won’t do much to help develop the team’s young core of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, amongst others.

A bona fide GM can help bring the Knicks some legitimacy on the free-agent market while using the abundance of those first-round draft picks to create a viable talent pool.

The next step would be finding the right head coach to help bring everything together on the floor.

While Mike Miller has performed admirably in the interim role, the Knicks need to make developing their young players a No. 1 priority rather than giving large chunks of playing time to the likes of Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, and Taj Gibson.

Installing an established head coach that will get the most out of his young players and properly juggle prospects and established veterans will only help the cause moving forward.

And given Rose’s connections around the league during his time as an agent, he could have an upper hand at getting the organization’s top targets to Madison Square Garden.