I’m not going to ease into the story with the rich history of basketball in New York with references to Rucker Park and the like. You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it… So let’s cut to the chase: The New York Knicks suck. There I said it. It’s no secret and there’s really no debate. They haven’t won an NBA title in over 30 years and haven’t even been to the finals since the millennium started. And we won’t even discuss how much weaker their conference has been over the last ten years…
So, if New York, one of the greatest cities in the world for culture and sports can’t build a decent basketball team even with one of the most famous arenas in the world… What the hell is wrong?
Not to say it’s as simple as that. But with all the advantages New York has with their market, venue, location, lifestyle (the list goes on), something must be seriously wrong for them to not be competitive at the very least. There have been great Knicks players, talent has not been the issue. We’ve seen talents like Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, Amare Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony grace the floor at Madison Square Garden. There has been no dearth of talented players.
Well if it’s not the players, then it must be the coaching, right? The Knicks just haven’t pulled the trigger to bring in that big name to run the show, right? Wrong. It’s not a list of Hall of Fame coaches by any means, but guys like Hubie Brown, Pat Riley, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark D’Antoni have all had success coaching NBA teams — Just not much with the Knicks.
We’ve discussed what the problem hasn’t been thus far, now let’s get into what the problem could be. When you look at the construction of the Knicks roster and organization, you can see that it has essentially been a game of musical chairs for the last decade and a half. The only constant has been ownership: James Dolan and the Madison Square Garden group. Now I’m going to make some comparisons to another incredibly popular, wealthy but struggling franchise in a different sport. The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable team in the NFL, they have struggled to win over the last couple decades, they have attempted to remedy this by overspending on flashy free agents and big names. Their coaching and organizational staff has had very little consistency and they continue to lose no matter how much money they throw at the team.
Eerily similar, isn’t it Knicks fans? Jerry Jones cannot seem to get it right in Dallas and Dolan appears to have the same problem in New York.
James Dolan has clearly struggled with creating a winning culture within the New York Knicks organization. Rather than build a sturdy foundation from which the organization can grow, they have simply tried to construct an All-Star team on top of the carousel that is the coaching staff. The Knicks need to completely overhaul the organization with a plan for creating chemistry and consistency instead of flash and flair. Phil Jackson isn’t getting it done. Carmelo Anthony isn’t getting it done. James Dolan is not getting it done.
Maybe they should take a page out of the Spurs’ handbook. Sure, they’ve been labeled as old and boring… But what a luxury it is to be so “bored” of winning year in and year out. I’m sure Knicks fans could find a way to deal with that.