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While Time Will Tell, Current Knicks Roster Provides Fans Plenty of Optimism

Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis


Being a New York Knicks fan is probably one of my least favorite things about myself. Save for a few weeks in 2012 (Linsanity), my life as a Knicks fan has been mostly agonizing. From the many years of first round playoff exits, to the many years of only wishing we were good enough to get beat in the first round, to the laundry list of players that we signed or traded for just a year or two too late, being a Knicks fan has been, more than anything else, work.

Then all of a sudden, in a manner so shocking it was reminiscent of Pikachu dropping a toaster in a bathtub, Phil Jackson seemed to descend from the heavens to lead us to the land of milk and honey. The land of the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Now, I wasn’t one of those fans that expected immediate results; we had a bare bones team of role players and Carmelo Anthony when Phil stepped in; but I certainly wasn’t expecting the raging tire fire akin to that of the one residing in The Simpsons fictional home town of Springfield. There’s no other way to say it. The Knicks were just awful in every sense of the word. Derek Fisher got thrown into the deep-end of the pool with cement in his shoes. He was a first time coach that was asked to right a ship that had long since capsized. I commend him for his efforts, but I’m glad Phil canned him halfway through last season.

And so the 2016 offseason came. With it came the usual irrational glimmer of hope that lives deep inside all teams’ fan-bases, but the Knicks most of all. We had no draft pick, Andrea Bargnani could be thanked for that, so our only options were trades and free agents. Yet, for the first time that I can remember, I loved what the front office did.

The first big move, trading for former MVP Derrick Rose, was huge. It filled the biggest hole on the team. Now there was finally a starting caliber point guard that would play defense better than a set of swinging saloon doors. Not to mention, that, while he may never get back to that MVP level, he’s still more of an offensive threat than any guard on the Knicks since Marbury. Last year, the Knicks averaged a league low 15.5 drives to the basket per game. Derrick Rose alone last year averaged 8.9. It gives the offense a totally different option that fits in with the drive and a dish system that the NBA has been moving towards for the past few years. Additionally, Knicks new head coach, Jeff Hornacek, has spoken about how the combination of Rose and last year’s rookie sensation, and might I add the subject of a shrine in my closet, Kristaps Porzingis, could become deadly in pick and roll situations.

Landing Joakim Noah, another former Chicago Bull, gives the Knicks a new defensive general on the floor after Robin Lopez was shipped off in the Rose trade. He also gives the locker room a veteran presence and vocal leader that simply hasn’t been there. Without discrediting him at all, Carmelo, while obviously a leader on and off the court, is frankly just not that type of leader. He has always been the lead by example, strong silent type. Noah brings a vocal energy that will unite the team on the floor, while also helping to foster the same hard-working mentality in the younger players on the roster.

Phil then rounded out the new starting lineup by adding former Charlotte Hornet, Courtney Lee to play the 2-guard. He also added point guard Brandon Jennings to come off the bench and lead our second team offense. Jennings is not only a starting caliber point guard that will come off of our bench, he’s a good insurance policy for Derrick Rose’s less than stellar health history.

With all this being said, it’s important to not get ahead ourselves. The team still has to learn to play with each other. Chemistry on the floor is something that will only come from time and practice. It also still remains to be seen how healthy the team will be this year; probably the biggest factor of all that will determine this team’s success.

However, for the first time in my entire basketball watching life (I’m only 21), I actually feel somewhat reasonable in my sense of optimism. Being a Knicks fan may be work, but I may actually be starting to like my job.

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