A Deeper Dive into the Sinking (or Already Sunk) Ship of the New York Knicks

Cameron Mays ‘21

“THEY’RE TRASH! THEY STINK!” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith ranted on his podcast on November 11 after the Knicks fell to 2-8 on the season after an embarrassing 21 point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game was embarrassing for a plethora of reasons, none more important than the fact that the Cavaliers were only 4-5 after beating the Knicks.


No one expected the Knicks to be competitive this year, as it is widely known that all aspects of the team, from roster to coaches to upper management, are extremely dysfunctional. While they do have some bright spots such as RJ Barrett, a rookie who has been performing well thus far with just over 15 points per game and 3.5 assists per game, and, well, that’s about it. The rest of the team is made up of young guys that have not performed well or old veterans who are past their prime. Relying on Julius Randel and Marcus Morris Sr. to do the majority of ball handling and scoring is not a good recipe for success.


The dismal start to the season has also put immense pressure on David Fizdale, the head coach of the Knicks who is in his second season with the team. After the loss to the Cavaliers, the team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry essentially laid the groundwork for his firing. They cited the fact the while they knew the team is young and inexperienced, they should be winning more games. Many, including Stephen A. agree that the Knicks should fire Fizdale, but only because the upper management made it all too clear that they were going to. He believes that Fizdale is now a “lame duck coach” and must be fired now. However, he does not agree with how they “threw Fizdale under the bus” and then did not go through with firing him.


Moving up the hierarchical ladder, James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, is also a major reason for their struggles. Dolan has owned the Knicks for 20 years, and in those 20 years, the Knicks have had 12 losing seasons, making the playoffs five times, and winning only a single series. In the lone series that they won, Carmelo Anthony essentially carried them throughout the season, averaging almost 29 points per game. He has failed in the majority of those seasons to put decent players on the court through his stinginess and stubbornness. He also has struggled to put competent people in the front office, and every hire he makes seems to dig the Knicks lower and lower into the ground.


The Knicks were done before the season even started, as they failed to sign a single big free agent. They had their hopes set on Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, but failed to get either of them. To add insult to injury, both players signed with the Brooklyn Nets, the other New York team who has seen a resurgence in the past season. It is not as if the Knicks did not have a chance, as it was reported that they did not offer him Kevin Durant a max contract, something else Stephen A. found absurd. It is evident that the luster of NYC and playing in The Garden that the Knicks once had has all but evaporated.


So yeah, the Knicks are awful, and it looks like they will continue to be at the bottom of the NBA for this year and most likely years to come. The dysfunction of the team does not just come from one area and cannot be repaired easily. The dysfunction comes from all areas of the franchise- roster, coaching, and front office- and a massive change will be needed for the Knicks to be a competitive team again.