Nobody has gotten it wrong more than the New York Knicks.
The franchise has been nothing short of a total embarrassment. The last time the Knicks won a championship, sportswriters were still using typewriters.
How could a franchise — the wealthiest franchise in the NBA, according to Forbes — be this bad?
It has everything going for it — money, a marquee home. Many call The Garden the Mecca of basketball.
They play on Broadway with fans who keep coming year after year with the passion that is unrivaled in the Association.
For years, er, decades, fans have blamed everything under the sun for the reason why the Knicks stink. They are cursed, snake- bit or simply can’t catch a break.
All the reasons are false, foul.
The Knicks haven’t won a championship since 1973 for one reason only: Bad ownership that keeps hiring the wrong people. The biggest indictment of this franchise came on Monday after they signed RJ Barrett to a four-year, $120 million contract extension.
It wasn’t about the decision to pay Barrett, who was the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Knicks selected the shooting guard/small forward out of Duke.
Barrett has definitely improved, averaging 20 points per game last season. By doing so, he became the youngest Knicks player to average 20 points per game for a season at 21 years old. Hence, Barrett isn’t the issue.
The problem is what Barrett represents. His signing ends an unbelievable 23-year drought for the Knicks. He’s the team’s first draft pick to agree to a multiyear contract extension since Charlie Ward in 1999, according to ESPN research.
This, and not some kind of voodoo, is the reason the Knicks are do-do.
You would have to try on purpose to not draft anyone good for two decades to make something like this happen. Crazy thing is that Isiah Thomas and Phil Jackson were some of the team presidents making these horrible selections.
You would think that by accident the Knicks would have stumbled onto a talented player that would have changed their fortunes almost overnight.
The cupboard has been bare and the Knicks always seem to be a day late and a dollar short when it comes to finding and developing their own talent.
Remember, Fredric Weis, the 15th pick in 1999 by the Knicks? Nope. You’re not alone. The 7-foot-2 center wound up NEVER playing a regular season game for New York.
Want more names? Michael Wright (2001), Eric Chenowith (2001), Milos Vujanic (2002), Mike Sweeney (2003), Maciej Lampe (2003), Channing Frye (2004), Renaldo Balkman (2006), Mardy Collins (2006), Jordan Hill (2009) and Andy Rautins (2010). You tired of laughing?
In the case of Hill, the Knicks could have drafted Brandon Jennings. In the case of Collins, the Knicks could have drafted Paul Milsap.
There isn’t enough space on the internet to show you all the players the Knicks have missed on.
Sadly, the team has made a history of picking up other team’s players after they were torn down or past their primes.
This past draft, the Knicks selected no one. That was strange and had people wondering what the Knicks were thinking. Maybe, given their horrid record, they’ve totally given up on the draft.
But the Knicks’ issues start at the top. They have a bad owner in James Dolan. It’s obvious he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Hiring the wrong people over and over again will get you where the Knicks are – stuck and with little hope of sniffing a title.
Worse, there’s a chance that New York could see an NBA championship in the next few years.
And laugh at the Nets all you want.
When two of the biggest free agents were available and wanted to come to New York, they laughed at the Knicks and chose the traditionless Nets in Brooklyn.
Both teams had the same available cap space to sign both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
It was more of an indictment of the Knicks than a lottery win for Brooklyn.
Either way, the only thing more embarrassing than the Knicks’ postseason record since the 70s is their draft record over the last 25 years.
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