The next chapter in the New York Knicks’ incomparable story is about to begin. Who are the characters you need to know?
In every form of entertainment, there’s always a sense of excitement for something that hasn’t happened yet. It could be that you want to see the next episode in your favorite TV show, you want to see the next installment in your favorite movie franchise, or you want to get into the next chapter in that page-turning book.
Whatever way you get your entertainment, there is always a debate about what will come next, and for sports fans, it’s no different.
Once the season ends, the debate begins. Who will go where? What trades will a team make? Everyone having their own ideas, reasoning, and overall opinion on various topics throughout the league, debating the story of a game so many have come to love.
Each player is a character in a story we build ourselves, and plays out in real life for 48 minutes a night, just a few months out of the year.
The story for the Knicks is actually quite fascinating, seeing how drastically their situation has changed over the past few years. Seeing a once great franchise being so clueless, making such incompetent and baffling decisions in every aspect of running a team, was painful.
They are the pride of the city we live in; our distraction from the many painful things in our daily life that we try to ignore. They’re our story that we’ve played out in our heads so many times, when you were a kid sitting in class imagining that big move they would make, playing a game of basketball yourself—in video game form or just imagining it was you on the court.
This team, which is playing a child’s game, had become so near and dear to our own lives, and it was falling before our very eyes; it literally hurt. It got to the point where nearly all hope was lost.
Fans everywhere had begun to feel shame for having their story corrupted. And yet, in every story, there is a mystery man who comes out of the blue to try and save the world as its falling apart.
For the Knicks, that man is Phil Jackson.
The people of New York are so divided on this subject that it’s hard to describe him as a good guy or bad. Will he save this franchise, bringing it back to the glory it once held, or will he be yet another face who came, saw, and failed?
Knicks fans have become so accustomed to the latter.
It’s like seeing your favorite movie franchise getting a new director, and you wonder how will he take the franchise going forward. Jackson is stubborn, making decisions based off his own knowledge; rarely, if ever, with the counsel of others.
He drafted Kristaps Porzingis, which is great. Yet he’s also lamented about how the triangle is the one true way—going through three coaches so far under his brief tenure (Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Jeff Hornacek).
He re-signed Carmelo Anthony to a mega deal with a no trade clause, and there are rumors that he wants out of New York. It’s hard to tell, with the brief time he’s been in charge, if he is a genius or a fool.
Frankly, only time will tell.
Another controversial character in our story is the hero; the main protagonist. The man who fights and win our battles on our behalf: Carmelo Anthony.
‘Melo also brings along his bag of drama. Should we have re-signed him? Should they trade him? Can he win? All valid questions and concerns. Yet, for a player of that caliber, with the commitment he’s brought to this franchise, you begrudgingly respect him.
Yes, he gets paid a lot of money; and yes, the prime of his career is slowly, but noticeably, drawing to a close. But the man plays with his heart on his sleeve. The emotion he shows in every game, press conference, and statement he makes shows that he wants to win here, and will do everything in his power to make that happen.
He is undoubtedly the leader of this team, and must remain the focal point for as long as he’s here. It doesn’t matter if you like him or hate him; he brings the greatest talent and chances of a championship that we have.
What comes next is the final piece of any story; the final character tropes that everyone wants to see. The “what if’s.”
The Knicks have two such story lines this upcoming season, with two players coming from very different situations: Kristaps Porzingis being on a one man warpath to prove everyone who booed him on draft night swallows their words.
Derrick Rose, a former MVP trying to prove his doubters wrong with a fresh start.
Both players will play with giant chips on their shoulders, and bring the most intrigue to our story. While ‘Melo is undoubtedly the leader, these two players will the be the key differences in deciding whether the Knicks win or lose.
They must prove to everyone that they weren’t just a flash in the pan. They will also have to prove that the new director of the franchise—the mystery man who came out of the blue—actually knows what he’s doing.
Free agency begins July 1 at 12:00 a.m. Teams will scramble to add characters to their stories, to rework their teams, and to try to win a championship. The Knicks will be there with all the others, going after that marquee talent, trying to make that under-the-radar signing, and trying to build a playoff caliber team.
The upcoming season will also bring its own storylines with injuries, trades, and various other topics to debate. Some will laugh, some will cry. Some will watch every game and every moment of heartbreak, others will watch from afar, seeing if it’s worth their time and patience.
No matter what kind of fan you are—no matter how you like you like to get your entertainment or what genre of entertainment you like—you have to admit one thing: the Knicks have a compelling story to tell.