While tanking isn’t an optimal strategy, the New York Knicks can afford to lose while slowly rebuilding their team.
Before anyone comes after me with pitchforks and torches in hand, I hate losing. I want the New York Knicks to win every game they play. I become physically ill watching them play subpar basketball and when their shots don’t fall as they should.
The hardcore fans of course want to see the Knicks win as well. If you want to see New York tank and consider yourself a hardcore fan, then I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you are indeed a causal. We’ve endured enough losing for far too long and it couldn’t be more refreshing to see the Knicks actually winning for once without having to trade for players like Carmelo Anthony and make huge free agent acquisitions like Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
The new regime is clearly invested in doing things the right way in taking the small market approach, at least for the immediate future. I, for one, am clearly not opposed to the Knicks doing whatever it takes to improve this season via trade, but even if that doesn’t happen the casuals can rejoice knowing that there’s been no better time for New York to do what the Knicks have done best for quite some time, and that’s lose.
Trial by fire is surely the way to go. The Knicks are one of the youngest rosters in the league and allowing the players to take their lumps now will pay dividends in the future. The organization should certainly stay the course and embrace any losses that come if they hope to give the scouting department an easier time doing their jobs in the coming years.
The 2021 draft class is a special one, and it’s not, in the same way, the 2014 Wiggins-Parker draft class was considered elite but then went to fall flat on its face. Development programs have evolved so drastically just in the last 4-5 years to the point where players are coming out of high school with NBA ready frames and skillsets. The 2023 draft is being touted as the first “double draft” where players may be allowed to enter directly into the NBA right after their 12th-grade proms.
With Cade Cunningham and Jalen Suggs taking the college season by storm and guys like Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd opting to skip college to begin their professional careers early, adding two studs at the top or middle of this year’s talent-laden class will be a piece of cake.
The worse the Knicks finish the year, the easier a time Walt Perrin should have in finding the right piece(s) for the future of the organization, but that may not be necessary at all. Also, keep in mind that tanking isn’t as effective as it used to be, which was made evident when the Knicks fell to 3 and 8 in the last two lottery drawings when their season record should have afforded them higher selections both times.
Tanking is no longer the answer as the incentive isn’t worth the turmoil the team has to endure along the way. Teams can continue to win some games while not falling into deep depressions every time they look lousy.
Even if the Knicks finish with the 9th or 10th worst record this year, which I pray does not happen, we can’t be upset about it seeing how we weren’t even expected to do that well. The way I see things, win or lose there’s a silver lining around whatever outcome any game has here on forward.