Thursday, January 15, 2015

N.Y. Knicks: London Braces For A Royally Bad Show

From the desk of:  DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP

The Knickerbockers are well on their way 
towards the franchise's first ever 60-loss season.
If they keep up this rate of futility, 70 losses is not out of the question.

NEW YORK KNICKS: Team Half Way Through Historically Inept Season; Phil of the Future Said, Blame Me.

...Okay, Phil.  Consider it done.

He nailed it when he spoke of this team's loser mentality though.

I became a fan of this team just after the championship years; right around 1974-75.

That year, they posted their first losing season after eight winning campaigns, and a pair of NBA titles.

Just my luck, right?

I watched that team either retire, or get dismantled.  I caught the back end of the careers of Earl the Pearl Monroe, Bob McAdoo, Dave DeBusschere, and agonized over the trading of Clyde Frazier.

I also watched their team mate, Knicks president Phil Jackson's playing career fade into the sunset.

I caught Red Holzman as coach, when Willis Reed took over, and when Red Holzman came back.

I dealt with the disappointment of Michael Sugar Ray Richardson, lived through the Hubie Brown days, and felt a sharp pain when Bernard King went down.

I was also one of the fans chanting - Fire Al Bianchi - and of course, endured the tenure of Isiah Thomas.

Who could envision this organization getting even worse, and making those seem like the good old days?

The present day Knicks have lost their last 15 in a row, and 25 of their last 26 games.  So far, they own an overall 5-35 (.125) record this season.

They need to post a 15-27 record the rest of the way just to avoid becoming the first ever Knicks team that failed to win at least 20 games in a season.  With Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith already gone; Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, and anyone else not named Melo on the endangered list; not to mention knee surgery looming for Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire struggling with his own knee problems; there are few who believe they can pull it off.

Another way of putting this into perspective: this franchise has never suffered the indignity of a 60-loss season, although they came close several times.

Before my time on this planet, the Knicks of the early 1960s were terrible (and only played 80 games a season):

  • 1960-61; 21-58 (.266)
  • 1961-62; 29-51 (.363)
  • 1962-63; 21-59 (.263)* All-Time Franchise Worst
  • 1963-64; 22-58 (.275)

The good times didn't roll in until the late 1960s and early '70s, when they moved into present day Madison Square Garden.

Then I came onto the scene as a young fan, and watched the 1970s close out with some pretty funky basketball.

After Red Holzman's last hurrah in 1980-81, Hubie Brown rode Bill Cartwright and Bernard King to a pair of playoff appearances before the franchise tanked again (after Bernard King's knee injury).

  • 1984-85; 24-58 (.293)
  • 1985-86; 23-59 (.280)
  • 1986-87; 24-58 (.293)

Then, with Patrick Ewing, Mark Jackson, and Charles Oakley, coached by Rick Pitino, things started getting markedly better.  The Knicks made the playoffs every season from 1988 through 2001.  Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy led them to respective NBA Finals, but each fell short of a title.

Then came the Isiah Thomas era.  I'll say this in his defense: I was agreeable with his initial appointment, and at the time, totally on board with rebuilding the Knicks (which knowingly required patience).  However, his time here requires an entirely different conversation.  His relationship with James Dolan was a sad and destructive time in Knicks history.

What we need to know for this post, is that under Zeke, the Knicks twice matched Hubie Brown's mark for team futility:

  • 2005-06; 23-59 (.280)
  • 2006-07; 33-49 (.402)
  • 2007-08; 23-59 (.280)

The funny thing is, a team composed of Zach Randolph, David Lee, Nazr Mohammed, Trevor Ariza, Jamal Crawford, and even Nate Robinson, would destroy this year's Knicks, even with a healthy Melo and Amare on the floor.

I digress....

Of course, then came the sacrificial season under Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni.  But, not even that season stood to be as bad as this unfolding one seems to be headed.  If you remember, at one point Donnie Walsh stripped the roster down to just 8 or 9 bodies, while he and D'Antoni pulled the plug on Stephon Marbury's playing time, and even reduced him to civilian clothes.

  • 2009-10; 29-53 (.354)

Thursday's game is the official mid-point of the Knicks season, and they'll mark the occasion with a game in London, England, against Jason Kidd's Milwaukee Bucks.

Since when is trying to avoid a 16th consecutive loss considered exportable, much less prime, entertainment?

What on earth did the Brits ever do to the NBA to deserve this match-up?  We screw them the same way with NFL games.


...Cause in sleepy London town there's just no place for........the New York Knicks.  No.  Get down! - stuff Mick Jagger might say.


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