The New York Knicks are an embarrassment, and recent events suggest that isn’t changing anytime soon, despite a weak Eastern conference.
The New York Knicks 110-96 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night wasn’t just a bad defeat. Losing to a 15-24 team on your home floor, as sad as it may be, wasn’t even half the story at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks loss to the Pelicans, their seventh in eight games, a slide that has taken them firmly out of the playoff picture in the East, for the time being, was a summation of everything that makes the Knicks one of the most dysfunctional franchises in professional sports.
Anthony Davis is great, but the defense allowing him to drop 40 points and rip down 18 rebounds in just 29 minutes is a testament to how futile the team is defensively.
But the real story surrounding the Knicks last night was all about point guard Derrick Rose. The former Chicago Bull has had an up and down season with the team– he has shown great promise and sparks of his MVP athleticism at times. He’s also been a defensive turnstile leading to his being benched during the past two fourth quarters, both losses.
Rose’s first (and perhaps only) season with the Knicks, however, will likely be remembered for his absence from the team against the Pelicans. Rose flat out disappeared last night. He was present at team shoot-around earlier in the morning and was named to the starting lineup. However, 17 minutes before tip-off (yes, less than half an hour before the start of the game) Rose was nowhere to be found.
He did not tell head coach Jeff Hornacek, or team officials, or his teammates where he was. He flat out vanished.
Sources: At tip-off, Knicks still hadn't been in contact with Derrick Rose. Unclear if they've reached him — or kept trying — during game.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 10, 2017
Following the game, reports have flown in, saying that Rose returned to his hometown of Chicago to address a family issue. That certainly didn’t help the Knicks against the Pelicans, whose putrid night was very expertly summed up by Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck:
Derrick Rose: M.I.A.
Carmelo Anthony: ejected
Kyle O'Quinn: ejected
Deficit: 24 points
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) January 10, 2017
The Rose debacle is just the latest in a long string of mishaps from a Knicks franchise that has won only one playoff series in the past decade. While the Knicks are objectively a better basketball team this year than last (especially with the development of Kristaps Porzingis), there have been far more questions than answers surrounding this team.
The Rose disappearance. Roses’s feud with head coach Jeff Hornacek, which was summarized by The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“Rose, who’ll be a free agent this summer, has been increasingly frustrated with how this Knicks season has unfolded, culminating with him privately fuming over his diminished late-game role in Friday night’s victory in Milwaukee, sources said. Hornacek played undrafted rookie Ron Baker over Rose in the fourth quarter.
Rose’s relationship with Hornacek has been frayed in recent weeks; league sources told The Vertical.
Derrick Rose, who was arguably the team’s third best player this season, isn’t the only problem. Carmelo Anthony’s three ejections and his feud with the Head of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson hasn’t flown under the radar. Nor has the teams startling defensive inefficiency, or their ability to right the ship during their losing skid.
After a much needed, impressive road win in Milwaukee, the broadcasting team for ESPN noted that this could be a turning point in the Knicks season.
Of course, in typical Knicks fashion, they responded with two blowout losses and a front page scandal involving their starting point guard.
The Knicks, as a franchise, need to shape up, and quickly. The long line of failures in free agency (Eddy Curry, Jerome James, Amar’e Stoudemire), the front office and head coaching debacles (Isaiah Thomas, Mike Woodson and Mike D’Antoni, Derek Fisher, Jackson) and the non-stop farce that is James Dolan all adds up to the poor on-court product that leaves this current “super team” at 17-21.
A once respected franchise in a major market a complete and utter embarrassment.
When was the last time it was prideful to be a Knicks fan? Maybe the 2012-13 season, when the Knicks went 54-28 and finished second in the East. That was a good story until the team capitulated in the East semis against the Indiana Pacers. Ever since then, the Knicks haven’t sniffed the postseason.
The one ray of hope the franchise has is sophomore forward Kristaps Porzingis, who continued to develop into one of the more exciting, intriguing, and charismatic players the league has on display. However, the Knicks are wasting away his early years with a defunct supporting cast.
Carmelo Anthony continues to dip in form and is as inconsistent as ever offensively. Derrick Rose’s defense is only overshadowed by his off court saga. Joakim Noah has been one of the biggest busts of the free agent season. Lance Thomas has completely regressed from the form he had a year ago.
Only two weeks ago, the Knicks were playing with confidence, swagger, and a knack for taking advantage of their home court.
Now? They are as defunct as ever, struggling to stay afloat in a weak East while dealing with one off the court saga after the next.
When will it end? When will the Knicks begin to start making sensible decisions, carry themselves with the class that a storied franchise should, and properly cultivate their young superstar’s potential?
It may be a while before we find out.