The New York Knicks and the Villanova Wildcats currently don’t have much in common. That could all change after this upcoming offseason.
The New York Knicks have been really bad for a really long time. They are about to wrap up their fifth consecutive losing season. Their record during that span is 144-260. Since the 2000-01 season, New York has made the playoffs only four times. Before that, they had made the playoffs 14 years in a row. The Knicks have been one of the worst teams in the NBA during the 21st century, if not the worst.
The Villanova Wildcats, on the other hand, have been the anti-Knicks of the college basketball world.
They are two wins away from winning their second national title in three years. They have won 30 or more games in each of the past four seasons. Their record during that time is 134-16. That’s a nice and shiny winning percentage of .893.
There is a chance that after the upcoming offseason is finished, the Knickerbockers could look like the New York Wildcats.
The first step in changing the culture of the organization is to find the right coach. While we may disagree on who is the correct choice, we can all agree that the answer is not Jeff Hornacek.
In his two seasons as the head coach of the Knicks, he has had a record of 58-100. A horrible win/loss record should be enough to get you fired. If it is not, just factor in the fact that he has also lost his locker room. Kyle O’Quinn has missed the last three games due to a mysterious hip injury. This just so happened to occur after an on the court shouting match between O’Quinn and his coach in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Joakim Noah has not stepped foot on the court with New York since Jan. 23. He was allegedly shoved by Hornacek during a practice.
Getting Jay Wright to leave his cozy position at Villanova will not be an easy task. New York should start by driving the largest Brinks truck that they can get their hands on up to the front door of his house. The 56-year-old head coach has spent 17 seasons with the Wildcats.
During that time his teams have made the big dance 13 times. They made it to the Final Four three times, winning the championship once. He has a winning percentage during his time at Villanova of .718. Wright’s teams have finished the last five seasons in the top six of the Associated Press’s final rankings.
The head coaching position is not the only spot where we could see a connection between the two organizations.
Barring a gift from the draft gods, the New York Knicks will have the ninth pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. In ESNY’s most recent mock draft, New York selects Mikal Bridges. The 6 foot 7, 200 pound Junior is the perfect pick for the Knicks as long as he is still available when they are on the clock. The two biggest problems for the Knicks this season have been their three-point shooting on offense and guarding the perimeter on defense. Bridges can come in and immediately improve both of those weaknesses.
The 21-year-old is the only player in recent memory to improve their draft stock by returning to school. He is averaging 17.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.6 steals per game this season. Bridges is shooting 51.1 percent from the floor. He is also shooting 42 percent from behind the three-point line on 5.8 attempts per game.
Bridges should not be the only consideration for the Knicks with the ninth pick. The thought of adding him defensively with Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina though should be enough to make him the pick.
The final connection may actually be the hardest one for the Knicks to acquire. Once a projected second-round draft pick, Jalen Brunson has played himself into a late first-round selection. At this point, the only way that New York would have a shot at Brunson would be to get themselves another first-round pick.
The obvious move here would be to trade Courtney Lee to a contender. The Knicks do not necessarily need a point guard. At this stage, they should be looking at the best player available.
The 6-foot-3, 199-pound junior won both the Big East and AP Player of the Year awards. He averaged 19.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.8 turnovers per game. Brunson is also an above average shooter as well. He posted a 52.7 field goal percentage while knocking down 41.4 percent from behind the three-point line.
The odds of the New York Knicks actually completing this trifecta are not very high. It should still be considered a successful offseason if they can get two of the three. The only real way to change the culture of a losing franchise is to inject it with winners on every level. The one thing that these Villanova Wildcats know how to do is win.