New York Knicks
Bruno Rouby, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Knicks are entering a transitional year, but that doesn’t mean there is any less excitement around Madison Square Garden.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — The trajectory of the New York Knicks was dramatically altered on Feb. 6, 2018. Kyle O’Quinn found Kristaps Porzingis cutting backdoor and the Latvian soared for a dunk. But when he landed he immediately clutched his knee. The news of a torn ACL dashed any second-half hopes for the Knicks.

The Knicks couldn’t rebound from KP’s injury and the Bucks took down the Knicks 103-89. The Knicks believed they were a playoff contender with Porzingis. When he went down the team was 23-32 and five games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Following Porzingis’ injury, they finished the season with a record of 6-21.

Hornacek’s fate was uncertain while Porzingis was healthy, but he couldn’t overcome the loss of his team’s brightest star. He was fired after the season. Steve Mills and Scott Perry decided to take the team in a new direction. Mills and Perry wanted to embrace the youth and work on developing the team’s young talent until Porzingis’ eventual return.

Enter an exuberant head coach hellbent on building a winner in Madison Square Garden. David Fizdale accepted the challenge of New York and he’s ready to prove that he’s the man who can man the sidelines for a consistent winner.

The Knicks won’t win many games this season. Porzingis’ timetable is still unknown and Fizdale will be coaching a slew of inexperienced guys. That being said, this could be one of the most exciting Knicks teams in recent memory. There are a handful of rookies with extremely high ceilings, the team has brought in former lottery picks looking at a chance for redemption, and Fizdale is looking to establish an uptempo, hard-nosed brand of basketball in New York.

Fans will have to suffer through some tough losses, but there’s an aura of positivity around the fanbase. The front office laid out their plan and the fans reciprocated by buying in. The clip below is from a preseason game where the lineup on the floor consisted of Luke Kornet, Mario Hezonja, Emmanuel Mudiay, Damyean Dotson, and Allonzo Trier.

It would be an understatement to say that the fans are excited. They are excited to watch a new coach mold a young team and build a contender. They are excited about the epic return of Kristaps Porzingis to Madison Square Garden. They’re also excited about what possibilities July will hold next summer.

This season is a stepping stone. It’s a year where the youth can gain valuable experience. It’s a year where Porzingis can take all the time he needs to recover. But perhaps most importantly, it’s a year where the Knicks can show potential free agents that they are trending in the right direction.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.