Kristaps Porzingis understands that New York Knicks fans are passionate and utterly desperate for a winning basketball team.
“I remember when I was there, the expectation was always high for us,” Porzingis said via Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “It’s a city hungry for success in basketball. For them, and for the fans, and for the city to be going through this year after year, it’s got to be tough.”
That passion and hunger for success are what makes Knicks fans so great, but they haven’t had much to root for in the last two decades. New York has only won a single playoff series since they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000. That lone playoff series win came in 2013 with Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and J.R. Smith leading the way.
Since that season, the Knicks have only compiled a winning record in four seasons, one of which was the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign. New York has missed the playoffs six straight years and there is little hope for that to change anytime soon.
Porzingis will be booed mercilessly on Thursday night in his first return to Madison Square Garden as the enemy, but he’s speaking facts about New York. Fans are dying for a team that can at least remain competitive in games.
This new-look Knicks team was billed as a “gritty” and “competitive” roster before the season began, but they have fallen well short of any early expectations. At 2-9, the Knicks are spiraling into the abyss once again and following the front office’s impromptu press conference on Sunday, the heat is on head coach David Fizdale.