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Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for the New York Knicks to pull the plug on the season.

*Sigh* Let’s cue the music.

Pack it up, pack it in. Let us begin. This disappointing New York Knicks season is a basketball sin.

Clearly, we should have listened to Dr. Moreau. He who dares trust in the Knicks goes back to the House of Pain, and we’re not necessarily talking about the rap group.

No matter how hard this team plays, nothing seems to go right. The Knicks went 1-9 in February and have lost five straight games. 25-36 on the year, 12th in the Eastern Conference, and 4.5 games out of the play-in tournament. Three leads of 20 or more points blown.


Had we known Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow this year would extend to the Knicks’ deep freeze, we wouldn’t have kept our hopes up.

Speaking of hopes, they basically died with Derrick Rose’s second ankle surgery. And Kemba Walker? Well, that experiment is officially dead.

I hate to say it, folks, but the season’s over. The Knicks should keep playing hard, but focus efforts on development and the NBA Draft in the summer.

 

Where did it go wrong?

Last summer, all signs pointed to the New York Knicks running it back and building off of a 41-win season in 2020-21. Nerlens Noel, Derrick Rose, and Alec Burks were all brought back in free agency. Reggie Bullock was allowed to walk in free agency and was replaced with Evan Fournier, who we hoped would be a scoring boost alongside Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.

Needless to say, the Knicks have done anything but build off of last season. 2021-22 has been the 2013-14 sequel none of us asked for. Instead of building off of last year’s success, the New York Knicks have instead tried to operate business as usual.

Meanwhile, the rest of the league watched tape of last year’s Knicks and adjusted accordingly. New York ranks 27th in scoring, 15th in three-point percentage (after ranking fifth last year), and 25th in free-throw percentage. That the defense ranks eighth is nothing short of a miracle.

Rose and Noel being injured most of the season doesn’t help matters, but the Knicks have disappointed this year independent of them. Were the New York Knicks going to regress this season? Probably, but this year has still been just plain sad.

 

What’s next for the New York Knicks?

Barring a miracle, this is basically the end of the line for the Knicks. 21 games remain, and 16 are against playoff teams. No matter how hard New York plays, how close they keep the score, the lack of chemistry is clear. Rose’s continued absence means a going on another miracle run, a la last season, is unlikely.

Thus, it’s time for a good ol’ New York Knicks special: half-tanking the rest of the way and hoping the lottery gods smile on the beleaguered team.

This is a good draft class and, regardless of finish, maybe the Knicks can luck their way into landing someone like Purdue’s Jaden Ivey. Or, if not Ivey, maybe Gonzaga big Chet Holmgren or G-League star Jaden Hardy.

Maybe Stan Van Gundy is wrong and Zion Williamson’s Big Apple coronation is inevitable. Other trades may materialize in the offseason. The Knicks have options and, knock on wood, will explore each one.

 

Final thoughts

Cue the music again.

If you’re a New York Knicks fan, this season has been all too familiar. Disappointment has cut hope off at the knees for what feels like the literal zillionth time. We expected Joe & Pat’s for dinner and instead got Pizza Hut that sat under a heat lamp for three hours.

Bad season aside, this isn’t the end of these Knicks and fans shouldn’t expect a full roster blowup over the summer. No, this team still believes in itself to the point that Fournier publicly pleaded for the front office to not break up the team. Even after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden in what became an unofficial Sixers home game, there was still hope.

“We are going to continue to fight,” said Mitchell Robinson after the game. “So as long as we keep our fight and our spirits up high we can make anything happen.  We just need to come out with a better ending for the next game and take it one game at a time.”

Wish in one hand, get the ball slapped out of the other. Much as we’d like to hope, fans and readers, we all know where we’re headed and Freddie Mercury is now summing up our season perfectly.

It’s late, it’s late, it’s late, it’s all too late.

Josh Benjamin is a Bronx native who lives and breathes the New York Yankees despite being born into a family full of Mets fans. He is the MLB Editor at RealSport and considers himself a student of the game. When not writing, he can be found either at Yankee Stadium or deep in discussion with his fellow sports nuts.