Let’s get this statement out of the way in the first paragraph: The Knicks are bad. The Knicks will be bad for the entirety of their 82-game regular season schedule. But that’s good for fans who are hoping for significantly better days on the horizon.
Don’t think the Knicks will tank the season and intentionally lose games to gain a favorable draft spot. In fact, expect them to play hard on most nights for head coach Jeff Hornacek. This preseason foreshadows the upcoming regular season. Heading into tomorrow night’s game at Madison Square Garden against the Washington Wizards, the Knicks are winless in four exhibition games. They will lose approximately 60 regular season games because they won’t be capable of winning much more than 22 or 23.
However, if you view sports teams from a glass half full perspective, you should be optimistic when pondering the Knicks’ big picture. Kristaps Porzingis, 22-years-old, Willy Hernangomez, 23, Tim Hardaway Jr., 25, and Frank Ntilikina, 19, form a core that can grow into a highly productive group over the next three seasons.
If the basketball gods bestow favor upon the Knicks, they will add Missouri’s ultra-talented 6-foot-10 freshman forward Michael Porter Jr. or Duke’s uber-gifted 6-foot-11 freshman forward Marvin Bagley III to the aforementioned four to form potentially one of the most promising collections of young players in the NBA. Both Porter and Bagley are certain to spend only one season at their respective schools before declaring for next June’s NBA draft.
Additionally, rookie second-round pick Damyean Dotson, 23, has the look of a solid future rotation player. He was 7-10 for 17 points against the Houston Rockets Monday night in a 117-95 Knicks defeat.
This season should not be measured on wins or losses. It should be assessed on whether Hornacek will be the coach for the foreseeable future and whether the Knicks’ young players adequately develop—particularly Porzingis.
This season needs to be a campaign in which Porzingis begins to justifiably be mentioned in the same vein as Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis, front court players all under the age of 25 who have already established themselves as legitimate franchise players.
The Knicks’ season will be long and at times exceedingly frustrating, but it could also be one that bears abundant fruit.