Hinkie to the Knicks
11 Rings. 6 With the G.o.a.t., 5 with the Mamba, even 3 with Shaq (even had 2 for the Knicks as a player). The Zen Master, likely basketball’s greatest winner as a coach, has simply added to the mediocrity of the Knicks.
The Atlantic Division has been known as the league’s weakest for over a decade, as it turns another chapter in the sadness of the Knicks, seemingly every other team in the division has hope. The Raptors and Celtics have great playoff ready cores, the 76ers have a young team with plenty of potential, and the Nets seem to be steadying the ship as they prepare to return from the terror of humiliating trade that landed them over-the-hill players in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. Yet the Knicks have taken over the mantle the Kings once held as the franchise in the most disarray in the league. With President Phil Jackson’s firing today things are still not looking a whole lot better.
Owner James Dolan has jaded two sure-fire all-star talents in allowing Phil Jackson to attempt to run them out of town. Jackson’s lottery pick on the way out in French point guard Frank Ntilikina looks like project at best, likely forcing the Knicks to keep Derrick Rose and not only his injuries, but his drama too. For a team that has lost over 50 games in the last three seasons their trajectory looks very different from a tanking team or playoff team. They simply loom on the edge of mediocrity.
Unless Jeff Hornacek a preacher of up-tempo offense makes significant stylistic changes to his team that rely upon a youth movement of their younger players, turning Melo’s role into more of a facilitator then hard-nosed scorer it's hard to see this team competing in the east for more than an 8th seed. If they’re edging the needle more towards losing 50 games again anyway, why not make the most of it.
The people of New York are spoiled to a winning culture through the brand setting of the Yankees, but optimism in basketball is hard to find. Keeping the facade of being competitive is the pressure that every “savior” the Knicks hire falters too. The path to competition may not require some bevy of great basketball minds. In fact that simply turned the Knicks to the past in recent years, it’s time to be forward thinking, its time to bring the Process to New York.
Hinkie’s commitment to losing could leverage Carmelo for assets alone.The man would do anything to partner Latvian Big Kristaps Porzingis with more competent young talents than Willy Hernangómez. After fleecing the league for the best talents in each of the last three drafts, the Hinike move is no longer a tough sell around league circles as many cellar-dwellar teams are looking at ways to shake up the league. If Orlando’s recent hiring of Former Bucks GM John Hammond says anything, the league is looking for innovation. The man used lottery picks to overvalue length and built a team of Skywalkers that are one of few teams who at this moment can enter the next decade with legitimate title aspirations. The Knicks can’t be adverse to change they need to embrace the waiting game of the lottery if they seek to get closer to contention. Using the glimmer of Madison Square Garden and the city of new York has promised mid-level veterans for years, but Hinkie would be the man to say no. Moving on from Phil Jackson is a step into the modern-era, but unless the Knicks make a splash in a new way, they’ll be the same old Knicks, a place where reputations are ruined. Hinkie is a man with no shame, no regrets, and no desire for credit. If Dolan can embrace the losing he and his team has known for so long, Hinkie a man of numbers and round-ball outsider can be the man to make it worthwhile.