Lottery Dream or Nightmare?

When assessing the current Knicks, we must be mindful of the long-term plan, which involves the following goals:

1. Clear salary cap space.

2. Hopefully, in doing so, also pick up some talented pieces that don’t compromise the salary cap space.

3. TRY to remain competitive until 2010.

4. Sign two or three marquee free agents.

5. Win a title.

We’re obviously currently attempting to accomplish goals one, two and three. Notice how goal 3 says the Knicks should “TRY” to remain competitive. Failing in goal 3 is NOT the end of the world. In fact, it is likely to aid the pursuit of goal 2 – in the form of a higher draft pick, which in turn would aid in the accomplishment of goal 4, as marquee free agents are likely to be attracted to a team with a great core, perhaps already flaunting a burgeoning superstar (if we draft well this year). Succeeding in goal 4 obviously aids in the pursuit of goal 5 – the higher the quality of the marquee free agents, the likelier the Knicks are to win a title.

In fact, it makes sense to me to get rid of goal 3 altogether.

That’s why I can’t get as outraged as Berman does at the current inferior performance of the Knicks. Berman today wrote that “D’Antoni is losing his grip.” I don’t think that D’Antoni is losing his grip. I just think the players are limited and overworked due to a lack of depth. Hopefully they’ll find their fire again and string together some wins.

As an aside, how bad is the vindictive from Berman going to get? Look at this:

D’Antoni is finally realizing Jared Jeffries is not exactly Boris Diaw. Good call, Mike, almost as savvy a projection as ostracizing Marbury at the start of the season to escape that losing culture. Oh that’s right, you did it because his teammates – who care about two things, their money and their minutes – didn’t like him.

Wow. I mean, whatever Berman. You really think having Marbury on this squad, even with the depth issues, would make them respectable? I think they would be worse. They have been worse. Last year and the year before that and the year before that and…

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Hahn today wrote:

My argument remains that, while I don’t condone tanking, I do not believe making desperate roster moves for middling players to make a run at a playoff berth makes any sense at all for the Knicks. The Plan has to be adhered to, no matter how difficult it is to endure the pain of patience. In 2010, there will be a long list of top-shelf talent available and you MUST be in that game. LeBron James may or may not be an option by then, but he’s not the only player on the list. It is irresponsible for a team like the Knicks and with the Knicks’ recent history to not be in position to have the kind of summer that could compare to the kind of winter the Yankees just had.

Bottom line: you have a first-rounder this season. You don’t have one in 2010. And by 2011, you’re hoping to be well on your way to contending for a championship, so the lottery shouldn’t be an issue.

Yes. The plan “has to be adhered to” if the Knicks are to become a contender again. By being a lottery team this year we maximize goal 2 of the plan. By being an eigth seed, we maximize goal 3, and minimize the rest.


  1. Rockne

    Just remember, Alan Hahn is an employee of Newsday/Cablevision. He has zero objectivity, and is a Dolan puppet. His writting may as well be a press release from the Knicks PR staff.

  2. Jon

    Rockne, I gotta tell you, I think you’re casting aspersions and you sound a little bit paranoid. Cablevision only bought the Knicks in the last couple of months and I haven’t detected that Hahn’s coverage of the team has changed at all, except of course that he incessantly discloses Newsday’s affiliation to Cablevision even in cases where there is no apparent conflict and it’s really unnecessary to do so.
    Please know, I’m not trying to discourage your patronage at all. We welcome all viewpoints here. But we have to call you out for a comment like that when you don’t back it up with some hard evidence.

  3. Italian Stallion

    Sorry for the off-topic post, but I have to vent.

    At the start of the season, I was as high on Chandler as anyone. I actually thought he had a shot to eventually be close to an all-star caliber player. I’m not sure why he’s playing so poorly now relative to late last season, summer league, pre season, and the start of this season, but he is. At this point, I’m not even sure he should even be playing very much. He can’t shoot a 3 pointer to save his life. That in itself is not so horrible, except that he insists on shooting them all the time. He should never shoot a 3 pointer unless the shot clock is about to expire. Having one Qrich on the team is bad enough, we don’t need two of them.

    I’ve seen enough of this kid for now. I think he has the athletic ability and motivation to become a much better player, but for now all he can be is versatile defensive player that can get you 10-15 points a night in an efficient manner. He can’t be an important part of the offense.

    It’s about time D’Antoni explained that to him. If he insists on shooting foolish shots and/or shots that are outside his range, he must be benched until he learns that going 5-10 from the field with a couple of free throws is a much better night than 6-19 and 1-9 from the 3 point line etc.. even if you score some extra points with extra shots.

    Granted, the Knicks have very few consistent offensive weapons from the outside. So it’s not like the shots that Chandler doesn’t take are going to go to someone that can actually hit the ocean from the outside consistently (unless Gallinari can when he finally plays), but there are better 3 point options than Chandler at this stage in his development.

  4. Dan L

    Thanks for the vent Stallion. Pat Riley used to call the three point “fool’s gold” for the simple reason that it can win you games when things are going well, but oftentimes when you need it, the shots don’t fall. He preferred high percentage shots.

    The reason I mention this, and you hit on this too, is because it isn’t just Chandler who is frigid right now. Nobody is hitting anything.

    Chandler has definitely been frustrating lately, but so has the entire team. He’s a young player and undoubtedly will experience some growing pains. Since we aren’t on track to win a title, I’d just as soon continue developing him with as many minutes as we can give him.

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