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.