Right, now that the introduction post is out of the way, let’s get started. What I want to go through in this think-tank diary is my vision for the Knicks moving forward, both on and off the court. In real life, I think most Knicks fans would agree that this is something that the Knicks have lacked since their 90’s heyday, with perhaps a small break in the madness when they landed Carmello Anthony – yet, even that was a botched move. The Knicks are without a doubt – along with probably Charlotte – the worst run organisation in the NBA, because it feels like they jump from hopeful plan to hopeful plan, without any idea of how to get there. In real life, this past offseason is the perfect example. New York tanked throughout the season, intending to land a high pick to draft generational talent Zion Williamson, and/or sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency to build the most promising team in the Eastern Conference. In the end, KD and Kyrie went to the local rival Brooklyn Nets, because they did what the Knicks couldn’t – build a roster and a culture that appealed to them. If you want a snapshot of the Knicks in the last twenty or so years, take this quote from superfan Spike Lee:
We’ve got the highest payroll in the league, the highest priced tickets in the world and New York City fans aren’t stupid. They’re not going for okey-doke, they’re not going to be hornswoggled or bamboozled, so you got to put a plan in place.
That’s exactly what I’m going to do – and I’ll make it clear now, that plan will not involve trading Kristaps Porzingis, the sole shining light of this organisation (rated 87 overall in game). On the court, I want to return the Knicks to their traditional 90’s identity. That means hard-nosed defence, gritty basketball. We’re going to be hated by the rest of the league, but you can guarantee that the return of the classic Knicks style will be adored by the MSG faithful. We’ll let LeBron and the Lakers be showtime, and the Warriors be flashy. We’re going to be the gritty New York Knicks again.
Off the court, my plan is very simple. The Knicks have relied on free agency for far too long. In real life, people are already talking about the Knicks having cap room to sign Giannis in 2021. Free agency will feature as a part of my plan, but I’m not going to be working towards free agency as the ‘be all and end all’, because right now, at the point that I’ve taken over the Knicks, why would any star player realistically – and I will be playing this MyLeague realistically – want to come to the Knicks, despite the draw of playing in the New York market, the greatest in the world? This team does have a young-ish core – which I’ll discuss next time – and that’s what I want to focus on, developing a young core of promising players, building gradually through the draft, supplementing them with smart signings/trades, before then being ready to compete in the playoffs. I’m going to be tracking and scouting players throughout, and using analytics – which again, I’ll go into more another time – to find players that may be undervalued on the market. It may take a little longer than if I was playing the game unrealistically, but by the end we’ll have built a core which will restore pride and respect to the Knicks organisation. It’s a simple approach I’m taking, but complexity isn’t what the Knicks need at this point, it’s stability. Next time, I’m going to outline my analysis of the playing staff, and look at some moves I may make early on. Until then, thank you for reading and supporting this blog. Should you have any questions about the Knicks/basketball in general, please feel free to ask in the comments section, or contact me via Twitter (@JLAspey). Thank you again, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.