One Game Pessimism
Just the other day I was talking about the Knicks inevitable slow start, and made the following prediction:
“Message boards will have plenty of fans will write off the Knicks for their poor start in December and in April at least one commentator will tout them as the “hot” team heading into the playoffs.”
Well I should have included print columnists, since Mitch Lawrence has already penciled in the Knicks for a losing season. Lawrence can’t make up his mind whether he is angry at the NBA re-alignment, the Knicks, Lenny Wilkens rotation, or the Nets fire sale. Judging by this column, anything short of a guaranteed championship team would draw the ire of Lawrence.
The worst line of Lawrence’s column is:
“As bad as Tim Thomas and Nazr Mohammed were, it doesn’t begin to explain how or why we got a major dose of Michael Sweetney and somebody named Trevor Ariza.”
Actually their poor play is exactly why Ariza & Sweetney saw so much time (if 18 & 23 minutes is a “major dose”). Lawrence prefers Wilkens to play “proven players“. The Knicks other options at SF were Shandon Anderson and Jerome Williams. The only thing they have proved is that they have no offensive skills, while Tim Thomas (3-13) and Nazr Mohammed (29 minutes 5PTS) were busy proving that they didn’t belong on the court Wednesday night. If that’s what Mitch Lawrence means by “proven”, then I’ll pass.
The Knicks finally have two rookies that can develop into NBA talent. Michael Sweetney is the Knicks’ best first round pick since 1994 (Charlie Ward), and you’d have to go back almost 20 years since they had a second round pick that was good enough to play (1985 – Gerald Wilkens). Sweetney is by all accounts ready to start at PF. As for Ariza, he’s only played well ever since joining the Knicks. He finished the game with 8 points (4-7), 5 boards, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
The Knicks won 39 games last year, but it was after a horrendous 9-18 start and a major facelift. Mitch Lawrence pretends this year’s team is the same one that finished with only 30 wins just 2 seasons ago. If you want to see how far the Knicks have come in a year, look at last year’s box score. The Knicks lost to Orlando in OT. Yes the same Magic that started off 1-19. Shandon Anderson and Howard Eisley played a (gulp!) combined 58 minutes.
Instead of being forced to play cap-killers to justify their bloated contracts, we’ve turned to using players because of their potential to contribute. This year, Knick fans can argue about what seed the Knicks can be in April, instead of whom to draft in June. The Knicks aren’t among the NBA elite, but there are only a handful of teams that can lay claim to that status. Let’s wait until the Knicks play half a season before writing their eulogy. New Yorkers should be happy that the team playing in this city is not the Hawks or the Clippers, which is where the team was heading at the beginning of last year.