Stay the course
-Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Are the Knicks in bad shape right now? The answer is actually a bit more multifaceted than it might seem.
As any philosophy major like myself would suggest, allow yourself to take part in a thought experiment in which you possess a time machine. Now, let’s use that machine to travel back to the end of the 2009, the season in which the Knicks finished the year 23-59.
You happen upon a despondent Knicks fan who’s ready to burn his Antonio McDyess jersey and denounce his Knicks fanhood altogether. You immediately stop him and tell him what’s transpired over the past few seasons (maybe leaving out the whole Jeremy Lin part, because apparently that requires a whole book to explain). You tell him that the Knicks are currently tied for second in the Eastern Conference, but are dealing with a few injuries to crucial players.
However, as soon as these thoughts exit your mouth, you realize you’re talking to a guy who just watched one of the most historically inept seasons in Knicks history. And you’re complaining about being second in the Eastern Conference? First-world problems.
I understand the unbridled anger stemming from Monday night’s poor excuse for a basketball game; one in which the Knicks left their three-point shot in New York and Mike Woodson left any sliver of common sense he had on the plane. What unfolded was surreal in the worst kind of way. I can’t say it any better than Robert Silverman did in his recap/indictment of what was one of the stupidest displays of coaching that many of us had ever witnessed.
But do I think that Woody deserves to be fired for it? Absolutely not.
A firing at this point in the season is essentially waving white flag on the season. How would you explain that to your time machine buddy who’s all pumped that the Knicks are finally above .500? In all honest, it would probably be easier to explain firing Woodson to him than it would be to Carmelo Anthony –lethal scorer; two-time gold medal winner; 2003 NCAA Most Outstanding Player, won’t get his knee drained because he’s afraid of needles…
The past few seasons have showed that the Melo-era Knicks are always prone to a regular season of chutes and ladders, and long winning streaks deteriorating into losing streaks as quickly as they came. Unfortunately, another sign of the times has been an unceremonious first round exit from the playoffs.
Talk of a coaching change (Phil Jackson, Phil Jackson, Phil Jackson) should be shelved until after the season, not a month before the postseason. Desipte his latest crimes against humanity, Woodson has done enough to earn his second stab at the playoffs as the Knicks’ head coach.
In short, I’m urging something that doesn’t get preached a lot in the hyperbole-happy New York media market — patience. While the writings on the wall is becoming more evident that this year will not be the one to end the ‘Bockers 40-year title draught (see: The Miami Heat), let’s try and at least keep our heads attached to our necks.