Knicks Unbearable To Watch

I turned the TV off.

And I rarely turn the tv off. Even in a blowout loss, there are a few interesting things that can make the game worthwhile. Sometimes the 11th & 12th man will make an appearance, and the end of the bench guys are always fan favorites. In the tail end of his career, assistant coach Herb Williams would come off the bench to cheers of “Herb! Herb! Herb!” Unfortunately Larry Brown’s rotation is so deep that seeing the 11th man isn’t reserved for blowouts. Hence the little joy I got last year from a Bruno Sundov sighting isn’t even there this year.

Although the chance of coming back from a 20 point deficit is miniscule, being around for one can be an exhilarating experience. The best NFL game I ever watched was the Jets Monday night game against the Dolphins, where they rallied from 23 points down in the final quarter and won the game in OT. But watching the last Knicks’ game, I felt like Popeye after he’s gotten his ass kicked for the last time. “I?ve stood all I can stands, and I cants stands no more!” And off the tv went.

Right now, the Knicks have sunk to rock bottom. It was understandable when they lost to the Clippers and Suns just last week. Both teams are having good seasons, and the Knicks went into the 4th quarter of each game either tied or winning. But after those two games, they lost by 20 to the Bucks, and by 15 to the Magic. If back to back humiliations weren’t bad enough, they followed it up by getting laughed out of Atlanta.

Normally this would be acceptable for a rebuilding team. I can watch the Jets because I can find a silver lining whether they win or lose. If they win, well it should be obvious why that would be a joyous occasion. However, if they lose, at least I can console myself knowing the Jets are getting a better position in next year’s draft. Unfortunately the Knick have denied me even that. New York is tied for the 4th worst record in the league, and as the Bucks showed last year it’s entirely possible to win the draft lottery from that position. However the Knicks have already traded their first round pick unconditionally to the Bulls in the Eddy Curry deal. I can’t even take solace that every loss would make their second round pick better, because they’ve traded that pick away for Maurice Taylor. I can’t take solace that they could grab the top pick in the 2007 draft, because they’ve given the Bulls the option to swap those picks as well.

In other words, every Knick defeat lacks any positive merit. Isiah Thomas has gone all in with this year’s team, and right now he has the worst hand at the table. He’s sold off everything the Knicks own in the next two years to do it, and so far the results are 6-16. Right now Isiah’s only chance is some superstar forcing his way to New York, and those odds are as slim as getting an inside royal flush. Boston is not going to trade Paul Pierce to a division rival, Kevin Garnett is happy now that the ‘Wolves are winning again. LeBron, Kobe, Duncan, Nowitzki, Amare, Nash, or McGrady, aren’t going anywhere. The Knicks are the guy at the poker table with a shit hand, not drawing any cards, who keeps peaking at them hoping that somehow they’ve changed from the last time he looked.

So the next time you’re watching the Knicks, and they’re getting blown out by one of the worst teams in the league, don’t think of how they might have gotten Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani, or LaMarcus Aldridge. Just turn the tv off.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

29 thoughts to “Knicks Unbearable To Watch”

  1. Man this is really depressing. Maybe the Knicks should just clean out. I don’t even know anymore.

    By the way my word to enter for this reply was “toils”


  2. Let’s hope this really is rock bottom. I didn’t see the game but even the box score was ugly.

    The problem is that at 10 games under .500 even with a monumental turnaround the Knicks will struggle to break even on the season.

    What I’d like to see going forward is whether the Knicks can just lower the mindless turnovers. Right now I’d settle for that.

  3. My goal right now is what i call “knicks .500”. “Knicks .500” is when they’ve won half as much as they’ve lost (aka .333)
    If they can attain that…well…it’d be better than it is now.

  4. We should ban Isiah from making anymore deals with Paxson and Bulls. Did he really have to give up so much for the defenseless Curry? I had a nightmare that he traded to get back Tim Thomas!!!

  5. Amen brother. I’m glad you’re finally seeing the light.

    Now come on, get a “Fire Zeke” campaign going!

  6. I think that the Knicks roster is actually quite talented. They just have no idea how to play with each other.

    Zeke’s Knicks team and his draft picks have a much brighter future than anything Layden put on the floor.

    Frye and Curry will be solid. Ariza will become a tough scrappy defender (and maybe even a SMART defender with time). Nate is going to be dropping eyepopping dunks for the next decade (and he might actually learn how to pass, by his 3rd season in the league), and David Lee will become a much better reserve than Jerome Williams ever was. Among the vets, I guarantee you that Steph will continue to produce close to 20/8 for the next five years. Crawford is also a highly talented player, who isn’t quite NBA savvy.

    All of these players have lots of room to grow; LB WILL make them better with time. Even the “uncoachable” Steph has showed a considerable effort to grasp LB’s system.

    However, I’m getting pretty pissed in the meanwhile. Although I think that LB will eventually turn the team around, he’s going to take an entire season or two to do that. This season is going to be way uglier than his first in Philly.

    Why should New Yorkers pay top dollar to watch a summerleague team? Isn’t the type of rostershuffles and futzing that LB is doing MEANT for the summerleague?

    I dunno, but Dolan is still raking in the money, and the fans at the Garden get shafted yet again. I say, tune in to MSG once a month and wait until LB works his magic. Patience basically means forgetting about the Knicks as a WATCHABLE team for the next couple years.

  7. I think they should put together some sorta all-access behind the scenes reality show about the Knicks. just to keep us interested for the next 2 years or so. i think watching nate robinson try to bum money from a naked malik rose or watching nate throw punches at jerome james would be a lot better than this garbage.

  8. Youth and potential don’t mean much with salary cap problems and no draft picks for the next 2 years. Let’s try not to fall in love with dunkers and chuckers who don’t know how to defend a pick and roll if your grandma was running it. LB may be worth 5 more wins a year than another coach. Does that mean 30 or 35 wins in the second year?

  9. my word is “bombs”.

    maybe i’m a jaded lover at this point, but i never really saw the benefit of bringing in Larry Brown in the first place, besides it being an ego trip for Larry. Lenny Wilkens was a hometown boy who had dreamed of coaching the Knicks too, and look how well that went.

  10. agreed! most of the succesful coaches in the nba are guys who worked their way up the team’s system, or have taken their first job there. in my opinion, the knicks need a coach who doesn’t try to meddle to much with the strategy, but instead is wise and fair enough to educate his players without antagonizing them. larry brown is deliberately being a prick in the media, which is exactly what will destroy the chemistry of this team. coaches are not expected to be superstars. what i liked about herb williams was his insistence on communicating directly with his players, not alienating them or berating them through the papers. what brown has been doing is petty and destructive. new york needs someone fresh, optimistic, and humble.

    by the way my word was “booty”…which is cool…

  11. Sad…sad…sad…Marbury is NOT the answer. He’s not a leader and makes no one better. I pray that Larry forces Zeke to trade Marbury. Keep Frye, Ariza, Nate. Curry is still a big question mark…why can’t this guy pull 8 boards a night? I’m not asking for 10 just 8.

    It’s hard to recall a Knick’s team that was this bad. Bad and SOFT…Nate Robinson got assaulted a few weeks back and no Knicks stepped up. It’s pretty bad when Penny Hardaway is the toughest guy on your team. Think about it we used to be FEARED…now we are joke. X-Man, LJ, Mace, and Oak…would not let that kind of aggression stand.

    Does Zeke have Spree’s phone number?

  12. All Zeke will do when he trades Marbury is pick up more bad contracts of which the Knicks are the dumping ground of the NBA. This crap of team needs 3 years to decompose and make fertilizer and Zeke better not be the farmer when when we can do something again!

  13. Three bad games in a row and everybody cries “The sky is falling!” :)

    Really…I agree with NGLI above…there is a lot of talent on this roster. We have stockpiled young players with talent and that’s a positive.

    However, we don’t really seem to have the right pieces to put together into a good team of eight players. Given that we have virtually no picks in ’06 and ’07 (other than Spurs pick in ’06…27+), I think it’s likely that a couple of these kids will be traded for other pieces that are a better fit as a team. I wouldn’t trade Frye for anything at this point, but there aren’t any other untouchables out there — IF (big IF) you get the right piece in return.

    Problem is (as has already been pointed out) Zeke hasn’t made a good trade since he’s been here. He gobbles up bad contracts like there’s no tomorrow. That doesn’t bode well for the future.

    But to all of you who are screaming “The Sky is Falling!”, I say ptttthh. Curry and Frye are legit big men with All-Star potential who are age 23 and 22 playing a position where most guys don’t hit their prime till age 27+. They are almost certainly going to get a lot better. Ariza, Lee, Butler and Robinson show a lot of potential. I am close to writing Crawford off, but there is still a potential great 6th man there sparking the offense off the bench.

    And blaming LB at this point is just BS. That kind of nonsense comes from the same people who want to replace Joe Torre every year when the Yanks lose four games in a row. Typical NY fans: “We should rebuild!” Two months later: “Oh, but we have one of the worst records in the league! That’s enough of this rebuilding nonsense.” We only have enough patience to rebuild for like a month.

    This team is one pure PG, one pure jump shooter, and 40 games of experience away from being competitive against anyone in the league every night. They have already shown flashes of that, but they can’t seem to keep it going for 4 full quarters on most nights, and other nights they just sleep walk. I say that one good trade (totally doable given the expiring contracts and the young talent) will put us in position to be the best turnaround team in the NBA next year.

    That’s rebuilding see…you actually have to suck it up for 12-24 months before you get any better. A lot of Knicks fans expected us to get into the playoffs while we were rebuilding. That’s not the way it usually works. ;)

  14. Do we have either of those pieces? No. But Frye’s rebounding is getting better, and Butler isn’t bad. The Knicks aren’t really getting out-boarded right now. (Shrug)

    Shot blocker? Would be nice to have, but it’s not really a necessity to be competitive. Look around the league and tell me how many of the top 10 teams in the NBA have a legit shot blocker in the middle. Shot blockers just allow you to overcome defensive mistakes…a wide body who D’s up in the box is worth more than Marcus Camby on D any day…IMHO. :)

  15. If we are rebuilding, what is the point of signing James to a corpulent contract (BTW, isn’t he our “shot-blocker”), and trading away future high picks for Curry? You don’t plug holes on a rebuilding team with huge, long-term contracts to marginally-talented players. Especially after acquiring Curry and LB, Thomas went into this season thinking that this was a playoff-calibur team, or at least a 40-win team. As KB said, “Isiah Thomas has gone all in with this year’s team”. Is it wrong then for fans to expect a better product than this from the league’s highest-paid team? Zeke didn’t tell fans in October, “bear with us, this is a rebuilding team”. He thought we could play. Fans are frustrated because the Knicks are terrible, overpaid, and there is not much hope of turning it around in the near future. We are already on the tail end of a rebuilding period and we still suck.
    For this reason, I can get behind the “Fire Zeke” campaign.

  16. The talent on this team looks really good to me, actually. I think Curry, Frye, Ariza, Lee, Butler, Crawford and Robinson are good pieces to build with. james was a mistake at best, and yes Rose, Taylor and Q could be taded for their weight in corn flakes.

    But LB is doing the right thing with all these players in my opinion. It’s a little like bootcamp. They have to be mentally broken down, and retaught the correct way to play. Look at the champ clubs in the past decade or so. Take out Jordan and Bryant (we don’t have anyone who is even in their universe much less their league) and all of the teams that won it all were built around defense, good post play and good passing. (so, to some extent ,were the Lakers and Bulls, but the MJ-KB factor changes much)

    Then watch Marbury and Craw treat screens like the Berlin Wall. Watch Q dump in for a post-up from 1 foot away from Curry, giving him no room to operate. See not on perimeter guy space himslef out correctly for the kickout. Watch every single perimeter player (except maybe Ariza) get beat regularly off the dribble b/c of horrible positioning. Watch others help too far in to the paint, leaving the other four open for a well thought out three.

    Makes me long for the plodding days when it would be Ward to Starks to Ewing to turnaround baseline jumper. It feels like a thing of beauty these days.

    People talk about how LB is over-coaching, but in my opinion all the previous coaches up until VG didn’t coach enough. We have all this very young talent. If we don’t teach them now, we’ll waste it. And that’;s why i think LB is doing exactly what he should, and what will help us in the long run.

    People talk of chemistry, and there’s no disputing the fact that it’s necessary to make a real run at a title. But I’m a big believer in the fact that everyone should be prepared to play at any time. Look at football. Look at the Giants this past week, or the Patriots last year. Why do you think they could roll with the injuries and the changes?

    Because they were taught how, when, why and where to execute. To a man. We don’t have the Pats or Jints talent yet, but if we’re patient we’ll get there.

    There you have’em. My two discombobulated cents.

  17. John…that was an excellent post and it summed up most of my feelings about this team. Instead of taking solace in the fact that we have “some young talent,” lets realize that Zeke had his chance and failed pretty miserably. If his best defense is “This team is better than anything Layden blah blah blah,” then its time for him to get run out of NYC. This is fucking bullshit, to be honest, and Knicks fans deserve better. At this point, I’d be happy if we deactivated Marbury, James, Davis, Taylor, and Penny and let Curry, Frye, Ariza, Q, Crawford, Nate, and Lee get all of the minutes. Watching the New York Rangers makes me smile because they are young, rugged, energetic, and scrappy. I would love to watch a young team grow, and add a young, inexpensive piece every year. AND THAT UNPROTECTED DRAFT PICK IN THE CURRY DEAL IS GOING TO COME BACK TO BITE US IN THE ASS!!! ZEKE IS AN IDIOT.

  18. Zeke is not an idiot. I am very happy with most of the team we have. A couple of the moves James, Taylor, James, Baker and James were bad moves but overall he has done a pretty good job. Make that many moves and gambles in that short a time and some are not going to work out. I believe IMHO the Curry trade was a great trade. Curry is a special player and his rebounding is fine, look at the stats he is not bad this year and we are a good rebounding team. In three years I would be willing to bet that Curry is better than whomever the Bulls draft with that pick. His main problem is that we have no one on this team (except maybe broken down Penny) that can feed the post. The Marbury trade while not the best sold tickets and excited fans. Now it may be time to move him. The rest of the young core is great. Now stop playing Davis for the love of God he is awful.

  19. “The teams that won it all were built around defense, good post play and good passing.”

    They were built around Tim Duncan/the Brothers Wallace. They also kept their cores intact for years. Isiah has completely revamped the Knicks’ core – if you want to follow the path of the Pistons and the Spurs, the core players should all be keepers by now, so Larry Brown could impose his system on them. They’re not.

    Also, is Eddy Curry really so much better than Mike Sweetney (who averages a point less and a rebound more) and a pick that could conceivably be Gay, Morrison or Aldridge? The Hawks are a half-game back, and the Raptors are a game back. No lottery team is going to trade away a 1st-round pick for any player on this current roster but Frye, so Larry is going to have to figure out how to mold this team into something he’ll still want to coach next year, without the benefit of any long-term draft help. It’s all downhill from here, baby.

  20. Count Zero said: “Curry and Frye are legit big men with All-Star potential who are age 23 and 22 playing a position where most guys don?t hit their prime till age 27+. They are almost certainly going to get a lot better. Ariza, Lee, Butler and Robinson show a lot of potential. I am close to writing Crawford off, but there is still a potential great 6th man there sparking the offense off the bench.”

    First of all, what does position have to do with hitting one’s peak around 27? Doesn’t that happen for all positions?

    Secondly, Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson was a great sixth man who sparked the offense off the bench. Crawford is no Microwave, nor will he ever be one.

  21. “A couple of the moves James, Taylor, James, Baker and James were bad moves but overall he has done a pretty good job.”

    I’m not even sure what this sentence means (unless its a confusing attempt at humor and James is bad enough to be mentioned 3x).

    Regardless, lets PLEASE stop comparing individual players to players in the past…i.e. Crawford to Vinnie Johnson.

    The problem is less about individual production and more about “chemistry,” in this case finding a group of 5+ players who can consistently play at a high level TOGETHER. So what if Marbury or Frye has a high PER right now. If we’re losing at a regular rate, they are not doing their jobs. While I’m all for the use of statistical analysis, I believe it is only useful in VERY select situations in basketball. This, as most of you already know, is due to the fact that basketball is a continuous flowing game, and small events regularly change the course of the game that will never show up in stats.

    I don’t want to hear about Curry’s rebounding rate, because in the games I WATCH, he is a lazy, soft big man on defense who couldn’t give a shit about rebounds unless they fall into his lap. On offense, he catches the ball, and shoots quickly. He does make his fair number of tough shots, which is a discernable skill, but that may be the only one he has. PER and other stats don’t account for players too slow to switch on D, too hesitant to hedge on pick and rolls, players knowing correct spacing on the floor, etc. So before we can compare our current players to random individual players of the current/past, lets taste an inkling of success first.

  22. Gabe said:
    First of all, what does position have to do with hitting one?s peak around 27? Doesn?t that happen for all positions?

    Position has everything to do with it — 95% of guards are finished at age 32 because they can’t play defense against a guy on the perimeter, and because they can’t get past the quicker 25-year-old guarding them. Loss of a step for a guard means it’s over except in the rare case of extreme talent like MJ, Stockton, or the Glove.

    On the other hand, dozens of guys like Malone, Dikembe, Kareem, etc. play until age 40 because a) they don’t have to chase people through screens on the perimeter and b) because a big man with good hands and post-up skills is always in demand. Losing a step doesn’t mean 1/10th as much to a guy like Curry as it means to a guy like Stephon. :)

    Let’s face it — if Shaq could actually shoot and not just dunk, he would still be effective at age 45. Hell, AD still has a freakin’ NBA contract — ’nuff said.

  23. Count Zero – You did a good job at explaining why a guard’s decline will be faster than a big man’s. But that doesn’t explain why a big man “peaks” later.

  24. Count Zero said:
    “big man with good hands and post-up skills is always in demand”

    Unfortunately, Curry has hands of stone.

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