When spring rolls around, the New York Knicks will be in the playoffs. It will be the first time the franchise has made consecutive trips to the postseason since the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. But, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to win a series — something they haven’t done in almost a decade.
The Knicks are going to let you down this season if you believe they’ll have more postseason success than last season’s first-round exit. But, it won’t be because the team or coaching staff underachieved, it’ll be because Knicks fans and the “New York media” set you up for failure — again.
Let me explain:
Last season, the Knicks finished third (41-31) in the Atlantic Division during a hellacious shortened season overrun by countless injuries to stars — and role players — as the mental health of players was a constant talking point due to the isolation they dealt with while playing during a global pandemic with countless mandates on the road and at home. New York looked up at the Nets and Sixers in their division, and the Bucks in the conference, as the fourth-seeded Knicks trailed all three of those teams in the final standings.
And then, Trae Young happened.
The Knicks got embarrassed by the Hawks in Madison Square Garden by a guy making his postseason debut who averaged 29.2 points and 9.8 assists in the five-game series, after serving up 24.7 points and 12 assists per game against them in regular-season matchups. They knew what Trae was capable of, they just didn’t have an answer.
If we look at the Eastern Conference, the Bucks, Nets (despite whatever happens with Kyrie Irving), Sixers, Hawks, and Heat are all better than New York. And the Celtics and Bulls could both have a better record by the end of the season due to Boston being healthy and the additions of Demar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball in Chicago. So, let’s slot the Knicks somewhere between 3 or 4 in their division, and 5-8 in their conference — meaning that last year’s home court advantage is gone, as they could be facing the Bucks, Nets, Sixers, Hawks, or Heat in the first round.
(whispers) That means they’re going to lose again.
However, no matter how much Knicks fans may understand that in their souls, they — and the NY media — will make it a point to overinflate everything the team does this season, as that’s what New Yorkers do about everything attached to that godforsaken city.
Last season, I was puzzled when the Knicks let Austin Rivers go, only for him to be a vital piece for the Nuggets in the postseason — a team that won a playoff series.
I remember watching Knicks fans chant “We Want Brooklyn” outside of MSG after their first postseason win in almost a decade, only for that win to be their only victory of the postseason.
I saw members of the NY media say asinine things like this:
Legendary former players even got in on the act, when Charles Oakley publicly stated that Julius Randle is “a better version of Zion Williamson,” only for Randle to average a dismal 18 points and 11.6 rebounds on 29.8 percent shooting in the playoffs after going for 24.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per night in a season in which he was All-NBA second team.
And now, I’m watching as New Yorkers are losing their minds about the return of Kemba Walker to MSG as if he’ll be their savior, even though he hasn’t done anything worth remembering in that building in a decade. A lot has happened since the 2011 Big East Tournament.
The Knicks will be good this season but also viewed as a letdown. But, it won’t be because of their play or execution, but because of the pedestal their fans and local media unjustly put them on.