This past decade was an absolute failure for the New York Knicks. After the departure of Patrick Ewing, the Knicks front office gave the Knick fans little to cheer about. Many of the fans that had been around in the 90′s had given up on the team, after the teams struggles. The Knicks problems can be originally traced back to Scott Layden. Layden was Vice President and General Manager for the Knicks from 1999-2001, and President and General Manager from 2001-2003. Layden’s questionable strategies began to give the Knicks the reputation of being one of the worst Franchises in Sports of the time period.
Perhaps a more infamous time period in the 2000′s was the reign of Isiah Thomas. Just hearing the name Isiah Thomas makes many Knicks fans cringe. Thomas had originally been President of Basketball Operations, and in 2006, Thomas was named head coach of the Knicks after the firing of Larry Brown. Isiah Thomas was best known for his horrid moves in the front office for the Knicks, which included trading important lottery picks for Eddy Curry. At one point, the Knicks had the highest payroll in the NBA, with the second worst record.
The Knicks fans had finally found hope in one man, Lebron James. Even though he was on the Cavaliers, his team was not succeeding and it was widely believed that he would leave Cleveland via free agency. In the offseason of 2010, just days before James was expected to make his decision, the Knicks signed one of the best scoring big men in the league: Amar’e Stoudemire. However, Lebron would make his infamous decision on live TV, and, “Take his talents to South Beach.”
Amar’e became an immediate success with the Knicks, and not far into the season did rumors begin that the prolific scorer on the Nuggets Carmelo Anthony was going to be traded mid season to the Knicks. The scoring duo of Melo and Amar’e made many Knicks fans salivate, but once Carmelo joined the Knicks mid the 2010-2011 season, they hadn’t been the contenders people thought they would be. That year, they grabbed the 6th seed in the East, and were swept in the first round by the Celtics. The 2011-2012 season wasn’t any better, as the Knicks struggled as a team, and took the 7th seed. Carmelo Anthony’s offensive game was not at its best, and Amar’e never seemed to be like the Amar’e Stoudemire that played for the Suns. There were some points where it seemed like the Knicks were ready to turn their season around, like during Linsanity and after Mike Woodson was named interim coach. The Knicks lost in 5 games, but their Game 4 win, theysnapped their 13 game playoff losing streak.
The Knicks seemed to finally return to dominance this season, coming off to an 18-5 start. They finished off the season with a 54-28 record, clinching the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, and winning the Atlantic Division for the first time since the 1993-1994 season.
Now, after defeating the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, they face the Pacers, where they find themselves down 3-2 going into Game 6 today. The Knicks are looking to become only the 9th team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit. After the Knicks numerous failures in the 2000, it is hard for me to find any hope left. The performance of many of the Knicks best players, including J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler, and on some occasions Carmelo Anthony have been disappointing, and Mike Woodson has been incredibly out-coached by Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers. Although the series is not over yet, I would be surprised if the Knicks come out victorious.
The future of the Knicks after this year is up in the air. Amar’e Stoudemire is not the player he once was due to lingering injuries he’s suffered in the past two seasons. This Knicks team is the oldest team in the NBA, built on veteran leadership. Jason Kidd’s performance has greatly decreased since the beginning of the season, especially in the playoffs. J.R. Smith, the sixth man of the year and a critical piece to the Knicks success this year will most likely opt out of his contract and test out free agency. There are other teams that will be able to spend much more money on him, and even though he stated he would like to retire a Knick, there is a chance he leaves the Knicks this offseason. Not many people predicted the success of the Knicks season, so hopefully the next decade won’t be anything like the post Ewing 2000′s, and the struggles under Layden and Thomas. At this point, all we can do as Knicks fans is hope.