The date was January 8, 2010, when in foolish optimism, I thought that it would be a good idea to talk about how much my New York Knicks had been improving. I had woken up that morning to watch the then 9th place Knicks take on the then 8th place Bobcats. Knicks won the game 97-93, and thus closed the distance between the two teams, inching closer to a playoff spot. I named the post I wrote that morning Knix Jinx because I believed that either the Knicks were going to continue playing positively and up to their potential to make the playoffs, or I would jinx them and watch them settle back into their decade-long seat of poor performances and go fishing in early April.
I had written:
If you believe in jinxes, and the Knicks crash and burn and fail to make the playoffs, and Gallo breaks both his legs and David Lee snubs the team demanding a trade and Nate Robinson starts to worship Stephon Marbury, and our starting lineup next season features Larry Hughes instead of LeBron James, then this is the article to blame.
Until then, I'm gonna stay hopeful.
And guess what? I did end up jinxing my favourite team. Soon after those early glimmers of hope, the Knicks became the Knicks again. The team's record was 15-20 on January 8th, and they finished 29-53, only managing to win 14 of the next 47 games of the season. A clockwork blue, white, and orange, like most years in this miserable decade, the Knicks failed to make the playoffs and ended the season a forgotten team. Hell, we don't even have any first round draft picks come June - thanks a lot, Utah.
The positives: David Lee became an All Star. Gallinari managed to grow himself a pair. Toney Douglas and Bill Walker realised that they weren't awful. Earl Barron turned out to be a surprise. And Wilson Chandler kept up his good work.
The negatives: The Knicks still don't know how to play defense. Defense, as you may know, apparently wins championships. And it is apparently 50% of everything on a basketball court (the other 50% in this pie is something called 'offence', that Coach D'Antoni may be familiar with). The T-Mac experiment gave mixed, if uninspiring, results. Oh, and the Knicks still have Eddy fatass Curry.
So Nate Robinson got traded for Eddie House, and I would say now that despite Nate's inconsistencies, that was probably a dumb move.
We now enter the most important part of the Knick season... the Great Summer of 2010, where everyone from LeBron James to Dwyane Wade to Chris Bosh to Lionel Messi to Sachin Tendulkar to Genghis Khan will apparently become free agents. Okay, so maybe not ALL of those guys, but it is the most impressive list of free agents ever. Here are the top 10, in the opinion of someone over at Scoresreport.com:
Look at the last name on the list. David Lee. The Knicks seem to have enough money now to sign two big name guys. What do we do with Lee though, who has been the heart and soul of the team for so many years, giving his all and improving his own play? The worst-case scenario would be that we end up without any of the top three or four big name guys and Lee walks away, too. The best-case would be that the top players in the list suddenly end their thirst for money and decide to accept peanuts to play for the same team. The chances that a) this would ever happen or b) this would ever happen for New York, are ranging somewhere between minimal to none.
Come transfer window time, the league is going to see a techtonic shift, especially considering the news that the agents for the top three guys now work together. Let's hope that 2010-11 is a much better season for the Knickerbockers. Until then, I'll be drying my eyes with my Stephon Marbury jersey.