hat? The NY Knicks are 8-6? What? They are on a 4-game winning streak? What? They are 5-2 on the road? Well, that means that, after several years of being critical of everything the Knicks do, I now have to give credit where credit is due. Fair is fair, after all. Here’s the truth at the beginning of this 2015-16 NBA season: The Knicks are no longer the tragic team they were last year, when they were 17-65 and dead last in the NBA. In fact, they look solid, look like a playoff team. Even more important, they look like a … team! What’s up here?
First of all, owner James Dolan, he with a long track record of all-thumbs meddling, has kept his distance from the situation, has kept his hands off the team, has not made any crazy trades, has not been seen with Isiah Thomas and has kept his silence, all of which helps bring stability to a usually shaky situation. Secondly, I had often ripped President Phil Jackson for living in the LA area while running the Knicks in NY. Well, he’s more of a quiet presence now, is keeping a lower profile (not easy for him) and has further stabilized an unstable situation.
Third, coach Derek Fisher, who I said had zero of the qualities you need to coach in the NBA, is doing a very nice job right now and even … look like a coach! He’s saying the right things (not his strong suit last year), doing the right things, has his guys working hard, being tough and staying humble. Fourth, Carmelo Anthony, a guy I do not like, is healthy, slimmed down, in shape and is playing what may be the best team basketball of his life, praising teammates, doing the dirty work, sharing the ball, hustling on defense and off the boards.
The big thing, of course, is their 7’3″ Latvian Wonder, 19-year old Kristaps Porzingis, the biggest sensation of the year. And they got him with the 4th pick! The guy is coming in with one monster game after another, has Carmelo believing in him (and Carmelo works with him, 1-on-1, all the time, so props to Melo), is as humble as they come, and is just simply dominating. OK, we’re only 14 games into the season. But this is a complete turn-around and done in record time. Well, they deserve all sorts of credit and I just wanted to pass some of that along today.