A constant conundrum of both denial and hope. Ticket prices through the roof for a team coming off a 17 win season. One of the best scorers in the NBA that can’t stay healthy. An owner that controls the network both through television and the press.
Being a fan of the New York Knicks is complicated, and those points merely scratch the lens.
With Phil Jackson’s debut season as Knicks President deemed a total train wreck, this team is filled with new faces. Players such as Derrick Williams, Jerian Grant, Robin Lopez, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle O’Quinn have made headlines for their positive performances in the preseason, all while garnering hope and enthusiasm from the fans. This portrayal could not be more accurately condoned then on the MSG or in Newsday, where everything is happy and grand, and the Knicks are on the path of their majestic turnaround.
For those that don’t know, James Dolan is not only the Executive Chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company but the President and CEO of Cablevision. His presence influences the management and portrayal of the team heavily. Dolan has insisted that he has handed over all basketball operations to Jackson, but it’s easily something to doubt as fans have gotten used to this very flawed business dynamic of managing a sports team.
The Knicks’ first preseason victory came against the Bauru Basketball team of Brazil. For some reason, this lopsided victory was enough to generate positive attitude throughout surrounding Knicks media. Had the Knicks somehow lost to this team, the portrayal simply would have been the shameful, but easy, “It’s only preseason” disclaimer. Quite simply, preseason beliefs should not be even remotely taken seriously. Take last season, for example, where fans believed the Knicks would improve from their previous 37-win season.
True fans are loyal to New York City and the once-grand tradition of Knicks basketball. Those fans also recognize that all positive anticipations in Knicks World need to be taken with a grain of salt. While everyone knows that Jackson is a brilliant basketball mind as a coach, he’s never been a president of basketball operations prior to last season, and his ability to do well with the job remains unseen.
The Knicks have won some preseason games and look like they may finally be understanding how to properly execute the triangle offense. And despite coming off the worst season in Knicks history, Jackson has added many likable members to this team, even if none were “big name” free agents. Maybe, just maybe, the Knicks are on the way to righting the off-course ship.
Regardless of that potential, Knicks fans have to see it to believe it. This sense of optimism in the media is a bunch of hooey. Why would a network owned by the team head into a season advertise the team is going to be horrible? And how low is the bar of expectancy after such a horrendous season like last years? Fans would be considered wise to be cranky in everything Knicks-related.
While the business model for Knicks basketball remains a shameful circus, there is no denying that the fans are hungrier than ever. Within all fans is a blind optimism that maybe something great will happen, especially at the beginning of an NBA season. Just hopefully, Knicks fans know by now to take it slow and not get ahead of themselves.