On Tuesday night, the New York Mets will take the field in Game 1 of the World Series, their first appearance in the Fall Classic since 2000.
It’s been a magical run for the Mets to get where they are now. Their ascension from a losing season to the pennant came thanks to some excellent young pitching from Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, and some much-needed power in the middle of their lineup thanks to the emergence of Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud. But let’s not forget the mid-season acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes.
Despite playing in New York, the Mets blossomed the same way a small-market team would: They built their roster through the draft and the development of those young players now starring in their World Series run.
The New York Knicks are in a similar situation at the start of the 2015 season, at least according to Carmelo Anthony.
Here’s what Anthony said about the comparison, by way of the The New York Daily News.
“I don’t want to say it’s similar but you can see some similarities in that,” Anthony said. “The way that they kind of broke everything down and kind of rebuilt piece-by-piece and all of it came together at the right time. I don’t want to say we’re in a similar situation, but we are. Right now we put pieces together and we have to go out there and build that.”
There’s a major difference between the Knicks and the Mets that Carmelo seems to be missing. The Mets were built with a long-term vision by GM Sandy Alderson. That vision took years and years of acquiring assets and keeping young players stashed away until they were ready, all while the major league team struggled.
The Knicks aren’t known for having a patient fanbase, and owner James Dolan is notoriously impulsive (how else to explain him overriding them GM Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni to facilitate the trade for Melo?)
NBA basketball teams don’t usually have the luxury of hiding top prospects before they’re ready to contribute. And the Knicks probably aren’t going to spend the last couple of years near Carmelo Anthony’s prime trading away good players for future stars, like the Mets did earlier in the millennium.
If anything, the only franchise in the NBA with a small-market baseball approach has been Sam Hinkie and the 76ers. But even there, fans are tiring of his draft-and-stash antics. Phil Jackson was brought in to make the Knicks better, and while no one expected him to do it in one year (okay, Stephen A. Smith probably did), if they don’t push for a playoff spot in year two, there might be rumblings from up high.
The one area in which the Mets and Knicks may be similar is perhaps what Carmelo alluded to in terms of stripping away much of the foundation and starting from scratch.
Would Knicks fans take three more losing seasons if they were guaranteed a Finals appearance in 2019? Maybe, but Jackson’s plan is unlikely to get that sort of wide timeline, even if he’s under contract through the 2018-19 season. If the Knicks are bad for that long, it’s unlikely Melo or Phil will survive long enough to see the plan to its fruition.
(Via New York Daily News)