The New York Knicks are in shambles. They’re currently swirling around the bathtub drain that is the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, and their best player, Carmelo Anthony, could soon deactivate himself for the remainder of the season to rehab a nagging knee injury.
Much of this responsibility belongs exclusively to rookie GM Phil Jackson, whose slowly-evolving incompetence is matched only by his nepotistic tendencies (i.e. handing over the reigns to first-time coach and former Jackson disciple Derek Fischer).
It also doesn’t help that Jackson has become something of a luddite when it comes to the modern NBA and its philosophical emphasis on motion offenses and the unimpeachable value of the three-point shot. So far, he’s stubbornly forced the team to execute his (or rather Tex Winter’s) precious – and increasingly obsolete – triangle offense regardless of whether they have the right personnel to do so effectively (they don’t) and regardless of how disastrous the results have been (they’ve been pretty disastrous).
But any further criticism of the Knicks ought rightly to begin with their inscrutable and enigmatic owner James Dolan.
His hapless and iron-fisted reign over the franchise has been documented eloquently and with great intellectual verve by The Guardian’s fantastic Robert Silverman Tuesday. Here’s just one of several exceedingly erudite passages absolutely eviscerating Dolan.
“Somewhere, deep inside Dolan’s so-called mind, inheriting a franchise from his rich father, and profiting from the city’s cable duopoly equals managerial and financial acumen, thus justifying all his ancillary nonsense, from micromanaging the team’s dance squad to the random, pointless belittling of underlings.”
And it gets better.
Silverman recalls an earlier story about how Dolan once fired a security guard at Madison Square Garden who, failing to recognize Dolan, asked him for his identification. Apparently, Dolan actually pulled the whole “do you have any idea who I am?” routine before promptly terminating the luckless and oblivious employee (she was later rehired). He goes onto to describe Dolan as a “petulant, spoiled schlub, pouting and/or falling asleep in the good seats while wrapped in a mock turtleneck and a fedora.”
It’s a bracing and riotously funny assassination of a man who, just last week, showed his true colors in a vile and hateful response letter to a fan who deigned to criticize the team and Dolan’s stewardship of it. In Dolan’s ( at times grammatically-challenged) response, he at various points accuses said fan of, among other things, being a drunk (Dolan himself is a recovering alcoholic) and closes by encouraging him to “start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks dont [sic] want you.”
As if things weren’t already bad enough. And they aren’t looking up any time soon. It’s yet another wasted season for the Knicks and the fans who their prickly owner so clearly holds in contempt, and the way things are panning out, it’s hard to imagine them evolving into serious contenders any time in the foreseeable future.
The one bright spot of the season will be the forthcoming All-Star Weekend festivities, which will be hosted jointly by the Knicks and Nets at MSG and the Barclay’s Center respectively.
What do you think?
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