The Knicks Can’t Win For Losing 

The Knicks were willing to lower themselves to a level reserved for meager expansion franchises, abominations masquerading as pro sports entities and hopeless small market clubs with no resources or real swag to attract the best players in the world.

After the dreadful 2013-14 season, it was obvious the Knicks needed an upgraded brain trust and to change the chemistry on the squad as well as get some more help for Melo. They brought in Phil Jackson and D Fish and tanked the 2014-15 season. Melo was shut down. They brought up a bunch of young D Leaguers, castoffs and journeymen to fill out the roster and lose as many games as possible after trading Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith who are now key cogs in King James’ Cavs Ch’ip Machine.

The irony of James Dolan’s run as Knicks franchise obliterator has been well-documented and is painful enough left in the past where it belongs. No need to reopen old wounds. As a matter of fact, last night’s NBA Draft Lottery was supposed to be one of extreme optimism and hope for Knicks fans. How could they manage to botch this one? With two legit seven-footers rocking the top two spots, all NY needed was a pinch of luck to nab one of those shiny, pretty, draft picks Knicks fans say their team never gets. 

The expression on Knicks GM Steve Mills’ face said it all. When they announced the Knicks’ lottery fate, he looked like he just ate a bucket of jalapeno peppers and washed it down with some salt and a plate of lemons. The fourth pick isn’t anything to sneeze at, but it was a loss for NY because this draft was supposed to put the Knicks back on course to becoming one of the game’s elite franchises by adding a “sure thing”  to the mix before scouring the free agent market.

The Zen Master’s first Knicks initiative was to say, “eff the season,” lets go for the boobie prize. Just as his power move to lure Golden State’s Steve Kerr here ended feebly — and the embarrassment has been been prolonged by the fact that Kerr has the Warriors in a real position to win their first NBA Championship since they did it 1975 under African-American coach Alvin Attles — Jackson’s tank job ended in the worst possible fashion. When the lottery balls pissed on the Knicks’ hopes of getting either Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns — the top two picks and elite big men in June’s NBA Draft — reality struck Knicks fans again. The NBA lottery balls don’t even want to play for NY.

Most Knicks fans assumed it was a foregone conclusion that NY would end up with at least the second pick. Looks as if the scrubs the Knicks put out on the floor each night actually played with more heart than the “starters” who proceeded them, throwing a monkey wrench in Phil’s best laid plans. The Knicks played just bad enough to be considered an embarrassment to NYC basketball, but just good enough to miss out on a potential franchise-changing player.And if D’Angelo Russell is a “poor man’s Steph Curry” as some have called him, then I’m sure Philly will snatch him up right before the Knicks pick. The same way Golden State picked Chef Curry one pick before the Knicks drafted in 2009. The Knicks ended up with the 8th pick and Jordan Hill. Need I say more?With all of the “sure things” off the board, the Knicks find themselves in a familiar place. Hoping for the luck of the draw or a beneficial trade, but we all know that the basketball gods don’t rock with The Dolans like that so they’ll be no favors granted.It looks as if the Knicks will be looking to take Emmanuel Mudiay, the 19-year-old athletic wonder playing in China and going head-to-head with Stephon Marbury on occasion. The hype on him is heavy, but filled with adjectives like “raw”,  “project” and “inexperienced.” On top of that, most NBA fans, analysts and journalists haven’t even seen him play. This is not looking good for NY.When hes not calling the Knicks as the teams radio voice, broadcaster Mike Crispino is one of the few cats who has gotten a chance to watch the point guard play in China.

Crispino has broadcast about 20 Chinese Basketball Association games this season for a fledgling cable station, One World Sports, from a studio. He’s flat out not that impressed with Mudiay, the unfinished product.

I did a couple of his games early on and he looked like a high school player who didnt look physically up to being in a professional league he looked like a teenager, Crispino told The Post in March. He showed flashes of being a good basketball player but nothing like hed be a top-5 pick….hes still doing a lot of things that are just mistakes that you wouldnt do if you had experience under your belt. Hes still very inexperienced as a basketball player on the professional level.

Maybe the Knicks will have their first great draft moment since Patrick Ewing fell into their laps in 1984. Maybe Phil Jackson has his eyes set on a player that will make The Triangle pop like some red lipstick on Marilyn Monroe playing the role of “Sugar” in the 1959 movie Some Like It Hot.In any event, the fans will continue to suffer and complain for a while — but they’ll do it from the Garden seats and in front of TV sets — as ownership continues to rake in the doe like JR Ewing. Despite experiencing some of the darkest times in franchise history, according to Forbes, the value of the New York Knicks shot up 79% to $2.5 billion, ranking the team second overall to the Lakers (the Knicks edged out the Lakers last year). Fan loyalty is limitless in NY.

The team still drew the biggest TV audience in the NBA at 163,000 viewers per game on average.There’s no real incentive by ownership to win. If they are driven by money and already have more than they can spend and losing doesn’t really affect the bottom line, then Knicks fans are truly at the mercy of Phil Jackson, D Fish and their master plan.As free agency summer approaches, Knicks fans will once again, hope for a miracle. Nothing has happened since Jackson took over to make anyone believe that will go as planned.

Since “The Decision” — when LeBron came through and crushed the title hopes of Knicks fans by bouncing to South Beach — little has gone right for the Knicks. Free agent blunders, inconsistent chemistry, clown antics by crucial players at crucial moments. From J.R. Smith wrecking a playoff series trying to keep up with Rihanna’s ratchet flow, to Melo wilding out because KG allegedly said his wife “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios,” the Knicks have been one big comedy show.

You can make an all-star squad and then some of former Knicks players who were integral parts of their team’s playoff journey this season. From Zach Randolph to Pablo Prigioni and Benu Udrih to J.R. Smith and Shumpert to Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza with Houston. The list of NY Knicks organization blunders is lengthy and consistent, full of initial optimism and then eventually out of reach. Look at last night’s draft. These dudes can’t win for losing.  

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.