Before playing their fifth game last night (Wednesday) in Quicken Loans Arena, the Eastern Conference’s lion’s den, being the home of LeBron James, indisputably the king of the basketball jungle, the Knicks were a promising 2-2 on the young NBA season.
No reasonable hoops fan expects the Knicks to pose any serious threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ status as the best team in the East and perhaps the entire league, now or for the next two years if James and company’s roster remains relatively intact. But it is against good teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, who visit the Garden tomorrow night, or a bad team such as the Los Angeles Lakers, who will be there Sunday afternoon, that the Knicks must gain wins.
A long-held conviction that applies to both sports and life, i.e., “It is better to be underestimated than overestimated,” can work in the Knicks’ favor this season. After just 17 victories in last year’s campaign, a playoff appearance this time around for a team a great number of prognosticators, including this writer, had winning between 32-37 games could be the best recruiting tool for the franchise’s key decision makers.
Team president Phil Jackson would smartly spin to elite free-agents that despite the low expectations of others, the organization, most notably him, has a solid blueprint that is yielding positive results, such as his much criticized decision to draft Kristaps Porzingis, who shows great potential
“The teams that are successful, the teams that are winning games in this league, of course they have main guys and franchise guys that are playing well,” said Knicks head coach Derek Fisher after a 94-84 loss to the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. “But they are playing in a way that allows for other guys to contribute.”
All for one and one for all. Maybe it will be a significant turnaround season.