Let’s face it, although the New York Knicks may be estimated by Forbes as the most lucrative market and highest valued franchise, the ball club is nowhere near perfection.
The past few decades have been tough on the Knicks players, tougher on the management and toughest for the loyal Knicks fans.
All hope is not lost. If recent history was any lesson, the New York Knicks can learn from neglected franchises such as Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. These two teams were never favored due to their market size, lack of city appeal and lackluster past. However, their precisely engineered steps, approach and method have proven that even the weakest franchises can turn around and come back with a winning season.
Below we take a look at ten such steps that the New York Knicks can emulate in order to engineer the mammoth turn around that they desperately need.
1. Ownership Responsibility
James Dolan can be great at his day job as a rich businessman but he is definitely a poor basketball mind. Like all things great, it needs to start from the top.
He needs to understand that the franchise can only thrive if he lets go of his iron fists, start hiring the best professionals and give them full autonomy to run the organization the right way. Away with the petty squabbles, the discrimination, the meddling of basketball decisions and influence on operations. Let true basketball leadership take over.
2. Top-Notch Executives
Picking the right replacement for President of Basketball Operations will pave the way for true progress. Top executives such as Masai Ujiri and Pat Riley have the expertise that the Knicks need.
However, in order to attract them, the Knicks will need to promise more than just money. Freedom to architect the organization, hire the staff and bring change must be mandatory so that such world-class professionals are convinced that they can do whatever they need to deliver a Championship.
3. Head Coach With Winning Experience
It is unfortunate that a decent coach like David Fizdale had to have his New York stint cut short. To salvage the fate of the Knicks in double quick time under the ferocious expectations of the fans and media, only a Championship coach is suitable to take the helm.
Someone of the caliber of Steve Kerr, Tyronn Lue, Erik Spoelstra or Larry Brown is needed to fill the big shoes of being the head coach of this storied franchise.
4. Strong Coaching Staff
To dig the knicks out of atrocity, the team needs to fire on all cylinders. The supporting coaching staff should be equipped to cover the key elements of a Championship team. Strong candidates should be considered for hiring defensive coaches, offensive coaches, player development coaches, strength conditioning coaches and medical staff.
A full revamp is necessary in the personnel department in order to start on a great clean slate.
5. Develop A Winning Culture Straight Away
With the internet generation of fans, the Knicks cannot waste any time in their revolution. The new front office and a head coach must be in sync and speak the same tune, putting their feet down and stamping their imprint on a new winning culture from day one.
The rest of the winning will trickle down when the helm is right.
6. Team Identity And Knicks Brand Of Basketball
The Showtime Lakers were characterized with a fastbreak offense. The San Antonio Spurs were characterized by pristine execution. The Bad Boys Pistons were characterized by high intensity and physical defense.
If the Knicks want success, they need to decide what kind of team are they going to be and what brand of basketball are they playing.
7. Trade Away Excessive Forwards
If you have been following the signings done by the New York Knicks, you will notice that the roster is harboring way too many forwards. The team now has ten legitimate players who can play the forward position. RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, Marcus Morries, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Ignaz Brazdeikis, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson and Ivan Rabb. A glute at the forward position means a handicap when it comes to planning for more options during plays.
The Knicks need to only keep quality forwards, maintain a healthy number such as three of them and trade excess players for other valuable assets which we will discuss in the next point below.
8. Trade For 2020 And 2021 First Round Draft Picks
The Knicks do hold valuable assets that other teams may need, such as one or two quality veteran players. Once the coaching staff is firmed up, the Knicks need to decide which players suit their identity and style of play, which players they are lacking.
The front office will then have to work their magic to figure out trade packages to exchange for their needs. Multiple first-round picks will be valued in this exchange to aid the Knicks’ rebuild process.
9. Sign a Potential Superstar
Right now, the Knicks do not have a legitimate Superstar or any current All-Star player to lead their charge. Julius Randle makes a dependable third option but is definitely not an All-Star. RJ Barrett may be a diamond in the rough but in this league, you need multiple stars to win it.
Kevin Knox may be the X-factor but he has not proven that he can carry the load. A potential future All-Star who is on the uptrend, such as Brandon Ingram or Domantas Sabonis, may be viable targets.
10. Sign a Former Champion
A veteran with five to ten years of league experience and a ring in his hand would be highly valuable as a mentor to the young team who have not tasted real success yet. Championship habits, ways of taking care of the body and routines to stay ready during various tough situations would come in handy as the intangibles that such a player can bring.
As you can see, bringing the Knicks back from the abyss is neither simple nor easy. It definitely takes all the conditions to be aligned before one can expect any improvement to this team. Till then, wish the New York Knicks the best of luck!