It’s been a long time coming…
I am a New York Knicks fan.
Since 1999 (the last time the Knicks got to the NBA Finals), I have been subjected to one mediocre squad after another. Toxic locker rooms. Scandal. Turmoil. Laughing stock status in our division, our conference, the entire league. Injury. Futility. Frustration. Ineptitude. Defeat. Ignominy. It has been a very difficult 14 years. The team has made two playoff appearances in the past ten years, and have won a whopping one game. As someone who became a Knick fan during the Patrick Ewing era – a time during which the Ewing-led Knicks made 14 consecutive playoff appearances and got to the NBA Finals twice – the Knicks teams since 2000 have been incredibly hard to watch.
Today, I am happy to be able to say that things have changed.
The Knicks have clinched the Atlantic Division title (first time since 1994). They have won 50 games (first time since 2000), 30 home games (also last accomplished in 2000), and clinched the second seed, guaranteeing home court advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs (first time since 1994). They’ve got a player who is a legitimate MVP candidate (Carmelo Anthony), a player who is in the thick of discussions for 6th Man of the Year (JR Smith), a coach who should be in the mix for Coach of the Year (Mike Woodson), and a GM who should also be considered for GM of the Year (Glen Grunwald).
The team that was assembled this season is an odd one – a weird mix of stars (Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler), a supporting cast drawn from overseas (JR Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Chris Copeland), and grizzled veterans (Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kenyon Martin). The team literally has not been 100% healthy all season – the entire front court has been out for the past week – but with the exception of Stoudemire, everyone is expected back for the playoffs.
The Knicks’ first round opponent will be the Boston Celtics, who swept a banged-up Knicks team in 2011. I’m in the mood for a little revenge, and I’m sure the Knicks are as well. This team is poised to go deep into the playoffs, and you can bet the savings account that I will be watching every single game. I stood by this team through the bad times, and I will be living it up now that they’re back to being a serious contender.