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The New York Knicks have been the pun of bad jokes since 2000 and well deserved. Long time fans have suffered through bad draft picks, terrible free agent signings and awful seasons.
The circus atmosphere around this organization through the years was orchestrated by owner James Dolan. His mistake was thinking he could run the team better than anyone else. Firing and hiring coaches and management at a frequent rate didn’t help either.
Once he figured out that there are people out there smarter than him at building and running a team and stayed out of the way, things started to change. The first and most important thing that happened was the front office was allowed to bring in their coach on the same page.
President Steve Mills, General Manager Scott Perry and head coach David Fizdale all have great communication with each other, created stability and have the same vision for the Knicks. Because they have a plan, drafting is clearer and focusing on free agents is easier to target. This is an absolute must for sustainable success.
You need proof? Look no further than their very first draft. New York drafted small forward Kevin Knox, a 19-year old with untapped potential. He was named December Rookie of the Month to show glimpses.
They also drafted a second round steal in shot block phenom center Mitchell Robinson, a potential future Defensive Player of the Year candidate. If that were not enough, they signed a drafted rookie named Allonzo Trier, a fearless shooting guard who has surpassed all expectations. All three figure in the New York’s long term plans moving forward.
More proof? The front office has managed the roster masterfully.
They cleared all bad contracts and created two max contract slots for free agency. This required some tough decisions and trades, including moving potential franchise player Kristaps Porzingis. But that move yielded two first round picks and potential future point guard Dennis Smith Jr, a very good haul.
This will be a pivotal offseason for the organization. The right decisions in free agency and the draft could right the ship for years to come, and hopefully, the end of the jokes.