It’s rough for the Knicks right now. They have lost nine in a row and 18 of 20. Players are infighting — Carmelo Anthony reportedly threatened to punch Tim Hardaway Jr. — and apparently none of them like the triangle offense. Derek Fisher is fumbling around as first year coaches often do. Phil Jackson said the players are resisting the culture change needed in the organization. On top of all that it appears ‘Melo’s knee could need surgery.
What could be worse?
How about hearing most executives around the league would rather be in the Sixers’ shoes long term than the Knicks?
“If [Joel] Embiid is [Hakeem] Olajuwon instead of [Greg] Oden, the answer is Philly,” one NBA executive told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog. “The Knicks have one first-round pick in the next two years, zero second-round picks and zero worthwhile International rights guys. Philly has two first-round picks this year, four second-round picks in the next two and the rights to [Dario] Saric and [Vasilije] Micic. Melo is better than any current 76er but Philly has a far better coach and more talented young players.”
A former NBA GM chimed in with similar thoughts on who has a brighter future.
“The Sixers, long term,” he said. “They have young talent and multiple draft picks.”
The Sixers have been naked and unabashed in their “going bad to get good” plan, to the chagrin of other owners. The thing is, it might work. We’ll have to see how the players they have and will draft pan out — how good is Joel Embiid going to be? Nerlens Noel? Michael Carter-Williams? And on down the line, like can they keep K.J. McDaniels as a role player?
The Knicks have Anthony, Hardaway and… free agents they hope to land. They, like the Lakers, are taking the Adam Dunn/Jim Thome/Reggie Jackson approach at the plate and swinging for the fences with every free agent out there this summer — Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo and on down the line. New York has the lure of the Knicks brand, of Madison Square Garden, of the city of New York, and of Phil Jackson running the show.
It’s almost certainly going to be another strikeout this summer. Love isn’t stupid, he’s staying put with LeBron. Gasol would be a perfect triangle big man but he’s in a good spot with a team and city he likes in Memphis and isn’t expected to move on. Same with Aldridge in Portland. As for Rondo, go look at the history of point guards who can’t shoot in the triangle offense and tell me why he’d want to go there. The Knicks challenge is players are forcing their way to be with other players — Love is the prime example — and right now the Knicks don’t really have a good way to get those first young players to start the trend.
The Sixers… they may already have those guys. Come 2018 we may all think Sam Hinkie is brilliant.
And who knows what Knicks fans will think of Phil Jackson then.