It’s been a little more than 48 hours since the NBA Trade Deadline passed and despite all of the rumors whispered and mentioned over the last couple of months, the Knicks decided to stay as is.
Carmelo Anthony wasn’t traded, neither was Brandon Jennings, Courtney Lee, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, although, in fairness to the Knicks, they did have a deal in place to trade Rose to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio, but the T-Wolves decided to negate the deal at the very last second.
So when the Knicks returned from the All-Star break, they were the same 23-34 team who had struggled terribly since Christmas time. But then things took a turn for the worse Thursday night when Kristaps Porzingis left the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers with an ankle injury; the Knicks ended up losing the game 119-105 at Quicken Loans Arena and began the second half of the season the same way it ended; by losing and essentially, getting blown out by a better opponent.
The good news for the Knicks is that no ligament damage was done to Porzingis’ ankle, but he won’t be returning to the court right away, as he’s likely going to miss a few games to rest the injury, thus, weakening an already struggling team that is barely hanging on in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
If the Knicks are smart, they do two things going forward.
The first is not to rush Porzingis back from this injury. The competitor in Porzingis will want to return, but at this point in the year, why bother? The Knicks aren’t a playoff team and aren’t making some miraculous second half run to becoming one. Bringing Porzingis back too soon could potentially cause further damage and cause him to miss even more time than needed, something the Knicks can’t afford to have happened.
If he’s fully healthy, then the Knicks should obviously bring him back into the starting lineup and let him play. But don’t rush it.
Which brings to the second thing the Knicks should do; tank the season. Seriously.
Currently, they’re the eighth worst team in the NBA and fourth worst in the East, which doesn’t give them the best chance for the top pick or even a top five pick. When they went 17-65 two seasons ago, they had the second-worst record in the NBA and ended up with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft; a pick that landed the Knicks Porzingis and worked out well for them.
Winning games going forward will not help the Knicks if they want to try to increase their chances of getting a high pick in June’s draft, one that is supposed to be very deep in talent.
Tanking games goes against the competitive nature of things, but the Knicks desperately need to reverse the way their organization has gone over the last 10 years. Getting a top pick and landing a good player in June’s draft would be a step in the right direction for them.
In order to do that, the Knicks have to lose a lot more games. Not having Porzingis in the lineup will help that cause. Losing more games will also do that. It might not help the Knicks now to lose, but their draft hopes could be thanked later if they get a high pick.
So lose New York, lose New York, go!