FanPost

About this whole "Knicks are a defensive team" Tradition

Let's talk about this.  It's constantly mentioned here and all around the media and even common fans.  How much of a "tradition" is defense to the Knicks organization?  Of course I'm a fan of defense.  And I am not looking to trash the idea of the Knicks history.  We have won 2 titles in our time.  Both came under Red Holzman (1969-70 & 1972-73) and his teams were notably great defensive squads.  The Knicks did lad the NBA in Team Defense 5 times in 6 years under Holzman, so yeah, it is pretty easy to declare the Knicks a deffensive team under Holzman.

But since then... Knicks teams have still played good d more often thhan not, but we haven't won a damn thing.  So my question to you is.... at what point does "tradition" become "history"?

I wouldn't call this a jump as much as a maybe a hop, or a bounce, but stay with me here.

 

Seriously folks.  Should we really consider ourselves a historically defensive team because we won 2 titles nearly 40 years ago?  Coaches come and coaches go, and we have had some preaching defensive more than offense and we have had the opposite.  The point is the defensive system only "worked" twice. Championship is the goal here, right?  Well... twice.  No, you are correct that offensive based systems have not won at all, but when 40 years pass and you are left with no rings, well... shouldn't Winning Games be our real tradition focus?  Who gives a gorilla shit if those wins come from high scoring or hard-nosed defense? 

It would seem to me that our tradition of defense is as meaningless as saying the Cavs are traditionally defensive too.  I say so what?  Just because something worked decades before doesn't mean it works today.  The Yankees have won World Series titles in nearly every decade last centrury.  Most decades they have multiple titles.  They have won some predominantly with hitting and some with better pitching.  The tradition isn't one strategy over the other.  It's getting the job done.  Times change so adjustments need to be made.  Winning teams make those adjustments.

What I really want to pound home here is these Knicks right now are the same Knicks of 40 years ago.  They wear the same jersey colors and logos haven't changed much.  Nope, we don't have any All-NBA Defensive Team players, and we have a coach who's reputation has been made mostly for his offensive strategies and not much from his defensive sets.  So. What.  Mike D'Antoni has had multiple 60 win games and multiple runs deep into the playoffs.  No he has no titles, but neither dos Jeff Van Gundy and every other Knicks coach aside from Red Holzman.  That doesn't make D'Antoni inferior to any other Knicks coaches.  He might even be one of the highest regarded coaches to join the Knicks. 

We run an offensive oriented system now and before you wannt jump on this and talk that whole "defense wins championships" mess, you better recognize that you can't win if you can't score.  Teams that win titles play BOTH offense and defense well.  Rarely does the NBA's best defensive team win the title.  Rarely does the NBA's best offensive team win either.  Both teams in the NBA Finals this year rank top 10 in both offense and defense.  THAT is the type of balance the Knicks should be aiming for.  I believe D'Antoni aims for this too.  Don't repeat the ridiculous line that "D'Antoni doesn't preach or coach defense."  Of course he does.  Do you think no one has mentioned the word defense to him during his time in NY?  Do you think the word "defense" has been mentioned at practice and Pringles gives a crooked look and dismissive hand wave and goes back to running offensive sets?  Of course the Knicks practice defense.  They practice offense too. 

Here is the finale, guys.  Get on board with a new tradition.  "The Knicks win games."  You don't have to like D'Antoni; in fact, I have zero problem if you do.  But it's time to respect th success that he has and respect what he brings to New York.  These last few years have been marked with turmoil and drastic roster changes mid-season.  The guy has yet to coach the same roster for an entire season.  Those constant changes have more to do with our record than how bad our defense is.  It has been pointed out that only a handful of current coaches have won NBA Titles (3; 4 including Phil Jackson).  The list doesn't expand much when you ask how many have made the Conference Finals (I believe only 9 others have made it this far).  And those coaches who made it deep in the playoffs never had their roster flipped mid-season that same year.  Trade have been made, sure, but they were generally minor ones.  We have flipped our roster every season for the past 3-4 years, guys.  So fuck what happened in the past.  D'Antoni is our guy and if you don't dig him, fine.  Dig the Knicks.  Dig a winning franchise.  Who cares HOW the games are won? Care simply THAT games are won.  That's our tradition.  That is how NY gets better.

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