I've heard some NBA followers compare the day of the NBA Draft to Christmas morning. It is sometimes difficult to visualize the analogy if you're a fan of the New York Knicks. What if you came downstairs Christmas morning only to find a gang of crazy hobos huddled around your Christmas tree, ready to urinate all over your gifts to appease their crazy hobo gods? That is the kind of apprehension many in the Tri-State Area are feeling at this very moment.
Up to this point, Knicks president Phil Jackson has been something of an enigma. Many b-ball pundits wasted no time excoriating the Zen Master for lopsided trades, fanatical devotion to the Triangle, and daring to state aloud that he felt last years team could compete for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. It was all way over-the-top: this team had been teetering on the precipice of disaster for a year, and Phil did the fanbase a service by taking it out behind the shed with a shotgun, shovel and a bag of lye. Before you can rebuild, you must first destroy.
The tear-down is finished, Phil, so now what you got? You went on a bit of a press bender earlier this week. You claimed defense is more important to you than offense. You claimed you value players with varies skillsets over specialists. Will those words prove prophetic Thursday night, or are you looking at all Triangle and nothing but the Triangle?
Look, none of us here know basketball as well as Phil Jackson does. We were not privy to the pre-draft workouts and interviews. If you go off script tonight and choose somebody far outside the consensus draft boards, if you make a trade that seems at first blush to be a clear case of quantity-over-quality, I'm sure you have your reasons. But we Knicks fans know incompetent GM'ing when we see it. This draft is the supposed to be, along with Carmelo Anthony, the foundation of a new era. New York fans suffered through the worst season in franchise history, and they naturally have certain expectations.
Maybe Phil Jackson makes the safe choice; maybe he makes a deal so ludicrous that it forces many of us to stay off the Internet for a month. Either way, the rebuilding of the Knicks has officially begun. The Phil Jackson era officially begins tonight, so check our weather forecasts and make sure there's canned food in the pantry.