Jalen Brunson is too short. The Knicks can’t win with Julius Randle. New York needs a star. They have to go out and trade for a backup point guard. Who is Isaiah Hartenstein? These, and sentiments like them, seem to be the main storylines surrounding the Knicks this season, and, truthfully, it’s getting old really quick. Now, I’m not here to refute any of those points because there is some truth to a lot of those comments, and it’s fair for them to be pointed out. The Knicks, to this point, have lacked playoff success with Randle. New York, just like almost any other team in the league, could benefit from adding a star. They do indeed need another ball handler and shot creator. And it’s true, Brunson is indeed, short for an NBA player. What isn’t fair, though, is just how disproportionately negative the narrative surrounding the Knicks are.
There are teams around the league who are in similar situations as the Knicks are in who are regularly talked about with a much more positive light. Teams like the Magic, Pacers, and Kings, all are whom are are teams with winning percentages well over .500 while relying mostly on players 29 years old or younger. And in the case with the Knicks, who have the best record of those teams, there’s an argument to be made that they are in the best position possible because of the draft capital they still own.
Yet despite all the things that they have going for them, they do not get treated or talked about in similar ways for a weird reason. When speaking about teams like the ones mentioned above, most national media outlets use words like exciting, up and coming, and promising and focus a lot more on who they have and what they’ve done, and seem, on the whole, more positive and optimistic about those teams’ performance this season. That isn’t to say that there’s no negativity surrounding those teams because we’ve heard people also talk about what the Magic need to do going forward, and how the Kings and Pacers have to get better to make playoff pushes. But with the Knicks, there seems to be much less of a balance when it comes to the media’s coverage and narrative.
Obviously the Knicks, being who they are and being located where they are, will get more media coverage than the majority of the league. That’ll mean hearing more of the negativity than other teams. And that would be fine, if that also meant hearing more of the positives surrounding the team, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. Maybe I’m just a biased and salty Knicks fan, but I’m far from the only one.
Many online have expressed their displeasure with how analysts and reporters covering the league seem almost hellbent on continuously pointing out what the Knicks aren’t, and who they don’t have instead of praising the All-NBA level production of both Brunson and Randle, the coaching job Tom Thibodeau has done, the incredible way that Hartenstein stepped up, and the insane shooting that Donte DiVicenzo has showcased this season.
TV personalities, like Kendrick Perkins, reporters like Fred Katz, and others covering the Knicks either on the national or more local level have sung the Knicks’ praises and it goes without saying that there are people out there that have done the Knicks justice by pointing out the play of their players and the overall success of the team. But they’ve thus far been outnumbered by others in the media who feel the excessive need to harp on the negatives.
We had Stephen A Smith, who has become probably the most hated Knicks fan, not know who Hartenstein was and continue to obsess over Donovan Mitchell.
Isaiah Hartenstein since Stephen A. Smith said “some dude named Hartenstein”:— Dylan Backer (@DylanBacker_) January 14, 2024
104.6 DRTG (2nd in NBA)
Yeah, he’s some dude. pic.twitter.com/75nzXw8pdu
Gilbert Arenas boldly suggested that Jalen Green, not Brunson or Randle, was who the Knicks needed. Kenny Smith ignored Brunson and Randle’s performance over the last year and said that they’re almost never the best players on the court.
Gilbert Arenas says that if the Knicks offered the Rockets Julius Randle & Jalen Brunson for Jalen Green, the Rockets would say no:— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) January 5, 2024
“This is how good Jalen Green is. You give them Randle and Brunson right now, I guarantee they turn you down” pic.twitter.com/Qu2FDxRKaQ
We also saw Becky Hammon talk about Brunson’s height instead of, you know, talking about what he’s accomplished this season.
He (Brunson) is too small. If your best player is small, you're not winning— The Game Day Hoops (@TheGameDayHoops) December 21, 2023
Becky Hammon on the Knicks not having that guy pic.twitter.com/wokGWplyRY
And just two nights ago, we witnessed Candace Parker go on national television, and lie about how Brunson’s production went down in the second round of the playoffs when in reality, it was significantly better. And then she not only failed to admit her mistake, but she also gaslit the Knicks’ fanbase.
Jalen Brunson played better in round 2 and averaged 31 points, 6 assists on 50% from the field— Marshall Green (@MarshallGreen_) January 24, 2024
Did you even watch the playoffs? Or maybe look up the stats before saying something so off base?
This is embarrassing @Candace_Parker pic.twitter.com/KqYUFkAgcd
At this point, it’s seems inevitable and maybe talking about it is only playing into their ultimate strategy of “Knicks for clicks” but, as Demarcus Cousins once proclaimed, it’s getting ridiculous.
Obviously, being based in New York, one of the media capitals not just of America but the world, the Knicks are going to be talked about and mentioned a lot. More than most franchises. And obviously, the Knicks, just like every other team, has its flaws and it’s fair to point them out. But if both of those things are going to happen, then so does upping the volume on why the Knicks have one of the ten best records in the league, how they’ve become one of just a handful of teams that are top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating, might have two All-Stars this season, and have done all that without any horrendous contracts and with plenty of draft capital still stashed away.