Are the Knicks Cursed?

Are the Knicks cursed? That’s a tough question. If you are a believer in paranormal spirits roaming the earth picking and choosing who to terrorize then it seems very likely the Knicks have some sort of monstrous ghost that at every turn screws the Knicks over from ever making the playoffs or winning a title.

Now I understand your skepticism. Cursed? Come on Mars, are you being a little over dramatic? I don’t know, the one thing I know is what I see. What I see is a lot of dysfunction and the NY Knick fans losing their minds over the dysfunctional inability of being a competent organization. We are still waiting for a chance to be among the collection of fans that can take pride in a winning program. 

 (Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports)

Let’s look at some of the most famous curses in sports history. The Philadelphia Eagles seemed to be cursed for a long time. That changed around this time last year where the Philly fans were still getting over their Super Bowl hangover and attempting to put out the fires that they had started during their victory riot.

The city of Cleveland, well the Indians have gotten better in recent years but Lebron had symbolically ended the curse for the Cavs in propelling the team to a finals victory with the help of Kyrie and Kevin Love. Even though the Browns have still yet to sniff a Super Bowl appearance they have a positive buzz around their organization after all the moves they have made in obtaining both a franchise QB in Baker Mayfield and an elite WR in Odell Beckham Jr.

Recently we have wondered if the city of New York is cursed. With the recent years of failure piling up between all NY teams, it’s understandable to ask this question. The Jets were unable to sniff the playoffs since 2010. The Giants having a .42 win percentage since 2012. The Mets having the 5th highest number of injuries in the entire MLB in a 10-year span. The Nets possibly making the playoffs after a drought where they were the punchline of the NBA. 

Now our attention goes to the Knicks. The Knicks have the longest drought not winning a title other than the New York Jets. The Knicks are on pace to having their worst record in franchise history and you would think that with all of this losing that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, but I am in a constant state of fear not knowing if this Knicks team has the coaching to develop a team or the grit to not be pushed around anymore. 

As I said earlier, I am not a believer in curses but I believe in what I see. I don’t think these teams have a paranormal figure that haunts their organization. What I saw with these teams once believed to be cursed was a long chain of poor management and coaching. Each one of these teams broke their so-called curse from having savvy GM’s that made the right deals to accumulate talent and coaching to push that talent. 

So when people say the Knicks are cursed I roll my eyes and provide them a simple answer to their problems. You can’t be cursed if your drafted players develop into stars. How is that whenever the Knicks draft or acquire a player they end up becoming a bust, then once they leave they prosper. We look at players like Tim Hardaway Jr., Trevor Ariza, and Zach Randolph to explain this experience. Each one of these players entered New York at a certain point in time, either in their primes or out of college and each one of them had failed in a Knick jersey. What is the most interesting aspect of these three individuals is that when they moved on from the Knicks they became more successful. 

More recently, THJ who was seen as a native New Yorker, drafted by the Knicks, had an average 40% Field Goal percentage in the two seasons he was on the team. After his first two years he was shipped out to Atlanta. In his time in Atlanta, he was developed into a better player and his shooting had become more efficient bouncing from 40% to nearly 50%. When he returned to the Knicks in 2017, almost all of his stats fell dramatically.  His FG percentage had dropped back down to 40%.

Both Trevor Ariza and Zach Randolph experienced the same anomaly. Placed in the Knicks lineup and become busts, but once they leave to go to another team, their overall performance increases and they become major pieces on their teams. For Randolph, he left and became an all-star. There have been other players that have gone on to become average players in the NBA but when they were drafted or acquired by the Knicks they were seen as failures. 

(photo via Getty Images)

This does not seem like a curse, but more of a concrete issue. The Knicks can not develop any player properly. Even looking at the past two years we can point to the recent rookies and notice how they falter in several aspects and failing to get better. The most notable example is Frank Ntilikina. Every Knick fan on planet earth knew that he would be a project when he was drafted. This is a kid that has a deep talent on the defensive level but is awful at scoring. Over this one season, Frank’s efficiency shooting FG’s had declined from the start of the season in October to the end of the season. He was shooting close to 40% when he had confidence being placed in the starting lineup. By the end of the season, he was taking 4 shots a game with a 34% shooting percentage.

If you are not a fan of Frank Ntilikina, fine, let’s look at the fan favorite Kevin Knox. During the early stages of the season (December), he was shooting around 40% FG percentage. By February, this same percentage dropped 8 percent to 32%. How is it that our young players get worse over a season instead of developing their skills and get better as they gain experience on the floor. 

The only player that seemed to stay on a steady pace to get better over the season was Knicks rookie, Mitchell Robinson. My issue with Robinson is that most of his shots come from dunks or put back layups. This essentially means there is not much development being done other than the sure effort of out rebounding your opponent. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that at least one player is doing well, but I want to see if Robinson has the capability of using a jump shot or post moves to score points because from what I have seen there is not much I can give credit to the Knicks coaching staff when it comes to this gem of a rookie.

(Photo via Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

So I ask again, are the Knicks cursed? The simple answer is no. The Knicks are not cursed by some being that is haunting their organization that is halting their progress. However, they are cursed with an incompetent owner, an iffy managing staff, and a clueless coaching staff. James Dolan time and time again has proven to be the bain of the Knicks existence. This may be a little rough, but what everyone knows is that everything negative that occurs with the Knicks organization in the public sphere is due to Dolan. Scott Perry is probably the most promising of the current regime, but what gets me nervous about him is the highly rumored extension of Emmanuel Mudiay. 

Lastly, David Fizdale is closer to that of a clown than a competent coach. Not being able to develop any of the young players and there is a lack of consistency with Fizdale that causes the Knicks, in general, to not possess a sense of culture or system that is pivotal for a team of young players to be able to develop. That not only halts the progression of the young players but may discourage future signings. With the importance of this offseason, the inconsistency of Fizdale causes me to worry.

So just like the other so-called curses, the Knicks can survive and beat this spirit. If they can learn to develop any of their young players and make some moves in the offseason to acquire talent then it can be possible. Right now, the Knicks do not have a system, a mission or a sense of personality of who we are. For the longest time, I have heard the Knicks are a defensive team, but that can not be true if the Knicks get rid of their best defensive players and start players that are horrendous on defense. If the Knicks are truly cursed then we will need the trio of KD, Kyrie and Zion Williamson to act as a sort of Ghostbusters to save us from this paranormal figure haunting us for all of these years. I am a devoted Knick fan and still watch as the Knicks continue to crumble and fall into a sense of misery. I ain’t afraid of no ghost, but what I do fear is incompetency.

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