t's been official for years. The basketball gods hate the New York Knicks. Every single damn year. Every year, the New York Knicks never fail to disappoint, sometimes through no fault of their own. The NBA announced the draft lottery this week, and of course, the Knicks didn't fare well. They constantly finish among the league's worst every year, yet never secure a number one pick. In fact, the cursed Knicks never secured a number 1 pick since 1985 when they selected Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing!
“We have been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amuk, and flat out decieved by Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks" - Stephen A. Smith
That Black Cat
There is a running joke among the Knick’s fanbase that there is a proverbial black cat running around Madison Square Garden, and those jokes intensify as the draft lottery rapidly approaches. The Knicks got the 8th pick in this year’s 2020 NBA draft. They were 21-45 right before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and they weren't eligible for the NBA restart in late July due to their lackluster record prior. Players around the league have been tweeting on the Knick’s misfortunes.
To put things into a proper perspective, the odds of the Knicks getting the number 8 pick which is what transpired was 20.6 percent. Last year, they had the biggest probability to secure the number 1 overall pick, and many fans were daydreaming of Zion Williamson in New York, only for that damn black cat to resurface again and the Knicks instead falling to pick number 3.
The Nightmare of James Dolan
It is the dream of many players to play in the famous Madison Square Garden. It is widely regarded as the Mecca of basketball, and star players on other teams circle their visits on a calendar to put on a show.
Some NBA markets such as Detroit or Atlanta somewhat struggle to constantly have sold out packed arenas throughout the NBA season. New York Knicks owner James Dolan doesn’t have that problem. No matter how bad the team is, and no matter what month of the year it is, fans will still consistently pack the garden. Even when the Knicks have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in late February or early March, fans still pack those seats.
You can find Dolan at nearly every home game at his usual seat. He’s one of the most recognizable owners the NBA has, and it certainly isn’t for good reasons.
Since Dolan took over as owner in 2000, the Knicks only made the playoffs 5 times, and of those 5 times, they only advanced past the first round one time in 2013; that was also the last time the Knicks even made the playoffs to date. To make matters worse, many of those seasons were mediocre, meaning they weren’t rock bottom, but they were finishing 9th or 10th, not eligible for the playoffs, and unlikely to secure a top pick.
A winning percentage of 0.146% in nearly 20 years and paying the luxury tax more than any other team in the NBA is nothing short of a disaster. Dolan is spending more than anyone else to not be progessing at all.
Then its Dolan’s famous habit of not wanting to develop through the draft and instead looking at the free-agent market and signing players who are old, injury-prone has-beens on insane guaranteed contracts.
Even more alarming, is the instability under Dolan’s ownership. The Knicks have had a staggering 13 head coaches in 18 seasons. That kind of instability shows a lack of competence when it comes to hiring, and this creates a culture of a revolving door, which is exactly what’s been happening.
Can it get any worse? Unfortunately, yes it can. Dolan has developed a reputation of being a petulant child who is extremely thin-skinned. He got his security employees at the Garden to forcibly remove Knick legend Charles Oakley from the arena during a game a couple of years ago, he kicked a fan out for telling him to “sell the team” in a notorious video, and many players who are free agents and have leverage like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving went to the Brooklyn Nets instead. Despite the Knicks being one of the most storied franchises in the league, and one of the most popular, players don’t want to play there as long as Dolan is the owner.
Unfortunately for Knick fans, Dolan isn’t selling the team anytime soon, and it looks like the 47 year championship drought will continue for years to come.