The final nail was hit last night. After a dramatic six-month run, the New York Knicks officially won’t make the playoffs this season.
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Miami Heat last night to sew up the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, thus eliminating the Knicks’ playoff hopes. In a historically weak Eastern Conference, it only took 37 wins to make it to the eighth seed; the Knicks couldn’t even manage that.
There are several ways to handle this. For me, personally, I’m a little bit glad it’s over. The core of my fandom always roots for the Knicks to win, and not having them in the playoffs is certainly a disappointment. However, this team has show all season long that they’re inconsistent and have a limited ceiling because of their own inconsistency. Several times throughout the season, the Knicks would put together a few impressive wins and fool fans into thinking that they had turned a corner. And consistently, the Knicks would then lose a few easy games in pitiful fashion, undoing all their prior accomplishments.
Of course, seeing a few playoff games — even if it would’ve likely been a quick sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers — is better than nothing. However, playoffs basketball is only really fun if it’s competitive or promising. The Knicks haven’t done those things with any regularity this season, and it’s not unreasonable to think they wouldn’t do it in the playoffs, either.
So, how to approach the remaining three games and offseason? The playoff elimination is worsened by the Knicks’ lack of a draft pick this season, so there isn’t even the promise of the lottery. Of course, the Knicks could always try to trade for one, but it would be tough to get a pick without giving up a similarly valuable asset.
Instead, the remainder of the season should be about seeing who’s a keeper for the future. Give Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Toure’ Murry, Jeremy Tyler, even Cole Aldrich extended run — see what they can do. Amar’e Stoudemire might even be showcased in order to try and boost his trade value. This offseason is obviously crucial in determining the Knicks’ future as Carmelo Anthony enters free agency. Showcasing and, in a way, holding tryouts to see who should stick around would be a good way to help plot the future, even though three games is obviously a tiny sample.
It’s been a wild ride, Knicks. Please make these last few games fun somehow.
With the Knicks finally eliminated from playoff contention they now have to start looking forward to next season. The 2014-2015 season will be an important one for the Knicks as they have a lot to look forward to like the All-Star Game coming to New York and Madison Square Garden for the fifth time and promising to be one of the highlights of the season so be sure to get your NBA All-Star Game tickets today.