New York Knicks
194/47: On June 6th a group of 11 franchises formed the Basketball Association of America in a meeting at New York’s Commodore Hotel. Named after the Dutch settlers that landed in New York in the 1600’s the Knickerbockers faced the Huskies in the league’s first game on November 1st in Toronto’s historic Maple Leaf Gardens, the Knicks as they will become more well known as would win that inaugural game 68-66, on the way winning 10 of their first 12 games. However, the Knicks would play mediocre basketball down the stretch as they finished in third place with a 33-27 record. In the playoffs the Knicks would overcome a 26 point loss in Game 1 to beat the Cleveland Rebels in a three game series. However, in the semifinals the Knicks would be swept in two straight games by the Philadelphia Warriors.
1947/48: The Knickerbockers would fall one game short of the division title posting a record of 26-22 in their second season. However, in the playoffs the Knicks would stumble as they are beaten by the Baltimore Bullets in a three game series.
1948/49: In their third season the Knickerbockers remained a playoff contender finishing in second place with a record of 32-28. In the playoffs the Knicks would get a measure of revenge by betting the Baltimore Bullets in a three game tussle. However, in the Eastern Finals the Knicks would fall in a three game battle with Washington Capitols.
1949/50: The BAA absorbs the rival National Basketball League to form the NBA, as ten Knickerbockers finish in 2nd place with a 40-28. In the playoffs the Knicks would beat the Washington Capitols in two straight games. However, in the Eastern Finals the Knicks would fall to the Syracuse Nationals in a three game series.
1950/51: Former Harlem Globetrotter star Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton joins the Knickerbockers as one of the first black players in the NBA. Clifton would see significant playing time as the Knicks made the playoffs again with a record of 36-30 while finishing in third place. In the playoffs the Knickerbockers would stun the Boston Celtics in two straight games to reach their fourth Eastern Final in five years. After failing to reach the League finals on their first three attempts the Knicks finally break through by beating the Syracuse Nationals in a hard fought five game series. In the finals the Knicks would hit a wall as they quickly found themselves down 3-0 against the Rochester Royals. However the Knicks would not go down without a fight winning the next three games to force a decisive seventh game. In Game 7 the Knicks would fall four points short of becoming the first team to rally from a 0-3 deficit, as they lost 79-75.
1951/52: Led by Harry Gallatin and Dick McGuire the Knickerbockers battle all season for first place before falling just three games short while posting a 37-29 record for a third place finish. However, come playoffs the Knicks would get revenge by stunning the Boston Celtics in a three game series winning the decisive third game 88-87 in double overtime. In the East Finals the Knickerbockers would continue to roll beating the Syracuse Nationals in four games. However in the NBA Finals the Knicks would again come up one game short as they fell to the Minneapolis Lakers in a seven game battle that saw each team alternate victories.
1952/53: The Knickerbockers capture their first Division Title by posting a solid record of 47-23. In the playoffs the Knicks would continue to dominate the East as they shot down the Baltimore Bullets in two straight games, before beating the Boston Celtics in four games to reach their third straight NBA Finals. In the Finals the Knickerbockers would get off to a fast start as they captured Game 1 of their rematch against the Minneapolis Lakers. However, the Knicks season would end in disappointment again as the Lakers captured the NBA Title with four straight wins.
1953/54: The Knickerbockers would win their second straight Eastern Division Title by posting a solid record of 44-28 as Henry Gallatin captured the NBA rebounding title. However, under a round robin playoff format the Knicks would lose out dropping two games each to the Syracuse Nationals and Boston Celtics.
1954/55: The Knickerbockers fall five games short of their third straight Division title by posting a record of 38-34. In the playoffs the Knicks would be tripped up in the first round by the Boston Celtics in a three game series.
1955/56: The Knickerbockers fail to make the playoffs for the first time in their ten year existence as they finish in last place with a record of 35-37, losing out in a tie-breaker to the Syracuse Nationals which would have gotten them into third place and the playoffs.
1956/57: The Knickerbockers end up with the short straw as they finished in last place for the second straight season despite posting a 36-36 record.
1957/58: Despite leading the league with 112.1 ppg the Knickerbockers miss the playoffs and finish in last place for the third straight season with a record of 35-37.
1958/59: On December 11th Richie Guerin scores 57 points against the Syracuse Nationals, becoming the first Knickerbocker to score 50 points in a game. The Knicks would go on to end a three year slump by finishing in second place with a record of 40-32. However, in the playoffs the Knickerbockers would lose two straight games to the Nationals.
1959/60: Despite averaging a franchise best 117.3 ppg the Knickerbockers miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years by finishing in last place with a record of 27-48.
1960/61: The Knickerbockers defensive woes continued as they struggled all season to post a record of 21-58. Along the way the Knicks allowed 71 points to Los Angeles Lakers star Elgin Baylor establishing a single game record. Also on Christmas the Knicks would lose by 62 points to the Syracuse Nationals a franchise worst loss.
1961/62: The Knickerbockers would find themselves on the wrong end of history again as Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors becomes the first player to score 100 points in an NBA game on March 2nd in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The Knicks would go on to finish in last place again with a record of 29-51.
1962/63: The Knickerbockers continue to struggle as they finish in last place for the fourth straight season with a miserable record of 21-59.
1963/64: The Knickerbockers continued to be the worst team in the NBA as they finish in last place for the fifth straight season with a record of 22-58.
1964/65: Hoping to change the organization the Knickerbockers introduce a new logo featuring the shortened name Knicks over a basketball. However the biggest move was the drafting of Center Willis Reed from Grambling. Reed would make an immediate impact as he captured the NBA Rookie of the Year. However, the Knicks would still finish in last place although their 31-49 record was a noticeable improvement.
1965/66: The Knicks are unable to build off their ten game improvement as they thread water while finishing in last place for the seventh straight season with a 30-50 record.
1966/67: Thanks to expansion and expanded playoffs the Knicks end a seven year playoff drought by finishing in fourth place with a record of 36-45. However, in the playoffs it would be a quick exit as the Knicks are bounced in four straight games by the Boston Celtics.
1967/68: The Knicks would host the All-Star Game with Willis Reed a Dick Barnett playing in the game, as they opened the modern Madison Square Garden just 17 blocks south of the old building. Despite the All-Stars the Knicks continued to struggle under Coach Dick McGuire getting off to a 15-22 start. However, when Red Holzman replaces McGuire in the middle of the season the Knicks began to play to their full potential posting a 28-17 record down the stretch to finish in third place with a 43-39 mark on the season. In the playoffs the young Knicks would fall to Philadelphia 76ers in six games.
1968/69: The Knicks would get off to a slow start again posting a 10-14 record when Dave DeBusschere is acquired from the Detroit Pistons for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives. DeBusschere would make his former team pay right away as the Knicks beat the Pistons 135-87 the day after the deal. The win would be the spark of a ten game winning streak. The Knicks would also put together an 11-game winning streak as they battled for the Eastern Division Title. The Knicks would end up three games short as they posted a solid record of 54-28. In the playoffs the Knicks would make some noise as they stunned the Baltimore Bullets in four straight games. However, facing the veteran Boston Celtics in the Eastern Finals the Knicks would be taken to school losing in six games.
1969/70: The Knicks would come flying out of the gate winning 19 of their first 20 games including a then record 18-straight on the way to a franchise best 60-22 record that earned them the first division title in 16 years as Willis Reed earned MVP honors. In the playoffs the Knicks would find themselves in a tight battle right away, as they needed seven games to beat the Baltimore Bullets. The Knicks would find things easier in the Eastern Finals as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks led by New York School legend Lew Alcindor in 5 games. In the Finals the Knicks would face the Los Angeles Lakers after winning Game 1 at the Garden the Knicks would be tripped up in Game 2 losing by two points. The Knicks would rebound in Game 3 overcoming a half-court shot by Jerry West that sent the game to overtime. However, the series would be tied up again by the Lakers who captured Game 4 in overtime. In Game 5 back at the Garden the Knicks would win 107-100, but their chances of winning the Championship appeared to take hit when Willis Reed suffered a leg injury along the way. Without Reed in Game 6 the Knicks were dominated by Wilt Chamberlain and the Lakers in Los Angeles, losing 135-113. Game 7 was back in New York on May 8th and the discussion was would Reed play or not? Moments before the game the question was answered as Reed limped on to the court minutes before tip-off in his warm-ups as the Garden erupted. Reed would score the game’s first two baskets of the game giving his team a shot in the arm. The two baskets scored by Willis Reed would be the only ones he scored in the decisive seventh game, but his emotional presence alone was enough to earn the Knicks a Championship with a 113-99 win and him the Finals MVP.
1970/71: The NBA divides into four Divisions as the Knicks capture the first Atlantic Division title with a record of 52-30. The Knicks continued their strong defense behind the stars like Walt Frazier, who was considered one of the best on the ball defenders of all time. In the playoffs the Knicks would easily beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games. However, in the Eastern Finals the Knicks would be stunned by the Baltimore Bullets in seven games losing Game 7 at home 93-91.
1971/72: The Knicks who were shot down by the Baltimore Bullets would improve themselves by acquiring on of their top player Earl “The Pearl” Monroe in an early season trade for Mike Riordan and Dave Stallworth. Monroe was a consummate showman, a flashy ball handler, and an imaginative shot maker. He popularized the reverse-spin move on the dribble. However, his initial effect on the team was distractive as he had problems adjusting to the more defensive pass orientated Knicks. As the season wound down the Pearl would begin to find his place on the team as the Knick finished in second place with a 48-34 record. In the playoffs Earl Monroe would make the Bullets pay by beating them in six games. In the Eastern Finals the Knicks would continue to roll as they beat the Boston Celtics in five games. Facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals the Knicks would take Game 1 in LA 114-92. However, the Lakers who won a then record 69 games would rebound to win the next four games.
1972/73: Despite a stellar 57-25 record the Knicks fall 11 games short of an Atlantic Division Title, as the Boston Celtics posted an impressive 68-14 record. In the playoffs the Knicks would easily shoot down the Baltimore Bullets in five games setting up an Eastern Conference Finals match up with the Celtics. The Kicks would get off to a fast start winning three straight games after dropping Game 1 to take a 3-1 series lead. However, after a one point loss in Game 5 and a home loss in Game 6 the Knicks appeared to be seeing the Eastern Conference Title slip away as they needed to win Game 7 in Boston. However, the Knicks would rise to the occasion shutting down the Celtics with their tenacious D winning 94-78. Facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals again the Knicks would drop Game 1 by three points. However, in a reversal of last year the Knicks would rally to win the next four games to capture their second NBA Championship by holding the Lakers under 100 points in four games as Willis Reed outdueled Wilt Chamberlain again to win the Finals MVP.
1973/74: Coming off their second NBA Championship the Knicks continued to dominate the NBA with their stingy defense posting a 49-33 record while finishing in second place. In the playoffs the Knicks would need seven games to knock off the Capital Bullets. Their tussle with the Bullets would weaken the Knicks who were beaten by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Finals in six games. Following the season Willis Reed would stun the Knicks by announcing his retirement.
1974/75: Without Willis Reed the Knicks would struggle to post a 40-42 record as they finished in third place. Despite their first losing record in eight years the Knicks would make the playoffs as the NBA expanded the postseason again. In the playoffs the Knicks would lose a three game series to the Houston Rockets.
1975/76: The Knicks miss the playoffs for the first time nine years as they fall into the Atlantic Division cellar with a record of 38-44.
1976/77: The Knicks continue to struggle as they miss the playoffs for the second straight season by finishing in third place with a record of 40-42. Following the season Coach Red Holzman is fired and replaced by former MVP and playoff hero Willis Reed.
1977/78: As Willis Reed took over as Coach, the Knicks were a team in transition as Walt Frazier was traded and Bill Bradley retired for a career in politics. However, with the addition of Bob McAdoo who finished third in the league in scoring with 26.5 ppg the Knicks would end a two year playoff drought by posting a 43-39 record good enough for second place. In the playoffs the Knicks would sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in two straight games, before being swept by the Philadelphia 76ers in four straight games.
1978/79: Red Holzman would be brought back into coach the Knicks after Willis Reed is fired with a 6-8 start. However, not even Holzman could stop the Knicks skid as they posted a 31-51 record while finishing in fourth place.
1979/80: Second year Guard Michael Ray Richardson has a breakout season leading the NBA in assists and steals. However, the Knicks would miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years losing out by a tiebreaker, while finishing in fourth place with a record of 39-43.
1980/81: Michael Ray Richardson continued to establish himself as one of the top guards in the NBA as the Knicks overachieved all season to finish in third place with a solid 50-32 record. However, in the playoffs the Knicks would be stunned in two straight games by the Chicago Bulls.
1981/82: “The Ship be Sinking” so stated Michael Ray Richardson who was rising to All-Star Status struggled all seasons as he dealt with drug addiction. It would be the end of Richardson’s Knicks career as the team plummeted to last place posting a 33-49 record. It would also mark the end of Red Holzman’s coaching career, who retired at the end of the season with 613 career wins. The Knicks would later retire the number 613 in his honor.
1982/83: The Knicks would rebound under new Coach Hubble Brown as Bill Cartwright established himself as a presence in the middle during a 44-38 season in which the team finished in fourth place making the playoffs. In the playoffs the Knicks would beat the New Jersey Nets in two straight games before being swept by the Philadelphia 76ers in four straight games.
1983/84: Bernard King who was acquired in the Michael Ray Richardson deal a year earlier had the year of a lifetime, averaging 26.3 ppg finishing fifth in the league in a season highlighted by back to back 50 point games on January 31st and February 1st. Led by King’s scoring touch the Knicks would finish in third place with a record of 47-35. In the playoff King would average 42-6 ppg as the Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons in a grueling five game series that saw a classic Game 5 overtime duel between Knicks star Bernard Kings and Isaiah Thomas of the Pistons as both players topped 40 points in a tight overtime battle. In the second round the Knicks would give the eventual Champion Boston Celtics all they could handle before falling in seven games.
1984/85: Bernard King continued to be the Knicks biggest star as he set a franchise record for 60 points in a Christmas Day game against the New Jersey Nets, and led the league in scoring. However, despite King’s 32.9 ppg the Knicks struggled all season. Those struggles would worsen on March 23rd when Bernard King suffered a devastating knee injury. The Knicks would go on to lose their final 12 games without King finishing in last place with a 24-58 record. However, the team’s end of the year struggles would have a silver lining as they won the first every draft lottery enabling them to draft Georgetown star Patrick Ewing.
1985/86: Patrick Ewing arrived with much hoopla leading Rookies in scoring and rebounding to win the Rookie of the Year. However Ewing would miss 32 games, while Bernard King was lost for the entire season as the Knicks finished in last place again with a 23-59 record.
1986/87: The Knicks continued to struggle as Bernard King finally made his return near the end of a season in which the Knicks finished in last place for the third straight year with a record of 24-58. However, it was clear King was not the same player he was before he blew out his knee. Following the seasons He would be released by the Knicks who drafted St. John’s star Mark Jackson.
1987/88: With a young team led by Patrick Ewing and Rookie of the Year Mark Jackson the Knicks felt they needed a young energetic coach, so they hired Rick Pitino who had led Providence to the Final Four. The move would work as the Knicks made a 14-game improvement finishing in third place with a 38-44 record, which would get them into the playoffs as the eighth seed. However, in the playoffs the young Knicks would fall to the Boston Celtics in four games.
1988/89: Prior to the season in a move to give Patrick Ewing some rebounding help the Knicks acquire Charles Oakley in a trade with the Chicago Bulls for Bill Cartwright. Led by a 26-game home winning streak the Knicks win their first Division title in 18 years by posting a solid record of 52-30. In the playoffs the Knicks would make quick work of the Philadelphia 76ers sweeping them in three straight games. However, in the second round the Knicks would be frustrated by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls falling in six games.
1989/90: Prior to the start of the season the Knicks are stunned by Coach Rick Pitino who suddenly quits to take over the Coaching reigns of the University of Kentucky. Under his replacement Stu Jackson the Knicks would finish in third place with a record of 45-37. In the playoffs the Knicks appeared to be heading for a quick exit as they dropped their first two games to the Boston Celtics. However, the Knicks would rally and win the next three games to stun the aging Celtics in 5. However, in the 2nd round the Knicks would be beaten by the Detroit Pistons four games to one.
1990/91: The Knicks seemed to lack leadership as Coach Stu Jackson is replaced by John MacLeod as they struggle all season posting a disappointing record of 39-43. Despite their sub-.500 record the Knicks would still sneak into the playoffs, but they would be no match for the Chicago Bulls who swept them in 3 straight games.
1991/92: To help get the team back on track Pat Riley is hired to take over the Coaching reigns prior to the season. Riley would have an instant impact establishing a defensive system as the Knicks finished with a 51-31 record only losing the Division by a tiebreaker. In the playoffs the Knicks would knock off the Detroit Pistons in five games before facing the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks would frustrate the Bulls and Michael Jordan with their physical play before falling in seven games. However, along the way a new rivalry was born.
1992/93: To help get them past the two time NBA Champion Chicago Bulls, the Knicks trademark Jackson to the Los Angeles Clippers for Charles Smith, Doc Rivers, and Bo Kimble. While acquiring Rolando Blackman form the Dallas Mavericks. All season the Knicks looked on track for the NBA Finals as they posted a 60-22 record equaling their franchise best mark set in their Championship year of 1969/70. In the playoffs the Knicks would make quick work of the Indian Pacers beating them in four games, and Charlotte Hornets beating them in five games to set up their much anticipated Eastern Finals match up with the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks would get off to a fast start in the East Finals winning the first two games at the Garden, as the Bulls had to deal with gambling rumors surrounding Michael Jordan. However, as the series shifted to Chicago the Bulls would rebound to take the next two games. Needing a win in Game 5 back at the Garden the Knicks had a chance in the final seconds as Charles Smith is reject at the basket on four attempts before having ball swatted down court for a fast break that gave the Bulls a 97-94 win. Needing to force Game 7 with a win in Chicago the Knicks would be foiled again by Jordan and the Bulls who went on to a third straight Championship.
1993/94: With the retirement of Michael Jordan the Knicks were widely considered the heir to the throne. Despite the loss of Doc Rivers to a knee injury in December the Knicks appeared to be on track for Championship all season winning their second straight Division title with a 57-25 record, as they acquired Derek Harper form the Dallas Mavericks to fill the void left by Rivers. In the playoffs the Knicks would make quick work of the New Jersey Nest beating them in four games to set up a match up with the Chicago Bulls. However, despite the retirement of Jordan the Knicks would need seven hard fought games to barely advance to the Eastern Finals. In the Eastern Finals against the Indian Pacers the Knicks would again be given all they could handle as the Pacers took a 3-2 series lead with a stunning Game 5 win on the Garden’s floor as Reggie Miller mocked Knicks super fan Spike Lee. However, Lee and the Knicks would have the last laugh as the Knicks comeback to claim the last two games and advance to the NBA Finals. In the NBA Finals the Knicks would face the Houston Rockets, and their star Center Hakeem Olajuwon. The Knicks found themselves facing 2-1 hole after splitting the first two games in Houston and losing Game 3 at home. However, the Rangers who had won the Stanley Cup in between Games were on the floor for inspiration in Game 4 as the Knicks evened the series. Even with fans peering up at the scoreboard to see the live Police Chase involving O.J. Simpson the Knicks keep their focus beating the Rockets to take a 3-2 series lead needing to win just one game in Houston to win the NBA Championship. However, that win would never come as John Starks missed a wide open shot that would have won Game 6, and missed 17 shots in Game 7.
1994/95: The Knicks continued to play solid basketball as they posted a 55-27 record despite finishing in second place. In the playoffs the Knicks would dispatch the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games before facing the Indiana Pacers in the second Round. The Knicks would get off to a horrible start in their rematch with Pacers as Reggie Miller scored eight points in the final 16 seconds to stun the Knicks, who seemingly had a safe five point lead. The Pacers would go on to grab a 3-1 series edge, before the Knicks came alive to win two straight to force a seventh game at the Garden. Down by one point in the final seconds Patrick Ewing had a chance to give the Knicks a win, but had his driving lay-up rim out as the Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Following the season the Knicks would be stunned again when Pat Riley quit to take over the Coaching job with the Miami Heat.
1995/96: To replace Pat Riley the Knicks would hire Don Nelson. However, the team never seemed to gel under Nelson, as he was repealed in the middle of the season by longtime assistant Jeff Van Gundy. Under Van Gundy the Knicks wood finish the season winning 13 of their final 22 to post a 47-35 record for a second place finish. In the playoffs the Knicks would make quick work of the Cleveland Cavaliers again sweeping them in three straight games. However, in the second Round the Knicks would be done in by an old foe s they are dominated by the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan who had returned a season earlier in five games.
1996/97: With the addition of Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, Chris Childs and Buck Williams to complement veterans Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Charles Oakley, the Knicks were revitalized as they posted a 57-24 record falling 4 games short in a battle for the Division Title with Pat Riley’s Miami Heat. In the playoffs the Knicks would swat the Charlotte Hornets away sweeping them in three straight games to set up a second round battle with the Heat. The Knicks would dominant the Heat early on taking a 3-1 series lead. However, late in Game 5 loss the Knicks would lose their discipline as Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson are suspended for leaving the bench during an altercation between Charlie Ward and Heat sub P.J. Brown. The Heat would go on to win the final 2 games and the series against the undermanned Knicks.
1997/98: The Knicks were off to a 15-11 start when their season looked like it would go down the drain as Patrick Ewing going up for a rebound landed hard shattering his left wrist. Without Ewing for the rest of the regular season the Knicks would scrape and claw their way into the playoffs with a 43-39 record. Facing the Miami Heat in the first round the Knicks found themselves down 2-1 needing a Game 4 win to force a fifth game. As the Knicks were sealing the game on the free throw line Larry Johnson got into a fight with Heat star center Alonzo Mourning. During the fright which led to the suspensions of Johnson and Mourning for Game 5, Jeff Van Gundy did all he could to break up the scuffle, but ended up the punch lien of a joke as he end up riding on Mourning leg like a dog in heat. Without Mourning the Knicks would dominate the Heat in Game 5 in Miami to get revenge for the previous year. However, in the second round the Knicks run would come to an end as they fell to the Indian Pacers in Game 5 despite a surprising early return from Patrick Ewing.
1998/99: In a season delayed by a four month lockout that wipes out half the season the Knicks begin play with a new look as Latrell Sprewell is acquired from the Golden State Warriors for John Starks, Chris Mills and Terry Cummings. In addition Charles Oakley is dealt the Toronto Raptors for Marcus Camby. However, the new team took a while to gel as the barley made the playoffs with a record of 27-23, as Patrick Ewing continued to struggle with injuries as he played most of the season with an Achilles injury. However, once the playoffs started it would be a different story as the eighth Knicks battled the top seeded Miami Heat in another classic series. After splitting the first four games the Knicks trailed 77-76 with 4.5 seconds left in Game 5. Needing a desperate shot Alan Houston would bank in a shot to give the Knicks a 78-77 win with 0.5 on the clock. Spurred on by their dramatic win the Knicks would sweep the Atlanta Hawks in 4 straight in the 2nd round. In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indian Pacers the Knicks appeared to be heading for disaster as Patrick Ewing was forced to the sideline after it was discovered his Achilles tendon was partly torn. However, with Marcus Camby rising to the occasion the Knick managed to keep Game 3 close, when Larry Johnson won the game on a miraculous four point play after hitting a three point shot while being fouled. The miracle shot would spur the Knicks on as they stunned the Pacers in six games. However, Johnson himself would be slowed by a knee injury suffered in Game 6 limiting his effectiveness in the Finals as the Knicks were overmatched by the San Antonio Spurs who won the Championship easily in five games.
1999/00: The Knicks built off their trip to the Finals by posting a solid 50-32 record that was good enough for 2nd place, despite Patrick Ewing being limited to his nagging injuries. In the playoffs the Knicks would make quick work of the Toronto Raptors sweeping them in three straight games. Facing the Miami Heat for the 4th year in a row the Knicks would emerge victorious in seven rough and tumble games. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals rematch with Indian Pacers the Knicks would be beaten in six games. Following the season the Patrick Ewing era would come to an end as he is traded in a three team deal to the Seattle Supersonics for Glen Rice, Luc Longley and Travis Knight.
2000/01: In their first season without Patrick Ewing the Knicks remained a perennial playoff contender despite no worthwhile contribution from the three players acquired in the Ewing deal. The Knicks would go on to finish in third place with a 48-34 record earning the fourth seed in the playoffs. However, in the playoffs the Knicks would fail to advance to the second round for the first time in ten years as they are beaten by the Toronto Raptors in five games.
2001/02: The Knicks would get off to a shaky start posting a 10-9 record when Coach Jeff Van Gundy suddenly resigned. Under his replacement Don Chaney the bottom would fall out as the Knicks won just 20 of their final 63 games missing the playoffs for the first time in 15 years while finishing in last place with an awful 30-52 record. Following the season to change the struggle team’s fortunes Marcus Camby who missed most of the season due to injury was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Antonio McDyess.
2002/03: The Knicks hopes for a rebound season took a hit before the season even started, as it was determined that Antonio McDyess needed knee surgery and was lost for the entire season. With Latrell Sprewell missing most of the first month of the season the Knicks would get off to a terrible start losing their first 4 games, and winning just 1 of their first 9 games. Sprewell would return and would play solid basketball but the Knicks would never recover from their slow start as they were a non-factor in the race for a playoff spot for the second year in a row finishing tied for 5th place with a record of 37-45, as frustrated Knicks fans called for GM Scott Layden to lose his job. Following the season the Knicks would continue retool by trading Sprewell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 3-team deal that saw the Knicks land Keith Van Horn.
2003/04: The Knicks got off to another dreadful start winning just three of their first nine games as fans at the Garden chanted, “Fire Layden”, in reference to General Manager Scot Layden. Knicks fans would get their wish on December 2nd when Layden was fired and replaced by Isaiah Thomas. Immediately Thomas began on working to make the 10-18 Knicks a better team right away as he acquired Brooklyn High School legend Stephon Marbury from the Phoenix trade in a deal that enabled the Knicks to get rid of some of the bad contracts that Layden had brought in like Antonio McDyess, and Howard Eisley. The Knicks still struggled with Marbury, so Thomas made another move firing Coach Don Chaney and replacing him with the NBA’s all-time winningest Coach Lenny Wilkens, who learned basketball in the New York Schoolyards himself. The move began to work out as the Knicks began to climb towards playoff contention. Not satisfied Isaiah made more moves at the trading deadline shipping off Keith Van Horn to the Milwaukee Bucks for Tim Thomas, while adding size with Nazr Mohammed from the Atlanta Hawks. The retooled Knicks would go on to make the playoffs with a record of 39-43. However the Knicks would make a quick exit in the playoffs as they would be swept in four straight games by the New Jersey Nets.
2004/05: After their strong finish to make the playoffs the Knicks started the season by playing inconsistent basketball as they held a 16-13 record at the end of December. However, as the New Year began the bottom was about to fall out. The Knicks would win just two of 15 games in January as Coach Lenny Wilkens was fired and replaced by Assistant Herb Williams. Under Williams the Knicks would not fare much better as they ended up tied for last place in the Atlantic Division with a terrible 33-49 record. Following the season the Knicks would completely retool again as the Knicks hired Hall of Fame vagabond Coach Larry Brown, a Brooklyn Native known for building teams into playoff contender. Also the Knicks rolled the dice and took a chance on Eddy Curry a solid young player with a history of heart ailments, landing him in a deal with the Chicago Bulls, while drafting Channing Frye and Nate Robinson in the draft to begin a young nucleus.
2005/06: When the season began there was a renewed buzz in New York as Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown a Brooklyn Native came home to coach the Knicks. However, those good feelings disappeared quickly as the Knicks lost their first five games as Brown feuded all season with Stephon Marbury and GM Isiah Thomas. After a 5-9 November the Knicks struggles deepened in December as they won just two of 14 games, putting themselves in a deep hole, as new acquisitions like Eddy Curry struggled, while Jerome James rotted on the bench for being out of shape without a position after the Knicks signed the Free Agent to a mega million multiyear deal. As the New Year began the Knicks suddenly found a groove beating the Phoenix Suns in overtime 140-133, as they won their first six games in 2006. However, it was short-lived as the Knicks would lose 22 of their next 24 games as frustrations mounted in every direction with the fans booing the team regularly at Madison Square Garden, while the feud between Marbury and Brown mounted as Brown and Isiah clashed over the direction of the team. Isiah was also the target of fans ire as he continued to make questionable moves like acquiring more over bloated salaries in Jalen Rose and Steve Francis, instead of allowing bad contracts from Anfernee Hardaway and Antonio Davis expire. With the highest payroll in the league and stretched out beyond flexibility, without a first round draft pick after the Eddy Curry deal the Knicks became the laughingstock of the NBA, as they flirted with setting a franchise record in losses. When the season was finally mercifully over the Knicks were in last place with a horrendous 23-59 record. Seeing that the feud between Coach Larry Brown and GM Isiah Thomas was hurting the team, Owner Scott Layden made a stunning move to fire Brown, despite having four years left on his contract while being owed millions. The Knicks and Brown would later work out a settlement as Brown received $18.5 Million Dollars. Meanwhile Layden gave the coaching reigns and an ultimatum to Isiah demanding he turn the team around quickly or else he would be gone next.
2006/07: Things did not start out good for Isiah Thomas and the Knicks, as fans booed, and chanted “Fire Isiah” as the Knicks got off to a slow 9-17 start. On December 16th the Knicks during a poor performance at home in which they were blown out by the Denver Nuggets 123-100, the Knicks frustrations boiled over, as an ugly brawl erupted after Mardy Collins committed a flagrant foul on the Nuggets J.R. Smith. The foul touched off a brawl that ultimately led to the ejection of all ten players on the court and suspensions to seven players. However, the brawl had a positive effect on the Knicks, as they played considerably better winning their next three games, as they played a more competitive brand of basketball over the next two and half months posting a 20-17 record to get in the chase for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Though still sitting with an overall losing record the Knicks post-fight turnaround convinced Knicks Owner James Dolan that progress was being made, and President/GM/Coach Isiah Thomas was given undisclosed “multiyear” contract extension. Many Knicks fans were not happy about the extension in that they were still far from a winning team. These fans would be further frustrated as the Knicks went into a tailspin following the deal being announced March 12th, as they won just four of their last 19 games, finishing in fourth place with a record of 33-49. The move to retain Isiah Thomas would look even worse in the off-season, as the Knicks lost a $12 Million sexual harassment lawsuit to former employee Anucha Browne Sanders. During the trial Thomas was exposed as both a sexist and a racist, when Sanders testified that Thomas often made derogatory comments about white season ticket holders, and women employees.
2007/08: To help the Knicks get closer to the playoffs, Isiah Thomas would make a draft day deal with the Portland Trailblazers, picking up Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau for Channing Frye and Steve Francis. However, from the very beginning of the season it was clear, Randolph was another overpriced dud, whose natural skill, was lost next to his lack of desire and poor attitude. An eight game losing streak would sink the Knicks, before the season even got started, as the “Fire Isiah” Chants” filled The Garden from the start of the season. After a 5-10 November, that included an embarrassing 104-59 loss to the Boston Celtics on November 29th, the Knicks playoff hopes all but wilted in December as losing streaks of six and seven had the Knicks sitting in last place with an 8-24 record on January 5th. The Knicks played poorly on the road all season, with an awful 8-33 record, and when they played at Madison Square Garden they were booed on most nights as fans demonstrated outside, asking that Isiah Thomas get fired. They even sometimes protested insides, especially after a fan was ejected by Garden security for wearing a shirt that said, “Fire Isiah”. March brought more frustration as they were in the middle of an 18 game stretch, where they won just two games. However, it would bring light at the end of the tunnel, as Isiah Thomas, was relieved of his job as Knicks President and General Manager, as the Knicks hired longtime Indiana Pacers General Manager Donnie Walsh. The Knicks would go on to finish the season with a horrible 23-59 record. When the season was over Thomas was also gone from the Knicks bench as he was given a job within the Knicks organization where he had no say in player development, personnel, and no office, for the remaining part of his undisclosed multi-year deal.
2008/09: With new Coach Mark D’Antoni the Knicks went into the season hoping to lay a foundation for the future as they started to rid themselves of the bad contracts and bad deals made by Isiah Thomas. With the focus on the 2010 free agent season, the Knicks traded Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington, while sending leading scorer Zach Randolph to the Los Angeles Clippers along with Mardy Collins for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas in two separate deals made on November 21st. Two players the Knicks wished they could have rid themselves were Eddy Curry, who came to training camp out of shape, and spent the early part of the season on the bench with an injured knee, while Stephon Marbury, continued to be a major headache for the Knicks, as Coach Mark D’Antoni did not even let him practice, while the Knicks worked on a buyout of his last $21 Million. After the trades the Knicks needed Marbury to play, but after he refused to enter a game, the Knicks had enough sending him away from the team for good, as the two sides negotiated a deal or a looked for a way to get him off the roster. Off course in the world of the Knicks, this was not the last word, as Stephon Marbury paid for front court seats at the Staples Center on December 16th as the Knicks were beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers 116-114. Eventually the Knicks would rid themselves of Marbury, who finished the season on the bench for the Boston Celtics. Despite the roster overall the Knicks would improve by nine games, posting a record of 32-50, as the playoffs remained a far off dream.
2009/10: As the Knicks look forward to the 2010 free agent market, they hoped they could clear the last remaining bad contracts, while starting to play more competitive basketball. Early on that was a daunting task as the Knicks got off to a terrible 3-14 start. One early season game saw LeBron James lone trip to the Garden on November 6th turn almost into a recruitment game as the Knicks welcomed members of the 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees, who earlier in the day held a ticker tape victory parade. The Knicks would lose that game to the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-91. The Knicks would play better in December posting a 9-6 record for the month. They continued to play better as 2010 started, winning their first three games in January. However, it would not last as they lost 21 of their next 27 games, which included a frustrating eight game losing streak in February. Playing without a chance for the playoffs again in March the Knicks play uninspired basketball for most of the second half as they ended the season with a disappointing record of 29-53. In the off-season there would be more disappointment as the Knicks failed in their pursuit of LeBron James, who joined up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. However, the Knicks would not stay down long as they signed all-star forward Amare Stoudemire from the Phoenix Suns. Though they would lose fan favorite David Lee to the Golden State Warriors. The feeling was that Stoudemire gave the Knicks a true All-Star for the first time since Patrick Ewing.
2010/11: With the addition of Amare Stoudamire, the Knicks hoped they could once again become a contender. The Knicks would also add Raymond Felton, while All-Star Carmelo Anthony openly expressed his desire to be traded from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks. Against this backdrop, the Knicks began the season with a 98-93 win over the Toronto Raptors. After a 105-101 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Knicks home opener would be a letdown, as the Knicks were beaten by the Portland Trailblazers 100-95. The Knicks would suffer an early six game losing streak as they started 3-8. They would quickly turn things around, winning 13 of their next 14 games. However, they would again lose five of seven to head into the New Year with a record of 18-14. Such inconsistent play would be a hallmark of the Knicks season. Despite the inconsistency Amare Stoudemire was delivering the All-Star play the Knicks expected, while second round draft pick Landry Fields, was looking like the steal of the draft. Despite the up and downplay the Knicks went into the All-Star Break with a 28-26 record, marking the first time they were above .500 at the break since 2000. At the break the rumors of Carmelo Anthony joining the Knicks, began to heat up with the trade deadline approaching. On February 21st the deal became a reality as the Knicks acquired Melo from the Nuggets in a three way trade involving the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Knicks would also land Renaldo Balkman, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, and Ronnie Brewer in the deal. Brewer would be waived before ever playing a game with the Knicks, while former Knick Jared Jeffries was welcomed back into the fold. The deal would see the Nuggets get Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and draft picks, while Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph went to the Wolves. The Garden had a playoff atmosphere as the Carmelo Anthony made his Knicks debut against the Milwaukee Bucks. Anthony would score 27 points with 10 rebounds as the Knicks won 114-108. However, the Knicks would struggle after all the changes as they lost nine of ten in March and slipped below .500. As the stretch drive hit the Knicks would begin to play better winning seven in a row to sew a playoff spot for the first time since 2004. The Knicks would go on to finish the season with a record of 42-40, getting the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. In the first round, the Knicks would face the Boston Celtics. In Game 1, the Knicks would hold the lead most of the night, as they outscored the Celtics 51-39 in the first half. However, the Celtics would gnaw away at the Knicks lead, and win the game 87-85 on Ray Allen’s three point bomb with 12 seconds left. In Game 2, the Knicks would get a monster effort from Carmelo Anthony who scored 42 points, with 17 rebounds as the Chauncey Billups was out with a knee injury and Amare Stoudamire missed the second half with back spasms. However, it was not enough as Kevin Garnett’s jumper with 14 seconds left, gave the Celtics a 96-93 win. After two tough losses in Boston, the Knicks hoped to get a win as the series shifted to the Garden. However, with Stoudemire’s back aching the Knicks never were in Game 3, losing 113-96. The Celtics would go on to sweep the series, with a 101-89 win in Game 4.
2011/12: After ending their playoff drought, the Knicks with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire playing together from the start of the season looked to move up and become a genuine contender in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, a lockout would prevent the team from working out together and get more accustomed to working together. When the lockout ended the Knicks looked to improve their defense, as they acquired Tyson Chandler in a sign and trade deal with the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks would tip of the season on Christmas Day against the Boston Celtics, winning a thriller at the Garden 106-104 as Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points with eight rebounds. However, the Knicks struggled in the early part of the season as they continued to find their rhythm on offense with Melo running the team. As February began the Knicks were 8-15, as both Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire were on the bench with minor injuries. As they faced the New Jersey Nets at the Garden on February 4th, rumors of a coaching change were hanging over the Knicks as only a run to the Super Bowl by the New York Giants kept the newly renovated roof from caving in on the Knicks. Needing a spark, Coach Mike D’Antoni looked to the end of the bench and found Jeremy Lin, a second year guard. Lin was picked up by the Knicks before the start of the season and hardly played as he lived on his brother’s sofa after joining the Knicks from the D-League. What started in that game would be the sudden fever that swept the NBA known as “Linsanity”. Jeremy Lin with dazzling play would be the Knicks leading scorer in 9 of the next 11 games, as he became an instant sensation with his jerseys suddenly becoming the hottest item in the league, as the Knicks got back to .500. The fever created by Jeremy Lin would lead to the Knicks young star gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated in consecutive weeks, as overnight Jeremy Lin became the most popular player in the NBA. However, as Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup the Knicks lack of focus and chemistry returned. Anthony would put up good stats, leading the team with 22.6 ppg, but the Knicks continued to lose when he played, starting the month of March with a six game losing streak. This would lead to the resignation of Coach Mike D’Antoni. With interim Coach Mike Woodson taking over, the Knicks again found their game, as they won seven of their first eight games under Woodson as the new coach’s system that focused more on defense and discipline seemed to be just what the Knicks needed. The Knicks would finish the season strong despite losing Lin to a season ending knee injury in April. The Knicks also played much of the last month without Amare Stoudamire. However, Tyson Chandler stepped up and became the big man in the middle the Knicks were looking for as he was named Defensive Player of the Year leading the team with 9.9 rebounds per game. The Knicks would go on to reach the playoffs for a second straight season, finishing with a 36-30 record.
2012 Playoffs: Making the playoffs was important, but for the second straight season the Knicks they had a tough draw in the playoffs again, as they got the seventh seed and faced the Miami Heat. Game 1 would be a disaster for the Knicks as they played poorly and lost 100-67, making matters worse Iman Shumpert, who had a solid rookie season with 9.5 ppg suffered a torn ACL. In Game 2 the Knicks would play better, but the result would be the same as they lost 104-94, as the Heat ended the game on a 7-0 run leading a frustrated Amare Stoudamire to punch the glass casing of a fire extinguisher in the locker room area. Stoudamire would be out of action in Game 3 as he needed to have surgery to close the wounds from the ill-timed jab at the fire box. Without Stoudamire, the Knicks would suffer an 87-70 loss in Game 3 at the Garden. The loss was the 13th straight playoff loss for the Knicks, setting a dubious NBA record. The Knicks would be able to avoid the sweep with an 89-87 win in Game 4, as Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points. However, a devastating knee injury to Baron Davis put a damper on the Knicks first postseason win in 11 years. The Heat would close out the series in five games, winning the finale 106-94 in Miami. Due to posting an 18-6 record after taking over, the Knicks would make Mike Woodson remain as head coach, as the Knicks added some veteran talent by signing Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton to play Point Guard. At the same time they said goodbye to Jeremy Lin, as decided not to match the large contract that Lin was offered by the Houston Rockets.
2012/13: Despite the popularity of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks chose to let him go after he signed an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, instead choosing to bring back Raymond Felton and signing veteran Point Guard Jason Kidd. The start of the season would be briefly delayed due to some of the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy. When they took the floor, they helped give the city an emotional lift by blowing out the Miami Heat 104-84 at the Garden on November 2nd. That win would be the spark to a great start for the Knicks, who won their first six games, including a comeback win against the San Antonio Spurs on the road. Through their first 23 games, the Knicks were among the best teams in the NBA as they posted a record of 18-5 for their best start in 20 years. Helping the start were some of the veteran off-season acquisitions as Jason Kidd’s play making abilities helped boost Carmelo Anthony’s stats, while Rasheed Wallace who came out of retirement helped give the Knicks a physical presence. However, Wallace’s boost would last just 20 games as a foot injury would end his season and ultimately force him back into retirement. Though they were unable to keep their early season pace, the Knicks remained at the top of the Atlantic Division through January, as Carmelo Anthony set a franchise record with 31 straight games of 20 points or better. Anthony would go on to become the first Knick to win the scoring title since 1984, averaging 28.7 ppg. Despite a slump in February into March, the Knicks would end a Western Road trip, in which they were missing both All-Stars Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony with a 90-83 win against the Utah Jazz. The Knicks had lost the first four games of the trip but the win in Utah helped turn things around as they won their next 13 games and clinched their first division title since 1994. Helping the Knicks late season surge was J.R. Smith, who would go on to be named the NBA’s best sixth man, averaging 17.7 ppg coming off the bench. The Knicks would go on to finish the season with a record of 54-28.
2013 Playoffs: For the second straight season, the Knicks would face the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Looking to show that this time things were different, the Knicks took the opener at MSG 85-78, as Carmelo Anthony had a game high 36 points. Anthony would lead the way again in Game 2, scoring 34 points as the Knicks won 87-71. The Knicks continued to roll in Game 3 in Boston, winning 90-76, as Melo again led all scoring with 26 points. Not all news was good in Game 3, as J.R. Smith was suspended for one game for throwing an elbow at the head of Jason Terry. Looking to avoid the sweep the Celtics would take control of Game 4 early on, leading 54-35 at the half. However, the Knicks charged back in the game and forced overtime. The Celtics would regain control of the game in OT, outscoring the Knicks 13-6 to win the game 97-90. The Celtics would also take Game 5 in New York 92-86 as fans of the Knicks began to have concerns about past playoff failures. The Knicks jumped out fast in Game 6, outscoring the Celtics 24-10 in the first quarter. Leading by 26 points the Knicks nearly saw Game 6 slip away, as the Celtics went on a 20-0 run in the 4th quarter. However, the Knicks would not let it get any closer as they held on to win the game 88-80 to win their first postseason series in 13 years. Facing the Indiana Pacers in the second round, the Knicks suffered a letdown at home in Game 1, losing 102-95, despite a 27 point 11 rebound game from Carmelo Anthony. Melo would score 32 points with nine board in Game 2, as the Knicks evened the series with a 105-79 win. However, the next two games in Indiana would be a nightmare for the Knicks, as the Pacers size and strength overwhelmed the Knicks, as the Pacers won both games by 11 points to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Knicks responded with an 85-75 win in Game 5 at the Garden, but in the end the Pacers were too strong in the front court, winning Game 6 by a score of 106-99 to win the series, as Carmelo Anthony’s 39 point performance was not nearly enough.
2013/14: Despite making into the second round of the playoffs, the Knicks fired General Manager Glen Grunwald with former MSG president Steve Mills. Before changing General Manager, the Knicks signed J.R. Smith to a contract extension and acquired Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors, with Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and Quentin Richardson going to Toronto along with three draft picks. The Knicks also signed Free Agent Metta World Peace. Both World Peace and Bargnani would struggle in New York, with Metta World Peace being released, and Bargnani missing half the season with after tearing an elbow ligament on a missed dunk. The Knicks would open the season with a win 90-83 over the Milwaukee Bucks, but soon dug themselves a big hole, as the lost 13 of their next 15 games. November would be a particularly bad month as they won just two games, and lost all six games at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks would even end November with a nine game losing streak. After ending December with a record of 9-21, the Knicks began to show signs of life in January as they started 2014, winning two of three games on Texas road trip. At the Garden the Knicks played much better, winning seven of ten games in January as the Knicks reentered the playoff race. On January 24th, Carmelo Anthony set a franchise record with 62 points as the Knicks beat the Charlotte Bobcats 125-96. The momentum would be stopped in February, as the Knicks again struggled and won just two games. The Knicks would finish the season strong, highlighted by an eight game winning streak in March, as they posted a 16-7 record over the final six weeks. However, it would not be enough to get the Knicks back in the playoffs as they fell one game short of the eighth seed with a record of 37-45. As the season was coming to an end changes were already being made at the Garden, as the Knicks hired Phil Jackson to be the club’s new President. The Knicks would fire Mike Woodson and the entire coaching staff after the season ended. They would also get busy trading Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, both of whom had disappointing seasons to the Dallas Mavericks, with the Knicks getting Shane Larkin, José Calderón, Samuel Dalembert, and Wayne Ellington along with two picks in the NBA Draft. The Knicks meanwhile would hire Derek Fisher as their new head coach.
2014/15: Even though Phil Jackson expressed optimism that the New York Knicks could make the playoffs, it was clear early they were taking a long term approach when the season began under new Coach Derek Fisher. Fisher who had just retired from playing was clearly learning on the job, and was overwhelmed at the start. Making matters worse Carmelo Anthony was dealing with a sore knee all year. The Knicks opened the Phil Jackson era with a loss to one of his former teams, the Chicago Bulls 104-80 at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks, however, would rebound and win the following night, spoiling LeBron James return home by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road 95-90. Wins would be scarce early in the season as they lost eight of their first ten games. Things only got worse as November stretched into December, as the Knicks won just one game between November 22nd and January 15th, losing 23 of 24 games, including a franchise record 13 game losing streak. With their season spiraling out of control the Knicks began making changes trading both J.R. Smith and Iman Shumbert to the Cavs. With the Knicks hosting the All-Star Game, Carmelo Anthony put off season ending knee surgery until after the All-Star break to participate in the festivities. Melo would score ten points in the game and had surgery just a few days later missing the remainder of the season. At the same time the Knicks would buy out the remainder of Amare Stoudamire’s contract making him a free agent. Wins remained rare for the Knicks after the All-Star break, but when they did win it seemed as if they would spring up against some of the NBA’s elite teams. This included a 104-100 March 17th win in overtime against the San Antonio Spurs on March 17th at the Garden. As the season came to an end the Knicks appeared to have the inside track at the worst record in the NBA, but wins against the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks saw them finish one game ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, likely costing them a shot at the first overall pick as they finished fourth in the draft lottery. The Knicks would meanwhile finish with the worst record in the 69-year history of the franchise at 17-65.
2015/16: Coming off the worst season in franchise history there was no place to go but up for the New York Knicks. The Knicks were competitive in the first two months of the season, as they went into the New Year holding a record of 15-18 as they hovered near .500. As January began the Knicks continued to show improvement as they stayed at or near .500 as they surpassed the 17-wins from the previous season with a 98-90 road win over the Miami Heat on January 6th. Helping the Knicks improved play was a healthy Carmelo Anthony who led the team with 21.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Another player helping to boost the Knicks was Kristaps Porzingis who was chosen with the fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft. When the pick was first announced fans were unhappy, booing the 19-year-old from Latvia. When the season began, it would not take fans long to warm up to Kristaps Porzingis who at 7’3″ showed signs early at being one of the top young centers in the NBA as he was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in each of the season’s first three months. However, as January ended the rigors of a long NBA season began to take their toll on Porzingis who suffered the effects of an upper repertory infection causing him to miss his first game. Kristaps Porzingis would go on to be named part of the NBA’s All-Rookie team, as he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting with 14.3 points, and 7.3 rebounds per game. As Porzingis dealt with fatigue the Knicks began to struggle as they lost nine of their next ten games after reaching .500 again on January 22nd at 22-22. The losing streak would lead to a change on the bench as Derek Fisher, who never appear comfortable as a coach after going directly from playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder to running the Knicks was fired after a season and a half. Kurt Rambis would be named interim coach for the remainder of the season. The Knicks would lose their first two games under Rambis before beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 103-95 on February 20th. The damage though had been done as the Knicks fell out of playoff contention. The Knicks struggles would continue over the final two months as they posted a 9-19 record after the coaching change to finish the season with a record of 31-51.
2016/17: Looking to make a significant step forward, the New York Knicks made a blockbuster off-season trade acquiring former MVP Derrick Rose along with Justin Holliday from the Chicago Bulls for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, and Jerian Grant. They also signed Joakim Noah a former Defensive Player of the Year to a four-year contract worth $72 million and Courtney Lee to a four-year deal worth $50 million. To lead the new look Knicks, Jeff Hornacek was hired as the team’s coach. Rose showed good signs early as the Knicks spent the first two months playing around .500. As the New Year began things began to unravel as the Knicks were during a six-game losing streak that would drop them below .500 for the rest of the season. In January things only got worse as Derrick Rose was fined for going AWOL when he left to visit his mother in Chicago without asking for permission. Meanwhile, Joakim Noah’s contract became a bone of discontention as the former Defensive Player of the Year was a shell of his former self. Noah who struggled with a sore knee would later be suspended 20 games for violating the NBA’s substance abuse policy. Derrick Rose would also break down as the Knicks season got uglier and bleaker by the day. Things were so bad that former fan favorite Charles Oakley was dragged out by security after criticizing owner James Dolan. As the losses mounted, President Phil Jackson began feuding with players, including Carmelo Anthony whose contract also began to hang around the Knicks like an albatross. The Knicks would finish the season with a record of 31-51, as Jackson and the team were embroiled in a bitter feud, this included rising star Kristaps Porzingis, who refused to go to the end of the season interview. As the off-season began and it became clear free agents did not want to join the dysfunctional Knicks a decision was made to fire Phil Jackson.
2017/18: Heading into the new basketball season, the New York Knicks were looking to build with their Latvian-superstar Kristaps Porzingis leading the team. The Knicks made a huge splash in the offseason by trading their face of the franchise, Carmelo Anthony, to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for center Enes Kanter and forward Doug McDermott. Many Knicks fans had perplexed feeling towards the trade because what Carmelo did for the Knicks during his tenure. However, in his last few years with the Knicks were very disappointing, and his value was not represented by the amount of money he was getting. The Knicks also reacquired Tim Hardaway Jr. from the Atlanta Hawks. With the Knicks in full rebuild mode, head coach, Jeff Hornacek, was left with a lack of talent on his roster. With the season starting, no one knew what kind of team the Knicks would actually be. The Knicks played very well in the first quarter of the season, looking to be a playoff team, with a record of 16-13 on December 16th. The Knicks got an unexpected contribution from center Enes Kanter and Michael Beasley, who played well early in the season. As December ended, reality struck as the Knicks began to struggle. On February 6th, things took a turn for the worse as All-Star Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL. Porzingis was New York’s leading scorer with 22.7 ppg. The season half of the season, most if without Kristaps Porzingis, would be a nightmare for the Knicks, as they won just ten games, finishing 29-53. With the disappointing season coming to an end, the Knicks were looking at another season where they had to settle for a lottery pick.
Written by Liam Collins
2018/19: The New York Knicks ushered in a new era at Madison Square Garden, hiring former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale to replace the dismissed Jeff Hornacek. With their first-round selection, New York opted to draft Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox small forward who is capable of stretching the floor beyond the arc. Later on draft night, the Knicks drafted athletic big man Mitchell Robinson, who never played a collegiate game. Despite starting the season with a home win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks’ deficiencies as a team quickly began to show as they went on to lose their next five games. December and January stood out as particularly poor months for the Knicks as they went 2-12 and 1-12, respectively. The Knicks entered the All-Star break with a woeful record of 11-47 and in last place in the Atlantic division. From January 7th through February 13th, New York endured an 18 game losing streak, ten of which were lost by double-digits. The Knicks only walked away victorious six times post-All-Star break. Statistically, the Knicks were as bad as it gets, posting a league-worst 104.5 offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) and a defensive rating of 113.7 (points allowed per 100 possessions), which came in at 26th in the NBA. The most notable moment of the season came on January 31st when the Knicks agreed to a blockbuster trade with the Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis, along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke to Dallas in exchange for players with expiring contracts DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews. The Knicks also received Dennis Smith Jr., and two first-round picks (2021 & 2023). As the season progressed, the focus of New York’s season was entirely focused on the development of its two rookies (Knox and Robinson) and sophomore guard Frank Ntilikina. Knox started 57 games and averaged 12.8 points along with 4.5 rebounds, playing just under 30 minutes a night. After a few months, Knox began to hit his stride as he won the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for December and earned a spot on Team USA in the Rising Stars Game during All-Star weekend. While inconsistent at times, Knox showed signs of promise moving forward. At center Mitchell Robinson was a pleasant surprise, showcasing tremendous bounce for a big, and he quickly developed into an elite rim protector on defense. Robinson was rewarded for his play with a spot on the All-Rookie second team and concluded the season averaging 2.4 blocks per game. On the other end of the spectrum, Frank Ntilikina drafted eighth overall in 2017, suffered a lost season that was plagued by erratic playing time and injuries. Playing only 21 minutes per game, Ntilikina averaged a meager 5.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 2.0 rebounds. Ntilikina’s season was hindered by lingering groin issues, which kept him out sidelined for most of the second half of the season. Despite coaching changes and new players via trade, the draft, and free agency, Knicks fans were subjected to another torturous season of basketball at the Garden. Poor all-around play led the Knicks to a league-worst 17-65 record, tying their franchise-worst mark set in 2014-15.
Written by Christopher Sadocha
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Page created on February 13, 2003. Last updated on April 1, 2020, at 1:55 am ET.