Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I'm a Knicks Fan This Year

I am a lifelong Bulls fan. Growing up near-ish Chicago during Jordan's prime basically ensured that I would love the Bulls with all of my heart. But I remember the bad years as well, drafting guys like Marcus Fizer and signing guys like Eddie Robinson; they were awful for a really long time. Then they started drafting better, lucked into the number one pick and had one of the best coaches in the NBA, so it was a whole lot easier to like them.

Then the Bulls got rid of that coach for a guy whose best attribute was getting guys kicked out of other universities to come to his and play together. Shockingly, that did not spell success at the NBA level. Then, they basically got rid of everyone from those fun grinding Bulls teams, only keeping Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson around. And of course, I still like those guys, I even like Dwyane Wade, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic, and Bobby Portis, but I like those guys more in a vacuum than on this team. Also, they picked up Rajon Rondo, the player I hate the most in the NBA, and another shocker here, it hasn't worked out too well.

So I'm a still Bulls fan, but I don't want to actually watch the Bulls. You see my predicament here? So I've watched some other NBA teams. I have to eliminate all west coast teams, because I can't stay up that late. I'm not going to watch a good team, because then I might fall in love, and I don't want to do that to the Bulls, so I glanced around the league and found the perfect solution, The New York Knickerbockers.

I mean, let's think about it. The only other decent options are the Pacers who show potential but aren't all that fun, and the Bucks, but they're a little too cool and spelling Giannis Antetokounmpo is just a giant pain to spell, so I didn't want to write that.

As a Bulls fan during the 90s, I am predisposed to hating the Knicks, and yes, I will forever hate John Starks and think that they were responsible for the worst years of basketball after Jordan retried (in my mind, Jordan retired from the Bulls and never played again). So saying out loud that I like the Knicks is difficult, but watching the Knicks is a really enjoyable experience.

Let's get the obvious out of the way. They took two of my all-time favorite Bulls when they got Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose this offseason. I still love these guys. Neither of them is the same player they were in their prime, but they show enough flashes to let you get lost in the moments and convince yourself that they are about to have a career renaissance. Rose can still make ridiculous drives and avoid contact as he lays something up high off the glass, and Noah isn't as springy, but he is wily and still more hustle plays than you can expect from any single person. I will forever love watching these guys play (Also, not concerned about Derrick Rose just disappearing from the team last week; that's part of the Derrick Rose charm).

The next reason to like the Knicks is Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo gets a bad rap, because he has never won anything in the NBA, but he's still super awesome at basketball. When Melo gets hot, it is special. I saw the Knicks play the Heat earlier this year, and it was a close game about halfway through the third quarter until Melo just decided to make a shot every time he touched the ball. It finally stopped when he took a contested three as a heat check, but by that time, the Knicks were up double digits and the game was over. Appreciate Carmelo Anthony, because even though he's not the perfect basketball player, he is one of the best.

Then there's Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is the guy everyone wants to talk about, but he's still a distant fourth for my favorite Knicks players to watch. Don't get me wrong. He's really good, but he doesn't compare to those top three. His game is easy to enjoy; it's effortless. He's fully appreciated, which makes it less fun to root for him but still fun to watch him.

After that, I still enjoy watching Brandon Jennings. I know he can't make a shot to save his life, but he can still dribble real nicely, and that counts for something. I guess I could say I like Kyle O'Quinn and Courtney Lee, but those are just solid players that you should like, not players that I really care about. They could easily be replaced.

The rest of the Knicks bench is hot garbage. There is nothing of notable talent or consequences, and that's fine. It gives them a ton of potential for easy upgrades. But that's nitpicking at this point.

With D-Rose, Noah, Melo, Zinger, and Young Money, this team is the perfect blend of fun and stupidity. And since they are likely to lose Rose and Jennings after this year, it will be easy to throw them to the side and start cheering for the Bulls after they ditch Rondo and Hoiberg. The Knicks are my team...for this year.

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