“Granted, it’s been 20 years since their last NBA Finals appearance, but they play inside a landmark venue, in a landmark city,” Wolkenbrod says.
“Fans would love success to accompany that recognition, but they have a mile or two to travel before these two match.”
Those miles have been slow-moving in recent times, and Wolkenbrod says Knicks fans blame managerial decisions over the years, including consistently “trading draft picks without hesitation for win-now players” and becoming entangled in expensive contracts with over-the-hill stars like Joakim Noah as stalling the team’s progress.
The Knicks have tried to steamroll and quick-fix their way back to the top, seemingly lacking the humility of smaller teams to rebuild with commitment and patience. They turned over more coaches than any other team between 2000 and 2017, and gave appearances to more players than anyone else from the 2008/09 to 2016/17 season.