The most expensive franchise in the National Basketball Association is incidentally considered one of the most unlucky. The team, despite a huge market, has not been a contender in the 21st century. At the end of 2021, Tom Thibodeau is the team’s head coach. The franchise owner is James Dolan.
Periods of decline
The period in the early ’60s was the worst stretch for the Knicks in the 20th century. The team was ranked last in the division time after time, and the climax of New York’s nightmare was the 1961/1962 season. The team was on the rebound from defeat and a playoff contender, but Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in Madison Square Garden at the end of the regular season, destroying the chemistry inside the team. The situation did not begin to improve until 1965 when a number of rookies were drafted.
By the 21st century the team had made the playoffs only four times. The worst season in that span was 14-15. The starting lineup was plagued by injuries at the time, and Carmelo Anthony was unable to fully get into a playing rhythm and began to slowly deteriorate, forcing management to trade him. Twenty players were on the roster at once, and one of the best scorers was Alexey Shved, who led the team in scoring with 14.8 points per game. The Russian’s effort fell short and the team finished the season with a 17-65 record.
The same result awaited the team in the 18/19 season, which was the last full season for David Fitzdale as Knicks coach. A large number of young basketball players came through New York this season, with Tim Hardaway Junior, Emanuel Mudiay and Dennis Smith Junior leading the squad. In addition, Kristaps Porzingis, the only All-Star on the Fitzdale squad, missed the game year completely through injury.
Periods of prosperity
Willis Reed and Walt Frazier authored the Knicks’ first league title in franchise history. Not only did the team go on a winning streak of 18 straight 69-70 seasons, completing a league record 60, but they also reached the NBA Finals where the Knicks faced the Los Angeles Lakers. The confrontation with the Lakers reached the seventh game of the series, which Reed was out for with an injury. Overcoming the pain, Willis helped the Knicks finish the job and New York won the title.
In the ’90s, the team made the playoffs every year. New York’s best result was during the ’92-’93 National Championship Game. Pat Riley led the squad, while Patrick Ewing and John Starks led the Knicks. Ewing’s squad was not destined to become champions. The team had fallen several times in the conference finals and had been beaten twice in the NBA finals. New York’s arch-rival at the time was the Chicago Bulls, whom the Knicks only passed during Michael Jordan’s absence from the team.