The Knicks Aren't Even Pretending Anymore

A late bus is latest sign that winning isn't a priority

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Nov 25, 2009  |  Updated 9:01 AM EDT
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The Knicks Aren't Even Pretending Anymore

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The portion of the season that the Knicks paid even lip service to the notion of winning games ended in traffic on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening. It was there that the Knicks bus sat idling as the team tried to make its way to the Staples Center for a date with the Lakers.

Sure, the result of the game, a 100-90 Knicks loss, might not have been any different if the Knicks got there more than 50 minutes before the opening tip but that's sort of beside the point. How good are you in meetings when you get stuck on the B train for 45 minutes on the way to the office? You're frazzled for the first half of it and by the time you get your bearings everyone else is moving onto goodbyes and plans to follow up later.

In that scenario, you at least have the comfort of knowing that you tried to make it to work on time. It's hard to say the same about the Knicks on Tuesday. The team stayed in Santa Monica and chose to leave their hotel at 5 p.m. for the trip to the Staples Center. Anyone who has been to L.A. knows that neccesitates a trip on the freeway at rush hour, begging the question of why the Knicks didn't stay somewhere closer to the arena and/or leave themselves time to deal with the traffic they had to expect given their chosen route.

It's not the fact that the Knicks lost this game, or any of the games they've lost over the last two years, that's become so bothersome about this team. What's bothersome is how they've treated these two seasons as an unpleasant inconvenience. Salary cap space is great and every Knicks fan is on board with that plan, but only in the mind of Donnie Walsh is that mutually exclusive to using these two years as anything more than a holding pattern.

How much better would you feel about this team right now if the starting backcourt was Brandon Jennings and Eric Gordon? Or Jennings and Anthony Randolph or Brook Lopez as a guard-forward pairing? Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill may still pan out, but there's little about them that screams special player while Jennings, in particular, looks like a high-quality NBA point guard. Those are scarce and the Knicks' inability to see his potential gives you pause about the guys judging personnel.

At least the Knicks went down playing their young guys on Tuesday night. If you're going to lose, that's the way to do it. And, as they made quite clear Tuesday night, the Knicks have no problems with losing.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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