Expectations and the Knicks Just Don't Mix

Winning streak latest sign that predictability is out the window

Easy narratives don't exist anywhere on the Knicks' scene.

From the Tyson Chandler signing to the opening win over Boston to the losing record, the injuries, Linsanity, the rocky return of Carmelo Anthony, Mike D'Antoni's departure and the consecutive wins since, the Knicks have had plenty of opposing storylines this year.

It's a wonder, then, how people keep rushing to draw conclusions about the team. This Knicks team cannot be considered using the normal circumstances because, time and time again, they've shown that there's nothing about them that fits easy definition.

Take Jeremy Lin. How in the world did so many people feel comfortable writing him off when Mike Woodson took over the reins after D'Antoni slunk away?

Lin is a brand new player on the Knicks' stage, far too new for anyone to draw any conclusions about how he'd play for a coach other than D'Antoni, who, we must remember, wanted to trade for another starting point guard before handing over his keys to the locker room. His play in the last two games -- controlled, efficient performances leading a varied offense -- is a pretty good sign that while Linsanity may be over, Jeremy Lin lives on. 

There's also the 'Melo/D'Antoni saga. Attempts are still being made to assign blame for the fractured relationship between the two, but there's way too much gray to draw any conclusions.

Anthony certainly didn't look happy to be playing the role D'Antoni assigned to him and he wasn't playing near the level he needed to be playing to make himself valuable. Still, it had to be hard for him to keep hearing from the coach that he wasn't buying into things when he was shooting less and passing more than any other point in his career.

Excoriating Anthony for wanting to be the player he's been his entire career makes little sense when the Knicks knew what they were getting themselves into when they acquired him.

D'Antoni may not have gotten the respect he deserved from Anthony, but coaches who are so rigid about systems that they can't find ways to make things work with talented players can't really throw rocks at the glass houses of players who don't buy in 100 percent. Systems make coaches look smart when they win and they make players look bad when they don't, which would be more damning of D'Antoni if, again, the Knicks didn't know what they were getting themselves into in the first place.

The stories have changed so often this season and there have been so many moving parts that the idea of fingering any one person as the problem is ludicrous. All that matters now is how the team moves forward.

With three wins in three games, we're moving onto the idea that Woodson is the right coach to take this talented team to where they've talked about being earlier in the season. The Knicks have gone from the gloomiest team on the planet to the fun bunch pictured up top, a natural continuation of a season that could be used as a commercial for a yo-yo.

While there are plenty of good signs, especially on defense, all of the above should make it clear that discussions of the Knicks' future should be written in pencil rather than ink. 

Unless, of course, that discussion is about whether or not the Knicks are going to be interesting to watch the rest of the way.

Whether they wind up as a grand success or a dismal failure, it's going to be fascinating to watch things unfold.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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