The Knicks were widely viewed as a bottom-10 NBA team entering the 2017/18 season, but they’ve played .500 ball so far, and president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry would like to see team keep winning and contend for a playoff spot, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. As Berman details, Perry expressed a distaste for the idea of tanking, suggesting the Knicks won’t go down that road.
“I don’t think that’s healthy for any culture,” Perry said. “I think if you try to institutionalize losing, that’s hard to get out of your building.”
When the Knicks finally found a new home for Carmelo Anthony just before training camp opened in the fall, it signaled that the team had fully committed to its rebuild, lowering expectations for the coming season. A losing record and a top-10 pick for 2018 was considered a probable outcome. At the moment though, the Knicks hold the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, with a tiebreaker edge over the Sixers — both teams are 13-13.
While the Knicks’ hold on a playoff spot is tenuous, the team’s lack of interest in tanking should send a positive message to the players on the roster, including Kristaps Porzingis. As Berman notes, the Knicks are aware that Porzingis wants to see signs of progress before he commits to a long-term contract with the franchise. The standout big man, who will be extension-eligible for the first time in 2018, believes making the playoffs is an “achievable” goal for the Knicks this season.
“I don’t believe in [tanking] either,” Porzingis told Berman, agreeing with Perry. “Every season you have to go with the expectations of making the playoffs. That’s the way to get better. If you do make the playoffs, that experience, you can’t change for nothing. Every player should as soon as you start you career. The sooner you get that, the more you’re prepared for the future. I’m really looking forward to making the playoffs.”