Struggling Knicks Should Prioritize the Future

23 December 2015: New York Knicks Forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) looks to pass during the game between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Oh. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
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The time has passed for winning.

Even though they are four games out of a playoff spot, the season for the New York Knicks is no longer about winning. Trying to go for a playoff spot does not help this franchise in any way for the future. There is no moral victory for being swept out of the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will be an eye-sore to watch this team going against an NBA Championship team.

Instead, it’s time to take the Philadelphia Sixers’ approach. They need accomplish two things for the remainder of the season: 1) let the young guys play to see what you have, and 2) lose as many games as you can to ensure you get a higher draft pick.

Struggling Knicks Should Prioritize the Future

Let the Young Guys Play

Nothing can come out of letting the veterans play. At this point, we know what the veterans can do and what their limitations are. It is time to let the young guys play. The Knicks need to know what they have.

Players like Kristaps Porzingis, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle, Willy Hernangomez, and even Kyle O’Quinn need a fair chance to prove they can be part of the solution for a better future. Besides Porzingis, for the better part of the year, these players haven’t played big minutes for a consistent period. There would be parts of the year where these players got a good amount of playing time for several games, but then they would back on bench and not play for a while.

It is very important for this franchise to finally build a young nucleus that can produce for years. The Knicks were fun to watch in the 90s. The reason was the year in and year out, the Knicks had a good team that contended and played hard.

With a young core, the Knicks can once again compete like they did in the 90s. And the only way to see what they have in these young players is by playing them. Baker has looked very solid in his minutes. O’Quinn has made improvements in his game from last year. Hernangomez looks very solid and, once he gets used to the NBA-style of play, will become a very solid player in this league.

Another benefit of developing a young core is that it will attract free agents to this city. Lately, free agents have not considered the Knicks. The dysfunction and losing has deterred any interest. But with a new core of players, free agents will be attracted to the idea of being the missing piece to a team that is ready to content. This is all contingent on the young players all developing into good players. But any situation is better than the rut this franchise has been in for the past 15 years.

Look Towards the Draft

This also ties in with their second objective for the rest of the season: lose to get a high draft pick. The Knicks need as many pieces as possible. If they can get a high draft pick and pair up that player with Porzingis, the Knicks can finally have two young stars to build around. In my lifetime, I’ve seen countless franchises build around young stars, except for the Knicks.

Before Porzingis, the last time the Knicks drafted a franchise player was Patrick Ewing. The jury is still out on Porzingis, but if the Knicks can draft another player high in the draft, the fortunes can truly turn for this organization.

Winning no longer has any value for this team this year. The mindset should be for next year and beyond. To win in the future, it is time to lose now.

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