How to Fix the New York Knicks: An Open Letter

NYC rapper Skyzoo has some thoughts.
by February 26, 2015

To whom it may concern,

As a lifelong Knicks fan, I’ve endured the highs, lows, ups, downs, triumphs and travesties of our beloved NYKs. From “The Dunk” to “The Finger Roll“, I’m proud to say that as a born and raised New Yorker and loyal blue and orange bleeder, “I done seen it all” (cue Jeezy vocals). But within that pride, sometimes you realize that pride is not enough. Sometimes you see a relationship being held up on one end and not both simultaneously. So lately, this season in particular, it’s “f**k pride, you muthaf***as need to fix this s**t, NOW!” (Pardon the outburst.) In light of the ensuing rebuild, I as a New Yorker understand that sadly a rebuild in the most recognizable and brightest city in the world is almost impossible. Anyone saying differently hasn’t spent enough time in NY to really understand our cloth. This city is about the moment, the “right now.” And sometimes that’s our biggest fault, but hey, it just is what it is. So how does one go about rebuilding this team while appeasing the NYK faithful who are 40+ years in debt on a Championship celebration? Well, in my most humble and observatory opinion, as someone who’s grown up with the sport of basketball as much as he has his music career, here’s a starting 5 for the future theory:

PG: Emmanuel Mudiay

With our likely top 5 pick in this year’s draft, the consensus is to roll with Jahlil Okafor. I’ll start by saying this; Jahlil is a great option. He’s got star written all over him, and I’m sure he’ll be a perennial All-Star, but down the line. As good a player as he is, I still see a slight work-in-progress depending on the team he’s placed on. Philly, Utah, Minnesota? Sure, he’d easily blossom and have the room to edit along the way. But in the city of New York, as a rookie, I’m not sure if the responsibility awaiting next year’s roster is an order he can handle right away. Starting center with a city thinking Patrick Ewing when they hear the words “starting center” is a lot for a rookie, especially one with only one year of college experience. Here’s where I go with Mudiay. In today’s league, current free agent PFs and Cs seem to be more readily available than free agent PGs. There aren’t too many PGs in the open market who can keep up physically night in and night out with the Kyries, Westbrooks, Walls, Lillards, Currys, etc. of the modern-day era. Goran Dragic? Rondo? I’m a fan of them both but the list above still runs youthful circles around them. Mudiay is a 19-year-old who wants to do nothing more than run. A balanced threat across the board on both ends of the court, dribble/pass/shoot, legit 6-5, to me he’s not just an easy pick—he’s the only pick for next year’s team and the foreseeable future of the franchise.

SG: Wesley Matthews

In Wesley, you get a 2 guard who for, say, four years/$40 million, will be the defensive anchor in the backcourt and wings that we so desperately need, as well as a ridiculous sharpshooter, slasher, and again, defensive anchor. Picture Shumpert with a consistent jumper and more mature/collected control of the game. All around prototypical 2-guard and perfect compliment for the team’s spotlight piece.

SF: Carmelo Anthony

That spotlight piece mentioned above, the face of the team and arguably greatest scorer of the modern day era, Melo has gotten an unfairly bad rap since his arrival. Has he ever gotten to play with a real squad? I mean a REAL squad? Has he ever had the pieces that his friends Lebron and Chris Paul and DWade and so many others have had? Ever? No. Not even in Denver. But both the media and the so-called NYK faithful have no problem forgetting/ignoring that facet and bashing the God in various comments sections at will. With this potential roster, it’ll be the first time Melo has TRULY had help. And not just “help”, but the right type of help, suited around his strengths and weaknesses. Explaining Melo’s small forward capabilities isn’t needed here, just YouTube him and marvel in dopeness.

PF: Greg Monroe

A young piece with an old soul, he’s perfect for the additional 20+ points/10+ rebounds that Melo deserves to be able to depend on night in and night out. Left-handed, old school-paced and controlled game, hook shot, dribble work, post game, free throws, low-key demeanor on the court—he’s what Amar’e was supposed to be for Melo upon arrival. And the biggest component: he’s young. Again, help for now and the foreseeable future. Four years/$36 million? Sure, book it.

C: DeAndre Jordan

A true 7 footer who dunks, blocks shots and dunks some more, DJ would be absolutely perfect with the other four pieces mentioned above. Excitement at the Garden would live like never before, but more importantly, we’d have a healthy 7-footer with a desire to volleyball shots into the stands and be rewarded on the other end of the court via Mudiay lobs and Melo kick outs from double teams. And once again, the common denominator, he’s young. Foreseeable future indeed. The Clippers National Bank seems to be closing this summer due to SF needs and two max players as is, so giving him 11 mil a year for four years? Book it.

Place two veterans on the bench for locker room leadership and intangibles for the vets minimum (a la 2012 Jason Kidd/Rasheed Wallace), Tim Hardaway Jr/Lance Thomas/Langston Galloway and some more, new, inexpensive bench pieces, and the third seed in the East is draped in blue-and-orange paint. So dear NYK brass, on Draft night, don’t do the typical things, do the logical thing; draft Emmanual Mudiay, and follow it up with the pieces named via free agency.

Sincerely, Skyler, a loyal but patience-wearing-thin Knicks fan.

Skyzoo is a New York City-based rapper. Follow him on Twitter @Skyzoo and Instagram @skyzoothewriter.