But it couldn’t find a place for basketball backcourt, and it didn’t have a lot of NBA talent. The only potential arena was a hotel in central New York, something the Bucks have struggled with.
All of this has led to other stories about why the conference’s best basketball teams aren’t being recruited to big cities.
When the New York Knicks found the conference’s best players, they recruited them to NBA development. They hired Mark Jackson, a 27-year-old out of Miami who was hired as the Nets’ new head coach in 2014 from the Rockets. A year after they released John Wall and hired Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks found an easy way to attract a veteran big man who could compete with John Wall’s experience in Phoenix. Those two guys were not only great but had the biggest chance of landing New York right when it counted.
During their first two meetings with Wall, the Knicks got less points. The Knicks fell to 6-3 to Indiana on Jan. 2, and the Hornets had missed the playoffs again. That loss meant the Knicks had little hope to take back their division next season. That was for the best. Still, they had a little success. In 17 games this season, the Knicks had 24 points and seven rebounds, with no turnovers. That was more than the other 30 conferences combined. That’s not bad for two-and-a-half years?
During their two games this game, the Knicks had the lowest turnover margin of any of the Big Ten schools. There weren’t many big guys in the Big East who led Big Eight teams in turnovers (22) as a team, but the Knicks were able to bring in a bunch of big players who might have won the lottery. Here’s what the Big East had in college basketball in 2015:
C.J. McCollum, PF / 1.1%
After playing a high-powered senior season at North Carolina, he went undrafted and spent his time playing at the University of North Carolina. After spending two seasons in North Carolina with Duke, McCollum returned to the conference for his senior season. His team is 4-2 in conference games and 2-2 in the conference games. Despite committing to North Carolina, McCollum wasn’t offered a job in Charlotte either. He went through a great season at Duke. The big man who made all of those decisions from Duke went on to play for the Hawks, making 24 of 33 shots. For the rest of the season, McCollum was starting for the Charlotte Bobcats and playing behind the bench in the NBA. With the Bobcats, and the Bobcats doing well in the Big 12, the Knicks could have a strong team next year if there wasn’t McCollum taking a step back. If the Knicks stay strong and McCollum can fill some holes, the Bobcats could go to a place where they’re not in the top-25 of the SEC and can develop young talent like in the SEC and in the ACC. A strong bench and consistent offense just aren’t things the Knicks could be expected to do.
I have no questions about whether the Knicks will be able to move their team, but the bigger problem is that the talent gap is still pretty big. There still isn’t a big, fast team the Knicks can be expected to be ready to compete for the division title, especially with the emergence of the four-star Anthony in the NBA Draft, and the league’s most talented point guard, Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks are trying to convince themselves that the division is still a long way from being a two-way, two conference game and that there’s no real chance the Knicks can ever win a division title, let alone a playoff. The Knicks still can’t make a shot, but it’s time for them to get a new manager and a new team. The Knicks, as long as they look like they did it before the ‘90s, won’t have to be the last four teams (or five teams in the ‘01-‘03 seasons), and if the ‘00s are any indicator of those numbers the ‘01-‘04 will be as good as it ever was.