The day after a team is swept from the playoffs is usually a time to reflect on what went wrong, how a team could work itself to the bone all season, just desperately trying to reach the playoffs for the first time in seven years, and then be wiped out in five games, like that. That is not what the Knicks have done the last couple days. There is nothing to see here. Please disperse.
Yes, the Knicks are not a team that was just swept. They are a team that is just starting.
"I'm ready," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "I think the time is near. We're close. I can feel it. The franchise can feel it. I think the city can feel it, that we're on the right track to ultimately win a championship.
"I'm still young, but time is of the essence."
Said Carmelo Anthony : "We want to win right now. I'm 26 years old. Amar'e is 27, 28. We're young. At the same time, we want to get it done right now. We've been waiting for a long time to win. The time is now."
This is what they have to say, obviously; it would be discouraging if they said, "You know, dammit, I think we just missed our best chance. Shit. Oh well, I'm goin' on vacation, see ya, suckas!" That said: Those are awfully rosy words for a team that was just wiped out twice at home.
Much of this leads back to Mike D'Antoni, who is the talk-radio target these days. Carmelo and Amar'e officially want him back, though, to be fair, neither of them is all that big on defense either.
D'Antoni's defense was the focus of a mostly smart SB Nation piece, which notes how D'Antoni runs everything through his offense, with defense as an afterthought. Which we all knew: His famous quote is "If my team scores more than yours does, my team played better defense than you did." Still, he's not as terrible as that piece makes him out to be. SB Nation's Tom Ziller asks, "If Walsh gets defensive players — a center, perhaps — will D'Antoni play them?" And we answer, with a weary sigh, "Jared Jeffries." And for God's sake, keep John Calipari away from these guys.
But that's all coaching non-intrigue that'll end up sounding silly in a week. This leads back to the ongoing debate: Should the Knicks bring back Chauncey Billups or not? They have until Friday to decide. Newsday suggests maybe buying out his option and still trying to re-sign him, like the Spurs did with Richard Jefferson last season. But that might be getting a little too cute, particularly in such a short time span, with so much uncertainty going into the lockout. But so far, the Week Of Big Decision has brought us none.