I was switching back and forth between the New York Knicks and New York Rangers games last night. Both games were great match ups. The Knicks were going up against one of the best teams in the East, the Indiana Pacers, a game that could be a measuring stick for how well the Knicks can actually play. The Rangers were in an Original Six matchup with the well respected Detroit Red Wings. One game was a hard fought battle, the other was a complete embarrassment.
While the Rangers were grinding out a tough 1-0 win at MSG, the other MSG team that owner James Dolan only cares about were getting destroyed by the Pacers, as they lost 117-89. Here is the thing with basketball. If I am a die hard Knicks fan, I don’t know how I can watch another game this season. Knicks fans are as loyal as they come, and I can understand fans not wanting to stop watching, but in all honestly they should. The Knicks are that bad, and there is a huge gap in competitiveness in the NBA.
I listen to New York radio driving up to work in the morning, and all the hosts talk about how the Knicks can’t even compete with the Heat and Pacers in the East. Notice how they only talk about TWO TEAMS. No other team in the East is worth being worried over. It’s like we know what the NBA Eastern Conference Finals series will be in January. That just draws a big yawn from me. I love playoff basketball, but its the same 2-3 teams every year. Look at the past champions during this last decade.
In the NBA, going back to 2004 the champions have been, Heat, Lakers, Mavericks, Celtics, Spurs and Pistons. Go back even further and you see Jordans Bulls running the league. The NBA is all about having the best player. If you do that influences the entire NBA for years to come and generations grow up watching the same 4-5 teams.
Whereas hockey, there is way more of a balance. Going back to 2004, champions have included the Blackhawks, Kings, Bruins, Penguins, Red Wings, Ducks, Hurricanes and Lightning. Not even a repeat champion!!!!! I guess I am the only one bored watching the Heat play in three straight Finals.
The other thing is the seeding in both sports. If you are an 8th seed in the NBA, why even bother to show up? Its like seeds 4-8 have ZERO shot. Whereas in hockey, 1-8 are equal. Every single team in the playoffs can get hot and win the Cup. The Cup finals 2 years ago was the 8th seeded Kings against the 6th seeded Devils! That would never ever happen in the NBA today.
This brings me to last night. The Rangers are a team. They are likable guys, work hard and fans can relate to the guys in the locker room (and this goes for any hockey team, I’m using my team as example). For the Knicks, who basically gave up during the second half of last nights debacle, how can you root for these guys?! The trade for Lazy Andrea Bargani will go down as one of the worst trades in Knicks history, and JR Smith is just an unlikeable douchebag who finally got paid and cares only about himself.
I may be biased because I love hockey, but there is a reason I am a hardcore fan of the NHL, NFL AND MLB, but not the NBA. I still enjoy watching basketball, watching great teams in the West, playoffs and players like Harden and Curry. But when analysts talk about the same 4 teams and how we already know which two teams will only have a shot in the East, I’m sorry but that is just extremely boring to me.
Give me Ryan McDonagh. Give me Mats Zuccarello. Give me Henrik Lundqvist. Guys who work, play hard, play for the fans and most of all play for each other. That is something many NBA teams don’t do.