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Going through a long, grueling season can be tough for the average NBA player, and to maintain positivity, and fight, through a losing season can wear down the toughest of players. Each game, players have to be physically and, more importantly, mentally ready to face whatever challenges await them.
While losing may take a toll on the psyche of a player, the one attribute that should never be questioned is a player’s heart.
Veteran or not, each player should be professional enough to bring their A game each and every night, but according to Coach Hornacek, this wasn’t the case with last season’s Knicks “super team,” who unleashed the tank after Christmas Day.
Per ESPN’s Ian Begley:
“Usually when you have an older team — veteran guys — and the losses start piling up, guys have a tendency to go, okay, the season (is over),” Hornacek said.
That quote explains why last season’s Knicks team won only 15 of their remaining 53 games after Christmas Day. Granted, there was a lot going on behind the scenes, which probably contributed to the players throwing the season.
Some of these issues may be:
- Phil Jackson’s meditation sessions. Carmelo, are you still sleeping or nah?
- Phil Jackson taking not so silent shots at Carmelo through the media.
- Phil Jackson forcing Coach Hornacek to teach the triangle. To this day, Coach Hornacek probably still can’t teach the triangle.
Noticed a common theme? All of these issues probably stemmed from Phil Jackson.
While Hornacek ragged on last season’s overrated Knicks team, he sang the praises of today’s Knicks team.
Here’s the rest of the quote per ESPN’s Ian Begley:
“These guys are going to fight until the end of the season no matter what our record is. A lot of young guys, they know we’re working not just for this year but the next couple of years of getting better at certain things. So their won’t be any quit in these guys.”
This season, the Knicks have rose to the occasion and have shown that they’re not going to back down from any opponent. The fight showcased by the Knicks is the reason why the Garden is rocking again, and it’s clear that there’s a plan in place for the Knicks to return to prominence in the future.
Hornacek has enlightened the masses on the mindset of the disappointing 2016-17 Knicks team, even though it doesn’t take a basketball savant to recognize the lack of effort shown by the players as they dropped game after game. Luckily, there has been a complete 180 turnaround this season, and now, the Knicks are enjoyable to watch (on most nights).
The Garden faithful are hungry for a Knicks team that shows the toughness, and the willingness, to fight every night. More importantly, the fans just want a Knicks team that are consistent and have the ability to win more than they lose.
Hopefully, under the guidance of Scott Perry and Steve Mills, the Knicks will know what it’s like to be consistently good again.