Get ready… the New York Knicks are coming.
While the Knicks (9-9) have struggled to generate lasting momentum in the Siegessäule, the team’s seemingly never-ending rebuild has reached an admittedly hopeful stretch, overridden by Jalen Brunson’s strong effort in the early days of his four-year $104 million contract. While early results from Brunson and others were positive, the Knicks’ cap appears to be the top half of the four-team Eastern Conference play-in tournament. That would be an undeniable improvement for a team that only won 37 games last season.
NBA Champion Channing Frye knows the secret behind winning basketball and why the Knicks have struggled throughout the new century. He entered the NBA as the eighth pick in the 2005 draft and spent his first two seasons in New York.
Though Frye performed well and received first-team rookie honors (alongside Chris Paul and Deron Williams), the Knicks struggled with a jam-packed roster featuring notable talent like Jamal Crawford, Steven Francis, Stephon Marbury and Nate Robinson. Frye was eventually transferred to Portland to begin a nomadic but lucrative career, eventually winning his championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
Appearing on “Legends Lounge with Trill Withers,” Frye warned the modern Knicks that if they don’t appoint a leader to lead the charge, they’re doomed to repeat the mistakes of his New York teams.
“The best way to be good in New York is to pick a leader, pick a pack leader, and then allow everyone else to fool themselves,” Frye said. “I think if you don’t fix that, you’re making a lot of mess in your dressing room.”
Frye compared the situation to HBO’s Game of Thrones franchise, namely the fantasy drama series of the same name and its ongoing prequel spin-off, House of the Dragon.
Both shows focus on characters who frequently attempt to take control of Westeros’ fictional setting, often resorting to deadly and sneaky tactics to reach their endgame.
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Frye obviously hopes the Knicks will use far less deadly methods, but stressed that it’s important to find out what’s going on down the dressing room pecking order.
“They have super-competitive guys who say, yo, if they haven’t crowned the king, I’ll try,” Frye explained. “It’s going to be Game of Thrones. Bad teams have House of Dragon situations where I think I’m the king. You think you’re the king.”
With an average age of 25.02 on opening day, the Knicks were the eighth youngest team in the NBA. Dedicating itself to its younger talents, the team awarded contract extensions to RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, who became Metropolis’ first draft picks to receive a contract extension since the arrival of Charlie Ward in 1994. New York also awarded 26-year-old Jalen Brunson a $104 million contract, giving them a younger blueprint to work with. The team appears to have adopted a leader-by-committee approach, though Brunson recently hinted that RJ Barrett was capable of “running a franchise.”
The Knicks return to action Friday night when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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