Rose goes AWOL: What in The World Is Wrong with The Knicks?

Stereotypical criticism of the New York Knicks has already rung true once again. We know this story all too well as Knicks fans — a team that hasn’t won a championship since 1973. President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson seemed poised to take the slow rebuilding route earlier in his tenure, but pressure from Carmelo Anthony and fans ultimately squandered that plan altogether.

In response to the pressure, Jackson went and acquired former stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah for Anthony to pair with. 38 games into the experiment and it can’t get any worse. Noah looks old and Rose dumbfoundedly decided to abandon the team to go see his family in Chicago.

That’s right, Rose — who is rumored the be seeking a MAX contract extension this offseason decided to go AWOL. In an unprecedented move that screams disrespect and organization turmoil, the starting point guard decided it was a good idea to not only leave town hours before tipoff against the New Orleans Pelicans for cited family issues but refused to pick up the phone and detail his employer on his last minute departure. Literally, not a soul on the Knicks knew of Rose’s whereabouts until after the game when Joakim Noah confirmed the two spoke.

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“It was a family issue,” Rose said after Knicks practice Tuesday. “It had nothing to do with the team or basketball. That’s the first time I ever felt like that emotionally, and I had to be with my family. … I didn’t want to take any calls at the time. I needed that space to myself and I needed to be around my mom.”

Head coach Jeff Hornacek, general manager Steve Mills, Carmelo Anthony, PHIL JACKSON. Everyone was clueless of Rose’s whereabouts in a situation that is becoming weirder as more details begin to emerge. Rose is now back with the team, but the damage has been done and the Knicks appear to be the same team from 2005 — a known dark time for the franchise.

Now we are in this predicament. The same situation that the Knicks have utterly found it impossible to break out of since the Patrick Ewing era ended 17 years ago.

What is that predicament you may ask?

A team with big names – who could fill an entire room with personal accolades and awards, but as a whole, don’t fit and leave Knicks fans in turmoil due to underperformance on the basketball court and circus-like behavior off it.

What in the world is wrong with the Knicks?

Rose, Anthony, Noah.

Before them, there were other stars: Stephon Marbury, Jamaal Crawford, Eddy Curry.

It doesn’t make a difference. The agony doesn’t stop.

Are the Knicks better than they’ve been in the past three seasons? Absolutely, it doesn’t take much effort to surpass the 82-160 mark that they’ve tallied since the start of the ’13 – ‘14 campaign.

However, this team seems to be in a dangerous place that every team in the league tries desperately to avoid at all costs: Not good enough to contend, not bad enough to draft a franchise talent.

What in the world is wrong with the Knicks?

First, the Knicks should have never offered Carmelo Anthony a five-year, nearly $130 million deal. Anthony, for all his talent and abilities, needs a very specific talent surrounding him in order to win big. That talent is something that has never been on this Knicks team since Anthony arrived. Anthony is not the playmaker LeBron James is, he NEEDS a top level point guard in order to win. Sadly, the decision makers haven’t been able to acquire one in a league that is overcrowded with exceptional guards.

Second, this is a team that has continued to make mind-boggling decision-making from its head coach. The Knicks have one of the worst defenses in the entire NBA. It makes plenty of sense to create more defensive-minded lineups, instead, Hornacek feels it’s necessary to give more minutes to small forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas – who happens to play absolutely no defense.

What in the world is wrong with the Knicks?

Anthony, Hornacek, bad contracts, the list continues to pile up when trying to answer why this team continues to struggle. As Jackson takes this team into the future, he would be wise to build around Kristaps Porzingis, and weave out the past in the process. In fact, the Knicks No. 1 priority should be developing Porzingis into the next Dirk Nowitzki, while finding a way to acquire another young star to accompany him to New York.

If those aren’t top priorities for this team moving forward, then New York is even worse off than I originally imagined.