At 13-13 on the season, the New York Knicks are at an odd place as a franchise.
On one end, they have a talented trio of Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter headlining their starting five. A number of solid role players have also contributed to the team's .500 start and there's no indication that the squad could not contend for at least a low-level playoff seed in a weak Eastern Conference.
On the other hand, they're far from becoming a legitimate title contender. While Porzingis is a bonafide superstar despite his young age, his supporting cast doesn't compare to in-conference opponents like the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors or Indiana Pacers. Plus, Hardaway is sidelined with an injury and can possibly miss as much as another couple months as he recovers.
Therefore, the question is simple: to tank, or not to tank?
According to Knicks GM Scott Perry, the team is certainly going to stray away from tanking and will try to win on a nightly basis throughout the season.
“I think it’s very important if you’re playing meaningful basketball late in the season because of the culture you’re trying to build here,” Perry said in an interview on Saturday, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I’ll also say wherever we wind up in the draft, whether on the playoff side or lottery side, I have extreme confidence in the scouting and front-office staff we’re going to add some talented players to the mix here.”
He apparently feels very passionate about the subject.
“I just believe it’s important to compete hard, do the very best you can, let the amount of wins organically happen vs. trying to put your team in position not to win,” Perry said. “I don’t think that’s healthy for any culture. I think if you try to institutionalize losing, that’s hard to get out of your building. You may never get that out of your building.”
Despite the early signs that "The Process" probably will end up benefitting the Philadelphia 76ers, Perry doesn't seem to buy into the concept as a whole. Therefore, the Knicks will look to develop the talent they have in-house while also building through future drafts and free agency periods.
“When I first got here, what we were looking for is a team that’s going to compete hard, defend, play together and continue to grow,” Perry explained. “For the most part, we’re seeing that from the guys — competing hard on a nightly basis. I look forward to that being enhanced.”