New York Knicks: How Is Being a Relevant Team Good for the NBA?

Shane DePutronCorrespondent IMarch 10, 2011

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Carmelo Anthony #7 and Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks talk during a game against the the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Another win for the New York Knicks and the NBA can't be anything but happy with the franchise's newfound relevancy. 

By holding on and defeating the surging Memphis Grizzlies, the Knicks have now improved their record to 34-29—fighting for a 6-3 mark since trading for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups (who has missed the last five games).

Therefore, the franchise is now primed for its first postseason berth since the 2003-04 season.

Behind the imposing duo of Anthony and offseason acquisition Amar'e Stoudemire, New York will be looking to journey down the upset trail come playoff time.

And for a number of reasons, this is good news for the NBA.

First of all, this is because New York obviously represents the nation's largest market and as a result of this, the Knicks have one of the largest followings in the league.

Consequently, these many fans will demand more NBA when their team is performing well.

And this is something which has been demonstrated in a multitude of ways.

It already has been seen though the frenzied media coverage which occurred prior to the Melo-to-NY trade.

Moreover, it has been witnessed in the recent past, as the only NBA Finals which achieved average Nielsen ratings of 10 or higher since the retirement of Michael Jordan occurred when either the Knicks or the Los Angeles Lakers (who play in the nation's second-largest market) were participants.

More specifically, in Game 7 of last season's Finals, when the Lakers faced off against the Boston Celtics (of the United States' 10th-largest market), the game received the highest single-game rating since Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals—when Michael Jordan famously hit the title-winning shot at the buzzer before retiring.

Therefore, it's evident that large-market success results in the NBA receiving both more money and more exposure than when teams from smaller markets are successful.

But New York's large market is not all the league has to gain from the franchise's success—they will also benefit from the Knicks' star power.

The NBA is a league whose players are highly visible; consequently, the teams with the most recognizable stars are often the most popular.

So with two perennial All-Stars in Melo and Amar'e, the Knicks certainly have the high-profile roster required to gain an even broader following.

Moreover, if the team is able to acquire another star in 2012, such as Chris Paul, Dwight Howard or Deron Williams, the team could see its notoriety rise to the level of the Miami Heat—whose Big Three demand the spotlight and evoke strong responses (both positive and negative) league-wide.

Seeing as though the gathering of stars in Miami is largely hypothesized to be responsible for the jump in ratings this regular season, it seems that any increased attention to the Knicks stars would raise the NBA's profile.

Yet, beyond their current star power, a successful New York team's exciting style of play could also be beneficial to the league.

After ratings suffered when the defensively-oriented San Antonio Spurs won NBA championships in 2003 (second-lowest ratings ever), 2005 and 2007 (lowest rating ever), it became clear that the NBA fans would much rather see exciting, high-scoring contests.

And the Knicks—under head coach and offensive guru Mike D'Antoni—have one of the highest-scoring and most efficient offenses in the league.

Therefore, when their success is coupled with their thrilling, up-tempo style of play, fans will be drawn to the team, which will result in higher ratings for the NBA.

Last, but not least, the NBA will benefit from the success of the Knicks—one of the original NBA franchises—due to the team's storied basketball history.

While it's true that New York only has two NBA titles to its name, that still puts the team in a tie for ninth place all time.

But if you look at the Knicks' other all-time stats, it is hard not to be impressed.

New York is the fourth-winningest team in history and with a total of 39 playoff appearances, they rank fifth in NBA history. 

Moreover, the team and its city have long been associated with the rise of basketball and some of its best players.

Consequently, good basketball in New York would help trace the game back to its roots, effectively aiding in cementing both the sport and the NBA as essential parts of American culture.

So, with the Knicks aiming to provide the league with an increased following, income, profile, level of ratings and sense of importance in society, is there really any doubt that New York's relevancy is good for the NBA?


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