The 4-17 New York Knicks are on pace to miss the playoffs for the seventh straight year. They have averaged just 27 wins in their last six full campaigns.
No end to the losing is in sight, and it's gotten to the point where Commissioner Adam Silver was asked whether he'd step in to help one of the league's original franchises.
"I wouldn’t. It’s not my role," Silver said on WFAN Radio (h/t Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News). "Of course, I work for 30 teams. And the 29 other teams want to beat that team. That’s not to say me getting involved [would be good] and that I’m in any better position to know what to do. We set the rules. And then we try to have a level playing field for the teams to compete."
The Knicks have made the playoffs just four times since the 2001-02 season, which followed a string of 10 consecutive winning seasons and playoff appearances from 1991 to 2001.
New York has encountered significant difficulty recapturing that magic, with a revolving door of front-office executives, head coaches and stars moving in and out of Madison Square Garden. The Knicks had a brief period of success from 2010 to 2013 when they made the playoffs three straight years, but New York hasn't won more than 37 games in a year since.
The Knicks' struggles haven't seemed to hurt the league's popularity, which has been sky-high of late. Silver was asked whether the NBA has suffered in light of a team in the league's biggest media market floundering for two decades.
“I’m not sure,” Silver said. “I would just say it would obviously be great in the country’s largest media market to have a high performing team, one that’s winning more games on the floor. But at the same time, increasingly with every game available through digital media, league pass, apps, national broadcasts – I think the market is less significant than it used to be. All things being equal, sure you’d like to see big city teams be successful. At the end of the day, you want to see teams compete the best they can."
The Knicks at least have some hope for the future with rookie and No. 3 overall draft pick RJ Barrett showing promise (14.7 points, 5.3 rebounds), and another high draft pick seems inevitable given that the 4-19 Golden State Warriors are the only team worse in the standings.
But as of now, the Knicks may be hard-pressed to eclipse their 17-65 mark from last year.