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Hey Knicks Fans, Take a Deep Breath and Relax

paul angeloContributor INovember 16, 2009

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: Danilo Gallinari #8 of the New York Knicks shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden on November 9, 2009 in New York City. 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 Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

We are witnessing the perfect storm of panic and despair for Knick fans. Not only has the team dropped to a miserable 1-9, with their latest loss coming at home in the Garden to an awful and dysfunctional Golden State team.

Then, as if that weren't bad enough, the very next night, Brandon Jennings, the super quick point guard that the Knicks passed up in the draft, drops 55 points, rubbing salt in the Knicks wounds, increasing all the rookie of the year hype we'd already been hearing, and intensifying the speculation as to why the Knicks chose Jordan Hill instead of Jennings.

I am already starting to hear the calls for boycotting the team, and the incessant Walsh/D'Antoni bashing and second guessing of their big plan to clear cap space for the 2010 free agent class, is starting to pick up a lot of steam. Ok, I will admit, almost all of what we've seen thus far this season is bad, and I don't blame my fellow Knick fans for feeling glum. However, I think we all need to step back, take a deep breath, and relax. I know its hard for many New York sports fans to do, but lets put this all in perspective.

Firstly, this season is still young. Yeah, we are a pathetic 1-9, but there are 72 games left for the Knicks to at least show some promise and be competitive. This may be wishful thinking, but it is true. It is not inconceivable that the team can settle down and put together a half respectable season, which is really all we should have been expecting in the first place—which leads us to my next point—what did we expect?

Again, 1-9 is really bad, and perhaps worse than we should be willing to accept. However, did anyone really think this team would be very good? No. In fact, all the preseason talk was about how bad the Knicks would be, so lets not all of a sudden act as if Walsh and D'Antoni had a star studded roster and have somehow mismanaged the team into the league cellar.

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This team is a mish-mosh of misfitted pieces and still raw young talent. So, it very well could be that the Knick fans expressing outrage either haven't been paying attention or are completely irrational. This is a bad team and we should have known it would be.

Then there are the supposedly "knowledgeable" Knick fans who say that Donnie Walsh's plan to clear cap space for 2010 is "unrealistic," and that the team could be competitive right now if they didn't trade away Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph.

You'll hear this opinion not only from some Knick fans on the street, but also from sports journalists, all over the blogs and on talk radio. Ok, here's my question—would it have been a better idea to keep Crawford and Randolph, thereby staying in salary cap hell, probably scraping into the playoffs this season, losing in the first round, and then having no choice but to sit on the sidelines for perhaps the greatest free agent bonanza of all-time next summer?

I say no, and I suspect that the same Knick fans complaining about the Walsh plan right now, would be raising hell if the Knicks were unable to at least try to compete for the big name free agents next summer.

Lastly, about the future. People are getting upset about the emergence of Jennings in Milwaukee, and the Monday-morning quarterbacking about how Walsh should have taken Jennings is intensifying, and devolving into a general critique of Walsh's overall record as the Knicks draft night decision-maker.

While I will admit that Walsh may have made a mistake by passing on Jennings, keep in mind that eight other teams also passed on him, and the Knicks concerns about him made sense—his lack of size and unfamiliarity with his game due to his year playing in Italy.

Also, there is some evidence that Jennings is a Marbury-type diva, with a future of idiotic behavior and locker-room cancer causing behavior. In fact, I suspect Walsh may have seen this coming.

As for the rest of Walsh's draft decisions, I defy any sensible Knick fan to criticize his choice of Danilo Gallinari, who has thus far shown himself to be a pretty deadly offensive weapon from long range, and who's size and instincts project an even more diverse and formidable offensive game down the line.

Sure, Jordan Hill has yet to show his worth as a lottery pick, but let's give the guy more than just 10 games to prove it.

What about Toney Douglas? Seems to me he is one of the few bright spots in the past couple of weeks, and is proving he has a future in this league.

Draft success doesn't usually manifest itself overnight, so let's try some patience for once and appreciate what looks to be some pretty decent young talent.

So Knick fans, let's try to calm down a little. No one likes to suffer through pathetically bad seasons such as the one we are seeing so far. But lets try to remember, and accept, that there is a larger plan, and all today's suffering is in hopes of better days ahead.

Even if those better days don't involve LeBron, that 25 million or so dollars of salary cap space the Knicks will be holding next summer will lure someone, and create the kind of flexibility needed to pull off trades that would appear impossible right now. That is the bottom line after all. Cap space is everything in this league, and it brings with it endless possibilities. Walsh knows this and needs us to be patient.

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