What if the Knicks had kept Jeremy Lin?

It's so funny, here we are almost two years since Linsanity, and the Knicks are a complete disaster. So what if the Knicks had kept Lin? It's a trick question, because it wouldn't have saved the Knicks, it wouldn't have even helped, but it probably would have destroyed Lin. He'd be where Raymond Felton or J.R. Smith are today. Wasted in body and spirit.

I saw a picture yesterday in an article about how to cope if you're the fan of an NBA team that sucks. There are so many of them. Not many as bad as the Knicks, but this is a year of extremes. Either you suck terribly, or you're great. And the distribution is mostly East vs West. Western teams are kicking ass. And for the most part the ass they're kicking is Eastern ass.

Anyway, back to the picture. It was a really sweet photoshop of LeBron James in a Knicks uniform. I had to look three times before my brain could parse it. What if LeBron had chosen the Knicks instead of Miami? Another trick question. He wouldn't be LeBron, the smartest and most driven player in the NBA (in addition to being the strongest athlete) today. LeBron wouldn't choose the Knicks because he had a choice. He went with the team with Pat Riley as CEO. And the owner, whoever he is, either just as smart as Riley and James, or he's smart enough to let them run the show.

Were it only so in NYC. We are stuck as a basketball town because one of the owners is absent, and the other is vain, over-confident, and as the Oracle says of Neo in the Matrix, "not too bright." It really is a toxic combination.

NYC, the richest city in still the richest country in the world. We have all the nicest things you can imagine, but we can't have a great NBA team because the guy who owns it thinks like a small-town boy. Could we trade teams with, say, Houston -- a town that has no appreciation for basketball? Or Indianapolis? They could probably use the money. What could we give almost any city in the US to take Dolan off our hands so we can engineer a good team, if not in 2013, or even 2017, maybe in say -- 10 years?

Because we're never going to get there with Dolan.

BTW, Carmelo Anthony is a wonderful player, and he's smart and he really cares. This is what's so great about basketball, it's an intimate sport. The players don't wear masks. And there are only five playing at a time. You get to study them. The Knicks are stuck in hell, and it's really no player's fault. A team is not the sum of the parts. You can't do math on the players on a team. The Knicks are proof of that. What the Knicks are missing is drive. You have to have talent, think as a unit, be smart, that's enough to get you on the court. Now what's your ambition? It's not what you say your ambition is, because Melo says his is to win a championship. But it's laughable when he says it. I'm sure he wants to be on a team that wins a championship. That means he has to hook up with a guy like LeBron. Years ago he was too young and lacked the confidence to let a stronger person boss him around. I think that's what the Knicks struggle is really about. The wearing-down of Carmelo's pride, and the circus sideshow, the comic relief, provided by Dolan.

Anyway it's fun to think about basketball, and more fun to write about it because none of it matters one bit.

Last built: Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

By Dave Winer, Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 2:06 PM. Don't slam the door on the way out.