Q. I give up, just when I think the Knicks are going to be good, they tank. And just when it looks like it's over, they're good again. Which is it? Where is this team going? (Please, tell me. I can't take much more of this.)
— Seth, Bethpage, N.Y.
A. If only it was that simple.
Face it, there is not going to be a definitive answer until we know where the Knicks are going in the offseason with their coaching situation and where they will wind up from a front-office standpoint (many of the coaches that have been linked to the Knicks clearly would want personnel autonomy).
As for the rocky road, that mostly had to do with a previous coach, Mike D'Antoni, who clearly was brought in to coach one style of play and then was fitted with a mismatched roster to play another style.
For now, it appears the Knicks are following the single-star blueprint, similar to what Mike Woodson had in Atlanta with Joe Johnson. The problem with such a singular approach is that it generally only takes you so far, as pre-Pau Kobe Bryant could have attested to.
With Amare Stoudemire's ailing back and Jeremy Lin now out six weeks, this is Carmelo Anthony's team. Again, the good news is the approach likely will get the Knicks into the playoffs. The bad news is that opponents then can focus on shutting down a single player, hardly having to account for an offensive "system."
But beyond even the stylistic approaches, there is the Amare issue, and it is significant considering the time and money left on his contract. If the back becomes a long-term concern, then the Knicks likely revert back to a team caught with too much money invested in lack of productivity.
To a degree, what you're seeing now from the Knicks won't matter much in the long run. Eventually, it will come down to what Phil Jackson wants, or what John Calipari wants, or whoever emerges as the next Knicks coach.
And it also will come down to the next whim of owner Jim Dolan when it comes overspending again on the trade or free-agent markets.
Basically, it still comes down to your faith in Dolan.
And that remains among the NBA's shakiest propositions.
Q. Kobe wouldn't stop shooting earlier in the season, now we've got Bynum and his 3-pointers. Is Mike Brown already losing this team?
— Sammie, Alhambra, Calif.
A. I don't think Brown ever had this team, or even had a chance to have this team.
You don't want to be the coach who follows the legend, particularly the legend who was the only one to truly get through to Kobe Bryant.
To a degree, Brown was brought in to be what he was in Cleveland, a coach who generally would cater to his superstar and deal with the fallout of a sometimes-unhappy superstar.
Yet through all the soap opera, the Lakers remain a contender, which again will test Brown's ability to make it work in the playoffs, which didn't always turn out so well alongside LeBron James in Cleveland.
I'm not sure any coach outside of one with Phil Jackson's resume could truly emerge in a position of control on the Lakers bench considering how the Buss family is now running the team.
Kobe knows he has the hammer, and Brown knows that, as well. So like almost every coach who has a superstar, Brown tries to make his points elsewhere, hoping Kobe will get the message when Bynum gets disciplined.
Mike Brown is a very good coach; Kobe and the Lakers yearn for a great one.
PBT: The Kings will stay in Sacramento under new ownership, which likely means a new front office and coach, too.
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