Courtside

My father’s a diehard Knicks fan, so it’s but natural for him to wax ecstatic these days. His favorite players are making an impact in the National Basketball Association, fueling his hopes he will find them in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. And he’s not even looking at their win-loss record, never mind its importance in determining their postseason fate. Absent the numbers, he’s buoyed by how they’re playing — together, and with purpose.

The Knicks have had relatively good starts, to be sure. Just last year, they began with a 16-14 slate, only to absorb 37 setbacks in their last 52 matches. As talented as they appeared on paper, they were at best uneven and hampered by internal strife. This time around, though, they seem to have their act together, with head coach Jeff Hornacek enjoying full autonomy and thus able to adapt his system to take advantage of his charges’ strengths instead of the other way around.

Significantly, the pecking order extends inside the court. Following the departure of erstwhile top dog Carmelo Anthony, the task of leading the Knicks has fallen on the shoulders of so-called unicorn Kristaps Porzingis. His ascent has been welcomed by all and sundry, with fans particularly pleased that the keys to the franchise are being held by a young star who figures to rule Gotham for some time to come. For them, progress and continuity go hand in hand.

Whether the Knicks have fool’s gold remains to be seen. My father, however, is convinced they’re finally holding on to something of value, and one that will pay dividends over time. As with most other Garden habitues, he can’t wait for the day blue and orange will be the league’s most prominent colors. In the meantime, he’ll settle for baby steps.

 

Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Basic Energy Corp.