Knicks fans: this is your leader. Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report.
Knicks fans and every basketball enthusiast in the world except Stephen A. Smith are in general agreement that Knicks management suffers from a bad case of stupid.  However, as bad as it may seem, I don't even think stupidity is the main problem. When you dig deeper, the real issue with the Knicks right now is poor leadership. See, stupidity at the top of an organization can lead to several bad decisions, while decisions made by those below the top can still be effective. Poor leadership, on the other hand, affects the way the entire organization runs - from top to bottom. Poor leadership is pandemic.

Looking back at the whole Jeremy Lin process, I can see at least four traits that point to poor leadership, and there are probably more. I also want to clarify upfront that while poor leadership exists with the Knicks organization, strong leadership, in general, is hard to find anywhere.

1. Lack of vision
This is probably the core leadership problem right now with the Knicks and the team management that's currently in place. Winning an NBA championship isn't a vision in itself. True vision is the ability to look ahead where others can't see in order to make things like championships a reality. In the NBA, the opposite of good vision would be bringing in players that are past their prime and players with very little to no upside. The Knicks have gotten both in their recent acquisitions: players from bygone eras (like Camby, Kidd, and Kurt Thomas) and an average point guard in Raymond Felton who is as good as he'll ever be.

2. Aversion to calculated risk
Deciding to pass on Jeremy Lin and going instead with the point guard combo of Jason Kidd and Felton is a sure sign of trying to play it safe and an unwillingness to make smart, calculated risks. I say calculated risks because it's not 100% guaranteed that Jeremy Lin will end up being the next Steve Nash. But two things are certain: 1) Jeremy Lin is going to be very good, and 2) he'll provide a far stronger return on investment compared to an aged Kidd and a mediocre Felton.

3. Out of touch
There may be nothing in sports more uninspiring than a management team that pays no attention to its fans. This season, Knicks fans were treated to one of the most magical stretches in team history with the ascent of Linsanity. A few months later, the Knicks pass on Lin, and by doing that, tell their fans, "We actually don't care what you think." Knicks fans are not only giving up on the team right now, they're prepared to move - and many have already moved - their loyalties over to the next borough to cheer for a Nets team that seems to be making all the right moves right now.

4. Lack of philosophy
While Mike D'Antoni and his uptempo offensive philosophy are long gone, the Knicks leadership continues to make decisions that demonstrate a lack of philosophy. By letting Jeremy Lin go, they just moved even further away from demonstrating any kind of unique team philosophy or approach that the entire organization can buy into. Instead, they will rely on a butt load of isolation sets - the complete opposite of team concept. This will make role players miserable, fans disenchanted, and an organization uninspired. Another bad leadership characteristic causing enormous repercussions. 

These are just a few reasons why leadership - or the lack of it - is the real problem at Madison Square Garden. It's not just the stupidity. What does everyone else think?


Glennis said…
I admit that I'm still a noob when it comes to basketball, especially the politics of it. But all I can say is that pre-Linsanity, I could care less about sports or the Knicks. It was Lin that got me watching and actually caring about the team (proud to say I got to know some of the other team members as well). I'm sure I'm not the only one like this! It's too bad Knicks management were too short-sighted to see a new fan base growing just because of Lin. In some ways it is a relief Lin is not on the team anymore because who knows if Lin wouldve gotten the opportunities and respect he deserves? Thanks for posting :)
Thanks Glennis. You bring up a good point. It's not just that Knicks management was short-sighted as far as their own team goes, but they're also short-sighted in not allowing an extended Linsanity change the way the world looks at basketball. What brand, team, and organization would not want to be a part of that?
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