I am writing this while dealing with covid. It hit me on Wednesday, coincidentally the day between the Knicks’ bruising defeat in Dallas and whatever happened in San Antonio. More than any disease I’ve ever had, Covid is like viral Liebs madness: Every day, my symptoms are new and seem random. One day I felt hot in my head—I was sweating like Patrick Ewing—but the rest of my body was freezing. Another day I felt like my left foot had swelled to three times its normal size, even though it looked normal. All the food tastes strange, as if it was translated into a language that could not comprehend its magic.
Covid haze is also a thing. I feel slower, cognitive, Mos Def. But this does not necessarily mean stupidity. Sometimes a slowing or stopping of activity can reveal facts that we normally wouldn’t have noticed. For the past few days I have been quarantined alone in one room. I can’t talk much to anyone without having fits of coughing. So I mostly sat around being present, without the usual external stimuli. I find silence to be quite new. I like to have less noise and more silence.
Not having the energy to recap or discuss Knicks on Twitter has helped me find a simple and greater appreciation for these Knicks. Not everything has to be a referendum on their past moves or future aspirations. They’re just a team in a moment where I’m generally happy to be stuck with them. Imagine someone told you before this season started:
- Julius Randle, who was less popular last year than the regular New York City mayor, scores Nick’s career-highs from the field while achieving career-highs in 3 seconds and free throws made per game; There’s a better shot than good he can make his second All-Star game as Nick. I’m pretty sick of researching this, but other than Alan Huston, I don’t think any free signing with a Knick agent has done this.
- Former Offseason Free Agent Award Jalen Brunson is also a deserving All-Star. He played a bigger role than he ever had in the pros and was more than capable of shouldering that responsibility, all the while making his teammates’ jobs easier thanks to the Knicks finally having a good dual guard for the first time in nearly 20 years.
- RJ Barrett shoots career bests on 2s and free throws.
- A consistent and purposeful presence on both ends of the field, Mitchell Robinson is arguably the best offensive player in the league while hitting highs on the offensive and defensive glass. The national announcers must be working to get rid of their memories from three years ago because they still always bring up problems with Mitch and the sleazy, which wasn’t a thing in a long time.
- Five Knicks average double digits. All of them are under 30 years old. And three of them are between the ages of 22 and 23. Two of these rookies have emerged as exceptional two-way threats with surprising wrinkles to their skill sets: Quentin Grimes showing more unmistakable creativity than we’ve seen in the past year, while Emmanuel Kwikley, whose early years have been slick, has been slick. From Lou Williams’ comparisons, he’s been one of the best defensemen in the NBA this season.
There’s more I could share, but I’m starting to cough up a storm and have a headache, so I’m ending this here. Just remember that not only is it unfair to enjoy this developmental period in Nick’s history, it’s probably wise. Five years ago, the big three for Knicks games were Courtney Lee, Frank Ntilikina, and Kyle Aucoin. Three years earlier, two of their chief executives were Shane Larkin and Jason Smith. Five years ago he paints an interesting contrast: New York was lousy 29-53, but its three chiefs are David Lee, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. There was a framework for the future, and the next three years were the Knicks’ best in over a decade.
There will be more low points professionally, such as losses against Dallas and San Antonio. But there’s a lot going on and it’s good and fun, if you slow down, the noise dies down and just enjoy it. I hope you don’t need to let Covid find it yourself. Thank you for letting us here at P&T be a part of your life. Love and light to all of you, friends.