New York Knicks Shouldn’t Sacrifice Future For 2017 NBA Playoffs

Reaching the 2017 NBA Playoffs would be ideal, but the New York Knicks can’t abandon the long-term development process for temporary success.

Though the frustration has been mounting, the New York Knicks have maintained a steady message in 2016-17. Whether New York is winning or losing, the focus has remained the same: building a sustainable future.

Though reaching the 2017 NBA Playoffs would be beneficial, the prospect of missing the postseason isn’t deterring the Knicks from focusing on the future.

The Knicks are currently 22-30, but have somehow managed to remain in the hunt for a postseason berth. Thanks in large part to the lack of depth in the Eastern Conference, New York is just 1.5 games back of the No. 8 seed.

According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, head coach Jeff Hornacek is far more concerned with building for the future than he is a 2017 postseason appearance.

“We’re all competitors and we all want to get there,’’ Hornacek said Sunday. “[But] we have to understand we have to try to develop something for the long term. If we’re just skipping steps just to get in the playoffs, that would be great for this year, then what do you do next year? We want to try to combine those two.”

Knicks fans may be frustrated, but that’s the most rational approach.

Hornacek’s message is simple: reaching the playoffs only makes sense in 2017 if it’s natural. Getting to the postseason would be great for the city, but not knowing how to get back is what hurt New York in 2013-14.

It won 54 games in 2012-13, but did so in an unsustainable way by playing through the 3-point shot with inconsistent shooters and trusting offensive-minded players to commit on defense.

As soon as those players showed their true colors, the Knicks’ success proved to be fleeting and the postseason became an afterthought.

Thus, the goal in New York is to build a mentality that’s shared throughout the locker room. Rather than preaching a fleeting thought process that will be lost during trying times, Hornacek is aiming to build a culture that lasts.

Sacrificing the process for immediate results that can’t be sustained would be to put a bandaid on an open wound.

Abandoning the process to make the playoffs in 2017 would cover the wound from public sight, but it wouldn’t stop the bleeding.

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