The Knicks spirited comeback, down from 27 points against the Pistons, fell short Thursday night in what proved to be another demoralizing loss. And while Derek Fisher has said this season isn't just all about wins and losses, and that making the playoffs isn't a must, Detroit head coach Stan Van Gundy doesn't agree with his opposition's vision.
"I laugh a little bit when I see them referred to as a young, developing team. I wasn't aware Robin Lopez, Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo are that young. I read that," Van Gundy said to the New York Post. "Wow. I guess in society at large, guys in their 30s are young."
Despite their record and recent struggles, one could make a very strong argument that the Knicks are not an inferior team with regard to remaining competitive in the Eastern Conference. But they sure look like it as of late. For any other coach in this league, the makeup of New York's roster would be worth enough to guide them towards putting a promising effort forth into making the postseason. But for Fisher, not so much. This is a playoff roster. They just don't have a playoff coach, so to speak.
Van Gundy is known for his blatant tone and sometimes radical takes. He certainly isn't one to hold back with the media. What's concerning, however, is how simply he confirmed or legitimized the belief of outsiders from all angles who are watching Fisher lead the Knicks right into a tail spin.
The veteran coach wasn't disregarding New York's roster by any means. If anything, his comments should be further evidence of what should be considered the team's ceiling at this point. It's come as a surprise to many how any roster featuring Carmelo Anthony could be considered to still be in rebuilding or developing mode.
Given the solid pieces around him and the rise of Kristaps Porzingis, this team should be striving for something specific. It's one thing to suggest this team needs more time to continue finding a rhythm (as one could argue Fisher has alluded to when discussing development), but it's time to set a specific goal and not leave things regarding their more near-future so open-ended.