The 2018-19 season is in the books, and for the Knicks it was tied for the worst in franchise history with a 17-65 record. Things aren't completely bleak for Knicks fans.
The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving rumored tandem seems more and more inevitable by the day, and even if that scenario doesn't come to pass, New York has loads of financial flexibility and young talent. The Knicks have been in similar predicaments in the past, which can provide context to their current situation, and expectations for what's to come.
The 2014-15 season previously held the "Worst Season Ever" title on its own. A season removed from the best Knicks season of the millennium - 2012-13, which ended in a second-round loss after 54 wins, a No. 2 seed finish and a stellar Carmelo Anthony season - New York had a new head coach in Derek Fisher and the shell of a competitive roster.
The players that appeared in the most games for the Knicks that season were Jason Smith and Shane Larkin. Jose Calderon and Langston Galloway started the most games. Anthony was still on board, but he missed over half the season to injury, and when he was on the court it was clear his decline had begun.
The summer brought the Knicks a gift for their horrid season: Kristaps Porzingis. The Unicorn, along with the signings of actual NBA players Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez helped the Knicks put up a respectable 32 wins in the following season, nearly doubling up the previous year's efforts. This boost in wins was nice, but there was little movement in the direction of the franchise. Anthony was getting older, Porzingis was the lone rebuilding piece, Fisher was ousted and the Knicks have since cleaned out that front office and started approximately six different rebuilds.
The next-worst season in Knicks history was way back in 1962-63, the days of Richie Guerin, Johnny Green and Willie Naulls, until he was traded by the Knicks mid-season. Finishing with a record of 21-59 under head coach Eddie Donovan, New York earned just two more wins the season following, and failed to finish with a positive record until 1968, though they made the Playoffs in 1967.
Another five years of losing is not a ringing endorsement, but there's reason to expect different. We've only had a year of general manager Scott Perry and head coach David Fizdale's rule over the basketball operations, and we've been lied to time and again with promises of a return to competitiveness and culture building, but there seems to be a concrete direction the team is on.
Trading Porzingis was a bold move that portrays the front office's commitment to the right culture and a flexible rebuild. It's possible the wins and contention may come sooner rather than later with the rumors surrounding this summer's free-agent class. If there's anything to discern about what lies in New York's future, fans should hope it can't be found in its past.