Knicks reportedly hired consulting firm that told them not to watch film

Eric He
Yahoo Sports Contributor
The Knicks reportedly hired a consulting firm in the 2013-14 season that influenced the team into making a few head-scratching decisions. (Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports)

The New York Knicks, per usual, are in rough shape at the moment. For the most part, they have no one to blame but themselves for six straight years without a playoff appearance.

This bad stretch began with the 2013-14 season, a year after a 54-28 campaign that saw Carmelo Anthony lead the Knicks to a playoff series win. That year, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, owner James Dolan hired a management consulting firm called McKinsey & Company to “reprocess” the Knicks and Rangers.

Begley suggests that the firm, which was hired before the Knicks fired general manager Glen Grunwald and replaced him with president Steve Mills, had something to do with that decision.

Furthermore, McKinsey’s suggestions led to confusion and paranoia, according to Dave Hopla, an assistant coach at the time. Hopla said to Begley that the firm told coaches to stop watching film with players and also had coaches fill out paperwork after players’ workouts that would be time-consuming.

"I told them if we took all that time writing reports and we actually worked the players out, we would have made the playoffs," Hopla said.

Hopla also noted that players became paranoid after they saw people from the firm at practices and games.

Beginning of a bad stretch

The Knicks finished 37-45 that season. Head coach Mike Woodson was let go following the year, and since then the team has gone through a carousel of coaches. Phil Jackson (another one of the poor decisions by the Knicks), tried to install Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Jeff Hornacek to run his antiquated triangle offense to no avail.

Now, the team is under a full rebuild with David Fizdale at the helm, going 17-65 in his first season.

McKinsey bills itself as a “trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world's most influential businesses and institutions,” though it is not much of a name in the basketball world.

To be fair, it would be hard for anybody to be asked to fix the Knicks. And the franchise’s demise certainly went beyond a few decisions by a consulting firm. But everything about this story is so Knicks, which makes it very appropriate given the context.

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