This is a new regular feature that I've decided to write. It's not so much a plea to play a favorite player, but rather a plea to make sense out of the future of my favorite team....The Knicks. Mr. West has given light to the Larry Brown equation in this analysis, so check that out too.
There's no secret that my favorite player is Charles Oakley. The era of Knicks basketball that he helped to define was enjoyable to watch, despite the roughness of the battle. The results were unquestionably successful and you knew exactly what the franchise was trying to do. Hustle. Defend. Rebound. Win.
The sorry state of affairs at the Garden since the end of the Ewing era continues and seemingly becomes more clouded in controversy and rudderless on court play as well. The problems that face this franchise are so daunting and embarrassing that I would strongly call for the elimination of the team from the NBA if it were in a city like Kansas City or Oklahoma City. However, it's not. It one of two remaining cornerstone franchises of the league (the Celtics are the other) and sits in the world's most famous city in the "world's most famous arena".
Let's look at a couple of the hideous problems plaguing the team and talk about them, shall we?
1. The Salary Cap
How did it ever come to this? I remember the days of Al Bianchi in the front office, when we used our first round picks on guys like Jerrod Mustaf (see: right). That sucked. I remember Ernie Grunfeld investing in Chris Childs to run the point. That also sucked. How about the brilliant Layden era, when we brought in Howard Eisley and Willie Anderson's little brother as important cogs to the team.
As the Ewing days came to a close, I begged the invisible Knicks' management living in my apartment (or rather my head) to call it a day. I begged them to get the cap under control, let the team suck for a few years, and build something from scratch. Yeah, the Garden would have been dark during the NBA playoffs, but...well....what does it look like now?
We are so far over the cap that it will take a decade of smart management to get it under control. Only it doesn't look like that's in anyone's plans now, and we continue to spiral out of control with a worse and worse product on the court each year. Let the contracts that will expire, expire guys and take my advice for once.
2. Isiah Thomas
I wasn't against Isiah at first. I thought he made some smart moves as President of the Raptors back in the day. He could draft well, and he did point guard a Detroit team to two championships. Then again, he sucked as the coach of the Pacers....
Now it is apparent that he has no plan. It is clear that he can draft well, but that he has zero people skills, less business sense, and a poor eye for existing talent. Fire him now before it gets worse....
3. Larry Brown
Very smart coach. Good track record of success. New Yorker. Now for the rest of his personality traits....stubborn old man, greedy bastard, disloyal asshole. This is the guy that you've selected to run your asylum of mediocre talent and mentally weak salary thieves.
How the fuck does this guy continue to be the darling of New York when he loses to the Sixers, minus Iverson, by 15 points, while starting Qyntel Woods and Maurice Taylor over Trevor Ariza and Channing Frye. Ariza didn't play a single minute, Frye played 16, and Jamal Crawford played 18. On top of that Jackie Butler and Malik Rose played 15 minutes each while David Lee didn't play and Quentin Richardson played 19.
Attention Larry Brown: You aren't coaching the Pistons anymore. You can't expect this roster to be the Pistons. They are the crappy Knicks, and your best players are Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, David Lee, Channing Frye, and Eddy Curry. Ariza, Robinson, and Richardson are next. Mo Taylor, Malik Rose, Antonio Davis, and Jackie Butler should never see more than 10 minutes in a game and more than two of those guys should never see minutes in the same game.
The young guys need to grow, and learn to play as a unit. They are the future. The future could be bright. The "now" is hideous and you are making it worse. FREE CHANNING FRYE!!!
4. Stephon Marbury
This guy has actually kept his mouth fairly quiet and has adopted some of the things that Brown wants him to do. He gets 40+ minutes night in and night out and rightly so. That having been said, I fear that Isiah has fueled the worst case scenario with Marbury by giving him as much clout in the organization as he has. The lockerroom is Steph's but he can't handle being a leader. He's a selfish guy with a big head who can ball like crazy. He surrounded by family and friends (in the organization!) who reinforce his distorted self-image and I fear that we are stuck with something unmanagable. We should let his contract play out and then let him go.
So much for post#1 in my regular Knick editorials. The main idea you should take away from this editorial is...PLAY THE YOUNG GUYS! Screw the here and now, and plan for the future. In the next edition, I will spell out the steps that I think will save the franchise from itself.