Friday, January 25, 2008
How To Fix the Knicks
Yes, ladies and gents, Isiah Thomas is still the head coach of your Knicks.
Look on the bright side, at least you don't have Eli and Coughlin to kick around anymore.
But I have good news for you: Zeke staying as coach of the 'Bockers might actually be a good thing. (We'll get back to that.)
New York's problem isn't with Isiah the coach, it's Isiah the team president/GM who needs to get whacked. He's the one who brought in every member of this horrible roster.
How horrible is this roster? Any 14-year-old NBA Live or NBA 2K veteran who has ever guided a virtual team through franchise mode can tell you this group would never work.
Let's start with the obvious transgressions:
- Their "star" player is Stephon "Teams get better after I leave" Marbury, who is currently living up to his moniker. He just underwent voluntary surgery (which may have been an excuse for an early vacation and a chance to escape from New York). Of course, the team played its most inspired stretch of basketball this season. Did I mention that Steph is owed almost $42 million through 2009?
Solution: Buy him out, trade him to Miami, trade him to Italy, whatever. But as Minnesota, New Jersey, and Phoenix (and now NY) has taught us: getting rid of Marbury is the first step in the right direction.
- Zach Randolph just isn't working out in the Big Apple. Losing, plus an unpredictable rotation plus Eddy Curry haven't exactly resulted in the dominance many expected from Z-Bo when he was brought there last summer. Plus, there's only room for one overweight New York big man who is allergic to defense. Which brings us to....
- Eddy Curry. Give him a year or two to prove he can develop any semblance of consistency and actually get more rebounds than a 5'9 guard...or get rid of him too. Ooh, maybe the Knicks can get back one of those first rounders that they mortgaged their future to get Curry.
Let's do a quick rundown of the rest of the Knicks' roster:
- Jamal Crawford. He seems like he could be a good player on a good team, until you realize that he's played the most games in the NBA without playing in a postseason game. He's a gunner with horrible shot selection and no idea how to play team basketball (though you can argue it's because he's played for the Bulls and Knicks), but he has heart.
- David Lee. New York's best role player, though inconsistent minutes have certainly caused a lack of enthusiasm. Either trade him to a good team for a first rounder or keep him as a building block.
- Quentin Richardson. No use to any team without good ball movement and great passers. Absolutely no use.
- Renaldo Balkman. Should be the only "untouchable" player on this roster. Every good team has someone like him.
- Mardy Collins. Good versatile backup guard. Should be kept unless a (cheap) upgrade comes along.
- Everybody else should be traded, bought out or released as quickly as possible. Quite frankly, this team needs to be blown up. They should've been blown up back in 2003 when Thomas first got hired. Unlike the Yankees, the Knicks have a salary cap and it's a lot tougher to keep adding big names with big contracts to improve. And you can't buy out every horrible contract on the roster. Sooner or later, you're just spending a lot of money to make up for spending a lot of money.
The Knicks need to immediately start planning for the future. Keep young guys like Balkman, Lee, Nate, and Collins and try to unload contracts for 1st round picks. Either buy out Marbury or let him walk next summer and find a point guard, ASAP.
Fortunately for New York, they actually get to keep their number one pick this summer. Since there will be no first pick in 2009 (barring a trade), try to get multiple picks this June and make them count. Depending on how the balls bounce (no homo), go after a young, exciting point guard (Memphis' Derrick Rose, Texas' D.J. Augustin, North Carolina's Tywon Lawson) or a young, athletic big man (Kansas State's Michael Beasley, Syracuse's Donte Green. Then you'll have the base for a future.
In 2-3 years, after they've gotten off some horrendous contracts (Jerome James?), drafted well, and haven't added any more long-term money they don't need, New York could transform into a youthful, exciting squad ripe for a 2010 offseason that could bring King James to the Garden. And if Isiah follows those rules, he should get what he rightfully deserves - fired.
After all, why make a good GM and coach suffer through Zeke's mess.