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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Donnie Walsh Press Conference: Highlights & Thoughts

The Knicks just introduced Donnie Walsh as the new President of Basketball Operations, reporting directly to MSG Chairman, James Dolan.

I’ll throw out some initial thoughts about the presser in bullet style.

* James Dolan did a brief introduction. In it he sounded the right notes. Of course we’ve heard this before, but what left me hopeful were two things: 1) Dolan was on only long enough to introduce Walsh and step aside, and 2) he emphasized Walsh’s autonomy over all things basketball. I was pleased to see that Dolan relented on MSG’s draconian media relations policy, and was public about doing so. Perhaps these are mere words, apropos of nothing. Perhaps, but in a press conference all you have are words. It’s a low hurdle, but it’s not like he hasn’t failed to clear it in the past.

* Whither Isiah?. Walsh, to his credit, didn’t take the bait and denounce Isiah or signal his plans for Isiah’s future. He did go so far as to say that he felt Isiah “has the skills to help this franchise,” and reiterated his respect for Zeke’s “basketball mind” though he offered no more detail than that. When pressed, he basically said that firing Thomas in Indiana was Larry Bird’s decision, but that he ultimately signed off on it–basically what he’s been saying all along. Walsh demonstrating his passing grade in Professional Public Behavior 101 by refraining from doing to Isiah Thomas what he did to Don Chaney. Walsh stated and restated “twenty times in eight different languages” (to use his words) that he’d make no decisions about Isiah’s future without having met with him to discuss the season and the direction of the franchise. When asked in so many words, “given Isiah’s track record, why even bother?” he responded that “it’s simply the right thing to do.” Honestly, that kind of basic competence has been missing for so long I felt my eyes getting a little moist at the sight of it. The way Thomas is dealt with in what are likely his few remaining days with the Knicks will be a meaningful step in the future of the franchise. At some point all the detentes and the revenge plots and whatnot have to stop and you have to start doing business the right way. Walsh, at least at his presser, seems committed to doing business the right way.

* Blueprint: Protecting Cap Flexibility. Walsh didn’t say much about his plans for the franchise other than to suggest firmly that his short-term interest (the next three seasons) is to put the team in position to be a player in the free agent market. He noted that it’d be nice to put a team together that is immediately more competitive, but that was not his main goal. He noted that the team is in a better position with respect to the cap than 3-5 years ago, and he was not planning to threaten that by adding a long-term contract. To quote: “New York has to be flexible enough to be able to reach into the free agent market, and we haven’t been able to do that over the past several years.” Hopefully that means no more mid-level signings like Jeffries and Big Snacks that kill cap flexibility. [Sniffle. I'm forclempt.] So much of good management is simply avoiding the obviously stupid.

* Dolan. Walsh denied the notion that Dolan was reluctant to loosen his vice-like grip on media policy, forcing him to make that a deal-breaker. Who knows how that negotiations actually went, but Walsh said he started hearing that the media policy was a problem from others. Prior to that, he assumed that the policy existed because of the size of the NY media. He said that he wanted more media and fan access, despite recognizing that it results in bad stories sometimes. Lupica asked him what would have made him refuse to come to NY. Walsh answered that he would not have come had Dolan not been different than what he had heard, which if true certainly lends credence to the notion that he gives people a fair shake.

* The Current Roster. When asked, “who on the roster do you like?” his answer was intriguing. He never mentioned David Lee, but mentioned several others by name (Curry, Crawford, Jeffries, Balkman, Robinson). I think it’s a safe assumption that no one on the roster is untouchable, but it’s reading tea leaves to assign any meaning to his failure to mention Lee. It could have been, and was most probably, a perfectly innocent oversight. Or, Walsh could have simply been dropping names of players he’d move for a rack of balls. Or, Walsh may not value David Lee as highly as many of us do.

Overall, it’s not always clear how much you can really learn at a press conference. (Bill Belichick’s introductory presser in New England had to be one of the all-time worst public utterances of any kind anywhere, and that hasn’t turned out too bad.) Nevertheless, I’d say Walsh did what he needed to do at his presser, which was demonstrate basic competence and give us an idea about what he values and how he operates. A low hurdle to be sure, but he signaled that his regime, if nothing else, will be competent, fair, and won’t be afraid to go get the information necessary to make informed decisions.

As the start to a new regime, I’ll take that.

161 comments on “Donnie Walsh Press Conference: Highlights & Thoughts

  1. tastycakes

    A glorious day for Knicks fans everywhere.

    Hard to say the exact impact Mr. Walsh will have on the team, but the status quo had moved well beyond unacceptable.

    As much as I love David Lee’s game, nobody on the team should be considered untouchable. If we are in a position to move Lee to unload an albatross contract or two, then we should move Lee. It’s hard to envision anybody on the current roster being a key part of a championship effort. Just need to get the ship moving in the right direction, whatever it takes.

    Walsh’s indication that he values cap position was the most positive concrete note, in my mind. Cut out the cancerous influences, draft wisely, and set yourself up for the future. It’s not rocket science.

  2. Marc R

    I wonder why he’s making potential free agent signings his number one goal. Was that ever his objective in Indiana? Did he have any success on that front while he was there?

    And that was when it was easier to sign free agents.

  3. jon abbey

    “I wonder why he’s making potential free agent signings his number one goal.”

    I took that as code for the LeBron sweepstakes we’ve all been talking about.

  4. Marc R

    Yeah, I would guess he was talking about the LeBron sweepstakes, but didn’t he say that the Knicks wouldn’t be under the cap for 3 years (2011)? And isn’t that one year too late for LeBron?

  5. o_boogie

    when walsh gave his thoughts on z-bo after discussing his talent evaluation of the other knicks, he described him very bluntly as “a scorer”.

  6. Danis

    Walsh would be stupid to get rid of Lee. Not a good way to start your tenure by trading the only player on the squad who is consistently liked.

    From the clip i saw on ESPN he specifically mentioned that he would sit down with Eddie Curry and it sounded a bit like he wanted to get rid of him.

  7. tastycakes

    You know these guys basically can’t come out in public and trash their players. It wouldn’t be in Donnie Walsh’s best interest to refer to Z-Bo or Eddy Curry as the garbage they are, especially if he has any mind to try and find them a new home this offseason.

    It’s just… the whole thing is such a breath of fresh air.

    Of course, I was also pro-Isiah after the darkest night of the Scott Layden era, so what do I know?

    It’s mostly just Hope at this point. By the end of Obama’s first term, the Knicks might be good again!

  8. TDM

    “By the end of Obama’s first term, the Knicks might be good again”

    Please, no politics. Besides, isn’t that like saying “when hell freezes over?” Now look what you started…

  9. Mulligan

    My understanding is, we’re under the cap after the 2009-2010 season, which is the same time that Lebron can opt out of his contract. Right?

  10. jon abbey

    a lot of things can change in the next few years. the second any GM decides they want to take any of these guys off our hands, our situation changes.

  11. Frank O.

    The idea that the Knicks could somehow land Lebron in 2010 is so far out there I refuse to even entertain the idea.
    And who know what great player the Knicks might stumble upon through the draft or something.

  12. Marc R

    I think Walsh knows he can’t do very much since most of the players he wants to move have untradeable contracts. He probably just wants to make it look like that’s his plan rather than just the position he’s forced to be in. That way he won’t be blamed for doing nothing.

  13. Johnny Twisto

    “The way Thomas is dealt with in what are likely his few remaining days with the Knicks will be a meaningful step in the future of the franchise.”

    Anything less than a firing squad is unacceptable. This hiring means absolutely NOTHING until Isiah is completely excised from the organization.

  14. Joe

    Hopefully this will mean that we will be competitive next season – getting a true PG is imperative, and thankfully there are a ton of PGs in the 2008 draft.

  15. Thomas B.

    It does’nt help the Knicks at all to fire Thomas before the draft. It would be nice to have his input in the draft process.

    I would also like to see who may be available to coach this team. There have been rumblings that Avery Johnson may be fired if the Mavs miss the playoffs. I would move Thomas off the bench right away to get Johnson as the coach. I will also have a conversation with Mark Jackson about his interest in the coaching position.

    If Thomas is asked the coach next year, perhaps he will be able to do a better job because he will not have to spend so much of his energy wearing too many hats and trying to comply with a ridiculous media policy. It just creates more pressure in a high enough pressure job.

  16. T-Mart

    “The idea that the Knicks could somehow land Lebron in 2010 is so far out there I refuse to even entertain the idea.”

    How do you figure? Is it something to bank on with confidence, obviously not. But it’s certainly not “so far out there” we should refuse to “entertain the idea”. You’re assuming we won’t be able to move any of our contracts by then. Obviously at this juncture it would be fair to say that moving Zach Randloph or Eddy Curry now or next year might be “so far out there as to not even entertain the idea”, but that will be quite different when they are at the end of their contracts instead of the beginning. You move Zach and Curry, or Curry and Jamal, or Jamal and Zach by 2009-2010, and suddenly we are right in the thick of the Lebron sweepstakes. I dont think many would suggest moving those players at the end of their contract is “so far out there as to not be entertained”, in which case I think its fair to say that placing Lebron on the radar is not unreasonable.

  17. Thomas B.

    If you draft a Derrick Rose, would it not be good for him to be coached by one of the best points in the history of the NBA?

  18. jon abbey

    “If you draft a Derrick Rose, would it not be good for him to be coached by one of the best points in the history of the NBA?”

    you’d think this would make sense, but he hasn’t had any impact whatsoever on Crawford’s decision making, so I’d say probably not (assuming you mean Isiah and not Maurice Cheeks, in which case I switch my answer).

  19. Ricky

    I agree with Jon here. There’s a big difference between playing and teaching the game, especially for a PG.

    Off-topic: There’s a story on the front page of (ugh) espn.com by J.A. Adande (contributor to THE premier sports journalism show on TV, Around the Horn [/sarcasm]) in which he writes:

    Not even the arrival of Walsh as Thomas’ replacement in the front office could warrant a press release announcing the termination of Thomas.

    “As much as you’d like to say you’re accountable there, you’re not,” said an NBA know-it-all. “You have to communicate with the owner so he feels included. That’s enough.”

    I’m sure you’re all aware that the sports blogosphere gets considerable heat from MSM for its lack of accountability and its supposed rumor-mongering. I don’t think Mike K. has ever listed an “NBA know-it-all” as one of his sources.

    Back to salivating over Derrick Rose.

    Pause.

  20. Johnny Twisto

    “If Thomas is asked the coach next year, perhaps he will be able to do a better job ”

    This is so absurd. I don’t want his coaching. I don’t want his input on the draft. He is fucking poison. He has corrupted the franchise. He needs to be removed immediately and completely. Any possible benefit you might think he can contribute by throwing a dart at a draftboard is far overshadowed by his mere continued presence destroying the team’s morale and psyche. He is incompetent and an asshole on top of it. This team has no future as long he remains even tangentially affiliated, I promise. Anyone can get lucky with a few picks in the draft. Great talent evaluators do not build teams around Stephon Marbury. Great talent evaluators do not build teams around Eddy Curry. Great talent evaluators do not give Jerome James a multi-year deal. He cannot build a team, he cannot coach a team, he cannot identify what makes a player a valuable part of a team. He has destroyed this team. I don’t want him ever setting foot in this city again. JAIL ISIAH.

  21. Ricky

    I’m going to contribute his relative success in the draft to pure dumb luck. I can’t imagine him having an eye for talent in young players but not in those who have already performed in the NBA. That just doesn’t make sense. How many great picks has he actually made? I love D. Lee as much as the next Owen, but can we really call him a good draft talent evaluator for one good pick?

  22. cwod

    what did people think of the report that walt frazier wants to do some work with the players on their defense?

  23. Ricky

    Nothing pleases me more than Clyde yelling commands at the players during a telecast, so in my eyes, why not?

  24. Frank O.

    T-Mart:

    First, by so far out there, I mean that there are many days to pass, many games to play, many deals that need to be made, drafts to conduct, before we get to Lebron.
    And even if everything goes right, Lebron is from Cleveland and there is no clear indication he would want to move. And further, Cleveland already went deep into the playoffs last year. What happens if they are able to build something that he doesn’t want to leave?

    All I am suggesting is that right now, one foot in front of the other. A lot of smart things must happen before we are cap worthy…and then Lebron would need to want to come.

  25. Ray

    If Lebron doesnt come here…hes going to Brooklyn. Somebody pull s that sentence out of the archives in 2010. This is a step in the right direction. No one on this team should be safe. Since Walsh has respect around the league as a class A guy Im thinking he will really be able to work the lines to get some solid deals going. Maybe not right away but at least to bring in some quality youth through the draft and maybe other parts of the league. We may not get Lebron but id take Chris Paul or Deron Williams. There contracts will expire as well in the next couple of years. Walsh has to watch the cap and add “solid professionals” to this team. When the time comes perhaps thru free agency we might be able to add that piece that can put us up there with the elite of the league and restore some balance to the east. The rest of the east will catch up to the west soon. I hope the Knicks will be right there at the top.

  26. TDM

    If Dolan plans to keep IT on the bench, he might as well pack up the team and move them to Seattle. That would be a blunder of enormous magnitude.

    What’s with all the man love for Avery Johnson as a coach? The dude was given the keys to a team loaded with talent and they have done about as well as they were expected to – they made the playoffs but couldn’t get over the hump. You cannot gauge how he’d do in NY by his experience in Dallas. I’d almost rather watch the Seattle Knicks than bring Avery to NY.

    I’m indifferent when it comes to Mark Jackson. I’d rather see Walsh pry some talented up-and-comer from the college ranks.

  27. Todd

    First time poster here…I would say that the big issue is that people are confusing Isiah the person with Isiah the basketball professional. Yes, he’s a glib jerk, and various events around the Knicks have proven this. My thing is that he should be judged on his basketball record, and why isn’t he nice to the media. (The fact that so many fans have bought into the media’s admittedly valid beefs with the Garden hierarchy comes off as disturbing.)

    Simply put, looking at a horrid salary cap situation, he took some chances bringing in talented nutjobs because it was the best he could do…and it blew up in his face. Perhaps he should have waited out the cap, but let’s be honest. Would anyone with any sort of a pedigree take the job under the circumstances that were offered by Dolan? I doubt it.

    The one thing that is promising is that Donnie Walsh is doing something that no sports executive within 50 miles of the Columbus Circle has ever said; that the team will be trying to rebuild patiently. It takes longer to rebuilder here than other cities because fans in this town tend to hold on to the ghost for about 3 years to long, trashing a rebuilding effort or two in the process. How long he’s able to maintain this discipline will be seen, but I hope he avoids the quick fix for some long-term strength. Kinda what Dave Checketts said before he left the team.

  28. Ricky

    I think that the Knick fans have valid reasons to bash the rebuilding process — the Knicks have simply overpaid on every player they’ve brought in. Curry, Marbury, Richardson, Randolph, Jeffries, McDyess, J. James, J. Rose, Crawford… the list goes on and on. They’re already missing a couple of 2nd rounders and a 1st in 2010. The rebuilding effort was not just a failure, but an abysmal one. There were no Garnetts or Gasols to be found.

  29. Mulligan

    Just like I disupute the notion that Isiah is a talented drafter or whatever other malarkey repeatedly gets tossed around, I dispute the notion that Knick fans can’t tolerate the rebuilding process.

    People who say this assume that there’s been a rebuilding process when we’ve really been in basketball purgatory (maybe hell?) since we traded Patrick Ewing. Rebuilding connotes progress, but we’ve been treading water for almost a decade. We’ve consistently had mediocre talent and traded away every opportunity (expiring contracts, unprotected draft picks) we’ve had to dig ourselves out of this hole.

    All I’m saying is, if this team really commits to rebuilding, I’m sure fans won’t be booing the effort next year.

  30. Ricky

    It’s just a shame that people are still going to basketball games. Nothing says “our team sucks” like an empty arena.

  31. dave f

    Isiah sucks. I hate him.

    That being said, he has a proven track record in the draft. Marcus Camby. Damon Stouamire. David Lee. Nate Robinson. Renaldo Balkman.

    The key with saying those are all good picks is very few other people had them ranked that highly, and they outperformed their draft position.

  32. Mulligan

    Hold up, Camby was the 2nd pick and Stoudamire was the 7th (and practically everyone after him was a bust) – I wouldn’t say they outperformed their positions.

    Of the other three, Lee and Robinson have shown flashes of excellent play, but have both been inconsistent. It’s too early to judge. Balkman, I’m sad to say, has not impressed this year. Lastly, you left off Channing Frye, who was definitely a disappointment.

    All in all, I’d say he’s an okay drafter.

  33. jbug187

    i’ve been a knicks fan since i was a kid shortly after patrick was drafted and i’ve never seen a re-building process here in new york. to say it was a failure is to recognize that it actually happenned. it never has. all these knicks execs have been too nervous to build anything that might take longer than their current contract. that being said i’m hoping that walsh can break the trend. he said the right things today. you have to rip it down before you can rebuild it. it’s not going to be pretty folks.

  34. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, he’s a good drafter. The problem is when he is called a “great” drafter.

    In any event, planning for Lebron is okay in my book. First off, after Shaq left Orlando, I think that got rid of the whole notion of “Player X would never leave Team B.” It is still an unlikely thing, but it is not out of the realm of possibility it was in, say, 1985.

    Secondly, I like the strategy of planning for a future free agent because it’s also basically the same thing as rebuilding period – you get draft picks and cut dead weight – sounds good to me. I know it doesn’t get you championships unless you actually get the guy you’re looking for (and some good draft picks, as well), but it certainly makes you competitive eventually, at least (unless you draft like Billy Knight).

  35. Frank O.

    You know, the more I think about this move, the more of a honey of a deal it is for Walsh. I mean what is the downside for a 67-year-old guy from the Bronx who was looking, for a time, to retire?
    - He joins a franchise in trouble, which means it already comes with a caveat that spares his legacy should he fail.
    - He lands the best paying job in the NBA, guaranteed,so his family is set for generations to come.
    - He comes into the biggest media market with the greatest potential for earnings beyond basketball salary.
    - He comes to a team that clearly has money to burn.

    I mean, if your closer to the end than the middle of your career, this is a golden parachute.

    And there is always the chance that he could succeed,and that would simply seal his standing in NBA history.

    Not a bad deal.

  36. CMAC

    I think a “good” drafter is a bit over rated. Remember who was still on the board when we got Blakman? Marcus Williams, who could have really helped us with pg help this year while Balkman basically rides the pine. He could have picked Balkman with the next pick instead of Collins. I remember that night and how pissed I was that they didn’t take Williams. He is a good PG that rebounds and dishes plus he can score a little.

  37. Johnny Twisto

    “Williams. He is a good PG that rebounds and dishes plus he can score a little.”

    You wouldn’t know that if he were a Knick. He’d be riding pine when he should be playing, playing when he should sitting, and thoroughly depressed and disgusted with this joke of a team.

  38. jon abbey

    forget about Williams, Rajon Rondo. that and taking Bynum instead of Frye might have us in the playoffs right now, even with all the other stupidity intact and with Bynum’s injury.

    I agree that LeBron isn’t a pipe dream. yes, the Cavs have had success with him, but such a huge percentage of that is solely due to him. they’ve surrounded him with a lot of overpriced mediocrity, Hughes being such a dud really killed them. also, the incessant Yankee hat wearing (in Cleveland at an ALDS game even) and the Jay-Z friendship and the self-proclaimed desire to be a ‘global icon’ all points to him possibly coming to NY or NJ (assuming they actually make it to Brooklyn by then) if they can make the salaries work and Cleveland hasn’t managed to put good enough players around him by then.

    also, even if we don’t get the cap space, I wouldn’t one hundred percent rule it out. can you imagine what a hero he’d be if he came to NY on a midcap exemption and took us to our first title in 40 years? it’s not like he needs the money.

    I do still think it’s important to try to work towards, shed salary, stockpile young talent, build a potential supporting cast, then see what happens. it’s not like we’re the only ones who have been talking about this, the speculation has been prevalent for years, there’s at least a bit of fire behind all the smoke IMO.

  39. cwod

    Bynum and Rondo are good, but would they be good if we had drafted them? The Isiah-led Knicks is where player development goes to die.

  40. Frank

    Anyone see the SI article about how Mannix thinks Jermaine O’Neal is coming to the Knicks? I’d actually be all for that — trade Marbury’s contract for O’Neal, whose contract expires just in time for Lebron to come to NYC — Indiana might actually do that — if I look at their cap situation correctly they would be well under the cap after next season if they made that move.

    Then we would just need to move either Curry or Randolph hopefully for some kind of a stable PG and we might actually have a team — sooner than we thought. I think interior D is the biggest need for this team — way bigger than a “true PG” or whatnot– and for all of Jermaine’s issues (not that efficient, takes too many jumpers), when healthy (I know, big if) he can guard the rim.

  41. Matthew

    Free agent signings is fools gold. You always pay 33% over a player’s worth and you almost never have a shot as a true franchise-changing player anyways. Draft + smart trading is the way you build a team. You target quality players on bad teams looking to shed payroll.

  42. Latke

    re: IT’s talent evaluation skills
    Isiah is a very good evaluator of talent. NBA talent and college talent. Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, even Tim Thomas—- These guys are all very gifted players. Crawford and Curry both have the skill level to be consistent all-stars (curry could even be a superstar). Marbury was an all-star. Tim Thomas has the same build and skill set of a player like Lamar Odom, although perhaps more athletic and a poorer passer. The problem with all these guys is not that they aren’t talented, not that they couldn’t be great players. It’s that they have attitude problems.

    The difference in college is that there really are players who have talent that is hard to pick out- With players like Lee, who played with a bunch of future NBAers in college and was not featured, and Balkman, who played for a weak team, it is difficult to translate their skills and #s into the NBA game. Isiah is very good at doing this.

    Furthermore, with NBA players it is not difficult to look at attitude and see whose sucks and whose doesn’t. In college it is much harder. And this is one thing that Isiah sucks at – he thinks all players can learn to play with the same intensity that he played with. Or maybe he thinks that as a coach he can bring out of players the same thing he was able to bring out them when he was a player. Either way, he’s mistaken, and the proof is in the pudding.

  43. Latke

    and re this Bynum, Rondo, Marcus Williams stuff. That argument can be put in reverse to make any GM look like a genius. For example the Nets picked ANtoine Wright 14th in 2005. He sucks. But if I look at the draft board I can say, Thorn was a genius because he could have picked Julius Hodge (#20), or Joey Graham (#16). Instead he got the superior talent in Wright. The truth is that, were all drafts reordered in retrospect based on most successful NBA players, Isiah’s picks would much more often be bumped up in that ordering instead of bumped down.

  44. jon abbey

    so we gained about 15 lottery combos tonight, in a temporary tie for 4th (worst). ties are split, so here’s what we’re looking at, and why we need to lose out to help our chances:

    3rd worst record: 15.6% chance of finishing first (46.9% chance of top 3)
    4th worst record: 11.9% chance of finishing first (37.8% chance of top 3)
    5th worst record: 8.8% chance of finishing first (29.2% chance of top 3)

    three way tie for third: 12.1% chance of finishing first (38.0% of top 3)
    two way tie for third: 13.8% chance of finishing first (42.3% chance of top 3)
    two way tie for fourth: 10.4% chance of finishing first (33.5% chance of top 3)

  45. tdm

    Marbury for O’Neal? Perfect.

    I say we trade marbury for O’Neil. Then we field a starting 5 of curry, randolph, morris, big snacks, with o’neal playing the point. That is, if he’s not on the DL, in which case we can pick up an option on Yinka Dare (rip).

  46. Frank

    every single game left on our schedule is lose-able so I think we’re in good shape. i think the only game we have a legitimate chance of winning would be the charlotte game. Both MIN and MEM have several winnable games on their schedules…

    we can definitely forget about moving up to #2 — Seattle plays exclusively western conference playoff teams the rest of the way.

    And again – I don’t think trading Steph for J O’Neal is half bad. Then trade as many big men for ANYTHING but a contract that ends after 2010 (I know, easier said than done). I’d trade Zach for 3 million $4.99 deli ham sandwiches as long as the “sell by” date is earlier than 2011 to make the salaries work.

  47. tastycakes

    I’m thinking we should consider trading up in the draft if we don’t land in a spot where we can take Rose. Seems to me the Knicks are going to have a stronger position on draft night than we’re used to.. Lee, Balkman, and Robinson are all solid trade assets, and some of the expiring contracts could be enticing (Marbury, Rose).

    The team needs a game-changing player. I don’t know enough about Derrick Rose (or Michael Beasley?) to know if they are that class of player. But at some point, we need to roll the dice.

    Would you trade #5 + David Lee for #1 + a sack of quarters?

    (I say Lee not because I want to move him, but rather because it would obviously be the hardest move to make for most fans on this board).

  48. Frank

    I highly doubt whoever gets the #1 pick would make that trade. It might need to be something closer to #5 + David Lee + expiring contracts for #1 and a bunch of crappy contracts. There are clearly 2 players (ie. Rose/Beasley) that are rated way above everyone else — to get into that neighborhood (ie. franchise player) will require way more than David Lee and the #5 pick, especially since Lee is a restricted free agent after next season. That is, unless Owen gets the GM job for the other team. If Caleb gets the GM job for that team, we could probably trade Balkman straight up for the #1.

  49. Brian Cronin

    One of the (out of many) annoying things about the Knicks being so awful is that they really are killing Lee’s career, as he’ll be, what, 27 by the time the Knicks are even slightly good?

    For his sake, he’d better off being traded, but the Knicks really ought to hold on to him.

  50. tastycakes

    Depends on who gets #1 and what their needs are. (And of course, I’m assuming #5 for the Knicks as a worst case scenario).

    If a high lottery team like the Blazers or Warriors or Mavericks lucked out, their inclination might be to trade for veteran help.

    Last year’s #5 turned into Ray Allen for the Celtics, who were also not looking like contenders at the time they made that trade. (That trade looked positively awful at the time).

    Not saying David Lee is Ray Allen, I’m just proposing that the Knicks need for a franchise level player is high enough that they should make a strong move for that player, even if it means trading some of the assets we currently have.

  51. cwod

    Do teams like the Heat, Sonics, or Grizzlies even need expiring contracts? Those teams barely have any non-rookie guaranteed contracts as it is. They should all be in fine shape for when the big FAs potentially hit the market.

  52. retropkid

    “what did people think of the report that walt frazier wants to do some work with the players on their defense?”

    Clyde’s defensive tips:

    1. “don’t be depleted or you will be defeated”
    2. “attenuate to all your decisions”
    3. stop the opponents “dishing and swishing” by playing tougher perimeter D
    4. be iconic, not laconic
    5. be formidable

    Walsh will have to keep Starbury one more year to burn off his contract…I doubt he helps us, but maybe he has something to prove as he tries for another contract.

    How he moves Randolph or Curry, I don’t know. Nobody takes either of those guys without packaging some low-cost talent or a draft pick… Crawford may be marketable…let him go, the guy’s shooting percentage is just god-awful.

    Essentially the club has to be almost entirely re-built. Even then, no guarantee you get LeBron, and D-Wade may be broken down by 2010…. I’d take Bosh though…

  53. PeteRoc

    I’ve never understood the infatuation with hoping to sign big name free agents. It just doesn’t happen. In the last 10-15 yrs, Shaq is probably the only player to switch teams, who you would give the farm to obtain. The runner-ups:

    Steve Nash – I don’t care who you are; no one could have predicted the Phoenix run/gun resurgence. If Nash himself knew, he would have asked for and done better than $65mil/6yrs
    Gilbert Arenas – Averaged 18pts/game in his last year in GS and netted $63mil/6yrs with the wiz…his market value was hardly Lebron territory.
    Chauncey Billups – initial contract with Detroit…$33.7mil/6yrs. I only put him on the list because he won a title…truthfully; he wasn’t in the elite, coveted group at the time.

    Notice I left Rashard Lewis off the list…$110mil/6yrs. His contract at least approaches the Lebron level, but that deal is in the Randolph category. Lewis is now “untradeable” and hasn’t even been the second best player on his team this year.

  54. DNM

    “I’ve never understood the infatuation with hoping to sign big name free agents. It just doesn’t happen.”

    Tracy McGrady to Orlando–probably the second best 2-guard in the league behind Kobe during his run in Orlando.

    Grant Hill to Orlando–injuries killed his career.

    But the point is that free agents do leave.

    I agree that LeBron is a long shot, but seriously, even if we don’t get him or any other big time free agent, it’s still good for the franchise in the long run to be under the cap.

  55. mase

    getting franchise players has worked out well for the kNicks, see:

    stevie franchise
    jalen rose
    marbusy
    tim thomas
    allan houston

    i personally think its too early to judge on any of these players.

  56. PeteRoc

    I give you Grant Hill. The injuries certainly derailed what looked like a Hall of Fame career. Tracy McGrady wasn’t even a full-time starter his last year in Toronto. In fact, he was voted most improved after his first year with Orlando…what does that tell you about the leap he made from one year to the next. You can not tell me you envisioned him becoming the player he became.

  57. jon abbey

    there are three ways to get a franchise player, via trade, free agency or drafting. the bulk of them probably come via drafting in the top few slots, but with the lottery, it’s not like you have too much control over that either. all you can do as a GM is try to gradually develop the talent on your roster and your salary flexibility so that you’re in position to make moves if and when they become possible.

    this isn’t going to be a quick or easy turnaround, Randolph and his contract pretty much hammered the final nail deep into the coffin, and it ain’t going to be easy prying that lid off again.

  58. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    PeteRoc agreed in one sense. You don’t need to hit the home run in free agency to see the rewards of financial flexibility. You can look at every team Isiah has taken a bad contract from & see how they’ve improved: Phoenix, Orlando, Portland. (If Chicago rebounds next year, you can add them to the list). Going under the cap doesn’t mean we need to sign LeBron or it’s a bust.

    On the other hand, I don’t mind having the goal to be under the cap to attempt to sign LeBron James in a few years. You really don’t lose anything by trying. I mean if King James were wearing Dodger hats, or if we were Memphis it would be highly idealistic. But I think if there’s a chance and it doesn’t hurt your team to attempt to accomplish that goal, then you might as well try.

  59. DNM

    You’re right, I never thought that he would become the player he was in Orlando.

    I was just saying that free agents do leave.

    Personally, I don’t think LeBron would leave Cleveland. I actually think it would be bad for his image if he ditched his home town for the bright lights of NY.

    But we may have a chance at Wade. He’s not LeBron, but he would be the best guard we’ve had in a while…as long as he’s healthy of course.

  60. jon abbey

    “Personally, I don’t think LeBron would leave Cleveland. I actually think it would be bad for his image if he ditched his home town for the bright lights of NY.”

    worldwide? no way. in the US? it depends a bit on the circumstances, but I doubt it. Cleveland’s done a dreadful job surrounding him with other players so far.

  61. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “You can not tell me you envisioned him becoming the player he became.”

    C’mon a 20 year old putting up great per-minute numbers (7.9reb, 3.6ast, 1.4stl, 2.1blk, 16.1pts)? That was a no-brainer.

  62. jon abbey

    yeah, I’d say if anything, McGrady has underachieved since his free agent deal. he still has yet to win a single playoff series.

  63. PeteRoc

    I hear you Mike, but I’m sticking with my argument. He was definitely in the “next tier” of guys list, but Orlando got their “top tier” player by signing Grant Hill.

    I admit…I’m shocked at his per-minute numbers, but only one team valued him as a “top tier” player – Chicago. Jerry Krause (remember him) almost traded Scottie Pippen to move up and draft him way back when. McGrady had said all along that he wanted to play close to home, so he essentially used Chicago to negotiate a better deal with Orlando. Had Chicago not been in play, his contract might have been considerably less to play for Orlando.

  64. Brian Cronin

    I disagree, Pete

    While Tim Duncan was the pipe dream hope that summer (and remember, everyone, Duncan very nearly signed with Orlando, almost giving them the astonishing trifecta of T-Mac, Hill and Duncan!), T-Mac was considered just as big of a signing as Hill at the time.

    Everyone knew T-Mac was going to be a star.

    In any event, yeah, I agree with Mike, as I said before, even if you don’t get the guy you’re waiting for (which is the ideal, of course), you at least cut the cap down.

  65. njhoops

    I love reading the newspaper stories about Knicks losses. The reporters know full well that the Knicks are purposely tanking, but write it by the book and make it seem like the Knicks are in some kind of dreadful tailspin, when any Knick fan in his right mind roots for the opposing team every night. I guess it wouldn’t be good form to have headlines like “Knicks improve lottery position with excellent loss to Grizz” or “Knicks tank another and move on up in lottery”

  66. Frank O.

    Ron Artest has done a myriad of image-killing things and there are dozens of folks on this board who were willing to give up a lot of good young guys for him earlier this year.
    Jordan cheated on his wife and got into all kinds of gambling trouble and it didn’t hurt his marketability.
    Run a list of bad actors in the NBA and I’ll show you millionaires many times over in the promotions market.
    A deep playoff run, an MVP or the like tends to cleanse one’s image quickly.
    Lebron leaving Cleveland, however unlikely that would be, would not hurt him a bit. Coming to NYC would only launch him into the Jordan-like stratosphere of promotional money-making.
    He could easily take the minimum and still out earn everyone in basketball in no time at all.
    But how many guys have we talked about taking the midcap exemption who then went with the big guaranteed contract.
    There is hope and there is reality. People don’t leave money on the table.

  67. W.C.

    The Knicks shouldn’t been planning around Lebron. There are other potential franchise players available that year and I’m sure others after that. The key is to get rid of long term contracts ASAP (or allow them to expire) and position ourselves to bring in a star because we can’t count on a lottery pick every year. We are going to have to trade and sign players also because we have no real stars on our team.

  68. Ray

    Leave Yinka Dare alone for heavens sake. LeBron is still a kid. At some time in his life hes going to have to get out of Cleveland and spread his wings. He not only a basketball player he is also a business man. He knows that he is a product as well. A great product will do well in a big market. That market is NYC. Hes just going to have to make the choice…. Brooklyn or the Garden. He going to look at the pieces that are in place because i dont expect him to come here and waste his time. Everything that was Cav-land he wont want here. It wont be enough to clear that cap space but we also need to bring the right pieces. Thats where we start from now. I say let Marbury finish his contract here and then let him fly off to italy where he can dine on fine pasta with vodka sauce. You can never tell with the draft. There are some guys you take that are total duds. Then there are some that develop into superstars or quality players with lengthy careers. We dont know what can happen. Beasley could turn out to be like Glen “Big Dog” Robinson or Kwame Brown. We just have to hope for the best.

  69. Latke

    Re: brooklyn and lebron
    Last time I checked the nets arena in brooklyn was still stalled. It’s going to be at least 5 years until the nets move. I’m guessing that they won’t even have begun construction by the time lebron is a FA.

  70. Johnny Twisto

    I don’t even want LeBron. Because he probably does think of himself as a business, man. I hated Jordan and he wants to be Jordan. I don’t like his game either, just don’t find it fun to watch, bulldozing to the rim. Sure he’s great and I’m sure he’d make us much better, but whatever. I’m sick of the Knicks being full of players I dislike, and I’m growing to really dislike him. There’s plenty of other players out there, there will be plenty of new players coming along. It’s silly to focus on him anyway, when one player can’t fix this rotten apple and there’s no way to guarantee he will come anyway. I’d rather build a good team and then whup his ass in the playoffs.

  71. Ray

    Twisto…thats called being a hater. Bulldozing to the rim is done by Eddy Curry. Lebron sees the hole and then uses those crazy skills to get to the rim and that is a work of art. Only a handfull of players can do that. I remember the days of the Knicks /Bulls wars. The day after I would go to school and there would be such heated conversation about the games. It was so much fun. Im looking to get that buzz back for the Knicks. Thats what im waiting for. Along with an NBA championship or two. Its been a long time.

  72. o_boogie

    we should make isiah a euroleague scout with a small budget. nothing worst than driving from france to prague in a clunky peugeot with a broken air conditioner on a sweltering summer day to scout some doofus with 22 syllables in his name.

  73. W.C.

    I don’t think Thomas has an especially good eye for talent. He made a few good drafts in his career, but IMO virtually anyone could do that with a series of decent picks. I don’t see anyone on our roster other than perhaps Lee that was an especially good value for the # he was selected at.

    Forget about overpaying, because those are financial skills, but part of judging talent involves making trades and getting free agents. He’s brought in an endless stream of very limited players and players that don’t fit well together. I wouldn’t mind that he overpaid if he at least brought in good players or players that complimented each other in a way that made the team better.

    Somewhere along the line he got the reputation of being a good juge of talent and everyone keeps repeating it. It is false.

  74. Thomas B.

    W.C.

    I disagree. And so that you know why, I will share some information to back up my claim.

    Thomas has picked a good number of very good players all over the draft. In Toronto he picked Tracy Mcgrady at 9. Player’s pcked ahead of Mcgrady: Tim Thomas, Tony Battie, Ron Mercer, Adonal Foyle, Antonio Daniels. If any GM could have done it, why did the GM’s who picked ahead of Thomas failed to get Mcgrady? I’m not sure but I think he is responsible for the Vince Carter trade on draft day. That should count too.

    He took Stoudamire in Toronto (Bryant Reeves went ahead of mighty mouse that year). With the exception of Micheal Finley, no player in that draft taken after Stoudamire has had a better career. Have you heard of Marcus Camby? Only three players in that draft are better than Camby: Iverson (who was the fisrt pick), Ray Allen, and Jermaine O’Neal (arguably Marbury for the first five years of his career).

    So lets see.. Mcgrady All-star, Camby All multiple all defensive teams and defensive player of the year, Stoudamire Rookie of the year. Oh yeah, Thomas has not got a clue when it comes to drafting talent. What was I thinking when I said he had an eye for talent?

    Yeah, Thomas had a miss or two (Frye before Bynum) but even Jerry West has screwed up on more than one occassion. You could say Fred jones was not a good pick, but the only players picked after Jones that have had better careers are Tashan Prince, Bostoc Nacbar, and Nenad Kristic. Marcus Haslip, Nicoloz Thisshitkillsme, and Dujuan Wagner were out on the NBA almost immediately.

    We agree the David Lee pick was great. So lets talk about N8. Can you tell me how many players drafted after N8 have dropped 45 points in a game?

    Pick five other GM’s who have drafted multiple All Stars, a defensive player of the year, a rookie of the year, and a legit sixth man of the year candidate (Lee), over the same period that Thomas has.

    Thomas clearly has the better hit to miss ratio of the majority of GMs you could find. So who has been Isiah’s Tshitkivilli or Olawakandi level bust? Find me one and then we can talk.

  75. Ted Nelson

    Thomas B.,

    You pay him the 15 mill. Zeke’s eye for talent is solid in the draft, but limited to one dimensional players as far as NBA vets.

    re: trading up in the draft

    While Beasley and Rose are the “tier 1″ prospects in this draft, it’s not like either is a Tim Duncan/LeBron James type prospect: neither is necessarily a guy you want to “build around” or trade everything you have to draft. I certainly think both can become very good players on good teams, but they’re going to need to be surrounded by one or two players of about the same caliber. (I guess that makes sense for a PG like Rose.)

    Becuase the Knicks currently lack any players on that level (even the potentially good role players we have such as Lee would likely be moved to trade up) I’m a bit worried about Beasley becoming a Shareef Abdul-Rahim (or even in the best case a Melo) or Rose becoming a Steve Francis.

    While this year’s draft isn’t that strong up top, it does seem to have good depth throughout the 1st. If they don’t land a top 2 pick, the Knicks might be better served by keeping their pick and then trying to trade in to the draft: say pick up another lotto pick/mid first and a shorter contract for Crawford.
    I have a feeling that this will be one of those years where you have an Amare, Dirk, or T-Mac taken 9th or so, or maybe a Tony Parker, Josh Howard, Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer type: basically, even though Beasley and Rose are the two best prospects, I think some wild card(s) might end up being the draft’s best player(s).

    Rose, however, does seem like a really great fit for the Knicks. Imagine Rose running the break with Nate Robinson alongside him in the backcourt and Balkman and Chandler on the wings, Lee grabbing boards and hitting Rose with outlet passes. Without adding anyone (just benching/cutting/whatevering the deadwieght) you might have a 35 win squad. Maybe the start of a solid defensive squad as well.
    The you just have to add a solid big and a couple more shooters, maybe an ultra-talented wing player (not a LeBron reference, by the way), over the next couple seasons. If we get Rose and Iavanori gets canned in Memphis he might be an ideal assistant coach.

    The names that come to mind when I think of Beasley are ones like Shareef Abdul-Rahim, Big Dog Robinson, Melo. His athleticism might allow him to be a bit better defender than those 3, but I’m just not a big fan of having a combo-forward hijack your offense. As someone pointed out, even T-Mac hasn’t won a playoff series. I realize that individual players can’t be held directly responible for their team’s success, but how many high volume scoring combo-forwards without very strong defensive and/or playmaking skills are leading championship caliber teams?

    “The idea that the Knicks could somehow land Lebron in 2010 is so far out there I refuse to even entertain the idea.
    And who know what great player the Knicks might stumble upon through the draft or something.”

    Taking a shot at LeBron and building through the draft are not mutually exclusive. If you’re trying to make a push for LeBron, you’re going to have to put together a good, cheap team. Drafting well is probably the easiest way to do that.
    As others have been pointing out, LeBron (or getting under the cap to sign free agents in general) is not the only advantage of cap flexibility.

  76. Ted Nelson

    Thomas:

    I think Zeke is a good drafter. However, he didn’t even work out T-Mac before drafting him: I think there was some luck involved as well as being willing to take a project, which burned the Raptors when T-Mac left before he had really hepled their team much.

    Zeke apparently pushed for Fred Jones, but he was the coach and not the one who pulled the trigger there.

    “Only three players in that draft are better than Camby: Iverson (who was the fisrt pick), Ray Allen, and Jermaine O’Neal”

    Ever heard of Kobe Bryant??

  77. Ted Nelson

    Steve Nash is another guy from Camby’s draft class. Peja might have been as good over his career as Camby, although he faded while Camby came on later in his career.

  78. Frank

    “The names that come to mind when I think of Beasley are ones like Shareef Abdul-Rahim, Big Dog Robinson, Melo. His athleticism might allow him to be a bit better defender than those 3, but I’m just not a big fan of having a combo-forward hijack your offense. As someone pointed out, even T-Mac hasn’t won a playoff series. I realize that individual players can’t be held directly responible for their team’s success, but how many high volume scoring combo-forwards without very strong defensive and/or playmaking skills are leading championship caliber teams?”

    Granted I’ve only seen Beasley play one or two games but I think the comparison to Big Dog is unfair — he is WAY more athletic than Big Dog ever was. For a guy who was double/triple-teamed the entire year, he had a ridiculous TS% of 62%, scoring 26+ PPG on just 17 shots/game. He’s two inches taller than Big Dog, blocked more shots, led the nation in rebounding. Shareef is not a good comparison either — Beasley way out-performed Shareef in just about every category in fewer minutes. And he has an inside-outside game on offense that Shareef never had. Beasley is a BEAST in my mind and I’d be happy to get him. That being said, I’d probably still rather have ROse.

  79. Thomas B.

    Ted Nelson,

    Excellent call pointing out my omission. I though Kobe and Nash were obvious locks as better players as they are two of the best players to ever play. But thank you for pointing them out.

    If you point is that Isiah could have picked either Kobe or Nash, then I will have to disagree. Here is why. There was very good reason to think Kobe would become a very good player (but what GM could risk a top five pick on a HS player that was not 6’11 back then?), I’m not sure people knew Nash would become as good as has with the Suns. You really could excuse any GM with a top five pick in the 96 draft for passing on Kobe. How could anyone take a HS player when Iverson, Allen, Camby, and Marbury had displayed such stellar college play? Now for the 6-12 picks, that a different story.

    Todd Fuller over the potential of Bryant? Inexcuseable. Ditto Samaki Walker and Eric Dampier.

    Your point is well taken. I should have mentioned Byrant and Nash.

    But that sort of reinforces my point. Of the 12 GMs that passed on Kobe, Isiah did better with his pick than 7 to 9 of the other GMs. Isiah had the added help of the second pick, but he still made the right pick.

  80. T-MART

    Good lord Thomas B. I almost needed a drawing board to follow that argument in its entirety, it makes sense though. Are you trying to say that Isiah’s ’96 draft selection violated the rule against perpetuities? heheh

  81. Thomas B.

    T-Mart

    LOL. I was a bit all over the place. However, nothing is more confusing than the rule against perpetuities.

  82. ess-dog

    If we get one of the coveted top 2 picks…
    What if we traded it?
    I’m sure there will be a team in the 6-9 range that will be desperate for one of the Big 2 in this draft. It could be worthwhile for us to trade down and collect a 2009 first rounder as well. We all know this will be a long process. Then maybe we can turn Crawford and a Balkman into one decent player through a trade. I’m trying to be realistic.

  83. Ray

    Its hard to know what you’ll get when youre drafting. These kids are coming out of school so early you dont get to see a good representation of their maturity not only as players but as men. We should think at this stage in the game scouts would know exactly who and what type would translate to greatness in the NBA. We dont because theres is always that unknown factor. This draft seems to be one of the unknown drafts where there is no franchise guy. Beasley might be tabbed as a franchise guy if he made it deeper into March Madness but he was bumped 2nd round. Big Dog at least went to the final four so on a national scale you could gage his skills somewhat. He just didnt pan out. After Rose and Beasley what do we have? Upside guys…the Lopez brothers , Mayo, Gordon, Griffin, Bayless. We dont know what will happen to these guys once they go pro. To see how Zeke has had decent success as a talent evaluator might mean that he might have skills to help the team. Not as a coach. We’ve tried that. Maybe in the scouting department if we even have one of those. Ill be the first one to tell you that when he went out and got Marbury I thought we’d be on our way to being none of the elite. It didnt work out. When he drafted Channing it seemed like a good move. Four year guy out of Arizona. Mature. Good character. Now he comes off the bench for Portland. Bad call Zeke. Ok what about Balkman? Athletic,aggresive defender but he cant shoot. Then we have Jerome James. Looked good in Seattle. I thought it was a decent signing at the time. We coulndt get Dampier. Its turned out to be a bust. None of us could have know that things would turn out this way. Zeke certainly didnt intend for the Knicksto be in the basement. Its just the way things are. A couple of bad moves has our franchise stuck. I tell you what….I hated Layden more for putting us in Cap hell more than i despise Zeke for our current situation. Id rather watch Nate than Harold Eisley and Shandon Anderson. Rant over.

  84. mase

    I dont know how you build team concept, character and create chemistry but it just doesnt seem that any rookie will address these issues, we need a complete overhaul.

  85. T-Mart

    Interesting Donnie Walsh bit on ESPN.com right now:

    Donnie Walsh, who was named to replace Isiah Thomas as president of the Knicks on Wednesday, watched his first five first-round draft picks play, on average, more than 1,000 games in the NBA: 1986, Chuck Person (943); 1987, Reggie Miller (1,389); 1988, Rik Smits (867); 1989, George McCloud (766); 1991, Dale Davis (1,094). Another gauge of Walsh’s draft acumen: Of his 18 first-round picks, 14 have played more games in the NBA than the player chosen with the next selection.

  86. isaiah hater

    It is very obvious that Isaiah “the monkey” thomas cannot coach a lick. read below

    Toronto Raptors
    After retiring Thomas became part owner and Executive Vice President for the expansion Toronto Raptors in 1994. In 1998, he left the organization after a dispute with new management which resulted from accusations that he gave NCAA basketball players tickets and other merchandise and inappropriate conduct with team staff. Even though the latter allegation was not thoroughly investigated, it seemed suspicious because of prior instances when Thomas played for the Detroit Pistons. To his credit, over his 4-year tenure with the team, Thomas drafted Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby and high-schooler Tracy McGrady.

    [edit] Broadcasting
    After leaving the Raptors, Thomas became a television commentator (first as the lead game analyst with play-by-play man Bob Costas and then as part of the studio team) for NBA on NBC. Thomas’ sometimes clumsy, monotone vocal delivery eventually led NBC to add Bill Walton as a secondary analyst to help compensate for Isiah’s deficiencies as a commentator during game broadcasts. Thomas also worked a three man booth with Costas and Doug Collins.

    [edit] CBA
    Thomas became the owner of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) from 1998 to 2000. After his purchase of the CBA for $5M, the league was forced into bankruptcy and folded, after Thomas rejected an offer from the NBA for $11M to make it an official minor league of the NBA.[1] Many CBA managers blamed Thomas for the league’s failure, citing mismanagement and out-of-control spending on his part. Many such managers publicly declared that Thomas ran the league into the ground, possibly on purpose to eliminate the non-NBA-owned minor league in order to make room for the NBA-owned NBDL. The last paycheck was never paid to many of the teams, such as the Quad City Thunder.

    [edit] Indiana Pacers
    From 2000 to 2003, Thomas coached the Indiana Pacers, succeeding Larry Bird, who previously coached the Pacers to the NBA Eastern Conference title. Thomas attempted to bring up young talents such as Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Al Harrington, and Jeff Foster. Unfortunately Thomas was unable to continue to build on the accomplishments of his predecessor. In his first two seasons with the Pacers, the team was eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets who did happen to go to the NBA Finals in those years.

    In his last year with the Pacers, Thomas guided the Pacers to a 48-34 record in the regular season and coached the East squad at the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. The game was also Michael Jordan’s final All-Star game. Thomas was criticized for overplaying Jordan during the game as an attempt to make up for their past feud. As the third seed, the Pacers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the sixth-seed Boston Celtics. With blossoming talents such as Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Al Harrington and Jamaal Tinsley, along with the veteran leadership of Reggie Miller, the perception existed that the Pacers’ unfulfilled potential stemmed from Isiah Thomas’ inexperience as a coach. In the off-season, Larry Bird returned to the Pacers as President of Basketball Operations, and his first act was to replace Thomas with Rick Carlisle.

    New York Knicks
    On December 22, 2003, the New York Knicks hired Thomas to be president of basketball operations. He immediately changed the face of the franchise by trading for a number of high-priced stars. However, despite a very high payroll, the team performed poorly, finishing last in the Atlantic Division in 2005. To address this, Thomas has made even more trades, sometimes cutting or trading away players he had paid a high price for in trades.

    Thomas has been largely unsuccessful with the Knicks roster and fanbase so far. At the end of the 2005-06 season, the Knicks had the highest payroll in the NBA, yet earned the second-worst record in the NBA, and traded away several future draft picks, including the number 2 overall pick in 2006. To make matters worse, the 2005 signing of career backup Jerome James to a 5-year $30 million free-agent contract was seen as a questionable move, even more so as he averaged only 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 22 games.

    On June 22, 2006, the New York Knicks fired coach Larry Brown, and Thomas replaced him. Team owner James Dolan said that he would give Thomas one year to turn around the Knicks and make them a better franchise or he would be fired.

    On December 16, 2006, his team became embroiled in a vicious brawl with the Denver Nuggets, which Thomas was alleged to instigate by ordering his players to commit a hard foul in the paint.[2] He received no fine nor suspension; NBA Commissioner David Stern was quoted as relying only on “definitive information” when handing out punishments.[3]

    On March 12, 2007, the New York Knicks re-signed Thomas to an undisclosed “multi year” contract 9 months after Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan forewarned Thomas that the Knicks needed to show “evident progress” or he’d be out of a job.[4] After Thomas was granted the extension, the Knicks abruptly fell from playoff contention with a dismal finish to the season.

    On April 3, 2007 Thomas was fined for insulting the officials and saying that Stephon Marbury doesn’t get the same respect as any other player in the NBA.

    Thomas traded away multiple lottery first round picks, including a first rounder in the 2007 NBA Draft to Chicago in a deal for Eddy Curry. The result of the draft lottery was that the traded pick ended up being the ninth overall pick in a widely regarded talent-rich draft.[5] As part of the trade, the Knicks got the Bulls’ 2007 first-round pick, which ended up being #23 overall.

    On Draft Day 2007, Thomas made another trade by acquiring Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau from the Portland Trail Blazers for Steve Francis and Channing Frye.

    In past offseasons Thomas has compounded the Knicks salary cap problems by signing fringe players such as Jerome James and Jared Jeffries to the full mid-level exception contract. Neither player has seen any significant playing time and are often injured and when able to play are highly ineffective.

    Despite the constant criticism that he has received from Knicks fans, Thomas maintains that he has no intention of leaving until he has turned the team around. On January 3, 2008 he predicted that he would lead the Knicks to a championship, and he stated that his goal was to leave behind a “championship legacy” with the Knicks, just as he had done for the Detroit Pistons. This prediction was met with widespread skepticism from NBA fans, as the Knicks have a combined record of 41-71 with Isiah coaching, leaving him subject to frequent fan chants of “Fire Isiah.”[6]

    On April 2, 2008, native New Yorker Donnie Walsh was introduced to replace Thomas as President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks. Walsh was not prepared to comment definitively on whether or not Thomas would be retained in any capacity.

    As you can see, this ape can’t do dodo. FIRE HIM FIRE HIM FIRE HIM. DAGGONE APE. FIRE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  87. bfellow

    Jerome James had an average season in his contract year and a good playoff run that resulted the Knicks paying him 5 million a year.

    Jared Jeffries is like a stick figure version of Jerome James.

    Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry are basically the same player except Curry doesn’t rebound and neither work well trying to both operate in the paint at the same time.

  88. Thomas B.

    I. Hater,

    Isiah “the monkey” Thomas? Dude what the hell? You just called an African American man “the monkey” in the first line of the post, hen you go on to call hin an “ape” at the close of the post.

    I vote for a ban. Those comments are inflammatory and offensive.

    BTW, that was not the way to honor Dr. King’s memory.

  89. Z-man

    Does Walsh go for a reunion with Artest?

    If the knicks draft at #4 and Beasley and Rose are gone, whose the next best risk? Mayo?

    Some mock draft has us picking Jerryd Bayless at #4.

    There is undoubtably some stud available at #4, but he might be a PF or C. Do we draft for position of greatest need (PG) if Rose is unavailable? If there is a big man who projects as the more solid pro, do we go for it and make Lee trade bait for an established PG? Keep Lee, draft a SG and make Nate and JC trade bait?

    Rose is the only no-brainer in this draft, so Walsh’s first decidion may define his entire tenure. Maybe he finds the Amare Stoudemire of this year’s draft…that miss still kills me.

  90. ess-dog

    I know this will be unpopular, but I think we have to trade Nate. He is one of the only players that other teams would want and he still can’t run the point properly or defend the way he needs to at his position. Sure he gets highlights, but we need solid players. Maybe we can package him with a real undesirable like Zach or Curry or James and get some cap room.
    Also, it sounds pretty much like Stephon will be running the point next year. That could affect how we draft. And We have to replace Crawford- he is such a horrible defender, I can’t take it any more! I wish we had a later pick so we could nab Douglas-Roberts. He could be a steal later in the draft at SG…

  91. Ricky

    Dudes: have you ever seen a more athletic PG? That left handed layup was incredible, even though it missed.

  92. Latke

    I wouldn’t mind trading the pick, if it’s below #2, along with zach randolph, for a late 1st rd pick and an expiring contract.

  93. mastermind

    “Also, it sounds pretty much like Stephon will be running the point next year. That could affect how we draft.”

    I’m pretty sure that even if Marbury is penciled in as the starting pg for next season, the only one left on his deal, that won’t prevent the gm from drafting a pg if a pg is the best player available. Marbury won’t be on the team beyond next season, and the top 5 or so pgs in the draft will be better NBA players than Marbury within a year, if they’re not already. I’m sure Walsh won’t let Marbury’s presence prevent him from drafting a starting-caliber point guard.

  94. Ray

    Rose looked great today. Totally schooled collison. Good explosion to the hoop. Good open court passes. C Douglas- Rob was looking good too. Creates his own shot. Can shoot the ball and plays good D. A lot of people are sleeping on him. I also just read that Bayless out of Arizona is going to declare for the draft. If we are going to get a guard it should be Mayo or Bayless. They are big guards that are very explosive. Id take Mayo first because he can play lock down D. Mayo also locked down Rose when Memphis play USC. Dont sleep on Mayo the kid will develop into a stud. Bayless is good too . He can score and is really explosive. Just not on a good team. Budinger is a scrub and they had zero inside presence.The draft is looking good for us. Its looking like we may have good options. Its doesnt matter if Marbury reutrns or not when he leaves we still need a PG. Someone thats going to take us into the future. I think if somehow we could acquire another pick in this draft we need to get that done. I dont care who we trade. EVERYONE is expendable. CDR really looked good today. Looking foward to the TAr Heels Jayhawks game.

    PS…Isaiah Hater needs to be banned. Way out of line with those comments.

  95. Funky

    Rose was electric today, but there was way too much 1 on 1 going on. He is the superior athlete so it worked out, but that’s not really what the Knicks need right now from a point guard. He has demonstrated the ability to set up teammates in the past, however, so hopefully today was just an aberration.

  96. jon abbey

    the way he’s shut down two All-Americans in the last two games is pretty remarkable. he seems to be in the Deron Williams/Jason Kidd mold, he’d probably be our best PG since Clyde.

  97. caleb

    I’ve been a Rose (semi) doubter all year, but I’m officially convinced after the last 3 games.

    (Westbrook looks like a nice player, too, btw)

    Collison looked awful — just not a good tourney at all.

  98. Duff Soviet Union

    I’m still not 100% convinced on Rose. Funky is right, too much 1 on 1. He reminds he a lot of Baron Davis. Great defensively, but not a great initiator of offense. Everyone loves Davis now, but for a few years he was reviled as a shoot first guy with crappy shot selection. I can see Rose’s career being similarly up and down.

  99. Frank

    I was impressed with how Rose got very quiet once Westbrook came in to guard him. Didn’t see too much of the 1st half when Westbrook scored most of his points, but I was impressed with his on-ball defense on Rose. If we end up with #5 or so I think we could probably do worse…

  100. Brian Cronin

    I figure Mike would be okay with it, so I took the trash out. ;)

    As for Rose, yeah, he looks great, but I think the idea of packaging the Knicks’ pick if it #4 or below to get rid of Randolph is absolutely brilliant, and it might actually work.

    Can you imagine doing that, and then getting, like, a Love or whoever further down in the draft?

  101. Ray

    The first half of that Kansas game was crazy!! It looked like they were beating them into submisson. The defense was totally locking them down. Then they got tired and the Tar Heels made their stand. It just wasnt enough. If i were Hansborough id enter the draft. Not much higher you can go than here. Even if he won the National championship NBA scouts are doubting him big time. Might as well come out now. Rush looked good. Big tall player. Good jumpshot. Plays great D. Creates his own shot. I think its going to be a good match up between him and Douglas- Roberts. I pick Memphis to win.

    Cronin , i woulndt mind that package either. Randolph and the #4 to move up for Rose. Thats not a bad deal. The only question on Zach were those charactrer issues. Hes been great as far as that goes in NYC. No problems at all. Any teams could use a guy like Zach. You just wont get any D from him. I dont know but for some reason Rose reminds me of a young Marbury.

    Youtube clip anyone….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTZ-LZWBgx0

  102. caleb

    I was gushing last night, but Rose is still hard to figure. His defense the last few games has been most impressive — considering his size and quickness, and attitude — that could be the real deal. He does look like Marbury as a scorer — which is a good thing. And I understand the Jason Kidd comparisons, because of his size — but Rose is nothing at all like Kidd as a playmaker. He has a long way to go as a playmaker. THat’s what I mean when I say he has yet to really dominate a game as a PG. But at this point it’s hard to say what type of player he’ll be — he’s only a freshman. (And of course he looks to be a much better scorer than Kidd).

    I guess the bottom line is that I’m not sure I’d take him ahead of Beasley even with our needs; he does look like a solid #2 pick but not a once-in-a-generation point a la Chris Paul.

  103. ess-dog

    Man Westbrook looked good. I would be happy drafting him, Rose or CDR. All three of those guys are head and shoulders above what we have now. Throw Rush in there too. I’d love to get another pick and just redo our whole backcourt.
    Will OJ come out? If OJ stays at USC, maybe we wait and draft a pg next year? That’s all I was saying about Marbury coming back next year because we really have so many needs. I still think you take Beasley first, but if we traded down for Westbrook or CDR, I would be happy. Great year for college hoops, thank you David Stern.

  104. Ted Nelson

    “I think the idea of packaging the Knicks’ pick if it #4 or below to get rid of Randolph is absolutely brilliant, and it might actually work.
    Can you imagine doing that, and then getting, like, a Love or whoever further down in the draft?”

    (I understood your comment differently than Ray, so correct me if I’m wrong.)

    I can imagine crying myself to sleep for months if not years if that happened.

    Maybe if you’re sold that Anthony Randolph is going to be T-Mac or JaVale McGee or DeAndre Jordan is going to be Amare and that they’ll definitely be available with the pick you trade down for, but that’s such a huge risk. First, if McGee is more Patrick O’Bryant or Randolph is more Rodney White you’ve srewed up just to move a contract. This is a really wide open draft, imagine the “sleeper” you want to trade down for gets picked #5… If the guy’s really going to be a difference maker just take him with your pick and be patient with Zach.

    Moving Randolph’s contract is a means to getting better, but it’s not an end in itself.

    Love, by the way, I think will be a solid pro, but not a real difference maker. I was impressed with his shot blocking skills against Memphis last night and he had a solid game overall, but he looked a bit lost against such an athletic team. Maybe not his fault, UCLA should have gone to him more instead of trying to run with Memphis.

    Ray,

    I agree on Douglas-Roberts. While his ball handling is a bit sloppy, I think he’s going to be a solid pro. Gets to the basket at will (at least in college), good outside stroke, good finisher, and those long arms could help him defensively in the NBA. At best, he could be a kind of cross between Stackhouse and Tayshaun Prince; at worst, maybe a James Jones type.

    Also think, as someone said above, Mayo might be the “best risk” at #5 or so. As you say, at least going to be a solid defender. I don’t think he can play PG though. I just think he might have the will/work ethic/intensity to be a real difference maker/leader. That’s something the Knicks need desperately.

    I’m not a huge Bayless fan, and I also can’t agree that he’s a stud hidden on a bad team. As a Knicks fan I appreciate that it’s hard to assign blame in a messy situation like Arizona this season, but in Budinger and Jordan Hill he has two lottery prospects on his team and I have to believe that if he were any sort of PG they’d have competed with UCLA in the Pac-10.
    A combo-guard whose upside seems to be Jason Terry maybe poor man’s AI (I do think he’ll be good, just not what the Knicks need). There’s a similar player available in free agency in Louis Williams, and the Knicks might already have a shorter version in Nate. Maybe if you saw an incredible work-ethic/team-first attitude you could say he’ll reach his full potential as a team-first AI (or whatever), but judging from Arizona’s chemistry problems I don’t see that.

    I think Russell Westbrook is at least as good of a prospect right now as Bayless. Although I have to question Westbrook’s ability to guard NBA 2 guards, on one side of the ball, or to run an offense on the other. Maybe a more athletic Antonio Daniels??? I don’t know who that is…Billups? (NBAdraft.net compares him to Rajon Rondo/Monta Ellis)

    “None of us could have know that things would turn out this way.”

    I have to strongly disagree here. While I was not one of them, there were people on this site who were unhappy as early as the Marbury trade.

    “I’m still not 100% convinced on Rose. Funky is right, too much 1 on 1. He reminds he a lot of Baron Davis. Great defensively, but not a great initiator of offense. Everyone loves Davis now, but for a few years he was reviled as a shoot first guy with crappy shot selection. I can see Rose’s career being similarly up and down.”

    I was also dissapointed to see Rose force a few really ugly shots that weren’t in the flow of the offense at all. While he didn’t blow my mind against UCLA, what impressed me was how solid he was. He didn’t force much other than those few awful shots and in a high pressure Final Four game had only one TO, played good D, and was as cool as ice. I’m pretty sold and think he can be one of the best PGs in the league and is as good a choice as Beasley, although whoever drafts him will have to do everything they can to ensure that he develops as a floor general and doesn’t end up as the next Francis, Marbury, or Baron Davis.

    “but Rose is nothing at all like Kidd as a playmaker. He has a long way to go as a playmaker.”

    Agree with this ctitique of Rose also. I’m not old enough to remember Kidd’s days at Cal, but Rose doesn’t show that much in terms of halfcourt playmaking. He is great on the break, though, and maybe it’s just Memphis’ offense/Calapari not asking his freshman PG to do too much and instead playing to his team’s strengths to win now.
    I was also dissapointed when he picked up his dribble going to the basket in transition and had to take an ugly shot over someone, not very Nashesque at all.

    As far as being once in a generation, I think he has that potential if he’s willing to put in the work learning to run an offense and develop an outside shot, as well as play the kind of D he has in the tourney every night. Then again, guys like Marbury, Francis, and Baron Davis all had the ability to be once in a generation and, while all have been solid pros for most of their careers, they all failed to become “once in a generation” to varying degrees.

    As far as taking him over Beasley, I think it’s a tough call. Beasley’s going to be able to score 20/30 points a night and be a solid rebounder at the 4 or a spectacular one at the 3. But he has some question marks, inluding what position he can play/defend.
    Above all, I’m just not sold on building an offense “around” a high-volume scoring combo-forward. With Rose you have a clear direction, especially if you’re the Knicks. Immediately I’d say you can have a 35 or so win team going defense/fast paced offense with Rose, Chandler, Balkman, Robinson, Lee, maybe even Q, Crawford, and/or Marbury. Add some athletic bigs and maybe a stud on the wing and you’re a playoff team, at least.

    Final rant…
    While PG is a big need for the Knicks, you could say the same thing for every other position as well. I’m really sick of people saying draft a PG, draft a PG, draft a PG… I’m all for drafting a PG if he’s the best player available, but drafting based on needs leads to a lot of Shelden Williams and Adam Morrison type picks (remember when Atlanta thought they were one interior defender away, and maybe they were, and Charlotte thought they were one shooter away, so both teams passed on Roy and Gay among others?). Furthermore, while a few young guys like Paul, Deron Williams, and Rajon Rondo have been bucking the trend recently, historically some of the best PGs in the league and early lottery PGs don’t produce on their first teams. Think of guys like Nash, Billups, Daniels, even Kidd. Guys like Westbrook or Mayo or Bayless or even Rose, have a long way to go as far as learning to run a team. While I’m not all for the TJ Ford/Hinrich deals because, in large part, of the cap implications, the Knicks might be better served taking the “best player available” (in Donnie Walsh’s eyes) and picking up a vet whose proven he can run an NBA team than taking a 20 year old combo-guard.

  105. Funky

    Excellent points, Ted, although I still would like to get rid of Eddy or Zach by any means necessary. But we still need to draft the best player available, especially considering that we have so many needs.

    How about instead of comparing Derrick Rose to Jason Kidd, we just say he’s the next Dwayne Wade? I think that’s more apt.

  106. W.C.

    >>>Thomas:

    I think Zeke is a good drafter. However, he didn’t even work out T-Mac before drafting him: I think there was some luck involved<<

    That was partly my point.

    Most people responsible for drafts are not going to make enough of them over the course of their career to to be certain if they were good/bad/lucky/unlucky. In the short term, a lot of it is definitely luck. However, if you combine drafting with trades, free agent signings, building team chemistry etc… (which are very similar skills to drafting) you have a much larger body of work in which to evaluate their talent.

    On that score, Isiah looks highly mediocre. And remember, I am leaving out the fact that he overpaid because those are financial skills and I’m only talking about the ability to recognize talent.

    He picked some players that turned out very good and one that turned out great, but I guarantee that a monkey with a dart board and a list of leading candidates would also pick a few stars the same way they sometimes outperform stock market experts. ;-)

    There’s a lot of luck in it and the only way you can seperate luck from skill is to look at a larger body of work.

  107. Ted Nelson

    Funky,

    I’m not sure Rose’s the next Wade either (I’d say he’s more of a PG and less of a scorer), although I think the fact that he can be compared to both Jason Kidd and Dwayne Wade highlights that he can be special.

    I have no use for either of the Knicks “twin towers”, but I would just hate to see them pass up someone incredible in the draft to move them in the hopes of bringing in guys like the one they passed up later on. Of course, you could also trade down and still draft a better player, just more risky.
    Anyway, who are the teams people think might place the highest value a Randolph or Curry, and for that matter on a Jamal Crawford. Maybe there’s a team desperate enough for an inside scorer, or just asleep at the wheel, that takes on Zach or Eddy for reasonable value.

    I can’t imagine a team taking on Randolph, but this is the NBA and he’s a 20-10 guy… Maybe the Knicks can at least get someone like Kenyon Martin, whose contract is equally bad but is more of a team player and at least somewhat of a defensive upgrade. If they get Rose and want to run a little maybe Martin makes sense?
    Milwaukee was mentioned around the deadline, but I don’t see them really needing him given their young frontcourt talent and their lack of defense, especially now that they’re bringing in a new GM with no need for immediate results.
    He doesn’t fit with what Minni’s doing, but if they just want to upgrade their overall talent level maybe the Knicks could give him away for Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner, Mark Madsen, and a 2nd (or something along those lines).

    I like the logic that Curry might be valuable to some team as an inside scorer for 20-25 mpg if they already have a franchise big who plays good D and some guys who can feed him the ball. Say Orlando, Charlotte, even San Antonio… While his game is slightly more limited, his contract is much smaller than Randolph’s and his attitude seems less toxic.

    Crawford I really think could get the Knicks some value. Consider the fact that the Celts traded the #7 pick for Sebastian Telfair in an equally wide open draft as this years (ended up being Brandon Roy), or the fact that the Warriors gave up the #10 for an aging Mookie Blalock (ended up being Jason Terry). Just need a team in the mid-late lottery who things they’re one scoring combo-guard away from the playoffs, or that Crawford has just been misused. Crawford can also opt-out after next season if he has a big year.

    Unrelated:
    One thing I’ve been thinking recently, more or less since reading about Walsh on Marbury, is that while we (here on Knickerblogger) tend to concentrate on personnel issues/changes, maybe just a change in leadership and a few minor changes will turn this into a .500 ball club in two seasons. Say 35-40 wins next season and then 40-43 wins the following season.

    Imagine the change if the Knicks gave their maximum effort every night. By putting together a team which slightly more complementary pieces and bringing in the right new coach, a lottery pick each of the next two seasons… then once you have a .500 team in two seasons your guys are more valuable in trades. Have some patience, hit the right notes as far as trades/free agency/and drafting and we could be a contender in a few years without a radical change before next season. (I mean, I would love a complete overhaul this offseason, but I wouldn’t be suprised if it doesn’t happen.)

  108. W.C.

    Ted,

    I don’t see any way possible there’s going to be a major overhaul for the Knicks. So many of our players have such horribly poor value contracts, IMO it just can’t be done.

    I think the only two players than can be moved with relative ease are Crawford and Curry.

    Crawford is coming off a career year. Despite his defensive limitations and occasional poor shot selection, someone will find him attractive. There’s bound to be someone out there that believes they can get his FG% up and improve his defense by not putting so much of the scoring burden on him.

    It seems Curry is almost universally hated by Knicks fans these days, but I think he’ll actually be easy to move. No one in their right mind is taking this year seriously. Adjusted for minutes played he wasn’t that far off last year’s stats to begin with. It’s easy to account for the rest of the drop anyway. All of Zachs rebounds and and extra shots (relative to Frye) came right out of Curry. I have no doubt at all that Curry could be a 20 and 7 guy on another team (or even the Knicks) if gets in mildly better shape, is given the minutes he had last year, and gets the ball. He’s a defensive liability, but there are very few decent centers out there.

    The tough guy to move is going to be Zach and that’s the guy we need to move most unless we get a defensive, shot blocking center.

  109. jrock

    couple notes:

    1) i think any talk of ford/hinrich is a bad idea. they’re just not proven – hinrich’s shooting woes are well documented, and he doesn’t run an offense well enough to actually be effective. ford’s neck is liable to just snap at any minute. if we could get calderon, then THAT would be an upgrade. that guy is crazy efficient and he’s smart. but the raps would be dumb to let him go. we do need a playmaking point guard, but i don’t think we should gamble in a trade or free agency unless the dude is a proven commodity.

    2) we have to keep in mind that while walsh is respected, all the GMs around the league are going to be well aware of NYK’s situation and will be fairly loath to deal with them – it’s not like the pieces we have just don’t fit, but we’ve actually managed to acquire the worst and most overpaid collection of players in the league. so any GM is gonna think “hey, wait, i don’t wanna just fix the knicks problems!” it’s in their best interests to leave the knicks in an awful situation because a hungry and efficient NYK team is no fun to play in the playoffs.

    i think walsh will handle it well, cause he seems to be a class act. i think at this point that’s all you can ask, is for someone to conduct themselves well and not sexually harass employees, alienate players, or piss off the media.

  110. jrock

    also, one other thought – isn’t it odd how being a “playmaking” point guard is really just an issue of will and thinking, as opposed to physical gifts or talents? somebody like marbury arguably has the same level of physical prowess as nash or deron, yet you’d take either of the latter in an instant over the former. nash, paul, deron, etc. have simply decided to do what’s best for the team. they can shred you in their own ways when needed, but they focus on the overall team’s needs and do whatever is best.

    if somebody like nate could wake up one morning and say “you know what, i’m gonna do whatever it takes to win, even if that means averaging 5 points and 10 assists,” then you’d have a bona fide playmaking point guard, simply because he decided to dedicate himself and not play selfishly. he can’t decide to be a center all of the sudden, but he can decide to be efficient and focus on the needs of the team. we need more players like that.

  111. jon abbey

    “sn’t it odd how being a “playmaking” point guard is really just an issue of will and thinking, as opposed to physical gifts or talents?”

    no, there’s also a level of basketball intelligence (related to actual intelligence but not identical, overlapping) needed, and Marbury is a flat out idiot, on the court and off.

  112. T-Mart

    “i think at this point that’s all you can ask, is for someone to conduct themselves well and not sexually harass employees, alienate players, or piss off the media.”

    lol

    “somebody like marbury arguably has the same level of physical prowess as nash or deron, yet you’d take either of the latter in an instant over the former. nash, paul, deron, etc. have simply decided to do what’s best for the team.”

    I think your point is partially correct here. But I think the bigger problem here is that guys like Nate and Marbury simply do not have a high enough level of multi-tasking ability to facilitate being a Nash or Kidd level point guard. A specialized component of basketball IQ highly relevant to being a superior level point guard if you will. I think Marbury more so then Nate just doesn’t have it in him.

  113. jrock

    well it’s fair enough to say that, but you don’t know him enough to judge his actual level of intelligence, merely his public decisions. and i’m saying that if he decided to turn that aspect of his play around, he could do it – he’s not mentally retarded or anything. all he’d have to do is start passing and looking out for the team first. he’s not going to do that, of course – but he could, if he wanted to.

  114. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Anyone catch this in today’s NY Post?

    Donnie Walsh’s favorite movie…Billy Elliott?!?!

    That and his admiration for Richard Nixon make for ominous warning signs. Color me worried.

  115. jon abbey

    if you hear someone speak enough and watch the decisions they make, you can get a pretty good gauge of their IQ, both basketball and regular. maybe you can’t, but I can.

    on a related note, this is one reason I’m not nearly as sold as everyone else on Mark Jackson as our next coach (looking more and more like a fait accompli). I just don’t think he’s that smart, although it is true that for someone who was as poor of an athlete as him to succeed as much as he did in the league, he must have a very high basketball IQ.

    this is also why I wanted Joe Girardi to be the Yankee manager ever since hearing him call games 3-4 years back. I’ve never heard anyone offer nearly as much insight into the game.

  116. jrock

    yeah, i’m just saying that someone can mature and become a good decision maker if they choose to – i think stephen jackson is heading down that path more and more, hopefully. i think if you have a high enough basketball IQ to get into the NBA then you can adjust your game. marbury has just chosen not to.

    i’m all for thibodeau for coach, i think he’d kick ass and the team would start playing defense again.

    on another note, jamal crawford’s 3-for-16 shooting performance is helping us beat the magic at the moment! ahhh!

  117. Hudson River

    “and i’m saying that if he decided to turn that aspect of his play around, he could do it – he’s not mentally retarded or anything. all he’d have to do is start passing and looking out for the team first. he’s not going to do that, of course – but he could, if he wanted to.”

    Stephon Marbury is more physically gifted than any of those point guards except maybe Chris Paul, no question. Nash said in 2006 (or early 2007) that Stephon would beat him in 1-1 anytime if they ever played, which is probably true, but Nash has something Stephon will never and probably could never have, a completely different ability to notice minute details and keep an eye on where all 5 of his teammates are at all times. If you’ve ever played basketball that is truly extraordinary. A guy like Eddie House cannot simply become a great passer because he wants to just like Stephon Marbury can’t, just like a guy like Earl Watson can’t to the extent of Jason Kidd etc… I think it takes a certain personality or at least years and years and years of work.

  118. jon abbey

    Stephen Jackson was the third best player on a San Antonio title team. his issues have never been on the court.

    Marbury and Crawford quite possibly have the lowest IQ to talent ratio for any pair of starting guards in league history. this worked OK for Marbury while he still had superstar talent, but now that his legs have left him, he needs to rely on his brain now more than ever (think the successful transition of Ron Harper), and he’s simply not capable of it. put it this way, I think we’d all agree that different people have different intelligence levels. so if you take any given group of people, there will be a range from the smartest to the dumbest. Marbury is quite possibly the dumbest guy in the league, both on and off the court. Jamal’s stupidity seems to be more on the court.

    anyway, the fact that Orlando won’t take this game over is seriously pissing me off right now.

  119. Brian Cronin

    That troll is a tricksy one – let’s see if I got him this time.

    And yeah, the Orlando loss is a surprise.

    The Knicks need to keep losing, as they’re tied with Memphis right now in the win column.

  120. Ted Nelson

    Jrock,

    1) I think that both Ford and Hinrich have been in the league long enough to prove that they’re solid, if unspectacular, PGs: middle of the road guys.
    Again, I’m not advocating trading for either guy if it hurts the cap situation. My point was just that I think it makes a lot more sense to take the “best player/prospect available” in the draft than to reach for a PG. If you’re dying for a solid PG, you can get a guy whose proven that he can start on a winning team in the NBA rather than hoping Augustin is athletic enough or Westbrook can play the point.

    (Also Hinrich is a decent shooter: 35% on 3s and 50% TS% this season… he is a somewhat low volume scorer)

    2) You may be right that no one wants to touch anyone on the Knicks, but on the other hand some GMs might look at the Knicks situation and think that they’re so desperate to unload guys that you can get a talented guy whose weaknesses you can live with at a steep discount.
    It’s true that most Knicks vets are overpaid, but
    I agree that Curry and Crawford might have some value, especially because neither has a max deal.
    Certainly no one wants to “bail Walsh out,” but I also don’t think they’re going to avoid dealing with the Knicks in an attempt to keep them down. Teams will act in their own best interest: if they think making a given trade with the Knicks helps make them a better team and accomplish their offseason goals, they will.

    3) While there is certainly something to be said for working hard to learn the game and having a team first attiude, Jon and Hudson make some good points.
    Being able to see the court and the play before it develops is definitely a skill, and a pretty rare one. Not everyone can just decide they want to get a lot of assists and suddenly be Stockton, Kidd, Nash, or Magic. Just like not everyone can decide they want to be the best 3 point shooter in the league and become Reggie Miller.

  121. W.C.

    The strange thing about Marbury is that when he was at his peak he used to score 20+ AND get 8-9 assists per game. That’s a lot of assists.

    He was never in the same league as Nash, Paul, Deron Williams, Kidd etc.. in terms of passing and floor leadership, but it’s not like he couldn’t pass either.

    I think his major shortcoming was/is his personality and selfishness. His teamates often don’t like him because he put’s himself and his desires/needs/contract ahead of what’s best for the team etc…. It started in Minnesota and stayed that way throughout his career. He never matured into an adult with a desire to “win first”.

    The other problem is that when you have the big contract, are the #1 scoring option etc… you are expected to deliver down the stretch of games and hit the big baskets that are the difference between winning and losing the tight ones. Marbury is not that kind of player. If anything, his game goes down a notch at crunch time. That’s a huge factor in winning and losing the tight ones.

    I don’t want to compare Dirk to Steph for a variety of reasons, but that’s also why Dallas has had such diffculty winning close important games over the years. Dirk’s the perfect teammate and works like a dog, but his game often falls a notch at crunch time instead of rising up.

    Guys like that have a tough time getting a team over the hump when they are the “main man”. They also take a lot more heat for a team’s failures than they probably deserve for a single shortcoming.

  122. Frank

    WC – I have noticed the same thing about Marbury — it’s like he believed that Starbury was a scorer and nothing else. One of my best basketball memories was watching Steph vs. AI at the preseason NIT many moons ago when Marbury was a sophomore and AI was a freshman. They were both crazy athletic, and I remember watching Marbury make these passes in traffic that were so good (and unexpected) to his less-talented teammates that they would literally bounce off their chests when they were standing right under the basket. It’s been a long time since I saw Steph play like that in the pros – not sure if it’s just better defenders in the pros or what but he certainly seems to have lost (or chose to ignore) that amazing court vision.

    As an aside — Iverson brought so many oohs and aahs out of the crowd that day that it was obvious he was going to be a star even at 5’10″ or whatever he is. I kid you not — on one play he was on the wing beyond the 3 point line, matched up one on one — I blinked a normal blink — and when my eyes opened he was already at the rim. He is some sort of other species I think, especially considering many people think he was the best high school FOOTBALL player in Virginia history.

    if interested in AI’s greatness, check out this link: http://www.streetball.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1024073:BlogPost:6556

    And re: our beloved team — the only players I can see being part of a championship-level team are Lee, possibly Balkman if he could ever shoot straight, and possibly Nate as a Vinnie Johnson-like off the bench player. Curry will NEVER be a good defender or rebounder and Zach’s shortcomings are very well documented. Walsh really has his work cut out for him if he is going to turn this around within the next 2-3 years. If he can somehow load up on contracts expiring in 2010 even if it means trading contracts expiring in 2009 to get them (ie. Marbury’s contract for Jermaine O’Neal’s or Marbury’s for someone else expiring a year later + picks) it’s gotta be done.

  123. ess-dog

    OK I’m going to put on my GM cap and give you guys the secret ess-dog blueprint for the Knicks future:

    First thing to know is: We will not be able to move Randolph. That’s just how it is with the bad season we had, the GOOD season the Blazers had, and his massive contract. So we have to suck it up for a while and try to coach him up.
    He needs to start at PF and we need to surround him with proper talent.

    That means: Curry’s got to go. He has value somewhere, especially if we take back a bad contract. My suggestion would be to trade Curry for Lowry in Memphis and maybe take on Brian Cardinal’s contract too. This would be a good deal for Memphis, as they already have 2 great guard prospects in Critt and Conley. And Lowry can really move the ball around.
    Then we find a shot-blocking defensive center that can clog up the lane, maybe sign Diop or Pzrybilla.
    Then you’re ready for your draft. If we get the 1, we take Beasley. If we get the 2, we take Rose. If we’re at 4 or 5, we take Mayo, Douglas-Roberts or Westbrook. Then we start the draft pick in the backcourt with Marbury (or start Lowry with Marbury if the pick isn’t ready.) Start Marbury at SG if need be, and focus him on scoring and defense.

    So we could start:

    backcourt: Marbury and our pick (Mayo, D-R, Westbrook)
    frontcourt: Balkman and Chandler at SF, Randolph at PF and Diop at Center

    Then we have Lee off the bench getting 30 minutes at both PF and C.
    Crawford off the bench as a scoring off-guard.
    Lowry off the bench as backup PG and heir apparent when Marbury is gone.

    Then you have the flexibility to trade Balkman if Chandler blossoms and either Nate or Craw for draft picks or a better center.

    When Randolph’s contract is down to the last year or two and he proves he’s not horrible and can help a contender, we trade his expiring contract and then start Lee or else draft a power forward, creating room for LeBron.

    Of course, if we end up with Beasley, that changes the course, but if we get this pick right, and bring in a coach that can placate Zach and Marbury, we can at least improve and hold steady until we can shed our bad long-term contracts and maybe have a shot at King James.

  124. Hudson River

    Trading for Brian Cardinal, a longer contract, seems silly, as does signing Diop for another Mid-level exception deal. Trade Balkman/ Chandler and Curry for a deal that expires in two years (or a couple deals of the sort) and maybe if we get lucky the other team might throw in a guy like Lowry.

  125. W.C.

    >>we can at least improve and hold steady until we can shed our bad long-term contracts and maybe have a shot at King James.<<

    Perhaps the best thing that could happen is that we are not “stable” by next year and get another good lottery pick (top 10).

    I think it depends on whether Chandler, Morris, or Lee develops into an “all star” caliber player.

    IMO, in order to become a major contender you need 3 all star caliber (or close) players on a team (preferably one superstar among them), plus some decent role players elsewhere. Right now all we have is the role players.

    If we assume (big if) we get an all star caliber player out of the draft this year and get under the cap by 2010 and can sign one, we still need another. I’d love to know where we expect to get him unless one of Isiah’s picks suddenly develops into one.

    I do not envy Walsh.

    Not only does he need to get us under the salary cap by getting rid of all the dead wood by 2010, he can’t make a single mistake in the draft and has to pull at least one rabbit out of his hat to make us a contender in 3 years.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize what a disaster he’s taking over.

  126. daniel

    are the knicks so stupid as not to realize that a SUBSTANTIAL way to improve the team would to get as high as a draft pick as possible…if you were ever able to get Rose, a player Lebron is on record to love, the team would take a major step toward creating a viable future…therefor every win the rest of the way is a loss, a potentially devastating loss, as it makes a possibility of a top two draft choice that much less….so, nate robinson shouldn’t play the rest of the way – he doesn’t deserve to play, and the team put out there should be the raw-est possible, just like Miami is doing, a team that has won a championship recently, and I bet will be back in the thik of things soon, with a Rose/Wade/Marrion template that will be pretty damn good. The Knicks on the other hand, excitedly beat the Magic, when every win could be worse than any loss they have suffered the last five years.

  127. daniel

    and it’s so, so stupid to have a topic regarding Walsh, when I’d dump Wals in a second to get Derick Rose — the Knicks blew their chance last night to get the the third worst record going into the lottery – they’ve probaly dropped from third, which would give them a %15.6 chance of getting the top picket, to fifth %8.8, ro sixth %6.3….so, good luck Knicks, I hope you win out the rest of the way, and Isiah prove’s he has heart!!!…..again, the only thing that could take a real step to fix this team at this point would to get a high draft choice, not hire a 67 year president that has never won a title…..

  128. ari

    If Donnie Walsh knows the value of the team’s draft
    pick, how can the Knicks possibly put out a team that
    would win any games the rest of the way? The “win”
    last night over Orlando is a potentially devastating
    loss, possibly reducing the teams chance of getting
    the top pick by more than half, from over %15 to maybe
    %6.3…..the only way at this point for the Knicks to
    take steps towards a viable future would be to get as
    high a draft choice, they should do everything in
    their power to make that as strong of a possiblitiy as
    possible. What Miami is doing is terrribly
    intelligent, and proves why that franchise runs
    circles around the Knicks – despite their dismal
    season, the Heat are planning for the future…Losing
    is the only way that the Knicks could now make
    something out of their season now, but as proved last
    night by celebrating a victory over Orlando, nothing
    will ever change with this franchise. Sorry, say what
    you want about Donnie Walsh, if I had my choice as
    a Knicks fan, I’d take Derrick Rose over Donnie Walsh
    any day.

  129. W.C.

    Winning last night (or any of the other remaining games) was/is a monumental disaster. It’s so stupid, it might be Isiah’s way of sabotaging us because he knows he’s going to get fired. Even if that’s the case, all the players that are assured of remaining in the NBA should be dumping their asses off. The only guys that should be trying are Chandler, Morris, Balkman, and Mardy Collins because they are fighting for jobs.

  130. jon abbey

    it’s not a monumental disaster, it’s an incremental disaster. we still have a pretty good shot at 4th worst record if we lose out, Memphis still has another game against Minnesota and one against Miami.

  131. ari

    don’t expect us to lose out, the knicks have games against detroit/boston – games in which those teams starters will sit out, and these knicks are so dumb as to get “pumped up” to “beat” elite teams down the stretch – and since Isiah knows he’s most likely a goner, it’s very conceivable that he’ll try to win those games to stick it to the organization – again, the knicks can hire and fire anybody, what they need is the ability to get players that can play, and the only way they can do that with any real improvement at this point is the draft, and the possibility of a Derrick Rose, or Michael Beasly – the possibility of the best player available to them. So at this point, saying that doing something that reduces those chances “incremental” is really ignoring the obvious – losing every single game at this point is really all the Knicks can do to redeem something from this season. And last night’s victory, as well as any the rest of way, just will do more to delay and chance for a good future.

  132. ess-dog

    Relax on the “devastating wins” everybody. How often does one of the worst 3 teams get the top pick? Rarely. Remember the whiny Boston fans last year? Of course, I would like to get that 4th spot so the worst we could place is 7th, right? Which is unlikely.
    I’m feeling positive about the Knicks right now (maybe because I’ve stopped watching them.)
    -Walsh was definitely the right move as prez.
    -The change in media policy is a great thing.
    -Chandler looks like he could develop into an interesting component.
    -We have a top 7 draft pick in a very deep draft.
    -We could potentially bring in a great coach (if Detroit gets bounced early this year, what about Flip Saunders? Lots of good options out there.)
    -oh yeah, and ZEKE IS ALMOST GONE!
    Yes our salary cap’s a mess and we gave away way too many draft picks, but if the Celtics can turn it around, so can we. Chemistry and intelligent coaching are the keys.
    Curry’s got to go. Crawford’s fg% makes me sick to my stomach. Hell, I would turn Curry into Brian Cardinal straight up at this point (how did Cardinal get that contract anyway… oh right, Saint Jerry West…) If we could get Lowry I think it’s worth it. James, Q, Jeffries… they will be real problems to move. We’ll just have to wait it out, coach up the young’ns.
    Feel the positivity, Knicks fans!

  133. Ray

    ess….i coulndt have said it better myself. Chances of us getting Derrick Rose are slim to none. We only hurt those chances with this foolish win vs Orlando. Who cares!!! Look at D. Rose today you could see a bunch of weaknesses. Damn those Kansas guards can play some D! Chalmers and Robinson, those are some quality guys. They are the same size as Collison and played far better D. CDR was still impressive. He will be very good at the next level. They had to use moving traps to stop him from scoring. If we get lucky we might end up with Rose. If not we might get a Bayless or Mayo. One of these guys might turn out better than Rose or equal. YOU DONT KNOW. We’ll have to wait and………..

  134. jbug187

    what did everyone think of derrick rose last night? they said something about him still having a stomach bug during the game. Even so, I just wasn’t very impressed. I think Isiah would love him because he looks like he’s all offense, but the fact is if we’re going to draft a young PG to build around he shouldn’t be a shoot first guard. We need a play-making distributer who can lock down on the defensive end. Didn’t see much of either of those things last night. What were everyone else’s impressions?

    PS – Just picked up an Oakley’s Car Wash t-shirt the other day in BK. Real recognize real. Dig?

  135. Ray

    HEy Rose was ok last night. Maybe an off game . Maybe he has a tough time vs superior defenders. I dont know. I dont think he took the game into his own hands enough. I just saw him giving the ball up too early and not making somthing happen. He didnt look to get into the paint enough and would dish to CDR and try to make him do something. Its a growth process for him. I think he’ll be ok. Im sensing a bit too much hype around him though. Still like Deron Williams better.

  136. jimmy p

    D. Rose

    Watching Rose this year I don’t think it would be fair to call him a “shoot-first” guard. If anything he should be more aggressive with his shot. Liked very much how he penetrated and moved and then distributed the ball.

    When they needed his offense he stepped it up and made plays and sunk shots. Will be great playing for the Knicks new coach.

  137. Thomas B.

    For those who doubt Isiah’s eye for drafting talented players, I present to you Wilson Chandler.

    David Lee, Nate Robinson, Renaldo Balkman, and Wilson Chandler were all fine picks. I mean, who had even heard of Chandler when we drafted him?

    I hope that Walsh finds a way to keep Thomas as a lead scout or director of player development. Somehing that keeps him away from the bench and the trade phones.

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