Top 25 Favorite Knicks of the Modern Era: #16-15
We continue our look at who you voted for as your top 25 favorite Knicks of the Modern Era (1979-present, also known as the “Three-Point Era,” as that is when the three-pointer was adopted by the NBA)! Every weekday we will reveal two more Knicks until we reach #1! Click here for a master list of all Knicks revealed so far!
16. Kurt Thomas
After missing basically two of the first three seasons of his career to injuries, Kurt Thomas came to the Knicks in 1999 amidst fears of fragility. When he left the team after seven seasons with the team, he had missed twelve games combined in those seven seasons! Thomas, in many ways, was a throwback to the Knicks teams of the early-to-mid 1990s, a fearless (and often reckless) defender who would fight you on defense and would also fight you for a rebound, Thomas was just the sort of player that Jeff Van Gundy loved to coach, and Van Gundy relied on Thomas a lot during his years with the Knicks. The six foot nine inch Thomas was signed as a power forward, but played center his last few seasons with the team (and remarkably held his own against much bigger players). Once Van Gundy left the team, it seemed like only a matter of time until Thomas was traded (he was one of the few Knicks who other teams actually wanted during those early Isiah years) and finally, in 2005 Thomas was traded on Draft Night to the Phoenix Suns for Quentin Richardson (the Knicks and Suns also swapped draft picks, netting the Knicks Nate Robinson). Thomas played well for the Suns until they unceremoniously dumped him to save a little money. Thomas currently plays for the Chicago Bulls, but at 38 years of age, he’s more of a mentor than an actual player.
In his seven seasons with the Knicks, Kurt Thomas produced 37.9 win shares (good for sixth most among all Knicks during the Modern Era). For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
15. Micheal Ray Richardson
In the history of the New York Knicks, only one Knick player has ever led the league in assists per game. Similarly, only one player has ever led the league in steals per game (granted, steals were not even kept track of until the 1973-74 season). Micheal Ray Richardson is that player, and he did in the same season!!
Drafted with the 4th overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, Richardson had a bit of a quiet rookie season for the Knicks, but took a dramatic shift in his second season, going from 17 minutes a game to 37 minutes a game. In that second season, 1979-80, Richardson led the league in assists and steals, making the All-Star Game and the All-Defensive First Team. Richardson would make the All-Star team in his second, third and fourth season. However good of a player Richardson was, he had personal issues that made the Knicks question if he was worth keeping (including drug problems), and after the 1981-82 season, the Knicks sent him to Golden State Warriors as compensation for the Knicks signing Bernard King as a free agent. The Warriors sent him to the New Jersey Nets the next season and he had a ressurection of his career in 1984-85, going back to the All-Star Game. Sadly, Richardson’s drug problems resulted in him being suspended for life from the NBA in 1986. His suspension was lifted in 1988, but Richardson never played in the NBA again. Richardson played in the Continental Basketball Association for a few years (winning a title with the Albany Patroons) and played in Europe for more than a decade!
Richardson had been coaching in the CBA for years, but currently he is the head coach of Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry in the Premier Basketball League.
In his four seasons with the Knicks, Micheal Ray Richardson produced 18.4 win shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!