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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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!

Enjoy!

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!

16 comments on “Top 25 Favorite Knicks of the Modern Era: #16-15

  1. Spree8nyk8

    Wow someone made the list that I never even heard of lol. Kurt Thomas I did like though….cool.

    My funny story for the day. Yesterday my dad was calling me up because he bets football on bodog and wanted to see what I thought about his picks. Earlier in the season bodog gave him a free 100 dollar bet on the NBA and I picked a 2 team parlay for him that won 250. So I was asking him about the lines last night and when he told me the lines I told him I liked Dallas but that game was starting so it was too late. When I looked at the line I liked Portland and the over which was 177. And I liked the clippers and the under which was 213. I asked him to check how much a 25 dollar bet on a 4 way parlay would pay and he told me it would pay 300. He normally bets 50 or 100 so I didn’t think a 25 dollar bet would bother him. So I told him to put the 25 dollar parlay in, but he said he wasn’t interested. Anyway I wrote my picks down and went to bed and sure enough this morning when I looked that parlay had hit. I called him up and told him “I coulda made you 300 last night but you wouldn’t listen’. And he told me that he saw that that had hit, but then he told me that he actually did put the bet in, but he didn’t bet 25. He raised it up and that parlay hit for 700!!!

    SICK! So he’s going to keep that on the side and let me pick some games for him the rest of the season and at the end of the year we’ll split anything that’s made. :)

  2. Thomas B.

    So Thomas and Richardson are tied for 6th in the modern era? Years ago Mike Breen was doing a game with Walt Frazier and Mike says: “You know Kurt Thomas led the led country in both scoring and rebounding his senior year.” Clyde says: “Yeah, what country?”

    If memory serves, Thomas was the first draft pick of the Miami Heat after Pat Riley left the Knicks. I was hoping the he would be the compensation to NY for tampering. Alas no.

  3. BigBlueAL

    I always liked Kurt Thomas. He just missed out on my Top 10 list.

    I was too young to remember Michael Ray but I did see a documentary on him, pretty tragic stuff. He did though it seems put his life back together when he went to Europe.

  4. Robert Silverman

    How can you mention Sugar Ray without including this memorable exchange from the ’81-’82 season (I think Pete Vescey was the reporter):

    REPORTER: What do you think is happening to the team?
    RICHARDSON: The ship be sinking.
    REPORTER: How far can it sink?
    RICHARDSON: Sky’s the limit.

    That’s pure dadaist gold.

  5. Z

    100% off topic, but since this is an advanced stat site, figured I’d post it–

    Did y’all know Moneyball: The Movie is being filmed right now? Brad Pitt is playing Billy Beane, Jonah Hill is DePodesta, and Phil Hoffman is Art Howe. Made me laugh, imagining the sex-scenes they’ll have to add to make the sabermetrics more exciting.

    Can’t wait for Layman’s Guide to Advanced Stats to come out next, starring George Clooney as Mike K. and Russell Crowe as Ted Nelson :)

  6. Robert Silverman

    Even weirder is the fact that former SF Giants/Brewers/etc. shortstop Royce Clayton is playing Miguel Tejada.

  7. latke

    yahoo is reporting that ‘Melo would extend with the Nets if they bring several other pieces along with him: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ahpd3icktNg8rVsDxtcuOka8vLYF?slug=aw-anthonytalks122110

    If the nets hadn’t foolishly committed $14 million to petro, outlaw, and Morrow, they would have been able to use a couple of their 8 million 1st round picks to bring in Iguodala (their cap space would allow the $s to not match), which would have made the nets probably a 45-48 win team. No one wants to take back those stupid contracts in a trade though, so it will be a lot harder for the nets to make a second move for a real talent.

  8. Doug

    latke: yahoo is reporting that ‘Melo would extend with the Nets if they bring several other pieces along with him: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ahpd3icktNg8rVsDxtcuOka8vLYF?slug=aw-anthonytalks122110If the nets hadn’t foolishly committed $14 million to petro, outlaw, and Morrow, they would have been able to use a couple of their 8 million 1st round picks to bring in Iguodala (their cap space would allow the $s to not match), which would have made the nets probably a 45-48 win team.No one wants to take back those stupid contracts in a trade though, so it will be a lot harder for the nets to make a second move for a real talent.  

    Two of the “pieces” mentioned in the article were Billups and Harrington. Oh my.

  9. Z-man

    Robert Silverman: Even weirder is the fact that former SF Giants/Brewers/etc. shortstop Royce Clayton is playing Miguel Tejada.  

    Didn’t Royce Clayton win an Oscar for best supporting actor in “The Rookie”? ;-}

  10. Brian Cronin

    How can you mention Sugar Ray without including this memorable exchange from the ’81-’82 season (I think Pete Vescey was the reporter):

    REPORTER: What do you think is happening to the team?
    RICHARDSON: The ship be sinking.
    REPORTER: How far can it sink?
    RICHARDSON: Sky’s the limit.

    That’s pure dadaist gold.

    Good point, Robert – that is definitely a legendary quote.

    By the way, speaking of legendary quotes, where do you stand on the “Fo-fo-fo” quote by Moses Malone? It is now part of the basketball lexicon, but should the writers not have made such a big deal out of how the black guy talked? It seems kinda racist, looking back at it.

  11. Z-man

    I remember that well, and it was more about Moses than anything else; he was sort of the Yogi Berra of those NBA days…, or as Clyde might put it, loquacious and malapropacious.

    Love this assessment in Vescey’s column:

    “This just in: Orlando informs us Arenas passed his physical. His mental is a whole other story.”

  12. hoolahoop

    For those too young to know Michael Ray Richardson, he was probably the most exciting Knick of all time. . . and right up there with Bernard King for best end to end scorers. He had a great game and good heart, but was party crazy.

  13. Nick C.

    hoolahoop: For those too young to know Michael Ray Richardson, he was probably the most exciting Knick of all time. . . and right up there with Bernard King for best end to end scorers. He had a great game and good heart, but was party crazy.  (Quote)

    He and Ray Williams were a pretty exciting backcourt for a while and the 79-80 50 win team with Cartwright as a rookie, Michael Ray coming into his own, Ray continuing, and Red Holtzman (in a return to coaching IIRC) were the first Knicks team I can remember being excited about as they won 50 games.

  14. ThomasBK

    Grew up in France and Sugar Ray indeed salvaged his carreer while playing in Antibes. Such a talent even playing in his 40′s.

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