Top 25 Favorite Knicks of the Modern Era: #20-19
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!
20. Xavier McDaniel
Xavier McDaniel was taken with the fourth pick of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics. He was quickly a crowd favorite with his hard-nosed style of play and his strong scoring, averaging over 17 points a game in his rookie season, which was good enough to get him second place in the Rookie of the Year balloting behind some Knick center (whatever happened to that guy?). Dubbed the “X-Man,” McDaniel shaved his head and his eyebrows throughout his professional career, I presume to be more intimidating. He was a very aggressive defender, and he took great pride in playing the best small forwards in the game (most Larry Bird documentaries will show you some of the tough confrontations Bird and McDaniel had). He was eventually dealt to the Phoenix Suns after averaging over 20 points a game in four straight seasons for Seattle. Phoenix then sent him on to the Knicks at the start of the 1991-92 season. McDaniel’s tough defense made him an easy fit for the Pat Riley-era Knick squads and he had a memorable entanglement with Scottie Pippen during the 1991-92 NBA Playoffs, where the Knicks and the Bulls played an extremely hard-fought seven-game series. McDaniel was a free agent after the season, and sadly for the Knicks departed to the Boston Celtics, where he had his last few good years.
In his one season with the Knicks, Xavier McDaniel produced 4.6 Win Shares (more than Herb Williams produced his entire career as a Knick). For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
19. Landry Fields
What can I tell you about this already beloved Knick rookie? The four-year player at Stanford was seemingly over-looked by many NBA scouts, although it is personally my theory that a number of teams downplayed their interest in Fields because they didn’t want him to get drafted before they could snare him with a second-round pick (specifically, I think the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs were both on top of Fields, as were perhaps the Phoenix Suns). Instead, it was the Knicks who picked Fields with the second of their back-to-back second-round picks, #39 overall. You all already know what he’s done as a Knick to make everyone love him – he’s a hustler, a good defender, a great rebounder, an efficient scorer, a prototypical “fills the stat sheet” player. Hopefully we’ll get to enjoy him for many more years to come!
In his quarter of a season with the Knicks, Landry Fields has produced 2.0 Win Shares (more than Ken “the Animal” Bannister, Malik Rose and Mardy Collins produced in their Knick years combined). For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
Check back Monday for the next two Knicks on the list!
NOTE: Just to keep y’all from fretting about this list having too many current Knicks, only two other current Knicks are on the list. I don’t think three current Knicks is too much, considering the Knicks are good again for the first time in nearly a decade.