Top 25 Favorite Knicks of the Modern Era: #25-21
We asked you folks to vote and you did! Now let us find out who you picked 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)! On the first day, we’ll start with a whopping five Knicks, then it will be two Knicks every weekday until your favorite Knick is revealed!
NOTE: A quick word about Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe. A number of you voted for Frazier, but do note that he never played for the Knicks during the Three-Point Era. However, interestingly enough, Monroe did play one year in the Modern Era, so he would have been eligible, but obviously not many people realized that, so Monroe did not get a lot of support. So neither player is on this list. I just figured I’d let you know now so you wouldn’t be curious later.
25. Doc Rivers
Glenn “Doc” Rivers was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks in 1983. He went on to be their main point guard for most of the next seven seasons, teaming up with Dominique Wilkins in a potent offense. The Hawks traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1991, where he was their starting point guard for a season. The Clippers then traded him to the Knicks the following season. Rivers was the Knicks starting point guard when they won 60 games in 1992-93! Rivers mostly split time with Greg Anthony at the point, though. It was not like he was a dominant starter. So when he had trouble with injuries the next season, he was replaced as the starter by the newly-acquired Derek Harper. The next season, with Harper and Anthony (and newly drafted Charlie Ward), there was no more room for Rivers, so the Knicks dealt him to the Spurs, where he finished out his playing career. Rivers eventually became a coach, winning the Coach of the Year in 2000 with the Orlando Magic and winning an NBA Title with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
In his short time with the Knicks, Doc Rivers produced 8.0 Win Shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
24. Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the 2000 NBA Draft and quickly dealt to the Chicago Bulls. He played for the Bulls for four seasons before being traded to the Knicks. He played for the Knicks for a little over four seasons. In every year with the Knicks, he was either their leading or second-leading scorer, capped off by leading the Knicks in scoring in 2007-08 with over 20 points a game. Crawford scored a career-high 52 points in a game for the Knicks in 2007. And who could forget the dramatic game-winner he made against Denver where, in a tie game, he lost the ball, stole it back and then hit a running three-pointer with seconds left in the game! At the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Crawford was traded to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington. Crawford was later traded to the Atlanta Hawks where he revitalized his career, winning the NBA’s Sixth-Man of the Year Award for the 2009-10 season.
In his four-plus years with the Knicks, Jamal Crawford produced 16.9 Win Shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
23. Rod Strickland
Rod Strickland’s Knick career was an odd one. The point guard was drafted with the #19 overall pick in the first round of the 1988 NBA Draft. That’s not weird, the weird thing is that the Knicks had used a first round pick on point guard Mark Jackson the previous season! Jackson and Strickland were very different types of player, and them sharing the point guard role was kind of odd, but Strickland was so exciting as a player that most Knick fans did not care, as he was a dynamic offensive player. However, after just a season and a half, the Knicks realized the combo just wasn’t going to work, so they traded Strickland for veteran point guard Maurice Cheeks (oddly enough, they traded Mark Jackson too, pretty soon, so maybe they should have just kept Strickland if they were going to dump Jackson). Strickland went on to have a strong (and long) NBA career, highlighted by making the All-NBA second team in 1997-98 for the Washington Bullets (they were the Bullets then, right?).
In his year and a half with the Knicks, Rod Strickland produced 3.7 Win Shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
22. Bill Cartwright
Bill Cartwright was a coup for the Knicks, in that they traded Bob McAdoo for the Boston Celtics’ first round pick (plus other picks) which became the third overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft. They used this pick on Bill Cartwright, who would help man the middle for the Knicks for the next eight seasons!! Cartwright was a dominant young player (as dominant as he was quiet) and he averaged over 20 points a game in each of his first two seasons in the NBA! He also made his first (and only) All-Star Game appearance in his rookie season. Cartwright suffered a number of injuries to his left foot (it was fractured four separate times!), leading to him missing the 1984-85 season (and most of the 1985-86 season) entirely! After the Knicks awful 1984-85 season without him, they won the first NBA lottery and drafted center Patrick Ewing with the #1 pick. That, naturally, made Ewing the new dominant center for the Knicks. The team tried to play the two together (as a prototypical “Twin Towers” lineup), but it did not work out so well, so the Knicks dealt Cartwright to the Chicago Bulls after the 1987-88 season for power forward Charles Oakley. The move worked out well for both teams, as Cartwright went on to be the starting center for three straight Bulls championship teams. After a season in Seattle, Cartwright retired in 1995.
In his eight seasons with the Knicks, Bill Cartwright produced 56.8 Win Shares (only two Knicks have produced more during the Modern Era). For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
21. Gerald Wilkins
Gerald Wilkins was drafted with a pick the Knicks acquired as compensation for the Boston Celtics signing Knick guard Sly Williams. A great defensive player, Wilkins was a key member of the Knicks for most of his seven seasons with the team from 1985-86 through 1991-92. Wilkins is the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins and he also participated in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest twice (he did not do so well). Wilkins was particularly important to the Knicks as someone who could guard Michael Jordan. Wilkins actually was once named NBA Player of the Week in 1991!! However, by the end of his time with the Knicks, Wilkins began to lose time at the 2 to John Starks, so after the 1991-92 season he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent. He finished his career with the Orlando Magic, actually getting to play with his brother in his last season! His son, Damian, currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks.
In his seven seasons with the Knicks, Gerald Wilkins produced 23.2 Win Shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
Tune in tomorrow for #20-19!