Top 25 Favorite Knicks of the Modern Era: #6-5

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!


6. David Lee

Man, looking back, it took until his fourth season with the Knicks before David Lee was a full-time starter. How crazy is that?

Anyhow, David Lee was drafted with the last pick in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft, directly following Ian Mahinmi and the immortal Wayne Simien. What’s interesting is that while Isiah Thomas ostensibly gets the credit for drafting Lee, he was hellbent against taking Lee, and had to be convinced by an assistant GM who Isiah basically told “you better be right about this because it is on you if he doesn’t work out.” Well, work out he did. In fact, in Lee’s first season, he stood out so much that Larry Brown, who haaaaaaaates rookies, put him into the starting lineup for a stretch where the Knicks won six games in a row. Sadly, Lee then got injured and when he returned it was back to the bench.

The next couple of seasons were filled with two things – 1. Marveling at Lee’s rebounding and efficient scoring and 2. Wondering when Isiah would trade him for some lame player.

Luckily, Lee played so well that he basically forced Isiah to keep him around, and when Mike D’Antoni showed up, there was concern that D’Antoni would not be a fan of Lee’s game, but instead, D’Antoni eventually handed Lee the keys to the offense in 2009-10, leading to David Lee’s first All-Star appearance (he almost made the team in 2008-09, he was the next guy on the list if someone got injured).

During the 2010 offseason, though, the Knicks had the opportunity to get Amar’e Stoudemire, who was even better than Lee, so they did a sign and trade with Golden State for three players (one of which, Ronny Turiaf, actually plays for the Knicks).

In his five seasons with the Knicks, David Lee produced 36.3 win shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!

5. Allan Houston

Before the 2010 offseason, 1996 was the last time that the Knicks had enough cap room to actually go out and get a good free agent. Their spoils in the 1996 offseason was point guard Chis Childs and shooting guard Allan Houston. The addition of the sharpshooting Houston allowed the Knicks to make John Starks a sixth man, a role in which he thrived (winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1997). The Knicks had a great regular season, but fell in the 1997 NBA Playoffs, with Allan Houston being suspended in Game 6 of the Semi-Finals. Houston had a decent Game 7, but it was too little, too late.

The next season, with Patrick Ewing missing most of the season, Houston was forced to become the Knicks’ #1 scoring option, and he averaged nearly 20 points a game.

In the Knicks 1999 run to the NBA Finals, Houston hit the biggest shot in the playoffs, as he won Game 5 of the first round (winner takes all) with a running lay-up with less than a second left. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Houston put on a scoring display in the clinching game against Indiana, putting up 32 points. The only win the Knicks had in the 1999 NBA Finals was a game Houston went off in, scoring 34 points.

Houston was an All-Star in 2000 and 2001. After the latter season, the Knicks re-signed Houston to a six-year/$100 million extension. That did not work out so well, as knee injuries led to Houston missing a chunk of 2003-04 and almost all of 2004-05, causing Houston to retire in 2005. So in 2006 and 2007, Houston was one of the highest-paid players in the NBA despite not even playing in the league.

However, at least before the injury, Houston was pretty much the only bright spot in the 2001-02 and the 2002-03 seasons, including a remarkable 53 point game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nowadays, Houston is an assistant to Knick General Manager Donnie Walsh. Houston might very well be the Knicks’ next General Manager.

In his seven full seasons and two partial seasons with the Knicks, Allan Houston produced 45.5 win shares (fourth-most win shares during the three-point era). For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!

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14 thoughts to “Top 25 Favorite Knicks of the Modern Era: #6-5”

  1. Man, I never truly loved Houston’s game, too one-dimensional and too little passion … but I will never forget that runner against Miami. Remember, we were the 8 seed in the strike-shortened season and carried it all the way to the finals! Magical stuff.

    Glad to see Spree beats Houston in the popularity contest :)

    (Unless I am completely wrong, Starks, Oakley, Ewing, and Spree have got to be the remainder, right?)

  2. Im sure Ill get alot of crap for this, but no way in hell should Lee be this high. I didnt even have him listed in my Top 10 and to be honest never even considered him.

  3. I love D Lee and put him high on my list … but I *am* surprised that he topped Amar’e.

    David plays a very entertaining, energetic style of ball, always hustling, and was really the ONLY bright spot of the past 5 years. Without him, damn, the Knicks would have been completely unwatchable. Heck, even with him, they were unwatchable at times.

    Even though Amar’e has only been around for 30ish games, he’s playing an equally entertaining style but the Knicks are *winning*. I imagine the results’ll be different after this season is over, assuming things continue to go well.

  4. We all love Starks, of course, but Houston brought beauty to a Knicks team that sorely needed it. Sure, he’s a little bland, but Houston had a gorgeous shot. And we should never forget the kind of abuse shooting guards took in that not-so-distant era. Let’s see Steph Curry shoot as well as he does with Dan Majerle draped across his body.

    Funny note on the past: Houston came up on a Pistons team that still had several pieces from the championship run: Dumars, Isiah (!), and Lambier. And in Houston’s second year, the Pistons drafted Grant Hill. Too bad it was only Hill who was able to put his body back together and play meaningful games in his late 30’s.

  5. I’m glad Lee made it all the way to #6. Any fans (like me) of the classic Brit series, “The Prisoner,” (or even the godawful A&E remake with Jim “Jeebus” Caveziel) will understand the historical/cultural significance of said number, especially since our Davey-Boy was so clearly trapped on an island (Manhattan) that was seemingly a luxury resort but was actually a well-decorated jail for a player of D.Lee’s talents.

    That said, like the original series, it seems our Number Six has escaped the ward of MSG/Zeke/Dolan, only to find a newer, but equally frustrating Alcatraz in SF/Oakland.

    (Someone stop me before I drive this meme into the ground)

    “I am not a number, I am a free man!”
    — Number Six

  6. I was at the laker game Houston went off at. I remember him scoring 55, not 54. I thin it was a month after he dropped 50 on the Bucks. I could be wrong, though. Those were really dark days.

    And I’m, frankly, surprised Spre beats Houston in a popularity contest. I liked Spre more, but Houston was a better player for the Knicks, and contributed to more successful Knick teams. He was also a consummate professional.

    And I get that we all loved Starks at the time, but now, top 4? Really? I thought he’d lose to Houston, Camby (my #1 easily), Lee, and Mason.

  7. Houston scored 53 vs the Lakers then as you mentioned he dropped 50 on the Bucks at MSG.

    I understand why most fans liked Spree more than Houston but Houston was by far the better Knick. I had Houston #2 behind Ewing. Also again I understand all the love for Starks and I loved him too but to be honest watching Houston and Spree made me lose some appreciation for Starks because quite frankly they were so much better than him (or at least looked like they were alot better than him).

    Statistically Houston was better than him offensively, Spree actually statistically is almost identical to Starks. But Starks wasnt capable of carrying the team on offense which was apparent many times when he tried to unfortunately. Houston as mentioned before scored over 50 twice in a game while Spree scored in the high 40’s a few times for the Knicks while Starks never scored 40 points in a game. Also in the playoffs both Houston and Spree scored 30 or more points in a game 5 times (Houston famously doing so in Game 5 vs the Heat in 1998 plus Game 6 vs Indiana in 1999 and in the only win vs the Spurs that same year) while Starks did it only once.

    Hey I loved all 3 and if I remember correctly I think I had all 3 in my Top 5 along with Ewing and Oak (LJ mightve been in Top 5 for Spree or Starks dont quite remember now lol) but it is funny how Starks seems to be so much more popular than Houston at least.

  8. BigBlueAL: Houston scored 53 vs the Lakers then as you mentioned he dropped 50 on the Bucks at MSG.  

    53, huh? Think you may be right. I think he may have missed 2 FTs at the end (his only two misses I think), which would have given him 55. Knew it was an odd number, though. 54 just looked wrong.

  9. Z:
    53, huh? Think you may be right. I think he may have missed 2 FTs at the end (his only two misses I think), which would have given him 55. Knew it was an odd number, though. 54 just looked wrong.  

    Just looked at the box score again and yeah it was 53. He did miss 2 ft’s that game (18 for 29 fg, 4 for 5 3pt, 13 for 15 ft) but couldnt find a pbp for the game so dunno when that happened. I didnt see the game personally though only the highlights.

  10. Thanks BBA. Those missed FTs were both in or near the final minute. I remember how exciting it was to be at that game. I’d been at a game in the early 90s when Ewing scored 50. Couldn’t believe I was witnessing it again. (in fact, I’m not so sure there had been a Knicks player score a 50 point game between the two! Can you look that one up too?! (If not, I thin it was just me, Clyde, and mike Saunders who can say they were in the building for both of the 50 point games by a Knick in that span!))

  11. I had to join just to let you know that there is no way in Hell that David Lee could rated higher than Bernard King. Bernard carried the Knicks into the playoffs against a venerable Boston team. David Lee carried the Knicks to the lottery in successive years. This was a beuaty show right?

  12. On King v. Lee: a lot of posters were not born or were too young to remember when King last played almost 25 years ago, but everyone remembers Lee. Now if it was a best player award with all due respect to Lee but it should be unanimous that King was better. But its hard to have a favorite player that you never saw.

  13. Best Knick, David Lee #6???????????????
    That doesn’t say much for the credibility of this forum. . . or that there are a lot of very young guys posting here.

  14. hoolahoop: Best Knick, David Lee #6???????????????
    That doesn’t say much for the credibility of this forum. . .or that there are a lot of very young guys posting here.  

    It’s FAVORITE Knick, not best Knick. Top 25 favorite Knicks ever. That is the list.

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