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!