So, we are once again being told that Eddy Curry has worked his way back into some semblance of playing shape. He is back at practice and close to returning, media outlets are reporting, after having dropped significant weight on a plan implemented by team officials.
Somehow I doubt the longtimers here at Knickerblogger are going to jump up and down with glee over the prospect of a triumphant return from Curry. Certainly, healthy skepticism is in order when it comes to claims that Curry has finally turned the proverbial corner. Assuming that he’s lost the kind of weight implied in the article he’s lost it in a relatively short period of time. Rapid weight loss can frequently be an illusion, and lead to a yo-yo effect where people gain it back just as rapidly once they return to something like their normal lifestyles. (I’m looking at you Chuck Wagon.) You may be thinking, “Well, Curry is playing pro basketball. Once he loses the weight he should be able to keep it off just by playing every night.” Remember, Curry was reportedly in the 320s while he was playing. A second potential issue is that Curry was not just overweight. He was also injured (no doubt at least partially attributable to his obesity). Should he re-injure himself, how likely is he to stay on the straight and narrow path?
Having said all that, I’m rooting for Eddy Curry the person this round. I’d like to see him become the functional (if flawed) role player he can be. Like Darko Milicic, the days of hoping Curry will blossom into a star have long since past. His shortcomings as a player, have been well-chronicled on this site. So I won’t recount them, except to say that at his best he offers uber-efficient low post scoring. And that’s about it.
In most respects the Knicks don’t need Curry, at least in the sense that his performance–good or bad–doesn’t fundamentally change our fortunes. The time when his play determined the fate of the franchise has past (this June’s draft notwithstanding). So there’s really no reason not to root for him now. Isiah Thomas is gone and Curry has virtually nothing left but the tattered remains of what was once a promising career. (Well, that and millions in guaranteed money–but, you know what I mean.) So the only question left for him is can he pick up the pieces enough to just be a useful role player? Being unable to outplay your flaws isn’t shameful. Lot’s of guys never do. But you become a monstrous disappointment in my book when you loaf and eat yourself out of the league. Curry is playing to not be that guy, and really we should all be rooting for that. The evidence strongly suggests that this is just another start destined to run out of steam in a career full of fits and starts. But, on a team with very few compelling reasons to watch I can’t help but be intrigued. And even though I’m still skeptical, because Eddy Curry has burned me before, I’ll be rooting for the guy.