Knicks Sign Jonathan Bender

The Knicks have signed free agent Jonathan Bender, who has been out of the NBA since the end of 2005 due to injury problems.

For a player who has not played in four years (and played parts of seven seasons in the NBA), Bender is remarkably “only” 28 (although he turns 29 in a month).

Bender, you might recall, was the player Donnie Walsh traded Antonio Davis for before the 1999 NBA season and never really delivered on the promise of the fifth overall selection, but he has battled injury problems basically his entire NBA career.

This sounds like the sort of low risk/high upside moves that you like to see. Bender likely will not amount to much, but if he could put his skills together, he is a six foot eleven inch guy with an outside shot (career 34% 3-point shooter, but during his short “peak,” was closer to 36%).

Thanks to commenter marxster for noting Real GM’s announcement of the move, which quoted Walsh as saying:

Jonathan has worked extremely hard in preparing himself for a return to the NBA. I know him to be a young man of the highest character from my relationship with him that dates back 10 years to his rookie year and I think he will be a fine addition to our team both on and off the court.

At least it is something to talk about during these annoyingly long lay-offs between games!

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63 thoughts to “Knicks Sign Jonathan Bender”

  1. Wonder how he’s been preparing for his comeback. Would have been nice if he’d played a few games in the D-League to get back into the swing of things. If he’s actually ready to play basketball that would have been a way for him to build some value and gain some leverage to get an NBA deal, but

  2. maybe he’s not ready and Donnie just signed him up to be a practice squad guy as a favor to him and so the Knicks can get a look at him to see if they want to sign him this summer.

  3. I think the chances of this being Donnie doing Bender a favor are strong.

    The Knicks have had worse reasons for having guys at the end of the bench (David Wingate being on the team to be Ewing’s friend, for one).

  4. Wow, did you know that the Sonics actually picked up Wingate for a game the season they acquired Ewing?

    That’s hilarious.

  5. Brian,

    Your Wingate factoid is pretty funny and I looked it up:

    2000-2001: One game, nine minutes, three made shots and two assists.

    With production like that, maybe they should have kept him around.

  6. Does this mean the Knicks had their hearing re: Mobley’s contract? It was supposed to happen in early December, at which point a roster spot would open up. I know Walsh only wanted to carry 14 players, so it seems there must be a correlation between the two. If so, I guess that officially takes Mobley’s contract off the trading block.

  7. With production like that, maybe they should have kept him around.

    Ha! I believe his PER for that season was 35!

  8. I know it’s foolish to expect any contributions from him, but Walsh has gotta stop trying to be the NBA’s version of Parcells-with bringin in players he’s familiar with. Bender? Didn’t that guy leave b/c of injuries? I also have a funny feeling that Walsh, who is nuts over Harrington, will stop at nothing to bring him back next season. They have too much of a history together for that not to happen. Bender, instead of a guard? I jus don’t get it.

  9. Maybe this is being done because the Knicks could be trading one of these three guys: Harrington; Jeffries; or Curry.

  10. It’s a Samaritan move, makes players see that the Knicks are not here to harm positive minded players but are here to help them.
    A good PR before summer of 2010!

  11. At first I thought this might mean they were moving Jeffries or Curry and need another tall man to round out the minutes – then cruel reality struck and I realized Bender hasn’t played in over 3 years. I’ve got to stop reading what I want to to see into everything the organization says or does!

    Wait, wait… does anyone know if Bender and LeBron are friends? Does Bender know Worldwide Wes? Is Bender perhaps Bosh’s fifth cousin on his Aunt’s side? Does anyone know if Latrell is still in basketball shape?

  12. In compliance with recent development of things on the court every move off the court seems right to me.
    Sinister, sarcastic, negative thoughts can at least wait a lil….there was and will(hope not) be time for that to practice in future.

    4-2 is my prediction on next 6 games.

  13. Jonathan Bender. Cool. Whatever. I don’t really understand it, but in Donnie we trust. Is this a guaranteed contract?

    On a more interesting note, Duhon-Harrington-Hughes-Jeffries-Lee rank as the third highest rated five man unit in the NBA (who have played a minimum of 22.67 minutes together).

    Apparently, they have only played 31 minutes together, so this could be just a small sample size issue. But, I do see why the lineup has succeeded. You have two guards capable of handling the ball, a scorer, and two players who don’t need the ball in their hands to be effective. It probably doesn’t make sense to make any assertions unless a unit has played more minutes (maybe like 100 together), but what do you guys think?

    The only unit that has played 100 minutes for NY is Chandler- Duhon-Gallo-Hughes-Lee, and this unit has a an overall rating of -11.2 and a negative adjusted plus-minus. This puts the unit in the bottom five in 5 man units who have played at least 100 minutes together this season throughout the NBA. Clearly that lineup is awful by the numbers and I wonder if D’Antoni ever looks at this stuff and adjusts his lineups accordingly. If not, I think he should.

  14. Just to clarify, the rating is calculated by this formula

    offensive points per 100 possessions-defensive points per 100 possessions

    so its very simple.

  15. I heard one of the Knicks assistant coaches (Atkinson?) interviewed on the radio by Bill Daughtry. He specifically referred to using adjusted plus-minus stats to determine the effectiveness of lineups. It does seem to contradict what the numbers say, but I wonder how much of the current number for that lineup is polluted by the stench of the first 10 games. Since Harrington is their top offensive gun (and isn’t a stiff defensively), it would make sense that he would be part of any of the higher rated groups.

  16. I don’t understand this signing unless he’s going to be part of a trade that requires a few extra salary dollars to get done or they want a little extra backup for someone else that is about to be traded in case there are injuries.

    What are the probabilities that he’s going to play and make a contribution?

    I’d say less than 1%!

    There has to be multitude of D league and other players out there that are better, more likely to make a contribution, and that would fill a need better than Bender.

    Pure charity work is fine, but this is not Walsh’s money. It’s shareholder money. Walsh should just cut him a personal check and sign a PG.

  17. “Is this a guaranteed contract?”

    I read that it’s not. It was just sort of thrown into an article on or something, but I think it has to be non-guaranteed.


    I do think Walsh has a personal interest in seeing that one of the biggest draft busts in his career makes something of himself… Not to say he is doing it for selfish reasons, but that he believed so much in Bender at one time that he still believes. It’s also a little discomforting to hear Walsh explain that he made the move because Bender could once get from half-court to the basket in only one dribble and not many people can do that AND he’s not quite sure if Bender can still do that. His explanations for all his moves and non-moves are beyond bizarre.
    He has apparently said that Bender used to dominate in Indiana practices (presumably when they had some combo of JO, Artest, Harrington/Jax, Miller, Foster, and those guys), the kind of inside information that can actually be useful. For example, Scottie Pippen used to say that Jermaine O’Neal was the best player on the Blazers based on practice (when he was going up against Sheed, Sabonis, Schrempf, Brian Grant, etc. on a conference finals team that took LA to 7 games), and he turned out to be largely right.

    I would say that no one they signed to be the 14th man would likely play. They’ve got good and/or promising and/or at least passable players who are not playing at all: Robinson, Douglas/Curry whichever isn’t in the rotation on a given night, Hill, Darko (passable), even Landry looks promising. If D’Antoni needs to add someone to the rotation, that’s probably the well he’ll dip into. Those guys are not necessarily any worse than a lot of the guys in the rotation.

    Maybe they pick up some random free agent who develops into Bruce Bowen, but the chances of that are also like 1% and the most decent guys not in the NBA are signed internationally at this point in the season. Bender has the upside to be at least a passable NBA player, since he was once that before (for only one full season, but maybe he’s over the health issues). Sort of a lanky Wilson Chandler. He’s apparently had some success as a businessman since retiring (mature, with a good head on his shoulders?), is only 28, you can’t teach size and athleticism, and maybe he can actually stay healthy. If this wasn’t a former Donnie draft pick, I would still consider it a worthwhile move. The downside is almost nothing, besides the opportunity cost of the other guys you could pick up. The Knicks still have an open roster spot and can still pick up someone they like out of the D-League or a veteran point if a 2-for-1 trade never comes, so that’s actually not really an issue. I agree that the chances of Bender succeeding are not that great. I think they’re at least as good as anyone else that could be acquired under similar circumstances, though.

  18. “It’s shareholder money.”

    This is a team that had the highest payroll in the league and was one of the worst teams… A couple hundred thousand is not going to make a huge difference.

    “The Knicks still have an open roster spot”

    I should say that whenever Mobley comes off the books they will.

  19. The only potential drawback would be if Mobley somehow didn’t come off the books and there was some kind of two-for-one trade where we could, say, get rid of Jeffries for two lesser-paid players. That seems pretty unlikely; I refuse to believe Walsh wouldn’t think about that possibility, so either he knows Mobley opens a space or he knows we’ll be the ones unloading more players in order to get rid of our cap problems. (That is, some combination of Jeffries/Curry and Al/Hughes for T-Mac.)

  20. I think that the best case scenario is that Walsh has a taker for JJ and Bender can problee provide what JJ provides-but with better ball handling and shooting. If so, great! But I seriously doubt it. It would take a while for D’Antoni to play him even if he were healthy. JJ is the only player that Bender can theoretically replace. So I have no idea what Walsh is thinking, but like Sandy alluded to-we hafta have faith in DW. My faith in him is draining a little faster now. In my honest opinion, signing Bender is a waste of paperwork. He hasn’t played in 3 years, he has 2 bad knees (at 28 and he has never logged enuf minutes to earn that), and although his pact is non guaranteed-it’s not worth enough to make a noticable impact on another team’s cap should we trade him. I say we all just forget about Bender and hope the new 7 man rotation holds up. If we get something out of Bender, it’ll be a plus. But I’m not too concerned with his presence-I don’t even know why it made the news lol.

  21. There is absolutely no reason to worry about this move. He will probably never play more than a few NBA minutes unless he is suprisingly good, i.e. better than a healthy Darko, Curry, or Hill, or if a big trade goes down (Curry and Jeffries for the rights to Rubio? Sorry, couldn’t resist) and we need a body to fill a role vacated by whoever is gone. If he stinks, so what? Cut him. He doesn’t seem like a guy that will make waves. It reminds me of the Allan Houston cameo that recently happened, no harm, no foul.

    Ted, could it possibly be that we agree completely on this issue?!

  22. From Hahn’s twitter something about D’Anotni saying Bender would play tomorrow night…
    Not sure how reliable that is…

  23. “The only potential drawback would be if Mobley somehow didn’t come off the books and there was some kind of two-for-one trade where we could, say, get rid of Jeffries for two lesser-paid players.”

    His contract is reportedly not guaranteed. I don’t know the specifics, but that makes it pretty easy to cut him.
    I also believe that Mobley necessarily opens a space on a certain date because he retired for medical reasons, but I could also be wrong there.


    Walsh having a taker for JJ would be amazing. I don’t think the only reason you sign a player is to replace another player, though. The Knicks only had 13 players, so signing someone makes sense. You either look for someone who can help immediately or has a chance of helping in the future. Bender has some chance of doing both, but especially being someone the Knicks can re-sign cheap this offseason if they manage to spend most of their cap space on a couple of players, which is presumably the plan. He probably doesn’t play much this season, but the Knicks can decide if he’s got enough left to get him for a minimum contract next year (minimum contracts can be signed even by teams over the cap, and the salary is not even paid by the team…).

    If he has to potentially replace someone, Bender was pretty comparable to Wilson Chandler when he was in the league. Loved the jumper too much; although, in fairness he was a better jump shooter than Chandler. Finished well when he actually went to the basket. He used his length to be a pretty decent defender.
    Their 21 year old seasons are fairly similar:
    Bender was far more TO prone (making the JJ comparison even more fitting), got 1/2 the steals, but was a more efficient scorer.
    Chandler’s played about as many minutes in his 22 year old season as Bender played in his and they’re again somewhat similar (if you assume Chandler will pull out of his scoring efficiency funk back to where he was last season):

    “In my honest opinion, signing Bender is a waste of paperwork.”

    Chances are that you are right: he was never good in the first place, he had to retire for medical reasons, and he hasn’t played in 3 seasons. However, the same is true with most 14th/15th men signed to non-guaranteed contracts in the middle of the season. Signing Joe Crawford, et. al. last season was a total waste of paperwork in the end, but the Knicks got to take a look at some decent young players.

    “If we get something out of Bender, it’ll be a plus.”



    “Ted, could it possibly be that we agree completely on this issue?!”

    Yeah, I think we actually agree. I do think that there is some upside, though.

    Frank O.,

    Probably be available to play. That’s my guess anyway.

  24. Bender, even at his best, is still just a poor-man’s Channing Frye. I have to think that Ted Nelson is on to something and that Donnie is giving Bender an opportunity to show he’s healthy as a favor.

    Here’s the comparison of Bender and Frye in their 3rd years, the only year in which Bender played most of the games:

    Frye has had an interesting year – he’s shot more 3’s this season than his first four seasons combined and hit them at a rate about 10% higher than his next best year. I also think I heard he broke or tied some record by hitting at least 1 3P in 20 consecutive games.

  25. Another 22 year old Bender was somewhat comparable to (and not only because they are lanky underachievers) was Tim Thomas, who has had a lot of success playing for D’Antoni:

    Bender was sort of a poorman’s Thomas, and even poorman’s Chandler maybe, but it offers some hope if he’s matured and maybe somehow improved his game a little while he was out of the league.

  26. I thought Dana Barros hit a three in some ungodly number of consecutive games?

    And I think the Knicks snapped his streak in a sort of weird little petty vs. petty bit, where, at the end of the game, the Celtics kept looking for Barros to get threes but the Knicks also kept looking to make sure he didn’t get off a good look, like doubling him. I recall both teams were quite upset with each other after the game. Did I imagine that or did that actually happen?

  27. Oh, and in his PER Diem blog, Hollinger finally wrote about the Knicks recent stretch.

    He basically hit on all the right notes,although he made some odd mentions, like noting that the stretch began with Darko getting benched (as if that had any impact at all) and he also seemed way to willing to buy into the whole “Nate should not play for the better of the team” deal – which I think is pretty much par for the course for most members of the media (a lot of guys out there are very Breen-like in their views), but I expect different from Hollinger (I wasn’t expecting him to, like, argue against it – but something more than “Nate has decent numbers and his +/- is fine, but he palled around with Orlando players before a game and the Knicks have won 4 in a row since benching him, so it makes sense to me.”).

  28. Most likely, Walsh is just giving Bender an opportunity to show OTHER teams that he can still play, to see if he can get a contract from some other team.

  29. TDM,

    The last paragraph–noting that Frye is having a career year in an offensive system largely set up by Mike D’Antoni–seems to contradict the rest of the post. If Frye and Bender are, in fact, comparable then that might actually be a good thing for the Knicks. I don’t think Frye is the best guy to compare Bender to, though, since Bender is (or at least was) a 2/3. Maybe Bender can reinvent himself as something like Frye is this year: an efficient spot-up shooting 7-footer who rarely ventures inside the paint. That’s basically Tim Thomas…

  30. The difference between Thomas and Frye is largely mobility/athleticism/handle and rebounding ability (although Frye is not rebounding at all this season). If Bender still has his athleticism, I’d say he’s closer to Thomas. If his knees have cost him his athleticism, he has to reinvent himself as more a 2009-10 Frye to succeed maybe.

  31. Ted –

    Admittedly, I dont recall ever watching Bender play in a game — I didn’t even know that he played guard. My last paragraph was written with remorse that the Knicks traded Frye away for Zach, even if it meant shedding Francis. I’d love to see Bender turn into a useful role player like Frye or TT. That said, my expectations are low. I guess I’ve read too many of those “Biggest Busts in the NBA” stories. ; )

  32. “Oh, and in his PER Diem blog, Hollinger finally wrote about the Knicks recent stretch.”

    Brian, saw that piece, one of the more positive pieces written about the Knicks in say, 3 years? He acknowledges that the Knicks got through a brutal part of their schedule in pretty decent shape, and actually puts our playoff odds at 50-50 (but we know that can change in a hurry)

    (Speaking of the schedule, our next 4 games are away Charlotte, away Chicago, home Clips and home Charlotte. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t win 3 of those.)

  33. Those draft bust lists are interesting, though easily the best comment was on Kwame Brown’s “intangibles” – reasons he stinks beyond poor play. Hard to beat “throwing birthday cake at a pedestrian by accident” as a random act of stupidity.

    Does anyone know where there might be lists of the best draft of all time — and conversely, the worst? Some bad choices are mitigated by there being no one really great who went later, like in 2000. It would be fun to see the last 20 drafts ranked in order of quality.

  34. Who’s next for DW, Jermaine O’Neal? Actually, if Miami would take Curry back that would be great lol. Anyways..I realize picking up/drafting really young players is a crapshoot but out of the 3 in recent history that I can remember DW putting his faith in-only one became an all-star. Bender was drafted to be a star..didn’t happen. Same for Harrington, which is sad b/c Harrington is really talented. Actually the only genius level moves in recent history that I can recall DW makin is tradin for O’Neal and drafting Granger. I just hope that this isn’t gonna be the way of the Walsh era, becuz I don’t wanna see personal favorites get roster spots from DW or D’Antoni. I wanna see difference makers on the squad who weren’t previously drafted by Walsh or coached (in the NBA) by D’Antoni. Here’s my advice for Walsh: You are doing a great job at shedding salary. Now you just need to convince Jimmy D to get u a front office with better scouts. I will say this about the Isaiah regime, that guy has a keen eye for young talent. He didn’t draft us a T Mac, or Damon Stoudamire, but he did better than expected with his draft picks. Sadly, some of those guys didn’t “blossom” until they left NY. I think that Zeke would still be in the front office as a Walsh sidekick if Jimmy D wasn’t payin him a coach’s salary. They problee woulda made a decent front office duo, as long as DW doesn’t let Zeke suggest trades. This has been another random rant from yours truly lol. I think I started typing to speak more about the possible Bender effect, but that train never left the station…

  35. isiah’s draft picks weren’t that great and young draft picks saw more time than they deserved because how god awful our team has been. i don’t want isiah thomas having anything to do with our organization, ever.

  36. Sandy, I agree-his draft picks weren’t great. But when I think about the guys he’s drafted for us, he didn’t do a bad job with what he was given. I think we all can agree that Ariza’s better than we thought he would be, ditto for Nate, Lee, Chandler(I know lol), Collins, and yes-Balkman(though he doesn’t get the PT to prove it. I will admit that Balkman should have been a 2nd rounder for us. I won’t count Frye as a part of that bunch becuz I think he’s become what I expected of him when Zeke drafted him. Still, you’ve gotta admit that he has done a good job scouting talent. With regards to Collins, he was drafted moreso becuz we needed perimeter D in the worst way. People who expected offense out of him becuz Chaney gave him the ball at Temple were misled. He was an Aaron McKie clone in college, so I never expected offense-jus tough defense. He’s not terribly efficient offensively, but I think he holds his own defensively. Which is what we needed at the time. No matter how I dress it, I can’t make any of Zeke’s picks stars. But given the positions he drafted in, and the available players-he could have done far worse. Where Zeke messed up was cap management and trades. He always fell for the fool’s gold in trades. Though I can’t be mad at him for acquring Crawford and Randolph. Problem with acquiring Zach was the fact we already had Curry. If we had a defensive center as opposed to Curry then, we might be having different conversations today. Overall Zeke did a bad job, just not with his picks-at any stop.

  37. let me re-state. I don’t wanna make it sound like I think Zeke was a great GM. I think his plan was no different than Walsh’s-grab nice pieces to put around a superstar. Unfortunately he thought Steph was that superstar. At the time, Curry still had loads of potential. But leaving him out, u cannot say that Crawford and Z Bo would not have been great 2nd and 3rd options if they were to buy into the system(at least Crawford definitely would have). That is of course, if we had a superstar as well. Add that 2 the young guys he drafted and theoretically, we should have had perennial top 3 seed squads. But it didn’t work that way, so the trades ended up bad for us. He was just banking on the wrong type of star. But I have no qualms about his drafts. If Marbury had been AI at the time of the trade, we problee would also be having a different conversation. It was Zeke’s infatuation with Steph as a superstar b/c he reminded him so much of himself that led us to where we are now. Well, that and Layden.

  38. Re: Bender – I’m not sure how many people here actually saw him play, but I remember him being one of the most athletic players I’ve ever seen. 6’11-7′, fast, agile, jumped out of the gym, sort of one of these classic HS players that just needed a few years to get their bodies ready and learn the game before their careers took off (ie. Jermaine O’Neal etc.). I have zero problem with this, and in fact think he’s much more intriguing than most if not all of the D-League prospects – this kid, from what I remember, has all-world talent and athleticism in a long 7′ body — there are no players like that in the D-League. They have one or the other, but not both, or else a team would have given them more of a shot in the NBA. Granted, he’s an injury risk, but he’s probably 10x more mature now than he was when he left the game. And he’s a non-guaranteed contract that can be dropped if he no longer has it.

    I think the Channing Frye comparisons are WAY off. Yes, they are both tall, and yes, they both seem to want to be perimeter players — but from an athleticism standpoint, the Bender I remember was in a different league.

  39. I read somewhere this mornin that Bender is gonna be a wing player. Hmmm..7′ 230lbs? I don’t think he still has the athleticism to play on the wing. He’s up to 230 lbs now, why not play him exclusively as a backup 4? D’Anton’s starting to sound like Don Nelson with that idea. Bender turned the ball over alot at his athletic peak playing on the wing, now his knees are shot-which means his movement on the wing will be worse and could lead to more turnovers. I’m only speaking on it becuz apparently coach is trying to find minutes for him already. Imagine a frontcourt of Bender, Rooster and JJ defensively. If Bender has anything left in him, I like that idea. Length and defensive aggressiveness. I don’t see it happening, but I guess anything’s possible. Hell, for that matter-imagine a lineup of Bender, Rooster,JJ, Hughes, and Douglas defensively. They might even hold their own offensively for a few minutes. I think D’Antoni should really focus on getting Curry up to speed as well as coaching up Chandler-and forget about finding minutes for Bender. But, he’s our coach and he’s been doing a helluva job lately so i’ll roll with his ideas right now-they seem to be working.

  40. BTW, I keep hearing alotta chatter about DJ Augustine..I don’t know about that one. I like Augustine but, I’m not sure he’s good enuf a floor general for this offense, although he may be an upgrade over Duhon.

  41. I always thought Augustine looked pretty good running the point at Texas. Maybe his lack of height is hurting him on this level. Also, I think he played off the ball a lot last season, so maybe he hasn’t been given much opportunity at the one.

  42. @ 33

    I thought Dana Barros hit a three in some ungodly number of consecutive games?

    And I think the Knicks snapped his streak in a sort of weird little petty vs. petty bit, where, at the end of the game, the Celtics kept looking for Barros to get threes but the Knicks also kept looking to make sure he didn’t get off a good look, like doubling him. I recall both teams were quite upset with each other after the game. Did I imagine that or did that actually happen?

    That did I happen. It was 1/12/96 Knicks @ Celtics

    As I recall M.L. Carr was coaching the Celts at the time and the Knicks were blowing the Celts out. Barros was on the bench and the Celts had the garbage squad in. Barros was a starter fro that team and he had missed 5-6 three already in the game.

    Now if memory serves, the Knick announcers mentioned the streak and it seemed at least Barros was aware of it because he kept looking at Carr to be put back in. With about 2-3 minutes left in the game, Carr puts Barros back in and that’s when things get chippy.

    The Knick players seemed aware that Barros was going in just for a shot to keep the streak going and they did everything possible to keep him from getting off a good three. I may be wrong but at some point both Mason and Oakley were doubling him the moment he got in three range. They pretty much made it clear that Barros was not getting a shot off–15 point lead with a minute to go or not. Barros never got a good shot off. The buzzer sounds. Carr does not like the way the Knicks reacted, so he gets in a few of the players’ faces and both side are yelling, but no punches thrown. I guess Carr didnt like how the Knicks enjoyed ending the streak.

    I may have some details wrong but that did happen.
    Boxscore here

  43. @ 37

    “The difference between Thomas and Frye is largely mobility/athleticism/handle and rebounding ability…”

    Yes, and I am much better looking.

  44. Perhaps Walsh is taking a leaf out of Girardi’s book. Only he is opening up a shelter for the re-habilitation of once promising ball players. Providing gym facilities and the comfort of being wanted. Curry, Hughes, Bender. He is even reaching out to the International community with the admission of Darko Milicic a young centre told by everyone he was going to rule the NBA only to have his dreams shattered by his own ineptitude.

  45. That did I happen. It was 1/12/96 Knicks @ Celtics

    Thanks, Thomas! Good to know that I wasn’t nuts!

    And yeah, looking at his game splits before that game, Barros had made a three in 89 straight games up until that point! 89!!! Wow.

  46. Thanks, Thomas! Good to know that I wasn’t nuts!

    Your memory is fine, now your sanity is question for another time. :-)

  47. Sandy – I saw that post, and it does summarize well the occasional “tease” that the Knicks have put us through in recent seasons. The one difference I see this year is that they have found a way to close out games, which was a big problem last year and the year before. I think the NO game was a big step forward, finishing on an 18-0 run.

    However, we all know the Knicks’ continued success is tenuous as they depend on the 3 ball as much as any team in the NBA. Good teams with superior talent win games when they don’t play particularly well, this will rarely happen for the Knicks.

    (Tonight’s game worries me, there are 2 Knick killers – Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace – on the same team. Jackson seems to salivate when he sees the orange and blue.)

  48. I love watching Monta Ellis on GS, but he’s never going to be part of a championship contender.

  49. Rafer Alston was the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference Champs last year, so anything is possible.

  50. Agreed, d-mar, Charlotte is to us kinda what we are to Phoenix. Jackson and Wallace are tough to match up with.

  51. TDM,

    Part of Bender being a bust was his health. He was still on his way to being a disappointment for a #5 pick and possibly a bust, but looked like an NBA rotation guy (could debate how good or bad, something like with Chandler now).

    “Problem is that N8 would likely veto any trade to NoCal, but you never know.”

    GS is a total mess, but he’d be close to home and maybe playing for Don Nelson would pump up his per game stats. I don’t really see GS trading Curry or Randolph for Nate, though, they seem really high on both of them. They probably look for some salary room before trading their promising young players for undersized 3rd guards currently benched by their team.


    I don’t agree with your takes on either Walsh or Isiah. Bottom line is that one has consistently built winners and one has consistently built losers. Isiah was kept in the front office for a while when Walsh came in, and apparently it didn’t work.

    A “genius” Walsh move you left off your list was trading Jalen Rose for a package that included Artest and Brad Miller right before Rose’s career fell off and he became one of the more overpaid players in the NBA (and then, of course, became a Knick). Drafting Danilo and Douglas both look like good moves, as well.

    Isiah’s picks never added up to a good team. I disagree with your assessment that he did well in NY compared to the talent available. He did a solid job drafting, but the list of player he passed up and who were drafted soon after his choices is a lot more impressive than the last of players he took.
    I also really disagree that his only mistake was Marbury, especially not that Marbury wasn’t Iverson. Crawford and Randolph have never been the 2nd or 3rd best player on a good team. Curry was intriguing, but the Bulls had no leverage and no other GM in the NBA seemed interested. He was always a one trick pony.

    Bender’s 28, if his knees are healthy I don’t see why he can’t play the wing. D’Antoni plays a wing at the 4 anyway, so that might be where he’ll be. He was a solid outside shooter in the NBA, but a poor rebounder. Who knows what he might have worked on or what his game is like now, though.

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