Posted by Manhatten Project, RealGM...
In The Words of Sam Cooke - "A Change Is Gunna Come"
Where does a punchline go when it doesn't connect anymore? What happens when the butt of the joke suddenly puts themselves right in front of your face? Enough of these questions, let's get to the fact. After the draft in 2010, the Knicks will finally be free. Free from the first round picks giving out like pez dispensers and free from the finical constraints put on by Isiah Thomas. The Knicks will finally be in position to make some signings with some very prominent names potentially available.
Upon the hiring of Donnie Walsh the Knicks have made positive strides in rebuilding a once proud franchise. When interviewing candidates for the job, the Knicks sought after savvy executives who had a proven track record. Eighteen seasons, 13 season of making the playoffs is not a bad calling card. From here on out the Knicks needed a head coach with Isiah Thomas being removed from the front office. In recent years the head coaching vacancy was a carousel, with names like Lenny Wilkens, Don Chaney, Herb Williams and Larry Brown. So Donnie went with the best head coach out there, the scapegoat of a poorly a.ssembled roster.
Mike D'Antoni whether you love him or hate him, knows how to win basketball games. He brings a tempo that is fun for the players, but also the fans. If you can't be productive in the D'Antoni system, odds are likely there is no hope for you in the NBA. He instills confidence in the players, bringing out the qualities that lead you to the big show. Now with the Orlando Magic making the finals, his SSOL system might be the new trend of the league.
Some fans will remember the date of December 22nd 2003 like it happened yesterday. Excitement was in the air, more importantly Scott Layden was gone. Isiah took over the reign of the Knicks and quickly turned his eyes to the Knicks most glaring problem. They had no star player, so in one swift trade he got the local product, one of the most exciting players in the league, Mr Marbury. While you can't knock him for the trade, it's what the fans craved. Fast forward a few years, we all know how that turned out. No one will knock Isiah for that move, he dug his own grave.
The reason it is important to remember that date is because that's when change happened. Fans were sick of Layden, overpaid veterans and having no future. Then one day the man with the charm, charisma and a smile that was made to brighten up Madison Square Garden came along. In one swift year, he put his prints on the Knicks future in a few trades. Isiah was pawning off players like an auction, getting rid of the old and decrepit and bringing in the lively. Athleticism was lost under Layden, certainly not under Thomas. In his first year he brought in Stephon Marbury, Nazr Mohammed, Tim Thomas and Jamal Crawford. Maybe if Thomas would have stopped here, things could have panned out. However under Isiah, there was no stability. Impulses came in waves for Isiah, he acted without a second thought.
When you let your child to do whatever he wants, things will never end up good. Sitting idle was James Dolan strumming his guitar away as the money came pouring in. Isiah was able to run rampant in the candy store putting everything on tap. Isiah became the guy to call if you wanted to dump salary, as long as you had something shiny to go with it. Penny Hardaway, Jerome Williams, Mo Taylor, Malik Rose, Quentin Richardson and Jalen Rose were the prime examples. The names were either accompanied with a young talent or a late first round pick. New York became the dumping ground for the leagues overpaid, mismatched and unwanted.
As the faces changed, the clipboard holders did as well. Being in the constant state of change, there was always one thing that remained the same. The Knicks in the 03-04 season made the playoffs with a losing record, their last playoffs still to this day. The Knicks had no business being in the playoffs, but they boasted an NY attitude. The Nets lead by Jason Kidd and his sidekicks they made quick work of the Knicks. Losing in the playoffs is one thing, being embarrassed in the fashion the Knicks could only do is another. Swept, exposed and worst of all fugazy. That series left the Knick fans speechless and worst of all that was the best it ever got for the Knicks. While in my next paragraph I can type about how the Eddy Curry trade turned out, but who want's to read that? If your still reading this, you have enough stomach to see where I'm going with this.
Entering this season the Knicks once again have been revamped. Infused with young talents such as Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas. The days of salivating for Chicago Bulls restricted free agents are gone. Is there any doubt that Ben Gordon wouldn't have been a Knick at this moment if Isiah is here? While the Knicks might give over yet another lottery pick and this one has been a long time coming it will signal change. Equipped with young players, cap space and able minds the Knicks are in position to finally stand up to the punch lines.
You sense around the league the tempers already flaring. The Knicks are no longer the team with the highest payroll. The Knicks are suddenly linked to the biggest names. Some say it's conspiracy, some say its David Stern at work, some even say faith. Maybe it is all of the above, you have to look no further than a man with patience and a plan. Whether the Knicks actually get a LeBron James, Chris Bosh or a Dwayne Wade that remains to be seen. However the possibility of one of those wearing a Knicks jersey next year as opposed to a video game is a nice feeling to have. It seems that things are starting to look a whole lot brighter for the Knicks.
So with that being said, the Knicks still have one more entertaining year to provide. With half of the team being expiring contracts and the man they call Darko it will be a rough go. However this year should be able to answer some of our questions. For instance who is our future and where are we going? Under Isiah the answer was constantly in a state of flux, we'll lucky for us fans that is no longer the case. Donnie Walsh has a plan and it's making people nervous.