Tuesday, April 3, 2007

4/3 - Lame Duck Knicks

Frustration has taken it's toll on New York Knicks fans. With the team 2 1/2 back in the loss column from the 8 spot, 2-8 in their last 10 games, and nine games remaining on the schedule, this team seems to have given up on the playoffs. Let's face it, injuries have taken too much away from the club, and giving Isiah an extension was premature. It seems as though the players were playing to get IT an extension, and once that goal was accomplished, they checked out for the rest of the season.

Like I mentioned before, 2-8 in their last 10 games. It is so cliche to look back and say "what if," but if they went 5-5, they would be sitting confortably in the 8th spot right now. New Jersey, Orlando, and Miami have all been playing .500 ball lately, and they are most likely on their way to the playoffs. To make up some ground, the Knicks would need to go at least 6-3 down the stretch, and rely on some help. This doesn't seem likely. The next 3 games (Philly and Minny at home, and then away at the Bucks) would be a good time to start winning.

What Could Have Been

Before James Dolan made the biggest bonehead move of the year in signing Isiah Thomas to an extension when his team didn't even possess a winning record, fans began to speculate who could come in to coach the team. The consensus seemed to be that the inflated egos on this team would not receive a coaching change very well (with Eddy Curry saying so himself), and that Thomas would seem to be the only choice.

The only other name that constantly came up was Billy Donovan, coach of the (as of last night) BACK TO BACK NATIONAL CHAMPION Florida Gators. Yes, a coach who knows how to win and has coached NBA players, especially with his current roster of possibly 4 first round draft picks. The only problem would be if Donovan would want to step into a mess like the Knicks. Sure, they have made progress over the past year, but it might be too much too fast for a first time NBA coach.

However, Donovan is a consummate professional and loves challenges. He obviously is a players' coach, since 4 potential first round draft picks decided to go back to school with the chance to repeat a championship. Not only did they have a stellar season, but Donovan coached them back to the title. But why New York? Donovan was born on Long Island. He learned basketball from coach Rick Pitino while attending Boston College, and then he was awarded with a one year deal from Pitino's new team, that's right, the NEW YORK KNICKS. Sure, he only played 44 games, eventually not performing well enough to last in the pros. Learning from Pitino, he eventually went on to coach Florida, completely rejuvinating the program. He even coached David Lee, and now 4 other players who will land somewhere in the NBA.

Perfect for New York, right? Well it's too late, the Knicks are stuck with Isiah at least through next season, barring some sort of disaster. No chance Dolan buys him out, he's too scared to run the organization himself, since he has layed everything on Thomas since day one. Personally, I would like to see Isiah hire Billy Donovan, and step back up to the front office. I know many people don't like some of his decisions from the GM position, but the man can draft, and he has brought some good talent in here. With a coach like Donovan to mold that talent, they would be set. Plus, Isiah has learned from his mistakes. Even he realizes that max contracts and trading away key draft picks are bad decisions.

It's all just a pipe dream though. If only we didn't have a coward as the owner of the Knicks, some prestige could have been brought back to the organization.

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