NY Post World News
Coverage on Thanksgiving:
Pushing aside wars
in Middle East, global warming, genocide in Sudan, and other
news of the world, NY Post uses front page on Thanksgiving to
cover their mistaken guess that Isiah Thomas was going to be
Fri, Nov 23,
On the day after
Thanksgiving, NY Post follows up with back-page coverage
specifying that Chris Mullin, who happened to be in town simply
because his team was playing the Knicks, would be the new Knicks
GM as soon as Christmas. Mullin later laughed this coverage off
Saturday, Nov 24:
In an interview with
the media on Friday (which this writer listened to), Isiah
Thomas calmy told the media that despite the headlines, he and
Knick management were on the same page and had a firm
understanding of where the Knicks were and what their roadmap
for the future was. He said "I don't forsee there being any
changes this year" and "I just don't think this is the time to
panic.. that's not the way this league goes.. there's a lot of
time here". The NY Post turned his statements around, and
presented them as a defiant declaration in another front-page
Sunday, Nov 25,
The NY Post followed
their setup by using kids to attack Isiah on Sunday -- this time
with a front-page inset. Thomas had never been defiant, but
these kids didn't know that.
On the back page
that same day, NY Post figured a way to put a Knick win in a bad
light; perhaps because they realized their contrived story was
losing its steam. And the really important news of the world --
lost amidst their hubub.
In the early 1900's
this kind of reporting had a name -- it was called 'yellow
the Knicks Don't Suck .. Anymore
But the NY Post and NY Daily News Do (Suck)
by Lou V
As the Knicks start the 2007-08 NBA season
at 2-9, it would seem all of NYC is apoplectic and calling for the
firing of Isiah Thomas. A media frenzy drives the casual fan to think
basketball hell is taking place at Madison Square Garden. The NY Post --
closer everyday to the National Enquirer -- in its on-going effort to
dumb-down the citizens of Gotham, has used the front page of its
Thanksgiving edition to call for the firing of Isiah Thomas, putting his
head on a turkey. As if there were no other news in this world to cover.
Are Doing Fine
But the only
thing in demise here is the journalistic integrity of the NY Post, Daily
similar media outlets who treat the readers the way media has
traditionally dealt with people in third-world countries; getting
their attentions off real economic and political issues by parading
sports and the lottery in front of them. Basketball isn't that
important, and the Knicks are fine. They remain as they were to
start the season -- a young, athletic team with guys who can score;
they have great chemistry, believe in their coach, and are
progressively playing better defense.
Mort Zuckerman and Rupert Murdoch dumb
down NY with National Enquirer journalism while James Dolan and
Isiah Thomas provide moral substance.
They're not a championship team yet, but they're a good team; a
playoff-caliber team. They've had two early season issues -- turnovers
and bad free throw shooting -- causing them to lose a number of tight
games. A tough early-season schedule for the 3rd year in a row has
started them off in arrears. And it will get worse -- their late
November/early December schedule is extremely tough. The schedule eases
up in January, and then gets downright pleasurable in March and April.
But that's a long way away; dozens of NY Post and Daily News front and
back-page assassinations to endure. It will be interesting to see if the Knicks can win enough in December to keep the wolves at bay; if James
Dolan, owner, who has proven to be a stand-up, moral guy despite
numerous assassinations on his own character by the same media, will
stick to his word and the game plan until the casual fan is spoon fed
the idea that this team isn't so bad. History favors Dolan standing by
Isiah Thomas Is Castigated by NY Media
Exemplified by the Renaldo Balkman Affair
Isiah's overly optimistic, used-car-salesman-handshake approach and
street-fighter, chip-on-his-shoulder personality doesn't wash well with the NY beat reporters, and they
attack him regularly with vengeance. Previous coach Larry Brown, in
contrast, ingratiated himself with the mostly white NYC beat reporters.
Mike Lupica of the Daily News seemed to fall into that Brown family of
friends; and it was Lupica who savagely attacked Isiah in the middle of
the 2006-2007 season, when the Daily News ran a back-page Sunday edition
featuring Isiah Thomas drawn as a clown. Lupica attacked Thomas for
daring to say that he knew more about basketball than the typical NY
fan. Thomas's sin came after months of being ridiculed by the NY beat
reporters for the 2006 June draft, echoed by fans on Sports Talk Radio,
when he picked Renaldo Balkman with the 20th pick in the draft. That
day, basketball-expert NY fans in attendance at Madison Square Garden
booed; they wanted Isiah to pick local college hero point-guard Marcus
Williams. Because they'd all seen Williams on TV, and he was good. In
college. And the local newsmedia prepped them before the draft by
telling them that the Knicks could possibly get to draft Williams with
their first round pick, which was a late first rounder. Nobody -- not
the Knick beat reporters or the fans -- had ever heard of Renaldo
Isiah Thomas had. He'd seen Balkman play in
college. He'd seen Balkman play at the pre-draft drills and
private tryout invites. Isiah Thomas as a GM previously with
Toronto and Indiana, had established himself as a terrific
evaluator of NBA talent, and draft picker. Isiah Thomas was one
of the greatest point guards in the history of the NBA; led his
team to two championships; and you'd figure if Thomas saw a
player he'd want to play with, that would be enough for anybody.
Point guards especially, know the game like noone else, since
they're distributing the ball to everyone.
You'd figure that the typical NY fan
would be thumbs up with whoever Thomas picked; and if he picked
a 6'7" sleeper that noone had heard of, so much the better.
Thomas had been hired as GM in part for his fantastic resume at
making great picks in previous NBA drafts. But none of this was
good enough for the NY media and the casual fan, who felt that
by watching the game on TV and playing it in the schoolyard,
they no doubt knew more about basketball than Thomas.
Marc Berman of NY Post and the rest
of NY media and expert NY basketball fans ridiculed Isiah
Thomas's pick of Renaldo Balkman with the 20th pick in the 2006
draft, and they were all dead wrong. Balkman has become a top
Marc Berman of the NY Post took it to another level. In the days
following the drafting of Balkman, Berman wrote that he asked the other
GM's picking after Thomas in that first round if they were poised to
pick Balkman, and all of them said no, they didn't have Balkman on their
radar. Thus, Berman reasoned, not only had Isiah made a horrendous pick
in picking Balkman, but if he played his cards right, he could have
picked Marcus Williams with the 20th pick, and then used his second
first round pick at #29 for Balkman, thus getting both the player Berman
felt the Knicks should get, and then Thomas's favorite too, instead of
Mardy Collins, another player no one had heard of, whom Thomas picked at
a number of issues with Berman's logic:
didn't know what he was talking about. Berman had no idea who
Balkman was; Isiah Thomas knew exactly who he was and done all his
homework to scout him.
was blessed with perfect hindsight -- he was the Monday morning
quarterback with information on what went down after it went down.
Isiah Thomas had no idea what the other GM's were thinking on draft
day, and so it would've been crazy for him not to pick the player he
wanted (Balkman) with the 20th pick to get a player he didn't want
or need (the Knicks already had 3 point guards headed by all-star
Stephon Marbury, and didn't need another point guard in Williams).
before the draft was that Marcus Williams had a tendency to get out
of shape, the same way that Pearl Washington, a great college point
guard from a previous era, used to get out of shape (and thus didn't
quite make it in the NBA). Isiah Thomas, one of the greatest point
guards of all time, would be in best position to judge whether or
not he liked the play of Marcus Williams at the point.
other GM's that Berman had interviewed had known Thomas had his eye
on Balkman, at least one of them most certainly would have changed
their mind and picked Balkman. Isiah has a reputation amongst other
GM's as being a good evaluator of talent; and even if the other GM's
picking #22 through #28 didnt' think that, they might have still
picked him to force a trade with Thomas. How could Thomas have taken
this was much ado about the 20th pick in the draft -- a pick that
generally results in a player who historically doesn't stick in the
NBA. The media treated it as if Thomas had used a lottery pick to
was never reported in any outlet was that the New Jersey Nets, who
picked Marcus Williams, didn't pick directly after the Knicks -- the
Boston Celtics did. Unlike the Knicks, the Boston Celtics were in
desperate need of a point guard, having only
not-ever-ready-for-prime-time Sebastian Telfair. The Celtics didn't
pick Marcus Williams. They picked
Rondo, a point guard. Over Williams.
Reading his column on a regular basis, Berman is judged by this
reader to be one of the dumbest writers in NYC. He regularly gets
the fine points wrong in his coverage of the game -- blaming loses
on the wrong player, even after the coach tells him what went wrong
in interviews after the game. He also stubbornly beats on unfounded
issues for months; he spent the year after Patrick Ewing was traded
reminding readers at every opportunity that that the Knicks had won
a game without the help of Patrick Ewing. But that's a story for
Berman continued his Isiah-should've-picked-Williams
attack not for just that week following the draft, but for the
next 6 months, taking any opportunity he could to remind people
of this 'fact' in his regular column in the Post. Even after it
soon became apparent in summer league and then the start of the
2006-07 season that Balkman was a great NBA player and the steal
of the draft.
Marc Berman looks like he's never
played a game of basketball in his whole life, and writes the
same way, but unfortunately influences thousands of casual NY
basketball fans with his illogical coverage and stubborn
Still, Berman reasoned, Isiah
could've had Balkman and Williams if he did it Berman's way,
versus Balkman and Collins. As the season wore on and Collins too began to
establish himself as a pretty good NBA player -- a 6'5" shooting
guard and excellent defender, Berman's idiocy died down. There
were no apologies, and the damage had been done -- all casual NY
basketball fans condemned Thomas on sports talk radio and
elsewhere for months. Causing Thomas to finally utter his brash
words -- that the booing didn't bother him because he felt he
knew more about NBA basketball players than the typical fan and
the picks he made were based on that knowledge -- BAM -- Mike Lupica and the Daily News and all the other media outlets had
another field day on Thomas. How dare he say that. The
Why Isiah Thomas Doesn't Suck
great draft picks like the one for Balkman, and great trades, Isiah has
turned the Knicks around in 3 years at the helm as GM.
The Knicks offense is geared around
their big men -- Eddy Curry, who scores at an over
.600 clip inside, relentless 6'9 power forward Zach Randolph,
and super-leaper David Lee, at 6'9 one of the best young power
forwards in the game whose post-up game has even shown
improvement this season. And that is where you want an NBA team
to be centered -- not around shooting guards like the Stu-Laden-Alan-Houston-Latrell-Sprewell Knicks. Most GM's in the
NBA would exchange their best three big men for those three
Knicks in a heartbeat.
Tough defenders Renaldo Balkman,
Quentin Richardson, and Jarred Jeffries form the rest of the
front court, and at the guard is star scoring-point-guard
Stephon Marbury and the enigmatic, athletic, super-nice-guy but
often-boneheaded Jamaal Crawford. Tough defender Fred Jones and
the super-energetic but not-great-ball-distributor Nate Robinson round out the backcourt.
Not a perfect team; not a
championship team, but a pretty good team; a playoff team, and
the most hope Knicks fans have had for a fun, energetic,
competitive team to watch since 1995 (and that includes the 1999
finals team that sucked throughout the regular season but turned
it on for the playoffs).
The word is still out on Isiah as a
coach; he has a mediocre resume there, and was never hired to be
a coach of the Knicks; he was hired as a GM. He assumed
coaching responsibilities as a kind of penance for his poor
choices of coach hirings -- Lenny Wilkins to be his puppet coach
when he first arrived. Wilkins was in retirement mode, and was
replaced with Herb Williams. An honorable choice for Isiah, but
another bad decision, as Williams was a rookie and NYC was not
the place to experiment. Then came the Larry Brown fiasco, which
was James Dolan's doing -- Brown was the last person Isiah
wanted to hire but had his arm twisted to do so. As penance,
Isiah coaches this team himself.
June 28, 2007:
Acquired Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, Dan Dickau, and draft rights
to Demetris Nichols (2nd round, #53 overall) from Portland in a
draft day deal for Steve Francis, Channing Frye, and the Knicks'
2008 2nd round draft pick.
Randolph and Fred Jones for Channing Frye? This may go down as
one of the great Knick trades ever.
June 29, 2005:
Acquired Quentin Richardson (25 yrs old) and Nate Robinson (the
21st overall 1st-round pick) from the Phoenix Suns in
exchange for Kurt Thomas (32.5 yrs old) and Dijon Thompson (the
54th overall 2nd-round pick).
Thomas was getting old. Richardson is a terrific all-around
ballplayer (especially after the back surgery) and almost 6
years younger. Plus the Knicks got Nate Robinson. Great trade.
February 3, 2006:
Acquired Jalen Rose from Toronto, a 1st round pick in 2006 (#20
overall, used by Knicks to select Renaldo Balkman -- this was
originally Denver's pick, acquired by Toronto), and cash in
exchange for Antonio Davis (and essentially $10 million in cap
Synopsis: Fantastic trade for NY, especially since Isiah used
that pick to select Balkman. Rose played some ball in NY before
being eventually waived, opening up some salary savings for NY.
Thomas from Milwaukee and center Nazr Mohammed from Atlanta in a
three-team trade. In exchange, Knicks sent Keith Van Horn to
Milwaukee and Michael Doleac and a 2005 conditional 2nd round
pick to Atlanta. (In addition, center Joel Przybilla was traded
from Milwaukee to Atlanta.) Synopsis: Mohammed
played some good ball in NY, but then helped Isiah rebuild with
the trade listed below this one. Tim Thomas played some ball in
NY, but then helped Isiah get Eddy Curry from Chicago. This Feb
2004 trade was a fantastic setup trade for the Knicks.
February 24, 2005:
Acquired Malik Rose, Maurice Taylor, conditional
first-round draft picks in 2005 (ended up being David Lee at
#30) and 2006 (ended up being Mardy Collins at #29) from San
Antonio in exchange for Nazr Mohammed, Moochie Norris, Vin
Baker, and Jamison Brewer.
Mohammed for Malik Rose, David Lee, and Mardy Collins? Great
October 3, 2005: Acquired Eddy Curry and Antonio Davis
from Chicago for Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney,
Jermaine Jackson, NY's 2006 1st round draft pick (eventually
became Tyrus Thomas at #2 overall), a 2nd round draft choice in
2007 and 2009, and ability to switch 1st round picks in 2007 --
which they did; Chicago got NY's 2007 1st round draft pick
(eventually became Joakim Noah at #9) and NY got Chicago's 1st
round pick (became Wilson Chandler at #23).
should have been a great trade for NY, but Larry Brown took a 36
win team and made it a 23 win team, making that #1 pick in 2006
go from a mid-first-rounder to the #2 pick. Still not a bad
trade for NY, whom I think would trade Curry and Wilson Chandler
for Ty Thomas and Jaokim Noah even now, dependent on how
Chandler and Noah develop.
August 6, 2004:
Acquired Jamaal Crawford and Jerome Williams from Chicago for
Frank Williams, Dikembe Mutombo, Othella Harrington, and center
trade -- Jamaal Crawford for nothing much. Mutumbo was ancient.
January 6, 2004:
Acquired Stephon Marbury, Penny Hardaway, and Cezary
Trybanski from Phoenix for Antonio McDyess,
Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward, Maciej Lampe, Milos Vujanic,
Knicks 1st-round pick in 2004 (#16 overall, ended up being Kirk
Snyder, a career reserve guard),
and future conditional Knicks 1st round pick (looks like it will
be the 2009 or 2010 pick) and cash.
the criticisms, Marbury has played a lot of all-star basketball
in NY. The final word is still out on this trade as there is
still that conditional 1st-round pick hanging out there in 2009
or 2010 that Phoenix gets from NY, but so far, NY got Stephon
Marbury for a bunch of crap -- including
Lampe. Penny Hardaway was used by Knicks to help get Stevie
Francis, who was used to help get Zach Randolph. Phoenix used
this trade to get $7-million under the cap, enabling them to
sign free agent Steve Nash, and catapulting them to an elite
team. This trade looks good for both teams right now, for
Dolan Doesn't Suck
As much as
Isiah Thomas has been ripped apart in the NY media, James Dolan has been
almost as much so. Dolan, the son of cable magnate Charles Dolan Sr, who
built the billion-dollar Cablevision empire, has been assessed by the NY
media to be a stupid, rich, spoiled, arrogant never-do-good who plays
with the Knicks as if it were his rich-kid's toy. Fans have taken to
building websites that call for him to
sell the Knicks.
Open protests in front of Madison Square Garden have broken out,
protesting his decisions on owning the Knicks. His Wikipedia entry
currently says "It is widely agreed upon, amongst fans the media and the
NBA, that his tenure has been a complete failure and his inability to
manage the Knicks would be comical if it were not so pathetic."
Some of this may be true, but for all
things bad there are things good, and with James Dolan what is
often not said is that he is a man of moral fiber. Here's proof:
A reported former alcoholic, he
has gone out of his way to give other former alcoholics a
chance. After the Knicks acquired talented but troubled Vin
Baker in 2001, Dolan personally spent many hours talking to
Baker, according to published reports, trying to help him
understand and deal with his troubling disease.
He has stood up for, and valued,
players who displayed fine moral character on the Knicks --
thus one of the reasons he foolishly laid so much money down
to keep Alan Houston when his initial contract expired.
Houston was the epitome of fine moral character -- a truly
nice and giving fellow; the anti-Joe DiMaggio.
When Larry Brown was
attacking Knick players in the press in 2005-06, calling
them stupid, Dolan cracked down on Brown, according to
published reports. When Brown continued to lash at players
publicly, Brown was fired -- even if it took 40 million
dollars to do it.
Dolan has since then publicly
acknowledged that the hiring of Larry Brown was his mistake,
not Isiah Thomas's, and he should take the blame. Another
stand-up move not noticed by the NY media or fans.
Thomas's Resume Continued
Great Draft Picks:
Renaldo Balkman #20
This was the draft
wherein MSG fans booed and NY media ripped Thomas for months for
not picking Marcus Williams.
No one had ever heard of Renaldo Balkman, and thus Thomas was
judged to be stupid. Balkman was a steal.
Mardy Collins #29 in
Good pick, that
David Lee #30 in
One of best young
power forwards in game. Fantastic pick.
Nate Robinson #21 by
Phoenix as part of trade.
energy and has helped win a number of games in his career so
far. Needs to learn how to be a better point guard. Still a good
pick that late.
Trevor Ariza #44
pick in 2004 draft.
Great pick that
late. Thomas was forced to trade him away by Larry Brown.
Randolph Morris --
from reports it seemed that most GM's in the NBA didn't even
know this star center for Kentucky was available as a free agent
as soon as his college career ended -- he had already made
himself available for a previous NBA draft and went undrafted.
But Isiah Thomas knew, and pounced on him before anyone else in
March 2007, resulting in essentially a steal of a
mid-first-round draft pick.
Wilson Chandler #23
Too early to tell.
#53 by Portland traded to NY.
A late 2nd round pick that
Thomas got Portland to deal him, Nichols alas was lost in a
numbers game in NY (15 players ahead of him in talent or
guaranteed contracts), and had to be released before the 2007-08
season. He was quickly picked up by defending Eastern Conference
Champs Cleveland. Still, his sterling play with the Knicks in
2007 summer camp and NBA future is another testament to
Thomas's ability to see NBA talent.
Channing Frye #8 in
Frye ended up not
being so good, but he was the best legitimate player available
when Thomas was picking #8 (notwithstanding gambles who may have
turned out better). After two years of Frye not living up to
expectations, Thomas astutely traded him to Portland for Zach
Dolan's handling of the Anucka Browne Sanders case is prototypical
of his high moral fiber. It was a case that he could have made go
away without any negative publicity by just paying her five or six
million (chump change for MSG) before the case ever went to trial.
But his righteousness in a case where he undoubtedly felt on high
moral ground would not let that happen. According to defense
allegations unveiled in court trial coverage, Anucka Browne Sanders
had established that she was incompetent at handling Knicks
marketing and was an abrasive person to work with, who, according to
Steve Mills, MSG CEO, came into his office and "told me she's lost
the confidence of the people she worked with, and she can't do this
anymore." Again according to defense allegations, it was only after
Dolan learned that Sanders was pressuring her underlings to back her
up in a sexual harassment suit that he fired her on the spot.
Dolan's backing of Isiah Thomas
and giving him his word that he has the 2007-08 season to
put the Knicks on track is yet another example of a fellow
with high moral fiber who gives his word, and stands by it.
Finally, Knick fans should rejoice
that James Dolan is clearly someone who will spend lots of money
on the Knicks in an effort to make them good. It hasn't always
worked out, but Knick fans could have a worse owner.
Thomas's Resume Continued
So-So Minor Free-Agent
Jerome James: A
minor free agent signing -- Knicks used their $4 million
exception to sign him.
He's been wrecked by injury in his first
3 years in NY. He was a dominant inside defender and rebounder
in Seattle and in brief healthy appearances in NY. Still 2 years
left on the 5 year contract to see if he'll ever be healthy in
Another minor free agent signing with the $4 million exception.
Jeffries had a poor first season in NY due to injuries and
overzealous play (he was guilty of trying too hard). He remains
potentially a key player for NY, their 8th man in their
rotation; a 6'11" defender who can shut down another team's
top-scoring big man. Has yet to be proved in NY though.
For that and all the reasons stated above, here's hoping that James
Dolan stays in charge of the Knicks long into the future, with Isiah
Thomas at the helm as GM, if not coach. So that the good guys can win
Tell Us What You Think: If
you'd like to respond to this article,
Feedback from Amateur Blogosphere -- Mike K and
One of the
amateur blogs on the internet has scrutinized this article
here. There were a few interesting comments amongst the
replies. Nice to see that folks like Mr. Black and Mike
Anderese are out there, thinking independently. Yea Mr
Black! And Mr Andarese! PS: Mr Black, thanks for catching
that typo on Robinson written as Richardson. I guess I had Q
on my mind. And who doesn't? I also originally spelled
Charles Dolan Sr as James Dolan Sr. That's simply a sign of
To the writer
of the blog, we offer this reply: Dear Mike, although three
ellipses is the standard, two ellipses is fine as long as
one is consistent. It is journalistic style. It's especially
permissible in headlines, where room is tight. (This article
is also being used in the printed edition of
paperbacknovel.com.) Also, thanks for the advice on the
headline but we'll stick with what we have. All words placed
in our headline were done for a specific reason and effect.
You should use your more to-the-point and boring headline in
a future blog of yours. It would suit your writing style.
Furthermore Mike, everything your third-grade teacher taught
you about English wasn't necessarily correct. She was just
trying to improve your writing; offer a simple template.
Give you the basic rules. But it's ok to break the rules for
effect and to capture your audience's attention. Also, the
language is evolving. And it's ok to start a sentence with
points out how scary the internet can be, high school and
college kids with just enough knowledge to get themselves in
trouble -- just enough rope to hang themselves with -- shoot
off missives indiscriminately, filling the blogosphere with
Mike, are you
in high school or college? Your basketball comments are well
received, but please don't give out any more writing advice
-- to anyone!
Now on to some of the other feedback we've received. We love
you all. Thanks for coming. And hey, I think we're all Knick
||Jeff from Westfield, MA
I hope this
is a joke because if it's not I hope whoever wrote this is
never allowed to write anything ever again. This article is
-- Jeff, Westfield, MA
||Alex from Brooklyn
whoever he is, is either brain dead, works for the Knicks or
MSG, or has a good sense of humor. To say that the Knicks
are a playoff team.....is a completely baseless (and
ridiculous) statement. There is no proof like a team's
record, and the Knicks have a terrible one. As of right now
they are 5-11. That is crap. You want to say they are a good
team? Why? Good teams win more than they lose, and the
Knicks do just the opposite.
they are not waiting for some superstar to get healthy and
come back to save them (like Miami when they were waiting
for Wade to come back) so you can not make the arguement
that they will definitely be better. This is who the team
is, and on this team they do not have players with winning
histories. They do not have a coach with a winning history.
They do not have a GM who has a history of putting together
a winning team. They do not have an owner who puts winning
first and makes changes when the team is not doing well.
They have nothing in place that should give fans optimism.
The NY Post - although I agree it's a terrible paper - has a
right to dump on the Knicks until they stop s-u-c-k-i-n-g.
So they have
some players (Curry, Randolph, Marbury..) who can put up
good looking numbers. Again, so what? Look at the win/loss
records of all of those guys. Plenty of players can put up
numbers on bad teams. It's meaningless. NYers want a winning
team, not a blubbery power forward who put up 20 and 10 this
me that the article was satire.
-- Alex, Brooklyn, NY
article, about how they don't suck, dude. I'm guessing that
it was written facetiously, but if not, then please let me
know who your dealer is, because you'd need some serious
drugs to think that I SAY UGH or that assclown Dolan have
done anything but driven a once-proud franchise into an
international laughingstock and piece-of-shit team.
-- Humanity, Anytown, USA
||Frank from Arizona
Wow, I just
had to stop in and offer my congrats to Lou V for winning
the worst article of 2007, as awarded by Knickerblogger.net.
I also wanted to ask if Lou was purposely pursuing this
"honor" or if he just wrote the entire article without
a better draft pick than Channing Frye? Check out the
numbers: Frye averaged more points in his first two seasons
with the Knicks than Collins has so far, and Frye was
actually a good kid, with work ethic and no ego. (for
opposite examples see Curry, Eddie and Randolph, Zach) I'm
pretty sure the only argument for Frye "not being so good"
is that he was traded away and is now buried in an even
deeper Portland roster.(9 different guys over 6'8" on that
Balkman turned out to be a solid pick, a guy with energy and
who plays tough defense, but calling out the media for
wanting Marcus Williams a PASS FIRST point guard (not that
any Knicks fan has seen one of those in years) to put in an
offense with lots of young, aggressive options? Come on,
think a little bit. Maybe Marcus Williams hasn't been great
for the Nets, but fans and media wanted a PG who put up
assists. Remember those? Probably not, after shoot-first
Starbury has failed to average even seven assists a game
since his first year with the Knicks. Other PG options? the
only other true guards on the Knicks' roster are Nate
Robinson (dynamic but averaging less than two assists a game
over his career) and good late pick Mardy Collins (putting
up a whopping 4.3 points and 1.6 assists per game over his
career) or maybe shooting guard Jamal Crawford, who is, by
name, a shooting guard! meanwhile, Balkman splits time with
Q-Rich, Fred Jones, Jared Jeffries, David Lee, Wilson
Chandler and Malik Rose in the G/F role. Sounds like someone
to pass the ball wouldn't be too bad.
Seriously? Isiah Thomas has filled the Knicks rosters with
attitude problems and other people's baggage while dealing
young talent he could be using to rebuild right now. The
Knicks traded Frye, Michael Sweetney, the second overall
pick in the 2006 draft, the ninth overall pick in 2007, and
various side pieces for the combination they've put together
today, who are 5-11 and 9 games out of first on Dec 5. I
think things could have gone better.
I think the
real problem here, (with Lou and with Isiah) is outright
denial. In this article, Lou calls Richardson "A terrific
all around player" Balkman "A great NBA player and the steal
of the draft" (by the way, I would say Daniel Gibson, who
went at 42 and has actually seen the playoffs in his short
career, a bigger steal) and says that Starbury has played
"...a lot of All-star basketball in New York" Find me ten
Knicks fans who truly agree with these statements, and I'll
show you ten people who love their team too much to face
Marbury is a
me-first player who destroys team chemistry wherever he
goes. Isiah needs to take a lesson from history and just
dump him. The Nets did it, found a point guard who liked to
pass the ball, and promptly won 50+ games, and with far less
help than Marbury has now. Phoenix? same deal, Marbury out,
lots of wins. The writing is on the wall for Steph, a player
so selfish he couldn't deal with playing alongside Kevin
Garnett, one of the best players in the game. That's no
is already a little long-winded, so I'll wrap it up, but Lou
V and Isiah-lovers everywhere, I have to ask: How much is it
going to take for you to realize Isiah is the worst thing to
ever happen to this team?
-- Frank Calello, Tucson, Arizona
||Kathy in Fort Wayne, New
I have to say
that in reading Isiah Thomas'es resume as posted in your
article, he has made many good moves. I hadn't realized how
good his trades have been. Maybe it's his coaching that
stinks or it's too early in the season as you say. I hope
you're right and they turn it around. But bottom line, at
least they don't have Dikembe Mutumbo and Keith Van Horn
anymore. Or Charlie Ward or Alan Houston.
Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Renaldo Balkman, Jamaal Crawford,
and Stephon give me something to have hope in. Here's to the
playoffs! I hope Isiah makes it; he seems like a good guy.
-- Kathy, Fort Wayne, NJ
||We've Heard from Everyone
WORST ARTICLE OF 2007
CONGRATS ON BEING A RETARD!
-- douche bag, NYC, NY
||From the Unknown Soldier
Fascinatig read. Lou V. thnks Isiah is doing a great jon.
Every trade he makes is a great trade and the worse his
trades or free agent signings are ok transactions. If that
is the case he should have a roster that is 5-11. If he has
such great personnell..... it MUST be the coaching that is
pathetic. Who is the coach...oh I forgot it i the GM ho has
assembled this roster of supertars.
||Found Us Out
You are what
your record says you are, Mr. Isiah Thomas.
||Bill from Long Island
the refreshing article. I too thought the NY Post covering
basketball on their front page on Thanksgiving was an
example of the dumbing down of society. You'd think
basketball was the most important thing in the world. Pretty
soon we'll be like all the South American countries;
everyone's poor and worried about their favorite sports
Bill, Long Island
||Mike from ..
suck. Possibly even more than the NY Post (Does) (Sucks,
Mike, New York, NY
Thanks for your intelligent and verbose response Mike. --
||Craig from Scottsdale
If the GM
Isiah made so many great moves and is such a great evaluator
of talent, then the coach Isiah must really suck. The Nicks
a lousy ball club. It hurts to watch them play.
Craig, Scottsdale, Arizona
||Dumb ESPN Coverage
I have come
to your website because I saw this article by Lou V.
referenced on a basketball blog on ESPN. All I can say is --
thank you. Finally an article that provides a fair and
in-depth examination of the Knicks under James Dolan and
Isiah Thomas. In the sea of crap I find a gem of an article.
I suppose I can thank ESPN for that.
I know NY
fans don't like James Dolan because he is rich and runs
Cablevision, but beyond that, what else could you ask for in
an owner? He opens up his checkbook, and hires basketball
people to run things. He hired Stu Laden - who everyone said
was a genius for building up Utah. Then he hired Isiah
Thomas - who rebuilt Indiana. He hired Larry Brown to be
coach - another guy with a great b-ball rep. Other than
that, he stays out of it and lets his basketball people run
things. What more could you ask for in an owner? I'm a
Yankee fan and used to hate George Steinbrenner because he
spent money but got too involved. We Yankee fans wanted an
owner who spent money but hired experts to run things.
That's Dolan. The only two things he's done wrong is let
Marv Albert go because he wasn't a homer and give Alan
Houston too much money because he was his golfing buddy.
So tell Lou
V. to keep up the good work. He's got a better handle on
things than ESPN for sure. I also like the music up here.
Nice site. Thanks.
-- William Hodge, Chicago (formerly Kew Gardens, Queens)
Interchange of Ideas, Count Zero, and Mark Cuban
disagree with you about the Post or Berman.
However...would you like to retract any of this nonsense
based on tonight's 28 point loss to the pathetic 76ers at
particular assertion comes to mind...
not a championship team yet, but they're a good team; a
lottery team...with the highest payroll in the league. They
are, to put it bluntly, spectacularly bad. Less than 35 wins
bad. And since Isiah is both the architect and coach of this
disaster, there really is no one else to blame.
Sure he's a
good evaluator of talent -- no one really disputes that. He
has used his draft picks pretty well. His trades are a
completely different story, though. The problem is he has no
idea how to select complementary pieces, how to put together
floor rotations, or when to admit he made a mistake. Big
Snacks made this roster only because Isiah can't admit that
was the worst mid-level exception signing we ever made. We
won't even discuss the Curry trade...
35 Knick wins before the season started -- I would now like
to take the "under" on that one. I look forward to you
admitting your "playoff-caliber" mistake when this team
misses the 8th seed in the East by at least seven games.
-- Count Zero
Writer's Response, and Article Explained
Hi Count Zero,
thanks very much for the
feedback. And thanks for taking the time to provide a
well-thought-out answer. A lot more than can be said of the
feedback we apparently got from the writer of the
At least we are agreed on the NY
Post and Marc Berman. I know things look quite bad right
now, but some of my reasoning comes from having been a
diehard Knick fan since 1973, and witnessing worst eras. The
Stu Laden era for example, when he left us with a team of
39-year-old Dikembe Mutumbo, Keith Van Horn,
Houston, Charlie Ward, and a bunch of undersized power
forwards. Only guy with value was Kurt Thomas and maybe Mike
Sweetney (and McDyess, who was about to play out his option
and could have been resigned with the mid-level exception).
And then there was Stu Laden selling us on the
franchise-of-the-future Michel Lampe. The day the trade was
announced that sent Marcus Camby plus the #7 pick (Amare
Stoudemire, Caron Butler, or Nene) to Denver for McDyess was
one of the worst days as a Knick fan for me.
So compared to all that, I have
to say I'm on board with what Isiah has done. I thought
Ernie Grunfeld was a good GM, and I think Isiah has done a
pretty good job, which hasn't worked out yet.
Yes the pieces don't all fit.
This team is a bit like the Wizard of Oz -- Curry needs 'the
nerve', Randolph needs 'a heart', and Crawford needs 'a
brain'. Perhaps Stephon Marbury is Dorothy looking for a way
home, or on those nights when he seems in a fog, the dog
Kato. The wicked witch? Having worked with marketing people,
and feeling I can recognize incompetent ones from 20 paces,
I say it was Anuka Browne Sanders but you can fill in your
Nevertheless, remember this
isn't the Yankees and Major League Baseball, where Cashman
can sign whatever free agent he wants. Free agency in the
NBA is virtually dead. There is no team in the league 22
million under the cap; which is where you need to be to go
out and sign a LeBron James or a Dwight Howard as a
straight-up free agent (in other words, a 34-36 million
dollar team payroll). And so the best you can do is to go
out and somehow trade for secondary stars, like Curry and
Randolph, or to a lesser-star extent, Crawford -- flawed
players that you hope to make better. The draft is no
guarantee -- look at Chicago and Ty Thomas, who is looking
like an abysmal failure these days.
Like I say, the word is still
out on Isiah as a coach; he faces his biggest challenge now.
What he might need is a coach who takes players given to
him, flawed or not, and makes them better as a team -- a guy
like Jeff Van Gundy, who was a defensive coach in his first
incarnation under Pat Riley; not the prima donnas like Larry
Brown who immediately power-struggle with Thomas to get
their own players in. (And again, I firmly believe Brown was
Dolan's choice; he's as much said so.)
I liked what Mark Cuban said
yesterday -- "You take chances in this league. There are no
absolutes. When you feel the pressure, you roll the dice and
when you roll the dice, it's not easy to react and recover.
That's the tough part of the salary cap: When you're stuck,
you're stuck. It doesn't happen overnight."
I think the guy hit it on the
head and couldn't agree more. The Knicks have been stuck
since Layden, who left with payroll at 108 million with the
cap at 56 million and a horrible, horrible team. Isiah has
been rolling the dice; I think in an intelligent way. The
talent base is way up. They've got at least 6 guys other
teams are interested in, versus one 4 years ago.
Now it's up to Curry to 'find
the heart', and Randolph to start passing out of the post
and being selfish, and for Crawford to stop leaving his man
wide open at the three for x times in a row.
Again, thanks for you feedback.
We'll post it to the paperbacknovel.com website later
Agree to Disagree -- Count Zero's
buy THIS argument more than the one in your original
I still think
you're giving Isiah too much credit, but I can't argue on
what he inherited. Glad to know another basketball fan (not
Mavericks) reads Cuban's blog. His insights are unique and
your detailed response. And keep on challenging the
conventional wisdom -- the interchange of ideas should
always be welcome even when we disagree.
-- Count Zero
Mark Berman Sucks
understand bashing The Post, I can understand bashing Marc
Berman, and, for the sake of this comment (and because in
relation to the rest of you article its the closest to
sanity) I can understand how you like Isiah as a talent
evaluator. But please, please, please dont pretend that you
are a real Knicks, NBA, or basketball fan and be serious
with what you have written.
is the single worst New York sports figure since Walter
O'Malley. You praise him for his "loyatly" and "a man of
moral fiber". This is the same man who is despised by his
father and an absolute misery to work for by every single
account. You confuse his desperate attempt to pay millions
to be close to (what he views as) greatness with loyalty.
This is why he outbid himself for Allan Houston, this is why
he will never fire Zeke. He pays them, and thinks they are
You say that
Houston was kept because he was such a fine person, albeit
just above average player. Well then, why keep Marbury? He
brings his family around to harass Garden employees, he has
extramarital affairs with interns in strip club parking
lots, and he refers to high level executives as "bitches".
Now thats a quality guy. You confuse Dolan's endless
repetition of illogical moves with some sort of dedication
remember New York LEGEND Marv Albert? How did Jimmy reward
his lifetime of service to the Garden? Oh yeah, by firing
him when he had the gall to call a terrible Knicks team
ownership, there are basically three I can make here on your
article that totally destroy any credibility you have to
write about the Knicks and/or basketball:
repeatedly refer to Stu Laden. As a "diehard Knicks fan
since 1973" I would think that you would know his name is
SCOTT LAYDEN. But lets let that one slide, its just a
knowledge of basketball is exposed as being virtually
non-existent with your little sidebars. Jerome James played
exactly 1.5 months of good basketball in his career. Isiah
blew what, contrary to your beliefs, is a valuable mid level
exception on signing him to a FIVE YEAR DEAL. You make the
point that cap space is sparse in the NBA, yet shrug at the
$4 mil per year (when in actuality he is making over 5 this
year and over 6 in the final year of his deal). You commend
the drafting of people Isiah cut before the season starts.
You say Marbury has played "all-star basketball in NY", yet
he hasnt sniffed an All-Star game since the year before he
got here, and has showed none of the qualities you want from
a point guard, team captian, or best player. My personal
favorite is the last line regarding the Marbury trade where
you explain that we got Marbury and they got Nash, and
somehow its worked out for both teams, for different
reasons. Well the reason it worked for the S uns is because
they are now a perrennial powerhouse with Nash. The reason
it worked for the Knicks is now they have a lunatic, who
doesnt make anyone around him better, with a crippling
contract that no team would ever trade for. Even steven.
3. You defend
Isiah as both a coach and a GM. This is inexcusable. You
cannot blow it off by saying that he is a stand up guy for
taking the coaching job when he was hired to be GM. He
wanted to be the coach, and accepted being the coach, when
it is painfully obvious that he is barely qualified to coach
a PAL team. Go to a game and watch him during a timeout. He
spends 75% of the time standing in silence 10 feet away from
his team. When he does finally say something, 90% of the
players are looking anywhere but at him. Surefire signs of a
top notch motivator. Maybe his X's and O's are good? When is
the last time you saw them run anything outside of an
isolation for a guard at the top of the key coming out of
timeout when it mattered?
hope that this article is written as a joke just to inflame
true Knicks fan such as myself (and if so, job well done).
If not, I pray that you do humanity a favor and chose to not
reproduce. Anyone who could support Dolan and Isiah without
receiving a check from MSG every two weeks (and even most of
those people cant do it with a straight face) needs to be
separated from society.
Thanks for taking the time to
respond. I don't think you're seeing the forest for the
trees here, and have missed the overall point of the
First, to respond to your
1. 'Stu' is a knickname given to
"Scott" Layden. I'm surprised you haven't heard it before.
2. Jerome James was signed to
the mid-level exception. When the latest collective
bargaining agreement was initially signed, this mid-level
exception was for $4 million per year, and thus,
colloquially it was called the $4-million exception for a
while. It's since been raised to $5 and $6 million, but
that's a moot, meaningless point. What is important is that
it is a minor free-agent acquisition -- $4 or $5 or $6
million a year is a minor deal when the top-echelon
players make $18 to $20 million a year and the good players
make $12-14 million. The length of term (5 years) is also
meaningless; it's part of the deal (giving him $4-$6 million
over 5 years vs $8 million for 3, which is what a player of
his ilk might have made before the latest collective
bargaining agreement). Jerome James, when healthy, is a
difference maker on the basketball court. He is a defensive
monster. It hasn't worked out due to injury, but that
doesn't mean it wasn't a good pickup by Isiah Thomas. It was
a terrific pickup that hasn't worked out -- yet.
Stephon Marbuy has played
all-star basketball in NY. I didn't write that he's made the
all-star team. There's a difference. He hasn't made the
all-star team because he hasn't played that kind of ball for
the whole season. But if you can tell me that Marbury hasn't
had long stretches of playing terrific ball; played many
games where he's scored 20-plus points and dealt out the
ball and led the Knicks to victories, then you've not been
watching the Knicks with a careful eye these past few years.
You're having your head twisted by NY Post headlines. Just
last year, Marbury had a terrible first two months, but then
played all-star basketball most of the rest of the year. He
played terrific defense last year too, even shutting down
Kobe Bryant in a Knick win over LA. Do you remember?
3. I had to reread my article to
see if I had said anything that led you to believe I was
defending Isiah as a coach. I thought I had clearly stated
that "The word is still
out on Isiah as a coach; he has a mediocre resume there".
As for James Dolan, and your
questioning why he keeps Marbury, I'm not sure what that has
to do with anything -- Isiah Thomas acquired Marbury;
Marbury was already under contract, and James Dolan has
shown, like I said, that he doesn't interfere with the moves
that his basketball experts (in this case Isiah Thomas)
choose to make. Houston was a different situation; he was a
player already on the team who could've played out his
option, but there were probably no other teams that would've
given him the money the Knicks lavished on him; truly a
mistake on Dolan's part. As for Marv Albert, I agree; he
should've stayed a Knick. However, you are dangerously
extrapolating when you write that Dolan is "despised by his
father and an absolute misery to work for by every single
account." How on earth could you know that? You know what
his father thinks about his son by headlines and perhaps
family verbal arguments made public in the NY Post? If I
have an argument with my son that means I despise him? I've
also not heard anything about people hating to work for
Dolan, like you used to hear about Steinbrenner. In fact,
the opposite seems true. From what I've read in the papers,
the MSG personnel and Knick players seemed supportive of
Dolan and Thomas in their lawsuit with Anuka Browne Sanders,
who had developed a reputation as an 'abrasive personality',
and was called a 'bitch' by many people behind her back.
Second, the overall point of the
article has nothing to do with being a 'true fan'. I don't
know what that is. The point is that there are two fellows
here -- Isiah Thomas and James Dolan -- who are being
fervently condemned by the NY media, who in turn influence the
casual fan -- despite the fact that they have made many
right moves, which just haven't worked out yet. And to me,
their actions amidst this tumult show me that they have
better character than the knobberheads ripping them apart
from their high-horse in the newspapers everyday. Some
early-season woes of a basketball team have been ratcheted
up so that you would think that this is the most important
thing happening in this world. As the arctic melts and wars
and genocide continue with coverage on page 37.
Furthermore, how many NBA
ballplayers have you read stating these Knicks have a lot of
talent? I've read many say that. For example, Josh Boone of
the Nets last night, said the Knicks have two big guys
inside, who, when they both start cooking, are hard to deal
with, and that leaves the guards like Crawford open to hit
shots. Let this team play. Let's see where things are in
March and April.
Anyway, thanks for the kind
words. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.