to Go !
Note: The story to the right was written a month before the Knicks
gave Larry Brown the heave ho. We certainly wish Larry Brown no
ill will, and hearing about his recent bladder operations, we at
paperbacknovel.com wish him the best of health. But he wasn't fit
for the Knicks, it was best for him to move on. It actually made
our day. We only wish the Knicks had jetisoned Brown long before
they traded Trevor Ariza. From a purely professional and moral
Prison Without Bars
by Pete Rose
the Knicks Suck
Knick season in history -- 23 wins, 59 loses. Lots of finger pointing
going around in New York as the 2006 season wound down, with those fingers
mostly pointed at Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury, and even a few at
Late Breaking Dec,
Knicks Don't Suck .. Anymore
(click to read)
But the NY Post and NY
Daily News Do
Like most difficult mathematical problems where you need to isolate
all of the variables to figure out the answer, there is no single issue causing
these Knicks to suck. But they
are dwarfed by one central issue. The Knicks own X factor.
is not X. I've never
liked Thomas from what I've seen of him in the newspapers. He has that shit-eating grin, he froze-out Michael
Jordan in the All-Star game when Jordan was a rookie, and he's made some
seemingly veiled racist statements in the press (for example, saying Larry
Bird was overrated because he was white, or that he (Isiah) doesn't like
lost Knick season isn't his fault.
fact, Isiah has done a heck of a job turning
around the talent level of the Knick team
in just two seasons. Isiah has done the impossible -- take an old, un-athletic,
injured, overpaid roster full of contracts that the Knicks were stuck with
for years into the future, with players that had little or no market value (ie,
nobody wanted anyone on the Knick roster except Kurt Thomas two years
ago), and did what everyone said couldn't be done -- turn the roster
completely over to produce a young, athletic team full of guys who can
score. The Knicks now have a load of guys sought after by other teams in
Not only do
the Knicks look better talent wise than they did just two short years ago,
Isiah seems to have turned the roster over with a solid strategy in place --
contrary to what you've read in the NY Post, the pieces of Isiah's puzzle fit together.
In Eddie Curry, the Knicks have one of
the legitimate, premier young post-up centers in the NBA. The perfect
tandem to Curry is to have a point guard who can penetrate to the basket
to draw defenses, and dish off to Curry for easy baskets -- and there is
no better point guard in the NBA at penetrating through half court
defenses like a knife through butter like Stephon Marbury. If Marbury
can't score on his own drive or dish off to Curry on the low block, then
there's Channing Frye waiting in the paint -- the perfect scoring power
forward, getting most of his points facing the basket and dead eye from
10--20 feet. The final pieces to this offensive puzzle is to have some players who
can shoot lights-out from three-point range, so that if a team clogs the
middle to defend Marbury-Curry-Frye, you beat them from the outside. There
Isiah hasn't been as exacting, bringing in Jamaal Crawford and three-point-record-holder Quentin
Richardson -- both streaky
defensive side, Isiah's players are weak. Jamaal Crawford, Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson, and
Eddie Curry have reputations as bad defensive players. To solidify the
defense, Isiah -- arguably because Knick upper management twisted his arm
to do so -- brought in a coach highly regarded for coaching teams that play
great team defense -- Larry Brown.
Stephon Marbury's Fault
Marbury was having a terrific year when he was brought down in a mid
January game that killed the Knick season. The Knicks had just reeled off
six wins in a row before a loss to Toronto, when Marbury was injured in a
game at the Garden against Minnesota. Despite being yanked around by
Brown, and crapped on in the press by Brown, Marbury was scoring, passing,
and leading the team, and beyond all else, was fun to watch. This disaster
of a Knick season was not Stephon Marbury's fault. He is not X.
Why Do the Knicks Suck?
1) The number one reason why
the Knicks suck -- is in two words, Larry
Brown. Larry Brown = X. Forget the 'track record'; Larry Brown took a team that should
have won 40-45 games this year and won 22. The defense was atrocious, and
the team absolutely stopped playing for him the final third of the
Brown's past coaching technique has been to spend the first 6 to 9 months
discombobulating whatever team he coaches, playing different starting
lineups every night in an effort to emasculate all the egos on the team and make every
player his puppet, hanging on his string, knowing that if they lapse just a
little bit on the court, they won't play the next night. If any player
grumbles about playing time, Larry Brown goes after them in the press,
calling them names or disparaging their talent level. If the player fights
back, he's soon traded. If he doesn't fight back, Brown has won the will
of egos, and the player is put back in the playing rotation.
two short years, Isiah Thomas has turned the Knick roster over -- from
old, unathletic, injured, overpriced geyser lineup, to young, athletic,
high-scoring players. The Knicks two years ago featured:
Mutombo. Old (38?)and immobile and couldn't score.
Thomas and Antonio McDyess (with Othella Harrington, Clarence Weatherspoon,
and Michael Sweetney in reserve). Kurt Thomas was the only player on the
team that anybody else wanted. Sweetney had talent but wasn't playing at
all. Weatherspoon was the only power forward in NBA history who had to
quadruple fake to put his shot up, and would still get it slammed down his
Van Horn. Unatheletic and piss-poor defensively. Van Horn was a scorer who
would disappear late in games when other teams put defensive stoppers on
Houston. His career was over, although we weren't sure at the time. Piss
poor defensively even in his prime, before the knee operations.
Ward and Frank Williams.
comparison, the Knicks 2006 roster contained the following players:
Curry (with Jerome James in reserve). Curry is 23 and one of the best
young post-up centers in the NBA. Deficiencies are his inability to
rebound nor block shots or clog the middle defensively.
Frye, Antonio Davis (with Malik Rose in reserve). Channing Frye is 23, has
dead-eye accuracy from 10-20 feet, moves well without the ball, and has
the kind of court sense reminiscent of Tim Duncan. He's 6'11".
Crawford (with Quentin Richardson in reserve). Only 25 years old, Crawford
can score and score and this year, he's scoring within the confines of the
team offense, which is the best news for the Knicks. Richardson is also
Marbury. You can piss on Marbury all you want, but he remains one of the
premier point guards in the NBA. One of the few players in the game who
can penetrate defenses and get to the basket like a knife through butter. Doesn't 'see the court' while running a full-court offense
like Steve Nash or Jason Kidd, but I'd still rather have Marbury in a
slow-down half-court offense of the playoffs. Hey, remember, Nash was
one-and-done in last year's playoffs.
The result of Brown's
tactics is a team that plays hard, even kamikazee defense, for a while.
His spell typically lasts a year and a half to two years.
After that, Brown's constant head games with his players eventually
backfire and the players stop playing for him, at which point Brown has
already set path to 'jump to the next stone'. He wears
out his welcome, amongst the players and the management, and has a history
of leaving teams high and dry.
Brown left New Jersey high and dry in the late eighties, and the
year after he left both Kansas and UCLA, those college programs were placed on
probation. In Detroit, he rode a conference champion (that then added
Rasheed Wallace) to a championship,
and some of those players have made it clear in the newspapers they resent
Brown for the way he coached and taking all the credit for their
championship. And let's not forget that
Larry Brown is responsible for the worst coaching job in the history of
basketball -- coaching the 2004 US Olympic Basketball team to a bronze
metal, despite the fact that they had one of the greatest rosters of all
time, featuring Lebron James, Tim Duncan, Carmello Anthony, Alan Iverson,
and others. That team couldn't beat Puerto Rico. That team complained to a
man about being 'discombobulated' by the coach.
Knicks this year, Brown's constant lineup changes subterfuged Isiah
Thomas's lineup. The team never gained any kind of continuity or teamwork,
as Brown jostled the lineup without rhyme or reason, playing guys 35
minutes one night, and zero the next. Beyond that came the whines to the
press about the roster Isiah Thomas had put together, about his players,
about lack of effort -- always someone else's fault. At one point in the
season Isiah Thomas capitulated and privately asked Brown to write down
the players he wanted; he'd go get them. Brown's response -- he
immediately went to the press with this private piece of information,
making Isiah Thomas look like an idiot.
Reasons Why the Knicks Suck
Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas's team is still not perfectly formed. There are
other reasons why this season went down in flames for the Knicks, and they
Curry can't rebound. The Knicks have lost several games this year because
Curry couldn't rebound the ball in late game situations after the Knicks
as a team had played great defense on a possession.
Knicks entire frontcourt can't rebound. If Eddie Curry is getting 5 or 6 rebounds a game,
and his sidekick power forward is Channing Frye who gets 7 or 8, the Knicks C-PF positions are getting
12-15 rebounds a game and you're not going to win too many basketball
games if that's the case. And that's why Knick coaching is impressing on
both of them to rebound, rebound, rebound. Don't be surprised if the
Knicks eventually have to trade one of them (Frye?) for a big time
rebounder. Remember the Knicks had Ewing (who was a pretty good rebounder)
and Cartwright. Trading Cartwright to Chicago for Charles Oakley gave
Ewing the rebounding power forward he needed, and gave Chicago the center
they needed (alongside PF Horace Grant) to win championships.
Curry is not a big-time offense force. I think by this time Isiah Thomas
was hoping Curry would be averaging 20 points a game. He's not near that.
He's inconsistent, and disappears in games when the other team makes
defensive adjustments to him. Late in games, he never gets good position
inside -- he's often moved so far off the blocks he's 20 feet from the
basket. He often becomes a non-entity for the Knicks offensively, late in
Knicks are still a young team. It takes two years for NBA teams to play
together and become good -- to know how to win. From the start this Knick
team was a collection of players who were just getting to know each other.
good part of the early season the Knicks were playing rookies Channing
Frye and Nate Robinson, and 20 year old Trevor Ariza. Rookies tend to make
mistakes (leave their man on defense or throw the ball away in key
situations) and not know how to finish games. And on top of that they had
Brown discombobulating the team.
Deficiences in the roster. Isiah has only been working on this roster for
only two years. So far he's done the unimaginable, turning the roster
around. But there are still holes at backup point guard, at small forward, and the
rebounding situation at center-power forward mentioned above.
Knicks need to get rid of Larry Brown and his big ego as soon as they
possibly can; bring in a coach who can win with the players he is given.
They need to address the rebounding situation. And they need to get a
coach who gets his team to play defense; a coach that the team doesn't stop playing
for midway through the season. If they can do those things, they'll be a fun team to watch; a
playoff team; a contending team.
got the talent. X has to go.
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