Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Knicks Are Back

It has been well over a decade since I have been excited for my beloved NY Knicks. Instead, for the last 10 years, I tried to convince myself that Eddy Curry would finally get and stay in shape, Jamal Crawford could put it together and be more than just a streaky scorer, and somehow Isaiah actually knew something everyone else didn’t when he drafted picks like Balkman and passed up on Rondo. It has been years of players entering the draft to use the Knicks' interest to pump up their draft stock, from Stephen Curry, OJ Mayo, and even Jimmer Ferdette. Instead, the Knicks ended up with Jordan Hill, one of the biggest busts that year, and passed up on nice guards like Eric Gordon and Brandon Jennings. Let’s not forget drafting Michael Sweetney, Channing Frye, and Nene Hilario all in the top ten picks of their respective drafts. Nene turned out to be a solid player, then the Knicks traded him away on draft night with Camby for one-legged Antonio McDyess. Isaiah Thomas continued to bring in bad character guys with overpaid contracts, creating a team that was never bad enough to rebuild in the draft but never good enough to make the playoffs.

With all that said, Knick fans everywhere have survived only by the miracles created by the greatest Knick GM, Donnie Walsh (not much competition for that title). Fans in NY haven't had players to cheer for since the 90's when we had Ewing, Houston, Spreewell, Camby, Larry Johnson, Charles Oakley, and overachieving John Starks. And no, I wouldn’t count the fattest front court of Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry something worthy of fan praise. But now, we finally have the additions of Amare and Melo, who each have more All Star appearances alone than the Knicks did as an organization in the last decade.

Many critics think the Knicks overpaid for their entire front court, and I won’t disagree with them fully. But when you have been so bad for so long, sometimes it’s better to take a risk on proven stars. Plus, for the first time, stars want to come to NY, even if it means taking less money. With a couple of decent draft picks in Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrelson who have shown enough promise to earn some playing time, and glue guys like Fields, Toney Douglas, and Jared Jeffries (can’t believe I’m saying this… see link), and now with the most recent signing of Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, and Mike Bibby (not really sure about this one), the Knicks look primed to be at least a contender for the NBA Championship.

I am dreaming of the Knicks finally returning to relevancy and creating new rivalries with teams like the Bulls and Heat for the next 4 seasons. I hope to see game 7's like we had in the 90's. The Knicks are finally playing for now and have a team built to win. It hasn't been like this since the Jeff Van Gundy days.

Maybe as a Knick fan, I have my head up in the clouds, but after seeing what I have witnessed the last 12 years, I believe that we are allowed to have this moment. I can picture it now, Baron Davis dropping 3's and dimes left and right, Tyson Chandler swatting shots and dunking alley-oops, and Amare and Melo averaging a combined 60 points every night. As a NY sports fan I know too well, things that look great on paper mean nothing, but until I’m proven wrong, as Amare says, “The Knicks are back!”


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