It sounds crazy, I know. After all: Isiah is a buffoon. Larry Brown is a Hall of Fame coach who’s garnered respect on an elite level. What are they thinking in New York? They are a laughing stock. Isiah has destroyed a once proud franchise.
This is what the media tells us. They have led everyone to believe Isiah Thomas is a blind fool ruining a once proud franchise. The media, in all of its power and fury, has convinced everyone that Larry Brown was the Savior who got run out of town in a feral act of stupidity.
Here are the facts. Hiring Larry Brown was the “feral act of stupidity.” Larry Brown is a GREAT coach. Give Brown a blank canvas and he’ll paint you a Picasso. Unfortunately for him, he was offered and accepted one of the few jobs in the NBA that was the absolute wrong situation for his style. It’s like asking the Pope to be the new Defense Secretary: Great man, great job, terrible mix.
As for Isiah Thomas being the “buffoon who destroyed a once proud franchise:” I have news for you, the franchise was ruined years before Isiah walked into Madison Square Garden. Scott Layden destroyed the Knicks years before, hence the cleaning off his desk for a replacement. Scott Layden offered to pay the most one dimensional athlete in any sport the NBA league maximum. Allan Houston is the third highest player in the NBA in 2006-07. Thanks Scott. Shandon Anderson, while warming up the Miami bench and getting a championship ring, made enough money in New York to buy the next twelve championship franchise’s their rings. Thanks Scott. Howard Eisley lives like a King, as will his grand children and great grandchildren, before the Layden signed paychecks run out. Thanks Scott. Scott Layden traded the Knicks heart and soul, Latrell Sprewell. Though Sprewell was never a Cub Scout, he was usually right when talking about effort, even taking pot shots at Allan Houston before his New York exit.
This is what Isiah Thomas did do. He ran Allan Houston and his wallet out of New York. He got New York a point guard who can score and pass. For all of those people who love to point fingers at Marbury being selfish, look at some of his assist totals over the years. He’s not the selfish control freak the media has made him out to be. Between the Mark Jackson/ Derek Harper years until Stephon Marbury, there were Chris Childs, Howard Eisley, and Charlie Ward. New York had been screaming for a point guard and Isiah brought in an all-star almost immediately. Given the disastrous salary cap circumstances THAT ALREADY EXISTED, swinging a deal for Stephon was impressive. Isiah took a team of old and unhealthy overpaid players and quickly exchanged them for young overpaid players. Given the choice, I’ll take the young overpaid players every time – Crawford, Curry, et all.
Isiah drafted Channing Frye and Trevor Ariza who, by the way, had his best season as a rookie in New York. I’m still convinced, because I’ve watched him play in my hometown for three years, that the Renaldo Balkman pick is going to have people apologizing to Isiah for years (eh hem… pucker up Greg Anthony).
Now it’s Isiah on the sidelines, whose up-tempo style is perfect for an up-tempo team. Maybe, to use the same metaphor, it’d be like replacing the Pope’s position as Secretary of Defense with Vince McMahon. It still might not work, but at least it’ll be fun to watch, much more suitable for the job at hand, and definitely more interesting.
See, in this metaphor, we couldn’t hire the best people for the job. Scott Layden ruined that chance years before because he ran the deficit through the stratosphere. So rather than Isiah sitting back and watching it all fall to pieces over the course of four or five years (in which case, people would STILL be pointing fingers at Isiah), he got aggressive. When one gets aggressive, there are bound to be mistakes (Jerome “Extra Cheese” James).
This team is young, unbalanced and definitely helpless on defense, but they can score. Their aggressive approach on the offense will win more than 23 games all by itself.
For every sour comment made about Steve Francis, Quentin Richardson, Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry and then some, there have been just as many bright spots or “expert opinions” on why they’ll be successful at some point in their career. It’s not like Isiah put on his blindfold and starting signing contracts.
Honestly, I believe Isiah has done an admirable job considering the circumstances. I don’t know how he shows up at work every day without choking someone out of sheer frustration. How he holds back from screaming out, “Go call Layden, you idiots! Go ask him why our payroll is so damn high!” is beyond me.
All of this negative press, from a fantasy perspective, could make a few of the Knicks into big sleepers this season.
Posted by Roger Olivieri at 10/27/2006 7:15:00 AM