Is it just me, or have the Knicks been on a really, really long road trip?
I know there's a basketball team wearing Knicks' jerseys shooting around in the Garden, but I'm still not convinced they're the good old Knicks, whom you either love or hate, depending on your persuasion.
"The MSG Circus" I'd buy. "Jerry Springer on Ice" I'd believe.
But the Knicks? That team with the long, proud history that Isiah Thomas promised to meticulously restore? They were better off with Scott Layden pacing the hallways mumbling "We like our team" under his breath.
Thomas has been president of the Knicks for roughly three weeks. In that time he's made as many moves as Layden made in three years. If you think that's a good thing, Knicks fans, be careful what you wish for.
The Clarence Weatherspoon-for-Moochie Norris deal has been a mild success.
Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway for Antonio McDyess, Howard Eisley and the entire future of the Knicks was bold enough. Only time will tell whether Marbury's leadership skills will ever catch up to his talent.
The last 10 days have been less impressive.
There's a reason Lenny Wilkens was available to coach the Knicks.
-Thomas tried and failed to land Rasheed Wallace, Darius Miles and Marcus Camby.
-He started bringing in cronies to mentor players without first asking his coaches how they felt about it.
-He took over as Marbury's personal tutor only after he made sure the cameras were rolling.
-He decided to fire coach Don Chaney days ago, joked about Chaney's status with David Letterman, but somehow forget to tell Chaney until just minutes before a press conference on Wednesday.
-He debated privately between three washed up coaching candidates -- Lenny Wilkens, Mike Fratello and himself -- before concluding Wilkens was the best choice. Of the three, I'm wont to agree with him. Fratello is a terrible fit for the Knicks and Thomas would be a disaster. But there's another 10 candidates I'd put in front all of them.
What's next? Hiring Dennis Rodman to help bolster morale and good friend Michael Jackson to help with public relations? I can see the press release now. "Dennis and Michael have been successful in every endeavor they've ever undertaken, despite overwhelming odds."
At first glance, it's not unreasonable to conclude that Isiah' quick trigger finger on Wilkens is a result of a panic attack -- an act of desperation just three week into his job as savior of the Knicks. Moochie didn't get done. Starbury hasn't meshed with his teammates. Maybe Lenny's the answer. What's Zeke going to do if the crowd starts chanting "Fi-re Tho-mas!"?
Wilkens is a terrible choice to replace Chaney. Several of Thomas' closest advisers tried to talk him out of pulling the trigger, to no avail. On style and substance, Chaney and Wilkens are mirror images of each other. Both are laid back, let players play the game their way and hope player happiness and chemistry translate into wins. Wilkens flamed out royally in the last two places he coached. He completely lost his team in Toronto, and the suggestions from players there were that the game had passed him by.
That is, of course, no concern to Isiah.
"You never thought you would be able to get a Hall of Fame coach to be able to coach a team," he said at the press conference Wednesday. "Having the opportunity to have the winningest coach in basketball, we pride ourselves on being the best and having the opportunity to select the best. I just think he's a perfect fit. And I think he's the perfect fit for Stephon."
Wilkens the best? Wilkens unattainable? There's a reason he didn't get one of the 20 coaching jobs that were open this summer, Isiah. Tim Floyd, the losingest coach in the history of the NBA, heard his name called before Wilkens. In a league where guys get recycled by the hour, that means something.
In Isiah's world the past is more important than the present or the future. Stature and image trump substance and reality -- it's how Isiah continues to make himself relevant in the face of mounting evidence that his glory days ended in the late '80s. Wilkens is a Hall of Fame coach who owns the most career wins (and losses) of anyone who has ever coached the game. That his team was 24-58 in his last season in Toronto and 28-54 in his last season in Atlanta is irrelevant to Thomas. So is the fact that he has coached in the conference finals just once in the past 25 years (with the '91 Cavs). Wilkens is a name and names mean something to Isiah.
Wilkens will coddle Marbury, who is now on his ninth coach in eight seasons in the NBA. He will toe the company line. He will, I assume, stay out of Isiah's way (something Fratello apparently was unwilling to do). And, most importantly, he'll pave the way for Isiah to take over on the bench once Thomas is convinced he has the pieces in place to make a run at the NBA title.
What Wilkens is not is Hubie Brown, as Isiah tried to insinuate Wednesday. Wilkens does not have the demeanor nor the temperament to take this team and drill down to the basics, the fundamentals the Knicks so sorely lack. He is not bold enough to force Marbury to play the right way, like Brown did with Jason Williams in Memphis. Wilkens is a name. A whisper of a bygone era. A 14-carat placeholder.
Barring more trades and more high-profile hires, the Knicks are essentially the same team Layden "liked," just with fancier names, more hype and much higher expectations.
The honeymoon's over, Isiah. Unless Wilkens transports back to 1977, Marbury turns into Jason Kidd, Allan Houston morphs into Kobe Bryant and Keith Van Horn starts resembling Larry Bird, it's going to be a rocky marriage.
Originally posted by Special K
i like how isaih fired a coach that was criticized for being too laidback in don cheney, for another laidback coach in lenny wilkens
isaih is going to fire lenny at the end of the year anyways and take over the coaching job himself...which is probably why he hired lenny wilkens in the first place...to have someone thats easy to fire at the end of the year...
Originally posted by vench
how Wilkens got this job is beyond me.
what is Thomas thinking??
it makes no difference to me...only that the Raps will have more cap space to play around with.
Originally posted by KickIT
Coaches salaries do not play into the salary cap.
And yes I agree Lenny Wilkins is nothing but the perfect puppet for Isiah's devil hands. You know he ultimately wants to coach and GM the Knicks. His ambitions are so transparent its sickening. Knicks fans aren't stupid, they lynch Isiah soon enough.
Originally posted by Libradragon
he's got amazing sales skills - in selling a dream. The follow up needed though is seriously lacking.
Originally posted by HMHA
look at how larry bird has led indiana to tops in the eastern conferrence. now there's a basketball genius and his first order of business as pacers gm was to give thomas the boot.