I believe these comments were warranted...

October 19, 2006 10:35 a.m. EST


Peter A. Flies - All Headline News Newswriter
New York, NY (AHN) - Isiah Thomas, the head coach and general manager of the New York Knicks, issued a delayed reaction to cold criticisms made by a certain former Knick and current commentator during the NBA Draft. Former Knick Greg Anthony, now an ESPN analyst, disagreed with the choice of forward Renaldo Balkman, but the rookie has surprised his critics by playing solid basketball. And now Isiah is letting Anthony know that he never buried the hatchet.

On Wednesday, Thomas left no stone unturned in deriding Anthony, questioning not only Anthony's analysis of the draft pick, but also his skills as a commentator.

Thomas told the AP, "Greg Anthony should never ever be in a position to question myself on anything about basketball."

Furthermore, Thomas went on to mock Anthony's talent as a player.

"I do remember the kind of player he was. I'll leave it at that," adding that "Greg could only go left."

The trash-talk, reminiscent more of Bad Boy Pistons Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer than businessman Isiah, eventually settled into a kinder treatment of Anthony, who was not the only commentator with questions about Balkman as the 20th overall draft pick. Isaiah suggested that Anthony, as a former Knick, owed more loyalty and less disaffection to the franchise because of his association with the team.

"I know a Piston would never do that. A Celtic would never do that. A Laker would never do that. It wouldn't happen."

Isiah had Anthony on his brain, referring to him throughout the press conference even on questions off-topic.

As for the man who indirectly stirred up this argument, Balkman has turned a few heads so far, apparently fulfilling his own prophecy.

"It's a lot of doubters up there," he told the AP in July, "saying I'm not gonna be this and I'm not gonna be that, but when I step on the court, they're gonna second-guess themselves."

So far, Balkman, a 6-8 forward from South Carolina, has shown enthusiasm and hustle that has wowed the New York crowd into a standing ovation. The reception has, for now, vindicated Isiah and elevated Balkman's status at the 20th pick.

"I woke up the next day and I just sat there," Balkman said after being selected, "and I felt like, man, I just won the lottery. I got picked in the NBA. Number 20. Wow."