[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]Extend kudos for Isiah's relentless pursuit of mediocrity? Nooo!
March 13, 2007
By Larry Dobrow
Special to CBS SportsLine.com
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Like many Knicks fans, upon hearing that coach/GM/smiley guy Isiah Thomas was inked to a contract extension, my first impulse was to retreat into a fetal position in the bathtub and cry.
My second was to call a well-run, long-suffering franchise like the Raptors and ask what kind of incentives (a Toast-R-Oven?) it's offering to would-be bandwagon fans.
My third was to crank up the local sports radio station and bask in the aural spectacle of outer-borough imbeciles spewing venom while proposing Kevin Garnett-for-Jamal Crawford, Channing Frye and Jerome James swaps.
Oddly, the venom never materialized.
In fact, now that the Knicks have come within yodeling distance of respectability for the first time in two years, there seems to be some pro-Isiah sentiment wafting to and fro. As recently as three months ago, this seemed as likely a scenario as an aardvark mastering conversational German, or a Cablevision-owned team winning a playoff game.
The case for Isiah? His players, most notably Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury, play harder for him than they have for anybody else. The team looks like a lock for a 15-game improvement over last year's hardwood halftards.
Wearing his GM propeller beanie, Isiah has assembled a young core (Curry, Crawford and David Lee) that should ensure some minimal level of competitiveness for the next few seasons. Madison Square Garden (motto: "ATMs by every concession stand!") is hopping again, occasionally even on the nights when the Knicks are playing.
The Kool-Aid sure goes down easy enough, don't it? Listen long enough and you can almost lull yourself into believing that .500 is a gift, and Isiah is our bountiful Santa.
Screw that. The contract extension reeks, as does its recipient. It shows, in fact, an almost willful disregard for the intelligence of the franchise's fans.
Yes, his core guys are trying harder than they did under Larry Brown. But without actually changing into nightgowns and treating themselves to a midcourt siesta, could they try any less?
Besides, it's not like this supposed sea change in effort has been consistent. Wins over the Bulls (in December) and Lakers (in both January and February, the first without Kobe in the lineup) were followed the next night by express-mail-it-in jobs against the Sixers, Bobcats and Warriors. One step forward, one step back -- call it the mediocrity foxtrot.
The Curry deal looks like a savvy one, especially now that the Knicks don't figure to finish in the league's bottom 12 teams (which would make the 2007 first-round-pick swap still owed the Bulls a tougher pill to swallow).
He boasts what the less bookish among us might call "mad hopz" in the paint, along with a slate of low-post moves that make him a must for double-team treatment. At the same time, however well this move has worked out, Isiah left the franchise massively exposed by failing to lottery-protect the pick.
Then there's the litany of failed moves that, somehow, seem to have been swept under the rug during the breathless pursuit of an eight seed...
^ Read the rest.
Great article. The less intelligent fans have mistaken mediocrity for success, and that's exactly what Dolan's/Isiah's plan is.
The big problem I see with Thomas is the bar is always set so low. As a result, of course he looks good.
First, he inherited of Layden's roster, he used that excuse for 2 years. Now it's the Brown excuse, he only has to win more than 23 games to look good.
great article... and true,true,true...
the objective is to win the title, and since we are in cap-hell for next year and the year after, the team we got now is more or less the team we will have for the next 2 seasons... so the question is... can the team as constructed presently improve enough to join the elite group of teams... and compete for the title...
Great article...Sounds like the writer cares about the Knicks rather than collecting a paycheck on what sells (see Berman, Lupica, et al). But, I would have to disagree with the argument. Do I see the Knicks winning the title in the next 3-4 years? Absolutely not. We have to remember fellow Knick fans, we have not won a title before most of us were twinkles in our fathers eyes. Our best chance was blocked by The Dream and we have only been back once, which I feel was a waste because we blew up the team after that and have never been the same. NYK basketball has been a joke since that last run. But, getting back to our generations "glory days" of Ewing, Oak, Starks, Mason, Harper, etc., they still did not win and they were a pretty good team. We probably would have won at least two titles if 23 wasnt around. So, we have to set the bar as high as World Champs to deem the direction we are going in acceptable? I am not thrilled with the season b/c I think we def have the capability to be running off with the Titantic division, but we have a solid group of players (minus Nate and JJ31) that can grow together and compete at a high level. Therefore, I am accepting IT's extension because it seems that our team is finally gelling and hopefully can reach their outmost potential, hopefully Finals, but not counting on it. But, when this core of players/IT reach their acme point and they are still not competing on a high level of respectability, then we should blow it up and start over..But, first, let us not be hasty b/c it seems now that NYK Bball has an identity and we might be in store for something special
All I have to say is that him and the Knicks need to step up if they want that 8th place for the playoffs.
actually my fault i meant to say since THE END of the first month, the knicks been playing .500 basketball
Yeah but we knew what you ment. We all make mistakes
as a coach however... the knicks are the only team to improve their win percentage each month this season (look it up)... that shows growth... yeah... i'm not excited about 8th place either... but give IT the coach enough time to develop these players and this team and see what happens... and hire jerry west as president...
for further evidence... look at our nba champs over the last 16 years... the bulls with jordan, grant and pippen took 4 years... it took hakeem and co 10 years... david robinson won when tim duncan was added to his side after 9 years... the shaq/kobe lakers took 4 years... the pistons needed 4 and the addition of rasheed wallace to take it... and the shaq/d-wade heat needed 3...
it takes time to develop a team... and those guys were much older than we are... young teams take longer... look at how long it took the clippers and mavs...
and no Metro... I'm not an apologist... but you can't lump his performance as a coach into the same category that you place his managerial skill... bring in west and give it three years...
... The less intelligent fans have mistaken mediocrity for success ...
I don't think I could have written an article stating the obvious any better myself!
It is pathetically sad and funny to hear people who are totally oblivious and unable to comprehend that the Knicks are owned and managed by "the world's worst ownership on earth" defend the current regime.
As long as the Knicks are owned and managed by the Dolan cartel at Cablevision, who for reasons unknown to the rest of the sane world continue to allow little retarded Jimmy to play executive manager over a basketball team of all things, something that he clearly has no comprehension of being able to do with any intelligence, knowledge of the game or class whatsoever, mediocrity will continue to reign supreme at the Garden.
Someone put a tent over the Jim Dolan circus already. The clowns are out of control.
This is long, but necessary . . .Personally, I'm really sick of the Isiah haters around here. For the past 10years, there has been a pass given to the inept gms and coaches that have passed through the garden, especially Larry Brown who couldnt do squat with the same squad that Isiah has now. Noone is bashing Brown for stunting the young kids' growth on the Knicks. Isiah inherits a ridiculously boring team w/o any chemistry and w/o any direction. He takes over the reigns after an impostor (Brown)tries to undermind the organization and what happens? They have some growing pains, but guess what? What organization has more of a young and dynamic nucleus of young players than the Knicks? David Lee is the truth. Eddy Curry has evolved into a very formidable inside presence(be it only on offense for now) Marbury has turned into a leader. Yes, I said it. Crawford, as much as I used to hate him before he got hurt even started showing signs of better decision making. There is a buzz that exists that wasnt here for years. Yes they will force you to pull your hair out because of the inconsistency and turnovers. But they have also exhibited a no quit attitude by always coming back. Up until these past injuries, even when they lost, they were ALWAYS in the game and very rarely were they completely run off the court. But why am I always hearing these negative Isiah comments but NEVER heard much during the Layden years prior to him coming to NY? He just pulled off a GREAT move by getting Randolph Morris whose stock was rising and he signed him to a very reasonable contract. Let me remind you this was a possible lottery pick that went undrafted, honed his skills for 2yrs under Tubby Smith and Thomas stole him. He was averaging 16pts almost 8 rbs a game and 2 blks a game. Why is he getting bashed for this? This is why I know that the hate for Thomas has more to do with shall we say "other things" rather than his performance because this move can potentially be a real steal for us. If Morris doesnt work out, so what? He didnt overspend for him. As a diehard Knick fan, the hateration has to stop. You are playing yourself and really need to stop it. It only exposes you for who you are. . . . .Let me ask you something? What in the hell did Larry Brown do for the Knicks that would prompt you to say BRING BACK LARRY BROWN? He openly dissed his players in the media, he acted like a juvenille by trashing Marbury in the papers and then everyone got behind him and attacked Marbury as if he should just sit idly by and let his coach berate him to the papers. He got nothing out of the same team Isiah has and to go one step further, has been overrated for much of his career. I guess you would say that Scott Layden, Danny Ainge and Kevin Mchale are absolutely great gms huh? You are playing yourself. . . .
Larry Brown Enough Said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!