All right, after spending much of the past 10 months ripping the Knicks apart, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they flirt with winning 40 games this year. Here's the theory … I have always said if Herb Williams was coaching the team instead of Larry last year, they would have won anywhere from 6-10 more games. Not because Herbie's a great coach, but he wouldn't have lost his players by December, he wouldn't have started 127 different starting lineups and he would have let his guys play and learn how to work together. You don't have to be an innovator to be an effective coach. So, that makes them somewhere around a 30-win team last year under "normal" circumstances.
Now you add Isiah to the mix and no one, especially me, is going to accuse him of being a great coach. But he's going to have several things working in his favor.
# 1. The better the Knicks play this year, the worse Larry looks. Make no mistake - This is going to be a driving force for Isiah.
# 2. The better the Knicks play this year, the better Isiah looks. And he might even get to keep his job.
# 3. The Knicks cannot get worse. They would literally have to start 50 different lineups and bench Stephon Marbury, Jared Jeffries and Eddy Curry to come close to last year's apathy.
# 4. Jeffries is going to bring a calming effect to the team and play defense.
# 5. Their starting five of Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Jeffries, Channing Frye and Curry is better, at least on paper, than a lot of teams in the league.
So, taking all those things into consideration, I really think the Knicks have a chance of winning 37-40 games, which would not only be good enough for Isiah to keep his job, but could get them close to the playoffs. Maybe I'm losing my mind in my old age?
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