Sunday, November 22, 2009

Knicks Should've Been Patient With Answer

After overlooking Brandon Jennings--who's rapidly become a Rookie of The Year candidate in Milwaukee--the Knicks once again displayed their pure basketball ignorance and idiocy in skipping out on Allen Iverson.

Sure, Iverson would dominate the ball and perhaps utilize his me-first mentality to score buckets by the bundles. Would the move, however, actually prove problematic for this floundering franchise?

Let's see, Iverson contains blink quickness, a full offensive repertoire, and the toughness to instantly become the Knicks' best player.

Shit, AI would have immediately become the Knicks' best player in recent memory.

He's household name with an accomplished game. Just check Iverson's long hoop pedigree. The Knicks should have bagged him, especially after passing up on Jennings. While he may have bumped heads with trigger-happy guards like Nate Robinson, Iverson would provide a scoring punch that would at least elevate the Knicks from the Eastern Conference swamplands.

The thrill factor was etched in stone. The Knicks chose to look the other way.

The Knicks had the opportunity to secure a game-changer, a little pugnacious, smurf-sized guard who could turn the faltering franchise from celler-dwellar to ticket seller. Maybe not overnight, but Iverson's presence would have erased some of the doubt that seems to hover over Madison Square Garden.

The spectacle of Iverson in orange and blue would have allowed Knicks fans to do more than just shower the home team in a chorus of boos. AI would give fans something discuss beyond the prospect of landing Lebron James and a lunchline of other players from the much-heralded free agent class of 2010.

They let that opportunity to change the tune and get Lebron off the brain slip by the wayside.

Iverson in orange and blue would potentially make the Garden shake nearly every home game. The Garden now only shakes a few times a year--typically during the Holiday season and March--when elite college teams square off in tournaments.

The Knicks chickened out, they showed a lack of manhood. Knicks brass showed they are not interested in taking risks that could potentially produce wins.

They looked in the opposite direction on Jennings, who's suddenly amongst the league's best in the backcourt. Would Iverson, now the last superstar standing, have really been a move for management to frown at?

The Knicks may have overanalyzed this one, which is the opposite of how they handled Jennings. With Jennings, Donnie Walsh simply did not get a good feel for the young gun. Jennings developed a good feel for the game early playing on the hardscrabble courts of Compton, Calif., and skyrocketing to prep stardom.

Shouldn't the Knicks at least have someone in the know to contact about studs on the grassroots level? Isiah was a bum, but one thing he did have was a great eye for talent. He was someone who would pride himself on having that eye for talent.

Having said that, Zeke--now the head coach at Florida International--likely would not have passed up on Jennings for Jordan Hill.

Now Jennings is handing out assists like a scantily-clad party promoter chick hands out flyers near nightclubs, vaulting the Bucks into respectability.

BJ's quick ascension to NBA stardom gives the Knicks a wistul reminder of what could be.

Jennings would have thrived in D'Antoni's frenetic, go-go style offense, averaging around 11-13 assists per game and making David Lee and Al Harrington better.

BJ would have triggered the run, run, run, souped-up style and helped install an uptempto system in New York.

Will Iverson find a hardwood home and make the Knicks pay the way Jennings has?

We shall see.

After a brief three-game stint, AI bounced from Memphis.

Why?

He was playing on a squad which needs five basketballs on the court at all times in order to satisfy each player's individual scoring preferences.

The Grizzlies are a young, promising team. But they are a team in dire need of surrendering me for we and channeling their immense scoring talent into a winning formula.

With Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo potentially fighting over who should get the most touches and garner the role of go-to-guy, there was simply no room for a high volume scorer of Iverson's ilk.

No ample room, whatsoever.

No vacancy.

Considering former Knick Zach Randolph, a double-double machine who never saw a shot he didn't like, is now in a Grizzlies uniform, you see Iverson and Memphis were never really meant to be.

The Knicks should have saw this and took advantage of the man-up situation. It's hard to understand why they opted not to.

Did Iverson see the mathematics on the Knickerbocker chalkboard?

The Knicks' refusal to pen AI had some to do with AI's far from sterling image. Though they covered it up, the Knicks had some concern about Iverson's behavior and his history of being a me-first, team-last prima donna.

In the end, however, the Knicks' no-go had a lot to do with the perceived development of Eddy Curry, who's half the man he used to be.

The slimmed down Curry looked great in his debut against Indiana last week, but has been a non-factor since.

What does this say about the state of the organization?

The Knicks were more concerned about the production of the new poster boy for Slim Fast than they were about the chance to become a better basketball team. Simply because, Curry's development was an issue of higher order.


Iverson took a backseat to their master plan of molding Curry into the all-star caliber player he was back in 2006-07.


The Knicks may not have been the perfect hardwood home for AI, a gunner who can still shred up defenses at 34, but still...

-He's a hell of a lot better than Chris Duhon, whose 1-for-6 stat lines have become the workagame norm.

-He may not be a presence in the passing lanes, but AI is capable of scoring the rock in a variety of ways and getting to the tin or the free throw line at will. The Knicks, trigger happy from beyond the arc in multiple games this season, could sure use some help getting to the cup and getting to the free throw line. In their deflating loss to the Indiana Pacers during their second home game of the season, the Knicks were outscored 12-0 in third quarter free throws. Instead of going to the lane, they were launching up three-pointers as if they missed Quentin Richardson.

I'm led to believe that Donnie Walsh did not want to take the gamble on Iverson because of fear he would eventually witness The Stephon Marbury Show Part II.

But let's not forget, it was Mike D'Antoni who helped trigger the Stephon Marbury sideshow by choosing not to play him when Walsh envisioned him as the team's starting point guard. Plus, having experienced the media circus and sideshow that followed the Knicks in the previous seasons, Walsh should know that the Knicks could always assume their Public Relations fetal position. Cutting off reporters, shortening interviews, and circumventing questions has never been a problem for the Knicks PR folks, so why would a controversial player make any difference?

This franchise will take ugly, blowout losses if they can showcase choir boys and guys that would rather help an old lady cross the street than help out on defense. That has what this once-storied franchise has come down to.

What's that old saying, nice guys finish last?

Well, nice, friendly, "good character guys" concerned about their self-image are still finishing their last laps in New York.

Do you Think Ewing, Charles Oakley, and John Starks would surrender self-image for a win?

Any day that ends in Y.

That bar room brawling, rugby-basketball Knicks team of 1994 was one of the greatest teams to ever play at MSG.

This Knicks team is looking like one of the worst.

This super soft Knicks brass wants first-class players, players with stainless records, even if it may cost loss after loss after loss.


The Knicks don't care about winning, especially if it's at the cost of taking away from their plan to nurture Eddy Curry.

Even if it puts fans in the seats and packs the Garden the way a Billy Joel concert or a Big East Tournament game does, the Knicks are more focused on Curry. They're more interested in seeing Curry claw his way back into the level of an elite center.

It's the Knicks way or the Major Deegan Expressway. They are too important, too high-end, to take into account what might produce victories or what might shoot ticket sales up. They don't care what anyone else thinks.


They should care.

Any time your team is 3-11 and barely on track to eclipse those Team Titanic years of 2006 and 2008 (all-time franchise low 23-59 records compiled both years), you should care about winning at ALL costs.

AI was there, ready to re-charge the Garden and alter the perception of a miserably failing franchise. He was ready to give the Knicks a new-look. Iverson was ready to help revive an ailing organization, re-charge their pulse and vault them back into relevance.

The Knicks passed up on the opportunity.