Monday, December 7, 2009

Knickin' It With Zags

ZSmart Sports had a Q&A session with SNY's Adam Zagoria, the operator of Zags spoke with us about the state of the New York Knicks franchise.

Mr. Zagoria is the Knicks beat writer for NBA.Com. His work has been featured in a variety of sources, Sports Illustrated, SLAM, and ESPN The Magazine, to name a few.

ZS: What's the best Knicks team you've ever seen?

AZ: I grew up with the Patrick Ewing/John Starks of the late 1980s and early '90s. The best team I saw was probably that '93-'94 team that made the finals and lost to Hakeem and Clyde and the Rockets in the '94 Finals. Of course we all remember O.J. Simpson's car chase interrupting the Finals. I still wonder why Pat Riley left Rolando Blackmon sitting on the bench when Starks was having an off night.

(We still wonder about that too, AZ. I definitely can't knock Starks though, even though he's obviously always going to be remembered more for his 2-for-18 in Game 7 than he was as the tough-as-nails kid who went from bagging groceries to the bright lights of MSG and the 1994 All-Star game. -ZS)

ZS: How can this Knicks team right the ship and turnaround the season?

AZ: Well, there's only so much they can do with the limited talent on their roster. It's basically an expansion roster with only a couple of players any other team might want (Al Harrington, Danilo Gallinari, maybe Larry Hughes on a good night). The main thing they need to do is continue to work on their defense and clamp down on their interior defense. The Nets scored 61 points in a half on them on Sunday. The Nets!

ZS: Do you see Nate and D'Antoni burying the hatchet and can Nate regain his role as offensive sparkplug?

AZ: During Sunday's press conference, D'Antoni was asked about this and said, "That [the crowd cheering "Let's go Nate"] is not going to change anything. It is what it is."

Basically, I think Coach is fed up with Nate's antics, shooting at the wrong basket in New Jersey, allowing the other team to score uncontested baskets while he "celebrates," etc.

If he didn't put him in in the second quarter Sunday when they trailed the Nets by 13... I'm not sure when he will.

ZS: Is Tyrus Thomas on the NYK menu, as various sources have indicated?

I spoke with Donnie Walsh before the game Sunday and he said he's open to trades that will improve the team and that allow the Knicks to maintain cap space for next summer. He also said he's not actively shopping Harrington.

"I'm not focused on trading Al. I'm not out there trying to trade Al," Walsh said before the game.

ZS: What are (double-double cyborg) David Lee's chances of making the all-star team this year? Can we expect to see Toney Douglas or Gallo in the rookie-sophomore game?

AZ: Honestly, if I had to take a Knick for the All-Star game, it would be Harrington. He's their leading scorer in 4 of 6 wins, accepted a bench position without complaint and then started in Danilo's place Sunday before putting up 26, 14 and 5.

I think Gallo would have a good shot at the Rookie-Soph game. He now leads the NBA in 3-pointers made with 59 [entering Monday's Portland game]. Opposing coaches and GMs seems to really respect him and even LeBron took a moment to chat with him after the Cavs beat the Knicks at MSG.

Big Ups to Zags for updating us with the state of the faltering franchise that was once New York's biggest thrill.