Knicks Start Off Is A Hot Mess

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: November 14, 2005

NEW YORK, NY—Sure it’s early but it seems as of now that another New York Knicks season of excitement and optimism is vastly eroding into one of impending doom.

With a plethora of trade rumors swirling around and reported dissension and frustration among the player ranks over mismatching and hyper-extended player rotations, Coach Larry Brown’s ‘dream job’ is starting to look like a nightmare.

The Knicks under President Isiah Thomas have successfully ridded themselves of each and every player under the Scott Layden pecking order. Once power forward Michael Sweetney was traded to the Chicago Bulls for center Eddy Curry and the subsequent retirement of the sweet shooting former all-star Allan Houston that put the lights out on all players on the Knicks’ roster not hand picked by Thomas.

The Knicks unlike in previous seasons have an abundance of young talent on its roster. With the likes of the athletically gifted small forward Trevor Ariza, Curry, Channing Frye, David Lee and even inactivated center Jackie Butler, the team’s front line is well stocked for the future. The only problem with this point is that Coach Brown is near retirement age and normally doesn’t like to play rookies and players he deems ‘still wet behind the ears’ during pivotal points in the season let alone during games. So Brown’s future is basically, “now”.

This poses another dilemma. The team’s veterans are either on their last legs or no longer possesses much in the way of talent base or size. Take for instance, power forward Malik Rose; all 6-foot-4 of him (although he is reported in the media guide as 6-foot-7), he’s too small to play power forward for extended minutes in Brown’s system, but he’s too slow and not a good enough playmaker and or shooter to play small forward. The Knicks would love to trade him, but with three years left and nearly 18 million owed to him that is a tough sell.

Antonio Davis is a great addition because of his savvy and his size at a rugged 6-foot-9. But, at 37-years old, Davis’s legs have seen much better days. Maurice Taylor is 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds and is very offensive minded. There in lies the problem; Brown is a defensive minded coach.

Big center Jerome James; all 7-foot-2 inches and 280 pounds of him is off to a terrible start. So much so that he has been deactivated for the ancient Penny Hardaway.

The Knicks (at press time) are off to a 0-5 record. And to make matter worse, they lost 3 games at home and are now on a hellacious six-game western trip. So, it is conceivable that the Knicks can limp back to Madison Square Garden next week with a 0-9 record.

That would most certainly assure Knicks brass to panic and start more aggressively revamp or tweak the Knick roster. Word on the street is that Brown isn’t all that crazy about many of the players that Thomas assembled in the first place. That being said, such players are sure to play with little or no focus as they continue to read their respective names in the paper.

Sure, many of the players are playing out of position and there are gaping holes in other areas, such as: turnovers, fundamental play, mental toughness and memorizing set plays and rotations and man switches by reacting and not pressing.

If the Knicks do pull of and 0-fer on their current trip, there is some consolation. Last year the young Chicago Bulls in witch Davis and Curry were a part of started off 0-9 and ended up in the playoffs as a 5th seed with a 47-35 record. Is that possible for the Knicks? Probably not, but it was worth the positive out look.