Does Isiah Have the Right Rx to Cure Sick Knicks

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: October 3, 2006

NEW YORK – For the New York Knicks, here’s another day and another first day of training camp. This day the team is still undefeated. So everyone is still flashing smiles on their faces. Optimism is always at its apex on Media Day.

Coach Isiah Thomas, who represents the fifth coach in the past season seasons will have his hands full this season. No, not because he still has the role of team President and General Manager (Isiah hired help in the form of long time friend, Glen Glunwald but he will also have to become a team psychologist as well. As Isiah puts it, “I have to find a way to make the players smile again. I have to find a way for the team to LOVE playing basketball again.” Part of that statement is meant to exorcise a lifeless energy that hovered over the team much of last year under former coach Larry Brown who did a pretty good job of shattering the psyche of most every player on the roster with his constant criticism in the media and his league record 42 different starting line ups; just to name a few things.

The team chemistry that Isiah is looking for isn’t necessarily a ‘We are the World’ type of mantra whereas all the players have to like and or love each other. “I’m looking for efficiency and execution on both sides of the floor.”

Despite what a lot of prognosticators have said and or written in recent past, Isiah does have talent to work with. And if there is anybody that would be able to get the most out of these players, it’s him. As guard Quentin Richardson said, “Isiah has done a lot for all of the guys here. He’s looked out for us in so many ways. Why not try and give it your all for him?”

The keys to the Knicks season is going to be health. But, that is the same with each and every team in the NBA. Take a LeBron James away from the Cleveland Cavaliers and you have a Lottery team. Likewise with the Los Angeles Lakers if they had to lose Kobe Bryant for an extended period of time much less and entire season. So if the Knicks can stay healthy that’s a start because they do have talent and versatility.

The Knicks have length and girth. And the players are pretty much unanimous in thinking that they will be a more athletic and up-tempo group. They’d better be with the lack of a dead eye shooter on the roster.

Isiah will have his hands full but, if he not only plays, Coach, President and GM and also Dr. Phil, the Knicks will at least be heading right direction.