I figured I'd drop a Christmas themed blog to state my Knicks wishes for the rest of the season, since the Knicks are enjoying their break from NBA action and not giving me a lot of on the court things to talk about. You will notice a running theme here in my wishes, clarity. As in, I would love to get some on a lot of topics. The mystery of the Knicks makes them fun, but good teams don't have question marks and good future plans are well defined, so let's hope for the sake of the franchise that some of these topics gain some much needed clarity in the near term.
1) Eddy Curry gift wrapped under someone else's Christmas tree
If Donnie Walsh is giving away Eddy Curry for his GM Secret Santa gift this year and wrapping him up in David Lee wrapping paper, I hope the GM that has Donnie Walsh's name is kind enough to give Donnie some useful or expiring contracts in return. The much rumored Curry/Lee for Diaw/Barbosa deal is not the answer, although it is an improvement over the current situation of the Knicks heading into 2010. But I can't seem to get my egg nog flowing for the idea of Diaw in 2010. There has to be a better answer in the market. Curry is a problem that needs to be solved, but much like a homeowner with a bad loan, there are ways of solving it that set you up nicely, and their are ways of solving it that are marked improvements, but still a bad mortgage. I hope Donnie Walsh does not get himself out of one problem and into another, albeit smaller, problem. Walsh has impressed me so far, the hiring of D'Antoni was a stroke of genius and I believe will lure the top free agents in 2010, but the Knicks need to get into the best possible situation they can for that time, and Diaw on the books in 2010 is sub-optimal. Hopefully the Knicks can weasel a Marion deal out of Miami yet and get the expiring contracts and Curry off the books that they crave. David Lee is playing himself into a player that is worthy of accepting an Eddy Curry bad contract for, and since Lee is not in the Knicks plans long term, here is hoping we use him to our benefit.
2) A well defined direction for the season, and soon
So, are the Knicks going to compete for the playoffs or not? The highs and lows of the season are a staple of early Knicks seasons, but this team seems to have just enough to steal the 7 or 8 seed if the breaks fall. But will the breaks the Knicks will need come, or will this be a team that does nothing more then lose ping pong balls in the draft? My love for Ricky Rubio is clear as day, but at least with a push to the playoffs, the Knicks could have some 2009 backup plans come to the forefront. Steve Nash on the cheap after this season would be a great move, as I think the Knicks need one star player to believe in the promise of 2010 before LeBron becomes a free agent and sign with the Knicks on cap-friendly terms. Remember, Duhon is nothing more then an overachieving stopgap at the point guard until the Knicks get some superstars in the Garden, and then can find a superstar point guard to run the show. If it's in the draft or in free agency, the Knicks will let us know soon what direction their season will go, and based on how the season goes, that is how the Knicks will find their point guard of the future. So wins today increase the chances of Nash tomorrow, while losses today increase the chances of a rookie PG in the 2009 draft class. At least in my opinion
3) A hint on the direction of Nate Robinson
One thing is becoming clear lately, NBA players LOVE Nate Robinson. He is wildly popular with his peers, and it's not just token lip service. I fully expected Lee and Robinson to be on their last years in NY coming into this season as the Knicks look ahead to 2010, but maybe there is something to locking up little Nate long-term. He is actually an attractive piece for NBA superstars to play with. Couple this with the fact that Lee is being shopped more then Nate is these days, and I think Nate is a serious possibility for the Knicks future. Do I think you can win with Nate Robinson playing major minutes? I think he's a detriment to a winning team in a big role, his D can be suspect and he takes a lot of shots, but he is high energy. I'd rather he was gone in the future outside his intangibles, but if he can really be a serious selling point for big names in 2010, then I say whatever it takes to get a serious contender in 2010 is what should be going on now. If nothing else, you can do far worse then Nate Robinson playing minutes for your NBA team, that is for sure. Hopefully the Knicks actions or lack thereof will bring some clarity to the Robinson situation in the coming weeks.
4) A taste of the future, Chandler and Gallinari together on the court
Danilo "Old Country" Gallinari has suffered through back issues this season, leading many people to write him off already as a bust, which is wickedly unfair. Just ask Wilson Chandler, who sat the bench almost all of last season only to emerge this season as, well, as what? That is the part of the question here. Who is Wilson Chandler? Is he nothing more then a Channing Frye? Is he as good as Travis Outlaw (a very underrated player in my opinion)? Does he have the game to become a poor mans Danny Granger? Any of these situations is very possible. If you think the Granger name drop is out of line, think twice. If Chandler can just tack on another 6% or so from the arc, he could be a 18/5 small forward. And Gallinari should be a very interesting watch if he comes back this season, and if he comes back to a team without Lee, Danilo is going to get a real test. But these two are going to be around in 2010, and I expect the last part of this season and a lot of 2009-2010 to be all about these two, more so if/when Harrington opts out after this season.
5) Patrick Ewing Jr. in a Knicks uniform
Nothing more needs to be added. Sign the kid, he earned it in the preseason. This kid can learn more from D'Antoni, Rose, and Thomas then he can in the NBDL.
The Knicks are very enjoyable to watch this season, they are giving a ton of effort most every night and are learning how to win in the Association. They have battled injuries to Lee and Robinson and Gallinari and others. If this team stays healthy, then I know I will be getting a good show every time I throw the Knicks on TV, and maybe get a chance to see a bunch of overachieves make a push for the playoffs. With a bad injury, this Knicks team will sitting ducks for the rest of the NBA. Above all else this season, I'd like to see my crew have a punchers chance the rest of the year.
Merry Christmas everyone!