The New York Knicks have had a tough time winning ballgames the past few years. It seems like forever since they were an actual threat to other teams in the NBA. Tommy Dee, who covers the beat for SNY-TV’s theknicksblog.com, called a time out to tell us here at Westcheddar what to expect from our beloved Knickerbockers this season. Check it out…
IP: Ok, Tommy Dee, how bad are the Knicks going to be this year? It’s been miserable trying to root for them lately. Any hope?
TD: This year? I would say no, but stranger things have happened. If they make the playoffs they lose a first round pick, and there are some solid point guards to be had in next year’s lottery in Ricky Rubio, who played on Spain’s Olympic team, and Brandon Jennings. Knick fans should hope for a competitive season without making the playoffs. Somewhere around 33 to 35 wins.
IP: How’s this new coach Mike D’Antoni? Seems like he could do a good job.
TD: D’Antoni is an innovator, offensively, he’s a proven winner, despite falling short in Phoenix. He was cheated two years ago against the Spurs by referee Tim Donaghy. I love the combination of GM Donnie Walsh’s old school mentality, with D’Antoni’s new-school style. When you combine his knowledge of the European game with the fact he hung with the Olympic team loaded with 2010 free agents, there’s no doubt he’s the right guy for the job. Their up-tempo style will be fun to watch.
IP: Who do you see as the go-to guy on this Knicks team? Who’s going to lead us to victory?
TD: Victory? Well there won’t be many of them, but they are going to lean heavily on Jamal Crawford, who’s been improving year-to-year, to step his game up to an All-Star level. Not sure what to expect from Eddy Curry or Zach Randolph, but I’d expect nice years from David Lee, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, and rookie Danilo Gallinari.
IP: Did we pick up anyone good in the draft? As far as I know, we didn’t.
TD: We did in Gallinari, who was very impressive as a young buck in Europe’s top elite league. This kid is good and fits D’Antoni’s system to a tee. There are questions about his back, but I think he’ll be healthy heading into the year. Give this kid some time and he’ll take this city by storm.
IP: What about the rest of the league? Is it going to be Lakers vs. Celtics again in the finals? Is Lebron ready to win a championship?
TD: Not sure if Lebron has the horses to win it all, but you can bet he’ll bring it. He was awesome in the Olympics. The Rockets have improved with Ron Artest, but I’d say Kobe and the Celts would have to be the leaders going in.
IP: If you could bring any of the big superstars in the league to New York, who would you want?
TD: Lebron, of course. He’s Magic and Jordan rolled into one. He’s amazing. I was really impressed with Dwayne Wade this summer, but he has a history of injuries. They are the top two free agents in 2010. I’d take Chris Bosh from Toronto in a heartbeat, but for me it’s Bron Bron and Wade then Bosh.
IP: Ok, let’s look back in Knicks history for a second. Give me your all-time Knicks starting line up position by position.
TD: Dude, what a great question. I go back to around 1984, I’m not one of those guys who pretends he saw players never saw, so players that I saw I’d go with are:
C- Patrick Ewing
PF- Charles Oakley
SF- Bernard King
SG- Allan Houston
PG- Derek Harper
…with Camby and Spree off the bench…Can I do that?
IP: Of course. You know Sprewell is my favorite player of all time. What about top five moments in Knicks history? Is the John Starks Dunk on that list? That was my birthday you know.
TD: Again, that I’ve seen…
1. John Starks Dunk
2. Larry Johnson’s 4 point play
3. Allan Houston’s runner against the Heat
4. Patrick Ewing’s tip against the Pacers in 1994
5. This is a little known one, Chris Childs tried to dunk on Alonzo Mourning in the playoffs (maybe 97 or 98?), he missed and hit the back rim, but if it went down it would have stopped time.
IP: I remember that Childs play, it was crazy! You’re a big time golf guy too. Are there any NBA players out there that are known for their golf game? I know MJ loves the links, but are there any current players that are nice?
TD: Not Charles Barkley. MJ brings it as does Jason Kidd, but my money’s on Allan Houston, he shot 83 when I played with him.
IP: How good is Tiger Woods? Greatest of all time?
TD: Jack Nicklaus has GOAT status until Tiger gets to 19 majors.
IP: You also help out coaching Stepinac hoops here in Westchester. How are they looking this year? Can they beat White Plains?
TD: I give some time there, yeah. When I was at Stepinac playing, basketball was a privilege that had to be earned. Coach Tim Philip has done a great job of bringing respect back to the program. This year they’ll be young, but fun to watch. The kids are working really hard so we’ll see. They’ll be okay. As far as White Plains, I’d love to see that but apparently the Tigers don’t have room on their schedule this year.
IP: Are you a big fantasy basketball guy? Any sleeper fantasy players this year to recommend to the bball nerds out there?
TD: Take Wade, dude is ready to dominate in every category again. Lean towards guys that are good at a bunch of things like rebounds, steals, assists as well as points.
IP: You’re also a guy with a lot of Irish Pride in his blood. Who’s your favorite Irish basketball player in history?
TD: Uh, Shaquille O’Neal?
IP: Ha! Ok, for my final question, draw out the play for this situation. The Knicks are down 1 point at the end of the 4th quarter, you’ve got the ball at half court, 15 seconds on the clock with no time outs left. You’re the coach. What do you do?
TD: High screen/roll on the strong side with Crawford using David Lee and a shooter in the right corner. Crawford attacks the block as Lee rolls, if he has Lee throw the lob, if he doesn’t try to get fouled or make the corner’s man help then kick to the corner for a wide open jumper.