A .341 winning percentage, a seemingly endless amount of terrible contracts and a sexual harassment lawsuit are all unwelcomed “accomplishments” bestowed upon the New York Knicks by a man whose tumultuous tenure with the team needs to be remembered, not forgotten. This man proved that his excellence as a player on the court could only be matched by his incompetence as a coach and general manager off of it. That man is Isiah Thomas.
The Isiah era with the Knicks needs to be remembered in order to give proper perspective when evaluating the current New York team, a squad that has not only given fans a reason to tune in and watch but also a belief that todays team can do exactly what Isiah’s Knicks could not do: compete. While the Knicks of the Isiah era rewarded fans for their support with complete ineptitude mired in a hopelessly dire situation of salary cap hell with few draft picks to speak of, today’s New York squad not only gives fans a reason to watch but also a sense of pride in supporting a team with an actual pulse.
Keeping the recent past Knick history in mind is an important facet to consider when constructing expectations for this year’s team. What type of ending to this season can be considered a success? Is anything less than a 6 or 7 game battle with the Miami Heat deemed a failure?
When examining the Knicks, I try to keep in mind just how far this team has come since the glory days where their franchise player Stephon Marbury frequently mentally checked out of games and Anucha Browne Saunders, a former Knick executive and victim of sexual harassment by Isiah Thomas, was being paid more money ($12 million) than most of the actual players on the roster. Today, if the worst we have to deal with is J.R. Smith’s tweeting pictures of a woman’s rear end and Carmelo Anthony’s penchant for Honey Nut Cheerios, and the best is the NBA’s current leading scorer and the Eastern Conference’s second best record, then a deep playoff run is only the icing on a rather redemptive and compelling cake that is today’s New York Knicks.
Taking the Knicks one day at a time and enjoying each New York game for what it is, an incredibly realistic shot at winning against whomever the opponent might be, is an approach I believe should be taken when judging this Knicks team. If some find it too difficult and lack the patience necessary to truly enjoy the product out on the floor, then I recommend remembering Isiah and all of the winning and championship contending seasons that never were.