There was a time in the esteemed lore that is recent Knicks history that Toney Douglas was considered the point guard of the future way back in December of 2011. The NBA had just reached an agreement to resolve a lockout, and the Knicks were riding high after trading for defending champion Tyson Chandler to form an intimidating frontcourt with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
Douglas had shown promise the season before. In his second year, he became a sturdy backup combo guard who played stingy defense, hit several timely 3-pointers and became a spark plug to get the Madison Square Garden faithful into the game. After releasing Chauncey Billups with the CBA’s shiny new “amnesty clause” to fit Chandler under the cap, the Knicks decided Douglas was ready for an expanded role. He was given the keys to Mike D’Antoni‘s offense.
The experiment didn’t last very long. Nine games into the lockout-shortened season, Douglas was back on the bench. The New York Jets had Bill Belichick as a head coach for pretty much the same amount of time, and Douglas never truly recovered, shooting just 23 percent from three and practically doubling his turnover rate from the season before. By opening day the next season, Douglas was on another team.
In that one decision, the Knicks somehow managed to sink Douglas’ entire career. They tried to fit a square peg into a round hole, and as a result Douglas’ confidence was shaken for years. After bouncing around the league making multiple pit stops, he’s found himself on the Heat behind Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole on the depth chart.
He has played serviceable minutes for Miami and even got to start 17 games, but those were in the dog days of late March and early April when the Heat’s regular season was effectively over.
He certainly won’t start for them in the Finals. He probably will not play a meaningful minute. He might be wearing a suit on the sidelines instead of a jersey, but Knicks fans should still pull for him to get a championship ring. If former Knick Josh Harrellson can win a title riding the bench in Miami, Douglas can too.