THE KNICK’S OLD CURSE — NOW ON TO A NEW ONE (three)
Let’s be real. While it is nice to be positive and hopeful, the truth of the matter is that LeBron’s choice is absolutely disastrous for Knicks fans. It is not a disaster because LeBron did not chose the Knicks. As noted by his failure to discuss the Knicks during his “Decision Show,” except with a slight veiled reference to winning “now,” he was never coming to the Knicks. The disaster is that he decided to join forces with Wade Bosh and Chris Bosh. Alone the three of them are very competitive, but they will require more physicality in order to be a championship team. Unfortunately, for us Pat Riley knows that and will bring in some bangers and a couple of shooters to protect and support his core guys. LeBron joining his boys is disastrous to the Knicks as Jordan being a Bull was disastrous to the Knicks.
ASAP, the Knicks need to start building a team that can compete with LeBron, Wade and Bosh. If LeBron remained in Cleveland beating him and any other superstar to get out of the East would not have been extraordinarily difficult. Beating LeBron, Bosh and Wade will take a special group of players and extraordinary leadership. I am not convinced that we have the leadership or the organizational philosophy to make that happen. We need very, very good players and a very, very good defensive system. We don’t need a collection of better pl;ayers; we need a collection that will play very well together.
Most of these pop-analysts, especially our friends at ESPN have no historical memory. They are interpreting this player use of free agency and the combining of three great players as though it is unique in NBA history. Of course, the use of free agency’s unique because this is the exercise of players to do what management has done forever. However the pairing of stars itself is not unique. In fact this pairing reminds me of a group of superstars that ultimately failed to win a Championship although they were heralded as one of the greatest combinations ever: the 1978 76ers.
The 1977 76ers had three of the best offensive forces in the game — Dr. J, Lloyd “World B” Free, and George McGinnis — in addition to a very strong team of role players and all-stars — Darryl Dawkins, Doug Collins and Henry Bibby. At the time it was a can’t miss team, with some of the biggest former ABA-stars, until they ran into a better combination of players in the Portland trailblazers and figured out there weren’t enough balls to go around. Many teams with three stars have won Championships; it was rare for the Celtics not to have two or three of the best players in the league, including Bill Russell, when they won many of their Championships. The big deal here is that the players made the teams like they use to do on the playgrounds where it was about winning and not about the money.
So our problem is how do we build a “team” of very good, committed players that can beat Bosh, Wade and LeBron. I suggest that we don’t do it with D’Antoni ball and we don’t do it with Donnie Walsh shaping the team. D’Antoni is entitled to another season but his system will not beat LeTrio. Fanas need to recognize that and start calling for changes at the top and a solid plan for moving forward. Of course a solid plan includes getting a point guard, especially if you are not ready to give Toney Douglas a real chance to run the team.