They’re Back!

Back home at last! The Hornets take the floor in New Orleans for the first time in seemingly forever. While the location changes, however, the caliber of their opponent remains much the same. The Knicks obviously have some very talented guys on their roster, much more so than Miami, but they’ve struggled through another season. This game is a huge one to pick up following visits from both Golden State and Utah, successively. I talked to Seth from the Knicks blog Posting and Toasting, to gain some insight into the Knickerbockers’ season and prospects for next year.

At the Hive: First, the obvious question. What’s your take on Isiah Thomas, the job he’s done since taking over in New York, and whether he should leave or stay? If Isiah’s not the answer in NY, do you have any potential coach ideas that might fit well?

Posting and Toasting: Isiah came in, made a big splash with the Marbury trade, and gave us all hope. Since then, he’s hired and fired several coaches, spent more money, and somehow made the team worse in the process. Logically, someone who fails that miserably in every regard should lose his job. That’s not even taking into account the embarrassment he’s repeatedly caused the franchise. 

I’d give him until the end of the season and let Donnie Walsh sit down and talk with him. If Walsh believes that Isiah can succeed in a smaller role as just coach, then I suppose that’s alright, but most Knick fans would rather seem him out the door entirely. 

As far as replacement, I’ve always liked Knick assistant Herb Williams. He’s someone who knows the game, commands respect, and is familiar with the players and the organization. I’m of the opinion that throwing money at a big name isn’t the answer. 

AtH: The Knicks surprised a lot of people by taking Renaldo Balkman back in the ’06 draft, and despite all the questions about Knicks’ players’ work ethic, etc., Balkman’s a guy you never hear mentioned in those conversations. How has he developed as a player since that draft, and how good of a player can he become?

PoT: Balkman is fun as hell to watch. He’s an active defender, runs the floor like a madman, and can finish around the basket. Couple that with his long, flowing dreadlocks, his facial expression of perpetual stupor, and his propensity to bust out the “Goo Punch” dance, and Humpty is one of the more entertaining guys on the team. That said, his offensive skills leave much to be desired, and until he can hit an open jumper, I don’t see him being much more than a second unit energizer. 

AtH: Does this team have any positive outlook for ’08-’09? What are the first steps on the rebuilding process, especially since so many of your guys are locked up on debatable contracts? 

PoT: Realistically, ’08-’09 is gonna be another tough season. There’s only so much change that can be made with so many burdensome contracts still on the payroll. The first steps to the process, as Donnie Walsh expressed yesterday, are to draft well and avoid acquiring long-term deals. Next season might not be a winning one, but we should have a fresh lottery pick to watch and an organization with a clear direction. Anything is an improvement over ’07-’08. 

AtH: Let’s say you were the GM of another team, and you could have any five players you wanted from the Knicks. Who would you take? 

PoT: David Lee is a smart, rebounding big man that everybody loves. Jamal Crawford is a deadly scorer and a solid passer that could excel on a winning team. Nate Robinson and Renaldo Balkman are bench players that bring fantastic energy to a second unit, one on the offense and the other on defense and on the boards. Finally, Zach Randolph is a controversial player, but he is too talented to pass up, and would fit nicely alongside a shot-blocking center.

AtH:  Is all the Jay-Z-LBJ stuff for real?

PoT: Well, they’re certainly friends. I don’t think that guy’s leaving Cleveland any time soon, though. 


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