Thoughts on the Knicks

26 12 2009

As always, the Knicks continue to be at the front and center of the NBA news. The return of Jonathan Bender has been one of the feel-good stories of the first quarter of the NBA season. Mike Lupica has some positively optimistic quotes from a source in his Christmas Day story regarding LeBron James signing with the Knicks this summer. Here are some of my thoughts on the Knicks:

Nate Robinson

Good for Mike D’Antoni in his mission to sit Nate Robinson as long as humanly possible. Robinson is a preening, selfish player who lacks self awareness. The fact Knicks fans were chanting “We Want Nate” in their Christmas Day game vs. the Heat speaks to their desperation for any kind of entertainment from their team, since he is a decent scorer. Problem is, they’ve won 7 of 11 with Nate saddled on the bench.

Frankly, I appreciate any coach with the balls to sit a guy who’s pissed him off one too many times. So often we see primma donna athletes who piss all over the concept of ‘team’ because they become too absorbed in making sure the spotlight doesn’t move off them. Robinson is one of those guys. If a team which won 3 of 12 games in which a guy played now wins 7 of 11 in which he hasn’t, wouldn’t you say it’s a good bet the team should continue to go without that player? Common sense should always win out.

Danilo Gallinari

While common sense is the theme of this post, let’s talk about a 21-year-old with back problems. Any Knicks fan reading this might want to hack into my blog and post really mean things after reading these next couple paragraphs. I’m about to tear apart the one player on the roster who has more than a 10 percent chance of becoming a future star.

Let’s face the facts with Gallinari. I say we even get the nice stuff out of the way first, so as to focus on his drawbacks: he’s a very good outside shooter; he’s tied for the league lead in 3’s with 75; he has a positive attitude on the court and seems to play hard; he speaks very nice Italian.

Now the drawbacks, or really drawback, since he has one negative characteristic that absolutely can’t be overlooked: he has a bad back. He’s 21 with a bad back. You can see it just in the way he walks. He has very proper posture, drawing his shoulders back so that his shoulder blades nearly touch. This can’t be for any reason other than to ease whatever bad vibes his back has been giving him.

He had back surgery last spring for a bulging disc. Medical experts claimed there wouldn’t be any chronic issues related to the injury. While I can’t dispute that, and I didn’t go to medical school, I’d say one look at the guy running the court should make any Knicks fan squirm. He already looks like one of those rickety 48-year-old YMCA guys who wear knee braces and take roughly 12 minutes to tie their shoes. He moves with a stiffness that could be replicated only by an old man getting up from a bleacher seat after a three-hour baseball game. In other words, it’s time to trade Gallinari.

If I’m a Knicks fan, then I’m not trusting our main attraction for future free agent superstars, e.g. LeBron, Amare, D-Wade, Bosh, to be a 21-year-old who runs slower than Charles Barkley and already has him beat in the Back Surgery department 1-0. It’s not as if Gallinari will become more athletic over time. His back won’t become less susceptible to injury. The more he plays, the more pounding his back takes from running the floor. It’s not unrealistic to think his trade value might be higher than it’ll ever be.

If there’s any way the Knicks can pry Anthony Randolph from Oakland, they should make that trade before they can say “Doh!” What’s the Italian translation for that?

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