NO REAL NBA BASKETBALL WITH THE NEW YORK KNICKS THIS SEASON; WHAT ABOUT NEXT SEASON?

                                                                                Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

We knew as early as last year (see Kallas Remarks, 11/4/08) that this was going to take awhile. Most of us (i.e., Knick fans) didn’t think it would be this terrible (1-8 as of Friday afternoon) but, hey, the Knicks are waiting for the end of the season to enter the Lebron sweepstakes. Or the D-Wade sweepstakes. Or the you-fill-in-the-blank(s) sweepstakes.

HOW IS IT WORKING OUT WITH CHRIS DUHON?

The Chris Duhon (a Donnie Walsh acquisition) experiment has been pretty bad. While a Knick fan can talk about all the blown leads and the “chances” to win, etc., in the first nine games, one play at the end of the half against Atlanta on Wednesday sums up part of the bigger problem. The Knicks have a nine-point lead after Atlanta scores with 25.4 seconds left in the half. Duhon brings the ball across half-court (obviously the Knicks are going to hold for one), dribbling out the clock just past the half-court line. Duhon starts to make his move with 10 seconds left (presumably to go to the basket and dish out for a jumper by a shooter at or near the buzzer).

But then, inexplicably, Chris Duhon, one of the last guys you would want to take a three off-the-dribble with time winding down, takes a three off-the-dribble with time winding down. With SEVEN seconds left (too early). So Chris Duhon, that heady point guard trained in winning at Duke, made two mistakes – taking the three and, worse, taking the three so that the Hawks could come back and get the last shot.

So, you know what happens next. Duhon misses, the Hawks come back the other way, and score with .01 left in the half. A nine-point lead, that could have been 11 or 12 with a timely dish to a shooter, becomes a seven-point half-time lead. If you’re a Knick fan, you got a bad feeling in your stomach.

And it only got worse from there as the sleeping Hawks woke up, shot 64% in the second half and won easily, 114-101.

WAITING FOR GODOT (OR EDDY CURRY)

Did you see the interview with Eddy Curry? Tremendously slimmed-down, Curry was shown making jump shots at a practice session and then interviewed on MSG. When asked when he would be back, Curry said that he’s “not too far away.” When asked specifically when, Curry said, “I still haven’t had a chance to practice yet, go up against the guys yet.”

Uh-oh.

As with Carl Pavano as a Yankee, waiting for Eddy Curry is like waiting for Godot. He may never show up and when (if?) he does, it’s hard to expect much from him. Is he a cog in a Lebron-in-New-York championship team? Hard to believe.

SO, WHAT ABOUT LEBRON?

Well, it’s going to have to be the lure of New York plus the Knicks obtaining another superstar (other than Lebron, I mean, the Knicks don’t even have a star now) before Lebron will even consider New York. Yes, he’s a Yankee fan, and yes, his buddy C.C. Sabathia will tell him how great it is to win in New York. But Lebron has to look at the Knicks and say to himself, “Can I really win with this group?” That’s a tough question to answer yes to at this juncture.

Can the Knicks get D-Wade to come here and hook up with Lebron? It seems unlikely since D-Wade seems close to staying in Miami (plus, Wade might try to get Lebron to go to Miami). But maybe the Knicks can get an early commitment from Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer or the most underrated star in the NBA, Joe Johnson. Will one of those guys be enough to bring Lebron to NYC and the Mecca? Who knows?

Is Lebron “inspired” by NYC and the Garden? Absolutely. He owns the place when he comes here but he’s certainly not playing against an even average NBA team. Does he want to “branch out” into other things and is this still the place to be for that? Absolutely, but it doesn’t seem that these things are more important than winning an NBA title to Lebron.

Frankly, it might be easier for Lebron to stay home, get the most max money he can get (which is only from the Cavs) and attract HIS superstar of choice to Cleveland. He’s got a coach there who leaves him alone to do what he wants, he’s comfortable playing near where he grew up and he could be a key recruiter for any star to come to Cleveland. Plus, he’s got Shaq to be the complimentary big man for another year or two after this one of he wants him there (Shaq has already made it known that he’d be happy to stay there).

If Lebron really wants to win a title, it would be very hard to get one in New York without Wade. He could do it with one of the other names mentioned above, but it would be much harder AND he would need help from five or six other Knicks. And, no, I don’t know who those guys are. Maybe David Lee, maybe Toney Douglas (he can defend), maybe Danilo Gallinari (he can’t defend), maybe Al Harrington off the bench (if he can be controlled). Maybe Wilson Chandler, maybe Lebron’s friend Larry Hughes. But there is a gap there and no serviceable big man (I don’t think it will be Eddy Curry. Do you?).

So, it seems the best thing, on the court, for Lebron to win a championship, would be to stay in Cleveland and attract the best superstar of HIS choice. Remember, whatever you think of the great Michael Jordan, he never won anything without Scottie Pippen. And while nobody with a brain puts Pippen anywhere near Jordan, there’s no way Jordan would have won six titles without Pippen.

And if that happens (Lebron stays in Cleveland and brings in a superstar), it will be even longer for the Knicks to get to the top than an intelligent Knick fan would have hoped (dreamed?) for. If the Knicks don’t get Lebron, exactly who is coming here?

You get the point.

© Copyright 2009 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

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