By David J. Cohen
It’s official. Operation Keep Isiah As Far Away From the Knicks As Possible is finally under way. New Knicks President Donnie Walsh has sent Isiah on a scouting mission. He is traveling between France and Italy in an effort to scout a couple of foreign players the Knicks might look at in the upcoming NBA Draft. To help Isiah blend in with the culture he is to call Walsh le presidente (the president in Fratalian) at all times when reporting back from the field. Thomas has also volunteered to coach a foreign team into bankruptcy but so far no takers.
For all his shortcomings, Isiah makes good draft picks. Forwards David Lee and Wilson Chandler could be 2/3 of the starting front-court by the end of next season. Forward Channing Frye wasn’t bad either but he was an accurate shooter and passed the ball, so he was traded to the Blazers for his polar opposite Zach Randolph. Renaldo Balkman didn’t get consistent minutes with Isiah but with new coach Mike D’Antoni he’ll fill the Raja Bell/Shawn Marion role on the defensive end as the hustle player. Unfortunately Isiah is now in what the Knicks call the land of the unknown. He’s about to walk over landmines.
The Knicks have the worst draft history of foreign players of any NBA team. The only foreign player drafted by the Knicks that made it in the league was Nene, who they traded immediately after picking him to Denver along with Marcus Camby and Mark Jackson for Antonio McDyess and Frank Williams. McDyess played just 18 games for the Knicks, averaging just 8 points and 7 rebounds a game. This started the chain of players to make a pit stop in Manhattan, get hurt all the time and then move on to another team and resurrect their career. Camby went on to win an NBA defensive player of the year award and lead the league twice in rebounds. McDyess became an important piece of a Pistons championship. The Knicks traded a big man in Nene who turned out to have major health problems only to inherit a less talented player with a heart condition who can’t run the floor a few years later. The only other notable foreign player taken by the Knicks was their first foreign selection, France’s own Fredric Weis. He didn’t want to play for the Knicks when they were still playoff contenders. His greatest moment is Vince Carter dunking over him in the 2000 Olympics (can be seen at http://youtube.com/watch?v=XMrPjl-927Q). The Knicks took two other big men who proved to be just as useless in Milos Vujanic and Slavko Vranes. There’s a reason the Knicks currently have no foreign-born players. The other selection was Maciej Lampe. The Knicks tried to rub him for good luck. They’ve been cursed ever since.
Isiah stayed away from foreign players in his drafts, so this mission is the start of his punishment. Since Owner James Dolan refuses to buyout anyone after what happened with Larry Brown the Knicks have to find someway for Isiah to earn his money. This idea is brilliant. It puts Thomas out of the public eye in places where he can’t do anymore damage to the Knicks tarnished reputation. The only thing left to do is to get Isiah a travel buddy, preferably a person who is also cancerous to anyone on the team, severely overpaid, and who no one else in the league would want in their organization.
The PA Announcer at Madison Square Garden: “Stephonnnn MARRRRbury”
He has all the credentials. Marbury’s quote the day Isiah received his contract extension proves it:
“Last year we had to listen to Larry Brown b***h us out everyday, this year we get to be taught by an actual teacher. And our teacher likes us and thinks we’re cool guys and wants to hang out with us. It’s like night and day. It’s just too bad we’ve had so many injuries lately. It’s really put a damper on our relentless assault on .500.”
Their relentless assault on .500. That sums up the legacy of both Isiah and Starbury in Big Apple. They both failed their objective. Every year in New York.
Isiah just stood next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It fell down.