Thursday, June 22, 2006

History, once predicted.
By John W. Schmeelk

A lot of people predicted what just happened with the Knicks and Larry Brown, and not after the season, but after the hire. All the way back in August of 2005 there was a fairly strong contingent sure of the fact Brown could never get along with the Isiah and there divorce would be fast and messy. Well they were right, it ended today on June 22nd.

Figuring out why, in retrospect was not difficult. I thought it would work. What else did a foundering franchise need to turn itself around than a hall of fame coach? And after what happened to Flip Saunders Pistons this year, doubting Larry Brown’s coaching ability would be foolish. I thought it would work because I was under the incorrect impression that everyone’s top priority in the organization was winning.

I thought Thomas and Dolan would see the logic in listening to the one man in the building with a championship pedigree. Under their leadership, they buried the Knicks as much ,if not more than Scott Layden ever did. I thought it was just media talk when they said they were on the right path to a championship. I thought the hiring of a Brown was a signal of the two admitting they were going about things the wrong way, and Brown’s arrival would mean change.

But instead the two clowns in the front office decided to do things via the “my way or the highway” mantra and tried to force Larry Brown into that. Larry Brown has been doing wha the does with basketball players far longer than either Dolan or Thomas. It was not going to happen. So when Brown criticized the players, and in effect Isiah, the man that brought them in, rather than backing their 50 million dollar hall of fame coach GM Thomas undercut him. He felt it was more important to defend his obviously failed personnel moves than to accept mistakes and try to move forward to get the team competitive again in a couple years.

And Dolan, inexplicably backed Thomas over Brown. I assumed before the season that if a Brown Thomas confrontation ever did happen, Brown would win. Why? Besides the obvious “resume” reasons, no one is a better manipulator of the media and people that Larry Brown. But he lost, and in a lot of ways that still shocks the hell out of me. Now, seeing this, to underestimate the faith and trust Dolan had in Isiah would be foolish. 40 million dollars worth of trust, because if you think David Stern wont make an owner he hates pay off the whole contract, you’re nuts. But I emphasize HAD, because that confidence is waning.

This is not to say Brown didn’t do a bad job this year, he did, his main fault not settling on a rotation and connecting with his players. He lost a lot of the team. He did a bad job. But keep this in mind, all Brown wanted his team to do was fundamental to a successful basketball team. Play defense. Play unselfishly. Hustle at all times. No team will succeed without doing these things. This Knicks team couldn’t do that. You knew, finally, that this roster was indeed as flawed as they seemed, so much so a great coach couldn’t even fix them. A coach like Herb Williams might have actually coached them to a better record, but keeping this team in mediocrity would have only hurt it. Hitting rock bottom was preferable.

That brings us to the now, and the present. Despite Dolan’s firing of Brown, in turn his confidence in Isiah is shaken. Another coach couldn’t succeed with Thomas’s guys, the second of which is going to the Hall of Fame. The payroll is huge with another year of no results. Even someone as lost as Dolan must think something might be amiss with his General Manager. The evidence is who the next Knicks coach was. Remember last year, all the talk was about the heir apparent Herb Williams, yet now he is not the coach. Why?

Simple. This is it for Isiah. Dolan has actually thrown the gauntlet down to his smooth talking GM who has never succeeded off the basketball court. Now Isiah has no one else to blame if the team fails this year. If the team fails, it is Isiah’s failure. His players, his team. That’s why he didn’t want to be the next coach, but Dolan forced him to. It’s the one brightside of this firing. This is the beginning of the end for Isiah. And improvement wont be good enough. For Thomas to keep going he’ll need to bring the team to the playoffs and be substantially over .500. That’s why Knicks fans should now take this season to punish the Knicks for what they’ve done. Do not go to the games. Do not watch. Punish Dolan in the pocketbook, where it really hurts. You should want the team to fail, even though they don’t have their draft pick next season. It’s the only way Isiah will be gone forever, and the healing of this wounded franchise can finally begin.

You just need to hope in a desperate move to win now, Thomas doesnt destroy the franchise's future any further. He's already proven all he cares about is his own job, and not the franchise. I put nothing past him. DOnt trade Frye, take on ANOTHER big contract, trade more first round picks for a bad veteran... or something so bad that we can't even imagine what it is going to be. ANother reason why at the trade deadline you want the KNicks to be so bad they have no hope of making the playoffs. Heck, maybe Isiah might even be so bad he's fired by then.

One can only hope.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ben Valentine said...

John this was the right move. Brown's hire fit in with everything else the Knicks did over the last five years; throw money at a problem and hope it's solved. And Dolan didn't undercut Brown, nor was he sabatoged. Brown's own failures as a coach led to his downfall. The only thing he did as Knicks coach was bring the team together; unfortunately it was because they all hated him.

You could have hired any person off the street and I guarentee they could not have done a worse job. The Knicks were a disgrace in every sense of the word last year. Sure Isiah brought in the players but not even the two headed monster of Lenny Wilkens/Herb Williams could sink them into these depths of ineptitude.

Brown botched this situation so badly, it would be a disgrace if he gets to walk away with 40 million. Ask yourself, no matter what situation you were put in, if you did such a lousy job, would you 100% of your remaining contract? Not only that but Brown himself is a complete joke of an individual. He can't stay any place for long and he even has the audacity to negotiate with other teams while having another position. (Which is why Detroit dumped him)

You know what the Knicks got last offseason? They got a primadonna for a coach. Hate on Riley, Phil Jackson all you want, and I like to, but Brown isn't in their league. They would have gotten something out of this team.

Isiah might be the worst coach in the NBA next year, but I guarentee you he does better with this team than Larry Brown ever could.

12:08 AM  

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