Saving Madison Square Garden

Barry Rothbard

I had a lot of ideas for this column. I could write about how Chris Johnson (and not Adrian Peterson) is the best running back in the NFL. I could write about how the college basketball season is already over (Kansas is cutting the nets). Or I could write about why Kevin Durant has become one of the best players (top five) in the NBA. But I’ll save those for another day. There is no way I can write about anything other than the team that I grew up with – and currently the worst team in the NBA. At 2-9, this year’s Knicks are even worse than last year’s and are finding new ways to redefine futility. So, here is the ten-step program to fix my once beloved New York Knicks:

1. Fire Donnie Walsh. When your General Manager is older than the combined age of three of your starters, you may have some problems. This isn’t 1995. Walsh’s days are clearly numbered as an “expert.” Players don’t want to listen to Scrooge on the phone. They want their GM to be someone they can relate to a little bit. Someone who’s maybe heard of the 40/40 Club and doesn’t fall asleep watching “I Love Lucy” re-runs. I don’t care what the guy did in Indiana (who he left in not so great shape). They haven’t been the real deal since Reggie Miller and Rick Smits. The scary part about Walsh’s regime thus far is that the Knicks were actually better with Isiah Thomas at the helm. Thomas actually made some great draft picks for the Knicks (Lee, Robinson, Chandler). While Gallinari looks like he’s going to be just fine, it sure looks like Walsh blew this year’s draft. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Take Brandon Jennings with the 8th pick in the 2009 NBA draft. Whoops. They blew that one up already. The guy just put up 55 points (the most by a rookie since Kareem), and has looked unstoppable thus far. Yet the Knicks thought it was a good idea to take a big man from Arizona (a school known for their guards). Speaking of…

3. Jordan Hill: I blogged this about him over the summer: “The Knicks have drafted a man with the same barber as Renaldo Balkman, and a man with the same pedigree as the great Channing Frye (also the Knicks’ last number 8 pick). The best big man to ever come from Arizona: Sean Rooks. Nice.” I’m usually wrong (see: World Series prediction this year), but I think I nailed this one. This guy is a S-T-I-F-F (stiff). He sucks. Trade Jordan Hill for anything as soon as possible. Don’t let him see the court, because that will just scare other teams away even further.

4. Introduce Chris Duhon to the pine. Duhon is by far the worst point guard in the NBA. He’s so bad he makes Larry Hughes look like John Stockton. Duhon can’t shoot, plays mediocre (at best) defense, and doesn’t have the speed that D’Antoni needs his point guard to have. Let Toney Douglas play the point. Let Darko play the point. Just send Duey back to Durham.

5. Sign Allen Iverson. Today. When your team is 2-9 and calls Madison Square Garden its home, signing Iverson can only help. While they will still be one of the worst teams in the NBA (along with the Nets and Golden State), at least they will be exciting. And signing Iverson also drastically increases the chances of the Knicks getting into a brawl. This would at least be more exciting than watching Al Harrington pretend he’s Mitch Richmond.

6. Pray that LeBron James is even more arrogant than he seems and thinks he can save the Knicks this off-season. Then pray that either Chris Bosh or Dwayne Wade play follow the leader.

7. Assuming LeBron snubs us (which looks more than likely), throw the farm at New Orleans for the distraught Chris Paul this summer. That is, offer them Jordan Hill, David Lee, Jared Jeffries’ expiring contract, their first round draft pick in 2013 and Donnie Walsh for Chris Paul and a bucket of jambalaya.

8. Assuming we don’t get LeBron, and sign either Bosh or trade for Paul, make sure to leave enough cap space to make a run at Kevin Durant the summer of 2011. Durant is the best scorer in the NBA aside from Kobe and LeBron. He’s got a quiet demeanor, but a smooth swagger at the same time. His jump shot is silky smooth, and he’s got serious length. Imagine a starting lineup of Chris Paul, Wilson Chandler, Danillo Gallinari, Durant and Eddy Curry. No team in the NBA could stop them. So what if they’d be defensively challenged. No one plays D in the league anymore anyway.

9. Sign Lil’ Wayne as their General Manager after he gets out of jail. The team will always be strapped.

10. Obtain a DeLorean. Enter the date January 6, 2004 (the day Starbury killed the Knicks). And thank God we have Charlie Ward.