I was browsing 2K Sports.com and came across a post that caught my eye - one questioning the low ratings of New York Knick players especially on the defensive end.
Personally, I live in New York and watch most Knick games.
Larry Brown couldn't get this group to play defense. It's not Isiah's the coach's fault, it's the players. Of course, it IS the fault of Isiah the GM, who brought together all these players who were known as much for their scoring prowess as their defensive ineptitudes.
Here are Isiah's key moves throughout his regime.
Trade McDyess, Charlie Ward, (20 million worth of expiring contracts) for Marbury and Penny's huge deals.
If you thought Howard Eisley making 21 million over three years was bad, just look at Penny making 36 million over the same period! The sad thing is the Knicks weren't so busy rushing McDyess back from his injury, they'd have had EXACTLY what they needed rather than dumping him for a mercurial PG with a huge contract (Marbury is the #2 highest paid player in the league, yet is only a 2 time all-star. Once upon a time Allan Houston was lambasted for this, though it should be noted that once upon a time Allan Houston led the Knicks to more than 33 wins.
Don't get me started on Charlie Ward btw. I find it incredibly ironic that Chris Duhon, the player they are bringing in to replace Marbury, is exactly the same type of player that Marbury replaced. Pass first PGs who play defense are much better than selfish scorers who don't know how to get their teammates involved.
Trade Keith Van Horn and Michael Doleac for Tim Thomas and Nazr Mohammed.
TT was considered an upgrade over KVH. He ended up far from it and actually managed to be worse on defense. Mohammed was an upgrade over Doleac but played some terrible defense for Lenny Wilkins.
Sign/Trade Jamal Crawford for Dikembe Mutombo etc.
Who needs centers that can rebound and play defense when we can bring in ANOTHER scoring guard and lock him up long term too? If there's anything that spells cohesion, it's two players that need the ball in their hands to be effective.
Trade Nazr Mohammed for Malik Rose and 30th pick
Let's trade our only legit center for... the highest paid backup in the league. Why bother re-negotiating Nazr's expiring contract when we can have an aging Malik? Surely an undersized PF with a limited offensive game can be expected to age well! After all, aren't we the same team who saw what a great signing Clarence Weatherspoon was or how even how great Larry Johnson was after he turned 30? (I love LJ. But it was his superior perimeter game that kept him in the league after his back went bad.)
The ONLY silver lining in this trade was this draft pick became David Lee, who should have been drafted much earlier than 30th. But as I'm going to show you - this bit the Knicks in the rear down the line.
Trade Kurt Thomas for Quentin Richardson and 21st pick (Nate Robinson)
Let's see, we already traded all our centers. Now let's trade our only PF masquerading as a center. And he's our only good defensive player to boot! I guess in that case we should ask for ANOTHER undersized scoring guard to make up for it. (Did we also mention that Q-Rich was essentially 4 inch shorter Tim Thomas? Did the Suns miss a beat when they replaced Q with TT later the following year?).
Btw, did you notice how the Knicks got Nate 21st here? AHEAD of Mr. Lee? They could have kept Mohammed and STILL gotten Lee. They would have had a decent center and wouldn't have had to resort to....
Knicks sign Jerome James for 5 years and 30 million
James was coming off a season in which he averaged more fouls than rebounds. The Knicks threw a 5 year deal at him. I can't make this stuff up. They were actually going to enter the season with him as their starting center, although Isiah did have his eye on a certain Chicago situation....
Knicks trade Tim Thomas expriing contract, Mike Sweetney, two unprotected first round draft picks, and two second round picks for Eddy Curry
Mr. Curry was never going to be confused with a defensive or rebounding force. He was ANOTHER offensive player added to the mix. The sad thing is Mike Sweetney actually compared well statistically to Curry, yet the Knicks decided to throw away multple draft picks over this. Those picks ended up being LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah. Ask Knick fans who they'd rather have. All would take Aldridge alone, and Noah would just be icing on the cake.
And the funny thing is, had the Knicks not traded NAZR MOHAMMED of all people, they might not have thrown away their future. Then again, Isiah probably would have just screwed everything up another way.
Knicks trade Trevor Ariza, and Penny Hardaway's expiring deal for Steve Francis.
Because Marbury, Crawford, and Nate just weren't enough. Ariza gave the Knicks a defensive player, and Isiah decided that was just one too many. Plus, he had his eye on...
Knicks trade Antonio Davis expiring deal for Jalen Rose and 20th pick (Renaldo Balkman).
AD was playing defense. STOP THE MADNESS WE NEED ANOTHER SCORER.
Rose was a milestone as he was actually the first big contract the Knicks bought out rather than trading for another problem. And Balkman was drafted over Rajon Rondo when the odds were that he was gonna go UNDRAFTED.
Knicks sign Jared Jeffries for 5 years and 30 million.
Because if drafting Balkman wasn't bad enough, let's just sign the exact same player in free agency! JJ holds the honor of being the worst offensive forward I have ever seen, despite having some decent tools at his disposal. Isiah signed him because he went to Indiana. Seriously, I can't think of another good reason why he got FIVE YEARS. Imagine if there were no cap on player years like there is in baseball? The Knicks would have like five A-Rod contracts.
Knicks trade Steve Francis and Channing Frye for Zach Randolph
Randolph wore out his welcome in a year, and most Knick fans would rather have Frye. They should have just bought out Francis like the Blazers immediately did. Randolph has no trade value and the Knicks are stuck with ANOTHER player that doesn't defend and coincidentally ANOTHER player that doesn't mesh well with an existing player on the team (Marbury/Crawford, meet your bigger, fatter selves).
I have doubts Isiah could even lead a team to a championship in NBA 2K Association mode. There may be a few moves I missed here and there but these are by far and large the most laugahable and it should be obvious how it turned the Knicks into an irrevocably bad defensive team.
Their grand solution?
Hire an irrevocably poor defensive coach and hope for the best. :)