New York Knicks

The Knicks get big- but will they bust?

Since the New York Knicks traded Patrick Ewing in September of 2000, they have been an undersized team. They have tried to get by at center with the likes of Kurt Thomas, Luc Longley and Marcus Camby. However, this past off season General Manager Isiah Thomas made numerous moves to add size. Will this collection of big men find enough minutes and be able to work together?Thomas acquires size in the off season to change the look of the Knicks.

The Knicks of the 1990s were a team that would bang their opponents all game long. They had players with size and toughness. Patrick Ewing in the middle, Charles Oakley at power forward, Anthony Mason off the bench, and later on Larry Johnson at forward. This team was loaded with intimidating big bodies.

However, after that era ended, they tried to get by with a smaller line up. LJ’s career ended with back injuries. They traded Ewing and Oakley, and put a frail Marcus Camby at center.

They tried to trade for size with Antonio McDyess, but, unfortunately, his time with the Knicks was filled with knee injuries. They were vastly undersized against the other clubs putting Kurt Thomas at the one. They became more of a running and outside shooting team with Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell, Chris Childs and Stephon Marbury. This combination did not result in success.

Isiah Thomas drafted big. Center Channing Frye (who is slated to play forward in the NBA) and forward David Lee were chosen, along with back up point guard Nate Robinson. He then signed free agent center Jerome James from the Seattle Super Sonics, while Thomas was traded to the Phoenix Suns for swingman Quentin Richardson.

Recently the “blockbuster” trade was made to acquire center Eddy Curry and forward Antonio Davis from the Chicago Bulls for forwards Michael Sweetney and Tim Thomas and guard Jermaine Jackson.

Curry had to pass a battery of physicals for the trade to become official. The heart condition that he suffered at the end of the season was a sticking point for the Bulls to sign him to a long term contract, but the Knicks are convinced he is healthy and ready to go. They are literally banking on it, signing him to a 6-year, $60 million deal. If he is healthy and ready to take that next step, he can make a big difference.

New head coach, Larry Brown, now has to make a team out of all of these players. The Knicks have a lot of money committed to center in James, who was signed prior to the trade for Curry. Frye, Lee, Davis, Trevor Ariza, Maurice Taylor and Malik Rose are the forwards. The swingmen are Penny Hardaway and Quentin Richardson.

There has been some talk that Stephon Marbury and Jamaal Crawford may switch positions. Brown had moved Allan Iverson from the point to the shooting guard position at Philadelphia to give him more opportunity to score. Iverson and Marbury are similar players and this may help the team. The back ups at guard are Robinson and Houston, who may need to retire due to persistent knee problems.

The Knicks have had some rough seasons recently. They needed to gain size in order to contend in the Eastern Conference. With the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and others, there was no way to stay small and win.

Madison Square Garden can be a special place when the team is doing well. They have talented players on their roster, but it is a matter of playing together and listening to their coach. At least they will not be pushed around under the boards this season.

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