Thursday, April 16, 2009

Josh's Corner: Knicks 2008-09 season in one word: 2010 (I know that’s a number...well, it’s a year but you get the point)

Our Los Angeles correspondent Josh Garcia is back with another great piece looking back at the Knicks' 2008-2009 season, which was less than perfect. He shares his thoughts on the roster and their future plans.

The Knicks won their season finale, crushing the much hated, often booed New Jersey Nets (well, I hate and boo them) on Wednesday night, ending their 5th straight season without being in the playoffs. Some of you may remember my meager expectations of the Knicks before the season (scroll down). I was filled with hope that they would be somewhat competitive. I hoped and pleaded for 35 wins and the Knicks finished with 32. They were on pace until they lost 13 out of their last 17 including losses at MSG to the Clippers and Kings by 27.

I’m going to focus on the good parts of the season. One, because I’m an optimist and two, I can write all day on the bad parts and that’s not fair to Tony who has to read all this. So the good parts: New York didn’t finish last in the East, that honor went to the Wizards who only had 19 wins. The Knicks also had a better record than six Western conference teams. They also finished a mere seven games back of a playoff spot. Probably most important they improved from last year’s 23 wins.

Ok, so that’s not special and I put a lot of spin on some things but they cleared some garbage off their roster too. (You know who you are... Steph) Donnie Walsh made moves that cleared cap room for the historic 2010 free agent class and hopefully bringing the “Chosen One” to NYC. Walsh should not lose focus on the pieces that he will need around that star or stars that he brings in.

Out of the Knicks present roster there are five keepers and the rest can be moved to bring in better pieces or just let go. It starts with David Lee and Nate Robinson for me. I hope both of them get re-signed. They were brought in during the same draft as many of you may know and are fan favorites, not that that should play a part in keeping them but they are good pieces.

I know David Lee cheats for rebounds and tends to give too many good looks but he averaged 16 and 12 this year and he hustles. Nate Robinson improved in almost every statistical category this season as well as being Krypto-Nate during All-Star weekend. (Hey we need someone to represent the Knicks during that weekend.)

I would keep Danilo Gallinari just because he only played about 30 games and I would like to see what he’s capable of. The first pick of the new regime, and I liked what I saw of him in limited action. Wilson Chandler finished his sophomore campaign really strong scoring
over 20 points (26, 23, 22, 21) in his final four games while never taking more then 20 shots. While I’m not the biggest fan of Al Harrington he should be kept because of talent and skill. He’s a near 7 footer with a tremendous outside game and can be a near 40% 3-point shooter. Al is also probably the biggest trading chip that Donnie Walsh has to play with so I’m hoping they at least sign him for one year.

Honorable mention goes to Chris Duhon who I like but the team may try to move him to the bench or another team to upgrade at that position. In the draft the Knicks will most likely have another pick in the top 10. I think the Knicks may have their eyes on Brandon Jennings who went overseas to Italy instead of going to school for one year. Let’s hope he drops to them around the 7th or 8th pick.

It will be interesting what the Knicks do during the off-season. If the Knicks bring in some better pieces, it may entice such stars as LeBron or Dwyane Wade to sign in 2010. The bright side of all bright sides is the Knicks may only have one more terrible season before they become elite and get the Garden rocking again like LJ in '99.

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