While I am guardedly optimistic that somehow the New York Knicks will improve this season with a coaching staff that doesn't have Isiah Thomas, I am also well aware that it might be struggle at MSG in 08-09. Keep in mind there are still many holdovers on the court from last season - most notably Eddy Curry who's picture appears in the dictionary next to a definition of "lumbering." Joining him is Stephon Marbury, who, while wildly talented, is a complete wildcard and the Knicks have made no secret they are trying to get rid of him. Yet, in a move straight from the movie "Eddie," Mike D'Antoni may pull a Whoopi Goldberg and play his best player because they have to pay his contract. Regardless of how that plays out, there is the potential for a silver lining on this Knicks season should things go south - and I'm talking about more than just David Lee who is already cemented himself as the new fan favorite.
I speak about Patrick Ewing Jr. The Knicks front office made moves to obtain the recent Georgetown graduate and now it's down to final cut day with one player needing to go to get the Knicks roster down to 15. The candidates to take the Survivor walk of shame are: Ewing Jr, Anthony Roberson, and one of the cardinal sins of the Thomas era, Jerome James.
James is the obvious choice as he rarely gets a chance to rise from the bench and will not get any burn with D'Antoni at the helm. The problem is, he signed up to steal 14 million dollars over the next two years and that is a tough pill to swallow. Second is Roberson - who has a contract (but a small one) and is one of 73 guards the Knicks have on their rosters. He could go, but I have no real problem with him. Finally, Ewing Jr, who has no guaranteed contract but brings so much to the Knicks.
Immediate nostalgia with his Hall of Fame dad and the Knicks' winning days, not to mention what he does on the court. Is he going to win a jump shooting contest? Probably not, but he is just a super energy guy, someone that would fit great in the new D'Antoni system. If anyone saw him posterize one of the Menendez twins the other day at the Garden or his follow-up jam against the Celtics you know he can create energy and highlights, things that have been lacking.
I'll be honest. I'm completely biased. Patrick Ewing was and is my favorite Knick of all time and to have a Ewing back on the roster would be great. But in all honesty when you look at the other options, its a no brainer: James is the answer. He has been a bust since he arrived in NY and as part of the sweeping changes of the Walsh/D'Antoni regime it's time to ditch him and bring back some good times to the world's most famous arena.