MASPETH, NY – Us long-time New York Knicks fans and observers know the drill re big-name players. We know the long list of Knick saviors who arrived with hype, hyperbole and unrealistic expectations. Most of the time these would-be heroes just weren’t any good, or couldn’t handle being “the guy.” You’ve got to be either a hardcore fan or just plain old to remember some of these Knicks.
Spencer Haywood: He arrived in 1975, and actually declared himself a savior. He scored lots of points, but like many stars of that era never “sniffed” a championship.
Marvin Webster: “The Human Eraser” was brought in as a big man who would anchor a championship team in Gotham. When Bill Cartwright arrived in 1979, the “twin towers” were expected to do some big things. Unfortunately the most you could say about that pairing was that they “were tall,” as Craig Kilborn used to say.
Micheal Ray Richardson: If there was a more talented all around player than “Sugar Ray” in the past 40 years, I never saw him. Drafted in 1978, he was out of the league by 1986.
Patrick Ewing: “And at center… 7 feet from Goergetown… co-captain… PATRICK EWING!” Does he belong on this list? Probably the 2nd greatest Knick of all time, and a true warrior (ask Pat Riley), Ewing was able to take the “Bockers” to the NBA Finals on two occasions – losing both times. Three things came out of the 1994 NBA Finals that year: 1) the greatness of Hakeem Olajuwon, 2) John Starks’ “shooting” and 3) the OJ Bronco chase in LA. But no ring for Patrick.
LeBron James: The Knicks “braintrust” in 2010 actually believed that LeBron had a shred of interest in joining the most dysfunctional, poorly run organization in sports.
Jeremy Lin/Carmelo Anthony: Lin, a Supernova from Harvard showed MSG fans how the game was supposed to be played; involving teammates, creating, penetrating and ultimately becoming too much fun to watch that Carmelo had to put a stop to it. A 4 week period in 2012 led by Lin while Melo was sidelined was the best 4 week stretch of basketball the Garden had seen since 1973. And then he was gone; incompatible with Anthony’s ISO-Melo approach.
But now… from the mean streets of Latvia, The Knicks’ newest savior may be the one this team has never had. Once Carmelo is shipped off this off-season, we will see that Kristaps Porzingis is that guy we’ve waited for all of these years. Part Dirk Nowitzki, part Anthony Davis, Porzingis has boundless athleticism, a great shooting touch, an uncanny understanding of the game and a willingness to mix it up.
It’s shocking to me that #ZingZanity (?) or Porz-sanity hasn’t yet taken hold. This kid can really play, and represents the best shot the Knicks have had in ages for a real superstar who can do it all. Porzingis is the Knicks milennial superstar; capable of injecting enthusiasm and excitement into this moribund joke of a team. And he can play. Like the savior I believe him to be for the Knicks. Finally.
Speaking of kids that can really play, come back tomorrow for Angry Ward.