he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Isiah Gets Extension For Possibly Extending Knicks' Seasonh

Monday, March 12, 2007

Isiah Gets Extension For Possibly Extending Knicks' Season

17-46. Last season through 63 games the Knicks were 17-46. This season the Knicks are 29-34 through 63 games, and own the eighth seed in the playoffs by .5 games over New Jersey, and they are only .5 games behind the falling Pacers. Isiah Thomas has led the Knicks from a talented laughing stock to a talented mediocore team. Without question when looking at the talent on the Knicks roster they still are underacheiving. However, Thomas has certainly gotten the Knicks team closer to their potential. Not only has Isiah made the team play better as a whole, but he has given the Knicks a future.
Stephon Marbury's numbers may be worse this year, but his impact has been felt much more. Marbury's defense has risen from not seen at times to a very good defender. In addition, Marbury has taken on a larger leadership role with the Knicks, and, for the most part, over the past two weeks has carried the Knicks.

Isiah Thomas, like he has done with other big men in the past such as Jermaine O'Neal and Brad Miller has molded Eddy Curry into the player the Knicks envisioned when they mortgaged their future in trading for him. E-City, as he has become known, has risen from a poor first season, and start to his career. He is averaging career highs in ppg, rpg, apg, spg, free-throws attempted per game, FG attempted per game, and mpg. Curry's 19.3 ppg is second amongst centers in the entire NBA, and first in the Eastern Conference. Obviously he needs to greatly improve his rebounding, and improve his defense even more. However, most people do not realize that Curry is averaging at least .9 more rebounds this season than he has at any other point in his career, so there is improvement. Also, Curry is still very turnover prone averaging 3.4 a game. Curry is tied for sixth in the NBA in turnovers per game, and second to only Dwight Howard, another young big man.

Thomas has also established David Lee as a major threat in the league. Alongside Lee is Renaldo Balkman, whom I have grown quite fond of, and both players should be here to help Isiah build a nucleus for years to come. Then you have Steve Francis, who even if he doesn't play another game all year has already been more productive then last season. Francis has been in and out of the Knicks lineup all year because of a nagging knee injury Francis does not have numbers that shock you, especially when compared to his career, but he is giving every bit of energy he has left in his knee for the Knicks' postseason run. Francis and Marbury both have questionable knees which lead to off nights, but when both are playing at their best it is easy to see the Knicks becoming a very good team.

Last but not least you have Quentin Richardson. It is not clear whether Q's rebirth has occurred because he simply had a terrible year last year in general or because of Isiah Thomas. Last year he broke up with his fiance, Brandy, before the season started, and then mid-way through the year his brother is shot and killed. On top of that it was his first year in New York, which is always tough, and the Knicks were terrible so New York was not the nicest place to play. So perhaps Isiah does not have a lot to claim in terms of Q's play this year, but nevertheless Q has established himself as one the Knicks best defenders and three point shooters. In addition, he grabs 7.3 rebounds a game out of the SG spot in the lineup, which is more than Eddy Curry, and only .2 behind future hall-of-famer Shaquille O'Neal. Richardson's body consistently takes a beating because of his style of play and because of an aching back, but whenever he is on the court he is the Knicks emotional leader, and sometimes, their best player.

Even Crawford has improved this season, but enough is enough. The Knicks clearly have shown evident progress this year, and a lot of the congratulations should be for Isiah Thomas and the rest of the coaching staff. I'll enjoy watching Isiah on the bench for the Knicks few years.


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