For a fledgling Toney Douglas fan, this was a panacea. That means it was dope. Ever since then, I've been a daily visitor to P&T and the humor, excellent analysis, unabashed Gallo/TD/Clyde worship, and lack of domination by posters obsessed with Ricky Rubio and/or D'antoni sucking and/or Lee sucking has made this season, even with all the losing, somewhat quasi-joyful.
Whew, that was a long sentence. In short, to Seth, Osborn and all of you, thanks! In the end, one team wins the championship and half the teams lose more than they win, so you've got to find a way to enjoy it even when things aren't going all that well, and you did. Well done.
I actually got to see a few games this year rather than just poring over articles and box scores. Of course I did plenty of that too. Notes after the jump.
1. Mike D'antoni had a hard job this year. He tried to make the playoffs. I think that was what he had to do if he didn't want the locker room to degenerate. If he had just tried to play the kids, he would have lost the veterans, particularly Lee and Nate who had million dollar playoff bonuses, and the other expirings who were playing for another contract. He had no centers, two power forwards, one of whom was a raw rookie (and got traded), like, 12 small forwards, one shooting guard, one backup quality point guard, and 2 other guards that defy description.
Still, for a minute there, he found a way to make it sort of work with Jeffries as a defensive anchor. Unfortunately, once Duhon forgot what a basket was (let alone how to put a basketball in it), and Hughes protested D'antoni's interruption of his god-given right to miss shots, everything sort of fell apart.
Hell, any coach should be given a medal for trying to solve the Nate Robinson conundrum. Is there a way for this guy to consistently help you win a basketball game? I hear Doc Rivers is thinking of retiring.
Anyway, at least Mike got to end up with a little bit of balance to the roster. I've enjoyed his unique approach to the game overall, though it has been frustrating at times. I have this weird feeling that the Knicks would have made the playoffs if they had gone with a Toney/Chandler/Gallo/Lee/Darko starting lineup from day one. Of course, we can't expect any coach to be as visionary as I.
2. Gallo exceeded expectations as far as his back health, and that is a huge huge win. I was a trifle disappointed in his overall consistency, but that's just because I was having ridiculous optimism about him supplanting LeBron as the best player in the NBA, averaging 40 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Overall, Gallo played decently - I think he helped them win. He had some spectacular moments and some mediocre ones, but above all he was entertaining. The Acie Law block and the Carmelo duel were my favorite moments. Win or lose, cock swagger will help get you through the night (pause).
3. They traded Jared Jeffries. They actually got rid of this dude's contract. It cost them Jordan Hill to do it, and Hill will probably be a pretty good player. But I think it was worth it. Sure, it's nice to have all the extra cap space, and it gives them tons of flexibility. But moreso because, like Nate, Jeffries was one of those 'conundrum' guys. What do you do with him? He can play D against all 5 positions. He can draw charges. He can dribble a little. Occasionally he will sink a 3. Good 'tude. But what do you do with a 6'11" guy that can't hit an uncontested layup? Foist him onto the Rockets, that's what.
4. David Lee's good, but he's another conundrum. What is he? Not a center, obviously. He does seem like a basketball player though. He can score inside with either hand. He's very quick and good at not getting blocked. He can pass, and seems to play well with others. He can even dribble up at the top of the key without embarassing himself, and he can hit a 15-20 footer. But is he as effective as a power forward? And would his lack of superb defensive talent be less of an issue with a real center in the game? I don't know, and though I've become very appreciative of Lee's skills and end of game scoring this year, as we reach the end of the year I'm not as dead set on keeping him as I was mid-season. I heard that Toney freezes him out because David doesn't D up. If that's true, it worries me because DWTDD is the future of the franchise. And the planet, actually.
5. Speaking of Toney, it was a frustrating season because we wanted to see more of him. But there were great Toney moments, a couple of game winners, some awesome steals and buckets. And I think the potential is still there for him to be our point guard of the future. There is nothing that happened to dissuade me from the notion that DWTDD is a winning philosophy in basketball and in life.
7. It was fun, and yet not fun, bagging on Al Harrington all year. Speaking of conundrums. It's hard to dislike Al as a person, but all told, I would rather watch Gallo, Chandler, or Toney lose a game than watch Al win one. I feel bad saying that, but it's true.
8. Bully Walker. Positive. This guy looks like he knows how to be a good complementary player on a good team. Not 'he could be' but he knows how to actually do that. Walsh for the steal. Finally some good luck, I think.
I think better times are ahead, but I always think that. So here's to an interesting postseason. Hopefully they don't fuck everything up by trading Toney or some shit like that.