Anybody else been thinking about the 2003-04 Suns? That was the same year Phoenix traded us Anfernee Hardaway and Cezary Trybanski, plus some other guy...Yeah, you know, they're the same club coached by Frank Johnson who got fired 21 games into the year with a 8-13 record. Then Mike D'Antoni took over and led them to a 21-40 finish. If you don't have a calculator handy, that's a 29-53 final record. The same as our beloved Knicks' result for last year.
Despite their losing record, those Suns had a few things going for them. They had cap space going into the offseason, for one. That turned out to be huge for them. They also had a stud power forward by the name of Stoudemire, a guard named Barbosa coming off his rookie year, who could score and change the game with the energy he brought off the bench. They had another guard, Joe Johnson, a kid who the perennially playoff-bound Celtics had shipped off without giving much of a chance, and Shawn Marion, a freakishly athletic forward with skill who was just scratching the surface. Is this starting to sound familiar to anyone?
The biggest difference between those teams is the off-season point guard acquisitions each team made. Steve Nash could shoot the ball, play unselfishly, and was really the best player in the NBA suited to orchestrate the 7 Seconds or Less offense. The Suns were unbelievably lucky he was available and I'm not going to compare him to the guard we signed a couple days ago, Ray Felton. He's not the same kind of shooter, he doesn't have the playoff experience Nash had. He's also missing Nash's the track record, by reputation or numbers-wise. But don't sleep on Ray. He can play D like Nash only could in his dreams. He's 4 years younger than Nash was and may only be scratching the surface of what he's capable of doing. And I'll say this about their statistical differences, while Nash had the advantage of playing for Nellie and with Dirk, Felton was dragging the ball up the floor for L. Brown Stain and dropping it off for Steven Jackson to make love to long jump shot attempts.
Anyway, I'm not on this soap box predicting the 2010-11 Knicks are gonna go 62-20, or that Ray Felton is about to be the back-to-back MVP. I'm just sayin, D'Antoni has been here before, and here he is again. I have a strange feeling about this team, that we're about to discover that the whole of this team will exceed the the sum of it's parts. If nothing else, we're most definitely on the cusp of the best Knick season since Allan Houston's knees felt fine. October cannot come soon enough. You don't need me to tell you this, but get fuggin psyched Knick fans. This may be more than just our first playoff season since we made that trade for Penny.