I've been so beaten to death with all the Chris Paul speculation that I had to come here in my beloved FanPost Editor to catch a breather. Lately everyone's been gawking over CP3 while I on the other hand, entered a state of tranquility and thought of a interesting question. Hypothetically speaking, if you could sign any retired former Knick in present day and have him play as he did in his prime who would it be? Of course something like this can never happen but it turns out that this was my exact reasoning behind posting this. There is so many Knicks that I would absolutely love to have back. It was hard narrowing the choices down to a top five, but now that I have shall we quit the small talk and get creative.
5) Allan Houston- For me, Allan Houston is one of the most memorable athletes to put on a New York Knicks jersey. This guy would come out every night and rack up at least 17 points like it was nothing. I was actually hoping he still had some of his game left in him when he wanted to come back but his knees just couldn't do it. He called it quits in 05' after 12 years in the NBA, 9 of which spent with the Knicks. The 2002-2003 Season was his best as he averaged 22.5PPG while shooting 39% at the 3. He wasn't great with assist, he wasn't great with rebounds but he was a damn great shooter. He ended his career with a total of 1305 3 pointers earning him the 10th spot of most 3 pointers made in NBA history. Speaking of history, anyone remember the 1999 Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals? Of course you do. Let me remind those who do not. Knicks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals as the #8 seed. Our opponent was the #1 seed Miami Heat. In the Fourth Quarter the Knicks were inbounding the ball down 76-77 with very little time left remaining on the clock. Houston gets the inbound and hits a jumper with only 0.8 left on the clock. We go on to win the game 78-77 which eventually leads to us eliminating the Heat and making it into The Finals. Sign this guy and start him at the 2. Him and Gallo on the perimeter would be outfreakingstanding! Here's a lineup I bet none of you guys have seen, Turiaf, Amare, Gallo, Houston, Felton. Its time for war.
4) Bernard King- Sadly, I cant remember ever seeing him play live but the stories I would hear about King excited me enough to do some research. Usually explosiveness and finesse are at two different sides off the spectrum. When it came to Bernard King he was a breed of both, slashing inside for dunks while also being able to break down his man for easy tear drops and running jumpers. This style carried him to being crowned with the 1985 scoring title averaging 32.9 PPG as a Knick. This was the best season of his career as he averaged 32.9PPG, 3.7APG and 5.8RPG. My favorite Bernard King moment(s)... The Texas Massacre. On January 31, 1984 he made history becoming the first player to score 50 points in consecutive games since 1964. I was fortunate enough to catch both games on ESPN Classic recently and they were amazing. He took out the San Antonio Spurs effortlessly. It literally seemed like he never missed, he went 20-23 in a 117-113 victory. The very next day he scored another 50 going 20-28 in a 105-98 victory against the Dallas Mavericks. Although he had a great career Bernard King's story has not yet been completed. He is arguably the most underrated legend that has ever played for the NBA. 17 years have passed since King's retirement and he still has no spot in the Hall of Fame. If we signed King he would bring explosiveness, energy, authority and even some humor! Turiaf, Amare, Gallo, King, Felton. Bernard King deserves to be in the Hall of Fame more then some of the guys in there. That's a fact, tell em' I said that.
3) Walt Frazier- Who doesn't love Clyde? He's the brilliant mastermind that invented the phrases that have become a part of everyday life for Knick fans everywhere. Stopping and Popping, Driving and Thriving, and of course Posting and Toasting! Walt Frazier was great, a legend in the minds of even his most hated rivals. Same as with Bernard King, I've never seen him play live but as a Knick fan you have to see some Clyde footage from back in the day. I'm gonna describe him in one word I very rarely use. Stellar. He was amazingly stellar. He's a 6'4 Point Guard that could rack up steals, grabbed rebounds, he lead the Knicks in assist with 4,791 and he could score. His court vision was outstanding, its like he knew exactly what would happen 10 seconds prior and would deliver passes at the speed of light better then Peyton Manning. He could also steal the ball faster then you can say Stealing and Peeling. Blinking while guarded by Frazier was disrespectful to his stealing ability. Take your eyes off of him for a second and those quick hands would give you a wet willy, a wedgie and the need for a Manu Ginobili nose bandage all before he steals the ball for an easy fast break score. The 1974-1975 was the best of his career stat wise. Frazier averaged 21.5PPG, 2.4SPG, 6.1APG and 6.0RPG. He produced the best stats that year but the 1970 and 1973 Seasons are the ones we will never forget. The years he helped win us the championship. In the 1970 Finals Game 7 at home against the Boston Celtics, he led us to victory with 36 Points 19 Assist and 5 Steals. We sign him and put him on the court with Amare and let the highlights pour in. Turiaf, Amare, Gallo, Azubuike, Frazier. Got ourselves a championship squad fellas. Get ready to party like never before!
2) John Starks- There's few things I love more then a good cinderella story in sports. Recovering from a devastating injury and silencing all critics ( Bernard King), Taking out the leagues most dominating team and winning the Championship while doing it (1973 Knicks). These are great underdog stories, John Starks has an cinderella story of his own. After going undrafted Starks scratched and clawed his way into the NBA by playing in the Continental Basketball Association and the World Basketball League. He finally made it into the NBA signing with the Golden State Warriors in 1988 and later with the New York Knicks in 1990. During a practice Starks tried to dunk on Patrick Ewing who basically put him on his ass while making him twist his knee in the process. The interesting thing is we were planning on releasing Starks but due to his injury we could not unless it healed by the end of that December. He didn't heal quick enough and we were stuck with him. Can you imagine, we almost released John Starks... My heart skipped a beat. That injury kept him on the Knicks and Starks gives Ewing credit for his success in New York knowing that if it wasn't for that injury he wouldn't have ever played here. He was most known for "The Dunk" when he dunk over Horace Grant and Michael Jordan as you can see in the above picture. Starks averaged 19PPG, 5.9APG and 3.1RPG in his best year with the Knicks. Just like with Houston we would have Starks and Gallo as perimeter threats and Starks brings in defense. Maybe even the rebirth of ugly ball!? Turiaf, Amare, Gallo, Starks, Felton. Can you dig it!?
Now here's a Knick I can actually remember watching. Patrick Ewing... Does it get any greater then him when it comes to the Knicks? Ewing was one of the unlucky greats that unfortunately played in Michael Jordan's era and eventually ended his career ringless. Although he failed to bring a championship to New York City, he still is the greatest Knick to ever touch the floor in my opinion. He pursued a championship ring relentlessly throughout his years in New York and if it wasn't for him we would have never built that historic dynasty in the 90's. No ugly ball, no intense Pacers, Heat and Bulls rivalries, no nothing. Without this man we would have never had exciting playoffs games, never made it to the Finals or ever been feared. He brought intense defense, intelligence and a brutality style of offense that could rarely be stopped. He also had a unstoppable baseline jumper and for a man of his size and length he surprisingly stroked it like the best in the league. He was simply a force to be reckoned with at both ends of the court. He led the Knicks in nearly every stat that there is, Rebounds, Points, Field Goals Made, the list goes on and on! The most memorable moment from Pat for me has to be Game 7 in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. After a missed lay up by John Starks, Patrick Ewing brought the hammer down dunking the ball with 26 seconds left. Reggie Miller air balled a three pointer which led to the Knicks closing out the game with free throws. Pat had a monster 24 Points, 22 Rebounds and 7 Assist that game. There wasn't any underestimating this guy, he was an animal. In the 1989-1990 Season he went off averaging 28.6PPG, 10.9RPG and 4BPG. Imagine having him next to Amare Stoudemire on offense and defense. Its too much power going on at once. Then you still have Gallo on the outside and even Randolph being a sly fox, sliding under the radar unnoticed for open looks. Lets be real here, there isn't any center in this league right now that could have gave Pat a run for his money. Dwight Howard but thats about it. Pat faced far better big men in his day, Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone etc. If we had Ewing in his prime the amount of damage he would do to these "Centers" would be devastating. As a matter of fact Dwight Howard wouldn't even stand a chance, he isn't on the level of competition as the centers of the 90's. Patrick Ewing and Amare would dominate the league. We will bring back that Knick defense that scared so many even with D'antoni coaching. Ewing, Amare, Gallo, Azibuike, Felton. We could finally get this man the RINGS that he deserved. Sometimes a man's effort outweighs the amount of wins another man has and no one put more blood, sweat and tears into the New York Knicks then this big man Patrick Ewing.
Earl Monroe- After being traded to the Knicks in 71' Monroe formed the "Rolls Royce Backcourt" with Walt Frazier, eventually leading to Knicks winning in the 73' NBA Finals.
Charles Oakley- You may be tougher then leather, but you are not tougher then oak! I forget where I read that line but it sure tickled my fancy.
Latrell Sprewell- December 1, 1997 Warriors Coach P.J. Carlesimo was attacked and choked by a masked assailant during an early morning practice. The suspect escaped but returned to the scene of the crime 20 minutes later to land one last punch to the jaw of Carlesimo. The criminal was restrained and unmasked... Latrell Sprewell was suspended for the remainder of the season.
Willis Reed- Reed torn a muscle in his right thigh during Game 5 of the 1970 NBA Finals causing him to miss the remainder of Game 5 and the entire Game 6 as a result. In Game 7 Willis Reed hobbled on to the court to everyone's surprise leading to an 113-99 Knick victory.
Larry Johnson- Many remember Larry for his four point play against the Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, I like to remember him for a more humorous moment. He and Alonzo Mourning engaged in the fight which led to Coach Jeff Van Gundy hanging onto Mourning legs. Mourning dragged Van Gundy around like a rag doll until the brawl was finally broken up.