It's "What If" day at SB Nation NBA-- a day for looking back at our teams' pasts and wondering how tweaks along the way might have altered history. I don't have one particular Knicks "what if" to dwell on today-- I'm just going to open this topic up for discussion-- but I will say that I'm overcome sometimes by the degree to which major components of recent Knicks history seem driven by little twists of fate.
Think of all it took for "Linsanity" to happen: Jeremy Lin was signed because Baron Davis came to camp hurt, Iman Shumpert injured his knee in his first NBA game, and Toney Douglas played terribly as starting point guard. Lin's first minutes came in large part because of ongoing injuries to other players (remember Baron's elbow infection?) and the Knicks were reportedly ready to cut him in favor of Mike James before that breakout game against New Jersey. Without ALL those circumstances, Lin's career might not be where it is now, and the fate of the 2011-2012 Knicks-- including the departure of Mike D'Antoni and ascent of Mike Woodson-- might have been totally different. And regarding Woodson: A few months ago, I wondered at length about how Hurricane Sandy might have set in motion a chain of events that molded Woodson's small, historically three-pointer-friendly 2012-2013 Knicks.
There are obvious "what if" moments like injuries (What if Patrick Ewing stayed healthy? Antonio McDyess? Allan Houston? Lin? Chauncey Billups/Tyson Chandler in the playoffs?), roster transactions (What if the Knicks had drafted Rajon Rondo? What if they didn't do the Eddy Curry trade? What if they didn't do the Carmelo Anthony trade? What if they traded Iman Shumpert for Steve Nash last summer? What if Tyson Chandler signed with Golden State? What if...the Knicks got LeBron!?!?), and close plays (What Olajuwon didn't get a finger on that Starks three? What if Antonio Davis didn't get called for that foul? What if Melo hit that game-winning three in Game 1 against the Celtics in 2011? What if he finished that dunk over Roy Hibbert in Game 6 this year?) but it's the way seemingly minor blips like Toney playing with a bum shoulder or a hurricane messing up opening night can ripple outward that really get me. Nearly every pillar of my life as a Knicks fan has been balanced at least partially atop a foundation of happenstance.
So, I open this up: Which "what ifs"-- and, more specifically, which tiny but crucial twists-- in Knicks history haunt you? Do share below, and check out the other team blogs' posts as well.