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Walt Frazier for Assistant Coach

Walt "Clyde" Frazier, graduate of Southern Illinois University, played basketball for two teams throughout his career, the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and symmetrically excelled at two particular basketball skills; hitting the open man and stealing. Although the previous sentence may sound like bigotry when taken out of context, it is actually the introduction to my "Walt’s great as a commentator, but couldn’t he be just as great as an assistant coach?" proposition, which reads as follows:

If you ask any competent man (or woman) over the age of 50 to list the best defensive guards he (or she) has ever witnessed, you will not get to number five without hearing Walt Frazier. He had a style all his own, playing possum with his target to facilitate relaxation while ball-handling. And while that sentence may be sexually questionable, the effects were not; Frazier averaged about two steals a game in his prime (steals were not officially recorded until the ’73-’74 season).

Clyde was also great at finding the open man for easy points. Of course, with teammates like Reed, Debusschere and Monroe, one would be expected to stack dimes. But Clyde excelled. Historically credited among the smoothest teams with ball movement, the 1970 Championship Knicks have been documented thoroughly enough that I do not have to go into the statistics, but Clyde averaged about six assists per game throughout his career while averaging about 20 points.

How does this apply to the nowadays? Simply, the Knicks do no particularly excel in either of these areas, as is documented here and here, and if you take a look at those lists, it is plain to see the best current teams do. The top ten in steals is filled with defensively sound playoff teams, as well as a few stragglers (Golden State, New Orleans, Philadelphia) who get their steals either through pace, athleticism, or Chris Paul. The same goes for assists, with the same types of stragglers (Golden State, New Orleans, Toronto, LA Clippers), who get their dimes through either pace, Chris Paul, or irrationality (seriously, the Clippers?!). The rest do it through the same type of ball movement that was utilized by the 1970 Knicks. 

After this brief review, I challenge the community to think of reasons why he would not be qualified as an assistant coach specializing in defense. Or, if that seems like too much, how about just a defensive specialist for training camp? How about Summer League coach? How about anything? Shouldn’t the Knicks be trying as hard as they can to offer a man with such valuable knowledge and experience, who would plainly be interested in an opportunity, some sort of position? Hell, he’d probably do it for free! Can anybody make the case that the Knicks don’t need work in these areas? Is anyone under the impression (delusion) that the unimpressive statistics the Knicks have tallied in the past few years in these areas have simply been a product of personnel? I mean, Sergio Rodriguez spiked the steals total by 0.1 by himself in one game

I thought I’d make this proposition because it serves the dual purpose of offering my opinion as well as giving Clyde a nod for his amazing career. Donnie Walsh has done a great job so far, but I’m unwilling to offer him anywhere near an "A" until my favorite rhyme-machine is justly offered a position, regardless of the impending free agency period.