In case you missed it, forward Cleanthony Early announced a change in uniform number last week -- young Cle will now be rocking the No. 11 jersey. It's a savvy move on his part, since that particular number has very little in the way of contemporary legacy for the Knicks.
Not that recent-vintage 'Bockers haven't worn No. 11, mind you -- last season alone, two different Knicks donned that number -- it's just that those players were butt-nasty. Samuel Dalembert (0.3 win shares) rocked the No. 11 before he was released, and Ricky Ledo (-0.4 win shares) picked up the number during his ill-fated late-season cameo. All told, Rickuel Ledembert played 44 games and contributed -0.1 win shares; if Early can't beat that number this season, he doesn't deserve to be in the league.
Now compare Early's simple task to the monumental challenge facing Kevin Seraphin. The reserve big man is replacing the 2014-15 Knicks' MVP: the various dudes who wore the No. 1 jersey. Amar'e Stoudemire (2.2 win shares) and Alexey Shved (1.2 win shares) both played well in short stints, and the amalgam known as Alex'e Shvedemire arguably contributed more than any other Knicks entity.
Who else will be replacing a jersey number from the 2014-15 club? Here's the complete list (leaving out random camp invitees, of course):
First impression: the 2014-15 Knicks sucked. Ass. Feel free to mention J.R. Smith's catastrophic final stint with New York the next time he's playing well alongside LeBron James.
As the founder of the "Retire Pablo's Jersey" club, I'm not sure what to make of his number going to Kyle O'Quinn. With his New York roots, post passing abilities, epic scowl and (hopefully) re-grown beard, KOQ might end up becoming my favorite Knick. But how can he live up to this?
I miss you, Pablo.
All told, this (admittedly lame) exercise demonstrates New York's massive upgrade in talent. Even if you don't think very highly of acquisitions like Arron Afflalo, and even if you doubt Kristaps Porzingis' ability to contribute right away, just take a moment and consider the jerseys they're filling.
Last season was bad, y'all. This season promises to be less bad.