Now that he’s not part of an NBA franchise anymore, former Golden State Warriors GM—and current ESPN analyst—Bob Myers is free to speak about whatever he pleases.
His first topic of choice? The evolution of the New York Knicks from pretenders to contenders.
Myers spoke in a Zoom call and every beat reporter of the Knicks jumped at the story and the statements he made on it.
New ESPN analyst & ex-GSW GM Bob Myers complimented NYK on a conference call today. "There was a time where I felt like people may not have wanted to play in (NYC) & I think that’s changed. I think now, you’re looking at murmurings, hearing things – 'Hey, what about the Knicks?'— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 16, 2023
I don’t want to waste your valuable time, so if you want a quick summary of what Myers said, that tweet above (h/t Ian Begley of SNY) should be all you need to know. That, however, was only the tip of the iceberg.
Just for context, Myers spent the past 10 years handling the affairs around The Bay. Some of the things he achieved in that span were winning a meager four NBA championships and snatching two Exec of the Year awards. This humble man might know what he’s talking about, is what I’m saying.
And what he was talking about on Monday, at least partially, was the improvement the Knicks have undergone since the arrival of the Leon Rose, Tom Thibodeau, and William Wesley trifecta.
Mayers boiled everything down to a very simple corollary: “If you want to evaluate a front office, look at what it was when they got there and what it is now.”
The answer to that question in New York’s realm? “The Knicks are in a much better place than they were prior to Leon, Wes, and Thibodeau showing up.”
Obviously, the next step the Knicks must take on their way to true greatness is leveling up and going “from the five or four seed to the one or two seed,” said Myers. “How do you get there? Myers pondered.
The former GM acknowledged that “going from bad to good—which they have already done—is probably [easier]” than making the leap to the higher echelon.
That surely is common knowledge. It’s not going to be hard for the Spurs to win 10 more games this season than they did last year. They just have to avoid losing a bunch of games to minnows that might have defeated them in the past few months. For the Knicks to level up, they will need to win those 10 more games against the absolute cream of the crop of the NBA. Tall task.
Myers was hired by the Warriors in April 2011. By then, and operating as the Ass. GM, he already had the foundational piece that built the Dubs Dynasty already in tow. The Warriors drafted Stephen Curry in 2009 and Klay Thompson the summer Myers arrived. He took over the GM role the next April and he masterminded the drafting of the final two pieces of the Fearsome Four: Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes (yes).
Considering how Myers built the Warriors, it made sense to listen to him say that players such as Andre Iguodala—a good-not-great player—could be the ones that make everything click and allow teams to reach their full potential, which might not happen by signing or trading for the ultimate diva superstar.
“You hope you get [someone] that unlocks everyone else or amplifies the rest of your team,” Myers said. “I think the Knicks have been patient and they haven’t done anything irrational.”
Knicks fans, at least in some corners, are tired of hearing about waiting for the right player to become available. Myers, however, is wired into that being the right approach to roster construction and championship contention. Patience, fellas.
“There are windows of time, but you can’t control the deals that present themselves to a certain degree,” Myers started.
“[The Knicks] haven’t had a big misstep that can set [them] back for years,” Myers explained. “I think there has to be a healthy amount of impatience but not imprudent. So I think that’s what the Knicks are looking at.”
That’s a solid hat-tip to the Knicks FO, but the former GM also warned New York’s brass and let them know what they need to do next, which is clearing all hesitation from their minds and go pull the trigger at the tiniest chance if the right opportunity pops up out of left field.
“When the [right deal] comes up, you have to get that deal done, whatever it is,” he said. “Whatever you identify as ‘this is the thing that is going to make us great,’ you just have to make sure that that happens.”
I guess it’s fair to assume Donovan Mitchell is (or at least, was) not “the thing that is going to make us great,” as Rose & Co. see it.
One final thing that should definitely boost your morale for what might be ahead is the revelation made by Myers regarding the rising reputation and perception of the Knicks in conversations between agents and players.
All of a sudden, the Knicks are sexy.
“There was a time when I felt like people may not have wanted to play in [NYC],” Myers said. “I think that has changed.”
Believe him or not, because who really knows which levers the former Warrior is trying to pull, but Myers revealed there are “murmurings” around the league talking positively about the Knicks.
“Hey, what about the Knicks?... And the draft capital they have?” echoed Myers. “It’s viable, it’s possible.”
The GM-turned-analyst believes that the Knicks “have what it takes,” namely mentioning New York’s coffer full of first-round picks along with “a lot of good young players on pretty affordable contracts.”
The way New York has conducted business since the new front office took over isn’t hard to grasp. These are not the times of whiffing on landing your LeBron Jameses and your Kevin Durants nearly announcing their arrival even before holding face-to-face meetings with them. That is because the Knicks have simply avoided and not entered those sorts of chases since the new front office took over.
The new blueprint has been much more low-key.
Yes, Julius Randle was signed to a reasonably big deal after New York failed to land KD, but he became the face of the franchise and he’s now entering his fifth season in NYC, same as RJ Barrett—the true homegrown talent—who the Knicks picked with a top-3 pick that same summer.
The franchise might have tampered to land Jalen Brunson last year while making some think paying him so much was a gamble. Go revisit that decision.
New York cut ties with everyone not named Mitchell Robinson from their pre-2019 era, and Robinson is the only player left in the roster belonging to the 2018/19 squad that lost 65 games.
Barrett, Jericho Sims, Miles McBride, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley... the draft has yielded tons of goodies, and others (Kevin Knox by way of Cam Reddish) were turned via trade into season-changing players such as Josh Hart. Doesn’t get much better than that.
It’s been a struggle at times, yet slowly but surely the Knicks are truly looking like they’re getting everything right once and for all and seriously on the verge of assaulting the NBA on their way to bringing the Larry O’B back to MSG.
Will they jump from that four-five to the one-two? Will they finally land the ultimate piece to unlock the chip? Time to abate and wait.