It would be unfair to spend so much time laughing at Isiah’s negligence this season, then not praise him when things go well. The New York Knicks have won three games in a row. Their “star” player stopped playing right before those three games began. Isiah the coach has seemingly lost interest in that player, and this being his third different type of absence of the season – first insubordination, then bereavement, now injury – Zeke has finally figured out how to get his team to play as one without their best player. If it was any other coach or any other situation, people would be falling over themselves to praise him.
There are some tenets in basketball that are simple, excepted truths that give a team a better chance of winning. Share the ball, don’t turn it over, rebound, play defense, exploit match-ups, hit open shots, and now it seems you have to add “Rely on Stephon Marbury for a while, then lose him.” (If you hadn’t done that already) I don’t want to make this a whole bashing Steph thing, this is just the facts, and yes in the past I would defend him with heated arguments. But hey, empirical evidence is empirical evidence.
I loved that a fellow Brooklyn boy was going to the NBA on his own terms after a quick college detour, I loved the potential of Steph-KG, many of his Stephisms, having him back on the east coast, watching him lead the Suns team with a young Amare and Shawn Marion. I was overjoyed to say the least when my hometown Knicks “stole” him from the Suns, and Lang even posted an email I sent him which read something like “This is the greatest deal since the White Man bought Manhattan from the Native Americans for $14.”
End of story. No need to re-live the last 4 years which have felt like 4 centuries. The Summer of Steph, with the insane statements and TV performances was pretty amusing though. And even if he’s not a winning NBA player, he still does a lot of good for his community, and in the long run, that is more important.
The Knicks have won three in a row under the leadership of Coach Isiah. I know you’re thinking to yourself “But he’s a horrible coach! He doesn’t even teach defense at practice!” Yeah well, in the NBA that’s one way to coach, but if you really look at successful teams, most of the time they work because the GM and the coach are on the same page. The GM brings in the talent, the coach accepts what he has been given and he makes it work. The two parties come to an understanding of what type of player they want and then they try to build their team that way. In negative situations, you get the coach and GM fighting, refusing to play certain guys who are being forced down their throat, organizations in turmoil, and so on.
Here is the profound and hilarious heart of the Knicks problem: The GM/President and the head coach are not on the same page. The coach doesn’t like the talent his GM has given him to work with. The GM and the coach have two different philosophies, and so now the coach keeps having these confrontations with players the GM brought in. That’s right. Isiah the coach is feuding with… Isiah the team President!
And so today, with the Knicks winning three in a row, capped off by riding the latest Jamal Crawford hot streak – which happens from time to time – they have found a way to generate a liiiiiiiiitle blip of sunshine through dark and treacherous skies. Their timing couldn’t be worse, as the only NY sports story that matters right now is the GMEN.
Great week for Coach Isiah though. Not so good for GM Isiah, who now has a $20 million-a-year player excited to have surgery and a fanbase that couldn’t care less.