It’s time to take an in-depth look at the New York Knicks, because if we don’t, then nobody will know how their season might turn out, and that would be horrible for everyone involved. Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Just how bad will the Knicks actually be this year?” Worse than last year? Not as bad as two years ago? Better than the Raiders? The answer to this question lies in the hands of one man – super fan Spike Lee, who is, surprisingly, not an actual member of the Knicks’ organization. Nevertheless, he should be, because he is taller than Nate Robinson and definitely more culturally relevant than David Lee. Plus, he knows what “box out” means. Regardless, Spike came by to help me grade the Knicks from top to bottom. It was mostly bottom.
Point Guard: Stephon Marbury. My wife is a fan of “Starbury” now, ever since she found out that he released an affordable brand of basketball sneakers for, ya’ know, the kids. They did a news segment on it and everything, where Stephon was kissing babies and signing autographs and stuff, and my wife was like, “Awwwwwww…I like him! Good for him with those sneakers!” Unfortunately, she has never seen Stephon Marbury actually play basketball. Apparently, neither has Stephon, who famously declared himself the “best point guard in the NBA” two years ago. But hey, I’m not going to argue with Stephon and my wife! That would just be stupid. Grade: A+++
Says Spike: People keep sayin’ that Steph’s gotta distribute the rock more, and get the team more involved. But the rest of the team kind of sucks. You go, Starbury! It’s gotta be the shoes.
Shooting Guard: Jamal Crawford. I think Crawford takes his title of “shooting guard” a bit too seriously. He’s never met a shot he didn’t like, or take, and that, coupled with Starbury’s penchant for ill-advised jumpers, makes it a wonder that anybody else on the floor gets more than three touches a game. If I were one of the other four guys on the court, I would just stand at the top of the key and wait for one of Crawford’s jumpers to clang off the back of the rim and bounce back to me, at which point I would immediately shoot the ball, so I had a chance of getting into the box score. That is called “fundamental basketball.” Anyway, all that said, when Crawford is hot – and he can definitely get hot – he is pretty much unstoppable. He’s by far the most electric player on the team, even though he’ll drive you nuts, and he has a knack for nailing the big shot. And the Knicks are going to need a lot of big shots. Like, a 25-point shot, for example. Crawford should get on that. Grade: B-
Says Spike: If it weren’t for Jamal, I probably would have given up my courtside seats by now. The buzzer-beaters he hit last year, and those 50-point games actually made the season worth it. Okay, not really, but still…
Other Guard: Steve Francis. I almost forgot about Stevie Franchise. By the way, how can you be the “franchise” and also the third guard that nobody knows what to do with? If Steve Francis is the “Franchise,” then what does that make LeBron James? A complimentary role player? I’m confused. He also loves to shoot though, which is nice. Grade: C-
Says Spike: I like Stevie, I really do. I just don’t see where he fits into this team. He was coming off the bench at times last year, and that’s just not his game. You gotta be on the court to miss shots.
Seriously, Another Guard: Nate Robinson. People seem to like Nate Robinson, mainly because his game actually exposes everything that’s wrong with the Knicks in general. He’s young, he plays defense, he hustles his butt off, and he plays a more traditional point guard role than anybody else on the team (i.e., he passes the ball sometimes, basically). His small stature – he’s listed at 5’9”, which is generous – makes him an overachiever just to be in the NBA. But he’s not a sideshow – he’s actually very talented. It was hard to gage just how talented he was last season, as his playing time fluctuated under then head coach Larry Brown. I would expect his playing time to increase this year, although it’s difficult to say considering the Knicks have 18 other guards, all making considerably more money than Robinson. But rumor has it that Isiah Thomas sees a little of himself in Robinson, which means, I guess, that Nate Robinson is in line to ruin the Knicks in 2025. Grade: B-
Says Spike: Love Nate. Love ‘em. You can feel the electricity in the Garden when he enters the game. He’s like the Jose Reyes of the Knicks, that is, if Jose Reyes barely played because there were 12 Kenny Loftons ahead of him on the depth chart.
(By the way, there would have been room here for yet another guard were it not for Monday’s news involving the Knicks’ unceremonious waiving of Jalen Rose. Personally, I could never quite figure Rose out. Was he a strong veteran presence, or an underachieving malcontent? Now we may never know the answer. Fortunately for the Knicks, it will cost them $14 million to have Jalen Rose not play for them this season, a shrewd financial move by all accounts. Other NBA teams are apparently scrambling to pay Rose more money to not play for them. So, touché, Isiah. Nevetheless, Jalen Rose will be sorely missed. Although, not really. His name will live on however, in paycheck form. Grade: F
Says Spike: I think people feel the same way about me as I did about Jalen – I liked him a lot better in 1992.)
Forward (But Really a Shooting Guard): Quentin Richardson. Quentin’s nickname is “Q,” probably because his name begins with a “Q,” which I think is genius. Q, a pure shooter, is not known for creating his own shot, but he thrived in Phoenix, where the offense was predicated on ball movement, running, and getting open looks. He seems much less relevant in the Knicks’ offense of walking the ball up the court, and then watching the guy who walked the ball up the court wave everybody off and miss a shot. Grade: C
Says Spike: Quentin reminds me a lot of Ray Allen. Actually, I’m thinking of doing a sequel to “He Got Game” starring Q as Jesus Shuttleworth’s son. It’s tentatively titled, “He Got Game?”
Center (Kind Of): Channing Frye. Showed a ton of promise as a rookie last year, but was derailed by injuries and, again, Brown’s infinite lineup changes. He has a finesse game for a big man, but he’s still one of the Knicks biggest inside threats. He might be slightly overrated, or a star-in-the-making. We may find out this year. He could be the difference between the Knicks being really, really, bad, or just bad. Grade: B
Says Spike: He’s got a great touch around the basket, and can block a shot or two. But what we really need are some guards!
Other Centers (Sort Of): Eddy Curry & Jerome James. I lumped these two together because I wanted to create the biggest bust of all time! Did it work? Who knows though, maybe Curry won’t be carrying around an extra 30 pounds this year, and maybe he doesn’t have serious heart problems. And maybe Jerome James will return the $65 million he owes the Knicks. Grade: D
Says Spike: Every time I watch Curry play, I think of the Indian spice curry, because the longer both are around, the more they stink. And don’t even get me started on Jerome James. He may be J.J., but he sure as hell ain’t dynamite.
Miscellaneous: Renaldo Balkman already has the weight of being the worst draft pick ever on his shoulders. David Lee is okay, maybe, I think. Jared Jeffries is what Channing Frye will be if Channing Frye never pans out. Plus, Jeffries is injured now, which is wonderful. Kelvin Cato? Whatever. Malik Rose will be good for fouls at the end of games, and Qyntel Woods will have to battle Q for the nickname of Q, which should be a heated affair. Grade: D
Says Spike: Lee’s the white one, right? He’s a feisty (bleeeeeeep).
Coach / GM / Alleged Sexual Harasser / General Bringer Down of Franchise: Isiah Thomas. Well, here we are. Isiah’s at the helm. I’m not sure what could possibly go wrong here. Grade: A (for comedy) / F (for results)
Says Spike: Let’s just say, if I were making a movie about this season, I’d need Sherman Hemsley, a box of Tums, and a whole lotta Benny Hill music.