A new feature here at the Meloship, I introduce you to Ex-Knicks of the Week. Originally pitched to me by Matt Weiss (below), Ex-Knicks of the week will be a weekly feature on the site every Monday morning. We will pick either players that are in the NBA who have had great weeks, or we’ll just pick random ex-Knicks and write about them.
Matt Weiss (@thanksroy): Seeing as this whole ex-Knick of the week thing was my brain child, I thought I should set some ground rules. To be an ex-knick one must have suited up for the orange and blue, so traded picks (dammit we traded the picks that became Lamarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah), guys who re-routed through NY (Corey Brewer) and or picks who never played for us (with the exception of Freddy Weis because fuck him) dont count. Why is that? Because this was my idea and I get to set the rules.
When Carmelo Anthony entered our world on February 22nd 2011, he brought some friends with him. Some of those friends we knew (hello Renaldo!) some of them we soon wanted to forget (Shelden Williams) and one of them came with a big reputation. Melo was certainly the centerpiece of the deal, but at the time I was really excited about getting Chauncey Billups, aka Mr. Big Shot as a part of the deal. Just for the record I despise that nickname, but I used it anyway. Sure, sending Raymond away was tough as he had been a very productive Knick for the half season he was with us, but Chauncey came with a big reputation and a history of productivity and leadership. Amare was having an MVP caliber season, we were adding Melo, and with a floor general like Chauncey there was a genuine excitement this group could do some damage in the playoffs. The Knicks split their first two games post trade and then landed in Miami for a showdown with the heat. When a cobbled together starting lineup of Melo, Amare, Chauncey, Shawne Williams and Landry Fields came out with a thrilling victory the bar for that season was raised. “No one wants to face us in the first round” went my thinking and as usual we fans overreacted. What happens next is classic Knicks, Chauncey got banged up and missed some time and the team went 14-14 post trade. In their last 15 games the Knicks had both a 6 game losing streak and then a 7 game winning streak.
The team entered the playoffs as the 6 seed and faced the division champion Boston Celtics, who themselves were having issues as the playoffs began. After racing out to a record of 46-15 the Celtics ended the season 10-11. I was lucky enough to be in Boston for work that week and scalped my way into the TD Center and unabashedly rocked a melo jersey for game 1. I will save you the horror of the recap but the Knicks established an early lead before the Celtics did their usual Celtic thing and ripped our heart out. The difference was that we now had Chauncey. Even after the Celtics erased a 12 point half time lead Chauncey was cool, calm, collected (shout out Clyde) and made me feel good about the game when he had the ball. The funny thing is that he didn’t even play well in this game, and he still made me feel good about having him run the offense. And then Chauncey got hurt, and then KG set a horrendous moving screen that wasn’t called, and then Ray Allen hit a three that caused me to slink out of the arena. Amare hurt his back dunking in warm ups before game two, and by the end of that game, on the most critical offensive possession of the season the Knicks trotted out Jared Jeffries, Bill Walker, Toney Douglas and Roger Mason alongside Melo. Our season was over and we all knew it.
After the lockout we would amnesty Chauncey to allow us to trade for Tyson Chandler and Billups, he of 22 knick games would be another in a long line of ex-Knicks. Its easy to forget about his tenure, and to view the melo trade as simply melo for Gallo (I miss you Danilo), Wilson Chandler, the Moz and some picks. But, lets not forget Chauncey. Who knows what would have happened if he didn’t get hurt. Do we win game one? Do we somehow win game two? Do we exorcise all of our Celtic demons at once? We probably lose that series no matter what but we will never know.
Things have clearly changed since then, we survived last season with its insane highs and crazy lows, and now have a team that seems like it may be half decent. Chauncey has landed on his feet as well. After a brutal injury he is back and had two good games last week versus the Rockets and the Lakers playing on a clippers team that could compete for a WCF spot. Both the Knicks and Billups have moved on and I doubt either thinks much about each other, but, when we think back on the last few years and what could have been, lets not forget that perhaps this core could be built around Chauncey, Amare and Melo and who knows what that looks like.
Taylor Armosino (@tarmosino): I’m going with Landry Fields this week, who had arguably one of the best weeks of any average to below average player in the NBA. This has pretty much nothing to do with his on court play in 3 games this week. Fields scored a whooping 16 points on 6/10 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds. Although, he did play well in a victory over the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony shot himself in the foot about 734 different times with missed ‘gimmie’ shots at the rim, but Fields did make him work hard the entire game and did pull down 10 boards. But as I said, the reason I choose to write about Fields has little to do with on-court play, rather what happened to him off the court this week.
If you haven’t heard, Mr. Fields got engaged this past week in NY to supermodel Elaine Alden. NBA player marrying supermodel? Who cares? Happens all the time. Fair, but when you take into account how unbelievably attractive she is and how much of a dork he is, it’s truly unbelievable. Now I’m not trying to rip on Fields, rather I can’t express how unbelievably well he did for himself. I tip my hat to this guy for locking up easily one of the hottest NBA girlfriends/wives in the NBA. He sure has come a long way from the corny “Andy (Rautins) and Landry Show.” This week during the Knicks-Raptors game, NBA League Pass stuck me with the Raptors broadcast, who aren’t terrible, but I’d much rather listen to the Knicks crew. Andy Rautins’ father, Leo Rautins, is the color guy for that crew. During the broadcast, the “Andy and Landry show” came up in discussion and the elder Rautins said “I’m happy I don’t have to watch that anymore.” Yeah, Leo, I think we’re all pretty happy we don’t have to see that anymore.
Regardless, congrats to Landry Fields for his engagement. He drew the ire of many Knicks fans during his tenure here, me included. However, I always thought he was slightly more valuable than most and he really did give great effort. He really truly is kind of a goofball though, which makes this engagement really a job well done from him. And incase you don’t know who Elaine Alden is…
James Griffo (@j_griff): There are several NBA players that have rap careers, including current Knick, Iman Shumpert. He recorded the Knicks Tape anthem earlier this season, laying the groundwork for Knicks launching rap side projects. Stephen Jackson (TRILLLLLLL) is another player to consider that has a rap career that’s better than every artist that is signed to Young Money. Then, at one point, we all wondered where Stevie Franchise Francis himself was. His brief but hilarious rap career summed up his stint with the Knicks. As Francis once said, there were “Finer Things.” What could those finer things be according to him? Starting that ghastly rap career of his, trying to get his basketball career back on track like he attempted to in 2010 by playing in China, or just trying to get himself back on track in life after checking in to rehab clinics, whether it was combating his cocaine addiction, drinking problems, or going to court for missed car payments/bankruptcy claims.
The day Francis was traded by the Magic for an old washed up Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza, I had a sense of what was going to happen; the turbulent one season Larry Brown era was going to sink even further into the sewers of New York City. And so, it did. Then, the following year after Brown got fired, that jackass Isiah Thomas took over the following season and almost single-handedly dismantled the Knicks, and madness really ensued with a team infested with even more guards than the armed forces. Under current Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman, the Timberwolves run a three guard rotation, even Mike Woodson inserts three guards every once in awhile (rarely), but there was a time where four guard rotations were actually used, and they certainly weren’t used properly. The details are too grim and gruesome. Riots will occur if I tell you stories of watching the four guard rotations. After all, it was just one of the many harrowing Isiah Thomas coaching experiments that turned out to be pretty much the long term plan of that season, and the season after that.
Knick fans relied on the subliminally “dynamic” Stephon Marbury-Steve Francis backcourt. There were, unfortunately, many Knick fans that said the words “MARBURY-FRANCIS BACK COURT IS GONNA BE THE BEST IN THE LEAGUE.” Prior to 2005-06 season starting, Larry Brown said that the Marbury-Francis backcourt was going to be a second coming of Walt Frazier and Black Jesus, Earl Monroe. Talk about something backfiring all the way into outer space, out of the Milky Way galaxy, into Alpha Centauri. I’m sure that those fans that heavily believed in the “BEST BACK COURT IN THE LEAGUE” at the time probably have rescinded those sayings from their lives by now. Meshing into the Isiah Thomas “system” was practically insurmountable (wait, there was a type of game that was played under Isiah?). It was a total utter disaster. The Franchise’s knee tendinitis set him back till February 2007, where his career went into a downward spiral, sinking further into the gallows of hell putting up career low averages and ultimately getting traded back to the Rockets. I adored Francis and the Rockets before his knee injuries and Yao Ming’s foot injuries plaguing his career, when Cuttino Mobley was good and not suing the Knicks, and when Jeff Van Gundy was still coaching. He didn’t get his way with the Magic at one time, but then got used to Orlando, still having a fantastic season and a half with the Magic before getting traded to the Knicks. However, we Knick fans scrutinize Francis’ stint in New York as a shit storm, as we all should. The only exception (no Paramore reference intended) of Francis being on the Knicks is that I bought his jersey for dirt cheap once at a flea market shortly after he was released from the Knicks. I’m not sure where that jersey went. I think my mom threw it down one of those clothing donation vents (like some of my other jerseys). I wonder who’s wearing it right now. And to whoever is wearing that jersey right now, whatever. Even though Steve Francis’ career in New York was god awful, I wish him a speedy recovery in lifestyle choices because he looks absolutely terrible. Get better, Steve.
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