Some thoughts on Isaiah Thomas
by Dax-Devlon Ross
When I was eleven and the Bullets were playing the Pistons in the playoffs I got to meet Isaiah Thomas. Not only did I get to meet him, I got to carry his bags to his room. I got to go into his hotel room. He gave my boy G.G. a Pistons practice shirt and promised he’d send me one. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone at school the next day. Of course few people believed me. I told them to wait, just wait. My t-shirt was in the mail. Well, my t-shirt never came. But do you think I held a grudge against him even at the tender age of 11? Hells no!
I loved Zeke then and I love him now. I love what he’s doing for the Knicks and I believe there’s a bright future ahead for this squad. They’ve got good backcourt play, a young frontcourt that can score and rebound. They’ve got energy coming off the bench. They’ve got clutch shooters and proven scorers. They’ve got defensive stoppers. They’ve just got to get better, which isn’t going to happen if you fire the head coach.
What I really like about Thomas’ approach to the Knicks is his emphasis on Eddie Curry. More than anybody else, this has been Curry’s year to shine. He’s outplayed Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor in head-to-head action. He’s shown that he can be a consistent player and that he’s capable of staying out of foul trouble. Isaiah knows that as much as they are maligned, no NBA team can win without a serious center. The rigors of a seven game playoff series demand an inside presence. What I see happening in the league, in fact, is a resurgence of legitimate low post big men (Bogut, Okafur, Howard, Bynum, Al Jefferson and Yao are the names that come to mind) which makes the Greg Oden sweepstakes even more intriguing.
There are plenty of people who have and will continue to criticize the Knicks for keeping Isaiah but here’s my question. Who else are you going to bring in? As long as there’s work for a guy like Mike Brown (black Dilbert I call him, see below) in the league you’ve got to question the quality of professional basketball coaches as a whole anyway.
Isaiah has the trust of his players. They believe they can win even if they don’t prove it all of the time. They come up bing in the clutch, which I think is the signature of this year’s team, and the real foundation of a serious playoff team come next season. Marbury is starting to play the best basketball of his career. Q-Rich, when healthy is a quality swingman. Even Steve Francis may not be done just yet. I’m telling you, there’s a light at the end of tunnel.
At the end of the day I think re-signing him is a no-brainer. This franchise needs consistency and continuity. The team needs a chance to grow into a contender. The pieces are all there; now it’s just a matter of getting them to play before they get down 20….and of getting rid of Nate Robinson.