The New York Knicks are in a world of trouble.
They have assembled a poorly-coached, undisciplined team, and now that team has been decimated by injuries. They are in danger of not only missing the playoffs, but watching another team (Denver or Orlando) walk away with their lottery pick in a loaded 2014 draft.
Since these are the Knicks, the solution will probably be more trades. They've already given up their 2014 pick (for Carmelo Anthony) and their 2016 pick (for Andrea Bargnani), but, man, that 2018 is just sitting there. Why even bother worrying about 2018!
This is how the Knicks have operated during the ownership of James Dolan: constantly in search of the quick fix, forever bereft of any long-term plan.
And the results have been truly terrifying.
To prove just how much of a failure Dolan's policies have been, let's build an NBA team solely from players New York simply cast aside, either by trading or discarding the player, or by trading the draft pick that player ultimately became.
It is an impressive team. Not only would the Knicks' Castoffs annihilate this current Knicks team, they could very well compete for the Atlantic Division title.
Without further ado, your 2013-14 New York Knicks' Castoffs!
2013-14 Stats: 23.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 48.6 FG%
Following the disastrous Eddy Curry trade, the Knicks spent years clearing away cap space to woo potential free agents. They used that space to sign Amar'e Stoudemire and then they traded the farm for Carmelo Anthony instead of waiting a few months for Melo to make free agency.
What did they get for all of that time and money? They did win a playoff series last season, but they are now a 7-17 team and Melo can opt out an become a free agent—and he plans to, according to his interview with the New York Observer. Stoudemire is a shell of himself after repeated knee operations.
But what if the Knicks had simply kept their picks from the Curry deal? They could have drafted and developed LaMarcus Aldridge, a player who is younger, cheaper and better than Anthony thus far in 2013-14.
Here are each player's per-36-minute stats for the season.
See what can happen when you keep draft picks, Mr. Dolan?
How the Knicks Cast Him Off: New York traded the pick used to draft Joakim Noah to the Bulls in the 2005 Eddy Curry trade.
2013-14 Stats: 10.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 48.1 FG%
Ah, the Eddy Curry trade: The gift that keeps on giving.
The trade continues to decimate the Knicks, much in the same way Curry continues to decimate buffet tables across the land. If the Knicks had simply kept their picks, they could have assembled an All-World frontcourt of Aldridge and Noah.
Noah is a similar player to the Knicks' Tyson Chandler—a true defensive anchor. But whereas the 31-year-old Chandler has 13 NBA seasons of wear and tear, the 28-year-old Noah looks to be the safer bet over the next few season.
A frontcourt of Aldridge and Noah would be difficult to stop—the defensive-minded Noah and the offensive-minded Aldridge would complement each other perfectly.
How the Knicks Cast Him Off: New York traded the pick used to draft Gordon Hayward to the Suns in the January 2004 Stephon Marbury trade. The Suns traded that pick to the Utah Jazz in February 2004, for Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten. The Jazz selected Hayward with the ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft.
2013-14 Stats: 16.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.6 APG, 40.5 FG%
The Knicks are coming up on an auspicious anniversary; Jan. 5, 2014 will mark 10 years since the Stephon Marbury trade.
Along with the Curry deal, this might be the quintessential example of the fallacy of Dolan's win-now strategy. Due to a trade that happened 10 years ago, and helped the Knicks win zero playoff games, another team has a promising player who has yet to turn 24 years old. Yes, Hayward was 13 years old when his eventual draft pick was traded for Marbury.
Hayward has struggled this season on a young Jazz team, but he is just a year removed from shooting 41.5 percent from three. On this squad, he won't feel the need to carry the offense, just spot up in the corner and hit his wide-open looks.
And if Hayward doesn't work out with the starters, he can always be replaced when Danilo Gallinari returns from injury.
How the Knicks Cast Him Off: The Knicks traded Trevor Ariza and Anfernee Hardaway for Steve Francis in 2006.
2013-14 Stats: 15.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 46.4 FG%, 41.1 3P%
Ah, the Steve Francis trade—perhaps the least defensible move of the Dolan era. And that's really saying something.
While the legendary Stevie Frachise/Starbury backcourt never quite got the Knicks to the promised land, all they had to give up was the 20-year-old Ariza, who went on to help the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2009 title and have a solid pro career.
Ariza is currently enjoying a resurgence in Washington, averaging 15 points per game with an impressive three-point percentage. That kind of shooting will play well on the Castoffs.
How the Knicks Cast Him Off: Hoo boy...it's complicated. He was a restricted free agent and the Knicks were ready to sign him. He got a bigger deal from Houston and they didn't match because of "financial" reasons. That's probably not even 15 percent of what really happened.
2013-14 Stats: 14.3 PPG, 4.2 APG, 49.7 FG%, 37.5 3P%
And this, the cruelest cut of all...
Everybody knows the twisted tale of Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. At the time, Knicks fans did their best to console themselves with the idea that Raymond Felton could come back and give the team quality at the point. And it worked out...for one season.
But then Lin did something that 25-year-old players often do: He got better. His three-point stroke looks light-years ahead of where it was only last season.
On the Castoffs, Lin will work primarily with Aldridge in the pick-and-pop, while occasionally driving to the rim for layups and free throws. You know, point guard stuff.
How the Knicks Cast Him Off: In a 2010 sign-and-trade deal for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike.
2013-14 Stats: 18.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 49.0FG%
David Lee was that rarest of rarities: A homegrown Knicks All-Star. But he was in line to make big money, and New York had its sights set on Amar'e Stoudemire, so they worked out a sign-and-trade deal with the Golden State Warriors.
At the time, this seemed like a genius move. Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf were valuable role players and Anthony Randolph had the potential to be a star. And who could pass up the chance at bringing in a stud like Amar'e?
Well, the deal worked...for about a year. Azubuike never played for the Knicks because of a horrific knee injury, Randolph was a miserable failure and Stoudemire's knees have essentially caved in on themselves.
As for Lee, he was an All-Star in 2013 and he's coming off the bench for the Castoffs. This squad is good.
How the Knicks Cast Him Off: The Knicks traded Timofey Mozgov, along with Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and a 2014 first-round draft pick for Carmelo Anthony.
2013-14 Stats: 8.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 52.6 FG%
The Knicks were overjoyed to sign Mozgov, a raw, talented young Russian center as a free agent. Sure, the 24-year-old was raw, but centers often take time to develop. At the very least, he could be a serviceable body off the bench.
But there were two problems with that plan:
- The Knicks don't develop young players.
- James Dolan wanted Carmelo Anthony now! Not during free agency, not after breakfast, now!
So the Knicks shipped Mozgov to Denver, where he has blossomed into a quality reserve center with the Nuggets. Given the fact that the only healthy big in the Knicks' rotation at the moment is Andrea Bargnani, they could probably use Mozgov's services at the moment.
How the Knicks Cast Them Off: Jamal Crawford was traded to the Warriors for Al Harrington in 2008. Nate Robinson was traded for Eddie House and Bill Walker in 2010.
2013-14 Stats: 16.0 PPG, 42.8 FG%, 35.7 3P% (Crawford), 11.0 PPG, 40.9 FG%, 37.8 3P% (Robinson)
Pick your poison—Crawford and Robinson are essentially the same guy.
Both are dynamic, streaky scorers...and not much else. Both were given too much responsibility on bad Knicks teams, only to move on to better teams and flourish off the bench.
For the Castoffs, either one of these players can offer instant offense on the second unit. They probably shouldn't play together, but a smart coach can find a way to play the hot hand.
Honorable mentions to fill out your 12-man roster: Wilson Chandler, Zach Randolph, Chauncey Billups, Landry Fields, Steve Novak, Al Harrington, Nazr Mohammed, Toney Douglas, Channing Frye, Ronny Turiaf, Shawne Williams, Chris Copeland, Josh Harrellson, Ronnie Brewer, Jordan Hill