Dumping Grounds: Have the New York Knicks Finally Found a Gem in Chris Duhon

Kevin MooreCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2008

Now I know how Staten Island feels.  As a Brooklynite I would take my trash to the street. Anything useless and unwanted would be at the curb pronto.  Then sanitation would come and haul my stuff along with every one else’s to Staten Island.

I would say, “That deal is awful for the Staten Islanders.”  I wondered why don’t they stop it—then I realized the residents had no say.  Brooklyn had found a spot for its garbage and Staten Island was willing to take it.

Apparently that type of give and take relationship does not only apply to disposable products amongst boroughs, but also to disposable players amongst teams.  And it seems in this act, the role of Brooklyn will be played by Chicago, while the role of Staten Island has been filled by the Knicks.

This relationship between the two cities started out on equal footing. Both sides gave and took equal value. When the Knicks acquired Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright, both teams were filling a void.  Each side was happy.

But that was then. In the most recent transactions between the two franchises, the Knicks have been sold lemons. 

In 2005, the Knicks got Eddy Curry.  He was supposed to be an offensive force that was talented and quick footed in the paint. In exchange we gave up Tim “Fugasy” Thomas and up-and-comer Mike Sweetney. Other than ratcheting up the payroll, Mr. Curry has not improved the Knickerbockers.  

Now, to be fair, like all garbage dumps, there are bound to be hidden treasures. For example, Jamal Crawford.  

Jamal, at times, seems to be the only Knick aware that there is a game to be played.  He is one of the few Knicks that cares about winning. He plays with all of his heart and it shows on the court.  The attitude that some of his teammates take, “who cares if we win or lose, we get paid anyway,” does not appear to rub off on him.

The latest move in the Chi-NY trade route hopefully infuses the Knicks with a player carrying a team-first attitude like Jamal.

That player is Chris Duhon.  What category will he fall in? At his tenure at Duke, he was a slightly above-average player, with a talented cast of characters like Carlos Boozer and Jason Williams around him.

The problem with Chris in New York is that he won’t have that type of talent around him. Can he be successful with much less?

Also, he is poised to start? All indications suggest that Stephon will not be a Knick next season. Coming off the bench in Chicago is a very different animal than being the starting point guard for the Knicks.  It is understandable that his career offensive numbers are low, due to his lack of playing time, but how much can the Knicks anticipate from him?

Can his game handle the Knicks? Parts of Chris’ accolades, especially in college, derived from his defensive prowess. At Duke, he was heralded for his intensity on the defensive side of the ball. The problem is, the Knicks don’t play defense.  Many Knicks rely on the rim to block shots.

Also, within the system of the New Coach, whose previous team felt that the best defense was a fast break-induced alley oop, how will his ability be utilized?

In Chris’s short tenure in the league, he has proven to be an average player. It may be unfair to him for fans to expect great things. He may not take us to the promised land—which for the Knicks means playing at most 15 games under .500.

However his greatest accomplishment as a Knick might have occurred in the fact that he signed with the club.  Maybe the best thing this acquisition represents is that the Dolan family’s commitment to actually turning a new page.

So, when Chris steps foot on the floor wearing a Knicks Jersey, his presence will signify that the old Knicks are over. And some day, the old glory days may return.