The Knicks have to build towards the 2010 free agent frenzy, when the biggest names in the NBA will become available.
LeBron James has the ability to make the Knicks, a franchise that has become the laughingstock of the NBA, a respected franchise and once again relevant in the city of New York. Unlike the Brett Favre trade, the addition of LeBron James can lead the team to a conference title and a championship.
This would be comparable in importance to the selection of Patrick Ewing 1985 NBA Draft.
However, before that can happen, the Knicks have major retooling to do—and a few lumps to swallow. The first task is to create a lineupm, with a focus on developing players for the future and worrying less about winning games. I know this is not something you can do in New York, but Isiah Thomas has put the Knicks in that situation.
Mike D'Antoni was a hire I didn't agree with, but he can turn the Knicks into an offensive juggernaut.
I would have preferred Mark Jackson or Jeff Van Gundy coming back to the franchise. Though Dolan hates Van Gundy, the Knicks need to return to playing the defense that made them one of the best teams in the 90s—a Game Seven away from a title.
Second, the drafting of Danilo Gallinari was one that suited D'Antoni's system. Though I disagreed with it, any pick outside the top two is not a guarantee of a boom or a bust. Duhon can be a serviceable PG until 2010 who won't destroy the team—unlike Marbury.
The starting five should be:
PG: Chris Duhon
Duhon is the only true point guard the Knicks have, and the only one they could depend on. Nate Robinson is more of an undersized combo guard who should be used as a spark plug off the bench in a way John Starks was.
SG: Jamal Crawford
Crawford is the best scorer the Knicks have. But he needs to stop chucking up threes and make better decisions with the ball. He needs to play consistently as well. He can't have games where he is ice cold and then red hot. The Knicks need someone they can depend on.
SF: Danilo Gallinari
Though I think he will grow into his body more, right now he can't play the four. Playing at the three will allow him to utilize his athleticism, passing, and ball-handling to his fullest extent—and also allow him to avoid the physical play of the NBA's power forward. This will help him gain confidence, as well as the Knicks fans' appreciation.
Quentin Richardson is pne of the many failures in the Isiah Thomas regime, but he can resurrect his career playing in the system that made him a wanted commodity.
PF: Wilson Chandler
This kid has been absolutely amazing when he gets the ability to play. The problem last year was Isiah playing his overpaid, under-producing acquisitions instead of trying to develop his draft pick.
This guy could turn into an Shawn Marion or Scottie Pippin. If Gallinari bulks up, Chandler could swap positions with him—but for this season he will play the four.
David Lee is the heart and soul of the New York Knicks. This rebounding machine is like what Charles Oakley or Anthony Mason used to be. The only thing that needs improvement is his defensive play. He needs to increase his lateral quickness and make better decisions on defence.
C: Zach Randolph/ EddyCurry
There is no way the Knicks can play both of these guys at the same time. Unless they start losing some weight and play some defense, it is a problem to have two similar players on the floor at the same time.
This lineup is not going to put the Knicks into the playoffs, but can lead to players like Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari becoming quality NBA players by the time 2010 comes around.
The only changes would be to dump the contracts of Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry, and add a role player whose contract expires by 2010. This season will probably end with a with 20-30 wins, and a high lottery pick.