New York Knicks Needed Allen Iverson

Eric Ball@@BigLeagueEballFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Allen Iverson #3 of the Memphis Grizzlies on the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 6, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 114-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The NBA is about winning, just like every other sport. It is also about entertainment. You must entertain the people that decide to dedicate three hours of their life to watch your product. The 2009-2010 New York Knicks are as exciting as a Joe Lieberman speech. That’s why they swung and missed with free agent Allen Iverson.
Team president Donnie Walsh confirmed the decision early Friday at the team’s training center.
The Knicks are not a very good team; the 2-9 start is not quite playoff material. The Knicks are already six-and-a-half games back of the Celtics in the Atlantic standings. The Yankees have as many wins this month as the Knicks. The defense has been abysmal, giving up almost 110 points a game. I could go on but I’ll spare the Knick faithful.
In other words, the Knicks are going nowhere this season. It is painfully obvious that the front office is hoping to jump in a time machine and set the date to July 2010. They could also go the Austin Powers or Eric Cartman route and freeze Donnie Walsh till July. In other words, this is a complete throw-away season.
So when a player like Iverson is coming off the scrap heap, eager to prove all the doubter wrong, you HAVE TO GET HIM.
The guy has been a top-10 talent for the past decade-plus in the league. His highlight reel is a mile long. A.I. plays with a fearlessness that anybody can admire. The Knicks are one of the only teams that could start him, something extremely important to Iverson.
Iverson would have been given only a one-year contract, probably for the veteran’s minimum of $1.3 million. His signing would have no direct impact on the Knicks plans to pursue a superstar free agent next summer.
But it’s more than that. The Knicks need a star, a recognizable name. It’s safe to say that most people could not name three players on the current squad.
The Knicks have few players on the team that excite the crowd. Maybe Nate Robinson, but that’s even a stretch. Putting a player like A.I. on the Knicks would insert some instant energy in the team and fans. If the Knicks didn’t play in Madison Square Garden, the team would be playing in front of half empty arenas on a nightly basis.
With Iverson drawing the attention of opposing defenses, there would be better scoring chances for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and David Lee.
There would also be some short-term disruption. Either Chris Duhon or Toney Douglas would lose a starting job. Iverson would also cut into the playing time of Larry Hughes and Robinson. One of those players might fall out of the rotation entirely. Was this the reason they didn’t want to sign Iverson, so Hughes could continue to play? Garbage.
The team needed some sort of energy boost and declined.
“Our goal this year was to try to develop the young players and to see which of the young veterans we have could fit into what we want to do in the future,” Walsh said.
Way to waive the white flag in November Walsh, just remember that it’s going to be mighty hard to convince LeBron, D-Wade, or Bosh to come to a last-place team that doesn’t even own a 2010 first-round pick. It could get extremely ugly in the “Mecca of hoops” by the time Santa is making his rounds.

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