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In honor of future Hall-of-Famer, Carmelo Anthony’s earnest request to play one more season in the NBA next year, let’s look back at the Top 10 New York Knicks ever. Does the former Syracuse Orange make the list of the best ever to dawn the Orange & Blue?
10. Richie Guerin (1954-1964)
Guerin made the All-Star team 6 straight years as a Knick, and scored 29.5 points per game in 1962.
9. John Starks (1990-1998)
Starks only made the All-Star team once, and he famously went 2-18 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But any under 6’2 player that can pull off dunk like this will always have a place in Knicks lore.
8. Latrell Sprewell (1998-2003)
Sprewell needed to recuperate his image when he joined the Knicks after serving a 68-game ban for choking his coach PJ Carlesimo in 1997, And he did just that as a Knick, playing admirably over his year stint with the team. Sprewell averaged over 17 points per game, made the All Star team in 2001 and lead the team in scoring in the 1999 NBA Finals.
7. Allan Houston (1996-2005)
Currently a special adviser to the Knicks franchise and General Manager of the Knick’s G league team, Allan Houston had an excellent 9-year run in New York as a player. Houston made two all stars team as a Knick and lead the Knicks in scoring from 2000-2003.
6. Carmelo Anthony (2010-2017)
One of the preeminent scorers of his generation, Carmelo Anthony never elevated the Knicks into legitimate contention. During his 6 full seasons with the team, the Knicks compiled a record of just 207-269 (43%) and won only one playoff series.
5. Earl Monroe (1971-1980)
Two-time champion, Earl Monroe is one of the greatest examples of a player sacrificing individual glory for team success. Although the main ball-handler for the majority of his career, Monroe played off guard to accommodate another Knicks great, Walt Frazier. Despite playing a smaller role, Monroe earned two All-Star nods with the Knicks.
4. Bernard King (1982-1987)
Perhaps if Carmelo had a career limited by injuries, he would be held with the great esteem of a George Gervin or Bernard King. King’s name pops up in scoring records throughout the NBA and is one of the biggest what-if stories in league history. He made the All-Star team twice with the Knicks.
3. Patrick Ewing (1985-2000)
At least once a year, every year, ESPN analyst and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy makes the following point: “Just because Patrick Ewing didn’t win a championship, doesn’t mean he’s not a champion.” I appreciate the sentiment. Regardless of whether its fair or not, Ewing will always be known as one of the greatest players never to win it all. In his time in NY, Ewing carried the Knicks to the Finals in 1994 and made the All Star a record 11 times. In the end, Ewing never won a championship because he played in the same era as 2 top 5 players of all time: Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan.
2. Walt Frazier (1967-1977)
Often forgot about the famous Willis Reed game is how well Walt Frazier played. While Reed supplied a spiritual boost to that underdog New York team, Frazier played one of the greatest game 7’s in league history, putting up 36 points and 16 assists. Frazier made the All Star Team 7-times in New York and deservedly won 2 championships.
1. Willis Reed (1964-1974)
The Captain, Willis Reed will forever be remembered for braving his way back onto the court for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, despite a severely compromised leg. Reed could barely play in the game and only scored 4 points – but there wasn’t a man in New York who didn’t thank him principally for bringing the Knicks their first ever league championship. Reed represented the Knicks 7-times in the All Star Game and won Finals MVP twice.
Win Total for 2019-2020 Knicks Set At 26.5
Will any of these young Knickerbockers ever challenge for a place on this All-Time list? RJ Barrett and Julius Randle are the best candidates to do so. Both, however, seem years away from making their first All Star team. In fact, it might not even be prudent for the Knicks to try and contend at the moment. Better to yet RJ Barett develop and learn from his mistakes than to try to shoe him into a limited system just to win an extra game or two and devalue your place in the lottery.
My FanDuel Best Bet is for the Knicks to Under 26.5 Wins. The Knicks have gone Under their Win Total in each of the last 6 seasons and failed to add any of their top 5 free agents targets this summer. If neither Phil Jackson, nor a Prime Carmelo Anthony could turn the Knicks fate around – I have hard time seeing who on in this Knicks organization will now.