Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury were two of six Knicks to score in double figures as New York edged feisty Minnesota 97-93 in their home opener at Madison Square Garden.
I almost laughed out loud when I read that. Setting aside Marbury (for the moment), praising Crawford for Sunday night's performance is comical. Yes, Crawford is a terrific offensive player (he scored 24 points against the Timberwolves, including 10 in the fourth quarter), but defensively he is a human turnstile. Rashad McCants and the offensively challenged Greg Buckner each took turns abusing Crawford in scoring 13 points apiece.
And the "feisty" Timberwolves? One league executive actually used Minnesota as a verb recently when he said more and more teams were going to "Minnesota" themselves, which I took to mean as rebooting the entire thing by throwing a bunch of young kids on the floor and seeing what happens. Translation: We're not expecting too many wins this season.
But the Knicks, at least internally, are expecting a lot, and I just don't see how that's going to happen. Here are three things that should happen to the Knicks before Christmas.
Fire Isiah Thomas
It's over. Done. Finished. Thomas is not the coach for this team. Nor is he the president. Thomas would be a great fit as the Knicks' director of college scouting, but I don't think he would agree to that type of demotion.
I know Knicks owner James Dolan has developed a bit of a man-crush on Thomas and the Knicks did reward Isiah with an extension last March, but it's time to cut the cord. Bring in former Knick Kiki Vandeweghe -- sources say the ex-Nuggets GM would want the job -- to run the team and let him hire an experienced coach (Paul Silas comes to mind).
Buy out Marbury and Jerome James
Watching the Knicks play last season, I couldn't help but think that they would be better off letting Mardy Collins run the offense instead of Marbury. Collins is neither a pure point guard nor much of a scorer, but he is a heady player who won't turn the ball over and is capable of maintaining control of the offense. And the Knicks certainly don't need another scorer.
Marbury is owed the balance of his $19 million this season and another $20.8 million next season, but it's time to go. Point guards are supposed to be leaders and it is clear that in the Knicks' locker room, Marbury's allies are few and far between. Cut him loose.
As for James, well, it's time the Knicks stop sponsoring his vacation. A salary of $5.8 million this season? Even if James won't take a buyout, waive him, eat his salary and move on.
Commit to Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, David Lee, Nate Robinson, Renaldo Balkman, Collins and Wilson Chandler
In some ways, the Knicks already have. Curry is the cornerstone of the franchise, and Thomas has refused to include Lee in any trade discussions. But until the Knicks' rotation stops including Jared Jeffries, Crawford, Quentin Richardson and Marbury, the development of the rest of the roster will be stunted.