The New York Knicks, one of the NBA’s most storied franchises, has fallen upon hard times of late. Poor personnel moves, unfulfilled draft picks and in-house controversy have turned this once-proud franchise into a perpetual cellar-dweller. The Knicks have not made the playoffs in four seasons and haven’t posted a .500 record in seven years.
The Knicks play their home games at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Their head coach is former Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni.
The New York Knicks are one of the NBA’s original franchises, established in 1946. They quickly established themselves as one of the NBA’s best teams, making the NBA Finals (albeit losing) three straight seasons.
The late 1950s and early 1960s were not as kind to the Knicks. From 1957 to 1966, the team only made the playoffs once. They finished dead last in the Eastern Division from 1960 to 1966.
The Knicks began to rebuild through the draft, beginning with Willis Reed in 1964 and Bill Bradley in 1965.
The Knicks slowly but surely put together a top-flight squad, led by Reed, Bradley and Walt “Clyde” Frazier. In the 1969-70 season, the Knicks posted 60 wins and blew through the playoffs, beating the Baltimore Bullets and the Milwaukee Bucks before defeating the Lakers for the championship.
In 1972, the Knicks made it to the Finals again. Newly-added Earl “The Pearl” Monroe led the team past the Bullets and the Boston Celtics to face the Lakers again. This time the story had a different ending, with the Lakers beating the Knicks four games to one.
The following year, after a 57-25 regular season, the Knicks made the Finals yet again. This time, they exacted revenge against the Lakers, beating them in five games.
The following season was another successful one for the Knickerbockers, but they fell to the Celtics in the conference Finals. Willis Reed retired after that season.
Years later, the Knicks would return to the Finals twice, but would lose both times. Bolstered by 1985 draftee Patrick Ewing and shooting guard John Starks, the Knicks posted 57 wins in 1993-94 and advanced to the Finals, where they lost a hotly-contested series to the Houston Rockets, four games to three.
In the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, the Knicks made the Finals again, only to be beaten by the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
Under head coach (and general manager) Isiah Thomas, the Knicks posted only 23 wins, tying a franchise low. Thomas had become exceedingly unpopular in New York because of dubious personnel moves, multiple losing seasons and a sexual harassment suit filed by a former Knicks employee. In April 2008, the Knicks signed Donnie Walsh to take over Thomas’ GM duties. Walsh immediately fired Thomas as head coach, hiring former Phoenix Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni.
The Knicks selected Italian forward Danilo Gallinari with the 6th pick in the NBA Draft. They also signed former Bulls guard Chris Duhon. Despite swirling rumors of a contract buyout, the Knicks have held on to point guard Stephon Marbury to this point. D’Antoni will have a hard time putting these pieces together, but in the East, the Knicks have a chance to make the playoffs.
Walt Bellamy, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Bernard King, Jerry Lucas, Earl Monroe, Willis Reed
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