(Note: Another title for my hip-hop heads, based on ESPN's John Anderson calling the Knicks, "The Quest." For more, go here. Shout out to Q-Tip, Phife, and Ali Shaheed. To the post...)
The playoffs are set to begin this weekend; so that means my Knicks' season is over. I had refrained on writing at length about them all year, but I feel I must do at the end. If you've been reading for awhile, you know this won't be one of those typical season wrap-up posts; with topics like, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." Also, I won't do the typical Knicks fan-type thing and just find creative ways to say, "Wait 'til 2010!" in 500+ words. But, I may say something about this season that may shock you. It has nothing to do with Chris Duhon's success in the SSOL system; or how I'm begging they keep Al Harrington. It's that Mike D'Antoni is a genius, and it extends beyond the fastbreak offense.
More than bringing a bit of credibility to a once-proud franchise, he brought hope. Yes, hope. Whenever a new coach (I'm looking at you, Terry Porter), gets hired, the fanbase is all over him if the team doesn't produce immediate results. Yet, you don't hear too many Knicks fans detracting the Knicks team. Maybe that has a lot to do with where the team was; but this year's bunch is so much more aesthetically pleasing. They're not the 05-06 Suns, but they picked up their choreography by looking through the window. If anything, he proved that SSOL can work with pretty much anyone, as long as there are "point guards" that can get to the basket, about seven people that shoot threes, and David Lee. Like my man "Money" Mike Benjamin would say, SSOL is, "so easy a Blue Devil can do it."
But let's jump back to that "hope" aspect. Few people talk about just how horrific an experience it was to watch the Knicks of the previous three seasons. You won't find too many people talking about the past, word to Mark McGwire. Instead, you get those 16 or 17 thousand people that look to the Free Agent Spec-tac-u-lar next offseason, knowing that the D'Antoni/Walsh tandem will bring forth riches, notably a chalk-clapping titan. D'Antoni's ragtag Knicks have even made folks forget about Danilo, who most had given up for as a lost cause the day he was drafted. They figured he wasn't built for MSG, and the Big Apple would take a bite out of him. Can he play? I guess. But the consensus is that selecting Gallinari was a favor Mike D did for "El Gallo's" dad.
So, what Mike D did at MSG was a mini-miracle. He made New York fans forget about "Coney Island's Finest" and be able to make jokes about Zeke instead of taking the brunt of them. He also made these hardcore fans okay with waiting through rough times and actually wait for long-term results. Kudos, to you, sir. Kudos. Can't wait 'til 2010.