New York Knicks: The All-Decade Team (2000-2010)


Oh what a decade it was; the first decade of the new millennia! It started off so promising but took a turn for the worse quickly.

The New York Knicks were fresh off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance to end the ’90’s and were returning the core of their team. However, after the Knicks went 48-34 in 2000-01, they never won more than 39 games for the rest of the decade. They even managed to fall short of 30 wins three times!

Anyway, enough history and more focus on the players. The Knicks had some talent come through the franchise in those dark times, but no one good enough to right the sinking ship. Here is a list of the top player at each position for the New York Knicks from 2000-2010. I will also name a sixth man as well because there is one Knick that deserves to be recognized more than any other player.

**Note: This is before the summer of 2010, hence you won’t see any of the players from the current team.

Point Guard: Stephon Marbury

Hang on Knick fans; don’t click away just yet. Love him or hate him, he was the Knicks’ best point guard from 2000-10 (even probably to date). “Starbury” was supposed to be the savior of the franchise. Isiah Thomas was the general manager for about a week before landing the Knicks first superstar player in years.

It was a glorious beginning; Marbury averaged 19.8 points, 9.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game when he came over from Phoenix. He lead the Knicks to the playoffs where Tim Thomas famously said, “we want the Nets!” Clearly that didn’t work out.

The following year Marbury truly excelled (21.7 ppg, 8.1 apg, and 1.5 spg), but the team was terrible. Did it have to do with Marbury? Most fans like to think so. However, he had a win share of 11.7, which accounted for more than a third of the Knicks total wins. While people liked to point the finger, they have been pointing it at the wrong guy.

The rest is history. Larry Brown came in and produced one of the most horrifying seasons in NBA history. Marbury became the anti-christ. Isiah executed one of the worst trades in Knick history, fired Brown, and took over as coach. He also matched Brown’s hideousness of a season and managed to exile Marbury from the team.

While Marbury wasn’t the most likable player, he was extremely talented, and no Knick point guard has averaged 18.2 ppg, 7.0 apg, and 1.2 spg in their career with the Knicks in a long time.

Shooting Guard: Allan Houston

One of the most popular Knicks, Houston was an incredible shooter who could also dunk in traffic (before knee problems). In the time period being observed, Houston averaged 18.7, 20.4, 22.5, 18.5, and 11.9 (early ending due to surgery). That is some prolific scoring. That is also back when the league still played defense.

While his story wasn’t nearly as exciting as Marbury’s, but he did leave his mark on the franchise with a crippling six year $100 million extension signed back in 2001. The Knicks got their money’s worth the first two seasons, but after that Houston played only 70 games the next two seasons before retiring due to injury. However, he was still receiving his almost $20 million a year after retirement, and yes it counted against the salary cap.

Houston left his mark on the NBA with “The Allan Houston Rule.” This is virtually the amnesty clause where a team can release a player and not count his salary against the luxury tax. However, the team still needs to pay his salary, even if he signs with another team. Oh well, Houston was a great Knick.

Small Forward: Latrell Sprewell

My personal favorite player growing up, Sprewell was one the most entertaining Knicks ever. His tenacity was unmatched and he simply tried harder than everyone else. He was an elite defender and could jump through the roof. He became an excellent shooter as he matured and was a budding star on the Knicks’ NBA Finals appearance.

Sprewell was a bit of a hot head however. He once choked out his coach in Golden State, P.J. Carlesimo, and shortly after found himself on his way to New York. Sprewell was electrifying. He excelled on both ends of the court for the Knicks, averaging 17.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, and 1.3 spg over five seasons in New York.

A key piece in the Knicks NBA Finals run, Sprewell became the face of the franchise (along with Houston) when the Knicks dealt Patrick Ewing for a pile of garbage. James Dolan ultimately traded Sprewell out of spite, and the Knicks entered the forever downward spiral.

Here’s a game where Spree scored 49 in 2002 (plus some bonus Walt Frazier commentary!).

Power Forward: David Lee

When the Knicks drafted David Lee as the 30th pick in the 2005 draft, not many people were too excited. That quickly changed when they saw how hard Lee worked, even while playing for a dreadful basketball team.

Lee was a double-double machine. While he didn’t get much run as a rookie (16.9 minutes per game), he really stepped up in his sophomore season where he averaged 10.7 points on 60% shooting and 10.4 rebounds per game. From that season on, Lee established himself as one of the game’s better young power forwards. With a deceptively soft touch, Lee went on to average 13 ppg and 9.6 rpg in his five season with the Knicks.

Lee became the first New York Knick to make an all star team since Houston and Sprewell did it back in the ’00-’01 season. Unfortunately, his all star season was also his last season in New York as he was the victim of a changing organization. He went out on top however averaging 20.2 ppg and 11.7 rpg. That offseason, Lee was moved to Golden State in a sign-and-trade to make room for Amar’e Stoudemire.

David Lee was an awesome Knick in a really bad era. He deserved to play for a better team. I’m glad to see his success with the Warriors.

Center: Marcus Camby / Kurt Thomas

While the obvious choice is Marcus Camby, he only played one and half seasons in the decade we are referring to, but he was so unbelievably good in those 92 games that I had to give him the nod.

Camby was one of the best defensive players of his era and could be an absolute menace in the paint. In ’00-’01, the UMASS alum averaged 12 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and a steal per game. The next season, Camby was limited to only 29 games, but he still averaged 11.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. He was then traded to the Denver Nuggets in one of the worst Knick trades ever where he continued to dominate.

This gives you an idea of just how bad the Knicks were at the center position during this era. The runner up at center, based purely off actually playing more than 92 games, goes to Kurt Thomas.

Through the dark ages, the Knicks had a great leader and a very tough defender and rebounder in Thomas. To go along with that tough D and random obsession with drawing charges, Thomas made a name for himself as a great pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop player. With an outstanding mid range game and good hard nosed defense, that put him leaps and bounds above every other Knick center of the dark ages.

Again, Marcus Camby was a much better player, but were going to acknowledge that Thomas was actually around for 7 seasons with the Knicks during this time period. Still at age 40 he found a way to contribute to the Knicks during their re-emergence from the dark side. That in itself says how valuable of a player he was to the Knicks his whole career.

Sixth Man: Jamal Crawford

This guy deserves more love than everybody else on this list. Crawford was hands down one of the most talented players ever to put on a New York uniform.

As one of the best acquisitions in Knick history, Crawford dominated from day one. In five seasons with the Knicks, Crawford averaged 17.6 points, 4.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. The Michigan alum had the misfortune of playing for multiple 23 win seasons, and he was clearly not the problem.

There are few players that can get as hot as Crawford could during a game. He could go off at any second, and with his signature crossover, he could beat virtually anyone off the dribble. Crawford deserved better; he endured some terrible teams without ever complaining. I was sad to see him go in ’08-’09 as he sometimes was the entire Knick offense.

Crawford is still one of the best pure scorers in the league, averaging 18.6 points per game last year at 34 years old. If there was one thing this guy could do, it was fill it up (oh and this).

In tribute to Crawford, we have a video of his ankle-breaking crossover. Enjoy.

Feel to comment if you think I missed a nominee or whether or not you agree with the selections.