The New York Knicks featured accomplished centers over their decades of existence. Who fills out a top five?
The New York Knicks have a legacy of franchise icons, whether they played in the 1970s, the ’80s, ’90s or this millennium. Some of them contributed to a championship, while others starred on teams that excelled in the Eastern Conference.
Among these players, have been centers, who dominated separate eras of Knicks basketball. One of them arguably stands as the top player in franchise history.
Through the decades, who became the greatest centers in New York? Who fills out a top five from the different incarnations of the hardwood?
5. Bill Cartwright
Bill Cartwright played a prominent part on three championship teams with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Chicago Bulls, but his best statistical years were with the New York Knicks from 1979-88.
Cartwright broke out upon arrival, with an NBA All-Star game appearance in his rookie season and 21.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. It was arguably his best year as a pro, but that did not take away from the rest of his Knicks run.
Most season in New York City saw Cartwright sustain success, aside from a foot injury that took away his entire 1984-85 season and just two appearances in 1985-86. He actually played in just 60 games across a three-year stretch.
Cartwright’s role started to wane with Patrick Ewing’s arrival, so the writing was on the wall when the Knicks traded him for Charles Oakley, a ’90s stalwart at power forward for head coach Pat Riley’s squad.
Cartwright played before the Knicks’ golden run in the 1990s, but he managed to provide a quality presence at center and initially lived up to top-10 pick standards, despite falling after Magic Johnson in the 1979 NBA Draft.