4. Best head coaches in Knicks history: Pat Riley
Pat Riley’s time in New York was short, but the persona and success he created while coaching Ewing in his prime during the mid-nineties remains an integral part of Knicks history.
After coaching the Showtime Lakers, Riley took an entirely different approach with the Knicks, who had a roster full of players who were better at knocking down opponents than making pretty passes. The Knicks took on the personality of New York street basketball. And they were incredibly successful while doing it.
Under Riley, New York won 60 games for the first time since their initial championship season in 1969-70. The Knicks have won at least 57 games five times, and three of those occasions came with Riley along the sideline.
Of course, the team never won that elusive championship with Ewing and Riley, but they came darn close in a 1994 NBA Finals series with the Rockets that they could have easily won had the basketball bounced a different way, here and there.
Riley’s time with the Knicks ended bitterly with a faxed resignation. But his four years on the job match up with anybody’s.