6: Bobby Portis
Bobby Portis belongs here, if not only because he went on to be such a valuable piece to the championship Milwaukee Bucks. Everyone loved Bobby! Over 66 games, he dropped 10 points per game and five rebounds per game in an average of 21 minutes.
As they used to say in Chicago: “Free Bobby!” He was always a beast but was only unleashed the very next season in Washington after leaving the Bulls.
7: Lance Thomas
A Duke Blue Devil stater, Lance Thomas gave the Knicks five good seasons. He didn’t blow you away on the stat sheet, but his hustle and serviceable three-point shooting made him an easy player to plug into rotations. He showed up every night, which is invaluable. His Knick tenure lasted straight through the Porzingis era, and for a while, he was the hustle and heart of the Garden.
8: Obi Toppin
Obi Toppin will be remembered as the biggest smiling, most athletic Knick with that team-first winning attitude. It was a bummer to lose him. He had a 42-piece McNugget game at the end of the 2021-22 season and dropped an impressive 34 points (including five three-pointers) and five assists toward the end of the 2023-24 campaign.
His high-flying threat might come back to bite New York if he becomes the starter fans think he will in Indiana.
It’s been a lot of hurting and many stars who didn’t quite deliver. It makes all the sense that a guy like Jalen Brunson would be the greatest hope of the last 30 years — understated, overdelivering— the superstar role player.