It's All In The Game: Knicks' New Coach? Can Walsh Rebuild?

Ask and you shall receive. For four years, Knicks fans

asked, chanted, pleaded and even begged for someone with some sense to fire

incompetent Knicks coach/president Isiah Thomas.

On Friday, Knicks fans finally got their wish as Isiah was

removed as head coach – although he will still be on staff as a consultant.

New Knicks’ president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh

wasted no time making changes to an inempt Knicks team that finished 23-59, which

tied the franchise record for fewest wins in a season.

By firing Isiah, Walsh assured fans that he is serious about

changing the losing culture of the team by dismissing the man who created it. While

he certainly has his work cut out for him with the upcoming draft and deciding

the fate of the players on his roster, his first order of business is finding a

new coach.

Here is the list of some of the names that have been

surfacing in the papers.

Herb Williams

Pros: Herb has been

an assistant for the Knicks for the past six seasons and has served as the

interim head coach twice. He has a good repore with Walsh – Williams played for

the Indiana Pacers when Walsh was the GM there.

Williams is a smart guy and has a good feel for the game. He

is also very calm and composed on the sidelines.

Cons: Knicks’ fans

need some confidence in their new coach, and does hiring an assistant from a

coaching staff that ultimately failed assure them that confidence? Can Herb get

the best out of Eddy or Stephon?

Plus Herb only went 16-27 when he replaced Lenny Wilkins

midway through the 2004-05 season.

Jeff Van Gundy

Pros: Jeff Van Gundy

has one of the best basketball minds in the planet. He is a demanding coach and

that is something that is desperately needed with this unmotivated roster. Jeff

also had a lot of success in the big apple. He coached the Knicks to six

straight playoffs and led them to the 1999 NBA Finals.

Cons: It is no secret

Jeff left the Knicks on bad terms when he resigned in 2001. Plus, it looks like

he is having the time of his life doing color commentary for TV.

Mark Jackson

Pros: Brooklyn native, St.

Johns product and a once-popular member of the New

York Knicks. 'Nuff said. Jackson

is one of the smartest players of all time and has the second highest career

assist total in league history.

A natural leader on the court, he had respect of all his

teammates and coaches. Outstanding guy in the community as well.

Cons: While Mark Jackson is the favorite by fans, media and

everyone else, you have to remember that he is 0-0 as a coach. Is he ready to

step into a situation like this? Would you let someone who has not taken

drivers ed borrow your car? Okay, bad analogy, but you get the point.

Patrick Ewing

Pros: When you think

of the New York Knicks, what is the first positive image you see? If you have

some sense to you, you better be thinking of big number 33, Patrick Ewing. The

heart and soul of the nicks for nearly 15 years, Ewing was a warrior on the

floor and had a big heart. He's got blue and orange in his blood and is loyal

to the franchise.

He also spent several years as an assistant for Houston, and now

Orlando. Patrick has been a mentor for guys like Dwight Howard and Yao Ming,

maybe he can put a pulse in one of the Knicks' current unmotivated big man. Not

to name names...cough...Eddy Curry...cough.

Cons: Ewing is a

diligent worker and a good leader, but he seems to be a bit too nice. I think the

Knicks right now need someone who is going to be on these guys' behinds and

will command respect from day one of training camp. Ewing will definitely be a

head coach in the league someday, but in this case, he is better off being

brought in as a lead assistant first.

Final Verdict

Mark Jackson is a man that has the potential to get the most

out of his players. He was a selfless player that everyone around him loved

(contrary to the last coach) and I can see him taking the Knicks back to

respectability. Plus he’s got New

York in his blood and nobody wants to see the Knicks

succeed more than he does.

I say give him the keys to the car.