In the history of this woebegone franchise, it goes down as one of the most unfortunate moments.
Every year it feels worse.
The year was 2009, and the Knicks, with Donnie Walsh as the GM, had targeted Steph Curry with their eighth overall pick.
Curry, however, went seventh to the Warriors, beginning a dynasty of outrageous greatness. The Knicks settled for Jordan Hill, a disappointment who is now out of the league.
It’s fair to surmise that Mike D’Antoni’s coaching tenure with the Knicks – which spanned from 2008-12 – would’ve been drastically different had they drafted Curry. But D’Antoni said that’s not something he thinks about.
“No, I would have probably screwed that up, too,” D’Antoni said. “That’s life.”
After leaving the Knicks, D’Antoni had a disappointing stint with the Lakers but then found a very comfortable home coaching the Rockets. The 67-year-old has them playing a fast-paced style he couldn’t accomplish in New York, mostly because Carmelo Anthony was reluctant to buy in and he never had a great point guard.
‘Linsanity’ gave fans a glimpse of the possibilities, but Jeremy Lin is not on the level of the Hall of Fame point guards D’Antoni had in Phoenix (Steve Nash) and Houston (Chris Paul and James Harden).
In New York, D’Antoni’s point guards were Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson, (older) Chauncey Billups and Raymond Felton.
“It’s not like any of us said, ‘Don’t get me one, or (Walsh) didn’t say, ‘I’m not getting you one,’” D’Antoni said. “We tried everything possible to do it. It just didn’t work out.”
Despite an abundance of losing and controversies while in New York, D’Antoni said he’d recommend the gig to any inquiring candidate.
“I enjoyed it. We didn’t win. The city’s great. The fans are unbelievable. The arena, everything is great,” he said. “Yeah, it’s a tough place, but everyplace is tough. You got to have the personnel. You got to get lucky. We didn’t get lucky on a couple things early, going after guys, or not drafting maybe one spot before we didn’t draft a guy we liked. Things could have turned out different. They didn’t and so be it.”