The New York Knicks finished the 2002 and 2003 seasons poorly and started the 2004 season worse so general manager Scott Layden was fired and replaced by Isiah Thomas. Thomas cleaned house by firing Coach Don Chaney and hiring Lenny Wilkens to lead the team. Wilkens is one of the top coaches of all-time (almost 2,500 games coached, more than 1,300 games won, and 178 games coached in the postseason) and Thomas felt that the team would play well for a coach with his credentials. The team finished with a 39-43 record, good enough to make the playoffs as a #7 seed. They played the New Jersey Nets in the first round and were swept in four close games but should bounce back this season.
Last season’s team was led by point guard Stephon Marbury who was acquired mid-season from the Phoenix Suns. Marbury played 47 games for the team and averaged almost 20 points and 10 assists a game while playing for the Knicks. Allen Houston averaged 18.5 ppg in 50 games for the team before suffering injuries near the end of the season. The team made one of the bigger moves in the off-season by trading for Chicago Bulls star Jamal Crawford. The team also resigned Vin Baker, an ex-all-star who has had trouble with alcohol in recent seasons. In the draft, the team took small forward Trevor Ariza from UCLA with the 43 rd overall pick.
Next year, the Knicks will play in the Atlantic division along with the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, and Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks will have one of the deepest teams in the league with a probable starting lineup of Marbury and Allen Houston at the shooting guard with Tim Thomas at the small forward position alongside Kurt Thomas (no relation) and Nazr Mohammad in the frontcourt. Crawford and Penny Hardaway will help the team off the bench.
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