Ex-Knicks of The Week

SI

Taylor Armosino (@tarmosino): Earlier this week, Knick legend Bernard King was finally elected to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. King won’t be the only former Knick inducted to the hall this year, as ex-coach Rick Pitino and shooting guard Richie Guerin also made the cut. Props to all three, but I’m going to talk about King this week.

Often compared to modern day Knick star Carmelo Anthony, Bernard King was one of the great scorers of his day. Though I’m not old enough to have seen him play, you need just to look at the stats to see how good he was. For his career, King averaged 24.1 points per 36 minutes. His career true shooting percentage was .561, exactly what Anthony’s is this season. The fact that King didn’t shoot threes makes his accomplishments even more impressive. He was scoring efficiently operating in the post and in the mid-range area, the two most inefficient spots on the floor. At the height of King’s scoring prowess, the 1983 and 1984 seasons with the Knicks, he posted player efficiency ratings of 22.7 and 25.2 and true shooting percentages of .619 and .585. He truly was a dominant scorer.

King also had some of the great games in Knick history. During the 1983 season, King scored 50 points in back-to-back games, shooting 20/23 and 20/28 respectively. The next season, he scored 60 in a Christmas day loss to the Nets. Here is some great footage of King from that game:

King’s hall induction has been long overdue. He should’ve been in years ago, but it’s great to see that he’s finally going to get the honor and recognition that he deserves. Though I never saw him play, I know the greatness that was Bernard King. He deserves to be in the hall and now he’s finally going to get the recognition and honor that he should’ve had long ago.

James Griffo (@j_griff): In last week’s Ex-Knick of the week, I talked about Nate Robinson, his 41 point outburst and how fond I was of him in general. There was a newcomer in that 41 point game as well. His second game as a New York Knick. His name…was Larry Hughes. Larry Freakin’ Hughes. I’m not saying that in a positive way shape or form. I’ll refrain from cursing as much as I can, but that’s going to be a very tough task. Here’s a pretty rough Larry Hughes account: Last summer, I went to my local park to play some basketball, like, daily. The park isn’t that far from my house. For me, essentially, the amount of time it takes to get to this park is the amount of time it takes for Bill Cartwright to shoot two free throws. There were a couple of random guys at the park that I probably saw before sitting down waiting to get on the court; and surely enough, they were talking about the Knicks, one of them donning a Stephon Marbury jersey and the other with a Kobe Bryant 24 jersey. The choice of jerseys didn’t really surprise me all that much. I was listening in on them conversing, and they went on to talk about how “good” Larry Hughes was with the Knicks. Right when his name was brought up, I immediately bursted into laughter, a very infuriating kind of laughter. The random guys that I may have seen before looked at me like I was a psycho. I had to jump in on this one. I don’t usually jump in on other people’s conversations (depends what the topic pertains to), but I had to invade this one. “First off, how the hell can you say that?” I said. ”You guys are crazy. If you guys think Larry Hughes was good on the Knicks, then you’re his biggest fans, because no one besides you guys actually liked him. Just stop.” I don’t like to be mean to people, but come on; I think any of you reading this would do the same thing I did (except if you’re a relative or friend of Hughes, I’m sorry). If anyone, and when I say anyone I mean ANYONE, thinks Larry Hughes was actually good with the Knicks, then you must think Lennay Kekua exists. To say that Larry Hughes was good for the Knicks is like saying “come over my house” to someone, and then you end up being elsewhere.

This sounds weird, but there was a time where Hughes was actually decent. Hughes’ best seasons were with the Wizards, while he was playing with a young, pre-arrested-for-gun-possession-with Javaris Crittenton and current China baller, Gilbert Arenas. If you think J.R Smith is erratic, which he is, Larry Hughes surmounts J.R by a million miles. As crappy a shooter Hughes was, he was a very good defender, averaging a league leading 2.9 steals a game in the 2004-05 season, although, Allen Iverson had four more steals than him that season, and played 14 more games than he did, so the sample size is bigger; however, he still was a league leader nonetheless and was declared the steals champion of 2005. As well as being crowned steals champion, Hughes was selected to the All-Defensive First Team the same year. Hughes left the Wizards and signed with the Cavaliers right after his best season of his career in the summer of 2005 and played with Lebron James and the Cavs for his next three seasons.

Hughes came to New York’s way in 2009 when the Chicago Bulls traded him for Tim Thomas (Ex-Knick of the week mention). In what was penned as a “big” trade, according to ESPN, the role that Hughes took over was for guard-that-never-played-for-the-Knicks-and-guard-that-sued-the-Knicks, Cuttino Mobley (oh god, no). Obviously, this did not pan out well at all. It was very hard to comprehend the ghastly shot selection right in front of my eyes on the TV screen and, in real time. Hughes shot 2-7 in the Nate Robinson game and as expected, the crowd unleashed a deluge of boos and “YOU SUCKS!” (it was a lot worse than that). Hughes could have had more points, but he bobbled a couple of easy cuts to the basket. For all I know, he could have missed the easy cutter plays if he didn’t have butterfingers, too. MSG was getting very volatile, not that it wasn’t already volatile that season. The place was going to melt on it’s own. When Hughes finally made a shot, it seemed like everyone was cheering sarcastically and not with pride. That really was the case.

Take a look at Hughes’ 2008-09 and 2009-10 game logs; you can definitely jump to conclusions right away. He couldn’t make anything for the longest time. If he tried to even out his shot attempts with the total points he finished with, he failed miserably. Miraculously, Hughes evened out his shot attempts with the amount of points he finished with a few times. Prior to coming to New York, Hughes was a crappy shooter to begin with. The 2009-10 season was better for him compared to his previous year, but still below mediocre. In 2010, Hughes once avoided the media by staying in the Knicks’ practice facilities’ bathrooms. Also, a disgruntled Hughes was benched and threatened former coach Mike D’Antoni to play him more than his 15 minutes or he was going to demand a trade, even though he was going to be granted free agency that summer. In a previous incident, Hughes critiqued D’Antoni by saying he had poor communication skills, which contradicts his whole personality. OOOOOOOOOOOOOH REALLY SCARY! The same year, in February 2010, Hughes’ wish was granted, and he was traded to the Kings in a three team deal, in which he didn’t play any games with them. In case you don’t remember, that trade also brought Tracy McGrady to New York (AHHHHHHHHHH, BLOOD EVERYWHERE).

Looking back on the agonizing pain that was Larry Hughes, it’s hard to believe he’s still in basketball, well, sort of. Hughes is still a free agent at age 34 and the last time he played was for the Magic last year. I doubt anyone wants to sign him anyways. I don’t want to hear his name ever again after this writing (this sets a segue for saying his name a million times).

Dan Goldstein (@TheDanstein) Even though he’s still kinda-sorta still on the team, I’ve decided to pick Baron Davis as my Ex-Knick of the Week. Taking over as point guard after He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named got injured, Davis was hilarious to watch. He made some cool, flash passes, hit some 3s, and spent the rest of his time get blown by on defense and almost passing out in the 4th quarter of games. Boom Dizzle’s biggest contribution, however, was probably his glorious three-point celebration, seen here. Actually, that’s not true. We can’t forget this series of videos he did during the Olympics. His British accent is superb.

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