SI Vault
Chris Ballard
October 28, 2002
With the addition of Antonio McDyess, the season looked shaky at best; with his loss, it looms as a disaster
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October 28, 2002

14 New York Knicks

With the addition of Antonio McDyess, the season looked shaky at best; with his loss, it looms as a disaster

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2001-02 record: 30-52 (seventh in Atlantic)
Points scorcd: 91-6 (24th)
Points allowed: 95.6 (14th)
Coach: Don Chaney (second season with Knicks)



2001-02 KEY STATS


Latrell Sprewell


19.4 ppg

3.7 rpg

3.9 apg

1.16 spg

40.4 FG%


Clarence Weatherspoon


8.8 ppg

8.2 rpg

0.86 bpg

0.66 spg

41.8 FG%


Kurt Thomas


13.9 ppg

9.1 rpg

1.1 apg

0.96 bpg

49.4 FG%


Allan Houston


20.4 ppg

3.3 rpg

2.5 apg

43.7 FG%

39.3 3FG%


Charlie Ward


5.2 ppg

3.2 apg

1.08 spg

37.3 FG%

32.3 3FG%



2001-02 KEY STATS


Shandon Anderson


5.0 ppg

3.0 rpg

0.9 apg

39.9 FG%

27.7 3FG%


Howard Eisley


4.4 ppg

1.3 rpg

2.6 apg

0.62 spg

33.7 FG%


Othella Harrington


7.7 ppg

4.5 rpg

0.47 bpg

0.39 spg

52.7 FG%


Frank Williams (R)#


16.2 ppg

4.7 rpg

4.4 apg

39.3 FG%

34.0 3FG%


Michael Doleac#


4.6 ppg

4.0 rpg

0.6 apg

0.26 bpg

41.7 FG%

#New acquisition
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college season)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 92)

They stood about 40 feet apart on that first day of training camp, a study in contrasts. On one end of the floor, a towel draped around his neck and a smile creasing his face, the future of the Knicks franchise, Antonio McDyess, talked about his new life in New York, where he hoped to become a team leader and average 20 points and 10 rebounds.

A long outlet pass away, near half-court, Knicks G.M. Scott Layden stood with his arms folded like a bouncer, his visage a grim picture of disappointment. As a pack of New York writers circled around him, he repeatedly said that he had no comment about his All-Star small forward, Latrell Sprewell, who had arrived at camp that morning with a broken right hand.

In the figurative and literal middle ground between this good news-bad news combo stood coach Don Chaney, who was engaged in some serious cognitive dissonance. After praising the acquisition of McDyess and calling him "my dream player," Chaney attempted to rationalize the loss of Sprewell. "I've been in discouraging situations before," he said. "I've learned to master seeing the positive side."

A month later Chaney must be needing something akin to the Hubble Telescope to keep those positives in sight. The Spree situation has gone from discouraging to disastrous; after fining him $250,000 and banishing him from the team—a punishment that Sprewell has appealed—New York on Monday suspended him for failing to rehab his injury, which will cost him $140,000 more. What's more, on Oct. 12, McDyess fractured his left kneecap while following up a missed shot in a preseason game. In one crumpled landing, the Knicks saw their lone bright spot to date ( McDyess was averaging 17.7 points and 13-0 rebounds in preseason) reduced to a frustrated spectator expected to miss all of the season.

The loss of McDyess is compounded by the fact that the team bet the house to acquire him. In dire need of a center and a point guard, New York sent guard Mark Jackson, forward Marcus Camby and the No. 7 pick (Nene Hilaro of Brazil) to the Nuggets for McDyess.

What's left now? An array of mismatched castoffs that Jeff Van Gundy might have been able to goad into respectability, but not a squad that can handle the offensive-minded, run-run-run style Chaney was hoping to institute.

With no offense and a suspect defense, is there a chance the Knicks can avoid the lottery? A betting man would have to answer: No Dice.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]