Let me start this off by stating the obvious “Isiah Thomas tenure as a gm of the New York Knicks was not very successful and he made his share of mistakes”
Lazy Zeke detractors are quick to use the Jerome James signing or the Eddy Curry trade as evidence of his ineptitude but if you were to look deeper you would see there was a method to Zeke’s madness. Lets take a deeper look at Zeke’s signings and the careers they have or had in the NBA
Drafted in the second round (43) after only one season at UCLA Trevor wasn’t on many GM’s radar. Zeke took a chance on this 19-year-old and after starting on the bench he became the second youngest Knick in history to play 80 games. Unfortunately he had to deal with Larry Brown who is notorious for being hard on young players. At some time during the 2005-06 season, with the Knicks in the midst of a six game winning streak Larry Brown chose to make one his more notable remarks, reffering to Trevor Ariza as “delusional” for expecting more minutes. Obviously in an effort to appease his legendary coach Zeke traded Ariza soon after.
Ariza would struggle in Orlando before finding a home in LA with the Lakers. He earned the nickname “Cobra”, in reference to a comment by Phil Jackson about his quickness and ability to strike on defense. The Lakers went on to win their 15th NBA title in 2009. Ariza averaged a career-high 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds and shot 50% from three-point range in the playoffs.
That summer Daryl “The Genius” Morey signed Trevor to a 33 million dollar contract for 5 years only to trade him the next season.
Ariza appreciates Thomas for drafting him and is indebted to the former Knicks president for trading him in 2006, not long after Brown called him delusional three times in one interview.
ZEKE WAS RIGHT
The end of the first round is always a crap shoot so at number 30 nobody expected the Knicks to draft a player that could contribute anything more than spot minutes off the bench. Zeke drafted David Lee at number 30 after selecting Channing Frye another senior earlier in the draft. Lee also had his share if issues with Larry Brown but he has gone on to become a NBA all-star and was given a 6 year 80 million dollar contract this past summer.
Its gotten so bad that Zeke haters are now saying Zeke had nothing to do with drafting David Lee. They say it was one of Zeke’s scouts that had to persuade him to draft Lee. Not only is this argument incredibly foolish and a reach that only this guy could relate to it also makes no sense. As if all general managers don’t hire scouts to research players and report back to them. If Zeke hired him and the guy liked Lee then guess what Zeke is responsible. If you’re gonna give him credit for the bad picks (which are rare) then how can you take away one of the good picks?
6 years 80 million THANK YOU ZEKE
Ahh the name Eddy Curry alone draws scorn and hatred from the majority of Knicks fans. Drafted by the Bulls straight out of H.S. Eddy along with Tyson Chandler was expected to lead the resurgence of the Chicago Bulls after the glory years of Jordan and Pippen. Eddy led the team in scoring in 2004-2005 before being hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat. Scared for Curry’s health the Bulls quickly sought to trade him and Zeke pounced on the chance. The Bulls traded Eddy Curry and Antonio Davis in exchange for Mike Sweetney, Jermaine Jackson, a conditional first-round draft choice in the 2006 NBA Draft, two future second-round draft selections and the opportunity to exchange a future draft choice. So in essence Zeke gave up one first round draft pick and the opportunity to exchange a future draft pick. Does this sound familiar to anybody else other than me? Did Donnie Walsh trade a future draft pick and the right to exchange another for a chance at Lebron James that ultimately failed? Zeke didn’t give up the pick expecting the knicks to be bad enough to be in the lottery nor did Donnie I assume when he made the deal for TMac (another zeke draft pick)
Eddy averaged 19 and 7 for the Knicks under coach Zeke including a career high 43 against the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2006-2007 season. Now we all can play the hindsight game but did Zeke know Eddy would become a lazy bum after that season? Did he anticipate the money issues and multitude of off the court problems Eddy would have? Eddy shares an agent with Lebron James and there has been rumors that he would be signed by the Heat if cut by Donnie Walsh and the Knicks. Is it possible that Curry’s career is over? YES. Is it also possible that Eddy goes on to be a key playoff contributor ala Nate Robinson,Trevor Ariza and Jamal Crawford? YES
Channing Frye– 5-year $30 million extension with the Suns.
Jamal Crawford– 6th man of the year award winner
Zach Randolph– Zeke cleans up the ariza mistake and acquires Zach for Frye and Francis.
Nate Robinson– one of the most exciting players in the NBA and a key contributor to the Celtics in their playoff run last year.
Matt Barnes, Ime Udoka- Solid NBA contributors
Zeke even gave Kareem Abdul Jabaar a job with the Knicks
In closing Zeke is a true genius and one of the great minds of our time. He should be recognized for his eye for talent and not scrutinized for making mistakes that all GM’s make yet maintain jobs. (Bird,Morey) I know some of you hate him and think he is the cause of the national debt and drafted Bin Laden in the terrorist draft of 86 but if your level headed and actually take the time to compare him to other GM’s it’s not that bad.