We can debate all day and all of the night what the Knicks crave at this point in their existence, and it’ll be a lively and long deliberation. A team that wins only 37 of its 82 games and finishes a full six games out of the NBA’s 10-team Eastern Conference tournament is in no way only one piece removed from glory.
But, as ever, the building block for this argument settles in the same place.
The Knicks need a point guard.
The Knicks have needed a point guard, in truth, since Charlie Ward’s last effective season, which was 2003. That’s 19 years ago.
The Knicks have had a few fleeting hopes — Stephon Marbury came home but never truly worked out. Raymond Felton was terrific, then traded, then terrific after being reacquired and then ate himself out of New York. Jason Kidd and Derrick Rose provided hints of what they once were, but they arrived a little long in the tooth. And, of course, there was this season’s calamitous partnership with Kemba Walker.
For a franchise that once boasted Dick McGuire, Clyde Frazier, Sugar Ray Richardson, Mark Jackson, Doc Rivers and Derek Harper, it has been an awful long time between reliable drinks of water.
“What the Knicks need, more than anything, is an undisputed leader on the floor, a classic point guard,” Jeff Van Gundy mused not long ago. “That ought to be priority one.”