Monday, April 14, 2008

Isiah's Scorched Draft Policy

How Isiah Thomas Wants To Hurt This Team Even After He's Gone


It is a military tactic in use since before the reign of Pontius Pilate. The Scythians used it before their territory was overrun by the Persians. The Armenians used it before their lands were taken by the Greeks. In the American Civil War the troops of the Confederacy were ordered to implement this same action as General Sherman and his Union soldiers marched towards them. (Of course, Sherman was going to do the same when he arrived anyway, but that is neither here nor there.) Throughout all recorded time those who have been certain to lose their lands and possessions in battle have destroyed them rather than abandon them to the uses of the approaching enemy. It is called scorched earth and it is nothing new. It is as old as war itself.

It is another way of saying that if "I can't have it than nobody can." And, it is exactly what Isiah Thomas has been trying to do to the Knicks draft pick ever since Donnie Walsh was hired. With the writing on the wall that his reign over the court at the Garden is over. With the hoof beats of Walsh's horses quaking the ground several floors beneath the hardwood, Isiah has inexplicably started coaching again in what can only be construed as an attempt to squander the one silver-lining in this cloudy season: the team's draft pick. By winning three of their last four games the Knicks have given up the inside track on one of the top three picks. They have potentially forsook that which could redeem this lost season.

The Daily News reported that Thomas even had the audacity to hold the longest practice that the team has had in weeks on Sunday. It was not too long ago that he was barely asking his players to shoot-around before tip-off. And, now he wants them to practice? Why? So that he can get a better look at Randolph Morris? Nope. So that they can squeak out a win over Charlotte? Or a playoff bound Pistons team that is resting its starters?

Actually, yes. That is exactly why. In his own retreat from his soon to be conquered territory Isiah is for-once heeding the lessons of history. He is not ignoring those wiser leaders who came before him. He is listening to them and he is setting fire to the most precious assets that he has so that those who usurp his lands cannot make use of them.

Isiah Thomas is coaching again just to ruin our chance at Derrick Rose. He does not want to help his erstwhile enemies (Donnie Walsh, the players themselves and the fans are included in this number) succeed in the place where he failed so famously. In doing so he is taking away the only good thing that he could have brought forth from the wretched incubator of his tenure on the bench.

He is setting fire to our draft lottery ping pong balls just as those Scythians set fire to their fields and slaughtered all the livestock which they could not carry with them as they fled their conquerors.

Monday's Starting Five

1. The Los Angeles Lakers. After a paper-demolition (Manu didn't play and Kobe and Timmy Duncan sat for large stretches) of the Spurs yesterday, the Lakers find themselves back in the driver's seat in the Bestern Conference. If they beat the Kings they earn the top seed (since New Orleans is a .5 games back thanks to back-to-back losses). Gasol is back and playing well. Odom is playing at as high a level as he has since being a Laker and they seem to be ready for the playoffs.

2. The Seattle Supersonics. Not the organization. Not the soul-less, heartless owners who are ripping the team from the city that loves it. But, the team. The players. And the fans. They came together last night for a phenomenal last-minute win over the playoff bound Dallas Mavericks. It may have been the final time that those fans see their team in home white and, by all accounts, the place was in hysterics. Gary Payton was in the crowd and Durant claims he almost cried the fans were so emotional. The Supersonics rushed back from a six-points down in the waning minutes to best Dirk (who scored 32) and Kidd (who clanged the shot that would have forced overtime with 1 second remaining).

3. Brian Bannister. The former Mets pitcher ran his record to 3-0 after a thorough domination of the Twins yesterday. He tossed a complete-game gem on Sunday and has also pitched exceedingly well against the Yankees and the Tigers. Although both those teams are scuffling a bit (obviously the Tigers far more than the Yankees) this a great start for Bannister. Gosh, it sure would be nice if the Mets were able to slot him in as their fifth starter. Wouldn't it? I know that Ambiorix Burgos is lighting up the gun and all, but Bannister seems like the real deal. Oh, wait. Burgos isn't even pitching. He's still recovering from that elbow surgery that he needed after tossing a whopping 23.2 innings. Oh, yeah.

4. Boston College Hockey Team. After falling short in the last two National Championship games the Eagles overcame the Cinderella team from Notre Dame (the first #4 seed to advance to the Final), 4-1, to win the school's third title. Nathan Gerbe again led the way with two goals and had two assists (one of them a backwards, between the legs bit of wizardry when he was pinned against the boards). And, somehow this guy (also the nation's leading scorer) finished second in the Hobey Baker voting...

5. The Knicks. Not the team. Or the coach. But the organization. For years they've referred to the last home game as "Fan Appreciation Night." For years it has just been another meaningless slogan. There were no giveaways, no discounts. And, no good teams put out on the court by a no-good administration. But, in the first sign that Donnie Walsh is going to change the culture at the Garden, this year's Fan Appreciation night features free food and free non-alcoholic beverages. And, all merchandise is marked down 30%. Even though a free hot dog and pretzel (and a bag of peanuts and anything else I can't get from these folks) doesn't make up for this season it is still a nice gesture from a building that has only featured obscene gestures as of late.