(Long Island, NY) The Knicks have been looking for that big man in the middle since Patrick Ewing left. Eddy Curry was acquired to fill that hole. He has been too inconsistent for the first half of this season to be considered that player. The question is if he will ever become that type of player.
Dominating centers are hard to come by in this day and age. The Shaqs and Duncans of the world are very rare. You have to take a chance sometimes on a young frontcourt player. The Chicago Bulls may have already done that and got away with a mistake. The Knicks were happy to take him off their hands with a possible serious medical condition and then sign him to a long term extension. And by the way, also giving up their own young player.
Michael Sweetney was not a center but did have some size and played hard. Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas did sink a lot of faith and money into Curry, who had not proven a heck of a lot in his Bulls tenure. His conditioning has always been suspect before the heart condition was an issue. He arrived at Knicks camp out of shape and declared that he would work himself back. When do we call him out on that?
At times he has looked like a true force in the paint on the offensive side. But his defense has not been up to par. He has a very good shooting percentage but does not take enough shots. Part of the problem is that he can’t stay on the floor due to early foul trouble. He also has to learn the game in regards to assists. Centers are not held to this statistic, but he has a total of 8 in over 1,000 minutes. That’s Yinka Dare territory.
Curry has also missed time due to numerous bumps and bruises. Thankfully the heart ailment has not been a problem. But watching in street clothes because of calf strains, tweaked knees, etc. have been too frequent. This is where conditioning comes in.
The Knicks are committed to Curry for 6 years and 60 big ones. And that may not be the worst of it. They surrendered their first round pick in the upcoming college draft. And it is not protected in any way. They are definitely headed for the lottery. At this pace the chances of a top three pick are pretty good. Imagine they draw the number one pick and Bulls general manager John Paxson is standing there saying “Excuse me, but I believe that belongs to me”. If Isiah is still part of the Knicks organization at that point, he probably won’t be for much longer.
Curry may turn out to be the real deal. He is still young and did not play at the collegiate level to hone his game. But similar things can be said about the Knicks back-up center Jackie Butler. But he’s basically the team’s 11th or 12th man and is not a salary cap issue. One more thing about Butler. He has the same number of assists as Curry in approximately 1/5 the minutes. See where I’m coming from?