November 7, 2010

Isiah Thomas’ NBA Draft Record, re-explored

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , — skeptisys @ 1:27 pm

Sports media loves crazy and confrontational, so Isiah Thomas is back in the news.  The articles and comments about Isiah include 3 accepted ‘truths’:

1. Isiah is crazy mean

2. Isiah is incompetent

3. Isiah has a great NBA draft record

At the moment, I have nothing to challenge or add to the 1st 2, but #3 needs to be scrutinized closely.

Isiah Thomas NBA draft picks (number is actual draft position):

1995 7th Damon Stoudamire, 35th Jimmy King
1996 2nd Marcus Camby
1997 9th Tracy Mcgrady
1998 5th Vince Carter, 47th Tyson Wheeler

2004  44th Trevor Ariza
2005 8th Channing Frye, 31st David lee, 54th Dijon Thompson
2006 20th Renaldo Balkman, 29th Mardy Collins
2007 23rd Wilson Chandler

To evaluate these picks objectively, we need to know what information was available to Isiah at the time of the picks.  The main way to summarize this information is through predraft ‘mock’ drafts.  Mock drafts were put together by Basketball fans who wanted to predict draft outcomes.  Let’s look at the same draft list, but with some significant pre-draft information (number is predicted draft position of the player prior to draft).

1995 11th Damon Stoudamire (consensus #1 PG in draft), not in top 30 Jimmy King (famous member of the Fab 5 at Michigan)
1996 4th Marcus Camby (great college player, taken right before Ray Allen and Stephon Marbury)
1997 7th Tracy Mcgrady (dropped to 9th despite great expectations, prob because he was a highschooler)
1998 8th Vince Carter (Vince was drafted before Dirk Nowitski and Paul Pierce, but expected to be drafted after them), not in top 36 Tyson Wheeler

2004  48th Trevor Ariza
2005 8th Channing Frye, 48th David lee, not in top 60 Dijon Thompson
2006 43rd Renaldo Balkman, 26th Mardy Collins
2007 23rd Wilson Chandler

Almost all of these picks were unsurprising and not risky.    Of the 13 draft picks attributed to Isiah Thomas, only 1 (David Lee) was a surprising pick that greatly exceeded expectations.  The others were really ‘safe picks’, chosen because they were the consensus best player available for the team.  Keep in mind that these mock drafts were created by fans, with no inside information (unlike Isiah), yet they were able to almost exactly predict these picks.  The main reason that most of Isiah’s picks became good players is that Isiah always ran bad teams who received high draft picks.

Isiah also drafted from other teams in the 1995 expansion draft with no great luck.  Only 2 of the 14 he picked lasted more than 1 season with the Toronto Raptors: Zan Tabak and Oliver Miller.  They went 21-61.

Isiah Thomas NBA Knicks suit itches

why do I have to wear a suit while Marc Cuban dresses like a homeless man?

cute cat with basketball

we all want to be like Isiah

Pics from FunkyGreen and Colony of Gamers.

April 23, 2008

New York Knicks have opportunity to fill their need for a new head basketball coach, and restore image

Filed under: News, Sports — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — skeptisys @ 10:20 am

Knicks team Phil Jackson Clyde Glide Frazier

The New York Knicks finally removed Isiah Thomas as their head coach and President after 4.5 years of dreadfully embarrassing performance.  They now have an excellent opportunity to recover the good image they once owned, and that opportunity is to hire a woman head basketball coach, like Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, to coach their team.

Knicks fan first amendment constitution ejected fire isiah sign

For those of us that recall the prestige of the Knicks from the 1970’s, Isiah’s reign was the most destructive.  It is no accident that intellectual artists like Woody Allen and Spike Lee are Knickerbocker fans, as the old image encompassed dignity, intellectualism, togetherness, and spiritualism.  The Knicks of that time won with high level intellectual discussions from the likes of Bill Bradley and Phil Jackson about politics, philosophy, and deep books.  Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier had an air of smooth yet flashy dignity in the way he dressed and spoke.  The team’s coach, Red Holzman, was a quiet dignified man, who rode the train home after games, and drank a glass of tea with his wife before he went to bed.  Those Knicks teams won because they played together selflessly, for the good of the team, without losing their love of each other and individualism.

Those days are gone, and the Isiah reign gave the Knicks an image of shame, sexism, and racism.  Not only did Isiah’s teams lose, but they also sacrificed the future to do so – by adding large long-term contracts.  Isiah was sued and found guilty of sexual discrimination, in a trial that revealed apparent rampant sexist corruption in MSG.   Isiah, in deposition, claimed that it is less offensive when a Black man calls a woman a ‘bitch’.

Stephon Marbury sex scandel limo Knicks

The Knicks fans, obviously bitter about the state of the team, demanded Isiah be removed from his position.  Instead, Isiah was given a new long term contract and the fans were attacked by Knicks representatives.  Fans were abused by the team for posting signs of ‘Fire Isiah’.  Right now, the Knicks have a horrible image that they need to address with more than just an attempt to improve the team’s won/loss record. It will take tremendous effort to bring back their image, but I think it can be done.

The best and only way for the Knicks to retrieve their image would be to hire a top female head coach, like Pat Summitt from Tennessee.  Here are the benefits to such a move:

  1. The Knicks will go from appearing as the most sexist team, to the team working hardest and most honestly for woman’s rights
  2. All women, and men like me, who are intolerant of sexism will be able to root for the Knicks.
  3. Woman will finally be able to get their reasonable chance to move into the NBA
  4. Even the most sexist Knicks fans will stay Knicks fans, if they were stubborn enough to remain through Isiah’s reign.
  5. If the players do not want to play for a woman (not an issue IMO), these current ones are expendable.
  6. David Stern claims to want to expand the NBA market.  Let’s see how serious he is.
  7. The NBA and MSG’s market and profit will increase tremendously.  This decision will make money and dollars, to put it in crude business terms.
  8. No doubt the press of hiring the first female basketball coach will make people forget Isiah’s horrible actions very quickly.
  9. There is absolutely NO reason why a female cannot coach as well as a man.  If one of the best female coaches is chosen, the Knicks could have a real find.
  10. Pat Summitt and any other top level female coach would presumably jump at the chance to help their sport and gender in such a way

I see no downside to such an action for the Knicks or the NBA.  If the Knicks do not move in this direction, but instead hire someone like Mark Jackson or some old coach, they are not serious about winning back the fans – and they deserve to continue to be boo’d, boycotted and criticized.  In fact, it would underscore their blatant sexist behavior.

Jim Dolan and Donnie Walsh – do the right thing for your company, shareholders, the people, and for the fans, hire Pat Summitt to be your next head coach.  It is the only way.

Pat Summitt women head coach University of Tennessee

Walt clyde glide frazier style

Update: The Knicks GM Donnie Walsh was asked about Pat Summitt as new head coach, if she contacted him: “would she stand a realistic chance of actually getting the job?

“No,” he said without elaborating”

Edited to correct spelling of Red Holzman.  Also note: Although there are references to Walt Frazier’s nickname ‘Clyde the Glide’, he was commonly referred to as simply ‘Clyde’ during his playing career.  Text has been updated to reflect the more commonly used nickname.  (thanks to anonymous reader who pointed these out in a different forum)

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