By John Schmeelk
» More Columns
We knew Isiah Thomas was delusional. Some of the stuff he has said in the past has defied logic and he continued that with his recent remarks. Truly insane stuff. But he always smiled and was a smooth operator; the things that I’m sure have enraptured James Dolan. There was always a darker side that everyone spoke about, whether it was the way he helped bankrupt the CBA or the accusations in Anuche Browne’s lawsuit. But now, Isiah’s own words have shown without a shadow of a doubt what type of a man he is.
Donnie Walsh gave Thomas his first head coaching job in the NBA, when he ran the Indiana Pacers. They were friends and colleagues. Then, this summer, when James Dolan forced Walsh to thank Isiah during the Amar’e Stoudemire press conference, he took the high road and didn’t complain. No one heard a peep from Walsh when Isiah was brought in as a consultant for a week, completely undermining his leadership in the organization. In the past few years, Walsh has had ample opportunity to take a shot at his friend from Indiana, and he hasn’t said a word.
So how does Isiah pay back the class behavior of a gentleman? He openly campaigns for Walsh’s job. He says that if he had stayed on as GM, the Knicks would have been a better team and made the playoffs by now. He kills Walsh for not being able to secure LeBron James, and claims he could have. I guess he figured if he didn’t get anywhere stabbing Walsh in the back, he would walk right up to him and plunge the proverbial knife right into his chest.
I never like to make personal judgments about people that I’ve never met. It isn’t fair. But how can anyone not come away from this thinking that Isiah Thomas is a bad human being? He doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and will do anything necessary to get what he wants.
What does it say about Dolan that he hasn’t come out and publicly backed Walsh, or in the very least release a statement condemning Isiah’s ranting? Dolan might as well be Isiah’s accomplice. Where’s the judgment? Where’s the leadership? How is an organization supposed to function when an owner helps publicly embarrass his General Manager?
The worst of it is the Knicks are actually playing good basketball, despite their loss on Sunday. For the first time in years, they are a real basketball team with real management and a real plan. The team is playing defense. There are players on the court that care more about winning than they do about their own stats. They have a realistic chance of making the playoffs.
Not if Isiah Thomas can help it.
Up and Under
Up: Toney has been greeeaaaaat! Sorry, but who doesn’t love frosted flakes? The beat writers have been comparing Toney Douglas to Gary Payton and I agree. He isn’t a pure point guard when it comes to distribution, but he is an impact defenseless player, and a scorer. He has been a game changer and the ultimate spark.
Under: Amar’e Stoudemire was much better against the Sixers on Sunday, but he has been terrible so far this season. Granted, Raymond Felton hasn’t completely figured out the pick and roll yet, but Stoudemire needs to be more efficient. He isn’t forcing the action as much as he was earlier in the season, but he is still missing a ton of shots he should make. He also needs to rebound better. Fortunately, he has played well as a help defender.
Going Around the World
I was confused when I saw some preseason publications pick the Pistons to make the playoffs. They have some veteran players with talent, but it is a mish-mash of players that simply don’t go together. Just wait until the older players start getting injured. There has already been sniping between head coach John Kuester and veterans like Tayshaun Prince. It’s going to be a long year in Detroit.
It was great to see how pumped up Madison Square Garden was for a game against the Wizards on a Friday night. The fans were loud, and you get the feeling they are starting to believe. I still can’t stand, however, the type of circus atmosphere a Knicks game is these days. Between the high blood pressure inducing 7th Avenue squad, the drum line team, and the annoying music when the Knicks have the ball, it’s about everything BUT the basketball. Maybe when the team gets better, it will change. One can only hope.
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/Schmeelk