NEW YORK (WFAN) — NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas hopped on the line to talk basketball with WFAN co-hosts Sid Rosenberg and Kim Jones on Friday morning.
The 12-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA champion broke down what he thinks is plaguing the woeful Knicks and Nets, but he also took time to look into his past.
In case you’ve forgotten, Knicks fans, Thomas was the Knicks’ President of Basketball Operations from 2003-2006, and then was the head coach from 2006 to 2008.
“Had I been able to stick with the plan that we had here, and let those young players develop the way they were developing, right now they would be a pretty good basketball team in the East,” Thomas said. “They would probably be the third-best team in the East. When I left New York, I can honestly say I left you with two NBA All-Stars. Zach Randolph and David Lee were All-Stars.”
The Knicks posted losing records in each of the seasons that Thomas was affiliated with the team, covering his tenure as both a coach and an executive. His winning percentage as coach was .341, and he was widely disliked and heavily criticized by the fan base and media.
“I drafted every year here,” Thomas said. “The story is, ‘Isiah traded all the draft picks.’ Well, no, I drafted every year. And, as a matter of fact, I had three draft picks in one draft. I drafted Channing Frye, David Lee and Nate Robinson. I had three draft picks. And the only draft pick I really traded was the 2010 draft pick, (and) everyone in the league traded their 2010 draft pick to clear cap room.”
The current NBA TV analyst and philanthropist acknowledges that he didn’t succeed in New York, but he maintains that he did a lot of good for the organization and has been treated unfairly.
“There’s a lot of inaccuracies that have been told about my time here, and they’ve given me a 10-year span when I think I was only here for maybe four years,” Thomas told the radio duo. “You do have a lot of young writers who just throw that out. I don’t see a lot of the veteran writers and people who have covered the league for a while saying those things.
“But people who want to get their article read, they’ll just throw my name next to it just so people can pay attention to what they write and they’ll have some headline that really doesn’t reflect what I’ve accurately said. But if you go back and you look at the people that I had here and what they’re doing now, that really speaks for itself, and there’s no disputing that.”
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