Best New York Knickerbocker (2008)

Jamal Crawford

It would have been nice to hand this award to, say, University of Memphis guard Derek Rose or Kansas frosh sensation Michael Beasley, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft, for the next 10 or so years. But the Knickswho havent picked a high-impact first-rounder since Rod Strickland 20 years agowent for 19-year-old Italian unknown Danilo Gallinari, whose father roomed with DAntoni in the Italian League back in the day. (Ah, memories.) Anyway, although most people stopped watching the Knicks somewhere around the halfway point last year, one player had a pretty decent season (at least statistically), and his numbers should only improve under DAntonis run-and-gun style. That man is Jamal Crawford, or The Closer, as he refers to himself on his website. The Chucker might be more appropriate, with his average of 18 shots attempted and 41 percent made last year. But Crawford did average 20.6 points a game, 23rd best in the league, and dished out a team-leading five assists while hitting 86.4 percent of his free-throws (15th best in the NBA) and logging nearly 40 minutes per gameall of which could climb under the new system. But hell need help. Do any of DAntonis other exItalian League mates have tall sons?