Best New York Knickerbocker - 2008
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 Knicks?who haven?t picked a high-impact first-rounder since Rod Strickland 20 years ago?went for 19-year-old Italian unknown Danilo Gallinari, whose father roomed with D?Antoni 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 D?Antoni?s 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 game?all of which could climb under the new system. But he?ll need help. Do any of D?Antoni?s other ex?Italian League mates have tall sons?