After a taxing five-game road trip during which the Knicks went 1-4, they experienced an uplifting homecoming Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, defeating the San Antonio Spurs 104-100 in overtime. Forward Lou Amundson was the energizer, scoring 12 points and gathering 17 rebounds.
“It feels great, more for them than anything,” said Knicks head coach Derek Fisher of his players after the surprising win, “because it’s not easy to just keep coming back to a situation where things just don’t seem to be going right. Everyone is criticizing you and saying what you can’t do and what you’re not capable of. So it takes a lot of character … to keep giving that type of effort.”
The Knicks are 14-53, including 9-23 at home, moving toward tonight’s (Thursday) game at MSG against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who, along with the Philadelphia 76ers, are the Knicks’ primary competition to win the draft lottery.
Where the Knicks will ultimately land in the draft order and who they will select is the only intrigue remaining for the franchise and its fans between now and then. As March Madness begins, from this writer’s perspective, freshman Karl Anthony Towns from Piscataway, N.J., and the University Kentucky, who is a near certainty to declare for the draft, is the youngster around whom the Knicks should seek to build a championship contender if he’s on the board when they’re up. It won’t be an issue if they have the first pick.
What the Knicks should not do is draft someone relative to how well his skill set compliments Carmelo Anthony’s. They must choose a player with the thought that the teenager will be the centerpiece of the team three years from now, with Anthony as the third or fourth best player on the roster.