If this works out, it will likely be one of many sweetest tales ever to be hatched throughout the boundaries of the Metropolis Recreation. If this works out, we are going to look again on this as one of many splendid days in Knicks historical past, Kemba Walker coming dwelling, coming again to New York, again to the Backyard.
We’re without end a metropolis of level guards, in any case, even these of us whose basketball journeys ended with the JV, or on the Y. We’re town of Bob Cousy and Dicky McGuire, of Tiny Archibald and Lenny Wilkens and Larry Brown, of Kenny Anderson and Kenny Smith, of Pearl Washington and Mark Jackson and Boo Harvey, Rod Strickland and Steph Marbury, Frankie Alagia and David Cain.
A few of them have executed great work on the Backyard. McGuire’s quantity 15 hangs in its rafters. Jackson received rookie of the 12 months, making the great New York hoops journey from Bishop Loughlin to St. John’s to the Knicks. Dean (the Dream) Meminger went from Rice to Marquette, the place he received the 1970 NIT on the Backyard, then landed with the ’73 champion Knicks.
Walker takes that path now. He was a star at Rice, too, and as a junior memorably met up with a senior from Chicago Simeon Excessive in January 2007, fellow named Derrick Rose, in a highschool recreation on the Backyard that individuals who had been there nonetheless speak about. Throughout 5 unforgettable nights 4 years later, he led UConn to 5 straight wins and the Huge East Event title, then received six extra within the NCAA, one of many nice faculty basketball tales ever informed. He turned an All-Star in Charlotte, and in Boston.
And he comes dwelling now. He’s 31, with near 25,000 NBA minutes on his treads, coming off an injury-plagued season with the Celtics. However he comes at an affordable wage quantity after getting a buyout from Oklahoma Metropolis, and he’ll workforce with Rose to offer a 1-2 punch at level guard — a yawning chasm for the Knicks in recent times — that will likely be as lengthy on intrigue and sophistication because it is perhaps lengthy within the tooth.
There are pitfalls and there are pratfalls aplenty standing in the best way of this, in fact. Can the Knicks get, say, 140 video games complete out of Walker/Rose, of the max 164? Will Tom Thibodeau be tempted, as everyone knows he might be, to play them collectively through the common season when the second begs for it, even when their wheels require one thing else?
We are able to fear about that later.
For now, we will benefit from the second, a grand second of homecoming, an amazing second when two of the sport’s dynamic level guards will workforce up for a metropolis of would-be level guards, all of us able to driving-and-kicking in our desires, all of us craving to push the ball up the ground, Bernard on our left and DeBusschere on our proper.
Again on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2007, the Backyard was unwittingly handled to a preview of this pairing within the outdated “Tremendous Six” tripleheader. Rose’s Simeon was the 14th-ranked highschool workforce within the nation and Memphis-bound Rose lived as much as his billing as a surefire 2008 first-rounder by pouring in 22 factors, eight of them in an electrifying fourth quarter.
However Walker, a junior, held his personal for Rice, the longtime Manhattan energy that closed in 2011. He scored 16 factors, guarded Rose the entire day, and raised an terrible lot of eyebrows.
“I used to be very excited,” Walker mentioned after Rice’s 53-51 upset was full that day. “I heard he’s the highest participant within the nation and I wished my probability to show myself in opposition to him. I feel I did.”
“We didn’t win,” Rose mentioned, “and I blame me for that.”
Fourteen years later the gamers have one NCAA title and one-runner-up between them, they’ve seven All-Star appearances, two All-NBA nods and one MVP trophy between them. And are available the autumn, they are going to have the ball of their arms an terrible lot because the Knicks attempt to maintain their heads above water in an Japanese Convention that has gotten rather a lot harder, and deeper, for the reason that season ended.
There are numerous issues that may go flawed. There isn’t a query about that.
But when most can go proper? If Walker and Rose can mix for 55 minutes a recreation, mix for 150 video games, mix to present the Knicks the form of dynamic two-headed playmaker they haven’t had — dare we are saying — since Clyde Frazier and Pearl Monroe? Yeah. A metropolis of would-be and wannabe level guards goes to be awfully blissful.
And the Knicks are going to be awfully enjoyable.