A Look Back at the 1984-85 New York Knicks (24-58)


The dubious distinction of breaking the franchise’s losing streak happened the other night for the New York Knicks when they dropped their 13th consecutive game. (The streak is now at 14 and counting after Thursday’s loss to the Houston Rockets, with paper bag-sporting fans in the front row showing their frustration.) This brought up the discussion of the 1984-85 Knicks who had a 12-game skid that season.

But looking over that roster from three decades ago, it seems somewhat of a surprise that this team finished with a 24-58 record under veteran head coach Hubie Brown. Bernard King, who played in only 58 games due to a knee injury but averaged 32.9 points per game prior to that, led them and was their marquee player.

King was a bona fide NBA star at that point in his career and lit up his former team, the then-New Jersey Nets, for 60 points on Christmas Day. But three months later, he tore his right ACL and was done for the year. The injury was so devastating that King had to sit out all of the following season, as well. Unfortunately for King, this would alter the once-explosive small forward’s career.

A few other players from that team finished with career highs, such as forward Louis Orr (12.7 PPG), center Pat Cummings (15.8 PPG) and point guard Darrell Walker (13.5 PPG).

The front court also had some big bodies in Truck Robinson, fan favorite Ken “The Animal” Bannister and rookie Eddie Lee Wilkins. Ernie Grunfeld was at the tail end of his playing days and would later go on to be the general manager of the Knicks.

This also happened to be the first year that the NBA held its draft lottery to counter for teams deliberately tanking games to obtain the first pick. The Knicks – who had the third worst record in the league – ended up winning it and chose Georgetown center Patrick Ewing.

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But before you begin celebrating either forgetting or falsely believing that the Knicks became instant contenders once the seven-footer was in town, they actually won one less game with their prized rookie.

Even though there is a good chance that the Knicks will get a very high draft pick this year, there will be no franchise-type player like Ewing waiting around and the current roster is brutal compared to what was in place 30 years ago.

It will get worse before it gets better. Better keep making it paper over plastic at the super market.

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