A foundation is laid
Toward the end of the 1960s, the New York Knicks began gathering the pieces needed to compete for a championship. Little did they know they were gathering their greatest team.
New York made it to the finals three years in a row from 1951 through 1953 but couldn’t over that hill. Things began to change in1957. The Knicks hired Red Holzman as their scout. The building would begin from there, taking a decade to formulate the iconic team.
The Captain – Willis Reed
In the second round of the 1964 NBA Draft, the Knicks selected Willis Reed. A young man Holzman had been scouting since Reed’s college days at Grambling. In his first season, Reed averaged 19.5 points per game and was the NBA Rookie of the Year.
During his time with the Knicks not only would he be the team leader, but he would also become their inspiration. Guiding them through every storm. Willis was named the league’s Most Valuable Player for the 1969-70 season.
The Fall Back Baby – Dick Barnett
In October of 1965, the Knicks traded Bob Boozer to the Los Angeles Lakers for Dick Barnett, also known as the Fall Back Baby for his never miss fall-away jump shot. New York was getting better although they were still in the basement of the Eastern Conference when the deal was completed.
With his career-high 23.1 points-per-game average that year, Barnett was a major reason why the team climbed out of that basement. On February 18, 1967, Barnett ruptured his Achilles Tendon. Not one to be held down for long, one year later, Barnett made the All-Star team along with Reed.