When Larry Brown became head coach of the New York Knicks back in 2005, there was real hope he could help the club get back to its winning ways of the late ’80s and ’90s. After all, he had led a Pistons team that lacked a real superstar to an NBA championship just one year prior.
Instead, he directed the Knicks to a 23-win campaign, a number that still stands as one of the 10 worst marks in the franchise’s 76-year history. After the season, he was fired for his efforts.
Nevertheless, Brown continues to be the only coach in basketball history to have won both an NCAA national championship and an NBA title. Moreover, he’s a certified Hall of Famer. So, when he’s talking hoops, it’s worth a listen.
And he just said a mouthful about the youth contingent of the current Knicks.
Brown Speaks out on the Knicks’ Young Guns
Since June of last year, Brown has been an assistant on the staff of the Memphis Tigers, serving under one-time NBA superstar and former Knick Anfernee Hardaway. So, when the Knicks traveled to the Grind City to take on the Grizzlies on Friday, the New York Post’s Marc Berman was able to catch up with the legendary coach.
During their chat, the 81-year-old spoke glowingly of the team’s young guns.
“I love Jericho Sims, I love what [Quentin] Grimes is doing,” Brown said. “I was at KU a lot when [Grimes] was there, visiting my former assistant [Bill Self]. It didn’t go great, but he goes to Houston, turned his career around — pretty neat story.”
Sims and Grimes aren’t the only ones who have caught his eye, either.
“I like the kid from West Virginia [Miles McBride]. I love their young kids. RJ Barrett is getting better and better. When [Julius] Randle plays, he’s sensational. They got a shot-blocker and I hope they keep [Mitchell] Robinson. That kid affects the game. He doesn’t command the ball, guards and protects the rim. He’s so athletic.”
Now, if he could just convince current Knicks headman Tom Thibodeau to give more minutes to some of those guys…
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On the Knicks’ Disappointing Campaign
It isn’t lost on Brown that the Knicks’ current season has been a tremendous disappointment considering what transpired last year. As he sees it, some key losses have played a major role in the downturn, specifically that of one-time league MVP Derrick Rose.
“Last year was such a dream,’’ Brown said. “They lost some people, but you can’t explain how important Derrick Rose was to that team. He was such a big part. They lose their best defensive guard [Reggie Bullock] and Thibs is such a stickler for having a defensive presence.”
However, he still believes the Knicks can end the year on a positive note, saying, “The last few games have been amazing. I still think there’s still time left.”
Brown also sees some hope for the team beyond the current campaign, noting that New York is still an enticing destination for ballers.
“They got a lot of great pieces. I still believe players want to play in New York.”