New York Knicks: 25 Best Players To Play For The Knicks

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The New York Knicks are one of three charter members of the Basketball Association of America still in existence. But who are their 25 best players?

Mar 26, 2016; New York, NY, USA; General view as the New York Knicks are introduced before the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were founded as a charter member of the Basketball Association of America, a forerunner to the modern NBA, in 1946 and are one of three of the original 11 franchises still in operation, along with the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors, who originally played in Philadelphia.

The Knicks have just two championships in their 69 seasons, but have had lengthy periods where they were contenders for the crown.

New York played in three straight NBA Finals from 1951-53, losing each time under coach Joe Lapchick, the legendary St. John’s coach who Knicks owner Ned Irish persuaded to try the pro game.

That stretch was soon followed by a period where New York made the playoffs just once in 10 seasons before rising to challenge again in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Knicks won their first title in 1970, reached the Finals in 1972 and won again in 1973, the franchise’s last championship.

It would be 21 years before New York made another appearance in the Finals, where they lost in 1994 and again in 1999.

The new century has brought only five playoff appearances—three coming from 2010-11 through 2012-13, the last time the Knicks made the postseason.

The team has won 60 games just twice, hitting the mark in 1969-70 and again in 1992-93. In 2014-15, the Knicks stumbled through the franchise’s first 60-loss season, finishing 17-65.

In all, New York has qualified for the postseason 42 times in 70 years with a winning percentage of .493 (2,701-2,774).

The Knicks have run through 19 personnel decision-makers, none who served longer than Irish, who ran the club from 1946-57.

Ernie Grunfeld served as the general manager from April 1991 through April 1999. Eddie Donovan (January 1965-March 1970) and Red Holzman (March 1970-April 1975) are the only others to serve at least five years in the post.

Current team president Phil Jackson assumed his post in March 2014.

The Knicks are one of the few teams to never have had an Executive of the Year recipient since the award began in 1972-73.

There have been 27 different coaches patrol the sidelines in the various iterations of Madison Square Garden, where the team has played since its inception.

Holzman, a Hall of Famer named one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history during the 50th anniversary celebration in 1996, is the winningest coach in franchise history, with a record of 613-484 in 14 seasons from 1967-77 and 1978-82.

Holzman was 54-43 in the playoffs and led the team to both of its titles.

Lapchick was 326-247 in nine seasons (1947-56), going 30-30 in the playoffs. Jeff Van Gundy posted a mark of 248-172 from 1996-2001, going 37-32 in the postseason, and Pat Riley went 223-104 from 1991-95, including a 35-28 playoff mark.

Last season, the Knicks were 32-50 under Derek Fisher, who was fired Feb. 8, 2016, after less than two seasons on the job, and interim coach Kurt Rambis, who went 9-19.

Former Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek will become the franchise’s 28th head coach after he was hired on June 3, 2016.

Holzman was the NBA Coach of the Year in 1969-70 and Riley won the honor in 1992-93.

New York has had the No. 1 overall choice in the NBA Draft on four occasions. They selected Art Heyman of Duke in 1963, Jim Barnes of Texas Western in 1964, Cazzie Russell from Michigan in 1966 and in 1985 selected Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing.

Here are the 25 best players in the history of the New York Knicks. Players had to have appeared in 150 games and averaged a minimum of 20 minutes per game for the team to qualify for this list.

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