Analysis of Zander’s Analysis
The Knicks had just drafted Rod Strickland with the #17 overall pick in the draft — a late first rounder. He ended up being a fantastic pick, and would challenge Mark Jackson for the starting point guard position (Jackson would come into the season a tad out of shape).
More analysis below.. but back to the time machine:
Mark Jackson vs Rod Strickland
Like a futurist, Zander keyed in on what would be a Knick problem for the next few years — having two great point guards ended up being an issue for them — as to who would play. In the end, several years later, they would trade both, and Pat Riley would bring in Doc Rivers. As much as Mark Jackson was a Hall of Fame point guard, who would later lead Indiana to the finals, and finish 3rd all time in assists with over 10,000 assists — Jackson was deemed a defensive liability by the Knicks. And Strickland, a strong defender who could slide a defense like a hot knife thru butter, was traded because he “kept missing the team bus” aka was always 10 minutes late and would literally miss the team bus — but I believe that was NBA code for he was high on marijuana all the time.
While Rod Strickland would challenge Mark Jackson for the starting point guard job, and challenge for the Rookie of the Year award, Rick Pitino had the Knicks playing tenacious defense and a shoot-the-3 offense — the Knicks were 25 years ahead of their time. Pitino’s Bomb Squad would win 52 games in 1988-89.
As mentioned earlier, the Knicks were coming off a rejuvenated 38-win season and would win 52 under Rick Pitino. He would unfortunately resign after the season to take the Kentucky job, and Stu Jackson would take his place.
Hope You Enjoyed It
I hope you have enjoyed this time machine. Zander Hollander is long gone, but his writing lives on in my memory, and I believe it to have shaped not only my writing style, but possibly my sense of humor, view of things, and personality.
I’ll post more analysis of Zander’s coverage of other Knicks seasons in upcoming posts. I didn’t buy the handbook every year, but most years. I couldn’t wait to get it. One of the things that you miss with today’s internet is the long wait and anticipation — and then the excitement and satisfaction of going into a bookstore and seeing that the Handbook had come out, purchasing it, and going home on the subway knowing I had some Great reading ahead.
If you have comments on this Knicks season, any of the players, or on Zander Hollander’s work, please post below or on one of the pages of this analysis of the 1988-89 Complete Basketball Handbook.