Of 2nd year C Randolph “DNP” Morris, Stop Mike Lupica suggests the Knicks are loathe to play the former Kentucky product for fear of “showcasing him too much right now, because technically he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.” And that’s certainly a more attractive theory than, say, Isiah Thomas actually believing his current rotation gives him a shot at winning 25 games. “The 6-11 forward has become such a forgotten man,” sneers the Daily News’ Frank Isola, “that Knicks fans are beginning to think that Morris is his middle name and Inactive is his last name.”
“Isiah Thomas has “reenergized the franchise,” according to his bio in the Knicks’ official media guide. That is just one of the myths and embellishments that fill two pages. Garden chairman James Dolan’s bio, by the way, fits on one page.
In the fourth paragraph, there is a throwaway line about how “Thomas scored again with the unprecedented signing of free agent Randolph Morris” last March after Morris’ college career ended with Kentucky losing in the NCAA Tournament. The signing was such a stroke of genius that Morris has appeared in seven games over two seasons for a grand total of 50 minutes.
Thomas continues to say that he is not ready to concede the season and give Morris and first-round pick Wilson Chandler extended minutes. Meanwhile, Thomas failed to take advantage of the D-League, where both players could have faced live action on a consistent basis rather than serve as practice dummies and sit idle during games.
“I just like the practice time and what they get here, and the hands-on we get to have here,” Thomas said recently. “They get to learn our system more, the way that we want to play. I just think the on-court time they get playing against the pros we have here is better for them. There are times and opportunities when you can send a player down to the D-League, but most of the time you want to keep a player in your system doing the things you do every day so you know when you need them, you can put them in a game.”
And yet, Thomas has never used the D-League. He even vetoed Larry Brown’s attempts to send Nate Robinson down to the NBA’s minor league two years ago. There is a theory that Thomas, who led the CBA into bankruptcy, doesn’t want to contribute in any way to the D-League being a success. Thomas denies having a personal bias against the D-League.
So instead, Chandler’s minutes are relegated to garbage time and Morris is wasting away on a team that is 18-41.