Counting down the 75 most important people in Knicks history: No. 65 J.R. Smith to No. 56

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The Knicks began their beingness 75 years agone arsenic the hottest squad successful the BAA (which 3 years aboriginal would go the NBA). They won their debut crippled successful Toronto, 68-66, connected Nov. 1, 1946, and past sandwiched a roadworthy triumph implicit the St. Louis Bombers betwixt losses to the Chicago Stags some connected the roadworthy and successful the franchise’s first-ever location crippled (78-68, successful beforehand of 17,205 astatine the aged Garden connected 50th Street) to enactment them 2-2 aft 4 games.

Then came the archetypal winning agelong successful squad history: 9 successful a enactment and 12 retired of 13. The tally was capped by an 83-68 triumph implicit the Providence Steamrollers connected Dec. 11 that elevated the Knicks’ grounds to 14-3 and gave them a one-game pb successful the Eastern Division implicit manager Red Auerbach’s Washington Capitols.

Only 3,118 watched that one, but with bully reason: The Knicks were outsourced to the 69th Regiment Armory (capacity: 5,200), located astatine 25th Street and Lexington Avenue (ticket prices: $1.50, $2, $2.75 and $3.50). The Rangers had a day with the Canadiens that nighttime astatine Madison Square Garden, and that took precedence. In fact, lone six of the Knicks’ 30 location games were booked for the Garden.

Such would beryllium the lawsuit passim the aboriginal years of the Knicks…

Continuing the countdown of the 75 top figures successful Knicks history:

Part I: No. 75 Jeremy Lin to No. 66 Doc Rivers | Coming adjacent week: No. 55 to No. 46

65. J.R. Smith, Guard (2011-15)

J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks hits the crippled  winning changeable  against the Charlotte Bobcats astatine  the Time Warner Cable Arena connected  December 5, 2012 successful  Charlotte, North Carolina. NBAE/Getty Images

It volition astonishment precisely cipher to observe that Smith is eighth connected the Knicks’ all-time database for some 3-pointers attempted (1,199) and made (443). He is besides the unofficial person successful astir games successful which helium inspired you to leap to your feet successful some sheer joyousness and implicit agony.

But helium was an effectual Knick connected 2 playoff teams, capped by the 2012-13 season, erstwhile helium averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists successful capturing the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award and helping propel the Knicks to a 54-28 grounds and their lone playoff-series triumph since 2000 – though helium helped marque that triumph implicit the Celtics absorbing by getting ejected from Game 4.

“J.R. makes you laughter and cry,” his manager Mike Woodson said. “Sometimes connected the aforesaid possession.”

64. Dick Van Arsdale, Guard (1965-68)

Dick Van ArsdaleAP

Better known arsenic a subordinate of the Phoenix Suns, with whom helium was a three-time All-Star aft being selected disconnected the Knicks’ roster successful the 1968 enlargement draft, Van Arsdale was a cardinal fig successful helping the Knicks of the mid-’60s summation credibility, averaging 12.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists successful 3 seasons, the second 2 culminating successful the team’s archetypal 2 playoff appearances successful 8 years.

The 13th pick of the ’65 draught retired of Indiana (his duplicate brother, Tom, went 1 slot aboriginal to the Pistons), his precocious constituent arsenic a Knick was a 17-point, nine-rebound effort against the Celtics successful the ’67 playoffs.

63. Ernie Grunfeld, Guard/Forward (1982-86); Executive (1990-99)

Knicks G.M. Ernie Grunfeld (left) introducesDan Cronin

A prima astatine Forest Hills High School and the University of Tennessee (where helium teamed with aboriginal Knicks teammate Bernard King to signifier the high-flying “Bernie and Ernie Show”), Grunfeld won golden with the ’76 Olympic squad and was a rugged, reliable backup for each of his 4 years arsenic a Knicks player, averaging 5.6 points and 2.2 rebounds.

But it was erstwhile helium switched to the beforehand bureau that his top interaction was felt. A swift ascent up the Knicks’ firm ladder culminated with him becoming GM earlier the 1993-94 season. Together with Dave Checketts helium enactment unneurotic teams that went to 2 Finals, successful 1994 and ’99, though helium wasn’t astir to bask the 2nd 1 due to the fact that Checketts abruptly fired him precocious successful the ’99 play aft Grunfeld and Jeff Van Gundy became entangled successful a turf war.

62. Dean Meminger, Guard (1971-77)

Dean Meminger #7 of the New York Knicks looks to walk  during the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics played successful  1973 astatine  the Boston Garden successful  Boston, Massachussetts.NBAE via Getty Images

Dean the Dream was 1 of the champion precocious schoolhouse players ever to travel retired of New York City, starring astatine Rice High School and aboriginal astatine Marquette, wherever helium led the Warriors to the 1970 NIT rubric astatine the Garden, winning the tournament’s MVP Award.

Taken with the 16th pick of the archetypal circular successful ’71, Meminger had an contiguous interaction connected the Knicks, settling into the 3rd defender slot down Clyde Frazier and Earl Monroe and making cardinal contributions to some the ’72 and ’73 teams, which each played the Lakers successful the Finals, losing successful 5 the archetypal clip and winning successful 5 the next. He averaged 6.1 points and 2.5 assists for his six-year career.

61. Tyson Chandler, Center (2011-14)

New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler (6) is called for extremity   tending connected  a changeable  by Miami Heat's Norris Cole (30) during the archetypal  fractional  of an NBA hoops  game, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, successful  Miami. AP

He arrived aft helping the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA rubric and his interaction was immediate. One of the astir ascendant interior presences the Knicks person ever had, Chandler was named to the 2013 All-Star team, averaging 10.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and shooting 64 percent from the floor. He was wounded successful the playoffs, though, which sank the Knicks against the Pacers.

He is 2nd successful Knicks past successful field-goal percent (.638) and two-point tract extremity percent (.640), ninth successful blocks per crippled (1.2) and 10th in rebounds per crippled (10.1).

60. Walt Bellamy, Center (1965-68)

Bill Russell #6 of Boston Celtics posts up   against Walt Bellamy #8 of the New York Knicks during a crippled  played successful  1968 astatine  the Boston Garden successful  Boston, Massachusetts.NBAE via Getty Images

Like Butch Komives (No. 74 connected the list), helium is best-remembered for being fractional of the 2-for-1 bonanza of a woody that brought Dave DeBusschere to municipality from Detroit and permanently altered the Knicks’ destiny.

Bellamy was an excellent, if occasionally moody, subordinate with the Knicks, averaging 18.9 points and 13.3 rebounds successful 268 games, marks that inactive fertile 10thall-time (scoring) and archetypal all-time (rebounding). But his departure not lone brought DeBusschere to town, it allowed Willis Reed to determination from guardant to center, truthful his bequest with the squad is doubly unique.

59. Ernie Vandeweghe, Guard/Forward (1949-56)

 Ernie Vandeweghe (9) of Knicks connected  laic  up   changeable  that was nary  good. Chuck Cooper (11) and Bill Sharman (21) of Boston, are besides  successful  picture)Bettmann Archive

Maybe the astir well-rounded Knicks subordinate of each time, Vandeweghe was teammates astatine Colgate with chap Knicks large Carl Braun, joined Miss America 1952 (Colleen Kay Hutchins), fathered a aboriginal Knick (Kiki) and besides was a cardinal subordinate of Knicks teams that went to 3 consecutive Finals – each portion helium was a full-time aesculapian pupil astatine Columbia and earning $100 a crippled due to the fact that helium ne'er wanted to perpetrate to a full-time declaration fixed his uncertain off-court schedule.

“He would spell to people and labs, past instrumentality the past imaginable level oregon bid to get to wherever the Knicks were going,” ex-Knicks broadcaster Marty Glickman wrote successful his memoir. “I saw him travel into the Butler tract location with his shoelaces inactive untied. [Coach Joe] Lapchick called a timeout. Vandy ran in, tied his shoelaces and got into the play.”

58. Gerald Wilkins, Guard/Forward (1985-92)

Gerald Wilkins #21 of the New York Knicks dribbles the shot  during an NBA crippled  against the Los Angeles Lakers astatine  the Great Western Forum successful  Los Angeles, California successful  1988.Getty Images

Destined to beryllium everlastingly overshadowed some by his older brother, Dominique, and by the different subordinate of the Knicks’ 1985 rookie people (Patrick Ewing), Wilkins nevertheless had a terrific tally with the Knicks, averaging arsenic many  arsenic 19.1 points per crippled successful 1987 and 14.9 points wide successful 555 games arsenic a Knick.

He’s ninth connected the team’s all-time steals database with 614 (one slot up of Frazier, astatine 589). Wilkins’ apex arsenic a Knick was a 34-point detonation connected 16-for-21 shooting against Philadelphia successful Game 1 of what became a three-game expanse of the 76ers successful the ’89 playoffs.

57. Hubie Brown, Head manager (1982-87)

ead manager  Hubie Brown of the New York Knicks talks with his subordinate    during a clip  retired  against the Washington Bullets during an NBA hoops  crippled  circa 1983 astatine  the Capital Centre successful  Landover, Maryland. Brown coached the Knicks from 1982-87. Getty Images

When Brown took implicit the Knicks successful 1982, they were a breached franchise, hardly a susurration of their dynastic glory days. His interaction was immediate: his archetypal 2 Knicks teams made the playoffs and each won a series. In ’84, helium rode Bernard King each the mode to Game 7 against the eventual champion Celtics.

But past King got wounded and Brown could ne'er regain traction, adjacent aft the Knicks won the 1985 lottery and drafted Ewing. It seems unfair that his grounds arsenic Knicks manager is simply a forgettable 142-202 due to the fact that anyone who saw what Brown did his archetypal 2 years knows helium helped resuscitate the franchise and the Garden experience.

56. Sonny Hertzberg, Guard (1946-47)

New York Knicks guardant  Sonny Hertzberg playing defense.Bettmann Archive

Hertzberg, who played his precocious schoolhouse shot astatine Samuel Tilden and past was teammates with Red Holzman astatine CCNY, was the starring scorer for the precise archetypal Knicks team, totaling 515 points successful 59 games for an 8.7 average.

In the Knicks’ archetypal playoff win, an 86-74 triumph implicit the Cleveland Rebels, helium scored 14 points, bouncing backmost from going scoreless successful Game 1. The Knicks won that series, 2-1. Hertzberg aboriginal assisted Lapchick and took implicit arsenic caput manager for a clip erstwhile Lapchick was ill.