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Sports Guy on Isiah Thomas and Larry Brown

Bill Simmons, ESPN's Sports Guy, has a good column on the star-crossed marriage of Isiah Thomas and Larry Brown in New York:

Curiously, one of the league's great winners had forgotten what made an NBA team win. Imagine what the 1989 Pistons would have done to this 2005 Knicks team. Who would have guarded Isiah? Who would have guarded Joe Dumars? Who would have kept Dennis Rodman, John Salley and Bill Laimbeer off the boards? Heck, who would have contained Fennis Dembo in garbage time? For whatever reason, Isiah never considered any of this -- he just kept stockpiling perceived "assets" like he was building a fantasy team, with no real thought given to the salary cap, the luxury tax or the impossibility of moving these bloated contracts if they didn't work out. He was throwing Charles Dolan's money around like a drunk college kid playing Monopoly.

What did I land on, North Carolina Avenue? Well, I don't have any greens, and the other two are gone, and I need to save money for houses ... screw it, I'll buy it!

What does this have to do with Larry Brown? Everything. He's stuck trying to coach this mess. Eventually, it's going to drive him crazy that Isiah assembled this group. He's going to start pushing Isiah's buttons like only Larry can, demanding that they trade Marbury or Crawford, benching Isiah's favorite rookies, belittling Isiah's abilities to NBA friends and hoping the poisonous words get back to him. Nobody burns a bridge like Larry Brown -- just ask Dumars and the Detroit players, who are practically having a contest after every victory to see who can make the most "we're having so much more fun this season, it's fun to just play basketball with a coach that trusts us" comments. The thing is, Larry Brown doesn't lose. Just look at his record. And since this can't be his fault, he'll make it clear where the blame lies. Just in case you forgot.

Thomas is one of the most charismatic guys that's even been associated with the NBA, but his track record as a team executive is, well, non-existent. And while Brown has one of the best track records in the league, guess what, he lacks any thing that even resembles charisma. Sadly for Knicks fans, I agree with Simmons in that this union is destined to be a complete and utter train wreck.

MSG: Dysfunction Junction [ESPN: Bill Simmons]