The New York Knicks are unlike any other North American professional sports franchise in many ways. They are National Basketball Association royalty due to the fact that they play home games at Madison Square Garden, the “World's Most Famous Arena” that is located in the heart of Manhattan. The Knicks were, in the past, a team that had the goods to routinely compete for championships. Tremendous players such as Willis Reed, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Patrick Ewing, Bill Bradley, John Starks and other names that are known by basketball fans all wore New York colors at one point or another.
It is the club's storied past that has made it so frustrating for fans to watch the Knicks struggle to do anything of note year after year in recent history. Signing Carmelo Anthony was supposed to be a move that pushed the Knicks closer to winning a NBA Championship, but the team has not come all that close to overcoming competition such as the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. Fans and analysts have thus far liked what they have seen from rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis and the hope is that he will be part of what could be a bright future for a Knicks team that has not given fans lot to cheer about over the past decade.
Even the most broken fan of the Knicks should not only be optimistic that brighter days are ahead for the team. He would also do well to remember that things have, in the past, been much worse for the Knicks. It was earlier in 2015 during the latter stages of the 2014-15 NBA season when the Knicks trotted a starting lineup out onto the court that would not have been recognizable to casual fans tuning in. As historically inept as that Knicks team was, it did not feature the absolute worst player in the history of the franchise. That distinction goes to a man who never should have been selected by the Knicks in the first place.
15 Frederic Weis
We start the list with a little bit of humor for those of you who are scratching your heads trying to remember why you know the name Frederic Weis. Weis was drafted by the Knicks in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft even though local product Ron Artest was there for the taking. The pick did not work out at all for New York, as Weis never played for the Knicks or for any other NBA team. For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, it was Weis who was “posterized” by Vince Carter when the United States and France played each other at the 2000 Summer Olympics. That may be the most famous dunk in the history of the Olympics.
14 Andy Rautins
Sometimes, closing your eyes and taking a blind shot at a player with a second-round pick is seemingly all that a NBA team can do. That is apparently what happened at the 2010 NBA Draft when the Knicks went with Andy Rautins at a time when Rautins probably could have been gotten for nothing. Rautins could (allegedly) shoot the three-point ball. That was about the end of his abilities as a NBA player. Rautins appeared in only five games during his one and only season with the Knicks. No other team gave him a chance to play meaningful NBA minutes.
13 Antonio McDyess
The Knicks took a risk when the club traded for Antonio McDyess in June 2002. McDyess had shown that he could be an All-Star, but he had experienced a serious knee injury before ever suiting up for the Knicks. New York hoped that McDyess would be able to remain healthy and contribute to the team. That, unfortunately for all involved, did not happen. McDyess was unable to stay on the court while with the Knicks and he played in only 18 games before he and the team parted ways. While McDyess did have success with other teams after he left New York, he was never again quite the same player.
12 Michael Sweetney
Michael Sweetney was once the ninth overall pick of a NBA Draft class (2003). We had to look it up to make sure we hadn't remembered/read wrong. Sweetney battled weight issues throughout his NBA career and he made only 42 appearances with the Knicks during his rookie season. Not only did Sweetney burn the Knicks while he was on the team's roster. He was part of the deal that resulted in Eddy Curry (more on him later) becoming part of the Knicks, meaning that Sweetney managed to haunt the team that drafted him years after he left town.
11 Micheal Ray Richardson
Micheal Ray Richardson actually showed talent and promise after the Knicks selected him fourth overall in the 1978 NBA Draft. The Knicks gave up on Richardson before the 1982 NBA season, though, and Richardson had stints with the Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets before his NBA career was taken from him in 1986 after he failed multiple drug tests. Richardson claimed that he was a victim of racism, which proved to be ironic by the time March 2007 rolled around. It was then that Richardson, a coach in the Continental Basketball Association, was suspended for making anti-Semitic remarks.
10 Maciej Lampe
Perhaps the Knicks believed that luck had smiled upon them when Maciej Lampe fell down to New York in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft. The Knicks quickly learned, however, why Lampe was not taken by a team in the first round. Lampe was the type of talent who was fine for Summer League games and for preseason action, but he never showed that he had the talent to remain on a NBA roster. The Knicks did not even wait to see Lampe play a second of regular season basketball before the team traded him away in January 2004.
9 Cezary Trybanski
Cezary Trybanski was playing the role of “just a guy” in a trade that allowed the Knicks to acquire what they hoped to be championship pieces in Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway. Trybanski was, in all honestly, barely a guy at all for the Knicks. He failed to earn a single start with the Knicks or with any other NBA team. Trybanski never even shot a field goal while with the club. His time in the NBA was not a complete loss, however, as Trybanski once scored a point against the Houston Rockets. That's something, we suppose, as not everybody scores against a NBA team.
8 Renaldo Balkman
You have to discuss the next two individuals back-to-back when mentioning the worst players in the history of the Knicks. Balkman was selected by the Knicks in the first round of the 2006 NBA Draft and he put up decent numbers during his rookie season. Balkman would never again look like much of a serviceable NBA player, however, and the Knicks parted ways with him in the summer of 2008. The two would meet up again in 2011 thanks to a trade that allowed the Knicks to land Carmelo Anthony, but Balkman was just an afterthought. He was out of the league in in 2012, likely never to return.
7 Mardy Collins
Along with drafting Balkman back in 2006, the Knicks used a first-round pick on Mardy Collins. Collins is remembered by the New York faithful for two reasons: He was a bust as a first-round pick and he was involved in a memorable brawl when members of the Knicks and the Denver Nuggets threw down in December 2006. Collins received a six-game ban for his troubles. That neither Balkman nor Collins worked out for the Knicks is bad enough for New York fans. Knowing that the Knicks could have used those picks on Rajon Rondo/Kyle Lowry and Paul Milisap is a punch to the gut.
6 Eddy Curry
There are some instances when you cannot blame a team for being on the losing end of a trade or a draft pick. This is not one of those times. The Knicks and just about everybody else knew what the team was getting in Eddy Curry when New York traded for him in the fall of 2005: A player who allegedly had heart problems and a man who was not always dedicated to his craft when he was healthy. Curry did not fail to live up to his earned reputation, repeatedly showing up out of shape. There were times during his tenure with the Knicks when it seemed as if jumping was an ask for Curry.
5 Luc Longley
It may be a bit harsh to include Luc Longley on this list. Longley was, after all, damaged goods and only one season away from being out of the NBA because of ankle problems when he was traded to the Knicks in the summer of 2000. Longley does not make this list just because of lackluster play and because he was part of a deal that handcuffed the Knicks in free agency because of salary cap restrictions. It was the trade involving Longley and several others that saw New York legend Patrick Ewing get shipped out west to the Seattle SuperSonics. Ewing should have retired as a member of the Knicks.
4 Stephon Marbury
Remember when Stephon Marbury was a bright spot for the USA Basketball team of the 2004 Summer Olympics that failed to win Gold? That right there was probably the high point of Marbury's playing days after he was traded to the Knicks. Talent, or a lack thereof, has nothing to do with Marbury being on this list. Marbury is one of the worst players in the history of the New York Knicks because he was a headache who was never worth the trouble. Marbury's publicized feud with coach Larry Brown resulted in Brown's dismissal. Mike D'Antoni refused to put up with Marbury's antics, however, and Marbury ended his NBA career with the Boston Celtics.
3 Jordan Hill
There is an old adage in sports that a team should wait at least three entire seasons before giving up on a first-round pick. The Knicks clearly did not believe that was necessary with Jordan Hill. Hill was selected eighth overall by the Knicks in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft and he was then traded before the February 2010 deadline. While dumping Hill did free up salary cap space, that positive does not erase the fact that the Knicks could have used the Hill draft pick on DeMar DeRozan, Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday or any other player who could have given more than a handful of months of service to the club.
2 Jerome James
Whenever you hear an analyst for any sport warn about a team signing a player who happened to get hot during a “contract year,” think of what Jerome James did for – and to – the Knicks. James put up decent numbers during the 2005 NBA Playoffs and New York czar Isaiah Thomas thought it wise to give James a contract that was worth $30 million. It was not wise at all, in fact, as James proved himself to be worth maybe a fraction of that amount of money. When James was not out of shape and missing practices, he was averaging all of three points per game.
1 Dontae' Jones
It would be understandable if you expected to see Jerome James occupy the top spot on a list of the worst players in the history of the New York Knicks. While James was certainly a letdown considering the amount of money that the Knicks paid him, at least he contributed something to the team. That is more that can be said for Dontae' Jones. Jones is the ultimate “never-was” in the history of the Knicks in that the first-round pick did not play a second of meaningful basketball for the team. A foot injury made him a spectator early into his career, and Jones was then shipped off to the Boston Celtics before he did anything of note as a member of the Knicks. What a waste of a pick.