The New York Knicks have been a basketball franchise since 1946. Since that time, they have 42 playoff appearances, and two NBA championships which were won in 1970 and 1973. There have been many players that have graced the Knicks uniform over the years, and some will forever be etched in the minds of Knicks fans for the greatness they exhibited on the court.
Here is a list of the top 10 Knicks in team history. To make the list, the player has to have played at least four seasons with the Knicks which guys such as Walt Bellamy and Bob McAdoo did not reach. Of course, this is a matter of opinion, and there will never be any right answer to the question.
Honorable mentions (all stats are as a member of the Knicks):
Charles Oakley: 10 seasons, 10.4 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game, 1.2 steals per game
Mark Jackson: 6.5 seasons, 11.1 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, 8.0 assists per game, 1.4 steals per game
Dick McGuire: 8 seasons, 8.0 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 5.7 assists per game, 5 All-Star appearances, inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993
Dick Barnett: 9 seasons, 15.6 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, member of 1970 and 1973 championship teams
Harry Gallatin: 9 seasons, 12.7 points per game, 12.1 rebounds per game, 7 All-Star appearances, inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991
John Starks: 8 seasons, 14.1 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game, 4.0 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, Knicks all-time leader with 982 made three-pointers
Latrell Sprewell: 5 seasons, 17.9 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game, 1.3 steals per game
Carl Braun: 12 seasons, 14.1 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game, 3.7 assists per game, 5 All-Star appearances
10. Allan Houston
Knicks career: 9 seasons, 18.5 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game, 39.9% three-point shooting, 87.2% free-throw shooting
Allan Houston’s career unfortunately ended prematurely due to persistent knee troubles, but not before he took part in nine seasons as a member of the Knicks. Houston helped lead the Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals, as the Knicks became the first (and still the only) eight seed to make it that far.
Houston’s most iconic moment was in the first round of the playoffs that year against the Miami Heat. In Game 5, with the Knicks trailing by one with less than five seconds, Houston shot a 15-foot runner that hit the front of the rim, then the backboard, before falling through the net in what was the series-ending shot.
Houston made two All-Star games in his Knicks tenure, and his 921 made three-pointers rank second in team history, only behind John Starks. One of the best shooters in franchise history, his three-point shot became more lethal in the postseason, where he shot 43.1% from behind the arc in 60 career Knick playoff games.
Houston’s 11,165 points as a member of the Knicks rank fourth in team history.
9. Richie Guerin
Knicks career: 7 seasons, 20.1 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 5.3 assists per game
Richie Guerin was a member of early Knicks teams from the late 1950’s-early 1960’s, so he is not often talked about when the greatest Knicks of all-time are brought up. Despite being a member of Knicks teams that struggled, Guerin was one of the better players in the league at the time.
Before there were guys such as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, there was Richie Guerin, a guy who could fill up the box score with points, rebounds, and assists. Four times Guerin averaged over 20 points per game, including a career high 29.5 in the 1961-62 season.
Guerin was a member of six All-Star teams as a Knick, and three times was named to the All-NBA Second Team. Three times Braun finished in the top 10 in scoring in the NBA as a Knick, and six times he finished in the top 10 in assists.
Guerin’s 10,392 points as a Knick ranks sixth on the franchise list, while his 2,725 assists rank fifth. Guerin was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
8. Bill Bradley
Knicks career: 10 seasons, 12.4 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, 3.4 assists per game
Nothing about Bill Bradley’s career stats will jump out and make one believe he should be on this list. Bradley’s game was about much more than stats though. Bradley was the quintessential team player on a Knicks team that exemplified unselfish team play.
Bradley sacrificed statistics for wins, as he had already proven to be one of the best players while at Princeton University. Bradley was a member of both Knicks championship teams in 1970 and 1973.
Hall of Fame voters looked past the stats as well, as Bradley was inducted in 1983. His 742 career games as a Knick rank third in team history, and his 9,217 points rank ninth. “Dollar” Bill Bradley has his number 24 jersey hanging high in the rafters at Madison Square Garden.
7. Carmelo Anthony
Knicks career: 4.5 seasons (and counting), 26.1 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game, 3.1 assists per game, 37.9% 3-point shooting
Carmelo Anthony was acquired from the Denver Nuggets in a trade in 2011. Since then, he has consistently been one of the best scorers in the NBA with the Knicks, including when he took home the scoring title in the 2012-13 season when he averaged 28.7 points per game.
Anthony finished third in MVP voting in the 2012-13 season. He has been a member of the Eastern Conference All-Star team in all four of his full Knick seasons. He is signed for at least three more years, meaning there is still plenty of time for Anthony to move up the all-time Knick greats list.
Anthony has the Knicks record for most points in a single game when he scored 62 points in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats on January 24, 2014.
6. Bernard King
Knicks career: 4 seasons, 26.5 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 54.3% field goal shooting
Before there was Carmelo Anthony, there was Bernard King, who is the player Anthony often says he models his game after.
King was a scorer who could not be stopped, as he led the league in scoring in the 1984-85 season averaging 32.9 points per game. Unfortunately that season was injury-shortened after 55 games, as he tore his ACL.
King missed the entire 1985-86 season, and appeared in just six games the following season. The Knicks did not look to re-sign him, weary of whether he could return to his previous form, so he moved on to the Washington Bullets where he regained his All-Star form.
While King’s Knicks career wasn’t lengthy, it was definitely memorable. He finished second in MVP voting in the 1983-84 season, and seventh in his injury-shortened 1984-85 season. He was a member of two All-Star teams with the Knicks.
King was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
5. Earl Monroe
Knicks career: 9 seasons, 16.2 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game
After spending four seasons with the Baltimore Bullets, Earl Monroe moved on to the Knicks where many wondered if he would be able to share the backcourt with Walt Frazier.
The experiment was definitely a success, as now both players have their jerseys hanging in Madison Square Garden’s rafters.
Much like Bradley, Monroe sacrificed some of the offensive numbers that he put up with the Bullets in order to fit in with the Knicks unselfish play. Monroe was a member of the 1973 championship Knicks team, and made two All-Star teams as a Knick. Twice he averaged at least 20 points per game.
Monroe was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. His 9,679 points as a Knick place him seventh in team history.
4. Dave DeBusschere
Knicks career: 5.5 seasons, 16.0 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, 3.1 assists per game
After spending 6.5 seasons with the Detroit Pistons, Dave DeBusschere was traded to the Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives.
DeBusschere may have been the missing piece for the Knicks, as he became a member of both Knicks championship teams. DeBusschere was one of the best defenders in the NBA in his time with the Knicks, as he made the All-Defensive First Team in all five of his full Knick seasons. He was also named to the All-Star all five seasons, and averaged a double-double in points and rebounds all five seasons.
DeBusschere was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983. His 4,671 rebounds as a Knick rank seventh in team history.
3. Willis Reed
Knicks career: 10 seasons, 18.7 points per game, 12.9 rebounds per game
Willis Reed was involved in what is widely known as the most iconic moment in Knicks franchise history. Reed suffered a torn muscle in his right thigh in Game 5 of the 1970 NBA Finals, and nobody expected him to play again in the series. In Game 7, much to the Los Angeles Lakers disbelief, Reed walked onto the court prior to the game beginning. Reed won the opening tip, scored the Knicks first two baskets, and the Knicks went on to win their first of two NBA championships.
Reed is still the only Knick to win an MVP award, which he won during that same 1969-70 season. He also won the Finals MVP that season, as well as winning the Finals MVP in the Knicks 1973 championship season.
Reed made the All-Star team in each of his first seven seasons, was named to the All-NBA First Team once, and was named to the All-NBA Second Team four times. He finished second in MVP voting in the 1968-69 season, and fourth in the 1970-71 season.
Reed’s 12,183 points as a Knick rank third in team history, his 8,414 rebounds rank second, and his 650 games rank eighth. Reed was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.
2. Walt Frazier
Knicks career: 10 seasons, 19.3 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists per game
The man simply known by many as “Clyde”, Walt Frazier is one of the best point guards in NBA history, and a member of both Knicks championship teams. While most people remember Reed walking onto the court in Game 7 of the 1970 Finals, they shouldn’t forget the insane numbers Frazier put up to help them win the game: 36 points, 19 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Not only was Frazier a magician with the ball, he was a superb two-way player as he was named to six consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Teams. He also was named to the All-NBA First Team four times, and finished top seven in MVP voting three times. He made seven All-Star games as a member of the Knicks.
Frazier’s 14,617 points as a Knick rank second in franchise history, his 4,791 assists rank first, and his 759 games rank second. “Clyde” was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.
1. Patrick Ewing
Knicks career: 15 seasons, 22.8 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 2.7 blocks per game, 50.8% field goal shooting
Some may argue that Frazier or Reed should be number one because they have won championships with the Knicks. It should also be noted that those two had help from Hall of Fame teammates, something Patrick Ewing did not have during the duration of his Knicks career.
Ewing appeared in 11 All-Star games as a member of the Knicks, and finished in the top five in MVP voting six times. Playing in an era that included other great centers such as Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and later Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning, Ewing stood his ground and is known as one of the best centers in NBA history.
Ewing made the All-NBA First Team once, the All-NBA Second Team six times, and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team three times. Ewing was one of the rare guys in NBA history that could make a 15-foot fadeaway jump shot on one end of the court, and block a shot into the fifth row on the other end. Ewing is widely known as one of the best jump-shooting centers the NBA has seen.
Ewing holds nearly every major Knicks record: 23,665 points, 10,759 rebounds, 1,039 games, 2,758 blocks, and 1,061 steals. Ewing was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.