Even if he accomplishes nothing else in his career, Toney Douglas has earned a spot in an exclusive fraternity that holds its meetings in the dark recesses of the minds of Knicks fans. Leading two straight road wins after answering the loud calls for increased minutes is all Douglas needs to confirm his place among the Knicks Who Came From The Shadows To Lead Us Into The Light.
Once inside the hallowed halls, you'll meet Jackie Butler, who parlayed a couple of good months into a deal with the Spurs and obsolesence. Over in the corner is Qyntel Woods, who briefly made it seem like he'd be famous for something other than being a dog lover on par with Michael Vick. Renaldo Balkman still stops by when the impoverished man's Spree gets a night off from the Denver inactive list. Lee Nailon, DerMarr Johnson, Mike Sweetney and Fred Jones are all somewhere around the place. Trevor Ariza resigned his membership seconds after the Lakers won the title last June.
You've probably picked up on the common thread here, but if it isn't clear let's spell it out for you. These men came to the Knicks by various means and all raised hopes that they'd be part of the resurgence over the last 10 years and each and every one wound up falling way, way short. We knew they were pipe dreams at the time, every one of those players had serious limitations, but hungry men see visions of steaks everywhere they look.
Will Douglas and fellow pledge Bill Walker wind up in that lamentable brotherhood? We certainly hope not but we've been round the block too many times to write it off out of hand.
That doesn't mean we don't watch Douglas play strong defense on the ball and see him as part of a strong supporting cast for the star(s) that loom over the horizon. Or that Walker filling lanes on a break doesn't launch dreams of future fast breaks because they are both happy thoughts that sustain at the end of a losing season. It just means that no one's going to be heartbroken when/if they don't work out.