The Knicks cleared up any concerns they had about Cuttino Mobley's heart condition at a physical Tuesday, which means that the three players acquired for Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph will all be in uniform for the game against the Cavaliers. It's fitting, of course, that Mobley, Al Harrington and Tim Thomas -- let's call them the Three Spaceholders -- should be making their orange and blue debut against LeBron James.
Putting aside the quest for LeBron 2010 for a moment, let's consider how these three players will help the Knicks avoid another 23-win season. Harrington can play power forward or center in a small lineup and should be comfortable playing in a fast-moving style after playing for Don Nelson at Golden State. Of course, he and Nelson got along like oil and water, which led to Harrington asking for a trade, but at least he's familiar with that style of play.
There's no way he'll replace Randolph's board production, and that will likely be a real weak spot for the Knicks this season. They weren't a great rebounding team with Z-Bo, now they'll be a bad one. Mobley will replace Crawford and will be an upgrade on the perimeter defensively. He'll need to be, since Crawford is a much better scorer than Mobley, whose skills as a post-up scorer won't be utilized in D'Antoni's system.
Knicks fans likely remember Thomas from his previous stint with the team. The memories aren't fond, but Thomas did play well during a brief tour with the Suns during the 2005-06 season. In a way, that's the best vote for the new-look Knicks making D'Antoni's pledge of competitive basketball stand up. The system is more important than the individual skills of the players, and if the Knicks win it will be because the system leads them.