I've never been a fan of Lenny Wilkens as a coach. He may have won more games than any other coach in NBA history, but he also lost more games than any other coach. Fact is, he just COACHED more games than anyone else. And while he may have won more than he lost, a record of 1,332-1,155 really isn't all that impresive.
And he wasn't working out as the coach of the Knicks. This is a coach who lost his team in the last two places he coached, and was on the verge of losing the Knicks. Wilkens teams seem to underachieve on a regular basis, and a team of career underachievers such as the knicks were bound to do perform unimpressively under his watch.
The Knicks have the talent to go to the playoffs, and even win a round. They have a very talented backcourt, made up of two highly gifted players with very problematic personalities – Marbury and Crawford. In Tim Thomas, they have a super-talented small forward who may be headed to that special Hall of No-Fame reserved for soft and underachieving players. The right coach (errr… Larry Brown? I can't think of anyone else) may be able to get TT to play to his talent, but I'd prefer the knicks benched him in favor of rookie Trevor Ariza, or trade him to some team stupid enough to believe his athletic skill will help them despite his softness and unwillingness to step up. Kurt Thomas is a decent power forward, but he's losing his edge, and would be better used as a backup to talented second year player Mike Sweetney. Nazr Mohammed is a solid center in a league that is very short on centers.
With Marbury, Crawford, Ariza, Sweetney, and Mohammed in the lineup, and Kurt Thomas, sharp shooter Allan Houston, and Tim Thomas on the bench, the knicks have a unit that, if motivated, could win quite a few games in the weak East. It would be a smallish team, but a fast and athletic team that could play the game the way the Suns play it – fast, hellblazing, energetic. They wouldn't be nearly as good as the suns, who have superior players in four of five positions (Crawford is more talented than Suns guard Joe Johnson, but is a wilder and less mature player), but they're playing in a much weaker division.
Herb Williams was named interim coach. I like Herb. This is a player who was retained on the knicks long after his physical talents have been depleted, because his voice in the locker room was so important. He's a smart guy, and a tough guy. Who knows, he may work out as a regular coach. But personally, I'd like to see the Knicks hire another former Knick – currently retired/free agent Mark Jackson. Jackson was a smart, smart player. And as a former point guard (and a great one at that), he could make the move to head coach fairly easily. He could really help Marbury learn to use his incredible gifts to become a better point guard. And I think he'd be a great fit in New York.
Of course, I'm biased. I became a Knicks fan during Jackson's rookie season in 1987, when he burst into the league with his amazing passing, and was named Rookie of the Year. Even after the Knicks foolishly pushed him out of favor for Rod Strickland (and later Maurice Cheeks), I remained a fan, and followed his career with great affection.