stephen a. smith
Tori Lynn Schneider | Tallahassee Democrat/USA TODAY NETWORK

Stephen A. Smith is a passionate Knicks fan — or at least he plays one on TV. Smith is the guy ESPN trots out whenever they need someone to rant about the Knicks. Sometimes he goes over the top for the cameras, but other times, he’s not completely wrong. In a recent rant on “First Take” Smith is close to being completely right.

Here’s the full and unedited clip:


Where Stephen A. Smith is Right

Julius Randle is undoubtedly the most disappointing Knick from the 2021-22 season. Although his numbers look decent now that all is said and done, this was a disastrous season for Randle.

Instead of being the engine for his team, Randle was like a governor on a golf cart, limiting the speed at which the Knicks could travel. He beefed with everyone from the media to opposing players to Knicks fans.

Grow up or get out of town.

Smith hits the nail on the head with RJ Barrett too. Despite the constant comparisons to Ja Morant and Darius Garland, Barrett is a draft success story. Keep building around him.

As for the Leon Rose bit, Smith is right again. Would a few media appearances each year kill Rose? No. Would it ever result in something worthwhile for reporters and fans? Also no.

There is no doubt that Rose would hold his poker face during a media session with the Knicks beat. It’s clear that he’s a guy who knows how to play the media game from his previous career as an NBA agent.

However, that’s not the point here. No one is more responsible than Leon Rose for this disappointing season. He’s at the top of the food chain when it comes to running the New York Knicks. Why should everyone else in the organization have to answer questions from the media and fans when Rose is free to retreat into the shadows?

It’s a lack of accountability on his part, even if those media sessions wouldn’t amount to much more than a few vanilla quotes.

There are tons of Knicks fans out there who could not care less about Rose’s interactions with the media, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s leaving players and coaches out to dry.

Where Stephen A. Smith is Wrong

Could James Dolan push for Rose to be a little more transparent and available to the media and fans? Sure, but that’s not enough of a reason to call Dolan a “petulant child” as SAS does here.

Let’s go the other way with this. Dolan’s hands-off approach is what fans have been asking for since the Isiah Thomas days. To his credit, he’s stepped away (for the most part) since the hiring of Phil Jackson. He doesn’t need to be front and center. Leon Rose does.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.