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'Crown the King!': Former Knick Assesses Current Team's Big Issue

Former New York Knicks Channing Fry feels like the team is missing a crucial ingredient as it enters a hopeful chapter of its perpetual rebuild.

Brace yourselves ... the New York Knicks are coming.

While the Knicks (9-9) have struggled to generate any lasting momentum in the win column, the team's seemingly eternal rebuild has reached an admittedly hopeful stretch headlined by the strong efforts of Jalen Brunson in the first days of his four-year, $104 million contract. While the early returns from Brunson and others have been positive, the Knicks' ceiling appears to be the upper half of the four-team Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. That'd be an undeniable improvement for a team that won only 37 games last season. 

NBA champion Channing Frye knows the secret behind winning basketball and why the Knicks have struggled throughout the new century. He entered the NBA as the eighth pick in the 2005 draft and spent his first two seasons in New York. 

Though Frye performed well, earning first-team All-NBA Rookie honors (alongside Chris Paul and Deron Williams), the Knicks struggled with a roster packed to the brim with name-brand talents like Jamal Crawford, Steven Francis, Stephon Marbury, and Nate Robinson. Frye was eventually dealt to Portland to embark upon a nomadic but lucrative career, eventually winning his championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

Appearing on "Legends Lounge with Trill Withers," Frye warned the modern Knicks that they'll be doomed to repeat the mistakes of his New York teams if they don't appoint a leader to guide the charge. 

“The best way to be good in New York is to pick one leader, one pack leader, and then allow everyone else to fiddle down,” Frye said. “I think if you don’t establish that, you’re causing a lot of chaos in your locker room."

Frye compared the situation to HBO's "Game of Thrones" franchise, namely the eponymous fantasy drama series and its ongoing prequel spin-off "House of the Dragon." 

Both shows center upon characters frequently attempting to take control of the fictional setting of Westeros, often resorting to deadly and backstabbing tactics to reach their endgame. 

Frye obviously hopes the Knicks take far less lethal methods but stressed that it's important to figure out what's going on atop the locker room pecking order. 

"You got uber competitive guys that are like, yo, if they haven’t crowned the king, I’m going for it," Frye declared. "It will be Game of Thrones. Bad teams have House of Dragon situations where I think I’m, I’m the king. You think you’re the king.”

At an average age of 25.02, the Knicks' opening day roster made them the eighth-youngest team in the NBA. The team made some dedication to their younger talents, granting a contract extension to RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, who became the first metropolitan draft picks to earn a contract extension since 1994 arrival Charlie Ward. New York also bestowed a $104 million contract to 26-year-old Jalen Brunson, giving them a younger blueprint to work with. The team has appeared to have taken a leader-by-committee approach, though Brunson recently hinted that RJ Barrett was able to "lead a franchise." 

The Knicks return to action on Friday night when they face the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG). 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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