A lot of great players leave their longtime teams towards the end of their career. Michael Jordan on the Wizards, Brady in Tampa, Pippen on the Trailblazers, and for Knicks fans, it’s Ewing in a different jersey. Ewing was a household name in the 90’s, especially anywhere in New York. Patrick Ewing played fifteen seasons in the big apple, and did quite well. In 1039 games played for the Knicks, he averaged 22.8 PPG, 2.7 BPG, 10.4 RPG, and made the NBA All-Star game eleven times. He was also rookie of the year in 1986, and is in the basketball Hall Of Fame. Ewing’s career in New York was incredible despite only making the NBA Finals once, but it was so good the Knicks have retired #33 for the big man. So after such a storied career, why were his last two seasons so forgettable?
In the offseason of 2000, the Knicks traded Patrick Ewing to Seattle and Chris Dudley to Phoenix, and received Glen Rice, Luc Longley, Travis Knight, Vladimir Stepania, Vernon Maxwell, Lazaro Borrell, two first round draft picks, and two second round picks. A huge haul for the hall of famer, on paper at least. Patrick Ewing joined his new team, and played an impressive 79 games, starting in all 79 of them. The 38 year old center played his 2nd lowest minutes per game of his career, playing only 26.7 minutes per game. He also only scored 9.6 PPG, his second lowest PPG of his career, 1.2 BPG, and only 7.4 RPG. This season was also his lowest FG% over a season for his career, shooting only 43% from the field. In the first ten games of the season, the SuperSonics lost seven of them. They started 6-9, getting their head coach Paul Westphal fired while doing so. They bounced back, finishing with a record of 44-38, but barely missing the playoffs. Gary Payton made the All-Star game and rookie Desmond Mason won the dunk contest while Patrick Ewing stayed home over the break. Patrick Ewing was 38 and was playing more of a limited role, but is should’ve ended right here, and it did not.
Patrick Ewing signed with the Orlando Magic in the offseason, having to fight for minutes with Horace Grant, a fight in which he lost. Ewing recorded a career low in PPG with only 6 PPG, playing only 13.9 MPG. Ewing also played in 65 games, but only starting in 4 of the games. He had career lows in PPG, BPG, SPG, APG, RPG, all around having the worst season of his career. The once defensive powerhouse was a shell of his former self in Orlando. This team shockingly went 44-38, just like the Sonics did a year prior, good enough for the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference in the post-Jordan Bulls era. The Magic got bounced out of the playoffs in the first round in four games, losing 1-3 to the Charlotte Hornets. Patrick Ewing thankfully retired after that season, and that was a wrap for Ewing.
Post Knicks Ewing played in 144 games, starting in 83 of them. He averaged 20.3 minutes per game on the two teams, averaging 7.8 PPG, .9 BPG, 5.7 RPG, and a worse shooting stat compared to any of his Knicks seasons. Ewing after the Knicks was god awful, and is always forgotten for playing after the Knicks. After the Knicks, it’s better to only talk about his coaching career, and this is a story better forgotten.