November 19, 1995: The newly franchised Vancouver Grizzlies make their first visit to MSG and lose to the New York Knicks 98-93
The 1995-96 season marked the inaugural season for the Vancouver Grizzlies. November 19th marked their first matchup against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. In the 98-93 Knicks victory, Derek Harper led the team with 25 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Patrick Ewing had a double double with 13 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
For the Grizzlies, former Knick Greg Anthony led the team with 18 points and 7 assists. Former Laker Byron Scott came off the bench to score 10 points. Their top draft pick, Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, scored 5 points in 10 minutes.
In addition to the Grizzlies, the Toronto Raptors also joined the NBA and also participated in the expansion draft. Teams could protect 8 players who were under contract or restricted free agents. Neither team could select any unrestricted free agents. However, no team could lose more than one player in the expansion draft. The Knicks protected Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Derek Harper, John Starks, Charlie Ward, Charles Smith, Monty Williams, & Charlie Ward.
The Knicks consequently left Greg Anthony, Doug Christie, Herb Williams unprotected in the expansion draft. For Greg Anthony, the team drafted Charlie Ward in the previous season and made Anthony expendable. While Christie was a promising player, the Knicks thought Charlie Ward & Monty Williams had more potential.
Greg Anthony was the Grizzlies’ 1st pick and spent the next two seasons with the Grizzlies before jumping around the league with the Supersonics & Grizzlies, amongst notable teams.
Additionally, the Grizzlies hired former Knicks coach Stu Jackson to be the general manager. Jackson lasted 5 seasons before accepting a position within the NBA league offices. Jackson’s notable transactions included drafting Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Bibby, & Steve Francis (who eventually forced a trade to the Rockets).