If you are a Knicks fan, you look forward to the new season every year because you feel that this is the year the Knicks will get it together. However, every year they are a big disappointment to all the fans in NY and across the nation. Why is it that the Knicks can never get over the hump? Why did it take them 19 years to finally win the division? Or actually get to the playoffs? Or past the first round? A lot of questions can be asked about this team, but right now we are not about to get into that.
I think one thing that is important to mention is the cost of being the Knicks. Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are the dominant players of the team and have not even played an entire season together, yet they both make over 100 million dollars. That is a lot of money on one team when they can’t even get a full season together. One year Amar’e gashed his arm and had to be out for the remainder of the playoffs, leaving the team standing on one leg. The next year he didn’t play and Melo had to carry the team against the Heat and lost. The year after that, they made it to the second round, but did not get past the Pacers because everyone on the team choked except Melo, Iman Shumpert, and Chris Copeland. Amar’e couldn’t play that many minutes because of his knees. JR Smith thought he was the best player on the court, but shot miserably from the field.
This is a new year with new people and a healthy Melo, who had previously been injured during a Celtics faceoff when KG tried to rip his shoulder out of the socket. This group has a set of skills and abilities that, when used correctly, can make them the champions everyone expects them to be. The Knicks have traded Steve Novak to the Raptors and Chris Copeland has signed with the Pacers (what a blow that was). But the biggest upset was Jason Kidd leaving to become a coach for the Brooklyn Nets. They have the rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. and picked up a dominant defensive man, Metta World Peace. They got another shooter, Andrea Bargnani, who can spread the floor for Melo to work down low where he is unstoppable. I want to speak about the skills that J.R Smith brings to the team, but that man can’t stay out of trouble or he picks the wrong times to want to club (during the playoffs). He only steps up when they need him the most during the regular season. He takes those fades instead of going to the rack every time like he can, but he seems oblivious to this fact even when going through an 82 game season. Raymond Felton is a good point guard, but when the 4th quarter comes he begins to get arrogant, selfish, and shoots the ball at the wrong times (when it’s time to give the ball to the superstar and not take shots that are uncalled for). The best guard on the team right now is Iman Shumpert and he is a beast. Shumpert can come down the court on offense and defense and gives 100% at all times. He can pull up from anywhere on the court and does not have a problem taking it to the paint. They picked up a great point guard in Ben Udrich, who can dish the rock and is a veteran in the game. He can also help out the young guards. We also can’t forget about Pablo Prigioni, a great guard in the league with good defense.
This year can be the year for the NY Knicks. Carmelo, Bargnani, Hardaway Jr, K-Mart, Chandler, World Peace, Prigioni and Shumpert. Those 8 players have what it takes to help this team become a dominant East team. They have the defense in Shumpert, Prigioni, Chandler, K-Mart and World Peace. They have the offense in Melo, Shumpert, Bargnani and Hardaway. The reason I didn’t put Melo in the defensive conversation is because that is why they picked up World Peace. They are trying to take some of the pressure off of Melo so he can focus on dominating on the offensive end, but don’t get me wrong, Melo can play defense when he puts his mind to it.
The Nets, Heat, Pacers, and Bulls are the only teams standing in their way, but they are the reasons why the Knicks get no respect from anyone on ESPN. Only Spike Lee and Stephen A. Smith give them the benefit of the doubt, well sometimes Stephen A. because he is stuck on the Heat, but he is a fan at heart. If you look at every other team in the East, they have the best chance of making it past all of those teams. Shumpert can guard any guard in the league from Rose to Joe Johnson to D-Wade. World Peace is on the team for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s to guard LeBron James to take some of the pressure off of Melo. Tyson is going to be Tyson, and with K-Mart beside him, they are going to wreak some havoc. With those odds you just can’t bet against them, especially if Amar’e comes back one-hundred percent healthy (Lord willing).
How many times can you make it to the playoffs and not get past the 1st and 2nd round? The Knicks have to look at that, feel the hunger deep in their gut, and handle business against the other teams. I know for a fact that they have all the talent to defensively and offensively give a lot of teams problems in the NBA and looking at the teams they have to go against in the East they will only have a problem with the Pacers. They won’t have a problem with the Bulls because they have enough big men to contain Noah and Boozer. They will be able to stick Shumpert on Rose and World Peace will do his job along with Hardaway Jr. The Heat will do what they do and that will not change. Last year the Knicks beat them 3 to 1 anyway so there is no worry about that team even with LBJ, Wade and Bosh. The Nets will have to find a way to get on the same page for the entire season. They will have to figure out who will be the man to take that shot, who won’t, and they all have to mesh together to make it work. For example, Deron Williams can get real stingy at times and that team is full of All Stars and guards just like the Lakers back in 03 with Malone and Payton. The only team that I can see who will give them the biggest test is the Pacers. They have Hibbert who is 7’2 and David West who is a straight up beast in the post. Paul George and Danny Granger will be very good together and the bench they have is very deep this year. But when it comes to the playoffs all that matters is who you come up against in the playoffs and if you can take them out when the time is needed.
That is why I feel that the NY Knicks have the best chance this year to get to the Finals and win it all. There are too many weapons on a team that has great potential especially with Mike Woodson, who is a defensive genius, and he will be able to get this team in shape for the one thing that matters the most. If you look at the talent the Knicks have along with Mike Woodson as the coach, the sky is the limit. The Knicks have a true test this year and they have to pass it with flying colors. They cannot have all this talent again and not use it to their advantage. So, yes the Knicks can win the championship this year as long as they play together as a team and understand that defense wins championships.