Saturday, January 14, 2012

"The Knicks Are Back"...Almost

So here's the thing, I've been a huge Knicks fan for a very, very long time. I was convinced they could be a playoff team ever since Stephon Marbury was running the show, Jamal Crawford chucked, and chucked and chucked AND since Nate Robinson fought JR Smith.

Now, things in New York are a little different. The beginning of the 2010-2011 season began with the failure to sign LeBron James-but also with the success of signing Amar'e Stoudemire. The departure of fan favorite David Lee left fans upset but it was just the first sign of change to come in the Big Apple. The team had definitely improved and Amar'e was surrounded by young talent with loads of potential.

THEN the Knicks decided to acquire Carmelo Anthony midseason for 4 players, 3 of those were starters. Now, was I against this trade? I was a little-then I realized that the Knicks just got one of the top 5 scorers in the league. So although I would miss Wilson "Will the Thrill" Chandler, Daniloooooo Gallinari, Raymond "I'm a great PG for the Knicks" Felton and even Timofey Mozgov (no nickname, he spells Timothy with an "f"), I was definitely excited to watch Melo and Mr. Big Shot-Chauncey Billups- run the show along with Amar'e in the Garden.

This season, a ton of hype has surrounded the, thus far, disappointing Knickerbockers. They made a huge grab in signing Tyson Chandler but also gave up A TON in amnestying Chauncey Billups. This left the team without a true point guard, which is essential when running Mike D'Antoni's run and gun offense. With Baron Davis now on board, the Knicks have promise but there is no tell to when he'll be healthy enough to contribute big minutes.

This offense, along with this coach, has to go. I appreciate all that Mike D'Antoni has done. He was the first "big name" to come to NY (along with former GM Donnie Walsh) in order to try and resurrect a team that was dead in the water for years. But, it seems every time the team begins to play well or understand this style of basketball (...ahem no defense), there has to be a trade or something that disrupts the chemistry of the team. Half of the time I watch the Knicks, they watch guys drive the lane and score on them on defense and then chuck up the first shot they see on offense. In Phoenix, this style worked perfectly frankly because they had a hall of fame point guard in Steve Nash who could dish and hit threes like it was nothing. Without a truly great point guard, this offense cannot work. You cannot depend on hitting 12 three-pointers a night while putting zero defensive effort in. I honestly don't understand it. I'm a 6 foot tall, white, Jewish kid and I think I play better defense than Carmelo Anthony. It blows my mind. Knicks fans historically have watched a team that focused on toughness and defense. It's always nice to have some high powered offensive weapons, but the Knicks must get a coach who puts much more emphasis on the defensive end of the ball.

Aside from the coaching, the Knicks bench is pathetic this year. Let's look. They have Mike Bibby who for some reason, doesn't remember how to shoot-which is all he can do. They have Renaldo Balkman who has improved but always looks like he's on something. Toney Douglas has gone completely backwards ever since being named the starting point guard earlier this year....and then losing the spot to a rookie. Jared Jeffries is still the worst offensive player in the league and has been injured all season. Steve Novak....who? Jeremy Lin went to Harvard so he'll probably be doing a lot more studying than playing basketball. Jerome Jordan is 7' tall and doesn't play at all so he must not be too good. The lone bright spots have been Bill Walker who has been consistently average and the two rookies Iman Shumpert and Josh "Jorts" Harrellson. You can't rely on one back up guard and two rookies off the bench. This team either needs a coaching change or ANOTHER roster (bench) shake up. It's really sad how over the past few years, the only player the Knicks have been able to hold onto is Jared Jeffries...really, really unfortunate.

Despite all the hype, and my confidence when this team actually has a hot shooting game, this Knicks team is far from a championship contender. Will that change? Hopefully. But, without the necessary changes, they will remain a slightly above average team with first round playoff potential. Once a new coach is brought in, I can definitely see huge improvement. But for now, I will be spending my evenings watching the New York Knicks and praying that they play some good enough basketball to lead them into the playoffs.

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