12 thoughts on the New York Knicks heading into the stretch run of the season. They currently sit 3 games ahead of Brooklyn in the Atlantic Division, tied with Indiana for the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference and 8 games back of the Miami Heat for the #1 seed
1. Considering I don’t own a car anymore since moving into Manhattan (something that is good for everybody in the tri-state area considering my driving ability), I don’t get to listen to the amount of local sports talk radio I used to. However, on a trek back to New Jersey yesterday for family reasons I stumbled across an interesting discussion between Michael Kay and Alan Hahn (I can’t stomach Francesa at this point) – Basically it boiled down to this – Why can’t Knicks fans enjoy this season? This is easily the best team we’ve had in over a decade. A team with the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference, who is winning their division and yet there seems to be a pervading sense of misery and doom around the team because “they just aren’t good enough to beat Miami.”
Kay referred to it as the “Steinbrenner-ization of sports” where anything less than a Championship season is considered an abject failure.
At this point, how could you call this Knicks season anything but an enormous success? Look at their record. Look at their depth. Look how they have played the best teams in the NBA. They blew out Miami twice and lose a tight game to them. They are 2-0 against the San Antonio Spurs. They lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder by 1 point without Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks aren’t an elite team on a night in, night out basis but they more are than capable of hanging with those elite teams and have a very valid argument for being the second best team in their conference.
Who is to say what could happen if they hit on all cylinders in May, with everybody at full health and worked into their most comfortable role? Are you going to curse this season as a bust if they fall to Miami in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals?
It has been a dark period for the Knicks prior to some recent success, enjoy the talent and enjoy the ride.
2. Not sure how Mike Woodson is getting killed for the final shot against OKC last night…He designed a play that got JR Smith the ball on the wing, inside the 3 point line with 6 seconds to work with. It is not his fault that Smith didn’t attack the basket and settled for a difficult jumper.
3. When is Iman Shumpert going to hit a jump shot again? His lack of confidence and productivity is beyond startling at this point. Don’t forget how progressively worse Landry Fields got from his rookie year, to his second year, to his third year.
4. It wouldn’t surprise me if Carmelo Anthony didn’t suit up again tomorrow night at home against Utah. The Knicks need him as close to 100% as possible for their 5 game West Coast swing against Golden State, Denver, Portland, Los Angeles, and Utah. That is a brutal road stretch but one that the Knicks should be able to grab 3 out of 5 on.
5. Good to see Kenyon Martin contributing last night – You could always use that type of defense, rebounding and energy off the bench.
6. How much longer does James White need to stay in the rotation…really?
7. Steve Novak isn’t coming out of the rotation no matter how much people complain. He provides needed floor spacing for Amare Stoudemire and JR Smith on the second line.
8. At this point, the Knicks have basically an equal chance of playing Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta in the first round. Order of preference? – Atlanta, Brooklyn, Boston and then Chicago.
9. You ever wonder why people even bother with the “Knicks are better off without Carmelo argument?” The Knicks without Carmelo Anthony are JR Smith shooting 30 shots a night and handling the ball 85% of the time, if he gets hot you are competitive, if not you are getting blown out.
10. Most people want to see Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni get back into the rotation but at what player’s expense?
11. Most interesting stretch left for the Knicks? March 31st – April 7th: Vs. Boston, At Miami, At Atlanta, Vs. Milwaukee, At Oklahoma City.
12. Knicks need to finish 13-10 to win 50 games this year…more than manageable.