What a Difference a Month Makes

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On February 22, I posted an article comparing the advantages of age and experience versus those of youth and athleticism that has been so applicable to the New York Knicks all season. Now, just one month later, it is time to revisit that debate because in the case of the 2012-2013 Knicks it appears that the issue may be more clear.

To refresh your memory, this Knicks team is the oldest in NBA history, coming into the season with an average age on the roster of 32 years and 240 days. The team’s roster includes, 40-year old forward, Kurt Thomas, 39-year old point guard, Jason Kidd and 38-year olds, center, Marcus Camby and power forward, Rasheed Wallace. Since the beginning of the season the team has gotten even older signing 35-year old Kenyon Martin, the 2000 NBA Draft’s first-overall selection.

During the Knicks 18-5 start to the season there was nobody opposing the decision to bring on so many veterans but then the downfalls of age started to rear its ugly head. Since that hot start, the Knicks have gone barely over .500 with a record of 22-21. They have lost Rasheed Wallace due to season-ending foot surgery and possibly Amar’e Stoudemire due to knee surgery. Tyson Chandler is expected to miss a week with a bulging disc in his spine and Kurt Thomas is expected to be out 2-4 weeks with a chronic stress fracture in his right foot. Although playing, Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby are currently battling annoying issues with their knee and foot, respectively.

A key problem with these Knick injuries is that not only are they numerous they are plaguing almost their entire frontcourt leaving the Knicks interior defense and rebounding to depend on a struggling Marcus Camby and rookie, Chris Copeland.

The Knicks need to figure out a way to overcome these injuries if they are to prevent a team such as the current fourth-place Brooklyn Nets from passing them in the conference standings. Avoiding a finish of fourth place or lower will mean that the Knicks could postpone meeting the Miami Heat in the playoffs until the Eastern Conference Finals.

Although the optimism of some Knicks fans for the remainder of the season may be dwindling due to the injuries to their veterans, there is no need to lose hope. The Knicks are still third in the conference and only a game behind the Indiana Pacers. Chandler will return soon and although the Knicks may not have Stoudemire for the rest of the season their hot start to the season came without him. The Knicks will continue to improve their chemistry and when you have a team that lives and dies by their three-point shooting you never know what could happen in the playoffs if their shooters were to get hot at the right time. If you add the three-point shooting that was present at the beginning of the season on top of a momentum boost from a first-round series win, which the Knicks haven’t done since 2000, you never know what could happen.

There is also something to take solace in for upcoming seasons. Knowledge acquired and experience gained by members of the Knicks who will be on the team for years to come will give them an advantage in the future. Once the Knicks can draft and/or bring in some younger talent to compliment the team’s higher-level players with now better experience, the Knicks could be extremely lethal.

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