It was picked early in the season that the New York Knicks would go all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the defending champs the Miami Heat. And if you take a look around the East this season, I would more than likely put some money on the Knicks. The Boston Celtics have gotten a little bit older, Ray Allen is now with the Miami Heat, the soap opera known as Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic has finally been cancelled and with that cancellation has gone their chances of playoff run and the Chicago Bulls still has not pretended to mention a start date of their star player Derrick Rose.
Last year the Knicks finished 36-30 and was 7th in the Eastern Conference. But ironically they lost to same team they are predicted to beat this year, the Heat, in the 1st round. Between in fighting, defense problems, age and injuries the Knicks couldn’t keep it together. But that was last year, this year they are off to hot start at 8-1 and on to top that off they have the best defense and are ranked 2nd offensively in the league. The Knicks are actually starting to synchronize this year and play like a well oiled machine.
Carmelo Anthony has become dominant at scoring and is ranked Number 1 among all scorers in the league with an amazing 26.8 points per game. But more noticeable then his score is that he is starting to pass the ball more to his teammates and getting them involved. J.R. Smith has been become inestimable off the bench scoring 18.2 points and 2.2 steals in the last five games, Tyson Chandler’s position on the team as the most steadfast person is holding true, pulling down 7.2 rebounds and hitting .633 from the field, and is now the 4th best in the league. Ronnie Brewer has now with come into his own he ranks 32nd in 3 point shooting with 42.1-percent. And the Knicks have held their opponents to 6.1 fewer points when he is on the court and his defense skills get better every day.
Now with those numbers and the team acting like well a team, a championship shouldn’t be that far off, and maybe even becoming a part of that elite 70 team. But before everyone gets excited and starts filling up the bandwagon we have to remember that it’s early in the season still. Yes the Knicks are off to a great start but this is nothing new to them. They have had starts and have gone all the way to NBA title. But the problem right now is keeping the team together.
Being weeks in and christening them the best ever is a little farfetched. Everything is fine now but what happens when egos start to flair a la Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire? Remember last year co-existing for these two was very little. Not to mention if one key player falls to an injury that will affect the team greatly (can anyone say Kevin Love or Ricky Rubio?) Putting one of these guys on the bench will affect how the team plays as a whole.
And with Anthony, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol playing power forward and center there is something to exploit now if teams start paying attention. One problem they did have was foul trouble. Anthony battled this issue when they played the Grizzles as he was trying to guard Gasol and Randolph in the post. Tyson Chandler and Rasheed Wallace also found foul trouble as well. The constant fouls started putting the team in bad mood and put them out of focus for the rest of that game. Also they are the 2nd worst in the league with rebounds. They are getting out-rebounded by almost five rebounds a game.
And these are important things that need to be looked at. The Knicks have the potential to do something great this year. But before we crown them the champions and say they will have more than
70 wins this year let’s get the past teams like the Heat, Celtics and Nets and if Rose comes back the Bulls. Let’s get them further into the season when bodies are tired. What matters the most is deep into the season, any team can start off hot but the real test comes further down the line when the underdogs come back and the top dogs fall. The Knicks are on top of the world, but remember the mighty do sometimes fall. For now we should enjoy the Knicks game by game and see where they take us.
The Knicks are 7-1 and some zealous writer is already making the comparison to the Quest for 70 team. Let’s calm Knicks fans down a bit but acknowledge they are really hot right now. Note *needing better offense, check who is #1, a little early on for comp to 70 wins.