The New York Knicks enter the 2013-2014 season with a similar approach as they did this past season. Lots of optimism, a star-studded front-court, and a salary cap conflict, with over payed, aging stars.
But this year, there is good reasoning behind all of the expectations made by the love/hate Knick fans. Carmelo won the scoring title. They made it past the first round. And although the Knicks were eventually knocked out in round two against the tougher Indiana Pacers, the Knicks showed what they were capable of by capturing the Atlantic Division with 54 wins.
Adding to their back-court with the first-round selection of Tim Hardaway Jr., will only help as the Knicks look to bulk up their roster with youth, as well as depth. A back-court containing Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, and Hardaway Jr. has a good mix of youth, with the exception of now 36-year-old Prigioni, and depth. With a front-court headlining Carmelo Anthony, the newly acquired Italian big man Andrea Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire, Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks, on paper, look fantastic. The past two seasons however, have left a sour taste in the mouths of Knick fans as the two-star tandem of ‘Melo and Amar’e has yet to work while both are on the court. The Knicks are 38-38 with Stoudemire and 52-20 without him. Stoudemire’s bum knees have, and will continue to haunt the team as Amar’e is still due just over $45M these next two seasons.
If Amar’e remains healthy for the 2013-14 campaign, don’t expect the 2010 STAT that Knick fans fell in love with. 13 points on twenty minutes of floor time sounds like a safe bet for what Amar’e will be able to produce coming off the bench. It will be interesting to see how Coach Woodson spreads the minutes between Bargnani and Stoudemire, as they both have severely regressed over their past couple of injury-plagued seasons. Expect Bargnani to receive more of the minutes however, until Amar’e proves in his diminutive amount of minutes, that he deserves more time on the floor.
Expect excitement. It’s the Garden. The Big Apple. Full of fans that will rip you apart for your failures, see Eddy Curry and Isaiah Thomas, and worship you for your presence. After all, Jeremy Lin could have ran for Mayor of New York during the climax of “Linsanity” and been tough competition for Bloomberg after just twenty-six games of display.
Expect the Knicks-Nets rivalry to temporarily become the best rivalry in the NBA. Once the Celtics and Lakers become more respectable with their rosters, they will re-take the lead in rivalry discussions. However until then, the most talked about rivalry will take place front and center in the heart of New York. The additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and AK-47 (Andrei Kirilenko) make Brooklyn very intimidating as their core of Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams format what looks to be the best starting-5 in basketball.
Expect the Knicks to live and die by the three, but have success once again. Even while trading away their top 3-point threat, Steve Novak, Mr. Discount Double-Check’s absence will not effect the Knicks’ beyond the arc shooting too much as guys like Carmelo, JR, and the new guy Bargnani will work together to fill in for his departure.
Expect the Knicks to make it out of the first round again as the third or fourth seed, but face similar toughness struggles deeper down the road in the playoffs. Unless someone not named Carmelo Anthony steps up big time, or Andrea Bargnani averages 20 and 10 off the bench, don’t expect to see this squad in the Conference Finals.
But do expect Carmelo Anthony to leave the Knicks in the Summer of 2014.
Article by: Ryan Manley