A dear friend of The NBA Mistress, @Klew24, a devoted, but cynical New York Knicks fan; he has been gracious enough to contribute a season preview.
2011-12 Results: 36-30, second in Atlantic. Lost in East quarterfinals to Miami.
ADDITIONS: G Raymond Felton, G Ronnie Brewer, G Jason Kidd, C Marcus Camby, F Kurt Thomas, F Rasheed Wallace, G Pablo Prigioni
The Knicks got a lot older in the offseason. In a sense they got better, but is the improvement anything of note? I don’t think adding a bunch of grizzled, old veterans (insert AARP joke here) will do anything to significantly boost the team’s fortunes. I’m still pissed that they wasted time going back to Raymond Felton but this piece isn’t for bellyaching, as I already wrote one for this site for that very reason.
Mike Woodson is back for his first full season as Knicks coach much to my chagrin. Basically, what I have against Mike Woodson is absolutely loathing proven mediocrity. Now I admittedly don’t have a realistic replacement I would have wanted off the top of my head. But if the Knicks would have hired an up and coming assistant from somewhere I’d be a lot more excited about it. Between Woodson’s unimaginative offense and his teams consistently getting ran out of the gym come playoff time, I really didn’t want him back. But now that he’s here and leading the team, let’s discuss the 2012-13
As far as the Knicks this season, they should be a better team. They have upgraded immensely at the PG spot when you talk about the starters and backups. Raymond Felton, while I am not a big fan, is a guy who is at least competent. Jason Kidd, albeit an almost finished version, can contribute setting up guys for open looks and on the boards. The veteran leadership from Kidd cannot be overlooked either. Why the Knicks signed Kidd for THREE years is beyond me, but he can contribute to this squad even if it is more intangible than tangible. After all, I’d rather have a blind schizophrenic play PG for me instead of Toney Douglas. Pablo Prigioni looks like he can play as well. Point guard shouldn’t be an issue for the Knicks this season as that position is the most improved this season from last season’s roster.
I’m not sure the timetable on Iman Shumpert’s recovery but they essentially replaced him with Ronnie Brewer to start the season. I would have preferred the Knicks get someone who can spread the floor with that money, but a potential lineup featuring a frontcourt of Chandler/Melo/Brewer is nice if Mike Woodson decides to go that route. One thing that Brewer brings to the table on the offensive end is that he is a really good cutter. He will make you pay for ignoring him or falling asleep on the defensive end of the floor. JR Smith is one of the most frustrating players who I’ve ever watched play for the Knicks. The talent is there but he has no discipline whatsoever, and he can shoot you out of a game in a flash. But he does provide some sorely needed outside shooting on a team that generally lacks it. As much of a headache as JR Smith is, you can do worse as far as sixth men goes. He had a bad year last season, but with a full offseason under his belt his shooting numbers should regress back to the mean.
Amar’e Stoudemire is already hurt as he has a “left knee injury”. Knowing the Knicks, something that is allegedly supposed to keep him out for two weeks will keep him out for a year. Either way, Amar’e is a good player but one that doesn’t defend a lick or rebound. And the frontcourt of Stoudemire, Carmelo, and Chandler hasn’t produced good results. In short, if Stoudemire is out as long as I think he’ll be (the season or close to it, don’t ever believe anything the Knicks training staff tells you), I think It could be a blessing in disguise for the Knicks. That would force Carmelo into the four spot, where he flourished last season, and eliminate the general clumsiness of the frontcourt.
Carmelo Anthony, since forcing his way here, has become a lightning rod for discussion amongst basketball fans everywhere. Some think he’s fine as is, some think he needs to improve, some think he can do no right, some think he can do no wrong. Carmelo is a good basketball player, who’s effort at times leaves a lot to be desired and who’s physical condition starting, during and ending last season was an absolute joke. He is the most diverse scorer in the game of basketball and he can rebound, but he doesn’t bring anything else to the table except the occasional defensive effort that makes you want to run into a wall head first. Do I think Carmelo will make good on his words that he’ll worry more about being well-rounded and less about dropping 25-30 points a night? Who knows?
I don’t even mind that he shoots a lot because really the Knicks need him to as the offensive otherwise but I’d just appreciate if he just cut down on the “Hold and stare” tactics. Either shoot it, make a move to the basket, pass and cut or something. The “Stand, hold, stand some more” stuff gets old after a while, especially when it leads to an unnecessary contested shot. He’ll rebound, he’ll score, and the Knicks were a top 5 defense even with him loafing on that end last season (thank the heavens for Tyson Chandler). Carmelo needs to be a better leader and it starts on the defensive end of the floor. Effort often is contagious. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will really change with him. And even more unfortunately I don’t think it matters what he does because this team isn’t build for big success (ie being a contender for a championship). In a sense, the Knicks are now the Hawks northeast. The Knicks are likely a good team that will probably need a heap of breaks to get past the second round. That doesn’t excite fans like myself but the Knicks should be a watchable product this season and they might make it to the second round for the first time since 2000.
Final Prediction: 47-35, 2nd round Loss.