The Knicks are emerging as a potential threat not only in the East, but possibly to win it all. It’s not even Christmas yet, so there is plenty of time for ups and downs, but most people are wondering if they are forreal? Will they end up like the 76ers last season and just be a solid team, or can they make the jump like the Mavs did a few years back? I still don’t think the Knicks are the best team in the East as their record says, but I’d be lying if I told you they can’t win it all.
NY has a big time scorer in Melo that can take over ANY series, along with a few other pieces that make them instant contenders. Everyone knows about Chandler and what he can do as a defensive anchor, but Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton have been huge. Kidd is knocking down open threes, but more importantly he is playing very good defense on shooting guards, especially physical guards that like to post up. Meanwhile, Felton has given this offense a boost with penetration and creation, while still having the discipline to slow it down when nothings there and get Melo and JR Smith in good iso spots to score efficiently.
This leaves the question, how do they lose? What is their weakness? With Melo playing the PF spot, his lack of lateral quickness isn’t exposed. Actually, he is much quicker than most 4’s and still doesn’t up a strength advantage. Kidd isn’t chasing quick PGs around now that he’s playing more at the 2, so how is this team not better than the Heat? One word, attitude. Well it’s more than one word, but essentially it will be about the Knicks attitude AFTER Amare comes back.
If you’ve listened to the Celtic-Nation podcast, then you know that I don’t think Amare and Melo can co-exist. They are too much alike to complement each other. Although Wade and LBJ are a lot alike and won a ring, they are 2 of the top 5 players in the entire league (Wade now probably down to top 15). They can try to put these two together by putting Amare at center and Melo at power forward, but then what about Chandler? The ONLY way I see them winning a ring is if Amare changes his attitude, more specifically accepting a new role on the team.
If Amare gets his hardhat and lunch pail and just grinds games out like he’s Anderson Varejao, then the Knicks will be the best team in the NBA, period. Fortunately for us Celtics fans, he won’t. First of all, he’s not as good at being a “Varejao player” as Varejao is. Secondly, his body probably won’t hold up to that kind of play style anymore. That leaves the end result being, the Knicks are better without Amare. Trade him, cut him, bench him, just do something. They simply don’t need him and are actually better off without him. For financial reasons, this is about as likely as Oden starting point guard for the Globetrotters. Not happening.
So we can rest assured that NY will self-destruct when Amare comes back. Spike can whine and order will be restored, but at least they might win MVP.