The answer to that, quite frankly, is I don't think so. But, i would love to be wrong about my prediction. Donnie Walsh deserves a tremendous amount of credit for performing the surgery on our roster with a mettling owner who never gave him free reign to do the job 100% as he saw fit. The one regret i'm sure Donnie has is having the leverage pulled from him forcing him to give up too much in the melo trade. All things considered, Donnie was able to land on his feet and put together a playoff team with true championship aspirations going forward.
I believe we are a lot closer to a championship than many others seem to believe. Yeah, i'm a die-hard knicks fan like most of us on this blog. Yet, i'm going off of just the facts. We have 2 of the top 10 players in the world on our team in Melo and Stat along with one of the best crunch time players in recent history in Mr Bigshot. That's not all either. We have the potential to have a very deep roster with Fields, Douglas, Shump, Jorts, Jordan, Walker, Williams, Rautins, Turiaf and whoever else we sign as a free agent. Thanks again Donnie... We are closer than many think.
If recent memory serves me well, the Dallas Mavs won the championship with just 1 top 10 player on their roster and a bunch of quality players. In no way am i saying our roster is as deep as the mavs roster from last year. However, i am not ready to concede that we can not be that good toward the end of the season. And, i do believe we are on the verge of getting the season started. Our 3 main guys had less than 30 games together as a core group which would lead anyone to suggest that we can get much better as a unit. Once these guys find out each others sweet spots on the floor and build that chemistry that all champions need to win, people will begin to see exactly why we are better off and in position to go for the gold.
A lot of what is going to make us or break us is the continued development of Fields, how Douglas rebounds from shoulder surgery, whether Shump is the real deal or a workout junky, if Turiaf, Jorts and Jordan can rebound, control the paint and if the guys lock in on the defensive end. If Fields improves his game and is the player who was battling blake for ROY honors, we are much better than who we were last year. Fields can not be the scared rookie who couldn't throw it in the ocean and appeared shaken by Ray Allen draining 3's. If any combination of Turiaf, Jordan and Jorts can be anything what Jorts is talking about doing, (hard screens, offensive rebounds, defending and knocking the $#@%out of people) we will be battling the miami heat in the ecf for the opportunity to go to the finals. The defensive side of the ball is were we have our struggles. Douglas and Shump are going to be critical with defensive pressure, stopping penetration into the lane, extending the defense and knocking down the open 3. Our bigs are going to hav to knock the $#@% out of anybody or be a threat to knock the $#@%out of whoever escapes the clutches of the defense.
I'm not into assuming Shump and Jorts will be allstars or even very good players. However, if they can work their way into the rotation and be solid role players, we will be better than most people think. I can easily see a top 3 team in the east off of potential alone due to Melo, Stat and Mr Bigshot.
However, if recent reports are correct of Shump being the steal of the draft, Fields is in Cali pumping iron and running those crazy hills looking forward to improving off of what was the steal of the draft last year, we will not only be good, we will be good for a long time to come barring that little 6 letter word that begins with I and ends in Y.
Let's go Knicks!!! This lockout will be over very soon.
Has anyone heard about Fields' progression and Douglas' shoulder progress??