There has been a lot of discontent around the Knicks fanbase and that discontent is sure to grow now that the Miami Heat appeared poised to win a title. First Pat Riley jumps ship without bringing us a championship to go to Miami. Then Lebron snubs us to go to Miami and then has the nerve to lead them to a championship! Some of you who are more sane will need to help your brothers and sisters through this one. But all things considered I am in a happy place today because I like the direction the Knicks are headed.
For all the lamenting about Amar'e Stoudemire, lets face facts he was the best player willing to sign here as a free agent in 2010. In his first two seasons he has been solid. He has averaged 21.4 pts and 8 rebounds in his first two seasons as a Knick. For Knicks players acquired through free agency or trades you have to go back to Bernard King (23.8) to find a player who averaged more points in his first two full seasons. Remember Carmelo's 2nd full season will be next season so he may eclipse that. His 8 rebounds per game represent the best rebounding rate for a Knicks acquisition in their first two seasons since Charles Oakley. Amar'e painfully flawed but he has been pretty damn solid if you have to go back to Bernard King and Charles Oakley to find two guys who put up better numbers in scoring and rebounding respectively. Is he a mega-superstar, not at all, is he a better player than we have had in awhile yes.
Amare also helped get us Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo has been pretty much what he is since he has been here. Carmelo's biggest problems are as follows:
1. He is not Lebron
2. He is not what we want him to be
3. He is not what some people claimed he was
What the Knicks have in Carmelo Anthony is Bernard King. We loved King when he played here, not because he was as good as Magic or Bird, or Dr. J, but because on any given night when Bernard had his A game, he could go toe to toe with those guys and sometimes get the better of them. People packed the Garden to see Bernard play because on any given night you could see greatness. Notice I did not say every night. That is what Carmelo gives you, he like Bernard is great for giving fans moments. Knicks fans already talk about the 42pt game he threw up against Boston when Amare and Chauncey went down. Or Christmas day this season when he scored 37pts and absolutely dominated the 4th quarter or Easter Sunday when he threw up 42 to beat the Bulls including the game winner. If we can stop expecting Carmelo to be what he is not and appreciate what he is, then we will enjoy watching the Knicks much more. I disagree with those who say his style of play isn't entertaining, because I will be the first to admit, he entertained the hell out of me in several games last season.
Then we acquired Tyson Chandler and what is not to like about a guy who plays hard can carry a team defensively and win DPOY. Tyson is simply the best player we have had at Center since Patrick Ewing, that says a lot to me.
You can talk about how those three guys don't fit together all day if you wish, I do not care. I would rather have those guys than what we had say the five seasons before Amar'e agreed to sign here. For those who don't remember here are the loss totals for the 5 seasons prior to the Amar'e signing: 59,49, 59, 50, and 53 games. The Knicks average a record of 28-54 in the 5 seasons prior to Amare. Say what you want, but with Chandler, Carmelo, and Amare we have a better chance over the next few years of going 54-28 than we do 28-54. May not mean much to some of you but means a lot to me. I rather enter a season anticipating 50 wins than dreading 50 losses before the team has even played a game!
The Knicks have also done some nice things in the draft of late. Bitch about Landry Fields all you want. How many players taken with the 39th pick have averaged 9.3 pts, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in their first two seasons in the last 10 years. Only one player Jonas Jerebko has put up similar numbers in his first two campaigns. And Landry has grossly out performed the last guard the Knicks took at 39, remember Lavar Postell? Iman Shumpert will be one of the top 5 player in the 2011 draft when it is all said and done.
The Knicks have even done a good job finding players off the scrap heap. Shawne Williams, Steve Novak, and Jeremy Lin all were players the Knicks took off the street who came in and produced. When I first joined here I used to listen to all the complaints about how come the Knicks don't find players like that but now we do.
Want to argue that the Knicks overpaid for Amare or Carmel or Chandler, sure go ahead I will chalk that up to old habits dying hard. However, given that in the past we overpaid for Eddy Curry, Quentin Richardson, and Jerome James, I would much rather overpay for the guys we have now. Can this group of Knicks win a championship, maybe not, but then again I was 12 the last time a group of Knicks did, so that is not much of an argument to me. We have a competitive team and I am happy. Predictions about ceilings are BS we have a team that we can watch, lets watch them.