This morning I read Kevin Pelton's chat on espn from yesterday, and what struck me from the Knicks questions and answers in the chat, is just how much pessimism there is with regard to the Knicks - both among Knicks fans and analysts alike. Pelton totally writes them off as a contender in the east and Knicks fans also seem to think they'll be significantly worse than last season... But why? They're bringing back the same team that won 54 games and was a 2 seed behind one of the best teams of the past 2 decades. Why assume they will backslide? And you'd think analytics guys like Pelton would like the Bargnani trade. Bargs spreads the floor and creates spacing for an offense that was already the 3rd most efficient in the league. In the chat, Pelton himself says that just shooting 3s alone -- not even necessarily needing to make a high percentage of them -- creates overall efficiency by spacing the floor, etc, so Bargnani should be perfect for the Knicks, given his size and range, and that he won't be the central focus of the offense like he was in Toronto. It seems to me an objective analysis would yield the opinion that the Knicks should at least still be considered in the top tier of the east, yet Pelton and others have them significantly behind Indy, Mia, Chi and Bk. It reeks of mindless and typical anti-NY nonsense. The basketball world, by and large, resents the Knicks because they supposedly receive unwarranted "hype". It's garbage. There's no objective reason they shouldn't at least be in the same class as those other teams, especially given that those teams also have a few question marks remaining, except for Miami, of course
As I kept reading the chat, Pelton actually admits, after being challenged by a Knicks fan on some of the points I made in the above paragraph, that the Knicks should win around 50 games again next season... So how will they be the 5th seed, exactly? Indy, Miami, Chi and Bk are all gonna win 50 + games next season? Maybe... But why do those teams get the benefit of the doubt that they'll improve, with new rosters consisting of chemistry and age questions remaining (Bk), players returning from major injuries (Chi), and teams that didn't add much this offseason and won 5 less games than the Knicks last season (Indy)? The Knicks won more games than all those teams and have stability and continuity of chemistry, a young stud in Shumpert, and arguably the best player among all those teams -- it defies logic to reach the conclusion that the knicks will backslide. If you like also factor in the post season "excuses" of Chandler being sick and injured, Melo and Smith both being injured, and some questionable officiating, and a case can be made that the Knicks were still the better team in the Indy series. Am i being too much of a homer? Or is it reasonable and fair to consider such things? I think its fair.
So, I see only improvement and solid off-season decisions from GG and Woodson. Metta brings toughness, much needed rebounding instincts and winning pedigree, if nothing else. Bargnani should help if used properly - and perhaps even be much more than that if he feels re-energized by his new surroundings and lack of pressure. Hardaway Jr. has the feel of an immediate contributor. Chandler is oozing an aura of having a big bounce back season. No reason to think Melo and JR shouldn't do what they did last season. Bring back K Mart to complete a defensive enforcer duo with Metta. Finally, am I wrong in pointing out that this team is full from top to bottom with 3 point shooting threats to a larger degree even than last season? No, I'm not -- and none of them have the same limitations as Novakaine, as much as we all loved the guy. Given that, a fair and objective analysis would indicate that teh league's 3rd most efficient and productive offense may be even better, and there is evidence they should be better defensively as well. Lastly, and this can't be stressed enough. SUPPORT YOUR GUY. -- Melo is the reigning scoring champ coming off arguably a career season, and should be increasingly motivated once again this coming season. Don't fall into Patrick Ewing Syndrome again, Knicks fans. Enjoy and be grateful that we have #7. Is this analysis fair? I think it is. #Knickstape2.0