Hello, earthlings. It has been a while since I have posted here in P&T, but there has not been a single day I haven't visited this site since 2008. Now that I am out of the military, I have more time and freedom to post more frequently on here, and I figured, what better time than right before the season begins, so I can share my opinion about this team that hasn't even taken a picture together, nonetheless played any basketball together.
Although our team has a lot of new faces, it is refreshing that the main core of our team is still intact, and has been intact for a number of seasons. This is something I will never again take for granted after the our bad years of recent memory. Having Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, & Amare Stoudemire, and even JR Smith and Raymond Felton to a shorter extent, on our team, year in and year out, it feels good. I, for one, am a huge fan of player continuity, because anyone who has ever played basketball knows that nothing is better than teammate cohesion. That sense of brotherhood. Even if they aren't putting up numbers as high as they used to, or if STAT is not playing as many games as he used to, developing that tight knit cohesion is very important to any team. Now I am going to go over my thoughts of those core players as individuals, before discussing my expectations for this team as a whole.
Carmelo Anthony: No matter who surrounds him, or what coach is coaching him, Melo is going to get his points. He is a scoring machine. It is well documented, whether you like him or not. I think, sometimes, we, as Knick fans, we get caught up in watching our team play every single game, and we think our players are changing drastically. I remember at one point last year thinking, OMG, Melo's defense is much better, and he is playing with more focus and poise, and his APG are going to be career highs and scoring might take a hit, but at the end of the year, his numbers were pretty close to par, and his scoring went up. Let's just say, Melo plays like Melo, every year.
Tyson Chandler: Throughout his career, he has had reputations as being soft, then injury prone, then he transformed into the bearded beast in Dallas. We were blessed with that bearded beast his DPoY first year in NY, but last year, he kind of slacked off. Whether it was due to injury, or lack of interest/passion, or because the coaching didn't utilize his positioning and spacing, I don't know. All I know is that I love Tyson, and if we didn't do as much funky switching on defense and cause him to leave his low post defense area so much, we might have the beast back. I hope he comes to play this year.
STAT: I know a lot of people do not want STAT on the Knicks, and a lot of people are counting down the days until his contract expires. They act like he is a "cancer" to this team. I think the very opposite. I will explain, right now, why STAT is one of my favorite Knicks in recent memory. 1) He came here when nobody else wanted to, and made NY a desirable place for players to want to play. 2) When healthy, he plays with so much passion. When was the last time you remember STAT taking an offensive play off, his defensive deficiencies noted. 3) He has been the epitome of a gentleman, on and off the court, openly embracing NY and it's fans, and has never been cause for true controversy or negative attention. 4) He has accepted, with humility and willingness, any role to help this team become a championship level team. He has not complained while accepting a limited role, coming off the bench. And a lot of people can say that as long as he gets his money, he'll seem happy, but I think his character and integrity are more than that. I love STAT, and out of all of our injury prone players we have had in the past, there is NOBODY I have rooted for more than STAT to play a full healthy season, if not even just to help the Knicks, but to also shut up his doubters.
With regards to my thoughts on this team as a whole, all I have to say is, I like them. And I know we have a reputation as Knicks fans of being overly confident to a level of arrogance, in our NYK teams, but we still have an intact core group of last year's number 2 seed team. We had a slowed down, 0.0% shooting SG/PG in Kidd by the end of last year, and we replaced him with people who will at least improve that percentage, even if they hit 1 shot. While I cannot discount Jason Kidd's leadership and smart defense, I also have full confidence in another PG, named Pablo Prigioni who is a veteran with years of international experience, and also played a somewhat similar style as Jason Kidd did, pestering opponents on defense and playing a key role in our multiple PG sets. And while people complain that Pablo passes up his shots too often, it isn't always in the scoring that we should measure a player's effectiveness, and that end of season winning streak that coincided with his insertion into the starting lineup should account for that. We have a rested and recovered Iman Shumpert, who gave us a taste of what he is capable of during the playoffs. We have Metta World Peace, who still plays elite level defense, with toughness, and is capable of hitting that 3 pointer when left open. Andrea Bargnani, who should succeed without being his team's number one option, and although I loved Steve Novak, Bargnani is a much more well rounded player than Novak. Felton and JR will provide Penguins and Pipes for all. (Speaking of JR, I actually talked to him last season, at a Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco, right before that game he got ejected from against the Warriors, but then he went on a tear after that game... you're welcome.) Beno Udrih will be a really awesome option for that multiple PG set. We have a rookie who showed signs of having a good game at the wing in Tim Hardaway Jr. With regards to our end of bench players, I didn't really like what I saw from CJ Leslie, and the only ones who made me think they were worth a look were Toure Murry and Jeremy Tyler. I actually really thought Tyler deserved the shot more than any of them, and he could really learn from our veteran bigs, and the omnipotent and omnipresent Herb Williams, not that anyone else has seemingly ever really learned anything from him lol. I like our team as we are. Can we beat Miami? Maybe, we did last year a lot. Can we beat Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn? Maybe. I know that ESPN, Bleacher Report, Beat Reporters, they make a living off of making bold predictions, and then, after the games play themselves out, some people act like they were prophetic and the rest admit their faults, but we will never know until the games are played. We can't knock the trade for Bargnani, or the games of STAT or JR, or even Chris Smith, or whoever, until we see them on the court, in training camp, and integrated into some form of coaching. And then we have to see if Mike Woodson even likes them enough to apply their talents, which might not even have anything to do with what they're capable of, but they would certainly know more than we do. So, yeah, my prediction for 2013-14 season: We are a really good team, and we might beat Miami, Brooklyn, Chicago, Indiana or we won't. :) Sorry to waste your time with a really long post. Love yous guys.