A few weeks ago I promised my Facebook followers that I would write a column on this season’s New York Knicks basketball team. Here it is.
Don’t look now, but there’s a champion growing at Madison Square Garden. The cultivation started just prior to the start of last season’s NBA schedule. That’s when free agent Amare Stoudemire signed on to become a Knickerbocker. Later in the season Carmelo Anthony joined via a trade with the Denver Nuggets; and although I felt (as a Knick fan) that we gave up a tad too much for him (4 players plus), it was a trade that had inevitability written all over it.
The bottom line was however, that with those two pieces in place, all the Knicks had to do was attain one more all-star-caliber player (preferably a defensive-specialist center) and we are off to the races. Well VOILA!! Knicks management has stepped up to the plate so to speak.
During the off season the Knickerbockers obtained free agent center Tyson Chandler, who comes off a championship season with the Dallas Mavericks. He was an important piece in the Dallas success. He is worth all the big bucks we expended. He is the perfect fit to this team: the perfect fit. His fit here is even better than when he was in Dallas.
Chandler is here for his defense. He is a solid rebounder with great defensive instincts. He can get grab some offensive rebounds, block some shots, and set some lovely picks and screens for the true scorers and pure shooters. Carmelo Anthony will benefit most from his presence in the paint. Chandler should
lead the team in rebounding, while Carmelo Anthony could become the league’s MVP this year (barring injuries no doubt). Carmelo’s assists will increase.
This team has a great blend of youth and experience. It is a very talented team that is deeper than most experts suggest. The rookie Iman Schumpert is a solid player. He could make the rookie all-star team. If Baron Davis is half the all-star player he was of a few seasons ago, then the depth will be even greater. I do expect another trade before the season ends; but the three untouchables (Chandler, Stoudemire and Anthony) will lead fans to the promised-land after a 38 year drought at the Garden. It is possible that any of Landry Fields, Billy Walker, Rolando Balkman (a very energetic player) and Toney Douglas could
be packaged for a pure point guard with experience and talent. Douglas is an interesting player but he blows both hot and cold. He is more streaky than consistent.
If the team stays relatively injury-free, then expect close to 50 wins in this shortened season (about 66 games). The Knicks will be in the league’s top tier relative to overall seasonal performance. This is a very good ensemble folks. The addition of Mike Woodson to the coaching staff further supplements the
I know I am putting my neck on the chopping-block, but I am predicting that all the members of this Knick team will be wearing the NBA championship-rings come next season.
Stay tuned-in folks. It’s been a long time coming.