December 14, 2011 1 Comment
The Lockout is finally over and its time to prepare for what should be a fun season for the New York Knicks. Here are what i think the 5 most important things to look for throughout the Knicks season.
1. The Lockout Effect- after 149 days the NBA owners and the players association decided to end the lockout and agree on a new CBA. Unfortunately this means that traininig camps and preseason will be shortened to 3 weeks, and condensed NBA schedule will tests the stamina and endurance of all teams. The Knicks need to get right to work in training cap and pre-season in order to build championship caliber chemistry between Amar’e Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony. It will be interesting to see how well the Knicks superstars mesh in the first couple of weeks in the season.
2.The Addition of Tyson Chandler- Comming into the season, the goal for the Knicks had been to form a big 3 in New York, similar to the big 3 that was formed in Miami. Once it became evident that Knicks did not have the pieces to pull off a trade for either Chris Paul or Dwight Howard, they turned to Tyson Chandler. Chandler may not be considered a “superstar” in this league but he is a perfect fit for the team. Last year Amar’e struggled on the defensive end because he was defending out of position. Amar’e is a true power forward having him guard opposing team’s centers is a mismatch. Tyson Chandler will provide strong defense and ferocious rebounding. He could be the piece that makes the Knicks a serious contender in the eastern conference.
3. The Emmergence of Toney Douglas- Although the NBA owned Hornets are making it very difficult for teams to trade for Chris Paul, i do not see him making it to free agency this summer. Too many teams with significant pieces are interested in the perennial all star guard, and eventually the NBA will allow the trade of Paul. This means that the Knicks are going to rely on Toney Douglas to run the point. In order for the Knicks to be title contenders Douglas must elevate his game. Douglas is an excellent defended, but he shoots more than you would like your point guard to shoot, and his court vision is not that of a top point guard. The Knicks did sign Mike Bibby, but his age could be a problem in D’antoni’s run and gun offense. I see Douglas getting most of the run at point guard this year and it should be interesting to see how his game develops.
4.Injuries- In professional sports, injuries are a major factor. Every team has injuries so you can’t blame the success of the team. Having said that, the Knicks are a team that needs to say injury free in order to be successful due to their lack of depth. Carmelo Anthony is coming off an off season where he had procedures on his elbow and knee, Amar’e Stoudmaire couldn’t finish the playoffs last year because of a back issue that lingered into the postseason. As well as his back, Amar’e's knees will always be a concern because his history of knee problems and the fact that his knees are un-insurable on his contract. Also Knicks newest player, Tyson chandler missed over 30 games in consecutive seasons before becoming a defensive staple for the championship Mavericks last year. If the Knicks plan on making a run at the east this year they must stay healthy.
5.Mike D’antoni- Since he took over in 2008, Mike D’Antoni has done a good job of getting the Knicks out of the basement of the Eastern Conference , and putting them in position to compete for a title, but can he take them all the way? Last year the Knicks were in the top 5 of the NBA in scoring, but they were bottom five in points allowed. Everyone knows that a Mike D’Antoni coached team is going to score a ton of points, but the question is can they play defense? The offseason aquisitions of 7 footer Tyson Chandler, and former Atlanta Hawks Coach and defensive specialist Mike Woodson should be a huge boost on the defensive end of the floor. If the team struggles defensively, i wonder how long D’Antoni will last in New York?