Overview: This 66 game regular season is going to be a test for the Knicks this year. This season will test the Knicks ability to play consistent basketball as well as their collective ability to stay healthy. Mike D’Antoni will be challenged to keep his stars healthy. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudmire will be tested as to whether they can coexist on this team. Mike Woodson will be tested to see if he can improve this defense. There are a lot of questions surrounding the 2011 Knicks. There is also a lot of optimism and rightly so.
This team has 2 of the top 5 scorers in the game today. Their starting center was hand picked off the world champions from last season. They have energetic young players surrounding their “big 3” and a new defensive mentality. I expect this to be the best season of Knick basketball since the Patrick Ewing days. The sky is the absolute limit for this team.
My Biggest Concern: Health. Health. Health. This team’s success, in both the regular season and the playoffs, will be predicated by the health of it’s superstars. With Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire having a history of injuries, head coach Mike D’Antoni will have to be careful to not burn his stars out. D’Antoni is notorious for his short rotation and for relying on his starters heavily. This season he cannot do that. Being a D’Antoni fan, I think he will adjust and do a great job this year.
X-Factor: Some people have said Landy Fields or Tyson Chandler. I think the X-Factor for this years Knick team is point guard Baron Davis. When healthy, Davis is a top 10 point guard in this league and if he can return to form relatively soon I think he has a chance to gel nicely with this club. He brings the ability to score as well as the ability to be an absolute wizard passing the basketball. I love Toney Douglas but I think he is a two-guard at heart and would be better suiting coming off the bench. If the Knicks can un-earth the Baron Davis of old, I think they would become a championship team.
Melo will have MVP type season: Yes you read that correctly. Melo, I guarantee, will be a top-5 MVP candidate barring injury. I think, especially early in the season, he will be relied upon as that point-forward and will get others involved. I believe he has a chance to average over 25 points per game, over 8 rebounds per game and over 7 assists per game. As we saw in pre-season, Melo also has a defensive attitude coming into the season. This does not always mean he will be a great defender but at least he will try and I think that is good enough of this Knick team.
The defense will be good enough: No they won’t ever be a dominant defense but I think with the addition and mentality of Tyson Chandler, this defense will be good enough to win. As long as they can slow people down and get some turnovers, this defense will not be a liability for this team. The offense this year should be fantastic and if they can hold other teams on the defensive end this should be a great team.
If met in playoffs, the Knicks DEFEAT the Miami Heat: Yes. You did read that correctly. I think the Knicks match up so well with Miami that they would knock off LeBrick and the queens from South Beach. Tyson Chandler last year was the reason Miami could not defeat Dallas in the NBA finals. His presence down low took away driving lanes from the isolation-orriented Heat offense. Carmelo Anthony is 9-3 career vs LeBrick James. The Knicks have the length and athleticism at guard to slow down Dwayne Wade. Amar’e Stoudemire is a superior player to Chris Bosh. A healthy Baron Davis is miles better than any point guard on Miami’s roster. I believe our bench is better. I think Shumpert, Douglas (he will be on the bench when Davis returns) and Jorts can contribute more than Battier and Mike Miller and god forbid EDDY CURRY. Yes the Heat have EDDY CURRY. The big fat slob that ate all the Knicks money for years now plays for Miami. I think the Knicks really would beat Miami in a 7 game series. It would not come easy and we are not miles better but I think the way both teams are currently constructed that the Knicks would beat them.
Record and Standing: This team I think will finish the season 44-22. I think this team finishes as either the 3rd or 4th seed in the east. I see them being behind Chicago and Miami and just about even with Boston. I think this team wins a first round playoff series this year. I think if they play Miami in the 2nd round they win. If they play Chicago it would be a hell of a series and would be close. The sky is the limit for this team and I think after years of darkness, the light will shine in the garden. A championship is a serious possibility for this Knicks team and I expect them to have a great year.Follow @tarmosino