Monday, July 12, 2010

The Knicks Should be a Playoff Team

The Knicks did not land LeBron, but they are an improved squad. This years roster has loads of potential and should be much better than last years team. Then again, I thought that about last years team vs. the year before that, so my optimism may be foolhardy.

That being said, for the first time in a while the Knicks vessel will be steered by a legitimate NBA starting point guard in Ray Felton. They finally feature a go to scorer who demands double teams (Amar'e), and are flush with sharpshooters (Gallo, Buike, poss. Rautins) and big men who can block shots (Turiaf, Timofey, Randolph).

The main key to the team's success is how quickly the team gels, and how the chemistry develops. Who will be the team leader? Will Gallo step up and make it his team, is Amar'e fit to lead, or is Felton going to raise the level of those around him and be the floor general Mike D hasn't had since Nash? Will the chemistry between Felton and Amar'e be there? Say what you will about Duhon but he knew how to find D Lee on the crucial pick and roll.

The way I see it, the team should be solid, and there are a few x factors that could vault them to near 50 wins. Last year I thought the x factor was Darko. If he would have turned out to be the shotblocking center to back up Lee, maybe the Knicks would have made the playoffs. Clearly he didn't work and the team faltered.

This year, the Knicks need to see Gallo step up yet again and assert himself as a star, and not disappear for weeks like last season. They need Felton to master the pick and roll with Amar'e. They need Randolph to be a rebounding and shot blocking force (which he has been in limited minutes). Lastly and maybe most importantly, the Knicks need to play solid defense as a unit. This year the team is full of hard working players who are committed to defending, as opposed to last year when we had role players with superstar attitudes. 50-32 may be a stretch, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities.

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