Over the last 2 years, we’ve experienced the highs and lows typical of any Knicks season. In the 2012-2013 season, the Knicks finally showed what the front office promised we’d see when they put the Carmelo-Amar’e-Tyson big 3 together. Although the 3 weren’t so much a force to be reckoned with, they did manage to get to 54 wins with an old aging before crushing the ambitions of fans everywhere by collapsing to a beatable Indiana Pacers team.
The following 2013-2014 season saw all that progress erased with a disastrous campaign filled with freak injuries, rumored locker room issues, gross mismanagement by the coaching staff, and just overall bad play all around. What we were left with was 37 wins and questions whether the Knicks were going to lose their best player and how long would the recovery be from such a loss.
With Phil Jackson now in control (allegedly), the Knicks have turned a bleak future into a bright one. In just a matter of weeks, we have seen the departure of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, two players who have been heavily criticized over their performance last year. Coming in are Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert, and 2nd round picks Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
Looking forward, I list things the Knicks must address in order to have a successful season. Now what exactly does successful mean?! Although the break up of the Big 3 in Miami could lead to the East being wide open again, the Knicks do not need to set the bar at going to the finals — though that would be nice.
5. Chemistry – This team desperately needs that fun atmosphere that made this team so fun to watch during the 2012-2013 season; of course winning helps ease a lot of tension but there needs to be a trust developed, especially if the Knicks plan on implementing the Triangle Offense, a feat that will probably take more than a season to fully grasp it.
Look at all those smiling faces, winning cures almost anything.
4. Get Carmelo some help – Andrea Bargnani’s $12m and Amar’e Stoudemire’s $23m expiring contracts have turned into assets which means that with the looming free agency for LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Love they’ll be in a fine position to acquire one of these top players in February in case they put pressure on their respective teams to trade them should they refuse an extension. Worst case scenario nothing happens and they come off the books anyway.
If the Knicks don’t get Carmelo some help, he might want to end his spanking new contract with another team.
3. Make the playoffs – With LeBron returning to the kingdom he abandoned, D.Rose’s knees no longer looking like silly puddy, the WizKids emerging as an elite team, Toronto committing to winning [all of a sudden], and Indy and Miami looking to prove the Eastern Conference goes through them; the East looks like it’s going to be a dog fight, one that could see the Knicks fall behind if they don’t focus.
2. Young Core – Ok we have Carmelo, there is a new offense and management that need to be broken in, and max level help 6months to a year away, what do we do in the mean time?! develop the impressive young core the Knicks are flushed with all of sudden .
Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Cleanthony Early, Shane Larkin, Cole Aldrich, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, are all players who have shown promise and look to cement their place on this Knicks roster, or at the very least play their way into being valuable trade assets. Developing players has not been this organizations priority for a long time, it’s about time that changes,
1. Consistency – This might not be as complex as the other focus points but it’s quite honestly the most important. On a nightly basis, you never knew which Knick team showed up — as evident by the Texas stretch — although you could count on Carmelo’s nightly 28 and 8, what you couldn’t count on were the rest of the lineup and the ability of coaching staff to put the team in the best position to win.
This is year one of Phil’s 5 year commitment; He’s got his coach, he’s got his superstar, he’s got his plan, and now all that’s left is for that to translate into wins. Let’s strap in and see how far this ride takes us.
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