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Knicks Are Playoff Bound, Means More Possibilities

By: Tim Ahmed

The Knicks are back on familiar ground.  They are playoff contenders once again.  This is the first time that New York has reached the playoffs since the 2003-04 season.  That year, Isiah Thomas was in his first year as the general manager, and he was the one behind the trade involving Stephon Marbury.  Despite Stephon’s bad history with Minnesota and New Jersey, he had shown flashes of greatness with his stint in Phoenix along with future Knick, Amar’e Stoudemire.  People thought that bringing Marbury home would revitalize the Knicks, as well as his NBA career.  Unfortunately, we all know how that story has unfolded.

Now, just about seven years since the Knicks reached the playoff stage of the season, they are back this year for a chance to take a shot after a championship ring.  This team has completely revamped since their last appearance in the playoffs.  They have a different general manager, a different coach, as well as different players.  Their longest tenured player is Toney Douglas, who is in his second year in the NBA.

Since their last appearance, nine teams have had at least one player that has stayed with their corresponding team until now. Five of those teams became future champions (Pistons, Spurs, Heat, Celtics, and Lakers), and four of those teams are still some of the elite teams in the league today.  That may be a reason why others may feel that the revamped Knicks doesn’t have enough to make a run for the title.

Some would believe that a team should build around one player, and after a good amount of time, they will have a chance to chase after a title.  That is not true if it’s compared to the Boston Celtics of 2008.  They obtained all-star quality veterans in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.  Along with a rookie point guard, Rajon Rondo, Boston eventually won the title that same season.

Even the Knicks had a similar role in the 1999 lockout season.  They have acquired Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby, and Kurt Thomas that year.  The reconstructed roster had shaken the Knicks during the shortened season, and managed to get into the playoffs with a record of 27-23.  But they have strengthened in both the offensive and defensive ends throughout the course of the postseason.  They later became the only eighth seeded team to reach the finals.

Ultimately, there can be so many outcomes in the NBA.  Where big market teams can lure in big names, as well as teams filled with stars can bring in some key players.  This year’s New York Knicks squad should have many reasons to believe that they are only steps away from a title.  Although, it would seem too unrealistic for a team like them to improve their game very quickly, fans of the game know that they have seen the unthinkable before.

Regardless, New York is an appealing team.  They have shown resilience in most of their nationally televised games.  The nation sees what this team is capable of.   They have three incredible offensive threats in Anthony, Stoudemire, and Billups.  Landry Fields may have been off since the trade deadline, but glue guys like him usually percolate during the postseason.  Toney Douglas has had hot shooting streaks this year, where it seems that missing shots is never an option.  If the team is ever at a low point during any game, Anthony Carter has proven to fire up the team and intensify the home crowd with dazzling moves and passes.  They also have a good supporting cast like Shawne and Shelden Williams, Ronny Turiaf, and Bill Walker.   Most Knicks fans probably would not, and maybe should not expect too much from this new team.  However, based on how history has played out in past playoff series, don’t rule out the possibilities.

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