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Too Early to Judge the Knicks

By: Tim Ahmed

The Knicks may have been struggling as of late.  They even dropped a spot on the standings last week, but they are still in playoff contention.  The fans have gotten restless these last few weeks over the Knicks’ erratic performances.  Fans have the intention that the Knicks would be unstoppable after the trade deadline, and most notably, their last meeting against the Heat.

Keep in mind that it’s way too early to judge the new look Knick team that played only seventeen games so far.  The Knicks are so far one game below .500, yet this is the best record the Knicks had in three years under Coach Mike D’Antoni and Knicks President, Donnie Walsh.

Let’s look back at the trade.  We gave up five players; three of them were in the starting lineup for most of the season.  This is also the first time Carmelo Anthony left for another NBA team.  It won’t be easy for them to have good team chemistry for a big move late in the season.  They definitely need more time with the players they already have.  Especially for a loose defensive team with no true center, the Knicks will have to fight harder than most of the teams in playoff contention.

However, critics would still complain about Mike D’Antoni’s history of a lacking defensive squad.  Let’s not forget that he was an integral part of the Phoenix Suns from 2004-2007.  With him, the Suns were strong contenders for three years.  If you watched the Phoenix Suns a few years back, not only were they the most entertaining team, but they were also favorites to make a run for the finals.  Thanks to guys like Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion, their high octane offense made them a force in the playoffs.

Now, D’Antoni finally understands that he needs to bolster the team’s defensive mentality.  Coach D’Antoni is surprisingly at the same situation now as he was before his last season at Phoenix. Their GM at the time, Steve Kerr, knew that a defensive presence was needed, and decided to bring Shaquille O’Neal during the trade deadline.  Late in the season this team struggled to win, and O’Neal kept promising how he will help that team get a championship.  Unfortunately for them, they lost in the first round against San Antonio.  Before the Suns could have a full season together, D’Antoni left for New York.  We know that it won’t be easy to create great chemistry near the season’s end. Yet, we do know that we do have the possibility if the Knicks keep their core for the future.

Although, no one knows how the Knicks will perform during the playoffs this year.  We do know that the Knicks have two great superstars in Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.   They also have a veteran in Chauncey Billups, who was the Most Valuable Player in the 2004 NBA Finals.  They are guys have shined in the playoffs.  The Knicks have proven to beat some of elite teams of the league this year.  When they share the ball often and control the tempo, they win more.  If they can show more consistency before the end of the season, they have the ability to cause a stir at the playoffs.

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