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New York Knicks: 5 Things They Must Do to Become Serious Contenders

Matthew WolfeCorrespondent IIIJanuary 5, 2012

New York Knicks: 5 Things They Must Do to Become Serious Contenders

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    The New York Knicks are off to a disappointing 2-4 start and fans are beginning to become impatient. 

    Through six games, the Knicks have proved to be one of the more confusing teams in basketball.  They look great one night and then awful the next, which brings on the question, which team is the real one?

    The highly talented Knicks have the weapons to be a real competitor in the Eastern Conference, but after back-to-back home losses to the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats, panic has begun in New York.

    The slow start could be attributed to many different things, but whatever the reasons may be, the Knicks need to turn things around.

    Here is a list of five things the Knicks must do to become serious competitors in the Eastern Conference.

1. Play Defense

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    The most obvious of them all.

    The Knicks have allowed 95.4 PPG to their opponents this season, and while that is an improvement from last season, it is not enough of an improvement to make them a contender.

    Watching the Knicks play defense is almost comical at points, due to the lack of hustle and effort.

    Playing good defense in the NBA is a lot easier said than done, but with a front-line of Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, there is not an excuse for letting up easy points in the paint.

    By the looks of their offseason acquisitions (Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler), the Knicks are aware of this problem and are trying to fix it, it just hasn't shown yet.

    Like the saying goes, defense wins championships, and the Knicks will never compete on a serious level if they continue playing defense the way they have been.

2. Improve Shot Selection

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    The Knicks are shooting 40 percent as a team from the field this season, which puts them at third worst in the NBA.

    It is hard to believe that a team that has two of the most lethal offensive weapons in basketball is shooting such a poor percentage from the field.

    So far this season, the Knicks have had a very poor half-court offense, and Carmelo Anthony has been just about the only source of scoring.

    It is important that they get Amar'e Stoudemire his open looks, and look to score more in transition and in the paint.  The amount of three-pointers and contested shots being taken need to be cut down.

    The Knicks are hoping that Baron Davis will be important part of their offense upon his return.

3. Rebound

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    So far this season Carmelo Anthony is leading the New York Knicks in rebounding with 7.0 RPG.

    That is probably not what the Knicks were expecting after acquiring Tyson Chandler this offseason.

    The front-line of Chandler and Stoudemire should be one of the top rebounding duos in the NBA, but they are yet to show it so far.

    There is little to no doubt that they will turn things around as the season goes on, but the lack of rebounding is definitely a major reason behind the Knick's slow start.

    When the Knicks do not rebound, they let up easy points to opponents that they simple cannot afford.  With Chandler and Stoudemire in the paint, rebounding should be one of the least concerns.

4. Beat the Bad Teams

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    While this may seem like a very obvious thing to do, the Knicks clearly have not gotten the memo.

    It is early in the season so it is not time to panic, but back to back home losses to the Raptors and Bobcats give the fans a bit of a reason to worry.

    It is very rare that you see a contending team drop two in a row at home to teams with losing records.

    As previously stated, it is not time to panic as they are still getting adjusted, but they are going to have to adjust sooner than later.

    If the Knicks want to be taken seriously in the NBA, they will have to find a way to defeat the teams that they are supposed to. 

5. Replace Mike D'Antoni

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    D'Antoni is in his fourth year as the Knicks coach and has done a good job making them relevant again, but unfortunately that may not be enough.

    Knick fans are beginning to grow impatient with D'Antoni, whose offensive minded style has always been questioned in New York.

    If the Knicks ever want to make a serious run at becoming NBA Champions, they need to make a change at head coach.

    Yes, it is difficult to coach a team that has a rotating roster, but if improvement isn't shown soon D'Antoni may find himself being replaced.

    His system makes the Knicks one of the scariest offensive teams in the NBA, but the Knicks lack of defense may cost D'Antoni his job.

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