New York Knicks: 7 Steps to Make the Knicks Championship Caliber
Things didn't pan out exactly the way New York Knicks fans had hoped in the 2011-12 season.
In one of the most eventful seasons New York has seen since the 90s, the Knicks experienced a coaching change, the emergence of an unlikely superstar and a desperate struggle for a playoff spot—all before getting steamrolled by Miami in the first round.
Despite reaching the playoffs for the second straight year, expectations were not met in New York, and as time passes, they only get higher.
But that's okay because there is a way to meet these expectations. Now entering their second full season under the "Carmelo era," there are several changes the front office needs to make in order to make this team a contender.
Cut J.R. Smith
How can I put this nicely? J.R. Smith is the exact type of player the New York Knicks don't want.
He hogs the ball, chucks up shots and does not know his own limitations. He plays with a superstar's mentality when, in fact, he's not a superstar (shocker, I know).
The Knicks already have Carmelo, a player that doesn't really pass but can create his own shot. However, the difference between Melo and Smith is that Melo is actually good, really good.
For the Knicks offense to work they can't have another guy that wants the ball and nothing else.
Don't get me wrong, J.R. Smith can be very fun to watch, he can ignite a crowd with electrifying dunks and deep three pointers. He can also take a team out of a game just as quickly as he put them in it.
For a step forward the Knicks need to get rid of J.R. Smith.
Cut Baron Davis
I love Baron Davis.
I really do, but his time is up.
I don't just mean in New York; I mean in the NBA.
He's had an extraordinary career and has proven to be a prime point guard, but Father Time has caught up with him.
The injury he suffered against the Miami Heat will sideline him for at least the entire 2012-13 season. Even before this, Davis has been pushing through various injuries including a herniated disc in his back. The Knicks should not be spending money on a guy that's not going to play for a whole year.
Plus, by the time he gets back, there's no saying how good he will still be.
Sign Landry Fields
Now that all the deadweight is taken care of, let's make the first addition.
SIGN LANDRY FIELDS.
Should I say it again?
SIGN LANDRY FIELDS.
Why is he so important? Simple: Let me ask you, where are you going to find a shooting guard that can contribute in an unselfish manner, knows his limitations and does not require a huge contract?
Combined with Iman Shumpert, Landry Fields forms the ideal shooting guard tandem for the "Melo Offense."
Fields does not need the ball to be happy, and he can still be a valuable option on offense. If he's getting burned on defense, switch in Shumpert and everything's fine.
If the Knicks let Fields walk, they won't have a shooting guard for the first month or two due to Shumpert's injury.
And no, they cannot afford a replacement.
Fields is too good a fit to pass up.
Sign Jeremy Lin
As much as reality hurts, the Knicks aren't getting Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Chris Paul or any other big-name point guard they ever thought they had a shot at.
But it's okay because Lin is good.
Just so were clear, I said good, not great. I don't want you to get carried away on the Linsanity train because Jeremy Lin is not Linsane.
The Jeremy Lin we saw once "Linsanity" died down is the Jeremy Lin of the future. He put up solid numbers, as he would score around 14 points and dish out about seven assists a night.
Some teams like Toronto would be willing to throw tons of money at Lin because of the media attention he brings, but because the Knicks have the opportunity to get him cheap, they absolutely should. Combined with another solid point guard, a tandem unit with Lin leading the way will amount to success.
This means the Knicks will have to...
Draft a Point Guard
The Knicks don't have a first-round pick, but that won't hinder their chances of picking up a solid point guard.
So who can they pick up with a second-round pick? Did the picture give it away?
Some say Jardine does not have the skill set for an NBA player, but the truth is he has a good dribble and a quality shot. He would be a spark coming off the bench, as he would be a good distributor, working well in the "Melo Offense."
Just picture the garden yelling, "SCOOOOP!"
Another quality option the Knicks have a shot at with a second-round pick is Tu Holl0way from Xavier.
Hollaway has shown tremendous skill throughout his career with the Musketeers and would be another good addition to pair with Jeremy Lin.
Sign Lamar Odom
According to ESPN.com, rumors state that Lamar Odom is interested in the New York Knicks.
Odom would be a valuable piece on the Knicks bench. We have all seen Odom thrive off the bench in L.A., as he helped the Lakers win two titles this way.
The Knicks need some size, and the 6'10'' power forward is exactly what they could use.
Depending on whether Dallas trades or waives Odom, the Knicks can get him for a relatively low price.
Let Mike Woodson Do His Job
If you're a Knicks fan, then you've probably heard this stat before, but Mike Woodson led the Knicks to an 18-6 record as a head coach. Before he stepped in, the Knicks were 18-24.
So lets do some math here: 18-24 is a winning percentage of .429, while 18-6 is a winning percentage of .750.
Now .750-.429 is .321. That means that the Knicks had a winning percentage 30 percent better than they did under Dantoni.
That's a lot.
You can make excuses that they were winning because Lin and Amare were out, and he just let Carmelo take over.
Or you can accept reality and realize that Woodson is pretty darn good.
The Knicks just removed the interim tag in front of his name for a reason, and i couldn't be happier with that decision.
Before fans start yelling to trade Amare or Melo, they need to give Woodson a shot at making it work. The Knicks spent way too much money on these two to completely throw them away because they didn't work under the ever-so-famous "Dantoni System."
Let him do his job, and if it actually does not appear to be working out by February, that's when you can start talking trade.
But for now let's look at what we've got:
Starters: Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler
Bench: Iman Shumpert, Scoop Jardine or Tu Holloway, Lamar Odom, Steve Novak, Jared Jefferies, Josh Harrelson
This team definitely has a shot at being a real contender. Now it's up to the front office to make it happen.
What do you think?
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