New York Knicks Are in a Better Position Than They Were Last Season
When the Boston Celtics formed their "Big Three," they filled the surrounding roster spots with role players. The same thing happened with Miami when LeBron James and Chris Bosh went to South Beach. Is that what New York has decided to do this offseason?
I'd like to think so. In fact, I think the Knicks might even be in a position to not only be over .500, but also compete during the playoffs.
It's been well documented that Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are the foundation of this New York team. The Knicks' front office went into free agency looking for a supportive cast for these three.
While New York saw the formal ending to "Linsanity," they did pick up Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton. Believe it or not, these three manning the point guard duties are a better answer than last year's crew of Baron Davis, Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas.
Raymond Felton is young and has had past success with Stoudemire; perhaps rekindling this flame along with Stat working with Hakeem Olajuwon will mean the rebirth of Amar'e. Jason Kidd has proven throughout his 18-year career that he can make smart decisions, and Pablo Prigioni is currently putting on a show in the London Olympics.
The Knicks also let Landry Fields walk and, as a result, signed Ronnie Brewer. This could be considered an upgrade considering Fields' production had diminished over the last year and a half. While Brewer isn't the most gifted guy, his defensive skill is a great addition, especially if he's named the starter.
With J.R. Smith backing Brewer up, New York can take their pick of a defensive shooting guard in the lineup or a talented scorer. Remember that the Knicks are expecting rookie sensation Iman Shumpert to be healthy around January, so he'll be a big help when that time comes.
Where Will New York Finish in the Atlantic Division?
Let me also mention that the signing of Marcus Camby was a great one. Yes, Camby's not the Defensive Player of the Year he was in the 2006-07 season, but that doesn't mean he's not a solid backup. Last year, when Tyson Chandler was in foul trouble, New York lacked a truly intimidating big to clog the paint, and, as a result, they were getting outrebounded constantly.
Jarred Jeffries wasn't the worse defender, but Camby is significantly better—even at the age of 38. Having him in the second unit makes the Knicks that much better. Taking a deeper look, if Amar'e needs a rest before Chandler, playing Camby and Chandler together will create havoc for opponents looking to drive to the basket.
The way the roster sits right now, with Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in the starting lineup, the Knicks look better on paper this time around than they did last year.
Throw in the depth the Knickerbockers have with Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby, and you might be looking at the deepest bench.
With this group of players, I believe the Knicks have improved as a team, and, in conclusion, I am confident they will have an improved record and possibly advance beyond last season's first round exit.
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