After 12 years of playoff futility, the New York Knicks are at last constructed and poised to escape the first round.
The team has emerged from three years of transition that saw several lineup shakeups, the import of three top-tier stars, a 180-degree coaching change, a lockout-shortened season and point-guard Linsanity.
And the truth is, the Knicks are better than they have been at any point in the past three seasons, or even since 2000, the last time New York flipped the Garden lights on for Round 2.
A hopeful, yet impatient fanbase, sustained only momentarily by the franchise’s baby-steps progress, is expecting a great deal more in 2012-13.
The Knicks must make it past Round 1 or there will be consequences.
Those possible consequences range from the radical to the benign, and in three scenarios will require the accounting and managing skills of a salary cap and multi-team trading Houdini.
But the first consequence just requires a thicker skin...