Dispelling the Fans and Media's Biggest Misconceptions About the NY Knicks
There are so many websites, blogs, TV channels, radio shows and newspapers, it can be media overkill. They all have to say or write something and they it want it to be compelling, so every other day we're told that the sky is falling at MSG.
Most of the time, it's just not true.
Fans can be similarly overzealous and prone to overreaction. Players play, coaches coach and fans spout any and all opinions that pop into their heads concerning "their" team. Such is the nature of fanaticism.
When the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI to the Giants in February, some Bostonians cried their eyes out. New England tight end Rob Gronkowski went out on a bad ankle and danced his butt off. Fans simply have a skewed sense of reality.
So if we look beyond the lunacy of fans and the myopia of the media, what common claims about the team can we cast aside?
This season will be the Knicks' best chance in over a decade to dispel the many misconceptions about the team. They will have the opportunity to do it on the court, because, as Rasheed Wallace knows, ball don't lie.
Here are the eight biggest misconceptions about the Knicks, and why they're just not true.
They Should Have Kept Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin had quite a year.
In the offseason, the National Basketball Players Association won an arbitration case which granted Lin early Bird rights. It seemingly paved the way for GM Glen Grunwald to match any contract offer. But the Rockets offered Lin a three-year, $25 million contract and the Knicks balked.
Lin is slated to make $5 million in each of the next two years and $14.9 million in the third year of the contract. Instead, Grunwald inked Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd to three-year contracts. Neither will make more than Lin in any season, and neither contract totals more than Lin is slated to earn in 2014-15 alone.
Lin was a fun player in New York, but he has only 25 NBA starts to his credit. The Knicks spent less money to sign two players who have combined for 1,780 starts in the NBA. That's a no-brainer.
They're Too Old
Marcus Camby is 38, Jason Kidd is 39 and Kurt Thomas will be 40 when this season begins.
Rasheed Wallace turned 38 in September. After ending his two-year retirement and officially signing with the Knicks (per Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports), he is now only the fourth oldest player on the roster.
Yes, that is certainly a lot of "experience" on one team. The bench may look like the casting call for Grumpier Old Men, but don't take it as a negative thing.
As coach Mike Woodson explained at the team's media day on October 1, "We felt that we needed veteran pieces around those guys. (There aren't) young guys who are winning NBA titles" (per Ian Begley of ESPN New York).
After all, how old is too old? As long as a player is healthy enough to contribute and play at a high level, he can be an asset. Would you rather have the 40-year-old Kurt Thomas or the 24-year-old Greg Oden?
The Veterans Can't Contribute Anymore
Some have chortled at the Knicks' offseason acquisitions, wondering whether they want to win the title in 2013 or 2003.
But in fact, Kidd and Camby have been especially productive lately despite the wear-and-tear of so many NBA seasons.
Kidd took home a championship ring in 2011, and last season he averaged 7.8 points, 6.9 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals per 36 minutes.
Similarly, Camby led the entire league in rebounding percentage last season. And that was no fluke, as he finished second in 2010-11 and first in 2009-10.
Melo Is a Loser
Aside from his lone deep playoff run with Denver in 2009 (when they lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals), Carmelo Anthony's teams have a 6-32 record in the playoffs. That is unequivocally awful.
For a player who is one of the best pure scorers on the planet, it's shameful. But perhaps things are changing this season. The Nuggets' playoff run in 2009 came on the heels of Carmelo Anthony's first gold medal with Team USA in Beijing.
After taking home another gold from this summer's Olympics in London, Melo returns with a passion for success.
As he told Nate Taylor of the New York Times: "I’m excited just to get this thing going, especially coming off of the run I had on the U.S.A. team. We were able to accomplish something with everybody on that team, and I’m excited to bring that mentality back here to the Knicks."
Melo Is Selfish
Indeed, Carmelo seems ready to put team success over personal statistics in the NBA as well.
After coming off the bench in London, Melo will again be the stud in New York, but he is willing to subvert his own accolades.
He stated (per Newsday's Al Iannazzone):
At the end of the day it's about winning basketball games. I'm done trying to score 30, 35, 40 points for us to win a basketball game. I don't want that role anymore. It's what I do best. But in order for this team to be successful with the guys that we have we need a more well-rounded team. So if I have to sacrifice on the offensive end I'm willing to do it.
Melo already appeared to be transforming his game late last season, playing harder on defense and demonstrating leadership. As I observed when he notched his first triple-double in a Knicks uniform back in April, Anthony appeared to be maturing as a player.
Now, he will get his first full training camp since joining the Knicks, and it could make a world of difference.
Melo and Amar'e Can't Play Together
Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire can't play together. At least Steve Kerr and Chris Webber think so (via the New York Times). But coach Mike Woodson knows it's all on him to make Melo and Amar'e gel.
With Anthony promising to sacrifice his offensive numbers and usage rate for the good of the team and Stoudemire plunking down big bucks to learn the Dream Shake from Hakeem Olajuwon, this could be the season that the pairing finally works.
And even if they're not ideally paired together, this Knicks roster has so much depth that the rotation becomes more fluid.
Ronnie Brewer can play the 3. Melo can play the 4. Marcus Camby can sub in for Stoudemire and play Petronas Towers with Tyson Chandler, while Amar'e can play the 5 on the second unit for periods. If Rasheed Wallace signs, he can play at the 4 or the 5.
Melo and Amar'e should find better chemistry following a full offseason under Woodson, and if they struggle on the court together then the Knicks can shake up the rotation mid-game.
They're the 'Second Team' in New York
Of course, this is historically inaccurate, as I seem to recall attending a Nets home game last season, and the ticket cost less than the PATH train that I took to Newark to see them.
Not to mention that the franchise wasn't established until 1967, the same year Walt Frazier began strutting around Madison Square Garden in bellbottoms and a fur coat, and over 20 years after the Knicks were founded.
Chronologically, it is the Nets that are the second team in New York. And that's for the second time, as they began as an ABA franchise playing in Teaneck, NJ, before being evicted by a circus and finding home at the illustrious Long Island Arena in Commack, NY.
Prokhorov is clearly delusional. He even stated that "we can put finally put New York on the map. It's about time." Yes, he'll show those legions of confounded cartographers who inexplicably persist in leaving New York off maps!
Seriously, the Second Team in New York?!?
Moreover, aside from Joe Johnson (whom Atlanta seemed all too happy to give away), isn't this the same roster that went 22-44 last year?
Charles Barkley, Hall of Famer and zero-time NBA champion, recently called the Nets the "best team in New York" (per NY Daily News).
Sure, they're healthier, but why should a rusty new arena, a hipster logo, a (wannabe-parquet) herringbone court and some leather-clad In Living Color Fly Girls vault a fledgling franchise to dominance? If they don't win early and often, the men on the court may find themselves being referred to as the "Brooklynettes."
This is what you get when a clueless billionaire majority owner lets a man who owns one-fifteenth of one percent of the team call all the shots. His name is "HOV."
The battle for supremacy will be decided on the court, but as I recall, the last New York area turf battle was not won by the team that spent all their time flapping their mouths.