6 Reasons New York Knicks Made the Right Moves for Playoff Run
When the New York Knicks' season ended last season, we all knew they would enter the offseason trying to bolster their roster.
Well, the summer of 2012 has come and gone, and it was actually a very successful one. The Knicks acquired a supporting cast for their front-court trio, and as a result, they've built one of the deepest benches in the NBA.
Every issue that needed to be addressed this offseason has been taken care of, and there's no doubt in any New York fan's mind that this team is significantly better than those that took the court in Madison Square Garden last year.
Here are six reasons the New York Knicks made the right moves this offseason to position themselves for a playoff run.
Upgraded the Point Guard Position
Last year's point guards were Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Toney Douglas and Jeremy Lin, and while Lin had potential, this group was not going to get the job done—not when the Eastern Conference was a powerhouse.
This year, Knicks fan are in for a treat. The point guard duties fall on Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni.
First off, Raymond Felton will be the Knicks starting point guard come opening day—a significant upgrade over last year's opening day starter, Toney Douglas.
When Felton was in New York, he propelled—he and Amar'e Stoudemire formed a formidable tandem unlike any other pick-and-roll duo at the time. In his 54 games in a Knicks uniform, the point guard was averaging 17.1 points per game and nine assists per game—both career highs.
It would be unfair to assume that he'll put up the same numbers, but with Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reporting that Felton's close to "2010 form," you have to believe it'll be close.
Jason Kidd's value to this team is nearly inexplicable. Critics saying that he's too old to make a difference really don't know what they're talking about. The experience and veteran leadership that he's bringing to this team cannot be described. Even in his backup point guard role, Kidd will provide more so for New York than anybody did last year backing up Jeremy Lin.
Finally, the point guard that's remaining under the radar in all of this is Pablo Prigioni. The 35-year-old Argentinian is a pass-first point guard that will slide into the third string role with pride. However, when he does see floor time, the man will impress.
Added More Toughness
When the Knicks brought Tyson Chandler to New York last season, it was to provide a defensive identity to the Knickerbockers' front court.
The same can be argued for the Marcus Camby signing—he'll provide a defensive identity for the Knicks second unit.
In the 2011-12 season, Camby provided 4.9 points per game with nine rebounds per game. While that's impressive for someone getting limited minutes, I think New York fans are more drawn to his career 2.7 blocks per game. Because of everything Camby brings to the team, defense is no longer a liability for the second unit.
Another player that was acquired that will improve the second unit is Rasheed Wallace.
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reported today that Wallace informed the team that he will play for the Knickerbockers this season.
Just the possibility of having to play against Sheed is a nightmare. The man plays hard every night, and he's an intimidating figure that is not afraid to foul if you invade his space—something that New York could use especially when Tyson Chandler's on the bench.
Obviously, these moves enhance the team's chances of playoff glory, especially considering that last season, the Knicks second unit was abused in the playoffs by the Miami Heat.
There will be none of that this time around!
Stability at the Head Coach
Having Mike Woodson as the Knicks head coach is a sign that good things are to come—just look at what he did in the 24 games he was interim coach last season. He led the Knicks to an 18-6 during the regular season for a seventh place finish in the Eastern Conference.
Woodson is a great fit for the Knicks and based on his success with the Atlanta Hawks, Woodson will continue to improve this franchise.
In his first season with the Hawks, Woodson was 13-69. He slowly built up the franchise and eventually finished his last season there with a record of 53-29. The talent was no where near the level that the Knicks squad is at right now. You have to imagine that Woodson can take this team places it hasn't been in over a decade.
The man's preached defense throughout his career, and GM Glen Grunwald has finally built a team that can and will be efficient on defense.
However, the biggest contributing factor on Woodson's part is the continuity. The Knicks are going to pick up right where they left off last season, and that's with Woodson taking his team to the playoffs.
The Knicks biggest strength entering this season will be their bench depth.
Key pickups like Ronnie Brewer and Kurt Thomas continue with that theme of defense. Granted Thomas has some miles on him, he's still a smart athlete with a high basketball IQ, and although Ronnie Brewer will miss some time, when he's in the lineup, he'll significantly improve the perimeter defense.
Let's not forget that Steve Novak and J.R. Smith will be returning to New York.
Novakane shot 47 percent from behind the arc. He averaged 8.8 points per game while scorers like Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire were on the bench.
J.R. Smith had a great year as well. He concluded the season averaging 12.5 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game—not bad numbers from a bench player.
You got to believe that both Novak and Smith will benefit from having Jason Kidd as their point guard. The man is an excellent distributor and Novak loves to pop and shoot, while Smith will see a few alley-oops thrown his way.
A second unit consisting of Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby is a really good one. In fact, I believe this second unit could compete with some first units in the NBA. Not to mention that New York also has Pablo Prigioni, Ronnie Brewer, James White and Chris Copeland available.
The Knicks have depth at each and every position, and that puts them in a position for a playoff run.
Smart move by general management adding to Mobb Deep.
Working with Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the greatest post-up players to ever play the game of basketball.
Having him work with the Knicks to address a major concern is a great call, and you have to think that Coach Woodson is the one that declared this.
ESPN's Chris Broussard reported last month that Olajuwon would be flying in to New York's training facilities in Greenburgh, New York to help players take their game to the next level.
"Olajuwon, who will fly from his home in Texas, said he expects to work out with Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby."
We've all seen the success that The Dream has had in the past. Immediately following working with the big man, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard all showed improvements in their game, so it should be a fair assumption to suggest that Melo, Amar'e, Tyson and Marcus will show some new moves.
If the Knicks front court players can improve their game just slightly, while picking up some of Olajuwon's moves, the Eastern Conference is in trouble because New York will be aiming for that No. 1 seed.
However, they'll want more than just that seeding—they want to end the drought.
Carmelo Anthony Is Happy
It's always extremely important that you keep your superstar satisfied.
Carmelo Anthony is standing behind this New York team 100 percent, and what more can you ask for from your star player?
When a franchise invests so much into one player, that franchise's success hinders upon the shoulders of that chosen individual.
However, Melo is finally content, and the small forward is buying into Coach Woodson's system.
In an article on ESPN.com from Ian Begley, Anthony declared that he's all about this team, right now.
"At the end of the day, as long as we win games, everybody will be happy," he said. "I don't really think about it. My mindset is to make this one of the best years for myself and for the Knicks."
This is New York's year!