5 Reasons New York Knicks Fans Should Be Giddy for the Start of Training Camp

Paul KnepperContributor IIIOctober 4, 2012

5 Reasons New York Knicks Fans Should Be Giddy for the Start of Training Camp

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    The lean years of the 2000s are behind us. There are plenty of reasons for Knicks fans to be excited for the 2012-2013 season as their team begins training camp.

    New York has a deep, talented squad with several players who have a lot to prove this year. Their roster includes the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, a young buck with tons of potential and three future Hall of Famers, one of whom is among the elite scorers in the game.

    The Knicks should be in the middle of a four-team race for the most competitive division in the NBA, which includes their new crosstown rival, the Brooklyn Nets.

    Here are five reasons New York Knicks fans should be giddy for the start of training camp.

5. Shumpert Will Only Get Better

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    Iman Shumpert was a revelation for a fanbase that has had very few young players to be excited about over the past two decades. The 17th pick in the 2011 draft quickly became one of the elite on-the-ball defenders in the game during his rookie season.

    What is most exciting about Shump is that he has so much room to grow as a player. His success last season came without the benefit of training camp and he was forced to play out of position for much of the year.

    The shooting guard's two biggest flaws were his outside shot and decision-making, both of which should improve with experience. He will also learn to use his athleticism to get to the rim and the foul line more consistently.

    Shumpert will be sidelined until at least December while recovering from a torn ACL. Once he returns, the young guard should pick up where he left off last season.

4. These Guys Know How to Play

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    New York Knicks fans pride themselves on their knowledge of the game and appreciation for fundamentally sound basketball. For such students of the game, the sloppy play which has characterized the Knicks teams of the past decade has bordered on unwatchable. 

    Well the days of poor decision-making, lack of defense and countless turnovers are over. Beginning with veteran point guards Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, this Knicks team knows how to protect the basketball, run an offense and play team defense. 

    There's a reason new acquisitions Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace have remained in the league for so long: They know how to play the game. What many basketball fans view as old, Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald and coach Mike Woodson see as experienced.

    The Knicks may not be the quickest team in the league, but they will play the game the right way.

3. Carmelo Anthony Is a Special Talent

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    "Melo does not play defense. Melo bogs down the offense. Melo is out of shape. Melo will never win a championship." The criticism of Carmelo Anthony has become so prevalent that it is easy to forget what a great player he is.

    Anthony is the most complete scorer in the world. He can take you in the pivot, knock down the three-ball, beat you off the dribble or pull up for a mid-range jumper and is regularly among the league leaders in free-throw attempts.

    Melo is a superstar in the prime of his career. The Knicks have not had a player who can score like this since Bernard King in the mid-1980s. Their fans should sit back and enjoy.

2. Crosstown Rivals

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    Since the Nets joined the NBA in 1976, they and the Knicks have rarely been competitive at the same time. Those brief instances—such as the Riley era in New York, when the Nets had Drazen Petrovic, Kenny Anderson and Derrick Coleman—made for great drama for New York and New Jersey fans.

    The Nets' move to a new arena in Brooklyn has brought new meaning to the rivalry, as the two teams vie for the hearts and dollars of New Yorkers. And both sides upped the ante by improving their rosters this summer.

    The Knicks brought in Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Ronnie Brewer and the Nets traded for six-time All-Star Joe Johnson while retaining the rest of their starting lineup.

    Both teams should be in the hunt for the Atlantic Division title and their matchups should be fierce. Bragging rights are on the line and basketball will be at the forefront in New York City this year.

1. This Is the Best Knicks Team in a Long Time

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    The 2012-2013 Knicks have the talent, depth and experience to win 50 games and advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

    New York finished the strike-shortened 2011-2012 campaign by winning 18 of its last 24 regular-season games and secured the franchise's first playoff victory in over a decade. With the additions they made during the offseason and a full training camp under Mike Woodson, they should build on that success.

    Like the great Knicks teams of the 1970s and 1990s, this Knicks squad places an emphasis on defense, and several members of the team enter this season with a lot to prove. If they remain healthy and come together as a unit, they will be fun to watch and are capable of advancing deep into the playoffs.