Are the 2012-13 Knicks just plain old? Or is it more appropriate to call them experienced? It's a question that every NBA fan will have an opinion about once the season kicks off in less than a month, and for good reason.
For any Knick fan the answer is easy. This team is a more experienced, and a well put together group of guys, all in win-now mode.
For most other people though, one look at New York's roster will bring up much different feelings about this team. Anyone with half a brain can see that this team is looking a bit prehistoric these days.
Still, the case can effectively be made for both sides, depending on how you look at the multiple facets of this team. Let's put the Knicks in Sport Court and see how both sides break down.
The Case for Old
Let's start off with the obvious point. At the average age of 32 years and 240 days old, the 2012-13 New York Knicks are the oldest team ever in NBA history.
The Knicks have four of the first six oldest active players on their payroll. Kurt Thomas (40 years, 3 days), Jason Kidd (39 years, 198 days), Marcus Camby (38 years, 199 days), and the newly signed Rasheed Wallace (38 years 20 days).
So yes, the Knicks brought Rasheed out of retirement, and he's only the fourth oldest guy on the team. Wow.
Even their rookies are old. Pablo Prigioni, their new PG from overseas, is at the ripe old age of 35, and last time I checked, wasn't getting any younger.
It's clear that the Knicks have a handful of guys who are well past their primes, and huge gambles in terms of performance and injury risks over an 82 game season. None of these guys are capable of putting in any kind of starter minutes, which leaves the Knicks with very few options if one of their younger guys go down.
It'll be interesting to see how New York would handle something like an injury to Tyson Chandler. Would you trust Marcus Camby filling in those vacant 33.2 MPG hole effectively? Even splitting those minutes with Thomas isn't an ideal situation in my opinion.
Heck, Camby is already expected to miss a week with a strained calf. Not a career-ending situation, but still not a good start to the season.
Or what about Kidd? Right now the Knicks have a PG position where two of their main guys saw dramatic drops in their production last season. If Raymond Felton ends up unable to mesh properly with this new-look Knicks, can Kidd bounce back at his age in the media frenzy of the Big Apple?
With an absurd three year contract, he'll have plenty of time to figure it out I guess.
These are all questions that hopefully don't ever need to be answered, as long as the Knicks remain healthy. But once the injuries start piling up, this team could start looking every bit their age very quickly.
The Case for Experienced
There's no doubt that every single one of these older guys can be effective motivators on this team. They can teach the younger guys what it takes to win, and should lead by example throughout the whole season.
Even with a few fossils, this Knicks team is still packed with young, hungry guys from top to bottom who want nothing more than to bring a title to New York.
The team's expected starting five are all 30 or younger, with Chandler being the only guy still not in his 20s. And let's not overlook the other young key role players on this team, like the 27-year-old J.R. Smith, the 29-year-old Steve Novak, and the 22-year-old Iman Shumpert.
What makes this team more experienced than old in the eyes of many Knicks fans is that most of the core guys, the guys that are actually going to put in quality minutes, still have plenty of years left in their tanks.
Jason Kidd is a proven leader, as well as a terrific option at crunch time. Any guy would be thrilled to have a future Hall of Famer like Kidd backing him up and showing him the ropes.
Camby and Thomas both have an inside presence that they've perfected over the years. If they pass down their basketball knowledge to Amar'e Stoudemire, this team could begin to thrive like never before.
And honestly, what's the worst case scenario with Rasheed Wallace? He either ends up finding the fountain of youth and provides quality back up minutes for Stat, or sits at the end of the bench as unarguably the best reason a Knick fan can have to stay during a blowout win.
At the end of the day, none of these older guys have come in with the expectation that they're going to have to carry this team. They simply aren't capable of such things any more at this part of their careers anyway.
But the Knicks have found several great players who want to contribute as much as they can, and will still be a huge boost to this team throughout the season. Above all else though, every single Knick is going to benefit from having a strong veteran presence on the bench and occasionally on the court.
That's what ultimately makes this Knicks team a much more experienced group of guys.
So guys what do you all think? Old or experienced? Let me know what you think in the comment section.
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