The New York Knicks should be better during the 2012-13 NBA season than they have been in quite some time. Between increased practice time for Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire to work out the remaining kinks between them, stability on the sideline under head coach Mike Woodson and a deeper, more seasoned bench, the Knicks have the requisite pieces in place to hearken back to the good ol' days of the Jeff Van Gundy era.
And by that, I mean rack up between 45 and 50 wins. Not exactly a gaudy total, but the Knicks haven't claimed more than 42 victories in a single campaign since 2000-01.
As big of an improvement as that would represent, it'd hardly put New York anywhere near the league's elite, much less within an earshot of the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The Miami Heat, who ousted the Knicks from the playoffs in five games this season, have the Eastern Conference on lockdown until further notice, with the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers ranking as the most likely challengers to LeBron James' throne.
If the Knicks hope to crack that conversation this season, they'll have to figure out how to work around these seven shortcomings inherent on their incumbent roster. Otherwise, Amar'e and company might as well prepare themselves, physically and mentally, for a wasted season.