New York Knicks: 5 Reasons Not to Get Too Excited About Their Hot Start
Everything seems to be going right for the oldest team in the NBA.
Every veteran that was brought in to lead has been doing exactly that.
Carmelo Anthony has been able to do what he does best, looking like a bona fide superstar in the process.
We've even seen some very pleasant surprises from some under-the-radar acquisitions, including Ronnie Brewer and Rasheed Wallace.
The offense is looking superb, and the defense is just plain stellar. What more could the New York fans ask for? They're 3-0 for the first time in 13 years!
Well, to be honest, the fans are probably asking for much, much more. This is New York, no one is ever satisfied with their team's success, and no team gets respect unless they've undoubtedly earned it.
And why should the Knicks get respect anyways? No team can be summed up in three games, no matter how good they looked. The Knicks haven't won anything yet, and in New York it's all about winning. No fanbase in the Big Apple is more starved for a title than the New York Knicks.
From a skeptical fan's perspective, this whole team will be just a bunch of bums if they go on even a little bit of a losing streak. That's just how this city is.
I'm one of those skeptical fans, and I've got five reasons why you shouldn't get too excited about New York's hot start.
Miami's Just Warming Up
The Miami Heat are the best team in the NBA, until someone takes that title away from them.
And the Heat team that showed up in the Garden about a week ago is not the same team that the Knicks will face later this season.
Miami is better than that, much better. Hopefully the Knicks realize it sooner rather than later.
Let's not forget, this is the same Heat team that destroyed New York last year in the playoffs. Sure, the Knicks were able to squeeze out a pity win before being sent home, but they were dominated in every conceivable way for the other four games.
I'm not downplaying what the Knicks did. It was probably the most emotional and personal game that most of those guys have ever played in. They all heard the calling and stepped up to the challenge.
They beat the best team in the league by 20 points. That's not a fluke win, that's an all-out annihilation.
They were playing to help millions of people take their minds off of a national tragedy, even just for a few hours, and they succeeded in lifting an entire city and bringing them together like only the Knicks can.
All of those players should be applauded for that performance. They were flawless in their effort against LeBron James and his super team, and there's no doubt that this Knicks team deserved that victory.
But as we should know after the last two years, the Heat always sputter out of the gate. Their little Finals hangover was probably a pretty big factor as well.
Don't expect a repeat once the season actually starts to matter and LeBron kicks things into high gear. When he starts to roll, and separates himself from every other player in the NBA, then we'll see just what this Knicks team is made of.
Nothing against the Knicks here; the Heat are just way better than that game implied.
Don't let New York's two convincing wins against their division rivals fool you. Everything fell into place for Melo and Co. during those two games.
Maybe Philly is simply not a very good team, and not as deep as the Knickerbockers.
Or maybe Philly actually is a pretty good team that's just off to a slow start.
Either way, the Knicks aren't going to be beating Philly by 20 every time they play.
But looking at the Sixers right now, how can we even commend these two Knicks victories? These should have been easy wins, plain and simple.
Andrew Bynum, Philly's newest cornerstone, hasn't played at all this season. We'll see just how different these games are once he starts meshing with his teammates.
Plus, Philly's other big acquisition, Jason Richardson, missed the second game entirely after leaving the first game with an injury very early on.
"Depleted" is an understatement for the Sixers right now.
The Knicks weren't playing a true contender. Far from it, actually. This Sixers team, even though they made the playoffs last years, is still in rebuilding mode. Their two biggest pieces aren't even in the equation yet.
Again, much like their victory against the Heat, you have to commend New York for the way they played. They demolished their rivals two days in a row, gaining some very important momentum.
But we'll see in a few months how different this outcome is, once Bynum arrives and gets healthy. Doug Collins is the kind of coach that will bring out the best in this team, and the Knicks certainly haven't shown their best yet in this fledgling season.
The STAT Dilemma
The Knicks right now look like a bunch of guys who have been playing together for years.
Their ball movement has been superb, and has brought out the best in every single player. Especially Carmelo Anthony. It's clear he's on a mission this year, and he's arguably the best player in the NBA's first few days, with no signs of slowing down.
But what's going to happen once Amar'e Stoudemire returns? The strategy has to change if the Knicks want to get the most out of their $100 million man, but is it truly worth it?
The dilemma is a very simple one: The New York Knicks have a losing record when Melo and STAT are out there on the court together. Everything comes to a complete standstill, there's no fluidity, and that ultimately leads to no winning.
The season's outlook isn't very promising when two of your most powerful offensive weapons can't be on the court at the same time. That's the kind of issue that the Knicks have to deal with once STAT finally returns.
I recently covered what I think the Knicks should do with Amar'e, his bad knees and his even worse contract, so I won't bore you again with the details. In short: It isn't good.
Could Raymond Felton help Stoudemire find some of that old magic? Can he actually mesh well in this new system? Is it even worth finding out and risking what the Knicks are potentially building?
We'll see in about six to eight weeks just what Mike Woodson does to handle this situation, and if there's any hope of Melo and STAT actually playing effectively together.
Even though Stoudemire's return is pretty far away, it looms large over every skeptical Knickerbockers fan.
A Couple Other Things
Age is Still a Huge Factor
This Knicks team is the oldest team in the history of the NBA. I'm sure you all know that already, but the statement bears repeating.
And as teams get older, injuries are typically more common. If history repeats itself, the Knicks are in for a lot of medical bills.
It'll be interesting to see just how long these players can withstand an 82-game season. At the high rate of play, my guess is "not too long."
Luckily, the team isn't solely built on vets. They have plenty of young but seasoned athletes who are contributing at very high rates. But the older guys still have to be monitored closely, especially if Woodson wants to call on them as the season progresses.
Plus, do we really want to lose Rasheed Wallace for an extended period of time? Hell, no.
They Can't Keep Up This Shooting Forever
This Knicks drained 43 three-pointers in their first three games. That's an NBA record, and very impressive to say the least.
It looks like that's how the Knicks are going to beat you this year: Swing the ball and wait for the open shot from behind the arc. If all else fails, just throw it at the hoop. I'm sure Tyson Chandler will be waiting there to guide it in. Not a bad strategy no matter how you slice it, especially if it works like it has so far.
The problem is, like any team, the Knicks are going to go cold sooner or later. We've seen it briefly already, and when it happens, things could get ugly.
That's when Melo goes back to his shoot-first mentality, and guys like J.R. Smith start dribbling and chucking up shots like it's NBA 2K13.
That's also when the Knicks start to look weak. If they want to avoid any prolonged cold streaks, they still have to tweak a few facets of their game, especially in the pain area.
For now, I see no issue if they continue to shoot the lights out. Just know that such a hot streak can't last forever.
Now, you may be asking yourself, why is this guy so skeptical? Can't he just be happy with a few early-season victories? Why downplay what the Knicks have accomplished over the past week?
Well, like a jilted lover, I've been burned by this team before, and I see no reason to believe they won't burn me again.
This team is still a big old box of mystery, and it's going to take way more than three victories to figure them out.
Still, this season is shaping up to be another great one to watch in New York.
Sure, there won't be any Linsanity there to take the nation by storm and save our season. But the Knicks may not need saving this year. This team is good, very good, and capable of being scarily good if all the pieces fall into place.
In three games, though, it's hard to draw any conclusions. Just know that the skeptical fans out there aren't convinced yet, and some won't be until Melo is holding that Larry O'Brien Trophy in the middle of Manhattan.
It's great to see the Knicks get off on the right foot. But realistically, this Knicks team has a lot more to do.