Under-the-Radar NY Knicks Storylines to Keep an Eye on
The camaraderie the team has is second to none. The defense it is playing is fabulous, and this team looks to be well-rounded enough to not only make the playoffs, but win a title.
But what is the media missing?
Here's a look at some of the things that have taken the backburner to other New York news.
Iman Shumpert Is Not Being Rushed Back
Knicks guard Iman Shumpert suffered an injury to his left knee last season and has been recovering since.
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
When Iman Shumpert tore his anterior cruciate ligament last season, New York lost a vital part of its team.
The versatile guard played a key role in the defensive scheme under Mike Woodson, and while he'll still be out for a few more months, it's not necessarily a bad thing.
Marc Berman over at the New York Post updated us on the status of the Knicks 2-guard:
January, February is what we’re aiming for. I’m just trying to get healthy. When I get healthy, I’ll return to the court. I’m not going to come back and not be able to do the things I did last year and a little more. I want to come back and add something.
With glimpses of brilliance throughout all of last year, I guarantee that Iman will return better than ever before, and not rushing Shump back from an injury is great management on the Knicks' behalf.
General manager Glen Grunwald sees what this team is capable of without the guard, and he's well-aware of the impact a healthy Iman will have on the organization.
Whenever Shumpert makes his seasonal debut, New York fans will be receptive of him and his 9.5 points per game and 2.8 assists per game.
He'll definitely be an asset to this team, especially considering he's as defensive-minded as Coach Woodson.
Amar'e on Target for December Return
Amar'e Stoudemire should be ready to go sometime in December after injuring his knee in preseason.
Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Ever since injuring his knee last month during preseason, Amar'e Stoudemire hasn't been seen much by the media.
According to New York Daily News writer Mitch Lawrence, Stoudemire has made progression over the last month.
Mike Woodson had this to say about the power forward:
He’s not on the bench sitting, but he’s back there getting treatment every day. I don’t think he’s on crutches at all. He’s walking all right. I just see him on the table getting treatment. I ask him how he’s doing and I keep moving.
This could be under the radar for a number of reasons, but my guess is that no one wants to disturb the chemistry New York has right now with a 4-0 record.
When Amar'e returns, how will he fit into this team?
Amar'e made the jump to New York when the team wasn't relevant and no stars were aligned.
Shouldn't we give the guy a chance instead of kicking him while he's already down?
You can't ignore that Stoudemire is a part of this New York Knicks team.
You also cant ignore that in his career with the Knicks, he's averaging 21.4 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game—that kind of production cannot be displaced to the bench.
Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and maybe the power forward will surpass all expectations and co-lead this team into battle.
J.R. Smith Putting Together 6th Man of the Year Numbers
J.R. Smith is putting up excellent numbers thus far.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
As mentioned in an article by fellow Featured Columnist Jesse Dorsey, Jamal Crawford is certainly an early favorite for Sixth Man of the Year.
Being on the Los Angeles Clippers, Jamal compliments the team nicely and his performance will be recognized by many, but he's not going to run away with the award as James Harden did last year.
J.R. Smith is putting together a rather nice start himself— 17.5 points per game, 3.3 assists per game, 5.0 rebounds per game and 2.3 steals per game—so it's only fair that he too be considered for the award in the long run.
He's playing a crucial role on this Knicks team—the shooting guard is the team's second-leading scorer—and it goes further than just the offensive side of the ball.
Fans are witnessing Smith play solid defense, and that's something that J.R. was never known for.
Although Smith was reluctant to accept a bench role, he's starting to embrace it for what it's worth.
I’m loving it right now. I’m playing my game with confidence. It was a chance to make plays for teammates. Coach is giving me a lot of opportunities so I love it.
As long as he continues to play this way, he'll be campaigning for that Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Offense Is Shining
New York's two leading scorers, J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony.
While the media is fantasizing about the New York defensive style of play, they fail to acknowledge the offensive numbers.
Carmelo Anthony is playing excellent basketball—he's leading the league in scoring with 27.3 points per game—and according to USAToday.com, he's second in the MVP race (although it's premature, doesn't hurt to be recognized).
New York is second in most points per game with 104.5; only the Miami Heat score more, averaging 105.5 points per game.
Most of New York's points come from the long ball—more so than any other team in the NBA.
In its four games this season, New York has sunk 51 of 117 three balls—good enough for a league-leading 44 percent.
Don't get me wrong, the defensive praise is welcomed, but the offensive improvement (New York didn't crack top 10 in 2011) should also be applauded.
This team is well-rounded and built to compete, but this isn't really spoken about because it's still early in the season, but I will say that this Knicks team is for real.
Wisdom Showing, Not Age
At 39 years old, Jason Kidd is still running hard up and down the court.
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Experience wins championships—remember that!
During the offseason, New York was criticized for bringing in older guys—players like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace.
However, now it's realized that Jason Kidd was not playing around when he said that while the team is older they're also more experienced.
Kidd has stepped into the 2-guard role vacated by an injured Iman Shumpert, and he's excelled at it—even at the age of 39.
Kidd spaces the floor enough for his teammates to get an open look, and if not, he's smart enough to take a shot—all of this stems from his confidence that has been built upon in his 18 years in the NBA.
Marcus Camby just saw in-game action in Friday's game against Dallas, but words cannot describe how important he will be to this team as time goes on this season. He'll provide some relief for Tyson Chandler without losing the intimidation—also something Camby has developed in his 16-year-career.
Kurt Thomas has provided quality minutes off the bench—hitting the occasional jumper that he likes very much. He's a veteran that you can count on and wouldn't worry about having on the court in a close game.
Last but not least, Rasheed Wallace. I'm sure New York fans hated this man when he was on Detroit, but they're now glad to have him in their corner. He's got quite a track record—from his sweet three-point shot to record technical fouls—but being a 15-year veteran isn't something to snarl at, especially when that veteran is Sheed.
With all this experience, it's hard to argue that the Knicks aren't ready to compete for that Larry O'Brien Trophy.