NY Knicks 5-0 Start Does Not Guarantee an NBA Finals Appearance
For the first time since the 1993-94 season the Knicks have started off the season on a 5-0 clip. Not only that, but every time the Knicks have started off a season 5-0 they've ended up going to the NBA Finals.
Of course, New York also went to the NBA Finals when they started out 0-4 back in 1950 and then again when they started out 2-3 in 1951.
Never mind the fact that this is only the third time they've ever started 5-0, we've got a trip to the NBA Finals to celebrate here!
All kidding aside, I really am starting to believe that this team has what it takes to make it to the Finals, but there are still quite a few questions that I need answered before I can throw them up in a group with the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
Arbitrary starts to the season aside, there's a lot to like about this Knicks team, but a lot we still don't know about. For instance, what happens to the Knicks when 3-pointers stop falling?
New York started at an unbelievable pace from downtown this year, and they've since leveled off a bit, but they're still boasting a 43 percent 3-point percentage, which is good enough for second-best in the league.
The slight concern I have there is that the three-ball has become a big part of their offense, making the seventh-most 3-pointers (60) so far but playing at least one game fewer than every other team.
What concerns me more is that historically volatile 3-point shooters have been lights-out for the Knicks so far. Ronnie Brewer's percentage is double his career percentage, Jason Kidd is shooting 15 points higher than last season, Raymond Felton is up a bit and J.R. Smith is off the charts. I've got a feeling that he's not shooting 72 percent from downtown all season long.
I'm also starting to wonder what's going to happen when their small lineup bumps up against a team with a loaded frontcourt. The move to power forward has been bananas for Carmelo Anthony, but what happens when he has to guard Zach Randolph or Pau Gasol? So far his toughest assignment of a legitimate power forward has been Glen "Big Baby" Davis (who made all five shots he took, by the way).
Moving on, New York's rebounding woes have started to concern me a bit. Thanks to their small lineup they're pulling down a league-worst 38.9 boards per game, and doing very little to pull down offensive rebounds with just 9.4 per game. Once shots stop falling it's going to be interesting to see how they work that problem out.
Of course, the return of Amar'e Stoudemire could be the answer to their rebounding woes, that is if he doesn't come in and clash with Anthony.
Hopefully Stoudemire's offseason with Hakeem Olajuwon is something he takes to heart and ends up with him doing a lot more in the post, but we're going to have to see that first before we can make any definitive conclusions.
One thing we can conclude from last season with Amar'e and Carmelo is that the Knicks most effective and efficient lineups is one with Anthony at the power forward spot, and not Stoudemire.
Other, smaller concerns that seem to stick out for me are surrounding the age of this team. It's not the first few weeks of the season when age shows, it's after teams have played 60 games and they're on the second night of a back-to-back. Can Jason Kidd and New York's old dudes hold together for an entire season?
In the end, however, I'm cautiously optimistic for this team. I'm hoping that Amar'e can effectively wedge himself back into this lineup when he comes back, and if that's the case then this team will be given a huge boost with the return of Iman Shumpert.
There's a lot to be excited about, just don't go planning for Finals games at Madison Square Garden until we know a lot more about this team.
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