NY Knicks Playoff Roster Actually Has Plenty of History Together
USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 Knicks are in their first playoff go-around as a unit, but don't be confused—the majority of the team has established prior postseason history at one point or another.
Carmelo Anthony earned a trip to the 16-team tournament in each of his seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets. As he looks around the locker room this season in New York, he sees several of those same faces from years ago.
Old Nuggets aren't the only former and current band of brothers formed on the Knicks roster, though. In 2011, with the Dallas Mavericks, Tyson Chandler was the defensive anchor on a title-winning team. His point guard was Jason Kidd.
Jason Kidd's links don't end there, as memories of his days with the New Jersey Nets are sparked every time he connects with a certain Knicks teammate.
When you break down the roster, 60 percent of current Knicks have played with another teammate in the past—and that's not counting Kurt Thomas, who was waived in April.
Let's break down the crazy, tangled web between these Knicks.
The Former Nuggets
In Denver, Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets to seven straight postseason appearances, including one trip to the Western Conference finals.
Surrounding him this season are many familiar faces.
In 'Melo's rookie 2003-04 campaign, Marcus Camby was the team's starting center. Then 29, Camby averaged 10 boards for the Nuggets.
Here's a bit of a "then and now" recollection:
The next season, Kenyon Martin joined the fold. As a lethal 27-year-old big man, Martin was Denver's second-leading scorer to Anthony. Here's more footage of the chemistry those two shared and still display today.
The Nuggets failed to escape the first round in any of those postseason runs, however. Fast forward two seasons to 2006-07, and J.R. Smith comes over from the New Orleans Hornets to take Denver by storm. Per 36 minutes, J.R. averaged 20 points that season.
With Allen Iverson running the point, Denver was still unable to escape the first round in 2007 and 2008.
The next year was a different story. Denver shipped The Answer out to Detroit in a deal that brought Chauncey Billups over to run the offense. The team won 54 games, its most in the Carmelo era. Those Nuggets reached the Western Conference finals, but lost out to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
When Anthony was dealt from the Nuggets to New York, Denver received back point guard Raymond Felton, who we thought was leaving New York for good. With Camby and Anthony out of the fold, Felton still spent time as a teammate to Smith and Martin in Denver.
So for the final count, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin all have prior experience with one another from their Nuggets days. Raymond Felton also played a half-season with Smith and Martin. That's a total of five holdovers from the 2000's decade in Denver.
The Former Nets
Before those Nuggets assembled—and before Carmelo Anthony even scored an NBA point—Jason Kidd was the league's premier point guard in New Jersey.
Kidd was dealt to the Nets before the 2001-02 season, after Jersey won just 26 games the season prior. On his new squad, Kidd's primary scoring options were Keith Van Horn and Kenyon Martin.
Both played gigantic roles alongside Kidd in reaching the NBA Finals in two consecutive seasons. But little did K-Mart know that he'd be teaming up with his former maestro again in pursuit of a title.
This season, Kidd assisted on six of Martin's 41 baskets. Although that number is microscopic compared to the 365 times Kidd fed Martin for buckets in their two Eastern Conference championship seasons (via NBA.com/Stats), their chemistry on the court is tangible and visible.
The New Jersey pair has different responsibilities now—Kidd is 40 and Martin is 35—but both are working toward the same goal: to win one more round than they could with the Nets.
The Former Mavericks
Kidd's former allegiances don't end in East Rutherford. He was shipped to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2008 season, where they never won less than 50 games in any full season of Kidd's tenure.
Before the 2010-11 season, the Mavs took a chance by bringing in troubled center Tyson Chandler, who was on the heels of a subpar season with the Charlotte Bobcats. As the season evolved, Chandler became the team's most crucial defensive piece to the puzzle.
And out of the News You Probably Forgot About or Didn't Even Know in the First Place department, Steve Novak was a little-used 15th man for Dallas' first two months. He was waived in January after appearing in just seven games.
Those Mavs won 57 games and finished third in the West. They rode all the way to the NBA Finals in a matchup with the newly constructed, Big Three-led Miami Heat.
To the surprise of everyone outside of Dallas, the Mavericks pulled off the upset in six games.
As you can see, just because this is these Knicks' first first playoff journey together doesn't mean they're going in blind.
They've had the full regular season of chemistry-building, yes, but their several years of winning experience in different locker rooms is something that has paid dividends all season long—and don't expect that to end any time soon.
Follow me on Twitter at @JSDorn6.
Statistical support provided by Basketball-Reference and NBA.com/Stats.
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