Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks face 2013-14 with a little more talent and a lot less room for error. This year, the slightest missteps in the most tightly contested Eastern Conference of the century so far will be especially costly to New York’s championship pursuit.
In 2012-13, the Knicks almost coasted to the Atlantic title, busting out of the gate with a win against the Miami Heat and a 20-7 record, owning the division most of the season and eventually taking the two seed by a comfortable four-and-a-half games over the Indiana Pacers.
That won’t be the case this season. The Knicks will need to navigate their typical road blocks of the past few years, along with some new and re-emerging (and daunting) ones.
As few as one or two additional losses over the course of the season will have repercussions that reverberate straight into the playoffs…and beyond (see: Anthony’s player option).