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For two years, July 1, 2010 was marked on the calendar of every New York Knickerbocker fan as the day that things really started to happen in New York. The fans dreamed of LeBron, coach Mike D’Antoni joined with summer 2010 in mind, even the New York mayor tried to recruit King James.
So when the summer ended with LeBron and Dwyane Wade in Miami and Amar'e Stoudemire the only big name to arrive at Madison Square Garden, you could forgive the New York faithful for being slightly disappointed. As the season draws near and anticipation takes over, dreams of Danilo Gallinari and Anthony Randolph fulfilling their potential alongside Amar'e provides a certain level of optimism for Knicks fans.
Talk of a trade for Carmelo Anthony also refuses to go away, with many people convinced that Melo will end up in New York at some point in the next year, providing the Knicks with another legitimate star alongside Amar'e. Other new arrivals like Raymond Felton, Roger Mason, Ronny Turiaf and Timofey Mozgov certainly add depth, but it still can’t help feeling like this summer was one big anticlimax for the Knicks.
Likely Starting Five: Felton – Wilson Chandler – Gallinari – Stoudemire – Turiaf
It could all hinge on: Raymond Felton. Amar'e can dominate on his day, but someone has to get him the ball. For years in Phoenix that job fell to the inimitable Steve Nash, but in New York it’s down to Felton. The former Charlotte Bobcats point guard is a good play, but in New York, good is often not good enough, and he will have to produce the best form of his life if he is to become a fans favourite, and more importantly, if he is to lead them to the postseason once more.
Prediction: Call me a hopeless romantic, but it really seems like a good New York Knicks is good for the NBA, particularly going into one of the most anticipated seasons in NBA history. A lot depends on Amar'e being fit and firing, but I see New York being good enough to make the playoffs this year. Expect just over 40 wins, an appearance in the postseason, but probably a first-round exit.