New York Knicks, Amar'e Stoudemire Are Good; Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum Are Better

Artem AltmanContributor IIIJanuary 10, 2011

Amar'e Stoudemire, the lone ranger?
Amar'e Stoudemire, the lone ranger?Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

On Sunday, the New York Knicks came into the Staples Center to face the league's two-time defending champs, the Los Angeles Lakers. For three solid quarters, the Knicks were able to keep up with the Lakers, but eventually Lakers took control of the game and pulled away for a win.

Last year’s Knicks lost both of their meetings against the Lakers, and while this season, the Knicks are looking to improve on what they did last year, it is still hard to think that this year Knicks will make it beyond the first round of the playoffs. But at least finally making the playoffs now looks like a sure thing for Knicks and their fans.

I guess Knicks have to be grateful for any kind of improvement after almost a decade of futility. Knicks are no longer the laughingstock of the NBA, but how good are they really?

Although Danilo Gallinari was not available for Sunday’s game, I doubt that his absence was the reason for the Knicks loss.

The current Knicks squad is akin to Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns of old. They are prolific when it comes to scoring and horrible on defense. One thing, though, is they don’t have Steve Nash. Not a knock on Raymond Felton, but even after bringing in Amar’e Stoudemire, Knick are still a long way off from being an elite team in the NBA.

Any team is hard-pressed when it comes to defending Lakers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, and the Knicks attempted to counteract the lack of height by going small against the two seven-footers for most of the game. But no team can afford to do so and expect to win a game.

Oh yeah, I’m not even taking Kobe Bryant into consideration.

While a matchup with the Lakers thoroughly exposes that the Knicks are solely dependent on Amar’e Stoudemire inside scoring, this doesn’t mean that their woes will disappear against other opponents.

Essentially Knicks are an inferior version of D’Antoni’s old club, the Phoenix Suns. They run and they gun, but they don’t play a lick of defense and history has shown that such teams can be fun and entertaining. For that you need to look no further than the Dallas Mavericks under Don Nelson and with Steve Nash (and Dirk Nowitzki) at the helm.

Is it a coincidence that they, too, are linked with Steve Hash?

Such teams can win a few games along the way, but can such a team win it all? Unfortunately for Knicks fans, history dictates a resounding "no."

I hate to burst Spike Lee’s bubble, but as they old adage goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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