After two years of trading away talent, contracts, and draft picks, the New York Knicks headed into the summer of 2011 hoping to rebuild their franchise. The hype surrounding the Knicks was insurmountable. For years, New Yorkers and NBA fans alike heard about LeBron James and his desire to play on the big stage of Madison Square Garden. Knicks fans expected LeBron’s “decision” to be an easy one, but James instead decided to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami and form an All-Star trio.
After James, Wade, and Bosh were all off the table and the Knicks had yet to sign a superstar fans starting getting angry and impatient. For years they suffered through horrendous teams in hope for signing a James caliber player.
There seemed to be no acquisition that could impress the fans, however Donnie Walsh did not give up. He added 10 new faces to the roster with hopes to fight in the play-offs.
Two highlighted additions are Amare Stoudemire, and Raymond Felton.
Walsh was able to sign Amare Stoudemire, a definite all-star that had question marks surrounding his knees. It was a questionable decision to give 28-year old Amare a 5 year, $100million dollar contract with his medical history, however Donnie Walsh saw that he still was explosive and he had many more years ahead of him.
Donnie instincts have paid off. Amare has been the MVP of the league so far this season. He is averaging 26 PPG, which is good for second in the league only behind Kevin Durant, as well as eight rebounds per game.
Have These Two Players Exceeded Your Expectations
39 games into the season Stoudemire has already set two impressive franchise records. He had nine straight 30+point games, as well as nine straight games shooting 50 percent or better from the field. Amare has proved that he still has the ability to lead teams and he has shown to be one of the best signings of this past off-season.
Overall Grade: A+
Raymond Felton was signed in hopes of creating a dynamic pick-and-roll duo that could lead the Knicks to the playoffs. So far this season Felton has surpassed all expectations and has elevated his game to the next level. He is one of only three players averaging at least 18 points and 8 or more assists. His company is Chris Paul, and Deron Williams. Felton has matured quickly and should be considered as one of the most improved players in the league.
Overall Grade A+
Check back later in the week for more off-season additions, and let me know how you think Amare and Raymond are playing!
This article is also featured on NYKnicksNow.