In the midst of all the media coverage surrounding the Miami Heat and the new "Big Three" of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the New York Knicks quietly began retooling their roster in an attempt to the team to prominence once more.
After an abysmal 2009-10 campaign, in which the Knicks finish with a record 29-53 and recording their ninth straight losing season, the Knicks took a huge step forward and acquired free agent Amar'e Stoudemire from the Phoenix Suns, finally bringing a legitimate NBA superstar to their roster after years of lackluster talent.
Alongside Stoudemire, New York brought in Raymond Felton from the Charlotte Bobcats, and they saw the maturation and skill of fellow starters Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields.
The Knicks soon appeared ready for a winning season, and a possible playoff bid. It appeared to be yet another shakeup in the Eastern Conference, as some began to question the Boston Celtics' position of power.
A few (less rational) fans even thought the Knicks could challenge Boston in the Atlantic Division (no one I've heard here on Bleacher Report, but they're out there somewhere).
After a 3-8 start, the Knicks began to roll, winning 13 of their 14 games and improved to 16-9, and were only four games out of the lead in the East. It appeared that the Knicks were back in business, and once, some were ready to call them a contender in the Eastern Conference.
Now, as a huge Celtics fan, many will say that I'm biased, and that of course I'm going to criticize the Knicks. Sure, I may have some bias, but I think what I say here is simply an observable fact, and unfortunate.
It would be great if the Knicks were good, as it makes the Eastern Conference even more interesting. Not only that, the Atlantic Division would be less boring than it already is.
After that blistering start, the Knicks' problems, which were largely hidden, soon reared their ugly head. The Knicks had never been very deep beyond their new-found, high-powered starters, and were therefore seriously lacking in bench production.
The Knicks soon found themselves being carried by Amar'e Stoudemire and the other starters night-in and night-out, creating major problems against veteran teams like Boston, who has beaten the Knicks twice, the Lakers, who beat the Knicks, 109-87, on Jan. 9, and San Antonio, who beat the Knicks, 101-92, on Jan. 21.
The list goes on for the Knicks, who have fallen to 23-21 on the season. The bench has done very little, if anything at all, in the way of stepping up their game to aid the starters.
I find it troubling when I look a the stat lines and see that the same people (Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, mostly) leading the team in points, rebounds and the like. The Knicks have a serious depth problem, and they need to fix it if they want to contend in the playoffs.
They're currently sixth in the East, and they're in danger of being one-and-done in 2011. I don't foresee them drop out of the top-eight, but I do think they aren't legitimate until they can gain more talent and a more balanced attack.
A classic case of superstar overhype. Its unfortunate, because to the NBA stands to benefit from the Knicks doing well, as it would increase the league's power by having a team in New York contending. Unfortunately, the Knicks are proving to be at least slightly fraudulent, hanging slight above .500 and sputtering down the stretch.