The New York Knicks are back. Again. They are relevant on the NBA map, and a part of the landscape once again. Gotham is back in the news thanks to Amare Stoudemire and the 2010-2011 New York Knicks.
Even if you are not a Knicks fan, it's good for the league, good for discussion and good for the Big Apple when the Knicks command front page news and get the Garden rocking loud and proud.
Amare Stoudemire, in his first year in New York, has helped make the Knicks important again after meager years in which fans just waited for the season to end to see what kind of draft pick they would get.
This year is different. With the offseason signing of Amare, and personnel moves such as drafting the smart and crafty Landry Fields—James Dolan, Donnie Walsh, Glen Grunwald and company have ended a futile run by the Knicks that made them seem as though they were playing in the WNBA rather than the NBA.
Leading the resurgence at 7th Avenue and 32nd Street has been Amare Stoudemire, who left the Valley of the Sun in Phoenix for greener pastures in New York. His presence, star charisma, and outstanding play on the court have people dreaming of postseason runs once again for the Knickerbockers.
Amare is second in the league with a 26.1 scoring average, and his rebound per game average of 9.0 is more than respectable. The leadership, drive, determination and production have lead his teammates to praise Stoudemire whenever they can.
In New York, Amare is leading the way for MVP, and you could make a strong case for this. But, in other cities throughout the league, similar voices are being heard for other players.
In Miami, D-Wade and LeBron could share the MVP with their continued play and propelling the Heat to one of the best if not the best record in the Eastern Conference. In Chicago, many people feel their hometown hero Derrick Rose is at the front for the MVP race.
Notables such as Charles Barkley have already publicly said Rose is the frontrunner for MVP, and it's hard to argue with his stats and overall game; he basically carried the Bulls in the early part of the season when Carlos Boozer was out injured.
In Hollywood, there are going be calls for Kobe as the MVP of the league, which is always a good argument to put forth. Kevin Durant is having a monster year and with the Oklahoma City Thunder playing as good as they are, he will definitely get strong consideration for the award.
Then you have Manu Ginobili in San Antonio, Rajon Rondo will get some votes for Boston, Dwight Howard will have a plate full of votes in Disney World, and if the Clippers find their way into the playoffs out West, look for rookie sensation Blake Griffin to get his share of press for the MVP award.
The point is, in New York—which is the center of the universe according to some—Amare is a no-doubt MVP winner. But how much of the publicity, hype and media pressure will factor in to Stoudemire possibly winning the award?
If the season continues to play out the way it is now, and the teams finish as they currently are in the standings—meaning the Knicks finish second in the East and sixth overall in the Eastern Conference—will Amare Stoudemire have done enough to bring home the hardware?
In Gotham it makes sense. But how will the seasons that unfold in Los Angeles, Orlando, Boston, Oklahoma City and San Antonio affect Stoudemire's chances? Will the fact that he's having a fantastic year, and playing in New York be enough?
We will know in April. Until then, let the games continue.