New York Knicks: 5 Things Chris Paul Needs to See from Them Before Next Season
If you're a Knicks fan, you're probably pretty excited for the upcoming season. New York basketball is finally back, and with megastars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire leading the way, there's no doubt that this is shaping up to be a very exciting time for New York.
Netting Paul would send shockwaves throughout the Big Apple, and would officially make the Knicks one of the most dominant forces in the East.
The best thing about this whole thing is that Paul has already made it clear that New York is one of his top destinations if he decides to leave New Orleans (which is almost 100% likely). He even hinted at the potential big 3 at Carmelo's wedding several months back.
However, even though all this seems like a lock, Paul still needs to see a few things out of this Knicks team before he makes his decision. The Knicks are still pretty rough around the edges, and if they don't start to show a little improvement, then there's no doubt that Paul will pack his bags and go somewhere else. There's plenty of options for him out there.
New York fans want it, Paul wants it. Now it's up to the Knicks to earn it.
5. Support from the City
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This isn't specifically something that the Knicks can do on the court, but its something that Knicks fans can do across New York. This is one of the easiest, yet most important parts of acquiring Paul.
The city needs to prove to Paul, like they did with LeBron and Melo, that they want to see him in a Knicks jersey. They need to show Paul exactly what it means to be a Knick, and to play on the biggest stage in basketball, Madison Square Garden. It certainly helps that the city of New York is very good at doing this, they know how to stroke egos and show off their global influence.
It obviously won't be difficult for Spike Lee and Co. to pull this off, but with the 2012 offseason just a year away, its definitely time to step up their campaign for Paul.
Their biggest moment will come on February 17, 2012 when the Hornets come to MSG. If Paul can get to see firsthand what it means to play in greatest city in the world, then Paul's decision might be a pretty easy one.
4. Solid Bench/Backup PG
Whether or not Paul wants to be a Knick, he already knows he can't do it alone. Fortunately, he's already got two megastars in Anthony and Stoudemire waiting for him in New York.
But basketball is still a 5-man team, and if the Miami's big 3 has taught us anything, its that teams still need a great supporting cast if they want to get anywhere.
Miami had that supporting cast that was able to step up, hopefully the Knicks do too.
Right now, the Knicks do have a few shortcomings that they must fix once this pesky lockout is over. They're team is filled with potential free agents, and they have to decide quickly which players are worth keeping and which ones aren't. Adding some fresh faces and taking a few chances on cheap, veteran players isn't a bad move either.
After that, New York better hope that their bench holds up, because if Melo and Stat can't trust them to hold a lead, there's no doubt that Paul won't either.
Plus, although Paul is in the prime of his career, he certainly can't play all 48 minutes of every game. The Knicks need to establish a PG who can keep up the pace when Paul's off the floor. He's still the best PG in the league and would be the true leader on this Knick team, but Paul also shouldn't be hesitant to put the game in someone else's hands every once in a while for a few minutes.
Veteran and current starting PG Chauncey Billups will be gone next season, unless he's willing to take a pay cut and potentially back-up Paul. The Knicks do have the young and promising Toney Douglas, who has proven to the Knicks that he can put up some pretty good numbers when they need him to. Plus, even though the pick was a bit of a head scratcher, 1st round draft pick Iman Shumpert may actually turn out to be quite a weapon for New York if his college career is any indication of his talent.
3. Team Chemistry
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The biggest problem with the Knicks after the blockbuster Melo trade was the fact that many of their core players were now wearing Nuggets jerseys.
The team had no guidance and basically learned how to play together on the fly. The lack of chemistry showed too in the team's mediocre record after Melo came back home to New York. The problem peaked in the 1st round of the playoffs, when they were absolutely pummeled and swept by a much more experienced and seasoned Celtics team.
Obviously, thats going to have to improve if the Knicks want to impress Paul, or even make the playoffs again. Hopefully, the lockout isn't completely stopping a few of these guys from getting together and preparing for the upcoming season.
Team chemistry is one of the biggest components to any winning team, and if the Knicks can't solve this problem fast enough, there's clearly no reason for Chris Paul to even consider New York as a real destination.
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The Knicks D was horrible last year. Its that simple. They were 28th in opponent PPG, 20th in rebounds, and 26th in opponent FG per game just to name a few terrible statistics.
Luckily, they made up for it with their explosive offense. They were 2nd in PPG, and even though there was only a 0.8 difference between what they scored per game and what their opponents scored per game, it was still good enough to net them a winning record and a trip to the playoffs.
Chris Paul led the league in steals per game last year, so its clear that he's not the kind of player who only performs when his team has the ball. He's a playmaker no matter what side of the court he's on, and if the Knicks can't step up and show that they too can make things happen on D, its doubtful that we'll see Paul in a Knicks jersey next year.
The pressure falls on their offensive minded head coach Mike D'Antoni, who has continued to see tons of criticism for his complete negligence on the defensive side of the ball. D'Antoni and the rest of the Knicks coaching staff need to make changes and find players who can play lockdown D. If not they're going to be in for a long season.
When the Knicks offense clicked last year, they were the best in the league at putting up points, beating some of the most talented teams with ease. Nevertheless, offense may sell tickets, but its defense that wins championships. Paul knows that already, and after last season, hopefully the Knicks now understand that too.
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No matter what happens this season, no matter how many improvements this team makes on paper, and no matter how good Stat and Melo perform, there's still one thing the Knicks need to do in order to successfully get Chris Paul.
The New York Knickerbockers have to WIN. Simple as that.
The winning attitude is already there. Stat and Melo have already proven their loyalty to the Knicks by not even considering overseas options. The city is excited for basketball again after years of disappointment. Everything points to some great seasons on the horizon for this Knicks team, if everything goes according to plan of course.
The hunger is clearly there. Its up to the team, the coaching staff, and the front office to improve the New York Knicks in anyway they can. It definitely won't be an easy task, but if the Knicks are able to play as good as they're capable of, they'll be quite a dominating force in the Eastern Conference.
After that, Chris Paul won't be able to resist the lights of Madison Square Garden.
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Finally, a new era of Knicks basketball has begun.
Isaiah Thomas is gone. The Knicks finally reached the playoffs for the first time since 2004, and although they missed out on LeBron, New York still has two huge stars in Anthony and Stoudemire leading the way.
If the Knicks can continue to improve once next season begins, then the acquisition of Chris Paul is almost certain, thus forming a Big Three that can compete with any team in the NBA.
New York City and its world famous media need to show Paul what this city is all about, just like they did with LeBron.
The Knicks need to bolster the bench with a few key role players, and some fresh, exciting faces.
Team chemistry was a huge problem last year due to the Melo trade. With an entire offseason to sort this out, the same mediocre performance next season is simply unacceptable.
A more defensive-minded strategy will help strengthen this New York team. The offense could be the most explosive in all of the NBA, and since they can score on anybody, successfully stopping teams from scoring on them would make the Knicks that much more dangerous.
Finally, keeping up this new winning attitude, along with a successful completion of the other things listed, will help continue to make the Knicks one of the most talked about teams in the NBA. Once New York proves that last season wasn't a fluke, the sky is truly the limit.
If Chris Paul can see all this while down in New Orleans, his decision certainly won't be a difficult one. He'll be a Knick before we even know it.