2011-2012 NBA Preview: 5 Things New York Knicks Fans Can Look Forward To
With a tentative agreement reached and a proposal for a 66-game season starting on Christmas day on the table, things are looking great for NBA fans around the world. If and when the season does commence, some teams have more to look forward to than others. Knicks' fans will be looking forward to a deeper run in the playoffs and growing chemistry between their two marquee players: Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
So long as the tentative agreement becomes final the NBA season will kick off with the Knicks facing the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. It will certainly be an exciting way to start a much anticipated year of basketball in New York.
Aside from the season as a whole, here are five things Knicks' fans can look forward to in the upcoming season.
5. Iman Shumpert
With their first round pick the Knicks selected super athletic, Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech. This kid can jump out of the gym and lock down anyone on the perimeter.
Former New York Knicks President Donnie Walsh was sold on Shumpert's athleticism as well as his developing jump shot.
Given his size—6-foot-6, 222 lbs—and natural abilities Mr. Shumpert should have no difficulty adapting to the NBA style of play.
Donnie Walsh has always been shrewd with Draft Day decisions, e.g. Landry Fields in 2010, and Shumpert looks like a great pick. The only question mark surrounding him is: When he will be ready to take a lead role and guard other teams' best players?
Knicks fans should trust Mr. Walsh's assessment and look forward to a human-highlight-reel in their first round pick Iman Shumpert.
4. Chris Paul Trade Rumors
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The alleged toast that New Orleans Hornets star point guard Chris Paul gave at Carmelo Anthony's wedding in July 2010 has led to countless rumors about when and how the Knicks may try to acquire Paul.
There is no doubt that Paul would immediately make the Knicks championship contenders, but it is unlikely that the Knicks will be able to trade for Paul given their lack of trade assets. Unless Paul bullies the Hornets the way Anthony bullied the Nuggets last season, there is no way the Hornets will look to trade their best player.
Bottom line is that Paul will have to state his interest in playing for the Knicks, again, if the Knicks are to have any hope of adding his name to the roster.
3. A Full Season with Carmelo Anthony (Even If It's a 66-Game Season)
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Anthony appeared in 32 games for the Knicks, including the playoffs, last season. Despite a shortened season, Melo should have a chance to get into a rhythm with the team this year.
At times, last season, Anthony seemed to force things and didn't mesh with all of the other players. As the season went on Anthony progressed and played spectacularly. Melo averaged 26 points-per-game in the playoff series with the Boston Celtics and had a handful of game winning shots towards the end of the regular season.
Anthony is arguably the best pure scorer in the league. With added chemistry with Amar'e and his other teammates he could really put on a show in 2011-12.
2. The Development of Landry Fields
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No one could have predicted shooting guard Landry Fields' ascent to the NBA and into the Knicks starting lineup.
The multi-talented Stanford alumnus has a high basketball IQ, can shoot the ball effectively from three point range and hustles non-stop.
New York Knicks executives made sure to hang on to Fields during the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade last February, and for good reason! Fields averaged 9.4 points-per-game and an astonishing (for a guard) 6.4 rebounds-per-game.
Last season, the Knicks threw Fields into the starting lineup early and he responded. This season, the Knicks coaching staff will look for development in Fields' ball handling and strength.
1. A Deep Playoff Run
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With Anthony on board and Amar'e controlling the paint, the Knicks seem destined for a deep playoff run. Knicks fans everywhere will be anticipating a more successful playoff trip, compared to last year's annihilation by the Boston Celtics.
Coach Mike D'Antoni has had time to work on new schemes for his two star players, the younger players have had time to hit the gym, and the injured players--Amar'e and Chauncey Billups—have had a longer off-season to get healthy.
Basketball is back folks, watch out for the New York Knicks in 2011-12.