New York Knicks: 5 Bold Predictions for the 2011-12 Season
Everyone is happy that the NBA is back just in time for those traditional Christmas Day games. But I guarantee you, no stadium will be louder then MSG. Just imagine Toney Douglas lobbing one up for Chandler...BAM! Alley-oop. The crowd goes wild.
Here's what all of this excitement will add up to this season for the Knicks.
Tyson Chandler Will Be Well Worth the Money
The only thing keeping the Knicks from being among one of the best teams in the NBA was defense, but now that problem has been solved.
The 7'2'' Tyson Chandler is headed to the Big Apple, and the Knicks will now have a scary front court. Chandler is more of a defensive player than a scorer, which is exactly what the Knicks need. Ronny Turiaf sure wasn't going to cut it, and Amar'e Stoudemire can now excel at the power forward position.
This clearly shows how desperate the Knicks were, and I think Chandler over Nene was the right decision. The Knicks need someone who can grab boards, block shots and create more opportunities for the team on offense, and this is the perfect guy to do it.
There is no doubt that he will make the Knicks a legitimate title contender.
Toney Douglas Will Have No Problem Running the D'Antoni Offense
Toney Douglas deserves an opportunity, and it's his time to shine.
The only player that has been on the roster since the 2009 season, this clearly shows how big a makeover this team received in the past year. The Knicks will need to upgrade this position if they want to be favorites to win the Atlantic division or maybe even the East, but Toney Douglas is a good temporary fit for the Knicks. He knows coach Mike D'Antoni's offense and is a great three-point shooter.
The Knicks are expected to let go of Chauncey Billups, and Toney Douglas will step in, adding youth and excitement to this fast-paced offense. I expect him to play just fine for now, but I don't know if he can take them far into the playoffs.
The Knicks Will Finish in the Top 4 Within Their Conference
Boston, getting old. Orlando, losing Dwight Howard. Two teams that were in the top four in the Eastern Conference will most likely get pushed down a little bit with the Knicks returning to prominence for a full season.
The Celtics just keep getting older and older, and you have to wonder when they're going to run out of gas.
The Magic, however, could be trading Dwight Howard sometime soon, essentially making two spots up for grabs and home court for the first round.
The Knicks will take one of these spots and play out of the Garden in the opening round of the playoffs, if they live up to this year's expectations.
The Knicks Will Win a Playoff Series This Season
The New York Knicks are a young team, and as long as they stay injury free, they should have no problem taking down any team in this Eastern Conference.
They can compete with the Heat, Bulls and Celtics thanks to Chandler giving them an edge on the defensive end. He will have a huge effect for this team and could be just enough to push them past some of the elite in the East. Teams were running all over the Knicks' defense last year, and they still stayed in contention. Now with a much-improved defense, that will be the key to pretender or contender for this Knicks team as they approach the playoffs this season.
Knicks Will Lose to Miami in Round 2, but Look Forward to Free Agency 2012
The Miami Heat may have too much talent for the Knicks to overcome—this season.
Next summer, everyone's eyes will be on Chris Paul and Deron Williams, who very well could be free agents. Other notable unrestricted free agents are Raymond Felton, Gerald Wallace and Steve Nash. Four excellent point guards who can help the Knicks finally get that last piece to compete for the No. 1 or 2 seed in the East.
As long as the Knicks don't do anything stupid like trade Amar'e for Paul, or try and trade for Nash this season, I think the Knicks have a very bright future. Yes, Steve Nash will be old next year, but with his experience and ability, I think he could push out one more great year, possibly two good ones.
As long as they upgrade the point guard position within the next year, there is no doubt in my mind the Knicks will be in the discussion for the NBA's best team.