Predicting the NBA awards during the offseason is always tough to get right, but everyone loves whacking together a few bold predictions to see how wrong they are this time next year.
The New York Knicks are one of the most prominent franchises in basketball.
This is not only because they reside in the city that never sleeps but for the fact that their failure to deliver as a franchise in the past couple of seasons is laughable.
Despite this I’m still very high on the Knicks.
This season though much has changed. Yes, the Knicks are still sitting under .500 at 6-7 and eighth in the eastern conference but their play at home has something for fans to look forward to.
Their starting line-up is seeming to come together slowly. They were only afforded one game together in the lead up to season tipoff due to the Derrick Rose sexual assault allegations forcing him to be on the other side of the country for the whole preseason.
Today the Knicks added to their win streak at home with an 104-94 win over the second-placed Atlanta Hawks of the eastern conference. They were without starting centre Joakim Noah, role players Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez stepping in to fill the void.
A total of 31 points from their star player Carmelo Anthony and a tidy double-double from Kristaps Porzingis coupled with 14 points from both Derrick Rose and Courtney lee indicates that the Knicks have some fight in them when they put it all together. The challenge now is for them to do this on a consistent basis and especially on the road.
Their record on the road this season is sitting at 1-5 and just three days ago, they lost to a very average Washington Wizards outfit away from home despite a 47 point fourth quarter. An average showing at the very least with each starter shooting under 50 per cent for the game, despite the weak record on the road I feel the Knicks can turn it around on the road and continue their good form at home in the garden to outclass opponents on a significant rise up the eastern conference standings.
I feel they can do this on the back of their starting line-up and a few key contributors off the bench because when you’re boasting a nine time All-star and league scoring champion (Carmelo Anthony), the youngest MVP in league history (Derrick Rose), a former defensive player of the year (Joakim Noah), one of the most highly touted young talents in the league (Kristaps Porzingis) and a solid two guard (Courtney Lee) there is no reason why you couldn’t be one of the best teams in the league.
For well documented reasons these players are not the same as they once were. Rose has had multiple knee reconstructions, Noah’s presence on the defensive end is still felt but not as much as it once was and many consider Carmelo Anthony a fading star – to which I disagree with completely.
Courtney Lee has nearly been at more teams than he has spent years in the league and Porzingis is young.
Despite the reasons why they should or could be one of the best teams in the league it’s virtually not possible while the Cavaliers and Warriors are still in existence. Frankly as teammates they are still so raw, not to mention the fact that it’s the head coach’s first year with the team.
I still believe they will turn it around and finish no lower than sixth in the eastern conference, because all that is holding them back from that right now is the ability to perform on the road.
With the pieces they have in place among the players and the staff I believe it only a matter of time.
So, watch out because the New York Knicks are back!