Phil Jackson has put together an impressive roster for the 2016 New York Knickerbockers. It’s playoffs or bust with this team, with some people (Steven A.Smith) saying we must make the eastern conference finals to truly be competitive.
While I don’t agree with Steven A. Smith, I do think this team must make the playoffs to be considered a success. Their is plenty of talent on this team just like their was plenty of talent on the last Knicks playoff team.
From JR Smith to Tyson Chandler to Chris Copland that team had a lot of fire power and a lot of veteran leadership. Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace and Q-rich would all retire or have yet to play again. So their were plenty of on court coaches on that team.
Looking at our current roster I can only see Noah playing that leadership role. ( Melo has led team USA and should also be given some consideration as a leader.) This does not mean the 2016 Knicks will be a failure it just mens they need to gel quickly.
Now let’s take a look at that 2012 -13 Knicks team and what they did so well.
The Knicks finished with a 54-28 record that year and also clinched the Altanic Division. They finished 2nd overall in Eastern Conference, with only the LeBron lead Heat having a better record. They started the season 6-0 with big wins over the Heat, Dallas and the Spurs. From March 18 to April 9th the Knicks would lose a game winning 13 in a row.
This coincides with Carmelo Anthony’s best year to date. The star forward led the league in scoring with a sizzling 28.7 points per game. Melo shot 37% from 3 and 44% from the field, she was doing his damage efficiently. Me70 finished 2nd in MVP voting that year and even received one 1st place vote. Anthony also set a personal best with a 24.8 PER that year. Aside from Melo’s usual offensive dominance, Melo played some pretty good dense that year.
Other players who performed well were JR Smith-18 PPG (personal best) Won Six man of the year
Tyson Chandler-10 PPG 10 Rebounds per game 1.1 bock.
Steven Novak-42% from 3
Raymond Felton-13 PPG 5.5 AST
Their were many other key contributors but I chose these 4 because they stuck out to me the most. Players like Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace (BALL DON’T LIE) also played a very important role on and off the court. However for the sake of time I won’t mention them as much. Plus most Knicks fans all know the importance of the veteran presence that team had.
For those of you who never had the pleasure of watching that Knicks team, I will indulge you guys. The 2012-13 Knicks shot a lot of 3’s 2372 to be exact. They also set an NBA record for 891 made 3’s in a season. All in all the Knicks shot 37% from 3 for the season. Players like Novak, JR and Kidd all shot plenty of treys in this 3 point friendly offense.
In the end the Knicks became injury prone during the playoffs as Melo, Chandler, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace either couldn’t play or were dealing with injuries. They advanced to the second round and lost to a very talented Pacers team.
Now lets take look at this years team. With the addition of former bulls players D.Rose and Noah the team should be greatly improved. Both players have plenty to prove given their recent injuries. Noah should instantly become Knicks best defender in the same way Tyson Chandler was. However Noah is a supreme passer for a center , something Chandler never was. Noah should be able to set the table and create easy looks for his teammates .
Rose adds a very interesting element to this Knicks team because he has the potential to be great again. We all know Rose was the youngest MVP ever, but injuries seemed to have slowed him down a bit. Yet even with injuries he is easily the most dynamic point guard the Knicks have had in years. Neither Kidd nor Felton could break down the defense the way Rose can. On the flip side Rose is a terrible 3 point shooter. With that said i would gamble on Rose having a bounce back season.
Jennings and JR are both very similar in both tattoo count and style of play. Both players love to shoot and shoot and shoot and then shoot some more. While the former Knick is a Six man of the year Champ, Jennings has much to prove after tearing his achilles tendon two seasons ago. If he can regain his form he should be in the running for 6 man of the year.
Carmelo Anthony is the only remaining Knick form the 2012-13 team. Interestingly enough he is coming off an Olympic campaign just like he did in 2012. Many NBA insiders credited this to his torrid play in 2012. As many of us know now Olympic Melo is like Berry Bonds on steroids. If Melo can bring over that same style of play like he did in 2012 then Knicks may be a team to recon with.
Now the Factor to me is Porzingod, as that 2012 team had no player remotely close to KP. KP’s celling is unicornest as former Thunder now ring cheater I mean chaser Durant once put it. With his 3 point stroke and inside defense there are not many players who can compare to KP. If Porzingis takes a huge leap in his sophomore season then the 2016 team just might be better then those old heads in 2012.
However the bench is an area of concern with the 2016 Knicks aside from Jennings. They have a lot of unproven talent. Players like Holiday, Q’Quinn, Hernangomez have to prove they should be key rotation players. While they might just do fine I much have the proven vets like Camby, Q-Rich, Wallace. Plus players like Novak and Copland lighting it up from 3.
My Final prediction is the 2016 Knicks have more upside with players like Rose and KP. However I don’t expect this team to win 54 games given that most of these players have never played with each other. The playoffs is were this team can succeed the 2012 Knicks, they can realistically make the eastern conference finals if they stay healthy.
But they could also realistically crash and burn if Rose and Noah don’t stay healthy. Again