How For Real Are the New York Knicks?

By Marc Jenkins
How For Real are the New York Knicks?
Howard Smith-US Presswire

For the first time in almost two decades the New York Knicks have gotten off to a 4-0 start (the 1993-94 season) doing so against teams that not only made the playoffs last season but decimating those quality opponents in the process leaving many including myself to wonder: are the Knicks for real?

Following Friday’s night 104-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks (their closest margin of victory this season) the Knicks are not only have the best record in the Association but are also the sole remaining undefeated team which is truly impressive especially when factor in their schedule thus far.

In their season opener the Knickerbockers laid a 30-point smack-down on the defending champion Miami Heat , 104-84 only to then win a home-and-home series versus the up and coming Philadelphia 76ers by a total of 40 points (100-84 at home in Madison Square Garden and 110-88 in Philly) and finally Friday night’s double-digit win over the Mavericks. Who saw this coming? I know I truly didn’t. The best I would have given the Knicks after these four game was a 2-2 record; after all I did predict them to finish the season in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 46-36 record and reaching the Eastern Conference playoffs as the sixth seed.

The Knicks are currently firing on all cylinders and playing some inspired basketball rank third in the NBA in points scored per game at 104.5 and first in points allowed per game at 87.5 which makes up the best point differential in the Association at plus 17-points which is 7.5 points better than the next best team, Miami at plus 9.5 points.

Their superstar Carmelo Anthony is second in the NBA in points per game with 27.3 (just .5 points per game behind the leader Houston Rockets guard James Harden) and is actually rebounding well (7.3 per game) and showing signs of attempting to play defense (1.3 blocks and 0.8 steals per game).  We’re still waiting to see him improve on his greatest skill set flaw which is pass the ball (1.5 assists per game); but hey GunMelo deserves some applause because he is actually doing more than scoring the basketball and that is one of the main reasons why the Knicks look so good out of the gate.

New York is also getting exceptional play out of their bench especially swingman J.R. Smith who is averaging 17.5 points, five rebounds and 3.3 assists per night and as an entire unit are putting up an impressive 36.8 points per contest thus far. Their crew of NBA geriatrics (Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby) are actually looking as if they have a spring in their steps and bringing a 100% effort each and every night despite the fact that they are all closer to retirement than they are another All-Star Game appearance; but hey they’re getting it done.

Ironically or maybe not so mush depending on how you look at it, all of this good fortune is occurring sans the team’s second best player A’mare Stoudemire who is currently sidelined due to a ruptured cyst behind his surgically repaired left knee. I’ve said it before and I’ll reiterate it yet again, a Melo and STAT forward combination simply doesn’t work and if this isn’t proof of that then I don’t know what it will take for owner James Dolan and general manager Glen Grunwald to realize that and make the necessary deal to improve this team for the long run.

I’m not 100% sold on the New York Knicks just yet; it’s still entirely too early in the season to say so however I am enjoying the test drive (and I’m quite sure so are Knicks fans). It seems like a smooth ride so far that has plenty of acceleration, handling and horse power, but let’s just wait and see how the ride gets when the weather turns in-climate and there are unexpected potholes on the road.

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