This time, a year ago, the Linsanity era was in full effect. Jeremy Lin captured the world by storm, becoming the most electrifying player on the planet for a short period of time, rejuvenating a basketball franchise struggling for basketball relevancy. Things were looking up for the New York Knicks, but then the bottom fell out soon thereafter.
The Knicks struggled down the stretch, losing Lin to injury. Superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire were unable to complement each other. The Knicks started losing, and coach Mike D’Antoni, unsuccessfully pushing for a trade for Deron Williams, resigned as head coach. Mike Woodson was named interim coach, inheriting a team filled with gaping defensive weaknesses and lacking team chemistry. The Knicks bought in right away to Woodson’s unique coaching style, going 18-6, and making the playoffs in a lockout season.
A year later, the Knicks look like a championship contender on paper. They are a half-a-game out of first place in the Eastern Conference, riding a five-game winning streak, and are allowing 95.5 points per game (almost seven points better than last year).
Anthony looks like an MVP candidate on paper, averaging 28 points per game and comfortably becoming the go-to-guy in a city glamouring for a legit NBA franchise to root for. Tyson Chandler is playing ridiculous ball right now (20+ rebounds in three straight games) and J.R. Smith is thriving as a 2nd scoring option for the Knicks. Raymond Felton is a perfect fit for this offense, and even Stoudamire is playing proficient basketball in a reduced role. But can we put this all on Woodson and his defensive philosophies?
Yes we can.
Look at the stats compared to this year from last year for the Knicks:
Team points per game: 2011-12 (97.8) 2012-13 (101.0)
Team points allowed: (94.5) to (95.5)
Carmelo Anthony points per game: (22.6) to (28.4)
Team record: 31 games won. Team Record all of last year (shorten season): 36-30
2012-2013: 29th in turnovers this year. In 2011-2012? The Knicks were 3rd in the league in turnovers total.
Its amazing how much coaching can change an entire city’s outlook on basketball. The Knicks finally look competitive and competent. They bring intensity on a nightly basis. They totally buy Woodson’s defensive philosophies, and are playing with top-notch confidence. The Knickswill contend for the next two to three years and if they continue to play at a high level, will be NBA Champions before we know it. Well, that’s a little naive, but hey…
You could be a Los Angeles Lakers fan.
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