It’s been a while since the New York Knicks have made a strong, deep run in the playoffs. It could take the best efforts of every single player on the Knicks in order to overtake the Miami Heat as the league’s top team, but they are definitely capable of that.
New York is currently in second place in the Eastern Conference and 11.5 games behind the first place Heat. They are in an unfamiliar spot, as they haven’t been this successful during a regular seasons in what seems like decades.
With Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler leading the way for New York, they will need some of the role players to step up and take the Knicks to the next level. Guys like Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Iman Shumpert will need to stay healthy and contribute like they have been in order to keep the Knicks in title contention.
Health is another issue that has bothered the Knicks all season long. The injuries have mounted to an almost unsustainable level as Amar’e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace, Martin and Shumpert have all suffered or are still suffering lengthy health issues that have kept them out for many games.
If the Knicks can stay healthy, which seems hard for them to do, they can make a deep run in the playoffs. If the playoffs started today, their first round matchup would be the Boston Celtics. It wouldn’t be the easiest of first-round opponents, but they match up well with the Celtics, especially without Rajon Rondo at point guard.
They will likely forget their opening-round loss against the Celtics last season and come out on top.
The second round battle would be between either the Indiana Pacers or Atlanta Hawks. If Stoudemire and Martin are completely healthy for those two teams, they can dominate the paint against Al Horford or Roy Hibbert. The guard play would be even as well, with the Knicks’ Raymond Felton having much improved from a season ago.
Finally, a showdown in the conference title game would be one for the ages with the Heat. In my opinion, the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals will win the NBA title. The Knicks have a great chance to be there in June.