5 Secret Weapons That Will Win the New York Knicks A Championship
New York Knicks
Think it's crazy talk ? Go ask LeBron James and the Heat if it's crazy talk. At the start of the season, reports where that the Heat took notice of the offseason moves made by the Knicks to prepare for the 2012-13 season.
They beefed up their bench and became the deepest team in the league. They currently have a winning record against the Heat this season. They also managed to turn the most inconsistent player in the league into a contender for 6th man of the year. The defense has been clutch. They haven't been consistent, but they are 8th in the league when listed by opponents average points per game with 95.6.
However, it's their 99.6 PPG scoring average that has gotten them 51 wins, a 13-game winning streak and a division title. Who gets the credit? There's plenty to go around. The obvious answers are Head Coach Mike Woodson, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.
However, there's an element on this team this year that can take them out of the first round of the playoffs and into a parade on 5th avenue. There are unsung heroes. Secret weapons if you will. Woodson and Anthony were here for the disappointing Knicks first round playoff exits. So there's got to be something else here this season that's going to seal the deal. Let's take a look at these secret weapons.
Secret Weapon #5, Jason Kidd
The signing of Jason Kidd was pivotal to the overall Knicks development as a team. You can literally see the basketball I.Q. of the other players rise when he's on the court. Though, he's not counted on to play point guard at this stage in his career. He has shown up big in other ways. His defense is still a major contribution. He plays the passing lanes and makes great decisions with the ball. This has been key in the Knicks consistency over this long NBA season. His playoff experience should pay off for the team as well.
Secret Weapon #4, Iman Shumpert
Devastating knee injuries have interrupted the development of Knicks guard Iman Shumpert. However he has had a relatively successful comeback. Counted on as the knicks shut down defender before his injury, he is finally getting his legs back. He is also developing a pretty nice jump shot. So while Carmelo Anthony gets his usual double teams, he shouldn't have to think twice about dishing to an open Shumpert. Hopefully he can continue his good play throughout the playoffs.
Secret Weapon #3, Pablo Prigioni
One of the needs that was evidenced in the Knicks playoff disappointments, was that of a capable point guard. An unhealthy Barron Davis, an aging Mike Bibby and a seriously flawed Toney Douglas, were not going to cut it. The team addressed that issue in a major way with the return of Raymond Felton and the addition of Argentine Pablo Prigioni. Though, on the wrong side of 30, he has allowed the Knicks to not miss a beat at the point guard position when asked to come off the bench. Prigioni is a crafty defender, a very smart player and sure handed ball handler. He has been a major part of solving the Knicks' point guard issues.
Secret Weapon #2, Chris Copeland
No one is going to see this guy coming come playoff time. The 29-year-old rookie, Chris Copeland is a confirmed scoring threat off the bench. He is the only scoring big man that the knicks have. He can get hot from the three and take it to the hole. And if his shot is off, he can still be a presence on the boards with his much improved rebounding. There are starters in the league that don't have those capabilities at his height (6'9''), so he is a problem for other teams coming off the bench.
Secret Weapon #1, Kenyon Martin
On Feb. 21, the Knicks signed free agent big man Kenyon Martin to a 10 day contract. Now he has played his way into major minutes and has even started for Tyson Chandler when he was out with a neck injury.
Martin performed beyond anyone's expectations. Another Knicks issue, especially against the Heat was that they were so vulnerable in the paint when Chandler went to the bench. The Knicks really tried to address that by bringing in Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace.
However, they got hurt and for a while it looked like the team was back in the same predicament. To the delight and surprise of Knicks fans and coaches, Martin came in with vengeance. He blocked shots, collected rebounds and ran the pick and roll very well. Now entering the playoffs, the Knicks have a consistent presence in the paint and will be changing the shots of opponents. This could be bad for the Heat, who don't match up well with the Knicks because they can't attack the basket when they want to.