Everyone remembers this time last season for the New York Knicks, correct? Then-player Jason Kidd was arrested for a DUI, everyone thought that this Knicks team was too old and that they would not survive the whole season.
Well, they earned the no. 2 seed in the playoffs, shocking most of the basketball community and suffered yet another upsetting loss in the conference semifinals to the no. 3-seeded Indiana Pacers. Why do I bring this up? Simply because no one expected the Knicks to do what they did. The same is going for this year as well, with ESPN stats showing a decline for the Knicks and most believling that this team will potentially be sub-.500.
All this, with the reports that Carmelo Anthony wants to test the free agent market next summer! This may be one of the worst cases of bad timing I have seen in a long time.
Much like LeBron James circa 2010, all the media spoke about that season was his impending free agency. Now we are talking about the New York media with posters outside of Penn Station/Madison Square Garden with Carmelo’s face on them — do you really think that this won’t be discussed all season?!
Although this team does look like a version of last year’s squad on paper with the addition of Tim Hardaway Jr. and a healthy Iman Shumpert, this team has only one means of quieting the chatter and that’s winning this year — again.
Here’s my issue though; we all know that Carmelo is a great player, but the main criticism of him is his ability to put the team on his back. This Knicks team will rely on Carmelo to make the big shot in the big-pressure situation, and hopefully he can deliver. If he doesn’t, then the mouths of the media will keep bringing up the previous reports on how the Los Angeles Lakers are ready to offer a max deal to either Carmelo or LeBron.
This Knicks team may lack in size against teams such as the Chicago Bulls or Pacers come playoff time, but the East Finals is the goal for the Knickerbockers. With a shiny new Madison Square Garden to play in and the task of co-hosting the All Star game looming, there really isn’t a better place for any basketball player to be than the mecca itself.
When push comes to shove though, it’s at least the East Finals or bust, and the bust could eventually lead to the demise of a team that took so long to build up.
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