Fans of the New York Knicks have mixed feelings when it comes to the 2014-15 NBA season. The pessimists preach the fact that the triangle system that is going to be implemented takes time to work and that the roster is not going to be competitive until Phil Jackson brings one more startplayer to New York next summer.
The optimistic fanbase holds on to the fact that the Eastern Conference is pretty much up for grabs considering the Indiana Pacers are pretty much out of the picture due to losing Lance Stephenson in free agency and Paul George‘s gruesome injury, the Miami Heat not being as strong now that LeBron James went to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the eternal mystery of Derrick Rose‘s health in Chicago.
Well, the Knicks have a great opportunity to state their case to those who doubt them in the first two games of the season.
Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks face Rose, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol in the season opener. Remember, the Chicago Bulls are the team that almost got Anthony in free agency. With Rose healthy, they could accomplish a lot more than losing in the first round of the playoffs (like they did last season). Tom Thibodeau is one of the most consistent coaches in the league, having managed to make lemonades out of the bunch of lemons that was the Bulls’ roster in 2013-14. Now with a full roster and a healthy Rose, the Bulls are projected to end up in the top four of the conference, no doubt.
The next day, the Knicks travel to Ohio to face what most consider the strongest team in the conference. Kyrie Irwing, Kevin Love (if the rumors are true) and James make for the new Big 3. The Cavs’ roster will have the perfect balance of youth, playoff experience and championship pedigree, and they will be led by the best basketball player of the modern era. They too will be in the process of building up team chemistry and learning a new system, but the roster alone speaks for itself. The No. 1 spot in the conference is theirs to lose.
So there it is, the two best teams of the Eastern Conference open the season trying to run over the shady Knicks. On the other hand, the Knicks have the opportunity to prove to everyone that they deserved landing Melo in free agency and they are really contenders in the making, with a new front office, new coaching staff and, most importantly, a new winning culture. Triangle offense, Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson might be the new recipe for success, but they need to put it to work on the court.