Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New York Knicks:A New Season Brings New Hope

The start of a new NBA season has always been one of my favorite times of the year. The league always has a lot of movement in the offseason, so its fun to speculate about how teams will fair with the changes they made. You can always count on the New York media to intensify this speculation when it comes to the New York Knicks. For me, no matter how negative the press is or how bad the outlook is, I always have the highest optimism for the Knicks on opening night. As I wait for their first game to tip off against Memphis this season, I really believe they will be much improved and will contend for a playoff position. I will get back with you in February, as thats usually when its clear that the Knicks will disappoint once again.

I really miss the good times of the 90's, when the Knicks were title contenders for many years. Even with all the optimism, I know this team is no where near that status, but it would be nice to get back into the playoffs this year. While many want Isiah to fail dramatically and get kicked out of New York, I really think he can do a much better job with this team then Larry Brown. His positive reinforcement will make a big difference with several of the players on this team. I could go over the pros and cons of this team but in the end, I think their success will ultimately be tied to 3 things.

1.Eddy Curry - I really think that this team can only improve if Curry improves this season. If he is the same old center that doesn't rebound and stays in foul trouble, the Knicks are not going to have any scoring in the post. Channing Frye will be able to provide some, but it will not be enough. If the Knicks are not able to score in the post, then they will become a team reliant on the outside shot and one on one moves. That concept usually does not work out well in the NBA.

2.Defense - We know Isiah intends to play an uptempo game and with the players on this team, they should be able to put alot of points on the board. But as we have already seen in the preseason, they could end up giving up alot of points as well. In the long run, better teams like Phoenix can get away with this and still be fairly successful. However, the Knicks will have a much smaller margin of error and will need to play better defense or they may not see any improvement in the win column.

3.Turnovers - This really ties into the defense as well. Even if they are able to become a good defensive team, if they are turning the ball over too much, it won't matter. They led the league in turnovers last year and didn't look any different in preseason. They will be playing a more uptempo offense which will increase the chance of turnovers.

If Curry can become the player everyone has been waiting for, the Knicks can buckle down and play better defense, and reduce turnovers, I think you will see them contend for a 7 or 8 seed in the East. If not, well lets just say that alot of New York fans and media will have their wish. Isiah won't be able to get out of town fast enough.

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