New York Knicks
Stoudemire now the Man in the Big Apple
Head Coach Mike D’Antoni knew the odds of LeBron James coming to Gotham City were slim so while he massaged LeBron, he was also courting Phoenix big man Amar’e Stoudemire with promises of surrounding him with enough talent to get to the NBA Finals. With 10 new players on the roster, Coach D’Antoni thinks he’s done just that. New to the team are not only Stoudemire but Russian player Timofey Mozgov, Veteran NBA players Raymond Felton, Roger Mason Jr, Patrick Ewing Jr, Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph and Shawne Williams along with two Rookies, guards Landry Fields and Andy Rautins.
Look for the Garden to be a place of fear once again and not a place where opposing stars can score at will. The Knicks will have to compete to get a prime spot in the 2010/11 NBA playoffs. New guard Raymond Felton put it best. "We've got to make a statement this year," Felton said. "Before it's over with, everybody's going to know about the New York Knicks."
The New York Knickerbockers, or Knicks for short, were part of the original 17 teams that started the National Basketball Association. They are the only team, along with the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, of the 17 original franchises to stay in the same city through today. Unless something spectacularly bad happens with the franchise or the city nothing is going to move the Knicks out of New York. The city of New York has a number of things to do while in the city, plays, parks, museums, and football teams, but the only two things that always draw people in no matter how good or bad they are doing are the New York Knicks and the New York Yankees. The city of New York loves its Knicks even though they hadn’t been doing anything amazing in the past couple of years the city of New York would always think that this year would be the Knicks year. The team was on a back slide down a slippery slope to the bottom of the East and management seemed to be making moves that were causing
the team to be even worse then they were before. In the 2001-’02 and 2002-’03 seasons the Knicks had a combined record of 67-97 record which is well below what the fans expect them to be at. During that time the team failed to make it to the playoffs for two straight years which is something that hadn’t happened since the team didn’t make the playoffs for three straight seasons from 1984-1987. The Knicks knew they had to change something the upcoming year.
Last year the Knicks made some huge changes and for the first time in two seasons made the playoffs. The team fired GM Scott Layden and brought in former NBA player and head coach Isiah Thomas. Thomas came in and started cleaning house. He fired Don Chaney hired Lenny Wilkins, traded Antonio McDyess, Howard Eisley, and Maciej Lampe for Stephon Marbury and Anfernee Hardaway. The team, all of a sudden, had a buzz around it that wasn’t there when the season started. The team was excited, the city was excited and the media was all over the team. The Knicks ended up finishing the season with a 39-43 record and got the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. In the first round they matched up against their cross river rival the New Jersey Nets. The hype around the series was huge and as it usually goes, the series couldn’t live up to the hype. The Nets had their way with the Knicks and swept them 4-0 in a series that only had one close game. Despite the lack of success in
the playoffs the Knicks considered the season a success due to the fact that they overachieved their way into the playoffs.
In the off-season the Knicks were mention with almost every big free agent or blockbuster trade. At the very beginning of the summer Isiah tried to convince Kobe Bryant to come and play in New York for their mid-level exception. Kobe refused the deal and went back to Los Angeles. The team was also very close in bringing Erick Dampier into Gotham but in the end the Warriors worked out a sign and trade deal with the Mavericks. Thomas did pull off a big time trade of his own before the summer was over. He moved Dikembe Mutumbo, Othella Harrington, Cezary Trybanski, and Frank Williams to the Chicago Bulls in return for Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams. Crawford can play point guard or shooting guard and is a very athletic and versatile player.
In the draft the Knicks tried everything they could to move up into the lottery but they did it all for not and couldn’t even trade into the first round. With their only pick in the draft coming in the second round the Knicks drafted raw UCLA small forward Trevor Ariza. Many scouts believe that Ariza came into the NBA a year or two too early. They say that his jumper isn’t at the NBA level yet and another year could’ve put him into the first round. However, he does have a tremendous amount of athletic ability and may one day develop into a contributor for the Knicks, but don’t look for him to get too many minutes this year unless the team is ravaged by injuries.
The Knicks starting five will have a chance to do some good things in the East. At point guard is Stephon Marbury, at shooting guard is Allan Houston, at small forward is Tim Thomas, at power forward is Kurt Thomas and in the middle will be Nazr Mohammed.
The Knicks bench will be pretty deep this year and should contribute a good amount of quality minutes when their starters are out. They are the deepest at point guard, shooting guard and small forward. Jamal Crawford and Anfernee Hardaway can play all three of those positions and Shandon Anderson can play shooting guard and small forward. Backing up the big men will be Vin Baker and Jerome Williams.