New York Knicks fans are definitely excited for this upcoming season and tickets will be a hot commodity.
Adding a former NBA MVP and a former Defensive Player of the Year to a roster with one of the best scorers in NBA history sounds like a recipe for success. In addition, it’s all going down in the biggest basketball market in the NBA. However, the team is the New York Knicks, and as of late they have been finding ways to lose. The once proud franchise has become an after thought in the NBA, but they are hoping after this offseason things will change.
The former MVP is injury prone Derrick Rose. Once on top of the NBA and ready to take over, knee injuries have derailed one of the most promising careers the league has seen in a while. Joakim Noah, the former DPOY, was his teammate in Chicago and also signed a deal with the Knicks in the offseason. Adding to the core of Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks have put together some special talent.
On paper, the New York Knicks should be a factor in the Eastern Conference and challenge the Celtics and Cavs. The only problem with that is NBA regular seasons are not played on paper. For as talented as Carmelo Anthony is, he has never made a conference finals. With this star studded team he no longer has any excuses. Here are key factors for the New York Knicks to finally make their presence known in the Eastern Conference during the upcoming NBA season.
With any new team, there is always a learning curve to understand how your new teammates play the game. The quicker the New York Knicks roster can come together and be a cohesive unit the better. Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony both need the ball to be effective. On top of that, rising star Kristaps Porzingis will demand some touches as well because his offensive game is taking off. Exhibit A: His preseason debut this season.
Courtney Lee was another offseason acquisition and although he is a defense-first player, his skills on offense cannot be overlooked. All of these pieces add up to a somewhat confusing puzzle. First year Head Coach Jeff Hornacek is the man in charge of that puzzle. Expectations have been amped up, and the New York Knicks cannot afford another disappointing season. Look no further than the Cleveland Cavaliers. Once they figured out they are stronger as a team instead of a group of individuals they could not be stopped on their way to a title. We’ll know soon enough if the new look Knicks duplicate that formula and become a force to be reckoned with.
Block Out the Noise
The media will question every move this team makes, and the off-court distractions are always looming in the city that never sleeps. The New York Knicks are expected to perform at a high level even if they don’t have the most talented roster. Now that they spent a lot of money and hired a new coach there will be a lot of pressure for the team to win right away. A great team in the NBA is a cohesive team, so the Knicks need to avoid finger pointing and playing the blame game if things are not going their way early in the season.
Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were also expected to win in Chicago every year. Their ability to handle that pressure and be leaders in the locker room will be a barometer for this team. Mental preparation and toughness is a big part of the NBA. The talent of Anthony, Rose and Noah has never been questioned. Their mental approach and determination definitely have, and in New York those questions get asked a lot more often. Let’s see how they handle it.
Establish an Identity
Every good team has one. When times get tough, a team needs to rely on its singular strength to persevere through tough stretches of a game or season. Whether it’s lights out shooting from deep or lockdown defense, the Knicks need to know what they are good at. For too long the play has been pass the ball to Carmelo Anthony and get out of the way. Anthony is a prolific scorer, but one player cannot beat an entire team. Anthony has looked to the front office to give him some help out on the court and some leadership on the bench.
This year it looks like they have accomplished both. D-Rose can dish, Noah can rebound and block shots, Anthony can make shots, and what can’t Porzingis do. Figuring out a formula that allows each of their players to utilize their strengths will make them a winning team. Lets face it, Carmelo Anthony shooting the ball isn’t the worst option, but it can’t be the only option.
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