Its been a Week and the season is fully underway and wait a minute, what! the New York Knicks are not in the middle of a crisis, theres no Linsanity anymore but they are 3-0 including impressive wins at home to Miami and on the road against a tough young 76ers squad.
Its safe to say that the Knicks are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA at this moment. Although the elephant in the room of whether Melo and Amare can play together is still there, it is sat quietly in the corner of the room not causing problems(yet…). Until Amare is back Carmelo Anthony is playing the 4 and he is playing lights out basketball.
There are 5 reasons why the Knicks are playing better Ball this year:
1. Melo is focused
We all know what hurricane Melo can do as a scorer but its good to see him take on a leadership role and do the small things like hustle and play hard D. After coming off a season where he shot a career low 34% from the field last year, he NEEDED this. He is closer to the basket and is causing more damage in the paint. This is where he is unstoppable as he is like a runaway train when he goes up to finish at the rim. After his incredible performance in the London Olympics against Nigeria where he went for 37 in 14 and a half minutes on 10/12 shooting. Melo should be aware that he can score with efficiency. For the Knicks to carry on like this he needs to keep that game in the Olympics in mind.
2. Raymond Felton is a baller
The pickup of Raymond Felton was widely overlooked due to the bigger story being Lin leaving for H-Town. However it shouldnt be as he fits this team nicely and can play pick and roll with Tyson Chandler which frees up the floor for shooters like Novak. He also is an accurate passer and can relieve Melo of ball handling duties and get the ball to him in the post.
Let me remind you that Head Coach Mike Woodson is a defensive coach. His mentality and ethos is starting to filter down through the players as they have held opponents to a 46% from the field this season and even more impressively they held the heat to 46.5% in the opening win at the Garden. With Mike Woodson as coach and Tyson Chandler the reigning Defensive Player Of The Year in the ranks this is important that the Knicks keep this excellent start up.
4. Veteran Leadership
At Half time in the season opener v the Heat Carmelo Anthony was asked by Doris Burke(ESPN ANALYST) ‘Carmelo your team is playing well and your controlling this game, why is that?’ to which he replied ‘Well we have some good vets here, and they just make plays.’. Simply put but hes right. Although the Knicks are one of the oldest NBA teams ever, including guys like Kidd, Thomas, Wallace and Camby they have dramatically improved this teams mentality. it remains to be seen how this will affect NY over an 82 game season but so far so good.
5. Knicks are shooting lights-out from beyond the arc
The 5th and final key point about the Knicks early Success this season is that they are shooting the lights out. they have a 45% clip from 3 at the moment and it comes from all angles. Melo, J.R Smith, Felton, Novak(especially Novak who led the league with 46% from 3 last year), Kidd and even Brewer have been hitting threes so far. When this happens the Knicks are unstoppable.
Lets start taking the Knicks a little bit more seriously now and who knows even Amare Stoudemire may start to score for them. Heres hoping.
Im Out like Steve Novak’s Conscience. @speedicus9