12 pm December 25th—a time that is less than 24 hours away—marks the beginning of perhaps the most highly anticipated NBA season in decades; a season which many thought wouldn’t even take place.
For some teams, this season represents one last shot and winning that illusive NBA championship before the adverse effects of time finally set in. For others, this is their shot to prove they belong; to take the league by storm and prove that it is not just a four team league.
The New York Knicks are a team that probably fit into the latter category. The team has made some significant additions, and boasts what many think could be the best frontcourt in the entire league. The New look Knicks appear to be primed to take a shot at contention in the Eastern Conference this seaon.
After spending a season building chemistry, then tearing apart that team in order to add Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks will look again to build chemistry with their new parts in place.
One of those new parts is Tyson Chandler. Chandler is going to anchor the defense behind Melo and Amar’e Stoudemire and will be the key for this team’s hopes of making a run at the title this season.
The success of this team will also hinge on couple of key factors; their ability to mesh together as a team and their ability to stay healthy. This is a team that is one injury away from a disastrous season. Chandler, Melo and Amar’e all have a history of injuries and should all have their minutes monitored closely by Coach D’Antoni. The Knicks will need the first ten games or so in order to get used to playing with one another, and establish some team continuity. The first ten games will also be interesting, in order to see what sort of rotations D’Antoni will be working with.
In terms of the new faces on this roster, the Knicks have had some significant change with the additions of Chandler, Shumpert, Bibby, Davis and Harrellson. In addition to those names, this is Carmelo Anthony’s first training camp with the team. It may take some time for this group to get it together. Because of this, we may not see the real potential of this team until late in the year, or even until next season rolls around. However, with the shortened 66 game season, the Knicks should be able to grab a few more wins then they usually would under normal circumstances.
Another thing to consider, which will be a huge part of the team dynamic, is the lame duck status of head coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni has one year left on his deal and is hardly considered a favorite by management. This means he will be playing for results, which also means we will see him playing his stars huge minutes. This is not good news for Amar’e and his surgically repaired knees.
Clearly, there is a great deal up in the air with this year’s version of the New York Knicks. This season could be a huge step forward or a huge step backward depending on the way the ball bounces. It is for this reason that fans around the league will be glued to their televisions, eagerly watching the next move for the most interesting team in basketball: your 2011-2012 New York Knicks.