Injuries Got The Knicks Down, But The Team is Looking Up

For all the fans out there who are still bitterly disappointed about how The Knicks playoff run turned out, please keep this in mind: They were facing an impossible battle.

Not only did they draw the unlucky card of having to play The Miami Heat (probably the favorite to win it all), but they were also taken out of the running of pulling off an upset when their players began to drop like flies.

Iman Shumpert was supposed to be locking down our perimeter defense, instead he locked himself into a brace after tearing his ACL. That left a big hole in the roster, and drastically damaged this team’s chances to contain Lebron/D-Wade.

I don’t have to tell you about who got injured in Game 2, or rather shortly after Game 2. Let’s just say a certain 6-10 power forward happened to get a slight cut after softly brushing his hand against a glass case surrounding a fire extinguisher. After he sat out Game 3 (who knows if we would have won if he hadn’t), he came back in Game 4 with a 20-10 performance.

In Game 4, the Knicks took another hit when Baron Davis tore practically every ligament in his knee. He went down for 12 months due to fully tearing his MCL, ACL, and partially his patella tendon.

Even though the Knicks won this game, the injury may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The roster could not handle starting Mike Bibby, which as a result zapped their bench of anything beyond Steve Novak and J.R. Smith.

Game 5 came around, and the Knicks did not have enough left to get back-to-back wins against Lebron and the Lebron-ettes.

But. The playoffs are over. The misery of blowout after blowout has passed. We have reached the offseason.

Some people see obstacles like re-signing key free agents (J.R. Smith, Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak, etc), the coaching situation (Phil Jackson v.s. Mike Woodson), and if the Carmelo-Amar’e-Tyson trio can work out.

The Knicks have played poorly when both Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are on the floor.(Al Bello/Getty Images)

I don’t see obstacles. Instead I see a new hope.

As far as free agency goes, I am confident we will retain J-Lin, Landry Fields, Jared Jefferies, and hopefully Steve Novak. We don’t have much cap room, and that’s the way it is folks, so get used to it. We should have faith in the front office that found Iman Shumpert, Novak, and Lin. The Knicks have found many hidden gems in the past two years, and I see that as our approach moving forward.

The argument between Phil Jackson and Mike Woodson is a dumb one. It’s Phil Jackson. It will always be Phil Jackson, because he is the best. However, it is irrelevant, because PJ is most likely not going to make himself available.

Mike Woodson has done a phenomenal job with this team, and did an even better job while he was with the Atlanta Hawks. We are in good hands.

Finally, the issue that may matter most. Can Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire play well together. My simple answer is yes. ‘Melo is a superstar, and he feels the pressure. He knows that people don’t think he can do it. He knows that people won’t put him in the Lebron/Kobe/Wade category, and I think he is going to try to prove them wrong.

Mike Woodson has already begun to talk about what he thinks his two stars need to improve on. He challenged ‘Melo’s conditioning, and his ability to work on specific skills in the off season. I think that assists, and improving in the pick-and-roll could be included in that list. As for Amar’e, Woodson wants him to work on his low-post moves.

That would be the best thing for STAT. It would be helpful for this team to have a low post threat. Maybe he could work with Hakeem the dream? It seemed to work out well for Lebron and Kobe.

Of course if Phil Jackson does end up coming here it will be a different story. The Triangle offense. Phil Jackson did it with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, so why not ‘Melo?

I disagree with reports that this roster doesn’t fit well within the triangle. On the contrary it fits very well. Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert are the big guards needed in order to maintain good perimeter defense and to run the team. Carmelo Anthony can fill the role of scorer from the wings or post as Kobe Bryant did. Amar’e Stoudemire is still skilled enough to fulfill a Pau Gasol type role, as he would be able to shoot his mid range jumper and go down low.

This team can work. They took the next step by winning their first playoff game in 11 years. Now it’s time for the next chapter in Knicks history.

Topics: Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Knicks, Mike Woodson, Phil Jackson, Playoffs

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