After an early playoffs exit this season, the New York Knicks have pressing adjustments to address to fully realize their potential as “title contenders.” Here are three questions the New York Knicks need to address in order to be successful next season.
1. What type of offense will the Knicks run: half-court or up tempo?
On paper, the potential of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire scream success, but somehow they have yet to have consistent success while playing alongside one each other. This is because the Knicks’ offense does not suit both players.
Amar’e Stoudemire thrived in up tempo situations back when he was a Phoenix Sun. Stoudemire would use his athleticism and his explosiveness to attack the defense quick on hard cuts, drives, or lobs from Steve Nash–forming one of the most dominant pick and roll duos in recent memory.
While Anthony during his Denver Nugget days, played at a slower and more half court setting where he would score off of isolations. Whether it was using his size and strength to post up smaller defenders or using his quick first step to blow by larger defenders, Melo has an exceptional offensive repertoire.
With both players thriving in different circumstances, the Knicks struggled to run an efficient offense. I’m not saying a Anthony led offense is inefficient but the Knicks currently don’t have the personnel that will excel in that offense. The Knicks don’t have the low post scoring that is ideal for an half court offense which is why Stoudemire struggled at times. Indeed the offensive inefficiency and chemistry can be linked to a shortened training camp and injuries played but it was more about the “fit” of Anthony and Stoudemire than anything else.
Although the Knicks will have better offensive chemistry with a full training camp, they will still need to address what type of offense they will run. I believe the Knicks should try an uptempo offense again. Yes the Knicks played uptempo when Mike D’Antoni was head coach, but I don’t believe Anthony fully embraced it.
At times Anthony would force a slower tempo to play to his liking and the offense struggled because there was no ball movement and player movement–two essential elements in a D’Antoni offense. In order for the Knicks to click on all cylinders Anthony will have to adjust to this style something which shouldn’t be too difficult with versatile skill set and offseason of conditioning.
The Knicks would also benefit from pushing the tempo because it will play to the strong suits of “all” their players. Amar’e would start putting up All-Star numbers again and Tyson Chandler will continue to grab rebounds and score off lobs and put backs. Along with this, the Knicks second unit was made for this offense–with Iman Shumpert, J.R.Smith, and Steve Novak in faster pace that spells a lot of points on the board.
2. Is Jeremy Lin ready for “Linsanity” Part 2?
It’s only in New York where opportunity can strike at any moment and that’s exactly what happened to Jeremy Lin. After being on the fringe of obscurity, Lin found himself in the starting lineup against the New Jersey Nets, and “Linsanity” was born.
Under Lin’s spectacular play, the Knicks rattled off seven straight wins and later on an unlikely playoffs berth. After a knee injury sidelined Lin from the playoffs this year Knick fans are hoping and waiting to see what Lin can do in the playoffs.
And now that head coach Mike Woodson has tabbed Lin the starting point guard he will have to work on his weaknesses. I agree that Lin is very talented but part of the reason he was able to wreak havoc on opposing defenses was because there wasn’t a legitimate NBA scouting report for the Harvard graduate. Towards the end of the season teams learned to play Jeremy Lin’s left hand and trap him hard to exploit his obscene turnover rate.
Despite being on every team’s radar next season, Lin’s biggest concern would be the pressures of playing in New York for a full NBA season. Can Lin handle adversity without crumbling? Can he live up to the legacy he established in his historic two week run? Probably not, but New York fans will still be expecting it. I believe Lin could average 15 points and 8 assists especially if they play at a faster rate but it will come with Lin playing with poise.
3. Are the Knicks title contenders?
An odd question, but a question that the New York brass needs to take seriously. I do believe the Knicks are “contenders” but their a piece away from being “title contenders”. The Knicks need to add another veteran presence and I believe Ray Allen will be a smart option. Besides being the all-time leading 3-point field goal maker he will provide a winning attitude to this ball club.
Another option would be veteran swingman, Lamar Odom. Even though Odom posted some of the worst numbers since arriving in the league, Odom would be more than motivated to prove he can still be effective and that Dallas wasn’t the team for him. If the Knicks can swing one or both these options the Knicks will have all the tools to become “title contenders” but it will ultimately come down to Knicks believing in this goal that starts with both Amar’e and Anthony playing well together.