The old saying goes there is no “I” in team, and the Knicks are starting to learn that. The 2012-2013 season is looking to be the first season with legitimate expectations and goals that can be reached. One of these reasons will be that the team will have a solid starting five for the first time in years. Let’s take a look in this franchise’s present starting five compared to past starting lineups.
Bearing nothing big happens in the offseason; the Knicks will have a probable starting lineup of:
PG – Jeremy Lin
SG – Iman Shumpert
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Amar’e Stoudemire
C – Tyson Chandler
This starting lineup has huge potential with different weapons at all positions. You know you have a certified superstar and elite scorer in Carmelo Anthony. Tyson Chandler is the rock in your defense and your vocal leader. If Amare’ Stoudemire can return to the STAT he was when he first came to New York, or at least a 20-10 guy, the Knicks will be in good shape. Iman Shumpert has the tools to become an elite defender and if he can learn Woodson’s offense and how to feed off other players, he can be a 15 PPG player. Then you have Jeremy Lin, who flashed signs of greatness when he came onto the scene and saved the Knicks season. I don’t think he will be putting up 30 a night, but if he can give the Knicks around 16 points and 10 assists a game and limit his turnovers, he can be very affective and be key to the Knicks playoff run.
I think this is a pretty big leap from the starting five of 2 years ago that had Melo, Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, Landry Fields, and Ronny Turiaf. Chandler is a huge upgrade over Turiaf who is a spark off the bench at best. BIlups was an injury liability and Landry has been inconsistent. Shump and Lin have a much higher ceiling, and are both young and can grow up in the league together.
The Pre- Stoudemire days were pretty ugly in the Garden. The 2009-2010 Knicks had a starting lineup of Chris Duhon at point, a young and unproven duo of Danillo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler at the 2 and 3. At the Power Forward position you had Al Harrington, who never got on the Knicks fan base’s good side, since they knew he was only there to clean up cap room. The only productive player night in and night out was David Lee who averaged a double- double.
The 2008-2009 Knicks starting five had a few different faces. Before Zach Randolph was a star in Memphis, he was traded by the Knicks to the Clippers early in the season. Jamal Crawford was also traded early to start moving cap room for the free agency frenzy in 2010. The Knicks than started a 2nd year player named Wilson Chandler, David Lee, Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson and Jared Jeffries. Most of these players are bench players and rotation guys at best on any other teams, but they started for the Knicks.
The 2007-2008 Knicks are laughable when you think about it. Eddy Curry, Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson, Jamal Crawford, and Zach Randolph started a majority of the games. Due to injury, Fred Jones started 26 games. WHO???!
Looking back at the past starting rotations in these last few years, I as a fan am down on my knees thanking whoever is up there for this team. Not one player I named cans score like Carmelo or even come close to the defense Tyson and Iman will play. Those players don’t know how to spell the word defense, probably think it has an actual fence in it.
It will be up to Coach Mike Woodson to live up to expectations. I expect to win the division title over Boston who looks like they will be losing Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and to secure a top 4 seed and home court advantage in the playoffs. This team needs to be built to beat Miami, Chicago, and Indiana who have a core that will compete next year and in the future for the East crown. Who knows, maybe the Knicks will land Steve Nash, who will upgrade the starting five even more. But when comparing this team to past Knicks squads, fans should be ecstatic and anxious for the season to start, because I know I am.