During the past few weeks ESPN has been releasing its 2012 NBA Summer Forecast on topics such as Conference Standings, MVP, Best Team Turnaround, etc. The rankings are decided through surveying “100 of ESPN’s best basketball minds.”
Eastern Conference Standings:
ESPN projects The Knicks to finish in 7th place. I project that they will finish in 4th.
The Knicks have a superstar offensive juggernaut in ‘Melo, supported by a new and improved STAT, and a defensive anchor in Tyson Chandler. They also have a young up and comer in Iman Shumpert. With the additions of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Ronnie Brewer, and Kurt Thomas, how can this team be projected to win just 45 games?
I acknowledge that the team will be older this year, but veterans win championships. We didn’t bring in Juwan Howard and Erick Dampier, we brought in players who have made an impact just last season, and who will play major minutes this coming one.
The top three teams in the East will probably be The Heat, The Pacers, and possibly the Celtics. If The Knicks stay healthy throughout the season (and if Iman Shumpert comes back as early as possible), then honestly I wouldn’t be shocked if we eclipsed Boston for the 3rd seed.
ESPN projects Raymond Felton to be #4 and Jason Kidd to be #7. I project neither of them to be on this list.
Most people know that Raymond Felton was overweight and underprepared last season, including Felton himself. He has admitted to wanting to prove everyone wrong this year, and show that he is the same player who was averaging 18 points and 9 assists for the Knicks two years ago. He won’t have to score that many this time around, but if he can achieve the same assist rate then he certainly would not be considered a bad pick up by the Knicks.
Jason Kidd is no longer 28 years old, but he is also no longer being asked to start. Here is a future hall of famer, former All-Star, former NBA Champion, and he is projected to be one of the worst newcomers in the league? Kidd is not having a lot asked of him: he is in charge of getting the offense to work together, hit open 3-pointers, and to not drive while intoxicated. That is all is asked of him at age 39.
Team in Turmoil:
ESPN projects The Knicks as the team in the most turmoil next season. I do not project them to be on this list.
Ok, so maybe it is a stretch to imagine a Knicks’ season without any turmoil, but number 1? We made the playoffs last season in a season when STAT, ‘Melo, and Jeremy Lin were all injured for significant amounts of time. How can this season end in turmoil?
We will only have one head coach this season, barring some unforeseen mishap, and hopefully our star players will not get injured. With a team that has a new unified identity and one goal I don’t see how this season turns out that poorly.
There is always something James Dolan can do to screw it all up, but I like to pretend we traded him away with Jared Jefferies.
I am not sure why the basketball geniuses at ESPN have such negative feelings toward the Knicks, but I find most of them based on our past and less based on our future. Things are looking up for Knicks’ fans in 2012.