The 2012-13 New York Knicks were together, publicly, for the first time today in the organization’s training facility in Greenburgh, NY. Many of the NBA’s teams gathered, respectively, for a team-wide media day, and as per usual, they all spouted the usual feel-good thoughts: players in the best shape of their lives, players willing to sacrifice for the better of the team, players looking to adapt their games, championship aspirations. The Knicks were no exception, as attending media members kept us updated all throughout the day.
- Carmelo Anthony opted for the game-adaptation route. Tyson Chandler did as well, while also talking about championship aspirations.
- Mike Woodson spoke about championship teams and experience, not age.
- Jason Kidd – who is under the impression he’s had a “short career” - was called a “father figure” by Raymond Felton. Felton also admitted he’s out to prove a point this season, after coming in out of shape last year.
- Iman Shumpert learned a deeper lesson in basketball, and also rapped at Chris Copeland and probably made him uncomfortable.
And while it’s fun to poke at the predictable, cliche answers offered by all of the players, they make it hard not to be excited about this group. The black cloud of the Knicks’ decision not to retain Jeremy Lin has just about passed over, due in part to Glen Grunwald’s and Mike Woodson’s quick dismissing. Even the discontent some fans feel towards the organization signing very old veterans seems to be washing away with every positive remark made about Kidd, or Chandler’s declaration that older players are hungrier, more willing to sacrifice.
Sure, players aren’t going to come in and say they see their team as a lottery team, or that they didn’t like the moves management made in the offseason (you can imagine if they did, though, right?!). Players and coaches, of course, are going to talk about how excited they are, that the ‘sky’s the limit’ for their team. That’s all part of the process. However, more than the Knicks’ talk, their individual offseasons, their collective attitudes about coming into the season ready to work are reason enough to be excited.
Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler won a gold medal in this summer’s Olympics – an experience that has been proven to be beneficial for players’ careers. Amar’e Stoudemire has spent over two weeks working with Hakeem Olajuwon, trying to add a new facet to his game. (Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James, who have all trained with Olajuwon in summers past, each spent only around four or five days training with him). Raymond Felton is reportedly in great shape; likewise for Jason Kidd. The players even organized their own informal workouts and scrimmages weeks ago to become familiar with one another.
From the looks of it, a precedent has been set for this team, by this team. They’re saying the right things, and thus far, doing the right things. Yes, everyone exudes happiness and promise and excitement in their teams around this time. But from what we’re seeing from this Knicks squad, there could be real reason to be excited about what’s brewing in Greenburgh, New York.