(This entry is another in a series of 30 guest columns that will run in October, when optimism reigns supreme across the NBA. The theme will be “Five Reasons to Feel Positive About … ” We encourage you to follow the authors on Twitter and visit their sites. – CS)
I have often been labeled a Knicks optimist because that’s my personality by nature. Plus, it’s a combination of finding myself having to defend them against what I sometimes find to be unfair national media treatment.
What’s hard to defend is the organization’s decision not to match Houston’s offer for Jeremy Lin, a decision that not only shocked fans and media, but also some major people within the Knicks basketball operations, according to sources.
The Knicks are talking championship, a lofty goal for a team that struggles to simply win playoff games. In order for that to happen, they need to finish in the top four in the Eastern Conference and gain home court advantage.
With that said, having spent some time in training camp and reading accounts, here are my five reasons to feel positive about the upcoming Knicks season.
What the Knicks have lacked over the past few years are clear locker room leaders to hold teammates accountable. When the Knicks decided to remove the interim tag from coach Mike Woodson, the message was sent that it was going to be his job to manage this weakness.
But it is not Woodson’s job alone. Another part of the solution was to bring in veterans Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Jason Kidd to set the tone and support the core of Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. What I saw from Day 1 of training camp was a focus and a singular common goal vibe that I haven’t felt around the Knicks in the last four years.
2. Carmelo Anthony
The team’s franchise player is ready to assume a new role in his career – or so he is saying – and that is less focus on scoring and more focus on putting balance into his game. Perhaps his summer experience with Team USA, playing alongside fellow superstars who put aside their egos and considerable skills for the chance to win a gold medal, was somewhat enlightening.
I think Anthony is a wonderful player who should succeed at this concept if his surrounding pieces perform. If he can make Stoudemire a better player, the Knicks can win 50-plus games.