Tommy DeeThe Knicks won 54 games last year and they were the 2nd seed in the Easter Conference. With the win-now moves made by the Nets, I would say as it stands right now the Knicks are no longer the favorites to win the Atlantic Division. Are they still a top 4 team in the conference when Derrick Rose comes back?
It’s a key question and one that needs to continue to be addressed because if they fail to secure home court next year they will find themselves on the road in the first round against one of the top 4 teams in a very top heavy conference.
The Knicks have weaknesses. Last year all anyone wanted to talk about was how old they were. Well, they’ve gotten younger and have added scoring punch from Tim Hardaway Jr. who can score from the perimeter. They also brought in a player in C.J. Leslie who has some upside if given the chance to develop. They added a former number one overall pick for literally nothing who can also stretch the defense. They’ve chosen to commit to J.R. Smith, who will continue to baffle and frustrate fans. Hopefully he won’t disappear in the playoffs and that his antics were more stress related based on his contract status than who he is as a person.
You know how we feel about Pablo Prigioni, who was clearly one of the most underrated Knicks at times last year with his ability to move the ball and guard it. He also was very disruptive defensively and just always seemed to make the right play.
The Knicks still have time, obviously, and I think bringing in an Elton Brand-type would a critical addition. Brand’s impact on the glass last year for Dallas at 20 minutes per was very productive. I’ve always been a fan and think he’d be a very solid addition to the bench.
Speaking of the bench it will be interesting to see what happens with Chris Copeland. So many Knicks fans are out there pining for the guy to return but for me it’s not all that critical. He’s a nice player and a great story but certainly replaceable.
All in all it’s a good start to the off season in my mind.