New York Knicks Season Preview: Groundhog Day Edition

Ah, another season for the New York Knicks. My time as a Knicks fan has been long and at times, arduous, and this season will probably be much of the same. Due toDespite its best efforts, management has turned this team into a slightly more competent version of what the ‘Bockers trotted out for years under *gasp* Isaiah Thomas. Under ‘Zeke, New York had a team that was full of weird and bad contracts for overpriced subs (Shandon Anderson, Othella Harrington, and Nazr Mohammed) and a disappointing, enigmatic “superstar” (Stephon Marbury) that wasn’t as terrible as some might remember (they never finished with a bottom-five record in the league). Now, the Knicks’ roster is full of overpaid subs (Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, and yes, Steve Novak) and a disappointing, enigmatic “superstar” (Amare Stoudemire). You ever seen the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray? I feel like my Knicks fandom is a living parallel. Now, granted, this team has two other top-25 players in Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, but it feels like we’ve been here before. I’m already waiting out the STAT contract like I’ve waited out Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph before him, and I feel like this team is just as mismanaged as its been in the past. Despite all this, without further ado, here’s my preview for 2012-2013 New York Knicks season.

What Are the Keys to the Season?
Aside from ‘Melo working within the offense and Tyson Chandler staying healthy and out of foul trouble, the biggest keys to this season are the guards. If Raymond Felton can run the point like we saw under Mike D’Antoni and Jason Kidd does his best Jason Kidd in 2010 impression, New York will be tough to beat. Combine that with Iman Shumpert’s return in January (here’s a fun game: Who will play first, Shumpert or Stoudemire?), and this backcourt looks pretty formidable.

What Are the Weaknesses of this Team?
The Knicks’ biggest weakness is a weird one. It’s one I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before in all my years as a basketball fan. The management of this team put it together without considering how the pieces will play together. Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire both need the ball in their hands, they’re both ball stoppers, and neither of them play point guard (or defense). Compound that with the issue that they both play better a position up (‘Melo at the 4, STAT at the 5) and that’s a huge weakness. Tyson Chandler is the most important and consistent player to New York, so Mike Woodson will need to be creative in his rotations to make this work. I’m on team “Make Amare the 6th Man,” but what do I know? The inability of this team to fit together cohesively is its biggest weakness.

What Are the Strengths of this Team?
Contrary to popular belief, depth is a huge strength for the Knicks. Once at full strength this team features ten players that warrant playing time: ‘Melo, Felton, Chandler, Amare, Ronnie Brewer, Shumpert, JR Smith, Kidd, Marcus Camby, and Novak; and that’s without mentioning Chris Copeland (who willed his way onto the team with hustle, heart, and awesome hair) and Pablo Prigioni (who should see time off the bench this year). New York is incredibly deep, this will help off-set their age issues.

Prediction?
Ugh, this sucks. I hate predictions because I’m A) always wrong and B) always disappointed about it. Regardless, I’m predicting the Knicks to finish at 47-35, good for the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. I think they’re better than the Nets (yup, I said it), Sixers, Bucks, Hawks, Cavs, Raptors, and Bulls (among others, but those are the important ones) and worse than the Celtics, Heat, and Pacers. They should win a round one matchup (potentially with the Nets) and lose to the Heat in the second round. It’d be great to see the Knicks win a few games in the playoffs, much less a series. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully, this isn’t the same old stuff we’ve grown used to.

Written by Jesse Schneiderman.  You can see more of his work at The Cult Jar and you can follow him on twitter at @thecultjar and @JesseOneT

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