Training camp is a full four months away, but the anticipation for the New York Knicks’ 2012-2013 season is already very high.
Coming into this past season, while not considered title contenders, many thought the Knicks could win the Atlantic Division. Although they were not able to do so, plenty was accomplished for the Knicks, as they proved to the league that they will be a forced to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference for years to come.
When they tip-off the 2012-13 season in October, expectations will be even higher. We are talking about NBA Finals type expectations, and with the roster that this team should and could have assembled, along with the way we all saw them finish this season, these expectations are justified.
However, in order for the Knicks to be in position to reach these goals come next season, certain things will need to get done this offseason.
First and foremost, the point guard position needs to be addressed. It is no secret that the NBA is a point-guard driven league, and while the Knicks have plenty of star-power, it will be tough to succeed without solidifying the point guard spot.
With reports that Steve Nash does not appear to be interested in coming to the Knicks, the team won’t have to look very far to get their guy.
Jeremy Lin, while not as phenomenal of a player he showed during “Linsanity”, can still be a very solid point guard for years to come.
Expect to see numbers closer to 15 points and 7 assists per game than to the 25 and 9 he gave us during the Linsanity period, but that will be plenty for this star-studded roster. In fact, I would rather see the Knicks sign Lin than Nash if one must be chosen over the other.
Yes, Nash would help the Knicks more in the short term, but he is 38 years old to the 23 year old Lin, and having Lin around for the next 10-15 years would be ideal for this organization’s future.
After they sign Lin, the Knicks need to figure out whom they should keep, and whom they should let go.
In my mind, the one guy who they absolutely need to let walk is J.R. Smith. The one thing every athlete has to understand in order to succeed is their role, and J.R. Smith does not understand his role.
Smith is very talented, but he is not Carmelo Anthony. He shoots much too often at a low percentage, does nothing to help run an offense, and plays essentially no defense. He simply does not get it, and never will. He needs to go.
After this, the Knicks have options, not necessities, and players that should be kept include Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries. Jared is not great on the offensive end, but his defensive play, great hustle, and team basketball mentality are all reasons to keep him around. As far as Novak goes, he is the best pure shooter in the NBA, and ought to be a Knick next season.
Additionally, the Knicks should do whatever it takes to get rid of the useless Toney Douglas, while also letting go of Mike Bibby and Baron Davis, whose career is likely over.
Lastly, Landry Fields is the guy who is pretty much a coin flip at this point. If reports are true that Lamar Odom wants to be a Knick, then Fields should be let go in order to make room for Odom, who, although he struggled in Dallas, has championship experience and could help New York in significant ways.
Unfortunately, the Knicks do not have a first round pick as of right now in the upcoming NBA Draft, but they should look to draft either a back-up to Tyson Chandler or a back-up point guard to Jeremy Lin, both positions that they desperately need more depth in, with their second round pick.
If the Knicks have as close to an ideal offseason as is possible, they should enter the 2012-13 season as both Atlantic Division favorites and NBA title contenders. Yes, it seems like a lot for a team that finished just 36-30 this past season and had a first round exit, but they did retain Mike Woodson, the same guy whom they were an Eastern Conference best 18-6 under down the stretch of the season, and they did prove a lot this season, despite the results.
Going 6-1 under Woodson with the two in the starting lineup, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire proved they can mesh well in Woody’s offense.
Carmelo, who was without a doubt the league’s best player in April, showed that he can both carry this team through anything and that he is still one of the league’s premier closers, two things that will contribute vitally to New York’s success in the postseason.
Tyson Chandler, the reigning defensive player of the year, proved that he is as valuable to the Knicks as any center in the league is to his respective team, and that the argument can be made that he is the league’s best center.
Perhaps the most underrated Knick, Iman Shumpert, who is one of the best perimeter defenders in all of basketball, proved that he has the capability to shut down the best guards in this league.
This team has proved that they have the capability to do plenty, so 2012-13 will be all about doing, and expect just that from the Knicks.
About the Author
Written by Michael Burke
I'm Mike. I'm 16 and love sports. I'm a Knicks, Yankees, Colts and Notre Dame die-hard. My dream is to cover the Knicks professionally, so I hope that PSB can help me reach that goal. Follow me on twitter: @michaelburke47