Hot! Cha Ching! Knicks Buying What Coach Woodson Is Selling

The Knicks are on a tear, as evidenced by their incredible 6-0 start to the season following an impressive 104-100 come from behind win in San Antonio last night. After an intriguing offseason highlighted by the decision to let Jeremy Lin walk, the failure to bring in Steve Nash and the acquisition of numerous role players just a few years away from AARP eligibility, the Knicks are the NBA’s best team.

Mike Woodson is looking more and more like the right choice to lead the Knicks to the promised land. His Knicks rank second in both scoring offense and scoring defense. He preaches an aggressive help defense, consistently rotates in fresh bodies and emphasizes playing an unselfish offense. Since taking over as coach of the team last March, Woodson’s Knicks are now 24-6 in the regular season, and may be on the cusp of something special.

Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 23.8 PPG and 8.2 RPG is playing at an MVP level and proved last night that he can be more than just a point scoring machine. The Knicks put up 104 points against an impressive Spurs defense despite Melo only scoring nine. He still contributed with 12 rebounds and did not emit any selfish desire to control the ball that could have stalled a Knicks offensive outburst in the latter half of the 4th quarter.

When the team’s offense went cold, Raymond Felton took over, scoring a team-high 25 points. When he needed an assist, he turned to future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd who came in and sank three critical 3-pointers in the 4th quarter. The team is too deep to lack a reliable scoring option on a given night. With so much isolation talent, somebody is bound to be able to hit important shots when the team needs it most.

The NBA season is a long one, but the basketball world can’t help but be impressed that the Knicks are the NBA’s last remaining unbeaten team, and that every team the Knicks have beaten so far participated in the playoffs last season.

If the Knicks need to hit a 3-pointer, enter Steve Novak. If the Knicks need rebounding and defense in the paint, enter Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby. If the Knicks need a veteran point guard to come in and stabilize their offensive flow, enter Jason Kidd. When the Knicks need a scorer who can go on a tear, enter early sixth man of the year favorite JR Smith. The Knicks have the depth to counter any type of playstyle their opposition throws at them.

The spark Rasheed Wallace has provided off the bench is one of the best stories of the season. Wallace had been out of the league for two seasons and barely had time to workout with the Knicks before making the opening day roster. With the Knicks winning so comfortably out of the gate, Wallace was given minutes to play, and immediately excited fans with blocks, aggressive defense and timely 3-point shooting. He’s averaging 6 points and 3 rebounds despite playing a mere 11 minutes per game. He’s already overtaken Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas as the first big off the bench, and his exceptional leadership skills and defensive prowess will provecritical for a Knicks team that needs reigning defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler to stay healthy. Wallace gives the Knicks the chance to rest Chandler without losing much on the defensive end.

Even little known Pablo Prigioni has proven a surprise contributor. The Argentinian point guard is always looking for steals (he’s averaging one per game despite only 13.5 minutes per game) and his unselfish European-style for a Knicks team that looks to be a perfect fit for the team. His ability to contribute allows the Knicks to not overuse Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd.

Whether or not this is just a hot streak or a sign of a championship contender remains to be seen, but what must leave the Knicks excited is that they are succeeding with a veteran roster filled with players playing up to their career norms. Nothing has been too earth-shattering about the stats the Knicks players are putting up. They have the look of a team that’s in sync with their head coach, and if A’mare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert can return and become a part of this rotating Knicks lineup, the team will be even better down the stretch.

The only question New York basketball fans have to be asking is, where da Brooklyn at?


Nicholas Kostopoulos

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