It’s been an interesting off season for the NY Knicks but the question remains…”Is this team moving ever closer to a CHAMPIONSHIP…or is all this movement sideways?

New York Knicks logo

New York Knicks logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Knicks managed to draft Tim Hardaway Jr…I felt this was an excellent move.  Many others I spoke to did not.  I think he was great value where they were picking and I think he should develop into a well rounded player bringing length, shooting ability and an aggressive athleticism to the team.  Oh yeah and YOUTH….something we haven’t seen a lot of in these parts. This guy has serious potential and I think a back court of either Hardaway and Felton or Hardaway and Shumpert could really bring a lot of motion and athletic ability to the offense.

1.DSC_1250 copy

1.DSC_1250 copy (Photo credit: Adam Glanzman)

Recently the Knicks inked J.R. Smith to a multi-year deal.  Though at times he has been an erratic player, he won the 6th Man Award last year. Ahhhhh J. R. Smith.   I love him and I hate him.  He can astound and he can a-stink.  He can poster-ize a defender and he can have nights where he can’t throw it in the ocean.  Honestly I’m not sure about this move.  Coach Woodson has done amazing things bringing Smith along to this level.  Can we get the volatile and sometimes out of control player to continue his ascent?  Or is this the beginning of what I call “long contract complacency’?  There is also a raging controversy as to whether Smith should continue as the 6th Man or be elevated to starter.  Personally I think this discussion is overrated.  I don’t see it as THAT big of a deal BUT…having said that…I feel that Smith is most effective coming in off the bench and I hope Woodson keeps him right there.

Enter Andrea Bargnani…he was the number one overall pick in 2006and was at the time being compared to Dirk Nowitzki
and pau gasol.  Lately he hasn’t been compared to anyone of note and has been called a “bust” by many including Daily News columnist Frank Isola who said “Bargnani was starting to draw favorable comparisons to Kwame Brown, this generation’s poster child for busts drafted with the top overall pick. When the Knicks last saw Bargnani in February, the Toronto Raptors home crowd booed the Italian when he entered the game and when he exited. It was brutal and not entirely unfair. But clearly, the relationship between team, city and player was irreparably damaged.”  Read more:

English: Andrea Bargnani dunk Toronto Raptors ...

English: Andrea Bargnani dunk Toronto Raptors Miami Heat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So basically who knows what,  if anything,  this talented player has left.  He was projected as a dominant 7 footer at the forward position but that was then and this is now.  He tweeted that he was “thrilled to become a New York Knick”.  Let’s hope the fans share that mutual feeling say around January 18th, 2014.  By then we should have a good feel as to whether or not Bargnani is the real deal and can the Knicks keep moving closer to a CHAMPIONSHIP and not another early playoff exit.  His size does make him an attractive addition.  In Isola’s column he quoted former Knick coach Jeff Van Gundy. “But New York is also a great place for second chances. And that’s what Bargnani is getting. New York is the place where he can rebuild his career. Or it can be the place where his spirit gets crushed. And there may be no turning back.”

In the constant search for talented BIG MEN that Knicks have also knocked on the door of 34 year old Elton Brand..a player with hall of fame numbers who himself has been chasing the elusive ring his entire career. Can this man play?  To quote Marv Albert, “YESSSSSSSSSS  !  !  !”  but he is a 14 year veteran and are we doomed to make the same mistakes that plagued the team last season?  IF IF IF…if Rasheed Wallace has stayed healthy the Knicks would have been inthe Eastern Finals.  If Marcus Camby had stayed healthy he could have been a key contributor against the Pacers.  If Jason Kidd had not melted down late,  the 3-point offense would have been quite effective.  Brand has career marks of 17.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, but can he sustain those numbers thru the entire 82 game schedule,  his 15th season in the NBA?  Probably not.

To sum things up unless The Knicks can rely on a consistent second scoring option,  be it Smith, Hardaway, Felton, or Shumpert, someone to take some of the load off of Carmelo Anthony they are not going to make a deeper push into the playoffs.  And unless Amar’e Stoudemire returns to some reasonable serviceable copy of his former self the Knicks will not be able to make their way past The Pacers or the Heat.  It wouldn’t hurt to have an injury free Tyson Chandler on the court as well,  flashing some of the defensive brilliance that gained him the defensive player of the year award 2 years ago.  The problem with the Knicks is the problem with a lot of New York sports teams.  Too many holes to fill and too little cap room and time to do it in.  The Pacers are young, strong and talented and they are learning.  The Heat are deep and they have Lebron.  The Knicks have a few key players and a bunch of role players.  How will all this shake out?  As things stand right now I don’t see this team getting to the Eastern Finals.

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