When was the last time you could say that the New York Knicks are the hottest team in the NBA. Think about that… the NEW YORK KNICKS… the hottest team in basketball right now. When was the last time you could say that? When was the last time you turned on MSG expecting a win? After a decade long wait, the Knicks are relevant again.
I know.. I know.. you are going to be quick to bring out the obvious. They haven’t played anyone good in the last three weeks? You’re right they haven’t played the upper echelon teams in the NBA yet, but you know what? The Knicks are taking care of the teams they should beat. And regardless of what you haters may say about strength of schedule… what about the Hornets win Friday night? They were one of the best teams in the league at defending their home-court (8-1 at home heading into the game), and the Knicks took care of business.
The Knicks have to be proud of their acquisition of Amare Stoudemire (aka STAT). He puts up gaudy numbers as well but he also wins. He’s a difference maker. And go back to some of those early season home losses to Philadelphia and Houston. Stoudemire was sick to his stomach and wasn’t afraid to call out his teammates. That's a true franchise player.
Stoudemire is averaging 24.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. He is hardly the only reason the Knicks have been playing well, however. Raymond Felton (18.1 ppg, 8.3 assists), Wilson Chandler (16.9 points, 6.0 rebounds), Danilo Gallinari (15 points, 4.6 rebounds) and Landry Fields (10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds) have all been consistent contributors. In fact Fields is a legitimate candidate for Rookie of the Year in my opinion behind Blake Griffin of course.
Watching Raymond Felton get new life as he has been rescued from the realm of Larry Brown has also been liberating. One thing about Larry Brown, he teaches you how to play the position the right way, but he will never let the point guard be great. His guards always flourish when they leave his system and take their knowledge somewhere else. Not to mention playing in the D'Antoni system (which is the most PG friendly system in the league) had to be uplifting to Felton as he proves he is a franchise point guard.
Watching this team has been good for my soul. It’s been so long since my Knicks have been relevant that it doesn’t seem real. I am a hard core sports fan but I have to be honest, the NBA hasn’t been that fun to watch for the past 10 seasons as my team has floundered in mediocrity at best.
Even this season I was concerned as the Knicks started the season 3 – 8. But they have won 10 out of their last 11 games and have improved to 13 – 9 on the season. This would happen the first year I didn’t order the NBA League Pass. So I have been delegated to going to sports bars and friends houses for the games so far this year, or getting updates from the Knicks twitter faithful.
As the New York Times did recently, you can look at the Knicks' record to date and say they have played a weak schedule. Or, you can look at it and say they are winning on the road. Both of these things are true. If you are looking at them, though -- or paying attention to this -- that proves the point. The Knicks are relevant again in the NBA and damn it feels good to see people up on it!