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The Future of the New York Knicks (Lockout Edition)

Photo courtesy of Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

The New York Knicks 2010-2011 season was filled with ups and downs, and was plagued by rumors about a Carmelo Anthony trade.  When the trade finally happened, the Knicks looked great for short periods of time, but they were more or less the same team results-wise.  They went on to be the only team swept in the first round of the playoffs, losing a series to the Boston Celtics in which they had a shot to win each of the first two games.

It was a decent start to the Carmelo Anthony era in New York, but the future is much brighter.

Looking Forward

It looks like the upcoming NBA season may be shortened (or even canceled) due to the lockout, and this will certainly affect the Knicks outlook.  The Knicks blew up their team in the middle of last season, and they never really looked like they figured out how to get Melo and Amar’e Stoudemire working well together.

The lockout will almost certainly lead to the cancelation of the NBA’s training camp and preseason, which normally wouldn’t matter for a veteran team that has played together for a while, but the Knicks will be hurt by it, as Stat and Melo will have to continue to learn to play together on the go.  From what I remember about the last NBA lockout, if there is a shortened 50 game season, it will be mass chaos, which will hurt the Knicks even more than most teams.

That said, they score better than any team in the league when they are playing well, which has proved to be a winning style of play by the success of the Golden State War… The championships won by the Phoeni… Well, you have to outscore the other team to win, right?

Last season the Knicks went 42-40, and they will have no trouble beating that this year.  A win total of 46-48 games and the #5 seed is realistic (assuming an 82-game schedule), and depending on if the Magic trade Dwight Howard, they could end up with the #4 seed and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.  Second place in the division is the best they are going to do; no way they can beat out the Celtics if they are healthy.  I might be a Knicks fan, but I’m not completely crazy…

Free Agent Pursuit

The rumors that plagued the Knicks last season will certainly continue to eat away at them this year.  With the 2012 free agent class headlined by Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, the Knicks will certainly be in the mix for at least one of these players.  Chauncey Billups still has enough left to help the Knicks out this year and his shooting ability is really perfect for Mike D’Antoni’s offense, but he isn’t the long term answer for the Knicks.

Mike D’Antoni’s offense turned Steve Nash into a two-time MVP and a future Hall of Famer.  I cannot even begin to imagine the numbers that Chris Paul would put up in his system.  If the Knicks were to get Paul, they would most likely have to wait until the free agency period next summer, as the Hornets are currently owned by the NBA, and the Knicks don’t have enough to make a deal that would be deemed fair.  With D’Antoni as coach, there is no better fit than CP3, even with his injury history and even if Deron Williams is willing to make the short move to the 2-1-2.

The Final Solution(s)

Photo courtesy of Ebenhack, APBut that is not the move this Knicks fan is looking for.  When you are a New York sports fan, you have to be a little greedy, so I ask this question: Would you rather have an explosive offense, or do you want to compete for championships?

If you answered championships like you should have, then these are the 2 big moves that need to be made:

The first: Fire Mike D’Antoni and hire Jeff Van Gundy. Yes, Mike D’Antoni has had playoff success in the past and it is somewhat unfair to judge him on his time New York so far.  He made a bad team entertaining, and then was forced to coach a decent team that was blown up in the middle of the season.  The thing about D’Antoni’s style of coaching is that I don’t think it can win a championship in today’s NBA.  Is he ever going to get a better team than the one he coached in Phoenix?  Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, Ama’re Stoudemire all in their primes, with a solid supporting cast to surround them.  Even if the Knicks have Paul, Anthony and Stoudemire, they will have no supporting cast, and those Suns teams still never made it to the Finals.  That is why a change at the top is needed.  JVG would be a perfect candidate, he has hinted about a return to coaching, and he has had success in New York in the past.  He has defensive minded approach, and he led the Knicks to the finals in ’99 as a #8 seed, the only team in history to accomplish that feat.  Phil Jackson has also been rumored since “retiring”, and he probably wouldn’t stay very long, though one must wonder about the positive influence he could have on Carmelo Anthony over any period of time.

The second move: Get Dwight Howard.  Yes CP3 would be awesome, but overloading an offense isn’t what wins championships.  Plus, Paul has a severe knee injury history, while D12 has missed 7 games in his whole career.  Getting the 3-time defending NBA Defensive Player of the Year would move the Knicks from dangerous team with potential, to legitimate championship contender.  Getting Dwight Howard won’t be easy, it might not even be possible, but it’s definitely the best solution available.  And yes, if it comes to it, trading Ama’re Stoudemire for Howard is definitely worth it.

No one knows what the next CBA will look like, and it might be impossible for the Knicks to get their own Big 3 (Sorry, but Chauncey doesn’t cut it).  If they want to stick with Mike D’Antoni for the long haul, then Chris Paul is the player to pursue.  If they want to get serious about winning some championships, fire D’Antoni, hire Jeff Van Gundy, and go after Dwight Howard.

About Jason Damiano

I am a New York sports fan through and through, as I was born and raised a Yankees, Giants and Knicks fan. I currently reside in Manhattan, and I have an educational background in engineering. This gives me a slightly different perspective than most journalists. I write for GossipSports.com and SportsofNewYork.com, and you can follow me on Twitter @Jdsports313.

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  1. New Post: The Future of the New York Knicks (Lockout Edition) http://t.co/nS0Tuje

    Posted by Sports of New York | August 17, 2011, 2:11 pm

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