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Five Keys to Knicks Season 2013-2014


In the midst of an awesome MLB Playoffs, an even better World Series, and the inability to cope with the fact that my main guy, Mariano Rivera, is no longer an active athlete, the NBA silently crept up on me this Fall. Like a ninja, NBA opening night is here. Boom! And of course, that means, my beloved New York Knicks are set to begin their 2013-2014 campaign towards what will hopefully be an even better year than last. 

As is the case with most years, I very much disagree with the experts who have picked the Knicks season to include doom and gloom, as they usually do. I completely understand that it is hard for me to objectively view my guys in orange and blue sometimes, but I thoroughly do not understand how so many people have us projected to do so terribly after a 52-win season.

In my view (as orange and blue hazy at it may be) the Knicks improved. After shedding pieces who were unable to contribute as expected (Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallance, Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, James White), we added some bodies and depth with players who should be able to bring some different things to the table. We've gotten younger as well, with one of the more satisfying draft picks by Knicks fans in Tim Hardaway Jr. Though...I still despise his father. 

As for the other key acquisition, it's my unexplainable appreciation of the big man in the NBA, but I'm really hoping and rooting for Andrea Bargnani to re-discover what once made him a 21.4 ppg scorer a couple of years ago. Plus, I really believe he can really help Carmelo carry some of the scoring load each night. As for defense...umm yeah, more on that in a bit.

And of course, Ron Arr...Metta World Peace will surely bring some toughness to the team. If not, he'll surely be an entertaining sound byte for every post-game interview.


So with that said, as tradition goes here on the DP, here are my five keys for the New York Knicks towards a successful NBA season: 

1. Carmelo, Carmelo, Carmelo - This season all begins and ends with Carmelo Anthony. The Melo we saw last season when the Knicks began with a blistering 18-5 start was amazing. Locked in on defense. Passing out of double (and the occasional triple) teams, willing to set his teammates up, and the biggest factor, making quick decisions by moving the ball to keep the offense moving. That Melo is amazing. Hero-ball Melo that loves isolation play and tries to go one on five is deflating. Which Melo shows up the most this season is how far the Knicks will go. 

2. De-fense - Bum, Bum - De-fense! - This one is very obvious and is always a key. Defense. Stop the ball. Stop the other team from getting quality looks and high percentage shots. Once again, with Melo, Bargnani, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Beno Udrih, there are some highly questionable individual defensive capabilities on this team. Although, the idea of (a healthy!) Tyson Chandler, Ron Ar....err Metta World Peace, Pablo Prigioni and Iman Shumpert on the floor at the same time is very, very intriguing. You might see some form of combination with those guys on the floor in late minutes. That should be fun to watch. 

3. Shump-ing to the Next Level - Very few players in the NBA have the motor to defend like Shumpert. If, just if, his offensive can come around with a consistent jump shot, the Knicks may have themselves a homegrown and bona-fide second star in the making. The sky is the limit for Shump, and it's pretty safe to say his time is now to start heading that way. 

4. Staying On Point - Raymond Felton often gets overlooked for what he brings to the Knicks. In fact, so does Prigioni, and in many ways, so will Udrih this year. One of the many things the Knicks did so well last year was take care of the ball and limit turnovers. With a strong returning group of point guards, the Knicks will need to replicate this attribute. Plus, high level court general-ship (I totally just made that phrase up) would highly benefit Carmelo Anthony, as well as the offensive issues surrounding his isolation play. Remember, no Hero-Ball Melo!!

5. Health and Help - And finally, for the last key, the Knicks are going to need to stay away from injuries. Yes, that means you Amar'e Stoudemire. And yes, you too Kenyon Martin. However, in doing so, it'll be important for guys such as J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. to really help carry the second units this year. With many deep teams in the Eastern Conference, it's important for the Knicks bench to stay healthy and productive this year in order to compete. 

Season Prediction: 49-33

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