The Summer of 2010 was the light at the end of the tunnel, with the Knicks returning to relevancy with the terrific draft class of 2003 all hitting free agency. The Big Apple was buzzing, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade was going to come to New York and save the day.
When both decided to team up in South Beach, New York landed the most talentedconsultation prize, power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, ushering in a new era of Knicks basketball.
Stoudemire gives New York a legitimate threat in the post, it’s most exciting dunker since Latrell Sprewell was on the team, has shown flashes of being a terrific shot blocker and charisma that has the city buzzing for the first time in over a decade.
There is no question Stoudemire is the most talented player to suit up in a Knicks uniform since Patrick Ewing, but the 27-year-old also brings a ton of baggage.
Both of his knees have needed micro-fracture surgery and he needed eye surgery to re-attach his retina, expecting a fully healthy season from Stoudemire isn’t something to take for granted.
For all of his talents on the offensive end, Stoudemire doesn’t rebound well for a player his size (career average 8.9 rebounds per game, never averaged over 9.6 during his career) is a poor post deender and there have been grumblings from the Phoenix Suns, his old team, that he wasn’t the best teammate.
Since his arrival in New York, Stoudemire has brought optimism for the future by saying Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Tony Parker have talked to him about forming a mega-squad to rival the Miami Heat.
Adding any of those players would be a welcome addition, but honestly, it’s time for the Knicks to be content with what they have on the court and not what the roster could look like in a year or two.
The most awkward part of the whole saga is the inadvertent shot Stoudemire is taking at his new teammates. Hoping to draw other big name free agents is fine, but that is beyond his control. The Knicks need to either land one of those players in a trade or wait until they become free agents.
Imagine if I was talking about this website to the press, saying it’s great to launch a new basketball website and how excited I am to have it, but blasted Zach (the site designer) and Bucky (a key contributor in content/editing/idea generating) along the way.
Here’s how my interview would sound:
“It’s great to finally launch a website dedicated to basketball, the main obsession I have in my life. The fresh start will hopefully bring new readers with the same enthusiasm for basketball that I have. All Shattertheglass.com needs now is someone to come in and take the design to a new level and another writer to feed off of, we have some pieces here now, but really this site won’t reach it’s potential until some improvements are made.”
Now some of this might be true, sure if there was another person knocking out tons of stories and someone designing all of the features to rival ESPN.com, NBA.com and others, but this site dosen’t. You have to roll with what you have and make the best of it.
While Stoudemire is hoping to improve the team in the future, it doesn’t sound like he is happy witht the team he has now. The problem there is that is the team suiting up on opening night and the Knicks have to compete this season, not in the future.
The dilemma is the Knicks might not make a massive improvement next season and that’s precisely what the team has needed for a long time.
Take a look at these stats and tell determine of Stoudemire is really that much of an upgrade from last season:
Player A: played 81 games, shot .545% from the field, averaged 20.2 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and was named an All Star.
Player B: played 82 games, shot .557% from the field, averaged 23.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and was named an All Star.
Player A is scheduled to make $10,800,000 in 2010-11 and during the off season signed a six-year $80 million contract. Player B is scheduled to make $16,486,611 in 2010-11 and during the off season signed a five-year $99 million contract.
Player A is former Knick center David Lee, now with Golden State and Player B is Stoudemire.
So if you’re teaming with Stoudemire, aren’t you a little bothered by all of his chatter about potential free agents joining the team? Won’t guard Wilson Chandler, the name constantly involved in trade rumors, feel a little awkward setting up Stoudemire in the post.
Hoping for a better tomorrow is nice, but for Knicks fans, it’s something they’ve been doing for too long . The Chosen One was supposed to be the ultimate prize for enduring a three year span where the team posted a record of 84-162 and it didn’t happen.
Coveting Anthony, Paul or Parker isn’t going to improve the Knicks this season.
It’s not all gloom and doom in New York, here are three things the Knicks have to look forward to during the upcoming season:
1. A new point guard.
Having endured the tragic Chris Duhon era, who thankfully signed with the Orlando Magic,the Knicks finally improved their biggest weakness by adding Raymond Felton, the best free agent point guard available. Anyone would have been an improvement over Duhon, but Felton has agreed to a deal where if he doesn’t pan out, New York can rid themselves of a lousy point guard after two seasons.
The Knicks dug themselves into a hole by adding terrible veterans with absolutely horrendous contracts. The main acquisition in the David Lee trade, Randolph is finally a young player looking to reach his potential in Madison Square Garden. Standing at 6’11 with absolutely ridiculous athleticism, (Randolph can handle the ball like a point guard and produce highlight reel dunks) giving the Knicks hope for the future, and the front of his jersey already has New York.
3. The Non-Return of Isiah Thomas
From 2003-2008 Thomas did everything he could to run the Knicks into the ground as head coach and general manager. New York had a bloated, unlikeable roster, horrible coaching and worst of all, no end in sight to the terrible basketball. August 6 was set to be the day I walked away from the Knicks following this announcement. Luckily he won’t be returning to the Knicks as a part-time consultant (or even worse, a potential replacement for team general manager Donnie Walsh) and stick with the NCAA, for now.
As a general rule, Knicks fans do the opposite of anything Thomas does, so maybe hoping for Carmelo Anthony isn’t such a bad thing after all.