December 8, 2012

New Beast in the East?

By - Jaquan Murphy

Coming into this season, most folks believed that the top teams in the Eastern Conference were Miami, Chicago, and possibly Boston.

When the New York Knicks were mentioned, few denied they would be a playoff team, and most expected them to lock up a respectable 5 or 6 seed come postseason time.

But no one saw this coming.

Roughly a quarter of the way through the season, the Knicks are exceeding all expectations. They currently sit at the top of the Eastern Conference, and now people are wondering if they are truly the real deal.

Simply put, this is the new New York Knicks -- and yes, they are legit.

Photo by: Getty Images
They are led by superstar forward Carmelo Anthony. By himself, he gives the Knicks several qualities in a player that have eluded the Knickerbockers for years.

Anthony is a player that can take over a game by himself at any given moment. His combination of size, speed, and strength provide the ultimate nightmare for opposing players and coaches. Add to that an extremely wide variety of moves. Melo can catch and shoot or create his own shot with the best of them.

Still, this Knick team is not just a one-man show. Anthony is joined by a team that knows their roles and play within their games. Credit that to coach Mike Woodson. Offensively, you will not see anyone doing any more than they can, nor doing any more than they need to do.

The backcourt is run by Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd. The duo has quickly made New Yorkers forget the names Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields. Felton and Kidd are floor generals, and they're making smart decisions and helping others get in a position to score.

Also credit Woodson with getting the Knicks to do something they have not done in years -- play defense.

With Melo and an assortment of 3-point marksmen, scoring was never the problem for the Knicks. The fact that they average over 100 points per game shouldn't really surprise anyone.

However, the fact that the team ranks in the top 10 in the NBA in points allowed, allowing just under 95 points per game, should. Their defense is leading to some easy buckets on the offensive end, and that shows up in their average point differential. They average an 8.5 point victory, second to only the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But the biggest difference in this team and previous Knick teams, and even other clubs around the league, is their decision making as a collective group.

New York is No. 1 in the NBA in turnovers, averaging just 10 per game. They are far less careless with the ball this season. Factor that with smarter shot selections, and it is just simple math from there. Smart passes plus smart shot selections equals a high shooting percentage -- and that leads to lots of points.

Not to mention, the Knicks have two wildcards up their sleeve that will only strengthen the squad as the season progresses. Injured players will soon be suiting up and playing meaningful minutes again. Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert will eventually be back in the lineup, making an already dangerous team even more formidable.

So attention NBA. This quarter of the season was not just a stretch of good basketball. The New York Knicks are finally back -- and they aren't going anywhere.


  1. When they blew out Miami for the second time they made me a believer.

  2. Heat will still get dat ass in the playoffs brah

  3. I was kinda disappointed when they let Lin walk, but they obviously don't need him. Didn't think Felton would play at such a high level.

  4. Still alot of games left to be played. Lets not go crowning them just yet.