By now the entire free world knows that the New York Knicks have been eliminated from the playoff competition. And they are the only team that has been swept out of the first round. Sure, they were short-handed (pardon the pun) with injuries but besides that, it didn’t seem like the Knicks stack up in size and with the exception of games 1 and 2, the defense was non-existent.
That needs to change and change quickly if the Knicks are going to become successful. The first thing they need to do is bring in guys with talent but with size. They need size in the manner of true (not the inflated listed height) 6-foot-10 and above. They cannot continue to play with undersized power forwards and centers; it just does not work. It doesn’t even look right as a line up. It doesn’t make other teams feel that they have much to worry about driving down the lane to the hoop. Every other team in the NBA that is left, and even those that were recently disqualified, had some sort of size upfront.
The up and down and run-and-gun style of basketball isn’t realistic in the playoffs. Getting out and running on a fast break is one thing, but to think you’re going to run a wide-open type of offense in a tight playoff series when every possession counts is unwise.
Fortunately for the Knicks they have one of the game’s best closers. In Carmelo Anthony, they have a player who can not only take over a game and carry a team on his back, but can finish as he is at the top of the food chain. During games, you would want the ball in his hand in the closing seconds. And in Amare Stoudemire, the team has a second superstar player that can dominate a game.
But, those two players need help in a variety of ways. True, they both need to become (and remain) defensive players. And their defensive premise needs to be something that resonates from the stars. Both players are solid guys and well liked around the league, not just in the Knicks locker-room. They will do the right thing.
Now the Knicks’ front office needs to do the right thing and convince Coach Mike D’Antoni that size matters and that he needs to utilize such size if he wants to coach this team. If Stoudemire, who is a natural power forward, is forced into extensive minutes at the center position it can wear him down. That became evident with the painful back ailment that rendered him almost useless. He wasn’t the same after pulling a muscle in his back before game two.
Three big men with a defensive and rebounding mindset, at a minimum, is what is needed to make the Knicks competitive. Also it wouldn’t hurt if the coaching staff had at least one coach who taught defensive schemes. This would go a long way to ensuring that the Knicks play and maintain championship quality basketball. And with ticket prices at Madison Square Garden rising up to 49 percent, enhancements are necessary.
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