New York Knicks have enough pieces to contend in Eastern Conference


carmelo anthony amare stoudemire

The Sports Bank will be counting down to the opening tip of the 2012-13 NBA season with team by team previews starting with the worst and working our way to the title contenders.  There is no lockout this time around so let’s get going.

The resurrection of the New York Knicks hasn’t been an as accelerated a process as management would have hoped.  They invested a ton of money in signing a big three of their own but haven’t been able to get the job done on their own just yet.  That’s why the Knicks added some veteran pieces this off-season that should help them contending in the Eastern Conference.

2011-12: 36-30, 7th in Eastern Conference
Predicted EC Finish: 4th

Projected Depth Chart:
C: Tyson Chandler/Marcus Camby/Henry Sims
PF: Amare Stoudemire/Rasheed Wallace/Kurt Thomas
SF: Carmelo Anthony/Steve Novak/James White
SG: Iman Shumpert/J.R. Smith/Ronnie Brewer
PG: Raymond Felton/Jason Kidd/Pablo Prigioni

New York’s off-season was: successful in surrounding their stars with quality role players.  New York added four veterans on the final legs of the careers in Jason Kidd (39 years old), Marcus Camby (38), Kurt Thomas (40), and even having Rasheed Wallace come out of retirement.  That quartet will add experience, needed depth, and better talent to a team that relied on dead weight like Baron Davis, Mike Bibby, and Jared Jeffries a year ago.  Kidd will likely split playing time at the point with Raymond Felton who was brought back to the Big Apple to help replace Jeremy Lin after the team wisely chose not to match the insanely backloaded deal that Houston gave him which includes a salary of almost $15 million for the 2014-15 season.

The team also re-signed key reserves Steve Novak and J.R. Smith who provided offensive firepower off the bench.  New York chose not to match the offer sheet Landry Fields signed with Toronto and brought in Ronnie Brewer and James White to hopefully help take over Fields’ minutes.

2012-2013 will be a success if: everyone stays healthy.  Amare Stoudemire is already out two-weeks due to a knee injury and had issues staying on the floor last season as well.  While the Knicks are better prepared to deal with injury this season, they simply cannot be contenders in the East without a healthy Amare.  There is also increased injury risk with the over-38’s on the roster which is part of rolling the dice by signing so many older guys.

2012-2013 will be a disappointment if: the Knicks don’t finish in the upper half of the Eastern Conference.  They weren’t able to take a major step last season but have added the pieces to be a top four team in the East.  The pressure of playing under the bright lights of New York brings a ton of scrutiny when the team doesn’t reach expectations.  Anything less than homecourt advantage at least one playoff series victory will be viewed as disappointing.

Looking ahead to next summer: With their key players under contract for the 2013-14 season, New York doesn’t figure to be very active unless they swing a couple of minor acquisitions to further improve the depth.  A disappointing finish this year and next summer could get interesting if the Knicks decide to try and unload Melo or Amare.

#5 Indiana Pacers
#6 Philadelphia 76ers
#7 Chicago Bulls
#8 Toronto Raptors
#9 Milwaukee Bucks
#10 Detroit Pistons
#11 Atlanta Hawks
#12 Cleveland Cavaliers
#13 Orlando Magic
#14 Washington Wizards
#15 Charlotte Bobcats

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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