Schmeelk: Another Transition Year Ahead For Knicks

By John Schmeelk
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I’m actually writing a blog about basketball.

I’m not going to mention BRI, flex caps or mid-level exceptions for teams over the luxury cap. Studying the rules over the past few days it’s becoming pretty clear that the new CBA leaves the Knicks in the same position they were in with the old one.

For New York, 2012 is going to be one last year of transition to get to a true championship level.

Sure, the Knicks will be a playoff team this year — and there’s a great chance they will actually have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But they are not ready to compete with teams like Dallas, Miami, Oklahoma City or Chicago. They are close but lack the depth, inside presence, rebounding and balance to make a true run this season. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a fun year, with the potential of getting to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade — and having a real chance of upsetting a great team.

True championship-level play, however, won’t arrive until 2012-13 when the Knicks can surround Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony with the help they need. With $13 million in cap room, they can choose to try to bring in another star, or spread the money elsewhere on established roleplayers.

We’ll examine how the Knicks should spend that money tomorrow.

In order to make those decisions, this year is important. First, in terms of personnel, Landry Fields and Imam Shumpert need to prove to the Knicks they can play before the important free agent decisions of 2012 are made. Can Shumpert be a starting point guard in the NBA? Then the Knicks shouldn’t spend their money on Chris Paul. If Fields shows improvement at shooting guard, it gives the Knicks another potential asset to either trade or resign to a longer contract.

It’s the same for the coach. If the Knicks don’t win a playoff round this year, I don’t believe Mike D’Antoni will be coaching the team the following season. With his distinct style, his system dictates a certain type of personnel and player that can work. If he isn’t the Knicks coach next season, the type of free agent they will pursue will be quite different. It is a make or break year for his quick hitting system. It will come down to defense. If he, and new defensive oriented assistant Mike Woodson can’t get the Knicks to play defense there will be a new man on the sidelines next year (and no, don’t expect Mike Woodson to be the next head coach either).

Likewise, Stoudemire and Anthony are going to have to cement themselves as leaders of this organization. They two will have to prove they can play together and are willing to do so at both ends of the floor. As they stand now, both are considered one-dimensional offensive players and need to show improvement on the defensive end if the Knicks are going to take that next step forward.

Finally, it’s also a year for the front office. With Glen Grunwald as the interim general manager, the Knicks need to decide if he is the man to lead them into the future. Otherwise, their next head coach can also be their general manager.

It’s a big year for the Knicks in nearly every respect that will form the foundation of the franchise for years to come. Enjoy. You can follow me on twitter at: twitter.com/#!/Schmeelk.

Do you think 2011-12 is shaping up to be a transition year for the Knicks? Sound off in the comments below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. ABU JOUDEH says:

    WE HAVE NO MONEY PICKS DWIGHT HOWARD AND CHRIS PAUL BEAUSE THEY SPENT ON AMRE’ STOUDEMIRE TRADE HIM

  2. MIKE DAYEM says:

    OWNER FOR NY KNICKS NEED PUT MONEY IN BANK GET CHRIS PAUL AND DWIGHT HOWARD IF PUT THEM I GOING BOYCOTT NY KNICKS FOR EVER THAT FACT .WE NEED WAKE UP AS KNICKS WE GOT NO MONEY BRING PLAYERS .BEAUSE LA LAKERS AND NETS GOT MONEY

    1. MIKE DAYEM says:

      OWNER FOR NY KNICKS NEED PUT MONEY IN BANK .TO PICK UP PLAYERS IF HE DON’T I GOING BOYCOTT NY KNICKS FOR LIFE BEAUSE LA LAKERS AND NETS GOT MONEY AND NY KNICKS IS CRY BEAUSE HEY HAVE NO MONEY TRADE AMRE’ STOUDEMIRE FOR DWIGHT HOWARD

  3. mike says:

    the point is not that they prefer shumpert to paul. the point is, if shumpert can play the point with some level of competency, that allows the knicks to surround themselves with more depth, defense, and possibly create a unit that can play cohesively and complement each others skills. a functioning team, with star power at its core, and the ability produce a sum greater than its parts, will certainly outshine a group that knows no more than taking turns isolating one on one (aka miami heat). and even if shumpert isnt the proper fit, i say go after ray felton in the off season.

  4. Adam says:

    Sorry, but Iman Shumpert cannot have a season good enough to make the Knicks give up on acquiring Chris Paul and do so rationally.

    Chris Paul is arguably the best point guard in the game right now. Iman Shumpert has a lot of potential that he has yet to live up to. Maybe he’ll have a great season — I hope he does! But, even if he’s rookie of the year, why would you give up on getting the best guy in the league just because Iman Shumpert finally had one good season?

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