Its official you guys. I've bought into the New York Knicks hype. I'm not ashamed to admit that I enjoy watching this team. I mean not only are they winning, but they're a source of endless streams of comedy. It’s the perfect marriage of hilarity and great basketball. By all accounts, a team that features the oldest roster in NBA history, JR Smith, and Mike Woodson as head coach should be completely dreadful. A quick glance at the names on this roster and it’s easy to dismiss this group as a bunch of ill fitting parts. The squad mainly consist of flawed journeymen. And weather that flaw be age, defense, or downright lack of intelligence (looking at you, JR Smith). They all bring their own set of strengths to the table.
This summer, if you would have told me that Rasheed Wallace was going to come out of his two year retirement, join the Knicks, get solid minutes in the rotation, and not
look like Jabba the Hutt, I would have scream-laughed in your face. I mean sure his cankles are starting to spill over the top of his high tops, sure the seams of his jersey are holding together for dear life, sure he probably smokes a blunt before shoot arounds, and yeah the other night I saw him commit to a fast break and then abandon those plans after three and a half steps but it really wouldn't matter because he can't get up to a speed faster than light jog... But ya know, Sheed has got three things. A jumpshot that has to be guarded, solid help defense, and a fuck the world attitude.
The Knickerbockers play with this attitude that says "Yeah we're not supposed to be here, but we're still gonna put our feet on your coffee table and fart on your couch." Each member of the team has been the butt of many jokes at one point or another. They've all had judgment passed onto them, but they've still come together as one, leaning on each other in battle to achieve greatness...(I think I started going a little too far with that last sentence, but you get the point.)
All these flawed players have put their ego's aside, taken their strengths, dumped them into a giant caldron, swirled in that attitude, and out popped magic. Look at Steve Novak for example. Prior to playing with the Knicks, he had been on 4 NBA teams and 2 D-League teams. None of which found any use for him other than garbage time. And now when the ball is whipped around the perimeter and finds his hands, its splashing through the net at an extremely high rate. If you need him to dribble, make lay ups, pass, rebound, or defend, then you'll be shit out of luck. But leave him open from three and he turns into a pasty, discount double checking beast. He's always been a shooter, but only now does it all seem to be falling into place for him.
Jason Kidd is another great example. Last season he looked like a ghost out there on the court. Showing clear signs of early onset dementia, Kidd spent most of the season just wondering around in a fog. This year he's had several moments where he's reminded everyone why he's a Hall of Famer. His championship level poise has spread amongst the fellow Knicks. Jason Kidd just always seems to come up with a big play in crunch time. And it’s not always a big shot. It could be hockey assist, or he could strip the ball from a rebounder which starts off a fast break. He makes little plays like this all the time, and it’s awesome to see a guy that old make and imprint on the game without making an imprint on the box score.
After edging out the Denver Nuggets a few games ago, Jason Kidd had this to say about Carmelo. “Coach wanted to play through Carmelo, but Carmelo was like, ‘No, I want to play through Jason.’"
Holy Shit...It appears that Carmelo Anthony finally gets it. Melo understands that hero ball is great for SportsCenter highlights, but it takes a team to win championships. And I have to admit, Anthony is having an MVP type season so far. He's just as ungaurdable as ever, but seems to be passing out of double teams a lot more. That gives the Knicks shooters plenty of opportunities to do what they do best. Woodson's decision to start Carmelo at the 4 has been fantastic. Chandler mans the middle, never asking for the ball. He knows his job is to play defense and clean up the misses. Throw in defensive specialist Ronnie Brewer at the small forward and now you've got a formidable front line.
So there you have it. Hype has been purchased. I love watching this team. I love how Raymond Felton will employ a series of loose and kinda sloppy crossovers to shake his man, then get in the lane and shoot an airball from 8 feet away. I love the bewildered look on Rasheed Wallace's face when he has to try and communicate with Pablo Prigoni. I love seeing Mike Woodson's face when JR Smith lofts up a three from damn near half court. They're fun, they're funny, and they're winning. What more could you ask for. Now if Amare Stoudemire returns to the lineup, demands to be a starter, becomes a locker room cancer, and the Knicks lose in the first round of the playoffs, then this post should be removed from the Basketbawful archives and never spoken of again.