Tuesday, October 27, 2009

“Real Recognize Real”: New York Knicks, Version 2009 (courtesy of The Till Show)

Ladies and gents, turn up your sound system to the sounds of Carlos Santana.

Na, just kidding…we've got something even better courtesy of one of our favorite guest artists, Johnathan Tillman, the creative force behind the blog Fundamentally UnSound. Readers, you've definitely seen J-Till's rhetoric disseminated across various comment sections, and some of you have even dialogued with Tillman and myself ad nausea. (Till, feel free to that extra Snapple in the fridge.)

I've decided against dropping a Knicks season preview here this year. Trust, you'll hear enough of my mindless rants as the season progresses, so why spoil the surprise? Instead, Tillman-san and I have exchanged column inches this year. In other words, he'll be astounding us with his Knicks knowledge here, and you can see your boy drop rhymes over at the FU paradise. Since he's one of those rare Knicks fans that lives outside of the state of New York (Maryland, to be exact), I'm cool with it. (Haters, we'll see you in 2010...)

The floors all yours, Till...


For those of you that read my blog, you know that the New York Knicks are the team to which I pledge my NBA allegiance. That sigh was for the futility of the Isiah-Marbury era. The franchise begins its second season under Donnie Walsh and "SSOL" mastermind Mike D'Antoni. Most people feel that this is a meaningless season until the 2010 Summer of Lebron & Others; but that's far from the case. It's another year in the highly-uptempo system; and another year closer to Eddy Curry's exit (obligatory shot at Eddy Curry). I rarely write season previews to avoid the mundane keys to success like avoiding turnovers and defensive rebounding. So, this one will be written the FU way: outside the box score. Peep after the random picture…

Where do I start? The Knicks' struggles over recent years have been well-documented. Various players have combined to be the joke that bottom-feeders like the Clippers, Detroit Lions, and Washington Nationals are the proverbial butts of. Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury, and Eddy Curry have been the MSG version of the Three Stooges of the past few years. This season, the Knicks have no reliable shooting guard on their roster. Some of you may bring up Larry Hughes; but perhaps he would be dependable if he stopped taking so many bad shots. So, the 2-guard position will be filled by Wilson Chandler. D'Antoni is looking for Chandler to make more strides like he did last season. If Al Harrington isn't overly stingy, Chandler should be way more productive in his third year.
New York will have to outscore every opponent this season. With no center in the rotation—the one on the team can't fit into his uniform—team defense and rotations will be……nah, what am I saying? The Knicks play defense by choice. In Knicks' practice, defense is like a serious exercise program. Sure, you know it's good, but you're not really committed to it after the first week. It's always an excuse like, "I'm gonna hit the gym;" as you're downing that last burger (obligatory shot at Eddy Curry). Well, threes are those favorite fast food goodies that the Knicks feel will help them achieve success. For those that say the SSOL Suns didn't play much defense forget what Shawn Marion meant to that team. The Knicks have no one that versatile; so they'll probably take at least 2000 shots from behind the arc in 82 games. Even Jared Jeffries thinks he's a shooter now and floats along the perimeter. Someone needs to sit him down and tell him that just because your friends are doing something doesn't mean you can do it, too.

This past Draft, the Knicks picked up Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas. Hill's a big man from Arizona; and Douglas is a combo guard from Florida State. Hill's selection at #8 proves that D'Antoni feels he can mold the next Nash instead of the next Amar'e; otherwise, the Bucks would have had one less point guard to choose from. The problem with that is Hill isn't the explosive athlete or offensive locomotive that Stoudemire is. As of right now, he isn't in the rotation. He has some skill, yet his athleticism doesn't allow him to produce and develop like Amare's did. Douglas, to me, was the better pick. He's already more complete than any point guard, and should supplant Chris Duhon due to his knack for scoring and playmaking. This actually isn't a slight to the former Blue Devil. He actually did well in his first season as a full-time starter last year. However, the SSOL system needs more than just a serviceable floor general. It must have a more impulsive man at the helm, and Douglas is more spontaneous that Duhon.
While I'm on the subject of young players, I'd like to mention last year's first-round pick: Danilo "El Gallo" Gallinari. After a wash of a rookie season due to a back injury, he's won the starting small forward slot. Truthfully, if Danilo were American-born and NCAA-educated; he'd be much more heralded. Instead, he was booed on Draft night and labeled as a bust shortly after by fans. He can shoot and has an arsenal of moves. Once he adapts to the physicality of the NBA, if it happens, fans should change their opinions of him. What is a Knicks' preview without mentioning the upcoming Summer of 2010. The Knicks are poised to have a bunch of money coming off the books, and it's no secret they have their eyes on a certain crab-dribbling King. I'm not sure if not landing Lebron would be a failure for the franchise considering the superstar talent that will be available. I'm not even sure if Lebron will make that move to MSG. That makes this season paramount for those young players I mentioned. They must make significant progress. Donnie Walsh has a track record of building solid teams, and as long as he and D'Antoni have a blueprint to how the team should look, the Knicks will be on the upswing and returning to contention soon. This year, they probably won't make the playoffs, but they won't be an easy win either. I think my team will win at least 35 games and give Garden patrons an entertaining product on the court. So there's my season preview for the 2009-2010 New York Knicks. We'll see how close I am to being right.

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