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Thursday, January 10, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for November: 5. New York Knicks

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of November 30th):  11-4 , tied first place Atlantic Division

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of November 30th)
  • Points Scored: 103.4 (3rd)
  • Points Allowed: 95.4 (10th)
  • Team FG%: .457 (8th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .447 (22nd)
  • Rebounds per game: 39.4 (28th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 43.6 (22nd)
  • Turnovers per game: 11.2 (1st)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 16.6 (6th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of November 30th)

Worst Player of the Month:  Amare Stoudemire

Yes, many will think it is unfair that Amare has been named November's worst; however, consider the two following factors.  First off, he has been sidelined due to a self inflicted injury in which he recklessly and foolish punched the glass casing of a fire extinguisher and  secondly and most importantly, his team has been playing much better without him.  In fact it does not even look as if his teammates even miss him as he watches them win while he sits on the sidelines in street clothes.  Add the fact that overall, he has not really lived up to his billing after signing a massive five year contract valued at 100$ million and his team has yet to reach anywhere.  One has to wonder whether his return will actually improve the team or diminish the current balanced chemistry of the team.   

First Player of the Month:  Raymond Felton

After a rather regrettable season playing for the Portland Trailblazers, returning to the Big Apple was a welcomed change for Raymond Felton.  After all, it was with the New York Knicks where he posted the best numbers in his career.  Now Felton is back and
has returned to form bouncing back from his horrendous season in Portland.  His numbers has bounced back up in scoring from 11.4ppg last season to 15.8ppg now.  He also leads the team in assists per game and has been quite the outside threat shooting a rather impressive .408 to finish the month of November.

At last the New York Knicks are now living up to their billing as an up and coming elite NBA team after having two rather disappointing season and it is about DAMN TIME!!  For years the Knicks has been an embarassment after securing two of the best players in the respective positions in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire along with one of the league's best defenders in the paint, Tyson Chandler.  Last season was no different as both Anthony and Stoudemire continued to have problems gelling while the Knicks spent much of last season barely treading water.  It took some nobody that no one really knew to ignite the team the way that neither one of their stars with their bloated payrolls were able to do.  Even in the end the Knicks looked pathetic for despite having two perrenial All Star and the Defensive Player of the Year, New York finished with a rather mediocre 36-30 record and were quickly eliminated in the playoffs.

Now New York is doing what they should have been doing before--owning the top of the Atlantic Division with one of the second best record in the Eastern Conference.  With all the money that team spent on the credentials that their player's boasted, New York Hoops fans should expect nothing less than perfection.  The Knicks do not deserve any joyous praise or credit for their play because it should be considered a given that if a team has not just one or two, but THREE NBA ALL STARS along with last season's DPOY,  Sure,  Die hard Knicks fans are predictably elated to see their team back on top of hill after a near two decade hiatus; however, it is what they has been deserving for oh so long.  Basketball in the Big Apple, one of the world's greatest hoop meccas, is finally back and it has certainly been a long time coming.

Thus far, the Knicks have been simply burning on all cylinders and have been crushing their competition that has been in their way.  They started the season in dominant fashion worthy of the City that Never Sleeps by winning eight of first nine against with two notable victories against the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat by a rather convincing margin (11/2/2012) and perennial Western Conference powerhouse, the San Antonio Spurs (11/15/2012).  New York did encounter a small speed bump losing three of four games with two which stung pretty hard as the Knicks got embarrassed to a player that they just wistfully let go in free agency in Jeremy Lin (11/23/2012) and lost the first round of the series against their inner city rivals, the Brooklyn Nets (11/26/2012).  Fortunately MSG's finest were able to right the ship just in time as they won their last two games finishing November in style with an 11-4 record.

Although the Knicks have been playing their best ball in what has been eons, one thought still remains in the back of numerous Knicks fans' minds--how long is this going to last?  After all, fans in New York have been used to watching their Knicks rise up at the beginning only to come crashing down in the end--take last season's performance, for example; however, from what can been seen in the season's early stages, it seems as if this New York Knickerbocker team is the real deal.  Despite having the league's oldest roster, they still manage to put forth a strong defensive effort and push the tempo on the other side of the floor to the chagrin and shock of their opponents.  Considering the fact that their starting point guard, Jason Kidd, will be turning 40 years old this season, and the fact that the roster contains five players that range from the ages of 35 to 40, that is pretty impressive to say the least.  And for team that has had a long history of chemistry issues on and off the court, it is refreshing to see this team finally in a situation where all the players are on the same page with no personal agendas or rivalries getting in the way.

Despite the wonderful outlook, Knicks fans cannot forget that this has been a long time coming and should not forget all the trauma that their home team has put them through.  They need to keep in mind that the team's performance should not be considered anything special, but a given that they should expect their team to play at such a level considering the money the team has invested and the personnel acquired.  And there should be no excuses either if the team somehow slips because as mentioned before, the Kicks already have the tools to remain playing at a consistent high level.  So for those fan in New York who have been cynical and apathetic concerning the Knicks, please remain that way for this is a team that has to still continue to earn your love and respect after being so reckless with it for so many years.