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10-03-2012, 08:22 PM
Rust Heisenberg
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Might be the biased Knicks fan in me, but I think they're going to be a lot better than a lot of people think they'll be right now.

1- They're deep. They can easily have a 13 player rotation. But they likely won't. To preserve the effectiveness of the older players I see Woodson rotating them and giving them plenty of rest after a several game stretches.

2- Their chemistry. Many people really underestimate the value of having a team that plays for each other. It makes average team's great. Knicks are a lot more talented than average. They play average because they've always played me first, especially under D'Antoni. Me-first offense, that has little ball movement. Me-first defense which is lazy and not committed to a team concept. From what was said yesterday, it seems that the players believe in this system, which instead of being derived on offensive and personal success is derived from team play that focuses and starts on the defensive side.

3- They're gritty. Name me the last time the Knicks fielded a focuses group of athletes on the court, with an us against the world mentality? I can remember when the Knicks put a bunch of thugs on the court who were lazy and overpaid and came in to camp out of shape very clearly, but the last time I remember a team with this much desire to really win and do it with a chip on their shoulder is the late '90s. Team's like this (besides the '99 Knicks in a lockout shortened season) rarely are inconsistent and fickle to pressure. The '99 Knicks team made the finals yes, but they were incredibly inconsistent for a large portion of the regular season.

4- The veterans. First thing to discuss here is that for a veteran, an NBA title is a lot more valuable than for a star in his prime. A star in his prime, he sees the pay day, the fame, the glory, a title isn't usually the first priority on the list. Veterans? Their days are numbered, and they know it. The end is in sight, and at this point, for the most part, their most important motivating factor is to win games and end off their career with a bang. And what's great? We have more of them than most other teams, and while some may call that old age that will eventually fail, I view that as a solid support structure that will keep our stars and younger players in check if they start to lose themselves. And what's better? Look at the quality of the veterans that we have. These aren't washed up has-beens. Camby, Kidd, Wallace, and Thomas all have title experience. Wallace came out of retirement JUST to have a title shot, in fact, his roster spot isn't even guaranteed, he agreed to a tryout. They all have something to prove.

5- Which leads me to the final and most important part. The core. These guys all have chips on their shoulders too, they all have something to prove to themselves and to their doubters, and they've all acknowledged this chip this offseason. Felton has to prove he's still an effective player, that he's not an out of shape failed project - he's come to camp about 20 pounds lighter. Shumpert has to prove he's not a boy amongst men, he's the future of this team. Ronnie Brewer might be the most under rated signing (At the price we got him) in the entire league. JR Smith is still an extremely effective player! Melo and Amare have both stated how important working together as a team is now. Both revealed that they had personal issues in years past and that both have mutually agreed to buy into a team concept. And finally, at the helm, Tyson Chandler, who brings passion and a ferocity to the center position that most other team's can't, is reigning defensive player of the year.

The Knicks have the pieces in place. They have the proper mix of players and passion on the team. They have the right mentality heading into the season too. I'm thinking they'll surprise a lot of people and finish top 3 in the conference.

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