Now that the free agent season is in full swing, teams have already made splashes with signings and trades to bolster their rosters for successful next season. The New York Knicks have made modest acquisitions thus far and will no doubt make more to improve their chances in the 2013 season. Including their recent moves, here are strengths and weaknesses the Knicks face entering next season.
Signing Jason Kidd
After losing out on the Steve Nash sweepstakes, the Knicks signed Jason Kidd to a 3-year contract in hopes of mentoring the up and coming Jeremy Lin. Kidd is arguably one of the best playmakers to ever grace the court and Lin could learn a thing or two on how to become one of the better point guards in the league from him.
Along with mentoring Lin, Kidd would be a tremendous asset to this Knicks roster because of his veteran leadership. Besides team captains, veterans are next in line on the leadership totem pole in locker rooms and they can have a lasting impact on a team’s dynamic because of their experience.
The Knicks are fortunate enough to have someone of Kidd’s caliber to talk to the media and come in to hopefully transform the culture of this team–to a successful one. Kidd is a proven winner and has something 90 percent of the Knicks’ current players don’t have–an NBA title. Kidd knows what it takes to win which makes his experience that much more impactful.
In terms of his basketball skills at this age, he can still run a team offense and has become great spot-up shooter. Kidd could be the missing link that helps the Knicks with their stagnant offense. An offense that will hopefully allow Carmelo Anthony to only worry about scoring the basketball and allow Amar’e Stoudemire become potent finisher he was in Phoenix once again.
Front Court Talent
Between Anthony, Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler the Knicks have one of the most talented front lines in the league. A frontcourt that consist of prolific pure scorer, a dominant pick and roll finisher, a the reigning defensive player of the year respectively. Not only can these three can wreak havoc on opposing defenses they could–when willing–play adequate defense. Once these three players can play a full season together–without injuries–the Knicks will be able to tap into their potential as title contenders.
Despite the Knicks eighth and seventh place finishes in the Eastern Conference playoff standings the last two seasons, they have all the tools to be one of the “East Elites.” They definitely have enough talent on this team to have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs at the very least. And this is because their front line talent. Throw in Lin and Kidd, the Knicks have a stacked starting lineup and capable role players. All the Knicks have to do now is perform.
Point Guard Dilemma
Although the New York brass have gone on record claiming they will match any offer for Lin, they can still lose him if the price becomes too high. If that does happen, the Knicks will be severely thin at the point guard slot. Kidd at 39, will surely be playing limited minutes throughout the season and the playoffs. The Knicks need a younger and serviceable point guard if Lin leaves. And if Lin leaves will his replacement be able to get this team over the “hump” and deal with the pressures that are garnered when playing at basketballs’ mecca?
If Lin stays, he will have to to show even more progress than he did during his historic “Linsanity” run. This is because every team will now having a thorough scouting report on this Harvard alum and he will need to show that he is just as good as the money he warrants this summer.
Durability and Chemistry of Melo and Amar’e
Probably one of the reasons why the Knicks have yet to make the jump from “playoff contenders” to “title contenders” could be because Melo and Amar’e have not played well together since their partnership. Its been well documented that Anthony and Stoudemire aren’t the best fit with one another–thriving in different offensive schemes. This is amplified by the fact that both of these players have not establish chemistry with one another because of injuries and a lockout season. The Knicks need these two stars to establish chemistry with one another–on both ends of the floor–and stay healthy for them to move up into the upper echelon in the Eastern Conference.
Bench Players that know their role
Off the bench the Knicks don’t have a reliable go to scorer, something they desperately need while the Knicks’ “Big Three” establishes chemistry. Jr. Smith was suppose to take this role but he has been way too inconsistent and loss at times on offense. Iman Shumpert is oozing with potential but he needs to learn to play under control and stop jacking so many shots. The only player off the Knicks’ bench that knows his role is Steve Novak–who is deadly long range sniper but is a liability on defense. Outside of Novak, the rest of the Knick players play without a purpose which puts more of a burden on the starting lineup to perform well if their second unit is inconsistent.