Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald, who took over for Donnie Walsh, is making a very strong case for general manager of the year. Grunwald was given a club that had a ton of talent, but that talent never clicked on the court. Grunwald was given a team had serious potential on paper, but that potential didn’t result to as many wins as expected from Knicks fans, and major sports writers around the league.
Sure, he had Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Two very strong building blocks if you want to build a successful team. But the duo has had very little success together on the court. A good team on paper doesn’t result in wins, however. Grunwald made a huge move acquiring Tyson Chandler. He used the amnesty clause on Chauncey Billups to get Chandler, and it has paid off. Chandler has brought a tough, defensive mindset back to the Knicks. You won’t always see Chandler’s production in the box score, but believe me, it’s there.
The Knicks are not only having great success, but they’re doing it without two potential starters. Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert haven’t played this year. Stoudemire can be a powerhouse on offense and Shumpert is one of the best defenders the Knicks have. Will it work when Stat gets back? That’s the big question. Stoudemire could put this team over the top. And Shumpert’s arrival surely won’t hurt.
Grunwald decided to let Jeremy Lin walk in free agency, balking at the huge contract the Houston Rockets offered him. This was heavily scrutinized by many Knick fans. Lin, who was virtually unknown until his tenure with the Knicks, revitalized the Knicks season last year. Grunwald decided to go the cheaper rout with Raymond Felton. He’s sleeping much easier now because Felton has played above and beyond his contract. Felton is scheduled to make a shade over $12.5 million over the next three years, while the Knicks would have had to pay Lin $25 million in that span. That’s a bargain to say the least.
Grunwald brought in several other veterans such as Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby. Many thought the Knicks were old and would barely sniff the playoffs. I had questions myself, but watching this team, I really think they’re a legitimate contender. With scrappy veterans who are willing to do the dirty work late in games, you have to like their odds. If the Knicks are healthy in the post-season I sure as hell wouldn’t want to play them.
Oh, and by the way, Mike Woodson should be Coach of the Year.
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