By Aaron Kopperl
The Knicks are often criticized for their continuous use of the isolation offense with Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire (when he’s healthy). The ball stops completely in one area as the entire team watches that one particular player attempt to create his own shot and be the hero of the possession.
NBA teams are usually successful when they utilize a free-flowing offense that features a fluid inside-outside game and rapid ball movement. Throughout the early portion of the 2012-2013 season, the Knicks took advantage of their sharp shooters with rapid ball movement and precision passes, and as a result were sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings with one of the best records in the league. That ball movement and flow to the offense was halted when Raymond Felton went down last year with a broken finger which forced the Knicks to take a more isolation-heavy approach. If the Knicks wish to be successful in the upcoming 2013-2014 season, Raymond Felton needs to take control of the offense and provide the Knicks with his aggressive drives and sharp passing ability more consistently.
With the bevy of offensive talent on the Knicks, including Raymond Felton himself, the starting point guard should have no difficulty finding a legitimate scoring option open for a shot 99% of the time. Stoudemire in the paint, J.R. for 3, Melo from the perimeter… the possibilities are endless. Not to mention, the Knicks made some fairly significant improvements this summer when they acquired former franchise cornerstone, Andrea Bargnani, in a trade that Carmelo Anthony himself has labeled “a steal”.
The Knicks also drafted the sharp shooting second generation baller, Tim Hardaway Jr. who should become a nice piece in the Knick offense, and if there are no options that presents itself, Raymond Felton is perfectly capable of hitting a jump shot or a hard drive into the lane for a layup.
The 2014 NBA season is crucial for the Knicks, not just in terms of winning, but Melo’s contract situation as well. The Knicks need to have a successful season if they wish to keep their fans AND their star from leaving. Raymond Felton will no doubt be a crucial piece to next season’s puzzle and will ultimately play a large role as to whether or not the Knicks will be winning and grinning during the 13-14 season.
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