Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 12/6/12
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As the first quarter of the NBA season comes to a close, one thing seems to be clear; the New York Knicks are actually for real this year. After last year’s disappointing first round exit at the hands of the defending champion, the Miami Heat, the Knicks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA and have the potential to make a deep playoff run. Photo credit: Jim McIsaac THE SUPERSTAR At the center of all good teams, there must be a superstar: that player is Carmelo Anthony. After leaving the Denver Nuggets to join the New York Knicks, Anthony hasn’t had it easy. Last year some people called for the trade of Melo because of the, “Linsanity,” that swept over the nation. This year Melo however is on top of his game. With the injury to Amare Stoudemire, Anthony has been able to play his more natural position of power forward. Anthony has responded by playing really efficient basketball. He is averaging 26.6 PPG, shooting 46% from the field, and a very impressive 44% from beyond the arc. All three are upgrades from last years, 22.6 PPG, 43%percent shooting, and 34% from beyond the arc. Put that together with shooting 80% from the line, and you have a scoring machine. With Amare out of the line-up, Carmelo has been able to play his natural offensive game in the mid-post and has opened up the offense and led the Knicks to a 13-4 start. THE DEFENSIVE STOPPERS One of the biggest knocks on the Knicks these past few years is their lack of defense. The Knicks made it a priority to acquire a versatile rim-protector in Tyson Chandler before last season.  However Chandler alone was not enough to fix the defensive problems of the Knicks. This past offseason the Knicks upgraded their perimeter defense by signing both Ronnie Brewer and Jason Kidd. Brewer is an elite defender on the wing. His length and athleticism allow him to guard both the 3 and the 4, but more importantly, Lebron James in the playoffs. The Knicks also signed Jason Kidd to help with their perimeter defending. Kidd is a seasoned veteran who is a heady defender. Although Kidd does not have the athleticism he once possessed, his ability to play passing lanes and physical defense help him remain a very good defender on the wing. THE POINT GUARDS Last year the Knicks thought they had discovered their point guard of the future in Jeremy Lin. However, after Lin decided to take his talents to Houston, the Knicks were looking for a point guard.  Enter Raymond Felton. After being traded to the Denver Nuggets and a disastrous season in Portland, Felton has started this season strong. By averaging 15.1 PPG and 6.8 APG, he is just what the Knicks need at the point. His style of play is also catered to what the Knicks need more so than what Lin would provide. When Lin was the point guard last year he thrived when he was able to dominate the basketball. However in the fourth quarter of the New York Knicks basketball contest, there should only be one player with the basketball, and that man is Carmelo Anthony. With Felton’s ability to score away from the ball, and not have to have the ball to be successful, he is a better fit for what the Knicks want to do. The Knicks also got deeper at the point guard position by adding Pablo Prigioni in the offseason. Prigioni was one of my favorite players to watch during this past summer’s Olympics, and brings a unique style of play to this team. Prigioni is a scrappy defender, and will pick you up full-court a-la JJ Barea in the 2011 Finals. On the offensive end he is a pass-first point guard who has a knack for causing havoc in the paint and dishing to open shooters. Since one of the Knicks’ strength is shooting the trifecta, it makes since to have a drive and dish point guard. Prigioni is also to play the high pick-and-roll basketball style that Tyson Chandler is suited for in order to keep him involved. THE SHOOTERS The most important part about this Knicks team may be their ability to shoot the 3-ball. To start the season the Knicks are shooting 42% from beyond the arc. The Knicks have six players who are shooting over 40% from three.. It all starts with Steve Novak. This three-point marksman has emerged as one of the elite three-point shooters in the NBA. Coupled with his buzzer-beating partner in crime J.R. Smith, these two produce one of the most lethal three-point tandem in the NBA. Three-point shooting however is not all that Smith brings to the table. His ability to score the basketball makes him the best sixth-man in the NBA at this time, plus he takes some of the scoring load off of Carmelo. These two are not the only weapons the Knicks have from downtown. Throw in Melo, Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and a surprise shooting touch from Ronnie Brewer and you have a lethal group of shooters. Since they have so many shooters on this team it will be hard for teams to defend the Knicks because they will be able to stretch the floor. THE INJURIES While the Knicks have had all of early success, two of their key players have been sidelined due to injury. With both Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert sidelined this team has the chance to become even better. With Amare willing to accept a role coming off the bench this will prevent him from clashing with Carmelo on the floor again. It is hard for both of these players to coexist because they both like to isolate in the mid-post area. By playing them at separate times the Knicks might finally be able to make this situation work. Iman Shumpert on the other hand has all of the potential to become a very good guard in the league. His elite perimeter defending along with his growing ability to score the basketball could lead to him reaching his potential and becoming an excellent guard in the league. ALL-IN-ALL This team has all the makings of a team that could make a deep run in the playoffs. Now, while it is too early for me to pick them against the defending champions, the Miami Heat, they are team that provides the biggest threat to their Eastern Conference supremacy. With all these things coming together as the season goes on, the Knicks are quickly becoming a very dangerous team. -King

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