Being small is tough roll of the dice. Not only does you voice not carry as further as the bigger people that surround, you’re unable to push others around without some cunning, crafty and perhaps ill-timed moments. Yet watching the little guys fight against one another while an ideal notion on paper hardly turns into the prize fight we’d all hope.
So while the NBA can do well with teams in the biggest markets not fairing so well, it would likely be in the league’s best interest to see those markets contend. It’s very early in the 82 game regular season, but the Knicks, Bulls, Lakers and Celtics all seem to be an uptick version of what they were a season previous.
Call it painful optimism, or reaching for the stars. You could even say that they Holiday spirit has blinded our rational sight. Whatever the reason, at least let us try to explain ourselves.
The days of the Knicks being contenders in the East feel so far away that it’s seems implausible that the new guys in Brooklyn have a better showing in the postseason than the team that plays in the Garden. In the basement of the East, where that scary furnace resides is pretty much where fans grew accustom to seeing New York. This is the same team that traded a 1st round pick for Andrea Bargnani, and got rid of most of their most recent 1st round picks to acquire assets such as Carmelo Anthony from Denver and Bargnani that the team felt could provide immediate improvement. Hitting the 50% mark isn’t bad, right?
The faith that basketball coaching guru Phil Jackson would be able to instil a winning culture in the corpse of New York was met with a faint heartbeat, something that grew fainter each season. Let’s not forget that Jackson targeted Steve Kerr when he got to his position to install his vaunted triangle offence, but after Kerr opted to head to Golden State decided that the freshly retired Derek Fisher would make for the next ideal candidate for the position. After 2 years, a 40-96 record and plenty of odd stories that should be released as a memoir Fisher was relieved of his duties.
Jeff Hornacek enters the picture in the de facto capital of ball on the planet. On paper it appeared that he was given a roster of all-stars to work with…. well the 2010 wasn’t that far away. Despite the age and style of play, the Knicks are managing to float above the .500 level in the East, which will keep you in the conversation of making the playoffs turn spring. ISO ball with Carmelo has not been the death blow that many had imagined. Derrick Rose has shown plenty of flash to his younger more healthier self in his ability to drive to the basket and handle the ball in the transition game.
The franchise building block without a shadow of doubt is forward Kristaps Porzingis out of Latvia who has been a marvel, well in the times that he gets the ball. We can’t tell if it’s because of his Jay Cutler like expressionless facial mannerism that makes you want to pass him over, or his 7’3 lean frame that resembles a tree limb sans the leaves that make it more robust. Whatever hang you walk into the arena with, it’s quickly rejected back into your face as you marvel at this wonder who plays both ends of the floor. Against the Raptors (or Huskies on this given night) Porzingis with ease stood at the arc, knocking down bombs from distance effortlessly. The next play he would have his back to the basket with a defender pressing, turn over his shoulder to drive and deliver a reverse jam on the otherside of the rim. While he’s a ways away from coming out and being the vocal leader for the club, he is entering the atmosphere of being a NBA star, with a trajectory to superstardom soon after.
As it currently sits at the moment the Knicks rosters does not cater to providing Porzingis with a great supporting cast. Instead the team feels more of a band of misfit toys, previously shiny, gleaming and the hottest gift in the NBA. Now they are tattered, weathered, performing the same gimmicks they did in their heyday.
While he’s still able to move around, Carmelo Anthony is leader of the Knicks. He’s still able to play his iso ball, getting into the pocket to nail jumpers that he can make at will. It does still seem as though he holds onto the ball too long, yet the 23.0 points he averages through 21 games so far this season is only slightly off the 24.9 career average. Coach Hornacek may want to find some time to rest the 32 year old legs heading down the stretch. There is nothing assured given the Knicks chances of making the playoffs, it is a gaurantee that they will nee Melo to have any shot in making a run towards spring 2017.
There is no such thing as being too cautious with Derrick Rose. Here are just some of injuries that have plagued D.Rose during his career the association:
- Torn Left ACL
- Torn Right Meniscus (2x)
- Fractured Left Orbital Bone
- Blurred Vision
- Sprained Wrist
- Sprained Big Toe
- Back Spasms
- Groin Injury
Before the latest injury setback took Rose out of the lineup, fans were once again enticed with the flash of the 2010-’11 MVP. His ability to take the inbound pass, racing up the court to be at the three-point arc of the opponent is still remarkable. Some defenders have yet to turn around as he surveys the half-court picking his method of attack for the possession. While he still doesn’t scare teams with his jumper and long-range shot, he is hitting .450 shots made average after 21 games. What make Rose so dynamic is his ability to get to the basket, and earn strikes from the charity line. Rose’s hustle on both ends of the court have allowed him to tie a career high for rebound average (4.1). Again, 21 games does not a season make, and injuries have robbed player and public from the best years of D. Rose.
Fortunately the Knicks have a sold insurance policy with PG Brandon Jennings coming off the bench. They also have a solid piece in Courtney Lee, who had a rough start to his adjustment with the Spike’s team. Joakim Noah is a mere shell of his younger self, but props for the effort??? There pieces are there for them to at least be a contender as the continue to tinker with the roster to find a ideal fit. It appears that those renovations in New York are starting sparkle with future potential.