The New York Knicks are off to a fantastic start this year, at 14-5 — good enough for No. 1 in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks started off the season 6-0 before losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, who were the No. 1 team in the Western Conference and are currently No. 3.
New York has also had some impressive wins, most notably beating the Miami Heat twice. Both wins were by 20 points, and the Knicks dominated in those games.
They’ve also won games away from Madison Square Garden, which they’ve had trouble doing in the past few years. They beat the Spurs in San Antonio and the 76ers in Philadelphia.
In fact, until losing to the Bulls, 93-85, Saturday night, the Knicks were on a five-game winning streak.
The team is clicking on all cylinders as many players have been stepping up.
It’s no surprise that Carmelo Anthony is leading the team in points at 26 per game. Tyson Chandler is also doing his usual thing on the defensive side, but there are other players stepping into their roles and having an impact as well.
J.R. Smith has been a huge spark for the Knicks, average 13.6 points per game so far this season. Smith scored double digits in both games against the Heat and has played well in other parts of his game besides scoring.
Another player who has stepped up for the Knicks is Raymond Felton. Although he’s not the best point guard in the league like he claimed to be before the season, Felton is averaging 16 points per game with over six assists per game.
Steve Novak, among others, has come up big off the bench and hit some big shots as well. The team is just really clicking, despite not having Amare Stoudemire.
That leads me into my next point: Although the Knicks are a hot team right now, I need to see this consistency all season to believe they are championship contenders.
They’ve beaten the Heat twice, which is no easy feat, but that doesn’t instantly make them the best team in the East.
Right now, there are a couple of teams in the East that I think would beat the Knicks in a seven-game series. Obviously the Heat is one of them, but I also think the Celtics and Nets could beat New York.
Another problem the Knicks are having is managing their star power. What’s going to happen when Stoudemire gets back? I would like to think they’d get a lot better but based on what happened last year, you never know.
It’s good for the NBA to see Madison Square Garden — where the Knicks haven’t lost yet this year — buzzing again, but I wonder how much longer they can keep this up. I’d like to see the Knicks continue their domination, but I need to see it all season and in the playoffs.
The Knicks have improved a lot since last year. They’re doing things besides scoring for once — they’re in the top 10 in points per game and points against. However, they’re 25th and 27th in rebounds and assists.
For the Knicks to be considered one of the best in the league, they still have a lot of work to do.