I realize every NBA fan right now is caught up in the heat and excitement of the conference finals. I have been thinking more and more about the teams that havebeen eliminated from the playoffs so far this year. The Celtics, Knicks, Lakers, Grizzlies, 76ers, Spurs, Pacers, Magic, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Hornets, and Hawks. Some of these teams were completely blown out of the postseason, but some of these teams, to peoples surprise were very close till the end of the series. I just feel like some of these teams were robbed of their spot in the postseason by injuries, or last second shots. I’m interested to see how these teams come out next season, and how there team has changed or hasn’t. I have a few suggestions for each team. I’ll begin with the Knicks, as they were the first team eliminated from the postseason.
The Knicks-Celtics series was highly anticipated, and the two games in Boston were won by a total of three points. The two in New York were blowouts from beginning till end. If the Knicks had executed in the last minute of the 4th quarters in those two games the series might have been different. Of course they have injuries to blame, Billups was injured in the end of game 1 and didn’t play the rest of the series. Amar’e Stoudemire injured his back by trying a stupid dunk in the pre-game shootarounds. He was shaken up for the rest of the series, and didn’t play the second half of game 2. I anticipate a big season for this team next year, they will have gelled for more than 30 or so games and their chemistry should be at 100%. What has to change for them in the postseason?
Defense. Defense, Defense, Defense. That’s what wins championships, their defense in the first two games was amazing. Then you have to look back at the 70 or so games where their defense was too atrocious to watch for 48 minutes. The defense can be blamed on everyone on the team. It all starts with Amar’e and Melo committing on defense. Melo played some great defense towards the end of the season but Amar’e didn’t put in enough effort. They’re the leaders of this team and of New York they need to show the rest of the team that defense is the most important part of basketball. That’s what they’re missing from their game. That’s what sets them apart from the elite group in the NBA. They have enough offensive fire power, more than a lot of the elite teams in the NBA. It’s the defense that will hold them back. They also need Mike D’antoni to stop being so stubborn and coach defense instead of his stupid 7 second offense. He has to be fired to begin next season if he can’t stress defense enough. Besides defense there is roster changes that need to be made. They need a shooting guard, Landry Fields was having an amazing rookie season until Melo came over. His confidence dropped like a bomb. If they can’t improve his confidence, or reboot his energy then they have to get a new shooting guard. They have to get a new one anyway, he would be a solid 6th man on any other team. They also need a defensive minded big man to man the middle with STAT. They’re inside men aren’t intimidating like the Magic or Thunder. They need a tough defensive minded 7 footer. Who will think only about the paint and protecting the rim. Point Guards aren’t afraid of getting into the New York paint because there is nobody who will challenge them, Amar’e is too scared of fouling out and Ronny Turiaf is good but he is foul prone. They need a player like Anderson Varejao, or Samuel Dalembert.
These are just suggestions for the Knicks to transform into an elite team next year. I expect a big season from the NY big 3, and the rest of the team. We’ll see.