Here at Blue Man Hoop, we’re gearing up for the 2012-13 season by looking around the NBA to see how each team matches up with the Golden State Warriors. We’ll give you an overview of each opponent, a matchup or stat to watch and a measure of just how big a threat each opposing squad represents for the Dubs. Be sure to check out the other previews we’ve done so far on Blue Man Hoop: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets.
New York Knicks Overview
The best place to start with these New York Knicks is with their roster turnover. Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Jared Jeffries and Dan Gadzuric (among others) are gone. Notable newcomers include Ronnie Brewer, Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas.
Of course, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony are still in New York, along with J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
The Knicks remind me a little bit of the Sacramento Kings. They seem to have been tossed together based solely on individual talent, without regard to how it will fit together. Obviously, the chief example of that mistake being the pairing of Anthony and Stoudemire in the front court. Neither does much besides shoot the ball, and neither makes anyone else better. Actually, now that I think of it, they’re the front court equivalent of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. You can hope to have decent team chemistry with one of them, but if both are playing together, forget it. When Anthony and Stoudemire are both in the lineup, the Knicks are below .500 in the regular season.
Chandler is still an awesome defensive anchor in the middle, but he’s out there on his own. He is pretty much solely responsible for the Knicks’ No. 5 ranking in defensive efficiency last year.
Despite the lineup construction issues, New York managed to snare the seventh seed in last year’s playoffs, and were promptly devoured in five games by the Miami Heat.
This season, the Knicks may actually improve defensively, with Marcus Camby supporting Chandler. Camby’s 38, but he’s still a legitimate defensive force and a great rebounder.
The key for the Knicks this year, and for the fate of coach Mike Woodson, will be whether anyone can figure out a way for Anthony and Stoudemire to play well together. It’ll be a tough row to hoe, since the two thrive in different styles and prefer to occupy the same space on the floor. Check out Ian Begley’s training camp primer for an awesome explanation of this specific issue.
If the two stars can work things out, the Knicks could very well move up into the East’s top four teams. But, since this is New York, nothing is going to come easily.
The Knicks will be one of the few teams the Warriors face this year with better size than the Dubs. Carmelo is huge as a small forward and up front, Stoudemire, Thomas, Chandler and Camby are all huge. That means the Warriors will probably have to do their damage in the back court.
The Knicks figure to start Felton and either Ronnie Brewer or Smith at the shooting guard. Either way, the warriors have a better size matchup, and a huge quickness advantage in that area. The lane will most likely be shut down by the Knicks’ bigs, so Golden State will have to do a fair amount of outside shooting—which is something I suspect Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are more than happy about.
Threat Level: 6/10
Until the Knicks actually do show they’ve taken the next step up in the East, they’re still just a mid-level threat. Things could also go very, very wrong in the pressure-cooker that is Madison Square Garden, so there’s still a possibility that the Knicks fall apart. That chance is built into the seemingly low threat level here.
Golden State smoked the Knicks 92-78 in the only game the two teams played last year. With the Warriors’ improvements and the Knicks’ volatility, there’s a good chance the Dubs at least split the series this year. They may even sweep it.