The New York Knicks added depth, experience, and lots of age to the core of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler this offseason in hopes of improving upon the 36-30 record and first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Miami Heat last season. Veterans Kurt Thomas, 39, Jason Kidd, 39, Marcus Camby 38, have all joined the Knicks, but perhaps the most intriguing move of them all was the signing of Raymond.
After the Knicks signed Kidd, who was supposed to mentor Jeremy Lin, the Knicks acquired Felton, leaving Lin expendable and many Knicks fans disappointed. “I definitely wanted to come back to New York for a lot of reasons. I got a big chip on my shoulder.” Felton admitted to coming into camp a season ago out of shape, but declared “I’m in shape now and ready to go.”
One of the main reasons Felton returns was his great continuity with Stoudemire. “We just had a tremendous chemistry with the screen and roll, all parts of the game, on and off the court we had a great relationship, a great friendship” Felton said of Amar’e. He is also aware of his role as the point guard of the team. “It’s my job to make sure he (Carmelo Anthony) stays happy, Amar’e stays happy.”
Stoudemire himself was realistic about not living up to expectations a season ago. “Last year was an up and down year for me.” One way to get Stat back on track may be his work with NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon in the offseason, but don’t expect the Dream Shake right away. “Those moves require a lot of practice. They’re so intricate. But I feel comfortable with a couple of those moves” Stoudemire said.
The success of the New York Knicks season may rest in the hands of their most talented offensive player, Carmelo Anthony. When asked if the Knicks are able to get deeper into the playoffs this season, Carmelo simply responded “I think so. Our time is now.” Carmelo is also in noticeably better shape this season, and when asked what he did different, he said “I think it was just super dieting…wanting to come into the USA training camp at the top of my game in shape.” This should pay dividends for the Knicks.
If the New York Knicks are able to get a consistent defensive effort from Anthony, Stoudemire, and both guard positions, then they will have a chance to move into the second round of the playoffs. But if the defensive effort isn’t there or is inconsistent, look for another first-round playoff exit from the New York Knicks.