Two of the New York Knicks’ top free agent targets are on the verge of continuing their careers elsewhere, yet this is still no time to panic.
For the first time, in a long time, the Knicks are being forced to play the hand they’ve been dealt—or in this case—stacked in their favor. There are other targets New York will pursue, but re-signing Jeremy Lin—no matter the cost, will likely be the biggest splash it makes.
And you know what? That’s okay.
The Knicks are not necessarily the clumsy mess they’ve been made out to be. They’re a Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire pick-and-roll away from contention as is.
Lin’s presence injects court vision and dribble penetration into the lineup, while Tyson Chandler’s defensive prowess is moving enough to affect the entire. Neither of those two, nor the erratic play of J.R. Smith, tenacious defense of Iman Shumpert or one-dimensional impact of Steve Novak, is the issue. It has—and until proven wrong—always will be Anthony’s and Stoudemire’s ability t co-exist.
And yet, while that’s an issue, it’s hardly one worth losing sleep over. Both Anthony and Stoudemire can score, and are talented and seasoned enough to figure how to do so together. Hell, when Anthony first arrived in the Big Apple, he and Stoudemire averaged 26.3 points and 23.9 points per contest, respectively, in 24 games alongside each other.
While that’s obviously a small sample size, and last season was a disaster, it’s a testament to what can be accomplished with these two.
Nash or no Nash, the Knicks are still a powerhouse, albeit a slightly unbalanced one. The name “Amar’e Stoudemire” still commands respect, because regardless of what transpired over the past year, the fact remains he isn’t even 18 months removed from MVP chants.
Even Anthony cannot be completely chastised, as he himself, took great strides toward the end of last season, balancing isolation with ball movement. And on this team, within the current dynamic, that’s everything.
Is there work to be done? Yes and plenty of it, but that’s no reason to panic or abandon ship. The Knicks simply need ample time together—like an actual training camp—to establish chemistry and build a roster-wide rapport before any judgments can be rendered.
So, while New York should pursue any remaining free agent targets of interest hard, there’s no point in losing sight of what truly matters as it does so.
Unbalanced or not, raw or not, the Knicks are a talented team wrought with potential, not hopelessness.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.