The 2010-11 season is right around the corner. No, it is like literally right around the corner. Training camps open in a few weeks and we can finally stop conjecturing and start making sense of this summer of upheaval. The new season will be much different than the old. So let’s start thinking 2011 and all the hope and promise that comes with it.
Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog.com has organized the NBA Blog Preview, consisting of all the best basketball blogs across the Internet, to help everyone get ready. The Magic will be coming up sooner rather than later and the season will be around the corner. I will be trying to keep up and give a Magic-centered look at each team being previewed.
New York Knicks
Last Year: 29-53, Missed Playoffs
Last Year vs. Magic: Won 114-102 in New York (11/29); Won 118-104 in Orlando (12/2); Won 118-103 in Orlando (4/9)
This Year vs. Magic: Nov. 2 in New York (7:30 p.m.); Dec. 30 in Orlando (7 p.m., TNT); March 1 in Orlando (7 p.m.); March 23 in New York (8 p.m., ESPN)
Magic Connection: None
You can make a fair argument that no team had as disappointing a summer as the New York Knicks. You can make an argument, but you likely will not get very far with it.
Sure Donnie Walsh had dreams of adding the trio of players now residing in South Beach and had a realistic shot at getting two of them. But bagging Amar’e Stoudemire and trading David Lee for some dependable players is not a lost summer. More than that, Walsh brilliantly kept his team in a position to go out and spend some next summer when Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony might be made available via trade or free agency.
If New York has any allure left for free agents (now there is an argument worth having), the Knicks are in a position to at least try and take advantage.
But New York fans for the first time in a while might be drifting away from talks about cap room and summers long into the future. Knicks fans have a reason to think playoffs and realistic chance of seeing Madison Square Garden into late April.
Coach Mike D’Antoni has proven to be a basketball genius. He has completely maximized rosters in New York that were almost built for failure. Now with a star like Stoudemire to anchor his team and a bunch of young, energetic players to run his Seven Seconds or Less offense, New York may start to resemble Phoenix. Note how I said resemble.
In reality, this Knicks team is still pretty far away. Stoudemire is a great add but he had his issues with D’Antoni before and is not exactly known for being a great team player or someone who can defend the rim. It is pretty easy to envision this team being something like the Paul Westhead Denver Nuggets of the early 1990s.
It should make for some basketball in Madison Square Garden throughout the year. So Knicks fans should not complain about that.
How the Knicks will beat the Magic: Mike D’Antoni is crafty. Crafty like a fox. And your defense always has to be on guard when D’Antoni is in the building.
New York still appears to be fitting the pieces in, but this is a very athletic team that will not be afraid to go small — even against Dwight Howard. There will be matchup problems all around in this matchup. The Magic handled the Knicks pretty easily last year, but guys like Danilo Gallinari gave the team troubles in spots.
It is tough to predict how this Knicks team will come together. They do not have the point guard like D’Antoni did in Steve Nash (sorry Raymond Felton) and they will be working in a lot of new pieces into the lineup.
Still, D’Antoni is one of the great offensive minds in the game today and you never know what he will cook up. You just know you are going to have to run to face it.
How the Magic will beat the Knicks: Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard.
Oh, and Dwight Howard.
Yes, New York has Stoudemire now but that should not be a huge concern for the Magic. Stoudemire is more famous for filling his own stat line than for playing defense.
Not only that, Howard should have free reign on the boards. David Lee, the team’s best rebounder is gone, and the Knicks are short in front court depth. Rony Turiaf, Eddy Curry and Timofy Mozgav are not exactly striking fear into Howard’s heart. He will be the anchor defensively as he always is and should feast on New York’s interior in this game.