Aside from being the last team standing in New York that still gives cause for hope (if you’re a football fan only, god help you), the New York Knicks are the best football team in New York for another reason.
Yeah, you read that right.
Mike Woodson has been very happy with the Andrea Bargnani/Carmelo Anthony combination so far in camp and has expressed a desire to see more of the duo on the court together. Couple that with JR’s eventual return and you have a Knicks lineup with three bona fide offensive weapons (three and a half if you include Raymond Felton).
Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler are expected to provide the defense in that lineup, but realistically with Ron Artest sitting, the first unit is the offensive unit, and the second is the defensive. Just like any NFL team, the Knicks have a clear offensive/defensive separation both in their personnel and units. Bargnani, Anthony, JR, Amar’e – Offensive players. Shumpert, Metta World Peace, Kenyon Martin, and Tyson Chandler are all defensive players. The two-way player is nearly impossible to find on this roster, meaning that no matter what lineup is on the floor, the Knicks are deficient offensively or defensively at several key positions at any given time.
That’s the Knicks REAL Achilles heel. It wasn’t just Roy Hibbert manhandling Chandler that won the series for the Pacers but it was Paul George, one of the better two-way players in the NBA that was the difference. His ability to pester Anthony defensively, only to come right back down the court and pull up from mid-range, gave the Knicks a little window into what it is that their team is missing.
It’s not star-power, Carmelo and Amar’e brought that. It’s not offense; again, Anthony, JR, and Bargnani should be plenty capable of putting points on the board. Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace are wearing orange and blue specifically to add toughness to a team that evidently lacked it. What the Knicks are missing are basketball players from their football-styled roster.
Here’s hoping that at the very least, the Knicks football roster is better than the other ones in this town.