With the brand new New York Knicks looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, is this current team actually better than the 2012-13 team?
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May 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Raymond Felton (2) and forward Iman Shumpert (21) and center Tyson Chandler (6) and guard J.R. Smith (8) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) huddle after a timeout during the fourth quarter of game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
After an enticing offseason, the New York Knicks are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The team that was put together in 2012-13 turned out to be one of the league’s elite teams.
New York ranked No. 7 in scoring defense and led the league in 3-point field goals made. In turn, it won 54 games. Many people believed the Knicks could defeat the defending champion Miami Heat and make it to the NBA Finals.
While ESPN predicted the Knicks will only win 33 games in 2016-17, the ceiling for this team is too high to count out.
Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday, and Brandon Jennings have expiring contracts. Anthony, 32, is only growing older.
Now is the time for the Knicks to make it to the promise land and win an NBA championship.
The newly assembled Knicks are looking to make some noise in the Eastern Conference during the upcoming season. Comparisons were made between the current team and the 2012-2013 Knicks.
Since that was the last time the Knicks made it to the playoffs and the best season New York has had in the past decade, it would make sense for such comparisons to occur.
I do believe the current Knicks will outperform the 2012-13 Knicks, especially in terms of how far they make it into the playoffs.
Apr 7, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) dribbles the ball as Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) defends during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
An Established Point Guard
The 2016-17 New York Knicks have a better point guard than the 2012-13 team. Former MVP Derrick Rose is better than Raymond Felton (and all of the other point guards before and after him, i.e. Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni.
While Felton had a solid year in his first year back with New York—he averaged about 14 points, 5.5 assists and 1.3 steals)—he was lacking the athleticism that a point guard needs in order to be successful.
Rose is very likely to outperform Felton due to his explosiveness on offense and his athletic ability. His ability to get to the rim is what will make him an asset to the team.
At the end of last season, Rose looked like he was getting back into the swing of things. He averaged 17 points and had a slash line of .468/.375/.784 after the All-Star Break.
Having an established point guard like Rose gives the Knicks their best point guard since Stephon Marbury was on the team back in 2004. It will also give the team a fighting chance in many point guard matchups throughout the season.
It was horrific watching Calderon match up against elite point guards such as Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, and Kyle Lowry.
Dec 4, 2015; New York, NY; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) and forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) run on the court in the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won 108-91. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Lethal Forward Combination
Having Kristaps Porzingis on the team is what makes the current New York Knicks team better than the 2012-13 squad. The Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis combo is better in terms of size, rim protection, and shooting than an Anthony and Iman Shumpert combo.
While the Shumpert and Anthony combo had some success in the past, a Porzingis and Anthony duo makes the team better in so many different ways.
Porzingis looks to be the better option in nearly all of the major statistical categories. He owns a more impressive slash line, better defensive stat line, and a higher PER than Shumpert.
What makes this forward combination so wonderful is the effectiveness both players have when they are on the court and their ability to jell nicely together. With Porzingis on the floor, the Knicks are able to spread the floor and not be forced to give up their size defensively.
In case you forgot, Porzingis is only 21.
While Shumpert may be the better perimeter defender, he wasn’t as explosive as he was during his rookie season due to an ACL injury
Because of this, Shumpert wasn’t as effective as he could have been during the 2012-13 season.
Nov 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) reacts after a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at the United Center. The Bulls defeat the Spurs 92-89. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Better Center
While Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah are two of the leagues’s top rim protectors, Noah is the better center to have. Unlike Chandler, he has versatility on both ends of the floor.
Both centers have earned a Defensive Player of the Year award during their respective careers, but Noah holds the advantage offensively.
Given his unique passing ability, Noah is capable of producing a triple-double on any given night. He was the primary distributor for the Chicago Bulls during the 2013-2014 season.
Noah was ranked No. 2 in total triple-doubles with four.
Expect Noah to play a huge role in the Knicks’ offense due to his hustle and his emphasis on ball movement during every possession.
During the 2013 playoffs, lack of ball movement was part of the reason the Knicks were eliminated by the Pacers. If the Knicks were to go on a playoff run, Noah would likely prevent the team from committing the same mistake twice.
Even though his game has been declining, Noah is looking for a resurgence with the Knicks. Expect Noah to be one of the leaders of the team both on and off the court.