Can the Knicks Dare to Dream?

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By @pbsportswriter

Bulls fans might have been surprised to hear Derrick Rose say this weekend that his training camp with the New York Knicks has been “the best of my career”.

But if Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson really are working wonders for the 2011 MVP then Knicks fans can dare to dream this season.

Okay, the outcome of his forthcoming rape trial could make all this meaningless, but assuming he’s on the court, Rose sounds pretty bullish for a guy who’s career has been blighted by injuries.

Rose has missed two of his last five pre-season training camps so just getting him out there with his new team, learning a new system is a positive for the Knicks.

With D-Rose, can New York really dare to dream?

But here’s the thing. Where his health seemed to determine the outcome of season after season in Chicago, it could be a different story in New York.

Rose is going to be a key part of the up-tempo triangle offense Hornacek wants to run. It should suit him too.
“It’s open. [There’s] more weapons,” he said. “But they allow me to play the way I know how to play and that’s an up-tempo game. And to attack, downhill.”

That all bodes well. But this is a team which hasn’t been built around Rose. A team which won’t need him to do so much. If he buys into that then good things could be coming.

Carmelo Anthony has always been criticised for failing to win a ring. But he’s coming off a summer when he became the first baller to win three Olympic gold medals with the USA.

On a team which also included Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson, he emerged as the leader.

Okay, he didn’t shoot a high percentage. But only Durant had more points per game than Anthony, and he was playing five more minutes per contest.

If Anthony can take that experience and use it to lead the new-look Knicks this season, expect a play-off run. How deep is anybody’s guess.

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Jackson made some big moves this summer, picking up elite defensive centre Joakim Noah, and three-and-D specialist Courtney Lee along with Rose.

Noah already knows Rose’s game well from their time with the Bulls, and should help provide the Knicks with some much-needed passion and toughness if they can manage his minutes.

Lee is a reliable veteran who will help to space the floor and who should, along with Noah, help the Knicks improve dramatically when it comes to getting stops.

Brandon Jennings is still working his way back from an Achilles tear, but the Knicks got him at a discount and he’s worth the risk. If he stays healthy he’ll add depth and scoring off the bench.

The Knicks also have a wildcard in Kristaps Porzingis, who was a revelation in his rookie season. He should thrive with better players around him.

Potentially, there’s also an unsung hero in Lance Thomas, who was limited by injury last season but still shot over 40% from three and is widely regarded as a “glue guy” in New York.

Ultimately this team will stand or fall behind Anthony and whether all these new additions inspire him enough to help fulfil loftier expectations.

But if (and okay it is a big if) they stay healthy and develop the right chemistry the Knicks could even challenge the Raptors and Celtics for first place in the Atlantic.

Whatever happens, it should be fun to watch.

by Paul Brown

let me know your thoughts @pbsportswriter

 

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