I'm normally not very optimistic about the New York Knicks. They haven't won a playoff series since the 1999-2000 season, when they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. But thanks to some under-the-radar moves in the offseason and a head coach who believes in old-school basketball, there may be hope for them. Here are five reasons to be optimistic about the Knicks in 2012-13.
Woodson's Way -- The Knicks are in good hands. Under head coach Mike Woodson, who replaced the fired Mike D'Antoni last season, the Knicks returned to a defensive-minded, hard-working team and won 18 of their last 24 games. Now it's Woodson's team from the opening jump. Before joining the Knicks, Woodson coached the Atlanta Hawks, who improved in each of Woodson's six seasons on the bench.
Going Deep -- The Knicks quietly added depth and experience in the offseason. They brought back old friends Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, lured Rasheed Wallace out of retirement and added defensive-minded swingman Ronnie Brewer (out until mid-December due to knee surgery). Don't expect major minutes from the back-ups, but they'll give Woodson options and keep the starters fresh.
Melo's the Man -- Anthony, who averaged 22.6 points per game last season, has been viewed by some as a ball hog and a malcontent, but he is poised to become the face of the franchise. For starters, with Jeremy Lin gone, Anthony is the undisputed go-to guy. Furthermore, Anthony often clashed with former coach D'Antoni. Thus, no Lin or D'Antoni equals a happier and more productive superstar.
Getting the Point -- Dead weight Baron Davis, Tony Douglas and Lin are gone. That's fine, because Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton are better fits for the Knicks, anyway. Unlike Lin, the experienced Kidd is a pass-first, defensive-minded point guard who will get the ball to Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in scoring position. Plus, the well-rounded Felton will make a great sub or spot starter.
De-fense! -- Successful Knicks teams of the past were build on defense. Well, the Knicks returned to basics last season and moved up to the fifth-best defensive unit in the league. They were ranked in the lower-half of the league under D'Antoni. Chandler, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, plus stoppers Iman Shumpert and Brewer will preserve the team's defensive identity this season.
Are you optimistic about the 2012-13 Knicks? How far do you think they will go this season? Let me know in the comments section below.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter who grew up in New York rooting for the Knicks. He fondly remembers the days when coming down the lane on the Knicks was hazardous to one's health. Although he has never witnessed his favorite NBA team win a championship, he remains a loyal fan. Adam follows back Knicks fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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