The Knicks have had some rough seasons since the Patrick Ewing era ended in 2000. They have been non-competitive, unlikable and downright unwatchable. Fans like me have blamed owner James Dolan for these difficult seasons year after year. Many of his player and personnel decisions were confusing at best (remember the Jerome James fiasco?).
But if we can blame Dolan for everything that has gone wrong with the Knicks in the past 12 years, we must also give him credit when things go well. And Knicks fans have had a lot to cheer about in this 2011-12 NBA Season.
The Knicks are back. They are a team that can beat the best teams in the NBA. They are talented and exciting to watch. They play hard on both ends of the floor. The Knicks are winning. And Dolan deserves credit for these New York Knicks.
When everyone was talking about completing New York's Big Three with point guard Chris Paul, Dolan had other plans. He brought center Tyson Chandler to the team. Chandler has been the most valuable player on the Knicks this season. He has done more for the team than Paul ever could. Chandler has upgraded the defense and rebounding. He has added leadership, character and experience. Paul is great, but players like Chandler do not come around often. I praise Dolan for signing Chandler. Anyway, Dolan probably figured he could find a point guard somewhere (more on that later).
Rookie guard Iman Shumpert has played extremely well for the Knicks. He has been a nice secondary scorer. But his biggest contribution has been on the defensive end. Shumpert is the Knicks' best on-the-ball defender. His defensive knowledge, tenacity, athleticism and length have made him invaluable to the Knicks.
Stat and Melo
Despite all the nagging injuries, the Knicks had to sign Amar'e Stoudemire in 2010. Stoudemire changed the culture in New York. And he was just starting to figure things out with Carmelo Anthony this season when he got injured again. Anthony finally had his defining moment as a Knick in a win over the Chicago Bulls. That made me forget the high price that the Knicks paid for Anthony last season.
The turning point of the Knicks' season came from the end of their bench. Point guard Jeremy Lin emerged as the point guard of the future when he led the Knicks to seven straight wins in February 2012. These were legendary performances as Lin became the story of the NBA. And the Knicks were lucky to find him.
Coach Mike Woodson
Woodson was hired as an assistant coach this season. When he was promoted to interim head coach, the team changed for the better. Woodson has the team playing with high effort and intensity. He is probably a couple of playoff wins away from keeping the job.
The Knicks are a deep team. Even with injuries to Lin and Stoudemire, they are still in the playoff hunt. Baron Davis, Steve Novak, J.R. Smith and Jared Jeffries have helped the Knicks withstand this injury-plagued season.
Say what you want about Knicks owner James Dolan. But you can't question his desire to win. He has made some questionable decisions in the past, but he has not stopped trying. Dolan continues to spend money to improve the team. This season has been full of great outcomes. The Knicks will be a very good team for years to come. And we should give credit where credit is due. I never thought I would say this but, thank you Mr. Dolan.
More from Edwin Torres:
Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.