The New York Knicks have been dealing with consistency of play issues and this can be detrimental to the organizations hopeful process of bringing home a NBA championship. Since the season has ended, the Knicks have traded their second most reliable player. This would arguably be Tyson Chandler, although he wasn’t a high scorer and didn’t always stuff the gaudy stat sheet with numbers; he lets his presence be known in the paint. Chandler was depended upon to put a lot of effort and energy into the center position and when he stepped on the floor, he always positively impacted the game.
Carmelo Anthony is the obvious choice for being the most reliable Knicks player based on his pure scoring ability. Anthony finished the season as the second highest scorer in the NBA for the 2013-14 season . He may even be able to translate his skillful play into most valuable player award in the future, but that would only happen if other players also step up into a more reliable role on the team. In other words, the team would have to win more games because it’s not so much of an individually won award as it seems. The MVP Award has never been won by a player on a team that has won less than 50 games. That just speaks volume to either how dominant a player must be or how good the team around him must be in order to gain that level of recognition. So the big question is whose going to once again take some of the pressure off of his shoulders .
There is a strong possibility that a couple of players will rise to the challenge and help bring the Knicks back to the upper echelon of teams in the NBA as they once were. One specific player is J.R Smith; he is one of the veterans on the team, even though at times his actions don’t exude a seasoned players level of discipline. Although one side of Smith seems to lack maturity at times, another side of him understands that he has been placed into a leadership role, whether he likes it or not. Players like Smith don’t shy away from the spotlight, they thrive in it. When Anthony was sidelined late last season, Smith rose to the occasion and delivered numerous 30 point games.
Another player with a huge potential, and this may surprise some folks, is Tim Hardaway Jr. He’s an exceptional talent that has been under looked in many discussions on key players that add depth to the squad. Hardaway had a solid rookie campaign and provided a spark of the bench for the Knicks.. He ended the season averaging 10 points per game, but that’s far from his limit as a scorer. The only reason it was so low was because he was surrounded by stars and veterans who have earned the right to take a lot more shots. In other words, he is still paying his dues, but he is a promising talent that will be reliable in the future when he is given more opportunities. In the Las Vegas Summer League fans were able to catch a glimpse of that foretelling when Hardaway showcased his abilities this summer by averaging 22 points per game.
If guys like Smith and Hardaway can elevate their games, the Knicks could be contenders in the East this upcoming season.