New York Knicks: 2013-14 Season Preview

Carmelo Anthony, will he stay or will he go? While that is the biggest question surrounding the New York Knicks this year, it’s not the only question, and it’s not the only thing to watch for the blue and orange.

2012-13 record: 54-28, 1st in Atlantic Division

Key additions: Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih, CJ Leslie (rookie), Tim Hardaway Jr (rookie)

Key losses: Chris Copeland, Steve Novak, Jason Kidd

The New York Knicks have gone through an extreme face lifting makeover this off-season, but they opted to keep their “problems” which have held them back. Those players are Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith. While Felton isn’t a bad point guard, and fits Mike Woodson’s system, he’s not the point guard who can provide extra attention away from Carmelo, or who can provide much-needed scoring when Melo is taken away by the defense.

While J.R. Smith is the league’s reigning Sixth Man Of the Year, he’s also the biggest headache on the roster. From his off-court antics, to streaky shooting, and “me” personality, Smith hasn’t proved himself worthy of the three-year-with-option deal that he signed, that could be worth up to $18 million. Include the fact that Smith underwent off-season knee surgery and was listed as out for three-four months, and will have his delay returned by a five-game suspension for marijuana use, and Knicks fans must wonder why?

Will Iman Shumpert make the next leap in his young career?
(Photo credit:

While every team has it’s bad, the Knicks have a lot of good. The best of their good comes in third-year guard, Iman Shumpert, who is likely to win the starting position at shooting guard. Shumpert has the great range from distance, and is an athletic freak who can jump out of the gym. While he has all the physical tools, this third-year guard needs to take the next step, and become a young leader, and Carmelo’s scoring sidekick.

The additions of Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, and Beno Udrih are those of veterans who may not be league superstars, but have talent and even more importantly, have experience. With World Peace and Bargnani coming in either off the bench or in the starting lineup, as well as Kenyon Martin who returns to this team, this Knicks roster has guys who aren’t afraid. They’ll crash the paint, they’ll work hard, and coach the younger players, but potential injuries to these guys could make or break the team’s season.

Finally the rookies, CJ Leslie and Tim Hardaway Jr. These two young guys are athletic scorers, but that might be all they can provide. Hardaway Jr will be stuck behind Shumpert, Smith, and Pablo Prigioni, and doesn’t have a skill set that the already mentioned players do. The Knicks have a low-risk, mid-reward on Leslie who is an athlete, but a very raw one at that. If injuries occur, the young guys may be called upon to step up, but that could be the worst possible case for New York.

X-Factor: Amar’e Stoudemire

Just like Carmelo, the clock is ticking for Amar’e to win a ring. (Photo credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

You can talk Carmelo, Felton, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Mike Woodson all you want, but the Knicks will go as far as Amar’e's knees will take them. It’s make-or-break not only for his contract, but for his career in this 2013-14 season. He’s got talent and will allow Melo back to the small forward position that he thrives in, but even more so, a healthy Amar’e means Andrea Bargnani can come off the bench with hopes to produce in limited minutes. One injury for Stoudemire could mean 20 games or more, and that means a roster shuffling could doom the season.

Bottom line:

The bottom line for the New York Knicks is health and attitude. The attitude and health of this team will make-or-break them. Can players like JR Smith, Metta World Peace, and Kenyon Martin keep their cool, stay healthy, and produce? The answer to this question could be a deciding factor in Carmelo Anthony’s free-agency decision in the summer of 2014.

All in all season is all about Anthony and his future. While he says his focus is on the season and not the future, his words are speaking louder than his actions. For a player who came to NY and said he wanted to be Bernard King, the results have come in a very limited fashion. So here’s the other question, will Melo become King and just add to the list of Knicks who couldn’t win a title, or will he step up and lead this franchise to a much-needed championship?

The Knicks will make the playoffs being in a very weak Eastern Conference, but can they compete with the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and even the Brooklyn Nets? It’s time for Carmelo Anthony to prove this season matters more than his free agency future.

Follow Mike Pendleton on Twitter @MP2310 Twitter:@FullScaleSport

Photo credit: (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: