So we're a quarter of the way through the season. What have we learned? Maybe the Lakers issues stem from more than a coach, the Washington Wizards still play like the Washington Generals, and the best team in the league so far? They reside on 4 Penn Plaza between 8th and 9th Ave in NYC. The New York Knicks have been handling their business in the first 20 games of the season. Tonight they take on their crosstown "rival," the Nets of Brooklyn, for the second time this season. The Finals are not until June, but will the Knicks be there? Time for some Fact or Fiction.
Statement 1: Carmelo Anthony is the MVP of the league-Maybe it is the clear weight loss. Maybe it is the extra motivation from the Olympics, being teammates with champions. No matter what it is, Melo is playing out of his mind. Averaging 26.8 PPG to go along with 6.7 boards per, he is taking the big shots and showing a hustle on the defensive end we have never really seen out of him. He dropped some weight in the off season, going through strenuous work outs with Olympic teammates like Kobe and LeBron. Speaking of them, looking at the rings on their finger might have sparked Melo. He was in the same draft class as LBJ, Dwyane and Bosh. If Melo keeps this up, and there is no reason to think he won't, you bet he wins the MVP for bringing the Knicks back to relevance. Verdict: FACT
Statement 2: The supporting cast will keep up with the hot play-Remember, there are five players on the court at the same time. Melo can't do it himself. Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, J-Kidd and the others are bringing their all night in and night out for the orange and blue wrecking crew (anybody call them that yet? Good, I'll trademark it). For players with 40+ 3-point attempts, the Knicks have six guys who shoot better than 37%, with four of them shooting 40%+. Chandler alone is shooting 71% from the field. But can these guys keep it up? J.R. Smith might kick it into J.R. Smith mode anytime now, with the erratic mistakes. Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Pablo Prigioni, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas were all born in the 70's, so they might tire out. Novak is a one trick pony, and Ronnie Brewer has never been on the big stage before in his career. Oh yea, let's not forget about when Amar'e comes back and the effect he will have on the way the offense is run. Will they completely fold? No. Will they be on fire the whole season? That's also no. Verdict: Fiction
Statement 3: The rest of the Eastern Conference will get better- If the playoffs started today (by the way I hate that saying. If they started today we wouldn't be using that phrase, but i digress) the Knicks would be taking on the Milwaukee Bucks. They aren't the 90's Bulls. Let's take a quick look at everyone else shall we? The Hawks will fold in classic Hawks playoff fashion if history tells us anything, the Bulls aren't good past Rose (when he comes back), Noah and Deng, Brooklyn is slowly starting to slip, but be careful to not overlook. That leaves Philly, Boston and Miami. The 76ers are a nice team, but without Bynum, who they went all in for specifically for this season, they have no staying power. The Celtics are only 1.5 games ahead of the 9th place team in the East, and with that aging squad, they might not even make the postseason. Of course this whole section was all leading up to Miami. The Knicks have just demolished them in their first two meetings this season. We've all seen the new LeBron in 2012 and how he can literally turn it up to another level. Besides the Heat, I think the Knicks can run by the East. But the Heat should SCARE every Knicks fan. Verdict: Both fact and fiction (how's "Faction" sound?)
There ya have it folks. Come May, we will be seeing the Knicks battle with the Heat to decide who goes on to play the Thunder (they have this conference on lock for the next 5 years) in the Finals. Put on your seat belts, it's going to be a fun ride.