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Insider help with Why the Knicks are title contenders....it made me laugh.

Sewok15
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Insider help with Why the Knicks are title contenders....it made me laugh.

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LOL! The Knicks are NOT title

LOL! The Knicks are NOT title contenders. I'll be surprised to see them make the 6th or 7th seed

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KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE
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The Knicks have a ton of

The Knicks have a ton of talent and depth. They could be a real contender in the east but I expect them to underwhelm again if they can't get any team chemistry

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as long as carmelo is on the

as long as carmelo is on the team, they will go as far as he takes them imo

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It looks like Amare may never

It looks like Amare may never be the same and while Carmelo is an elite scorer he doesn't bring a ton of intangibles and will never make many plays for his teammates or defend at a high level. The fact that they didn't really uprgrade the PG position is the most worrysome thing because losing Lin would only have been acceptable if they signed somebody better like Steve Nash. I think they could have a slightly better and more consistent season this year with a full off-season to mesh but still don't see them as a top 5 team in the East.

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@bostonking you serious bro?

@bostonking you serious bro? even if you hate the knicks, be realistic. that team is easily a 4-6 seed in the east. now i know you said 6th or 7th seed, which isnt far-fetched. but you said youd be SUPRISED. c'mon dude, they arent that bad. i see them as the 5th seed this year in the east. maybe 4th if they get the chemistry factor down, and if amare comes back strong.

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First one

Editor's note: This is the third installment of a 12-part series this summer that will profile six Eastern Conference teams and six Western Conference teams that could knock off the Miami Heat. Today we profile the New York Knicks.

Overview

The Knicks had a typically bizarre season last year, a description that would seem oxymoronic if it were applied to any team not owned by James L. Dolan. It began with an 8-15 start under Mike D'Antoni when Carmelo Anthony was running a point-guard-oriented scheme that lacked a point guard, and Anthony's ill fit withAmare Stoudemire looked like it was going to lead to a franchise implosion.

Then Linsanity was born, leading to an outburst of hyperbole notable even by New York standards, though at least in this instance the excitement was justified by the results. The Knicks won seven straight, the last five with Anthony out of the lineup, and the team's luster was restored. Then New York lapsed into a six-game skid as Anthony gradually usurped Lin's newly won role as the focal point of the offense. After the sixth loss in that stretch, D'Antoni and the team parted ways.

Contenders Profile Series

Who can dethrone the Heat?

Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers
New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Lakers
Boston Celtics
San Antonio Spurs
Philadelphia 76ers
Minnesota Timberwolves
Indiana Pacers
Denver Nuggets
Chicago Bulls

Enter Mike Woodson and suddenly New York started to play a little defense, capitalizing on the key offseason acquisition of Tyson Chandler. Anthony won the offensive power struggle, and the Knicks finished the season on an 18-6 run. Though Lin wasn't around for the last 17 of those games because of a knee injury, New York entered the postseason on an upswing. Still, no one was really sure which version of the Knicks was best situated for a playoff run.

In the playoffs, the Knicks ran up against the Heat, and with Lin still out of the lineup, it was really no contest. Miami won the first three games by an average of 20 points and took the series in five games, the first step in the first championship run for the Heat's current big three. Counting the regular season, Miami wiped the floor with the Knicks in seven of eight meetings.

In the regular season, Miami outscored New York by 12.6 points per 100 possessions, more than five points worse than the Knicks did against any other conference opponent. Then, when it counted most -- in the postseason -- that figure swelled to 15.1 points. Indeed, the Knicks have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to challenging the league's elite.

Additions

The Knicks were busy in the offseason, spending big to add veteran pieces to the Anthony-Stoudemire tandem, which, we ought to point out, still might not be a workable duo. At the same time, the Knicks turned suddenly frugal by deciding against matching the offer sheet Jeremy Linsigned with Houston. What's left is a roster with a solid projection, still miles short of Miami, with little upside to close the gap.

The newcomers include Kurt Thomas, Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby who, unless somebody likeKevin Willis or Bob Cousy comes out of retirement, will rank second, third and fourth on the league's list of oldest players this season. As a group, the Knicks' roster projects to be the league's third oldest and fifth most expensive, qualities that are usually affixed to squads that have actually won something in the past.

Raymond Felton returns to New York after a poor season in Portland, hoping to man the point guard position with the same aplomb he showed when running D'Antoni's offense prior to the megadeal that landed Anthony in the Big Apple. If it doesn't work out, Felton's presence will be a constant reminder of Lin's absence. Assuming, of course, that Lin pans out in Houston.

New York did pull off some nice ancillary moves. Premium defender Ronnie Brewer was plucked from the bargain bin after being let go by the cost-cutting Bulls. Streak shooter J.R. Smith was retained on one of the offseason's best value deals. Steve Novak was brought back as a floor stretcher, though his four-year, $15 millon contract might have been a bit steep given that his effectiveness last season was directly tied to Lin. In the 270 minutes with Lin and Novak on the floor together, the Knicks outscored opponents by a whopping 19.2 points per 100 possessions. In the 751 minutes with Novak on the floor without Lin, the Knicks were outscored.

Key personnel

The addition of Camby may have the biggest effect on the Knicks' quest to catch Miami. Both Camby and Chandler have some injury history, and, as mentioned, Camby is one of the league's oldest players. In that regard, you can look at the latter's return to New York as more of an insurance policy than anything. However, if they can both remain healthy and productive for most of the season, the Knicks will have a legitimate basket-protector and dominant rebounder on the floor at all times. This was part of the dynamic that the Dallas Mavericks rode to their win over Miami in the 2011 Finals, when Chandler teamed with Brendan Haywood in the middle for Dallas.

During the playoff matchup between New York and Miami, the Heat were 10.3 points per 100 possessions better with Chandler on the bench, and that accounts for about 30 percent of the minutes played in the series. If Camby can help hold down the fort defensively when Chandler rests or sits with foul trouble, suddenly those matchups start looking a lot closer.

Telling stat: 18-6

A 24-game sample size isn't meaningless in the NBA, though, of course, you'd like a larger pool of data from which to draw conclusions. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that the Knicks' 18-6 record was the second-best mark in the league to finish the season. Only the San Antonio Spursposted a better margin of victory during that stretch, and only three teams were better on the defensive end. Yet just when you got excited about that flash of elite play, the Heat dispatched New York in the playoffs with breathless ease.

Still, Knicks fans can take solace that amid the turmoil of the 2011-12 season, the team was quite a bit better than its 36-30 record indicated. The point differential was that of a 41-25 team, a percentage that would have gotten the Knicks a 4-seed and a real shot at No. 3. It's the percentage of a 51-win team over a normal season, which would have been New York's most wins in 15 years. So the starting point for this year's team is a little further along than it might seem if you just look at last season's standings.

What needs to go right?

We've been highly critical of the Knicks, and our caterwauling about the way Dolan's franchise is operated continued as the team got older and more expensive over the summer. The primary complaint is that so many resources have been expended to build a team that on paper is still a good 10-12 wins worse than the Heat. Sure, it might put New York in contention for as high as a No. 2 seed, but there is no upside to the roster with Lin gone and few avenues to get better any time over the next three seasons.

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Second one

Next year's potential one-and-dones

Originally Published: June 27, 2012
By Paul Biancardi | ESPN RecruitingNation

The 2012 NBA draft is quickly approaching, and according to Chad Ford's latest mock draft nine one-and-done players are projected to go in the first round.

Here is a look at several prospects who could be in those same shoes next year. As is the case with all these potential NBA prospects, it is important to remember they can't stay where they are in terms of development and think it's just going to happen for them because they dominated their high school landscapes. They all must improve their skills and strength, learn the game and become more coachable, while producing at their respective programs and helping their schools win.

Note: Players listed in order of their rank in the 2012 ESPN 100.

Noel
Nerlens Noel, C (Everett, Mass./Tilton School)
College: Kentucky
With Anthony Davis pretty much guaranteed to be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft and Noel potentially being one-and-done, it's not farfetched for Kentucky to have the top NBA pick in back-to-back years. Noel has mastered the art of blocking shots and will be the best shot-blocker in college basketball next year. His explosion, length, 7-foot-4 wingspan, excellent timing and basketball IQ allow him to block shots and impact every game he plays in. He makes his opponent think twice about putting up a shot in the lane. He can erase a teammate's defensive mistake and even start a fast break. Plus, Noel is still a factor defensively when he leaves the paint, because he will contest jumpers or hedge out on ball screens.

His offensive game needs work, but he has a solid jump hook and can drive from the high post and score with a left-handed finish. Noel can capitalize on drop-off passes and offensive putbacks, which he finishes at the rim with either hand. As he gains strength and girth and learns the nuances of how to gain leverage in the post and improves his feel for the game, he will even become even more of a force.

Comparison: Marcus Camby

Muhammad
Shabazz Muhammad, SF (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman)
College: UCLA
Muhammad is a powerful, aggressive player with good scoring instincts who finds different ways to score and is never satisfied with his last performance. He thrives in the transition game, whether it's finishing a fast break or sprinting back to chase down a breakaway layup. In the half-court set, he's always looking to get closer to the basket and create fouls with his relentless straight-line drives. He will also look to post up smaller defenders, capitalize on offensive rebounds, knock down midrange jumpers and make open 3-pointers.

Defensively, he will get after his opponent, thanks to his ability to level dribble penetration, deny passing lanes, chase shooters off screens and rebound down from the perimeter. Overall, Muhammad is an intense player noted for his consistent energy and effort. He is a major part of UCLA's No. 1 recruiting class and has the daunting task of help bringing back the Bruins.

Comparison: James Harden

Austin
Isaiah Austin, C (Arlington, Texas/Grace Prep)
College: Baylor

Austin is an intriguing prospect because he is a true 7-footer with a rare combination of ball skills and great mobility. However, his game right now is only a snap shot of what he can become.

Offensively, he possesses a versatile skill set because he can make plays on the perimeter, has range on his jumper out to 19 feet and can drive to the basket. After setting a balls creen, Austin is equally as comfortable rolling to the rim to catch an alley-oop as he is popping to the perimeter to make a jumper. He also demonstrates a jump hook with soft touch and good extension that few can challenge. He made progress in his senior season scoring in the lane and rebounding at a greater clip, but his lower body is still quite thin and he has trouble holding his ground. Austin must learn that the lower he plays, the more effective he will be.

Defensively, he is a presence in the paint, blocking shots and protecting the rim. If he competes and works hard every day, he will dominate games for Baylor next year and be a lottery pick.

Comparison: LaMarcus Aldridge

Anderson
Kyle Anderson, SF (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony)
College: UCLA
It doesn't matter what position he is listed at, because he is a unique player who plays the game a possession ahead of everyone else. Anderson is always aware of where he is and where his teammates are on the floor, which helps him deliver pinpoint passes. He has limited foot speed and quickness, but it hasn't hindered him yet, and he hasn't lost a high school game in two years.

Can he continue his winning ways at UCLA? I wouldn't bet against him.

Comparison: Jalen Rose

Adams
Steven Adams, C (New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep)
College: Pittsburgh

At 6-10 and 235 pounds, Adams is a physical specimen with long arms, good mobility, soft touch, good instincts around the basket and great natural strength. When he posts up, he is difficult to move off the blocks because of his lower-body strength and his ability to get low while making and maintaining contact with his defender. Similarly, he is extremely hard to score against because he holds his ground and builds a wall to protect the basket.

His specialty at this time might be his rebounding, but he has no go-to move on offense. He could make a living setting screens and averaging double-figure rebounds. Adams is just scratching the surface of what he will become, and the New Zealand native doesn't take himself too seriously yet, but the NBA might.

Comparison: B.J. Mullens

Smart
Marcus Smart, SG/PG (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus)
College: Oklahoma State
He has turned some heads playing the point guard position for the U-18 USA Basketball team because he is athletic, strong and tough and possesses a high basketball IQ. Smart can blow by his defender off the dribble, power through him or make open jumpers over him. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford can feel good about putting the ball in Smart's hands and trusting him to make the right play.

Defensively, he is a good on-ball defender who understands team defense because he was well coached in high school and will take a charge for the good of the team. Most importantly, he displays unselfishness and does whatever it takes to win a game. He is growing on NBA scouts as a point guard.

Comparison: A better version of Avery Bradley

Poythress
Alex Poythress, SF (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast)
College: Kentucky

At 6-8 with a wingspan over 7-0, Poythress already has the body of an NBA small forward, and his skill set is starting to catch up. He can dominate a game with his versatility and athletic ability because he can beat his opponent by outrunning him, shooting jumpers over him, beating him with his dribble-drive game or posting him up and finishing strong at the rim. His long-range jumper is improving, but his competitive spirit is already there, and he has a chance to be one of Kentucky's top scorers in the upcoming season.

Defensively, he brings great value because he can guard either forward spot, is not afraid to battle in the post, is quick enough to defend along the 3-point line and is a good rebounder.

Comparison: Andre Iguodala

Goodwin
Archie Goodwin, SG (Little Rock, Ark./Sylvan Hills)
College: Kentucky
He is a combination guard with NBA size who should have the ball in his hands quite a bit at Kentucky. Goodwin is terrific in the transition game because he can rebound down, take a bust-out dribble and go all the way to score or deliver an assist. Plus, he is one of the better dribble-drive players in the 2012 class because he can make plays for himself or teammates. However, he needs to polish up his long-range jumper and show he can make open 3s and shoot behind a ball screen.

On the defensive side, he can be very good keeping his man out of the lane while closing out on shooters and contesting shots.

Comparison: Joe Johnson

Ashley
Brandon Ashley, PF (Oakland, Calif./Findlay Prep)
College: Arizona
He makes athletic plays at and above the rim while having the skills to play facing the basket. When aggressive, he can block shots and be an alert off-the-ball defender. Ashley had an incredible performance at the National High School Invitational and he has all the tools to succeed. He will be tested early in his career at Arizona, so he needs to show up in top physical condition and compete every day.

Comparison: Shawn Marion

Ledo
Ricardo Ledo, SG (Providence, R.I./South Kent)
College: Providence
Ledo could be the most talented offensive player in the 2012 class. He can score from anywhere on the floor, but his signature move is his step-back, off-the-dribble shot from behind the arc. He knows how to create space and rise up over defenders when he gets in the paint. He can stop on a dime and pull up or continue all the way to get an old-fashioned 3-point play. He is ideal for isolations and when the clock is winding down because he is always ready to score. However, he's going to have to prove he can play with his teammates by not freezing them out on the court and show he can be mature off the floor.

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thx homey

thx homey

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Is Ricky Ledo the second

Is Ricky Ledo the second coming of Marshon Brooks? The description sure makes it sound like the same guy...

Steven
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hell no. ledo is going to be

hell no. ledo is going to be a ton better then brooks. and dont get me wrong, i do like brooks. its just i believe ledo is gonna be special.

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this is interesting

this is interesting

4thewin
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the Knicks are going to be a tuff playoff match up.

the Knicks are going to be a tuff playoff match up.

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Hate?

I'm not one to use the term "hater" loosely but the hate seems strong from some of you lol (not naming no names)

If some how you believe the Knicks have Chemistry problems then you surely haven't been paying attention to the Knicks this year. Only one half of the season has been played but you don't become 2nd in your conference with chemistry problems. One thing that's different about this Knicks team is that it has tons of leadership , from Jason Kidd to Tyson Chandler to older vets that can share there wisdom with the younger players. Not to mention Carmelo has been on a mission this whole year. He's number 2 in Scoring, he's player better Defense while stepping up his leadership as well. This is the most vocal he's been as a leader his whole career. The Knicks J.R Smith is stepping up in to a role he thrives in. I can honestly say this is the smartest smith has played ever since coming to the league, he's maturing .

If any team that should be taking as a dark horse in the east, it should be and will be the Knicks. The heats are still the front runners though.

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