Culture of Hoops

Much ado about chemistry, New York Knicks critics too critical

The New York Knicks appear to be the hottest topic these days; better said, their underwhelming lack of progression since the inclusion of Carmelo Anthony seems to be the debate of many hoop discussions. Not much of a debate, really. We’ve heard them all: Are these guys good enough? Will they be competing for a seventh (or eighth) seed in the playoffs again this season? Will the re-signing of Raymond Felton give Amar’e Stoudemire his identity back? The answers are forthcoming, but until that time, I would like the peanut gallery to keep it quiet, or at least discuss something else.

Being from Carolina, I have unbound respect for Raymond Felton. The fact that he excelled on the basketball court for the University of North Carloina-Chapel Hill (2005 NCAA National Champions) just makes that respect more profound. He’s a streaky guard who has battled with confidence and weight issues, but when motivated, Felton can be a terrific guard.

I enjoyed the Felton and Stoudemire partnership, pre-Melo, although Raymond did struggle early on with the pick-and-roll offense. As soon as he started to pick up what then coach Mike D’Antoni was putting down, Felton pushed the tempo and had many impressive performances for the Knicks. When the trade talking began, I was almost certain that Felton wouldn’t be included in the package… my fingers stayed crossed. Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov should’ve been enough for the Denver Nuggets. They weren’t. Felton went to Denver and in exchange for his and the services of the aforementioned hoopsters, the Knicks received Anthony and Chauncey Billups, among others.

Raymond Felton has returned and now we’ll get to see if he can turn that dismal, sometimes stagnant offense around. He’s shed some weight, which stresses the determination to prove his worth once again to New York and the Knicks organization. Shipping him off was erroneous, but that’s all in the past. Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, and Jason Kidd give the Knicks three reliable options at guard.

Stephon Marbury wasn’t wrong in his statements regarding the inadequate play of the Knicks’ star duo of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. When asked if he thought Amar’e and Melo could flourish together, Steph firmly replied, “Nope.” That said, he wasn’t much of a game-changing, team player himself during his time as a Knick. Quite the opposite, actually. A major disturbance and a selfish primadonna was Marbury. Let’s also not forget that Steph was on the 2008 New York Knicks squad (coached by Isaiah Thomas) that has been considered one of the worst teams in professional sports history.

Time will tell on whether or not these guys can muster results as a unit. Again, the acquisition of Felton and Jason Kidd are both conducive for the Knicks. Marcus Camby is returning to New York for a second stint as well. The soon to be over-the-hill Kurt Thomas has also been acquired by the Knicks. This one raised a few eyebrows, including my own, but again, let’s not judge, and let’s muffle the chatter, for we won’t know anything until we actually get to see the finished product in action.

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