The Knicks have become an entirely different team than the team we saw just seven games ago when they were an abysmal 8-15. They were a couple losses away from Mike D’Antoni being jobless, Jeremy Lin being cut, and Carmelo Anthony banging himself up even more. The Knicks were being led by a banged up Anthony and a struggling Amare Stoudemire. Two men were attempting to carry the team on their backs. It just could not be done. They needed a change. That’s when the Knickerbockers would make a Lin-probable return to winning basketball and an excitement in New York that we have not seen since the days of Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, and Latrell Sprewell.
The Knicks are now at .500 at 15-15 and in the thick of the playoff race securing the eight seed in the Eastern Conference right now. Lin has helped lead the Knicks putting up unbelievable numbers. Lin has scored at least 20 points in six of the seven games and has had at least seven assists in every game. Three of the games he has recorded a double double. Lin dropped 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in front of a packed Madison Square Garden without Stoudemire and Anthony. It has been a story that has gotten Lin several endorsement offers and the financial assets to move him off his brother’s couch and into his own place. Lin has thrived even with all the attention he has received. When everyone thought the Lin-sanity would take a halt for a game against the Raptors in Toronto, Lin scored six points in the final minute including a game winning three pointer with less than a second to go.
This story has been one of the most inspiring stories and one that has Knicks fans believing in a championship this season. Just today, the Knicks signed J.R. Smith hoping he can add some depth from the shooting guard position. When Smith is on, he is an explosive scorer. Him and Anthony played together in Denver as well. The Knicks have a potential starting lineup of Jeremy Lin, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. That is arguably the best lineup in the NBA. The question is whether Anthony will be able to co-exist with Lin and the rest of the team. Melo will have to do a lot more passing and less shooting. This Knicks team has thrived moving the ball and getting everyone involved. They have gotten great bench play from Steve Novak as well as Jared Jeffries and Bill Walker. The team has played superb team basketball since Anthony has been out. The Knicks need Anthony to return, be healthy, and move the ball with this new look team. If this team can co-exist and continue their unselfish play, we might just see a deep playoff run and MSG rocking come late May for the first time in over a decade.