The New York Knicks added a lot of talent this past offseason. Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Randolph are three solid role players, at the very least. Ray Felton is an upgrade from Chris Duhon at point guard. And, of course, the crown jewel of the Knicks’ haul is Amar’e Stoudemire, a man touted as a potential MVP candidate by his coach. The Knicks are going to be way better than they have the past few seasons, and I’d put ‘em in the playoffs were I asked by a Canadian podcaster who is neither Skeets nor Tas.
But I am not a rotund NBA Hall of Famer, which would seem to be irrelevant until you realize that Charles Barkley is and he disagrees about the Knicks’ prospects. From the New York Daily News:
“I just don’t know how good [the Knicks] can be,” Barkley said on the eve of TNT’s season-opening broadcast between Boston and Miami. “Can they make the playoffs? I just don’t see it.”
Barkley, who recently lost 40 pounds and says his goal is to drop another 40, added that Mike D’Antoni has his best team in three years and that one of the keys to its success will be Raymond Felton.
“Mike plays a point guard-driven system,” he said. “And he had a great one in Phoenix in Steve Nash. They’ll be better but again, I still think New Jersey will be better.”
Like I said, I’m not a former Hall of Fame NBA basketball player who has recently lost 40 pounds and hopes to lose another 40 — very important information, by the way — so maybe I don’t see the game the same way that Charles Barkley does. However, the Knicks finished 11th in the East last year and two teams ahead of them (Cleveland and Toronto) got significantly worse. Add in the improvements that New York made and I’d imagine they’ll be challenging for the eight seed all year, even if they don’t land Carmelo Anthony.
Furthermore, while I like the players the Nets added — Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow and Johan Petro — and think that Brook Lopez will continue to improve and Devin Harris will have a bounce-back type of year, I don’t necessarily think that all those things combined add up to 30 more wins, which is basically what it takes to make the playoffs in the East. The Nets will be better, for sure, but they probably won’t be that much better. I mean, I like those new guys just fine, but none of them are world-beaters.
Then again, I’ve never raced and then kissed a 67-year-old man on national television, so what do I know?