It is within 24 hours before the start of the season for the New York Knicks, which means it is time to focus on nothing but the game. Except, coach Mike Woodson has yet to finalize the starting lineup. On the matter, Woodson said it was a “little sticky” that his rotation was unsettled, but insisted he had plenty of options.
The Knicks are coming of a sluggish preseason. J.R. Smith, although healthy, will not be playing in the first five games due to a suspension. Amar’e Stoudemire still has lingering knee issues and their coach still does not know what the starting lineup will look like. This is not a very promising start to the 2013-14 campaign.
Last season, the Knicks came out hot. They blew out the defending champions on opening day. They went 6-0, a win shy of their best start ever, and went 18-5 through the first 23 games. The Knicks led the Atlantic Division every day of the season and won it for the first time in more than a decade. All that, however, does not mean anything today. After a crazy offseason for many teams, including their crosstown and division rival Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks are no longer the Atlantic Division favorites. Luckily the team knows it.
“Last year is over in my mind,” Carmelo Anthony said Tuesday. “We accomplished what we accomplished last year. This is a new season for me, for us, and we’re ready to go out there and play.”
Fortunately for the Knicks, their first 10 games should, for the most part, be a breeze. They open the season against the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that appears to be “riggin’ for Wiggins.” In their nine games following, they play four games against teams that were .500 or better last year. Two of which, however, are against the Atlanta Hawks, a team that lost their star, Josh Smith, and will more than likely decline this season.
The Knicks know they have the chance to make some noise this season. They still have some question marks, but those question marks could soon be forgotten if they play to their full potential.
“I truly want to build on what we did last year,” Woodson said. “I mean, last year is last year, but it was a good season for our ball club and our fans here in New York. The ultimate goal is to win a title and it starts tomorrow night in terms of how we step on the floor and how we play.”