Aug 6, 2012, 12:21 PM EDT
There are some very thoughtful, basketball smart Knicks fans out there. As a whole they know the game.
And then there are the Knicks fans who vastly overestimate how good their team really is and think the franchise is still thought of like it’s 1972.
Apparently, J.R. Smith falls in the later group. The Knicks swingman and designated gunner off the bench told ESPNNewYork.com that he thinks on paper this Knicks team — which has two Olympians — could be as good as any team in the league.
“Right now with the talent we have, what it says on paper is championship all day. But it’s a matter of us going out there and doing it,” Smith said after appearing at an event in Harlem at Nike’s House of Hoops to promote/give away some Nike sneakers to children.…
Smith believes the moves the Knicks made in the offseason give them enough talent to “compete with anybody.”
I think this discussion starts with how good you think Carmelo Anthony is — if you think he is a top 5 NBA player and leader then you think the Knicks are contenders. I would call him an elite scorer, but would put him more around 10-12, not on the “you can build a title contender around him” level of LeBron James or Kevin Durant.
Bigger than that, LeBron and Dwyane Wade have worked out the chemistry issues on that team, along with Chris Bosh. They play well off each other now, they succeed together on the court. The Knicks are not there. Things are awkward when ‘Melo and Amare Stoudemire share the floor. Their games do not mesh seamlessly, and until they do you can’t discuss them with the Heat. Or the Celtics. (And even if ‘Melo and Amare figure it out, you run into the problem they are not as good as LeBron and Wade.)
The Knicks are going to be good next year. The high end is a three seed, the low end the six. My guess is they get the four or five spot. They could finally advance out of the first round.
But they are not contenders, sorry J.R. They may not even be the best team in the five boroughs.
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