Carmelo Anthony is promising to shoot less and share more. Amar'e Stoudemire, following a summer at the back-to-the-basket private academy of Hakeem Olajuwon, vows to post up more. Can the two stars who failed to find chemistry last year adapt? One change that's a certainty in New York: no more Linsanity. The Knicks let Jeremy Lin leave for Houston, opting for 39-year-old Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton.
New York's plan is to turn back the pages to a more successful era. Bringing in defensive-minded big men Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas to play alongside Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler recalls the rugged style of Jeff Van Gundy and gives the Knicks hope of reincarnating their old hard-nosed mentality. Big bodies will help—they are one thing the Heat, which bounced New York in the first round, lacks—but the team's fortunes rest with the point guards, who must bring out the best in Anthony and Stoudemire when they're on the floor together.
COACH: Mike Woodson (2nd season with Knicks)
2011--12 RECORD: 36--30 (2nd in Atlantic)
OFFENSE: 97.8 ppg (11th)
DEFENSE: 94.7 ppg (11th)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 26.5 ppg (T-9th)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE KNICKS
I have no problem with their decision to let Jeremy Lin go—it's like losing Tim Tebow. Last year was a perfect storm for Lin.... They'll hope that Jason Kidd will be a coach on the floor and pass that knowledge on to Raymond Felton, who has never had a mentor like him before.... Felton has the ability to make the right pass and make you pay when he's on the move. He shoots it well when he's spotting up, but he's another guy who needs the ball in his hands in order to be effective.... Is Felton likely to stand up to Carmelo Anthony and tell him where he needs to go and how the offense is going to be run? I think the answer to that is no, and that's a problem.... Tyson Chandler is one of the two or three best defenders in the league. When other guys make mistakes, he's there to pick them up and block shots. He'll take a charge or give a hard foul because he's savvy enough to know where to be, so he doesn't just rely on athleticism, and he doesn't get in foul trouble like he used to.... J.R. Smith is a wild card. He may win three games for you, but he's also going to lose three by doing the crazy stuff that made George Karl go bald.
Instead of focusing on shots, Anthony and Stoudemire play D, and the Knicks win their first divisional title since 1993--94.
A disjointed team loses in the opening round for a third straight year, leading to calls for Anthony to be traded.
Percentage of Tyson Chandler's field goal attempts that came in the paint last year. His 67.9% shooting was the highest since Wilt Chamberlain's 72.7% in 1972--73.
GREG NELSON (ANTHONY)
NED DISHMAN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (KIDD)