A few days ago I was able to get Seth Rosenthal (I recommend following him on twitter), manager of Knicks blog Posting and Toasting, to answer a few questions about his team. A lot has changed for the Knicks in the last few months and are currently undefeated (3-0).
After reading the Q&A, I recommend heading over to Posting and Toasting as well!
1.) Carmelo Anthony had a fantastic summer with the US Men's National team. Has that experience changed how he's approached the game this year thus far?
It's tough to say how much the Olympic experience has affected him, but he certainly makes it seem like it influenced his preparation for the season. He's healthy and probably better shape than he was at this time last year (granted, this time last year was the middle of the lockout...). Either way, he's playing at his best. He's scoring and busting ass on defense in much the same way he was at the end of last season, but some other aspects like his passing out of double teams, his help defense, and his rebounding have been even more impressive. Melo's looked great.
2.) You are three games into the Jason Kidd experience. We Dallas fans formed a love/hate relationship with Mr. Kidd in that he'd go from brilliant to maddening and back again with frequency. He's looked solid so far; what is his role with the team this year?
We definitely haven't had the opportunity to hate him yet. Knick injuries have rendered Kidd the starting shooting guard, and he's been amazingly effective at that position. He's become a key part of this swarming, crazy good defense the Knicks have played just by knowing when and where to help and reading passing lanes like a sage. Offensively, he's contributed to New York's astoundingly sharp ball movement and he's hitting his open threes so far. We even saw him drive in for a couple layups the other night. It's been pretty crazy. But yeah, so far we've just come to appreciate how brilliant he is and how he manages to compensate for his dwindling athleticism with savvy and finesse.
3.) Early returns seem to be that mercurial, but talented guard J.R. Smith has bought into what Coach Woodsen is preaching. What do you expect from Smith?
Yeah, for sure. He's a loose cannon-- there'll still be some bad shots and dumb fouls, and there already have been-- but he's instrumental on both ends of the floor when he feels like it. He contributes to the second unit offense not just with his scoring but with his ability to take folks off the dribble and either kick to the perimeter or draw contact. He's rotating on defense, too, and has suddenly decided to work for rebounds, which has turned out very nicely. Dude suddenly looks like a triple-double threat. Whether that holds up...I don't know (I could say that about every one of the great things we've seen from the Knicks).
4.) Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert are out with knee injuries at the moment. I think Amar'e is due back late December or January, but what about Shumpert? He's a solid player and I always enjoyed watching him play last year. Where do he and Amar'e fit in the current rotation?
Shumpert's out probably until January or February. When he returns, he'll probably work back into the starting shooting guard spot. He's not nearly as savvy as kid, but he's much bigger and bouncier and has a more varied arsenal of shots to offer. Kidd's probably not meant for starter minutes anyway, so that's fine.
Amar'e...well, I have no idea. A lot of Knicks fans want him to come off the bench, either because he's a poor defender or because Carmelo Anthony's been so sharp at the four or both. It's gonna be a pickle, but a good coach should be able to find time for a productive offensive player, assuming Amar'e can return to being thta.
5.) How concerned are you with the age of the Knicks roster? The Knicks might have an older roster, but a look at the roster leads one to think that they might be fairly deep too, assuming some vets don't get asked to play too many minutes (roster includes Ronnie Brewer, Marcus Camby, Pablo Prigioni, Kurt Thomas, and Rasheed Wallace).
Yeah, I'm less and less concerned, considering how they've already weathered injuries and looking at how productive the old guys have been. Ask me again in a few months.
6.) What are the goals for this years Knicks team?
Just make a deep playoff run. They're probably not a contender simply because most teams aren't, but if they can at least give off the aura of being one and genuinely scare some other teams, that'd signify a lot of progress.
Thanks for your time. Remember to visit Posting and Toasting!