Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
The Knicks are 3-0 for the first time in more than a decade.
New York Knicks fans don't really know what the heck's going on right now.
You can probably say that some Knicks fans even when you're not having a conversation about basketball, but we're talking hoops and the 'Bockers' 3-0 start, the one that featured three blowouts, excellent defense and a whole lot of good shooting.
Yes, it's only three games. Yes, there are 79 left. But if you've watched the Knicks for the past decade or so, like the real diehards, the optimism would make a little more sense. Knicks fans are seeing tangible results, but it's also that the Knicks just look different than they have in a very, very long time. Carmelo Anthony is diving into the stands and blocking shots. Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton have helped foster a "make the extra pass" environment. J.R. Smith has locked Evil Twin J.R. in a closet somewhere, and the Knicks are getting production from places on the bench that were recently occupied by the likes of Andy Rautins and Jonathan Bender, among other otherworldly stars.
With a few days before the Knicks get back at it, let's go ahead and rank these unbeaten bad boys.
1. Carmelo Anthony - The Knicks' best player has played the part through the Knicks' first three games. Everyone knows Anthony can score, and he's done that - averaging 26 per game so far - but again it's the consistent effort on the defensive end that has people really pumped about Melo's play thus far. Who would have ever thought that people would worry about Anthony hurting himself by diving into the stands? He also leads the team in rebounding so far.
2. Jason Kidd - Stats don't tell the tale of Kidd's impact to this team, and that will probably be the continuing trend the rest of the way. Especially when he shares the back court with Raymond Felton, the Knicks move the ball fluidly around the perimeter. And most importantly, for now, they're making their open shots, Kidd included. Good job by Mike Woodson, as well, playing Kidd just 22 minutes a game. The Knicks will need an effective Kidd the rest of the season.
3. J.R. Smith - Whatever the Knicks have with Smith right now, they need to bottle it up and hold on for dear life. Smith is always going to take a few bad shots (some he'll make nonetheless), and he'll hold on to the ball a little bit too much sometimes. But you live with that if you get the defensive hustle, rebounding and constant spark off the bench. It probably won't last for too long, but right now Smith is playing Sixth-Man-of-the-Year-type ball.
4. Ronnie Brewer - He ain't gonna' keep shootin' like this but wow, what a start for Ronnie Brewer as a Knick and what a shrewd signing this may prove to be by Glen Grunwald. Brewer has done all the things you expected him to do - run the floor, play defense, rebound, but it's his surprising perimeter shooting that has earned him this high ranking thus far.
5. Rasheed Wallace - Just because.
6. Raymond Felton - Felton is playing like he has something to prove and similarly to his first tour of duty in Orange and Blue. He's been effective handling the ball in pick and roll situations, and has also shot the ball very well from the perimeter. There are going to be plenty of people that are always keeping an eye on Houston and Jeremy Lin, understandably so. But the way Felton has played early on, there's not much more you can ask for.
7. Tyson Chandler - I ranked Chandler as the second best Knick last season, and I do expect him to end up higher in these rankings as the year goes on. He's been banged up a bit and battling the flu and things, but he's being Tyson Chandler so far, which is just dandy for the Knicks.
8. Pablo Prigioni - The 35-year-old rookie has looked a bit lost at times, but that's to be expected for someone who has never played in the league, however old you are. But the Argentinean definitely can give the Knicks solid minutes at point guard and you get the sense that he's never going to kill them out there. He also set up THIS:
9. Kurt Thomas - So far, Crazy Eyes is playing a little bit of the role Marcus Camby will play once he starts paying in return from injury. He already has a flagrant foul, which is fantastic. No, seriously, it's great seeing Thomas use hard fouls when he's out on the court.
10. Steve Novak - You know you're watching a great shooter when he misses a wide open three and you wonder if something has gone wrong with the world. Even still, Novak is hitting 47 percent of his three pointers thus far, which isn't too shabby. He began 5-for-8 in the season opener vs. Miami, so it's been a quiet few days for Novakaine. That will change.
11. Chris Copeland - Good for Copeland getting his first career NBA points after a long journey to the league for the 28-year-old.
12. James White - Let's hope we get a dunk from this guy soon