As I shake off the last remnants of my New York Jets hangover and prepare for a long NFL offseason that will likely result in a lockout, there is another team in another sport in the New York area that offers hope for the next few months. In this market, there is arguably nothing more exciting than when the Knicks have a quality team. Madison Square Garden has relevant professional basketball being played in it for the first time in a long time.
Nobody would make the claim that this team is a legitimate title contender as currently constructed. Even a trade for Carmelo Anthony this season doesn't make that a reality. However, this is going to be a playoff team and potentially a playoff team that has a marquee match-up with the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics in the first round.
Can you imagine the buzz in the city as the Knicks gear up for an attempted upset of LeBron or the defending Eastern Conference champs? They might not have the guns to knock them out in a series but considering how scrappy this team has been, it wouldn't lack in the entertainment category.
In the long haul, I remain hopeful Carmelo Anthony makes it to free agency so he can be added to this group of players. If you can partner him up with Amare Stoudemire, Ray Felton, Landy Fields, Danillo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler…then you may be looking at a team who can take a run at the Miamis and Bostons of the world. It would be a shame to see this roster gutted mid-season and a promising young player like Fields sent packing but it is still a deal most of us would rightly sign up for.
You can build a contender around Stoudemire, Anthony, and Felton, it is just going to take a little time. Considering the twists and turns with Anthony's status the past few months, it is hard to anticipate anything getting done this season. However, that doesn't mean you can't appreciate this team which has exceeded most people's expectations and who is trotting out a legitimate MVP candidate every night in Stoudemire.
No matter what type of fan you are, if you live in this market...it is good to have the Garden back.