As the National Basketball Association season is now upon us, New York Knickerbocker fans want to start off on a successful note and put the 2009-2010 dreadful season behind them.
Having practically a clean start with several key holdovers, management is looking forward to some experienced newcomers as well as rookies in whom Coach Mike D’Antoni feels very optimistic.
When the term ‘new faces’ gets brought up, leading the way is no stranger to the N.B.A., but a rookie New Yorker, in Amare Stoudemire, an eight-year veteran with Phoenix.
The 6’10” Stoudemire who can play either the forward or center positions and can rebound to go along with his jump shooting from in and/or out, connect on fast break baskets, pull ‘up,’ and score from inside and outside. Everybody is excited about his play and what he can bring to the ‘table.’
Sometimes he gets to the practice facility first and becomes the last player to leave. He is that dedicated and wants to help turn this thing around.
“He’s one of the hardest workers on the team,” said another newcomer Shawne Williams, in his third year in the NBA.
Stoudemire brings added points and some additional rebounding to the team. He can catch those passes from another newcomer Raymond Felton who can certainly feed his teammate from the backcourt position. Six-one Felton will make his contribution to a strong backcourt. He played five yeas with Charlotte before putting on a Knick uniform during the off-season.
Now Felton, who looked very impressive during the pre-season, could be a starter. He’ll have to make the rotation, which is conceivably in place.
Then there are also a few newcomers including draft choices Andy Rautins, who played at Syracuse, and Landry Fields, who starred at Stanford, both of whom saw four years of action, respectively, for their college teams.
“Raymond is settling into what we want him to be,” said D’Antoni, in his third year as head coach of the Knicks. “He pushes ‘it’ and does a lot of things offensively… He provides great leadership. We want him to keep shooting (and to improve). He plays tough.”
Felton is the top playmaker as far as number of assists on the team during pre-season or the exhibition games. However, before the Knicks-Nets pre-season contest, D’Antoni did say that he will not start him.
The coach is also high on guard Roger Mason, Jr., who is on his fifth team in his seven years in the NBA, and forward Anthony Randolph, a two-year veteran, from Golden State.
“At 21, Randolph is trying to become a good player,” said the coach after their last home pre-season game against the New Jersey Nets.
All the individuals feel that they are enjoying being a member of the Knicks, whose coach likes to use the run-and-gun fast-break style of offense to get the job done. They played hard during the pre-season and are glad to be part of a team that suffered from assorted troubles during the last few years when they had to go home and not be part of the playoffs.
The goal of the team is to make the playoffs as they are in a strong conference headed by Miami.