ESPN Insider has Knicks In Playoffs

I must admit that I absolutely do not like paying for sports opinion content, mainly because it never provides more insight than the content served outside of pay walls.  But every once in a while I’ll pay anyway just because it is a part of being a fanatic to know what everybody who has a little access to the ballers and team management and a lot more opinion than access has to say about your team. ESPN Insider is one of those pay walls with a high opinion to access ratio.  Fortunately, like Disney, ESPN has become the master at marketing personalities that become experts.  We need to learn from those guys so that Peaceman can get the props he’s due.

Anyway, I just read John Hollinger’s critique of the Knicks.  He’s as good as anyone else although many Knicks fans want to stone him for being a Knick hater.  Personally, I think he just tells the truth (as he sees it) and many Knicks fans just can’t handle the truth.  He’s been able to say the Knicks suck and that LeBron wouldn’t come to the Knicks because the Knicks have sucked and LeBron wouldn’t come to the Knicks.  So hang the man.

Or not, because this year he has the Knicks taking the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs (which means we’ll face the Heat, I suppose) with a 37-45 record.   Let’s Go NYK.

After a very detailed analysis in which he identified the Knicks strength as “Youth” (that’s a strength?) and their weakness as “shooting.” (amen to that) he summed up his analysis as follows:

Despite D’Antoni’s inattention to defense, the Knicks are likely to be much better on that end strictly due to the personnel changes. A Stoudemire-Randolph frontcourt is far more imposing than last season’s Lee-Harrington combo, and players like Turiaf and Mozgov can come off the pine and do the dirty work everyone shirked a season ago. Additionally, Felton is a quality defender at the point of attack and his likely backup, Douglas, also is very good.

That said, there’s a difference between “improved” and “good.” New York still doesn’t have a wing defender worth his salt and the endeavor remains a low priority organizationally, making it hard to imagine the Knicks climbing out of the league’s bottom third in defensive efficiency.

Offensively, any improvement is likely to be marginal. Felton is an upgrade on Duhon, the bench is a little better and the kids will be one year further into their development, but the Stoudemire-Randolph frontcourt will struggle to match the Lee-Harrington combo’s output. The offense will likely be better than league average, but not dramatically so.

Fortunately for the Knicks, they play in the East, and that fact alone should permit them to share their first wisp of good news in some time: A playoff berth.

So maybe that Hollinger guy is not as bad as some Knicks fans think he is.