With a quarter of the 2012-2013 season finished and in the books this is how the numbers stack up.
At 15-5, the Knicks have the best record in the Eastern Conference, our best 20 game start since 95-96.
They say it's not how you start but how you finish. In fact, "finish" is a big mantra by another team in town, the New York Giants. The Giants have 2 Superbowl titles in the last 5 years and both have the common factor of finishing strong in the face of adversity. The Knicks should understand that there is still room for improvement.
We have a league leading 6 wins by 20 or more points.
Hiring Coach Woodson full time was a topic of controversy since his takeover of the lifeless Knicks. The old Knicks lacked defensive intensity and cohesion among other things. Using the same exact roster with limitations apparent, Coach Woodson has turned water into wine. The roster and tweaks made over the off-season have reflected the changes Coach Woodson wanted and the team needed. We had potential, but as time has told us, we needed the right coach.
18-1 at home since Coach Woodson took over.
Can you believe that stat? There was a time when teams would fear coming to the Garden. That all changed when instead of teams staying awake at night with the impending rugged Knick team in wait, teams began staying awake at night partying and living it up knowing those Knicks had no chance. The Garden became the enemy's stage to show off. That has all changed.
The Knicks are ranked better offensively than defensively. They are ninth in points allowed and fifth in scoring average.
Part of the formula for success in any league is to rank amongst the best in offense and defense. Teams have won without being the very best, but one compliments the other. There was a time when arguments over what the high offensive rating meant in relation to the Knicks poor defense and rebounding. Just as coach Woodson proved he was the better answer, so too have the stats proved, no matter how many low percentage shots were taken and made in seven seconds or less; it means absolutely nothing without the defense. Hello?!
The Knicks have whipped the Heat twice, and won a rugged road game in San Antonio. They have soared 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2000-01 season, are the NBA’s lone unbeaten team at home and own the best record in the Eastern Conference at 15-5.
With 20 games in, this is no fools gold. As per the winning formula, win the majority of home games and go at least .500 on the road has been preached by Coach many times. Those wins against the top teams helps put things into perspective. When the Knicks beat the Sixers twice in back to back games early in the season, there was the observation that the Sixers were short staffed missing Bynum. What has happened since added validity to who the Knicks are. In other words, Bynum probably wouldn't have helped much.
They're No. 2 in the league in offensive efficiency behind only the Oklahoma City Thunder.
When I think of efficiency I think of our leaders Chandler, Kidd, and Melo. All have contributed to the efficient manner in which the Knicks go about their business. Part of this is due to coach Woodson intentionally slowing down the offense and designing plays that showcase our strengths- size and IQ. We are versatile which is something no one saw but many fans have dreamed about. We can go P & R, or we can shoot the lights out. It's pick your poison, and you can't spell that (unless you add the e) without poise. Jason Kidd and co. are cool calm and collected.
Entering play Monday, Kidd had the second-best assist to turnover ratio in the NBA and the second-highest 3-point field goal percentage (50%). He also had the best true shooting percentage (a percentage that accounts for free-throws and 3-points) among NBA guards.
We had the fewest turnovers in the league and the top assist to turnover ratio guards with Kidd and Felton. Turnovers will kill any team, and I for one was tired of us beating ourselfs.
Tyson Chandler The All-Star candidate is now averaging a fraction off a double-double — 12.8 and 9.9 rebounds — while shooting 71 percent.
I recall imploring our old coach to use our assets like Tyson Chandler more. Unfortunately it was a rookie point guard that figured this out and not our coach. Maybe that was because he was from Harvard.
Anthony ranks third in the NBA in scoring at 26.8 points per game, and his 56.9 true shooting percentage -- a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, 3-point field goals and free throws -- is a career-high, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Melo as any star was open for criticism, he couldn't do enough. Although myself and others reminded detractors of him being the only talent who wasn't afraid to show up when it counted, that didn't matter. The biggest knock on Melo was his isolation prowess that some claimed interfered with the offense and his inefficient play with inferior teammates. Well thanks to coach Woodson and his influence in bringing in new qualified talent as well as molding Melo into a better leader; Melo is now a bona fide MVP candidate.
Yes Knick fans the time has come to put the league on notice, our wait is over. I won't predict a chip or go overboard, and really to be in the hunt for a chip is all a fan could ask for. Thanks go out to our Coach and front office.
I want to also thank Coach D'antoni... if anything he made it so obvious what we needed. So much so that it couldn't be ignored. We still have a ways to go and still haven't added everyone to our formula. There is no doubt Coach Woodson can and will achieve meshing our entire squad. To question that after our 1/4 season accomplishment, is just foolish.
Sources: ESPN, NYPost.com, NBA.com