Last summer I projected the New York Knicks to win 39 games this season. So far, the Knicks are outstripping my prediction, and are aimed closer to 47 wins. How have they improved?
Here is the team’s Win Chart to date:
New York Knicks
For a comparative with last season’s Knicks, here is a link to the team’s 2009-10 Win Chart. Based upon the above numbers, the following conclusions can be made:
1. Landry Fields is driving the improvement
I don’t know how the New York Knicks were able to find the swingman Landry Fields, but his incredible productivity is driving the team’s success. Last season the team employed below average Win Contributor’s in his role. He is well above average, and since he is playing a large chunk of minutes, he has put himself in the MVP conversation with his incredible start.
2. Felton is a big improvement at the point
Last season the Knicks employed Chris Duhon as their main point guard, and he was well below average. This season those minutes have gone to Raymond Felton, and he has been above average. Felton’s production is actually less than he provided last season to the Charlotte Bobcats, nevertheless the substitution effect between he and Duhon has been substantial.
3. The bit players have raised their games
Toney Douglas, Wilson Chandler, and Danillo Gallinari have all raised their games a bit, which cumulatively has had a nice impact on the team. Bill Walker is playing at about the same level as last season, which was above average.
4. Amare is not the reason
Finally, let me point out my contention that Amare Stoudamire has not been an adequate replacement for the departed David Lee. Stoudamire’s numbers are way down from what they were with Phoenix, and they are a step down from the numbers Lee was providing the Knicks last season. Of course, that could be considered good news. If Stoudamire can get himself back up to his Phoenix levels, and if all else holds, the Knicks ceiling may be even higher than the one they have already hit.