|The Knicks have cause to celebrate, as does the NBA. (D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images)|
The New York Knicks let Jeremy Lin walk in favor of bringing Raymond Felton back into the fold at Madison Square Garden. The team got older by trading away Landry Fields while signing Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace. Mike Woodson got the assignment of being the 'Bockers' head coach for an entire season, completing the installation of a playing system entirely different than that of former HC Mike D'Antoni, and managing the minutes of two scoring forwards that have not exactly worked as a formidable tandem thus far.
Carmelo Anthony nailed his three-pointers at the Olympics and lost weight over the offseason, though, so Manhattan's finest had that going for them coming into the season, right?
No one saw a 6-0 start coming for the Knicks and if anyone says otherwise, permission granted to raise your voice. Even if they got past their bolstered-over-the-summer, new-in-town Brooklyn rivals to begin the season, the Knicks were definitely going to get crushed by the Miami Heat. That's how it was supposed to play out.
This is the Knicks' best start since 1994-95, when Patrick Ewing and Co. turned an initial 7-0 record into a trip to the Finals. Given all that has happened in the 28 years between then and now, however, everyone -- Knicks fans most of all -- should know not to jump to conclusions.
Woodson has things clicking. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith can score as easily as any players in the league, but, all of the sudden, they are playing without the ball and committing to defense like never before in their professional careers. They could have let a game slide away one week ago, but buckled down late to beat the Dallas Mavericks last Friday.
Reinserting Amar'e Stoudemire into the rotation when he comes back from knee surgery in 4-6 weeks could be tricky, but for now, the Knicks are good. Unexpectedly so, but good nonetheless.
And that benefits the NBA as a whole.
Big market teams have name recognition. Even if they can't name any of the team's individual players, it is safe to say people who don't make following the NBA a priority can name MSG's marquee sports team more readily than they can tell you which city in Tennessee is home to a pro basketball team. Hearing that the Knicks are doing well means more to these people than saying the Milwaukee Bucks are on top of the Central Division standings. The news could elicit a slight head nod or mutter -- or it could make a person stop on TNT or ABC whenever they see 'NYK' on an on-screen scoreboard. Depending on the opponent, this could shed more light on lesser-known players and franchises, or -- if bad luck is in the cards -- expose casual viewers to Reggie Miller's commentary.
Yes, that's a positive spin on the slippery slope fallacy, but it's reason to be happy (except the Reggie thing).
If you're not a Knicks fan, relish the fact that they may roll until your team of choice puts a stop to their unbeaten streak. If you are a Knicks fan, reeling of wins in the first six games of the season must feel good and foster hope, tempered though it may be. And if you're not a fan of basketball at all -- which is unlikely, since you're reading a hoops-centric blog that is a map-dot on the Internet -- take the time to watch the Knicks play the Grizzlies on ESPN tonight.
Then find a way to watch the Grizzlies' next game.
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