As we play out the final weeks of the 2011-'12 NBA season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with the New York Knicks.
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The Knicks are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The season ending injury to Jemery Lin not only makes the playoff run more difficult, but has sucked all the air out of the Garden. Tyson Chandler has proven to be reliable physically, which was a concern entering the season. Carmelo and Amare have been banged up and they figure to miss more time as they get older. Re-signing Lin and Landry Fields and getting a contributor with their second round pick will be crucial in next season's effort.
With a front court full of max salaries, the Knicks are over the cap. They will do everything possible to retain Lin, probably with their midlevel exemption.
Houston owns the Knicks first round pick from the Tracy McGrady salary dump in 2010. New York does have its second round selection. If the Knicks are able to bring Lin and Landry Fields back, they will seek a power player to spell Amare's balky knees. Alabama's JaMychael Green is a bit undersized at 6'8", but has a good upside. Cincinnati's Yancey Gates may be another option, bringing more size and toughness.
The Knicks exercised their amnesty provision on the one year, $14 million Chauncy Billups deal.
The Good: The point guard problem couldn't have been solved in a more exciting way, not only for the franchise but the Association. Jeremy Lin's effectiveness may not be the same under Mike Woodson in the long run, but getting him to return is the number one priority in the offseason. The Knicks are on the verge of making the post season, and if healthy, have as good a front court as their is in the East.
The Bad: Lin's season ending injury has renewed the problem at the point. Despite an All-Star front court, even if the Knicks qualify for the post season, the backcourt will be a major liability. Moving forward, the cap is problematic and Knicks fans can only hope that Lin will acccept the midlevel exception. New York will need to fill out its roster with inexpensive options like Landry Fields, Jarred Jeffries and Steve Novak.
Jeremy Lin is a must get for the Knicks. Linsanity was a special story and brings excitement to the franchise. Landry Fields and stretch four Steve Novak will also be targets for return. J.R.Smith has a $2.6 million dollar player option and almost certainly test free agency. Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrellson have non guaranteed deals, but are a bargain given the cap situation.
Who Are The Experts Taking and When? Check Out The Latest ADP from The NFBC!
Tyson Chandler, Jerome Jordan
Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudamire, Josh Harrellson
Iman Shumpert, J.R.Smith, Toney Douglas
Jeremy Lin, Jared Jeffries, Baron Davis, Steve Novak, Bill Walker, Landry Fields, JaMychal Green, Yancey Gates
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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