There have been many times this NBA season when we have felt like the only people watching the Knicks, the only people choosing little fan favorites, the only people noticing the specks of dough in coach Mike D'Antoni's mustache. (We think it's something European, maybe the old-world traditional Czechoslovakian treat called potica.) But after four straight wins and with six winnable games coming up, the magic is starting to spread. The NBA press is catching Knicks flu.
The news peg has been the Knicks' decision not to sign Allen Iverson — the team is 6–6 since then — but the real story is that D'Antoni finally has his rotation: Chris Duhon, Larry Hughes, Al Harrington, Jared Jeffries, Wilson Chandler, David Lee, and Danilo Gallinari (who looks fantastic lately, decidedly less limpy). The Knicks even have ESPN's Über-stat-genius John Hollinger all excited (registration required):
The Knicks are much improved, which has fans in the Apple reinvigorated and those in Utah worried. (The Jazz own New York's first-round pick in 2010.) New York's renewed vigor could have important implications going forward as well. It should be much it easier to persuade a top-level free agent to join their roster next season if the Knicks aren't viewed as such a daunting rebuilding project. That's especially true when you consider the rapid development of 21-year-old Danilo Gallinari, who's thriving in his first full, healthy season with a 17.3 PER and a league-leading 64 3-pointers made.
Imagine what this team could do if it had a point guard even slightly better than Duhon. (It might be why they're eying the Bobcats' D.J. Augustin, who has fallen out of favor with our old pal Larry Brown.) But forget the pessimistic CoolStandings.com projection of a 34.1 percent chance at the playoffs; Hollinger has the Knicks at 56.9 percent. Color us intrigued.
We'll know very soon. The Knicks' next six games:
Miami (on Christmas Day)
They could win at least four of those games, right? Catch the fever people ... catch the fever.