Something the New York Knicks have been missing lately has been focus and determination. At the beginning of the season, it seemed like no team wanted to win more than the Knicks. They were focused for every single game and refused to lose without a fight, but lately, that hasn't been the case. That's one of the reasons the front office felt it was time fore a change.
When the NBA trade deadline approached, the New York Knicks tried to figure out how they could mix things up a little bit without messing up team chemistry. They decided to jettison Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a 2014 second round pick and make room to add more depth to their frontcourt. They found that depth in free agent forward Kenyon Martin. The signing made it a total of six former Denver Nuggets players back together in New York: Carmelo Anthony, Martin, J.R. Smith, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton and James White.
Martin's assimilation to the Knicks roster should be a fairly easy one. Not only has be played with Anthony, Smith, Camby and White in Denver, but he was also a teammate of Jason Kidd as a New Jersey Nets star and knows Kurt Thomas from his ties to Texas.
“If he’s in shape and locked in, I think he can be a big attribute to this team,’’ Anthony said before last night’s defeat. “I’ve been able to play with him for a few years and I know from a basketball standpoint what he brings to the game when he’s locked in and focused. I haven’t talked to him yet. People that I know have spoken to him and say he’s been playing and he’s in shape, ready and focused. As long as that’s the plan, we’re all for it.’’
Anthony's words are wise. Not only can Martin bring a lot to this team, but he is also the constant professional; a very focused and locked in basketball player for every time he takes the court. However, that doesn't just apply to Martin. Anthony and the rest of the team must follow suit. This team has showed a lack of focus all season.
They are far too easily rattled and taken out of their game. The word has been spread to the other teams around the NBA: get physical with the Knicks and they'll lose their cool. It is clear that this team lacks the focus on winning and gets into arguments and confrontations over things not going their way.
Quite frankly, this season's Knicks team wasn't suppose to have these problems. This veteran laden roster was suppose to have their eye on a championship at all times. They weren't supposed to be easily rattled. They weren't supposed to let opponents' physicality or the referees break their focus. The fact that actually has broke their focus is disturbing.
If the Knicks intend on getting their season back on track and fighting for the chance to get a championship, they are going to have to stop getting rattled and remain focused on their goals. They need to get tough. They need to move the ball on offense and play tough defense. Most of all, their concentration should be on winning every night and not putting up numbers or looking good doing it.
A win is a win is a win. If they concentrate on winning every night, those wins will add up and help them reach their goals of home court advantage in the playoffs and put them in the position to succeed in the post-season. That's going to be very hard to do if they can't stay mentally strong.
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