The Knicks at the Halfway Point

The Knicks have had an eventful, if not wholly successful, season.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Can these two guys get the Knicks where they want to go?

    It's hard to imagine there is anyone who isn't intimately familiar with the story of the Knicks' season thus far.

    They have gone from a team without a point guard to a team run by Jeremy Lin, the single biggest sports story of 2012. His second straight Sports Illustrated cover is the latest sign of Lin's ascension to the highest ranks of celebrity and there's little doubt that his arrival is the only reason we aren't spending all of our time discussing the battle for the last spot in the Yankees bullpen right now.

    Before Lin got his shot in the lineup, the Knicks were going down in flames as a top-heavy roster teetered nightly because the pieces simply couldn't figure out a way to work together in a successful fashion. Carmelo Anthony was shooting too much, Amar'e Stoudemire looked nothing like the player who captured our fancy last season and the supporting cast struggled to do anything but make you long for the days of Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson.

    Lin changed everything on that front, but even the most wonderful gifts from the basketball gods have a limited shelf life. The last week has brought two losses and questions about how the Knicks will move forward with a rotation that has added two more players in the last two games. 

    Throw in the successful arrival of Tyson Chandler during the frenzied offseason created by the lockout and a cable dispute that cut into the city's ability to enjoy Linsanity and it's pretty remarkable that the team has gone through all of that in just 33 games. It certainly hasn't been boring around these parts.

    And, as the 16-17 record makes clear, it hasn't been all that successful either. All of the talk about the Knicks right now centers on the team's need to get Anthony and Lin to mesh, but they also need to get Stoudemire on track while also figuring out the way to maximize the value of the rest of a suddenly deep rotation.

    All of that is true, but it also obscures the larger point about the team's need to start winning games. There simply isn't enough time to go through the growing pains that come with putting all of the puzzle pieces together without seeing immediate results in the standings.

    The All-Star break leads into a game at home against Cleveland before three more days off, time that should be crucial for the integration of all the parts into an appealing whole. There's too much talent on hand to believe that this attempt will fail, but there have also been so many moving parts that it is going to be difficult for everything to just click into place all at once.

    That's sort of what needs to happen, though, or the last couple of weeks will wind up being a distant memory when everything is said and done.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.