The Knicks Start Picking Up the Pieces

Everyone says next year will be a giant leap forward

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Hanging your head isn't going to lead you anywhere you want to go.

    At the end of the original "The Bad News Bears," the Bears aren't willing to accept the patronizing congratulations of the Yankees and instead tell them to wait for next year when things will be different.

    Although those shots of Jeremy Lin on the bench in glasses did call to mind Oglivy, the Knicks have very little in common with that little league baseball squad. Mike Woodson's no Walter Matthau, there's no girl on the team and the Knicks didn't have beers on the court after their loss in Game Five.

    They are trying to send a similar message to the Heat and the rest of the NBA, though. The Knicks met with the media for some post-mortem on Thursday and, to a man, they sent a message that they will be a more formidable team next year.

    Carmelo Anthony bristled at questions about finding a way to work with Amar'e Stoudemire and both men pointed to their limited time working together outside of games as rationale for their belief that they can figure the whole thing out before next season.

    The relatively limited time that this partnership has had to mesh has gotten a bit lost despite all the attention paid to their relationship and you can understand the belief that more practice time will lead to a more fruitful future.

    "We’ll start fresh, training camp and we'll move forward," Stoudemire said. "Next year, I guarantee you is going to be a much more exciting and better year for us."

    No one's going to argue with a better year, but can we just put a pin in the exciting business? There was no shortage of excitement at Madison Square Garden this year, but the Knicks still finished in seventh place and they are still packing up their lockers before Mother's Day.

    While we'll grant that winning and excitement go hand in hand, the Knicks need the opposite of excitement right now. They need consistency much more than they need the razzle dazzle of the last two years and a little quiet time to work toward that is the best thing for a team who was covered a lot more feverishly than your typical 36-win outfit. 

    It's not just about Anthony and Stoudemire working together. It will be Tyson Chandler's first chance to really work with his teammates outside of games, you've got to figure out a role for Lin and there's Iman Shumpert's recovery from a torn ACL to worry about as well.

    We know there will be changes to the roster, but the Knicks aren't in a place where they need to make big alterations. The bones are strong enough to carry a good team, now it's just a matter of fleshing it out so that it actually becomes a good team.

    Not an easy task, but at least they are getting an early jump on it. And you thought there wasn't anything good about a gentleman's sweep in the first round?

    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.