The New York Knicks will be contenders, not only in the Eastern Conference but the NBA. While the media and fans have gone crazy over the Derrick Rose trade it was the free agent signing of Joakim Noah that made them contenders.
Robin Lopez played well last season for the Knicks but he’s not on the same level, skill-wise as Noah. In 2015 Lopez averaged 10 points, seven rebounds ad two blocks per game but he played stretches without Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. This is where Noah will have a huge advantage this year.
The Knicks are loaded, not loaded in terms of the Golden State Warriors or the Cleveland Cavaliers but they are still talent heavy. Rose will be the best distributor they’ve had in years and let’s not forget what Anthony and K.P. can do, but Noah is the key. The East is more of a grind it out, players attacking the rim than the Western Conference. To be honest, no one feard Lopez on the blocks. He was a big body but he didn’t have that nasty streak the Knicks needed. Well, they have that now.
Noah is not your typical Center, body wise. He’s built more like an SF than a Center but he gets the job done. In 2015 he was hit by injuries as he played in only 29 games averaging 22 minutes but still managed to pull down nine rebounds per. The Knicks will need his hustle and high basketball IQ if they have any plans of making it out of the East.
But it’s not just his production that will be key for the team’s success. His presence will give K.P. and Melo more opportunities to do damage on the perimeter. Noah, while great at rebounder will not have many offensive plays called for him but he is a terrific offensive rebounder. During the seasons when he was healthy and the Bulls were contenders, Noah averaged four offensive rebounds per game. If he can give that same effort to the Knicks their offense will flow like water.
Here’s another stat where Noah will shine compared to Lopez. Noah is one of the best passers out of the post with at least five assists 2 out of the last 3 seasons. But that also has to do with the talent around him. Those offensive rebounds could turn into three-point opportunities, and with the Knicks being solid on the perimeter with Courtney Lee, Rose, K.P. and, Anthony, defenses could be in trouble trying to contain them.
The Knicks do not need an Al Horford or Dwight Howard explosion out of Noah, what they need is for Noah to be Noah. That’s more than enough.