At 14-4, the New York Knicks have not only established themselves as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference but as a legitimate threat to dethrone the Miami Heat in the East.
Before the Knicks start thinking about the playoffs, and making that previous statement come true they have a lot of work to do. Not only do they have their hands full with keeping up their current pace and incredibly high shooting percentages, but they will need a good hand of luck in limiting their injuries.
Already this season, the Knicks are without two of their proposed starters in Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert. Even the loss of these two players hasn’t slowed the Knicks, so their additions in the coming months should only strengthen their chances to succeed past the first round of the playoffs.
However, those are not the injuries the Knicks should worry about, losing Jason Kidd for a few games proved to be bad for this team. They did go 3-1 during his absence, but that one loss was to the Brooklyn Nets, and had they had Kidd’s services that night, would have most likely produced a different outcome.
Kidd is the difference maker on this Knicks squad, his defensive prowess and his veteran leadership to his on-court presence and uncanny ability to knock down the spot up three from the elbow has been what the Knicks have relied on for their most successful start in over a decade.
Can Kidd play 70-80 games this season at 25-30 mpg? That is a big question, and more important than that will be if he actually does succeed in playing big minutes in the regular season. If he is able to, will he be at full-strength come playoff time? It is a lot to ask out of Kidd.
The Knicks can lose Camby for a few games, same with Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace–especially when Amare returns. However, the Knicks do not have a replacement for Kidd, he is one of a kind.