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Questions facing Knicks the rest of the way

J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks

J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks dunks against the New Jersey Nets. (Feb. 20, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

5 Questions facing the Knicks the second half of the season

The first three were in Wednesday's newspaper and can be read here. They deal with Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Below are the remaining two questions:

4. The Knicks seem loaded now. How will everyone fit together?

That’s for D’Antoni to figure out and quickly. It won’t be easy because the Knicks have many guys who are used to playing heavy minutes and getting their shots. In D’Antoni’s system, there should be enough shots to go around to satisfy reserves J.R. Smith and Baron Davis. But D’Antoni still has to keep Iman Shumpert and Jared Jeffries in the rotation because of their defense, as well as Steve Novak as a long-range threat. Guys may have to check their egos and realize they can be a strong group if they play together and for each other.

5. Are the Knicks contenders or pretenders?

They have the talent, depth and mix of players to contend. Tyson Chandler, especially since Lin’s arrival, has been tremendous. He’s added scoring to his defense, intensity and leadership qualities that winning teams need. But what the Knicks become will rest upon their chemistry and the urgency they take into each game. They’ve beaten the defending champion Mavericks and Lakers, but also have nine losses against teams with losing records, including six at home to the Bobcats, Raptors, Bucks, Suns, Hornets and Nets. Good teams occasionally lose to bad ones, but for a team with championship hopes it happens too much. If it doesn’t change, the Knicks will be pretenders.


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