Earl Monroe is confident in the current Knicks team

  • Dave Ragazzo
PHOTO COURTESY:  ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA THE BALTIMORE SUN

PHOTO COURTESY: ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA THE BALTIMORE SUN

New Knicks president Phil Jackson has made some significant changes to New York’s roster.  Are they better than they were last year?  Although it remains to be seen, the team is expecting to be a playoff team after missing the post season in 2014.

But are they a top four team in the East?  That may be a stretch, but at least one Knick legend thinks they are.

Earl Monroe believes that the Knicks are “easily” a top four team in the East.  Monroe believes that superstar Carmelo Anthony is still improving and that guys like J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani are due for bounce back years.

From the New York Post:

Knicks legend Earl Monroe sees some pearls on this Phil Jackson-inspired, revamped Knicks roster. The man known as “Earl The Pearl’’ even believes Jackson’s Knicks easily could finish in the top four in the wide-open Eastern Conference after failing to make the playoffs last season with a 37-45 record.

Monroe, the flashiest member on the Knicks’ last title team in 1973, with Jackson as teammate, said he believes on paper only Indiana and Chicago boast a distinctly better roster. Sorry, LeBron.

“If these guys can get off to good start and stabilize what their roles are, I don’t see why they can’t be as good as the rest of the guys in the East,’’ Monroe told The Post Tuesday. “I see them [in the top four] easily.’’

Monroe said he feels new center Samuel Dalembert is no downgrade from departed Tyson Chandler. He likes the backcourt with newcomer Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni as cerebral point guards along with athletic shooting guards in Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert.

Monroe also had high praise for Jackson, his old teammate.

“Whatever he does, he’s an extension of us — the old Knicks,’’ Monroe said. “I’m proud of what he’s done for us.’’

A safe prediction would be that the Knicks will be a better team then they were a year ago.  After thoroughly underachieving last season, the team can really only go up from there.  With the addition of Jose Calderon, the point guard play has drastically improved but their front court defense took a hit with the departure of Tyson Chandler.

It also appears that Jackson is not done making changes to the roster.  There have been numerous rumors of potential trades the Knicks have tried to pull off including adding Kevin Love.

Unsurprisingly, Minnesota did not feel that Amar’e Stoudemire and two additional players was a fair trade for Love.

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