Before Game 1 on Sunday, ex-Knicks president Donnie Walsh said he was hoping a playoff series between his former team and current team, the Pacers, "didn't happen."
Walsh knows the Knicks' potential.
"When I looked at it, it was probably best for us to be away from Miami," he said. "But I thought any way you go, you're going to run into a tough team, and New York, to me, was the tough team to run into."
Not only that, Walsh thinks the Knicks can go all the way this season, saying, "They have enough right now to win a championship."
Walsh has been impressed with the Knicks' defense, how well Mike Woodson has adopted Mike D'Antoni's spread-out offense, Raymond Felton's emergence and Carmelo Anthony's growth as a superstar. Walsh said Melo is "one of, if not the best player in the game."
Walsh added that the only thing Anthony needed to do this season was improve his conditioning, and he's done that.
"That was it," Walsh said. "I thought he needed to get in great shape if he wants to be in the same breath with LeBron [James], [Kevin] Durant and those guys, and he's done it. And he knows it and I think he would tell you that. When I walked in here the last time, I didn't realize how slim he was. He really surprised me, so he's done a great job."
Here are a few other interesting nuggets from Walsh:
Knicks' defense: "I watched clips on the Knicks and they're playing great defense, and it's very aggressive. ... I love some of the stuff New York's doing on defense. I shouldn't be surprised. Woody spent a lot of time with Bobby Knight and Larry Brown, and they're both great defensive coaches. So I see a little bit of both of them in what they're doing."
Knicks' offense: "I do see a lot of Mike in that they're still shooting a lot of 3s, so [Woodson] saw the value of all the analytics on that, and I think he's spread the floor, so it leaves a lot of room. They've got guys who can take you off the dribble and they're got a lot of guys who know how to play basketball."
Felton's emergence: "I'm happy for Raymond, and it broke my heart when we had to trade him in that [Anthony] trade because I think he loved playing here, he was good the year he played. ... It was a bad break for him I thought. But when I read that he's coming back here, I was extremely happy and I told him. I saw him down in Indy. ... Raymond's an unheralded very, very good player, and will be there when you need him. That's what he is. That's what I saw."
Amar'e Stoudemire's potential return: "I think he'll make a big impact. Right before he left, I was watching him and it looked like he was playing great with Carmelo. Carmelo would be over there, and the next thing you know, Amar'e would cut and Carmelo would give him the ball and he'd dunk. I think he'll be fine."
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