The start of the 2014 season was treating the New York Knicks very well. They won six of their first seven games and found themselves sitting in the 8th spot of the eastern conference playoff picture. Coming off their last win at The Garden over the Suns, the Knicks traveled to Charlotte the next night to face the Bobcats. Things haven’t been the same since.
The Knicks are now on a five game losing streak coming off a loss to the cellar team of the Atlantic Division, the Philadelphia 76ers. Being a team who is extremely young and in a major rebuilding phase, the Knicks should’ve been able to get stops that night. Evan Turner scored a career high 34 points, giving the Knicks their third straight home loss.
The Knicks wasted some offensive contribution from players not named Carmelo Anthony as Andrea Bargnani dropped 20 points and Iman Shumpert added 19 of his own. For the amount of effort that was shown on the offensive end Wednesday night, it wouldn’t matter as the Knicks decided not to play any defense in the first half and important possessions down the stretch.
New York had a chance to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference as six of the eight games this homestand featured teams with losing records. Instead, the Knicks are now trying to bounce back after a loss to a team that is predicted to receive a top five pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Throughout these last few losses, the Knicks seem to be missing the efforts of Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Amar’e started coming back to his old self on the offensive end, which helped give the Knicks bench a spark when Carmelo Anthony was resting. Kenyon Martin’s intensity is one major factor that is missing. His leadership and ability to rebound on the defensive and offensive end is not getting filled by any bench player.
The point guard play needs improvement as well. Pablo Prigioni just got back from injury so once some rust is brushed off, he will be able to play more minutes and help the ball movement. Raymond Felton is simply just not getting the job done. He cannot defend any other guard and needs help every pick and roll which then forces switches and unfavorable matchups. On the offensive end Felton plays best when he can penetrate off a pick and roll and either looks for Tyson Chandler rolling to the basket or a perimeter shooter spotted up outside the arc.
Losses to the Pacers or Clippers I can live with because both teams have high chances of playing in the NBA finals later this summer. To lose at home to divisional rivals the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, who are both playing less than .500, is unacceptable and changes may be needed in the near future. Mike Woodson either has to switch up the rotations to see if other players can create a new spark playing with each other or give him the boot and let someone else try to get the best out of these players.
At least there is one positive we can look at; the Knicks are valued at $1.4 billion dollars by Forbes which is the most in the NBA.