Knicks 2013-2014 Rating through 52 games: D
There are only a few reasons that I am not completely failing this team so far through the season. The first one is that the Knicks are still only 3 games out of the final spot of the playoffs, even with 30 games remaining on the schedule. Three out of the four teams that the Knicks can possibly jump are all extremely inexperienced, and you can’t count on them down the stretch. Although the Wizards, Bobcats and Pistons all have young talent that are completely worth a playoff appearance, the Knicks have some Veterans that have been through tough stretches before and can possibly turn this season around.
Carmelo Anthony is another reason why I won’t fail the Knicks on this season, just yet. Anthony has put the team on his back and has not received much help from literally anyone else on the floor with him. Anthony is averaging 27.3 points per game, which is 2nd best in the league, to go along with 8.6 rebounds. Anthony has shown some fatigue late in games, but you can’t blame the guy when he’s putting up 62 points in a game against the bobcats late this January and carrying the offensive load night in and night out.
We can look at a few bright spots on the team with Amar’e Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr.. Yes, I said Amar’e Stoudemire. Amar’e has proven this year that when he is healthy, he can still ball. Coming off the bench, Amar’e is averaging 10.4 points per game with 4.5 rebounds. In a reserve role, this is something that the Knicks are pleasantly surprised with. Hardaway Jr. has impressed many in his rookie campaign, averaging 9.2 points per game off the bench and a spot in the rising stars game during All-Star weekend.
Almost every other aspect of this team has been a complete let down after a season where the Knicks won 52 games, as well as the Atlantic division. Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler, and JR Smith have all been playing less than their ability and it has hurt the Knicks’ chances to win. The point guard play needs to step up and create plays and scoring chances for others. A lot of people expect Carmelo Anthony to do that for other members on his team, but Melo is not a point guard. If he gets doubled, then he’ll make an extra pass, but the other guards need to step up and find a way to produce.
Mike Woodson was able to coach this team to a playoff series win last year, but things have been completely different. With veterans leaving in the offseason, the locker room has a different feel this year. Players have always had Woodson’s back to the media on and off the court, but when it’s game time they don’t listen to his game plan or what he has to offer. Woodson would stress the importance of defense last season, which was then shown on the floor. The players might’ve lost hope and now need some new fire to get them motivated for the stretch run.
Hopefully some time off from this All-star weekend will give the Knicks a chance to get refocused and realize that the playoffs are not going to be guaranteed just because they have one of the game’s best offensive players on their team. Basketball is a team sport, and this “team” needs to start playing together and have fun before it becomes too late and Melo leaves for a free agency to chase down his title.