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Playoffs? You’re Talking Playoffs?!? Knicks Should Concentrate on Next Season

by Craig Raulli | Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014
(USATSI)

(USATSI)

As the basketball season has hit its final month, the New York Knicks, who have been a disappointment, seemed to have hit their stride and have begun winning games.

J.R. Smith was finally looking like the 2013 6th defenses like but in his glory days with the Suns. Tim Hardaway Jr has shown he can be a capable player, Raymond Felton was facilitating, and Tyson Chandler was anchoring the defense.

Everything looked happy until back-to-back loses to the Irving-less Cavs and essentially the D-league of a team called the LA Lakers.

Personally, these two losses seemed to hammer in the Knicks chance to win the 8th and final playoff spot despite the fact that the Hawks wings have been clipped and have been in a downward spiral for months. While there is still an outside shot the Knicks can claim the 8th seed, they need a lot of help from unlikely places, like the Bucks and Celtics, to take down the Hawks. While the Knicks have games against the Nets and two versus the Raptors, two playoff teams, their chances are slim. 

The Knicks have so many problems in their future on top of not making the playoffs; this off season will be full of question marks.

The Knicks are without a draft pick for what is said to be the deepest draft, and after watching this tournament, there is talent galore coming into the NBA this year. New York’s draft pick was traded away to bring in the soon-to-be free agent Carmelo Anthony. For the Knicks, priority number one needs to lie within Melo. Throughout his career, Melo has taken tons of criticism for the way he plays (isolation) and not being able to take his team deep into the playoffs, though there has not been a single year, until possibly this year, in which Melo has not played postseason basketball. Not every single star can say this.  To bash the way Melo plays offensively can be naïve. Melo is literally a mismatch at any position you put him out there and seems to be a step ahead of many defenders. Therefore, he thrives with his hands alone on the basketball.

This season Melo has shown he can be a tremendous rebounder, as well as facilitate the offense when needed.  With Phil Jackson at the head of the operations, I believe the team will be able to bring Melo back, locking up one of league’s best scorers.  Of course, outside of bringing back Melo, there are many question marks on other players.

Stoudemire’s knees and body in general aren’t getting stronger, and without him being able to play back-to-back, how reliable can he be? JR Smith is probably the most frustrating player in the NBA, who has unreal athleticism and ability, but can never seem to get his head straight. What are you going to get from him? Are you going to get the guy who at the beginning of this season was shooting woeful and untying shoes, and acting immature? Or are you going to get the player who is shooting over 45% and showing elite athleticism?

The problems roll on and on.

Is Iman Shumpert going to digress even more? Is Chandler still an elite defender? Is Felton still super sizing all his meals? Are we still going to use that 7-footer who is softer than a feather down pillow?

Hey Phil, you have your work cut out for you this summer! Have fun!

However, I would feel awful if I left everything on a bad note.

Hey, the Knicks probably have the best shot at resigning the number two scorer in the NBA, and we also had the steal of the 2013 draft.  Tim Hardaway Jr seems like he could become a great player; he has an elite ability to shoot from the floor, is dangerous in the open floor, and is not afraid to let it fly.  Some parts of his game are raw, such as his struggles on the defensive end, not being a great rebounder or passer, along with making rookie mistakes.  Hardaway appears to be an instant offense guy, a lesser extent of JR, but without all the issues that Smith brings. Hardaway seems to be one smart acquisition the Knicks’ front office has made the past few years.

Despite all of this negativity I have, I will still always root for this team, and I am hoping for playoffs to cap off this year, but now it’s management’s turn to make some moves and strengthen this team for a 2014-2015 season.

Your move Dolan and Jackson!

Follow me on twitter @Kid_Craigi

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