Politicians give State of the Union addresses to it’s masses as a way of reporting on the condition of it’s City, State or Country. What will follow will be our state of the state of the N.Y. Knicks as we try to make sense of their profound regression from last season.
As this report is being published, the NBA season is approaching the 1/3 mark already-a fair enough sampling of what we might expect from this bunch as the next two-thirds unfold. We can say with conviction, right at the outset, that the state of the Knicks is not very good. We should have realized that this was going to be a long season from the get-go as we saw how they struggled to beat the Milwaukee Bucks, arguably one of the worst teams in the league, on opening night. They blew a 25 point lead and were losing with less than three minutes remaining in the game before pulling away.
It was as ugly a win as their ‘victory’ over these same Bucks on Wednesday, December 18th, a game that the Knicks didn’t deserve to win as they needed to go into double OT to beat a team who didn’t even have their two best players on the floor. A game that saw a gaffe by Andrea Bargnani attempting a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left on the game clock, on a kick-out with a fresh 24 second clock , and with the Knicks in the lead . If he holds onto the ball and kills some clock while waiting for a foul, the Knicks don’t go into a 2nd overtime, and Carmelo Anthony doesn’t break his career mark for minutes played in a game-55:27.
We’re also here to report on a game that was perhaps the Knicks most poorly played all season; the 41 point blowout at the Garden at the hands of the Rondo-less Boston Celtics. 10 points in the first quarter? 25.6 % shooting from the field in the first half? It just doesn’t get much worse than that. The Knicks threw up more bricks that afternoon than it took to construct the first 20 floors of the Empire State Building! If you haven’t had a meal in the last 4 hours and would like to see some of the “lowlights” of that game, here they are:
Lastly, how can we leave out the debacle against the Wizards on December 16th, 2013, when Mike Woodson had a brain freeze for not calling a timeout with 6.9 seconds to go in the game and down by just one point. Instead, the beleagured headcoach decided to take his three remaining timeouts home with him…
Coach Mike Woodson shoulders much of the blame for the loss to the Wizards on Dec. 16, 2013 for not calling a ‘timely’ time-out with 6.9 seconds remaining in the game. Photo Getty Images
Knick players as well as some fans can sugar-coat their horrific season by saying that they’re only three games out of first place but the facts are this: The Knicks play in one of the worst divisions in all of sports and they do not have a very good team. With the exception of Carmelo Anthony, the team is devoid of another consistent scorer. Melo is also being worked way too hard as his minutes, at some point in the season, will catch up to him.
J.R. Smith worked hard to get that new contract but now that he has it he has regressed into an 11 PPG player. Of course ever since his elbow was introduced to Celtic Jason Terry’s jaw last season, J.R. has not been the same. His shooting percentage dropped like a ton of bricks and he was no where to be found in the playoffs last year. Couple that with knee surgery in the off-season and J.R. is no longer J.R.
Will things change for the better once some of the injured Knicks return? Why should they? Raymond Felton when he is totally healthy, is at best, an average point guard. He never was one of the elite guards in the league because of his inconsistency. Defensively, Pablo Prigioni is a decent facilitator but not a scorer. Iman Shumpert is half the player he was last season and part of that probably has to do with all the trade rumors that have been circulating around the league and the press since the season got underway.
If Andrea Bargnani was THAT good, Toronto would never have let him “Escape to New York”. The former 1st rounder, as Knick fans have seen, comes to this team replete with flaws. A seven footer should average more than 5 rebounds a game-period! If the Knicks wanted a center who could shoot threes and not rebound, they would have never gotten rid of Channing Frye!
#77 Andrea Bargnani goes up for one of his 82 3-point attempts this season making just 24 of them for an anemic 29.6 % average. Photo: Getty Images
So how was this team able to win 54 games last season? Several ways… Those hundreds of threes they were unloading were going in-they’re not this season. Rasheed Wallace, together with his defensive prowess and leadership skills, helped the Knicks get off to a 16-4 season a year ago while Jason Kidd (for a part of the season) and his basketball savvy, chipped in his talents as well. J.R. was shooting lights out, averaging around 18 points a game, and lastly, the Knicks were one of the stingiest in the league at turning the ball over.
Mike Woodson has taken a lot of the heat for the team’s demise and rightfully so. For those that would argue that point, why is it that when the Knicks were playing wining basketball last season, Woodson was called a defensive genious and team savior, but now that the team has gone in the opposite direction, we’re not allowed to put any blame on him…
As for the Knicks owner, Jim Dolan, his incompetency is only exceeded by his ineptitude. Do not look for the “rich one” to spend large chunks of money by the Feb. 15th deadline. Remember, he just got through spending a small fortune on the reconstruction of Madison Square Garden and we’re not expecting him to be making any trades because there is no one to offer of any real value anyway.
And so the state of the state of the N.Y. Knicks is not good and neither, we think, is their future this season. Additionally, we are not all convinced that Mike Woodson will be on the Knicks sideline by the time the season comes to a merciful conclusion. In the meantime, as long-time Knick fans often do, we’ll be watching and hoping that we won’t see games like the few we described above. We hope that they will find new ways to win and not old ways to lose…
Knick fans are growing impatient as the weeks go by. Most would like to see a return to team defense, pride, and competitiveness but question if that can happen with this team as currently comprised and with this coach.