Before the shortened, condensed NBA season began, I predicted the New
York Knicks to land the number four spot in the Eastern Division and
advance to the second round of the playoffs. I also predicted that if
Baron Davis returned and could be the player he has been in the past
at his best, the Knicks would have an outside shot at winning a
championship this year. So far, neither one of those teams have
showed up this season.
The brightest spot for the Knicks this season thus far has been an
opening day, Christmas win over the Boston Celtics. With the Celtics
struggling with a record of 4-8, that win may not have been as
impressive as originally thought. Simply put, the New York Knicks are
Even Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni agrees the team is
underachieving. When asked if this is where he thought the team would
be at this point in the season, he responded “I think we lost a couple
of games at home we shouldn’t have.” A look back on the schedule
would point to home losses to the Toronto Raptors (4-10) and the
Charlotte Bobcats (3-11) as two of the games he was referring to.
All-Star Small Forward Carmelo Anthony is third in the league in
scoring, averaging 26.1 points per game, but is shooting .427% from
the field and .339% from three-point range. He is also averaging 20.1
shots per game, third in the league, only behind Kobe Bryant and Monte
Ellis. Carmelo needs to improve his shot selection, but, without a
point guard that knows how to get him the ball where he wants it, he
is forced to go one-on-one far too often.
After having a tremendous first season with the Knicks, Amar’e
Stoudemire is struggling at the beginning of the season. He is
averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, numbers he hasn’t
averaged in a full season since his rookie year in the 2002-2003
season. Even worse, Stoudemire is shooting a career-low 42% from the
field on the season thus far, which is unlike the talented power
Simply put, Toney Douglas has failed in his role as the Knicks
starting point guard, so much so, that a rookie with only two
preseason games of experience, Iman Shumpert, has taken the role from
Douglas, who is shooting a dreadful .331 from the field on the season,
including .236 from three-point range. Douglas is averaging more
shots, 11.2, on the season than points, 9.5.
One of the few bright spots on the Knicks is the aforementioned
Shumpert, who was impressive from the beginning of training camp.
Shumpert is averaging 11.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and a
team-high 2.3 steals per game, good for third in the NBA. With only
nine professional games under his belt, Shumpert may already be the
team’s best perimeter defender.
At 6-7, the Knicks are not where I, or many others for that matter,
thought they would be. With 53 games remaining in the season, and
with Baron Davis close to returning (Mike D’Antoni said at a press
conference before Monday’s game that he could be cleared for contact
by the end of this week, and on the court at the earliest next week),
this team, if healthy, has no where to go but up. Perhaps expecting
the team to overachieve is unrealistic, but the disappointment of
their underachieving play has to stop before the criticism of everyone
on the team grows.