As the Knicks continue to sputter through the regular season — and likely to another lottery season — there has been hidden progress within the losses on the offensive side of the ball.
With the Knicks at 4-11 and closer to the first pick in the draft than the NBA playoffs, chatter has already started about the Knicks’ upcoming offseason.
Is age already creeping up on Carmelo Anthony? Or are some of his lower statistics the product of the triangle offense and his return to small forward?
No one knows how long Stoudemire will stay healthy, but the Knicks must take advantage of his skills while he is.
Pick your metaphor. The Knicks’ defense is a sinking ship. A dumpster fire. A nuclear wasteland. Nicolas Cage’s acting career. The president’s approval ratings. Take your pick, they all work.
The Knicks need to play their best players and force opponents to match up against them. It’s the only way this team is going to forge an identity and figure things out.
There’s an adjustment that has to happen, but as coach Derek Fisher and president Phil Jackson have both said, the team isn’t making basketball plays when the system affords the opportunities.
If you just look at the stats, it appears the Knicks are playing pretty good defense this season. Teams are only averaging 98.4 points against them and shooting 44.7 percent from the field. But those numbers are illusions hiding a simple fact.
The Knicks would not have beaten the Cavs last year. Not with Mike Woodson as their head coach. Not in a million years.
I’m landing the Knicks at 43-39, getting the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. It will be a good start to the Jackson and Fisher era.
Here are the 10 things that will determine the Knicks’ success this season, in order of importance.
The only starters that appear certain are Carmelo Anthony (likely at small forward) and Jose Calderon. The other positions all seem to be, potentially, up for grabs.
Most of New York’s players are what they are: one-dimensional guys. Shumpert, Hardaway and Larkin can be more than that.
The trouble always remains the same: When it comes to team defense, Stoudemire cannot be hidden. He continues to play the same abhorrent team defense that he has his entire career.
Derek Fisher has wisely used the first four preseason games to experiment with different player combinations. But he has been shorthanded at one of the most competitive spots on the roster.