Last night your New York Knicks lost yet another game; this time to the Oklahoma City Thunder—a good team, no doubt, but the way in which the Knicks lost showed that there are not even close to being on the level of the OKC Thunder.
In the end the Knicks lost by only 12 points, but that was due in large part to a fourth quarter in which the Knicks dominated play without the OKC starters in the game. The score after three quarters was 92-65; and that was the story of the game.
The Knicks once again displayed abysmal defense, and an offense void of any meaningful leadership, or point guard play. The addition of Tyson Chandler is not paying dividends the way people around the team seemed to think it would.
Chandler is a great defensive player—but he can’t do it all by himself.
The absence of Carmelo Anthony was obviously a blow to the Knicks offensive game plan; a reason why players like Iman Shumpert felt the need to chuck up extra shots in order to try and get something going.
Offense notwithstanding, the Knicks defense is poor beyond words at this point, and it doesn’t appear that salvation is any closer unless Grunwald—or whoever is actually running the team—can make some moves and change the defensive attitude of this squad.
As the losses begin to pileup, the Knicks play this season is raising serious questions about the Knicks’ long-term stability. We are technically just over 1/6th of the way through the abbreviated NBA schedule and the Knicks are currently sitting 7th in the Easter conference standings; a spot that is far below where they were expected to be at this point in the season.
Granted, it is still early; however the sample size is large enough for observers to have serious doubts about the quality of this team.
As mentioned above, defense is clearly the biggest issue; however point guard play, and a lack of depth come up quickly as problems number 2 and 3 as to why this team will not succeed with the roster as it currently resides.
Having Carmelo Anthony healthy is a clear key to improving the team’s immediate fortunes, however there are a couple of options that have been thrown around, which could also contribute to the short term improvement of the Knicks this season.
There is the school of thought that believes the team’s fortunes will be dramatically shifted by the return of Baron Davis. Baron Davis has a history of being able to turn up his motivation level, and display his full range of talents when he is playing for a good team, in front of a crowd that actively shows interest in their team—sees his stint Golden state 2006-2008 and to a degree, last year with the Clippers as evidence.
It is because of these previous performances that people are genuinely excited about the potential impact Davis can have, especially given the Knicks putrid point guard play thus far this season; but this kind of thinking is dangerous. As we have all seen in the past, if Baron Davis isn’t properly motivated, he comes in out of shape, and plays lazy. If this is the Baron Davis the Knicks are getting this year, then they might as well have Mike Bibby starting and playing all the minutes at point guard.
The other potential short term fix would involve replacing Mike D’Antoni with a proven motivator that can convince this team to play defense. This would be nice, but who are you really going to find that is going to make a difference with this team that isn’t already under contract with another team; and don’t say Phil Jackson….
Plain and simple: the Knicks are struggling. They will probably make the playoffs, but beyond that this is a team has some serious questions marks surrounding it, and will have a great deal to prove the rest of the way.