Carmelo Anthony: Although last season Carmelo did put up good numbers finishing with 22.6 PPG and 6.3 RPG, he did display many inconsistencies. His offensive numbers and FG% were up and down – sometimes he couldn’t find the basket and other times he was as a hot as a chili pepper. His defensive intensity and the will to play hard went on and off – we saw him take it up a notch when Woodson came in at the
end of the season. And most of all his leadership wasn’t at a level that it needed to be – especially when he’s the best player on the team. But with all the injuries and different lineup changes that existed, it was very hard for Carmelo to get in a good flow with his teammates, so I give him that.
Area of Improvement: As I mentioned above Carmelo needs to be consistent. He needs to play hard on both ends throughout the whole season and display better leadership skills. I know there have been rumors that Carmelo plays a lot better when he doesn’t need to fill this role such as in the Olympics where he completely tearing it up (finished with 37 points today on 10-12 shooting from 3 point land) but this is what Carmelo signed up for when he became a New York Knick. Being the leader is as much part of the job as him scoring.
Steve Novak: Mr. Discount Double Check was one of the biggest surprises in the NBA last season. He finished with the best 3PT % in the NBA and was probably the only player that helped space the floor on the team since he could not be left open.
Area of Improvement: I don’t mean to be harsh on Novak but he needs to improve in every area other than his 3pt shooting. He’s 6’10 and only one out of every six shots he takes is inside the arc. I know you can make the case that this is what 3pt shooters are known for but with this height, he could be such a bigger threat since as you saw against a good defensive team like the Miami Heat in the playoffs, he can’t score when there is guy in his face all the time.
Novak doesn’t have the dribbling skills to make any move off the dribble and he doesn’t have the talent that Kyle Korver or Ray Allen have to move without the ball. Defensively, he is a liability as he is not quick enough to guard a 3 and is not strong enough to muscle up against a 4 or a 5.
Raymond Felton: Coming off the worst season of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, Felton definitely has his work cut out for him. Almost every statistical category was down from his time on the Knicks in 2010-2011 (17.1 points, 9 assists per game) to his time on the Trail Blazers (11.4 points and 6.5 assists per game). Hopefully Felton can turn it around, and return Amar’e Stoudemire to his old form with their great pick-and-roll.
Area of Improvement: I know bad passing and poor decisions come along with every point guard but Felton (especially this past year) tended to do it a little too much.
As a point guard of a team with so many weapons he without question needs to cut down on his turnover rate but still keep his fast paced style of play.
Iman Shumpert: He had a superb rookie season for the Knicks, being their best perimeter defensive stopper and had an uncanny ability to get to the basket with his athleticism. It was tough on every Knick fan to see him fall to the floor in Game 1 of the playoffs and tear his ACL and lateral meniscus, and is now out until January.
Area of Improvement: Although this is common with every rookie, there is a lot of maturity that we need to see from Shumpert. He did commit some foolish technical fouls for gloating or slamming the basketball, which could definitely cost the Knicks in a close game. I think one area that Iman should definitely work on his point guard skills.
Even though he is a pure 2-guard, there are times when Woodson puts out a certain lineup where Shumpert needs to fill this role. He needs to learn to become a better distributor and be able to play at the 1 every once in a while as he had a lot of trouble doing this at the beginning of last year before Linsanity came along.
Kurt Thomas:Welcome back Kurt Thomas to the New York Knicks. Thomas was signed to add veteran leadership in the locker room and so that the Knicks could sign someone using a veteran minimum contract. There is not a chance Kurt is going to put up the same numbers he did seven years ago as a Knick where he averaged a double-double, but hopefully he still has the mid-range shot working for him.
Area of Improvement: At age 41 (oldest player in the NBA) there is not much a player could do to improve his game. But I think Kurt could add a smile every once in a while and look like he’s enjoying himself.
Marcus Camby: Welcome back Marcus Camby to the New York Knicks. Camby is a solid backup center that will without question rebound and rebound the ball.
Area of Improvement: Camby, once again at age 38, can’t really improve his game but can reverse the trend of centers not being an offensive threat. He averaged 3.8 points a game last year on 41% shooting, way down from his double-double he used to have every year on the Knicks 10 years ago.
Tyson Chandler: In his first year with the Knicks, Chandler received the Defensive Player of the Year Award and made the Knicks from one of the worst to one of the best in opponents PPG. He had a stellar field goal% and was a consistent rebounder finishing with a stat line of 11.3 points and 9.9 rebounds a game.
Area of improvement:This bugged me throughout the whole season that you have a seven-footer that is so wide open throughout the game, yet he doesn’t get the ball. He posed no offensive threat unless it was an alley-oop or on an offensive rebound.
Chandler definitely has the ability to become dominant down low-he been training over the summer with Hakeem Olajuwon to work on post moves so hopefully when he comes back, we will see more offense.
Jason Kidd: Last season was his lowest assist per game of his career as you can clearly see him slowing down. He was hobbling down the court and was injured for almost half the season. Yet the Knicks still signed him to add veteran leadership to what we thought at first was to mentor Lin but now is Felton.
Area of Improvement: Once again at age 39, an aging Kidd cant really improve his game but he can return to his 3pt FG% from three years ago and space the floor with a nice open 3pt shot.
Amar’e Stoudemire: Last season was Stoudemire’s worst play since his rookie season. He averaged 17.5 points and 7.9 rebids and never really got into the flow of the offense throughout the whole season. Sometimes he honestly looked lost out there, either him driving out of control or not being an asset to the team.
Area of Improvement: You could attribute Stoudemire never getting into the flow of the offense due his absence for his deceased brother or his herniated disc, but Stoudemire’s play never reached All-Star caliber levels. He couldn’t hit the knock down shot from the elbow, he couldn’t beat someone of the dribble, and his defense was below-par. Hopefully with a full offseason to rest for his back and work on his game again, plus a point guard that he gelled very well with in the pick-and-roll two years ago in Felton, Stoudemire could return to All-Star form.
J.R. Smith: He did bring a lot of energy off the bench in his first season with the Knicks and had some moments where he was a blow torch from 3-point land. In his 28 minutes a game, Smith averaged 12.5 points and shot just over 40% FG sand 34% from three. But come playoff time, it was not fun to watch Smith play the game of basketball. He shot 11-of-48 through the whole series and 5-of-28 from the three-point line.
Area of Improvement:His shot selection needs to be a lot better without question. He needs to stop dribbling the ball and look fancy with every move he makes and just play smart basketball. Enough with the one-on-one 1 basketball JR!!! While it looks like he hustles on defense, he rarely closes out on his defensive assignment before they shoot the ball. If he doesn’t improve in these areas that annoy me so much I do not want him playing 28 minutes a game this season.