The New York Knicks are in the midst of their worst slump of the season-losers of five of their past eight games.
A big reason for the current struggles is that the point guard play has not been as good as it was early in the season.
It started with the recent skid of starter Raymond Felton, whose shooting was affected by not only bruises to both hands, but a fractured pinkie finger as well.
The injuries have forced Felton to the sidelines for 4-6 weeks and the Knicks have felt his loss in a big way.
Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni have taken over and to less-than-spectacular results.
Kidd was spectacular in the win against the Phoenix Suns, but the point guard play has been a big reason for the Knicks last two defeats against the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers.
Felton was averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 assists before being shelved. That was a big part of the Knicks success and production that needs replaced.
Against the Kings, Kidd scored 16 points and dished out seven assists. Right on par with what Felton was doing, but he turned the ball over five times and made only 4-of-11 attempts from behind the arc. Prigioni didn’t score but dished out nine assists. However the duo combined to turn the ball over seven times and that can’t happen.
However they got worse against the Blazers as the duo combined to make only 1-of-8 attempts from the floor and combined for only six assists.
They simply have to produce more during this stretch without Felton.
Kidd is a stat sheet stuffer and that will be needed the next few weeks.
But Mike Woodson must be quicker to get him off athletic point guards if Kidd can’t guard them.
He brings all the intangibles in the world, but has struggled the past two games guarding more athletic point guards in Sacramento’s Isaiah Thomas and Portland’s Damian Lillard.
Defensively there is a concern but Prigioni is a more than capable defender, so he may see increased minutes in the upcoming weeks.
But beginning Thursday, Kidd must find his jump shot again, because it hasn’t been there the past two games.
What we’ve learned is that Felton is more important to the Knicks than probably anyone believed.
But the Knicks are in capable hands with Kidd and Prigioni.
They just have to start playing at a higher level.
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