The New York Knicks are off to a disappointing 2-4 start. They did not really lose any key players this offseason, only losing mainly minor role players and some bench players. Mike Woodson has run a similar lineup to last years small ball on a few occasions this season, and their key bench players such as J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire and Pablo Prigioni are still coming off and making an impact.
So, why are they 2-4?
Its easy to blame Woodson, but he is not at blame at all for this slow start.
The Knicks are a different team this year. Despite looking mostly the same, the fact is that they are not. A key figure they lost was Jason Kidd. He showed signs of old age toward the end of last season, missing what seemed like every shot he took during the final regular season stretch and for the most part of the playoffs in both the series against Atlantic rivals, the Celtics, and second round opponents, the Pacers.
He showed signs looking slower then the opposition. Despite all of that, he was basically one of many on court coaches on the 2012 – 2013 Knicks. He was hired almost instantly after his retirement to the Brooklyn Nets vacant head coaching spot, and that is really saying something considering the only previous player to retire and become a coach almost instantaneously was Mike Dunleavy Sr.
He was a leader on and off the court for the Knicks. On the court he could lead an offense to easy points with his superb knowledge of the sport and skills, even if his impact on the ball was minimal. Off the court, he was a locker room leader and a key figure on the team.
His loss has proved to be a big one.
Outside of him, they also lost lots of other veteran leadership lost over the course of the offseason. Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas for example, were three guys who have been around the league for a very long time. They are now all gone, and the Knicks have lost the veteran leadership that seemed to carry them through tough stretches last season.
On the court they may not seem like that big of a loss, but they represent more then playing on the court, and it has reflected on their performances this season. This may be a new season of hope in New York, but with a new look roster, the Knicks seemed to have taken a step back instead of forward.