2013 ended on a sour note for the New York Knicks. They suffered back-to-back losses to the Toronto Raptors, and as injuries rack up, the Knicks have been falling into a deeper hole. At 9-21, the Knicks are well below .500, several games out of a playoff spot, and as evidenced by their inability to beat the Raptors.
As the calendar gets ready to flip to a new year, let’s look at some new year’s resolutions for this Knicks team.
1.) Get Healthy
The New York Knicks have hardly spent any time together as a healthy squad. Obviously, the Tyson Chandler injury sticks out most in people’s minds, but even in the beginning of the season, the team was not healthy; J.R. Smith was serving his suspension, and Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin were on minutes and games restrictions. Since, Raymond Felton has suffered injuries, as has Pablo Prigioni, and of course, Carmelo Anthony — all of whom are still out. Hopefully some time in January, the whole roster can be complete, and we can see what they actually can do on the court.
2.) Coach Competently
Here’s looking at you, Mike Woodson. A lot of people want to defend Woodson because of injuries, a flawed roster, and his record with the Knicks, which has been pretty dazzling through a season-and-a-half. Yet, there’s no denying that Woodson’s cluelessness on the sidelines this season has cost New York some games. Forgetting to call one of your THREE timeouts, down one, with seven seconds to play? Playing your “big,” unsuccessful lineups to match up with the “big” Eastern Conference? Refusing to play the lineups that led to a 54-win season last year? Forgetting the whole “accountability” thing for your favorite players, but dropping the hammer on others who don’t play to your liking?
Yes, it’s been almost gross to watch Woodson mismanage this team this year. After proving a lot of people wrong last year by utilizing a tough, diverse roster in innovative ways, Woodson has looked like a grumpy traditionalist yelling at kids to get off his lawn this season. Whether the coaching situation comes from within Woodson’ own soul or from an outside source (are there any actual, realistic replacements available?), let’s hope for some better coaching in 2014.
3.) Communicate on Defense
I have faith that the Knicks will figure it out on offense. They’ve shown signs lately, and their three-point percentage is steadily increasing. The other end of the court, however, has looked like a complete mess. Here’s a nice little graphic of the Knicks’ miscommunication on the defensive end from the other night:
Are you confused by that graphic? So am I. It’s impossible to follow. Players have no idea when to rotate, when to switch, when to fight over screens and picks, etc. It’s such that each Knick will defend about two or three different opponents per defensive possession. There’ so much switching and confusion and chaos, it is quite difficult for this team to make any defensive stops. If the defense can come around to at least league average — which would be a high jump from where the Knicks are now — they do have a shot at winning some more games.
Have a safe and happy New Year, everyone!
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