The New York Knicks are exactly midway through their 2013-14 campaign, having just completed 41 games. This past Monday, the Knicks were blown out on home by the Brooklyn Nets, a game that most figured would at least be competitive or passionate. Instead, the Knicks looked disinterested, lost, and worse, perhaps completely broken. There have been trade requests, players speaking out about the coach, and the heavy cloud of Carmelo Anthony’s free agency lies over the franchise’s head.
To discuss this turbulent Knicks season, some of Buckets Over Broadway’s writers got together.
1.) How big of a disappointment has this Knicks season been?
Scott Davis (@WScottDavis): It’s been hugely disappointing. I didn’t think the Knicks would be quite as good as last year’s 54-win team, but I figured them to be at least a middling playoff team, an offensive juggernaut, a defensive sieve. Instead, the team looks disjointed and, frankly, disinterested most nights. Even worse, they’re not even entertaining as night-in and night-out, nobody is sure whether they’ll even look to compete with a team, regardless of the opponent.
Richard Bertin (@richardbertin): When ESPN’s convoluted SCHOENE projection system reported that the Knicks would win 37 games, I thought this was an obvious flaw in relying on advanced analytics to explain everything. It looks like we both might be wrong. This year is different than the disappointing Isiah Thomas years: the have their star in place and made some enormous strides last year, so to regress this much is depressing. At least when the Knicks were tanking for LeBron there was a clear goal. Now they seem lost as ever.
Phil DeMeo (@phildemeo): Considering how weak the Eastern Conference is, the Knicks are even more disappointing. The fact that the overhyped Nets were playing bad and the Knicks couldn’t capitalize, and arguably played worse, makes the whole situation a lot worse.
Ankit Mehra (@amehra11): I remember looking through my Twitter in October thinking of the blasphemous prediction ESPN had on the Knicks’ 37 win season, but right now 37 wins looks good. With the star caliber of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler to go along with strong role players in Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Raymond Felton, the Knicks should have been a 45+ win team, but alas, with ISO-Melo, and James Dolan headlining the Knicks season, a first round exit would be the best expectation at the half way stage.
Frank Diglio (@
nellieblystunad): Smaller than most would realize. Last year, the Knicks had numerous players have above average seasons for them. They set the record for most threes in a season, which helped them have an elite offense. This year, players coming back down to earth, notably Ray Felton and JR Smith and injuries to key players like Tyson Chandler and Pablo Prigioni have contributed greatly to the bad play. A philosophy change of wanting to go big, something Woodson made of point of saying he wanted to do in training camp, also hurt the team’s offense and ball movement.
2.) Will the Knicks make a trade before the deadline?
Davis: It’s really tough to say, but I’m thinking yes. How major or constructive that trade is, though, I don’t know. The Knicks only have two players that can fetch back anything of real value right away: Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Given Steve Mills’s job as GM, ‘Melo won’t be traded. Chandler could be, given how disgruntled he’s seemed lately. More than likely, the Knicks will make a move of less interest, like trading Beno Udrih. Raymond Felton could possibly be moved, which would be interesting.
Bertin: I don’t see how James Dolan stands pat over the next few weeks. He’s not fooling anyone by his new “patient” persona, but I don’t think he will be able to make a major deal that will save the season or steer a very possible post-Melo Knicks into better roster positioning. It’s not that it can’t be done. Many GMs could probably find a way to do this, but its not something I have any confidence in the Knicks doing.
DeMeo: Should the Knicks made a trade before the deadline? Yes. Will they? Probably not since they don’t have much wiggle room. They better not trade Hardaway Jr. to try and fix a short term solution. As we knew from the start, the Knicks don’t have many trade-able pieces.
Mehra: With Beno Udrih having put in a trade request, I see the Knicks dealing him, but aside from that who could they bring in? No one wants Amar’e Stoudemire’s contract, Iman Shumpert has shown some fight in 2014 causing trade rumors to die down, and to trade Tim Hardaway Jr. would be nothing short of idiotic by Steve Mills and James Dolan. I’d love to see a big trade that could reignite this somewhat dead team, but it seems as though none of those players would be on the block, and even if they were, the Knicks do not have the assets to acquire a big name.
Diglio: Yes, but it will be is interesting. They could try and bring in a player to appease Carmelo Anthony, something that Knicks fans probably are weary of. If 15-26 gets worse, though, I really think the Knicks will explore trading Anthony if he wants to leave.
3.) Can the Knicks turn their season around and make the playoffs?
Davis: I think they will, just due to the Eastern Conference’s intent to tank. Besides for the Pacers and Heat, there are only a few teams who are in it to win it — the Hawks, Pistons, Wizards, Nets etc. Other teams like the Bulls or Raptors have conflicting interests. And other teams like the Bobcats, Cavaliers, or Celtics simply don’t have enough talent to keep afloat — their owners will likely push for the lottery instead. The Knicks are 6-5 in January. If they can keep a slightly above .500 pace, or even .500 pace for the rest of the season, they can make it.
Bertin: Yes, but that’s an indictment against the Eastern Conference. Only in the East can a team simultaneously be in a lottery race and an 7th to 8th seed playoff race at the same time. Adam Silver may seriously have to consider a new playoff structure over the summer because this is downright embarrassing.
DeMeo: As I said before, since the East is so weak, I still think the Knicks make the playoffs. Right now they are only 3 games out and when you have a player like Carmelo, there’s always a chance to win. The Knicks won’t “turn the season around” since the playoff gap is so small, but they should make the playoffs.
Mehra: While I believe the Knicks have had a season described nothing less than odious, this is the Eastern Conference we are talking about. The Knicks have Carmelo Anthony, and with the current level of sub .500, or .500 competitors in the Eastern Conference, I think only a team in full on tank mode can miss the playoffs. The Knicks will not miss the playoffs, but will certainly not finish high in the conference or make it past the first round.
Diglio: Yes, the East is horrible and 5-7 game winning streak can get them right back in it. Without a first round draft pick this year, look for the Knicks to go all out to make the postseason if Anthony sticks around.
4.) Final predictions for the top eight in the Eastern Conference
Davis: 1.) Pacers 2.) Heat 3.) Hawks 4.) Nets 5.) Raptors 6.) Knicks 7.) Wizards 8.) Pistons
Bertin: 1.) Pacers 2.) Heat 3.) Nets 4.) Bulls 5.) Hawks 6.) Wizards 7.) Cavaliers 8.) Knicks
DeMeo: 1.) Pacers 2.) Heat 3.)Raptors 4.) Bulls 5.) Pistons 6.) Nets 7.) Knicks 8.) Wizards
Mehra: 1.) Pacers 2.) Heat 3.) Nets 4.) Hawks 5.) Wizards 6.) Bulls 7.) Knicks 8.) Cavaliers
Diglio: 1.) Pacers 2.) Heat 3.) Nets 4.) Hawks 5.) Wizards 6.) Bulls 7.) Raptors 8.) Knicks