The New York Knicks are in a disastrous tailslide, their losing streak now at seven in a row with just a single win since the All-Star break. They’re now a whopping 19 games under .500 and virtually out of a playoff spot, given how lowly they’ve played lately.
Naturally, the team is starting to have internal conflict with Carmelo Anthony slowly falling apart after each loss, J.R. Smith questioning the team’s heart, Amar’e Stoudemire questioning J.R. Smith…. And now, seemingly the rock of the group, Tyson Chandler, is crumbling under the team’s mounting failures. Via Marc Berman:
With the Knicks in chaos, owner James Dolan is going to look to rebuild or reload at season’s end. Whether Chandler, who is starting to show signs of age, is part of the blueprints is unclear. And Chandler may not want to stick around either.
“That’s something I have to visit during the offseason,’’ Chandler said. “We’re all going to have a lot of decisions to make.’’
“For me, it’s important regardless [to finish out strong],’’ Chandler said. “I got a lot more pride than this, coming in night in, night out losing, and not putting forth the type of effort it takes to win. At this stage of my career and what I’ve established, I refuse to let it put a blemish on it.’’
And, really, who could blame Chandler? For the better part of three years, he’s been one of the most consistent, competitive Knicks, and while he’s had his moments of let-downs (namely the playoffs the last two years), there’s never been any doubt as to how straight his priorities are. Chandler wants to win and he wants to do it the right way.
But this year seems to have pushed him over the edge. He’s questioned Mike Woodson’s coaching and defensive philosophies, and worse yet, over the last month, Chandler’s will to hold the Knicks together has faded. He’s not necessarily half-assing it — more like three-quarters-assing it — on defense, rarely covering for his teammates’ defensive mistakes, rotating with vigor, or even really trying to build his usual fortress in the paint. He looks visibly upset with each defensive letdown and that’s just not the Tyson Chandler we’re used to seeing. In fact, Chandler’s offensive and defensive ratings this season are the lowest of his time with the Knicks, according to Basketball Reference.
As Berman mentions in his article, James Dolan and the Knicks’ front office have a lot of decisions to make regarding the team’s future this summer. Chandler, Stoudemire, and Andrea Bargnani’s expiring contracts in 2015 will certainly factor into that decision. It would’ve been nice if Chandler had let it be known that he was uncertain of his future with the team before the February trade deadline… but still, if the Knicks are rebuilding this summer, they owe it to Chandler to trade him if he wants to go somewhere else.
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