After a 54 win season in 2013, 2014 was to be our season. Instead the New York Knicks won only 37 games and missed the playoffs, so what went wrong?
The problems began as early as training camp. The disorganization in the organization was apparent as prior to camp the team fired Glen Grunwald, an Indiana alumni with Mike Woodson, and replaced him with Steve Mills.
Now you remember Mills, he defended Isiah Thomas during his tenure and was soon exited from the organization only to return as general manager?
Training camp began and finished as a joke. The Knicks’ players were not hungry and Carmelo Anthony made public he was going to opt out after the season.
Now did you know that LeBron James and Dwayne Wade can both opt out of their prospective contracts?
Both LeBron and Wade played basketball and never discussed their pending decision to opt out.
Anthony could have easily said as of now I am a Knick and no discussions decision will be made till after the season.
Instead like Dwight Howard he wanted the attention and was a distraction. Yes, he had a great individual season, however regardless what many reporters state the Knicks had more talent than many teams currently in the playoffs. They were selfish, non-focused and it cost them the season and Woodson his job.
As the Knicks cleaned out their lockers, while 16 other NBA teams went on to the playoffs, Stoudemire had no problem discerning why his squad wasn’t among them. It wasn’t a lack of talent but a lack of leadership, an unwillingness to buy into what beleaguered Woodson had been teaching.
As reported in the NY Post, “It was an up-and-down year, midseason changes, coach Woodson put together a game plan on both ends of the basketball court and there were times that we didn’t totally buy into it,’’ Stoudemire said after Thursday’s exit interview with team president Phil Jackson. “We didn’t really focus on mastering the offensive strategies and defensive strategies,” Stoudemire said. “The mind-set is for us whatever the game plan is, we have to stick to the game plan. We’ve got to try to master it, and that way we can be playing at an extremely high level when it’s time for the postseason.’’
Woodson may have done a decent job in the past, but this season was not his best and clearly not as successful to previous years. His stubbornness of both offense and defense along with his inability to tweak his game plan led the Knicks to one of their most disappointing seasons that one can remember.
He fought with players including Amar’e, Beno Udrih, Metta World Peace, and Tyson Chandler in regard to playing time as well as both offensive and defensive sets. For a supposed defensive coach, his switch-everything-at-all-costs formula on defense simply did not work and caught the angst of players like Chandler.
His pointless point guard offense was stymied by the lack of set plays any structured plays of motion of offense. Woodson strategies this year were simply not effective.
Out of desperation with Phil Jackson in the wings he finally started Amare and Carmelo together. He played Tim Hardaway Jr., and Cole Aldrich more. He put and kept Smith in the starting five. He had Shumpert come off the bench and the Knicks finished 16-5.
It was just too little too late.
Aldrich although not a superstar, showed himself to be an adequate backup center to Chandler. He finished the year with two double doubles, including 16 rebounds in one game. However when Chandler was hurt and no center was present and the middle was open, he was not given any minutes whatsoever.
His unwillingness to give Toure’ Murry meaningful minutes is also bizarre and Udrih scored 14 points in 14 minutes the other night for the Memphis Grizzlies. Here was a point guard with championship pedigree who won in Raymond Felton’s absence and upon Felton’s return never saw the light of day.
Felton had a terrible season and should to be a backup at best, not a starting guard in NYC.
I often wondered if Woodson or CAA was really coaching the team.
With Jackson now in power and CAA out of power, Dolan has insulated him from the collapse if Anthony leaves. If he leaves, he only proves once again to be Mr. Selfish in the NBA.
He courted New York and James Dolan, they gave away the farm including this year’s lottery pick. We love you Carmelo, there is talent in New York. Watching the playoffs I still see New York as one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference.
They failed as a team, the system failed. With a healthy Stoudemire and a focused Smith, a matured Hardaway and a new coach for Shumpert, the Knicks can win.
You want to be a winner, just look at the rings on Jackson’s hands. It is your time to prove who you really are.
New York has 30 million plus reasons for you to stay. You want to win, prove to New York you are a winner.
Dr Kaplan is a bestselling author www.5minutemotivator.com
Follow him on twitter @drekaplan