Is it still too early to push that button just yet?
After dropping a 6th straight game on Monday to the Trailblazers, Coach Woodson said. “We should be inspired. We came out not ready to play. We weren’t committed to offense. Iman didn’t have much in his tank. I’ll sit and talk with Iman tomorrow just to see where his head is. J.R. got in foul trouble somewhat. Again those two guys we’re going to need to play a much higher pace before we can start winning.”
Let’s take a look into the locker room after Monday’s game. It’s evident the panic button has been activated. Subtle remarks directed towards another player (or coach) are thrown around, and feelings of mass confusion and frustration can be felt.
Carmelo Anthony was asked “why it took until the second half to get things going”? “If I had to answer, I don’t know. It just seems like we’re not putting a full game together right now. It’s a tale of two halves. It took us a whole half to get ourselves going once we dug ourselves into a hole. The first half we didn’t put forth any effort. We get stagnant at times. We want to play, then we don’t want to play. We’re just not putting a full forty eight minutes together offensively or defensively.”
Amar’e Stoudemire stated: “We stopped moving the ball. We stopped playing with one another. Until we figure it out theirs going to be a lot of nights like this. It’s hard for any player to get a good rhythm when the ball don’t move. When the ball isn’t moving we’re playing one pass, one shot. Teams that pass the ball win, Teams that don’t lose.”
When Amar’e was asked “Why isn’t the ball moving”? He replied. “You guys are the professionals. My Job is to play the game. You guys job is to analyze game (laughing). I think you guys know how it works and why it’s not moving. Woodson’s doing a phenomenal job teaching us the game. It’s up to us as players to listen and do it. My Level of frustration is at an all time high. I worked my butt off to get into top shape and to be able to compete at a high level. To work that hard and to be losing at this point, ugh. It’s just not a great feeling”.
The frustration on both J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert is quite concerning for the team. Smith stated “I’m tired of losing if I score 0 points or I score 50 points, I don’t want to lose. Even if they don’t play me, they play somebody else. We win, we win. I just hate losing. When you lose six in a row and you keep talking about effort, you can’t coach effort, you can’t teach effort. If you don’t come out playing you’re going to keep losing. If you keep losing they gonna make some moves.”
Iman Shumpert stated: “If we played better, if we moved the ball better everyone would get more involved. Right now I just feel like the balls sticking. That just comes from frustration, Guys just wanting to win, Guys just wanting to do more on the offensive end. Defensively we’ve got to pick it up. Everybody’s leaning on each other searching for answers”.
What’s the big difference between this year’s team and last years’?
Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, were once criticized of being “The AARP” NBA team. They along with 3 point shooters Steve Novak and Chris Copeland, have all retired or have been traded to other teams.
With Big man Tyson Chandler out with an injury, the Knicks are 27th in the league at setting picks. It’s not hard to see we are giving up the lane and not defending the ball. Our offense lacks ball movement which leads us to isolation plays. The Knicks lead the league in iso plays but are only 23rd in isolation points made per play. The Knicks are playing a whole lot of one-on-one basketball with no benefits.
The Knicks also lack veteran leadership at the point guard position. NYK attempted an NBA record 2,371 three pointer’s on the season(2012-2013), making 891 of those. This year they are on pace to make just 678 a significant difference.
The Knicks have yet to see a consistent second man helping ease the burden on Carmelo Anthony (averaging 42 minutes per game). The Bargnani/Melo combo has proven to be rewarding but is not consistent every night. This year we do not have the scoring title champion and the sixth man. Some may argue, but it seems last year’s sixth man is spending more effort defending his brother and winning wizard fans chick-fil-a sandwiches than taking the basketball to the hole. Each and every player could be criticized at this point.
In a “Win it now” season, I think James Dolan has bigger questions to be more worried about than those he’s asking now. Dolan made the statement to the New York post, “Where would we be today without Amar’e. Amar’e agreed to come to the Knicks, gave us a launch pad by which we could convince the other guys like Tyson to come, and ultimately Carmelo to come play with us. Do I think Carmelo would have come if we didn’t have Amar’e? No, I don’t think he would’ve.”
His bigger questions could soon be where are we going to be tomorrow , once we’ve dealt our best defensive player and come February how do we get Melo not to walk?
How do you expect a franchise to be able to play basketball when the owner’s biggest concerns are banning the music, the New York City dancers, and, recently, banning Woody Allen from his decade-long suite 200 at the Garden for not promoting his movies on cabelvision.
For a guy that’s so power-hungry, everything is steadily slipping away.
I can’t help but watch this team and think of the D’anoni days. It looks eerily familiar to Melo and D’antoni. I believe the players have lost respect for their coach and the coach has lost control of his team. The Knicks are coming out “Not inspired or ready to play”. And in Dolan’s own words “When a coach loses a team…that’s when a Coach is kind of done”.
So in a win it now season, what now for the New York Knicks?