The New York Knicks are in complete shambles this season. Losers of three straight, the Knicks are 21-36 on the season. That record is better than just seven teams in the NBA this season. Sitting in eleventh place in the Eastern Conference, New York is six games away from the eighth playoff spot.
The latest loss came at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, more specifically, Dirk Nowitzki on Monday night. With the game tied at 108 and the clock ticking down, Nowitzki has the ball in his hands for the final shot with Carmelo Anthony defending him. The shot went up; hit the rim, then the backboard, the rim again before falling right through the net as the red light lit up the scoreboard. The MadisonSquareGarden faithful were stunned as their beloved Knicks lost yet again, in such a heart-breaking manner. It doesn’t get any easier for the Knicks in the next three games as it travels to Miami on Thursday before returning to home against the Warriors on Friday and then heading to Chicago for a matchup with the Bulls on Sunday.
A lot of blame and finger pointing needs to be done in New York, but none of that blame deserves to go to Anthony, who has been the Knicks’ lone bright spot this season. The team struggles despite Melo’s best efforts to keep them afloat. Anthony has put up pretty good numbers this season as he is second in the league in scoring at 28.2 points per game to go along with 8.6 rebounds per game. He is shooting 45 percent from the floor and 43 percent from beyond the three-point arc. He has scored 922 points in losses this season, 197 more than any other player in that category. Melo has gone off for 40 plus points five times this season and the Knicks have only managed to get two wins in those games. In the game against Dallas, Anthony had 44, but the buzzer-beater sank that game.
Anthony says that his impressive play is “pointless” since the team is not winning. Without a supporting cast, it is hard for any player to be able to just win games and score at a high rate. At the end of the season Anthony can opt for free agency, something he said he will explore. He recently said over the All-Star break that he would take less money in order to attract other big-name free agents. The former is more likely the option in that scenario, as the Knicks don’t always make the best off-season moves. If Melo wants to win a championship in his career, it might be time to take his talents elsewhere and find pieces that fit his puzzle. Could anyone honestly blame Anthony if he does indeed leave New York? The consensus answer is no.
Anthony doesn’t get much help from his teammates as the next two teammates after him in scoring don’t average as much together as he does alone. Andrea Bargnani averages 13.3 and J.R. Smith averages 12.9 points per game. Speaking of Smith, it’s time for the shenanigans to stop. The untying of shoes and pulling of headbands isn’t something you do when your team is struggling. The next leading scorer is point guard Raymond Felton, who finds himself in a world of trouble off the basketball court.
Early Tuesday morning after the Knicks-Mavericks game ended, Felton turned himself in for gun possession after his wife turned in the gun earlier in the evening. He was arrested on felony gun charges in the state of New York, where the gun charges get pretty serious. Felton has struggled all season and hasn’t been in the best of shape in his return to the Big Apple. The Knicks tried trading him before the trading deadline, but failed to move the former North Carolina Tar Heel.
Moving from the players to Head Coach Mike Woodson is where the blame needle gets pointed. After leading the Knicks to a 54-28 record and an Atlantic Division crown, Woodson hasn’t had the best of luck. A season after the team was in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the team is not certain if it will make the playoffs this season. Woodson led the Knicks to its first division title in nearly two decades, but has been on the hot seat for quite some time now. Early in the season the rumor mill was full with the notions that Woodson would be seeing his finals days in New York, but that has yet to happen. It is almost inevitable that the Knicks will let Woodson go at season’s end and that might be the right move. If Woodson is fired before the end of the season, an interim will be named until the Knicks find a new head coach. That will only show that the season is completely unsalvageable, (which is not the case) but the play on the court has to improve. After the season if Woodson is indeed let go, it will be the right move. Some things just aren’t meant to be.
Regardless if the team makes the playoffs or not, the team will have a lot of evaluating to do at the end of the season. Will Carmelo Anthony decide to leave and seek a championship elsewhere or will he stay and hope the Knicks can rebuild? If he stays, will Anthony be able to attract other big-name free agents? Will Mike Woodson be brought back? Can the Knicks string together some wins and make a run into the playoffs? All these questions are far from being answered. but the way the Knicks have been this season, it’s not looking to promising. Have the fans of the New York Knicks given up on their team this season?