The New York Knicks are 3-8 and at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. Even the most ardent Knicks supporters are starting to feel the pressure. Heck, their own players are starting to freak out. J.R. Smith recently admitted to it.
We’re frustrated. Like you say, it’s too early to panic, but me, personally, I’m panicking. I don’t like this.
Does that sound like a confident man? Does it sound like a player who believes in his team? Does it even sound like the J.R. Smith we all know? It doesn’t. It’s scary because Smith is being realistic and is actually using logic while ignoring the emotional aspect of things.
Looking at the Knicks objectively for a minute — they stink. They are 3-8 and are 1-6 (.142) at home. If they kept that pace, they’d be dangerously close to the worst team in the history of the NBA, the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats, who went 4-28 (.121) at home.
It’s not just the losses, but the way the Knicks are losing. Sure, the Chicago Bulls got a miracle shot from Derrick Rose. And, if Iman Shumpert hadn’t made one of the dumbest mistakes you could possibly make on a basketball court (video below!) then the Knicks could be 5-6 and not in full-fledged panic mode.
But, those things happened and they can’t be undone. This is a team that is unlucky AND unfocused.
A lot of people point to the loss of Tyson Chandler as the turning point, but don’t forget that the Knicks had already lost to the Bulls and Timberwolves before that. This team was flawed from the very beginning.
Stats can be misleading, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Knicks are the 22nd rated offense and the 26th rated defense. Why can’t they score and why can’t they defend?
The Knicks are No. 27 in the NBA in total rebounds. They are No. 28 in free-throws attempted. No. 26 in field goal percentage. No. 25 in 3-point percentage.
The point is…they can’t shoot and they can’t rebound and they don’t have a whole lot of help coming. It’s all on Carmelo Anthony‘s shoulders at this point and while he’s a terrific player, he can’t do it by himself.
Andrea Bargnani has been a pleasant surprise, but we know what he is. J.R. Smith is shooting 31 percent, which could be a big reason for his personal panic. Even Anthony is shooting just 41.6 percent.
What’s the answer? Trick question. There isn’t one. What’s going to happen? The Knicks are going to continue to free-fall and will get pressured into considering an Anthony trade. The problem with that is the albatross known as the Amar’e Stoudemire contract.
The Knicks have no flexibility, a team that can’t contend and a superstar that’s on an expiring contract. Fun times, huh? Panic is the right emotion, J.R. You hit it on the head.