Through 62 games, the New York Knicks are 22-40 and five games back of the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. And if you’ve seen the train wreck that is the NBA’s East, you know that making the playoffs isn’t an incredibly difficult task. The Memphis Grizzlies, who are currently one game out of the Western Conference’s eighth spot, would be the third seed out in the East.
Moving forward, what steps need to be taken by Knicks owner Jim Dolan in order for this team to get back to being a prominent force out in the east?
Blow It Up
It’s time. The Knicks have stuck with this project much longer than they should have. Amar’e Stoudemire has been riddled by injuries and inconsistencies, while Tyson Chandler has been nothing but a shell of his former self after making the transition from world champion as a Dallas Maverick to New York. Raymond Felton is in legal troubles.
Ron Artest Metta World Peace played only 29 games and sustained injuries before getting the axe. Andrea Bargnani has been a disappointment, averaging only 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
And worst of all, Carmelo Anthony is clearly unhappy. This is the time that New York could least afford to have a season like this, with Carmelo Anthony in a contract year.
It’s time for a roster shake up, similar to something the Indiana Pacers did following the infamous “Malice at the Palace” incident. Different situation, but similar in that this roster needs nearly a complete roster turnover.
Fire Mike Woodson
Woodson had initial success following the firing of head coach Mark D’Antoni, going 18-6 as interim before going 54-28 in the 2012-13 season. This season, however, Woodson has this team at an underachieving 22-40 mark. Normally, coaches should be allowed at least one more year to turn things around.
But if you’re going to blow up the roster and bring in a new, fresh squad, why not try to find new, fresh coach to go along with it?
SBNation is now reporting that a new, young head coach is rumored to be part of owner Jim Dolan’s pitch when it comes to keeping Anthony in the Big Apple.
Have Plan B…and C…and D for Carmelo Anthony
It is clear that Anthony is unhappy in New York. Though Anthony leads the league in field goals attempted (1298), minutes per game (39.1) and is second in points per game (28.1), most of ‘Melo’s minutes seem to be more like empty calories. Eleven times this year, Anthony has scored over 30 points and the Knicks have lost. Three times this year, Anthony has scored over 40 points and the Knicks have even then, still found a way to lose.
Now, rumors are flying about the future of ‘Melo in New York. This week, Matt Moore of CBSSports.com reported that Anthony is “unwilling” to wait on the Knicks’ 2015 rebuild. Also earlier this week, multiple outlets reported that the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah recruited Anthony to come play in Chicago next year. Later, Bleacher Report reported that Derrick Rose is also wanting the forward to come join the Bulls.
Bottom line, it doesn’t appear Anthony is thrilled with the idea of returning to a broken team with a (possibly) new head coach in the midst of a rebuild. Dolan and company might want to have a couple of different backup plans in place, in the case that ‘Melo walks.
Build Around the Young Guys
If the plan really is to go through a rebuild in 2015, the team really needs to center their rebuild around young guys on the team such as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert. Hardaway is averaging 15.4 points per 36 minutes of play, while Shumpert is averaging 9.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
The issue that arises in the Knicks’ quest to build around youth is their irresponsibility with their draft picks. In the last 13 years, New York has traded ten of their first round picks (two of which being future picks).
New York’s 2014 first-round draft pick goes to Denver as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal. That pick is unprotected, so even if New York lands the No. 1 overall pick, Denver still receives it. They also traded their 2016 first-round pick in that same deal.
However, the Knicks also included that draft pick in their trade in the 2013 offseason for Andrea Bargnani. So essentially, Denver gets to pick which of the two they would rather have, and Toronto gets the other.
This handcuffs the Knicks in terms of building through the draft, leaving Dolan to build a team almost exclusively on free agency signings and trades, something that Dolan is not exactly talented at, as proven by their roster and lack of success.
Bottom line, it’s going to be a long couple of years for Knicks fans. If Carmelo stays, I don’t see how New York is able to surround him with good enough talent to make a championship run. If he goes, I don’t see how New York is able to effectively build a new core of young guys without any draft picks.
Strap in, New York. This next couple of years could be rough.
Tags: New York Knicks