New York Knicks: Where Has The Defense Gone?


Photo Credit: Scott Mecum,

The New York Knicks enjoyed a resurgence of glory thanks to the efforts of a veteran team led by Carmelo Anthony. Nevertheless, could their recent struggles be a sign of things to come?

The Knicks’ defensive problems have resurfaced. During their last six games, they’ve allowed at least 80 points. Chicago scored 108 off of New York at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago, while the Celtics scored 102 during a game that featured a controversial spat between Anthony and Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett. However, a glimmer of hope arose during their victory over Boston Thursday night.

A key defensive play by J.R. Smith helped the Knicks secure the victory over the Celtics 89-86. Smith caused Paul Pierce to turn the ball over, squashing any comeback the Celtics had planned.

One question still plagues the Knicks: Where has the defense gone?

How could a team become a legitimate contender if opponents score at least 80 points a night? That should show the NBA they’re missing a few pieces to solve their problems.

A potential solution could be Iman Shumpert‘s return. Shumpert returned six days ago from major knee surgery and started Thursday night. The Knicks drafted Shumpert for his isolation defense two years ago. Before his return, guards Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni performed well in their perimeter defense, according to However, they deserve a break.

Kidd is 39 years young, while Prigioni is 35. Despite their hustle on the court, it’s only a matter of time before they tire out. Shumpert provides youth and energy to accompany his defensive skills. Adding Shumpert to the depth chart would give both men rest and would bring an important player back into the mix.

The frontcourt leaves much to be desired defensively. Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire were never known for their defense. When you have an NBA Defensive Player of the Year on your roster in Tyson Chandler, there shouldn’t be any problems defensively. He just can’t do it on his own.

In their last game in a losing effort against the Nets, Chandler was the only defensive presence in the frontcourt. Chris Copeland didn’t do much to help, while coach Mike Woodson left Kurt Thomas on the bench.

The Knicks need defensive stoppers in the frontcourt. If Anthony and Stoudemire can play defense for the remainder of the season, they can make the Knicks a viable threat in the East. Putting Thomas back in the rotation would provide more intensity. And, if Rasheed Wallace returns, a much-needed body for the Knicks would solidify the inside.

Undoubtedly, the Knicks need to improve on their defense if they’re going to be taken seriously. If not, they might find themselves swimming in mediocrity.

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