What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

SDH's 2012/2013 NBA Worst to First Previews and Predictions: 5. New York Knicks

Overall Win/Loss Record :  36-30 second place Atlantic Division


13
Projected 2012/2013 Finish

5
Last season’s Team Statistics and League Rank
  • Points Scored: 97.8 (11th)
  • Points Allowed: 94.7 (11th)
  • Team FG%: .443 (18th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .442 (10th)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.7 (18th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 43.5 (24th)


Returning Individual Statistical Leaders
  • Scoring: Carmelo Anthony (22.6)
  • Rebounds per game:  Tyson Chandler (9.9)
  • Minutes per game:  Carmelo Anthony (34.1)
  • Assists per game:  Carmelo Anthony (3.6)
  • Steals per game:  Iman Shumpert (1.7)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Tyson Chandler (1.4)


Projected Starters Based on Last Season’s Performance, Veteran Seniority and Projected Impact


Key Reserves Based on Last Season’s Performances, Veteran Seniority and Potential Impact.
  1. JR Smith (SG)
  2. Iman Shumpert (G)
  3. Steve Novak (F)
  4. Marcus Camby (C)
  5. Ronnie Brewer (G/F),


2012/2013 Projection:  50-32 tied first place in the Atlantic Division, it’s put up or shut up time in the Big Apple.

Analysis:

Two years ago, the New York Knicks were projected to be the team of the future after acquiring two of the biggest names in the league—Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.  Most anticipated that with the tandem of Amare and Anthony, the Knicks would be the primary hurdle against the Miami Heat to win the Eastern Conference.  Unfortunately those days have yet to arrive as the Knicks have so far stumbled out of the gates as Gotham City’s dynamic duo have not been able to click.  Last season could have been a complete disaster as the Knicks looked completely out of sync and it took a Taiwanese Harvard grad who no one had ever heard of to come to the team’s rescue.  Now that prized diamond in the rough is now moved on to Houston while the Knicks remain with its two headed monster who seem to be going in completely opposite directions.

At one time, people associated Carmelo Anthony with the likes of current NBA greats such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant; however, now it is quite apparent that Anthony does not even hold a candle to them.  While James, Bryant and Durant have elevated their teams to elite status leading them to the NBA Finals and championship rings, Anthony’s teams has essentially floundered in mediocrity.  While playing for the Denver Nuggets, despite his scoring prowess, Anthony still could not lift his team beyond marginal status and to add insult to injury, Denver actually improved since he left.  While Anthony’s former team seemed to have not missed a step since his departure, the same cannot be said about his current which has played disappointingly underwhelming thus far.  So far the Knicks have been 50-43 since Carmelo arrived at Madison Square Garden whereas the Denver Nuggets have gone 57-35 without him thus far—certainly not an outcome that of the MSG faithful had originally anticipated.

At the same time the Knicks other star, Amare Stoudemire, who signed with them to a 100$ million deal over the next five years seems to be on the verge of decline.  Upon arriving in New York, his production dropped significantly as injuries have started to take their toll on the once unstoppable big man.  It did not help when Carmelo Anthony arrived as his production got even worse as his shooting percentage took a dip along with his scoring production.  Through much of last season, Stoudemire struggled with his shot as he had to create most of them on his own unlike his time in Phoenix where he was the primary recipient of all of Steve Nash’s lobs and alley-oop passes.  He continued to struggle offensively that season until he was blessed by the powers that be a point guard who was equally effective and efficient as Nash was in Jeremy Lin—now with Lin gone to lead the Houston Rockets, will Amare return to his struggling ways of last season?

Although the loss of Lin greatly hurt the Knicks plans for the future, their front office managed to partially fill in his void with a few inexpensive stop gap replacements.  They brought back Raymond Felton who had his best season while playing such a short time in New York as he posted career highs in scoring (17.1ppg) and assists per game (9.0).  Hopefully Felton will return to form after having such a dreadful season in Portland last year because if not, the Knicks backcourt does not look too pretty.  Backing up Felton will be a 40 year old Jason Kidd who stunk up last season while with the Dallas Mavericks as he posted career lows across the board.  Add an equally geriatric Pablo Prigioni who at 35, will be playing his rookie season in the NBA, the Knicks point guard situation looks pretty grim to say the least and although many have touted their roster as one of the deepest in the league, it consists of washed up has-beens such as Marcus Camby and overall perennial disappointment JR Smith. 

Despite this rather bleak portrayal, the Knicks still are ranked rather high primarily due to the strength of its roster and based on the assumption that all their players will perform at peak efficiency.  Unfortunately, even at full strength, the Knicks are nowhere near strong enough to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, let alone provide any challenge for the Miami Heat come playoff time.  New York cannot even separate themselves from their division, let alone the Eastern Conference as three other teams in its division are all but equal with each other.  So do not expect the Knicks to dominate in the league standings as they will probably one squeak by for the Atlantic Division crown and certainly do not anticipate New York to be anywhere near championship worthy for this season or any season for that matter.  The Knicks may be good, probably better than they have ever been in a very long time, but they are simple not good enough and probably will never be.