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Sunday, July 14, 2013

SDH Presents the 2013 End of Season NBA's Worst to First: 7. New York Knicks

Overall Win/Loss Record (At Season’s End): 54-28,  first place Atlantic Division

At Season’s End:

Team Statistics and League Rank (At Season’s End)

  • Points Scored: 100.0 (11th)
  • Points Allowed: 95.7 (7th)
  • Team FG%: .448 (18th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .458 (19th)
  • Team FT%: .759 (13th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .376 (5th)
  • Rebounds per game: 40.6 (26th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 40.6 (12th)
  • Turnovers per game: 11.6 (1st)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 14.5 (10th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (At Season’s End)

  • Scoring (ppg): Carmelo Anthony (28.7)
  • Rebounds per game:  Tyson Chandler (10.7)
  • Minutes per game:  Carmelo Anthony (37.0)
  • Assists per game:  Raymond Felton (5.5)
  • Field Goal Percentage:  Tyson Chandler (.638)
  • Free Throw Percentage:   Steve Novak (.910)
  • Three Point FG Percentage:  Steve Novak (.425)
  • Steals per game: Jason Kidd (1.6)
  • Blocked Shots per game:   Tyson Chandler (1.1)

Taking a Look Back at the Season that Once Was . . .

SDH Worst to First Recap
Time Period
Change (+/-)
At Season’s End
SDH Player of the Year:
Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony was essentially the beginning and end all with the Knicks as he not only led his team, but the league in scoring.  Unfortunately, despite his accomplishments this past regular season, Carmelo is far from being considered as one of the league's top players.  He is certainly not at the same level as his contemporaries--namely the Miami Heat's Lebron James and the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant.  Other than putting the ball in the basket, Carmelo Anthony offers little if anything else as he is often lazy on the defensive end of the court and a mediocre rebounder at best considering his size, skills and talents.  It is  these red flags that keep Anthony from getting any real respect in the league and it will probably continue as long as he continues to play the same way he has had.      

Despite winning the Atlantic Division for the first time since 1994 along with posting their first 50 plus season in 16 years, it was quite apparent that the New York Knicks were in any way ready to contended for a title, let alone take on the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat.   Overall the Knicks did not play that impressively in the regular season considering that they allowed their opponents to shoot better than them and despite having one of the deepest rosters in the league, were one of the worst rebounding teams in the league.  They exposed their flaws in the playoff where they blew a three games to none lead over an old and weary Boston Celtics team, a team that they should have swept in four games, losing two straight games and were forced to play a game six to finally eliminate them.  Once they lost the first game of the second round against the Indiana Pacers, it was all over for Knicks and their fans as the team would fall three games to one and Big Apple fans swallowed another steamy helping of disappointment as they watched their team fall four games to two shattering any hopes for contending for a title.  The Knicks' failure not only showed how far they are from being championship material, but also that they are not nearly as good a team that their fans believe that they are.

To put it bluntly,  the Knicks showed that they are a team that is all sizzle but no steak and all flash without any real substance whose window of opportunity has possibly shut on them already.  The team itself consisted of of either broken down or worn out old pieces and were held together by a player who simply dominated the ball on the offense taking most of the team's shots and offered basically little if anything else.  Carmelo Anthony, who not only led his team but also the league in scoring, only continued to show what many have judged him to be--a shot happy player who offers little or nothing else other than scoring and his reputation of being one of the league's most dominant players is rather over inflated to say the least.  Sure he finished the season with the highest scoring average, but he shot at rather a rather sub-par rate hitting just a shade under .450 from the field while taking a league high 22.2 shot attempts per game.  Compare that with players that are considered his contemporaries, Lebron James and Kevin Durant who nearly scored just as much but with fewer shot attempts and with better field goal percentages, one can certainly see that Carmelo Anthony is nowhere near in the same league as the great players that media and fans have placed him in.

Anthony is nowhere near the superstar franchise player that Knicks fans and the local media have touted him of being and what is worse is that he is put in the unenviable position of being the team sole option on the offensive because no other player can be counted on to consistently step up to take the pressure off Carmelo.  The other two leading scorers, JR Smith and Raymond Felton, were far from being solid consistent supporting cast member as both players put up rather sad shooting percentage numbers to say the least.  Smith, who was second on the team in scoring at 18.1 points per game while earning the league sixth man of the year award was far from being a model example of stability as he spent most of the season shooting under .400 and finished it with a less than stellar .422 field goal percentage. The same thing can be said for Felton who also spent much of the season shooting at a rather low field goal percentage of .427 despite taking the third most shot attempts on the team behind Anthony who led the league in that statistical category and Smith, who took nearly 16 attempts per game coming off the bench while making less than seven of them.  What was even more sad about the state of affairs the fact that the rest of the team did not fare any better as most of the players, save for three of them, shot at respectable percentage at .450 or higher.

Although he finished the regular season with the highest field goal percentage, Tyson Chandler was not much a offensive threat as he averaged just six hot attempts per game and most of his baskets came from lob passes and alley oops.  In his twelve years in the league, Chandler has yet to develop even a half way decent post game on offense end and can be seen as more of a hindrance than a help as he was essentially a non factor on offense.  The same thing went for Amare Stoudemire who despite shooting and impressive .577 from the field while average a shade over 15.0 per game, played just 29 games this season spending most of it on the bench watching the games in street clothes.  He certainly has yet to live up to the higher expectations put upon him by the fans and the rather brutal scrutiny of the press after signing a whopping 5 year 100$ million contract as he has spent three of them on the injured list.  Finally, there was Chris Copeland, who was probably the best of the three as he provided a solid rookie performance coming off the bench to average around eight a game while shooting .479 from the field; however, he was nothing more than an energy player who provided solid production in limited minutes and nothing else--and at 27 years, it is possible that will be the best he has to offer.

With such a roster, it is quite evident why the Knicks suffered such a bad a collapse against the Indiana Pacers in the second round of the playoffs--all the Pacers had to do was allow the Knicks to beat themselves with their poor shooting an offensive execution.  All Indiana needed to do was essentially block all the driving lanes to the basket which preventing Carmelo Anthony from attacking the basket thus forcing him to take bad shots and keeping him away from the free throw line.  That led to the Knicks' offense to grind almost to a halt because it primarily counted on Carmelo's ability to put the ball in the basket and his domination of the ball on the offensive emd to keep the team running.  And the rest as they say was history as the Indiana Pacers went on to show what frauds the New York Knicks really were and that they were in no ways deserving of the praise it received from the press nor their image of being a real match for the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. In addition, with the team being virtually capped out by the massive contracts on Anthony, Amare, and Chandler totaling up to 56$ million, the Knicks have little or no ability to upgrade their roster as they have used up all their salary cap space on those three players which will lead Knicks fans to anticipate another less than anticipated finish next season and the season right afterwards.