N.Y. State Of Mind

Losers of 6 straight, and 9 of their last 10 games, the New York Knicks are in a bit of a, “funk,” so to speak.  Acquiring a major talent in one, Carmelo Anthony, just before the NBA Trade Deadline, seemed to be the next big step, in “Righting the Ship.”  However, the Knicks have found themselves in a worse predicament than they were before the deal.  A lot of people, namely “fans,” are suggesting that maybe that was the wrong move to make, in acquiring Anthony.  They feel that blowing up the team, and trading away its young talent, was a mistake.  A record of 7-9, and falling to the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, would also back those claims.  With the Knicks currently facing a potential playoff match-up with the Celtics, whom the Knicks are 0-3 against; the future doesn’t seem much brighter.

So who gets the blame in this situation?  We could point the finger at the Star Players, Melo & Amare, but they’ve performed consistently.  What about the bench…Or lack thereof?  Naaah, that’d just be a cop out of sorts and besides that only, consists of 3-4 players at max.  The finger can be pointed at the Front Office for making the deal, right?  Let’s face it; the Knicks weren’t exactly playing elite basketball prior to the trade.  Their record only stood, 2 games above .500, which isn’t saying much compared to where they are now.  There isn’t one specific, “Answer,” to the Knicks’ problems.  There are several things wrong with this team.

Let’s start with the coaching staff.  Mike D’Antoni has always been seen as an offensive genius, in the game of basketball.  However, there is that other side of the game that he’s not so famous for, and that’s Defense.  Now granted, D’Antoni’s scheme has some level of success in the past with the Phoenix Suns.  The Suns were always amongst the elite in the Western Conference as far as regular season record.  However, they always seemed to fall short in the playoffs.  Personally, I don’t believe this system can win, as do many people.  If you look at many of the great teams that have won championships, they all stood very strongly on the defensive end of the court.  Unfortunately D’Antoni doesn’t seem to preach Defense as strongly as he does Offense, which reflects in the Knicks’ play.  Then we move onto the personnel.  In all fairness, Chauncey Billups
has been in and out of the lineup with nagging injuries, which breeds for instability at the Point Guard Position.  Billups is the veteran leader that can keep the team grounded, but isn’t the All-Star PG, he once was either.  Billups does take on the role of a leader, and is a well respected and strong voice amongst his teammates.  Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire are the stars of the team, but neither has a track record of being a great, “Leader,” for his team.  Great Scorers, very competitive, all-stars, yes the accolades are there.  However, as far as a leader goes, I’m not quite sure that can be said for either.  They’ll both give their all on the court, but are they the voice that can command the team?  While I don’t doubt that either has the ability to do so, I’m not quite sure that it’s happened yet.

All in all, everyone should have known that this was going to take time.  Acquiring two superstars takes a while for them to gel, and get accustomed to playing with one another.  The funny thing is, that if things go the way the Knicks plan, they’ll be welcoming a 3rd Superstar to the mix in the near future…Then What?  However, a player like Chris Paul, whom they covet, canstep in and be that leader and voice that the team
needs.  Paul’s also as committed on the defensive end, as he is on the offensive, which will surely rub off on the others.  But the remaining question is whether or not; Coach D’Antoni is the man for the job.  Some are calling for his head, and hoping that Jeff Van Gundy is brought back to coach the team.  A lasting impression of JVG comes in the form of the old Knicks vs. HeatRivalry, where he’s seen in the middle of a fight between the teams.  While that is very comedic imagery, it represents the fire and relentlessness that this team needs in their coach.  JVG wasn’t afraid to mix it up with his players, and get them to play to their best ability.  But ultimately this is a work in progress, and will have several kinks to work out.  These issues, and the teams’ current record, are no reason fans should abandon their team.  I’m sure the days of prominence are ahead for this franchise, but patience will be greatly tested throughout this process.


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