After watching the Knicks get swept in the first round of the playoffs this year, I couldn’t hold back my hatred for Mike D’antoni and other Knicks for their lack of effort and at times lack of skill (See Bill Walker‘s 0-11 game 2). But after I realized what the Knicks were working with I can only be encouraged for next season, if there is a next season.
The Knicks have two players that can flat out score, in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Melo kind of got thrown into the fire in the middle of the season, and the long drawn out process of his eventual trade to the Big Apple, while Amare was carrying a team right around the .500 mark. It took some time and I don’t think that things were fully figured out this season on how to get Carmelo involved in a system where constant ball movement is key. Add an entirely new point guard not used to playing pick and roll basketball and there wasn’t much hope for a successful second half of the season. However, the Knicks made the playoffs and as we all know everyone has the same record going into the playoffs. After the Knicks lost by a combined score of around five for the first two games I was encouraged, but knew without Chauncey for the rest of the series New York would be in trouble and they were. The Knicks pitiful bench was exposed, we found out Toney Douglas can’t play the point, Bill Walker averages three offensive fouls a game while trying to dunk, and Landry Fields wasn’t ready for the big stage. At some points in both games three and four it seemed as if the Knicks bench was uninterested. If you look around the league at bench players, most of these players are jumping off the bench at ever basket their team makes, not the Knicks. It’s not like these players are proven veterans or former twenty point scorers, they’re closer to D-League sixth men.
The Knicks need to add a real center to their lineup to allow Amare to go back to his real position at power forward. They also need a true sixth and seventh man off the bench, as well as some cap space to sign Chris Paul, by picking up Billups’ option he will be an expired contract coming off the books in 2012. I hope the Knicks keep around Donnie Walsh, get rid of Jared Jeffries and make a smart move in the draft this year. As Carmelo Anthony stated today “A lot of players want to come to New York” and hopefully that is the case.