Along with the Pacers, the Knicks and the Nets were meant to be challenging Miami’s three year domination of the Eastern Conference. Instead, both teams are desperately trying to get near playoff spots. It may be early in the season, but if things don’t change soon, Brooklyn and New York are going to need a phenomenal push to take part in any postseason basketball.
Many reasons for Brooklyn’s horrendous start to the seaon (5-12) have been put forward: A new roster, where great players have just been dumped in whilst expecting to see instant results, a new, totally unexperienced coach and the pressure of high expectations that seem to act as a burden on the whole franchise. The hype and excitement of the first season in Brooklyn has faded, and now the Nets seem to lack that cutting edge in their game. Many experts predicted that Brooklyn would struggle at first, but there are many reasons to expect Brooklyn to pick up their game some time soon, and quickly climb the rather mediocre Eastern Conference ranks; After all, they are only 4 wins behind Atlants, who are 3rd. But recent history doesn’t pledge in their favor:
Their situation is alarmingly similar to the Lakers last year, who despite having 3 all-stars in their roster, only just scraped a last gasp playoff spot, before being swept.
Anyway, we have many reasonable arguments for Brooklyn’s poor start. On the other hand, New York’s situation is much more baffling…
Joint bottom of the conference, a record of 3-13, and 9 straight defeats, the Knicks are desperately looking for answers. The problem is, no one is too sure on what has actually gone wrong. Their offseason only consisted of Melo saying he liked the idea of free agency, and the positive acquisiton of Forward Metta World Peace. Basically, not many changes were made to the team who reached the East Semi-Finals. So what are the reasons for this nightmare start?
Let’s start off with some stats, because I like stats: As a team, they are averaging 42% FG, which is 4% less than their opponents. Their turnover average is 12.9, which is decent, and their assist average is 19.5, which although can be improved, isn’t too shabby either. But iniividuals such as Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith are possibly doing more harm than good to their side. I know that is pretty unfair to Melo: He averages 26.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, but only 2.5 assists. On the other hand, his shot selection is questionable, which is conveyed by his 42% FG and 27% 3pt. For comparison’s sake, LeBron has taken 91 less shots than Melo, and has scored 8 more baskets than him.
Although Melo’s stats kind of justify his game, JR Smith has no excuses: He averages only 11 points in 31 minutes, shooting an awful 33% FG. Despite these poor outcomes, only two New York players have taken more shots than him this year. Also, I know I mentioned signing Metta as “positive”, but his performances have been far from that. His FG is 36%, and he only averages 6 points a game.
As a whole, the Knicks look tired. They just lean on Melo, who despite his undeniable scoring talent, is simply taking too many shots. He should take example from his friend Kevin Durant, who averages 2 more points than him, yet has 5.5 assists a game. That is a brilliant small forward. Someone who his team can rely on to score, but also to distribute. New York cannot rely on the very inconsistent and unfit Stoudemire, who was the promised second star that never really got going.
Can the Knicks make the playoffs? it’s hard to say yes, but it’s too early to say no.
Just to make things a bit saucier, you’ll never guess who new York are playing next. You guessed right, my friend, Thursday night new York are on the road to Brooklyn.
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