The New York Knicks have had a rollercoaster of a year. They’ve gone on a number of winning streaks, but also a number of losing streaks. They’ve beaten up on lower level competition, but they’ve struggled against highly competitive, top of the conference teams. It is unclear what exactly the Knicks identity is.
The Knicks Identity Is Unknown
Who’s Team Is It?
It’s no secret that big man Kristaps Porzingis has become a very good player, who the Knicks will eventually look to build around; however, that time isn’t now. While he has regressed a bit, Carmelo Anthony is still the face of this Knicks team. He’s the best player on the roster, and the key to any success the Knicks will have.
While Porzingis has amazed many and has taken his game to the next level, he’s not the player everyone thinks he is quite yet. While he’s showed a tremendous amount of potential, his success is heavily reliant on Anthony’s offensive output. Anthony attracts attention offensively, which allows Porzingis to get open looks. Even though Porzingis is multi-talented offensively, he isn’t capable of creating his own shot like Anthony is. He’s also not a force in the paint, or the world’s greatest rebounder.
The problem is that some players and even coaches appear to be trying to run the offense through Porzingis, or lean solely on him, and that won’t work and hasn’t worked because Porzingis’ success is dependent on Anthony’s presence. The Anthony-Porzingis debate has hurt the Knicks, but Joakim Noah has also been an issue for this team thus far.
The Joakim Noah Dilemma
In the offseason, the Knicks brought in center Joakim Noah on a four-year $72 million dollar deal; however, it has come back to bite them ever since. Noah has been a liability for the Knicks, but his struggles aren’t due to his production; it’s more so his fit.
Noah is a defensive minded player, but not necessary an offensive wizard. The Knicks currently have Carmelo Anthony who thrives at the power forward position and Kristaps Porzingis who is bound to eventually be the Knicks’ center. The NBA has become a small ball league where it’s rare to see a team with two seven footers at their disposal; this makes Noah an awkward fit on the Knicks.
While he does bring energy and defensive tenacity, he’s hurting them offensively. He’s been a mediocre passer – which is something he used to be known for being stellar at. He has also contributed few few buckets, as he’s averaging just under five points a game. While his play hasn’t been very impressive, his fit is what’s hurting this Knicks team; however, his inability to blend in offensively isn’t the sole reason for the Knicks unknown identity.
Below Average Defense
In addition to their inability to gel offensively, the Knicks have statistically been one of the worst defensive units in the NBA. They are sixth in points given up, and are fourth in free throw attempts allowed; they are hacking away due to opposing teams blowing by them in the lane. They must improve in that facet, as well as their man to man defense because their efforts on that end of the ball have been lackluster, to say the least. The Knicks must snap out of their inconsistent ways.
Inconsistency Is A Killer
While the debate over who’s team it is, and Joakim Noah’s production have been the center of attention so far, nothing is hurting the Knicks more than their inconsistency.
The Knicks have been very inconsistent in terms of wins and losses. They’ve won three, four games in a row, but they’ve also dropped the same amount; it’s not a good pattern. It’s also quite bizarre how they’ve won four out of five games, and have then proceeded to drop three straight. Also, most of their wins have been in close affairs, and a good chunk of their losses have been blowouts, or one sided games; they’re either on their game, or they’re a mess. If the Knicks want to make a playoff run and improve, they must be more consistent.
Currently, the Knicks are 16 and 14, holding the fifth seed in what is a very weak Eastern Conference; however, their identity remains unknown. This is due to their inconsistent ways, as well as their below average defense and inability to truly gel offensively.