The 2010s consisted mainly of disappointment for the New York Knicks. Many people point to the leadership of James Dolan for the poor on-court performance of the team, but there may be more to this franchise’s dark years than the man in the owner’s box.
New York Knicks All-Decade Team
Recapping the Decade
The years from 2009 to 2019 were not very friendly to one of the world’s most recognizable sports organizations. The Knicks compiled a record of 324 wins and 480 losses over the 10-year span. This translates to a win percentage of 40.3 percent over that same span. The team’s high point last decade came in a 2012-13 campaign that netted them 54 wins in the regular season, a division title, the Eastern Conference’s 2-seed, and a date with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They ultimately lost the series to the Pacers, and have not been back to the playoffs, or had a winning record, since.
New York Knicks All-Decade Team Starting Five
Guard: Jeremy Lin
Point guard Jeremy Lin played only 35 career games for the Knicks, but his tenure with the team will be remembered for a pre-All Star game stretch in the 2012-13 season that was affectionately coined Linsanity. Over a 13 game stretch that started on February 4th, Lin was able to captivate the basketball nation with a seemingly improbable run of great play.
Most people point to the night of February 10th, 2013 as the official start of Linsanity. Lin went toe-to-toe with NBA legend Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks were coming off three straight wins, and Lin averaged 24.3 points per game during the win streak. That night Kobe put up a very impressive 34 points in this nationally televised contest. He was, however improbable it may seem, upstaged by Lin. In one of the most fun games in recent years that took place at Madison Square Garden, Lin poured in 38 points on 56 percent shooting.
This led the Knick’s to their 4th straight win in what would eventually become nine wins in their final 12 games before the All-Star Break. The All-Star break also caught a glimpse of Linsanity when the league announced that Lin would be playing in the Rising Star’s game. After the All-Star break reality caught up with Lin and he eventually suffered a season-ending knee injury. He would never suit up again for the Knicks, but some would argue there has not been a brighter light in the Garden since that night in February of 2012.
Guard: J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith played parts of four seasons in the orange and blue. In 213 career games, spanning from 2011 through early 2015, for the Knicks Smith served primarily in a sixth-man role. He averaged 15.1 points per game over his Knicks’ career while shooting 37 percent from behind the arc. During the 54-win campaign of 2012-13, Smith contributed 18.1 points per game off the bench for the Atlantic Division champions. That output earned him the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award for the season. During the playoff series win that season against the Boston Celtics, the last such series win for the team, he averaged 15.2 points a game.
Smith eventually was shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team mega deal midway through the 2014-15 season but his mark on the Knicks is certainly notable during his time there. Smith currently sits eighth all-time in three-pointers made by a Knicks’ player.
Forward: Carmelo Anthony
Perhaps the crown jewel of this decade for the Knicks was future Basketball Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony. His arrival provided Knick fans with plenty of exciting moments. He came to New York via a massive three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves. Melo played parts of seven seasons for the Knicks, averaging 24.7 points and seven rebounds per game during his stint in New York.
Anthony’s most successful season, much like the franchise itself, was the 2012-2013 campaign. Melo led the Knicks with 28.7 points per game, which was high enough to win him the NBA scoring title for that season. The impressive scoring output, combined with the Knicks 54 wins, was good enough to garner him a third-place finish in the 2012-2013 MVP Voting.
Melo was named an All-Star every season he played for the Knicks, and also made an All-NBA team two times. He only won one playoff series, the 2013 first-round series against the Boston Celtics, in his time with the Knicks. During that series, he averaged 29.2 points per game over the course of the series and averaged 28.8 a game over the course of that season’s playoffs. Overall I believe Knick fans will remember Melo for the impressive scoring output he was able to achieve during his time with the team.
Forward: Amar’e Stoudemire
Amar’e Stoudemire arrived in New York via a salary dump by the Phoenix Suns in July of 2010. The Knicks gave up a second-round pick to acquire the forward in what would prove to be a key piece of their three straight playoff appearances. In his four and a half seasons with the Knicks, he was able to average 21.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Stoudemire’s most successful season in New York was 2010-2011, his first with the club. He averaged 25.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a game over the course of that season. The season culminated in a first-round playoff loss. The rest of his seasons in New York were marred by injuries, but that does not Knicks’ tenure.
Center: Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler, another player acquired via trade, was the defensive backbone of the Knicks from 2011 through 2014. Chandler proved to be a great pickup for the Knicks, even winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12. On top of that accolade he managed to average a double-double during his three seasons with the team. He averaged 11.4 points per game to go along with 11.3 rebounds a game.
Chandler’s value may have seemingly been on the defensive end of the floor, but his offense was vastly undervalued during his stint with the Knicks. Given all of the advanced metrics we have at our fingertips today, we can take a look at what an impressive 2011-12 campaign he was able to put together offensively. Chandler led the entire NBA in the following categories during that season; Field Goal Percentage (67.9 percent), Two-point Field Goal Percentage (68.3 percent), True Shooting Percentage (69.7 percent), and finally he led the league in Offensive Rating with a rating of 131.0, which was eight points higher than his closest competitor.
The stats paint a picture of one of the most efficient offensive players of the decade. Chandler knew his strength on the offensive end and rarely strayed from taking good, high percentage, shots. He was able to prove his worth on both ends of the floor during his time with the Knicks.
New York Knicks All-Decade Team Bench
Guard: Courtney Lee
Courtney Lee signed a 4-year/$48 million free-agent contract with the Knicks before the 2016-17 season. While he only spent two and a half years with the team, he was a decent player for the franchise. Lee averaged 10.9 points per game while shooting more than 40 percent from behind the three-point arc during his tenure. He was a steady shooter night in and night out, while also providing a calming presence for an otherwise young Knick team.
Guard: Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton had two brief stints on the Knicks. The first was a 54 game tenure during the 2011-12 season. He managed to score 17.1 points per game before becoming part of the trade that brought Carmelo to New York. Felton found his way back to the Knicks in the summer of 2012, after being traded from the Portland Trailblazers. During these two years in New York he managed to score 11.9 points a game, and chipped in 5.5 assists per game. He also played a large part in the 2012-13 playoff run, averaging 14.1 points and 4.7 assists per game.
Guard: Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert is the first home-grown player to appear on this list. After being drafted with the 17th pick of the 2011 draft he went on to a productive stint with the Knicks. His rookie season found him averaging 9.5 points per game and making the All-Rookie First team. Shumpert’s Knicks career lasted three-plus seasons, in which he proved to be an above-average defensive talent. He was more than serviceable on the offensive end of the floor as well. His scoring never matched the output of his rookie season, but he was able to show his talents went well beyond the offensive end of the floor.
Forward: Kristaps Porzingis
Another player drafted by the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis was the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The selection of Porzingis brought with it a level of excitement that Knick fans had not seen in some time. At the time of his selection, Porzingis was billed as the next foreign-born NBA star. His rookie season brought with it a selection to the All-Rookie First Team and very high expectations. Over his three seasons with the Knicks he averaged 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and two blocks per game. His final season in New York, 2018, he was named an NBA All-Star before tragically suffering a torn ACL. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks the following season, ending the promise of his bright career in New York.
Forward: Danilo Gallinari
Our final player on this team is Danilo Gallinari, the sixth pick of the 2008 draft. During the decade in question, he played only a season and a half with the Knicks. He was ultimately one of the key pieces in the trade that brought Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks. Over his time with the Knicks Gallinari was able to become a productive offensive player, averaging 13.7 points a game while shooting 42.2 percent from the field. He was another case of an exciting Knick draft pick that ended up playing his best basketball elsewhere. In the case of Gallinari, that was with the Denver Nuggets.