Many expected the New York Knicks to be a playoff team last season. Coming off a 54 win season in 2012 good enough for 2nd in the East, the Knicks but only managed to win 37 games this past year. Carmelo was great but his supporting cast did not play well enough to make the playoffs.
After winning his first scoring title Carmelo Anthony followed that up by averaging 27 ppg and a career high 8.1 rpg. He was a better three point shoot, hitting a career high 167 and shooting 40%. Although people claim he does not play defense he had his best combined season for blocks and steals. He was a workhorse for this team. His best moment of the season came when he scored a career high and Madison Square Garden high 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats in late January.
The supporting cast really let the Melo and the Knicks down. In 2012 J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler had solid seasons. In the 2013 season all of their production dropped. Smith hit more threes this year but he averaged less points. He had a career high 100 steals in 2012 and that number dropped to 65. Felton’s production fell off a cliff, going from 13.9 ppg to 9.7. His three point percentage dropped from 36% to 31%.
The Knicks went into the draft without a pick. They managed to grab Cleanthony Early in the 2nd round along with Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Early was great for Wichita State last season and many thought he would go in the 1st round.
During the off-season many wondered if Carmelo Anthony would leave the Knicks during free agency. After taking meetings with various teams he eventually resigned with the Knicks. The Knicks did trade Tyson Chandler back to Dallas and acquired Samuel Dalembert, Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin.
Calderon will be a good piece next to Carmelo Anthony. He was 7th in the league in made three pointers while shooting 44%. The Knicks were very good in 2012 because they took and made a lot of three pointers. They will also look to 2nd year pro Tim Hardaway Jr to contribute more this season. He looked sharp in summer league and should have a bigger role this time around.
We all know Carmelo Anthony will do his part. Just like LeBron he went on a diet and lost a ton of weight. Melo has not looked this slim in his entire career. He claims he lost weight to play in the triangle. I don’t know how this will affect his strength in the paint but it can only help his game overall.
Amar’e Stoudemire is another player who has to step up if the Knicks want to make it back to the playoffs. Last year he was on weird minute restrictions. At times he did play well in a half but would get limited minutes in the second half. In seven games in April, Stoudemire averaged 27.9 mpg, 14.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg on 63% shooting. If he could keep those averages throughout the season the Knicks will be a good team.
The Knicks missed the playoffs by one game. The Eastern Conference has gotten better but I think they will be good enough to make the playoffs. I see the Knicks winning 43-46 games.