A month after the “Linsanity” uproar, the Knicks now sit at 0-5 to start the month of March and are barely holding on to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. The list of people to blame for the Knicks inability to maintain success could go on forever.
Remember when people hinted that maybe Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin wouldn’t be able to play together? Or how about the assumption that Jeremy Lin’s production would decrease as scouts began paying more attention to him?
Well it appears all of that is true for the most part.
Now, I don’t want to just sit here and bash Carmelo by saying everything was all fine and dandy in New York before he stepped back on the court, but the numbers don’t lie. The Knicks were 6-1 when Coach Mike D’Antoni handed Lin the keys to the offense while ‘Melo nursed a groin injury he suffered in early February. Upon his return to action, the Knicks have won only two of their past nine games.
Personally, I like Carmelo Anthony. If the game’s on the line and I need someone to take the final shot, (and Kobe’s not available) I’m giving him the ball. But these Knicks need to find out a better system to play under if they want to win—and yes, I am taking a shot at D’Antoni.
In ‘Melo’s defense, six of the past eight games on the Knicks schedule have come against above-.500 teams and losses to Miami, Dallas, San Antonio, and Philadelphia is to be expected. Jeremy Lin needs to take a decent portion of the blame as well for the team’s poor play. Lin averages 3.6 turnovers per game which would put him at seventh in the league amongst all players.
His stats across the board have all taken a hit this month compared to his play in February. His points per game average has dropped from 20.9 to 16.4, his assists dropped from 8.4 to 7.2 and his field goal percentage went from .472 to now.395. Better defensive strategies have caused Lin to become less of a factor in the Knicks offensive attack.
The real question is where is Amare Stoudemire? All season, he’s been hovering around 17 points per game even prior to Linsanity. The Knicks will need all three parts of their primary offensive attack to be effective in order to be successful.
On paper, a team featuring a starting lineup of Lin, Landry Fields, Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler would be expected to perform at a much higher level than we’ve seen thus far. Add key role players like new-acquired swingman J.R. Smith, rookie Iman Shumpert, and veteran point man Baron Davis and one is left wondering what exactly is keeping the Knicks from winning games.
If the Knicks want to make the playoffs, something has to change fast. The Knicks are set to face the team with the league’s best record in the Chicago Bulls tonight and the schedule gets no easier with a matchup against Portland and a back-to-back against Indiana slated for later this week.