As the Knicks’ season mercilessly came to an end in Game 5, there is an abundance of questions and uncertainty that surrounds this franchise.
Carmelo Anthony followed up his 41-point explosion, from Game 4, with a 35-point barrage. He went 15-31 from the field, while also grabbing eight rebounds.
“Next year we’ll be better,” Anthony said.
Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the team’s captains and stars, are now 0-2 in playoff series in their two postseasons with the Knicks. They have three more years, apiece, on their contracts; so there’s still time for them to deliver greater postseason success. Anthony finished this series averaging 27.8 points on 41.9 percent (52-for-124) shooting. He was atrocious in games 1-3, then exceptional in games 4-5.
Whether the Knicks like it or not, they will have to go through Miami in order to get to a place they haven’t been in 12 years – the NBA finals. Like Jordan and the Bulls or Isaiah and the Pistons, the Knicks will have to go through growing pains to achieve postseason success. For starters, they are going to have to re-sign their own free agents; Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak, Jarred Jefferies and JR Smith.
Additionally, they will need depth at the point guard position. With Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis battling injuries all season, the infrequent play of Toney Douglas, and the advanced age of Mike Bibby, their lack of big, point-guard play down the stretch proved to be one of the main reasons for their early postseason exit.
With Baron Davis’ career likely to be over, one short-term solution for their point guard problems will be to sign veteran point guard, Jason Kidd, to back up Jeremy Lin. Even at Kidd’s age, he can be an asset to this team. He can defend younger guards effectively, get his teammates involved in the game, rebound the ball, and make open three point shots.
While JR Smith can either shoot you into or out of a game, he provides depth and scoring off the bench. He can be a hot head at times, but his edge brings the Knicks something they haven’t had in a while – toughness.
Depth at the wing positions is also important, which is why re-signing Steve Novak is important. He was the NBA’s best three-point shooter this season, at 47%; his shooting is an asset because it spreads the floor.
Another aspect that needs to be looked at is whether Anthony and Stoudemire can co-exist together. The spacing on the court seemed to be an issue when they played together, and in the grand scheme of things, they are the same kind of player. Both are, essentially, power forwards that seemed to be devoid of playing any kind of consistent defense.
Removing the interim coaching tag from coach, Mike Woodson would be another step in the right direction. With Mike Woodson at the helm, the Knicks are 18-6 and their defense was ranked in the top 10 in the NBA. He holds players accountable and isn’t scared to get in a star player’s face; the total opposite of Mike D’Antoni.
While the Knicks don’t have a first round draft pick this year, the draft class is deep and they can find a productive player in the second round of the draft; just as they did with Landry Fields. Guards such as Dion Waiters or Maalik Wayns could add depth at the guard position, where the Knicks are weak.
What does the future hold for the Knicks? The future seems bright as the lights on Broadway. With a head coach and an intact coaching philosophy, two superstars, and a roster full of players who have to proves themselves, the sky is the limit for this team.