Another early playoff exit.
The Miami Heat put the New York Knicks out of their misery by eliminating them in five games to conclude a season that wasn’t going to go far anyway.
How could it?
Added new players. Changed coaches during the season. Lost key guys due to injury.
When the highlight of your season can be capsuled in a single word – Linsanity – the journey wasn’t going to be a long one.
The question now is where to does the affiliate of the Erie BayHawks go from here?
1. Do they keep Mike Woodson, reach out of Phil Jackson or look elsewhere? If Jackson is up for it, go get him. Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire could flourish in the triangle offense not only individually, but at the same time. Plus Phil has 11 rings. Woodson has none.
However, Woodson did get this team make a more concentrated effort to play defense. Thought the way he pushed J.R. Smith to become a well rounded player and not just a shooter/scorer was big. He got Carmelo to take more pride in defense, but the Knicks must at least pursue Jackson.
2. Anthony/Stoudemire duo? The Knicks thought they were getting the Stoudemire who starred with Steve Nash, but injuries and age has caught up with him. He’s not the same guy, but has a demand for the ball as if he is. This, in turn, creates a situation of two stars wanting the ball.
Stoudemire needs to just defer more to Anthony, but the coach, who it ends up being, needs to press to Anthony to find the open man. Carmelo is back to being that player draws a double. Hard to tell a scorer to pass, but if Melo can adopt more of that in his game, the Knicks, particularly Stoudemire, will benefit.
3. Linsanty? Jeremy Lin suddenly came on the scene, turned the Knicks around and then got hurt. What I wonder is if the best of Lin is him scoring or him getting everyone involved. He seems to like the ball in his hands and control the tempo, but he’s not the Knicks best player.
Anthony is and he needs the ball more than Lin. If Melo can move without the ball more, having Lin run the point would make the offense even better, but then you’re not taking advantage of the double teams Anthony draws. Can Lin defend well enough to even play for Woodson. He gave an amazing audition for other NBA teams. Will he stay or go?
4. Team needs. Even if Lin is back next season, point guard should be the top priority for New York. You put Rajon Rondo with the Knicks and they’re seriously contending for a title because he gets others the ball in the right spots to score. Having a great point guard will make Melo and Stoudemire play off the ball or play within the offense instead of wanting to have isolation plays.
The NBA is a point guard league now. So they’re out there. Another priority is a third big man to have in the rotation. Need a guy who can play with both Tyson Chandler and Stoudemire. Can score when Chandler is in and can rebound when Amare is in. Finally, a third who can run the point like a Louis Williams of Philadelphia would be nice.
5. Better shape – As good as Anthony played down the stretch, he needs to really work on his conditioning. To me, he’s got even more to give, but can’t because he runs out of gas. He digs in emotionally and tries, but is not in tip top shape and the truth is, has never been.
When you watch LeBron James or Kevin Durant or Kobe Bryant, those guys don’t get tired or they sure don’t appear tired. You can always tell when Anthony is wearing down. I hear he’s carrying the Knicks on his back, but they traded away quite a bit for him to lead them to a championship. IF he’s going to lead them, Anthony must get in better shape.