What’s Next For The New York Knicks? 3 Things That Can Be Addressed In The Offseason
The Knicks were eliminated in game six of the eastern conference semi-finals, thus ending what once looked like a very promising season. Even though they won 54 games throughout the course of the season, they were very streaky and retained some glaring flaws going into the postseason. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been the number two seed in the east because they played a little over their head at certain times. Despite their overall success in the season they didn’t rebound very well and that is something that will always come back to hurt you in the game of basketball. If you don’t rebound well you’re going to give the opposing team more shots at the basket than you because of the extra possessions you are giving up. Giving the opposing team more shots gives them a high percentage of scoring more points because they have more chances to score.
In addition to their rebounding problems they also lacked a true defense first forward. Of all the forwards on their roster, most of them were much more equipped to play offense. Chris Copeland showed some signs of being a real player offensively but not many promising things on defense and we all know defense is not the strongest point of Carmelo Anthony’s game. Even though a certain forward didn’t particularly hurt them too much in this series, you can bet that had they won they would have had a multitude of problems stopping the best player in the N.B.A. that is Lebron James.
Another problem that seemed to hurt them was the unbalanced scoring and total dependency of the offense on two players. Two players who can be red-hot one minute and ice-cold the next. J.R. Smith was the second best option they had on offense and he showed why he shouldn’t be counted on for that kind of responsibility in the playoffs. After a certain play
Smith became non-existent in the playoffs and shot them out of games, when previously he was playing like the sixth man of the year. They cannot have so much offensive pressure on such a streaky player. Plus Carmelo Anthony needs to do more to affect the game other than score, that’s been the rap on him for years and it will continue to taint his legacy until he proves the critics wrong. The bottom line is that he becomes non-existent in games he’s not shooting well in.
That being said here are 3 Things the Knicks should look to do to immediately improve the team coming into next season:
1. Get Better In The Rebounding Department
The Knicks ranked 26th overall in rebounding this season, that has to change if they want to go anywhere. Rebounding is one of the fundamentals in basketball and without at least decent rebounding ability the Knicks will not win a championship. They need to find a way to decrease the gap between Tyson Chandler and their second best rebounder. After their star center the rebounding overall for the Knicks becomes very weak, they don’t have many players who are just willing to get in the paint and fight hard for the misses. Carmelo’s rebounding numbers are padded by his own misses that he grabs. Now of course it’s good to follow your shot but it doesn’t make up for offensive rebounds grabbed from other people’s misses. Perhaps the addition of a good rebounding forward would help, one possibility that I think would be a good fit is DeJuan Blair. The guy was drafted by the Spurs a couple of years ago out of the second round and has shown a nice toughness in the paint but hasn’t really gotten much playing time recently because of the clog of big men the Spurs possess. He is a free agent and I think he’d make a good addition to the Knicks because he would not only add a strong rebounder but also more toughness to the team which they could always use. Another player they could use but may be a little out of their price range is J.J. Hickson. He averaged 10 boards a game this season and would no doubt come in and instantly be their second best rebounder. And a third sleeper type candidate for them could be Al-Farouq Aminu. He’s only 22 and shows a certain adeptness for rebounding also he’s very young and does a lot of things well. Maybe he could solve their defensive and rebounding problems for the forward position…
2. Obtain A Defense First Forward.
This seems like a problem best addressed in the draft but giving the Knicks recent history of baffling draft choices they might be better suited to look at the free agents available. Maybe the perfect candidate for this would be Trevor Ariza. He was actually drafted by the Knicks back in 2004 so he might be willing to come back. He has a player option available to play an additional year for the Washington Wizards but I’m sure if given the right offer he’d be willing to come back to New York to play on a perennial championship team. Some other players who might fit the role are Corey Brewer or Matt Barnes. Although I do believe Trevor Ariza would be the best fit for this, they might not have the money for him. But they should work on getting someone tall in here whose specialty is playing defense, it would really help the team as a whole.
3. Make The Right Decisions On Who To Bring Back And Who To Let Go
The Knicks have free agents of their own to deal with. Now this team didn’t win a championship, they didn’t even make it to the eastern conference finals but they did have a pretty good team. Better than its been recently, and if they wanna keep that team to build on they must decide who to keep for next year and who not to keep. They should try to hold on to Chris Copeland, the guy showed flashes of being a really talented offensive player who could really help balance out the scoring in the future. Why he wasn’t used more in the playoffs is beyond me. Kenyon Martin should also be kept around because he’s a good rebounder who makes them tougher overall. He’s just not afraid to whack someone down low and you like to have a guy like that on your team. Pablo Prigioni? Well how could you let a guy go who was involved in this kinda play
Prigioni is unselfish and constantly setting up plays for other people they should try to keep him for sure because he helps the ball movement and the offensive flow in general. J.R. Smith is a mystery because he did win sixth man of the year this year but also had some god-awful games in the playoffs, they should keep him but try not to make him the second option on offense. However players like Quentin Richardson don’t really have much of a place on this team next year.
If the Knicks are able to do these three things effectively than there’s no reason to think why one shouldn’t assume they build on this years performance and can hopefully go farther than they did this year.
— By Daniel Karpin