The New York Knicks 2011-12 Awards
The New York Knicks season is over. To say it was a wild one would be putting it mildly. Some good things happened like the emergence of a defense, something the Knicks have lacked for a few years, and the out-of-nowhere story that was Jeremy Lin. There was some controversy, like the Mike D’Antoni resignation, and the Amar’e Stoudemire fire extinguisher incident down in Miami in the playoffs to name a couple. Now that the season is behind us, it is time to hand out the awards.
Most Valuable Player: Tyson Chandler, Center. Whether or not you think he deserved the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year or not there is no denying that he had a positive impact on the Knicks and their defensive resurgence this year. Even under Mike D’Antoni, where defense is not in the vocabulary, Chandler excelled and was a presence in the middle. The Knicks have missed a player of Chandler’s caliber since Charles Oakley and Patrick Ewing were patrolling the paint. Honorable Mention: Carmelo Anthony, Small Forward. Had Anthony been healthy the whole season he would have won the award. He is the Knicks best player every night and is one of the top ten players in the NBA.
Rookie of the Year: Iman Shumpert, Guard. Shumpert was another reason the Knicks were able to turn it around on defense. His on-ball defense is something the Knicks sorely needed. This season he averaged 1.7 steals, 9.5 points, and 3.2 rebounds per game. That is pretty good production off the bench. IT will be interesting to see if the emergence of Shumpert means Landry Fields’ days as a Knick are numbered. Honorable Mention: Not Available.
Most Disappointing Player: Amar’e Stoudemire, Forward. Stoudemire went from being an MVP-type player in his first season with the Knicks to an injury-prone run-of-the-mill power forward. Yes, he is still an All-Star caliber player but all the injuries are starting to add up. There were times he just looked lost in the offense when it ran through Carmelo. I don’t know if we will ever see the player that put together one of the finest seasons as a Knick cine Patrick Ewing again. He might have one or two years of All-Star caliber play but the injuries are a real concern for me. Stoudemire will also need to fit into coach Mike Woodson’s scheme, stay healthy and, if the Knicks make the playoffs next year, not get hurt because he did something stupid. Last season it was a trick dunk that tweaked his back. This year it was punching a fire extinguisher door and lacerating his hand. He needs to stay on the court. Honorable Mention: Landry Fields, Guard. Big things were expected from this kid after his impressive rookie year. However, he seems to get worse and worse every year, fading down the stretch and disappearing in the playoffs. He is a free agent and might not be invited back.
The Ice Pack Award: Baron Davis, Guard. This award is for the player who missed the most time on the court. Davis was signed as a potential answer at point guard after being waived in an amnesty move by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Davis missed time with an injured back which always seemed to be a problem for him even when he was on the court. His knees are bad and now they are shredded and his career is in jeopardy after catastrophically injuring his knee during Game 4 against the Miami Heat. Honorable Mention: Amar’e Stoudemire. His back, his knees, his fist. All I can say is uggggh.
The Hello My Name is….Award: Jeremy Lin, Guard. This award goes to the player nobody has heard of prior to the season. Jeremy Lin was sitting on the end of the Knicks bench for a good part of the first-half of the season. Then, because of injuries, he got his chance and Linsanity was born. Lin energized a Knicks fanbase that seemed to be lethargic as the Knicks struggled to get into a groove. Lin averaged over 20 points per game as he sometimes single-handedly willed the Knicks to victory with Carmelo Anthony out. It will be interesting to see what this kid has over a full season. He will need to cut down on his turnovers but otherwise the kid seems to be the real deal. He injured his knee, tearing his meniscus which required surgery and ended his season. From now on this award will be named the Jeremy Lin Award. Honorable Mention: Steve Novak, Forward. Novak came off the bench and averaged 47% from beyond the arc. When he was on his game his threes could turn the momentum of a game while the Knicks starters were resting.
Sixth Man of the Year Award: J.R. Smith, Guard. Smith was finally freed from his contract in China which he signed to get some basketball in during the lockout. Once he arrived he provided the Knicks with a second sharpshooter from beyond the arc to accompany Steve Novak. Smith played in 35 games with only one start and averaged 12.5 points per game while shooting 34% from 3-point range. He holds a $2.5 million player option on his contract and it is unknown if he will return. However, he gave the Knicks scoring off the bench which they haven’t had since before Isaiah Thomas ruined the Knicks. Honorable Mention: Steve Novak, Forward. Averaged 8.8 points per game off the bench, mostly from threes. He was a lot of fun to watch when his shot was on.