The New York Knicks are currently the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’re falling fast. New York holds a record of 38-25, but that number is skewed by the team’s hot start to the season in which they began 18-6. Since then, the Knicks have gone 20-19.
New York is being absolutely demolished by injuries to its best players. Carmelo Anthony (sore knee) and Tyson Chandler (knee contusion) will likely sit against the Los Angeles Clippers, which will be the team’s fourth out of its five-game road trip. The Knicks have lost the first three and are losing control of the Atlantic Division, which they now only lead by one game.
Amar’e Stoudemire is out for the rest of the regular season, Anthony doesn’t think he will be “100%” again this season, and Chandler’s absence creates a huge gap in a defense that has already been exposed as the season has unfolded. With their three best players injured, the question needs to be asked: Are the Knicks done?
No- well, not yet.
Forget about seeding, about home court advantage, and even about the division lead. The Knicks need to enter the play-offs with the team as healthy as possible. If that means sitting Anthony and Chandler for a few games, that’s fine; there is no point in rushing the most valuable players on the team back before they are ready in order to maintain a certain seed or a division lead.
A healthy Knicks team that enters the playoffs as the fifth or sixth seed has a much better shot at making a run than a team that limps in at the three or four seed.
The Knicks are by no means done, but they are on the verge of collapse. Health is the key to New York’s success, and it has been all along with this team.At their healthiest, New York has one of the best teams in the league. Being the oldest team in NBA history, though, does not promise perfect health over the course of a grueling season.
Over the next few weeks, with Anthony and Chandler potentially in-and-out of the lineup, Mike Woodson’s squad will truly show what it is made of. Will they fold, or show that they are a legitimate contender in the East?