The New York Knicks continued their disastrous start to the season with a 92-86 loss to the Detroit Pistons last night. The loss displayed many of the main themes of the Knicks’ 3-7 start, including inefficient scoring from Carmelo Anthony, key players missing due to injury, poor three point shooting and poor defense and rebounding.
At this point, it is actually hard to tell whether the Knicks are worse offensively or defensively. Offensively, they rank 25th in the NBA in points per game, 24th in field goal percentage, 21st in three point percentage and 23rd in assists. Defensively, the Knicks are 25th in opponent’s field goal percentage, 29th in rebounding and 21st in blocks.
As bad as the play on the floor has been, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Knicks made too many mistakes this offseason, and those errors are coming back to haunt them. The Knicks have repeatedly spent their money on the wrong players (often over paying them) and they have shown no interest in acquiring young talent that could improve the team’s long term outlook.
Andrea Bargnani was the team’s headline acquisition, as the Knicks sent Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quinton Richardson, a first round pick and two second round picks to the Toronto Raptors. First of all, giving up a first round pick for Bargnani was a huge mistake, as the Knicks continue to undervalue the draft and cripple their future. Equally important is the fact that the Knicks should have accounted for more than Bargnani’s shooting. Bargnani has been a good contributor offensively, but he has been horrendous on defense and in terms of rebounding (just 4.8 RPG at 7’0″ tall). Any good Bargnani does on offense is undone by his defense, and he has a +/- rating of -12.6 this season.
The second crucial mistake was the decision to draft Tim Hardaway, Jr. Hardaway is yet another player who isn’t good at anything but shooting threes, and he’s only making 31.3% of those this season. Reggie Bullock, Andre Roberson, Tony Mitchell, Jeff Withey and Jamaal Franklin are just a few of the names the Knicks passed on, despite the fact that all of those players would have been much better picks and filled much more important needs.
Finally, the Knicks continue to place too much emphasis on veteran players. Obviously their cap situation restricts their ability to make free agent signings, but you’re telling me that washed up Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin was the best you could do? It’s not that hard to convince a veteran to come play in a big market on a contender, and the Knicks could have and should have gone after players who have more left in the tank and better health records. Combined with their inexplicable decision to give Chris Smith a roster spot instead of another big man, the Knicks are left woefully thin up front with a total lack of rebounding and defense.
The Knicks continue to have no concept of how to properly build a roster, and their poor decisions in free agency and trades are costing them dearly. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, it does not appear that there is anyway to fix this situation for at least another year, and that means that the Knicks are likely going to continue to struggle.