Missing Intangibles, Knicks Unable To Replicate Last Season’s Magic

VIDEO: Reeling Knicks lose eighth straight

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The New York Knicks had something special last season. Yes, as a 2-seed, they were upset in the conference semifinals. But in the regular season, the Knicks developed a fantastic offensive mix of Carmelo Anthony‘s one-on-one play, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler‘s pick-and-roll, and the most prolific 3-point shooting in NBA history.

The 2012-13 Knicks ranked third in offensive efficiency overall, but were off the charts on that end of the floor in the first six weeks of the season (111.1 points scored per 100 possessions) and again in the last month (114.6).

The Knicks returned seven rotation guys from last season, but one key ingredient was missing. And though Nets coach Jason Kidd got fined $50,000 for his drink-spilling tactic on Wednesday night, it was a reminder of the savvy that the Knicks are missing, as Marc Berman of the New York Post writes

“That goes to show you what kind of person he is,” Anthony said Friday before he missed the last-second shot in the Knicks’ 97-95 loss to the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. “He’ll do whatever he has to do to win. He protects his team.”

Kidd protected the Knicks last season with his play and savvy and helped the Knicks to an 18-5 start and 54-28 finish. With Tyson Chandler out, Anthony is the lone leader now on a 3-12 club.

It’s not only Kidd’s leadership that is missed, Anthony said. The Knicks had cagey veterans that made them the oldest club in NBA history last season.

“That makeup of the team was different [last year],” said Anthony, who lost another homecoming game in Denver. “With J-Kidd, he was a leader in his own right. He wasn’t a vocal leader like a Rasheed [Wallace] or Kurt Thomas. He was leader by example on the court. His hard work, his play, everyone fed off that. And everyone led in their own way. Now we do miss that — J-Kidd, Kurt, Kurt and Rasheed. Last year as a team we were more synchronized than right now due to chemistry, due to having fun, due to just having one another’s back.”

Kidd missed the final 18 shots of his career, making it easier to believe that his production could be replaced. But you can’t quantify the influence he had on his New York teammates, especially Anthony, who played smarter and more efficiently last season than he had previously.

Kidd isn’t the only guy the Knicks are missing. Tyson Chandler is their most important player and he’s been out since the fourth game of the season. When he suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula, Chandler was projected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Well, the four-week mark arrives on Tuesday, and Chandler spoke about his status in Denver after Friday’s shootaround. Paul Willis of ESPN New York has the quotes

“I don’t want to put a timetable on it right now,” Chandler said. “I’m feeling better. I’m starting to do a little more. But we’re just kind of taking it as it goes.”

Asked when he’ll be cleared to run on the court, the 13th-year pro said: “That stuff, I really don’t know. The trainers kind of take it step by step, and when I can do one thing, they move me on to another to see how I react. But I couldn’t give you an honest answer on a timetable or how quickly I can start running on the court.”

Chandler insisted there have been no hiccups with his rehab, but the process has to run its due course. In the meantime, Chandler’s Knicks have dropped seven consecutive games. He said it’s been a difficult to sit and watch without being able to help.

“From my perspective it’s tough to watch, but the guys out there, we just have to play the game and have fun, trust in one another,” he said. “When times get tough, you have to lean on one another.”

Chandler looked healthy and active in those first few games, and he helped the Knicks get off to a strong start defensively. They were allowing just 92.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. And in the 11 games he’s missed, they’ve allowed 107.2, sinking to 26th in defensive efficiency.

At 3-12, the Knicks’ problems go well beyond that. There’s no easy answer for head coach Mike Woodson and Chandler’s eventual return isn’t guaranteed to turn things around, because they’re clearly missing both the tangible and intangible elements of last season’s success.

VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony talks about tough loss in Denver


  1. james while says:

    Melo’s having marital problems. I could understand why his heart isn’t into the game. Not really actually, all these brothers get rich and start dating these kim kardashian reality tv drama queens. Bro go get yourself a nice humble girl and chill enjoy your money ball and life.

  2. Bob M says:

    I think the Knicks need to blow up this team. Melo could use a change of scenery, and if the team continues to lose, he’s leaving with no compensation. He’s a great player, but he needs some support. Felton is gaining weight again, JR is shooting 32% :0 Bargs is the a really bad defensive player, I’d try to trade that bad contract. If that fails, waive him.
    Coach Woody could use a vacation, too. George Karl would be a better coach. Coach Hollins would not have the defensive talent he requires. Stan Van Gundy would have an ulcer here.
    Blowing up this team is a drastic measure. Sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and rethink your philosophy. New York fans have high basketball knowledge, and this is some stagnant iso-ball, poor interior defense, poor playmaking, and they have no drive (some drive). The thing that bothers me about Melo is his lack of confidence and moaning after losses. Superstars don’t act like that! They put the team on their back and produce. That is just not happening.

  3. james while says:

    Carmelo Anthony is a team cancer. The reason is he’s a selfish player. Team is about sacrificing what you want for the betterment of the team. The guy wont play defence when defence is clearly about desire and will, he is out of shape as he is overweight by i’d say 20-30 pounds. And he doesn’t make anyone better on his team he actually makes them worse because he plays that i’m going to isolate and everyone watch me b.s basketball. He isn’ even that good of a scorer. If you read this Melo I think you have great potential but your going to realize it to late like allen iverson and your selfish ways will be your demise. My advice to you is go and look at your college games at syracuse and get back whatever it was that you had then. Minus the fact that you guys played zone and you didn’t really have to guard nobody.

  4. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    The knicks need to restart.. again

  5. jake s. says:

    Knicks were firing on hype energy alone last year. They pay too many over-rated players too much money. They need to redesign their “big 3”. Tyson chandler is the only thing right for this team. Without him, they have no team. (obviously) They need to do what small market teams like San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Portland, and Indiana do… play the draft correctly.

  6. phldude says:

    It’s about time to get Jeremy Lin back, don’t you think?

  7. cry says:

    melo is a trash,what do you expect knick fans?you are not going anywhere under melo’s leadership,a ballhog like kobe but half his talent,ha ha ha

  8. Jerol says:

    Knicks need a point-guard. Felton is overrated and Udrih is one of the worst players I´ve ever seen. Prigioni deserves more minutes, he is the only one who can make knicks work as a team, the rest of the team plays for thereselves, it’s an ego competition.

  9. Caldron Pool says:

    JR Smith is the problem. They signed him expecting improved production from last year, yet last year was a fluke, and he only turned it on in the last month of the season. He didn’t really deserve 6th man. So, they wasted money on giving him a bigger contract, and now he has come back down to playing below average ball. I don’t know why anybody thought NY could do anything. Carmelo needs to score 50 a game for them to win, Amare can’t seem to get back into it – CA and AS seem to want to occupy the same space on the floor, and NY has clearly favored nurturing Melo’s game first, so they rendered AS ineffective. Chandler going down was a malfunction they couldn’t afford. They are kind of like last year’s Lakers. A team needs to start its best 5 players. Amare has struggled the last few seasons, but he has been used improperly. The bottom line is he’s still the best PF that they have, he needs more minutes there. I can see that he doesn’t get enough minutes to get in rhythm. Melo needs to play the 3 like a standard 3, and not be a post up ISO power forward, its just not his natural position. He needs to stay on the wing and jumpshoot with Amare and (when he comes back) Chandler under the rim at the same time for some effective rebounding. It will clog the lane at times, but Anthony, Felton, and Smith are mostly effective jump shooters. They need to up their second chance points. They wind up jump shooting most of the time with nobody underneath anyway, so just go with it, let the jump shooters shoot and try to focus on rebounding and second chance points.

  10. Unkle Daddy says:

    Let me just say that players aren’t allowed to make remarks to the play of their teammates or to the choices the organization makes it’s in their contract. The Knicks have never been a threat to any team since “Clyde” was a Knick. Any one who thought the 90’s Knicks or the Knicks of now have any chance of getting a championship doesn’t know anything about basketball. They would need at least three new and better pieces just to see the finals. When I say better I mean all-star caliber and nothing less.

    • Jose says:

      Weird, the Knicks were a John Starks three pointer away from winning a championship and you think in the 90’s they were not a threat?

  11. bullriby says:

    When one player has taken 143 more field goal attempts than the next highest player and is only shooting 29 percent from beyond the arc, it is kind of easy to really see where the problem lies. Pretty easy to play defense against a team that has one real option plus a couple of ‘only if necessary’ options. No one can doubt how hard Melo is working, but the system ain’t working. How about a couple of high percentage players taking more shots in some kind of an offense where four don’t stand around and watch one.

  12. okc2014 says:

    I’m tired of hearing Carmello Anthony say after every post game interview: “we just have to work harder”. He sounds like a broken record.

  13. roger says:

    I’ll say one word.BARGANI Thank god we got rid of him.

  14. Traveon says:

    Well i feel the knicks is having a problem communicating and the play one on one way to much and lastly they not playing defense and not having jason kidd and the veterians is tough but at the same time you need to get past that and get your offense right and your defense together and get back to communicating on the floor and having every goal you made last year try to do better at and go for your main goal again which is a championship

  15. J says:

    Knicks stink!

  16. Nam Chio says:

    I think they should defend harder than all games this regular season.
    Then Anthony play too much every game as he feel tired easily.If he feel tired as he can not play well!
    The six man seem do not have very much energy every game.
    I hope they will be good as Anthony always plays well.

  17. dustydreamnz says:

    Part of what it takes to be great I think, is not just whether you can produce but HOW OFTEN you can produce. J R Smith is an enigma, amazing about every 5 games. Felton doesn’t seem to make good numbers, Shumpert doesn’t look interested, Kenyon Martin doesn’t score enough for a starter. Melo has been outstanding as usual, Bargnani has been solid and perhaps better than most thought on defence and I think Tim Hardaway deserves more minutes.
    Like most teams chemistry is an issue and defence which wasn’t great last year is worse this year.
    I had them 5th in the East at the start of the year.

  18. Leo says:

    Yeah it would be great to see them playng like last year but it starts from the defence and for that you need to be a TEAM.
    They need to dig out by defensive intensity and it will all click in offence too later on.

    • Vincent Herring says:

      Last year there was a shooting coach named Dave Hopla sitting on the Knicks bench. When I saw him there I said to my friends if they work out with this guy everyone shooting percentages will go up…… He is the BEST of the BEST! When you see him shoot you can’t believe it. Everyday while giving lectures
      he knocks down 500-600 threes and may miss 2-3. While moving around. A freak, but he knows how to shoot. He has to be the worlds best shooter. Knicks went on to set NBA records. What did the Knicks do after that…… let him go! LOL. And we wonder why LeBron did not come to the Knicks!

      • Robert Rosenberg says:

        I just saw video of him. Never heard of him before your comment. Amazing!

      • Leo says:

        Wow guy seems to be really good! Knicks don’t have a good hand recently with people. I suppot them since 1994 finals where they shown a lot of character and year after year they did a lot of experiments but without any longer vision of development. There was a few good years under Van Gundy but because of that year to year changes they have a problem to develop their own style/identity and build something like in 90’s where they were big. Shooting last year was great but they have won the games when they were moving the ball with Kidd on top of the key. Check last year games and you will see that they were shooting from open spots because of great ball movement so I guess they miss this season a lot more than they realize.
        But I still belive they will get out of this whole.

  19. SeaWests4700 says:

    Do you think that Felton has been even more overrated than the oft maligned Jeremy Lin.
    Lin, despite being an essential unknown rookie, was also a type of quiet leader by playing hard, with humility, and working hard. His hard work ethic tended to inspire the rest of the team that wasn’t named Carmelo, to work hard on their games and be unselfish with the ball — again, anyone not named Carmelo. In fairness to Carmelo, if given time, he and Jeremy would have learned to work well together. However, without a firm coaches hand, the Knicks came to overly depend on Carmelo to shoulder the scoring load and the lack of flow triggered by his tendency to play iso ball, foments a secondary tendency to be a bit complacent on O with a sluggish transition to D. Nothing against CA in this, it’s more the type of energy in play. With Vets, it’s a lesser problem than with younger players but they too are susceptible to waxing and waning energy and rhythm in play that getting the entire team involved does. Not sure whether Jeremy would have had any more success than Felton in this as it is largely up to the coach. It’s so easy and tempting to be mesmerized by a star that the concept of TEAM tends to fall away. It’s not a big problem in college but a team will pay dearly for it in the pros.

  20. theking0522 says:

    I find it amusing that this team was supposed to be a threat to Miami. Some clowns even said that if they had faced Miami last year, they would have beaten Miami…LOL….In the other hand, I hope they get BETTER…Yes!!! I love competition and I hope the Knicks and Nets start playing better. I thought the East was going to be more competitive this year with Detroit, Cavs, Washington and even Charlotte getting better. We desperately need some competition in the East.