Blogtable: Knicks a playoff team?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Kobe’s production | Westbrook’s place | Knicks in the playoffs



VIDEO: Defense, says Carmelo Anthony, is going to be a focus of the Knicks

> We’ve seen a lot of changes in New York, and a vow from new boss Phil Jackson that the Knicks will be in the playoffs. Your thoughts? Playoffs? Are they a better team than last year?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Sure, the Knicks will make the playoffs. The East still isn’t the West and I think enough has changed with New York —  driven by Jackson’s arrival, altering the culture sufficiently — that it will be a little better. Carmelo Anthony got an awfully cushy call-out (five years, $124 million) but seems to get it now that his legacy will be limited unless his team wins big. My hunch: New York and Brooklyn share All-Star Weekend, then fight over the East’s final playoff spot

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: The 37-45 Knicks missed the playoffs by one game last season, so Phil Jackson’s promise isn’t exactly going to register on the Joe Namath Scale in New York. Carmelo Anthony is re-signed and happy. That’s nice. Jose Calderon is at the point. That’s nice. They’ve swapped Tyson Chandler’s defense for Samuel Dalembert. That’s not so nice.  They’re counting on a resurrection by Amar’e Stoudemire and a recommitment by J.R. Smith. That’s unlikely. Can the sideline combo of Jackson and Derek Fisher get them to .500 if everything clicks?  In a glass-half-full world, I suppose. But hardly any more.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Yeah, I think they will be in the playoffs. They have a very motivated head coach and superstar. They’ve improved at point guard with steady Jose Calderon, and while losing Tyson Chandler in the middle theoretically hurts, he wasn’t healthy much last season and Sam Dalembert is serviceable, and I like the Jason Smith pickup. I really think Tim Hardaway Jr., can give the Knicks a real scoring boost and I’m eager to see Cleanthony Early bring some youthful elbow grease. Above all else, this team can have fun, and that was in short supply a year ago.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: They could be a little better, but the problem is, Cleveland will be a lot better. Milwaukee will be better. The team that finished just ahead of the Knicks last season, Atlanta, will be better. Indiana is a candidate to fall out of the top eight, and Miami will go backward as well, though maybe not lottery backward. New York and the playoffs will be a close call. For an October answer, I’ll say no.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comThey’re in the 7-10 range in the East with a decent shot of making the playoffs with good chemistry (especially defensively), or injuries to teams that would otherwise finish above them. Jose Calderon’s shooting should help an offense that was already pretty good. The loss of Tyson Chandler would seemingly hurt the defense, but any cohesion on that end of the floor would be more than they had last season. They certainly have a chance of improving on 37-45, but there are a lot of variables.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Playoffs? We’re talking playoffs? In New York? Listen, nobody loves having the Zen master back in the building more than I do. He is truly great for the game. But I’ll refrain from any playoff proclamation about the Knicks until at least Christmas. We need to see this crew in action before swimming in those deep playoff waters. I don’t know if this a better team than what we saw under Mike Woodson last year. Derek Fisher’s going to have to find his own coaching niche with this group and from a personnel standpoint there hasn’t been enough of an upgrade to automatically vault this team into the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference. It’s way too soon for playoffs chatter from new York.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I do think they’ve built a better roster than they had a season ago. But as my co-host Rick Fox has talked about several times on the Hang Time Podcast, getting a full understanding of Phil Jackson’s triangle offense takes years, not weeks or months. So it might take these Knicks some time to be able to fully grasp how to maximize their offensive system. An for all the talk about the West being better than the East, the East should be more competitive top-to-bottom this season than last. My top seven in no real order are Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, Charlotte, Toronto, Atlanta and Miami. Maybe we see Indy and the Knicks fight it out for the eight spot?

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: One thing is for sure, Phil Jackson has the magic touch, so I would believe whatever he says. If Phil says that the Knicks will go to the playoffs, I am expecting the Knicks to go to the playoffs. They have the talent to do so. The things they lacked and are looking to regain this year are chemistry and health.

Guillermo Garcia, NBA Mexico: I think that at this time they’re a real question. It seems to me that they can fight for eighth place to the playoffs, but are not a better team than last year and are going to be left out of the postseason.

34 Comments

  1. Connor says:

    Everyone leaving out the Celtics are making a mistake. The Celtics have a lot of good young talent. The one thing they’re lacking is a good center. I see the Celtics making the seventh seed above the Knicks at the eighth seed.

  2. Wahdada King says:

    Knicks missed the playoffs by one game! Due to CAA influence! Melo got his money! Its a new day!

  3. vern says:

    Last season the Knicks lost 15 games by 5 points or less and lost about another 5 by mental errors causing them to lose the game in the final minutes. If they get rid of the mental errors (which they will under the new leadership) and do a better job down the stretches to eliminate some of those 5 point losses they’ll be alright. IMO, the other teams that have improved have so far only improved on paper. No one is taking into consideration the chemistry that can mess up a whole season. The additions on some of these teams will not mesh together with other teammates. They may look like allstars on paper but when comes down to the court play everyone could be on their own page.

  4. Ellery G says:

    The Knicks health will be what decides if they make the playoffs or not. As much as i like Tyson Chandler, his best days are behind him. Felton’s off court problems were a distraction both for the team and his game. JR Smith will start the season healthy and Hardaway has good upside. The keys to the Knick’s success will be Shumpert and Stoudemire. If Shupert can score 12-15 points a game and Stoudemire 15-20 the Knicks will be a second round playoff team. These are big ifs!

    • Pako says:

      A ha. A ha ha ha. Ahahahahaha!

      Ah. Yeah, The big STAT, Renaissance, etc. is at that slippery point in his career. That is really the only reason the Knicks have a poor roster. The question posted was “are they a playoff team” — I agree with Schuhmann that it depends on how teams 6~10 look. The Cavs, Wizards, Bulls, and Hornets all look good. The Pacers, Heat, Nets, Raptors, and Pistons (on paper) are all in the same scope as the Knicks depending on which team gels first. (Like Sekou Smith said: cehck out the Christmas game.)

      The big weakness is the Knicks lack dynamic big men. Dalembert at least functions as a dedicated center half the time. Going small with Iman and Jose with Smith and Anthony on the wings and Jason Smith inside actually sounds feasible. I’d be more comfortable if Amar’e or Andrea were healthy (and accurate) so that everyone on the floor could start chucking threes.

      No, seriously. It’s going to be like 2012 and 2013 where the Knicks live-or-die by the tray. Especially with Pirgioni and Hardaway heading off the pine or Outlaw to add more bulk at the 3. (And who is Orlando/Ricky Sanchez??)

    • gg says:

      jr smith is a clown and a thug and should’ve been let go somehow

  5. Rangers says:

    Knicks have a shot, but I doubt they will make the playoffs.
    Bulls, cavs, heat, wizards, heat, hornets are all better. Hawks/nets/pacers are about as good/ if not better.

  6. Lovinthenba says:

    I guess Carmelo feels underrated. In my opinion he’s the most overrated star in the NBA. There’s no denying he can score, with anybody. But he doesn’t make his teammates better, doesn’t play defense, and is not a great shooter. Tired of media making him elite status in the NBA when he’s not. You take lebron or kd on any team, and they become a playoff team instantly.

  7. Kirby Record says:

    They have a chance of course. It really depends on how far certain teams drop. For sure, Cleveland, Bulls, Charlotte, Atlanta and Bucks will be better but maybe not good enough for the playoffs. But will Indiana, Nets and Heat fall far enough to let in NY? I doubt it. If Heat fall to lottery status with their other “superstars,” that just tells you how good James really is.

  8. D.J. M&M says:

    hell no the knicks are not a playoff team.

  9. MzColumbo5529 says:

    I do believe that the Knicks have a chance to make the playoffs this year. I am hoping that the ‘Melo, J.R. and ‘Tiny’ Hardaway along with the combination of Jackson and Fisher will get us there!!

  10. dmh says:

    Rick Fox, the starting small forward on some of those Kobe-Laker championships I would think would be a reliable source as far as the implementation of the triangle. If he says it takes a bit to learn the ins and outs, I would take his word for it.

    The Johnny Flynn timberwolves never got the triangle and ultimately got worse under Kurt Rambis. Granted that was a very young twolf team but, on the other hand if the maturity to handle it is not there then the triangle does make teams get worse before they get better, if they ever do. The knicks are a more mature and skilled team than that twolf team was but still, there will be a learning curve.

    Speaking of maturity, how is Smith doing so far?

    Maybe Felton was the one holding the knicks back. I honestly think that Chandler being traded with Felton was more about what it would take to get rid of Felton than anything that Chandler did or didn’t do. Yes Chandler missed some games due to injury but, given the injury history with the knicks I think thats the least of the knicks injury woes. Even though there was that media back and forth between Jackson and Chandler, I don’t think it was as much about Chandler as it was Phil trying to play a little Zen with his own team. He has a history of those types of strange but yet, motivational comments. The only difference is that Phil is an executive now and not the coach.

    I agree with everyone that armchair predictions are a little early. Heck last season the Phoenix Suns were supposed to be at the bottom of the west instead of just barely missing the playoffs like they did. Armchair bickering is fun in the offseason while we wait for the season to start. If we look objectively both on paper and at history though, one must admit that the odds are not there yet. Just like the Suns last year though the knicks do have the potential to surprise me as they weren’t that far away from the playoffs last year….. It all depends on how everyone on the roster adjusts to the triangle.. History with the adjustment period is not on the knicks side whatsoever even if they may be better off in the longrun…..

  11. Marcus says:

    Right now, the Knicks are definitely worse than these teams in the east: Cleveland, Chicago, Toronto, Miami

    Also, they are probably worse then these also, depending on how things to (ex: injuries): Charlotte, Washington

    I would say they are on par with these teams: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Indiana

    and definitely better than the rest: Boston, Philadelphia, Orlando, Milwaukee, Detroit

    So, the Knicks definitely have a shot to make the playoffs, but it will be tough. If they do make the playoffs, I don’t see them being higher than a 6th seed, which will mean a 1st round loss.

    Their problem is trading away their young talent and overpaying for players. Hopefully Jackson will be able to reverse that thought. But it will definitely take more than one season.

  12. Reggie says:

    The east is too wide open to not consider the Knicks a playoff team, heck, I can see even see Philly, Boston, Detroit make a run for the 8th seed. But with a 1st time coach and a downgrade in defense there is sure to be problems along the way to make it to the playoffs.

  13. vern says:

    I believe the Knicks will make the playoffs. Last season started them off with injuries and a suspension, they never had a team at full strength, played YMCA defense which caused them to get beat the same way each time they were on the defensive end and still ended up fighting for the final spot. The chemistry was a mess and no one was on the same page as the other. Coaching decisions and lack of adjusting on the fly, depending too much on one player, even if it was Anthony. I disagree that Chandler leaving will hurt because he was barely there last year and when he was he rarely showed up to play. The way Felton played had a person wondering how he lasted in the nba as long as he did, IMO.
    I think Stoudemire will have a monster year (depending on his injury proneness) since he’ll be playing for a contract whether it’s with the Knicks or somewhere else. I think the only problem will be how quick they handle the new system. The system they had last season was so bad that I think any new system will be a blessing for the players. Also the added confidence of having Phil Jackson on their team can work wonders even though it’s not in a coaching position.

  14. kris says:

    For all the Knicks negative bashers I have only one thing to say is that please do not jump into conculusion as the new Knicks are capable of pulling out some serious basketball and proving all their critics wrong in times to come and then all of of a sudden all the negative thinkers at the start of the season will forget about all their predictions which they are making based on paper only.,

  15. Dontdisrespect says:

    It’s funny how disrespectful you people are…. Just one year removed of being the second seed and barely missing the playoffs last year, everyone writes my Knicks off.. You’ll be left with your foot in your mouth when Melo wins MVP this year mark my word…. This guy misses the playoffs once in his career(Melo) and now you guys think it will be a reoccurring thing get out of here!!!!
    With a healthy Amare(also last year of contract so he will play his heart out + if he we play him hard and he gets hurt its ok mentality because we not reing up with him anyway), JR starting focused and without suspension and coming off a healthy summer( no rehab on knee) Decent bench that fits with the triangle perfectly you will see the Knicks as a top 5 in the weak East big FACTS!!!!

  16. Nathan Phifer says:

    S. Smith, I really don’t think you know what you’re talking about. You say you have to wait until Christmas to see if the Knicks is Playoff material, well hell I thought these were suppose to be predictions, everyone would know by then. Come on man!

  17. Enrique perez says:

    i know this is a conversation about the Knicks, but I want to talk about the Pacers. Why is everybody counting them out just because they have their superstar injured, and last year everybody were praising their “team” playing basketball. Everybody said that they were not a single man game and now everybody is counting them out just because their main man is out?

  18. Nino says:

    You all appear to air on the side of caution here when stating that IF they make the playoffs it would either be the 8th seed or due to a collaspe by another team due to injury. You all ATTEMPT to justify your “predictions” with evidence but you have little to rely on. The truth is that this team which IS better than last years squad, will make the playoffs and do so by not backing in. Last year this team lost many games in the fourth quarter often times in the final minutes. This was due to many things but glaringly to a worn out Melo and continuous breakdowns on the defensinve end. This will NOT happen on Fisher and Phil. Even if we can win half of these close games we will in the very least be at the 45 to 47 win total. If we can stay healthy, there is little to no reason why we could not post 50 wins and that’s a prediction!

  19. ademdemirdag says:

    Why don’t you tell us which team(s) will be out of the playoffs if Knicks is in ? It’s easy to say the Knicks will be in the playoffs. But who will be out ?
    Last year :
    Indiana, Miami, Washington, Toronto, Brooklyn, Chicago, Atlanta and Charlotte made the playoffs.

    This Year:
    Miami,Chicago, CLEVELAND, Charlotte, Washington, Toronto are LOCKS. Tha makes 6 teams.
    Only 2 more spots, 5 more candidates : Indiana, Brooklyn, New York, Detroit and Atlanta. I can’t see 2 of Atlanta, Indiana and Brooklyn getting out of this years’ playoffs, i’m sorry but Knicks may be out of the playoffs.

  20. teg says:

    something tells me they’ll barely miss the playoffs again. saying barely however means that I think they will at least compete to get into playoffs. I predict the Nets and Hawks would be 7th and 8th. Pacers would also have a fighting chance but not sure how they will turn out. there’s also the Pistons who I think will be in the hunt as well.

  21. Kareem says:

    I believe the Knicks will make the playoffs, Although learning a new offensive system.I believe the Knicks will play a more traditional lineup which should lead to a better defensive display than a year ago. Calderon at PG Jr.Smith or Iman at SG with Melo Amare and Dalembert or Jason Smith up front. It won’t be easy for them to make it however I can see the Pacers falling out of the top 8 with PG13 s (Paul George) injury. I have these set of teams fighting for a playoff spot in no particular order Cavs Bulls Wizards Heat Bobcats Raptors… Hawks Nets Knicks and the Pistons will fight for the last 2 spots. And yes I said it Detroit Pistons should and will be in contention for a playoff birth. Stan Van Gundy should have them playing decent basketball.

  22. TonyToca says:

    They will but in 2016 not this season.

  23. harriethehawk says:

    New York will not make the playoffs on their own merit. It will be because one or more these top 8 Leastern Conference teams had chemistry and/or health issues: Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami. Toronto, Wizards. I also agree that the Knicks, Nets AND Detroit will battle for the 8th seed. One more comment: something about the Raptors. I’m not sure that they will excel again…except Lou Williams, I’m not amused at all by their bench.

  24. norman markowitz says:

    The comments are way to negative. As a Knick fan since 1954, age ten, I have no hopes of the team reaching either the NBA or Conference Finals, but I think they have a chance to do a lot better than the commentators do. Toronto isn’t that good and can easily fall back. And the Nets, even with a better coach, don’t have Pierce any more and a returning Brooke Lopez with an injury history. I think the Knicks have a shot to finish above five hundred and win the division.
    Calderon is a major improvement over Felton. Frankly, Tyson Chandler because of age and injury was a bigger risk than Delembert and less of a scoring force. If Fisher can work with Hardaway and Schumpert as guards(the guard play was the biggest disaster last year) and a more coherent offense can take the pressure off of Anthony than can have a major bounceback year and win a round in the playoffs. That doesn’t mean they have a chance against Cleveland or a Chicago with Derek Rose playing anywhere near the level he was, but against Atlanta, Charlotte, Indiana, the Nets, Toronto, I think they can do well.
    Remember also, that last year’s disasterous year was actually two years, three quarters of the season where they were 20 games under five hundred and a quarter of the season where their record was one of the best in the league. Last year they also lost at least 4 games by sheer stupidity, Schumperts fouling Paul George at the Buzzer and letter him make three free throws to send the game into overtime; the failure against Washington with a one point lead and less than 10 seconds to go to defend against Wall making an easy layup and then the failure to call time out, costing the game; the failure with a one point lead against Dallas at the buzzer to guard against Nowitski taking the last game winning shot, which everyone everywhere expected he would. And finally, the worst of all, Smith, with less than 10 seconds left and a one point lead, taking and missing a three point shot rather than killing seconds and being fouled, and then, adding injury to stupidity, the Knicks fouling the rebounder and losing the game. Those four games were the result of Woodson’s losing the team, not failures of execution but of understanding. The Knicks would have been at five hundred and in the playoffs against a big Indiana team if they won those games. Hopefully, with the changes and Fisher they won’t lose games like that and will execute better in close games, most of which they lost last years

    • Anthony says:

      I’m agree with u 100% on what you say we lost a lots of game we should have won and I think we should win our division because the teams in our division is not that better then us. …

    • Sam Reyes says:

      Wow!!, im a mavs fan and after DN goes to retire i will follow LBJ. now let me say your coments are really valid in many ways and i like, Fisher as a coach, he will make a big diference also if they all get confidence fast i see them doing a great job even in the playoffs.

      reggards

  25. oj says:

    I don´t think the knicks will go to the playoffs. But if Indiana, Brooklyn and Atlanta fall….maybe.

    The “almost” max deal to Carmello will cripple the rooster for the next years.

    • TTKIN says:

      haha that was the finniest thing to me.

      “he took a paycut to stay”
      “I didn’t stay for the $”

      Ok dude, when a max is 125 and u take 124, ya u didn’t sign for the max, but cmon, u signed for the max and u signed for the money. Ur not fooling anyone haha.

  26. KingdomMan says:

    Pls…NYK ain’t winning anything…

  27. ExilD says:

    Their roster is so-so med-core at best, but Fisher/Phill will impose their well

  28. TTKIN says:

    Still weird to me saying CHA is a top team in its conference haha. I know they’ve improved, and I love their roster, but Im still too used to their .100 winning percent they had for like 3-4 straight yrs.

  29. Isaac Kokhba says:

    Jackson & Fisher have a winning tradition.As said before,the team was close to the play-offs & has since been upgraded.
    Carmelo Anthony speaks of a new spirit among the members of the team & the above counts a lot.
    The youngsters learned the basics of triangle offense in the summer league.Why shouldn’t it apply to the older players?
    It may take a little more time,but that is the preseason for in addition to establishing chemistry,where it didn’t exist before.