If the Knicks are suffering from any ailment it is by far their inconsistencies in the playoffs. Their regular season accolades far exceed their post-season attempts in almost every way. From field goal percentage to points scored to rebounding (which the Knicks weren’t spectacular at to begin with), the Knicks seem to go through an unexplainable regression from the post season to the regular season.
During the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics, the Knicks were able to pick up where they had left off at the end of the regular season with Carmelo Anthony shooting around 45% from the field while hitting over 50% of his 3-point shots within the first two games. However, in the two games the Knicks dropped to the Celtics, Anthony’s field goal percentage decreased dramatically when he shot only 28.6% and 33.3% respectively. Even when the Knicks were able to advance past the Celtics to the conference semi-finals, Anthony’s prolific shooting abilities became even more erratic. In three out of the Knicks four losses to the Indiana Pacers, Anthony shot under 40% from the field while he shot over 40% in the two games the Knicks won.
Clearly, the Knicks not only live and die by the three point shot, but their success is also predicated on how well Anthony plays in terms of his accuracy and the amount of points he scores. Even when Anthony puts up strong scoring numbers in the upper thirties or higher, the Knicks still seem to find themselves in precarious situations that ultimately result in an epic collapse rather than a supreme victory.
However, despite these disappointments, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks shouldn’t feel any animosity towards each other for these past transgressions. The fact that the Knicks were able to win their division for the first time since 1994 should incite a sense of confidence rather than dismay. While Knicks fans are no doubt clamoring for a national championship since they acquired their last one over 40 years ago, the fact that this team has taken the steps it has to be relevant again should be an encouraging sign even to fans who have been drained emotionally over these last few decades.
With that being said, the Knicks still need to find a way use the talent they have, along with Anthony, to take them to the biggest stage in the NBA. They already have a great all-around center in Tyson Chandler who can not only make the necessary shots (63.8% from the field during the regular season) but who can also be an intimidating defensive presence that can be both physical and swift especially when it comes to rebounding (10.7 RPG during the regular season).
On top of that, the Knicks have a young and dynamic small forward in Iman Shumpert who has developed into a solid shooter who can also proficiently rebound the ball in critical situations. Even Raymond Felton has stepped up effectively in place of Jason Kidd who went through his own post-season struggles especially when it came to shooting the ball accurately down the stretch.
When all is said and done, Anthony definitely has all the necessary tools around him that when they all function with harmonious cohesion is capable of being a well-balanced force to be reckoned with. If the Knicks can play with the same confidence and vigor in the post season that they displayed during the course of their regular season, then they stand a chance at being one of the most formidable teams in the eastern conference.
While Carmelo Anthony himself has proven to be every bit the scoring juggernaut he has been since his collegiate years at Syracuse, in order for this team to go the distance Anthony will have to be a part of the system rather than a required crutch that hinders this teams ability to work together confidently.