After a disappointing NBA season, the New York Knicks are left to wonder what the next moves for the franchise will be heading into the future. The signing of Phil Jackson as president of basketball operations should be a step in the right direction for the organization, but the Knicks came into this NBA season hoping to contend for an NBA title, and ended up not even advancing to the playoffs in the lowly Eastern Conference.
Before looking ahead to the future of the Knicks, what was it that caused the team to struggle so mightily this NBA season? The simplest answer to this question would be to say a combination of many things. Throughout the regular season, it became clear that the Knicks were not one of the elite offensive teams in the league.
The Knicks relied so heavily on Carmelo Anthony for their scoring punch, that they had little to no ball movement on the offensive end. While Anthony had another stellar season as he ranked second in the league in scoring with 27.4 points per game, while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc, the team as a whole suffered on the offensive end.
The Knicks 98.6 points per game ranked 21st in the league, while their average of 20.1 assists per game was 27th in the NBA. The Knicks also ranked 27th in the association in team rebounding at 40.4 per game. Much of the reason for their slack on the boards was due to a leg injury to starting big man Tyson Chandler.
Chandler missed 26 games for the Knicks this season and during those games it was clear that the Knicks rebounding and defense suffered. In the absence of Chandler, Carmelo Anthony stepped up yet again for the Knicks as he averaged a career high 8.1 rebounds on the year, which was second highest on the team, behind Chandler’s 9.6.
The biggest problem of all for the Knicks this season was team chemistry. Players never seemed to be on the same page as head coach Mike Woodson, and the Knicks players did not seem to work well with each other on the court. Despite the efforts by Carmelo Anthony, he will miss the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career.
So what does Phil Jackson have to get this Knicks team back on track in the future? Well, the Zen Master would have to pull off a near miracle to improve the team in the upcoming season. In this year’s talented NBA draft, the Knicks have zero, yes you heard that correctly, zero first round picks.
So if the Knicks are unable to draft any star players, they will need to sign some free agents. The only problem is that the Knicks will likely be targeting free agents in the 2014-15 NBA season instead of this upcoming offseason. This may not work out for the Knicks As even now it unclear as to whether or not the team will even be able to lock up key players on their current roster.
Tyson Chandler has said publicly that he wants to win now and does not want to wait around for another year before becoming a title contending team. With rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony that he may go to the Bulls or even the Rockets next season, even if the Knicks kept him they would likely spend almost all of their cap space on a contract locking him down.
So while the Knicks forgettable 2013-14 season may end on Wednesday night, with no first round picks in the upcoming draft, their immediate future may not be any brighter.
Commentary By Eric Kummel