After what seems like eight long weeks of the NBA season, the New York Knicks stand no better than they did when they began the year. The Knicks are at an even 13-13 record, which isn’t the worst thing. However, they still remain an enigma, leaving us with the same questions week to week. They still haven’t shown they can win on the road, despite playing the worst team in the league, the Chicago Bulls. This remains a glaring problem, that will become more prominent once the Knicks start playing away from Madison Square Garden more. Despite all that has gone wrong, the Knicks find themselves in the East’s eighth playoff seed – one spot higher than the previous week.
*All stats are as of December 12th, before last night’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
New York Knicks Weekly Recap: Average
The Record: 13-13 – 8th in the Eastern Conference
The Unicorn Struggles
In the past three games, Kristaps Porzingis is shooting 42 percent from the field and 27 percent from three point range. These numbers are very different from what we are used to seeeing, after his offensive explosion to open up the season. Porzingis has struggled with injuries as of late. These injuries have no doubt made an impact on his performance on the court. Despite all this, the Knicks offense seemed to align in the three games which he returned. Winning all except for one against the Chicago Bulls in which Porzingis missed the winning shot.
One of the biggest blessings to the Knicks roster. Doug McDermott was a throw in, when the Knicks traded for Carmelo Anthony. Like Enes Kanter, most fans didn’t know who he was. McDermott has become an important piece in the Knicks rotation. This was a big week for him, which led to a 23 point explosion on Sunday. In 26 games this season, McDermott has shot 49 percent from the field this season. His offensive consistencies have been a great help to the Knicks. He’s sixth on the team in field goal percentage. McDermott has struggled with defense this year which has been a major reason he has sat out of the later minutes in games. If he can work on his defense, McDermott can be even more of a dangerous piece in the Knicks rebuild.
Shake and Bake
Ron Baker has been an interesting player for the Knicks the past two seasons. He hasn’t necessarily excelled in his role. But he’s done most things right to be a good consistent bench player for this team. When called upon this season, Baker has come to play. He played a season high 31 minutes on Sunday and has been a nice temporary patch to the void Tim Hardaway Jr‘s injury has made. Baker has averaged four free throw attempts in the two games he played this week. This is important for a team that has struggled to make the free throw line when Porzingis has been out. If his consistent play can continue, he can be an important piece to the Knicks bench.
This team is exactly a reflection of their record. No better and no worse than .500. They have had ample opportunities to build win streaks and steal games from better teams. Yet here they stand, winning just enough games to avoid a losing record. Injuries have obviously played a factor, but it is still a mystery as to what Knicks team you’ll see on a night to night basis. This is evident from after holding the Memphis Grizzlies to 88 points, but giving up 104 points to the NBA worst Chicago Bulls. The Knicks are definitely not out of the playoff race. But they have a lot to prove before they can truly believe they are a playoff team. Right now they aren’t good or bad, they’re average.
Their schedule only gets harder from here. The Knicks have three games this week against the Los Angles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, and Oklahoma City Thunder, which started off with a win last night over the Lakers. Although the Nets have a sub .500 record, they are teams that can win on any given night. These look to be great match ups for the Knicks, and will give New York a chance to show what they’re made of.
Tim Hardaway Jr. New York Knicks, during the New York Knicks vs Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Basketball game at Madison Square Garden, New York. USA. 15th March 2014. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)