The NBA All-Star weekend has come and gone, the New York Knicks entered the break with a record of 10 wins and 43 losses. Reaching this point has left New York with two things; the worst record in NBA history for a host team. The other is that Carmelo Anthony has closed up shop for the reaming 29 games of this season. This break could not have come soon enough for the Knicks.
The Knicks do not appear on court until Friday, February 20th against the Miami Heat. That results in the team having a week off (game wise, not practise wise) before their next contest. The Knicks havd only one member participating during All-Star weekend. Carmelo Anthony started in the front court for the Eastern Conference All-Stars.
For those who aren’t selected to participate in the weekends festivities, it usually means a 3-4 day break from basketball, period. A time to refresh ones body and mindset. For the Knicks, that shouldn’t happen. In all honesty, is anyone on this team, this year, deserving of three days off?
The Knicks sit dead last in the NBA, they are a team that HAD aspirations on improving from last season and playing their way into a top eight seed by the seasons end. I continually pinch myself, in an effort to wake up from this horrible nightmare. Sadly, it’s reality. If anything, this break should motivate individuals to work hard and return to the team ready, and willing, to contribute.
New York completed one trade in the rush before the deadline. The Knicks have many mediocre players who are either on one year contracts or are already being overpaid. The 29 remaining games are an opportunity for players to display their skill set which could, and most likely would, have an affect on their free agency market value. In simple terms, they are playing for a contract. The Knicks have been an utter embarrassment to the city of New York so far, but there is still time for redemption.
This break in the schedule allows for players like Cleanthony Early, Travis Wear and Quincy Acy to put their name forward in a bid to receive some extra minutes. It’s a time that the roster and more importantly, the younger players, can use to put in some extra work, earning themselves a spot in Derek Fisher’s rotation.
The Knicks theme for the remainder of the season is youth, New York has a handful of young and talented prospects. Alike to many inexperienced players, consistency is an issue.
The Knicks want to not only enter the 2015-16 season with talented free agent pick-ups, but with a strong, youthful core which allows for long, not short, term success. Not only are the rooks and sophomores competing for minutes, Andrea Bargnani is playing for his future in the NBA.
The most important thing the Knicks can do, is to not only work hard but refresh ones’ mind. To comeback with a renewed sense of positivity, putting the first 53 games behind them. All players on the roster have something to play for, if it be for a spot on this team, or a free agent contract on another team. There are players who are currently struggling to get consistent court-time. The road ahead – the remaining 29 games – allows for everybody to prove themselves.
The sidelining of Carmelo Anthony does have a positive, a small one at that. It allows for him to look at the team and the game from a different perspective. A coaching perspective compared to a player that is on the court for 36 minutes. From the outside of the situation compared to the inside. It should also further allow Anthony to be more of mentor.
Here’s what each player is striving for with this break and the last portion of the season.
Quincy Acy: Re-earning his spot in the rotation and playing for a contract this summer (free agent).
Cole Aldrich: Maintaining his position as the backup center, consistency and a contract this summer (free agent).
Lou Amundson: Playing for a spot on this team, or another team this summer (free agent).
Carmelo Anthony: To have more of a voice, helping the younger teammates develop further.
Andrea Bargnani: Playing for a contract in the National Basketball Association next season (free agent).
Jose Calderon: Keeping his role as the starting point guard, playing for a spot on this team or advertising his skills for another.
Cleanthony Early: Playing for a spot in the rotation going forward.
Langston Galloway: Maintaining his current role, playing for a fully guaranteed contract.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: Finding consistency and playing for a spot in the starting lineup.
Shane Larkin: Playing for a contract with, most likely, another team (free agent).
Alexey Shved: playing for a contract in the NBA. He has floated around in recent times and needs to impress in order to remain in the United States (free agent).
Jason Smith: Maintaining his role as a starter and playing for a contract with Knicks or another team this summer (free agent).
Lance Thomas: Playing for a starting spot and a contract with either the Knicks or another NBA team (free agent).
Travis Wear: Cracking the rotation and playing for a spot on this team or a contract on another team next season (restricted free agent).