The firing of Mike Woodson has heated up this anticipated offseason for the New York Knicks. With rumors circulating that the head coaching job could be Steve Kerr’s, it’s necessary to analyze the Knicks key roster pieces for next season. The meager play by the Knicks current roster led to the firing of Mike Woodson. This week’s “Coach’s Corner” is focused on providing constructive criticism to the Knicks starting five.
Carmelo Anthony – Melo had his standard amazing statistical season, but he still needs to work on his passing. This season, his passing abilities showed improvement, but he needs to rely on his teammates more. With Melo playing a grueling 39 minutes a game, it is necessary to involve his teammates so the heavy offensive burden does not plague him with injuries at the end of the season. Melo only has 10.4 assists per 100 possessions. Anthony’s superstar peers Kevin Durant, and Lebron James assists per 100 possessions is 25.9 and 20.6 respectively.
J.R. Smith – J.R. Smith has to get to the rim more. Every Knick fan became used to J.R. settling for threes, and were left perplexed due to his excellent above the rim ability. Smith shot an excellent 57 percent when as close as five feet to the hoop. Smith’s basketball IQ has always been an issue, and this is clear when he doesn’t get to the hoop. This season, Smith shot a startling 255 shots from 25 to 29 feet, while only shooting 140 shots around the rim. From 25 to 29 feet, Smith only shot 35 percent. It’s inexcusable for Smith to be shooting almost twice as many threes compared to shots in the paint.
Tyson Chandler – Chandler has to prove to his teammates that he has a reliable post game. He did have a down defensive year, but the flaws in his offensive game were exposed. Without a reliable point guard Chandler was not provided with as many alley-oop attempts. This season Chandler only attempted a meager 12 shots in the post. Chandler will provide a necessary inside threat on offense if he is able to develop a respectable back to the basket game.
Raymond Felton – Felton’s inability to keep guards out of the paint on defense became a major problem. On a nightly basis, he was outplayed by opposing point guards and eventually became a defensive liability. In Felton’s “defense,” he was struggling with injuries, and personal issues throughout the season. This season, players that Felton guarded shot 59 percent from five feet or closer to the rim. Additionally, they attempted an astounding 1,221 shots within five feet when guarded by him. It is apparent that Felton needs to focus on his conditioning this offseason, so opponents are unable to drive into the paint at will.
Iman Shumpert – Going into the next season, the Knicks front office will be praying that Shumpert will develop into a reliable scorer. Shumpert needs to realize that his offensive potential languishes when he shoots too many threes. His athleticism and solid shooting touch is best used in the mid range and around the rim. Shumpert shot 46 percent from the midrange but only took 79 shots from that distance. Shumpert’s reluctance to shoot the midrange shows that he is still just an average ball handler. Throughout the season, it was evident that Shumpert was more comfortable as a spot up shooter.