It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the season that led to a two-seed in the East, it was the season where every game was a battle to stay out of the cellar. It was a Coach of the Year candidate, it was a hot seat by December. It was Rasheed Wallace’s bald spot, it was Iman Shumpert’s flattop. It was finding Chris Copeland, it was signing Chris Smith. 2013 was many things for the New York Knicks, and today, the TOK staff reflects on the year that was, and wasn’t.
Every week at Turn On The Knicks our staff will debate an issue of the week surrounding the team here in Roundtable Format. Today is a special edition, as we look back at the 2013 New York Knicks. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter, and follow the site right here. Let us know if you agree/disagree.
BEST KNICKS MOMENT IN 2013
Joe Caporoso - Knocking the Boston Celtics out the playoffs and finally see the New York Knicks win a playoff series. Even though they nearly had a meltdown for the ages in Game 6, a win is a win and a playoff series win is a playoff series win. Now how long do we have to wait for another one?
Chris Celletti - The way 2013 is ending is taking a lot of luster off of how good most of the year was for the Knicks. Even though the 2012-13 season ended a little earlier than we’d hoped, it was unquestionably the best Knicks season in a very, very long time. Despite being very close to the worst moment of the year, the Knicks defeating the Celtics in Game 6 in Boston to knock out their rival and win their first playoff series since George W. Bush’s first year in office was the pinnacle of the year, for me.
Kevin Smith - Winning the division isn’t something to hang your hat on for most fan bases, but looking back on it, the 2012-13 New York Knicks were the best Knicks team of this century so far, so I’ll take it.
Aaron Jacobs - It was awesome to watch Carmelo Anthony literally take the scoring title out of Kevin Durant’s hands last year. The two even met head-to-head down the stretch of last year’s Knicks winning streak and ‘Melo outscored Durant in that game. It was cool to see a Knicks player win the scoring title, the first one since Bernard King. For all the hate Anthony takes, you can’t deny his scoring prowess.
WORST KNICKS MOMENT IN 2013
Joe Caporoso - How about this past week of watching them play? More seriously, probably Roy Hibbert blocking Carmelo Anthony in Game 6, which seemed to turn the tide back to the Pacers in that elimination game.
Chris Celletti - For me, it was probably the firing of Glen Grunwald the day before training camp opened for the 2013-14 season. It’s not that Grunwald was a perfect GM; you can make a case he bungled the Knicks’ amnesty situation and helped form the oldest team in NBA history that broke down last season. But the move to fire him a day before a new season started, coming off the team’s best season in forever was the most James Dolan thing to ever happen. If there was ever any doubt as to who ran the Knicks, Dolan reminded us in only a way he could; not only did he fire a man who didn’t deserve it, he replaced him with Steve Mills, a holdover from the Isiah Thomas-Stephon Marbury-Anucha Browne Sanders Era, a man with no direct basketball experience. It was a rash, irresponsible move by a petulant wannabe bigshot that set an awful tone for what’s become a terrible season.
Kevin Smith - The funeral for the Boston Celtics was an utter disaster, and did nothing but awake a sleeping giant. The Knicks cut that series way closer than it had to be.
Aaron Jacobs - The Indiana Pacers series still hurts to this day, because I really feel like the Knicks would have given the Miami Heat a great series. Although Pacers vs. Heat last year was good, the Knicks beat the Heat 3-1 in their season series. The Knicks always play up to competition and this series is no different. It would have been amazing to see the Knicks make a conference finals, especially since all that seems like a distant memory now.
FAVORITE J.R. SMITH ANTIC IN 2013
Chris Celletti - The Pipe. Has to be The Pipe.
Kevin Smith - I thought J.R.’s buzzer beater guitar dance was a little cheesy the first time I saw, but he took it to a whole other level when he busted it out during a preseason game. The armored truck is a close second.
Aaron Jacobs - The armored truck was without a doubt the most ridiculous nonsense ever. Shows what happens when you give certain people money.
TOP KNICKS PLAY OF 2013
Joe Caporoso #SHUMP
Chris Celletti - A few come to mind, but I’ll nominate a composite of every Pablo Prigioni back-court swipe that occurred in the 2013 calendar year.
Kevin Smith - I have to go with Joe Cap on this one. At the time, I thought that the Shumpert dunk changed the whole series, but it turned out to be the pinnacle for the Knicks.
Aaron Jacobs - For me this is easy, the alley-oop pass from Pablo Prigioni to J.R. Smith last year was an amazing play. That was one that sent ripples through The Garden.
FAVORITE KNICKS PLAYER IN 2013
Joe Caporoso - Last year in the playoffs Iman Shumpert (certainly not this season’s Shumpert) and Carmelo Anthony, who is still pretty damn good despite the constant swarm of criticism.
Chris Celletti - I love the defense, leadership and grit that Tyson Chandler brings, but his weak postseason last year knocks him down a notch in my book. I’ll go with Carmelo Anthony, who I still believe you can win with as your centerpiece player…in the right situation.
Kevin Smith - Melo is the obvious answer, but I love what Rasheed Wallace brought to the table in his limited time here. I know most of his on the court contributions came in 2012, but even though he only got one extra game out of it, he spent most of 2013 rehabbing his injury while still being there for the squad. You can tell the guys genuinely liked to be around him and he brought a lot of wisdom to the team. The 2013-14 Knicks could definitely use a player like that. Also, Kurt Thomas is still the man.
Aaron Jacobs - The obvious answer is Carmelo Anthony, the guy does a little bit of everything while being a premier scorer in the NBA. He brought home the first scoring title since Bernard King, the player Anthony admired watching basketball. He arguably played the best basketball of his career last season and while a ton of people still criticize his isolation play, I don’t believe that’s all on him part of it is coaching. I do believe Anthony will stay in New York after this season just based on the extra year and 30 million he will receive for signing here, but the Knicks front office needs to get him help, not the Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith type of help, a legit second star.
LEAST FAVORITE KNICKS PLAYER IN 2013
Joe Caporoso - JR Smith from the second he threw that elbow at Jason Terry in the Celtics series last year.
Chris Celletti - I have nothing but unconditional love for every person who puts on a Knicks uniform. Except Cole Aldrich. Screw that guy.
(Just kidding Cole, I really like you and actually would like to see you play sometime.)
Kevin Smith - I cringe during 9 out of 10 of J.R. Smith’s field goal attempts.
Aaron Jacobs - A combination of J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire for me, mostly pertaining to the start of this season. J.R. Smith has always been a streaky player, but this year he hasn’t even consistently been hot for an entire game. He would blame the knee of course, but I blame the fact that this year he’s settling for even more contested fadeaway shots than last year and bricking more three’s than ever. The simple solution is to attack the rim, but he seems unwilling to do so and until that changes he’ll continue to be a train wreck on the court.
Amare Stoudemire has been a favorite player of mine personally since he came here and put the Knicks back on the map. Nobody can deny that he did that by having an MVP caliber season in 2010-2011 leading the Knicks to a playoff birth, although it was a first round exit. Countless knee surgery’s later and we see a shell of what Stoudemire used to be, He doesn’t have the up’s he once had, isn’t rebounding well and is defensing worse than ever. The only part of his game working are the post moves which are a hit or miss night in and night out. Right now he’s actually handicapping the Knicks when he’s in the game especially on defense.
BEST FRONT OFFICE MOVE IN 2013
Joe Caporoso - Drafting Tim Hardaway Jr looks pretty good so far.
Chris Celletti - Drafting Tim Hardaway, Jr. The Knicks couldn’t have expected to do much better with the 24th pick.
Kevin Smith - Tim Hardaway Jr. was a guy I had my eye on and was hoping the Knicks would pick. It’s not every year that your team takes the guy that you prefer, and in the Knicks case, it’s not every year that you have a first rounder.
Aaron Jacobs - Without a doubt Tim Hardaway Jr. being the 24th overall pick. It’s rare you can get an impact player that late in the first round, but the Knicks did that when they drafted THJ. He has been instant offense and excitement off the bench for them this year, and quickly becoming a fan favorite. Hopefully the Knicks don’t do something foolish like trade him for a rental player.
WORST FRONT OFFICE MOVE IN 2013
Joe Caporoso - Firing Glen Grunwald. JR Smith’s contract length/value. The Bargnani trade. Take your pick.
Chris Celletti - Since I called it my worst moment of the year, I have to go with the firing of Glen Grunwald. Even though he did make the Andrea Bargnani trade (or did he?) which is a close second.
Kevin Smith - If Melo wanted Dolan to give his brother a spot on the end of the bench that’s one thing, but when did J.R. Smith get good enough to the point where management has to appease him? The Knicks definitely could have used that final roster spot on a big man, or anybody besides Chris Smith.
Aaron Jacobs - I was all for J.R. Smith getting a contract that wasn;t too lucrative, but once again the Knicks proved to be very foolish. While on paper his contract doesn’t look like it’s too bad, the Knicks paid most of it up front. Just another dumb decision, because Smith seems to be more hesitant to attack the rim than ever and instead throws up brick after brick this season. Sure there could be blame placed on the surgically repaired knee, but he’s been even worse on the defensive end which to me is all about effort.
Oh and I really don’t even want to get started on Chris Smith. Why was this guy on the Knicks roster? The same could be said about Cole Aldrich, but Chris Smith is not an NBA caliber player. Can he have a few good games in the D-League? Sure. But for J.R. Smith to basically force the Knicks to sign his brother was a complete joke.