Will a week on the road help what ails the Knicks?
JAIME C. HARRIS Special to the AmNews | 1/26/2012, 2:12 p.m.
What is the remedy to cure the Knicks' ills? A long, four-game road trip isn't the answer. Nonetheless, that's what they are facing in the midst of a losing stretch that has the organization's brain trust contemplating the short- and long-term direction of the team.
The Knicks began their week on Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats with a record of 6-10, desperately seeking to end a six-game losing streak, the latter four coming at Madison Square Garden. They were in Cleveland last night (Wednesday) to take on the Cavaliers and tomorrow (Friday) they will face the Miami Heat. The Knicks will conclude the five-day excursion Saturday night versus the surging Houston Rockets.
The troubles they have sustained are deeper than not having a viable point guard to orchestrate the offense, although that has undoubtedly been a primary source of the team's struggling offense. The hope is that Baron Davis, who is recovering from a herniated disk in his back and began practicing with his teammates on Monday, will be a positive infusion into the lineup.
However, Davis has not played a single minute this season and can't be expected to be a savior. Upon his return, the 32-year-old veteran's floor time will likely be limited to roughly 25 minutes per game at the outset until his conditioning allows him to go further.
"It's not about the point guards," said the Knicks' Bill Walker after a 119-114 double-overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets at MSG. "The rookie," referring to Iman Shumpert, "and the rest of the guys are doing a good job. There are a lot of things that you could look at that have been a factor [to the losing streak]. Not having a training camp has definitely been a cause. It's not an excuse, because no [team] had a real training camp, but when you have as many new players as we do, it takes time to develop chemistry."
The Knicks have eight players on their current roster who weren't part of the team last season. Yet, the turnover hasn't dissuaded the detractors of head Mike D'Antoni from calling for his firing.
"I feel sorry for coach," added Walker. "He's doing everything that he can. Ultimately, it's up to the players to turn things around."
It may not be justified, but if the Knicks continue losing, D'Antoni just might be a sacrificial lamb.