Last week, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said it’s too early in this NBA season for him and his players to panic despite their abysmal start. He was right. His statement is justified by the fortuitous reality that no one team in the Atlantic Division is going to separate itself from the rest of the pack anytime soon.
Nevertheless, Woodson’s frustration meter reached its highest level after the Knicks began this week on Monday night by getting run off the court in Portland by the Trailblazers. The 102-91 loss was the sixth straight loss for the downward-trending Knicks, who moved on to Los Angeles to face the Clippers last night (Wednesday) with a 3-10 record, tied for second worst in the 15-team Eastern Conference. In contrast, it was the Blazers’ 11th consecutive win.
“We came out not ready to play,” said Woodson, his words jumping through high-definition flat-screens across New York. This is what Woodson’s Knicks have become: Carmelo Anthony and a cast of no one. Criticize him as much as you want, but Anthony had to be the mayor, police commissioner, fire chief and everything else the town requires as his teammates fell short of providing him with any semblance of acceptable support.
Anthony’s 34 points and 15 rebounds, juxtaposed with Iman Shumpert’s line of zero points, zero assists and zero rebounds in 23 minutes and J.R. Smith’s six points in 25 minutes, illuminate the state of affairs for the Knicks. They can’t win with such little production and efficiency from Shumpert and Smith.
“I think Woodson’s doing a phenomenal job teaching us the game,” said Amar’e Stoudemire. “It’s up to us players.”
And that is why the Knicks’ roster must be altered. There is clearly a crisis in chemistry that cannot be corrected by the coach. It must come from general manager Steve Mills and owner James Dolan. “Operation Get Rondo,” as in the Boston Celtics’ Rondo Rajon, must be carried out at nearly any cost.