New York Knicks midseason report card
Type “bad” into a thesaurus and you’ll have all the words you need to describe the 2013-14 Knicks. Actually, be sure to look up “lazy” and “disappointing” too.
The Knicks were supposed to improve on a 54-28 season and No. 2 seed one year ago with an even deeper postseason run — specifically getting some revenge against Indiana.
It’s been anything but for a team struggling in 10th place in the Eastern Conference — behind mainstay embarrassments like the Wizards, Bobcats and Pistons. The Pistons, two games up on the Knicks at the All-Star break, fired their head coach last week.
So far, Mike Woodson has been able to avoid that fate in New York — but for how long?
Woodson said before the All-Star break he expected to return when the second half tips off Tuesday night in Memphis.
The same may not be said for the roster. The trade deadline comes Thursday afternoon and there could be some shake-ups, if not a complete overhaul. Don’t expect Carmelo Anthony to be dumped as part of a total rebuild, but Raymond Felton, Metta World Peace and even the always-on-block Iman Shumpert could be used to acquire pieces.
The only player living up to his part of the bargain this season is Carmelo Anthony. He’s second in the league in scoring (27.3 points), but he’s also on pace to be two rebounds above his career average and is right at his average of three assists. And after a slow start shooting, he’s picking it up. But would you blame him for wanting to opt out at the end of the season?
The Knicks couldn’t trade this bum fast enough — but no one needs a turnover-prone bench warmer. New York would love to add Kyle Lowry, but it’s not looking promising.
It’s hard to tell whether Knicks fans are at the “I told you so” or “he is what he is” stage with Bargnani. He’s averaging 13.3 points, which is about what you’d expect. But it wasn’t worth a first-round pick.
Shumpert is perennially on the trade block despite being one the fans’ favorite players. His shooting percentage has dipped to 38.2 percent, but he is rebounding, which is more than can be said for most.
His defense has been sliding for years — ever since winning the Defensive Player of the Year — and he missed a month with injuries. Why is he being paid $14.1 million?
Smith has dragged his shooting percentage up to 38.9, but is far from justifying his off-the-court diva persona. And his 13 points per game are a far cry from the 18 he scored last season as Sixth Man of the Year.
Prigioni was out for a month with a broken toe, but made his way back earlier than scheduled. He’s giving you almost the exact same thing he did last season (3.6 points, 3.4 assists). He’s a reserve. That’s all.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
When you draft arguably the Rookie of the Year (OK, maybe second to Michael Carter-Williams) at No. 24, you can’t complain. Hardaway is already shaping up as the team’s best pick since David Lee.
The Knicks’ highest-paid player will never justify his max deal, but he’s been capable this season — and mostly healthy. His 10.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in just 19.6 minutes is workable.
The Knicks got one year out of him. They shouldn’t have expected anymore. When Martin hasn’t been out with an assortment of injuries, he’s been missing layups and being outplayed by larger pivots.
Metta World Peace
The artist formerly known as Ron Artest returned to his hometown, but it’s not going as planned. He’s already saying he’d rather play somewhere else down the stretch. Go ahead. You won’t be missed.
It’s probably too soon to give Mills a true grade in his first half season as general manager for the Knicks. After all, it was thought to be Glen Grunwald’s future job all offseason. But Mills hasn’t gotten off to a good start if he’s botched the Lowry deal, as appears to be the case. Then again, what assets does he have?
If we took a poll of the Knicks fan base, we’re going to get a grade less than F. Somehow, owner James Dolan has become the one with patience and the fans want to give someone the ax. Woodson hasn’t done a good job, but it’s also hard with a roster well past its expiration date. Stoudemire, Chandler, World Peace and Martin are all a waste at this point in their careers. And even though Woodson has taken a hard line on Smith’s antics, it hasn’t helped. He’ll probably be gone in April regardless.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.