Harris DeckerMy plan was to write a report card for the first half of the season, but that seems like an act in futility. After losing five of the last six games before the break, including losses to the Kings and Bucks, it’s probably better to look to the future. Wallowing in the past is no fun.
The second half of the season starts on Tuesday. Coming out of the All-Star break, the Knicks have a very, very tough schedule. While they have reprieves against the Pelicans and Magic, their second half opens with matchups against the Grizzlies, Heat, Hawks and Mavericks. And who says that the Pelicans and Magic aren’t better teams than the Knicks? Things don’t get much easier after that, with games against the Bulls and Warriors to close out the month of February.
So, what can we look forward to? There have been things to enjoy for the Knicks. Tim Hardaway Jr., for one. He’s been a dynamic scorer in his rookie campaign and is as fun to watch as anyone on the team. If the Knicks are planning to make a playoff run, they’ll need him to continue to shine, and if not, he’ll be a key piece for years to come.
It’s also important to cherish Carmelo Anthony in the final months of the season. Anthony is having another incredible season for the Knicks. He is second in the league in scoring to Kevin Durant and is enjoying a career high in rebounds with 8.6 per game. Another amazing statistic for Anthony are his 2.4 turnovers per game. That number is the lowest of his career. On a team full of players failing to reach their potential, Anthony is simply amazing.
Of course, there are players out there that need to turn things around heading into next season. The main guys are Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler. Both are touted as the best defenders on the team and both have been very average on that side of the court. Both need big second halves in order to build some momentum heading into the offseason and 2014-15.
Let’s not mail things in too soon. The team is still alive in the Eastern Conference and currently sit only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. The reality is, with the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat playing incredible basketball, it’s hard to see this Knicks team making a stand in 2014. I’m staying optimistic, but I’m looking towards the future instead of agonizing over the 20 win first half the Knicks just wrapped up.