Carmelo Anthony (A)
The NBA scoring champ will receive criticism one way or another, but it was truly a great season for Carmelo who put up 28.7ppg, 7rpg and 2.6apg, and led the team to their 1st division title in almost 20 years. Carmelo finally made a conscious effort to defend with vigor, demonstrated by his early season dives into the crowd for loose balls and nightly rebounding battles against naturally bigger PF’s. Although he slipped a bit during the Conference Semi-Finals with subpar 4th quarter performances, it was mainly due to carrying a team suddenly lacking consistent performers, i.e. Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith.
J.R. Smith (C+)
After a breakout regular season that culminated with winning the NBA 6th Man Award with averages of 18.1ppg on 42% shooting, J.R. had a nightmare playoff run that saw his averages drop to 14.3ppg on 33% shooting, reportedly mainly due to excessive partying during the playoffs. His poor postseason performance that also included a one-game suspension and controversial remarks might be the main reason the Knicks failed to meet lofty playoff expectations.
Tyson Chandler (B-)
Prior to the late season injury bug, Chandler was enjoying a solid 2nd season in New York after making his first All-Star team as well as providing his infectious defense and leadership to the team. But all went downhill after Chandler injured his neck, knee and battled strep throat, which resulted in a loss of 12lbs entering the postseason. Due to his physically limitations, Tyson was rendered almost useless by a supposedly decrepit Kevin Garnett and then utterly destroyed by Roy Hibbert. Although he would be named to the All-Defense 1st team, the honor rings hollow as his playoff performance is all we are left with.
Amar’e Stoudemire (INC)
It would be easy to say Amar’e gets an F because he was basically absent all season, but when he did play (29gms, 14.2ppg) he was affective in his new role as a super-reserve. But after two surgeries and appearing in only four playoff games, to be fair, his grade has to be incomplete.
Jason Kidd (C+)
Kidd’s biggest problem was his age (40) as he slowly wore down as the season went along and went from a starter, to reserve, to the end of the bench after going scoreless 10-consecutive playoffs games. Although Kidd provided solid contributions during the season, his late season swoon would only suggest things will get worse not better for the future hall-of-famer.
Raymond Felton (B-)
Felton had a solid season after returning to the Knicks to replace PG Jeremy Lin, averaging 13.9ppg, 5.5apg, and 3rpg. As usual Felton provided his trademark toughness to the team helping the Knicks capture their first division title in almost two decades with a 54-28 record and the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. His postseason averages of 14.1ppg, 4.7apg and 3.4rpg were solid. The only question that remains with Raymond is, can the Knicks win a championship with him as the starter?
Iman Shumpert (A-)
Shump slowly played his way back into the explosive, lock-down defender that we all saw during his rookie year. After returning from his ACL injury, Shump was able to start at the SF position the remainder of the year without incident, and by the postseason was clearly the Knicks’ second best player behind Anthony. Unlike most of his teammates, Shumpert actually played better in the postseason shutting down Paul Pierce, Paul George and a variety of other perimeter players. His playoff averages of 9.3ppg and 6.0rpg while impressive, still do not describe the impact Shumpert had in games. With a willingness to play Summer League this summer, the sky is the limit with this youngster.
Kenyon Martin (B+)
Kenyon Martin proved to be a savior of sort after rescuing the Knicks frontcourt, which had been decimated by injuries. Martin came in and immediately brought his trademark toughness to a team sorely lacking in that department, as well as his rebounding and defense. Martin, a career PF, played much of this year at C , as he seamlessly fit in offensively, averaging 7.2ppg in 23mpg, arguably GM Glen Grunwald’s best FA signing.
Pablo Prigioni (A-)
The ultimate pass-first PG found a niche on this team as the pesky full court press defender that created all kinds of havoc on the court! As the season progressed, Pablo proved to be a great facilitator, as his confidence grew so did his shot. He became a knock down 3pt shooter and the glue to the team, especially during the teams late season winning streak.
Chris Copeland (B-)
The rookie really impressed when given his opportunity, showing a consistently good 3pt shot and the overall ability the score the ball evident by his 30pt games in Carmelo Anthony’s absence. By the postseason, he had worked his way into an important member of the rotation and even was credited as the hero of Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final round.
Steve Novak (D)
After a breakout 2011-12, Novak regressed this year as expectations rose. His once automatic shot (47% last yr) disappeared most of the season (42% this year). Against good defensive teams Steve continued to struggle to get his shot off, only taking wide open shots, which were far and few between. His inconsistent play this year was the main reason rookie Chris Copeland surpassed him on the depth chart.
James White (D)
White spent the entire year glued to bench, as his biggest role was as team cheerleader and competitive practice sparring partner for Carmelo Anthony
Marcus Camby (F)
Unfortunately Camby spent the entire season, including the preseason, injured or recovering from injuries! A lost year for Camby, but with 2 years still left on his deal, still has time to make an impact if the Knicks don’t decide to buy him out.
Kurt Thomas (C)
Although Thomas didn’t finish the year with the team, his courageous and unselfish act of playing on a broken foot against the Utah Jazz basically ending his season and possibly his career, will no doubt endear him to the fan base for many years to come.
Rasheed Wallace (INC)
Rasheed’s surprising retirement announcement prior to the playoffs was a huge blow to the team because during his brief stint before his injury (21 games), Wallace still effectively defended the post, scored down low, hit the 3-ball, and provided toughness the team was lacking. There’s some talk of Wallace officially joining the coaching staff next season which would be a class move by Coach Woodson.