The New York Knicks lost all 4 games in Week 5 of NBA action, falling to 3-13 on the year. New York kicked off the road trip by visiting the Portland Trailblazers on Monday, losing 91-102. Wednesday came with another loss in Los Angeles against the Clippers, 80-93. Friday was the Nuggets in Denver, where the Knicks fell 95-97 in the final minute after a blocked game-tying shot by Carmelo Anthony. To end the road trip, the Knicks hosted the New Orleans Pelicans to make it 9 losses in a row with a 99-103 loss. The New York Knicks are now last place in the Atlantic Division and tied for last in the Eastern Conference.
Even at full strength, this past week would have been a tough one for the Knicks. The Trailblazers are off to a blazing hot start, and the Knicks were just a pebble in the way for Portland’s road to the playoffs. The Knicks are struggling mightily, and any win they can get will be a stepping stone to recovery. Every point seems to matter, for example, the Denver game. Carmelo Anthony had shot the potential game-tying jumper, but had his shot blocked.
With each loss, the seat Mike Woodson sits on becomes warmer and warmer. Dolan and Mills set the expectations high before the season, preaching about an NBA Championship. The Knicks have been a win-now team for decades, and the first person the higher-ups look to replace is the head coach. Whether this happens or not, Woodson needs to match their expectations.
Last year, the Knicks thrived playing small-ball. Since New York has acquired Andrea Bargnani, Mike Woodson has ditched this philosophy. I have preached via Twitter all preseason about continuing to play small-ball. At this point, the Knicks have lost 9 consecutive games, and some players are already panicking. Attempting to play big with Andrea Bargnani at the 4 and (when healthy) Tyson Chandler at the 5 has not worked.
My suggestion is to go back to last years’ lineup in addition with Metta World Peace. Raymond Felton at the 1, Iman Shumpert at the 2, Metta World Peace at the 3, Carmelo Anthony at 4, and Tyson Chandler at the 5. Metta World Peace, who I have stated over Twitter could’ve been the most valuable offseason transaction, is only playing 17 minutes per game. Inserting him in the starting lineup allows the Knicks to have three defensive players on the floor to recover their defense-first mentality they had one year ago, which had won them 54 games.
With World Peace in the starting lineup, J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani would lead a second unit that would electrify opponents’ benches. Along with such offensive minded players off the bench, Kenyon Martin and Pablo Prigioni would join the bench to create a deep unit for Mike Woodson to deploy.
I would take Bargnani out of the starting lineup because he is struggling mightily on defense. His occasional blocks cannot account for letting opponents blow by him on several instances. Even with Tyson Chandler out to due to injury, Bargnani is not holding his own. The interior defense is embarrassing to even watch. Enough bashing on just Bargnani, as the Knicks defense is embarrassing as a whole. Inserting World Peace to the starting lineup would bring another notch on defense, with the ability to slow down any perimeter player in the league, yes, even LeBron James.