Things were supposed to be different this time around for the New York Knickerbockers.
Ownership twisted Mike D’Antoni’s arm into hiring a defensively-minded assistant coach in Mike Woodson, the team splurged on defensive specialist center Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire promised to defend with more tenacity, and the jaded fans at MSG even managed to launch into a few early-season chants of “DE-FENSE!”
Things have not been different for the Knicks this time around. It’s pretty much business as usual, as defense in New York remains a fantastical concept.
Last night in New York, the Charlotte Bobcats humiliated the Knicks, making Boris Diaw look like a Hall of Famer in the process. Afterward, Carmelo Anthony and embattled head coach Mike D’Antoni did their best to put a positive spin on the sputtering start (2-4) to the season.
“Just stick with it,” Anthony told his teammates. “It can’t get no worse than this.” Expectations were lofty for the Knicks coming into the season. With Tyson Chandler in tow, the Knicks believed they had the best front line in the NBA. Mike D’Antoni went as far as to say his team should contend for an NBA title. It’s early, but after six games, the Knicks don’t have the look of a title contender. And, naturally, there is some frustration in the locker room.
“I’m sure they’re frustrated,” Mike D’Antoni said after the Knicks’ loss to the Bobcats on Wednesday. “They didn’t want to start off 2-4, but at the same time, there are 60 more games left. So we know what we’ve got to do. They’ll hang in there, they’re good guys, a good group. We’ll solve the problems and we’ll get it done here. But it’s got to be sooner than later. We’ve got to get going.” The Knicks allowed the Bobcats to shoot 55% from the field on Wednesday, a night after Charlotte lost by 14 to Cleveland. Afterward, Chandler acknowledged that the Knicks were upset.
“Obviously, guys are upset,” he said. “Anytime you lose and you lose to a team that you know you should have beat then you know you’re going to be frustrated. If not, we [should] to be in different of sport.” Anthony said players were “down” after losing for the fourth time in five games.
The New York Knicks’ problems aren’t just on the defensive end of the floor. With Baron Davis nursing a back injury, and Mike Bibby rotting away, they don’t have any playmakers to make life easier for Carmelo and Amar’e Stoudemire.
As for Mike D’Antoni, his seat continues to heat up as he trudges through the final year of a $45 million contract, with fans and media turning on him almost daily.
But, hey, cheer up Knick fans. As ‘Melo said, things can’t possibly get any worse. Right?