This 2011-2012 Knicks season was very disappointing in my book. This was a team that I expected to contend in the eastern conference. I projected before the season that this team would win 44 games and defeat Miami in a playoff series. Clearly I was very wrong about those predictions. However, the past is the past and the future is now for the New York Knicks. While we continue to debate about acquiring free agents and the Lin v Nash debate, lets take a second to hand out grades to the Knicks from the 2011-2012 season.
Head of the class
Tyson Chandler: A-
- Chandler is the only Knick to receive an A from me for their performance this season. The only reason Chandler doesn’t receive an A+ from me is due to the fact that he under-performed in the playoffs. I understand that health had to do with that, but he just flat out played poorly in games 4 and 5. However, that should not overshadow his entire body of work. Make no mistake, Tyson Chandler was everything the Knicks thought he could be. And then some. Defensively, we knew he would make a difference, but nobody thought he would help bring this team from 21st in the NBA in defensive efficiency to 5th this season. Without Chandler in the lineup, the Knicks gave up an average of 116 points per game in 3 games played. Chandler dominated Dwight Howard defensively, holding the best center in the league to 28 points and 23 rebounds in three games. Offensively, the big man led the NBA in shooting percentage with a whooping 67.9% FG%. Chandler was the emotional leader of the team all season and the Knicks most consistent player. He was the Knicks most valuable player this season and he receives an A- from this Knick blogger. Here’s to you, Tyson!
Other Smart Kids
Iman Shumpert: B+
- Before Shumpert tore up his ACL (and my heart), he was having a phenomenal rookie season. While his offense needs some work, Shumpert was the Knicks best on-ball perimeter defender. He played lock down defense all season, holding opponents to just 33% shooting in isolation. Shumpert gets a B+ because of the impact he made on this season. When the Knicks were dealing with the Toney Douglas-Hindenburg experiment, Iman Shumpert was asked to step in as the starting point guard. He was not the best point guard, as that is not a position that takes advantage of his strengths, but he did give good, consistent effort. After Jeremy Lin came along, Shumpert was able to slide to the 2 guard position which really suits his skill set well. Shumpert had a fantastic second half of the season defensively, and even had some very strong offensive games. One of the things that I love about Shump is how willing and confident he is to guard the opposing team’s best player. Sure, he had games where he got burned by elite guys, but Shumpert always gave great effort. It was a great rookie season for Iman Shumpert, lets just hope he recovers fully from his gruesome injury.
Jeremy Lin: B+
- If Lin didn’t get hurt, I would give him an A. Lin basically saved the Knicks season. Before the Taiwanese 5th string point guard jumped into action, the Knicks were 8-15 and I was getting ready to hang myself. Lin is kind of like Batman in a way (stick with me here). The Knicks, who do play in Gotham City, were in complete disarray before Lin came along. Lin was already a popular figure, being Asian in a league with like 2 other Asian players, but his talent was largely un-noticed by everybody. All the sudden, he puts his Bat suit on and saves Gotham from destruction. This comparison is a reach, as there is no Bat suit, Robin or Mr. Penguin, but you get what I’m saying. If it wasn’t for Lin, there would have been no Linsanity (duh), there would have been no playoff berth and there would have been no playoff win. Jeremy Lin saved the Knicks season. It wasn’t Carmelo Anthony or Mike Woodson, it was Jeremy Lin. The Knicks finished as a 7 seed. Without the spark from Linsanity that at least kept them afloat, they would have been a lottery team, except that they don’t have a first round pick this year. Like 300 other guys on the Knicks, Lin also suffered a bad knee injury, so I pass my regards to him as well.
- Steve Novak gets a B+ for two reasons. 1) he was spectacular this season and 2) because he does the goofiest, yet most awesome celebration ever. Novak was probably my favorite Knick this season, due to the fact that he is such a goofball. He’s just this tall, lanky white guy who does a championship belt when he hits big threes, but I just think he’s dandy! I celebrated almost every single one of his three pointers in incredibly obnoxious and over the top fashion, but I enjoyed every minute of it. In serious talk, Novak was also the most lethal three point shooter in the league. His 47.2% three point shooting percentage led the NBA. He would have garnered an A here if he hadn’t have done a complete Houdini act in the playoffs. To be fair, that had a lot to do with the facts that 1) Woodson ran 0 plays for him and 2) the Heat played him well. This is a production based game and Novak didn’t really produce anything in the playoffs. He did manage to get through the year with his ACL in tact though.
Mike Woodson: B-
- Iron Mike Woodson gets a B- from me. He was just solid. He wasn’t spectacular, but he wasn’t horrible. I can’t give him full credit for the Knicks regular season turnaround, as the Knicks success had more to do with guys actually trying as opposed to Woodson’s actual coaching. As a coach, Woodson is very mediocre. His offense is too stagnant, too isolation oriented and was far too ineffective against Miami in the first round. Defensively, the Knicks were very good under Woodson until the last 10 games of the season in which they were worse than they were under D’Antoni. Overall, Woodson was just okay. He’s not great, but he’s not Vinny Del Negro either. And he was able to keep his ACL’s in tact, so he automatically gets a small grade boost for that!
Jared Jeffries: B-
- Jared Jeffries is one of the more important players on this team, although very few non-Knicks fans seem to realize that. With Jeffries you know what you’re going to get. He’s not going to score, he’s not going to shoot well and he’s probably going to blow a layup or two. However, his positives far outweigh his negatives, in my opinion. He is a high energy, high effort guy who has been more than willing to play with the Knicks on a veterans minimum. Jeffries is an excellent low post defender and draws more charges than Kim Kardashian’s credit card. He was really having a great season, but his health ended up failing him as he had to deal with a chronic, GUESS WHAT, knee injury (damn you, knee injuries) that hampered him late in the season and in the playoffs.
The Average Kids
Josh Harrellson: C+
- Jorts is the man. Getting a C+ for him is a big accomplishment given the fact that a lot of people didn’t think he’d even play, much less contribute. Like everyone on the roster, Harrellson suffered an injury that hampered him, a broken wrist that kept him out 6 weeks. Before his injury, Harrellson was a rotation player under Mike D’Antoni (remember him?). He was stroking three’s at a consistent rate and playing even more consistent defense. He’s not a guy who scores many points, as he’s quite anemic in the paint, but like Jeffries he is a high energy guy. I like what Jorts does and I hope to see the big farmhand continue to develop next season.
Mike Bibby: C+
- Mike Bibby (former Wildcat!!) was brought in to be a veteran back up point guard. That’s pretty much what he did. His season consisted of lots of backup point guarding, a bit of starting point guarding and a stretch of not playing at all-ing. Bibby had a stretch where he wouldn’t have been able to hit Rihanna if he was Chris Brown’s right hand, but he found his shooting stroke late in the season. In the playoffs, he was very solid against the Miami Heat defense. I also liked how he yelled at Dwayne Wade and his gigantic jaw for throwing Bibby’s shoe out of bounds. Good season for Bibby, especially late, and I’d be okay with him coming back as the Knicks 3rd string point guard next season.
Herb Williams: C
- Good old Herb was solid once again this season. What he actually does, I couldn’t tell you. Sooooo yeah… yeah we’ll probably end that here.
Carmelo Anthony: C-
- I could go on for 3 days about how disappointed I am in Melo. However, I’ll give a quick synopsis for why he garners a C- and I hope that is satisfactory. His 43% FG% and 22.6 ppg were each the lowest of his career excluding his rookie and sophomore seasons. He failed miserably as a point forward. He suffered many injuries, tried to play through them and still refused to take less than 20 shots a game. Jeremy Lin did really well, but then Anthony came back and decided he didn’t like sharing the ball. Anthony didn’t like the coach and then got him fired. He then had a dynamite month in which he led the Knicks in the playoffs, only to play mediocre at best in the first round and lead the Knicks to a 5 game gentleman’s sweep at the hands of the Heat. The Knicks needed more from Anthony this season (no, not more shots taken) and they didn’t get it.
- The positive about JR was that he gave great effort. His defense was very solid during his time with the Knicks and I can appreciate that. However, the Knicks signed him to score and make shots. He did neither of those things. I kept hearing “well he’s streaky, he’s just streaky, etc”. Well in order to be “streaky” you have to have streaks in which you are good. JR Smith had like 4 really good games, and he was erratic shooting in all the others. He also had a few nice dunks and alley oops, but in the grand scheme of things, who really cares? The Knicks brought him in to shoot, he shot 17% from downtown in the playoffs. Not good JR, not good! And he’s annoying on Twitter, although the giant ass picture was funny.
The D Students
Amar’e Stoudemire: D+
- I don’t hate Amar’e Stoudemire, in fact I like him very much, but he had an atrocious season. He had statistical career lows across the board (if you discount the 2005 season in which he played 3 games) in terms of points per game, field goal percentage and rebounds per game. He couldn’t stay healthy either, having been injured to start the year, injured late in the year and then the whole fire extinguisher thing. To make matters worse, he tweeted a picture of his hand which gave me goosebumps for days. Stoudemire is a very good player, but he’s awful on defense. When he’s not scoring at an elite level, and he definitely wasn’t, then he’s pretty much useless. There were many times this year in which he was pretty much useless. He had 2 solid playoff games and a couple good regular season games, but overall he was did not have a good season.
Baron Davis: D+
- I wish Baron the best of luck on his injury recovery as he tore his ACL, MCL and part of his patella tendon. I’m not going to rip on Davis as much due to the fact that I HATE that his career may be over. Davis was always one of the better showmen in the league. I had a front row view of this, living in the Bay Area during the “We Believe” Warriors. This season, Davis was awful. He seemed to have lost 3 steps and his play was very erratic. He couldn’t consistently hit shots, although he was consistent in terms of making stupid plays and turning it over a lot. He’d be in the F range, but he had a good post season before he got hurt. Get well soon, B Diddy.
Landry Fields: D+
- The Knicks played well defensively this season. The Knicks did not shoot well this season. They really needed some perimeter shooting and Landry Fields was one of the guys they were relying on. He failed, miserably. Having started at shooting guard most the season, Fields shot a measly 25.6% from downtown on the season. Now, if he couldn’t shoot, I would be less critical. However, Fields regressed badly from his rookie season a year ago. Last season, Fields was a 39% three point shooter. I don’t know where his fundamentals went, because his shot is Rosie O’Donnell ugly right now, but he needs to get it back. His complete inability to hit shots hinders the rest of his solid game. Fields had a solid year defending and rebounding, but the Knicks needed him to make shots and he didn’t do that.
Dan Gadzuric: D
- Gadzuric gets a D because his name starts with a D and his wife is hot.
- Jordan had a really good game against the Bobcats in the final game of the season. YEAH JEROME!
The Kid Who Tried Really Hard, But Failed Miserably
Toney Douglas: F
- This makes me sad, because I really like Toney Douglas. I thought he could adequately be the staring point on this team, but he ended up more rotten than Carlos Boozer’s jockstrap. Douglas shot a depressing 23% from downtown and his PER was only 7 points higher than mine. Douglas was thrown into action in the playoffs due to everyone else on the Knicks being
deadinjured, but provided them with 1 cool layup and literally nothing else.
Bill Walker and Renaldo Balkman: F-
- Rumor has it that Kenny Atkinson, or “Kenny Atkins” as Jeremy Lin refers to him, found both these guys smoking Salvia in Dolan’s office while Dolan was performing “Fix the Knicks” downstairs on the Garden floor. They were disbanded from the team. Balkman went on to evidently do a lot of baking (see what I did there) which he then showed us all on twitter. Rumor has it that Bill Walker now runs a Moonshining service out of West Virginia, although nothing has been confirmed.