We’ve had some time to settle down from the Miami series and look back on the season that was. For better or for worse, 2011-12 was an entertaining season for the New York Knicks. The number of identities this team took on feel like something out of Nyjer Morgan’s imagination.
What we’re going to try and do is grade what each player brought to the team this season in regards to the expectations surrounding that player entering the year. For example, since the expectations for a Mike Bibby are completely different for a Carmelo Anthony, if Bibby gets a higher grade than ‘Melo, I’m not saying Bibby was/is a better player. All I would be saying is that Mike Bibby was expected to be a spare part, while Carmelo was the face of the team that under-performed at some points.
OK. Let’s get into this.
Head of the Class –
Tyson Chandler – A+
– There is no question that from the start of the season to the end, Chandler was the most consistent and balanced Knick on the court. He brought defense to a team that has been dearth of effort on that end of the court since Mike D’Antoni took over, as evident by his Defensive Player of the Year trophy. Plus, the combination of Chandler and Mike Woodson did the impossible: they made Carmelo Anthony hustle. Not to mention, Chandler had an insane field goal possession.
“A” Students –
Iman Shumpert – A
Very few Knicks fans actually liked the selection of Shumpert in last year’s first round, and I include myself in that field. However, he certainly out-performed any expectations that were placed on him, and he’s shown that he has the potential to become an elite talent in this league. He broke the starting line-up in his rookie season, and will be, at the worst, a Tony Allen-type player in his career. That’s not a bad floor to have.
Jeremy Lin – A-
The only reason Lin is graded a step lower than Shumpert is simply because he played less games. We know what we all saw from Lin-sanity, but we’re still a little cautious as to just how real that all was. With that being said, unless the Knicks decide to go in a different direction, Jeremy Lin should be their starting point guard next season, and he’ll be a good one, too.
“B” Street -
Steve Novak – B+
What else is there to say about Steve Novak at this point? He led the NBA in 3-pt % and was an absolute force from beyond the arc. The Knicks picked him off the waiver wire scrap heep, so the fact that he made such an impact on the team is why he gets this high of a grade.
Jared Jeffries – B-
I mean, what were we really expecting from Jeffries this year? Energy off the bench, taking a ton of charges and playing strong defense. Check, check and check. At this point, we know what Jared Jeffries is capable of doing and what’s unrealistic to expect. He’s a nice piece to have on the bench, and he proved that yet again this season.
Carmelo Anthony – C+
OK, time to explain why ‘Melo falls this low. We really went through three different levels of Anthony this season. Out of the gates, he was a flat-out F, playing terrible basketball, looking stagnant on offense and not seeming to give a crap either way. Then, after D’Antoni’s ouster, he played like an MVP, tearing up offensively and playing defense with more vigor. Once we got to the playoffs, it looked like he was trying too hard and his game suffered because of it. Carmelo Anthony was a big reason why the Knicks got to the #7 seed, positively and negatively. He’s also a big reason why they only won one playoff game. This year, he gets a grade a little above average because of the expectations, which only grow after this season.
Baron Davis – C
Remember the time we all thought once Baron Davis got healthy from his initial back problem, he was going to save our season? Oops. Baron Davis didn’t have an impactful year, but he also held his own when he was in the line-up. Unfortunately for Boom Dizzle, it looks like his career is over after that brutal knee injury in Game 4.
J.R. Smith – C
Smith is an interesting case. He absolutely became the Knicks Irrational Confidence Guy off the bench, and there were games he absolutely dominated in that role. However, there were just as many games where Smith was jacking up way too many 3s without getting teammates involved. He was like Al Harrington on steroids when it came to getting the ball on the wing and putting up a shot. I’d like to see Smith return next year because he can be a real valuable sixth man, but it has to be at the right price.
Josh Harrellson – C
This isn’t a knock on Jorts. Instead, he look real good when he did play. But, he didn’t play nearly enough to surpass all expectations this year. He has a solid future moving forward in New York.
“D” List Celebrities
Landry Fields – D+
Fields was not a complete disappointment, but he definitely regressed in his second season. He showed flashes of Rookie Fields, but Sophomore Fields just didn’t seem to play the game the same way. He didn’t rebound as well, nor score with as much consistency. Maybe it was just a sophomore slump, maybe it was something more. We won’t know until next season which is the real Landry.
Amar’e Stoudemire – D
The amount of times I merely shook my head at a Stoudemire stat line was too many. He was not remotely close to the same player the Knicks gave a max contract to in the off-season of 2010. This all could have been a result of trying to play so many games in a short period of time, or this could be a sign that ‘Melo and STAT will never work. Trust me, this is one of the biggest questions circling around the Knicks front office this off-season.
Mike Bibby – D
He played a couple of games. He didn’t play them really well. That’s Mike Bibby.
Toney Douglas – F
And a capital F. Toney went from potential starting point guard and strong sixth man to 13th man on the bench. How? We may never know. When he did play this season, he didn’t play well at all. So, its not like the demotion was unjust. I guess we all should be thanking Douglas a little, though. Without him playing so poorly, Mike D’Antoni would’ve never thought to insert Jeremy Lin into the line-up. So, there’s that.
Was I supposed to be able to judge what this guy can do in the long-term based off his very limited exposure this season?
Wait…he was on the team????
Tags: Amare Stoudemire Baron Davis Carmelo Anthony Dan Gadzuric Iman Shumpert J.R. Smith Jared Jeffries Jeremy Lin Jerome Jordan Josh Harrellson Landry Fields Mike Bibby New York Knicks Steve Novak Toney Douglas Tyson Chandler