A week off is a good thing for the Knicks. They can forget that the Raptors embarrassed them at home by a deceptively close 92-88. They can forget Carmelo Anthony shot 5-24, claimed he couldn’t feel his arm, then explained to reporters why that apparently wasn’t a problem.
They can forget that after a five game winning streak, they dropped 3 of their next 4. The Knicks will hopefully be able to block all the negativity out of their last few games and will start their journey to locking up a high seed Wednesday night in Indiana.
Kidd is no Kid
The focus in the NBA over the next few days will be the trading deadline, set for Thursday at 3 PM Eastern. The most pressing need for the Knicks is a backup guard. The reason? Two words: Jason Kidd. While Kidd performed admirably at the beginning of his Knicks tenure (he averaged 75% eFG and a 161.7 ORtg over his first ten games), Kidd has declined into mediocrity. Here are some charts that further prove that point, which graphs Kidd’s season averages after the corresponding game.
Now, most of this can be attributed to Kidd regressing to the mean, but the biggest concern for the Knicks is 27.9. That’s the minutes per game Kidd is averaging this season. While it is a career low, when Kidd has been pressed to play 30 minutes plus, his performance has suffered. He currently averages slightly less minutes per game than the rest his Ancient Four brethren (Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, and Rasheed Wallace combined average 34.4 min).
Coach Mike Woodson will try to find places to rest Kidd down the stretch, but the Knicks might want to check the price on someone like Sebastian Telfair or Will Bynum. Both are cost effective veteran point guards who could run the offense for longer amounts of time if Raymond Felton gets hurt again.
The Going is Going To Get Tough
At the end of January, I wrote that the Knicks had a crtical stretch of games coming up where they would be favored in nearly every game. They came through that stretch of games 6-3, which is a solid performance for a team trying to keep pace with the Heat in the East.
The second half of the season should give us a better idea of how successful the Knicks will be in the playoffs. The Knicks have nine back-to-back games, and 18 games versus teams with a winning record. The challenge starts tonight against Indiana, the third-place team in the East, a potential playoff opponent, and a team the Knicks dropped their most recent battle against (an 81-76 loss in early January). The Knicks ended their first half on a whimper; they have a chance to start the second half with a bang.