Prior to the start of the season none of the major NBA experts had the New York Knicks winning 50 plus games. In fact they had us finishing anywhere from 5 to 8 in the standings. Behind Boston, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. Then we came out to that red hot 18-5 start then we went 14-13 to close out the second half and doubt is starting to creep back in. If I was coach Mike Woodson these would be the keys for me going into the second half of the season..
It's now time for Coach Mike Woodson to change up the rotation and put his best foot forward to start games. The guys he goes with are the guys he should be relying on not only to start games but also to close them out. Enough with the excuses. If they do not play well they he reserves every right to bench them. He needs to go with a starting lineup of
With this lineup you have a more traditional lineup that can get an edge on the glass. That has an interior presence with Stoudemire and the second scorer we desperately need on the floor. You also have a perimeter defender in Iman Shumpert to step up and guard the likes of Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, and company since we know Raymond Felton simply cannot do so.
In order for this to be successful Carmelo Anthony is going to have to defend. We can only hide one guy on defense every night and thats Amar'e. We cannot hide both Amar'e and Carmelo. So Melo is going to have to give extra on D if this is going to work. Or Woody is going to have to implement some zone defense for stretches. Melo knows the zone he played it in Syracuse.
Melo is also going to have to be more distributive to start games. Instead of coming out firing he should move the ball around and let the other guys get comfortable on the floor so that he can trust them and lean on them as the game wanes.. This is going to be important for when teams start to throw double and triple teams at him in the fourth. Just in 2 years ago Amar'e Stoudemire lead the league in fourth quarter scoring. Melo is going to have to use Amar'e as an assets instead of viewing him as a hinderance if we wants to win a ring this season.
Woody is going to have to stagger the minutes a bit so that throughout the game 1 of Melo and Stoudemire is always on the floor. Both guys should never be on the bench at the same time. We lose entirely too much scoring when they are both out of the game. So around the 7 minute mark he can sub JR in for Amar'e and around the 5 minute mark he can bring Kidd in for Shump.. And Prigs in for Felton. Then when its times for Melo to sit he can bring Stat back in for Melo and so on and so forth.
Raymond Felton need to force the issue
Felton needs to get into the lane and create some havoc. He has been settling for a lot of jumpers lately and that is letting defenses off the hook.. He doesnt need to let the defense dictate how he plays the game. He needs to be aggresive and force defenses to guard him. When Felton is getting into the paint good things happen.
JR Smith needs to scale it back a little bit
JR has played great this season. But over the last few weeks there has been too much one on one ending in long jumpers.. He needs to take it to the bucket. And try to get to the line more instead of settling for long 2's. Off the catch he is a marksmen. If it isnt there pass the ball and wait for it. When he catches and is able to set he can make defenses pay. Too much off the dribble jumpshots are killing us.
Ronnie Brewer needs more minutes
There has been major slippage for us on the defensive end. We need to get brewer back in the rotation to slow teams down. Maybe he should be the 2nd guy off the bench coming in for shump. So that we can maintain the defensive intensity. Defense is what is going to get us to where we need to go.
Amare Stoudemire needs to be featured more in the offense
The man has been back about 20 games. And in that time he has played fairly well. All this with him not really being featured. He can get the ball 1 time make a good move and they dont come back to him. He has also had some stinkers as well. But I believe we rely entirely too much on Carmelo Anthony to score. And in the end that is going to be our Achilles heel come playoff time because teams are simply not going to allow Melo to go crazy on them. It will look like the Clipper game all over again. Get Amare the ball early and often to keep defeses honest. Get Melo the ball off of screens and movement so he can be a catch and shooter as well.
Thats all I have for now. Feel free to add on....