February 13, 2014

Knicks in Need of a Complete Overhaul

By - Tim Swift

When you've been consistently getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs for years on end, it eventually gets to the point where you need to reevaluate the things you do on a day-to-day basis to figure out why you've been failing for such an extended period of time.

The New York Knicks are far beyond that point.

Photo by: Seth Wenig
There needs to be wholesale changes made to this club, and it starts with trading Carmelo Anthony right now while he still has some prime years left. Let another team worry about his next long-term deal. I'm not saying this option is overwhelmingly beneficial, seeing as how they won't get anywhere near full value for the guy, but upper management needs to at least place a few calls.

Someone would bite.

The scouting department and most of the front office needs to be overhauled as well, so things can be looked at through fresh eyes. Amare Stoudemire's contract would be funny if not for the fact it's so sad, as he is due over $23 million next year. There is an early termination clause, however, and the Knicks would be wise to use it the second this season ends.

New York is currently $30 million over the luxury tax. Not that owner James Dolan has ever really cared about spending money with any sense of responsibility, but still. With Melo, Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler making a combined $73 mill this year, it's safe to say new spending tactics should be the focus.

Obviously when rebuilding, coaching is a big part of the overall equation. Mike Woodson has had some decent moments, but the bad has far outweighed the good. The mess between him and J.R. Smith is a perfect example of how Woodson has no real grasp of what this team needs on or off the court. His offensive sets look more like something you'd see at a Rucker Park street game, where the guy who grabs the rebound usually takes the shot, or a big man sets a screen for Melo, and he then dribbles for 20 seconds or so before throwing up a 22-footer as the shot clock expires.

The Knicks have also been bad about trading away first round draft picks, and when they have kept them, they usually have made the wrong decisions. See the likes of Renaldo Balkman, Mardy Collins, Donnell Harvey and Jordan Hill, among others. Because of the Stepien Rule, a stipulation that says you can't trade first round picks in consecutive years, New York has to keep their 2015 and 2017 first round selections.

All things considered, they don't deserve to keep them.

Granted, there is a certain amount of luck involved when it comes to selecting draft picks, but the Knicks keep coming up with new ways of messing the process up. Since '89, New York has had a total of 36 picks, and have managed to draft only one All-Star over that period. That was David Lee, and of course, they dealt him away on a sign and trade deal a few months after he was named an All-Star. Lee was shipped to Golden State for Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, and future picks. Since that deal, he has averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per, while shooting 51% from the field.

Clearly another brilliant move by the Knick powers that be.

This won't be a popular statement in NYC, but the last thing the Knicks need to worry about is getting into a free agent spending spree this summer. They need to have the mentality of building this team up year-by-year by making smarter decisions in the draft, developing cheaper young players, and being a lot more responsible with their spending in free agency.

Since the 2000-01 campaign, New York has won a whopping one playoff series, and for the majority of those years, they did things the same way; overpaid on the free agent market and reckless with draft picks. That sole postseason series they won was last year, when they knocked off a depleted Celtic team that was about to start the process of rebuilding themselves.

Not exactly something to write home about.

Yes, the Knicks are currently only 2 games out of a playoff spot, but if they do get in, they're only creating false hope for their fan base. It won't prove anything for them to be swept right out of the opening round by Indiana or Miami.

The bottom line is this; there is no short-term fix for what is going on with the Knicks, and a complete overhaul is a must if the they want to get back to the limited glory years they had in the past.

Why put of till tomorrow what you can start fixing today?