If the New York Knicks were a high school student with strict parents, this would be the report card that the child would hide and pretend got lost in the mail. Just a year after winning the Atlantic Division and earning the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks grossly underachieved in the 2013-2014 season. The grades on this report card will be based on how each player contributed to the team in accordance to their role.
Raymond Felton [Point Guard] - F: This was by far Raymond Felton’s worst season as a Knick; offensively, he never quite found his groove. He shot a putrid 39.5% from the field, and his 9.7 points were the lowest of his career. His defensive rating of 111 coupled with his offensive rating of 103 meant that the Knicks were a poor team when he was on the floor. He couldn’t stop anyone as opposing point guards routinely had career nights when they faced Felton.
Pablo Prigioni [Point/Combo Guard] - B-: Prigioni was a steady figure in the midst of the mercurial Knicks. He could be depended on to promote ball movement and be a bit of a pest defensively. He was a reluctant shooter, but he was efficient when he decided to shoot. He did his part on a team full of guys who didn’t, and there’s something to be said for that. He posted an offensive rating of 127 and a defensive rating of 110. Whenever he was on the floor, good things happened. The problem was that he was already 36-years-old, and 20 minutes a night is just about all you could ask for.
J.R. Smith [Shooting Guard/Small Forward] - C: J.R. Smith is like the student who has potential to be on the honor roll but insists on doing just enough to pass the class instead. That coupled with off-court antics makes him a headache for whatever team he’s on. He started off the season on a horrible note, missing the first five games due to a suspension for use of marijuana, and he played uninspiring basketball when he did return. In fairness to him, he was recovering from an offseason knee surgery. The second half of the season was better for Smith; he even ended the season shooting over 39% from 3.
Carmelo Anthony [Small Forward/Power Forward] - B+: Anthony was the equivalent of the smart kid stuck with poor students in a group project. He shot 40% from 3-point range and carried the Knicks offense throughout the season. The last player to average 27 points and 8 rebounds for an entire season was Shaquille O’Neal in 2002-2003, and the Lakers won 50 games that year. The Knicks won 37 games last season. The reason Anthony couldn’t receive a higher grade was because he was supposed to be the leader of this team. He didn’t have the necessary help, but the buck stops with him.
Tyson Chandler: [Center] - C-: This is another example of a player who under-performed for the Knicks last season. An early season broken leg led to a season without rhythm for the Knicks center. Once he got back into the swing of things, he looked uninterested in the extra effort that made him a fan-favorite. That coupled with constant pouting about the coaching and the system made for a horrible combination. He was supposed to be one of the veteran leaders on the squad, but he ended up becoming a negative influence on the locker room.
Amar'e Stoudemire [Power Forward] - C+: Relatively speaking, Stoudemire had a bounce-back year. He played in 65 games, the highest total in the last 3 years. Offensively, when he was healthy, he was his usual hyper-efficient self. He shot nearly 70% around the basket, and he shot 51.2% from 10-16 feet away from the basket. His new-found low-post repertoire was impressive, and he proved to be a reliable scoring threat in one-on-one post-up situations. Defensively, he was horrid. He has never been a good defender, and some things never change. Stoudemire proved that he could still be a useful piece, but needs to be managed properly.
Iman Shumpert [Shooting Guard/Small Forward] - D: Knick fans were expecting big things from Shumpert last season. Unfortunately, for most of the season, he was an afterthought. Too many times, he was a spectator on offense and a bystander on defense. A player who thrives on energy and enthusiasm lacked both in multiple stretches during the season. His overall game regressed, and his shooting was abysmal. He shot a putrid 37% from the field and 33% from 3-point range. He also posted a 108 defensive rating, the worst of his career.
Tim Hardaway Jr. [Shooting Guard] - B: The rookie out of Michigan joined the Knicks as the 3rd shooting guard on the depth chart, but his enthusiasm and shooting ability earned him a spot in the rotation. He was far from flawless, though. He was a defensive liability and prone to get shot-happy, whether or not they were falling. All in all, he was a pleasant surprise in a season full of negative ones. He also earned All-Rookie First Team honors.
Andrea Bargnani [Power Forward] - Newly-acquired Andrea Bargnani was thrust into a bigger role than expected when Tyson Chandler broke his leg early in the season. He never looked comfortable on either side of the ball, and offensively, he rarely moved around the court with confidence. On the defensive end, he was consistently exposed in pick-and-roll situations. He sustained an arm injury at about the mid-point of the season that sidelined him for the rest of it.
Kenyon Martin [Power Forward] - Playing in only 32 games during the season meant that Martin couldn’t make the contributions expected of him when he was acquired. Nagging ankle injuries kept him off the floor throughout the season.
Jeremy Tyler [Power Forward/Center] - Tyler didn’t join the team until the middle of the season because he was rehabbing from offseason leg surgery. In garbage time minutes, Tyler showed good energy on the offensive end, but he seemed to be constantly rushing. He was a project at most, and he remained so for the duration of the season.
Cole Aldrich [Center] - Aldrich didn’t play much at all despite the need for a big-man. He only featured in garbage time more often than not. He was solid when he played, but he just didn’t play.
Toure Murry [Point Guard] - Toure Murry was a nice little surprise when he got the opportunity; he just rarely got the opportunity. He was a tenacious defender but a project at the end of the day.